We have been fully focused on Susie's July 6 surgery and then her recovery since we returned to Houston at the first of July, so there has not been much tourist activity. The surgery was quite successful and she is recovering nicely and we have had visitors the last week. That provided an opportunity for some extracurricular activity.
Mike, his wife, Karen, and son, Jason, came to see us last weekend and daughter-in-law, Suzy Hinkle, came to help do Susie-care and to provide me some time off to be with Mike and family.
Friday morning (7/24) 'the kids' came to the apartment. We had a good visit, then they and I spent most of at the rest of the day at the Johnson Space Center, NASA. Here is an exhibit that is in development: one of the retired space shuttles atop its carrier plane. When the exhibit is completed, visitors will be able to enter both aircraft.
We took two tram tours. One stop was the rocket park including the rocket used to launch shuttles into space. It's HUGE, as I'm sure you know.
Even though the US has turned over Space Station flights to private enterprise and other countries, space research and exploration is still very much a part of the Center. Main focus now is the Orion Project, for flights to Deep Space, including Mars. Sign up your so-inclined grandchildren now. Another stop we made was the building in which the Orion and other space vehicles are being developed and where Space Station modules are developed and used for training.
Here's one shuttle crew photo I came across on our tour. The lower right astronaut is friend, Susan Helms, daughter of friends, Dori and Pat Helms, formerly from Albuquerque, now living in Colorado. Susan's Wikipedia page says she spent 211 days in space, over five missions, including a lengthy stay at the International Space Station. More details about her NASA and AF careers at the Wikipedia link.
Here's a model of a shuttle and launch vehicle.
In case you were wondering, it was a very hot day -- 'feels like' 100+ degrees, they say, every day. The Center's headquarters had some nice exhibits and videos plus food, water, and air conditioning.
Saturday we toured the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Lots of interesting things there, from dinosaurs to Egyptian mummies -- and much more. If you're ever in Houston, ...
Here's the family and the museum.
Speaking of museums, earlier in the month I visited the Houston Fire Museum. It's a small, sort of funky museum, located in an old fire station, and has some vintage fire engines on display.
Here's a poster honoring firemen who died in the line of duty - a sobering reminder of what first responders do for us.
Mike and family flew home early Sunday. Later Sunday morning, my sister, Connie, and husband, Tom, from Edmond, OK, used their annual anniversary trip to come by for a visit. Coming to Houston had two purposes - to visit Tom's sister who lives here, and to visit us.
We had a very nice visit, plus lunch, and that capped our busy weekend. For some reason, I thought it might be interesting to take their picture in our parking garage. The garage's speed bumps, like the one behind Tom, are horrors for Susie - even though I creep over them. Not good for one healing from major abdominal surgery. You can't creep on Houston streets, so they are a real pain.
I'll close with this picture that Suzy took of us awaiting the return of our car by the MDA valet service.
One more thing. A copy of my book was delivered here last week. Here's the publisher's link. Available there or at Amazon. Tell all your friends.
I came across an online article today concerning the claim, "Studies show ...." that are used to justify various programs and actions. Problem is, some of those studies are poorly designed and the data misleadingly analyzed and not very supportive of the claims made. My book will fix that, humbly I claim. Send one to your congressperson.
Until next time,
Susie and Rob