Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Being brought up protestant we weren't exposed to iconography in church. This is a painting of Julian of Norwich by Robert Lentz. She lived in Norwich, England during the fourteenth century. Little is known of her life before she became a holy woman living in a small anchorage attached to the church. She entered church service after a nearly fatal illness in which she had a spiritual inspiration. Julian wrote of her vision and offered comfort to her community.

I discovered Lentz's work through the online publication, Methodx. If you're interested just click here. You can find several of his icons here and prints can be ordered through the bookstore. A saint with a tabby cat, I wonder if the kitty was saitly too? Probably not.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Early Voting

Morgan and I plan to go vote this afternoon. I've got a doctor's appointment, and we're going by the court house on our way home. Bill went early this morning and said there wasn't a bad crowd. This will be Morgan's very first time to vote, and she is thrilled. Her voter's registration card finally came last Friday. It might as well have been a winning lottery ticket. She was so proud and happy.

We just recently learned that our primary system in Texas has two parts. First there is the popular vote, then from 7:00-9:00 there is a caucus. I've been voting in Texas for most of my adult life, and I never knew we had this evening caucus thing. All of the information about it came out because the primary race is so close on the Dem's side. How was this done all these years and no one knew? It's astounding to me to learn how very little I know.

Between the early primaries and this thing I've had a bit of culture shock this election cycle. Pres. and Sen. Clinton have been in town half a dozen times in the last week. We've been invited to see both of them but it's all very last minute, and we don't have the time. After all of the excitement so far, I'm wondering what the general election will be like. It's been a long time since anyone has even bothered to campaign in Texas.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big Week On Space Station

I went to work on the space station program in 1986. This mission is really a dream come true for me. The shuttle launch last Thursday was flawless. This week will be busy aboard the International Space Station as the installation of the Columbus Laboratory begins! This is the point in the station assembly we've all been waiting for. A real science laboratory in space. What will we learn there? Maybe a new cancer treatment will be discovered or a new energy saving invention will be created. Anyway, the future starts now. You can follow it at the NASA mission web-site. Please visit and think of where you hope we will go from here.

My kids have been asking why the German astronaut, Hans Schlegel, was unable to perform his assignment on this EVA and why NASA would not disclose the nature of his condition. Last question first. The flight surgeon will not discuss his health for the same reason your doctor doesn't discuss yours. It's private. Sometimes that surprises people, but even astronauts want their medical information protected. We've taken a couple of good guesses as to what's wrong. Since the fight surgeons have said that his illness isn't dangerous or contagious, my best guess might be space motion sickness. However, this particular astronaut has flown twice before and would most likely have had symptoms on the other two flights. If he was susceptible, he wouldn't have been scheduled for an early mission EVA. Most of the crew who experience this condition are recovered within 48 hours. So, another guess might be a small injury such as a muscle strain that impedes range of motion. At launch the crew is subjected to forces many times the normal pull of gravity and must make the transition to weightlessness quickly and begin working. Their safety is the first priority throughout but, these things might put stress on their otherwise healthy bodies. Whatever his illness, NASA has said he will be fine, and there is not permanent risk to his health. I'm sure he wishes he was outside today installing the lab!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What are you giving your sweetie?

I've got nine days left to shop for a Valentine's Day gift for Bill. The kids are easy. Candy is always welcome, but I've got to shop more responsibly for poor Bill. His blood sugar was high at his last physical and we've been working to eliminate sugar from our diet. Now I have no clue what to give the man for Valentine's Day. He always thinks of something thoughtful for me, but I've been lucky that he usually wants candy and treats for his gift. He likes a really strong strong licorice and most kinds of chocolate. Also he has been a huge fan of any kind of home made baked goods. Now I have to dig deep for the first time and find something he might actually want that won't give him diabetes.

So, do any of you have ideas? He doesn't care about clothes and prefers to buy his own books. He's been walking every day, and I'm wondering if he could use a good pair of shoes. He's always been weird about wearing athletic shoes. It must be some kind of nerd fashion thing because I know lots of other rocket science types that go around in loafers with everything, including shorts. Maybe he would be open to trying a different kind of shoe for his exercise. After all, none of the other nerds would see him walking with the dog in the early morning. These guys are getting more hip all the time. It's been ages since I've seen anyone wearing a pocket protector.

I'm going to search Zappo's ... I wonder what he would think of a pair of Crocs????