Monday, March 9, 2015

Kennedy Space Center, Apollo center and launch pad

Kennedy Space Center May 2014

Continuing through our space tour we visited the Apollo Center (after having abandoned this draft for months-opps!).  I loved that you get to see the actual command center.  The movie they have put together is stirring, not cheesy and the information is well presented.


The command center
Once again-huge!


The informational displays are excellent

still not able to get over how much engineering goes into these things!

Moon rocks!

They let you touch the moon rocks!

I don't remember when I first learned about mission patches-they have been part of the military a long time-but it is such a great idea!  I would love to read a history of them...note to self, track that down, it must exist.

To get out to the Apollo Center you take the bus, which is actually big fun because you get to pass the launch pad and buildings on the way, complete with commentary. 


They house and prepare the rocket in this building

and then drive it out on this gravel road (it takes almost a whole day just to move it)

which is special gravel that has no shaking or sparking, it is like 8 ft deep

to the launch pad.  Such engineering!  Take the bus tour!

There is another whole building that houses Atlantis
They have the hatch open to show how the arm swings out into space.

 The engineering is just as impressive but the displays are a bit...soulless? compared to others.

But you should go anyway because they let you crawl through like an astronaut :)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Garden update and Springfield MO Jan-Feb 2015

Jan-Feb 2015


Totes adorbs!


Cherry trees in bloom here at the end of February.

Some of the garden is doing great!  We've been eating romaine lettuce, chard and peas

love fresh peas!!

But the other garden box is not thriving.  The cauliflower shot up...and went to seed.  So I pulled that out and put in more lettuce since that has been growing well.

See that pile of chard-from the garden!  And the cilantro, and the lemons!

Which I turned into Green Soup, from the Love Soup book by Anna Thomas.  I often get in a rut and make the same thing over and over, but with all the chard I will have to make this again!

Last week we saw James in Gotham and this week he is on the cover of his alumni magazine (we get it because the previous owner is an alumni-random!!).  Where will we see you next week James?


Visited Springfield MO to see family and we took a short trip to Wilson's Creek National Park.    It is a Civil War battlefield site and the park is perfectly set up.  

A one way path takes you past all the sites.  In the summer it would be perfect to bike through....but in the winter it was great to be able to drive through.

We didn't even have to get out of the car.

Just get the guide and read the relevant parts :)


Also-we had a great seafood lunch!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Books and theater Jan-Feb2015

January 2015

This year my goal is to read a few more books with substance to them.  Also, to reread some favorites.  Lets see how I do!

(end of Feb)  Holy cow I have had a great start.  Partly because of vacation and partly because I decide to make reading a habit on my HabitRPG.  I've looked at a number of ways to keep on top of my to-do list and am well known for my love of post-its.  None of the online things worked until HabitRPG.  I like that it is both my very concrete to-do list, my aspirational to-dos AND good habits that I am working on improving.  Plus it is super cute!!


Bonus garden pic!

-Jo Nesbo
Cockroaches:  I'm reading this series completely out of order but he puts enough back story of the overarching plot in that it is not a problem.  I almost thought I had read this one before because the description of Bangkok sounded so similar to Bangkok 8 that I read sort of recently.

-Max Gladstone
Two Serpents Rising:  Second in a fantasy/ world building set.  I bought it because of the Chris H from Compass books recommendation.  Pretty good, a little wordy, but the world is fun.

-Margaret Atwood
MaddAddam:  The last in the trilogy.  Again a nice review so you don't have to read them all, but you should.  Not super amazing, but a different post-apocalypse vision and I liked this last one best.

-by Amy Tan
The Bonesetters Daughter:  I was on vacation and it was a rainy night-picked this up and didn't go to sleep until I finished.  Love how I am able to visualize it all.  I saw her speak last year and she was such a warm and open person.  Okay, I have a couple of her books back-logged, lets try to get to them this year.

by Andy Weir
The Martian:  Originally an internet only book, it just got more and more popular.  So much fun-McGyver meets NASA.

by Carol Dweck
Mindset The New Psychology of Success:  I love learning all the stuff we are figuring out about the brain.  This book even has practical applications and exercises.  Quick summary, in terms of intelligence, athleticism, creativity etc. people generally have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.  Fixed is when you assume you have whatever ability you have and that is it, you are stuck with that amount forever-this can make you blame others for failure, make you afraid to try new things and be a crankypants.  Growth is when you assume you can get better at stuff by working at it-working hard and getting better makes you feel better.  Turns out that basically everyone can get better at basically everything if you work at it, and assuming otherwise is bad for everyone.

by Jeffrey Wikstom
Something About a Sword and a Stone?:  This is pretty hilarious.  It summarizes Mallory's Morte D'Arthur.  I admit I never got around to reading it and now I never will!

by Mari Kondo
-The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Oh boy.  This is on the best seller and I had to give it a try.  It is actually more about changing your life than you think... Not sure I am actually going to follow through but have already incorporated a few great thoughts that is helping me de-clutter.

by Brian Benson
-Going Somewhere: a nice story about travelling across the country by bike.  I have a friend who will be doing this so it is of interest.  But I really came away not liking the author.  Hopefully this is because he was young and he is a better person to be around now.  Much of the book waffles between beautiful landscapes and ugly thoughts.  But the writing is good so I finished it...hoping to get to Wild soon.

Theater break!
At the end of January the Exploratorium has their big fundraiser, The Science of Cocktails-big fun to play with the exhibits and drink fun drinks.

The next day we had great food at the Ferry building, including Strauss Family soft serve-yeah!!
And on to the theater.  I have been trying to see more very local theater....but I have found a love for Tom Stoppard (thanks MARS!!) and so I had to go see Indian Ink.  So good!!!!  Romance, but funny, present and past, all around good performances.

Opera time!  This was a world premier- pretty exciting.  I enjoyed it, fast paced story line, drama and comedy nicely balanced.  Well done!

by Hilary Mantel
-Wolf Hall:  Historical fiction about the Tudor era, mostly about Thomas Cromwell and how he affects the course of history through Henry VIII and the court..  We are going to see the production of this, so wanted to read it first.  A bit long and it took a bit to get into but then it becomes a good story.  It has won big prizes but also has historians cranky for making Cromwell nicer than he was.

-Bringing up the Bodies:  okay, now I can't wait for the next one.  And how in the world will they turn this into a play?

Got to see Piper Kerman, of Orange is the New Black.  I've watched the series, now I may have to read her book.
On Valentine's Day I saw the Met's productions of Iolanta and Bluebeard's Castle which they show at movie theaters.  Glad I saw them, nice pairing.

by Suzanne Collins
-The Hunger Games trilogy:  I started reading essays about the trilogy...and then I had to go back and read them before finishing the essays.

by various authors
-The Girl Who Was on Fire:  a set of essays by YA writers on the Hunger Games trilogy.  The topics and styles are a bit all over the place since it is a set of essays, but overall worth the read.  Probably really great for younger readers-give them an idea of how book can mean different things to different people.

by Greg McKeown
-Essentialism:  Less but good.  As in, do fewer things, but do those things that are absolutely essential and do them right.  My favorite message is "No, you can't have it all" which I have understood for a while now. Totally ties in with the Tidying Up, Good to Great and my favorite blog, Mr. Money Mustache  (okay, if you don't know Mr. Money Mustache, go check that out right now, for me that is the most life changing of everything I've come across).  Good message but a bit targeted to you corporate work life and not as many concrete examples as Tidying Up.

by Charles Duhig
-The Power of Habit:  Can you see I am on a self improvement kick?  I do often get into a groove-I think I am done for the moment.  This may be the best of all of them because it has the most concrete framework for what you have to do to change a habit, but the most general in that it can apply to anything.  Tidying Up is for getting rid of too much stuff  Essentialism is for business.  Mindset is an important component to breaking through, but this one pulls it all together, for me.  Let's see if I actually put it into practice!

Super awesome play, Mr Burns, a post-electric play
I read the description of this and just had to go-post nuclear apocalypse folks come together and recreate The Simpsons episode, Cape Feare.  In preparation E- and I watched The Night of The Hunter, Cape Fear, both the 1962 and the 1991, and The Simpsons episode.  Glad we did-it is not necessary, but adds to the fun.  I love a good mash-up and this has them in spades-everything from contemporary pop stars to a Greek chorus in musical numbers and a distorted retelling of the episode.  Explores how storytelling is at the core of humanity.  I will keep an eye out for more of her work.

At the theater they served D'oh nuts :)