April 29, 2010

Cutie Pie Thursday: Taking a Nap

It has been a busy week, and mama's camera batteries are dead. Maybe we should just take a nap. Recharge the ol' batteries. Wake up when it's spring again.

April 25, 2010

The Moon and The Skylight: The Loss of American Imagination

This beautiful skylight is the hand-painted highlight of the Painted Desert Inn, located in Petrified Forest National Park. The Inn and the skylight were created by the CCC.

I have been in the middle of a re-read of Carrying the Fire, Michael Collins' brilliant book on his role in the Apollo program. After reading it, I re-read a few portions of Andrew Chaikin's equally brilliant A Man on the Moon. All this comes after a visit to the Painted Desert Inn, a beautifully restored gem in Petrified Forest National Park. The Inn was renovated and decorated by the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of FDR's ingenious ideas for putting young men to work during the Depression. Not only were they put to work re-building an historic inn, but they were allowed to use their artistic expression--painting the skylight, designing tin lamps, and as Coloradoans know, painting murals.

With all these ideas swirling in my head, I read the end of Chaikin's book:
Instead of letting the moon be the gateway to our future, we have let it become a brief chapter in our history. The irony is that in turning away from space exploration--whose progress is intimately linked to the future of mankind--we rob ourselves of the long-term vision we desperately need. Any society, if it is to flourish instead of merely survive, must strive to transcend its own limits. It is still as Kennedy said: Exploration, by virtue of difficulty, causes us to focus our abilities and make them better.

Recently, the continued exploration of the moon has been back in the spotlight--President Obama has issued his recommendations for NASA's future and been confronted by former astronauts.

All of these issues, ideas, and irritants have forced a single idea into my head--we have lost our national imagination. When confronted with an economic downturn, we offer people money for clunker cars, fueling the idea that conspicuous consumption can save us, rather than offering people jobs rebuilding and creating new landmarks and art. When confronted with the future of the Space Program, we choose to borrow Russia Soyuz (built around the time of the Apollo CM and LM) to fly, rather than put our imaginations to work to create a new vessel for exploring the skies.

We have, as Chaikin says, lost our national vision. Politicians are focused on the present, on the now, on what will get them votes. That has been true throughout time, but in my limited study, politicians also used to focus on what would happen in the future--John Adams wanted a Navy even though the US wasn't at war, FDR wanted to give all young men honest jobs, even artists, JFK wanted to inspire American to achieve the unbelievable. Whatever your thoughts and feelings on Kennedy, what cannot be denied is his imagination and inspiration, especially contained in his famous speech at Rice University in 1961:
"We choose to go to the moon! We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things--not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

Politicians, legislators, public leaders--they are choosing to do things because they are easy, not because they are hard. In this present-minded focus they are neglecting not only the future, but the past. There are still starving artists out there who could be put to work making our country beautiful for the future. There are still young people focused on science and exploration--there may be no frontiers left on land, but there are still frontiers to be explored in space and sea.

Healthcare is important. Jobs are important--but outside of war, FDR's new deal and JFK's moon mission spring to mind as peaceful ways to put people to work. Yes, travelling to the moon cost billions of dollars, but billions of dollars flowing to American workers, not Chinese.

This has been a bit of a rambling rant, and if you actually read this far, you must be related to me. I have no solutions, or challenges. I do not have the ear of any great leaders. I wish only for America to rediscover its drive, its ambition, its imagination. I want us to paint murals in city buildings. I want us to fly to the moon, or Mars, or even Venus. I want our focus to leave the now, leave ourselves, and create something for the future.

Perhaps I am challenged by this because of some simple dates--I was born ten years after the first moon landing, and my son was born forty years after that historical event. What have we done since? Disco? MTV? The iPod?

April 24, 2010

The Knitting Carpenter

Mr. Cool has been tricking out my knitting studio! This is his handcrafted version of a swift--a tool used to help me wind center-pull balls of yarn by hand. It works great, and much better than any previous technique I had.

The swift wasn't the end of his knitting carpentry--he followed it up with a pom tree! (He even let me paint it pink!) I haven't had a chance to use this yet, but I know it will work brilliantly, and then I can add pom poms to everything!

What should I have him craft next?

April 22, 2010

Cutie Pie Thursday: The Swath's New Superpower--The Crawl

The Swath heads out on an adventure.

The Swath works on his stair climbing. "No photos, please! This is still in progress!"

In full crawl mode, ready to travel anywhere.

His other mode of travel--the cruise. He is getting very good at creeping along the furniture. A lot of people warned us that once he started crawling, we would be "in for it." Meh. I love it--he is so cute and intrepid, and I can still outpace him pretty easily. What's next, Swath? Walking? Bring it on! Keep growing!

April 14, 2010

Cutie Pie Thursday: Petrified

I'm still milking our trip south, as I have yet to capture the perfect set of crawling pictures of my small and adorable son. He is an intrepid adventurer, as this pic of him balanced on a hunk of petrified wood while visiting his first national park no doubt shows.
He even withstood gusty winds and gazed out on the painted desert.

And he happily posed with mama for a tracking shot. He also has his first national park stamp in his passport!

April 08, 2010

Cutie Pie Thursday: The Quick and the Tired

So, between adjusting to being back home, growing a new tooth, and having a stuffy nose, the lad did not sleep much last night. (Which means I didn't either.) Luckily, though, he has slept a lot today--a three-hour nap after the wake-up first breakfast, and an hour plus this afternoon. I have spent all that time reading a book--that's how I nap. So, no extra time for a fancy cutie pie edition. Just a shot of my boy and the big blue sky.

April 02, 2010

Updates from AZ

Hey Dad, I love AZ and reading with Grandma Cool!

Can I go golfing with you Dad? I like both stick and disc golfing!

I like to swim Dad, can we swim some more?

Well, maybe next time Dad. I like to swim, sometimes!
Sorry Dad, it's time to go home. I'll help us get there - I've got the map!
Don't worry Dad, we'll be back...

April 01, 2010

Updates from Arizona: Fashion Show

Designer: Carter's, a gift from Auntie Cool. The blue brings out his eyes.

Designer: Target. The perfect plaid look for a sporting young gentleman. Say cheese!

Designer: Hanna Anderson. A Swedish romper for a Swedish high chair.