Month: March 2006

  • I've been scanning and cropping and photoediting, so here are three additional photos:

    This is his official photo:

    Here's one of his division in their utility uniforms:

  • oMission accomplished!  He's a full-fledged sailor now with two red stripes on his uniform, indicative of his E-2 status.  Today he's receiving his airplane tickets and getting set to leave the Recruit Training base, tonight is movie night, and tomorrow he flies to Groton, Connecticut for submarine school.  Right now his class is scheduled to begin on April 17, but it could start earlier if more attendees arrive before then.  It's a six week school; after it he'll go to his "A" school, training to be a machinist's mate (auxiliary).  That might be right there in Groton, back at Great Lakes, or one or two other possible locations. 

    The photos are visible at the Slide show header, so I won't duplicate them here.  They're not necessarily in order up there, regrettably, and as of now there's no way to rearrange them so they are. Presumably the Slider people are working on that capability.

    Let me see.  It snowed some, I believe I mentioned that.  Definitely cold.  After we met up with Alex at O'Hare, got our car and checked in at the hotel, we went to Gurnee Mills mall, which Alex hadn't seen yet.  When we went last time he wasn't with us, you see.  He got a kick out of the Outdoor World store:

    CharlesBootCamp 002

    Alex spent Thursday and Friday nights with a musician friend of his who'd just transferred to Great Lakes from Millington, then stayed with us Saturday night.

    Friday morning, of course, we were up bright and early to get to the graduation ceremony.  Most annoying, the seats in front of Charles' section, 112, were filled when we got there, forcing us to sit with the people desirous of seeing 113 and 114.  It made Charles very hard to spot, in consequence, so I haven't a really good photo of him there.    Turns out, BTW, one of the responsibilities of the section leaders was to collect the raincoats worn by the recruits in their respective sections, dump 'em at the back, then gather them up and pass them out afterward.  This is why there's a picture up there of coats flying through the air.  It was really pretty impressive, how fast those guys moved.

    After the ceremony we four went back to the hotel so Charles could call various relatives and friends and take a civilized shower, then it was off to Chipotle for lunch (which he pointed out was the last restaurant he ate at before entering the Navy) and after that into Chicago proper, visiting the Navy Pier.  It had a splendid collection of stained glass, and Charles and Alex rode the huge Ferris wheel (which Don and I wouldn't get on for anything). 

    Here's something really vexatious, which is we ran out of time trying to find a particular Mexican food restaurant (wasn't what we thought it'd be, a buffet, and there was a line), and Charles was anxious not to be late back to his ship, so we finally decided to just return to the NEX and eat at one of the fast food places there.  According to the signs posted, they were open on Friday nights until 8 p.m.

    Ha!  Turns out that unlike restaurants in the civilian world, this means the employees want to be getting into their cars and driving away at 8 p.m., for they stopped taking new customers at 7:40, can you believe it?  Several families showed up only to find themselves out of luck.  Charles insisted he wasn't hungry, and some of his friends were in the recreation area (pool tables, video games, snacks, etc.), so we bade him good night, then drove Alex over to the actual Navy base.  Took the honchos at the main gate ten minutes to check out our rent car contract, car insurance, and drivers' licenses so we'd be able to get on base, but at last we were given a temporary pass.  Tell you what, those bases are BIG.  Took a little bit to find the barracks where Alex's friend lived.

    On Saturday Charles was supposed to have had watch duty until about 2:30, but he called (waking us up) about 9 a.m., ready to go.  We hastily got up and drove to collect him, then Alex (who had to hoof it from the barracks to the main gate with his baggage, poor guy).  The primary event that day was driving back into Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry, which features a German U-505 submarine.  The tour of the inside was sold out by the time we got there, but darned if the woman taking tickets wasn't a sucker for a sailor in uniform and let Charles go on it anyway.    He was so pleased, though glad today's subs are larger'n that

    On Sunday the four of us attended church there at the recruit base, which was very nice, indeed, then let Charles poke around Circuit City, after which we at lunch at Chili's, then went to see "The Shaggy Dog" at the movie theatres at Gurnee Mills.  Still some time left before we had to take Charles back to the base before we returned to the airport, so we drove to the Illinois Beach Park, where it's hard to believe that's not the ocean.  Charles and Alex had a great time skipping rocks. 

    All too soon it was time to leave him at the base.  We're not quite sure when he'll get leave, though hopefully it'll be next month.  Might not be until June, though. 

    At the airport it was very crowded, with students on spring break heading either out or coming back.  Wouldn't you know it?  On the way here Don and I were on a 777 which flew 1/3 empty....a big airplane.  On the way home we were on an S80, a small, overcrowded plane. Which left late.  And came into C terminal, when we'd flown out of A, so we had a long walk to where the car was.

    Still, we arrived home safe and sound, to find Dmitry in bed (though playing a handheld game, the stinker).

    It was a good trip. 

  •    Yo! from Illinois!  Today we went to Gino's Pizza in downtown Chicago, then to the Museum of Science and Industry, where Charles got to go on the tour of the U-505, a German sub captured in 1944.  Photos of that will follow on Monday but here are three from this evening:

    As Alex said, it's easy to tell which one's the new seaman.  Here they are, showing the Power of the Navy:

    And finally, Don and me with our two sailors:

    Obviously these pix are unretouched, since Don's laptop hasn't any photoediting capabilities, but I thought they'd do for now.  ;^)

    Tomorrow morning the four of us are going to church on the base, and the afternoon is still open.  Tomorrow night Alex, Don and I fly home, leaving Charles to ship out to Groton, CT on Tuesday for submarine training.


    Here's what it looked like this morning outside the hotel as we left for the graduation.  We've seen a fair amount of snow while here, with more flurries forecast for tomorrow.

    And here's the new seaman and his Petty Officer Third Class brother, chowing down at Chipotle:

    Okay, a rotten photo but it was taken with the cell phone. 

    After lunch we drove into Chicago and visited the Navy Pier, where we piddled around, saw a 3D IMAX movie, and the sailors rode the huge Ferris wheel. 

    But it's done!  Charles is an official E-2.



  • We're here in Illinois, having met up with Alex at the airport.  This evening we went to Gurnee Mills mall and snooped around, then had dinner at Ruby Tuesday.  They make a bodacious turkey burger.  ;^)

    It's been snowing this evening, BTW.  Not heavy, but consistent.  So far it's just been a light dusting, but it's pretty. 



  • Well, it's nearly time!  We're getting ready to meet up with Alex at O'Hare this afternoon, and tomorrow morning is The Graduation.

    Got my cameras all ready.  

    Got the maps for Chipotle, which is where Charles wants to eat.

    Got his glasses.

    Can't wait to see him! 

  • Tell y'all what....I'm going to print out my post with the comments for yesterday's "Charles' Update" post, so if anyone else would like to include a congratulatory comment down there, please do!  He'll receive the printed pages when we see him after graduation on Friday.  

    Here's a manner of dying that would never occur to me to even be possible here in North Texas.

    Naturally, it happened in Dallas county.

    Man dies in quagmire after foot chase with deputies

    A man chased
    into an open field on foot by Dallas County Sheriff's deputies sank
    into a quagmire and died after rescue attempts failed.

    The incident happened before dawn in southeastern Dallas County near the town of Combine.

    Sgt. Don Peritz said deputies stopped the man in his vehicle for having
    an outdated registration sticker. He said the man fled into a nearby
    field after deputies learned he had falsely identified himself.

    According to Peritz, deputies searched for about an hour before they
    found the man sunk up to his waist in a quagmire. They tried repeatedly
    over several hours to pull him out, but they were forced to call for
    help after they also began sinking into the cold mud. The man
    eventually died before he could be removed.

    Peritz said
    it is not known why the man died, and an autopsy is planned. He said
    the man, who has not been identified, told his would-be rescuers that
    he had a medical condition.

    Peritz said weather conditions in the field were cold and windy with temperatures in the upper 30s.

    Sounds rather like quicksand, doesn't it?  According to Merriam-Webster, a quagmire is "soft miry land that shakes or yields under the foot."   I daresay the quagmire appeared due to the unusually heavy rains the area received over the weekend.

    Poor man!    And come to that, I feel bad for the officers.....obviously had they any idea what would be the result of their attempt to ticket him first for having an expired registration sticker, and then for falsely identifying himself, they'd not have given chase.

  • Hercule Poirot would be so pleased.  

    What I don't understand is why anyone would want one, though.  e-headscratch


    The directions are simple enough:

    Egg Cuber (press) makes square egg
    1. Put warm peeled hard boiled egg in egg cuber with base plate flat in bottom. 
    Place forming plate on top of egg.
    2. Screw top down until egg becomes square.

    3. Unscrew cap and push base plate up from the
    bottom with finger. Remove square egg.


  • Charles just called!

    He just finished Battle Stations, which lasted all night long, so was very hoarse, sounding tired but happy. 

    His big news is he was one of only five recruits in his division (out of eighty) to receive a Meritorious Advance to E-2 rank. 

    He also completed his final PFA (Physical Fitness Assessment), running a mile and a half in ten minutes and a bit, putting him in the top ten finishers.

    As he put it, only "three days and a wake-up!" till graduation. 

    Can you believe it's been almost two months since he left? 

    Can't wait to see him on Friday! 

  • Well, isn't that the way?  This evening Don and I watched the
    Discovery Channel's "Perfect Disaster" docudrama about a super-tornado
    slamming through Dallas and just wrecking the heck out of it.

    That part, naturally, I
    enjoyed tremendously.  There's nothing like watching downtown
    Dallas be ripped to smithereens to put a beatific smile on my

    The part I disliked intensely was how Fort Worth simply didn't exist,
    for the purposes of the show.  Again and again the announcer made
    reference to storms moving in toward Dallas from the west.

    Um, that would be where Fort Worth
    is?  At one point there was a storm spotter reporting from
    "Westover Hills", but seeing as how the only open spaces in Westover
    Hills would be the golf course at Shady Oaks Country Club, the exact
    whereabouts of the vast expanse of prairie from which the spotter was
    calling in was a mystery.   

    There was a scene where the Ballpark at Arlington was being torn apart
    by the tornado, only it was referred to as "Dallas Stadium."

    Watching this disaster show one would receive the impression Dallas
    sits all by its lonesome in the middle of the Texas prairie, instead of
    which it's totally surrounded by cities and towns.  Dallas can't
    expand another inch, in fact, unlike Fort Worth. 

    As Don noted ascerbically, if the Discovery Channel people can't manage
    to get basic stuff straight such as there being a fairly good size city
    sitting directly to the west of Dallas, in the path of those
    approaching storms, why should we believe the science they've
    reported?  Couldn't Fort Worth at least be mentioned (we weren't,
    even when shots of the damaged Cash America and Bank One buildings were
    shown, after the tornado of 2000), and maybe mussied up a trifle?