Saturday, July 14, 2012

Whiskers and his first professional session as a cat model.

Here we have Whiskers perfectly posed in the sunlight, stretching out to let the sun bathe him ...all of him!! 

 Sandy decided that she too was model material.  Sadly, Sandy, today is kitty picture day.  Hounds will be photographed later and there will be frisbees!
 A close up of this cute and cuddly large ball of fur, and when I say large, I do mean large!
 Can't be bothered by the photographer. I think he heard me call him large....
 Whiskers has made  his own spot on the new sofa, where the sun is JUST right, there isn't a draft in the winter or the summer and he can ignore everyone equally in the room!

Fourth of July 2012

Very rarely are we all together on the 4th of July to celebrate America's birthday!  Here we live in one of the 13 colonies and we need to celebrate it!  I gathered up my men folk and we went to the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth to watch the fireworks!

Here we are with our camp chairs on the lawn of the Naval Hospital. A perfect place to go!  It isn't too crowded, traffic wasn't bad at all and we didn't have to stake out a place for hours and hours to get a good spot for the show!

Here we are looking over the harbor to Norfolk.

 We are really close to the water and looking towards the Portsmouth side of the water where some ships are in one of the many shipyards here in the area.
 Ian, John and Arrick all ready for the fireworks show! Can see the excitement on their faces???
                                        A pretty skyline...waiting for the show to begin!
 The Moonrise!  It was so beautiful as it began its ascent.  Those lights are from the shipyard.
                                               The moon and a ship with the lights...
                                                      ....and the fireworks begin!!!

     Ian setting off after a good breakfast to Fairfax to work at the University for 3 weeks!

Our Outings and Events!

Spring came quickly here in Virginia!  In early May, Joe and Rachel Birdwell came to town for Rachel's commencement exercises. She received  her Master's Degree!  Joe is John's nephew and unfortunately, John was at sea and Ian wasn't home from school yet.  Arrick and I enjoyed meeting Joe and Rachel as well as Rachel's Parents.  Hope to spend some more time with them soon!

 Early June marks the annual Native American Powwow that takes place in Chesapeake.
                                Dancers in the circle.  Such beautiful regalia there that day!!
                                                         A hawk getting some lovin'.
 It was fun to see the  regalia people wore that day.  We have quite a large population of Native Americans in our area and it was nice to see them celebrate their heritage.
 One Saturday, John, Ian and I took a road trip to Petersburg, VA.  It's about an hour and a half from our house.  We're always looking to see places of  historical interest!!
 We found the point where the Union Army dug in and fired on Petersburg.   Farms were uprooted and there were quite a few of the earthworks still there.  Though worn down over the years by time and weather, it was  humbling to see where so many fought for their beliefs.
 Ian and John taking a walk to some more of the earthworks. It was pretty dang hot that day too. 
                                                    Powder magazine dug into the earth.
 The National park recreated one of the cannon placements so we can imagine what that hill must have looked like.
 Chimney of a homestead of long ago.  The tall grass represents where the confederates defensive line was. 
 Again, the confederate defensive line....
              some old warehouses in downtown Petersburg,, that are now lofts condos. 
 More of downtown Petersburg, VA.  We didn't go into those shops, and I regret it. Next time!
 We stopped in for a tall ice tea and a sandwich. This was such a cute deli/micro brewery!
                                             More old buildings in downtown Petersburg~
 For my birthday one year, Dad and Jane got me a Magnolia Tree.  I LOVE magnolia trees.  They are so majestic and regal.  Their blossoms and so beautiful and fragrant.  They remind me of when we lived in New Orleans and we would go to City Park and walk beneath their ancient branches.  The humidity hanging in the air kept the fragrant blossoms scent close the earth.  So many wonderful memories.  Now I have my own and this is one of the blossoms I was able to photograph up close.  So beautiful!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Opsail 2012

Opsail 2012 is my favorite event! 
Operation Sail refers to a series of sailing events held to celebrate special occasions and features sailing vessels from around the world. Each event is coordinated by Operation Sail, Inc., a non-profit organization established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and must be approved by the United States Congress. Often referred to as OpSail or Op Sail, the event has the goals of promoting good will and cooperation between countries while providing sail training and celebrating maritime history. It is also sometimes erroneously referred to as "Tall Ships". While the tall ships form the centerpiece of the event, smaller sailing vessels also participate. Op Sail events, when scheduled, are run concurrently with the annual International Naval Review, which features present-day warships from various navies. Six Op Sail events have been held to date, in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, 2000 and 2012. The event culminates in the Parade of Ships on the Hudson River and in New York harbor on July 4, Independence Day. The United States Coast Guard cutter Eagle has been the host vessel to all six Op Sail events.

When Opsail was here in 2000, I took both boys and we walked our legs off but we went on so many tall ships and modern ships too!  This year when Opsail came to town, I was bound and determined to take in as much as I possibly could!  I dragged John and Ian with me and took the day off from work!
Just to warn you, there are many pictures!  I took some, Ian took some and well, I put the best ones on the blog!
I didn't take this picture, it was on Naval Station Norfolk's Facebook page.  I loved it though.  This is taken off Little Creek as the ships were coming into the Norfolk Harbor.

 The USS WASP, was the staging ship. VIP's were aboard to watch and salute all of the ships coming into the Norfolk's Harbor.  The USS WASP was also John's last Command in the Navy. He retired aboard the WASP in 1998! (and was glad he wasn't aboard for this event!)
 Two of the carriers in port for the moment.  Their flight decks would have made a perfect perch to watch the ships come in!  The IKE and the George H.W. Bush were in port that day!
 The Coast Guard ship, The Eagle
 John brought his binoculars.  Well, they broke on his trip home this time so Ian was using them as best as he could! ;)

 The WASP manning the rails in salute to the ships coming into port!

 We started our observation from the Naval Station Norfolk seawall at 9:30am.  About 11:30, we decided to head downtown to Norfolk Harbor to see the ships pull in and take in some of the festivities.  Ship parades move kind of slow...we had time! 

So, we boarded the Tide!!  Our new light rail in Norfolk.  It made going into the city SO much easier, no parking issues and we rode it to the different venues along the Norfolk harbor wall and the different locations Opsail had events and ships moored!

 What do we behold, but a German Frigate!  We had to go aboard! So we did, and  had a great view of more ships coming in!! 
 This is one of my favorites.  If you look closely, you can see their sailors, manning the yards!
 Love that all the boaters were escorting the ships into port.  It was just cool!

 Of course the frigate Hessen has  a bar on the helo deck, don't all frigates??? LOL
                                           John's beer.....He had to have one! But of course!

 Modern ships were available to tour as well.  We didn't go aboard these. I go aboard ships quite a bit with my job and of course, so does John! 
                              For our Canadian Family, I had to get a picture of their ship too! :)
 There were many displays from all of the services; Army, Navy, USMC and Coast Guard!  This Navy Diver and EOD display was pretty cool.  They of course, had a diver!  I was focusing to take this picture when the diver waved Ian and I over....

So we went! The diver and I played Tic tac toe...he  and he can write better backwards than I can!
 This event also commemorated the War of 1812. There were many re enactors from that time period around the event.  This trio were singing drinking songs! lol
                   This ship is from Mexico!!  It was so pretty!!  well they all were...

 Two Canadian ships...
 A Story teller, telling stories from the 1812 time period.
 This is a ship's surgeon...telling this young lady how to amputate limbs while at sea...
 These drummers were from Indonesia...I am not sure what the walrus represents but they were awesome!
                                               and they did tricks with their drums as well!

It was a fabulous day!  If you ever hear of Opsail coming to port, I encourage you to go!  As you hopefully read at the beginning of this blog entry, it doesn't happen very often!  It's an incredible event!!