Archive for May, 2014


Let’s Not Forget The Merchant Marine on Memorial Day, OK?

May 26, 2014

Let’s Not Forget The Merchant Marine on Memorial Day, OK?.


Thank you, Enchanted Seashells, for this reminder of the oft overlooked sacrifices of the Merchant Marine. Couldn’t have said it better.

I would be interested in seeing current data on civilian ships used in conflict today. I know that the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is the ONLY federal military academy to have students (midshipmen) in war zones during its entire history, up to and including the present.


National Maritime Day 2014

May 22, 2014

One of these days, I’d like to get back up to DC or Maryland to celebrate the way I did before children… or even when we toured the N.S. Savannah 6 years ago. But that just wasn’t going to happen for us this year. Ran a 5K on Sunday so that meant no trips and it is a little harder to justify taking the children out of school now (T1 had a standardized test today). So here is the official Presidential proclamation for National Maritime Day 2014. In finding it on the internet I did discover than World Maritime Day is the last Thursday of September (Sept. 25, 2014) and has been a U.N. I.M.O. observance since 1990.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Proclamation — National Maritime Day, 2014



– – – – – – –



America’s open seas have long been a source of prosperity and strength, and since before our Nation’s founding, the men and women of the United States Merchant Marine have defended them. From securing Atlantic routes during the naval battles of the Revolutionary War to supplying our Armed Forces around the world in the 21st century and delivering American goods to overseas markets in times of peace, they have always played a vital role in our Nation’s success. During National Maritime Day, we celebrate this proud history and salute the mariners who have safeguarded our way of life.

Today’s Merchant Marine upholds its generations-long role as our “fourth arm of defense.” Yet they also go beyond this mission, transporting food where there is hunger and carrying much-needed supplies to those in distress. Thanks to our dedicated mariners, people around the world continue to see the American flag as a symbol of hope.

To create middle-class jobs and maintain our leading position in an ever-changing world, we must provide new marketplaces for our businesses to compete. As we expand commerce, we do so with confidence that the United States Merchant Marine will keep our supply lines secure. Because just as America’s workers and innovators can rise to any challenge, our mariners have demonstrated time and again that they can meet any test. Today, let us reaffirm our support for their essential mission.

The Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 20, 1933, has designated May 22 of each year as “National Maritime Day,” and has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation calling for its appropriate observance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 22, 2014, as National Maritime Day. I call upon the people of the United States to mark this observance and to display the flag of the United States at their homes and in their communities. I also request that all ships sailing under the American flag dress ship on that day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


Related Articles: N.S. Savannah

Maritime Day


E.o.t.T.: I DID IT!

May 18, 2014
"But wait, Let me take a Selfie" Before and After

“But wait, Let me take a Selfie” Before and After

4 AM and I can’t sleep anymore. I went to bed at 10:30 so the almost 6 hours of sleep is pretty much what I get each night. For once I didn’t try to go back to sleep, knowing if I cat-napped I could wake up even more tired.

5:20 AM I start to get the rest of the family up. I’m showered and I grab some breakfast biscuits and a protein shake. I begin to roll out and stretch. I use the monster band my trainer loaned me to stretch my Achilles and calf muscles, hoping to prevent inflammation.

5:52 AM we drive to downtown and see all the road closures gearing up for the big event. The Chief pulls over and I hop out considering the new traffic patterns. He still has to drop off the girls and then get out of the downtown area to park near the finish line.

6:30 AM It is a chilly morning, about 55 degrees, but I will take it. The 90 degree days the week before had me concerned … I learned I really can’t run in temperatures over 73 degrees. My four friends from childhood find me in the bathroom line. They got me a Captain America head band (because they thought it was Wonder Woman–no joking) but it is the thought that counts. I wear it proudly.

6:50 AM Time for pictures and selfies

6:55 AM Marine Corps Color Guard and National Anthem

7 AM Shot gun start

It was hard to estimate the size of the crowd running the 5K. Official numbers are about 750.

If I would change anything, I would have waited at the back of the crowd because it was almost impossible to start–practically tripping over people who were also struggling or who had chosen to walk. I lost a little time but not much.

I have to dig deep. I had been training for this. 8 weeks of slowly building up to not only running the full 5k but conquering the two notorious hills in the first two miles. I had only gotten up both without stopping once and in the rain. I had completed a 5k just 10 days before with mild hills in 34 minutes so I set a goal for these killer hills of 33-36 minutes.

I left two friends behind. Two others ran with me for a bit. One passed me and I passed the other. I thought about trying to keep up with her but the fear of burning out early on the hills–which she had no idea about–made me stick to my plan and run solo.

I made it up the first, long gradual hill. I grabbed a quick cup of Gatorade and managed one sip before spilling most of it on me.

There was a lady in front of me with neon teal shoes. I matched her pace stride for stride about 4 feet behind her. Could I make it up the second gruelling hill without stopping? Then my tunes changed: first, Glorious Day by Casting Crowns. Not exactly the fastest song to run to but inspiring nonetheless. Then as I was cresting the hill over the highway, God’s Not Dead by the Newsboys.

Thank you, God.

Seriously, my playlist was on shuffle and these were the only two religious songs on it. Anything could have played: Gimme, Gimme, Gimme or Bang a Gong … but these two songs play on the toughest part of the hill. More than a coincidence in my book.

My pacer started to slow down and I knew I needed to crest the hill and take it all the way to the end. I passed her and dug a little deeper. Two ladder trucks had the American Flag suspended over the runners just before they rounded the corner for the final 1.1 miles. Pretty inspiring.

I found the Chief, his brother and the girlfriend standing on the grassy area by the last major intersection before the home stretch. I pumped my fists up in the air. It was the best having Chief there to see me complete something that doesn’t come easy. The Chief started yelling for me to take off my headphones: “Your song! Your song!”

Eye of the Tiger! Playing by the area DJ stationed near the finishing stretch.

I was supposed to find someone ahead of me to try to pass, to push myself to the end. The field was a little wide and I wasn’t sure I could catch anyone. If only I had known my one friend was less than a minute ahead of me. UGH.

My stopwatch read 35:05. I did it and I didn’t walk a single step on my first 5k with hills. And not just any hills.

Official time: 35:03. In my age bracket I am #30 out of 112 (40-49 year-olds). Of my actual age (40) there seem to be only 12 of us and I’m 7th; 4th female.

My friend beat me by less than a minute. Her time was actually the same as my Turkey Trot results which is a flat course. So I guess I should be pretty impressed that with killer hills I only slowed down by less than a minute. If I was faster with mild hills I’m sure with no hills my pace is a bit faster than it used to be.

The Chief thinks it is funny I keep muttering, “I can’t believe L beat me.” In my defense I just discovered she is 5–FIVE–years younger than me. The rest of the friends, also all younger than me, came in behind us.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



She Did It!

May 15, 2014
T1 Accepts!

T1 Accepts!

After months of applying, testing, writing, creating a stand-out project on “Fewtering”, interviewing in garb and with Crookshanks in tow, the long-awaited letter arrived last Saturday. Ear-splitting squeals of delight rang out.

T1 has been accepted to an alternative, fast-paced, duel-enrollment academically challenging high school program. Words can’t even begin to describe how proud we are.

As a family, because the Chief got home on Mother’s Day, we discussed this honor and achievement and all the pros and cons of accepting enrollment into the program.

The Chief was never sold on the program. We’ve heard so many different things and the only thing we know is that there is no middle ground–either your child thrives under the pressure or they end up dropping out with ulcers; either your child can handle both the academic rigors and can have extra curricular activities or they struggle under hours of homework and give up all semblance of a social life.

What kind of student would T1 be? Academically grade-wise she is the Chief, a future engineer in the making. But let’s be honest, who are we kidding? She is my emotional clone. Does she have the skills to get herself organized and not crack? I had those skills because we learned to write at earlier ages (it has taken her 7th and 8th grade English teachers to get her to a competency I’m please with and the rest were useless!) and we knew how to multitask because we took 7 classes a day … block scheduling gives more instruction time and less homework so children today have no idea how to handle homework and multiple projects.

If she survives the program she could begin college as a sophomore. But would she have time to participate in an amazing engineering internship at a nearby facility … real-world experience cannot be taught in the classroom and can be priceless for her future career… ?

So the Chief asked her, “Who chose to apply?” And her answer was, “Me.” We didn’t push her, and in fact even then we were hesitant but we said, “You can’t get in if you don’t apply. We’ll make the decision when the time comes.”

I forgot my tunes for my training run on Monday, so I spent the time in prayer. I had a lot to think about. I had announced her letter to the world and so the grandparents all called. I talked a long time to my mother about our concerns. And she agreed with me.

On Monday I thought about that. I thought about living in fear. My mother is a very fearful person. And let’s just say that when my mother told me she was afraid of big dogs I said, “Well then, I’m going to go out and find the biggest German shepherd I can.” (And that’s how we got Chewbacca the Mutt.) I am concerned for T1, afraid she will fail and have ulcers. Heck I’m afraid she’s going to never leave home and become a hoarder too.

Am I becoming my mother and trying to tell T1 what to do based on my fears?

As I ran (and I hate running) I thought, “If she never tries then she’s failed already. And if I don’t trust God, then I’ve failed her. Because even if she does struggle and maybe even fail, I still need to trust that God has a purpose for even that struggle or failure … and she needs to find the purpose God has planned for her. For her life.”

I need to show her my trust, not my fear.

The Chief spoke with her and they made a deal: there is nothing to say she couldn’t try it for a year and if the struggle is too much, no harm no foul if she drops back into the advance course program at her base school. But she has to give the whole year a shot, no dropping out early.

We asked her to think long and hard, and to pray for guidance, and to tell us on Wednesday her decision.

Today I dropped off her acceptance for enrollment letter. Hey, I have trust issues and well, I don’t trust snail mail to get it in my the deadline of the 16th.

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