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USN59-79

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  1. Greetings from a cloudy, chilly and damp day in Western Washington. I had been working every day at my rental house, but took today off as I had an appointment this afternoon for my monthly eye injection. Just got a call that the doctor had an emergency and rescheduled for next week. Anyway, it gives me some time to get caught up on a bunch of little things. Direct TV started billing me an extra $5. a month for a service I never ordered. Took about half an hour to go online and then chat to get that cancelled. Sent a long email to my TA to try to get HAL to update my account. They show as active four cruises on the Noordam that were cancelled, two of which I want to transfer to the Westerdam in 2023 and two that I want a refund and my FCC restored to be added to my next cruise. Incidentally, I log into CC every day and have never had any real problem. I use a desktop with Windows 10, Chrome, and Google. DW and I need to make a Costco run today. Generally, when a port is mentioned I at least know where it is even if we haven't visited it. Today's is one that I had never heard of; probably because we have never stopped in Sardinia.
  2. Some Kraken info. The newest National Hockey League team is the Seattle Kraken. They just started playing pre-season games two weeks ago.
  3. Yesterday I mentioned that while the booster for the Moderna covid vaccine was not yet approved for general use, the third dose for immunocompromised persons was. I had read that the third dose was a smaller (half) dose of the regular moderna vaccine. Looks like that was incorrect; the third dose is the same as the first and second dose. And when the booster is approved, it will also be the same dosage. So the difference between the third dose of the Moderna shot and a Moderna booster shot is just a matter of semantics. I don't like to judge peoples decisions, but if the new neighbors of Quartzite Cruisers have already had covid, their systems will now have some natural immunity to the disease. So it may not be so important for them to be vaccinated as it would be for one who has never had covid.
  4. To clarify, it is my understanding that it may be a week or so before the Moderna booster is approved for general use. For immunocompromised persons, the VA is offering a third dose of he Moderna shot. It is not the same as a booster as it is half the dosage of a regular shot. We also got our 2nd Moderna shot in February and are just waiting for the booster to be available. I could probably get the 3rd shot as I am somewhat immune compromised due to leukemia, but I plan to wait until both I and my DW can get the booster. Yesterday we both got our flu shots at the Navy base here. Slight tenderness, but no big deal. I used to worry about my hair cut and style. No more. I get my haircuts at our local submarine base. Ask for number two on top and number one on the sides. That is about a quarter inch on top and shaved on the sides. Works for me.
  5. Kind of a cool, rainy day here today. I have read the daily each day for the past few weeks, but so late in the day that it seems to late to reply. Been working each day at my previous rental log home on 4 acres. Had landscapers working for a week cutting brush, trimming trees, etc and can not walk in areas that I hadn't seen before. I attended a two-room country school with first thru third grade in one room and fourth thru sixth in the other. It was built in the 1890s and is still in use. Early this year my DS and I drove by it and can see that they are adding to it. I was a teacher also. Came into it in a different way. While in the Navy stationed in the Philippines I went to night and weekend school and earned a degree in math as I thought that I would need it as I planned on an engineering degree after the Navy. Later I attended an advanced one-year Navy electronics school, did well, and was asked to stay on as an instructor. Taught math and advanced electronics for a couple of years and found I really enjoyed teaching. Fun to see the light in a student's eyes as he finally understands a concept. So later, at my last tour of duty in Hawaii I studied nights and weekends for a Masters Degree in Education from visiting instructors from Pepperdine University. Thought I would teach math or science at a high school in the Seattle area, but ended up teaching for a medical ultrasound company; teaching doctors to use the equipment and technicians how to repair it. Later worked as a civilian for the Navy developing curriculum for the Trident submarine fleet and teaching the courses for a few times before turning them over to the Navy instructors. Ray
  6. As we know, if anything HAL is inconsistent. In January I booked a 14 day cruise on Noordam that starts 14 March 2022. The final payment day, which I presume is the final day I can cancel without penalty, is 11 November 2021. That is 120 days before the cruise. Last week I booked the following cruise that starts 28 March 2022. The final payment day is 6 November 2021. That is 139 days before the cruise. Why is it 139 days? I haven't a clue.
  7. I found a bottle of the cooking gin and was able to do a taste test with Bombay Sapphire. Actually, the taste is very similar. The major difference is that the less expensive gin has a less intense taste; kind of like if you added a little water but kept the same amount of alcohol, you would have the cooking gin. Anyway, the dinner was great. One other thing we did this afternoon was to change our phone carriers from ATT to T-Mobile. Our DS sent us the new sim cards and there was a little bit of hassle as our two iPhones needed to be unlocked from ATT. Took about ten minutes each and ATT quickly unlocked them for us online.
  8. Interesting day here today. Sunshine this morning and then heavy rain starting in the afternoon. It was useful, as I was working on my log home and I noticed that two gutters are needing to be replaced; one since a tree fell on it years ago and I ignored it, and not sure why the other isn't draining properly. Noticed that our local guy Bruno got a diagnosis for his condition and it is usually easily cured with antibiotics, so that is good news. Sara is making Taiwanese "wine chicken" tonight. The wine used with it is actually gin. We usually use cheap cooking gin, but she couldn't find it tonight, so we are substituting Bombay Sapphire. Will be interesting if we can notice the difference. Think I will do a taste test with a small shot glass of each to see if $30. gin is really better than $10. gin. Ray
  9. Good to hear from you. I have never heard of that condition, so I looked it up. Expect the antibiotics will take care of it and you will be salivating like normal again. What hospital was able to diagnose and treat this so soon? Ray
  10. Good morning from a somewhat windy and damp Pacific Northwest. We have our first Fall rainy windstorm starting this weekend. Can't complain after our summer drought. I have been busy every day working on my log house and when I finally read the Daily after dinner, it is usually too late to post. Yesterday I had some landscapers climb and trim a huge maple tree that was blocking my water view. It is a big improvement; I can see the boats on Puget Sound now. My DW became an American citizen three years after we were married. I remember she had to study quite a bit and take a test first. I have been dealing with my TA about our March 2022 Noordam cruise. Doesn't seem complicated. We want to keep an existing (since January 2021) 14 day and add the following 14 day. But HAL has cancelled the two previous 14 days cruises and moved them to the Westerdam in 2023. I didn't request the Westerdam but they are balking at moving about $3200 in FCC on the Westerdam to the earlier Noodam cruise. Guess I just have to be patient. Ray
  11. Well, I looked into it and it seems the Noordam is doing three 14 day cruises around Japan and they are listed as available for booking at a price similar to what I have booked. My TA works on Sunday, so I will contact him tomorrow to either just book the 3 cruises and cancel the original or move the existing ones over. One advantage is that the third cruise will return to Vancouver, so we can skip the return air from Japan.
  12. This is somewhat confusing. Yesterday I received an email stating my three two week cruises in Asia on the Noordam starting 14 February 2022 are cancelled and will be transferred to the Westerdam for the same period in 2023. One of them is from March 14, 2022 from Tokyo to Tokyo. I would much rather wait a month than another year to travel around Japan. Do we have any choice in their decisions? Ray
  13. You are right. I meant to type January/February 2023. Ray
  14. Some clarification on Noordam cruises. The info was there, but I didn't click on the replacement cruise section. All three of the cruises we booked are cancelled. The replacement cruises will be on the Westerdam. Looks like the Noordam will be in Australia/New Zealand in January and February 2022 rather than in the Japan area. Kind of interesting that the Noordam cruises are replacing a 42 day cruise package we had on the Westerdam when the pandemic started; now we have the option of going back to the Westerdam.
  15. We have been booked on the Noordam for three 14 day back to backs in Asia starting 14 February 2022. Today HAL notified me that they have cancelled the first 14 day starting 14 February. No word on the following cruises. They are offering to transfer me to a similar cruise starting 13 February 2023. Guess I will just wait to see what happens next. Finally got the second of my new hearing aids today. What a difference to have two working hearing aids. Am hearing things for the first time. Not always a good thing as I didn't know we had so much traffic noise at our house.
  16. I agree with that recommendation. I remember cruising with HAL about 20 years ago when we actually received a statement saying gratuities are neither expected or required. Then a couple of years later, they said "Because some have asked, here are suggested amounts if you want to tip" Then, of course they decided to automatically add them to our statement. The semantics of what they decide to call it is kind of amusing.
  17. We haven't had any problems with our mail service. When we are gone for a long cruise, maybe 60 to 70 days, we just fill out the yellow form for a mail hold. I know it says 30 days only, but I talked to my mailman and he said don't worry about it, just put the dates leaving and returning and that you will pick it up at the post office. Has always worked for us.
  18. A beautiful morning here in the Puget Sound area. I was born here in 1939 and only left for my 20 years in the Navy. I am a beer drinker and have made my own beer for the last ten years or so. Started with a Coopers Brewery kit my DS gave me for Father's Day one year. Kind of low on stock now; have about 5 bottles of Irish Stout left. Incidentally, yesterday it was mentioned beer going bad in a short period. I have been drinking a bottle of stout every day for lunch for the past week and it was brewed in August, 2019 and still fills a glass with foam on the first pour. I am now using Munton's beer kits. Here is a picture:
  19. A couple of thoughts on Civitavecchia: We once booked a hotel there before a cruise. Looked like it was a couple of blocks up the hill from the train station, so we didn't take a taxi. After a couple of blocks we were lost - seemed that the streets had a different name every block or two. A local man saw us as he was parking his car. Asked where we were going and offered to drive us there for free and wouldn't accept a tip. Another time we were in Rome and Sara wanted to buy some nice Italian shoes. Went through a few shoe stores, but couldn't find the right pair. Came back to Civitavecchia and found a beautiful pair in a shoe store there. So we have good memories of the town. Ray
  20. We have taken many long cruises on the Amsterdam and Henk Mensink as Hotel Manager and his wife Christel as Guest Relations Manager were always a great team.
  21. I never had a pet rock, but was a rockhound as a teenager. Where we lived in central Washington there was a lot of agate and petrified wood in the hills and the big thing to find was an Ellensburg Blue Agate. My parents bought me a lapidary outfit with a diamond saw and polishing wheels, so I could try to make jewelry settings. After college I lost interest in it, but I still have a wooden box in the garage with rocks I collected more than 60 years ago. Worked at my log house today after stopping at Costco and buying a replacement light fixture for the one I broke yesterday. Also bought a new filter for my shop vac today. Opened it up and it looked like there was a cat or a raccoon in there with the big ball of dog hair.
  22. Is that what is called "clothesline bacon"? If so, we learned of it on CC and tried it on our last cruise. It was great. We are having pleasant early Fall weather here and I have been working every day on my rental house to get it spiffed up for sale. Replaced three overhead lights in the kitchen today with the LED lights on sale now at Costco. First two went in OK, but as I was finishing the third one, I needed three hands to install the glass cover and the stainless steel ring and screw in the nuts to hold it on. Needless to say, the glass slipped out and fell to the floor. So I will buy a new one tomorrow. Not a big deal, as they are less than $18 for the whole thing. I had two buckets full of spent shotgun shells to get rid of. Contacted the person in charge of the local shooting range and he said he would take them, so delivered them this morning. I think tomorrow I might take a day off and contact some landscape companies to get an estimate on cutting brush and trimming some trees to improve the water view. I used to be able to work outside at least eight hours. Now, at 81, after about 4 hours I am ready to come home and relax with a glass of malbec. Ray
  23. Very pleasant weather here in the Pacific NW. Spent the day working at my rental property. Interesting the things that renters leave when they leave. I learned about diatomaceous earth, commonly called diatomite when I was a rock hound as a kid near the Columbia River. There were deposits fifty million years old in the area, along with petrified wood. Diatoms are a single celled amoeba with a cell wall made of silica. The silica is what remains after they die after about a week of life. They convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and are responsible for between 20 and 50% of our earth's oxygen. We use them for water filters, mild abrasives such as in tooth paste and cat litter. So we can joke about them, but they are a very serious amoeba that most people have never heard of.
  24. I haven't checked in for awhile, so here is an update. My tenants in our rental house moved out a week ago today. They are newly married and have never moved before so I think it was kind of overwhelming for them. They both drive pickups and have two trailers to carry their stuff. The stuff includes two dogs and eight laying chickens going from Washington State to Groton, Connecticut. They said they had hired a house cleaner to show up the next day and a person to disassemble the chicken coop. That didn't happen, so I have been there every day taken down the chicken coop and trying to save the lumber. Just finished that job today. Yesterday the person came to pump out the septic tank. Tomorrow I will bring my pressure washer to do the driveway, the sides of the log house, and part of the roof where some moss is starting to grow. Now I need to hire some landscapers to cut back the brush and blackberry bushes that have sprung up in the past year. The joys of being a landlord! When I was at my audiologist a few weeks ago to talk about new hearing aids, they had a display of a thing called CaptionCall. It is for those who have trouble hearing what callers are saying on a telephone. It is free for deaf people and the audiologist signed a form for me to order it. It arrived this week and I have only used it twice. Might be useful as I learn how it works. Got an email from my TA pushing shore excursions for our cruise starting 14 February. I think I will ignore it as I think the odds are less than 50% that we will be cruising in Japan at that time. Ray and Sara
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