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De Ja Vue

June 1, 2017

I don’t speak French so hopefully that is the correct spelling.

This time last year I was anxiously awaiting news on a job I thought I was a shoe-in for and I convinced the Chief that an 8 year-old borzoi NEEDED me to adopt her.

Long story short, my current position (not the one I had applied for in May) is being eliminated as the school no longer meets the requirements for the federal funding. Yesterday I just got word that the other position is coming open again. I am definitely jumping at the chance. I’m not sure how the whole transfer thing works but I was told that every effort would be made to secure a new position. Hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, this will work this time.

Second, someone posted pictures of a new foster greyhound on the group FaceBook page. He is adorable. Yes, I said HE. A big goofy 4 year old male. I brought T1 in to see his pictures and she agreed–we should try to get him or another male. I pretty much submitted my application that moment, same as last year. The Chief is just laughing at me. A male. And he should be going back to sea before he has a chance to train this one and get him integrated into the pack with Simi-Ruthie (borzoi) and Hedwig (greyhound).

I know. We just lost Crookshanks at the end of March. Is it too soon? Simi and Hedwig are finally getting along. Simi still has issues. Are we upsetting the delicate balance by bringing in another dog? We definitely can’t get another female who might challenge Simi for alpha status.

I have never had a male dog before. I’m excited.

De Ja Vue. Nerve-wracking. Exciting. Stressful. Impatient. I am all those things.

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Convocation

May 25, 2017

For the first time, the Chief has been asked to attend the convocation ceremony at a local high school to present a welcome certificate to a graduating senior who will be attending USMMA in the summer. Maybe he’s been asked before but he’s never been home this time of year (which doesn’t bode well for him being home next May/June for T1’s graduating season).

It’s a good thing he has his new khaki uniform and shoulder boards. I thought he looked rather handsome this morning. When I asked if I could take his picture he said “No.” Bummer.

The Chief also took it upon himself to find a USMMA challenge coin to present to the future midshipman.

A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion (usually military), bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. Traditionally, they are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. In addition, they are also collected by service members. In practice, challenge coins are normally presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit. They are also exchanged in recognition of visits to an organization.[1]

T1 actually has a classmate that hopes to be appointed to USMMA next year. I think it would be so cool if the Chief was the one to present to him as well. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the Chief will even be home for T1!

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Reading Across America

May 24, 2017

At my new job there are various committees… one being Read Across America Day/Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (March 2nd). About three days before this fun event the committee met. I was just an interested party, not really a committee member. (Come to think of it, I haven’t been assigned to any committees yet…)

I came up with the grand idea to “Read” across America by finding a native-born children’s author from each of the 50 states and Washington, DC. Grand is the word. Little did I know what a monumental task this would be and not something I could just bang out in a day or two.

Over the course of most of March and April I searched and searched–mainly Famous Birthdays and Wikipedia, followed by Amazon. Four states: Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Nevada had no readily available children’s authors born in their respective states. Arizona could a least claim the late great Barbara Park–author of the Junie B. Jones series–as having lived and died in Arizona.

I created and had laminated small posters with the state name, author, outline of the state (free from www.theus50.com), and an image of the book cover either from Amazon, Wikipedia, or the author’s website. I also created a blog. I hope to review all the books either myself or by students. I also hope someone from Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Nevada will find my humble blog and let me know about their children’s book.

I also hope that authors of minorities and different genres chime in. I was a little worried it would be a list of “old, dead, white guys.” And sometimes those old, dead white guys weren’t without controversy: Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus, for example; he brought African American stories to the general public but he was white. (Ultimately, he was not included for the state of Georgia.) I did find some variety–graphic novels (El Deafo by CeCe Bell), poetry, Native American (Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story by N. Scott Momaday), biography (Rosa Parks by Eloise Greenfield), classics (Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder), and modern favorites (Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan).

Sadly, no merchant mariner books and authors were “famous” enough to pop up. Maybe that will be my next project!

I hope you enjoy this new blog!

Reading Across America Blog

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National Maritime Day 2017

May 22, 2017

The Chief is home so his company asked him to attending a Maritime Day ceremony, meetings, and an awards dinner tonight. I would have loved to go with him but alas as a full-time teacher I am doing standards of learning testing today. The Chief will miss T2’s band concert tonight too. 😦

NATIONAL MARITIME DAY (May 22)

Our nation has a little-known national holiday this week: National Maritime Day—a day set aside to honor those civilians who gave their lives for freedom upon the high seas. Because members of the U.S.-flagged Merchant Marine are civilians, most Memorial Day celebrations only give cursory mention of these heroes. As a result, National Maritime Day is their day.

Established by a joint resolution of Congress on May 20, 1933, National Maritime Day is May 22 of each year. The day was selected to honor the first successful trans-Atlantic crossing by a steamship, S.S. Savannah, which set sail from the United States on May 22, 1819. The president of the United States issues a proclamation each year, calling for observance of the holiday. Each U.S.-flagged vessel is sent the proclamation, acknowledging the continued service of the men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine. On April 4, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation adding that observances of National Maritime Day include flying the American flag on homes and all government buildings.

The U.S. Maritime Administration, a branch of the Department of Transportation, holds a memorial service—the only national memorial service that honors those American seafarers who lost their lives in service to their country. American seafarers have been involved in defense of the nation since 1776 to the present. In World War II alone, over 1,000* American vessels were sunk, and over 9,500** merchant seamen and officers were lost as a result of enemy action and war-related causes. Members of Congress, leaders from maritime labor and management, and government all participate in this memorial service.

*A Careless Word — a Needless Sinking: A History of the Staggering Losses Suffered by the U.S. Merchant Marine, both in Ships and Personnel, during World War II, American Merchant Marine Museum, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., 1983 to 1998. Captain Moore’s book lists approx. 990 ships. http://www.usmm.org list includes 1,600 ships.

**Total killed at sea, POW killed, plus died from wounds ashore

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., sends an honor guard and the academy’s Battle Standard to participate in the Memorial Service. USMMA lost 144 midshipmen in World War II. Since the academy’s founding in 1943, midshipmen have been involved in every major military action, including today’s war on terror. This makes the academy unique among the nation’s five service academies.

The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command holds a wreath-laying ceremony also on National Maritime Day. The ceremony honors the civilian seafarers who gave their lives manning U.S. Navy vessels involved in the transport of vital supplies. It also honors the Navy Armed Guards who sailed on merchant vessels, an oft-overlooked group of servicemen.

Civilian seafarers helped to build and defend the United States. Fredericksburg began as a colonial shipping port. Shipping commerce is vital to our country’s economy. In time of war gallant seafarers have come to the aid of our armed services—delivering troops, equipment, and food, often putting themselves in grave and mortal danger. As we celebrate Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day, please remember those who served along with our Soldiers, Pilots, Sailors, and Marines. And fly the flag proudly on May 22 each year in observance of National Maritime Day.

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Merchant Mariners do not automatically have veteran status. In fact the Secretary of the Air Force (not even its own branch of service until after WWII) blocked granting veteran status and rights four times!

From usmm.org:

The judge ordered the Board to reconsider their denial and the Board granted veteran status to most WWII mariners on January 19, 1988. Mariners who went to sea after August 15, 1945, serving in wartime in hazardous waters, got veteran status on November 11, 1998.

One of the arguments against granting status is the civilian nature of their job. “They get paid more.” One argument for veteran status is the hazardous conditions of war time seafaring and the disproportionate casualties the merchant marine suffered during WWI and between Aug. 1945 and Dec. 1946 (as well as other conflicts such as Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf Wars).

 

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