Day Five: The Perfect Day

I am weightless.  I float through my home uninhibited.  Each day I see the sun rise and set 16 times.  When I look beyond the Earth to dark sky, I see the universe completely different than I do when I am Earthbound.  I imagine that each speck of light is a planet, galaxy, or star in far off land.  I wonder if there is someone like me in a space station looking through a small window staring at the dots of light in their field of vision wondering who is looking back at them.  Every so often I see an identifiable planet.  The one that is most recognizable is Mars.  I think of a book I read recently, “The Martian,” and think to myself how much more I have in common with main character in the story than I do with most of my fellow Americans.  I feel more at home weightless and in space than I do on the ground.  Today, though, Venus is more visible today than any other planet.

I switch windows every so often and look down at Earth.  It looks so peaceful from up here.  At night, you can tell the developed countries from the undeveloped countries based on the twinkling lights of the cities.  There are no land boundaries, the only boundaries you see are land and sea.  You can’t see war, you can’t see poverty, you can’t even tell the race of any of the multitudes of people living on Earth from up here.  All you see is land.  You see the lush green of the forest, you see the white mountain tops, you see the vast oceans, and you see browns and greens of deserts and plains throughout the world.  At night, you can see the storm fronts that move across the United States by the lightening that flashes from above.  During hurricane season, you can see the frightening beauty of a storm.  You can see the slow shift of the clouds with every sunrise and every sunset.

Every so often we pass between the moon and Earth.  The sunlight reflects off the moon’s surface, and the view is phenomenal.  It is not like a full moon that you see on Earth.  Instead, I see the moon in all its phases multiple times each day.  I see the crevices and pot marks made by meteors.  I see the Sea of Tranquility as the moon rotates with the Earth.

From space you see how perfect the Universe is even though I know that it is utterly imperfect.  My perfect day is waking weightless in my temporary home.  Looking out through the tiny windows of the International Space Station, and observing the universe in all its perfection and glory.  My perfect day is the first day and the last day I spend up here, and the realization that comparatively speaking I am so small and the Universe is so large.  Even though each star I see in the sky appears to be a mere speck of burning gas and dust glowing in the night sky, it is far larger and more significant than I am.  While my life, the world, and everything else is imperfect on the surface; in space everything is perfect, peaceful, and real.

I am an astronaut, and this is my perfect day.

This is a short fictional piece.  I have never been in space.  The references to space are from various sources, but primarily from Kevin A. Ford.  I had the pleasure of meeting Colonel (ret) Ford in 2011 before his mission to space while he was visiting Wright Patterson AFB, OH.  After a day of briefings, and being escorted around by my husband, he stopped by my home for apple pie and ice cream.  It was humbling speaking to him, because he was the most down to Earth guy you could possibly meet.  In 2012 and 2013, Colonel Ford was the flight engineer on an STS mission to the International Space Station.  He has also flown the August 2009 mission on the Space Shuttle, and is one of the last space pioneers.

He smiled while my daughter asked countless 4-year-old questions, and my son with un-diagnosed Tourette’s yelled swear words.  I have met a few celebrities in my time, but this was one person that I was utterly star struck by.  He is probably the closest I’ll ever get to space.  I am writing a novel about a space traveler, who comes to Earth, and Colonel (ret) Ford is truly an inspiration and a hero to me.  To read more about Colonel Ford, and the rest of heroes at NASA visit: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/

Source:  Colonel (ret) Kevin A. Ford, USAF/NASA, http://www.jsc.nasa.gov

Day Six: Tell a Short Story that Starts With a Ransom Note

Day Three: Dear Houseplant

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I awoke this morning to find you slightly welted and brown around the edges.  I followed the advice on your card carefully.  I watered you every day, per the instructions.  I gave you the food that came with you when someone had so kindly gifted to you to me.  But yet, like all the other plants, you are dying, and don’t understand it.  Please don’t die on me.  It just cements my feelings as a complete and utter failure.

I can move you if you would like.  I have another room with slightly more light.  In the dining room.  There is a table in front of the window where you can sit and soak up the warm Florida light.  I promise I will continue to water you, and feed you as you need.  You can watch the fish in the fish tank swim back and forth.  It’s a completely different decorative theme in the dining room, instead of African and tropical fusion, the dining room is classic French dining.  You would enjoy it in there.  I love sitting in my dining room.  The only problem, my daughter, the dogs, and my son runs through the room like it’s a pathway to heaven.

I can also move you to my bedroom, though it’s quite dark and cool in there.  According to the card, you enjoy light and heat.  I am a vampire at night.  I like the cool, dark, and humid nights.  There is no decorative theme, only smelly gym clothes.  You would make it smell so much nicer in there.  I am rarely in the bedroom, so you would not have much company there.

If I moved you upstairs, it would be warm, and there is plenty of sunlight in the toy room, rather than the man cave.  There isn’t much in the way of tables, and you have to stand on your tippy toes to look out the window.  Even then there is not much of a view.  Additionally, we live downstairs most of the time, and we would forget about you, and you would die of loneliness and dehydration.  I heard dehydration is not the way to die, it’s painful and slow.  Please don’t die yet.

I could put you in the kitchen.  This is where everyone meets.  We eat as a family in there.  We laugh, we play games, and I cook.  The kitchen is full of life and love.  There isn’t much sunlight there, but there is warmth.  There is a nice counter top you can sit on.  You would be beautiful as a centerpiece on my dining room table, or you would look nice on my baker’s rack, next to the window.  Some days, if you so desire, you can look outside, and watch the kids swimming.  The kitchen is where I do most of my writing, and find most of my inspiration.  You would love it in the kitchen.  If I could convince you to hold on for a few more hours, I will move you into the kitchen.  Please don’t die.

Dear houseplant, please don’t die.  I know I was born with a black thumb, and if you live for a few more days, hours, or weeks, I can turn things around…

Day Four Challenge:  Write your Facebook Statuses for 2017 (oh boy that should be fun– I’ll just do one a month)…

Day Two: The Worst Thanksgiving Dish I Have Ever Had…

I hate Green Bean Casserole.  I will indulge in the occasional bad-for-you good foods (like wine, chocolate, Swedish Fish, Willy Wonka Bottle Caps, and jellybeans), but my number one food pet peeve is taking something utterly nutritious and adding cream of mushroom soup to it…  It’s the middle of August, so what better time to post a delicious recipe you can save for Thanksgiving, because God knows nothing says Dog Days of Summer like Green Bean Casserole.  So here’s the recipe with my little twist to it:

Green Bean Casserole

1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup or (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup or (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Healthy Request® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup–  Just what any good recipe needs.  Laden with salt, cream, and fat– it is a must have for any delicious summer, fall, winter, or whenever the mood strikes you– cream of mushroom soup.  

1/2 cup milk– To make it all the more creamier.

1 teaspoon soy sauce– To make it saltier.

1 dash black pepper– For flavor.

4 cups cooked cut green beans– The mushier the better.  Hey after your done choking it down, just put it in a food processor, and you can feed it to your baby!

1 1/3 cups French’s® French Fried Onions– Nothing goes together like fried and cream…

  1.  Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole– don’t forget to grease the casserole, because there should be a sheen of oil and fat on top of the green beans.
  2. Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling.  Stir the bean mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining onions.– You can do a design on top of the green bean casserole, just look on Pinterest, I’m sure someone figured out a way to decorate the remaining French Fried Onions into the shape of a turkey, the middle finger, or something to make it look appetizing.  Who am I kidding?  When has Green Bean Casserole every looked appetizing.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.– Because French Fried onions need to look more brown and cooked.

Some of the lovely reviews of this recipe…

“A potluck pleaser!  I just added a tablespoon more soy sauce, and cooked it for about 45 minutes…”  So that everyone at her church potluck swelled from the salt intake…

“Add some swiss cheese…”  Because with the milk and cream soup, I really don’t need to poop anytime in the next three weeks.

“I make this every year for Thanksgiving, and make extra for the left overs…”  So you can have more of that shit sitting in the pit of your stomach while watching football and eating more Turkey.

“I make it every year for Thanksgiving, it’s my favorite thing next to the ham…”  Woah, wait a second, so you have a ham, a turkey, and this concrete concoction?  Do you go to cardiologist after eating salt, ham, and more salt.

“It’s a family favorate…”  So is spell checking.

Tomorrow’s post:  Your houseplant is dying, tell it why it must live…  This is nothing new in my house– I have a black thumb.

Day One: What can happen in a second?

My writing prompt for today from the book 642 things to write:

What can happen in a second?

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I normally don’t do a lot of research for blog posts, most of the time they are opinion pieces, and it’s nice to get away from my normal topics of being a military spouse, running, fitness, eating, autism, or photography.  I learned a little bit about what can happen in a small fraction of time.

Anything, and everything can happen in a second…

A butterfly can flap its wings.
A drop of rain can soak into hot, dry concrete.
Molecules bump into each other, creating warmth.
A star is born, a star has died.
A person can take a breath, blink their eye.
The heart valve can open and close sending blood through your veins.
A hummingbird can flap their wings 80 times in a second.
Neurons can snap in an instant.
Lightening can strike, thunder can loll.
You can type a letter, perhaps if you are quick enough a word.
A tear can form in your eye, and start it’s journey down your cheek.
A beam of light can travel 186,000 miles, and a noise at ground level can travel 1,072 feet.
The fastest space ship in the world can travel 18.76 km in one second.
The world’s fastest computer computes 33,860,000,000,000,000 calculations.
A photon can travel 278,000 km in a vacuum.
2,393,470 e-mails are sent.
There are 48,745 Google searches completed.
A snap judgment on 10 unfamiliar faces can be made.
1,120 tons of CO2 emissions are released globally from industrialization and use of fossil fuels.
$3.4 million value of all goods and services in the world are produced in one second.
The International Space Station flies 7,700 meters in space in one second.
11 trees are cut down in the Amazon rain forest.
Warren Buffet earns $407, and the poorest people in the world earn .001442 cents.
On average 4.3 people are born, and sadly 1.8 people die in one second.A
Earth travels 29.8 km as it travels around sun.
1.3 cars are built throughout the world.
A honey bee flaps its wings between 200 times.
A bullet penetrates its target.
A ball thrown by a pitcher leaves his gloves and is hit by a bat.
A snail moves 1 cm to avoid a raindrop.

There are so many amazing things that can happen in a mere second.  A second is such a short period of time, and there are so many seconds throughout the day, it really is overwhelming how amazing our world is that a bee can flap its wings 200 times in a second.  The advancements of science have allowed instant communication, and contributed to the miracle of space travel.  Sadly 11 trees and 2 people die every second, a little over 4 people are born.  A second is so minute, yet so significant.  It just goes to show you that our world is pretty damn amazing, and you learn something new every single day.  Personally, I like being a sponge rather than glass.

Tomorrow’s topic:  The Worst Thanksgiving Dish I Ever Had…  Recipe and story included.  Have a great day :).

Sources:

http://www.newscientist.com

visual.ly/amazing-things-can-happen-1-second

The Book

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I am not talking about the first book, or the second book, I’m writing; I’m talking about the book pictured above on my nightstand.  This summer has been an adventure for me, and it is not been a pleasant adventure.  It started out with a phone call from my mom, stating that my dad had had a massive heart attack.  The phone calls following that one phone call had confirmed that my dad had lost his battle with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity that had plagued him since he was in his forties.  After that, the summer was a blur.  I went from one thing to another kind of in a zombie state.

While I was in Orlando burying my dad, I restarted my second novel, I had been working on it kind of half assed all spring.  The first novel, I put down on the desk, and I have not touched it.  I became obsessed with finishing the second novel.  When I got home from Orlando, I struggled with everything.  I struggled to get up in the morning, I struggled with meaning in my life, and I struggled with some of the decisions I had made.  I started to even resent some of those decisions, and I felt completely powerless.

In July, my husband told me that he was going TDY the first week of August to fly, and then he was going to say good-bye to one of the Technical Sergeants working in the squadron that was leaving Oklahoma City to greener pastures, and he said that we were going to come with.  He took us to Shreveport, and we spent the days he was flying going bowling, at the SciPort, and then we went swimming at the base pool.  Before the bowling alley opened the first morning we were Shreveport, I decided to make a Target Run.

Growing up in Minneapolis, I have a love-passionate love for Target.  Needless to say that at most bases south of the Midwest the Targets are scant and rare.  You have to travel quite a distance to get to our favorite store.  There is a Target right outside of the base at Shreveport, so the kids and I ventured to Target.  I walked the aisles.  I didn’t know why I wanted to go Target in the first place.  Ryan shares my love for Target, perhaps we ventured there to get him a shirt, which we did.  I promised Sophie a toy of equal value to his shirt.  She picked out one of those old school 1980s coloring relief fashion designer toys.  I remember owning one as a child.  She was absolutely enamored with it.  I walked through the grocery section, looking for Boom Chicka Pop White Cheddar Popcorn (my weakness), and snagging a few boxes of fruit snacks. I then remembered I needed to pick up a gift card for someone, so we ventured to the gift section.

Target has a new aisle of dorky little gifts.  I remembered that I had bought a gag gift for the Holiday Party last year there.  It was a coffee mug that changes when you put hot water in it.  When the hot water hits the mug, a Great White Shark appears to be eating swimmers.  I saw that mug, and laughed at it.  Then the book caught my eye.  I picked it up, and turned it over in my hands. Shrugging I put it back down.  My daughter asked me about it, and I think I told her that it was a journal of some kind.  She shrugged too.  Ryan picked it up and put it in the basket.  I picked it up again, I think I was frowning, and I paged through it.  Something told me I should grab it.  I don’t know why.  It was the only book like it in the whole aisle.  I picked up a few blank journals.  I usually buy a journal and only half way fill it.  I put the journals down, and picked up the book.  I paged through it.  I put it back in the basket, shrugging again.

I checked out.  I thought about sending it to my mom.  It would be something she would appreciate.  It sat at the bottom of my backpack.  We got back from our road trip.  It took me several days to unpack.  The book was left untouched.  School was starting in a few days, my husband was preparing for yet another TDY, and I was back to struggling, resenting, and trying to adapt to my new normal (my parents and I are close, so this is tough loss for me).  I set the book on my nightstand, waiting for the perfect time to send it to my mom.  The time never came.  I will probably send it to her untouched, as I flipped through it, I decided that it was the perfect blog fodder.  The writing prompts are genius.  So for the next 642 days, I will be writing between 500-1200 words on the topics in the book.  Perhaps it will help me break the writer’s apathy I have (I don’t really call it writer’s block, as there is no block, namely it’s 100% apathy)…