Christmas on the St Louis Express

We made arrival in Norfolk early in the morning on the 24th. We were all fast by 0315. I slept in til 0630. Got up for breakfast and watch at 0800. We spent the day securing the port accommodation ladder, sending crates down to the engine room with the crane, putting the port lifeboat in the water and putting primer on the catwalks where we’ve been chipping.

Since it’s a weekend, we get overtime even for working on watch. It’s nice to get OT again. I’ve gotten so used to working in the oilfield where there is no such thing as overtime. We work 12 hours every day (or more). No such thing as a break for weekends or holidays. It’s very nice to go back to a traditional schedule of 4 hours on/8 hours off (except that I am here working as a “day man” so I work 8-5).

Today is Christmas, so I took the afternoon off. I think most of the crew did the same. Some of the crew went ashore last night and today. They say there are a few shops right outside the gate (we still have to call for a ride to the gate).

Santa made it to the ship! Actually, it was the local seaman’s center that brought presents for the crew. You have no idea how much it means to all of us working out here to get something like this. So many sailors are working for months, even years at sea without ever seeing their friends or family. It means a lot to know that someone cares enough about us to make the effort to bring these presents to the ship.

Santa brought presents to the ship!

I opened mine this morning. It had a nice Christmas card on top with a thoughtful comment. It’s full of candy, shampoo, shaving cream and razors, lotion, soap, q-tips, etc. All things you need and might’ve forgotten or run out of on a long voyage.

Christmas goodies from thanks to the seaman’s center

The stewards department was really the only one that really had to work today. I have to hand it to them, they put on quite a nice spread for both lunch and dinner.

We had ham, turkey, deviled eggs, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green peas, fresh bread, cranberry sauce, and then apple and pecan pie. 🙂

Cooks are happy they made it through the holiday

Not counting the salad bar and freezer full of ice cream. 🙂

For dinner, they had super tender filet mignon, home made crab cakes, shrimp and again all the rest. I was so stuffed, I couldn’t even finish my steak.

It’s cold (37) and really windy here, but no snow yet. Tomorrow we’ll be back to work as usual. The ship is due to sail at 1900. Sadly, I won’t be going with her.

I hate to admit it, but I guess I’m just not as young as I used to be. I took this job as a day man, not knowing what I was getting myself into. Big mistake! Since a large part of my job is running the cranes (4 of them), and the controls are very high up there, I had to face the facts and ask for a replacement.

I’m sure if I’d have shipped out as a regular AB. A watch standing AB, I would’ve done fine. I’m frustrated with myself that I took this job without finding out more about it, but it’s like pulling teeth sometimes trying to get information out of them at the union hall. I was really looking forward to making this trip. Crossing the Atlantic and seeing Europe again. From what I can see, the regular AB’s have it made on here. I’d have no problem doing that job.

I hated to ask the captain for a relief. I don’t like to give up. I don’t like to be a quitter. But, I also have to take into account that I am getting older, I still have not lost any weight, and climbing up and down straight ladders more than a couple of times a day is killing my legs.

I’m bruised all over my body, I keep smashing my knees into the ladder rungs going up the cranes and I’m afraid one of these days I’m going to fall off while I’m cussing out my kneecaps. I have to remind myself that there is no way I can afford to get hurt and if I keep on climbing those cranes, there’s a pretty good chance I would hurt myself before the ship returns to Houston and I’d be due off.

So. I’ll be getting off tomorrow and flying home to Houston. I don’t have any idea when yet. I may be working all day tomorrow and just have a few minutes to throw my gear together. Or maybe they’ll let me know earlier so I have some time to clean my room and get ready.

I’m just hoping they can find me a cheap ticket, since I’m told they will be deducting the price of the flight from my pay. Looks like I may’ve wound up working pretty much for free this trip. 😦

Lesson learned: NEVER take a job as a day man!

 

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Going to Court Tomorrow

Hard to believe we’re still wasting our resources prosecuting people for this sort of thing. I mean really!?

If I asked you to go pick up a gallon of milk for me and gave you the money to pay for it, do you really think you should be hauled off to jail for doing me a favor like that?

REALLY???

I think this whole thing is just one more example of a completely out of control government that has taken over damn near everything in this country.

I am sick to death of hearing about this sort of shit happening every day, right here in this “free” country. I am so, so tired of all the people around me spouting out the supposed wis(h)dom that “we live in a democracy”, so we just have to put up with whatever stupidity ‘our leaders’ decide to manipulate the majority of the pubic into going along with.

NO WE DON’T! We DON’T live in a democracy, we live in a Constitutional Republic! And we DON’T have to put up with this kind of ridiculously stupid shit they’re trying to shove down our throats and call it ‘the law’!

Here is a quote from the email I got…

After several delays, Harris County is pressing forward with the prosecution of a woman who picks up raw milk from a licensed farm for herself and others.

 

We ask that if you are in or near Harris County, please support this woman & local food consumers by appearing at the trial in Pasadena next Wednesday, June 14. Details are below.

 

While the Texas Department of State Health Services initiated the harassment of raw milk farmers and consumers last summer, it later stated that it will not pursue customers who are making legal purchases, nor the people they hire as agents to pick up milk for them. (Read more here .)
But Harris County is still pressing forward with the trial to prosecute this courier.
The County has been given the written agreement, signed by individual customers, in which they made the woman their agent and asked her to pick up milk on their behalf from a licensed, inspected dairy. Not one customer has gotten sick and no one has complained.
People pick up groceries for each other all the time. Every day, FedEx and UPS deliver food ordered online. UberEats and numerous others provide home delivery of food. None of these hold food establishment licenses. Yet the County claims that this raw milk courier has to have the same license as a restaurant or food truck.
While the prosecution is motivated by anti-raw milk bias, the legal principles are not limited to one product —   the regulation cited by the County applies to all foods.

Can you help defend this woman —   and, in the process, defend your right to ask someone to pick up food from a local farm for you?We need as many people as possible to be in the courtroom next Wednesday, to send the message that the raw milk courier has the support of the community. 

The judge and jury need to see that local food supporters are not a fringe group —   they are just regular people who want to provide healthy food to their families.

 

 
TAKE ACTION: Come to the trial!
WHERE: Justice Court, Precinct 2, 101 South Richey, Suite B, Pasadena, TX 77506
WHEN: Wednesday, June 14, at 1 p.m.
WHAT: After you enter the building, turn left to go to Judge George Risner’s courtroom at the end of the hallway. Enter quietly, and take a seat.
PLEASE be respectful of the proceedings. Any disruption will hurt the cause, so no signs, no verbal outbursts, no applause or groans, etc. You can do the most good by conducting yourself in a calm, professional manner.
They will have lapel stickers available so that you can identify yourself as a raw milk supporter. We want a large, visible show of support for the raw milk courier!

I plan to be there tomorrow. I will do what I can to support this woman and anyone else in similar circumstances. I fully support the people’s right to eat, drink, buy, sell, and use ANYTHING as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. Anybody in the Houston area, feel free to join me. 😉

I also strongly support the fully informed jury amendment and the idea that all jurors, in EVERY case, are there to judge the law itself- NOT just the facts of the case- no matter what lies the judge and legal system may say about it. That is, in fact, the entire purpose of the jury! What is the point of having a jury if they are only supposed to follow the directions of the court?

I admit, I don’t really pay much attention to eating right. I eat a lot more junk food than I should. I don’t spend extra money on organics or shop at farmers markets (I hate getting up so early!). But. I most definitely DO support the rights of the people who do want to pay attention to healthy eating and who want to make their own decisions about what to do with their lives, their bodies, their health, their time and their money!

I will go to court tomorrow to show my support. I hope to see a lot of others there doing the same. I hope to see that we can at least show the judge and jury that there IS a lot of community support for this. The right to choose, the right to live as you want (as long as you don’t hurt anyone else), the right to healthy food, the right to run a business, the right to freely associate, the right to freedom!

Want to know more about raw milk? Check out a few of these links…

http://ij.org/case/florida-skim-milk/

Food Freedom Project- Institute for Justice

Texas Real Milk

http://www.foodrenegade.com/texas-forces-raw-milk-dairy-dump-700-gallons-of-milk/

Daily Walk

Guess what I saw on my daily walk?

I’ve been having a real hard time getting motivated to do much of anything lately. About all I have been able to do is to stick with my daily walks.

I started to walk every day when I was living in Austin. I was going to school at UT (chemical engineering) and I started on the Nutrisystem program. I figured since I had a fairly regular schedule for once, I could try it out and see if it would work for me. It did. I did pretty good sticking to their packaged food and actually managed to lose 40 lbs over the 8 months I was able to follow their rules.

As long as I was on a regular schedule and living on the beach full time, it did work. I started walking every day. It was a nice break from my stressful studies, and it got me outside to pay attention to what was going on in the neighborhood.

That was back around 1998. I gained back all the weight I lost (about 40 lbs) in my first hitch back offshore (no more packaged food), but I’ve kept up the daily walks. I still enjoy them for the same reasons I did back then.

I see all kinds of interesting things around the neighborhood. Not just who’s moving in or out, what the kids are up to, who’s into gardening or pets, but the natural world. Yes, even in the middle of town I still see nature all around.

There’s a ditch down my street. It has different wildflowers all the time. I see frogs, toads, tadpoles, and raccoon tracks. Sometimes I see the actual critters: raccoons, possums, squirrels and armadillos. 🙂

There’s another ditch further up the block, a big turtle lives there, but it hides a lot. I see lots of different birds (I’m not a birder so can only identify a few). This is what I saw today.

I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but this is the best I could do. I think it’s a yellow-crowned night heron. It has a few babies in that nest, but I’m not sure how many (2+ for sure). I called the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory since I’d just read an article about how they had a program where they were into banding local birds. They pretty much confirmed my ID over the phone tho they didn’t seem interested in coming out to band the birds. They apparently just do that at their facility. It sounds like it might be interesting to go check it out one day.

I also saw (and heard) this guy. He was way up high and so hard to see exactly what kind of bird he was, except he was for sure some kind of woodpecker with a red head. I think it might be a red-bellied woodpecker.

I like to try and keep up with what’s going on around me. I prefer keeping up with this kind of stuff, instead of what’s on TV. Seems that kind of news is unavoidable, no matter how much I try. 😦

How Much Roundup Are You Eating?

Too much! The US really ought to ban this stuff, it’s terrible! Read more from ‘The Awakening’ blog below…

Worker spraying strawberry fields with pesticide PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL GREBLIUNAS/GETTY By Leah Zerbe June 19, 2015 Pesky weeds popping up in your yard? Here’s what to not reach for—Roundup. While the active ingredient in the popular weed killer, glyphosate, has been marketed as safe and even “biodegradable,” the science is pouring in, and the results […]

via How Much Roundup Are You Eating? And six more disgusting facts about this popular weed killer. — 2012 The Awakening

The Truth About “Organic” And “Certification”

Sad that so many people STILL believe the lie that the government is there to help them. If that was EVER true, it sure as hell is not any more!

2012 The Awakening

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40 Percent of Your Chicken Nugget Is Meat. The Rest Is…

40 Percent of Your Chicken Nugget Is Meat. The Rest Is… | Mother Jones.

Interesting ‘study’ on just what exactly those chicken nuggets consist of. 🙂

OK, as they admit, it’s only 2 samples (out of billions) so NOT scientific at all. But I seriously doubt if those nuggets are all that much different than the ones they DID pick to study. I mean, it’s not like they somehow knew beforehand just which places would have the bad ones, right?

They didn’t even get into the issue of the breading. What all’s in THAT stuff? I’m pretty sure that’s not good for you either. Probably adds a lot of salt, fat, sugar, GMO, etc to your nugget, on top of all the ‘chicken’.

Do they add the breading to make them taste better? To make them more addictive (salt, sugar, HFCS, etc have been shown to light up the same pleasure centers in the brain as other addictions)? Or to make them LOOK better? all those icky things they throw in there might not look very appetizing.

I admit, I almost never eat chicken nuggets. I can’t remember ever really paying that much attention to them, but now I’m going to have to pick them apart and see if I can tell anything just from looking at them closely. Somehow I doubt it will be that easy to tell what’s really in there. 😦

Eating Rich, Living Poor – Mind & Body – Utne Reader

Eating Rich, Living Poor – Mind & Body – Utne Reader

I can really relate to this writer. I have had food issues almost my entire life. I can hardly imagine what it would be like if I had to go through the same thing. I do really appreciate the whole idea of becoming more attentive to GOOD food. Growing your own if possible, learning how to preserve and prepare it. I’d like to be able to grow a garden again, but it doesn’t work while I’m still sailing and gone for so long.