Sunday, July 30, 2006


I wasn't sure if I could post this morning since I didn't have time before I left the hotel. It took me an hour to back this brief case so that everything essential fit and the security point made me take everything out to check the laptop. So since it is out I'll write a few lines before I go through the effort of repacking.

This airport is a madhouse. I used this airport in the past as a way to avoid the chaos that is MIA, but this has to be as bad or worse. I am in the waiting area now and have about a half hour to kill before we go through the torture of embarkation.

Yesterday was a day of rest and recuperation. I did laundry, napped, did some shopping and made up a box of stuff and sent it home. There was stuff that I will never need on this trip and a few souvenirs. I have been very sparse in buying anything since I can get a lot of this merchandise over the internet after I get home. I am still carrying too much but since it is still more than a month before I can get home I think it is too soon to jettison too much.

I thought I was carrying too much until I saw the load some others were lugging. One boy about 9 was pulling a pull behind suitcase that was as tall as he and about twice as wide. Another couple about my age had twocarts of luggage and required a whole team of skycaps. Next trip, I will pack lighter.

It's time now to repack and get organized again. If I can't get online, I will go back to writing a separate letter.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Well, kind of! We left Miami in a downpour and came back in another. Now the sun has come out and there is a blazing humid heat that makes Maine seem cool. Everything here is airconditioned, but as I go from the heat on the street to another too cold store, taxi or building, I am not sure that is entirely a good thing. My glasses fog up, I get a chill or the Irish sun allergy sneezes as I go from one extreme to another. But I love it, every minute. As I complain, don't think for a minute I'd rather be doing anything else. The alternative would be sitting in my big green recliner dozing over a ball game. Now I have the Mets beating Atlanta on the TV and I'm thinking about where to go for dinner.

Feet Dry is what carrier pilots tell their control when they cross over the beach line. My feet are not only dry but up. They hurt so much. The swimming and the constant motion of the ship and climbing three decks from the dining salon to the observation bridge multiple times each watch did a number on my feet and my leg muscles. I still managed to take the tour of the engine rooms yesterday. I was very impressed, but I was reminded why I wanted to be a deck officer and not an engineer. You can't complain about the heat, because like the song says "It's my own damn fault".

I loved the little trip and it was too short. I really didn't start to unwind and relax until Wednesday and then spent most of Thursday recovering from the exercise and the dancing. Maybe I should go easy on the dancing for the rest of the trip. Maybe next time I'll bring someone along to put sunscreen on my back. That is very important when snorkeling. A t-shirt has an SPF of 0.

I have tomorrow to get reorganized, repack, do laundry, write post cards and rest, then it's off to Jamaica. I do intend to make up a box of stuff to send home. I'm carrying too much stuff I'll never use and I can send some souvenirs home.

I don't know if I can get a connection from Jamaica but I will continue to write my history.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Yesterday wasn't as much of a washout as I feared. I was able to get on the beach for a walk and a swim, but I overdid it and now I'm sore all over. I am packing and as usual running late. I think I will have to make this short and post again later. If I read the schedule correctly, I might have some serious waitring time in the terminal.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I guess yesterday's attempt to create a post is lost forever. I will repeat most of what I wrote yesterday when I'm in the mood. Suffice it to say that I had a great visit with Kathy, George and Patrick. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

Now I am in Miami getting ready to get on the boat tomorrow. My tickets for the Jamaica trip finally caught up with me and I'm good to go now.

Last night I was so late getting here that I had to go to South Beach for something to eat. My initial reaction was super tacky and very expensive, but when I saw the menu and included on the beverage list was "the 2 cents Plain" I was almost homesick.

Today looks like a washout. I was awakened by thunder at 7 AM and it hasn't stopped raining since. I guess I'll take a nap.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I came back to the hotel early last night to write this blog and found myself wih my head on my chest at midnignt and I hadn't even gotten logged in, so I went to bed.

I had a lovely visit with Peggy, her family, Susan and even had time to go to Lily Dean's fourth Birthday party on Saturday.

I wasn't able to get a sleeper on the train from Richmond. That is one of the disadvantages of doing most of this trip on a last minute, seat of the pants basis. It is also part of the fun. The result was over twelve hours in a coach seat with the legendary bad Amtrak food and beverage service. It wasn't quite as bad as an overnight trip I remember on a third class railroad car in Sicily, but I was 19 at the time and my idea of acceptable accommodations has changed since then. I guess it's all part of the adventure.

Today Kathy and George are going to do a little sightseeing and tomorrow I have a boat received and we are going on the river.

I'm learning how to use my new digital camera and maybe soon I'll be able to add some pictures.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Today I went with Peggy, her brood and a friend with her children on a "playdate". It wasn't such an exciting event but the boys are such a delight to be with.

The playdate must be a recent invention of suburbia. When I was growing up in the Bronx there was no shortage of kids of all ages to play with. We could usually get together two nine person teams to play softball or stickball just on my street. Now the houses are so far apart that it's hard to find someone your own age to play with.

We went to Shockoo Bottom in downtown Richmond which was so heavily damaged in the floods two years ago. Its slowly coming back and it is becoming very touristy. There a lot of things for the kids to see and do.

I got my train tickets to go to Jacksonville and Miami. Now I have to worry about hotels.

Tomorrow, all day rain is predicted. We have to figure something to do that will interest us all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Ed drove me up to Peggy's house in Mechanicsville today and then had to head back down to the swamp. I enjoyed a nice visit with Matthew, Henry and Meg. They are such happy and beautiful children and have so many interesting toys to play with. Meg is trying very hard to walk. Only a few more days and she will have it mastered.

Ahyone interested in seeing pictures of the Lavinder family can go to their blog at See if you don't agree with me. Tomorrow we will be touring in Richmond or the some of the battlefield parks depending on the weather.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I spent the day running around taking care of last minute things. I didn't get everything done but if it's not done it can wait until October.

The trip will start with a trip to Richmond to visit Peggy and Susan. Nothing very exciting there.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Maybe I should write myself an OPORDER just like I was still in the Navy. What I have instead is a collection of lists as I run around town making my preparations. The bigest problem is always that everything I want to do seems to take longer than I planned. Ed commented on the fact that most days I am running at least one nap short of my normal routine. Clair threw in the observation that one of the advantages of traveling and living alone is not having to 'splain nothing. If the whole think falls apart I can always go home early and rest and get caught up on my naps.

I don't think I told everyone that I got my cell phone replaced. The number is the same. It will be my main link with everybody while I'm traveling. If you don't have the number send me an e-mail and I will send you the number. I will not put the number in the blog. I am told that it will work almost everywhere I will be visiting but with some very hefty roaming charges when out of the country.

I will try to write something everyday for the blog but I don't know what my access to the web will be so you may see more than one days entry appear at once.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


My schedule for the summer.

Today is the first official day of my extended vacation. My plan for the Rest of the Summer follows. Some of this is firm and prepaid and some is more flexible.

July 12 Wed Ed will drive me to Mechanicsville to visit Peggy, Susan and all.
July 15 Sat Take the evening train to Jacksonville FL.
July 16 Sun Arive in Jacksonville on Sunday morning to Visit Kathy and the boys.
July 19 Wed Take the morning train to Miami. Arrive in the afternoon.
July 20 Thurs Unscheduled day in Miami
July 21 Fri Board the S. V. Legacy for a seven day cruise in the Bahamas
July 28 Fri Return to Miami. Go to Fort Lauderdale.
July 29 Sat Unscheduled day in Fort Lauderdale.
July 30 Sun Fly from Fort Lauderdale airport to Jamaica for two weeks at an all inclusive resort in Negril.
Aug 13 Sun Return to Fort Lauderdale.
Aug 14 to 19 Unscheduled time in South Florida. I'm looking for another free tour.
Aug 20 Sun Three free days at a condo in Fort Lauderdale
Aug 24 to 26 Unscheduled time in South Florida.
Aug 27 Sun Return to Virginia Beach
Aug 28 Mon Visit my dentist to see if I can get my store bought teeth installed.
Aug 29 & 30 Free time at home to unwind and change my pack out from Tropical to North Woods
Sept 1 Fri Take the train North to Maine to visit Clair. May stop briefly in DC or
Annapolis. I haven't researched the train schedules yet.
Sept 2 Sat Approximate arrival in Maine.
Sept 4 Mon Labor Day. Traditional end of Summer.
Sept 8 Friday Leave Maine for maybe New York, or somewhere in New England.
Sept 12 Tues Arrive in Poughkeepsie NY for Christine's wedding.
Sept 16 Mon I may try to fit a visit to Claire Bea in Montreal.
Sept 21 Thurs The Equinox, the real end of summer. Time to go home.
Sept 24 Sun First day to start back to work.

This is the first time I wrote this out completely. I sure hope I haven't gotten too ambitious.
Only Time will tell.