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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Memories

Memorial Day... from when I was very young ... meant the Memorial Day Parade.  It meant the whole town came to either be in the Parade or watch it.

From the oldest to the youngest.. My Nana, my mother and my Uncle Larry (who was a volunteer fireman)..everyone came.

When the parade ended at the church, after marching through the graveyard and doing a 21 gun salute, there were box lunches for the whole town... and visiting on the church lawns. (me and my Uncle Larry after the parade one year)

Then there was my brother who always decorated his bike . Any child who did that and belonged to the PAL (police athletic league) also was in the parade.  (me and my brother)

When my brother got older, he joined the Air Force.

He served our country during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

He was both an AP (Air Police) and then he was top secret, SAG (or SAC I can’t quite remember) painting maps for the Air Force.

Upon his death (18 months ago) I was given a folded American Flag  for his time in the Air Force... I thank him for helping to protect me, and always being there for me..

I love you Jim.

I hope everyone has a wonderful  Memorial Day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Two Sides of the Moon

Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race   by: David Scott and Alexei Leonov

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (February 21, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0312308663

Product Description

In this unique dual autobiography, astronaut David Scott and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov recount their exceptional lives and careers spent on the cutting edge of science and space exploration. This book reveals, in a very personal way, the drama of one of the most ambitious contests ever embarked on by man, set against the conflict that once held the world in suspense: the clash between communism and Western democracy.Through the men's memoirs, their courage emerges from their perseverance in times of extraordinary difficulty and danger.

I have to tell you.. I was never a history buff person in school.  I think it had to do with the fact that you HAD to read it ..and you HAD to memorize all the dates and things that happened on the dates... I really was not into it.  I mean, I did it... but it didn't make me a history nut.

This book brought much of the feeling of history class back to me.  Dates (which I did NOT memorize) and things that were going on in the world when these two men were being born and heading in the direction of becoming an Astronaut and Cosmonaut.

For me there were times that I felt like NCIS when someone would get his head slapped.   Wow.. I remember the Cuban Missile Crises very well. My brother was in the Air Force and his leave was abruptly canceled!   And I certainly remember Kennedy's assassination !

So many historic things in my life time that were happening. 

When I first looked at this book I wondered if I really wanted to read an autobiography that also included a Cosmonaut, that I really didn't know.  I don't know why I wouldn't since it was still about the race to the moon but it probably wasn't high on my list of reads.  But finding out how Alexei lived his young life and even his life as a Cosmonaut... made me put this man on my list of hero's.  He was, like it or not, the very first person to "walk in space".

I have read a number of autobiographies of our original astronauts. And a few books like Moonshot (still my favorite ), and of course many movies and documentaries on the race to the moon.  But other then saying who did what first I knew nothing of the Russians other than they were beating us for quite some time.

This book opened that up somewhat with Alexei Leonov's autobiography included in the book.  It was very well written . There would be pages on David Scott and then pages on Alexei about the same period of time.  From when they were young boys and how they first got into the space program. 

I found it quite amazing what a hard, hard life Alexei lived through and how much he managed to accomplish in Russia.

The basic story is one I know well because I lived through it... at least the American parts of it.

Just the mention of Stalin and Khrushchev and Brezhnov made me  have flashes of pictures of them on television.  I have to admit.. I had all but forgotten about them.

I really enjoyed the comparison of these two men's lives and America and Russia at that time.  It reveals more problems that they had with the rockets and with their space ships that I knew nothing about.  Maybe they told the public at the time and I forgot it or maybe they kept it discreetly quiet.

David Scott nearly was killed and had that happened he would not have commanded Apollo 15 and been the seventh man to walk on the moon.

In this time of our lives, when NASA is being cut off of government money and going back to the moon has been canceled, it brought back all my good feelings for our astronauts.  I even cried when the Shuttle landed the other day when they announced it was it's last flight.  I don't know why I feel so strongly that man should not slow down with space exploration, but it saddens me deeply.

Do I know the money could be used to feed the hungry? Of course I do, but I sincerely believe its a matter of how the monies are dispersed.  I believe the money is there to help the American people in whatever capacity is needed.  And there is money to help other countries in times of crisis.  And I believe in the space program with my whole heart and I do believe the money to go ahead with going back to the moon is there too.  Maybe I'm a fool to believe that, but reading this book reminded me how much we need to reach out in space and hope that there are more answers out there then we even suspect.  *Hope*..it's a word we need.

I will admit that when I bought this book I wondered how it could possibley be any different from any other book talking about the space race?  But it was an excellent combination of two autobiographies, and two views of getting to the moon.  

So.. if you are one who likes to read about the Space Race, I would highly recommend this book.  Along with some old history lessons the story each man tells gives you a lot more insight to what really was going on.  This book is a keeper.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Old Friends and a New Visitor

  The large Heron stopped by to do some fishing...

...and he got lucky..  I know it looks like weeds but in the mess there IS a fish!

This is a juvenile of our local Grackle ..she was waiting up in the tree above where I was sitting so I just aimed up and snapped her picture.. she's the one that will take bread from my hand.

Ok.. so..  here's the new visitor... I have no idea what it is.. I've looked in my bird book but haven't found it so if anyone has any idea what it is let me know.. Unfortunately it flew off and I probably won't see it again.

One of my neighbors thinks it is a Greenback Heron..  It could be!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Senior Moment

I took this from an email my sister in law, Janet, sent me, and thought I'd post it just to give a smile to some seniors (like me) who might read my blog.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

No Birds at the Beach.. :o(

(I will save the shell photo and see if we get oil here.. they do expect it sooner or later)

 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Junior, Dragons & Plants.. oh my!

I got a decent photo of "Jr" (the moorhen they have chased away from the family (because he is a maturing male) So I thought I would post it.

When I feed the others I usually spot him quite a way up the pond so I save some bread and go for a short walk to feed him.. he comes right up to me. After he eats his fill he always takes a piece of bread and tries to go and feed the babies, only to get Mama's wrath!  (his beak is turning nicely.. soon it will be a red/orange color)

The below shot shows his tremendously big feet under the water.

I haven't seen that *gold* dragonfly since I lucked in with that one photo.. all the others have this bluest body...

.... with really funky eyes! lol

 I am giving a try to a small potted English Ivy. (It brings out the British part of me :o)  )...

Outside when I look up ..my neighbor has this beautiful  Mandevilla climbing plant...

... and of course I keep a close eye on her tomatoes!  I mean, if one should turn red and fall... I'd want to be there to catch it! heh.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Amazing..

There is just *something* about a large bird standing on the tippy-top of a tree on teeny-tiny branches that fascinates me!

I have seen the Anhinga in trees before but this time it was atop the tree right in front of my apartment... amazing.

When she flew away (female has brown neck, males are all black) I saw the Egret doing his fishing, or should I say, doing his impersonation of a statue... it made for a nice reflection photo..

oh.. and just so you know... this is the first time the moorhens had 6 babies and they are all still alive! (by now some normally *disappear*... must be all the help they are getting from the *teenagers*!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Prince & the Pilgrim

The Prince and the Pilgrim by Mary Stewart

Publisher: Ivy Books (March 2, 1997)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0449224430

From School Library Journal

YA?Returning to the era of Arthur and his Camelot, Stewart has given life to two lesser-known characters from Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. She enlarges upon and gives wonderful detail to Alexander, a young prince who sets off on a quest to avenge his father's assassination and to Alice, a gentle young lass who accompanies her father on pilgrimages to Holy shrines. Their stories are told in five alternating chapters until they meet, fall in love, and vanquish the foe in the exciting climax. Interwoven within the plot are background details on other characters and the complex legends of the period, especially evil Queen Morgan Le Fay, who detains Alexander for her own greedy purposes. A British map (same one several times) appears frequently to identify various locales, and one family tree assists readers, but there is no preliminary list of characters to help keep the participants in mind. The appended author's notes and the legend itself are interesting and help pull everything together once the story has concluded.

Well, I finally read a book in a decent amount of time!  Of course it wasn't a very large book, and that helped lol..

I liked this story. I have to admit I have read Mary Stewarts Merlin Trilogy (long ago) and like it and more recently read her story of Rose Cottage.  She must have had a thing for Roses, since in the Prince & the Pilgrim the castle was called Castle Rose.

I found the book quite interesting.. like the review above states it is about some lesser characters in the time of King Arthur but by doing so Arthur , Merlin, and Morgan Le Fay are all mentioned and Morgan is one of the characters in the book.

It is two stories in one.  One of Alexander and one of Alice.  Toss in some castles and a bit of Cornwall and a little love and you have a book by Mary Stewart!

So far all I have read of her's I've enjoyed and this was no different. If you want a book with a bit of the times surrounding Arthur this is a good book to read.  It's not overly heavy with history and yet you get the feel of where and when you are.

I don't think it's a book for everyone.  I would call it light reading, yet just enough in it to keep you involved.

It was a good book, and I'd recommend it to those who maybe want something a little different but not heavy duty or 600 pages long!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Hell Getting Old!

I am going to concentrate on one of the Moorhens..

The one is one of the first batch of babies of which only 3 survived.  He/she has been one of the 3 big brother or sisters helping to feed and watch over the second brood of chicks..  (below photo of newest baby...second brood growing fast!)

Anyway..

I will call this one, "Jr"..  and Jr seems to be growing up faster than the other two siblings...maybe a little too fast!  Take note that the "nose piece" is beginning to change color from nothing to golden (on it's way to red/orange).

For this he is suffering the wrath of Mama !  Jr is being chased unmercifully away from all the family and being forced to leave the pond. Now, generally this happens before the next brood is hatched so watching the "teenagers" help raise the babies has been a real treat... and as soon as the beak of the other two begins to change color, they too will be chased until they leave!

I feel sorry for this guy.. he still wants to help feed the babies!  So I took a few pictures of him/her this morning, knowing soon this one will be gone.. *sniffle*..

first a bath... then fix the feathers! 

Oh my... the kids just grow up too fast these days!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Go-Fish

I decided to get "myself" a small 5 gallon fish tank and put a few Goldfsh in it to enjoy...

.... Boo thinks I got it for him!

.... he's right.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shuttle 05.14.10

The Shuttle missions are almost over.

I am more then sorry that I won't live long enough to see us back on the moon .  And I feel a great sadness for my hero's that put their lives on the line to get us to the moon in the first place.  I believe it was a bit *shaded, or misguided* as a *race* when in reality it really was "on giant  leap for mankind"....

I think of the original astronauts and wonder if they now feel that all they did was for naught.  The originals from Gemini, Mercury & Apollo,  will always be my hero's.  (not to take away from every single astronaut!) . 

It seems so wrong that we will no be going back to the moon and then beyond. (we should have done that long ago) I am 66 yrs old... I was in high school when Shepard made his famous 15 minute flight into space. The school put it over the loud speaker and I remember it as if it happened  yesterday.  It seemed like a dream.  Then there were more flights.. more splashdowns... and much crying as the astronauts came back safe.  My life  has gone by and many the hero's I've admired for so long are no longer with us... but for the ones that are... they must wonder why, once again, we will not go back to the moon.

I do believe the Shuttle missions have been important, but I also think the program went on longer than necessary before the next stage of space travel should have begun.  With much sadness I watched our latest Shuttle Launch.

May 14th : Blastoff was 2:20 pm. It is the Final mission for Atlantis.  I pray it is a success and a save trip for all.

(pics taken from the television)

I watched the lift off on the television and then went outside to see if I could get a glimpse of the vapor trail....

I am glad to say I got to witness a flawless blastoff.

I am sorry to say but I really think Obama is doing a wrong thing not giving the money to NASA.  Ohhhh yes, I know how many of us have trouble just eating and paying bills.  And like you I know many places the governments money "should" go to... but this IS one of those places.  This IS the future .  Maybe not mine  but it is mankind's future.  I am just sorry he doesn't see that.

For now however.. the Atlantis is safe and orbiting earth.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Everyday is Somebody's Birthday..

Today happens to be George Lucas's Birthday! (big crush here)

Born: May 14, 1944
Modesto, California

American director, screenwriter, and producer

(Biography by: Encyclopedia of World Biography)

American filmmaker George Lucas created some of the most profitable movies in history, including the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. Lucas is also responsible for many new developments in filmmaking, especially involving special effects.

Early years

George Walton Lucas Jr. was born in Modesto, California, on May 14, 1944, the only son among George and Dorothy Lucas's four children. His father sold office supplies and equipment and owned a walnut farm. Lucas was not a good student; he enjoyed racing cars and owned a souped-up, high-powered Fiat (a brand of Italian automobile) in high school. Shortly before graduating he was involved in a serious car accident, nearly dying from his injuries. After recovering from a three-month hospital stay, Lucas decided that he wanted to go to art school. His parents refused to pay for it, so he instead enrolled at Modesto Junior College to study social sciences.

Lucas became interested in photography and film and began making films with a small camera. While photographing a car race he met Haskell Wexler (1922–), a famous cinematographer (motion picture cameraman), who helped him get into the University of Southern California (USC) film school. Lucas produced eight student films, including THX-1138: 4EB (1965), in which he explored his vision of the future. After graduating Lucas worked as a cameraman (he filmed part of the famous 1968 Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, California, in which a man was stabbed to death) and as an editor for films produced by the United States Information Agency. While at this job he met Marcia Griffin, a film editor. They married in 1969 and adopted a child in 1981. The couple divorced in 1984, and Lucas later adopted two children on his own.

Early film career

In 1969 Lucas won a scholarship from Warner Brothers Studios, which allowed him on the set to watch the filming of Finian's Rainbow, which was being directed by Francis Ford Coppola (1939–). Lucas and Coppola became friends, and Lucas helped edit the film. Lucas also worked on Coppola's next film, The Rain People. Through Coppola's newly created film studio and production company, American Zoetrope, Lucas made his first feature, THX—1138, based on the short film he made as a student.

In 1973 Lucas experienced his first real film success with American Graffiti, which focused on one summer night in 1962, following teenage boys and their cars. Lucas co-wrote the script and directed it, with Coppola serving as a co-producer. American Graffiti was filmed in less than a month for a little over $750,000. Although Universal, the studio that had paid for the production, did not believe American Graffiti would make a profit, by several months after its release it had become the surprise hit of the year. It was one of the most profitable films of the 1970s and was nominated (put forward for consideration) for five Academy Awards.

Star Wars

Lucas next began working on the script for an original space story, Star Wars. He planned the story as a series of three related trilogies (series of three works); Star Wars was the first episode of the middle trilogy. The film included elements of westerns, soap operas, and other types of films as well. The Lucas-directed Star Wars was released in May 1977. It received very positive reviews. His very personal vision also appealed to a mass audience. The film smashed all box office records, and many people went to see it more than once.

Star Wars earned $400 million worldwide in its first release. The experience of making the film, though, left Lucas exhausted, and he did not direct another film for twenty years. He had made a wise decision to turn down a director's fee (money that a director receives for making a film) for his work on the film in exchange for rights to merchandising (the ability to make money from products, such as toys, related to the movie). He also retained the rights to the Star Wars sequels (follow—up films). Lucas made $500 million between 1977 and 1980 from the sale of Star Wars merchandise, including books, toys, kits, and consumer items. He managed the merchandising through his company, LucasFilm Ltd., which was established in 1979. Lucas set up other companies to manage his film empire.

In 1980 the second film in Lucas's trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back, was released. Lucas was the executive producer (one who pays for the release of a movie) and wrote the story on which the script was based. Although some criticized the story, many noted that the special effects were better. Lucas returned to a more active role in 1983's The Return of the Jedi. He co-wrote the script and again served as executive producer. While the special effects were excellent, critics thought they took attention away from the characters and the story. Still, all three films together brought in $1 billion. Sales of official merchandise brought in over $3 billion.

Other successful projects

At the time Lucas began developing Star Wars, he had an idea for another series of films. The Indiana Jones series was developed as a tribute to adventure films of the 1940s. Lucas wrote the story and served as producer for the first Indiana Jones movie, entitled Raiders of the Lost Ark. His story again pleased both critics and audiences. Lucas was less involved in the next two Indiana Jones movies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In 1992 he produced a television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which lasted for only one season. Throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s Lucas worked mainly as a producer. Movies such as Howard the Duck (1986) and Radioland Murders (1994) were failures; others, such as Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) and Willow (1988), were more successful.

Lucas, with profits from his films and LucasFilm, Ltd., founded Skywalker Ranch, a production house (a place where a movie is edited for theatrical release) in California. Lucas based all of his companies there; one in particular changed the face of the film industry. Originally created to handle the special effects for Star Wars, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) improved film technology (applied science) through research and development. ILM branched out to do special effects for other movies, such as Star Trek and E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial. ILM was also responsible for THX, an improved sound system found in many movie theaters.

Vision continues

Though many doubted the other two Star Wars trilogies would ever be made, in 1994 Lucas began writing the scripts for the first trilogy. To prepare audiences, "special edition" versions of the original Star Wars trilogy were released in theaters beginning in 1997. Using effects developed by his companies, Lucas fixed some of the errors in the first films and included new scenes, adding four and a half minutes to Star Wars.

In May 1999 Lucas released The Phantom Menace, the first installment of the first Star Wars trilogy. Lucas directed the film and wrote the script. In December 2001 Lucas donated several items used in the Star Wars films to the online auction firm eBay to raise money for relatives of the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. In 2002 the next Star Wars film, Attack of the Clones, was released.

In Developement:

"Untitled Star Wars TV Series" (2011) TV series (in production) (executive producer)
Red Tails (2010) (post-production) (executive producer)