Saturday, January 28, 2012

Remembering the Challenger tragedy

Today marks a sad day in history. It was 26 years ago – on January 28, 1986 – that America witnessed the Challenger explosion. This was supposed to be a day of great joy and pride. For the very first time, a school teacher was being sent into outer space. Sadly, she was the first and only teacher sent off into space in a space shuttle, because as many people know, the space shuttle, Challenger, exploded shortly after liftoff. There were no survivors.

I was almost 12 years old at the time. I remember how I was in school that day, and how I noticed some of the teachers were acting really sad. We did not watch the launch on TV as so many other schools did for their classes, but we all had heard about it. What we didn’t know was that the shuttle had exploded. I finally asked one teacher why she was so sad and she told me that a teacher died on her way to outer space. She said the space shuttle had blown up and that it was really sad. She was wiping tears from her eyes as she turned away.

Later, I asked my mom about what had happened. She gave me more information about what was going on. Later, I would hear her and my dad mentioning something or other about it. And I was reminded of that sad day when my favorite TV show at that time, Punky Brewster, ran an episode where Punky’s class watched the launch and how she came home crying because of what happened.

Last year, I did some research on the Challenger tragedy. Some of the articles I read brought back those painful memories and I almost cried when I saw a picture pf the teacher, Christa McAuliffe, with her two young children. Like her, I have young children. I could never imagine leaving them and it breaks my heart that her children lost their mother at such a young age.

When I was a kid, I dreamed about being an astronaut. I took pride in the fact that they were sending women into outer space, and I idolized female astronauts such as Sally Ride. I read everything I could about outer space and being an astronaut, and I dutifully completed astronomy programs on the computer just so I could learn more about what lies in “the final frontier.” I was and still am a huge Star Trek fan, and dreamed of exploring space one day just as members of Starfleet did. Later, my interests turned more toward joining the Air Force (which I never got to do because of my deafness), but I still dream, even today, of being an astronaut. That dream lives on in my heart, despite the Challenger tragedy.

We have not attempted to send a teacher into outer space ever since that one attempt ended in tragedy. Will we ever try again? I know the space program is changing, but one wonders if there are any teachers out there who still dream of being the first teacher in space. Just so we can honor the dream of the one teacher we lost. The one teacher who came so close to making that dream a reality.

May the astronauts we lost on that sad day forever rest in peace and be remembered in our hearts.

Astronauts aboard the Challenger on January 28, 1986:

Michael J. Smith
Dick Scobee
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Christa McAuliffe
Gregory Jarvis
Judith Resnik

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dawn's Hubby is (Not) on Facebook

When I first signed up for Facebook, it was for one purpose only: To network with fellow writers. Of course, the fact that I had so much family on there became a plus. Then my presence on Facebook took a big turn. My reasons for being on Facebook got to be a little bit personal. I used it to stay in touch with family and friends.

Still, I worried about having that “author presence” on Facebook, as I know I wanted to have. Didn’t like it so much that the personal stuff AND the author stuff were on the same profile.

The solution? An author page on Facebook! Yay! So I created an author page just for that author stuff and I use my personal profile for family, personal and occasional writing stuff.

Eventually, my husband joined Facebook. He didn’t like Facebook at first and didn’t really see much use for it. But then he saw how it would help create a better connection with family and allow them to stay in touch with him better. So he finally created a profile. Yay! My husband was FINALLY joining me on Facebook!

Or … was he?

I started to notice he didn’t participate so much on Facebook. Sure, he added people and stuff, but he still has not really taken to it just yet.

And I’m going to stop right here and say that, YES, my husband REALLY IS on Facebook. He REALLY exists. I didn’t create a fake profile of his, or anything. And he IS a real person!

And I say all that because, in the time he has had a Facebook account, he doesn’t really use it so much.

And he has not really made his presence known on my profile, either. He has never commented on anything or liked anything on my profile. Ever.

But he really, truly exists! He really, truly has his own Facebook account!

He just doesn’t use it so much.

I asked him today about that. it kinda bugged me that he has NEVER commented on anything on my profile or liked anything. Didn’t he WANT to make himself known on my page? Didn't he want to show that he is there, reading stuff and looking at stuff?

So when I asked him why, he told me he doesn’t really like Facebook. He’s not much of a Facebook user. He hardly ever logs in there. He usually does only if someone messages him. He told me NOT to take it personally, but commenting on things and liking things on Facebook are just not something he wants to do.

Well, I DID take it a little bit personally, because, you know, I don’t want people thinking he doesn’t give a crap about the stuff I put on Facebook or that he Just. Doesn’t. Care. Or that he doesn't really exist!

But, you know, I got over that. If people are gonna think that, then people are gonna think that. And there’s not a darn thing I can do about it.

For the record, my husband and I have a good relationship. We get along. We love each other. We spend time with each other. Etc., etc. And that is true whether or not it’s obvious by what he does (and doesn’t do) on Facebook.

He’s just not much of a Facebook user and that’s all there is to it.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

One thing at a time

You know that mantra, “One day at a time”? I use it often, especially when things get really trying and I feel like NOTHING is getting accomplished. But, lately, I have had to repeat to myself a new mantra: “One thing at a time.”

Especially this week.

I know this week is important, being the first week of the new year, but I can’t allow myself to cave in to the pressure of getting EVERYTHING done or accomplishing EVERYTHING on my list of goals in just the first week.

I have not accomplished everything, but I am getting there. Eventually. It’s been an exercise in taking baby steps towards reaching my goals.

One goal for the year is to get a job – OUTSIDE of the home. No more working from home for me! It’s time to work OUTSIDE of the home. And I’ve been working on that. I’ve been out there filling out applications. I’ve been scouting out places with “Help Wanted” signs, reading the classifieds and checking Craigslist for jobs. In other words, I’m TRYING. It’s not easy – there are hardly any jobs right now that I qualify for – but I’m putting myself out there, at least. You know? I am trying to make that happen. It hasn’t yet, but I’ll get there.

I have to believe that I’ll get there. Won’t allow frustration or pressure or impatience to get me down. This isn’t going to happen right away. I know this. It will take time, and I am willing to take as much time as needed to get there. It’s too bad we can’t afford classes or special training for a job (one reason why I am trying to get a job!), but that’s just the way it is. I hope someday I can go back to school to receive certification in something, something like medical coding (the original plan) or some such.

Another goal was to start my day off with a workout. I want to take my workouts up a notch this year! Last year, I had them here and there. This year, I want them to happen every day and every week. But that hasn’t happened yet, either. I have allowed this setback. It’s okay. I’ll try to start up with that next week!

Another goal was to change my diet – and I DID start out with that this year. But it has not been consistent. I try to eat healthy wherever possible, but those cookies and fudge bars have been a temptation. Ack! I tell myself “those are for the kids” but I have snuck one for myself here or there. I know, bad! But at least it was only one on a particular day (not two or three!). Hopefully, next week, I can put a stop to that. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go without chocolate. Maybe I can use a Dove chocolate piece as a reward.

Another goal was that this year, I am going to learn how to make clothes. No, that has not happened yet. That did not get done this week. BUT I did find a class that offers instruction on this very thing. So that's something, right? I found a class for that. I have to find out how much it will cost and what their hours are. (I also found a place where Jennifer can get horseback riding lessons, but I have to see if we can fit it into our budget.)

Still, I have accomplished some things. The big thing is, no more beer. Hooray! I have had beer here and there last year, but I know that beer is not healthy for me. And it’s too easy to have one too many of those beers. (And I think that beer was hampering my attempts to lose weight!) So I took beer out of my diet and, so far, it has stayed out. On the other hand, I know they say that red wine is good for your heart. I have been thinking a weekly glass of red wine might be a good choice health-wise, but as to the beer, nope. It’s outta the picture.

And that is an accomplishment I am glad I made for this first week of the year. (Happy dance!)

Other Week One accomplishments:

*Got Jennifer to either the bus or at school ON TIME every day. Woo-hoo!

*Stayed on top of getting the laundry done. No more mountains of laundry that has me running away screaming!

*Got the house organized -- and have KEPT it that way!

*Found time to read, in a book, every day.

*Kept up with newspaper-reading every day. On the days I GOT a newspaper, that is. (Growls.)

*Got after Jennifer about her chores and homework. I learned last year that I can't rely on her to do those things herself. So I had to make it a point to check in with her about her homework and remind her that the "chore chart" isn't looking very good this week. Success!

Finally, another goal for this year is to save money. And I am saving money, so far this year. I have put aside some money to save. It's not a lot, and it's less than my $100/month goal, but it's there, and that's something.

We’ll be rolling into Week 2 soon enough. Time to get those other unaccomplished goals – the workouts and healthy diet – into action! It’s actually a good thing I didn’t accomplish some things during the first week, because now I am all the more eager to take them on in Week 2! LET’S DO THIS!!!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy 2012!

A new year is finally here. Yay! And while some good things happened in 2011, there were some sucky things, too. I hope there will be a lot MORE good things in 2012 and not so many sucky things.

I have to pause, though, and think about one thing: Now that it’s 2012, people have just one more year to go all number-crazy. I read about some people who went ALL OUT on 11-11-11. And now we’ll have 12-12-12 this year. We’ve seen people go a bit number-crazy for the past 11 years. In fact, one of my sisters had a baby due on 6-6-6, but she asked her doctor to induce labor so that she could have her baby before 6-6-6. And speaking of that particular date, there is a business here in Eugene that has “666” in its address. That address is on a big sign in front of the building. On June 6, 2006, somebody spray-painted “HELL HERE” underneath the “666” on that sign.

The interesting thing about this being 2012 is that, not too long ago, I read about how some people were suggesting a change to our Gregorian calendar, to add another 13th month. That way, we’ll also get to have 13-13-13 when it’s 2013!

Am I the only one who thinks this numbers craze has gone on long enough?? Good riddance! Please, please don’t add a 13th month just for the sake of having a 13-13-13 next year. That’s just crazy. (And think of all the people who are scared to death of the number 13!) What’s next, adding a 14th month for 2014? And a 15th month for 2015? How far will this insanity go?

Not only did that idea strike me as odd, but think about all of the changes that will have to be made if we did indeed have a 13th month. All the new calendars that would have to be created. Plus all the old 12-month calendars people will then have to get rid of – and while we’d all like to think they’ll be recycled, they could very well end up in the trash. That’s more trash to worry about right there!

Nope, I think we should stick with 12 months. And here we are, at 2012. The very last year of the new millennium we’ll all get to go number-crazy.

But this year, we’ll also see some folks go a little bit “end of the world” crazy, too. After all, there is that popular doomsday date of 12-21-12. The Mayans beat Harold Camp to the punch long ago in scaring up a lot of people to think this year will be the very last for all mankind. And planet Earth.

Should be interesting stuff to watch, and poke fun at.

Happy New Year.