Quick Summary of whats happening these last 3 days!

The day I got here I was met outside by some hootin' and hollerin' (my fan club) mostly just by 'deckie/officer' friends that I already know (ok, so maybe it was only 2 people that recognized me while they were outside loading cargo).  Probably Jan (Dutch pronounced yawn) and Rodrigo (Brazilian) and was greeted inside by a few others that I knew.  Everybody was still very busy getting things done because they moved the ship to downtown Blyth a half hour after I got there...which was nice because where we were was just dock and soot everywhere.
I got my loads of paperwork filled out, explained, and/or oriented (the usual hassle that I will skip explaining the rest).  Rob Miller helped carry all my stuff to the room why his wife Denise got my stuff taken care of there at the reception.
There was quite a bit of 'catching up', chatting, and meeting new people before I ever got to my room...and then after I saw it I went to explore the kitchen and met a few more people.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to get a vague orientation of how the kitchen/galley was set up and then walked around the ship with various people while they talked and showed me things.  I got to see Isabella (which you have probably saw a picture of on my blog, Jan and Elizabeth's baby girl) and that was a treat because I have only seen her in pictures but know here parents real well.  There is plenty more to talk about on the personal level but let me go on to a general day 'run-down' to catch you up to speed.
I stayed up till late on the day I got here, May 2nd.  Thus staying awake for at least 36 hours straight.  Hard to sleep on planes that don't really account for your legs if you are over 5'8" tall?  But that (staying up late) helped me get my sleeping schedule straightened out and I was up early the next morning for devo's and meeting time...I then moved right into lunch which is pretty basic right now.  It is a lot of prepared sandwich meat and cheeses, salad 'stuff', and a fresh made soup right now, later I am not sure what the format will be like.  Dinner was Shrimp fettuccine Alfredo with mixed vegetables.  I made fresh rolls and bread for dinner, both white and wheat.  Audry (lady that is Chief Cook right now) was happy to let me pick what I wanted to do and has been a joy to work with (probably because she lets me do what I want, hahaha!).  Plus she is able to get some sleeping in and hours off since I have been here.  Glen (Chief Steward) and his wife Pam are nice and fun to work with, Peter who will be taking over Glens position later is great too (I already knew him from the IOC).  As far as I can tell right now its just Audry, Pam (Glen's wife), and I doing the cooking and/or meals with some people working in Pantry/Dining room.  But right now the count is low, 160 people?  But you can still see why there's not much room for time off.
So Friday morning I was up at 4am making fresh cinnamon rolls just trying to give the crew a 'treat' before getting the ship all ready to sail.  Then we had a big meeting (typical before sailing) safety instructions, rules, prayer, singing, etc...like a devotional, ship sailing instructions, and the latest 'word' on anything rolled all into one.
Used the mixed veggies from dinner night before and left over Alfredo sauce to make a cream of vegetable (went over quite well, it was all gone) just adding in some chicken stock and seasoning to finish it off.  I did a chicken breast (that was brined), stir-fried rice, and vegetable for dinner with a nice Thai Peanut Sauce.  That went well too...having to finish off the meal with some mashed potatoes after the rice disappeared.  I must say that in between getting some much deserved rest Audry did the stir-fried rice and vegetables...I am not trying take all the credit, I have just been enjoying being able to do the meals and menu's.  I will not officially come as Chief Cook till January...I am just helping out for the Maiden Voyage this time.
The kitchen has some great new equipment but it is quite a change because it is separated out more (not sure if I like it) and the new equipment takes some different pan sizes than I am used to cooking with,  For example:  Those big sheet trays that fit in most 'restaurant' style or commercial ovens do not fit inside of these.  For some reason we have a 'Blast Chiller' but somehow its not quite working right yet.  The ovens are pretty cool, cook by baking, steaming, or combination of both AND the rack that is in the oven rolls out of the oven unit, so like maybe after cooking ten pans of meat you could roll it all straight to the cooler at once, or prepare all the meat at once and roll it right into the oven door close it (which seals) and start cooking...and of course all methods of cooking are convection (or to put it simpler; has fans to circulate the hot air or steam in it).
BUT everything is new or fairly new (yes, even including some of the sinks and stainless steel walls).  So there are systems to work out and put in place,routines, more stuff from the Anastasis coming on, etc...
I spent some time in our four freezers, coolers, and dry storage areas down below in the ship getting supplies and trying to 'size up' the organization and placement of stores for future reference (makes work easier too) so I won't be running around for more days than I have to looking for everything.
In between all this we had some fire, boat, and other assorted drills...sailing off from Blyth...and several pre-warnings on the fire system from units in the galley (there are still some issues to work out in the galley fire sensors/detectors)...and earlier this evening they played a movie in the international lounge tonight (forgot what it was, didn't go see it because I was trying to do some blogging/email).
Ahhh, really to much to type at this point, and I am severely tired...
I forgot how much I miss sailing and how much it makes me sleep good...but I have to say I miss my wife more!
Oh yeah, just for point of reference I am 7 hours ahead of central time in the U.S. so if its 1pm your time in the Central Time Zone, then it is 8pm for me.  I think my blog times are still posting at Central Time Zone too...so figure out when I wrote this!

...cook, chef, culinary sponge, traveler, volunteer, missionary.