This week NASA is celebrating its fiftieth birthday. For forty-five of those years my rocket scientist husband has been involved with NASA and the exploration of space.He has many memories of his years there. He remembers launching rockets from White Sands, New Mexico. He worked with astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee and was stunned with grief when they were killed in a fire on Apollo I. He has worked with projects little know to the public and with one project that won Nobel Prize. He studies the outer reaches of the universe and looks at the light left over from from creation. He loves his job. He is a lucky man.
NASA has given us many advances in science and technology. For me the moments I remember are moments of great human emotion. Do you remember these words?
“Houston, we have a problem.” “The Eagle has landed.” “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” “The Challenger has exploded.”
Near our house there is a busy highway interchange. The merge lane from the small road onto the highway is two lanes wide. Traffic is merging off the highway and onto the highway in the same merge lanes. The merge lanes are rather short so it is necessary to move into the oncoming traffic quickly and avoid being hit by one of the cars exiting the highway. It is one of those places where you have to pay attention. My husband and I have different strategies for this problem. He moves into the far right merge lane so he can observe the exiting traffic and then crosses both lanes of the merge area into the main flow of cars. I move into the left merge lane so I am closer to the main highway. That way I have less traffic to cross before I am in the main flow. He thinks his way is better. I think my way is better.
This little scenario is similar to the way people in this country are making political choices this fall. We all look at the same problems. We study what is happening and choose the route that seems like the best solution to what we see is going on. We don't always come up with the same solution to the same problem. I do not think my husband is wrong because he has chosen a different way to behave when merging into traffic. He understands that I think another way is better. We respect each others opinion and each of do what we think is best.
I wish we could be that civil about politics. I have looked at the big problems this country is facing and have decided that Obama and the Democrats are the better choice for my vote. I resent being called an assortment of bad names and having my intelligence questioned by those who disagree. We live in a very diverse country. Different opinions are normal. I just wish we could respect one another and not stoop to childish name calling when we come across people who have come to a different conclusion. It would be nice if we could respect one another and behave in a civil manner.
Today at 11:44:18A.M. EDT it officially became Autumn. I can tell by a quick glance in my backyard that Fall is here. My dogwood tree is covered in red berries and leaves are starting to change from green to yellow and red. The air is crisp and clean. I love this time of year. I love the colors. I actually like raking leaves into giant piles. Sometimes I still jump into those crunchy brown piles and am filled with laughter. I look forward to pumpkin pies, and drives through the colorful mountains to buy crispy apples and maybe a bag full of apple donuts. My first memory of Fall came the year after we were married, 1962. We went to Sequoia National Park in California that September. Growing up in southern California I had never known any change in the seasons. That Fall the mountains were covered in bright yellow aspen trees quaking in the breeze. It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. I stood mesmerized by the color. The pictures we took then still remind me of that sense of awe I felt that year seeing those magnificent colors. What memories do you have of Fall?
My mom's name was Byrtle. Today is her birthday. She would have been 103 years old. Mom has always been my hero and the example of the kind of person I want to be. Now that I am a senior citizen I am still looking to her for examples of how to behave. This picture was taken when my mom was eighty-five years old. She was posing for a picture to advertise the church basketball team. If Byrtle could shoot baskets at eighty-five I guess I still have a lot of living left to do.
My daughter AM recently posted this on her blog. In my opinion her words need to read by more people,so I am copying her post for you reading pleasure.
Monday, September 15, 2008 Rinsing the second tub of brown soapy water out of the tub where I was washing my son’s lacrosse gear, I was prompted to think of pitbulls with lipstick. Was I, as lacrosse mom, willing to call myself a bitch like Sarah Palin? Isn’t that what she meant when she called herself a female dog?
In order for a woman to get ahead in the world of business, politics, and even church, women have to have a little ferocity. What is called power and ambition in men is often called bitchiness in women. That reaction is so common, that women have taken back the word. I have received chain e-mails defining bitch as a Babe In Total Control of Herself. One of my favorite songs is by Meredith Brookes on her “Blurring the Lines” CD simply called “Bitch.”
I’m sure I have been called a bitch. I heard it when I was a teacher. I imagine it happened behind my back at work a time or two. It may have entered my children’s minds. There have been a few romances gone badly that may have inspired someone to utter the word in reference to me. I’m sure Hillary Clinton has been called a bitch.
As I laid the dripping, Crisp Linen scented lacrosse pads out to dry in the sun, I considered what has moved me to snarl through my lipstick and call someone a bitch. I don’t think I’ve ever called someone a bitch to her face. When someone takes an offensive position, choosing to bare their teeth and overlook a host of more civilized responses, she is being a mean bitch. When a woman behaves offensively, saying cutting words that are impulsively stupid, I might call her a dumb bitch. There are equivalent terms for men who are mean and stupid, but that is another essay. Bitch means mean.
I know some women joke around and call each other bitches as part of their friendship culture, but I don’t joke around like that. Isn’t that the same double standard as black people calling each other nigga? They are both derogatory terms. It wouldn’t be funny if Obama used that word to describe himself. I didn’t think Palin was funny either. She undercut herself with that comparison after have risen so unexpectedly to this height. It was disrespectful. Although we are accustomed to a mean vice president, I don’t think we necessarily need meanness to be part of the job.
What ever happened to diplomacy? How about dignity? I’m tired of leadership that behaves embarrassingly. I want a leader for my country who can reach a hand out to the world without his or her middle finger raised.
I am so glad that we as a country have opened up enough to have women taken seriously enough to run for major political offices. I just wish it was a woman who was valued for her intelligence, diplomacy, compassion and experience.
The choice of Sarah Palin bothers me as a feminist because she seems to have been chosen for her appearance. It seems youth and beauty still trump experience. The same women who faulted Hillary for “only” being the First Lady and a freshman senator are waving around Palin signs with lipstick on them.
What about Senators Hutchinson, Mikulski, or Madeline Albright? Does a woman’s appearance still count for more than her experience? Does she have to be a bitch in high heels? Can’t she just be qualified? I see the answer to those questions in the paper every morning.
I know, I know that Obama doesn’t have any more experience than she does, but he has the dignity and intelligence I think a president should have. I think Hillary would have been better, but it seems that America wasn’t ready for a woman with authentic strength. McCain is too outdated, not to mention Republican. His back up plan, Palin seems ill-equipped for the job. If you took away all the personalities and appearances, I would still vote Democratic. I’m sure that when the Democrats win, Palin will use those eight years to get some authentic experience and study up. Now that she has been yanked into the spotlight, she is here to stay.
Choosing a woman because of the emotion she incites is not exactly the reason I would vote for a woman. When the excitement has subsided, I want someone who can take this country to new heights. We have been brought low these last eight years. This lacrosse mom is looking for a new leadership that will make us a winning team again. I’d love a woman to be in command, but not a bitch. Posted by AM Kingsfield at 9:22 PM
Watching the evening news is depressing. I don't mean all the depressing stories about the bad economy, never-ending wars and catastrophic weather events, it's the commercials that depress me. During the thirty minute broadcast I saw ads for products to help my osteoporosis and ads for men with an enlarged prostate. There was one for men who are concerned about their gray hair and one telling the wonders of vitamins for the mature adult. There was of course the ad with a couple sitting in two bathtubs on the beach, which always seemed a bit odd to me. The product they advertise is for erectile dysfunction with the caution about calling the doctor after four hours. These ads are a break from the constant barrage of mud-slinging politics, but they did make feel old.
My assumption from the ads is that only old people watch the evening news.
Today we celebrate my fourth grandchild's fifteenth birthday. Sofie is a sweet young lady with many talents. She has a beautiful voice and sings in the chamber choir. She does well in school , making mostly good grades. She is a queen bee in her church youth group. She is constantly surrounded by a group of friends who are nice kids. She is a master at texting. I have watched her and her friends text each other on their cell phones while they are sitting next to one another. This beautiful girl loves me. She is one of God's great blessings.
I'm sick of political sound bites and mud slinging. There are many issues that need to be discussed in this campaign. I understand that this country of ours is a very diverse place and we will have different opinions on which candidate will do the best job. It would be good to discuss those issues. But instead all I heard about today was lipstick and silliness. Enough is enough! I refuse to listen to any more of this garbage.
We have just returned from a lovely visit with our granddaughter, our Disney princess. She is loving working in the Magic Kingdom. It was great fun have her as our guide through this place that she feels is her own The picture is our Princess Pixie Dust with some girl named Cinderella.
Disneyland and Disney world are places full of magical memories for us. Every place we turned we were reminded of other times when we were there.
May 15, 1960 was the day my beloved asked me to marry him. We celebrated by going to Disneyland where all the lights and magic were just for us. The Peter Pan ride is always a wonderful romantic memory for us. As the years went by we were blessed with four children. We took them to Disneyland, all dressed in matching shirts so we could find them more easily. Seeing it all through their believing eyes was one of the best moments of parenthood. The children grew up and blessed us with eight grandchildren. We took them all to Disney World. Watching them bubbling with joy at the sight of Mickey Mouse and all the other characters was such fun. Now our oldest granddaughter is working for Disney and as a young adult still enjoys the magic.
We arrived here Sunday night after driving south on I-95 for two days. Our purpose was fulfilled when our beautiful granddaughter, Princess Pixie Dust, got off work. She has been working here in the Magic Kingdom since May. She is having a wonderful time, but was in great need of a hug from her gramma and grampa. It has been wonderful to listen to the high drama of a genuine Disney princess. She is sharing an apartment here with six twenty-one year old women, so life is full of great drama.
Tomorrow she is taking us to Disney's Animal Kingdom so grampa can see birds. Thursday she is taking us to see her Magic Kingdom. It is wonderful to be here with her.