Friday, January 28, 2011

25 years ago

A moment of silence. We lost something 25 years ago.


Dick Scobee. Michael Smith. Ellison Onizuka. Judith Resnik. Ronald McNair. Christa McAuliffe. Gregory Jarvis. The first of the shuttle astronauts to die on the job.

The images of the exploding space shuttle still signify all that can go wrong with technology and the sharpest minds. The accident on Jan. 28, 1986 — a scant 73 seconds into flight, nine miles above the Atlantic for all to see — remains NASA's most visible failure.

I was at work that day, a new job doing some graphic art work and we had the radio playing. My coworker was very interested in this launch. As we listened and couldn't believe what we heard, he reached his hand out to grab mine. Today I would not be able to tell you his name, but I remember that death grip. We left work and went a half a block up to the local pub that had a tv. We watched the replay of the explosion.

One thing that was pointed out today that I hadn't thought of before, it was the world's first high-tech catastrophe to unfold on live TV. It was a new age for television.

Adding to the anguish was the young audience: School children everywhere tuned in that morning to watch the launch of the first schoolteacher and ordinary citizen bound for space, Christa McAuliffe.

She never made it.

McAuliffe and six others on board perished as the cameras rolled, victims of stiff O-ring seals and feeble bureaucratic decisions.

It was, as one grief and trauma expert recalls, "the beginning of the age when the whole world knew what happened as it happened."

Then came others, Waco, Oklahoma City, 9/11, Katrina, The DC killer, Virginia Tech. They are now all part of daily life on the tv news. We can get it as it happens.

Shuttle Columbia. I was watching a History channel show about the Challenger and the Columbia. It was seventeen years later, almost to the day, that seven more astronauts were killed, this time at the end of their mission. The similarities between Challenger and Columbia, are haunting. I can remember hearing about the Columbia explosion and not really believing that it could happen again.

Christa McAuliffe is personal to me in a unique way. I belong to a group made up of Star Trek fans, that formed a "ship". The ship is basically a club that meets and is part of a larger whole called Starfleet that has chapters across America. Our group named the ship the USS McAuliffe, in honor of Christa and her dream. The members have been together and been friends for more than 25 years.

25 years and I can still remember that hand reaching out to mine as we wondered if what had happened had really happened.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I miss you.

Note- I stumbled across a folder of Jim pics while searching for a photo of Tigger. This one picture hit me hard tonight. Hard because of the look on Jim's face. Just very unposed and natural, like he really was in the next room. Some of it is because he is wearing the House of Blues shirt that I sleep in now, the sheets and comforter cover are still around and some because it was taken when we lived in MA and it was a happy time for us.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

That darn winter cold

The weather has been a bit colder than normal this winter. Somewhere along the way I picked up a head cold. That runny nose and coughing kind. Not a lot of sneezing but maybe a slight fever.


It was me vs the cold. The cold won. I was cooped up in bed for all of MLK weekend. I stayed home from work the day after MLK day and tried to recover enough to go in the next day. On tuesday I got myself up and actually did this thing called a shower, and clean clothes were put on and I ventured out for a few minutes to get food. I went to work on wednesday, had a coughing fit about once every half hour - that was about as fast as I could suck down the throat longezes. My boss finally poked his head in and said "go home". So I did.

I picked up some cool stuff at the store. A smoothie from the juice section with all natural stuff and it claimed to be an "immunity booster" w/1000% vitamin C in it. I grabbed two and sucked one down right away.

I think it helped, or else the amoxicillin finally kicked in, or maybe it was just time for the darn cold to be gone, or a combination of all three plus the stars lining up right.

I hope as I write this that I am finally past it. It has been hours and hours since I last coughed. My nose is aching from the tissues and cream has been applied. I think I may be on the tail end of this beast.

It is interesting to reflect back and see how little it took for my body to give in. I always thought of myself as a strong person and a healthy person. I don't get normal colds like other people. I mean, I will get sick once and then it will be gone till next year. This cold wiped me out. I was just laying in bed or laying on the couch wrapped in blankets.

I am thankful for a couple neighbors that would text me and ask if I was okay or needed anything. One was also nice enough to take the dog out for a walk a couple times to let her stretch her legs. Yep, you can still find some nice people in the world.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year - 2011 starts

I stayed home this New Year's Eve.

I learned from the past two years and stayed home. Two years ago I went to a big party in another state and was okay until midnight. Then I stood among many people - some friends, some I just met, and I watched them kiss each other. I had no one to kiss to welcome in the new year. I freaked out and ran into the bathroom and turned the lights off and locked the door. And cried. I wanted Jim to kiss a welcome to the new year.

Well, last year I thought, okay, no big party, just a small gathering with some good good friends. Friends that knew Jim. Um. No. There I was at midnight looking around for Jim to hug and kiss and whoop and holler with. I went into another room and sat on the sofa alone and quiet while they all celebrated. One friend then another came in and sat with me and held my hand. That was nice.

However, this year I was smart and stayed home. I went to the store in the afternoon and bought some total junk food. I got chips and two kinds of dip - you know the regular ranch style and then that horseradish and bacon flavored. That is good...clears your sinuses. I bought some root beer, some veggies for the dip and some ice cream to make a root beer float later. I had a fun evening. It was me, the couch, the dog and Friday Night Lights. That tv show is my new addiction and I can't stop watching it. I have it on my netflix streaming and also bought myself the dvd's for christmas. Oh my I love it.

And when midnight came I didn't feel so alone. Strangely, I was alone in my house, but I wasn't alone in the crowd.