Monday, June 7, 2010

Rose gets Married...

The date June, 5th, 2010.  The place Chico, Ca.  The time 4PM.  The wedding of Rose Sylvia and Robert Nipkow... They met working for Outback, a steak house popular in CA. She in college, and he settled in a career.  The wedding was nothing short of breath taking.  I am glad I was invited, and was able to attend.  She is perfect in splendor and beauty.  Encircled by sincere friendships, and loving family both were joined into marriage.  No detail was left undone.  The flowers were both beautiful and simple in their elegance. Their dog symbolically taking the ring to the alter.  The stunning wedding dress.  All and all a wedding fit for a princess.

I enjoyed the weather, and the well manicured gardens of the venue.  People laughed and danced well into the evening, and rose with the early dawn to replay pictures in quiet hotel kitchens dining rooms.  It was a time of family, reflection, and showing one grown up woman just how very much she is love.  There is no valid measure of the word family... and times like these prove it the most.

I wish them all the best in life and the world... but they do not need my wishes.  For Rose comes from a long line of successful marriages.  She knows the road ahead will be both easy and hard, up and down, full of love, and happiness, disappointment, and anger...   She is not disillusioned, and this will serve them both well.  She comes from good stock.  Her parents have been married for 33 years... and her grandparents for 50 plus years. It will be tough, beautiful, and worth it.  The road is just beginning, and this day will be talked about by her children and her grandchildren on their wedding days.  I am glad I got to witness it, and I look forward to the many splendid celebrations to come for both of them.

I raise my cup to both of them.  Here is to you Mr. and Mrs. Nipkow. Cheers!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Attack of the Wild Armadillo...

When we were in Orlando Florida for the STS-132 Launch so many things happened that we just know we are going to forget if we do not write them all down, so this is just a tiny part of the story. This is the story of the attack of the wild Armadillo.

So the story kind of begins at the end of a very long day. Carl and I had walked all around two different museums doing the whole NASA history thing. And yet, we had made it back to the park in enough time to get there for an incredible sunset. Carl had grabbed his camera, and we went to the pier. I sat with him until the sun went down and it was getting pretty dark. I had a flashlight, and he was doing a series of night time, long exposure shots from off the Banana river. It was breathtakingly beautiful. Not to mention how much fun it was to watch Carl so happy, doing what he really loves. But in the end the events of the day won out and I was exhausted.

I told Carl that I was tired and I was going to head back to the tent to get ready for bed. He said that was no problem and that he would soon follow behind me in about 10 to 15 min. Happy with this, I set off down the pier. It was very dark out, but the stars and the bright lights reflecting off the waterfront and the cloud cover from STS-132 Pad A. I thought it was bright enough not to use my flashlight, in hope of seeing more fire flies. I walked slow, and enjoyed the sounds of the water lapping on the shore. The children's voices in the distance laughing and carrying on. It made me smile.

Happy and tired I ambled my way to the tent. I was in no big hurry. I walked down the small gravel road, passing RV, after RV. The campfires smelt so wonderful, and the glow of the small fires in front of each campsite left a warmth in my heart. It was peaceful. I turned from the road onto a large grass lawn set aside for the tent camping. The field was soft beneath my feet.

I walked further and further away from the softly lit gravel road to the darker shaded area of my tent. I heard a soft russel in the cut grass not far from where I was walking. I turned on the flashlight and spot lighted the culprit of the sound. It was an armadillo. About 2 feet in front of me and a little to the left. My light stunned him and he stopped dead in his tracks. I knew what an armadillo was, but I could not recall if they were dangerous or not. I did not know what to do. I was scared to move. I quickly turned off the light and in a shot the armadillo ran wildly in one direction and I ran wildly in another.

I ran to the safety of the lighter better lit gravel road. My flash light still off. A man and a woman had been going for an evening stroll. When they saw me run in terror to the road, the man could not stop laughing. The woman shot her husband a stern look. The man asked me, "You aren't from around these parts are ya?" Still giggling. I said, "No." Kind of annoyed, and embarrassed. I told them I had seen an armadillo.

That was it, the guy laughed out loud not holding anything back. The woman looked and me and told me how brave I was for camping in a strange place where I did not know the critters. She asked me where I was from. I told her I was NASA Dryden in California. She smiled sweetly and her husband told me that armadillos are like cats, but nicer. He told me I would be perfectly safe picking one up and tickling its belly. And they left me to go on my merry way back to the tent.

Traumatized I made it back to our little homestead and quickly slipped inside the tent, got into my pajamas and got into bed. Carl soon came and I told him of the attack of the wild armadillo. Do you think he comforted me? Hell no, he laughed so hard I thought he was going to cry. He teased me the rest of the trip about making us all from California look bad.

So next time, I am going to catch that little armadillo and I am going to take a victory picture with him before setting him free. :) Of course I think I am going to have to wait for my next encounter when I go visit my sister for the first time in AMARILLO, Texas! <3

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Manatee's...

When we were in Orlando Florida for the STS-132 Launch so many things happened that we just know we are going to forget if we do not write them all down, so this is just a tiny part of the story. This is the story of the Manatee's in the Marina.


So we are leaving KAR's park, which is a really nice camp ground owned by Kennedy Space Center on the Banana River. From the pier there you can see Pad A. It is an amazing area, green and lush. Well taken care of. And it sits right on the edge of the river with rolling green fields of soft grass. The whole place makes you want to run around barefoot all day long, which makes for the most peaceful, serene and romantic settings around. A few great trees gave the place character, and provided welcomed shade to hide under. The park is huge. It has baseball fields, a country store, showers, laundry facilities, tennis courts, and so much more. It also has a very small private Marina for KSC employees near the entrance gate.

One mid morning Carl and I are about to leave Kar's park for the days events, and we are heading slowly towards the entrance gate. Carl and I are driving the little Ford Escape we rented for the trip just leaving the park.And just off the grassy park that runs along side the marina in the water Carl sees out of the corner of his eye a big splash in the water. "What was that?" Carl asked quickly to me. His first thought with all the families running around, was that a kid fell in the water. The splash was a big one. "I don't know", I quickly retorted. Carl was already stopping the vehicle, and taking off his seat belt."I think a kid fell in the water." he stammers out. We both quickly without thinking jumped out of the car and ran to the water. As we got closer and closer it seemed as if it could have been a tire, but we just kept running in case it was a child after all. As we ran, we noticed no one was around, there were no kids, no adults, no signs of anyone around.

Then it hits us, there is a Manatee in the water. And then we see another, and another, and another. I climb on top of a park bench and perch myself against the railing to get a better shot with my camera. I keep hollering back qt Carl, "Do you see that? Do you see that?" Carl is farther behind me. Camera in hand now. There was a whole pod of them. Four, maybe 6 adult looking Manatees right there in the tiny Marina playing in the water. The pod was in the center of the marina, with maybe one or two further out in the safety of the over grown bushes and shrubs on the far side that no one could get to without a boat.

Carl walked to the end of one of the wooden wharfs of the Marina that was suppose to serve as a sidewalk to a docked boat, yacht, or other water recreational vehicle. No boats were on either side. In fact, there were no boats parked at any of the three spots where he was standing. All of a sudden he saw bubbles beside him. And then out of nowhere this full grown adult Manatee, in all of his gray elephant like skin pokes his nose through the water to get a better glimpse of this odd mammal on the dock. Carl is quick to run off several photographic shots right in succession of his close encounter.

It was amazing and great and a bit scary all at the same time. The Manatee was about 1000 lbs and about 10 feet long. Carl looked like an mere child in comparison. I ran to Carl's side, but the Manatee had already made his way back out to the pod. It was awesome. I asked him what he thought of his experience, and of course he was jazzed. And his first instinct was to rattle off a bunch of fast paced photos of his new sea cow friend. But he did admit to me, as much as he loves his camera, he was worried that if the Manatee had bumped the walkway, he could have easily fallen in, with his $3000.00 camera with him.

Well, we are so grateful that did not happen, and we are also grateful for the wonderful photos we got to get of them, especially our friend. What a treat to get to view these migratory animals in their natural habitats, doing what they are born to do. Eat, play, and travel! It was unreal, and remarkable!

This is one of my favorite things that happened on this trip. The right place at the right time. :) This does not do justice to how it felt, but on this you will have to trust me! It was remarkable!! I Loved It!!!!

Meeting Mr. Bolden...

I went to Florida to watch the STS-132 shuttle launch. It was the last scheduled flight for Atlantis. I want to share it with you.

You guys know how much I love NASA, and you know how excited I must have been to get the opportunity to watch a shuttle launch. But bigger then that, I love my job, and the administrator at this time is Charlie Bolden. He is a retired astronaut who was not just a Marine, but also a 5 mission veteran of space flight. He was a pilot on a couple and a commander on another. Charlie Bolden is right up there with Cornell Powell with hero status in my heart. Mr. Bolden is a passionate leader of NASA in a time of great change for the agency. Whenever he comes to Dryden people swarm him and there was never a way that I can ever meet the man. His time is precious and it is controlled very tightly by the upper management of the center.

Well I got the chance to go to Florida for the STS-132 Launch. And the day before the launch I went to the KSC visitor's center there in Orlando. It was the most magical place on earth for me. Some would argue that Disney World had the tap on that market (especially in Orlando), but for me... KSC visitor's Center was Better then any other place on earth. I love history with a passion, and I truly love all things NASA. Here I was immersed in it. Around every corner there was more to see, learn, and soak in. I was a big kid in a new and exciting playground. High on life and the blessings I could never have imagined for myself. I felt like I was in a dream. A make a wish fantasy without the diagnosis of cancer. I was on cloud nine waiting for the launch to wiz by so I could catch a ride to a magical star. Life was GREAT!

I had walked around for the better part of the day, and made my way into a gift shop where I was getting trinkets of NASA and STS-132's big day for the three of my boys. I had an arm full of goodies, and I waited in line to get up to the busy register. When I finally got there I reached into my wallet to find all of my credit cards, my insurance card, and my driver's license GONE! I panicked and ran out of the store with fear in my soul and my heart in my throat. I was flooded with all sorts of thoughts.

Someone stole it, a pick pocket. Someone was running up all kinds of bills on my accounts. How was I ever going to be able to get on the plane without my driver's license? How was I going to get home to my boys? How do I get a replacement DL? How do you do it from another state? And how long will it take? How do I get a hold of the credit card companies and tell them to discontinue the accounts when I do not know my account numbers by heart? I was so scared, and I began to become very frightened.

I instantly retreated into my mind and prayed to my heavenly father. Oh God, please, I don't know how you could see me out of this, but I really need your help. I know I do not deserve your help, but I really need your help on this one. I don't know what to do. Guide me. Please Father, HELP ME!! I tried to keep myself from busting into tears, even as I desperately wanted to.

I tried to calm myself, but to no a veil. I told Carl what had happened, and we began a frantic search of all of the places I had been. All the times I thought I had them out. I thought back to lunch. Did I pull it out and set it on the tray? Did I throw them out with the trash from lunch?? I did not know. We ran back to the area where we had been eating to look in the trash can. I was desperate and I did not care how silly or gross it looked. I had to find them.

When I got there I looked in the trash can, but it had been emptied and a new trash bag lined the can. I was sad, and hopeless. Carl thought maybe, just maybe I left it in the car when I went back to change clothes earlier in the day. I was headed in that direction, when out of the corner of my eye. There at the park in a quiet little cubby hole sitting on the edge of a planter box, bent over looking at his blackberry cell phone was no other then Charles Bolden himself. All alone. He too was visiting the park with his family. They were in the gift shop buying souvenirs, while he waited outside taking a moment to catch up on the business of running NASA. I could not believe it.

Carl was at my side with me and he urged me to go up and say hello to him. I couldn't. I did not want to disturb him. To me he was more then our administrator, our leader, and boss. Charles Bolden was an icon, and a hero. I had watched him speak to congress, and read everything I could get my hands on about the man, his legacy, his accomplishments, his history. I had seen him in person once there at Dryden... that was a treat, but he was never alone. Charlie Bolden was NASA Royalty And deserving so. Carl took the lead, with his bold confidence, walking directly up to him,extending his hand and introduced himself to Mr. Bolden and explained he was from Dryden. And then he introduced me to him as well. Mr. Bolden was so warm and welcoming. He shook not only our hands, but our arms as well. He was a normal everyday American, just like Carl and myself. He was just as excited that we came to watch the launch for our vacation as we were to be there. It was amazing. We did not keep him long, for we knew his time was valuable. But it made my whole year. I could not even wish that big. And yet, it was a reality. It was awesome.

What impressed me the most about the man, was that he was there just like I was, as a tourist, on vacation with his whole family. He had his grandchildren riding on his back, and of the thousands of people there at the visitor's center that day, very few people recognized him. As accomplished, educated, and smart as he is, he was also a true family man. He, like me, holds a passion for NASA, but much bigger then even myself, and for better reasons... he lived it. And yet he still found the most important thing on earth was exactly the same thing I think is the most important too... our families. I recognized Mr. Bolden, and I got to shake his hand. It was an honor, and a delight.

Right afterward, I made my way to the car, and guess what? There in a bag in the front seat was every card. Safe and sound. Carl was right.

Had I never lost the cards, if I had not stopped to pray silently to God from my heart, if I had not retraced my steps, if it had been at any other time of the day, or the week, he would not have been there alone... Had Carl never stepped in when I would not. I never would have met my hero.

The right place at the right time. It just reminds me how precious even our trials can be to shape our futures. I am blessed beyond all measure and I am as much in awe of meeting the man as I am in just how the events played out. I just had to take a moment to share it with all of you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New beginings...

I am not excited about the next venture in my life. I am moving AGAIN. This time back to a place that is MUCH smaller then the one we are currently in. It worries me how I am going to make it all fit and come together. I am not sure that I can this time. I remind myself that things are just things, and all things must come and go for a reason unbeknown st to us. We are an ebb and flow of choices, and decisions.

Currently hate coming home to a house that seeps to the core of my soul with negative tides wafting from the neighbor across the street. The dirty looks, the foul expressions, the deep foreboding weight of the air that lingers whenever one or the other of us is in the front yard at the same times. I need to breathe. And in order to do so I choose to move. A move backwards, not forwards. I have made some side steps before on the journey, but rarely do I ever need to go backwards. This time I have too. No storage, no abundant garages, no cupboards... bare basics of life. A quaint place, more suitable to our condition... but more cramped for sure. The rooms shrank in size, and the backyard grew. No plants, no shade trees, no flowers. A blank canvas waiting for money to investment in colorful paint.

I am too old for this, and too over weight. What once was exciting, and reinvention of the wheel is just plainly a chore. One that is littered with back issues, tension and drama. I do not wish to go much further with the issues at hand for it will get me into trouble. Relocating myself and the kids use to be easy... when did it all become so hard? Hard to navigate, and figure out. I should be an old pro by now. I have done more then my fair share of moves on my own... this will be no different.


It has begun. We are in, and for the most part the boxes have been unpacked, and the pictures are hung on the walls. There is still much that is missing in the enigma that I call a garage, but that should all be settled in due time. The place is beginning to feel like home. Slowly, the boys are settling in. The distance between everyone's living quarters is much closer thus the volume in the home is higher then we are use too. It takes a bit more understanding... and everyone seems to be doing their part to make it all work. It is a home. I have begun planting some flowers to make it more homey if only to myself.

I love having my own bathroom, and the backyard, while barren is vast and welcoming. It longs for a child's play set, a patio set, and a Bar B Q. I long for a garden and more potted plants. It will happen.

Right now I have other matters that demand my attention... 3 little mouths to feed, and a trip with my beloved to the other side of the country. Time will settle all things. Until then we learn to love the home, the location, our new neighbors... and most importantly each other.

A new home, a new beginning.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The faith of a woman...

There was a woman I once knew.  Our friendship was an odd one.  She thought I was an angel.  And her strength in her conviction, her passionate faith had me believing maybe it was true.  I knew better of course, and I even protested, but she would argue with such eloquence.  backing it up with fact, dates, times, ideas, and firmly grounded in faith... I had to wonder.  Maybe I was an angel sent on a mission, maybe I did have a purpose, and a reason.  This woman was an unlikely friend.  I easily could have been her great granddaughter.

I wanted to be what she believed I was.  I wanted to be her angel.  She thought I was sent to her family, and even though I knew I was not, her faith really made me wonder.  A child of God.  A precious hand picked angel for her family.  I would get upset at her protesting until she would have me soothed and comforted.  She just knew.  I have never met anyone who could literally be that close to both sides of the veil at the same time.

I moved to the desert and was having a hard time with a rash decision I had made at the time based purly on the bases of my faithfulness to the doctrine of the church.  I did everything I was asked.  I took on every challenge head long.  I walked the walk, talked the talk, I read my scriptures daily... this was suppose to be my reward... and it was not.  It was far from it.  I cooked, and cleaned, and I got my dream job along the way.  Every step she adored me, and was always there to chat with.  She was a safe, calm voice, to heal my tired heart.  She was my friend when I did not think I had any.

This woman, this wonderful, and godly angel herself passed away.  It tears my heart apart.  I weep at my loss of her even though I had not talked with her in nearly 2 years.  She meant more to me then she should have, she was not my kin... she was my friend.  She never gave up the assurances of her conviction. 

I began to believe her, if only for a little while.  I will miss you Grandma Willard.  You were the kindest, most wonderful person.  A strong and stubborn old woman who I will forever look up to and love forever more.  May the Lord bless your journey, and may you keep busy teaching, loving, and building your Mansion in the city and your cottage in the country.

The history of a painter...

Since writing the last blog, I found out more to the puzzle. 
The painter's name was Robert Faust.
  In the symbol of his mark to sign the photo, it is a R and a F in a circle.
  The man I got this from happens to be the brother to the painter. 
He just lost his brother 2 years ago to cancer.  
Robert was a teacher.
He did many portraits in the near by communities that have long since been painted over. 
He was an art teacher in San Diego once upon a time, before he finally gave it up one day to paint full time.
  Robert's brother works for NASA in their graphics department.  
A bond of brothers, with an appreciative eye.  

Robert's brother delighted in the idea of one of his brother's paintings still being out there.  So did I.  He has kept quite a many of his brother's pieces of artwork, lovingly set aside for his family.  I was right, he was a local, raised as a child in these parts...born roughly in the 60's I assume.  So much raced in my mind during that short conversation... so many things I dared not ask.  Like how old was he when he passed, what year was he born, did he have children, or do you think he could have taught me how to paint?  What did his students think of him?  His co-workers?  His wife? His children?  Did he have pets?  When did he first start to paint? Is their mother still living? Where is he buried? What is your favorite memory of him? Your hardest?

For some reason it did not sadden  me that he was gone.  Instead it invigorated me and excited me greatly that the artist had left a wondrous legacy behind. A piece of art even the family had forgotten about. And now they were going to go back and recapture what was lost, and glean from it the very essence of the artist that I had felt.  It made perfect sense to me then why it touched me so deeply, why I wanted to know who the painter was so fiercely. It was not for me.  It was for a brother already passed who wanted to see his living brother again.  A sort of calling card, and I got to be the messenger.  How I would delight in being a fly upon the wall when the brother from NASA arrives, and what he has to say both spoken aloud, and in the silence of his mind to Robert.  And I know Robert will undoubtedly be listening.  I find it interesting that I did not think I could love the painting anymore then I already did, until now. How the pieces of the puzzle are still in motion...a ripple effect going out.  Where will the momentum go? I will never know.  Maybe the brother will start a blog of Robert's art in memory of his brother.  Maybe the blog will be made into a book.  Maybe the book will awe and inspire a nation.  A man gone from this earth, but not hardly forgotten.  We all walk this road, and I have to wonder... what will I leave behind?


I want to write a book. Something someone else would delight in reading.  If only for one person, and never to be published.  I want to leave a love of words in the hearts of all who read it.


An Idea Is Born...

Friday, March 26, 2010

NASA's Prolific Past....

At 35 years old, few things come as a surprise to me anymore. However, not so long ago I found a remarkable piece of NASA's prolific past in a most remarkable spot.  But for all of this, I must back up.  And start with an introduction. 

There is a seemingly dilapidated little old town in the middle of the desert.  Its buildings and structures once new and brightly painted have long since lost their love and care for them, and they now sit slowly decaying and falling apart.  This small town, at your first glance, is sinking into the desert, ever so slowly being eroded away by the harsh wind storms of pebbles and rocks prevalent to this area.  A town routinely over looked and continuously overloaded with sand, sage brush, and family ties. A place where the only store for 20 miles holds not much more then 2 gallons of milk, and few choices of soda, 5 loaves of bread, and a plethora of alcoholic beverages. A small forgotten town on the side of the highway... an off ramp to nowhere. Even car trouble in these desolate conditions might give cause for some to worry and rightfully so.  The closest gas station is 30 miles away in your choice of 2 directions only.  Hidden and remote, the little town of North Edwards, on a quiet little stretch of Highway 58, barely makes a footprint in the sand on the vast Mojave desert floor.  A town slowly dying and receding from a more productive interstate change.

It is there, ...there in that blink of an eye, on a quiet frontage road where this story takes shape and begins to unfold before us.  Like a old woolen blanket... itchy, protective, and warm.  I grapple with the words to describe what it is exactly that I found there.

A piece of America's history is lost. A mural lays hidden on a concrete wall shielded from the suns damaging rays by an awning of rotting wood. A magnificent and splendid forgotten piece of our collective history.  An artist long lost.  It sits as it has for century's on the side of a busy highway that many have past... and few ever realized were traveling on. On the corridor to sin city, Las Vegas, and on the shirt tails of Edwards Air Force Base... it sits alone.

Its only friends are the sounds of the finches from the nearby bird sanctuary, the hum of the tires rolling off the autos and big rigs racing past this stretch of yesterday's past, or the contrasting sound of an occasional thunderous sonic boom of a low flying F-18. Here is where I want to take your hand and have you walk with me.  I have a secret to show you, a story to whisper.  I found something...

It is remarkable, and moving.  It makes my heart sing, and cry all at the same time. It has engraved its image onto the tablet of my soul, and in the deepest recesses of my heart.  It is a forgotten mural in an abandoned shack.  The little Red Barn use to be a lively bar a lifetime ago.  And now it sits empty and open only to transients, and rebellious teens.  The ceiling is blackened with mold, and the linoleum has long since been pulled back, and now houses an illegal fire pit with charred up wood. The windows lay shattered just beyond boards, and the bar still stands welcoming its next customer.  It is a forgotten relic with a hidden jewel.

An artist, presumably local, drew a painting. And captured a moment of time, more perfect then a photo, more transcendental then a time machine.  It looks at first glance to be chalk, but it is not. Its colors blend so well, partly by the painters skillful hand and aided undoubtedly by the rays of time and the repeated soft gentle kiss of the setting sun.  It's amazing.  The happiness of the two little prop job planes flying with the aeronautic masterpiece of them all, the beloved shuttle.  Her safely returning to home after a mission in space. It is a story of coming home, of celebration.... a moment of greatness and accomplishment etched into eternity... a timeless snapshot of true Americana pride, and innovation.  Much like the Paleolithic art "The Crossed Bison" of the Lacaux in southwestern France, this artwork is soon to be a fossil of a promotable era in our nation's history.  A segway to the past. A virtual wrinkle in time.

As I sit here and gaze upon it, I conjure up pictures of promitable painters such as, one of my favorite of all time artists, Dr. Robert T. McCall who passed away earlier this year.  McCall's works are more precise, and detailed in color, scale, and depth... but that is precisely what I love about this painting. It is not a McCall. It is soft. It leaves me room to dream.  It is gentle and more welcoming, and I can almost imagine myself standing at the sidelines of this great day.  The painting is dated the Fourth of July, 1982.  It is the date that takes the painting to a new level of American pride, and deep seeded patriotism for me.  Independence Day.  The perfect day to welcome her home... her crew.  STS-4, Columbia's big day in the sun.  The most remembered most prolific of all the shuttles... at least to me.  Even President Ronald Regan was here himself that day to welcome her home. With a nation watching and all the pomp and circumstance Edwards Air Force Base or the restricted Air Space R-2508 had ever seen prior.  Even the space shuttle Challenger was there that day. Ferried in on the back of one of our two specially modified 747's. God Bless America rings hollow in my ears of the sounds and songs from the hearts of the American public on that day... it makes me want to sing in chorus.

God Bless America.
Land that I LOVE.
Stand Beside Her and Guide Her
Through the Night With A Light From Above.
From the Mountains to the Prairies,
To the Oceans White With Foam
God Bless America, MY HOME SWEET HOME

I can feel the heat of the summer sun, and the dry desert breeze blowing like a hair dryer across my shoulders.  Clad in red, white, and blue clothing, flimsy flip flop shoes upon my feet, sun glasses in my hair, and a camera in my hand,.  A fun and glorious day.  I wish I could have been there.  A prideful propaganda queen, and patriot... waving a flag, and singing triumphantly off key.


And yet...  

It brings to my heart such sweet sorrow as well.  Tears of a day in her unbeknownst future.  A day of tragedy awaits her.  And standing in the midst of a feeling in her grandeur and most glorious moment... I am sadly reminded, as most Americans, of her legacy.  Columbia on a day much like this one on the fourth of July in 1982, only a few short years later... February 1st, 2003... coming home yet again from a glorious mission in space to a grateful and excited nation...But this time tragically stricken... broken up on reentry over our beloved Texas. A nation in mourning, watching in stunned disbelief.  The loss of seven hard working, talented astronauts. The shock waves of a nation, crashing down upon us. We held the burden of her pain, ourselves shattered. Our ideas, and advancements bruised, our hearts torn asunder.  A tragic loss of life, Columbia's horrific fall from grace.  How we as a nation collectively loved the Shuttle Columbia, and her crew.  How I love them still. 
The ironic contrast of such a wondrous day with two of our nation's finest spacecrafts on that 4th of July in 1982, and how they are the same two shuttles that we later lost tragically in 1998, and 2003, is not lost on me.  Challenger on January 28,1998, and Columbia on February 1, 2003.  From terrific grandeur to tragedy. My heart feels heavy. 

The soft cool breeze of an early spring nips at my ears and nose.  Standing here in 2010, looking into a painting, transported.  The birds are still chirping. The automobiles still racing by.  The sound of gravel shifting below my weight in the sand.  I turn my eyes to the sky.  Crisp, clear, limitless...  The stories this place could tell.  The marvels this sky has seen.  I breathe it all in, slowly.  Deep into my lungs letting it fill me, and recharge my battery levels.  The sun is softly setting in the west.  The kiss of amber light leaving the sky. It is time for me to be heading home as well.


I could stay here for hours... to play and ponder. I love this painting.  I wish there were more like it.  Like the best art in the Louvre it moves me.  It makes me think and feel in great depth.  It makes me wonder.  Maybe it is the dilapidated building? The art? The history? The story?  I can not tell you... but this place is blissfully magical, and it delights my soul.  A hidden jewel, a treasured secret, a remarkable piece of NASA's prolific past.  I just simply... love it.

Thank you Faust.  Whomever you are.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The project.... Blog 101

Well as fate would have it the blog at work is still struggling to see light, and take its first deep breath of life.  I was tasked to begin a mock entry for the blog to provide an idea of what a blog entry should look like.  We have others who will be doing the same. Monday we are suppose to come together and put our ideas on a table.  I took a wild stab at it, and what follows comes from my heart.  I still do not believe it is worthy of a NASA publication site, but I do know that when I write for me it turns out much better then if I write for someone else.  I was asked merely IF you were going to write a blog about this organization... what would you say. 

I wanted to keep it positive, and forward thinking.  I wanted it to inspire, and be upliftingly hopeful.  I wanted it to convey who we are and what we do.  I wanted it to state our commitment from a one on one level, to a global connection.  I wanted it to have passion.  I also wanted to keep it short, so as not to bore the reader to death with long drawn out winded speeches.  What I came up with is below.  Not that I expect it to go much further then right here on my blog...but it was fun to let the creative passion flow, and pour out a little bit of me. I am thrilled that I get to have a place in kicking off the people who will be making the first real entries for the NASA Dryden blog.  I believe in this being nothing but good for the center. I look forward to the blog getting off the ground.  I look forward to our first of many informative and exciting entries from our center.  But for now... read and see what you think.

OCIO Code MI Blog Fist Draft…

NASA Dryden’s Mission Information and Test Technology Systems branch (Code MI) is a diverse, and highly skilled workforce that not only exemplifies our institutional capabilities, but it also permeates our eminent overall commitment to our primary customers, our center, our agency, our nation, and our global community. We strive to ensure our altitudinous level of quality within the most cost effective and efficient ways possible.  We, being the I.T. Infrastructure, are excited to be an integral part of this center and its global contributing missions to aeronautics, airborne science, research and so much more.  Through cutting edge advanced technologies we are finding better ways to provide vital cornerstone support to all areas of the center.  We take our contribution to each mission supported at DFRC very seriously. 

Code MI looks forward to our collective future with anticipation, and excitement towards the limitless possibilities set before us.  With great change happening within the entire agency we are invigorated with the new directions we will soon be branching out, and supporting.  With one foot firmly planted in the amazingly rich history, and marvelous feats, of both NACA and NASA’s prolific past, we put our best foot forward, in an inspiring leap of excitement and faith, towards a more proactive, and innovative time in our nation’s collective history.  With a new vision of tomorrow where we are looking less in a single focus, and more in an atomic explosion of possibilities and advancements. Working as a team in tandem with our nations brightest engineers,  most critical thinking scientists, and detailed mathematicians, we will soon be supporting longer, more in depth data recovering flight missions than ever before.  Information that we never knew, we did not know, will soon be discovered, captured, and analyzed to foster a new era of radical and revolutionary change for the US. This new information will undoubtedly spin off into unfathomable gains that will be felt and in a global ripple effect. We are confident the up and coming advancements will profoundly shape all that is yet to come; and that the best part of our history books is still yet to be written. This is truly the best aspect of being part of this organization.  It is truly a magical time.

The extraordinary bottom line is it all starts here, with us in Information Technology Systems. Far from the days of slide rules, college ruled paper, and wooden pencils, we have evolved into the proverbial hub of the center.  I.T. is the very backbone on which the greatest achievements at Dryden are derived. From I.T.’s desktop support, the center operator, reproduction services, and the help desk to assist with one on one personal care to our immediate customer base. To the ground support of the men and women who provide us with miles and miles of skillfully and artistically ran plethora of all varieties of network, telephone, and communications cables. To a more quiet and behind the scenes supportive network of dedicated I.T. Security officers, COMSEC specialists, physical I.T. security, network engineers, and system administrators who provide for us a technology based infrastructure which ensures the availability of transfer, storage, back up, safety, and flow of sensitive and critical data to those that need it, when they need it. We have specialists that are educated and up to date in the latest and greatest in VoIP, and Video conferencing which allows for us a cheaper, more effective, diverse way of open communication amongst colleagues whose missions span from many different locations. We are directly responsible for the truly inspirational videos that would put the best aviation movies, and air shows to shame.  As well as we get to capture some of the best moments in the nations successes on film with some of the world’s best, most skilled, and detailed photographers and technicians.  Our videos, photos and graphics are routinely published in history books, pamphlets, flyers, and even such esteemed publications as National Geographic, Scientific America, and Modern Aviation. We are the vocal cords for the voice of Dryden. Providing, creating, and maintaining all forms of web applications, and databases, and designs that communicate just what we do here at Dryden’s Flight Research Center to our nation’s public, and assist in the conveyance of the overall importance of every spoke in the wheel of this great center.

We, as Code MI, have, arguably, the best jobs in the center. Often quiet and unassuming in nature, our staff is an exceptional workforce that embraces our role in the big picture.  We are proud to be a part of the missions, and we are proud to be here for you.