Space and Spaghetti…

In July 1969, my parents loaded the family into the Ford Galaxy and made the drive from New Jersey to Florida to watch the Apollo 11 launch at Cape Kennedy.  I was probably the one most excited about the trip and the launch-viewing opportunity.  And as I look back on the event, it was one of the most pivotal and cherished memories from my youth.

We were a “space race” family who kept up with the launches by television and through the newspapers.  Being well-informed about NASA was necessary as it was the topic of many family dinner conversations.  Space and spaghetti — it was a winning combination.

Each year a wave of nostalgia hits me when the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaches.  When that annual tsunami of emotion arrives, I turn to books about the space race so I can re-live that moment in history and keep the memories 586472alive.

One of my favorites is The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe.  Published in 1979, the book is about America’s space race, the politics that surrounded the goal to beat the Russians, and the people who put their personal lives on the line to achieve that goal.  It is historic as it is biographic  — a true celebration of the American spirit.

In 2013, Lily Koppel wrote The Astronaut Wives Club, a non-fiction title about the women behind the Mercury Seven astronauts.  It is an ironic story about the women who were portrayed as perfect wives by NASA and journalists, but in reality had less than idyllic lives.  The 2015 television series that was loosely based on the book received mixed reviews — and rightly so.

One of the best titles in recent years is Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.  Most everyone has seen the highly acclaimed film adaptation — but the book IS better.  The title tells the story of the women who used their mathematical talents in the early days of the space race to act as human computers for NASA.  The women were “hidden” because they were African American and working in a segregated workplace.  We’ve come a long way.

On my reading list for this month is Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger.  It may be time to cook some spaghetti and start the dinner conversation!





I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.

In my last blog post on December 25, 2016, I said, “sometimes life strangles you with challenges you never in your dreams would expect to encounter.”

I love challenges.  They keep boredom at bay and fuel my resolve. But Lord — it would be perfectly acceptable if sleep, or lack thereof, would not be part of your plan for me.  Finding time for sleep seems to be my greatest challenge.

Thrawn-1And here is the best aspect of my challenges.  I have been offered more responsibility and projects in the workplace and have become more familiar with terms such as “procurement” and “guaranteed energy savings” and “HVAC setbacks.”  I find it unreasonably intriguing.

Despite the life-encompassing challenges, reading is still a high priority, with many non-fiction titles being devoured, such as Call the Midwife, Hidden Figures, and Under the Tuscan Sun.  Star Wars titles are also is high on the 2017 reading list with Rogue One and Aftermath: Empire’s End.  Currently, I am reading Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, which follows the rise to power of one of the most ruthless and guileless villains in the Galactic Empire.

What of the 100 Half Project?  It’s still on and I’m at crest the of reaching half marathon #85.  But my promised goal to reach 100 half marathons in 2017 will linger into 2018 — and reality has forced me to borrow the infamous Jack Berger post-it note line.  I’m sorry.  I can’t.  Don’t hate me.