Archive for May, 2010

Memorial Day… from when I was very young … meant the Memorial Day Parade.  It meant the whole town came to either be in the Parade or watch it.

From the oldest to the youngest.. My Nana, my mother and my Uncle Larry (who was a volunteer fireman)..everyone came.

When the parade ended at the church, after marching through the graveyard and doing a 21 gun salute, there were box lunches for the whole town… and visiting on the church lawns. (me and my Uncle Larry after the parade one year)

Then there was my brother who always decorated his bike . Any child who did that and belonged to the PAL (police athletic league) also was in the parade.  (me and my brother)

When my brother got older, he joined the Air Force.

He served our country during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Upon his death (18 months ago) I was given a folded American Flag  for his time in the Air Force… I thank him for helping to protect me, and always being there for me..

I love you Jim.

I hope everyone has a wonderful  Memorial Day!

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Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race   by: David Scott and Alexei Leonov

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (February 21, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0312308663

Product Description

In this unique dual autobiography, astronaut David Scott and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov recount their exceptional lives and careers spent on the cutting edge of science and space exploration. This book reveals, in a very personal way, the drama of one of the most ambitious contests ever embarked on by man, set against the conflict that once held the world in suspense: the clash between communism and Western democracy.Through the men’s memoirs, their courage emerges from their perseverance in times of extraordinary difficulty and danger.

I have to tell you.. I was never a history buff person in school.  I think it had to do with the fact that you HAD to read it ..and you HAD to memorize all the dates and things that happened on the dates… I really was not into it.  I mean, I did it… but it didn’t make me a history nut.

This book brought much of the feeling of history class back to me.  Dates (which I did NOT memorize) and things that were going on in the world when these two men were being born and heading in the direction of becoming an Astronaut and Cosmonaut.

For me there were times that I felt like NCIS when someone would get his head slapped.   Wow.. I remember the Cuban Missile Crises very well. My brother was in the Air Force and his leave was abruptly canceled!   And I certainly remember Kennedy’s assassination !

So many historic things in my life time that were happening. 

When I first looked at this book I wondered if I really wanted to read an autobiography that also included a Cosmonaut, that I really didn’t know.  I don’t know why I wouldn’t since it was still about the race to the moon but it probably wasn’t high on my list of reads.  But finding out how Alexei lived his young life and even his life as a Cosmonaut… made me put this man on my list of hero’s.  He was, like it or not, the very first person to “walk in space”.

I have read a number of autobiographies of our original astronauts. And a few books like Moonshot (still my favorite ), and of course many movies and documentaries on the race to the moon.  But other then saying who did what first I knew nothing of the Russians other than they were beating us for quite some time.

This book opened that up somewhat with Alexei Leonov’s autobiography included in the book.  It was very well written . There would be pages on David Scott and then pages on Alexei about the same period of time.  From when they were young boys and how they first got into the space program. 

I found it quite amazing what a hard, hard life Alexei lived through and how much he managed to accomplish in Russia.

The basic story is one I know well because I lived through it… at least the American parts of it.

Just the mention of Stalin and Khrushchev and Brezhnov made me  have flashes of pictures of them on television.  I have to admit.. I had all but forgotten about them.

I really enjoyed the comparison of these two men’s lives and America and Russia at that time.  It reveals more problems that they had with the rockets and with their space ships that I knew nothing about.  Maybe they told the public at the time and I forgot it or maybe they kept it discreetly quiet.

David Scott nearly was killed and had that happened he would not have commanded Apollo 15 and been the seventh man to walk on the moon.

In this time of our lives, when NASA is being cut off of government money and going back to the moon has been canceled, it brought back all my good feelings for our astronauts.  I even cried when the Shuttle landed the other day when they announced it was it’s last flight.  I don’t know why I feel so strongly that man should not slow down with space exploration, but it saddens me deeply.

Do I know the money could be used to feed the hungry? Of course I do, but I sincerely believe its a matter of how the monies are dispersed.  I believe the money is there to help the American people in whatever capacity is needed.  And there is money to help other countries in times of crisis.  And I believe in the space program with my whole heart and I do believe the money to go ahead with going back to the moon is there too.  Maybe I’m a fool to believe that, but reading this book reminded me how much we need to reach out in space and hope that there are more answers out there then we even suspect.  *Hope*..it’s a word we need.

I will admit that when I bought this book I wondered how it could possibley be any different from any other book talking about the space race?  But it was an excellent combination of two autobiographies, and two views of getting to the moon.  

So.. if you are one who likes to read about the Space Race, I would highly recommend this book.  Along with some old history lessons the story each man tells gives you a lot more insight to what really was going on.  This book is a keeper.

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  The large Heron stopped by to do some fishing…

…and he got lucky..  I know it looks like weeds but in the mess there IS a fish!

This is a juvenile of our local Grackle ..she was waiting up in the tree above where I was sitting so I just aimed up and snapped her picture.. she’s the one that will take bread from my hand.

Ok.. so..  here’s the new visitor… I have no idea what it is.. I’ve looked in my bird book but haven’t found it so if anyone has any idea what it is let me know.. Unfortunately it flew off and I probably won’t see it again.

One of my neighbors thinks it is a Greenback Heron..  It could be!

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Senior Moment

I took this from an email my sister in law, Janet, sent me, and thought I’d post it just to give a smile to some seniors (like me) who might read my blog.

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(I will save the shell photo and see if we get oil here.. they do expect it sooner or later)


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I got a decent photo of “Jr” (the moorhen they have chased away from the family (because he is a maturing male) So I thought I would post it.

When I feed the others I usually spot him quite a way up the pond so I save some bread and go for a short walk to feed him.. he comes right up to me. After he eats his fill he always takes a piece of bread and tries to go and feed the babies, only to get Mama’s wrath!  (his beak is turning nicely.. soon it will be a red/orange color)

The below shot shows his tremendously big feet under the water.

I haven’t seen that *gold* dragonfly since I lucked in with that one photo.. all the others have this bluest body…

…. with really funky eyes! lol

 I am giving a try to a small potted English Ivy. (It brings out the British part of me :o)  )…

Outside when I look up ..my neighbor has this beautiful  Mandevilla climbing plant…

… and of course I keep a close eye on her tomatoes!  I mean, if one should turn red and fall… I’d want to be there to catch it! heh.

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There is just *something* about a large bird standing on the tippy-top of a tree on teeny-tiny branches that fascinates me!

I have seen the Anhinga in trees before but this time it was atop the tree right in front of my apartment… amazing.

When she flew away (female has brown neck, males are all black) I saw the Egret doing his fishing, or should I say, doing his impersonation of a statue… it made for a nice reflection photo..

oh.. and just so you know… this is the first time the moorhens had 6 babies and they are all still alive! (by now some normally *disappear*… must be all the help they are getting from the *teenagers*!)

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The Prince and the Pilgrim by Mary Stewart

Publisher: Ivy Books (March 2, 1997)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0449224430

From School Library Journal

YA?Returning to the era of Arthur and his Camelot, Stewart has given life to two lesser-known characters from Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. She enlarges upon and gives wonderful detail to Alexander, a young prince who sets off on a quest to avenge his father’s assassination and to Alice, a gentle young lass who accompanies her father on pilgrimages to Holy shrines. Their stories are told in five alternating chapters until they meet, fall in love, and vanquish the foe in the exciting climax. Interwoven within the plot are background details on other characters and the complex legends of the period, especially evil Queen Morgan Le Fay, who detains Alexander for her own greedy purposes. A British map (same one several times) appears frequently to identify various locales, and one family tree assists readers, but there is no preliminary list of characters to help keep the participants in mind. The appended author’s notes and the legend itself are interesting and help pull everything together once the story has concluded.

Well, I finally read a book in a decent amount of time!  Of course it wasn’t a very large book, and that helped lol..

I liked this story. I have to admit I have read Mary Stewarts Merlin Trilogy (long ago) and like it and more recently read her story of Rose Cottage.  She must have had a thing for Roses, since in the Prince & the Pilgrim the castle was called Castle Rose.

I found the book quite interesting.. like the review above states it is about some lesser characters in the time of King Arthur but by doing so Arthur , Merlin, and Morgan Le Fay are all mentioned and Morgan is one of the characters in the book.

It is two stories in one.  One of Alexander and one of Alice.  Toss in some castles and a bit of Cornwall and a little love and you have a book by Mary Stewart!

So far all I have read of her’s I’ve enjoyed and this was no different. If you want a book with a bit of the times surrounding Arthur this is a good book to read.  It’s not overly heavy with history and yet you get the feel of where and when you are.

I don’t think it’s a book for everyone.  I would call it light reading, yet just enough in it to keep you involved.

It was a good book, and I’d recommend it to those who maybe want something a little different but not heavy duty or 600 pages long!

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I am going to concentrate on one of the Moorhens..

The one is one of the first batch of babies of which only 3 survived.  He/she has been one of the 3 big brother or sisters helping to feed and watch over the second brood of chicks..  (below photo of newest baby…second brood growing fast!)


I will call this one, “Jr”..  and Jr seems to be growing up faster than the other two siblings…maybe a little too fast!  Take note that the “nose piece” is beginning to change color from nothing to golden (on it’s way to red/orange).

For this he is suffering the wrath of Mama !  Jr is being chased unmercifully away from all the family and being forced to leave the pond. Now, generally this happens before the next brood is hatched so watching the “teenagers” help raise the babies has been a real treat… and as soon as the beak of the other two begins to change color, they too will be chased until they leave!

I feel sorry for this guy.. he still wants to help feed the babies!  So I took a few pictures of him/her this morning, knowing soon this one will be gone.. *sniffle*..

first a bath… then fix the feathers! 

Oh my… the kids just grow up too fast these days!

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I decided to get “myself” a small 5 gallon fish tank and put a few Goldfsh in it to enjoy…

…. Boo thinks I got it for him!

…. he’s right.

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