Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween, Hooligans...

About a month ago, I got an email from Chris Beck, asking me to participate in a Halloween painting challenge along with her, Pablo Villicana Lara, and other artists from around the blogosphere. As Chris is one of my painting crushes, I immediately said yes, and then started freaking out, because holy jack-o-lanterns, people - Chris and Pablo can PAINT. I've seen some of their challenges before, and have loved them.

But - what the heck? I thought I'd give it a go. This image immediately popped into my mind, and as I didn't have a spare skull or a trained crow to help me out, I dug around at the WetCanvas reference library and found a few images that I could put together to come up with this...

Can I Pick Your Brain?
Be sure to head over to Chris' blog to see the whole collection, and pop on over to the rest of the blogs to wish everyone a spooky Halloween, please - I'm sure they'd love to pass out some of their candy's the list:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Round and Round it Goes

Coolidge Park, Chattanooga

We're back in our cycle of school and tennis and tennis and tennis. The boys have two more tournaments this month, then we'll have a little break before the next one. And then it will be Thanksgiving...

and Christmas...

and Derek will turn 12...

and the year will turn 2012.

How does it happen?

I've been trying to plan a visit to Shreveport to see Melinda, and every date I pick is in conflict somewhere. If I can't find one soon, I may desert my family and run screaming toward the west.

They'd be fine, right?


Joshua's been humming Axel F, the theme from Beverly Hills Cop. I can't figure out where he heard it, and neither can he, but it's been stuck in his head for about a week, which means it is now stuck in mine. It's driving me crazy. The constant duh, duh, duh duh dah duh duh, duh duh, duh duh dah duh duh, doot doot doot doot dootdootdoot doo doo...

Please give me another song to hum.



We're moving Derek into his own bedroom. They've shared a room since they were 1 and 2 years old. I love listening to them when they lay in bed and talk to each other about what they are going to be when they grow up and how many dogs they'll have and what their names will be.

It's kind of breaking my heart.

But Derek is ready for his own space. He's almost 12. Joshua can't go to sleep without a light on, so we have a lamp on a timer for him. He likes to read until he falls asleep, but rarely thinks to turn the light out before laying down for good. So - it goes off about 11 pm, just to make sure it doesn't stay on all night.

Derek hates that light. Every night, he pleads with Joshua, "Please! Can't we just turn the light out this ONE night?"

So, he's moving. We've had the other bedroom set up as a living room for them, with their own couch and tv, but they never use it. They still like hanging out with us. I've been working this week to clean it out - s l o w l y - so I can prep the walls and paint and make it his own almost-a-teenager room.

It's the end of an era.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Let the Geekery Commence

So, maybe I've mentioned that we're kind of science geeks, no? Yes. Well. We are.

Unabashedly. Unashamedly. We love science. We love space. We love science fiction. We love science fact.

We love Rocket City Rednecks. Seriously. Watch it.

So going to Kennedy Space Center was a little like going to church. Did I tell you that Dr. SmartyPants once had an experiment go up on the space shuttle?

Mhmm. I know - it's not fair - wicked smart AND wicked handsome. I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

Anyway...we went and toured, and explored and smiled and marveled and mourned while we were there.

Lost in Space

We hung out with the original Mercury 7.


We jumped in a Gemini capsule...


And an Apollo capsule...


We met a cool character walking around.  So much better than Mickey Mouse, people...

Astro Boys

We toured the original blockhouses from the early rocket tests. The boys actually got to push the button that sent Alan Shepherd into space.

Launch Control

We stood on the pad where the Apollo 1 crew lost their lives, and marveled at the quiet beauty of the place - the ocean in the distance. All launch pads can be rebuilt and used, but this one stands as a ruin and will never be used again - a tribute to Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, the brave men who died that day.

Apollo 1 Memorial

We wandered around and wondered if we would go to space again, now that the shuttle program has been killed. We marveled at the scientific advances that never would have existed, had NASA not thought them up. We talked about the every day things we use, and don't even think about, that were developed by NASA for the astronauts and ended up in our kitchens and cars and schools. Smoke detectors were developed as a direct consequence of the Apollo 1 tragedy.

Can you imagine life without smoke detectors? They are ubiquitous. Before 1967? Not so much. One of the tour guides said that every detector should have the names Grissom, White and Chaffee on them.

How about long range weather forecasting, energy efficient air conditioning, satellite navigation, CAT scans, computers, flat panel televisions, water purification systems, UV protective sunglasses, shock-absorbing athletic shoes, heart monitors...the list goes on and on.

Maybe one day, we'll get back up there. Maybe one day, our government will once again recognize that science is a good thing and should be funded.

Maybe one day...

To Boldly Go

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Memory Dump


We were in Orlando last week, for Fall Break and to see Dr. SmartyPants get his second R&D100 award. Because my boy's wicked smahhht, people. Somehow, we didn't manage to get any photos of us all dressed up in our finery, but we looked awesome.

And sparkly.


We took the boys with us this time, and they had a great time. It was their first time on an airplane. They were so nervous about it, but absolutely loved it, as I knew they would. When we took off from Knoxville, it was pretty cloudy and gray. When the plane broke through the clouds, Joshua gasped and said, "It's beautiful! It looks like heaven!"

He's right.


We spent a day lounging by the pool, while the Smarty worked, but then had some time together. We went across the street from the hotel to Sea World, which was fan-freaking-tastic. None of us are big roller-coaster riders, but we were more than entertained by all the aquatic mammals, especially the dolphins.

Yes, I know the orcas are the main attraction, but people - the dolphin show was spectacular. It was so beautiful, I had tears in my eyes. No kidding.

It was art.

dolphin show

Tomorrow - I'll fill you in on our geekalicious trip to Kennedy Space Center. I'd do it now, but Flickr is acting up and I'm tired of dealing with it.

Dang it.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Excuses

Mah Boyz

I know I haven't been around much lately - but I really do have two very good excuses...

Look for me next week, about this time - I promise I've got things to say and stories to tell and photos to post and maybe even a drawing or painting to talk about.

Until then...enjoy your October, wherever you are...