- Several people have told me that lab puppies are the cutest ever, and I have to say that I heartily agree. Mom and I got home on Monday afternoon, and by Monday night, we'd driven an extra two hours to get the newest man in my life. His name is Migo (short for "Amigo," the Spanish word for "friend"), and he is an adorable fuzzball of energy. I could go on for a long time about him, but I'll just say that he loves crawling under things (tables, chair s, other dogs; he won't be able to do this for long!), he fits in well with the other dogs, and he hasn't had an accident in the house yet!
- The move to NYC was successfully completed. We had a whirlwind time in the Big City, but it was fun to be right in the middle of all the energy of that lifestyle. Quite a contrast to driving across North Dakota several days later, although there were pockets of stand-still traffic on I94, thanks to construction.
- However, if you ever have need of driving through ND, I recommending doing it in August when the sunflowers are in full bloom. It's pretty amazing to drive through mile after mile of bright yellow blossoms. Trivia: what is it called when the flowers follow the sun? Answer: Phototropism. (However, if you want to get decent pics of the sunflower fields, be sure to stop your car and get close to them!)
- Praise God from whom all blessings flow -- I found out the hard way that there are honest people in the Big Apple. After dinner on our last night in NY, I left my purse in the taxi. Several minutes later, my mom's cell phone rang and the woman calling from my phone said that she would meet us at the restaurant where she works the next morning with my purse. So, we took a little detour on our way to the airport and mom waited in a taxi while I ran around Times Square looking for this restaurant. God bless Christina -- she returned my purse with everything in it untouched. And, I certainly learned a lesson about checking the cab's seats before exiting (and a lesson from God about worry!).
- As a final note (before bed!), I read a very interesting article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday. It was an interview with astronaut Duane Carey, who commanded space shuttle Columbia in the mission before its disaster. Since you can't access the article without registering on the site (dumb), I wanted to give you a little taste of what the astronauts experienced this morning as they re-entered Earth. I posted a large excerpt here. What follows is an abbreviated excerpt. It is amazing!
The big slowdown comes when the shuttle collides with millions of molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, which sets off a fiery exchange of energy. Between Hawaii and California, Carey watched the molecules explode into a glowing plasma that enveloped the spacecraft.
"It changed colors as you went along," he said. "It started out kind of whitish, then it got stronger and started to glow pink. Then orange. ... It seemed like it was never going to end."
Carey had seen it many times in simulations, but the real thing was eye-popping.
At one point, mission specialist Richard Linnehan, who was sitting near Carey, called out for him to look behind them.
"I adjusted my mirror so I could look out the back, and I saw great flashes of lightning off the back of the orbiter," Carey said.
As the plasma cloud generated electrical energy, it set off static flashes, he said."It was frightening," he said. "I was going, 'Man, I hope this thing holds together.' "
Looking forward again was not reassuring.
"The nose of the orbiter was glowing just as bright as a bright shining headlight, just beaming off into space," he said.
There was no actual headlight. Friction was heating the nose to a white-hot glow.
"I looked over to Scooter, and he says, 'What are you looking at?' " Carey recalled. "I said, 'I don't want to look out there anymore. It's too scary.' "
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Well, it's been a while, so I thought I'd check into the ol' blog, even though I should be in bed right now. Here are a few bullet-point highlights from the last few days.