I is for Istanbul- #AtoZChallenge

“I” is for Istanbul. Turkey. I was able to take a nice long stop there on the way to my photography safari last November. I’m so glad I did! Here’s a recap of my first day…

Istanbul! What an exciting city! I hear the seagulls cry, the ships distant whistle, the calls of the street vendors selling roasted chestnuts and corn on the cob. I smell the sea air mixed with cumin, coriander, cinnamon and apples.

The sense of history here is intoxicating. The locals are used to it, but it amazes me to walk along the hippodrome past the Spiral Column sunk almost 10 feet down into the ground. The ground level of 2000 years ago.

I spent yesterday soaking up the history of this place. I started out practically next door to my hotel. Walking up the street to the Arasta Market and right next door to the Mosaic Museum.

Again, the mosaics were at ground level from 2000 years ago, so we walked along a platform to see them on the ground. Some smaller ones were mounted on the walls where we could see them close up. There were good explanations in English (and other languages).

Outside the Mosaic Museum is the Blue Mosque. Just across the street is the Islamic Arts museum. Pass by the construction in front of the entrance door and climb the stairs. Make your way around dozens of small galleries showcasing various ancient civilizations with an Islamic focus.

I was most impressed with the books (Qu’rans mostly). They were absolutely gorgeous! The fine, delicate decorations, the flowing script, the golden ink. The information cards listed the calligraphers (as they should), their work was simply stunning!

From there, cross over behind the Aya Sofia (museum) to find the Carpet Museum. This one was not included on the Museum Pass (85 TL for 5 days). It cost 9 TL. There were 3 galleries to look at. The carpets were displayed very nicely, but except for the 2nd gallery they were very short on information.

Outside the Carpet Museum is the main gate into Topkapi Palace. I managed to look at the Aya Irini (another old Byzantine church), and the Archaeology Museum before being chased out at closing time (5 pm).

The church is old and empty, you’re not allowed to go upstairs and there’s netting to keep the pigeon shit and feathers from falling on you. I would skip it if I was pressed for time. The Archaeology Museum is another story. It was very impressive!

There is a whole forest of ancient tombstones, columns, and statues outside. There are at least 3 different buildings to explore. The first one I looked at had a huge selection of tombstones and sarcophagi. It was very impressive. The detail work was amazing. Some of those things were huge! I wondered how many people did they put in there?

There is another building full of ceramics. It had a domed ceiling, surrounded by stained glass windows, and tile on the walls- some of them decorated with gold paint. How beautiful!

Each room showed the different styles of ceramic from different time periods and civilizations. Some of it was fairly crude work, some of it was extremely fine and delicate. I loved the beautiful swirling patterns of blue and white.

The last building I was able to explore was under construction. I had to walk through a long passage covered in white plastic. The actual museum started out with life sized marble statues of the gods. Artemis, Apollo and more.

They were setting up an exhibit with TV screens, ‘Are We Human’. It looked very interesting. I saw something about 2000 years of history in Aleppo, showing the latest destruction. I would have liked more time to try to figure out what was going on. There was something else about oil- ‘leave it in the ground’- which I really wanted to learn more about, but I was running out of time.

Upstairs, Istanbul through the Ages was a very thorough timeline of artifacts found nearby and more history of the people who lived around this area and Turkey. I was only halfway through the second floor when a guard told me it was time to leave (at only 20 til 5).

More Questions From the Alien

I know most people find it absolutely inconceivable that we can exist without a government to run things. Personally, I just can’t understand that mind frame. I just don’t get it.

Why do so many people think they can’t figure out how to run their own lives without some far off ‘leader’ making all the important decisions for them? I mean it’s ridiculous right?

Here in the USA, ‘the most free country in the world’, our government saddles us with hundreds of thousands of ‘laws’. The Code of Federal Regulations had over 34,000 pages (and weighed 340 lbs) in 2011!!!

Our leaders force us to follow their directions in everything from deciding what we can do with our own bodies (can’t decide what to eat, drink, smoke, etc), to what we can do with ‘our’ property, to what we can do for a living (and how). Their interference is never-ending!

We have laws to: fine or imprison us for drinking raw milk, force us to drink fluoridated water, regulate the amount of water you can use to flush your toilet, force you to tie yourself up every time you get in your car (seatbelt), force you to use expensive and shorter lasting lightbulbs, fine or imprison you for collecting the rain water that falls on your property, throw you in prison for using a harmless plant (marijuana), force you to pay them (government) in order to start a business (extortion), force you to pay them in order to get a job (extortion), force you to support a corrupt and exceedingly expensive medical system (obamacare), allow ‘our leaders’ to get away with NOT following the ‘laws’ they FORCE the rest of us to follow!

And there are hundreds of thousands of others. 😦

Yet, some people still believe that all this is somehow necessary. I will continue to ask WHY? Since it really is NOT necessary, no not at all! People existed in peaceful societies long before there was any such thing as ‘government’.

No, we do NOT need the government to ‘build roads’, ‘educate the children’, ‘catch the thieves/bad guys’, etc. People were perfectly capable of doing all those things (and everything else they needed to do) without any government.

I’ve been a libertarian ever since I understood what the word meant (nonaggression principle), and really since I was born. I never understood the need for ‘authority’ and have fought it all my life.

I KNOW I can run my life better than anyone else can. Yes, even tho I’ve made mistakes and will surely make more. I STILL know that no one else could’ve done better. Period! I understand that works the same for everybody on this planet (and everywhere else!).

It is simply impossible for anyone else to have all the knowledge that I do about my life (same for everybody else). Without perfect knowledge, there can be no perfect decisions. Since I have the MOST perfect knowledge, then my decision is the BEST one possible. Period.

Until there is some all knowing, all powerful, perfect being (some say there is- God- but that’s another issue I don’t want to get into now), then there is NO justification for letting ANYONE else control YOUR decisions about YOUR life. PERIOD!

The US Constitution tried to create a ‘proper’ government. One where the PEOPLE were sovereign, as they should be. The principles behind the Declaration of Independence and written in the Bill of Rights were a great start for a great country.

The first ever formed specifically and only to guarantee and protect the rights of the individual. Our founding fathers understood that those rights were inherent to every human being and did NOT come from any government.

Too bad we’ve decided to disregard all that stuff. We’ve decided to throw our heritage of freedom and individual liberty in the garbage and become like every other socialist country in the world (most of them failures in many ways). It’s just a matter of degree.

We used to understand the difference between individualism and statism. Not any more. We’re all statists now, everywhere around the world. We’re lucky we’re still living on what we were able to create when we were still fairly free and able to be creative. Those days are fading fast.

I liked how the little alien from my post the other day asked such great questions. Here it is again with some more to make you think…

Maritime Monday for December 5th, 2016

Here’s another of Monkey Fists’ always interesting Maritime Monday posts. I’m still in New Orleans, but heading home tonight. Hope to catch up soon (if I don’t get lucky and find a job). Tighter marine fuel sulfur limits will spark changes by both refiners and vessel operators The …

Source: Maritime Monday for December 5th, 2016 – gCaptain

Goreme Open Air Museum

I’ve been busy the last couple of days. I’ve been touring around Cappadocia. Late last night, I returned to Istanbul. Today I decided to take a little bit of a break. Tomorrow will start another week of early mornings and long days as I head off into Africa. 🙂

On arrival in Cappadocia, I was loaded into a van with a few other world travelers. One man from Chile, one from Malaysia, one from the Netherlands and a couple of couples from other places in Turkey. We were going on the ‘Red Tour” today.

In addition to the weird and other worldly landscape of the area, the most interesting part (to me) was the Goreme Open Air Museum. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and definitely worth a visit.

The museum showcases an ancient religious center, full of rock carved dwellings, churches, monasteries, nunneries, etc. Our tour guide Vaysi was very good. He explained everything in English and Turkish (and sometimes Spanish for the Chilean guy). Vaysi also speaks Chinese and Portuguese if you’re interested. 😉

I was impressed with the frescos. Many of the churches had frescos of Jesus Christ, the Saints, and many of the important events from the Bible. Plenty of them are still vibrant after thousands of years. Too bad they don’t allow photography inside most of the caves (they worry about the flash harming the frescos and don’t want to deal with separating out those who don’t have flash on their cameras- people like me). 😦

 

It was amazing how the people managed to build all these places so long ago.

The entire area is covered in hundreds of meters of volcanic ash, some of it is ‘tuff’. Tuff is a soft, easily carved stone. The people in this area have been making use of this property for millennia. They’ve carved homes, churches, even entire cities out of the stone. Some people still live in the ‘cave houses’. The hotel I stayed in had rooms carved out of the rock (mine wasn’t one of those).

I wondered how they managed to climb up and down so high every day. How did they get their food and water and everything else they needed all the way up to those caves? Personally I found it exhausting just walking around to the lower ones. We spent a couple of hours exploring the highlights. There was a lot more to see if you wanted to spend all day wandering around.

Topkapi

Topkapi Palace is huge! And still very crowded!! It was a cold, rainy, and all around dreary day-in the slow season and tourism down due to ‘recent’ terrorist attacks- but the palace was still full of people. I would really dread a visit during normal tourist season. 😦

Pass through the impressive gates and security screening, and you’ll enter the First Court- the Court of the Janissaries. Aya Irini is to your left. It’s a large, old (540’s), Byzantine church. There’s nothing inside but pigeons, but the building itself is picturesque.

Walk along the pathways towards the Middle Gate and the Second Court (and another security screening). You’ll pass the turnoff to the Archaeology Museum about halfway down, on the left. IMHO, it’s much more interesting than the palace.

The kitchens will be to your right, they’ve got some beautiful examples of china and silver. No photos allowed in there (or in most other exhibits).

Walk through the ‘Gate of Felicity’ into the Third Court and you’re getting to the heart of the palace. This part was much more private in the past (but still loaded with tourists today).

There is a room full of ‘sacred’ items. Things like hair from the beard of Mohammed, his footprint, cloaks his important followers wore, models and gilded rainspout of the Kaaba (from Mecca).

The Watch Room was full of all kinds of intricate, gilded and decorated clocks. From large standing grandfather clocks, to tiny pocket watches. Most still working. All of them exquisite.

Another room full of beautiful arms and armor. Bows, spears, guns and suits of armor, inlaid with precious stones, marked with beautiful calligraphy. Swords of all shapes and sizes, including one huge sword that I can’t imagine how any normal sized person could use. It was longer than I am tall!

The famous Topkapi Dagger- studded with huge emeralds)- and all the other really good stuff- is kept in the Treasury, which was closed for reconstruction. If I had known that, I would have skipped the whole deal.

The gardens were pleasant and the architecture was impressive, with the pretty blue tiles and delicate paintings covering most interior walls. The view over the Bosphorus Straits was fantastic from the restaurant in the Fourth Court.

If you haven’t been before it’s worth spending a couple of hours (especially once they re-open the Treasury). I wouldn’t bother going twice.

Istanbul

Istanbul! What an exciting city! I hear the seagulls cry, the ships distant whistle, the calls of the street vendors selling roasted chestnuts and corn on the cob. I smell the sea air mixed with cumin, coriander, cinnamon and apples.

The sense of history here is intoxicating. The locals are used to it, but it amazes me to walk along the hippodrome past the Spiral Column sunk almost 10 feet down into the ground. The ground level of 2000 years ago.

I spent yesterday soaking up the history of this place. I started out practically next door to my hotel. Walking up the street to the Arasta Market and right next door to the Mosaic Museum.

Again, the mosaics were at ground level from 2000 years ago, so we walked along a platform to see them on the ground. Some smaller ones were mounted on the walls where we could see them close up. There were good explanations in English (and other languages).

Outside the Mosaic Museum is the Blue Mosque. Just across the street is the Islamic Arts museum. Pass by the construction in front of the entrance door and climb the stairs. Make your way around dozens of small galleries showcasing various ancient civilizations with an Islamic focus.

I was most impressed with the books (Qu’rans mostly). They were absolutely gorgeous! The fine, delicate decorations, the flowing script, the golden ink. The information cards listed the calligraphers (as they should), their work was simply stunning!

From there, cross over behind the Aya Sofia (museum) to find the Carpet Museum. This one was not included on the Museum Pass (85 TL for 5 days). It cost 9 TL. There were 3 galleries to look at. The carpets were displayed very nicely, but except for the 2nd gallery they were very short on information.

Outside the Carpet Museum is the main gate into Topkapi Palace. I managed to look at the Aya Irini (another old Byzantine church), and the Archaeology Museum before being chased out at closing time (5 pm).

The church is old and empty, you’re not allowed to go upstairs and there’s netting to keep the pigeon shit and feathers from falling on you. I would skip it if I was pressed for time. The Archaeology Museum is another story. It was very impressive!

There is a whole forest of ancient tombstones, columns, and statues outside. There are at least 3 different buildings to explore. The first one I looked at had a huge selection of tombstones and sarcophagi. It was very impressive. The detail work was amazing. Some of those things were huge! I wondered how many people did they put in there?

There is another building full of ceramics. It had a domed ceiling, surrounded by stained glass windows, and tile on the walls- some of them decorated with gold paint. How beautiful!

Each room showed the different styles of ceramic from different time periods and civilizations. Some of it was fairly crude work, some of it was extremely fine and delicate. I loved the beautiful swirling patterns of blue and white.

The last building I was able to explore was under construction. I had to walk through a long passage covered in white plastic. The actual museum started out with life sized marble statues of the gods. Artemis, Apollo and more.

They were setting up an exhibit with TV screens, ‘Are We Human’. It looked very interesting. I saw something about 2000 years of history in Aleppo, showing the latest destruction. I would have liked more time to try to figure out what was going on. There was something else about oil- ‘leave it in the ground’- which I really wanted to learn more about, but I was running out of time.

Upstairs, Istanbul through the Ages was a very thorough timeline of artifacts found nearby and more history of the people who lived around this area and Turkey. I was only halfway through the second floor when a guard told me it was time to leave (at only 20 til 5).

Maritime Monday for October 24th 2016

Lots of interesting history this week. Thanks to gCaptain and Monkey Fist for sharing. I never learned anything about Robert Smalls in school. Did you?

Mystery of the WWI U-Boat and the ‘sea monster’ solved How a bungling German …

Source: Maritime Monday for October 24th, 2016 – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for July 4th, 2016: Boomy McBoomface

What is it with the weird names you Brits? Boaty McBoatface? Boomy McBoomface?? Cockchafer???

Check it out in this weeks edition of Maritime Monday. There’s more from the Brits, submarine art, fake Hawaii, the start of Jaws, and a couple of my favorites this week: Nessies bones?, the Lyman M. Davis, and the Houseboats of Shoreham.

Thanks to Monkey Fist for another great collection of Maritime tales and tidbits. 🙂

Icelandic firm offers England players free whale-watching holiday to “recover from defeat” A sailing holiday company has offered to cheer up England’s players after Iceland beat them on Monday by taking them on a free whale-watching day-trip. The Guardian – “The poor English players will anyways not be able to return immediately to England after […]

Source: Maritime Monday for July 4th, 2016: Boomy McBoomface – gCaptain

Preview- Maritime Day

Today was the 7th annual Maritime Day celebration in Galveston.

It was pouring all day long! Galveston is flooded. I tried to take pictures, but it was too dark by the time I got back on the road to go home.

I think the weather hurt the attendance. Will try to find out how many kids showed up for the tours around the Texas A&M ship “General Rudder” this morning.

The memorial was held inside the cruise ship terminal to keep it out of the expected rain. Good thing!

I’ll have more on this tomorrow (IF I can get the computer to work). I’m getting sick of McDonalds and Starbucks coffee is a rip-off!

Maritime Day 2015

Another Memorial Day weekend has passed. I’m not much for holidays. I did go up to Galveston for the National Maritime Day Commemoration Ceremony last week. It’s pretty sad to say it, but I probably would have forgotten it myself if I hadn’t gotten a couple of reminders from friends.

Galveston Coast Guard keepers of the flags

Galveston Coast Guard keepers of the flags

Since I am a merchant marine and have been almost my whole life, I feel like I should at least remember this day and the reason for it. Everyone else celebrates Memorial Day for the ‘armed’ services and forgets about all the Merchant Marine has done for the country (and still does, EVERY DAY).

Galveston had their celebration on Thursday, even though the official day is on May 22.

I was going to try and get there early enough to help man a ‘water table’ for the kids coming up to see all the ships, but it took longer than I expected to take care of my property tax protest in Angleton. I would have liked to take a tour myself, the General Rudder from Texas A&M was dockside, the Elissa was right next door, there were a couple of other ships/boats around and also the Ocean Star oil rig.

By the time I got there, the actual ceremony was about to start. Continue reading

Sailor’s Valentines

While I was home last time I went to see what the local painting class was all about. I’ve been wanting to try it for a while, but haven’t done it because it lasts for 4 weeks and I’ve never been home to be able to start and finish the whole class in one hitch at home.

Since I was home a little longer than usual (and had to pass up the trip to Panama I was hoping to take due to paperwork issues), I called the lady who runs the class to ask if maybe I could take 1-2 classes each time I’m in town.

She was very nice and told me that would be fine, and invited me to come in to the next class just to see if I thought it would work for me.

I showed up late and just watched for a while. I met everyone there and wandered around to see what they were all working on. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. They all had their own projects to work on. Everything was very informal. The instruction is for either pastels or oil painting. I’m really more interested in watercolor or acrylic, but I figure it will still help me a lot to learn the techniques and most of those should transfer over to whatever medium I choose to work with.

The class meets weekly at the Brazosport Center for Arts & Sciences. After the painting class was over I spent a little time looking around the facilities. I’d been there before, but not for years. There’s a museum, a planetarium and a theatre. They also have a gallery where they feature art by members of the local art league. They had some really nice paintings in there, some beautiful portraits and some seascapes with birds I really liked.

I went through the museum again. They’ve really added a lot since last time I was there. They’ve always had a fantastic shell collection. It’s one of the largest in the country. They have some pretty good fossils. I noticed the megalodon jaws, (they were giant prehistoric sharks!) the minute I walked in the door. They’re hard to miss since they’re about 6 ft accross and at least that tall!

They have a really nice collection of moths and butterflies. I tried to take pictures, but I just couldn’t get any good ones with the way the light reflected off the glass. I did get some good ones of the ‘Sailor’s Valentines’. Since Valentines Day is coming up soon, I thought I’d post about them. Here’s a picture I took of one.

The Sailor’s Valentine is typically a box covered with shells formed into some sort of ‘romantic’ theme. They were supposedly by sailors who would pick up shells in their far off travels and then make these pretty little boxes to present to their loved ones when they got home. It was a pretty big thing back in the 1800’s. They fell out of style but are making a comeback now. The ones I saw at the museum are alll made by locals (not sailors) recently, as hobbies.

They just seem like a lot of work to me. I guess the sailors must have had a hell of a lot more leisure time back in the old days!! Then again, their hitches usually lasted for years rather then the month or so most of us (American) sailors have to stay out for now. The crews from other countries aren’t nearly so fortunate as we are. Some I know of have to stay for a minimum of 2 years(!!) before they’re allowed to go home. 😦

Here’s a picture of my favorite one from the exhibit. It’s not so ‘romantic’ and could be for anything. I really like the flamingo. 🙂

❤ Happy Valentines Day! ❤

 

Women Rallied Behind Beautiful, Wartless Witches

Women of the Early 1900s Rallied Behind Beautiful, Wartless Witches | History | Smithsonian.

Check out these cool Halloween cards. I thought the history mentioned in the article was pretty interesting.

It’s hard for me to imagine how different life must have been for women in the past. Of course, for most women in the world things are still very different than they are here in the USA (not that we’re perfect yet).

Women in many countries around the world are still treated like second class citizens. They’re still denied the opportunities and options that men have, simply because of their gender.

As an American, growing up as an American girl, I can hardly imagine what it must be like. How does a girl from somewhere like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, or even India or Africa or South America manage enjoy life, or even to get through it all without the options we have here?

I imagine they must only be able to bear it when they don’t know about any other options. Maybe they just don’t think they can live any other way. I don’t really know. It amazes (and disgusts and infuriates) me that in this day and age we STILL have not managed to create a society where women can live their lives as THEY choose.

It’s hard for me to imagine how I would be able to stand a life like that. That I would not have any choices. I wouldn’t be able to go to school. I wouldn’t be able to LEARN about so many things. I wouldn’t be able to decide what kind of work I would like to do. To choose who I would want to marry or IF I would want to marry at all. To be able to choose when I want to have sex, or with who, or IF I want to have sex at all. To be able to choose to have children, or not to have any.

SO many choices taken away from me, just because I happen to be female. What must that be like?

I read a book- Infidel- by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It really opened my eyes. I have to say I admire her strength and courage to do what she did. She grew up in Somalia, was raised a Muslim, and then grew disillusioned with the life she had. She moved to the Netherlands as a refugee, eventually became a member of Parliament there. Her story is really encouraging. I hope more people (especially young girls) will read it and take hope.

I can see from the Smithsonian article (and even from my own life), that we have made some progress in the USA.

I remember when I was young and I chose to work at sea. I had to fight so hard for every job I ever got. It was ALWAYS a struggle to get hired. Yes, just because I was a woman. No one wanted to have a woman on board. 😦

Now, (30-40 years later), it is not nearly as much as a problem (tho, yes, it IS still a problem). I see more and more women working at sea. I even see other women in positions of authority. They are no longer delegated to the stewards department, they can work at other jobs and be more than just cooks and room stewards!

I happen to be the only woman on board this ship, (1 out of 178) but on my last one there were women working as geologists, mud engineers, fluid engineers, etc. I’ve seen quite a few other women DPOs lately and even a couple of other captains. 🙂

I hope to see more women from other countries able to take advantage of all the opportunities the world offers. I was very encouraged to hear about the Italian livestock carrier who had female master and chief mates.

Hopefully sometime soon women from all over the world will have the same rights and opportunities that men have always had. It would be wonderful if everyone everywhere had the chance to live their lives the way THEY choose to.

Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Arrrrggh Mateys! This is the day we’ve all been waiting for (or not). 😉

It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Enjoy watching the festivities from last year. Maybe you can find some around your location too. 🙂

I know my sailing buddies at Sail La Vie in Houston are having a big dress like a pirate paaarrty and sail tomorrow. (I’m just still too beat from work, that looooong journey home with no sleep, and too much to do to justify a 3+ hour drive, even for a great party).

Instead, I’ll be heading to the Texas Navy Day Celebrations here locally at Surfside Beach. Maybe I’ll even get to shoot a cannon! Arrrrghh, that’s a piraty activity too. 🙂

Check out the Talk Like A Pirate website, maybe you can find some nearby pirates to practice the lingo with over a good glass of grog. (It helps). Join in the fun! 🙂

Anyone who wants to send me pirate pictures, feel free! 🙂

Catching Up With Capt Jill

Well, it’s been a little while now since I finished up the November Post-A-Day Challenge (National Blog Posting Month). I needed the break. I actually got home from work the day after Thanksgiving (and missed the big feast). 😦

As usual it took me a few days to catch up on everything.

First couple of days wasted just trying to catch up on SLEEP. I hate switching over from 6-6 nights! It’s SO hard this time of year, both mentally and physically. Never see the sun, no one is awake at home, never get your body in tune with your meals and sleep schedule, etc.

Since I’m home and finally have a chance to get caught up, I thought it might be a good time to write a little about who I am, what I do and what I’m hoping to do with this blog.

OK, so, here goes… I work as a merchant mariner (Merchant Navy for the Brits). For those of you who don’t really know what that means, it’s simply someone who works on a commercial vessel. Anything from small ferries, fishing vessels, to the largest VLCC or drillships. Usually work is in one of 3 departments: deck, engine, or stewards.

I grew up on the water and started working for my father when I was very young. He had an old sailboat that he used as a commercial fishing vessel for a while and he used to make me go out with him. I HATED it!!!

As soon as I could, I got a job down the street on one of the party boats (head boats). I would go out with them on the weekends. I had a great time on those boats. I worked mainly in the galley (kitchen). I sold the passengers sandwiches and drinks.

Sometimes I helped the deckhands with the passengers. I would help them bait hooks, untangle lines, get the fish off their lines, string them up and put them on ice. When we got to the dock at the end of the day, I would help clean up the boat and get everything ready for the next trip. Maybe clean and fillet some fish for tips. I was doing pretty good for a kid and plenty to live on but I wanted to do more.

Way back then (sarcasm), the commercial fishing fleet was where it was at! The fishermen could go out for a week and come back fully loaded. Flush with cash, they were living the good life.It was wild! I wanted some of that too! But, of course, I was a girl. Not possible, or so they said. 😦

I tried to get a job on some of the better boats. The ones who consistently brought in a good catch and treated their crews well. I got nowhere with that. I tried and tried and couldn’t find much of anything.

I finally did go out with a friend. It was a horrible trip for a lot of reasons. We did manage to catch fish but that was the only good part of it. I might go into all that at some later point, but for now, just say that was the turning point for me. I was fed up with everything going on around that place and sick of my life. Everything I wanted to do, I was told was impossible, cause “girls can’t do that”. 😦

To cut this short, I was getting into a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have. What finally happened was that I was very lucky (tho I didn’t know that at the time) and was offered the chance to completely change my life.

I went off to school with the Oceanics and never really looked back. I may not have known at the time, but I was hooked from the minute I got off the plane in Athens and was smuggled from the airport to the hostel we stayed at in the back of a bread truck.

We spent a few months sailing around the world on traditional sailing ships. Studying things like seamanship, navigation, celestial navigation, oceanography, cultural studies, Greek, Russian, Spanish, etc. Part of our day was always spent working on the ship while we were aboard.

I learned to LOVE it! I decided before I came home that I wanted to be a ship captain and sail around the world (and get paid for it). 🙂

My grandmother was really upset! Before I went away to school, I had planned to be a doctor. She never forgave me for changing my plans. I’m sure I made the right choice, even if she never thought so. 😉

The woman who ran the school was such a great help to me (and many others). She set me up in a school in Texas where I could get started toward my goal. A small Jr College in a small town, you would never expect to find such a great deal here.

I moved to Texas to join the Ocean Marine Technology program at Brazosport College in 1978. I managed to complete the 2 year program in only 5 years! I switched from fishing to working in the oil field and now work in all kinds of different areas offshore. Lately as a DPO (dynamic positioning operator).

In school, I learned to work in both the deck and engine departments (and could work stewards dept if I wanted). In the Gulf of Mexico it gets really HOT in the summer! I was working on small boats: crew boats, production boats, standby boats. Their engine rooms were small, smelled strongly of diesel fuel, and HOT all the time! I regret it now, but I never stuck with the engine department. I never even tested for my QMED. 😦

I still had my sights set on becoming a ship captain one day. I fought hard for a long time to get the sea time I needed to work my way up. I’ll get into that some other time. I finally managed, just a couple of years ago, to get my unlimited masters license (whoo hoo!!).

Now, I work freelance. I work mostly for a couple of temp agencies. I like it since it gives me a chance to ‘try before I buy’. It’s also nice to see how different companies run things, to see the different vessels and meet different people.

One of the best things about working freelance is that I can pretty much make my own schedule. One of the bad things is, if there is no work, I’m stuck at home with no money. Too bad I never know beforehand. 😦

When I went back to freelancing a couple of years ago, I took the opportunity to catch up and do a lot of things I’d been wanting to do but never could (since I was always offshore when they happened). I went to a few classes and conferences, I took a couple of nice long vacations. It was great! Til the work slowed down and I wasn’t able to get right back to work when I was ready to. 😦

Now, I’m having a big debate in my mind. Should I stick with freelance? Or, should I go back and get a regular, permanent job again? It’s SO nice to be able to take the time off when I need it, but things are changing a lot with new rules and regulations and the temp agencies are not really keeping up with all that.

I have so many things I’d like to be doing when I’m NOT working. I’ve been trying for a long time to work less and spend more time doing what I like. I’d retire now if I could afford it and I’m working hard towards being able to do that. I have a couple of side businesses.

One is vending machines. I thought that was a great idea. A way for me to slowly work up to having enough income to be able to stop sailing all the time. That didn’t work out for me. I still think it’s a good plan IF I had the time to go find good placements for my machines.

One is real estate. I’m a slumlord like my father was. 😉 No, just kidding. I buy old, run down properties (cheap) and fix them up to rent them out. I started out just buying a place on the water to put a boat (that’s another story). I bought a nice beach house but then wound up renting it out. I’m actually in the process at the moment of fixing it all up again. Hoping to find some new tenants soon. 🙂

I met a really great Realtor while in the process of getting that house and she’s been helping me ever since. I’ve got a few properties now and they do keep me busy while I’m home.

I love to read, I’ve always got a book in my hand! I’ve just finished ‘Half the Sky’, a very good book but kind-of depressing. It’ll stir you up, but then has suggestions for what YOU can do to work off that anger you felt while reading. Right now I’m reading something different,  ‘Choose Yourself’ by James Altucher (who has a blog I also follow).

I like to go to local events like the beach cleanup I wrote about earlier or the JaGa Fest for the great reggae music. That’s where I took those fireworks photos (https://captjillsjourneys.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/weekly-photo-c…ight-celebrate), or the Biker and Blues Fest I plan on doing a post on (soon).

I love to go sailing. I joined a local club called Sail-La-Vie and go out with them when I can. It’s always a lot of fun. I also started my own meetup group, called Mariners Meetup. It’s a way for us old salts to get out and about, do something other then just hang around the house watching TV.

I try to keep up with politics, I’m into FREEDOM and trying my best to keep from losing any more of it here. If I’m home I go to the Campaign for Liberty meetings every Tuesday night. We have a bunch of projects we’re working on like our community garden (on hold for winter) and movie night. Last week we were talking about alternative energy and how to get off the grid.

I LOVE to travel (yes, eventually I will get around to posting some travel posts- I promise!). I like to write and take pictures, and enjoy going to workshops about that kind of thing. In fact, that’s how I started this blog.

I went to the AWAI travel writing/photography workshop in Boston back in August and they had a little bit about blogging. I started this blog right before I went up there so I could ask lots of questions and hopefully learn how to make a good blog. Actually, I heard that you could earn money from blogging and I wanted to learn how to do THAT!

So far, I haven’t learned how to do that. 😦 I’m still trying to figure that part out. If you noticed, I put a link to Amazon down towards the bottom right. I haven’t figured out how to make that work properly tho. It’s supposed to be an Amazon blog and show the posts, but all it shows is the link to 4-5 different links on Amazon. Maybe some of you know what I’m doing wrong and can help me? 😉

I am trying to improve all the time. On here and in real life. 🙂 Now you know what I do when I’m working and when I’m home. Now you know why sometimes I don’t feel like posting for a little while. I do really enjoy it, but sometimes I just get run down. I don’t want this to wind up feeling like a chore, like something else I HAVE to do.

I hope I can keep this interesting and entertaining for all of us for a long time. Thanks for visiting me. 🙂

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps | Collage of Arts and Sciences.

Another good one from the Smithsonian this morning. I always thought those old charts were so cool. I really loved the drawings.

Those people really had some great imaginations! 🙂

Look to England for America’s Future

Look to England for America’s Future | Laissez-Faire Bookstore.

Good post on some history from across the pond. I would certainly think it would follow that we would wind up the same way if we follow the same path. It looks to me like that’s what IS happening here. WHY can’t we ever learn from history, instead of repeating the same mistakes? 😦

From Gunpowder to Teeth Whitener: The Science Behind Historic Uses of Urine | Surprising Science

From Gunpowder to Teeth Whitener: The Science Behind Historic Uses of Urine | Surprising Science.

Another interesting article from Smithsonian, this one’s about the possibilities of pee 😉 I knew they used to use it for all kinds of things like cleaning fabrics, softening leather, making gunpowder… but brushing your teeth with it???!! I don’t think I would want to go there. They also mention people drinking (?!?!) it for the health benefits (urotherapy- in the comments). It can power a cell phone! I love this magazine, I learn something new from it every time I get it:-)

The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life | Surprising Science

The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life | Surprising Science.

I knew honey lasted a long time, I have some around the house that’s probably a couple of years old 😉 I didn’t know they found it in tombs in Egypt, thousands of years old and still edible. WOW! That’s some shelf life.

I knew honey was good for helping heal wounds. I didn’t know it made hydrogen peroxide!?! Amazing stuff. We need to make sure the bees can keep making it. Bees are enormously important to the entire ecologic system. The loss of the bee colonies is going to be a huge problem if it’s not already. Colony Collapse Disorder is becoming more and more common. Very scary 😦 Other than making honey, they pollinate most of our food crops.What are we going to do? Pollinate everything ourselves???

This 1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

This 1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine.

Interesting article in Smithsonian…

pretty cool! amazing how much progress those guys made back then and then we lost all that knowledge for hundreds of years 😦