Of our three children, only one lives near us. The other two children are in the US Navy and live where they are required. Currently that is near Baltimore (my oldest, a daughter) and near Charleston, SC (my son, the baby).
In December, we traveled to Charleston to attend our son's graduation from "A" school. He failed to disclose an important fact about the ceremony.
It's outdoors. The new students are there when we arrive using their ID badges to scrape ice from the chairs. Luckily I travel with a quilt I made.
It was also a very LONG graduation. Possibly longer than his high school graduation. Or maybe it only felt that way because my toes were numb and the chairs were not nearly as comfortable...or dry.
But it was worth it. He is in one of the hardest programs the Navy offers: Nuclear Engineering.
We have plans to stay the weekend and spend time with him and see Charleston. I have been here before but David hasn't. When I was here before it was August and I was pretty sure I would die of heatstroke (and I live in Texas so that's saying something). If you have to choose between August and December, take December.
Many of the places we visited were repeats for me but my boys seemed to have a good time.
On the USS Clamagore submarine. Blake is really tall so it is probably best that he is choosing to skip submarine duty.
The Captain and his...
First Mate. This is more like Gilligan and the Skipper if you ask me.
We had shirts made one Christmas to show who was My Master and My Apprentice. Note that Blake is wearing the same hat in these photos. I bought him that hat at Coyote Ugly in San Antonio in 2005. I think it was $20 well spent.
I found this incredibly boring. The boys once again managed to entertain themselves and each other.
Manning the cannon. These are the G-Rated cannon pictures.
I am pretty sure he shouldn't be standing there and with his hand on the barrel when he yells Fire!
Contemplating his actions? Blake always was a sensitive guy.
Christmas Parade of Boats
This image is a little blurry (David's camera isn't meant for this shot in the dark) but you get the idea. Decorated boats paraded around the harbor.
It was cold. Paul Bunyan there even has his top button buttoned.
Proof I was on the trip.
A Historic Charleston Cemetery
Definitely the deep south when you see Rebel flags in the cemetery in 2011. Blake mentioned wanting to learn more about photography so we walked around with my film cameras and shot some photos together.
My favorite shot that Blake took.
My favorite shot that I took.
The Charleston Crab House
I don't have any pictures of this but if you are ever in the area, I highly recommend it. We ate there at least 4 times over the weekend. I wanted David to try Shrimp & Grits, the Charleston specialty. He was a little resistant but we had BBQ Shrimp & Grits at this restaurant and he was sold. And as an aside, someone mentioned to me recently that they liked grits with sugar in them. It's not Cream of Wheat! You eat grits with butter and salt. Or with shrimp.
On to the Blackout
The Blackout actually has nothing to do with Charleston. It has to do with finding a connection with my son. Blake has a blog where he posts an original poem every day. This isn't an easy thing to do, to sit down and come up with something new every day but he has done it. I love that he is sticking to it and finding his own style. You can find a link above and on my Blogroll.
I also like to write poetry so I bought some magazines and books to send to him hoping to encourage him to keep going. One of the books was Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon. He took a sharpie to the New York Times and made poems out of the articles. This wasn't his original idea, others came before him but I knew about him because he recently spoke at the Dallas Museum of Art (I wanted to go but couldn't as I was traveling).
When I sent Blake the package, I sent him page 145 from the copy of Oliver Twist that David has (a totally random choice and I didn't cheat by looking at it first to make sure I liked it). The challenge was to create a blackout poem and send it back. I even sent him a self-addressed stamped envelope to keep the excuses to a minimum. We would both do the same page and see how different they came out. Here they are:
Cold gloomy Oliver
sat huddled with the dead.
Lonely, they walked on,
looking suddenly for life.
The fantastic shadow passed on
suddenly turning to light.
As you can see, he FREAKING ROCKS. I agree. I think his is really good. The only word that overlapped was "suddenly". Otherwise, they are totally different.
I am addicted to these. I see people at the airport doing Sudoku but I look at those numbers and think, I just don't care. But I love words. This is my Sudoku. On my trip to Omaha I completed 14 blackout poems. I will do a lot more in the future.
Blake has agreed to keep doing it with me. The plan is that we will trade sending the base text. He has something on the way to me and when I return my poem to him, I will return it with a new text for him to work with and so on. We can't be in the same place but that can't stop us from staying connected and I love that we are doing it on our own unique way.
Because one thing's for sure...Blake has always been unique.