Friday, April 30, 2010

Two Hour Naval Base Cruise At Norfolk

Wednesday afternoon after the NARFE conference concluded Jack and I took a two hour cruise of the Norfolk city harbor and was able to see over 80 Navy ships plus commercial ships, a sailing ship that can be rented for cruises plus lots of tugboats and speedboats. The 8o some Navy ships in dock on Wednesday included destroyers, frigates, cruisers, aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships and one submarine.
Our tour boat, the Victory Rover, had a GPS system that allowed us to follow our journey around the harbor.

The grey domed building in the distance is the oldest naval hospital in the land. (You may need to click on the photo to bring it into view.

In this photo are the new naval medical buildings plus the old naval building. This complex of buildings makes up the largest naval medical complex in the whole world. (Again you may need to click on the photo to see the complex better.

Here is a pic of downtown Norfolk with the modern day sailing ship in the foreground. Later in the tour we saw this sailing ship heading out for a run with tourists.

The Norfolk harbor has ships being repaired in "drydock". The big white ship on the left is the Norwegian Cruise Line's Enchantment of the Seas that was getting a spring repair job in anticipation of the summer season of Caribbean cruises. It also was in port to meet the very thorough annual inspection of the U.S. Coast Guard. I find it interesting how they drive these ships up out of the water for repairs and painting of their hulls. The black material covering the hull is to help keep down dust from the repairs and to keep paint from smearing the work dock. The ship to the right is a Navy ship in for needed repairs.
Another view of the Enchantment of the Seas.
Above: two enormous Navy warships.
They have enormous price tags too!
Our guide pointed out that these can cost up to more than two billion dollars apiece!
See the two car ferries in this photo. On the side of each ferry it says Hawaii. These were very fast car ferries between the various Hawaiian Islands but they were recently required to cease operations because they were going so very fast that they were hitting and killing whales. The U.S. Navy might buy these ferries if they can find a use for them.

On the side of this cargo ship it says CMA CGM. Jack and I saw this same ship the day before coming into the harbor at VA Beach. It went cruising right by our hotel. See the blue ship cranes for lifting. Guess where they are made? Shanghai, China that's where. How come the good old USA can't make these? Your guess is as good as mine. I sure wish they made them along with a lot of other things like clothes, shoes, toys, housewares, cars, etc.

Here's another loaded container ship in the harbour. In the middle of the ship is a beige "building" that might be where the sailors live on board this ship.
More made in Shanghai, China ship cranes with lots and lots of colorful containers on the land. I wonder how many of these containers have merchandise headed to WalMart.
Our guide pointed out this 25 story office building at the marina. He told us to remember it when we get to the aircraft carriers in the harbor. He said that each aircraft carrier is 25 stories tall from flight deck to the very bottom of the ship.

Saved my best picture for last. There were two aircraft carriers docked in the harbor: the U.S.S. Harry Truman and the U.S.S. Enterprise. I believe the one in the above photo is the U.S.S. Enterprise. I hope you will click on this pic after I tell you some amazing facts about aircraft carriers.
Some Amazing Facts
1.The flight deck of a carrier is over 1000 feet long and with the width it covers over four and a half acres.
2. You could have four football games taking place on the flight deck at the same time with room to spare for spectators.
3. There are four massive airplane elevators that can bring up on the flight deck an airplane
within a matter of a few seconds.
4. Over 6000 sailors can be on board at once which means that over 18,000 meals must be prepared each day.
5. Each flight carrier is a complete city with restaurants, shops, libraries, medical hospital, fire department, maintenance shops, etc.

Skywatch Friday = VA Beach, VA = NARFE Conf. = Part III

Skywatch Friday = VA Beach, VA = NARFE Conf. = Part III
Newly Elected VFC President Bill Shakelford
Here at the podium is Bill Shakelford giving his remarks to the delegates and guests as our newly elected VFC president. Bill's federal career was spent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and he is a fairly new retiree. Bill will be a great president and I know my husband Jack will enjoy working with him. Let's all support our newly elected president for NARFE in Virginia----Bill Shakelford.

Skywatch Friday = VA Beach, VA = NARFE Conf. = Part II

Skywatch Firday = VA Beach, VA = NARFE Conf. = Part IIVirginia Beach Resort Hotel & Conference Center

2800 Shore Drive

Virginia Beach, Virginia

This is where the NARFE conference was held from Sunday to Wednesday of this week. Jack and I stayed on the top floor and from our balcony had a great view of all the ships cruising the bay near Fort Storey. Click on the above photo to see workmen on the scaffolding repairing the stucco and paint on the building. All of Virginia Beach, VA is sprucing up for the coming summer beach season.

This side of the Conference Center faces the bay head on. Monday night Jack and I attended a cocktail reception with heavy appetizers on the ground floor near the blue and white awning. When the evening rain shower blew in with some lightening and wind it was fun to watch the action on the bay

These very young and handsome marines were the Marine Color Guard that kicked off the NARFE conference. They were led by Sergeant Daniel Flippo and they were Detachment D from the Norfolk Naval Station.

This is a little out of focus but I still want to share this pic with all of you. Did you know that many states like Maryland have a specialty or vanity license plate that is for NARFE? The Virginia Federation of Chapters would like to follow the state of Maryland in this endeavor that would be a great marketing tool for NARFE. We will need 350 drivers to sign up to accomplish this.

The lady in red is Margaret Baptiste, who has been the National President of NARFE for the last four years. She is the widow of a federal employee. Spouses of federal employees can belong to NARFE and can run for any office in NARFE since they are entitled recipients of spousal earnings. Margaret has been a great role model for women in this regard and has also revitalized NARFE at the national headquaters in Washington D.C. Also more has been accomplished in the last four years than in the previous 17 years due to Margaret Baptiste's leadership. Good job, Margaret Baptiste! But since the national president can only serve two consecutive terms there will be a new national president chosen later this year at the National NARFE Conferenceto be held in late August in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This is Bill Martin the outgoing VFC President who chaired the conference. On Wednesday morning Bill turned the gavel over to the incoming VFC President. Now that Bill is "retired from duty" I think that Bill should become a standup comedian. He is so very funny. For example, Bill loves to introduce himself as the southern country boy who hails from Bumpass, Virginia.

(Watch how you pronounce that town's name!) And where is Bumpass? Bill says that it is just down the road from Cuckoo, Virginia and that you can get to Bumpass by going down Pottiesville Road. You think I am making this all up? No, I am not. There really is a Bumpass, Virginia on Pottiesville Road that is not far from Cuckoo, Virginia.

I had a hard time getting a photo of Ann Collins who is a past VFC president and past president and current member of the Springfield, Virginia chapter of NARFE but here is a profile shot of her. She is a very dynamic woman in NARFE for the state of Virginia. Her federal years were spent in government finance and accounting

These two Kentucky ladies came to the Virginia conference to explain how Kentucky and Ohio are creating NARFE chapters in federal buildings to encourage active federal employees to join NARFE. They are Marlene Button and Noreen Morgan and they have created "Lunch and Learn" workshops. Want to learn more? Go here:

All but one of the candidates for national office with NARFE used their own funds to travel to the state of Virginia to campaign for office. The one candidate who didn't come was Joseph Beaudoin who is from Virginia and who was attending the state of Maine's conference that was also being held this past week.

The lady at the podium in the above photo is Martha Leiker, one of the candidates for National Vice President of NARFE. I don't think you could find another woman in all of the United States with a more unusual work history. For seventeen years she was a Roman Catholic nun that was in an order that required silence. She then left the convent and began working for the Central Intelligence Agency. She spent over 20 years working for the CIA of which six were in Africa. So Martha Leiker went from great silence to great secrecy. Now guess what. She has written her memoir and it is about to be published. The title of her soon to be published memoir is FROM SILENCE TO SECRECY. I can't wait till this book gets published because I surely do plan to find a copy and read it.

Later today I will do my third and final NARFE conference blog and introduce you to our new and very dynamic new VFC president.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday = VA Beach, VA = NARFE Conf. Part I

Skywatch Friday = VA Beach, VA = NARFE Conf.
Part I
Jack and I just returned from a five day business/pleasure trip to Virginia Beach, VA. Jack was a delegate to the NARFE Virginia Federation of Chapters Annual Conference. We had a great time and the spring weather was delightful. I have lots of photos to share with you of the VA Beach/Norfolk area for the next few days. The photo above was taken Tuesday at noon on the beach.

Here's Jack posing for my camera.

Jack with his NARFE button on his pocket.

Yours truly standing in the sand dune.

What is NARFE?
NARFE stands for the National Active and Retired Federal Employee Association.
It is the only lobby for federal employees for the preservation of their earned benefits.
Are you a retired or active federal employee?
If so, have you joined NARFE?
If not, you should.
Well, that's the end of my NARFE advertisement and my Skywatch Friday meme so thank you for stopping by my blog and now please go visit the other Skywatch Friday memes by clicking here:

Phil's Azealas in Haymarket, VA Part II

The Entrance
Pretty in Pink
White Dogwood Tree With Pink Azealas Underneath
Gazebo Surrounded by Azealas
Martin House in Background
Pretty in Purple
These Are Vibrant Pink!
Phil is the Gentleman in the Blue Jacket.
He is 86 Years Old and Has Planted All These Azealas.
Need Some Equipment To Plant These Azealas
Our Little Jack Checking Out The Pot Yard
I Love This Victorian Looking Birdfeeder!
Here is a Red and White Azeala Duo
This is a Colorful Combination!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Phil's Azaleas in Haymarket, VA Part I

Saturday morning's stroll thru our friend Phil's backyard which has over 9000 azaleas plants.
Phil is the landscaper and he is now 86 years old and going strong.
Little Jack Led The Way Thru the Woodland Yard
All That Green in the Marsh is Skunk Cabbage.
Pick a Leaf and Smell a Skunk.
Phil's House and Gazebo

Another View of the House---This With Windmill
So Many Colors
So Many Blooms
All So Beautiful

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Azealas in Bloom in Virginia

Azealas in Bloom in Virginia

For the next several days I want to share some photos of the beautiful azaleas that are at their peak bloom this week. Jack and I are lucky enough to know a gentleman in NARFE who has been nurturing azaleas on his ten acre estate for the past 40 years. The azaleas are in a wooded forest setting that has marshes and ponds. This gentleman has over 5000 azaleas planted on his property with another 4000 plants in pots. No I did not make a type-o here. Phil has over 9000 azaleas on his property! We went this past Saturday with our daughter Jennifer and grandson Jack to see this gorgeous floral display.