Saturday, March 26, 2011

To The Man Who Started It All

Yes, a tribute to the man who encouraged me down the road to Blogger World.....Shug.... a.k.a. Hugh McMillan, Scottish poet extraordinaire.

Today's his birthday so if you get a chance, go wish him another fun filled year.  

Happy Birthday my friend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday 55

 Write a story in 55 words, then go share it with the G-Man.  One more field trip story.


The huge metal hook lay there, as if dropped in haste.
Yellow paint flaking.

As her nephew sped forward, she reached into the past.

Ah,  10 again.

Eyes widening, pulse quickening,
she stared at the hook which fished Apollo 8 out of the sea.

Now they all shared the same deck…43 years apart.
Twas magical.
 
 
If you were here last week, you'll know I went on a field trip with my 11 year old nephew to Ft. Sumter and the USS Yorktown air craft carrier.  Although it felt more like a sprint than a class trip, something caught my eye and stopped me short.  As tunnel vision kicked in, I forgot I was suppose to be the Aunt/Chaperon because suddenly, I was a kid again...an excited little kid!
 
Why?  Because I grew up when "10..9..8.." gave you goosebumps.  When you sat on the floor, with all fingers crossed while you mentally wished all those astronauts up into space.   Amazed by their bravery, hoping they got back safe.  Crying when my favorite astronaut, Gus Grissom, was killed on the launch pad.  {No, I have no idea why he was my favorite!} So between the field trip and listening to my audio book with the actual recordings between NASA astronauts and Mission Control, the moon was on my mind when I saw that giant yellow hook.  The sign advised that while the Apollo 8 capsule on display was a model, the hook was the REAL thing, having plucked the astronauts to safety onto the Yorktown's deck.

It was a surreal moment: surrounded by WWII era planes in the Yorktown's hangar only to turn around and be confronted by history I remember.  First hand.  I didn't even have time to explain the why of it all as my nephew posed next to the model for a nano-second before scampering off again...in search of adventure.
 
Oh the irony of how close he'd been standing to REAL adventure...and didn't even know it.

Actual shot of Apollo 8 being lifted onto the USS Yorktown. 
Model of Apollo 8 on deck.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wow! Would you look at that?!

Pay close attention, my little Scottish Moonkin.   :)
 
Saturday night marks an unusual event not seen in 20 years...a REALLY BIG full Moon.

No, there isn't a punch line.  It's the truth.

Rarer than the notorious "Blue Moon",  which occurs every 2.5 years, the full moon of March 19th is going to appear bigger and brighter.  Why?  Because it will be a "super perigee moon".  Here's the scientific explanation courtesy of Geoff Chester with the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington.

"Full moons look different because of the elliptical shape of the moon's orbit. When it's at perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to Earth than when it's at the farthest point of its orbit, also known as apogee."

At sunset the moon will appear even larger as it rises due to something technically known as "moon illusion."  Want to know all the scientific stuff?  Go here.

In simple Human Earth speak...get thee outside and look up!  Otherwise you'll have to wait until 2029 to witness this again!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday 55

It's that time again!  Write a story in 55 words, then go share it with the G-Man.  Let's go!

The line between his need to explore
and hers as overseer was a fine one.  
Learning meant taking risks. 
Exploration took time.

Well, it use to.

If Explorers had zoomed ahead 

like her 11 yr. old nephew was speeding through the historical tour,
when Columbus stopped to catch his breath
he would’ve landed in Saskatchewan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Living Green

 Okay, today is for positive thinking.  That happens after you survive the day on a Field Trip with an 11 year old nephew whose only speed is ZOOM!

Catalog Choice is a great organization which allows you to opt out of those unwanted catalogs.  They've been especially helpful to me as the late aunt was a catalog junkie...and her mail came to my house....which meant 2 MORE catalogs, one to me and one to "Resident".  I've been able to weed out most of them and my mailman Alfred smiles more now.

Catalog Choice is in a contest for the "Green Awards", which praises organizations which find a way to make the world a better, greener place.  If you're interested in helping them win...and keep people like Alfred smiling, take a moment to vote.  They promise not to mail you anything...because they don't ask for your street address.  Unless you chose additional mailings, a confirmation e-mail is all you'll receive.

It's worth a minute of your time.  You can vote daily until March 27.  On their behalf, I thank you.

VOTE for Catalog Choice here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In this day and age...

...I'm telling ya, if you don't have this link, things could go from bad to worse before the U.S. Media ever reports it.   Hear it from the horse's mouth, as it were,  before the talking heads on t.v. try to dumb life down for you...or shrink it to 60 second sound bites where they leave out the "truth" part.  

From weather to illness to disasters...know NOW.   Best free daily update I get. 

Yes, I did say FREE.  Sign up today and know what's out there before it lands in your backyard.


Friday, March 11, 2011

TGIF and then some!

Odd, annoying, sad and sleepless week.   

Hubby, who NEVER gets sick, has the cold from hell and still trying to shake it if it doesn't shake a lung out of him first.  He can't sleep, so I can't sleep.   I'm guessing it's like new parent sleep deprivation...minus the baby.  

Then the pollen moved into my head during the kite flying contest and I'm walking like a drunk who hasn't even put in the effort to lift a glass of anything.  The antihistamine is kicking in but not fast enough to keep my head from feeling like a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Add to this the fact one of my favorite seniors died.   She was a champion Hugger...in fact would stop you in mid sentence with, "And where is my hug?"  A smile that would light up a room and  the only person I know who loves chocolate more than me.  Sadly she was on a ventilator for almost two weeks before the decision was made to remove it.  {NOTE: If you love your family, MAKE A LIVING WILL!}  The fact that this lovely woman had one, courtesy of one of the speakers we had at the Center several years back, made me able to look her husband in the eye to softly remind him, "You don't have to make the decision.  She's already made it for you."  He looked relieved.

Today, I had to leave a group at my site to go to another Center for a monthly "Senior Get Together".  I don't like leaving a group alone in my building...what if something happens to them?  My Supervisor's reply is always, "They're adults.  They'll be fine."

Yep.  Except the "meeting" I went to was an HOUR late starting, so the group  at my place left before I returned and forgot to lock the doors.  Sigh.

I'll be the first to admit I hate these monthly functions as they've gone from seniors having fun to who can outdo each other. with big meals and gifts.  They're  mandatory...and yet the seniors who host have to pay.   I actually found my backbone and refused to host one...startled that 2 other Centers followed suit.  Today's being late and needing to slip out was a comedy of errors and social no-nos.  You have no idea how awkward it was to be the only lily white face in the crowd sneaking out the door as the "Speaker" ,who was a Minister, was wound up tight in his sermon...I mean "speech", about living with grace.  I'm sure those who don't know me or were unaware I had a legitimate reason to leave will have something to say about my exit.  Had I known about the unlocked door, I'd have gone faster!

It wasn't until I was at my desk this afternoon, head pounding, that I actually read the handout given to me.  It made me laugh.  An oldie but goody, maybe it'll put a smile on your face too.  Click on it to get the easy to read version.

And I'd call Mom,
but she's out and about...enjoying life.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March is Women's Month

 So take a moment to thank the women in your life, then help protect those who aren't as fortunate to have you by their side.  Just click...and corporations do the donating.  

Somewhere, a woman will be grateful...even if she can't tell you in person.   

Stop Violence Against Women

Saturday, March 5, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond!

Every year on the first Saturday in March my job includes hosting a Kite Flying contest.  Driving to the event I was listening to "In Their Own Words: The Space Race".  These are the actual recorded conversations between NASA's astronauts and Mission Control, covering the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions.  As a kid I thought Gene Kranz, NASA's Flight Director, was the voice of God.  Two things struck me about their voyages into space as I headed out to watch kids launch kites into the sky: there were incidents I now more fully appreciate as an adult...and the little kid in me still got butterflies in my stomach at hearing, "10..9...8...".

I drove up wondering how many butterfly kites we'd have this year.  The part of my brain wandering down Memory Lane was marveling that anyone had ever wanted to be the first guy to sit in a metal tube perched on an explosive while encouraging someone to light it up.  I guess life is more interesting depending on your point of view.

Well the view last year for kite flying was a perfect day with beautiful blue skies. Today, it was not.  On the plus side, it WAS windy.

Which is why this year, I took more shots of people's faces...their expressions...while playing with kites than the actual skies themselves.  Well, you can see why.

Yep, a storm was a brewing....
which isn't real comforting when you're standing on a football field
(American kind guys!) 
surrounded by stadium lights resembling lightning rods.

And yet I kept waiting for Snoopy to peek out of this airplane 
to challenge the Red Baron to a dog fight.
(Note to non-American pals: a reference to the "Peanuts" cartoon strip)

This rainbow beauty, 
which won "Longest Tail" 
just danced in the wind 
like one of those Chinese Dragons 
you see in the movies in "Chinese New Year" scenes.

Seems there was a reason for that....it's a Dragon kite.

After the dreary sky, I started concentrating on faces.

And families at play.
 

 

 

And after a while, even Moms got in on the fun.
Gee, I hope that's not her kid. 

And then the camera battery got tired and went to sleep.  So there's no shots of the winners...although that plane won Best in Show, flown by an 8 year old little girl who'd never flown a kite before.  And was really afraid to try.  Both her grandfather and I had tried to encourage her to just try...while grandmother looked at both of us as if she wished we'd shut up.

Afterwards, as the girl stood there, holding two trophies and grinning in utter amazement, I leaned down and whispered in her ear, "I told you girls could do anything.  All you have to do is try."   She smiled even broader.

I wonder if that's what astronaut mothers told their sons when they were growing up?


Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday 55

It's that time again!  Write a story in 55 words, then go share it with the G-Man.  And we're off.......


MEMO
To: President, Congress & Senate

As my paycheck flows from my gas tank to Big Business, 
I respectfully suggest a new U.S. Foreign Policy.

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

The White House is made of glass.  
Kindly put down the stones.   
Take care of your own.  
Stop being the nosy neighbor.


Wearily yours,
Tired  American