Friday, October 28, 2011

I Will Never Forget

Rocket Man and Ares I-X, October 26, 2009
Two years ago, we were at Cape Canaveral for the launch of Ares I-X.
Rocket Man and his team had a part in that historic launch.  Walking that journey with him was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. 

Mission Patch

The year before the launch, while they were building the Roll Control System (RoCS), he worked about 5 months straight, taking off only Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  He worked long, long days and tossed and turned those short nights trying to solve problems.  I realized early on that if I wanted to see him, I needed to go to work with him on the weekends.

Thus began my involvement in the project.  Early every Saturday morning that fall, I got up and packed a bag of things to occupy myself and joined him as he headed toward the shop.  We'd stop for a biscuit and coffee on the way, and I would get my V-badge and settle into his office for the day.

I rearranged the pictures on the wall that fall.  I sorted through piles and piles of things. I walked the shop floor with him and learned to know the very talented machinists who actually made the parts that were going to fly.  They named me the shop mascot and were all so very kind to explain what they were doing and how the machines worked.  It was fascinating.

I suited up and followed him into the clean room to check progress.  I held pieces of history in my hand  I even handed over my debit card once so Rocket Man could order some bolts that needed to be shipped overnight.
 (come to think of it...I never got reimbursed for that. 
I had an investment of time and $100 in the project!)

In January of 2009, RoCS shipped to the Cape and Rocket Man went down to oversee the assembly of the unit to the rocket.  I felt like we'd sent a child off to college.

Then, the waiting began. 
 And the date slipped from spring to summer to fall. 
And we waited. 
And other projects were completed. 
And we waited.

Finally, the date of October 27 was set and we were going full-speed ahead.  Until I got the bad news that I needed to have surgery on my back.  You never saw anyone more determined to recover than I was.  4 weeks and 2 days post-surgery, I was on a flight headed to the Cape to meet up with Rocket Man for the launch.

Rocket Man waiting for the final countdown

It didn't launch on the 27th.  But, by golly...on October 28, 2009 at 11:30 in the morning, that rocket fired and launched!  She flew true.  Ares I-X did everything she was designed to do.  It was exhilirating and awesome.  As I write, remembering the emotion I felt, I'm in tears...again.

T minus four and holding

Two years later, we sit with a space program that seems to be lost.  The last Shuttle has been retired.  Constellation became Cancellation.  The current administration has put a choke hold on NASA and all the work that went into Ares I-X seems to be for naught. 

Receiving well-deserved thanks from very important people

 I am honored that the amazing Rocket Man has invited me to attend the Ares reunion with him today. Many of the team will assemble, raise their glasses in a toast to their accomplishment and talk about that glorious day that went mostly unnoticed by the general public.  That day when our pride exploded from the launch pad and flew high.  That day.  That glorious day.

I don't forget. 
I will never forget.
I will tell and retell to my children
and my nephews
and my nieces
 and my grandchildren.

I will tell the story to anyone who will listen.
It may never be more than a sentence in a book
 that someone writes
and a few read
 about space history.

To me, to many of us, it was a day that we experienced something
 larger than life
something bigger than any one person.
Something that was fashoned from a dream,
 designed, engineered, built, tested, assembled and finally launched.

And it worked!
I held the hand of one who helped make it possible.
And joined hands with many who were involved.

Sunset on that glorious day

The memories have become bittersweet, but I will not forget.
I will never forget.


You can see the post I wrote the night before the launch here

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lift. Tone. Burn.

You remember I told you about my Pure Barre class? 
The one without the tutu?
Yeah, that one!


It is kicking my butt. 
 Big time.

And to add insult to injury...
yesterday, the 8 1/2 months pregnant woman in class was doing better than I was.

But I was there. 
That has to count for something. 
Especially since the class started at 6 a.m.
Before I had coffee.


I'm going back today after work. 
That ought to be a whole different experience. 
Wide awake and taking the class. 


In all  fairness, I am asking my muscles to do things they have not done--possibly ever. 
And I notice that Sally O'Slim and Fitness Barbie are leaving the classes winded as well. 

It is an intense workout.

Here is how I feel while I'm doing it.

Who knew that holding your leg in an unnatural position while on your tippy-toes and squeezing a hateful red ball high up between your thighs for {just} 20 more seconds could be such torture?

I didn't know before, but I sure do know now!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

You had me at Hershey Bar

Long ago and what now seems like in a galaxy far, far away…this man and I were sort of flirting with possibilities. A skittish friendship had evolved into long, soulful talks and clever emails. He was my Sunday School teacher in the Singles Class. He had been single again much longer than I, and our friendship began with his listening ear and calm encouragement.

His workplace was just across the street from mine and if we each looked out our windows, we could see the very same fountain. The Braves {his team} and The Cardinals {my team] were in the playoffs and there was much playful banter between us {Braves won that year, only to lose in the World Series}.

On Halloween, he sent me an email invitation to come and help hand out candy to the neighborhood children with him. 

I replied that I would be glad to…but only if he had good candy. He immediately responded that he had Twix, Reese’s Cups and Snickers.  My answer was mighty cheeky, for someone who thought she *might* actually be developing a crush. I reckoned that was sorta-kinda good candy.  If he wasn't going to have Hershey Bars with Almonds.

We agreed upon a time and I told him I would walk over to his house, which was about 5 blocks from mine. He met me at the door with a huge grin and one hand behind his back. He pulled that hand out and placed in my hand a Hershey Bar.

Then, he offered an apology. He had stopped several places on his way home and NONE of them had Hershey Bars with Almonds. Would a plain Hershey Bar do?

Do? Would it do?  I’ll say! Oh, yes sir!  It would do!

He had gone to remarkable effort to get me what I said I liked and then apologized that he had come up short. The rest of the night is somewhat of a blur.

I recall that I helped his 7 year old remove her costume makeup and she sat in my lap as we went through her stash of candy. I remember that ‘Rocky Horror’ was playing on the Comedy Channel {and I’d never seen it…quite the first movie to watch together with a 7 year old sitting in between you}.

I remember that his parents came in from Memphis about the time he put his girls to bed, so we had a different generation of chaperons. I think that they were very surprised to find a woman sitting on the couch with their firstborn. Who had said, by the way, that he would rather eat dirt than ever to be married again. Often and loudly, from what I am told.

I remember that at about 10:00 o’clock, he told his folks that he was going to drive me home and we sat on my front porch until 1:00 am, just talking. About all sorts of things. And nothing. Just talking.

When I told my best friend that I thought I could be falling in love…she cautioned me against falling for something as small as a candy bar. I think she said I ought to hold out for more. She was going through a nasty divorce and was perhaps a wee bit cynical.
Fast forward a decade and a half. That 7 year old is now in her 20s and is my hairdresser. The Candy Bar Man {aka Rocket Man} and I have been married for 13 years. And recently…he came in the house and handed me a plain Hershey Bar.
Which, he said, he had bought from a man who was selling them to try to have enough money to keep from being evicted.  The man had lost his job and was desperately trying to raise some funds to pay his rent. He’d bought a box of the chocolate bars and was asking for donations in exchange for a bar. My Rocket Man gave the man the $5 he had in his pocket and prayed for the man and brought me the sweetest Hershey Bar I have ever had.
You see, Rocket Man’s generosity to me in the form of a candy bar was just the tip of the ice burg. He is as frugal as anyone I have ever met {except maybe his mother} but he is generous and giving beyond belief. He is industrious and good at what he does in his Rocket World and he is compensated well for that. But he lives his life with eyes wide open to see the needs of others and is always willing to help. Always.
And while he had me and my heart at Hershey Bar…he continues to hold my heart with his amazing generosity of love, life, family, laughter, tears, trust, loyalty and yes…even the occasional Hershey Bar. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Dream Come True...sort of

When I was a little girl, wanted to be a ballerina.
Or at least wear the leotard, tights and oh! my! A tutu.

That was long before there was a dance studio on every corner and it was considered a right...the same sort of right as public schooling and use of the highways...for every little girl to take dance.

I don't believe I knew a single, solitary person who 'took' dance when I was growing up.

That wasn't the point. I had paper dolls who had ballet costumes and I spent hours and hours and hours folding the paper tabs down to hold a Swan Lake costume that my mother had meticulously cut out onto this or that paper doll.
I loved my paper dolls and I played with them a lot.

I wanted to be as beautiful as those one dimensional, cardboard figures.
And graceful.
And wear a tutu.

Didn't happen.

 By the time I lived where dance lessons were possible, I was also the mother of two. And my daughter didn't care for the dance lessons I signed her up for. We only did that one semester. She tapped to "The Good Ship Lollipop" in her tap shoes, but let's just say it wasn't pretty. And she didn't really like it. She was much more into playing softball. *sigh*

While there are dance studios in my town that offer adult dance lessons, that dream has sort of faded over the years. I'm not the disciplined type. I'm short. I have a bad back. And, let's face it...I'm on the heavyweight side of chubby. And I'm not necessarily graceful.

However, this morning, I'm going to take my first class at Pure Barre. This is an exercise class that combines elements of ballet, yoga and pilates. I'm told it is very good for developing and strengthening core muscles. It is low impact (good for my back). I'm praying that it will help relieve some of the chronic back issues that I have been experiencing. Fervently praying.
Because one of the options on the table is spinal fusion
and I just don't want to go there.

So, I'm readying myself to go across the street and join a class (I'm not a joiner) where I will be in a mirrored room, holding onto a barre.
I'm sure I will be inflicting pain on my well rested muscles Although I walk 3 times a week, I doubt that my abs are aware that I consider this to be substantial exercise.

Unfortunately...there isn't a tutu involved.


I finished the class and am proud to say that I tried to do everything they asked.  It was upbeat and INTENSE!  I'm talking major kicking of my butt.  And I'm going to go back.  However, I need to go back with the disclaimer that some of the muscles they wanted me to use left the premises back in...oh...1978 or so!  I think you can see pictures of those muscles on the back of milk cartons. 


Friday, October 7, 2011


Its Friday and one of my favorite things in the blogosphere...5 Minute Friday over at The Gypsy Mama.  Where we set a timer, write for 5 minutes on a specific topic with no rewrites, no edits.  Just words pouring from our hearts through our fingers onto the screen.  Sometimes its raw, oftentimes poignant, always a good exercise. 

The prompt:  Ordinary
Timer set...Start!

Ordinary.  How I love it.  Those things that are so familiar and worn that they exude comfort...those ordinary things:  The flannel sheets {coming to our bed this weekend}, a favorite towel, Rocket Man's shirt that I bought for him before we got married {and it is so ratty looking} that he loves to wear...and his smile when he puts it on and still thanks me several times a year for buying it for him.  My grandmother's dishes.  A beloved recipe. 

A Hershey bar, pulled out of Rocket Man's backpack last night and handed to me with that smile and a wink.  All these years and he remembers.  Still winks.  Still pulls me to him and says words that he says over and over, 'How's my pretty girl?' 

The old quilt. The passing of the seasons, one into the other.  The prayers said over and over again for those who mean so much to us. Ordinary, everyday things that I cherish.  But somehow, the more I cherish them, the more they become extraordinary. 

Our life is certainly not one of glamour, fame or fortune.  But in our ordinary life, doing our ordinary things, we serve an extraordinary God and even the ordinary can become an act of worship.

Ordinary tasks like laundry, dish washing, sweeping, walking the dogs, making the bed, etc. become acts of praise and worship when given to God and done with praise on our lips and gratitude in our hearts.

Oh, how I love the ordinary we live in.  And the God who takes our ordinary and makes it extraordinary.

{confession...over 5 minutes today, but I had a spell (long story, goofy medical condition) in the middle and lost myself.  I guess I lose a letter grade for going over???  Is there grace for such?}


Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Second Chance...maybe

I couldn't believe I did that. 

You see...there is this conference I'd like to attend. Relevant 11.  And I kept thinking that I ought to get my ticket and then something would distract me.  Or I'd think about it when I wasn't near my computer and forget about it when I was.  You know?  Do you do that, too?

Days and weeks went by. 

Then...the tickets were gone.

I put myself on the waiting list.

I've been reading all about Relevant online, as folks Tweet about how excited they are about it and counting down days.

And I have kicked myself over and over for my procrastination.  The only thing keeping me from going is my lack of focus and following through.  I have funds to pay for the ticket, trasnportation and lodging.  I just don't have a ticket., I saw that someone is giving their ticket away.  Cris over at is giving hers away.  She is going to take the time she set apart to go and spend it with her family.  I applaud her for this decision.  It takes maturity to be willing to set something aside that you wanted to do so that you can do what is right for you and your family. 

So I am hoping that my entry will be chosen and I can go to Relevant for some much needed encouragement and to meet some wonderful women and make new friends. 

Next year...I'll be purchasing my ticket the day they are released!

Bless you, Cris, and no matter who wins, I'll be praying for you and your family that weekend.  That God will bless your time together and your memories of that special time will be precious treasures in your heart.