Friday, October 29, 2010

From "the big show"

I've been remiss in writing lately, but I've been unsure about what to report.  We're here, flying missions nearly every day, and to be honest every day is pretty much the same.  That's not to say that we're not busy, but it's the same type of tasks, watches, and "fires" every day.  I guess I should be fair and say that the ship does a great job of offering lots of stuff to keep folks going, like bingo, movie nights, and ice cream socials, but my schedule is pretty set.  And I'll admit that at times I find it hard to be "happy, cheery Jody" when I just want to go to my room, flip through pictures of my family, hug my big stuffed penguin, and cry.

On the bright side, Frank and the kids are doing great.  In fact, every time I talk to them they all sound very happy, and Frank keeps them busy with lots of fun stuff.  This week has been chock full of fun Halloween activities and I'm really looking forward to seeing costume pics. 

I'll try to come up with something more interesting to report!  Honestly the best take on life on the carrier is "The Boat Show," an in-house production that's available on the USS Abraham Lincoln Facebook page.  Check it out!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lincoln Arrives in 5th Fleet, Ready to Support Afghanistan Surge and Maritime Security Operations

Lincoln Arrives in 5th Fleet, Ready to Support Afghanistan Surge and Maritime Security Operations

Well, since the press release is out I guess I can go ahead and tell you all--we're here! It doesn't look much different from anything else I've seen thus far on the voyage...water, water everywhere. Water and haze, that is. Just an ever-present fine haze of dust in the air. But planes are flying and props are turning, so we're getting the job done.

As it's fall I'm missing my absolute favorite time of year back home. I love the chill in the air, the freedom to cook everything with cinnamon and nutmeg, the rustle of leaves, and wearing sweatshirts. There is no need to wear a sweatshirt here. And I miss the kids and their excitement to dress up for Halloween. This year Trent is old enough to really get into it, and Katreina is going to be a witch for the second time in her short life. The whole family sounds very happy and I'm happy for them, I just really wish I was there, too!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's not all work out here!

Carrier Strike Group Nine has partnered with a Seattle-area family winery to create ":Nota Bene Cellars 2008 Admiral's Reserve Red" to commemorate our 2010-2011 deployment.  How cool is that?  Check it out here--Admiral's Reserve Red!  $1 from each bottle purchased will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project and another $1 will go to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Monday, October 11, 2010

KL--Take 2

Yesterday I ventured back into Kuala Lumpur with my friend from work, Kelly, and her brother who was visiting from the states.  We started the day with the most amazing breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton--I had Malaysian coconut rice with lamb and tiger prawns, along with the usual pastries, fruit, coffee, and juice.  Stuffed, we headed to the Central Market to shop for trinkets and work on our bargaining skills.  While there we decided to follow the lead of several coworkers and go to the "fish spa," where you plop your feet into a pool full of doctor fish who nibble away at the dead skin on your feet.  As I'm crazy ticklish, especially on my feet, this was 10 minutes of sheer torture!  Kelly and I were laughing like crazy!

 From there we headed to KL's Chinatown to check out all the knock-off purses, shoes, DVDs, watches, perfume, clothing, you name it!  This is where great haggling skills are rewarded, but I don't really need a Jimmy Choo or Coach bag so I came away empty-handed.  We did go down a back alley where locals were chopping up various meats and veggies...even saw cats in cages there! 

The evening was spent with the rest of the staff to send off one of our shipmates in style and party at an event thrown by those of us who were most recently promoted.  It was at Luna, a rooftop/pool bar with great views of the Menora and Petronas Towers and it was really a good time. 

Kelly and I looking girly.

Petronas Towers just after sunset.

My final day in Kuala Lumpur was very low-key.  After another crazy good breakfast at the Ritz (this time I had some Malaysian rice noodle dish with eggs), I gave myself--body, mind, and soul--to the Spa Village at the Ritz-Carlton.  I began with a massage in the traditional Malaysian technique.  The strokes were long, the pressure firm, and I reached a point of total relaxation.  This is the first time I've had that type of massage and I would absolutely do it again.  After an hour of that, my facial began.  I almost fell asleep during that!  The experience ended with tea and as I sipped it I wondered if anyone would find me if I just hid there...  After the spa, Kelly and I headed over to the Petronas Towers (recognizable from the movie "Entrapment") for a little shopping and an up-close look at one of the city's icons.  It was a nice way to end the trip and while I'm not totally blown away by KL, it was a nice diversion from this little thing we call deployment.  It was so nice to be out with another mom, talking about how we really feel about being away from home, but it still doesn't beat being there.  I miss you guys!!!

Petronas Towers

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hey, it worked!

On a whim I tried the whole pics in the blog thing again and it worked!  Here are the kids hamming it up after the firefighters visited their CDC last week. 

KL--day 1

Well, a cold beer sure tasted good yesterday!  Other than that, not much to report.  I made some spa appointments, ate room service (yes, it is good at the Ritz!), and read.  A few things struck me on my trip into the big city (1 1/2 hrs each way):

1.  Kuala Lumpur is a mix of super-trendy, posh, towering skyscrapers and run-down, crumbling flats.  These are all mixed together.  It's not like there is the "fancy downtown" and the "other side of the track."  It's all mixed together.  Lots of construction is going on so maybe that's going to change.

2.  Walking in most of the city is a life-threatening experience.  Crosswalks are rare, cars are fast, and sidewalks aren't terribly consistent.  I feel for anyone who is limited in their mobility.

3.  Malaysians (thus far) are a very nice, quiet people.  Made me completely embarrassed to see and hear the loud, obviously American sailors that were whooping it up at, of all places, the Ritz-Carlton. 

4.  Radio ads and billboards that talk about ways to conserve energy and resources are everywhere.  I hope they are having success with those initiatives as they at least seem to be trying very hard.

5.  This is not Everett, WA.  Because it's not Everett, WA I find that I am completely disinterested.  I want to experience new places and cultures but it is hard when my favorite travel partner is so far away, working so hard to take care of everything at home.  Liberty buddy rules and duty make just getting out a logistical challenge, but once you do you can usually have a good time.  I'm just too miserable at this point to really allow that to happen.  Hopefully my next trip out tomorrow will be better.

It's duty day today!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finally, a port!

Greetings from Port Klang, Malaysia, the port city of Kuala Lumpur!  I've only seen the pier thus far, so not much to report, but I hope to head into the city in a few hours to check it out.  Woo hoo!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Isn't it ironic?

We are getting ready for a port visit (YIPPIE!) so there's lots of info getting put out.  First, there are tours being put together that come with helpful  info sheets with great tips like "Bring along insect repellent."  Then there is the mandatory port brief where the ship's Doc cautions everyone to use insect repellent, "preferably one with DEET."  So, what is one item that you can't buy in the ship's store?  INSECT REPELLENT!!!  Even better?  Pharmacies are "off limits" in this port.  Where exactly should I be purchasing this essential item???  I'm hanging my hopes on the street vendors...

Monday, October 4, 2010

A great weekend back home

I can honestly say that I wish I was reporting all of these events to you first-hand!  Frank and the kids had a fun-filled Saturday from what I can tell and I attached a few pics, too.  They started the day fishing, which I heard was more baiting than catching.  The kids entertained themselves by feeding ducks and picking blackberries.   After naps they all headed to the local fairgrounds for a demolition derby!  It was a night full of noise, crashes, and explosions, topped off with fireworks.  Frank and I went years ago and I can just imagine the kids loving it.