Archive for February, 2012

This first photo is my son Andy with the SCAN (Space Communications and Navigation) testbed a  project he’s been working on at NASA Glenn for the last few years just before it was shipped off to go to Japan for launching to the ISS (International Space Station). It’s all about software defined radios in space and I am so proud of him…He’s been fascinated with engineering and space since he was a little boy. I think I may have written before about the somewhat tragic (to me) moment when he was three years old and lining up his toys across the living room in various ways for what I thought was a typical little kid bit of imaginary play. Suddenly he threw himself on the ground and began sobbing in the most heartbroken way, saying over and over again, “It won’t work. No matter what I do it won’t work.”  Well now he’s been part of a team accomplishing something that does seem to work and I am amazingly proud of him. (Oh, did I mention that already?)

Here is another different kind of accomplishment. Last night Nathan beat his Dad at one of their “never ending Monopoly games” when Mike fell into Nathan’s Boardwalk Hotel trap and was bankrupt! He was one pretty happy little guy, that Nathan….But they play nearly every night and I think the winner’s hat must travel back and forth often!

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Art in Children’s Books

This entry is somewhat confused as to topic. Brenda’s Coffee Tea Books and Me blog recently mentioned the world of Brambly Hedge, a series of books about mice who inhabit a cozy very miniscule world created by Jill Barklem. It set me to thinking of the fascination that miniature worlds have for many people, not only children.  I thought of The Littles and The Borrowers and the comic books about Mary Jane and Sniffles (Mary Jane could say magic words, “Poof Poof Piffles, Make me just as small as Sniffles,” and she would become mouse-sized) and then I remembered the first book I’d ever had (and still do) about a tiny world – Chip Chip. It’s a Little Golden Book from 1947 and it still charms me, that world beneath the big tree, the cozy home of a family of chipmunks……..

Not only a family of chipmunks, but home schooled chipmunks, which I had not thought of all those years and years ago when first reading this.

But looking through my little golden books on the shelves in the guestroom made me think not only about worlds in miniature, but also  about my collection of books about children’s book illustrators which lives, mostly, on shelves in the living room. In the late 80s I first found books on this subject, and the earlier ones were not about specific illustrators, but simply the genre. Then one Christmas Paul gave me a lot of “mad money” to spend any way I wanted and I began my collection with several books. They are not all together because I am not a naturally organized person. Alas… But here are some of the ones I enjoy looking through from time to time.

I’m ending with a picture of a page in one of Jill Barklem’s Brambly Hedge books which began this whole enjoyable train of thought.

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It does feel like weeks and weeks and weeks since I’ve posted anything here, and that because it has been many many weeks.

I’m still here, improving every day, enjoying the therapy, the now mostly always pain free knees, the slowly but surely increasing strength and stamina that delights me.

Sorry to have been neglecting you all!

In the last week a few too many things have been happening in my world, but I am being completely Pollyanna-ish about them since all could have been so much worse………

Last Thursday night I had a many hours of what is called BPPV, Benign Paroxysmal Postional Vertigo, waking up over and over very dizzy and very nauseous. But whenever I sat up it disappeared. I told my physical therapist about this the next day and it turned out that she began the program at our Wellness Center to treat it. She and another PT tried to reproduce the symptoms in me (this consisted of repeatedly dropping my head back below horizontal and turning my head from side to side. It was not terribly fun.) but they were unable to do so. If they could have, there are a series of positions/exercises they can take you through which will reposition the calcium carbonate crystals in your inner ear which are out of place…However,  it has never returned. Sometimes the crystals dissolve on their own and sometimes they spontaneously move to a better position. I was lucky here.

Then, two nights later my son Andy slipped on a fabric softener sheet on the floor of the laundry room, fell on the concrete, and dislocated his knee which he promply smacked back in place. When we went to the ER the doctor said, “Yeah, that’s what we do.” He’d been icing and elevating it, but in the ER they gave him a prescription for pain meds, a pair of crutches and a leg immobilizer. Yesterday he saw an orthopedic doctor who gave him a more sophisticated (and expensive) leg brace he can adjust for the degree of bend which lets him drive with it on. He needs an MRI now and  physical therapy. But it seems to be healing well.  A good friend who has a car with automatic transmission has traded with Andy until he is well enough to drive his clutch diesel VW Gulf.  (Did I mention it was his left kneecap which dislocated? That was lucky or he wouldn’t be able to drive anything.)

Monday morning my daughter Alice called to say she’d just been talking to dd Em who is living in Budapest this semester, with all her family. They had been in a car accident on the autobahn near Rosenheim when Ingmar hit an icy patch and the car slammed into the guard rail. German guard rails are made of wire rather than concrete as they are here, but the car was still totaled. However no one was hurt. And, despite advice to the contrary, Emily had insisted on having comprehensive insurance for it, so they should be OK. And NO ONE WAS HURT!

So, although a lot was happening, I am  playing the glad game here.

And I’m enjoying seeing the days get longer, slowly but very surely!

And Emily has accepted a tenure track position as a university professor at a very nice liberal arts college on the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a little farther away than we hoped for, but I think a wonderful place for their family. And they could have been moving to California or someplace very much farther off, so I can continue to practice playing Pollyanna here too! There is a lot of competition for these jobs and we are all very proud of her for having more than one offer.

(The painting above which I used to represent Pollyanna is by Winslow Homer. )

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