Saturday, February 18, 2012

"They're coming out of the walls..."

I'm glad I got the girl's hair cut.
They were starting to look like Newt.

Keira working on her 1st quilt (and a bad picture)

Saturday, February 11, 2012


You could say that I struggled with infertility.  The problem here is that “struggled” is an inferior word. 
I struggle to get the lid off a jar of pickles.  I struggle to remember the name of my High School English teacher.
You do not struggle with infertility.   
You wage a full out war.

Many battles were lost for years.  Brad and I would retreat, refocus, come up with a battle plan.
The analogies are endless here.

Needless to say, I was at the end of 4 ½ years of war when my Doctor told me to surrender.  Her words were, “Wrap your brain around not having kids.”  She told us that we would have 2 more chances.  I had the three months between October – December of 2005 to prepare myself for the last battle.

In November of that year, I came up with a post-war plan.
First, I would buy a Mercedes… a nice Mercedes… and I would name it “Daycare”.  Average daycare costs are around $800 a month per child, so I thought that I could buy into a nice car for that much.  It was going to be spectacular.
I also decided to spend a lot of money on quilting projects.  My friend, Dianne, watched in horror at the Houston Quilt Festival as I filled multiple bags with projects.  I, of course, stayed away from children’s quilts.  (Another stab through the heart).

That next January, I became pregnant with my children.
It was not the case of “just relax and it will happen” that so many people quoted to me over the years. 
(If you have ever said that to me, take a few moments to beat yourself around the face and neck.  Also, piss off.)
I got (and stayed) pregnant from an arsenal of hormones, controlled daily checks, self injections, weekly Doctor visits and modern medicine.
There was no relaxation in this process.

So, here we are… 6 years later… and DAMMIT I still have a LOT of projects to finish from that festival!

"If you are going to go through hell, keep going."
- Winston Churchill 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keep Exploring

Columbia (STS-107) did not land 9 years ago this morning. It was an awful, sinking, hopeless feeling to watch the news footage of it breaking up over Texas. Within 15 minutes, I was at work...

Over the next few months, my coworkers scoured the fields of East Texas looking for pieces of the broken orbiter.  We documented the debris.  We cataloged the imagery. 
We hunted, desperately, for cameras.
In 2003, we were still flying film cameras onboard the shuttles.  These cameras, and any found film, were priceless to those of us working in Building 8 at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

I remember holding a Hasselblad that was delivered to me by a tired, hopeless coworker.  I held the charred camera.  The film back was still intact.  There was likely film in it.  The camera was exposed to the catastrophic reintry to the earth's atmosphere, heat, plummet to the earth, impact and then the elements of East Texas for weeks.  Rain, heat, cold... none of it was good for the film, likely ruined inside.

I was right.  The film was charred on the outer edges.  Most of the film on either side of the leaders were destroyed.  Only a few frames of the film in the very inside of the film magazine survived. 
This image:

The crew portrait.  Each crew takes one while onboard the shuttle or station.
The tears that were shed the day we found this portrait are beyond counting.
I'm not one to look towards the heavens to do anything but look at the stars or be humbled by it's vast expanse... but this?  This image that survived?
I needed that. 

I needed it to keep working and to mourn the death of my coworkers and friends.
I was at work, because Human Space Flight is the most important thing we humans do. We owe it to our friends and coworkers that we lost that morning to remember them and remember why they (and so many others) risk their lives for space travel.
Hug your fellow astronaut today.
Keep exploring.