Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Those who love deeply, never grow old." ~ Pinero

Today I'm writing to wish my wonderful mother a Happy 85th Birthday! The anchor of our family, Mom is here for each and every one of us, whenever she is called upon, and often when she just knows that she is needed. Below, each of her family members have written a few words to honor her, and this significant birthday. If you click on the names, you will find just how loved she is.  (Sorry for the different font sizes - nothing I did could get them the same!)

Happy 85th Birthday Mom ~ We love you!

                                  Tracy      Alex     Caitlin    Laura     Mark     Bruce      

                                            Nancy      Andrew     Alison     Scott and Changting

                                        Dad    Robin     Mairead     Brian and Joanna    Rachel  

                                                                            Erin, Dylan and Families

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"The sky calls to us." ~ Carl Sagan

And now, Part II of the Kennedy Space Center and Rocket Launch!

After viewing the rocket launch, we shuttled back to the main area, where we found a number of exhibits to explore. In  hindsight, since we were spending the night near the Space Center, we realized that we probably should have done the tour the first day, spent the night and then done the launch the next day. It would have required purchasing a multi-day pass for a bit more, but most people did what we did - everything on the same day as the launch. The result was that everything was very, very crowded. It was ok, but my guess is that the previous day we would have found it easier to get around! The other thing that we could have done is brought some of our own food and beverage to help off-set the cost of purchasing things to eat there. Oh well - those are just some thoughts if anyone plans to go in the future.

The entrance at 5:00 in the morning.
Our view of the launch site from across a lake.
Inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center next to the viewing area.

A lot of our time was spent in the Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit.

"Your journey begins in the Atlantis theater where we bring to life the story of the people who dared to do the impossible. Gaze in wonder at a close-up view of Space Shuttle Atlantis, displayed in mid-flight glory. With more than 60 interactive exhibits, it's a moving celebration of humankind’s greatest achievements." 

There are many, many interactive activities, and some very child-friendly ones as well.

Notice the pink sweatshirt!

Sadly, George Clooney was not inside....

The memorial hall to those astronauts aboard the Challenger and the Columbia.

A panel recovered from the Challenger.
A window panel from the Columbia.

The Rocket Garden
"At NASA, it is often said that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the Rocket Garden. Behind every rocket you see are great men and women engineers and astronauts, designers and thinkers who turned dreams into history. It is here you find the first rocket to break free from gravity."

The end of the day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Space exploration is a force of nature unto itself that no other force in society can rival." ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson


Well, we saw the rocket launch! We headed up toward Cape Canaveral the day before the 8:30 a.m. scheduled liftoff. Beginning our day with a 3:00 a.m. wake up call, we were at the parking lot gates around 4:30 (along with a few hundred other people). It's fair to say that we (and once again, probably a couple hundred others) were unprepared for how bitterly cold it was. Now I realize that everything is relative -bitterly cold in Florida is nothing like bitterly cold in NY. We had followed the weather for several days prior to the launch because more often than not, weather is the cause of any scrubbed launches - high wind and heavy rain being right up there. While we knew that the winds were going to be high, there was no rain forecast for the morning. Neither one of us had paid much attention to the temperature. It had been quite warm for the previous couple of days, and we dressed according to that. Huge mistake!

Fortunately, a gift shop was open and while I held our place in line for the shuttle to the viewing area, Bruce ran in and got us each a sweatshirt. Navy blue for me, and red (we thought) for him. Honestly, it looked red when he came out and we each put ours on. As the day progressed, and the sun came up, it became apparent that it was not red, but bright pink! I have said before that Bruce knows how to have a good laugh at himself. He wore his sweatshirt with pride, and enjoyed the couple of humorous comments that he got from other visitors!

Once we arrived at the viewing area, we set our chairs up and grabbed some breakfast (over $10.00 for two yogurts with granola - yikes!) Then we headed to our seats, with wind blowing cold, and each put our legs into the sleeves that our folding chairs came in, in order to keep warm. For once I looked like a mermaid - kind of.

The viewing area is approximately 6 miles from the launch site. While I did take a video with my camera, the one below is the one you want to watch. It will also provide you with information about the rocket itself. Next week, I will share our tour of the Kennedy Space Center. A fascinating place!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." ~ Bob Marley

We have been in Florida for about a week and a half now. We are well into enjoying seafood and good music! There are so many opportunities for both where we are located. There is music right on the water every Sunday.

(All cellphone pictures, so please excuse the quality!)
 Rockin' Riverwalk  
And an endless stream of artists at local theaters.
Graham  Nash (you will have to take my word for it) at the Sunrise Theater A totally awesome concert!
And other outdoor venues with an assortment of artists on a regular basis. These last pictures are from a spot called Terra Fermata, here in Stuart. It's fair to say that it is home to a variety of musicians and patrons. It's as much fun to go there for people watching as it is for the music!

Next week I hope to bring you pictures from a rocket launch up at the Kennedy Space Center. With it being only two hours away, we thought that we should take advantage of it, so I signed up for "launch alerts". Should be fun!