Farewell Shanghai

Shanghai 3 Please join me for the final installment of Vic Socotra’s thoughts on one of our Congressional trips to Asia, and a farewell to China.

We wandered down the street and over a couple of blocks. We found the entrance to the subway and went down. It was gleaming and shiny and not at all what I expected. We went down and got to the platform.

The little guy on the subway could have been sixty or he could have been eighty. He could have walked with Mao on the big swing around Chiang Kai Check’s Nationalists, and on to eventual victory in 1948.

He wore a little Mao hat and his gaze was implacable. He was staring at Val’s chest, or he was staring past her chest at me in my trench coat because he was exactly that tall. It was hard to tell. But it was a penetrating gaze, neither friendly nor particularly hostile. It was an intense and unwavering look, like that of a hawk on his prey. I leaned over to Val. [Read more…]

Long Marchers…Part Two

Please join me for Part Two of my friend and author  Vic Socotra‘s series of stories about one of our Congressional trips. We have now journeyed to Shanghai.

01 February 2001Shanghai skyline

Long Marchers

by Vic Socotra

I believe in traveling light, but there was no way for it on this trip- we would be in temperate, arctic and tropical climates. The bags went out full, and got fuller with each stop. The bags even began to multiply. It could have been worse. The last time I was in Hanoi, the famous Central Jail (“Hanoi Hilton”) was being torn down, and visitors were presented with bricks as unique souvenirs. Being the junior member on that trip, I wound up carrying a bag containing a major portion of an interior wall. But that is another story.

Downstairs at the Regal International East Asia there was a lavish breakfast buffet of both Chinese and Western delicacies. Rich coffee, eggs, fried cabbage, sausage, bacon, cucumbers, steamed dumplings, hare stew. Some items sampled, most not. After their travail, the infantry is only minutes late coming down, but they miss the breakfast. We have our bags in the van and waiting for them out front. [Read more…]

Boondoggle

What were you doing thirteen years ago today? Thanks to Vic Socotra, I can answer that in detail. Vic penned a series of stories about a Congressional trip to Asia when I was the Congressional liaison officer in charge of the trip, and he, a “strap-hanger.” Vic’s words bring back great memories for me and hopefully will be of interest to you. So please, join me for a three-part series and enjoy this prolific writer’s wit and storytelling skills.

07 January 2001

Congressional Delegation Dorn, Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 9, 2001

Congressional Delegation Dorn, Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 9, 2001

Boondoggle

by Vic Socotra

The term “Boondoggle” is derived from the Middle English “boon,” or pleasant flavor, and “doggle,” or pack of slavering wolves.

I am leaving on a boondoggle tomorrow. This is a boondoggle of the Congressional variety, arguably one of the spectacular of the breed. The term is normally used disparagingly by co-workers.

“Oh,” they will say. “You are off on a boondoggle.” The clear connotation is that you are shirking work, frittering away the taxpayers’ money, and generally tip-toeing the line of propriety. I’ll grant you there is some basis to that thesis.

I will not deny that you get free headsets on the jet. [Read more…]

Words of Encouragement

Valerie Ormond Believing In HorsesI opened my LinkedIn messages last week and found a thoughtful, professional recommendation from a colleague about my Navy life, my writing, and Believing in Horses.

I have known this colleague, Joe, for over 20 years. He was one of my senior officers in the Navy. Joe is the kind of guy who asks how you are doing, waits to hear the answer, and truly cares what you have to say. He is a gentleman, a strategic thinker, and a prolific writer. He can be counted on as the guy in a room who will be the first one to stand up and ask a question during that awkward silence while a speaker is waiting for someone to do so. And Joe asks the hard questions everyone else in the audience wants to know the answers to also. I’ve always had great respect for Joe. [Read more…]

It’s Not Just a Job

NWVSB

When I joined the military, the Navy’s recruiting slogan was “It’s not just a job; it’s an adventure.” I lived that adventure for 25 years and experienced more than I ever imagined. And now, the adventure continues.

A few months ago I received an e-mail from a former “shipmate,” Linda Maloney, asking if I was interested in becoming a member of a new speakers bureau comprised of female veterans. Linda and I had served together in Air Wing ELEVEN onboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72). We were among the first women deployed on combatant aircraft carriers. Being the first at anything presents challenges, and both challenges and deployments create special bonds. [Read more…]

For You. For Your Horse. From Love.

Today I’d like to bring you a guest post by Nick McFarland from the United Kingdom who explains to us how he became involved in the horse industry. Nick is the owner of HM Equestrian, a retailer: “For You. For Your Horse.” Please join me in welcoming Nick and hearing his story.

In November 2012, I started HM Equestrian, a business built on a family love of horses. But people frequently ask, how did we get here?

Two of Nick McFarland’s horses. McFarland’s love of animals and his family helped drive his business decision.

Well, I first got into all things equestrian through the love of animals and a desire to spend time with my daughter. As a single father, I wanted a common hobby, so we could have a reason to spend time together.With this in mind, and no previous experience of horse ownership, we went out and bought our first horse…who turned out to be pregnant! So after only five months of horse ownership, our first foal was born. Suffice to say this was a very steep learning curve for the entire family. But those first few months of looking after a foal and his mum taught us a huge amount about horses and the way they think. [Read more…]