Where the heart is

If you’ve read this little blog off and on, you could probably piece together that this summer was my fifth wedding anniversary. And if you did happen to notice that, you should have emailed to remind me, because I have a tendency to forget dates. I did not forget this one, however.

After some consultation, we decided to do something a little out of the ordinary this year. You see, the traditional gift for the fifth wedding anniversary is wood. I immediately nixed the idea of the big wooden fork and spoon to hang up in the kitchen of our duplex. We started thinking about houses. We have actually talked about them for a long time; we even designed a beauty of a home using some architectural software. Things just have never been right for us to take that plunge.

There was no putting it off this year, though. Conditions have never been better to purchase a wooden anniversary structure (with three bedrooms, an unfinished basement, and a nice lawn). So it happened that our present to each other was a home.

Lights

LightsMost all of the Christmas lights are down now. More neighbors than usual put them up this year. I enjoyed the displays driving home from work every day.

The lights in my neighborhood were not the only lights we saw this season. We saw the lights at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, with my sister. That was an adventure; the three of us romping around the Plaza like we owned the place. Then the drive through our local light park – this was the first year we tried to capture some of the magnificent displays with our phone cameras.

The holidays are almost always a happy time for me. I remember my mom, and I am thankful for the birth of the Messiah. There is magic in the air, and what I usually see is people treating others with a warmth and kindness that doesn’t always flow the rest of the year.

Something odd happened this year, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Christmas was drawn out due to weather and sickness. Travel plans were scrapped, and we still hadn’t seen everyone we had planned to see until the weekend before school started again.

Maybe because of the stress, illness and the stretched out season, tension was high and people stepped on each others’ nerves. Some darkness crept into the season this year. The world may seem dark like that sometimes, but if you let yourself really see the lights, you appreciate them even more as they punctuate the darkness and show the way to something better.

Marriage encounter

shy

I joke sometimes about our yearly pilgrimage to the corn maze as being our “marriage encounter.”  As with most humor, there is a seed of truth hidden in the joke – I highly recommend the experience.

The maze gets you outside in the most beautiful time of the year.  It’s a neutral ground, where you are posed with a challenging task that is both physical and mental and must be completed together.  Well, I guess it isn’t necessary to complete it together, but that’s part of the fun for us.  You make decisions together.  You listen to one another.  You walk and get a lot of exercise.  You test your mind at each checkpoint as you answer the trivia questions.  You enjoy hanging around the farm afterwards, watching kids put quarters in the three-story tall gumball coaster in the barn.  Sometimes you pick out a pumpkin or two to decorate your porch at home.  You have a nice date in Columbia afterwards.

What better way to improve your marriage than by spending good quality time with each other?

A charming little range light

haigptlight1This is a picture of the Haig Point Lighthouse on Daufuskie Island in South Carolina. The lighthouse was built in 1872 as one of two range lights that ships could use to safely enter Caliboque Sound. It is still operational today as a private aid to navigation and a bed and breakfast; and it’s on the National Register of Historic Sites. One more thing: it’s also the site of my wedding last month.

I know some of you want details! Here you go:

Existing Historic Tower: YES

  • Year Light First Lit: 1872
  • Is the Light Operational? YES (PRIVATE AID TO NAVIGATION)
  • Date Deactivated: 1934-1987
  • Automated: YES
  • Foundation Materials: TABBY
  • Construction Materials: WOOD
  • Markings/Patterns: WHITE W/RED ROOF
  • Shape: SQUARE ON HOUSE
  • Relationship to Other Structures: INTEGRAL
  • Original Optic: FIFTH ORDER, FRESNEL
  • Year Original Lens Installed: 1872
  • Height of Focal Plane: 70
  • Has tower been moved? NO   Continue reading A charming little range light

The true power of the Force

(Note: Sorry to be a little late with this. It’s been a busy Spring as you will see!)

I’m not well-schooled in the kinds of gestures that sweep women off their feet. Angie knows this, and yet she’s still with me after nearly four years of dating….

A few months ago, I started to get really excited about Star Wars: Episode III. I wanted nothing more than to see it with my best girl. I downloaded the theatrical trailer and played it over and over again. In fact, nearly every time she would visit me, I would have it in a Media Player window, awaiting my command to play again. At first, she teased me about it.

Angie was not interested in Star Wars movies when I met her. In the years I’ve known her, however, she started tolerating them. Before long, she actually started appreciating some of them. Then, finally, she gave in to the Dark Side and became nearly as excited as I was about seeing the final episode. Now that’s love.

Anticipation mounted in the days leading up to our trip to the Old Nichols Theatre in Kansas City to see Episode III. We watched Episodes I and II in the week before. We had a few good-natured sparring sessions with our toy lightsabers. And we watched the theatrical trailer again.

The big day came, and Angie and I began our odyssey. We stopped to eat a light lunch along the way, and when we got back to the car, that’s when she noticed the lightsabers in the door side compartments. I explained that there will be lots of people wearing costumes … probably. It took a lot of convincing to get her to “think about” wearing it on her belt as we went to see the film. She told me afterward that she went round and round in her mind for the rest of the car ride whether she would wear it for me into the theatre. That turned out to work in my favor.   Continue reading The true power of the Force

Aspirations

NASA Lags in Shuttle Patch Development (AP). AP – When space shuttle flights resume, the astronauts will have putty and other filler to repair cracks and small gashes in the wings, but they will not be able to patch a hole as big as the one that doomed Columbia, NASA said. [Yahoo! News – Reader Ratings]

I’m glad NASA is working on some ideas to reestablish our presence in space.  As I read the above, I thought again of those daring astronauts of STS-107 who were only 16 minutes from home.  What great aspirations they had to tackle such a dangerous job!

Here’s something only a very few of you know about me:  after the Columbia’s final flight, I was so inspired by those heroes as to obtain application materials for the Educator Astronaut program.  It seemed to make sense.  I’m an educator.  I have a degree in physics.  I have a background in astronomy.  I know could execute the assigned tasks aboard the space shuttle and be a good ambassador for NASA’s programs.  I could make a difference in the wake of the Columbia mission.

As I waited for the application materials to come in, I continued to consider the pros and cons of the career shift.  I came the the conclusion that it wouldn’t necessarily be a promotion.   Continue reading Aspirations

Hello world!

And welcome to my new webspace.  In the late ’90’s, a personal webpage was a fun background, a few graphics, and your favorite links.  You got to dress up a little corner of the web.  For me, the hobby grew to include resumes, galleries of art, and categorized link pages.  Then, for fun, I took on the challenge of creating something original, a page with wide appeal, something that would cause Geocities to shut you down for a period every month because your visitors have exceeded your free bandwidth allowance.

Fun, prestige, sharing favorite links, and the challenge of generating lots of traffic.  I’ve played with all of those things.  Now, with my friends and family spread across the country, I envision this webspace as a dynamic vehicle to keep in touch with your close friends.  A way to interact.  So don’t be shy about posting comments to entries that speak to you.  Please feel free to drop me a “Shout Out.”  Friends, keep in touch.  Visitors, enjoy the “sites”!

Dr. Seuss. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” [Quotes of the Day]