Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.
— Anne of Green Gables

On the first day of Fall break we drive past several beaches looking very commercial and crowded. "We should turn there" I tell Jeff when I see a break in the busy-beach hotel-lined streets, for a more serene scene. It may have been private, but we don't know. We turn and park anyway.

 It feels the beach is ours alone.

And we imagine the mint colored house is ours too, like we pretend on our second date the mansion turned art museum is ours. We meandered in the gardens to the very back until we stopped at the bridge. That's where we had our first kiss. That is also where Jeff proposes.

This day holds another first. Oliver's first time to see and to experience the ocean. 

2 drafts went in the trash before a third turned into a commissioned piece completed.

The first made it to pencil lines.

The second to light layers of watercolor.

The third made it through the sketching, painting, second guessing, added touches, and the sending off.

The painted scene was of dreamy things; a sunset and a Ferris wheel with boats docked at the waters edge.

Weeks later it felt as if I was stepping into the scene. The lilac hues and lavender blues, a Ferris wheel on the Galveston shore. 

Jeff searched for a shell to remember the moment, walking on the beach together. The next day we float through the noonday sky, ocean bay breeze blowing hair everywhere in the Ferris wheel. "I can't believe there isn't a safety bar or something." I nervously tell Jeff, glad Oliver is safe in his arms, heart beating faster still. "I bet that is a sailing class" Jeff says, from the very top, ride stopped, a group of sails speckled white against the water.  

 What a dream from sketching, to painting, to imagining, to distant views, to up close and real. The whirling wheel, wavy waters, the open sky. sigh

Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.
— Apollo 13 command module pilot John Swigert’s transmission to mission control when one of the spacecraft’s oxygen tanks exploded on 13 April 1970.

Last night we stayed up too late watching the world series, cheering on the Astros. Maybe it's because we just got back from the trip that I feel want them to win!

When we were driving on the Houston Highways, Hurricane Harvey images kept coming to my mind. It was only a month or two ago. 

This trip was my first time ever in Houston, and the timing seems significant. 

On Day 2 of the trip when the clouds come we break from the beach for the Houston NASA museum. 

Both Oliver's Great Granddad's worked for NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, I think mostly on the Apollo missions. 

Being in the Mission Control center was a surreal experience. Like being back in time. We stood in the same exact spot where the families of the astronauts stood, overlooking the mission control team. Jeff and I together, side by side, Oliver squirming around, Jeff reminding him to keep quiet. Together we were imagining what it was like all those years ago, when they first reached the moon.

Every Friday at the museum an astronaut comes to speak and to answer questions. We file behind forty or more kindergarteners in blue shirts, probably experiencing their first field trip, and we take our seat. 

At the end when the astronaut says he will take one more question the teacher walks her student up towards the front. And when he calls on her the little girl asks "What is your favorite planet?". "That's easy" he say, "Earth, because it's where my family lives."

When I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the Moon, I cried.
— Alan Shepard talking about his time on the lunar surface during the Apollo 14 mission in February 1971.