Thursday, January 15, 2009

About that new blog site

I forgot to tell you how to access our blogs on our Web site.

You first have to sign-in. If you are not yet a member, at the top right of the page at, there is a a thingie that says "Become a member."

Click on that and it's very easy to create your username and password. Trust me. If I can do it, you can do it.

Just remember your username and password and you can read all of our blogs, not just mine. Or you can create your own.

Again, if I can create a blog and write on it every day, anyone can do it.

Try it. You might like it!

Remember that I'll be blogging on instead of this site.

Though every now and then, I may post something here.

Please keep reading!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My new blog site

If you checked this site last night, you probably noticed there was no new blog.

That's because I'm on a new blog site.

The newspaper decided to quit using and use Pluck, which will be linked to our Web site.

Unfortunately, everything on this site will not be part of the new site.

Go to to keep up with my blog. And I hope you continue to read what I'm up to.

Thank you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My globetrotting family

Here's Scott at Thanksgiving. We just found out he's Afghanistan bound. OK. This is not a very good picture, but I'm not a very good photographer.

My nephew Scott is in the Air Force. Ever since he joined, I've been afraid he'll be deployed. So far, he's been lucky, having been stationed in Iceland, England and now down in Valdosta.

But on Feb. 1, he's going to Afghanistan. Being a helicopter mechanic, I knew that would happen one day.

Dorothy's travel saga continues.

She was supposed to be in Djibouti Saturday, but she missed her flight. Even though she got to Heathrow two hours later, she was, of course, unfamiliar with the airport.

Dorothy had left her huge piece of luggage in storage at the airport. She didn't realize that the terminal she was to leave from was way far away. It took her an hour to get her bag, get on a train and go to the correct terminal.

Once she got there, she said signage was bad. Dorothy couldn't find Ethiopian Air and none of the airport employees could tell her where the departure gate was. So she missed her flight by five minutes.

Dorothy called it her doofus moment. Then yesterday's flight was canceled. She was supposed to leave tonight.

I haven't heard from her, so we don't know if she's in Africa yet.

The Okamoto family will be praying that Dorothy and Scott will be safe for the next year. And that neither will cause an international incident!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dorothy, Part 2

My youngest sister Patty was working in Atlanta all this week and was coming home last night. So she stopped at Hartsfield-Jackson International and managed to catch up with Dorothy before she got on her flight.

I saw Patty this afternoon and she said Dorothy was a little freaked out about going to Africa.

I'm guessing she was happy to see Patty, though.

We got an e-mail from Dorothy. She has an overnight layover in London.

"Well I made it to London all right -- just tired. Can you believe that a Thursday night flight was full? And I WAS in the middle seat. It was 2-3-2. I feel like I was beat up. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. I did get fed twice and got plenty to drink, including a beer with dinner. I did manage to fall asleep a little bit during Wall-E. By the time I got my bag (and stored it at the airport), waited on the shuttle (4 pounds) and got to the hotel, it was about 2:30 London time. I spoke to the desk clerk about maybe going into London tonight, but he said Friday afternoon and evening traffic was horrendous and he really didn't think it was a great idea. Besides as tired as I was and am, he was probably right. So I messed around and got my laptop working. I tried to send you an e-mail before I left for dinner, but it wouldn't go through. This network is slow and not very reliable. Hopefully you'll get it sometime. Even now I'm connecting and disconnecting to the network.

Both the desk clerk and the doorman recommended a pub/restaurant down the street. It was very cold walking to it, but the food was good. I had a very good salad and the Pheasant (the name of the restaurant) Grill. This definitely was a Fred dish. It had steak, calf's liver, sausage, ham and lamb chop. The lamb chop and the liver were my favorites. I had to try an English dessert, so as I'm typing, I'm taking bites of treacle pudding (kind of a steamed sponge cake with caramel sauce) and dunking it into cream (to cut the sweet :-) )

Tomorrow I'm going to try to go to the British Museum. The concierge suggested it and also said it's free. He said said that there's other things within walking distance of there to see also.

Anyway, I'm going to get ready to go to bed. I hope this goes through."

So it seems as if she's having a good time. Tomorrow, she'll board a flight to Rome. From Rome, she goes to Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia. From Ethiopia, she'll go to Djibouti.

When we learned she was going to Djibouti, we laughed that she wouldn't be able to get there from Charleston. We were right!

So far, so good.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My sister Dorothy

Dorothy with our mother and Chipper

Dorothy with my pretty little Piiko

The Okamoto Kids: Nancy, Dorothy, Fred, me and Patty

My sister Dorothy, who is eight years younger than I am, has been working as an environmental engineer for the U.S. Navy. She's in civil service. A couple of years ago, she was told that BRAC was closing the naval base in Charleston.

So she's been interviewing for various jobs and she got one as a government contractor.

Dorothy left today for Djibouti, Africa.

Of course we're worried. Djibouti, though stable, is surrounded by Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

She'll be back in April. Stay for a couple of weeks and then it's back to the Horn of Africa.

She said once she proves that she can handle the work in such an isolated place, then she can maybe pick more attractive places like Japan!

So we've all told her to be aware of her surroundings and not to do anything by herself.

Dorothy's had temporary duty before, but she's gone to places like Scotland, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Fla., and San Antonio. Not Africa!

We'll keep in touch through e-mails and phone calls. And maybe my new favorite Web site, Skype.

I think her year in Africa will go more quickly than we think.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Robert Shaw (from left), Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfus in "Jaws."

Yesterday afternoon, I started feeling yucky and by this morning, I knew I'd caught that cold that my body had been fighting.

I did try to go to work, but it took me a while.

This morning, HBO was showing "Jaws."

I'd forgotten how good that movie was. I was also remembering the first time I saw it.

It was in the old Plaza Theatre in Cross Country Plaza. I went my BFF Hernice. Even when the movie was beginning, she had her feet on the seat. Within the first few minutes, she was muttering to herself, "It's only a movie. We're nowhere near the ocean. It's only a movie."

By the time the shark got its second victim, she leaned over and said she'll be in the lobby.

Hernice never came back.

When the movie was over, I found her in the lobby, smoking and talking to the kids running the concession stand.

It turned out that while she liked going to the beach, she never got in the water because she couldn't swim.

All that went through my head while watching the movie.

Then I thought since Hollywood is remaking movies left and right, why not a new version of "Jaws"?

But who would get the roles of Chief of Police Brody (the late Roy Scheider), shark hunter Quint (the late Robert Shaw) and the marine biologist Hooper?

Let's see -- Russell Crowe as Quint. That's a no brainer. The police chief? Keifer Sutherland, maybe. And the young Hooper? Ashton Kutcher?

What do you think?

Or maybe I was just delirious!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Old classmates

The front of Kubasaki High School

I went to Kubasaki High School on Okinawa. Unfortunately, my father got transferred to Fort Benning the summer between my junior and senior years. I ended up graduating from Columbus High School in 1971.

Having always gone to Department of Defense schools, I never realized how far ahead I was educationally until we came here.

First, I had to learn "Southern." The first week of school, one of my teachers told us that we had a test "Tuesday week." I had no idea what she meant. I looked around to see if anyone else knew what she was talking about. It looked like everyone did.

I finally raised my hand and asked when "Tuesday week" meant. She said, "You're new?" Duh!

She said it means next Tuesday.

So why didn't she just say next Tuesday?

The next thing was the apparent ignorance of my fellow students.

During English class, we were discussing Shakespeare. A guy in the back of the class asked, "Hey, does Shakespeare have a first name?"

Again, I turned around to see if this guy was serious. He was dead serious!

I went home and told Daddy I was surrounded by ignorant doofuses. He said get used to it.

That said, for the past few years, I've been on an e-mail list from Kubasaki alumni.

Since I left "The Rock" in 1970, I've met, face-to-face, only two Kubasaki alumni. I really didn't know Hirome Fujio at all. Nor his wife, Cindy. But I knew Hirome's sister, Takako. Hirome was stationed at Fort Benning (it was in the early 1980s) when I saw his picture in the Bayonet. After several phone calls, I tracked him down. He and Cindy had two small daughters then. We had dinner several times and then he got transferred.

Hirome retired and ended up in Huntsville. His daughters went to Auburn, and one of them got married last year.

Anyway, I got on one of the chat lines last night and I got a call from a '71 Kubasaki grad. David Turgeon now works for the CDC in Atlanta! He said he travels a lot because he tracks epidemic diseases.

So he's the first to contact me. I hope I hear from some more.