Written by Jack van Ommen on January 27th, 2016
Partir c’est mourir un peu, with some sadness for saying good bye, after my six week visit, to Jeannine and family and friends in the Norfolk, Va. area. The below photographs were taken from the AmTrak train on the ride from Newport News to Washington, D.C. The weekend snowfall and the sunny day made for a very scenic trip through a beautiful and historic part of the United States.
I changed my flight out of Reagan International airport in D.C. to a two hour earlier flight out of Baltimore. Just a $3.50 (senior) train ride from the D.C. Union Station, instead of the very complicated and confusing Metro procedure to Reagan or Dulles. You might keep this in mind for your next trip on Alaska Airlines to D.C. Just like the eastward flight I had a very entertaining seat neighbor.
I am staying with Lisa and Harry in Fife and later with Rose Marie and Donovan through March with regular visits to Gig Harbor.
Update on SoloMan: All the corrections are made to the Dutch version and I expect to have it published in Holland and on Create Space and Amazon-Kindle in the next 10 days. The English version still awaits the editing of two of the seven sections.
Last Sunday I happened to listen to a program “on Being” on a Norfolk NPR station that I like to share with you. The subject was “Gratitude”, hosted by Krista Tippett. You can listen to it: http://www.onbeing.org/program/david-steindl-rast-anatomy-of-gratitude/8361 . This was the first time I had ever heard of the program and then found that it is widely distributed. Gratitude is probably one of the most important aspects for my Being, together with Love and Forgiveness. Which I rediscovered after being brought down a few notches through my financial losses and in the nine year circumnavigation. It is incorporated in “SoloMan” just like mother wrote about her spiritual experience in the WW II concentration camps, as told in my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”.
Written by Jack van Ommen on January 18th, 2016
On Sunday it was Christ the King Cathedral and today it is Martin Luther King‘s birthday weekend. I attended the 10.30 high mass at the Christ the King Cathedral. Christ is alive and well in Atlanta. This was one of thirteen masses celebrated in this church on the weekend. It was standing room only in the 700 seat church. The church serves about 5,500 families and is among the ten biggest R.C. parishes in the United States, it is the mother church of the one million member Atlanta diocese. One of the two deacons serving at the mass was Whitney Robichaux, a cousin of my long time friend Brenda. We had been in contact some time ago and this was my first meeting with him. He gave me a tour of Atlanta and I saw the Ebenezer Baptist church where Martin Luther King used to preach. Whitney treated me to chicken dumplings with collard greens and fried okra at the landmark Mary Mac’s Tea Room.
On Sunday evening I visited Ce Ce, who I met on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands in January 2009. Ce Ce came along on “Fleetwood” for the last part of the trip through France into Holland in the fall of 2012. She invited a number of her friends Sunday evening and I enjoyed the hospitality of her and her friend John. I will be returning to Virginia in the early morning from the van Buul’s home. It is bitterly cold 20 F.
Deacon Whitney Robichaux and Father Richard Morrow
Organ of Christ the King cathedral, Atlanta.
Written by Jack van Ommen on January 16th, 2016
I left Wednesday morning on my one week road trip through North Carolina in to Georgia. The first night I stayed near Washington, N.C. with John and Maureen Lavake, who I had met in 2010 when they cruised into the marina I was staying in Monnickendam in Holland. I swung into nearby Bellhaven N.C. on the way, for a nostalgic visit to the River Forest Manor marina where I stayed the Martin Luther King day in 2008 and again, with Lynne, in November 2008. The below pictures are of the Tundra swans passing the winter here.
Thursday I drove to Wilmington N.C. to see Norm an Betsy Riviere, friends since we both worked for Weyerhauser in the late sixties in Brussels. Then on to Waleska, Ga., about 50 miles to the north of Atlanta, in the Appalachian foothills, to see the van Buuls, friends I also made on the ICW trip on my way to Florida in 2008. They are members of the St. Elizabeth Orthodox church in nearby Canton, Ga. The parish members celebrated today the Julian calendar New Year, which is our Gregorian calendar January 14 th. (Christmas was January 7th). This was a real treat for me. First we had delicious hors d’oevres with caviar, smoke and pickled fish, wodka, dinner with pierogies, sausages, etc. Then we had a blind tasting test of five different sparkling wines, where I discovered that I am much better at drinking them than recognizing them.
Sunrise from the van Buul home
St.Elizabeth Orthodox Church
Arie and Leo van Buul with their frisbee
Tomorrow I shall attend high mass at the cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta and meet more friends. Be sure to check in again.
Written by Jack van Ommen on January 4th, 2016
Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. I am looking forward to another good year, with the launch of “SoloMan” and the preparations of another adventure, with my scheduled departure for South America in August. Arjen IJff, the designer www.ArjenIJff.nl , sent me the first proof of the book cover of the Dutch version:
Keep an eye on the blog for the publication details. We are getting close.
I am still enjoying my visit with my Virginia family and friends. Yesterday I attended service at St. Theresa where I have made friends since I visited here in the last year since my June 2007 arrival from the West Coast via Cape of Good Hope. This is the group having breakfast at Nix after mass. This is the same restaurant I had my first American breakfast, after the first two years of the circumnavigation, upon my arrival in June 2007.
another breaking of the bread.
Last Saturday, Grandma Jeannine and Great Grandpa Jack took Madison and Lily Leon to the Portsmouth children Museum. A unique place where kids can play with science, art and history exhibits.
I am making a one week road trip from here on the 13th to Wilmington N.C. then on to Atlanta to visit friends.
Written by Jack van Ommen on December 19th, 2015
I left Seattle on Wednesday the 16th. Flew to Washington D.C. and Amtrak to Richmond, Va. My youngest daughter, Jeannine, picked me up and I am staying with her in her flat in Ghent, one of Norfolk’s older sections. It was in the high sixties but last night it dropped in the low thirties. The forecast for Christmas is once more in the seventies. Thursday night I saw Madison, my six year old granddaughter, perform in her school Christmas pageant. Yesterday I had a Christmas luncheon with a group of friends I have regularly seen since 2007 when visiting Virginia. Jeannine is treating me this evening to the “Messiah”, performed by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. I have sung parts of the Messiah but I have never yet experienced the full version life. Looking forward to it. The Harrison Opera House is within walking distance from Jeannine’s current home.
My seat neighbor on the flight to Virginia turned out to be another sailor, Ken, member of the Seattle YC. We became FB friends and he put in a very nice pitch in for me with his FB friends: https://www.facebook.com/ken.wickman.18/posts/10208760203548114?pnref=story
I plan to return to Gig Harbor around January 24.
Madison far left
LR: Lily, Jack, Madison
Chinese Pavilion, Norfolk
Looked like a decorated tree, turned out to be a Persimmon
Written by Jack van Ommen on December 8th, 2015
History is being made in China by the Christian Human Right activist Gao Zhisheng. On November 27 he wrote an open letter in support of his good friend and activist Guo Feixiong after he was sentenced to serve a 6 year prison term, on trumped-up charges.
Please, read the open letter at: http://chinachange.org/2015/12/04/join-them-and-prove-your-worth-by-helping-chinas-historic-change/?blogsub=confirming#blog_subscription-2
Gao himself has served jail time and extreme torture, see video at: https://www.facebook.com/ChinaAidAssociation/videos/1213639061985731/
In his letter Goa directly accuses President Xi Jinping and predicts the collapse of Communism. This is unprecedented and courageous. But will he get away with it, or will his body be found in a dumpster with a suicide note?
This is our chance to be participants instead of spectators. Like China change asks you: to prove-your-worth-by-helping-chinas-historic–change.
I started a petition to World Leaders on AVAAZ.ORG at: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/World_leaders_protect_Human_Rights_in_China/?fKVWgeb
I sent it out to my e-mail address lists, which has over 350 addresses and I posted it on Face Book, a few days ago. So far twelve people have signed, from over 7 different countries. How much effort does this take? Am I surprised? No. Am I disappointed? As you know I have an enormous ego and I want to be part of history.
Or just do it for Gao Zhisheng, his family and China.
Written by Jack van Ommen on December 4th, 2015
You regular visitors might have wondered. I realize that I am a day short of a month since my last post.
I am still sleeping in real beds. I have moved from my second oldest daughter’s home to Lisa and Harry’s place in Fife, since Black Friday. “SoloMan” still keeps me busy, merging the English corrections that are starting to come in now. And I set up the web sites for both language versions. Have a look at: www.SoloMan.us and www.SoloMan.nl
I had hoped that by now I would have had the books published. I estimate that it may take another couple weeks for the Dutch and a little longer yet for the English book.
In the mean time, I recommend another good book for your Christmas shopping list:—————->————–>—————>
On the 16th of December I fly to Virginia and expect to be back here on the West Coast around the 25th of January. We had a great Thanksgiving feast at Rose Marie and Donovan’s home. There were twelve at the table. Just like the last supper.
Tomorrow is St. Nicholas Eve. We plan to celebrate this here with my two daughters and family.
wintering Hummingbird at Lisa’s home.
Frosted trees downtown Tacoma on early Sunday, Nov. 29
Written by Jack van Ommen on November 5th, 2015
I winterized “Fleetwood” and left Gig Harbor last Tuesday for a stay with Rose Marie and Donovan in Federal Way. The three cats will look after me while my daughter and son in law are on a 10 day vacation, next week. I am busy setting up the web sites for the Dutch and English version of Soloman.
My waterfront view is replaced by the neighbors back yards. Squirrels instead of harbor seals.
Written by Jack van Ommen on October 10th, 2015
Yesterday, on the dock in Arabella’s Landing Marina, I heard a bunch of agitated crows. They were trying to annoy a Bald Eagle, perched on top of the tallest mast in the marina, on “Jam”. This is as close I have been able to take a shot of a Bald Eagle. Magnificent birds.
I have a nocturnal companion, this young Harbor Seal. Just when I am barely asleep he/she climbs on the sugar scoop. I have to tried to chase it off but it keeps coming back and once I leave it alone it must do the same as I do at night. In the morning it is gone. Last week I kept being woken up by, what has to be a larger seal, who keeps whacking the hull with its tail while squeezed between the boat and the dock. Right on starboard where I sleep. Most likely feeding on the same mussels I had for dinner.
This afternoon the owners of Finholm Market and Deli, Monte Hester and Teddy Finholm-Hester gave a reception on the occasion of the completion of the historical mural on the Finholm Market building. I was very glad to be there with quite a few long time acquaintances. Ron Finholm, second generation of the two Finholm brothers, is a good friend and a member of a small church group we belong to. He has had a serious battle with cancer and was able to be present. His youngest cousin Becky Finholm-Lester who I used to see regularly when she worked across the street from me in Tacoma, in the mid seventies and I had not seen her for nearly forty years was there. John Lantz, even longer, he was a teacher in my sales training at Weyerhauser in 1964. I would run into his wife, Pat, at the Post Office in the nineties.
Thursday night Dorotich Str and Stanich Dock, from my back porch
Thursday night mussel dinner, home-grown, Arabella’s Special.
Written by Jack van Ommen on October 7th, 2015
It took me nearly three hours to get from Gig Harbor to my lunch with Rose Marie at Johnny’s Dock in Tacoma, because of the strong flood tide. “Adventuress” was already out on the Sound and too far out of my way. But here are a few shots of her.
On the way back I had company again of a Pacific White Sided Dolphin, like the one I posted on August 24.
A Pacific White Sided Dolphin vague outline underwater