Random (but not really)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Traveling: Washington DC

Friends were in DC for work on an overlapping weekend, so I went down so I could see them while they were closer than several days drive away.

Saturday, it was supposed to storm all afternoon, so we went to the Air & Space Museum Annex, to which I had never been.

One of the things I especially wanted to see was the shuttle.


The heat tiles were more amazing that I had ever thought!



Seeing the amount of wear on the tiles was both amazing and also made me a little sad, thinking that the loss of a tile caused the death of astronauts.


One of the things I especially wanted to see was the restoration area. Since it was a Saturday, no one was working, but you could see what they were working on.

The restoration of a wood frame plane next to a WWII plane being restored.


To give you an idea of how complex these various restorations can be:


I was tickled (green, rather than pink) by this control panel.



Michael figured out what the black rectangles below the phones were. That amused me even more.


An odd looking piece of technology….


With a name that amused me highly.


I also looked at the WWI and WWII planes, because it astounds me that men were willing to go up into the air in those flimsy things and fight each other. I mean, the WWI planes had synchronizes for their machine guns so they could shoot *through* their spinning propeller without shooting themselves out of the sky.

One thing that surprised me was that the space section actually depressed me quite a bit–so many of the items in that are were for warfare. It seems so wrong that the achievement of leaving the planet was a small thing compared to the amount of time and money spent planning ways to destroy other humans.

But after further thought, it was more than that. The WWI and WWII planes didn’t bother me, because I could see the skill and bravery required to go up in one of those machines and engage in a duel with the enemy. (I have tremendous respect for all soldiers who place their own lives on the line to protect people they’ve never even met.)

Guided missiles, however, are ways to kill people from a great distance, requiring nothing more of the the person firing the weapon than to push a button.

Remember: I’m a pacifist. I believe that I personally cannot lash out at someone–even in self-defense. (It’s far more complicated than that, but that’s a decent summary.)

From that perspective, the idea of being able to kill without putting yourself in danger is mortifying. I understand the need for self-defense, even if I feel it is not an option I can take. But to kill without being in personal danger or to protect someone in your presence–that gives me cold chills.

So to see how much effort has gone into killing with missiles left me feeling shaken.

But besides that, I really enjoyed the museum–and even more enjoyed spending time with my friends: neurondoc, Jeri, and especially MWT, who I’d never met in person before.

I’m so glad I was able to spend all day Saturday with them.

Written by Michelle at 6:47 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: DC,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dr. Phil Memorial scholarship

On April 12th, my friend Dr Philip Edward Kaldon? passed away.

Those who knew him, wanted to do something to remember him, and so it was decided to fund a scholarship for Clarion SFF Writers Workshop in his name.

If you would like to help sponsor a future SFF writer, in the name of a man whose writing days were too short, please consider a donation to our Dr. Phil Memorial scholarship.

Written by Michelle at 6:56 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,UCF  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Had a Visitor!




Note: That is not my house. My house is small, but it isn’t THAT small.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games,UCF  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Travels: Charlotte to Atlanta

This week was Michael’s conference, and this year it was in Atlanta. Michael convinced his work to let us drive (everyone else flew), so we drove down via Charlotte, where we got to meet Eric and Kat.


This was the sunrise Tuesday morning, from our hotel room on the 40th floor of the Marriott.


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Categories: Metal Chickens,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another Notch on the UCF Scabbard

I don’t even know if that title makes sense, but do I care? Nope.

I didn’t mention it at the time, cuz he was on vacation, but I got to meet fellow UCFer Dave (and his lovely family) a couple weeks ago. They were stopping for the night in Pittsburgh, which is only a hop, skip, and a jump from Morgantown, so we met up for dinner, and then sat around talking while his offspring swam in the hotel pool.

Michelle & Dave

I was very excited to meet another member of the UCF in person. Dave, you and your entire family are wonderful–I can’t wait to meet up again.

Written by Michelle at 7:47 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,UCF  

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Continuting Adventures of Ricky Martin the Metal Chicken

Ricky Martin the Metal Chicken traveled with us on our vacation.

No, really.

Ricky Martin the Metal Chicken


Written by Michelle at 11:25 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games,Metal Chickens,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Continuing Adventures of Ricky Martin the Metal Chicken: Woodburn Circle

The obligatory picture with the Mountaineer



Written by Michelle at 8:23 pm      Comments (9)  Permalink
Categories: Humor,Metal Chickens,Non-Sequiturs,Photos,UCF,West Virginia  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oh. My. God.

I… I have no words…

Written by Michelle at 4:46 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs,Photos,UCF  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Denver: Red Rocks

Our other hike was at Red Rocks, which I am told is a venue where music is sometimes played. I thought it was a lovely hike.



Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Denver,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Death, Grief, and White Hot Rage

At the beginning of November I received one of those phone calls you dread–a friend was dead. She hadn’t shown up for work, and a co-worker went to her apartment where they discovered she had died over the weekend.

As we called other friends to tell them of the loss, we heard the same question again and again, “what happened?”

We didn’t know.

Over the course of the day we learned various details. She’d not been feeling well that week, and her coworkers and family had been worried about her. The thought was maybe she had pneumonia or an asthma attack, but those were all guesses. We wouldn’t know anything until the medical examiner’s report.

We talked a lot about her in the following weeks. She’d been unemployed and underemployed for the past several years, and at one point thought she was going to lose her apartment. But in the nick of time, as she was boxing up her belongings, unsure where she was going to go, she got a job offer. It wasn’t full time with benefits, but it was enough to allow her to catch up on her rent and not have to move.

She liked her job, and was delighted after so much struggle to be working again. We’d been so happy for her. Happy because it finally looked like things were turning around for her.

Then suddenly, she’s dead, without warning.

Any death is hard, but somehow it seems so much harder when it’s unexpected.

It reminds you that life is short, and you should embrace what you have while you have it, for you never know what tomorrow will bring.

It also reminded us that if we never know what will happen tomorrow, it’s a good idea to make sure your passwords and bank accounts are available for whomever comes after you and has to put away the pieces of your life.

Somehow, two months have passed, though it hardly seems like it has been that long. But it has, and the family finally received word from the medical examiner.

It wasn’t asthma.

It wasn’t pneumonia.

It was metastatic cancer.

See, when you’re unemployed and underemployed, you don’t have health insurance. And when you don’t have health insurance, you just suck it up when you get sick.

Unfortunately, there are some things that won’t go away with time. Things that only get worse if they remain undiscovered and untreated.

Metastatic cancer.

If you’re not clear on the term, that means the untreated cancer–wherever it may have started–spread throughout her body.

Spread until it finally killed her.

We cannot know whether a diagnosis and treatment would have prolonged her life. Chances are they would have given her at least a few months if not years.

But I do know one thing for certain: If she had been diagnosed, she almost certainly would not have died alone, without the chance say goodbye to those she loved.

So when politicians and talking heads claim that health care isn’t a right, when they claim that we have no moral and ethical responsibility to provide for the medical needs of every citizen, this is what happens.

People die alone.

And those who love them never get the chance to say goodbye.

Written by Michelle at 10:57 pm      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: Politics,Religion & Philosophy,UCF  

Monday, November 7, 2011

In Memoriam

Written by Michelle at 8:04 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: UCF  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Alaska: Parks Highway & Denali National Park

Our trip to Denali National Park was very rainy, but since we were spending most of the day in the car, we didn’t mind too much.

The next morning we walked a bit along the Nenana River, then drove into the park as far as private vehicles are allowed to drive. Next time we’ll take the bus ride all the way to the end of the road. The grey day cleared up just as we were leaving the park, and had a beautiful ride back. We stopped for dinner an Talkeetna, where we had dinner at the same place my cousin did in June before he climbed Denali Mountain. (Yeah, that’s right. My cousin goes to Alaska to climb a mountain; I go to take pictures of things.)

This was from the drive to Denali Park:


Fireweed is probably my favorite Alaskan plant.

Nenana river and canyon, on our way to Denali National Park:



The color of the water is not just from the grey day. The water is grey from glacial silt.

And now, Denali National Park:






I am very disappointed none of the pictures I took of the area(s) in the picture above look they way the area felt.

Drive back along the Parks Highway.


Now you can see the skies just beginning to clear.



Here is where we stopped for dinner. Twister Creek Restaurant at Talkeetna. Notice the second part of the sign? I went to Alaska to take pictures and see things. Michael went to drink local beers.

Alaska - Pictures with People

Michael and Tania!

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Alaska,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

PAD: Lost Head

Lost Head

Written by Michelle at 9:46 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Picture a Day,UCF  

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging: Happy Kit

Anne & Kit

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Cats,Photos,UCF  

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Sadly, the portion of Anne‘s vacation that involved hanging out with us has ended, but we had a lot of fun.

We found employment for Nathan:



Written by Michelle at 6:35 pm      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Morgantown,Photos,UCF,West Virginia  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vacation cont – Blennerhasset Island

Since it was supposed to rain, we decided to go to Blennerhasset Island instead of Blackwater Falls.

This had the added advantage of taking us to Parkersburg so we also got to spend time with Julliene. (OK, and Brian & Stacie as well.)

It didn’t rain at all, and was instead gorgeous.

Blennerhasset Island State Historical park


Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: History,Photos,UCF,West Virginia  

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vacation-t Stuff cont: Fallingwater

This was Vince’s last day with us, so we decided to visit Fallingwater on the way (sort of) to the airport. The nice thing about being on vacation is that getting lost doesn’t much matter.

Which is good.



Written by Michelle at 11:33 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,UCF  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More Vacation-y Stuff

Monday we took Jeri & Vince to Cooper’s Rock. Since the weather was hazy, hot, and humid, we waited until late afternoon to go, and even so still didn’t stay long.

Despite the heat, it was gorgeous, and we had a good time. The only sad part was that because I’m still limping along, jumping and climbing (even just a teeny bit of climbing) were right out.

Coopers Rock


Written by Michelle at 8:17 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Fun & Games,Photos,UCF,West Virginia  

Monday, July 5, 2010

UCF July 2010 in West (by God) Virginia

Right now–AS I TYPE THIS–members of the UCF (besides myself) are sitting in my living room.

Here are some pictures from our adventures so far.

Shepherdstown 2010

Jeri and the Very Small House

Written by Michelle at 10:17 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games,Holidays,Photos,UCF  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brown Truck Revisited

You may remember this post from last week regarding Kit and the UPS man.

Then earlier today I posted the following on Twitter:
“Interesting. Kit will run to the door when the UPS man parks at the bottom of our driveway, but not when the postman does.”

Because I watched the postman pull up precisely where the UPS truck parked, and she watched the postman, but never got down from her perch in the window.

The, a little later, there was a knock on the door.

The UPS man had a package addressed to Kit. (?!)

Yup. Treats for Kit.

Stinky treats for Kit!

Gift from Eric. Gift message: Miao.

So did she like them?

Yes. Yes she did like them. In fact, she already knocked the container on the floor in hopes of getting more.

The only unfortunate thing is it was the late afternoon UPS guy who does not park in front of our house, so Kit was caught all unawares at his arrival.

Written by Michelle at 6:44 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Cats,Humor,Photos,UCF  
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