Sunday, March 30, 2014


Back on September 30, 2009 I wrote a blog entitled "Hello!  It's Chicken Little Again."  It was my thoughts on space junk as pertains to astronauts and elimination problems.  I found the whole thing very funny.

And now, I find another funny story about early astronauts and the development of space diapers.  Initially I did not think I should introduce it to you via my blog, since I had an feeling you might think my sense of humor equaled that of a 5 year old boy who runs around calling people "pooh-pooh head."  But since this article hit me in the face when I booted up the computer today and gave me a good laugh, why not share it with you?  I wish I had written it, but no, it's a recap on an original article published in the Houston Chronicle:  
It was a mission-critical element: the size of NASA astronauts' manhood. Seriously. The Houston Chronicle resurrects the fascinating historical tidbit by way of the Science Channel's Moon Machines documentary series, in which engineer Donald Rethke explained the very precise nature of early space diapers.
The Maximum Absorbency Garment system, donned by Gemini and Apollo astronauts, featured one very specific element: a sleeve likened to a condom with a hole at the tip that enabled the men to urinate into a pouch with a one-way valve in their suits.
Three sleeve sizes were available, small, medium, and large. And astronauts couldn't fib, explains Rethke. If they decided to order the next size up, the sheath wouldn't fit snugly, and liquid could potentially leak out, causing damage.
To make the process a little less embarrassing, the sizes were later renamed: large, gigantic, and humongous. Motherboard notes that the urination issue was first brought to the fore by Alan Shepard, who spent hours in the Freedom 7 capsule in advance of a quick 15-minute "suborbital hop." Denied permission to leave the capsule, he opted to pee in his suit—forcing Mission Control to turn off his biomedical sensors until the flow of oxygen in the suit dried the pee, allowing the sensors to be switched on.
Today's astronauts enjoy actual restrooms, though MAG systems are provided to astronauts who are operating outside space vehicles. 
Why do I think this is funny?  It's all in the writing, I guess.  Maybe I was simply primed to laugh, as I had just read, also online, a joke about a mother whose small child swallowed a 22 caliber bullet.  She ran to a nearby pharmacy and asked the pharmacist what she should do.  He handed her a bottle of castor oil and said, "Make him drink this, and then just wait for it to act.  But see that he's not aimed at anybody!" 

I found that funny too. 

Guess it's just one of those days!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


 The perennial problem at our house is how to we let loose of ephemera?

Jerry and I, both being the oldest child in our family, became the receivers of all the old photo albums, scrapbooks, and so forth that our parents had kept over the years.  For me as a genealogist, this turned out to be a wonderful serendipity, because it gave me a head start on finding what my ancestors looked like. It also gave me knowledge of some rather funny things.

Again today I was going through the 5 foot high collection of books - which of course include our baby books.  Jer and I are both hovering around one side or the other of being 80 years old.  We need to decide whether all this ephemera should end up with our lucky (?) children or whether we should simply bite the bullet and make a trip to the dumpster across the street.

The big problem in going over them all to determine their fate is that it is necessary to review what is in them -- especially the baby books.  We don't want to let go of anything dynamic! This morning in the stack I came across Jerry's baby book.

Oh, the books of those years were so ornate.  Jer was born in 1929 - and the cover of his book is so descriptive of that era.  In reading through the book, I saw that - at least at the beginning of it, his mother, Bertha, was very careful to document everything he did.  (I did find in the back that there was one entry on a blank page that announced the birth of Jerry's sister in 1933.  Apparently she got a single page, instead of a complete baby book.  I suppose his mom got busier as time went on.

Jerry's book is a small one, without photographs (unlike my own baby book which is plastered with them.).  But it does cover the firsts of almost everything in that first year of Jerry's life.  And it was there where I found information that sent me into a peal of laughter.

It was this:  Jerry's mother wrote down for posterity that Jerry's first word was "BOBO"!

I closed my eyes and saw little Jerry, with his blond curly hair, pointing at something and saying loud enough for every one to understand...................."BOBO!"

And why I find it so funny is that Jerry later graduated from MIT (obviously not with a major in English!). One would think that a kid as smart enough to accomplish that would, at eight months, at least say something like E=mc2,

Lest you think that I am picking on Jerry, I want to add that my baby book, fat and  full of photos as it is, also contains some startling information that really wasn't necessary, I think, to share.  I have always wondered why it was necesssary for my mother to indicate that I was two months old when she started my toilet training!

And that fact alone may be an answer to the reason for yesterday's blog.

We may be able to let some of the old photo albums go, but surely not our baby books, for they contain amazing things, don't you think?

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I have a folder on my hard drive labeled "Mulling Thoughts."  Into it go things that I think I might mull over someday.  I also forget, for long periods of time, that I even have such a folder.  But yesterday I came across it again while looking for where I stored something on the computer - and I had to laugh.  What you'll see below is a section of my thoughts.  I have no recollection of putting all this down -- but when I read it I laughed at myself and thought maybe you'd get a good laugh out of it too.


  *I am really not a “detail” person; I like to be involved in the broad scope.  I am generally aware of the details but it’s not where my focus lies.

*Here are a few things I think about myself:
  1. I like to be involved in the broad view – the creation and vision of a thing, not the details of working with it or making it work.
  2. I expect to receive what has been promised when it has been promised. 
  3. I expect meetings to start on time.
  4. I expect the leader of a meeting to stay on topic and bring it back to topic when it strays.

*The older I get the more rigid I am becoming. 
*I don’t tolerate foolishness very well.
*If something is to be a group discussion the leader should have strong leadership skills.
*I guess I like “3 things” or “5 things.”  I see it as making definite movement.
*I don’t like stupidity.

*I think a person who has 12 folding chairs to put away had better carry them more than 1 at a time to not appear stupid.

*How then can I enjoy counted cross-stitch?  Infinite # of stitches, one at a time.  Why do I not see myself making a quilt but knowing I can cross stitch a piece in which I must make maybe 10,000 individual pokes of the needle.  Is it because those 10,000 pokes are confined to a small piece of cloth?  Then why did I see needlework as tedious, tending to feel like it's an atonement for sin – past, present and future -  and yet experience counted cross-stitch as exciting and very in the "now"?


And then underneath all the above that obviously I mulled over, I found this (I didn't say it; someone else did, but I guess I liked it!)

All right, fine.  The cynics out there might be saying that the giraffe wasn't really giving him a kiss, that it was only looking for food, or performing some kind of giraffe greeting behavior.  To which we say, pah!  This giraffe was giving his beloved companion a goodbye kiss.  If there's a world where a giraffe kiss is not a giraffe kiss, that's not a world we want to live in.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


On Facebook yesterday we had some discussions on canned green beans -- and the consensus pretty much was that the best use for canned green beans is in the old standard recipe for Three Bean (or 4 Bean if you like garbanzos) Salad that's been around for years.

My recipe from years ago is described thusly:   Open and drain 1 can each of green beans, yellow wax beans, red kidney beans and garbanzo beans. Toss in 1/2 cup each of minced onion and green bell pepper. Make dressing of 1/2 c each salad oil and cider vinegar, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 t salt and 1/ t pepper.  Mix well, and pour over beans.  Refrigerate, and serve chilled.  You can't do much better than that for a good salad on a hot day. (In this day and age we might do better to cut down a bit on the sugar, right?)

But I submit that just as tasty and almost as easy to prepare is Lebanese Potato Salad.  It hasn't been in my cookbook for as long as the bean salad, but it's been around the middle east for a whole lot longer.  

This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens Magazine of May, 1980.  That was before some of you were born, probably!  The original recipe didn't specify what kind of potatoes to use, but merely states "large" - which likely doesn't mean red potatoes but they work just as well.  So here's how to make this wonderful salad appear:

4 large potatoes, cooked, peeled and cut in bite-sized chunks and placed in bowl.

1/2 cup snipped parsley
3 green onions, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 t salt
dash garlic powder
dash pepper.

Mix together all ingredients and pour over potatoes.  Toss to coat.  Cover and chill several hours or overnight.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

So here you have it!  The old and the older - both standbys in my house.  And both are standards, as far as I am concerned.

Happy eating, friendds.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


According to reports from Massachusetts, the governor just signed a bill that would penalize a new branch of photography - that of cellphone photographs taken upwards from below a lady's skirt.

It seems that the highest court in Massachusetts refused to agree that a man who took cellphone photos up the skirts of female subway passengers in Boston was violating state law. He (or she or they) may have been as offended as much as anyone else but the written law just didn't cover this particular aberration.  However, in what had to have been the quickest action taken by that State's House and Senate, they made a law that stated clearly it was illegal to take photographs of the "sexual or other intimate parts" of women or children in public" - and the Governor signed it in a flash!

The law calls for "a maximum penalty of 1-1/2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine" if the photograph is of a woman, and "5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine" if the victim is a child.

And a new word - "upskirting" - has been added to our lexicon.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Jer and I had dinner last night with a friend who related a story to us of being put on the spot by a smallish seven year old who wanted answers to "Do you think that Jesus created the world in 7 days?" and "What color skin does my dad have?"  Jer and I laughed.  We remembered having to answer some fairly touchy questions from our own kids when they were little; sometimes the answer came easily and other times we were hard put to know quite how much to say.

But on the way home I was reminded of our family's angel story.

Of my four kids, my oldest daughter was the one who never could let an answer end anything.  She was a whiz at generating questions, to the point that the whole conversation could get completely off track and out of hand.  The particular angel story goes like this:

I had put the kids in the car for a trip to visit my mother in Long Beach. As I recall, this story took place after all my kids had been born, which meant that in the car were a five year old, a four year old, and two year old, and a year old baby.  Erin was the four year old.  Except for the baby, who always rode in a portable car seat that hung by hooks on the front seat, making it easy to tend to the baby if necessary, the other children rode in the back seat and usually spent the time hanging over the front seat carrying on conversations with the driver.  I know, it sounds very dangerous, but life was slower, freeways were scarcer, and society was nicer then, and all of us mothers raised our kids without strapping them into capsules for their own safety.

On this particular day Erin was being her chatty self, and for some reason the subject turned to angels.  As I recall, the questions she asked me went like this:

Did you know there are angels in the air?
Did you know they fly?
Have you ever seen one?
Why not?
Where do they go?
Will you ever be able to see one?
Are angels men or women?

As I was struggling to give her an age-appropriate answer to these questions and to figure out what kind of angel teaching she had received and furthermore where did it come from, she was urging me to tell her because she had more things she wanted to know about them.

Do they all play harps?
Do you think any play the violin?
Did they take lessons?
Who makes them practice?

All during this time I was maneuvering the car in and out of traffic, trying to keep the baby entertained with toys she kept flinging out of her car seat, and asking the "big kids" to sit down in the back seat.

As the questions kept coming, my frustration level started rising, and unfortunately I wasn't getting much cooperation from either the kids or my answers.  I suggested talking about something else for a while, but no, that wasn't what Erin wanted.

Do angels flap their wings when they fly?
Do they go back to heaven to have their dinner?

And finally I reached my limit.  I really, honestly was a very patient mother, but there comes a point.  That arrived when Erin said....

When they fly to heaven, do they fly standing up or laying down?

I yelled:


Poor Erin.  She stopped talking and sat down in the back seat.  I felt AWFUL for yelling at my sweet child, but I couldn't take ONE MORE ANGEL QUESTION!  As far as I know, she has never gotten an answer to that question, but she sure never asked ME again!