Wednesday, December 24, 2008


As of December 23rd, I am retired from federal service. Well, actually the paper will not be processed until Jan 02, 2009, but I have checked out from the Shipyard and turned in my badge. I am on leave thru the rest of the year. I was actually planning on checking out today, but I got nervous with the predicted snow and was concerned that if the Shipyard curtailled operations again, it could make things difficult. I was not the only one. The admin folks recommended getting out while I could and there was a lot of people leaving yesterday. At 1300 I was the eleventh person thru pass and ID and there was many behind me.

So now, I start a new phase of my life. When I left yesterday, I did not look back. This morning I woke up at 0430 and had trouble getting back to sleep. This is all going to take some time to get used to!

Merry Christmas to all!!

It Could Be Worse #4

Another 3 inches of snow fell last night. But the temp is now above freezing. I drove out to Costco and once I got away from my home, the streets were very driveable. The Costco parking lot was clear of snow and the wind was blowing from the south and it was raining. Drove most of the way home on back roads in two wheel drive. The stort dead end street that I live on does not get plowed and it is still covered in several inches of pure white snow. There is a possibility of some more snow tonight and possibly Christmas Day.

My neighbor set this up yesterday, kinda cool! It is lit up at night too.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It Could Be Worse #3

It snowed most of Sunday and on Monday morning this is the accumulated snowfall since Thursday, about 10 inches. Just short of having to find a yard stick to measure with. The forecast is for some warming and decreasing snow showers turning to rain showers. Still sounds like it may take awhile to get rid of the accumulated snow. Some snow showers predicted thru Christmas.

Now why am I home taking pictures instead of at work during my last few days at work? Sunday night the Shipyard announced that work would be curtailled for Monday except for essential services(who are these people?). The announcenent came at the right time, I was just going to make Monday's lunch. In my 31 years of working at the Shipyard, I do not remember a complete shutdown due to weather. May sound funny, but I really need to go to work this week, I have to complete my retirement checkout and finish cleaning out my cubicle. Still have a little work to finish, but that is not as important anymore. I guess Keyport has shut down too. I wonder about a friend that commutes to Everett.......?

With all the new snow yesterday, I was able to x-country ski around the neighborhood and around the roads of Illahee State Park. Actually put in about 3 miles.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It Could Be Worse #2

Yesterday afternoon the "big" storm hit. The Kitsap area was predicted to havs 4-16 inches and high winds. The snow started yesterday around 1400 and snowed all night, followed by a thin crust of freezing rain. I measured the new snow at a little over 6". The accumulated totals are 7 1/2-8. The winds did not blow here, the destructive winds were over at Enumclaw and North Bend area where it blew sustained at 50 mph with gusts to 70.

The street is well covered and the kids are using it as there sledding track. I will probably go out and try skiing again.

The snow could continue for a few more days with accumulations of 2-4". The bad thing is that it is warming tomorrow and we will see a cycle of melting during the day and freezing at night.

Friday was slick going to work, and I did a spin with the Bronco, but did not hit anything. The roads were mainly ice. Today, I went out for breakfast and church and the snow is dry enough and the temp cool enough that it was really pretty easy to get around. Not many people at church.
The Shipyard started 2 hours late on Friday, but the announcement was not made until after I left the house. Wondered why nobody was at work. My checkout hearing test was first thing in the morning and I had to wait an hour before someone showed up.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowy weather has arrived!

I have been following other blogs. One is written by a Shipyard retiree living in his RV near Pheonix Arizona. He was commenting a couple days ago about rain keeping him inside. I understand it could be agravating living in an area of sun and warmth and having the weather be less than sunny and warm.

Well, it could be worse!

This is this afternoon at my home in East Bremerton. It finally started snowing this morning about the time I got up at 0430. When I left to go to work, there was about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. I know, not much. The Seattle area was hit a lot harder. The snow picked up mid day and by the time I got home at 1500, it was about 3-1/2 inches. Again, probably not much, but with the hills in this area, the driving was interesting. The temp is 26, and expected to get colder tonight. More snow is predicted for this weekend and not suppose to get above freezing again until Dec 24th.

Although I don't have pics, I got out my old X-country skis and carved some tracks in my yard and a 1/4 mile down the road to the mail box. I enjoy the snow, so skiing in my yard was fun!
Something the retirees might like, the Shipyard sent everyone home two hours early. How many times has that happened? That is fine if you work a normal shift, but since I start at 0530, going home at 1402 is pretty normal for me! I told the boss I was leaving 20 minute early to beat the rush.

So enjoy your warm , sunny weather if you have it! :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Vashon Island Race-South Sound Series #1

We are fortunate in Puget Sound, we can race and use our boats throughout the year. Sure it can be cold and wet, but unlike the Northeast and Great Lake sailors, our waters don't freeze and our boats are left in the water.

This weekend was the Winter Vashon Island Race. This is the first race of the 4 race Southern Sound series and is a 30.7 nautical mile race from Tacoma Yacht Club around Vashon Island.

I took off Friday and delivered the boat to the Tacoma Yacht Club. I left Brownsville at 0730 and was at TYC at around 1130 before the rush of boats that fills the moorage. The day was cool in the morning and then warmed up by mid day. Very nice calm day that made for a easy delivery. That evening TYC sponsored their usual excellant pasta dinner/social event completed with a raffle by West Marine.

Sturday was the race with the starts beginning at 0900. The weather was pleasant and there was actually wind. This race has been run in light winds, very heavy winds and even snow.

We were out on the course early and after some descrepency on the starting signals, we started right behind one of the favorites in our class, an Express 37 named "Declaration of Independence" (DOI). More about the start later. We set the spinaker and ran into Colvos Pass trying to avoid the adverse currents. DOI slipped away and "Grace E"(another J35) passed us before the wind filled in well. The rest of the run up Colvis was a drag race with DOI and Grace E staying just ahead. One more boat passed us just before the mark at the north end of Vashon Is, so we rounded in 4th.

On the beat back, the wind stayed at 10-15 knots and was shiffty, so we played the shifts and got a lift on the right side of the course that took us parallel to the east shore of Vashon Is. We passed the 3rd place boat and closed up on Grace E. A hole developed at Pt Robinson and both DOI and Grace E slowed down and we closed up more. By the time we got to Pt Robinson, the hole had partially collapsed and we had wind thru it. The wind had shifted more SW turning the final leg into a beat. DOI and Grace E went to the shore on the right side. We opted to cross to the Pierce County shore. A couple miles from the finish Grace E came to our shore and passed behind us. We covered and tried to stay between them and the finish. The winds actually got lighter and shiftier and Grace E got slightly ahead for a while, but we finally passed them again in the last two tacks and finished ahead of them. DOI had already finished ahead of us.

Now as Paul Harvey used to say: "Here is the rest of the story".

When we finished, we did not get a finishing horn. Neither did a lot of the boats that finished around us. Seems that the descrepency in the starting horns actually caused most of the fleet to start early. Out of 70+ boats that started, only 12 were leagl starters and ultimatly finishers. The race commitee started one class and then took a three minute break to let the ferry leave before restarting the start process. Most people were starting on times based on the first class start without the delay. Normally a postponment is signaled by horns and a specific pennant. Does not appear that that happened. A protest hearing is going to happen and probably the proper thing would be to throw the race out. I feel bad because I am usually really good about keeping track of the starting sequence and I let the crew down. But this time, it wasn't just a few boats that were confused, nearly 80% were. Have to wait and see how this works out.

Otherwise, it was a great day for racing. We meshed well as a crew, made good decisions and had really good boat speed. We potentially got second in our class.

Since the wind had been good, we finished in daylight and it was still light for the first hour of the motor home. Was back to Brownsville by 1915.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Torture Chamber

I normally like to go bike riding after work(after I already ride home from work), but now the days are getting shorter and it becomes harder to find the time in the evening.

So now I have to resort to abusing my body in the "Torture Chamber"!

I have an additional small room in the basement. It is not a bedroom(has no closet), so I guess the explanation is a "bonus" room. Anyway, I fitted it out with a spin bike, Bowflex and bench and magic, we have a home gym. I really find working out indoors is really boring, so I added a TV, DVD player and large wall mounted fan to keep me cool. I put down some diamond tread rubber mat to protect the carpet.
Well, back to torturing myself!