Friday, September 26, 2008

Vacation is off to a good start...

Look what we found in Dallas this morning following our 6+ hour flight from Anchorage!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What I Saw in Kodiak This Week

In between the sideways downpours this week (yep, fall has come to Kodiak), I was lucky enough to glipse a gorgeous sunrise, and some local wildlife. It's a good thing this kind of stuff rolls across the camera lens, or I think I'd go running for the hills!

Speaking of running, we're out of here this week for our Florida/St. Thomas trip. We're looking forward to the sun and heat, but, mostly we can't wait to finally meet our niece, Regan! She's only six and a half monts old now, so it's about frickin' time! I can't wait to get my baby fix!! (Oh, and see Josh and Erin, too, of course!... and Nana in Florida, and our friends Mary (and hopefully Keith), and their kids, and also my friend Lisa and her daughter, Abby who recently moved to St. Croix.) This vacation couldn't come soon enough!!!

Holy cow! I can't believe I almost forgot... Big news happened this weekend! The results of our promotion board FINALLY came out, about a month after they actually met. It was a happy day here yesterday when Jason and I both found out that we've been selected for Lieutenant Commander (O-4)!! This is a big one since you get officially "tenured" at O-4 - unless we screw up completely, they have to keep us til we hit 20 years now! Of course, it'll be quite a while (probably at least 8 months) until we actually pin the rank on (and get the pay raise to go with it), but being selected is good enough for right now! We're pretty excited! Though, at the same time, it makes us feel a little bit old...

In addition to the promotion, I also accomplished a major goal at work over the past few weeks. We're still in the trial-run phase of it, but I've succeeded in getting four days for our cutter training instead of just three. This is HUGE, and I'm pretty proud of myself! For YEARS (long before my time), there have been complaints about the short period of time allowed for training, and how rushed the whole process is. Many of my predecessors have done what they could to try to overcome the hurdle, and I've been asking for another day since I got to the school. Over the past few weeks, I've been working with my bosses to make my case, and it looks like the next cutter to come through will get four days of training!! We haven't made it permanent yet, but that should be easier to do once we get the feedback form the students. So, that's my latest news!

On to the pictures now... That one at the top was the sun just coming up on my way into work the other morning. The day showed such promise, and then by the end of the day, it was raining sideways again! Oh well!!

The rest can speak for themselves! I spent about a half hour or so just watching these two enjoy an early morning meal! (I DEFINITELY need a bigger telephoto lens!!!)

That's it from here. I can't promise any other updates between now and when we leave for vacation, but we'll try to update on the road. Just be aware that any pictures that have US in them from vacation could blind you with all the pasty whiteness that is the Alaskans in Florida!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back to our regularly scheduled programming....

This is a short one...

Fred met a fish last night. Jason caught it, brought it home to clean, and I figured Fred should see where his kibble comes from.

He was definitely not sure what to think. He got much more excited about the fish when it was on the cutting board and there was a chance he'd get a piece.

Silly dog.
(And this is as close as I get to a "Wordless Wednesday" post!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sad day for the Coast Guard

Today's blog isn't my usual update on the Dorval's.... it's a blog for me to get a little bit of my own feelings out, while also asking for your thoughts and prayers for our Coast Guard family.

My bubble of altered reality (the one where I pretend that Jason's job isn't dangerous) was shattered this morning when I opened my email at work.

At about 8pm last night, Hawaii time, a CG HH-65 (the small, orange ones) crashed just five miles off the coast in Honolulu. The crew was doing some training with a local small boat, and no details have been released as to what happened or how. There will, of course, be an investigation.

Here's the latest update on the local Honolulu newspaper's website.

As of right now, three Coasties have lost their lives, and a fourth is still missing. All the members of the crew have wives and families, and have left them, as well as their wider CG family behind. Jason and I are "lucky" enough to not know any of those involved personally, but that doesn't make it hurt less.

I am choking back tears as I type - our service is so small that we feel every loss. Our aviation community is even smaller, and, of course, closer to us, and I'd be lying if my first thought wasn't of Jason. I like to forget that, every time he flies, this possibility exists. I like to think that he's always safe. But, the reality is that every Coastie takes a risk every time they fly or get underway on a boat or cutter. It's not inherently safe, and we can only do our best to keep it safer.

I think I'll stop there, before I make it too real for everyone else, as well.

But, please, keep the familes of LCDR Andrew Wischmeier, AST1 David Skimin, and AMT2Joshua Nichols in your thoughts and prayers. At the same time, please keep the family of the missing pilot in your thoughts. Prayer that he may be found sooner than later. Also, keep all of Air Station Barbers Point in your prayers. They're still out there right now, flying and searching for their own lost crewmember. And, finally, remember the crew of the 47' MLB - they watched it happen since they were there conducting training with the helo. I can't imagine what images are going through their minds right now.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.