Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Passings, Landings, and Surprise Bloomings....

Sunday night I was checking out the landing times for the shuttle mission and saw the notice that Peter Jennings had passed away. Back in the "pre-cable" days, Peter and Tom Brokaw were the two men who helped interpret the changing world around us. When Tom retired, Peter remained a calm, professional, yet warm voice who helped me make sense about the world. He didn't chatter. Didn't raise his voice and bark on-screen. He knew his stuff and guided us through the confusion. He was a consumate professional. I think he really gave an excellent example of what I expect a news leader--no--a true journalist to be. He soothed our frayed and distraught nerves and heat during the 9-11 days. We felt pride when he took American citizenship and joined our country (one that his special programs about America helped show us who have always lived here a perspective only his could deliver). And we felt concern when he stepped off the air due to his illness. I felt sadness watching and listening to his final goodbye on air that night. Peter will be missed, and he will never be replaced.

Alvis and I have been getting up in the wee morning hours for the past two days hoping to catch the shuttle's landing. Today it finally paid off. It was so exciting watching the landing. Good job team (that goes for the whole NASA family)! Alvis announced that she wanted to be an astronaut so she could work on the moon. I remember in the home I grew up in...there was a small coat-closet underneath the stairs. If you crawled behind the coats, there was just enough room to make a hidden clubhouse. I had gotten somehow a collection of NASA publicity photos of space ships and things. I covered the walls with them and an old National Geographic poster of the moon's surface. It was awesome. There was probably more space in there than the Gemini capsules. I really wanted to be an astronaut. I even flirted briefly with going to the Air Force Academy. Yesterday, Alvis wanted to be a teacher, today an astronaut. Aren't the dreams and hopes of youth a precious thing? We will miss the shuttle when it is retired. I hope that the Johnson Space Center gets one for permanent display. The new CEV that will replace it doesn't seem near as cool looking, but then in consideration, the Apollo landers look pretty clunky but were awesomely cool. In an age spoiled by sci-fi special effects, coolness reigns, but in real space, form always follows function.

We have some hibiscus plants on the side of our home that the former owner planted. They recently got over the roof-line and needed to be trimmed back. They bloom almost non-stop. I felt really guilty about cutting them back a little bit. I read on the internet when the best time to prune was, how to do it, and about saving cuttings. The middle of summer was not described as an optimal time to try. Oh well, what do I know. Lavie and I collected the most promising looking clippings, dunked them in some rooting powder, stuck them in some large pots and watered them. 80% have died out, but the remaining 20% are leafing out very nicely and one or two even bloomed those humongus red-pink blooms! Wow. Who would have guessed. I hope we have 4-5 survivors when the summer is over. It would be nice to be able to plant them alongside their original bushes.

See you in the skies.

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