Monday, April 21, 2014

A Great Umbrella! (Not quite what you think it means...)

I feel fortunate today to announce that Higher Orbits has an umbrella to thank for helping us out...
Now that may sound a little odd to you that I am thankful for an umbrella (especially given that it's not raining!) but let me explain...

There is a wonderful group in California called EEG (a non-profit tax exempt educational foundation that has been in existence for 42 years) that is an "incubator" for similar minded non-profits. Since the task of getting 501c3 status is an arduous one and it takes quite a bit of time, this group helps out those in need in a variety of ways. They've kindly offered guidance on a variety of topics, which are very important but I won't bore you with, but there's something else they do that is much more important...

By being under their umbrella it helps me with donations in the immediate timeframe. Why? Well let me explain. You can make a donation to Higher Orbits TODAY and the check can be written to Higher Orbits. Higher Orbits will happily take that donation and put it to very good use. But since Higher Orbits is still awaiting it's tax-exempt 501c3 status (even though it's a non-profit, the actual IRS process for the tax exemption takes a year or 2!) you might not be able to claim it as a tax "benefit" for 2014 if the status doesn't come through this year. Whenever the status comes through you can retroactively claim it however. (Confused? Sorry!) Now how EEG is helpful.... if you're worried about your donation DEFINITELY being applied to this years taxes (as a company who might be willing to write a big check might be) you can make your check out to EEG but send it to Higher Orbits. They will accept donations on behalf of Higher Orbits and will then give Higher Orbits the money with only a few % taken out for administration costs.  This definitely helps us to be able to go out and solicit even larger donations so that we can provide even more scholarships and programs to deserving students!

So - you want to donate? THANK YOU!
You can write your check to Higher Orbits or EEG (based on what you've read in the paragraph above) and mail it to:
Higher Orbits
Attn: Michelle Ham
32 Upshur Rd
Annapolis, MD 21402

I can promise you that your donation will be used to support some very worthy programs including Mission Discovery ( for some incredible and deserving students!

A great big huge THANK YOU to EEG for taking Higher Orbits under their umbrella and providing such wonderful support.

P.S. Right now Higher Orbits can only take checks but I'm working on taking credit cards soon and will let you know as soon as we get that sorted out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Exercise! Astronauts Do It - Do You?

Well with this blog I am going to admit that I'm writing it at the encouragement of some other friends of mine who are much wiser in the realm of social media etc. than I am. They pointed out that some of  my followers on this twitter account might be interested to learn more about upcoming run especially since exercise does tie directly to some space stuff. I'm not sure wether you all really want to know about this or not but I thought I'd give it a shot. (I do generally do my best to not post too much that's not truly space stuff.) Here's to hoping I don't lose too many followers! For those of you who want pure space stuff, don't worry, in just 2 weeks I promise this line of tweets will end!

So there I was... minding my own business.... Oh wait that's a different story ;) Let's see how to begin this one... I know - with something space!

Do you have any idea how long ISS astronauts work out every single day? 2 hours! Every. Single. Day! It is absolutely essential for their health that they do so. I won't get into the nitty gritty here (because I think many of you already know all this) but micro-gravity wreaks havoc on your muscle and bones so without exercise your body would be a total mess! (Yes that is a technical term!)

Quick version of types of workouts is that they spend half their time doing resistance exercise and half of it doing cardio. I could go into much more detail (and perhaps I will in a future blog) but for this one that info will suffice. I remember, during my days of being an Ops Plan Flight Controller in MCC, thinking that in some ways it sure would be nice to be SCHEDULED for exercise every day. Because let's face it, most of us lack the time and/or motivation to work out some days.

So here's where I diverge from space a bit... I'm a firm believer that a healthy body helps make a sharp mind. Don't get me wrong - there any many days when the last thing I want to do is exercise (and it's certainly not to say that I exercise every day because believe me - I don't!) but I also know that my mind feels sluggish if I am not keeping my body healthy and fit. So while I certainly don't work out as much as the astronauts on ISS, I do my best to work out several times a week.

So back to that lack of motivation thing - I am signed up to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC on April 28th and to say I haven't trained is an understatement. It's been too cold for me to run outside and I am not a fan of the treadmill. But not only have I signed up for the run, 2 very special young ladies have signed up to run this with me and they will be traveling in from the West Coast to do so, as such, I've got to get myself motivated! So each day I've been posting to my personal Facebook page some sort of picture that I find motivational. Surprisingly, it is sort of helping! Shall I share those with you too? Here are the first 2 days of pictures:

Day 1 of Pictures: The signs I saw in the Gallery Place Metro in DC this past week

Day 2 of Pictures: My Running Shoes- As you can tell I like colorful :)

So let me ask you - what do YOU do to keep your mind and body at its healthiest? Do you Train Like An Astronaut? You may not have 2 hours a day to workout like the astronauts but who on Earth does?! Motivation comes in many forms so perhaps you can find something to motivate you... If I can be of any help let me know :)