Sunday, November 30, 2014

Aloha to California's Bay Area, Marine Mammal Center, and UC Berkeley's Campanile

My inlaws recently visited the California's Bay Area ... I share their photos with you.

The Marine Mammal Center is located in Sausalito. From its website (link),

Our mission is to expand knowledge about marine mammals—their health and that of their ocean environment—and to inspire their global conservation. Our core work is the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured marine mammals, supported by state-of-the-art animal care and research facilities, a corps of dedicated volunteers, and an engaged community.

The coastline is stunning.

My father-in-law attended UC-Berkeley.  Below is the Sather Tower (link),

Sather Tower, known to most as the Campanile, is perhaps UC Berkeley's most famous symbol. Visible for miles, it stands 307 feet tall and is the third tallest bell and clock-tower in the world. The observation platform, located 200 feet up, provides visitors with a spectacular view of the entire Bay Area and of the campus. It is reachable via the combination of an elevator and stairs. The Campanile was completed in 1914.

I can't imagine attending school on the bay ... I think it would be too distracting!

Have you visited California's Bay Area?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, December 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, December 7.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

My inlaws met this gorgeous cat at their friends' home.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Aloha to NYC - Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular


I traveled to NYC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade at this link.   Following the parade, Lisa and I walked north on Fifth Avenue, stopping in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

From its website (link),

The story of New York’s great cathedral mirrors the story of the city itself. Created to affirm the ascendance of religious freedom and tolerance, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in the democratic spirit, paid for not only by the contributions of thousands of poor immigrants but also by the largesse of 103 prominent citizens who pledged $1,000 each. St. Patrick’s Cathedral proves the maxim that no generation builds a cathedral. It is rather, a kind of ongoing conversation linking generations past, present and future.

The cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Cathedral was laid in 1858 and her doors swept open in 1879. It was over 150 years ago when Archbishop John Hughes announced his inspired ambition to build the “new” St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 

The cathedral is undergoing restoration.  Despite the scaffolding, inside and out, it remains a beacon to the city.

We stopped in FAO Schwartz.  This iconic toy store also offered holiday items. including The Wizard of Oz nutcrackers!

Walking south on Sixth Avenue, we arrived at our destination - Radio City Music Hall.

From Wikipedia (link),

The Rockettes are a precision dance company founded in 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri and since 1932 have performed out of Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York City. During the Christmas season, the Rockettes present five shows a day, seven days a week. Perhaps their best-known routine is an eye-high leg kick in perfect unison in a chorus line, which they include at the end of every performance. Their style of dance is a mixture of modern dance and classic ballet.

The Rockettes performed non stop for 90 minutes.  Their energy is inspiring.  The show ended with a live Nativity scene - it was awesome.  I recommend their show!

Across the street is NBC Studios and the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center.  We boarded our train at 9 pm for the three hour journey back to Baltimore.   Although it was a long day, I checked off two more items from my bucket list.  Thank you, Lisa, for a wonderful day!

Have you seen the Rockettes in person or on TV?  


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

I spotted these flowers in a local market where we stopped for hot chocolate.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Aloha to NYC - Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I spent Thanksgiving with my friend Lisa in NYC to enjoy two holiday icons - Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular.  Rest assured, I made reservations at the Fort Meade Officers' Club for my family to enjoy a turkey dinner. 

My family was still sleeping as I boarded my 0-dark-hundred train from the BWI (Lisa caught the train from DC's Union Station).

We thanked the NY National Guard for providing security at NYC's Penn Station.   We spent considerable time navigating the crowds and walking around the closed streets to find a spot along Sixth Avenue.   By the time we arrived, the parade had already started and the crowd was ten deep from the street. Lisa worked her way up to the curb as the snow flurries sent some families home.  I stayed back against a bank window with an overhang. Hence, my view was blocked ... but the balloons were still awesome!

I'm a fan of Hello Kitty ...

... and Paddington Bear.

Here's Finn and Jake from Adventure Time on Cartoon Network.

This fireman made me chuckle ...

... and I craved cookies from the Pillsbury Dough Boy!

My sons grew up with Pikachu ...

... the Red Power Ranger ...

 .... and Sponge Bob. 

Here's Virginia from "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" ...

... and Santa himself.

Have you watched the parade on TV ... or seen it in person?   Stay tuned for more pictures from NYC!


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Aloha to Annapolis

The United States Naval Acadmey is nestled in downtown Annapolis along its waterfront.  From Visit Annapolis (link),

If you're a history buff, Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay belong on your bucket list. A Museum without Walls, Annapolis served as our nation's first peacetime capital. Maryland's four signers of the Declaration of Independence had homes here, and you can visit three of those residencestoday. A walk down our brick-lined streets puts you in touch with four centuries of history and architecture. There are more 18th-century brick homes in Annapolis than any other city in the nation.

This colorful Bed & Breakfast caught my eye!

The Navy patrols the harbor.

Do you have a favorite harbor?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 22, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 23, at SOS Aloha.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Aloha to the United States Naval Academy

For Veterans Day, I drove my guests to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in historic Annapolis.  From its website (link),

Through the efforts of the Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, the Naval School was established without Congressional funding, at a 10-acre Army post named Fort Severn in Annapolis, Maryland, on October 10, 1845, with a class of 50 midshipmen and seven professors. The curriculum included mathematics and navigation, gunnery and steam, chemistry, English, natural philosophy, and French.

We joined the free tour for veterans ... our first stop brought us to Bill the Goat.  

Long before midshipmen began tossing the pigskin around the site of old Fort Severn, goats were an integral part of Navy life. Over 200 years ago, livestock was kept aboard some sea-going naval vessels to provide sailors with food, milk, eggs and, in some cases, pets.

It was not until 1893, however, that a live goat made his debut as a mascot at the fourth Army-Navy game. Again, it was young naval officers who supplied the mids with their sea-faring pet. The USS New York dropped anchor off Annapolis and the ship’s mascot, a goat bearing the name El Cid (The Chief), was brought ashore for the service clash. The West Pointers were defeated for the third time, and the midshipmen feted El Cid along with the team.

The Chapel Dome (left) overlooks the Commandant's House (right with green stripped awnings).

Walking to the midshipman dorm, we spotted a midshipman ...

... in front of the submarine memorial.

Have you visited any of the service academies?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 22, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 23, at SOS Aloha.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Aloha to Fort Myer, Arlington National Cemetary, and the USMC Memorial

The area surrounding the Pentagon, including Fort Myer, Henderson Hall, and Arlington National Cemetery, came from the Custis-Lee estate.  From Wikipedia (link),

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. During the American Civil War, the grounds of the mansion were selected as the site of Arlington National Cemetery, in part to ensure that Lee would never again be able to return to his home. However, the United States has since designated the mansion as a National Memorial to Lee, a mark of widespread respect for him in both the North and South. Arlington Woods, located behind Arlington House, contains the oldest and largest tract of climax eastern hardwood forest that still exists in Arlington County.

Fort Myer is home of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment - the Old Guard.  The Old Guard serves as the Honor Guard for ceremonies at Fort Myers' Old Post Chapel (I was married at the chapel).   Above is a photo of the Old Guard in the Arlington National Cemetery (Image by SMA Dunway, 2008, Public Domain).  

We walked from Fort Myer into Arlington National Cemetery and down to the "eteranl flame" to honor President John F. Kennedy, US Navy veteran.

Walking back to Fort Myer, we passed the head stone for General Abner Doubleday.  Notice the baseballs.   From (link)

Abner Doubleday (1819-1893) served as a Union general during the Civil War (1861-65). A native of New York, Doubleday graduated from West Point and served during the Mexican-American War (1846-48). In 1861 he was second-in-command at Fort Sumter, where he ordered the Union’s first shots of the Civil War in response to the bombardment by secessionist forces. Promoted to brigadier general in February 1862, Doubleday participated in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) and the Battle of Antietam later that year. Doubleday led a corps on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, and then served in administrative duty in Washington, D.C., for the rest of the conflict. After the Civil War Doubleday remained in the army and was stationed in California and Texas. He died in 1893 at the age of 73. Doubleday was popularly credited with inventing the game of baseball for many years, but this claim was later debunked.

We exited the east side of Fort Myer to the National Park with a famous sculpture - the United States Marine Corps (UMSC) War Memorial.  From the National Park Service (link),

On the morning of February 19, 1945, the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions invaded Iwo Jima after an ineffective 72-hour bombardment. The 28th Regiment of the 5th Division, was ordered to capture Mount Suribachi. They reached the base of the mountain on the afternoon of February 21 and, by nightfall the next day, had almost completely surrounded it. On the morning of February 23, Marines of Company E, 2nd Battalion, started the tortuous climb up the rough terrain to the top. At about 10:30 am men all over the island were thrilled by the sight of a small American flag flying from atop Mount Suribachi. That afternoon, when the slopes were clear of enemy resistance, a second, larger flag was raised by five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman: Sgt. Michael Strank, Cpl. Harlon H. Block, Pfc. Franklin R. Sousley, Pfc. Rene A. Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, and PhM. 2/c John H. Bradley, USN.

Have you visited any sites in Washington, DC?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 22, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 23, at SOS Aloha.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Memorial on Mout Suribachi (2003)
U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Bill Evans (Public Domain)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Aloha to the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial

Last Monday, a college friend served as our tour guide of the Pentagon.  I worked in the Pentagon from Jun4 1995 - July 1997 at the Single Agency Manager (SAM) for Information Technology Services (ITS).  My office reworked the the infrastructure during the Pentagon renovation - a renovation that would lessen the impact of the plane crash on September 11, 2001.   Above is the Pentagon from 1998 (Public Domain at this link).   

The plane crashed into the section to the left of the forward parking lot (the white concrete was a helicopter pad).  This section is now the Pentagon Memorial.  

Across from the Pentagon is the Air Force Memorial.  From its website (link),

The United States Air Force Memorial honors the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Air Force and its predecessor organizations, including the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps; the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; the Division of Military Aeronautics, Secretary of War; the Army Air Service; the U.S. Army Air Corps; and the U.S. Army Air Forces. More than 54,000 Airmen have died in combat while serving in the Air Force and these historical service arms of the military.

The Memorial itself is 270 feet high and appears to be soaring. Its array of arcs against the sky evokes a modern image of flight by jet and space vehicles. At the same time, it enshrines the past in permanent remembrance of the pioneers of flight who came before, and pays homage to those of the future.

Located on a promontory in Arlington, Virginia, overlooking the Pentagon and adjacent to Arlington Cemetery, the Air Force Memorial is easily seen on the skyline of Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia in Arlington county.

Above is the Washington Memorial.  Below is the "missing man" etching. 

What do you know about the Air Force?  Do you know any Air Force veterans ... other than me?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 22, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 23.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City