Friday, January 28, 2011

Lest We Forget

January 27, 1967.  January 28, 1986.  February 1, 2003.

Apollo 1
Gus Grissom
Ed White
Roger Chaffee
January 27, 1967

Space Shuttle Challenger
Greg Jarvis
Christa McAuliffe
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Judith Resnik
Michael J. Smith
Dick Scobee
January 28, 1986

Space Shuttle Columbia
Rick Husband
William McCool
Michael P. Anderson
David M. Brown
Kelpana Chawa
Laurel B. Clark
Ilan Ramon
February 1, 2003

Heroes.  Magnificent Acheivements.  The American Manned Space Flight Program. We may never see the likes of these again.  I fear that as a nation, we no longer care about space flight and exploration.  It is too hard.  It costs too much.  It is a political punching bag.  NASA's budget is about 1/2 of 1% of the nation's budget, but to many that is too much. It isn't a path we are willing to follow.  We are content to let others lead the way.  And when we find ourselves left behind, we will  have no one to blame but ourselves.

I mourn the loss of these courageous men and women this week.  My heart hurts for their families, friends and the entire aerospace community.  When we lose astronauts we truly lose our brightest and best. 

We appear to be willing to compound that loss by losing the whole thing.  American Manned Spaceflight may soon be a distant memory.  Something to tell my great-grandchildren about when I am old.  I can hold them in my lap tell them how I watched on that old black and white TV when the Saturn Missions launched.  Or that Christmas season when the moon was orbited...and the wondrous summer night that men actually stepped onto the surface of the moon...and I saw it!  The excitement of the Shuttle program and the sorrow I felt when we lost astronauts, both in training and  in flight. 

I can tell them of the whole saga of the Ares IX project and the part that their Granddaddy played in that program.  I will pull out pictures and awards and tell them how amazing it was to be there and watch it launch and how the Roll Control System that the amazing Rocket Man helped build worked perfectly.  The joy and jublilation we all felt at such a monumentous occasion.  Then, the kick in the gut when the program was shut down just a few months after such success.  I hope that my great-grandchildren will grasp the significance of what was accomplished in such a short amount of time.   

And then, willingly it seems, simply gave up. What a shame. 

Who will be their heroes?  Sports stars?  People from the entertainment industry?  Politicians? Will they know what an astronaut is and perhaps aspire to be one? 

Every day, I drive over a hill and the city of Huntsville, Alabama-Rocket City USA-comes into view.  In the distance, I see the Saturn V display at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.  I've seen the sun set behind that display.  I'm afraid I'm seeing the sun set on U.S. Manned Spaceflight. 

R.I.P. brave astronauts
I hope I don't have to say the same to the program.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Your Battery is Low

I've spent this evening bundled up in bed all alone with my laptop.  Rocket Man is traveling and I am left to my own devices and am without adult supervision.  I've snoozed a little, watched a movie, read some emails, talked to Rocket Man on the phone, played on facebook and refrained from internet shopping. 

About a year ago, I spent a great deal of time without my adult supervision while Rocket Man was away on business for the better part of 3 months.  He came home regularly during that time, but we spent a long time apart.  I grew weary of my own company and we were quite happy to be reunited.

This little trip is only 2 nights, but it feels all too familiar to be here and all alone.  I don't care for it.

Anyway, when I climbed into bed much earlier this evening, I snuggled down on his side of the bed.  I always sleep on his side when he's gone.  It is somewhat comforting to me to lay where he was night before last and will be again, God willing and if Delta Airlines gets him home, tomorrow night. 

Trouble is...the cord on my laptop doesn't reach that far.  And I am too lazy to crawl under furniture to plug it in to a closer outlet.  A few minutes ago, a warning popped up.

Your battery is low. 

I scrambled over to my side of the bed and plugged back in.  Can't lose my battery.

I realized that my battery really is low. I'm tired.  Not just because I didn't sleep well last night.  But a weary type of tired that goes deeper than one good night of sleep can fix.  Part of it has to do with my autoimmune difficulties, I'm afraid.  Part of it has to do with my lack of a good routine.  If I'm brutally honest, part of it has to do with my eating habits and lack of discipline in exercise. 

As I consider it, the warning tonight isn't the first warning I've had that my battery is low.  I've been just a bit cranky.  Sarcasm rolls off my lips entirely too quickly.  I have been easily irritated and feel anger bubbling just under the surface on occasion.  The worst is the feeling of being overwhelmed.  I just hate that.

So, yes.  My battery is low.  I need to plug back into my Source.  I need to be disciplined about my quiet time, my Bible reading and communion with God.  I need to consider carefully what I put into my body and I need to push it just a bit harder to burn calories and be more intentional about fitness. 

I'm ready.  And the first thing I'm going to do is turn the computer off and turn out the lights and try to get some sleep.  Because, my battery really is low.

I'm unplugging so I can recharge.
Because my battery is low!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sledding in Alabama

I live in Alabama, smack dab in the Heart of Dixie. We had {for us} a major weather event this week. North Alabama was covered with anywhere from 6-10 inches of snow. It was beautiful. It also shut us down.

While the streets are relatively clear 5 days into the event, it is bitter cold and some parking lots are a mess. School is still out of session. Parents are tearing their hair out because they feel trapped in the house with their children. Small business owners are going to feel it because folks aren't out spending their money. This has been quite an event.

It has been a week of smiles and memories for me. Growing up in Iowa and Missouri, snow was just part of everyday life in the winter. My early adult life was spent in Germany, Colorado, New York, Ohio and Virginia before moving to the South in my early 30's. I haven't seen much of the white, fluffy stuff in Alabama.

Sunday night, I was at the window, watching the wonder of snow coming down. It was accumulating so quickly on the very cold roads and I began to think that the fervent prayers I had prayed every January and February for the past 13 winters were about to be answered. You see, I've prayed for a snow day so I could stay at home with the Rocket Man. Just the two of us. There have been snow days, but he has always gone on to work anyway. This time was going to be different. I just knew it.

And it was! Monday morning, the yard was full of glorious, white, heavy, beautiful, wonderful snow

I ran downstairs and made coffee and giggled and danced and gathered up my winter gear. Snow! I was going to go out and take pictures and play in the snow.

We bundled up and set out walking. We walked up the street and down to the main road. We talked to neighbors and watched children building snowmen. I was able to lend one of my neighbors my snow shovel {I have an honest-to-goodness real snow shovel} so he could stop using a garden shovel to try to clean off his driveway.

When Rocket Man was colder than he could possibly stand, we came in. I should remind you that he is my Son of the South and he doesn't tolerate cold well. At. All. Just doesn't do it. We are thermatically {is that a word?} incompatible. I love, Love, LOVE cold weather and I especially love snow.

I was chomping at the bits to go sledding, but we decided to wait until evening and give the slush in the roads a chance to freeze. All day long, I was at the window looking out. Oh my! How I love the beauty of that clean wonderful blanket of snow that covered my yard.

After supper, I gathered my winter gear once again. A good friend who lives in our neighborhood had come for supper and we were all going to go sledding. I scampered up into the attic and got down the old Flexible Flyer and was ready to go. It was going to be perfect. It was dark. Nobody else was out on the streets...they were all inside watching the BCS Championship game. I was bundled up and I was going sledding.

We rode up the hill in the back of our friend's truck with the trusty sled. He parked and then Rocket Man and I walked up the next hill. He was doubtful that I would be able to make it down because the slush wasn't frozen as we thought it would be. I was hopeful.

When we reached the summit, I got a lecture from the Man from Macon, Georgia about how to sled. I guess he's an expert because they get so much snow in Macon or something {did you hear the sarcasm?}.

I put the sled on the snow, laid down on it and down I went.It was wonderful. And there really are many good reasons why I probably shouldn't have done it.

I'm 53 years old and a grandmother
I have bronchitis
I have that bad back that is 'off' and 'ain't right'
I could have gotten hurt
I could have gotten sicker
I suppose that I could have gotten killed

But you know what? I flew down that hill, shrieking with pure delight. It was as if I had beomce the child I used to be...a child who loved to play in the snow, who would stand at the door with my hat and mittens frozen solid and beg my Mother to let me stay out for just a few more minutes. I never did that in the spring, summer or fall. Only in the winter when it snowed.

When I got to the bottom, I trudged back up and reluctantly offered the sled to Rocket Man and he politely declined. He said, "Molli. We brought you out to sled. You go down this hill as many times as you can and you enjoy it. Our joy is in watching you." {Did I mention before that I am absolutely crazy in love with this guy...and do you see why?}

So I flew down the hill and trudged back up until I couldn't put one foot in front of the other. And they watched and cheered me on, laughing with me and admonishing me to be careful. When I was done, we loaded back up in the truck and came home.

If I never get to sled again, and I understand that if we go another 14 years before we have significant snow...that quite possibly was my last trip down a hill on the Flexible Flyer...I'm good. Because Monday night was such a wonderful time and I intend to carry it in my heart as a precious treasure.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where's Molli?

My oldest grandson, Malcolm, got the 'Where's Waldo' collection for Christmas. I don't know if he's spent much time looking for Waldo, but it struck a real chord in me. Where *is* Molli these days?

Not writing blogs

Not cleaning house

Not doing laundry

Not cooking

Not walking,riding bikes or working out

Not making cards

Not taking pictures

Not at work on our first work-day of the year...home sick with bronchitis

Not even very concerned about what she's not doing

Thing is...I wish I could find Molli and get some of these things done. Not that doing things is the end-all, be-all of existence. Doing, however, is the means by which we measure our days.

I have thought a lot lately. Spent time in prayer. Been sick and taken medicine. Napped and rested and spent valuable time with my husband and parents. Riding in the car, seeing old friends and old places.

It seems like its time to re-enter the 'real world' {whatever that is} and get back to some doing. I sort of have a plan. I intend to be gentler to Molli and give her a few more breaks. But, I also intend to try to motivate her to get her butt in gear and get some things done.

Does this make sense? Is anyone else out there with me?

No New Year's resolutions, but a firm resolve to live in better health {with all that encompasses, better eating, more activity, less illness}, to engage my mind in meaningful ways and to continue to try to see the needs of others and help where I can.

God willing, and with a little help from my friends, I think I can do this.

Are you with me?

And, if you happen to run into Molli, tell her its okay to come back home!