About Capt Jill

I love to travel and explore. I'll take off to somewhere different every chance I get. I love to sail, both for work and for fun. I've been a professional mariner since 1977. Now I mostly work in the offshore oilfields, but will go fishing again if I get the chance. I love good books, music, food, drinks, movies, art. I love freedom and believe in individual liberty. I love meeting people from all walks of life. I hope someday to be able to just take off and travel the world, meeting people and adventures without having to worry about what's going on at 'home'. I want to move somewhere out of the USA ASAP. I'd like to learn Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Tagalog. I'd like to get up the nerve to try teaching English overseas somewhere interesting.

Practice 1

I started following Rebecca L. Weber for tips about how to improve my writing. I got an email from her this morning that struck a nerve. She had gone to a retreat and at the end, the teacher had 3 recommendations for how to improve…

  1. practice every day

  2. practice every day

  3. practice every day

Rebecca says “the best way to improve your writing is to practice every day.” I already try to participate in Linda G. Hill’s SoCS which is a free writing challenge. This will be another challenge, just to myself.

I will write something here, every day. Anything counts. Doesn’t matter what I say (and I don’t mean to piss anybody off), but please comment if you feel like it. The more, the merrier.

If I can, I will keep on posting other interesting stuff here too. Maritime Monday, Songs of the Sea, news about offshore, good food, books, music etc. It’s amazing how little time I get to blog, even when I’m not working! Everyday stuff just keeps on interfering. I hope this will help me focus, as well as improve my writing. 🙂

Maritime Monday for March 27th 2017

Another week’s flown by! Here’s to more interesting maritime news from Monkey Fist. I really liked reading about the Irish this week…

ORP Piorun (G65) was an N-class destroyer used by the Polish Navy during the …

Source: Maritime Monday for March 27th, 2017 – gCaptain

American Poetry

I’m usually not much into poetry. Like Twitter, I find it hard to get much out of the short forms of expression. But sometimes a lot can be said in just a few words, and sometimes poetry is just perfect for getting your feelings and intent across.

Candace of “the Platinum Dragon” is featuring American Poetry at her site and inviting us to share our favorites, so here’s one of mine…

A Rolling Stone

BY ROBERT W. SERVICE

There’s sunshine in the heart of me, My blood sings in the breeze; The mountains are a part of me, I’m fellow to the trees. My golden youth I’m squandering, Sun-libertine am I; A-wandering, a-wandering, Until the day I die.

I was once, I declare, a Stone-Age man, And I roomed in the cool of a cave; I have known, I will swear, in a new life-span, The fret and the sweat of a slave: For far over all that folks hold worth, There lives and there leaps in me A love of the lowly things of earth, And a passion to be free.

To pitch my tent with no prosy plan, To range and to change at will; To mock at the mastership of man, To seek Adventure’s thrill. Carefree to be, as a bird that sings; To go my own sweet way; To reck not at all what may befall, But to live and to love each day.

To make my body a temple pure Wherein I dwell serene; To care for the things that shall endure, The simple, sweet and clean. To oust out envy and hate and rage, To breathe with no alarm; For Nature shall be my anchorage, And none shall do me harm.

To shun all lures that debauch the soul, The orgied rites of the rich; To eat my crust as a rover must With the rough-neck down in the ditch. To trudge by his side whate’er betide; To share his fire at night; To call him friend to the long trail-end, And to read his heart aright.

To scorn all strife, and to view all life With the curious eyes of a child; From the plangent sea to the prairie, From the slum to the heart of the Wild. From the red-rimmed star to the speck of sand, From the vast to the greatly small; For I know that the whole for good is planned, And I want to see it all.

To see it all, the wide world-way, From the fig-leaf belt to the Pole; With never a one to say me nay, And none to cramp my soul. In belly-pinch I will pay the price, But God! let me be free; For once I know in the long ago, They made a slave of me.

In a flannel shirt from earth’s clean dirt, Here, pal, is my calloused hand! Oh, I love each day as a rover may, Nor seek to understand. To ENJOY is good enough for me; The gipsy of God am I; Then here’s a hail to each flaring dawn! And here’s a cheer to the night that’s gone! And may I go a-roaming on Until the day I die!

Then every star shall sing to me Its song of liberty; And every morn shall bring to me Its mandate to be free. In every throbbing vein of me I’ll feel the vast Earth-call; O body, heart and brain of me Praise Him who made it all!

SoCS: March

For Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, the theme today is: March. Click the link for the rules and join in. 🙂

“March”. It brings to mind music, like the kind you hear in a marching band. John Phillip Sousa, etc. Also, the marchers, marching.

It reminded me of the parade I always try to see in New Orleans. The Krewe of Kringle puts on a great parade every year for Christmas. I’m usually in New Orleans around that time to attend the Workboat Show if I’m not offshore.

New Orleans is always fun. I love going up there to visit. I always see old friends and meet new ones. I always find something new and interesting to do. Last time, I finally got to ride the Steamboat Natchez and go to the WWII Museum.

I’d love to go up there again. This weekend is the New Orleans Bourbon Festival. I would really love to go to that! It sounds like a blast. Not as crazy as Mardi Gras, but I bet it’s still a lot of fun.

I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere for a while tho. I’m still not working. 😦

TAMUG

I went to a job fair this morning up at TAMUG (Texas A&M University at Galveston). They’ve been making a lot of changes since I was there last time. First thing I noticed is that they’ve started charging for parking. It cost me $6 for a couple of hours. 😦

Next was the construction. They’re building a huge new “Academic Complex” right in front as you drive onto campus. There was already a big 3-4 story building that looked pretty complete, but they were still drilling holes behind it. The machine they used looked like a giant vertical corkscrew running up and down through the mud.

The job fair was held in the gym, so I had to walk across most of the campus. I never do see many students. TAMUG always seems deserted to me, especially compared to UT Austin or UST where I went to school. They were always bustling with crowds of students filling the walkways going to classes.

The gym was fairly busy. It was filled with tables of the various employers. There must have been about 25-30 different ‘companies’ represented. Sad to say, not many of them were offering anything for someone like me (older, with a license, who still wants to work at sea).

The Ports were well represented: Ports America, Diversified Port Holdings, Metro Ports all had tables. The shore side support companies were there too: Lone Star Maritime, Dan-Bunkering and Watco Companies are a couple of examples, as well as Kiewit (shipyard, construction, etc). I’ve considered taking a shore side job, but I would have to move and I just can’t justify moving (unless it’s overseas to somewhere cheaper).

The Houston Police Department, the Marines, the Customs & Border Patrol, the Army Corps of Engineers all had tables. I didn’t even bother talking to any of them, I already know I would not be a good fit. 😉

NOAA and MSC both had booths, but neither was actually hiring. For the first time in ages MSC is actually trying to get rid of people (tho they still have 4 month long minimum tours).

Artist Boat, Schlitterbahn, and Moody Gardens looked more interesting. But they were all in Galveston (hour and half drive each way) and really more for summer fill in type jobs. The Peace Corps may actually have something interesting to do, but it’s normally a 2 year commitment and I don’t think I’m up to that at this point. They did mention they have some shorter term programs, I’ll have to look into those. Maybe there’s something there I can do?

A few towing companies were represented (but I don’t have a towing endorsement). I would have to start over as a deckhand. I really don’t want to do that at this point in my life and career. Especially on an inland tow boat! That is some hard, back-breaking work! I am actually getting close to the age at which I’d like to be able to retire and I don’t want to take the chance of a serious injury (old bones don’t heal so fast). 😦

Shell was actually hiring, but they only wanted cadets (so not really hiring). Trident Seafoods was looking for people. But again, they only wanted deckhands. I talked to them for a while and figured it just wasn’t worth even bothering to apply there. I have fishing experience, and on the same type of vessels. But where I worked, we had fish masters. I was never responsible for finding and catching the fish. Trident doesn’t work that way. They want deckhands that they can train (taking years to do so). I don’t figure I have 5-10 years to spend back on deck at this point in my life. 😦

A couple of the maritime officers unions had tables, but none of them were actually hiring either. I talked to the MMP, AMO and MEBA representatives. They were happy to talk about the benefits of their unions, but admitted that things were tight and they really didn’t know how long it might take for an ‘applicant’ to find a job. All except the AMO still only hire out of the union hall too, so you can’t even work part time while you’re waiting to ship out.

I signed up as an applicant at AMO a couple of months ago. So far I’ve had 1 email re: possible job. By the time I responded a couple of hours later, the job was gone. 😦

All in all, the only companies that were actually looking for marine crew to ship out was SeaRiver (who I had worked for in the past and already applied for), HOS (who had a table with some swag, but didn’t even send a rep to talk to), Intermarine (who only hires through Crowley- which only does online applications), and HMS Global Maritime.

So, out of 25-30 companies represented at this particular career fair, there were really only 4 who had anything even remotely resembling the kind of work I’m looking for. Out of those 4, only 2 had representatives at the fair who could talk about the employment prospects at their company. Only 1 had much to say other than “go online and fill out an application”. 😦

That shows how really sad a state our maritime sector is right now. No longer much opportunity at all. I can only hope it comes back to ‘normal’ soon.

Norm’s Thursday Doors

I haven’t done this one lately, but Norm and his followers always have some great looking doors to share. Here’s one of mine. 🙂

I took the photo on a recent trip to Tanzania. I went for a photo safari with Great Escape Publishing. I’ve always wanted to go on a safari and GEP can’t be beat for the photography. I came early and spent a couple of weeks in Turkey. I stayed after and spent about a week in Zanzibar. I took this photo of a door in Stone Town. They had a lot of really beautiful doors there. 🙂

Check out the link for more of Norm’s Doors. 🙂

It IS Easy Being Green

For the Daily Post’s Photo Challenge, I thought I would pick some photos showing how easy it really is to be green. At least for these guys. 😉

  

Hope you like the photos! Check out the link to the challenge to see what everybody else is posting (and join in if you want). 🙂

This Is Where I Work

When I work.

This is the kind of ship I’ve been working on most recently. This video was taken on the DS-4. I used to work on the DS-3 and DS-5 and a couple of other sister ships. Sisters, meaning they’re all built to the same basic plan.

These drill ships are technological wonders. They’re very capable and fairly comfortable ships to work on. I would go back in a NY second! I keep hoping the price of oil will go back up. There will be no work for me or anybody else out there until it does. According to reports, there are around a half million people out of work due to the low price of oil.

I read the news every day to see the price of a barrel and how many rigs are working. So far, the price has recovered from around $26/bbl to around $50/bbl (just dropped back down to $47 last few days). The ON SHORE drillers have been taking advantage of the situation and are drilling like crazy!

They have already returned a couple hundred rigs to work. Every time they do, they put downward pressure on the price of a barrel of oil. That only delays offshore drilling from starting up again.

At this point, I’m wondering if we’ll EVER be able to go back to work. it is not cheap to drill for oil offshore. They’re not going to do it at a price of only $50/bbl. The companies that work offshore can’t work without making a profit. That means oil must be over $60/bbl and it has to stabilize there before any of us see steady work again. (IMHO).

I know, most people are happy to get cheap gas, I would be too if I was actually getting it as cheap as it should be with price/bbl so low. And if so many people weren’t out of work because of it.

If I could find some other type of work that was in any way comparable, I would be doing it. There’s nothing like offshore. There’s nothing I’d rather do than be a mariner. I’ll just keep hoping things get better before I’m forced out for good.

Already

Yeah, it’s over. Already! My first real job since I was laid off back in September of 2015 lasted exactly 5 days!

I was hoping it would go for at least a week, every day of work I get now is like a godsend.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go back offshore for a few days, even tho I had to give up the 4 days I was scheduled to work in Houston. Wish I could have done both, but have to take offshore whenever it comes up. There’s just no comparison.

I hope this short job will be a foot in the door for future opportunities there. I know not many people are taking time off for any reason, not if they can help it. But sometimes, like this time, they have to. Maybe I can at least start filling in again when that happens.

Work

Finally! I’m going to work tomorrow! 🙂

It’s only a temp job. Maybe not even a week. But it’s the first real job I’ve had since I went as AB on that delivery job down to Colombia last August.

I’ll be going out as 3rd mate/JDPO (junior dynamic positioning officer) just to relieve someone who had to leave unexpectedly.

I hope, really really hope this is the start of something good!

More Shud

This past Saturday Night Live was the best I’ve seen in quite a while. SNL is actually one of the very few shows I’ll turn on the TV to watch, but it’s been disappointing lately.

This week it was really pretty funny. I liked the opener (about Trump and an alien invasion), the Olive Garden commercial was pretty good, and the mermaid sketch featuring Kate McKinnon as ‘Shud’ (who is part blobfish) and Scarlett Johansson as her best friend the anglerfish was hilarious.

I hope they keep going with this skit. Maybe they can even add Leslie Jones in there somewhere. I think she might add even more to it. 🙂

The Daily Post: Pattern

For today’s prompt: pattern, this is what I came up with…

I see patterns everywhere. Natural and artificial, large and small, intricate and simple. The photo is from my last trip to Turkey. I was not able to buy any of the beautiful ceramics (or carpets) this time, but looking at the photos I took reminds me of the time the merchants took to explain the meanings of the patterns to me. I wish I had more time (and money) to spend with them. 🙂

SoCS: Short

This post is for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. It’s Sunday as I write this, but the events I’m going to write about happened yesterday so I’m counting it. 😉 And I don’t think it’s going to be “short“, so consider it the opposite of short. 🙂

I went down to the beach  yesterday for the St Patricks Day parade. The weather was overcast with a light rain. I was late leaving home and thought I might get stuck in traffic, but because of the weather I made it in time for the judging without any trouble at all.

I got a few photos before it started raining hard and I had to run for cover. I headed to the Jetty Shack to dry off and watch the parade through the window.

I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a yummy Patty Melt (they make the best ones around) and listening to the surrounding conversations. I joined in (where maybe I shouldn’t have).

I can’t really remember how it started, but something to do with how young people don’t have any respect. It moved on to how society has encouraged people to do things that are illegal and cause harm.  Continue reading

Flower of the Day: Lily

I don’t have a whole lot of photos of flowers, but I like to play along with Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge when I can. Check out her post for more beautiful flowers. Today’s flower is ‘lily‘.

Another Busy Week

And not accomplishing much of anything. 😦

I’ve been working on all the usual stuff around here. Still looking for work. Spending hours filling out online applications for any offshore job I happen to see posted. I’ve been talking to one company for a couple of weeks now, but they don’t seem to have any idea of when they might (or might not) need me. It’s very frustrating, but at least they’re still talking to me. That’s more than I’ve had in over 18 months now!

We finished up working on one apartment and got it ready to rent. I thought we had it rented before we even finished working on it, but that fell through. I think it will go pretty quick (I hope so). I’m still waiting for the roofers to fix a leak and the levelers to honor their warranty (good luck!!).

I have one more apartment over there that needs work, but I need to wait til the rents start coming in before I can afford to start on it. It doesn’t look like it needs as much work as the last one, but I never know what I’ll find once I get started. 😦

I had some good friends come down and visit. We pigged out at the Chinese buffet and had a good time catching up on everything.

Other than that, I finished 2 paintings in class on Tuesday. I took them both to Hobby Lobby to get them framed. One of them was finished in time for me to enter it in the People’s Choice show (I’m always amazed at how many really talented people we have around here in this area). The other won’t be ready for at least another week. I think they both turned out OK, but especially with the lighthouse, not really what I was trying to do with them.

I wasn’t quite finished with the lighthouse when I took this photo. I’ll get another when I get it back with the frame.

I went to my usual political meeting Tuesday night. We’ve decided to re-start our project to get the BWA to remove the fluoride from our drinking water. It really doesn’t do anything for your teeth by drinking it. It only helps if you apply it topically (like with toothpaste). It’s really not at all good for you. Yeah, I know, most people will read that and think I’m just another tin foil conspiracy theorist. I think there’s more than enough evidence to show it’s not really necessary for good teeth (or any other reason).

So, I spent some time researching that. I also got a writing assignment for Great Escape Publishing. Whoo-whoo! Another byline!! I really need to find the time to query more publications. But that takes a HUGE amount of time! I was very hopeful when I applied to Big Grey Horse when they said they were looking for Texas writers. I think they would’ve contacted me by now if they were interested. 😦

I’ve been working on my yard the last few days. In between the rain. I’ve got the front yard about 25% finished now. It makes a big difference when I pull all the clematis vines off and put a little mulch out. All my citrus trees are starting to bloom. The grape vines are starting to leaf out. The strawberries are coming back!

Today I took a break and went to the movies. I go to the matinee when it’s cheaper. I wasn’t sure what to watch, either Logan or Get Out. I decided to watch Logan. It was pretty good. One of the X-Men movies. A pretty good action movie featuring Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine fighting the forces of evil in the shape of another mutant (Boyd Holbrook as Pierce).

I don’t want to spoil it, since it really was pretty good, but it’s not all blood and guts. There was actually a pretty good story. I’m sure there will be more sequels down the road. 🙂

Tomorrow is the biggest day of the year around here. St Patrick’s Day Parade at Surfside Beach! I have to get up early so I can get down to the beach in time to check everything out before the judging. Take a look here. Once the parade starts, I’m done with that! Time to wander off to the various parties. 😉

I hope the weather cooperates. It’s calling for 90% chance of rain tomorrow. 😦

My Wish

Sharing wishes with strangers makes a powerful emotional statement.

I agree. So for my contribution to the Daily Post’s photo challenge and discussion of the week, here is my photo and wish…

So many people argue that freedom is unworkable, impossible- but I think it’s really the thing that works best. It has been proven to be the best system for increasing the quality of life for the most people in every society that has tried it- (USA before we gave it away, Hong Kong, Singapore are just a couple of recent examples).

Like John Lennon sang, Imagine!

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need
PS- I took that gorgeous photo on a recent trip to Zanzibar, the scuba diving was fantastic!

Maritime Monday for March 6th 2017: Oil of Gladness

Another weeks worth of nautical knowledge courtesy of Monkey Fist and gCaptain. There’s an interesting article about Sadie Horton, one of the women mariners of WWII (who have never really been recognized). Beautiful photos of some ugly stuff. Sounds of the seascape to relax to. And pretty little jellyfish to watch…

10 Hours of Ambient Arctic Sounds Will Help You Relax, Meditate, Study & Sleep &nbsp …

Source: Maritime Monday for March 6th, 2017: Oil of Gladness – gCaptain

Flower of the Day: March 6th 2017

Since I’m not sure which flower Cee is picking for her flower of the day today (I see some tulips and daffodils and maybe a lily), I am posting a favorite photo I took a while back. These are tulips.

The flowers in my yard don’t look this pretty. At the moment, they are just starting to bloom. I have citrus trees, narcissus, miniature roses, mums, petunias, clematis, lilies, and a few others. The ones that grow best are the weeds (clematis vines cover everything)!

I was going to work in the yard this weekend and start planting. I have grapes, raspberries, pomegranate and lots of flowers to plant. It’s been raining all weekend and so I’m waiting for things to dry out. I think that’s what killed so many of my plants last year. It rained so much right after I planted them. I hope we don’t have floods like we did last year again (supposedly a 500 year flood), but the forecast is calling for rain all week and there are flood warnings out for the rivers again already. 😦

Wow | New airport checkpoint shocks travelers! | “Orwellian” MrMBB333

Scary? Not really. We are SO FAR beyond Orwell’s 1984 it is no longer scary, it’s TERRIFYING!
What in the HELL are they going to do with this? There is NO POSSIBILITY AT ALL that they will be using this for anything good for the likes of you and me! None whatsoever! There is NO use for this kind of technology but to CONTROL people. YOU and ME!
All those people out there in the world who think they want ‘security’, you had damn well better WAKE THE HELL UP! There IS NO SUCH THING and by your fears, you allow the always present power hungry bastards you’ve put in power to turn ALL of us into nothing but their slaves.
How far has the US come, in only 17 years? We are most certainly NOT a free country at all anymore. We are a police state and this perversion of our FREEDOM to travel is just the latest assault on our liberties.
I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees! Sorry, but I really just can’t understand ANYONE who would choose ‘security’ over freedom. Anyone who does, just does not understand the TRUTH of the matter. There IS no ‘choice’! You can NOT have security, there IS NO SUCH THING! If you make that false choice, you are throwing away your freedom for some imaginary utopia. You loose BOTH your freedom AND your ‘security’.
STOP DOING THAT!!!!!!!

2012 The Awakening

Yet another security checkpoint for travelers LEAVING America. After going through this new “security” point, passengers were stunned, didn’t even want to talk about it.
https://fee.org/articles/welcome-aboa…

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Travel Theme: Bark

Ailsa has another good challenge this week at her ‘Where’s My Backpack’ blog. This week’s theme is “bark“.

Here’s my take…

I took these photos at the Houston Arboretum last week (click on a photo if you want to see it bigger). I stopped in for a little relaxation after work while I was waiting to go to a meeting of the Sail la Vie sailing club. I always enjoy wandering around in nature and don’t get to do it enough. Even tho the Arboretum is in Houston, once you get to wandering around there, you can’t really hear much of the city noise.

It’s a nice quiet place to chill out, relax, have a picnic, walk the trails, etc. I saw a few people jogging around with headsets on. I prefer to walk and listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, birds, turtles plopping off their logs or poking their heads up out of the water.

 

I wandered around for a couple of hours. Taking pictures of everything and looking for interesting shapes, patterns and colors. I enjoyed watching the turtles in the pond and a small snake that was crossing the boardwalk with me. 🙂

Anybody know what kind it is? We had a ranger from the Brazoria County Parks & Wildlife department come to tell us all about our local snakes at last weeks Campaign for Liberty meeting. He even brought some to show us. It was really pretty interesting. I wish I could have gotten better pictures, but he was moving around pretty quickly (and the snakes were not sitting still either). I am guessing this one is some sort of garter snake.