Wish I could’ve gone….

In June, 2009, 5 months before my brother got sick and lost his life (for the whole story about this, click here), he went to Hawaii for a vacation he had fully paid for months before.  Even though he and my former sister-in-law had separated in February, he didn’t want to let his money go to waist.  At first he asked me if I wanted to go with him, but due to work, I had to decline.  So, he did what he thought would be the “proper” thing to do, he asked his “wife” if she still wanted to go, though it would not be a romantic trip, more of a sight seeing one.

While they were there, my brother took a few hundred pictures and videos, and a few weeks later posted most of them on Flickr.com.  His pictures varied between sunsets, sun rises, beach views, and a few from a volcano.  He only included one picture of his “wife,” a shot taken at least 20 feet away, with her back turned to him…

At the time he was using a more expensive and advanced camera than I had.  But he did acknowledge that I was the better photographer in the family…

Here are some of my favorite shots he took, I “touched them up” with Photoshop…:

a beautiful sunset

a beautiful sunset

sun setting in Maui

sun setting in Maui

another sunset in Maui

another sunset in Maui

ocean view from the Westin Maui

ocean view from the Westin Maui

sunrise as seen from on top of Haleakalā

sunrise as seen from on top of Haleakalā

"waterfall" at the Polynesian Cultural Center

“waterfall” at the Polynesian Cultural Center

One of the things that I was always jealous of, was that he got to travel a lot for his job.  He got to go oversees a few times, along with many cities around the U.S.  The tip of the iceberg was the conferences he went to that were held in Orlando, Florida.  He took lots of pictures on those trips too, even posted them on Flickr as well, but a “certain someone” took all of those down.

Anyways…I’m pretty sure he would be impressed with how my photography has evolved over the last 3 and a half years since he’s been gone…  I just wish he could be here to see it himself…

so I ask:

HOW YOU DOIN???

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You’re a Civilian Now!

Friday, April 5th was the last day I had off for spring break, as school is back on the 8th.  So, how did I celebrate my “last day of freedom?”  I woke up at 4am…

I proceeded to feed my cats (extra early than usual), jumped in the shower, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, shaved, and put on a suit.  I left the house a little after 6, drove down to Hawthorne, picked up a friend from high school and we headed down to the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center in San Diego where our other friend from high school was retiring after a 20 year career in the Navy.

He served on 4 different ships, along with another 5 assignments, and took time to earn a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  In one deployment, to the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean, he took part in the seizure of 3 boats that were transporting 13 tons of cocaine and 70 bails of marijuana.  He climbed the ranks up to Lieutenant Commander, earned numerous medals and awards, and decided after 20 years he wanted to spend more time with his wife and daughter.

It took us about 1 1/2 hours to get down to San Diego from Los Angeles, luckily the traffic was pretty light and I was able to stay at 65 mph most of the time.  When we drove up to the gate, I handed the soldier my invitation, and gave him our names.  He checked the list, and told us that we were in the section of the list of people not to be allowed on base.  I responded, “you wish,” while smiling.  He returned the smile, realizing I wasn’t falling for it, and told us to enjoy the day.

the ceremony was held outside, and the reception was held inside.

the ceremony was held outside, and the reception was held inside.

since we made good time driving down, we were basically the first guests there, aside from some of the soldiers.

since we made good time driving down, we were basically the first guests there, aside from some of the soldiers.  The weather was overcast and kind of blocked out the bay and Downtown San Diego.

the Color Guard was practicing their steps and were more than to pose for a picture.

the Color Guard was practicing their steps and were more than happy to pose for a picture.

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as we were waiting for the ceremony to start, a few ships and helicopters sailed/flew by, either on exercises or patrolling the bay...

before and during the ceremony, a few Navy vessels and helicopters sailed/flew by.  I assume they were patrolling the bay.

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I had to zoom in as the boats were on the other side of the bay.

I had to zoom in as the boats were on the other side of the bay.

officers lined up as our friend and his superiors prepared to enter.  Yes, those are real shells lining the carpet., I had to ask...

officers lined up as our friend and his superiors prepared to enter. Yes, those are real shells lining the carpet., I had to ask…

preparing to take his final walk as a Navy officer to become a civilian...

preparing to take his final walk as a Navy officer to become a civilian…

For his 20 years of service, our friend was given a case holding all the medals he earned, along with an American flag that had just recently flow over the Battleship Arizona in Hawaii.  He was also presented with certificates of appreciation from President Obama and California Governor Brown.  What really impressed me was that his commanding officer also gave certificates to his wife and daughter, for their support and understanding as a Navy wife and daughter.

If you know anyone who is currently serving or has done so in the past, thank them…

HOW YOU DOIN???