Lens-Artists Challenge #115 Inspiration

I am always inspired by the monumental, and not-so-monumental, works of human ingenuity.  Whenever I see a bridge, or a mountain road, or a tall building, it reminds me of how people, down through the ages, have altered their environment by building things to make their lives easier, or to commemorate occasions or people.  Structures built by people have survived over thousands of years, like the Pyramids of Egypt, or the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Wailing WallWhen I was in Jerusalem and visited the Wall, I was able to take a picture of my own hand on the Wall, connecting myself for a short time to the history of my people, the Jews.  Just think, that cut stone has remained in its place for over 2,000 years.

My hand on Wailing Wall

The pipe organ below is another sublime work of human ingenuity.  The instrument took over two years to build, in my state of Washington, before being installed in the new Christ Chapel at Hillsdale College.  The workings of a pipe organ have not materially changed in hundreds of years; this one also has some new electronic capabilities that Johann Sebastian Bach would marvel at.  But the principles remain the same, and the sound cannot be surpassed.

FrittsOrgan

Switches-organ

The organist can play the three keyboards with both hands and both feet, all at once-see the pedals have both black and white “keys”! A true inspiration, for a string-player who is lucky to be able to play with just the two hands.

WindTurbines

I will swallow a bit of pride here, and admire the designers and builders of these huge wind-turbines, on rolling hills of Eastern Washington.  They look pretty simple, but the mechanism is incredible complex, and they are just huge.  On our trip to South Dakota, we saw at least ten flatbed trucks carrying turbine blades, and they are longer than the longest-available trailer-at least fifty feet long.  The majority of these turbines were working, turning slowly in the near-constant wind, supplying power to the homes, farms, and towns nearby.

GoldenGate

I expect everyone knows what this is. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, standing for about 100 years now.  A true inspiration, and indication of the vast powers of the Human Mind and Body.  And then, actually not far away…

SF-OaklandBayBridge

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  This bridge has a curve to it that must have been an engineering feat to design and build.  And beautiful, too.

Speaking of beautiful, here’s something a little closer to home, and to my heart.  Hubby is an aeronautical engineer, and he worked on this aircraft from the very beginning.  And as part of my job, I purchased circuit-card assemblies for the flight-deck of this plane.  So a little of both of us is in each one built.  This picture was taken on the “rollout” day in July of 2007, when it was formally presented to the world.  Personally, I think this is one of the most awe-inspiring airplanes ever designed and built by any maker.

Dreamliner

One more thing.  The building you see is another marvel, the largest single building in the world, manufacturing airplanes since the 1960s.

Truly, the capabilities of humanity are always expanding, and always inspiring.

 

 

Link to original article.

Retirement. It’s bittersweet, for me.

Tomorrow, Monday, August 31, will be my last working day at my current job, which I have held for 12-2/3 years.  That’s the longest I have ever worked at any job in my entire working life.  My original goal in life was to work forever, and never retire.  Well, the Wuhan Coronavirus put an end to that goal.  The aerospace industry has been decimated by the travel bans all over the world, and our customers have been pushing out and canceling orders right and left.  And our customers’ customers have been doing the same-dominoes continue to fall on a daily basis.  It has made life at work lately very uncomfortable, and I will be glad not to have to worry about that stuff.

My husband also works in the aerospace industry, and it looks like he will be forced to retire, or get laid off, also within a short time.  We had counted on his working after I retire, as he is younger than I am.  I have been covered under his health insurance, too, and his retirement means I will have to go on Medicare pretty much immediately, something that is very distasteful to me.  Well, as with most things in life, we will get through.  We will have to watch our finances a bit more closely, and I have already been trying to get into the “live poor” mindset.  I did it for many years, and I can do it again.

I have spent the past two weeks training the buyers who will be taking over my responsibilities, and I am constantly reminded of how much I know about the little things of my commodities, and my suppliers.  Who constantly emails with niggling little issues, who always gets back to me right away with quotes, which items are very long lead-time…  I’d almost like to empty the contents of my Tribal Knowledge center in my brain, but the researchers haven’t designed the cables yet for that function.  I know that the people who take over my functions are pretty savvy, and it will not take them long to figure things out.

For the past couple of weeks, my coworkers and suppliers have been celebrating my retirement.  Two weeks ago, my favorite production planner organized a farewell lunch for me, and a couple of other people who are leaving for the same reason I am.

MeAndLy

She is such a bouncy little lady, and she calls me “Mother Goose”.  I think I will miss her more than most of my other work friends.

MeAndEE

This is my other favorite work friend.  He is an Electrical Engineer, and he also plays the violin.  He has taught me so much about the products we make, and how they are put together.  He loves to come by my desk to bother me (but he knows I’m not really bothered).

RetireChick

This is the t-shirt my little lady friend got me.

Last week, I was very surprised to receive a huge bouquet of assorted roses from one of my suppliers.  They are just beautiful, and lasted a long time.

RetirementFlowers

Last Monday, when I came in to work, I found that my desk had been decorated by my boss and a coworker.  I was VERY surprised!

DecoratedDesk

Well, I know for absolute certain, that they will miss me.  A lot.  And I will miss them, but not the company.

This past Friday, they gave a department retirement lunch for me.  The food was great, and my coworkers were supportive.  But there was some of the “bitter” part, which has nothing to do with my job, or my coworkers, or my friends.

EatingRule

How to put a damper on any kind of festivities, from the very beginning!  I have no idea why those people in the picture are smiling.  This kind of thing makes me sad, and angry.  I refuse to be afraid, and socially “distant” from my friends.  Distancing is for enemies, not coworkers or friends.

Distance

Yeah, you can almost talk to each other at lunch, when you are separated by a few feet and wearing a mask.  I did not wear a mask, from the minute I entered the room until it was time to go back to my desk (masks are mandatory in the building whenever you are away from your desk).

Lunch

This shows more of the layout.  Sad.  The lady wheeling in the lunch cart by the door is my boss.  Of course, she is wearing her mask, as always.

On Tuesday, Hubby and I get in the car, and drive to South Dakota for a Ricochet meetup.  As soon as we cross the Idaho border, no state we will travel through has a mask mandate, and I hope to never have to wear one when not mandatory.  I know the hotels we will stay in require them, but I am way looking forward to being able to see my Rico friends’ faces, and see them smile.

I am also looking forward to a more leisurely trip home, with no deadline to get back to work, and no one to answer to except Hubby.  We will be traveling through Idaho, Montana, a little piece of Wyoming, and South Dakota on the way there, and will be going the Northern route through North Dakota on the way back.  We will be able to stop more often to admire scenery, and will be able to spend a bit more time when we visit my supplier in rural North Dakota.  We went through there on our Hillsdale trip in 2010, but this time we will be able to stay longer, and I will be able to take the pictures I missed the first time (the territory around Killdeer is very interesting, and I kicked myself for not taking pictures then).  Stay tuned for a big travelogue post when we get back.

So this week I will be starting an entirely new phase of my life.  It will be exciting and a little frightening, but I know I can handle anything that comes along.  I have my Sweetie to help me, and be a shoulder to cry on if I need one.  I am looking eagerly forward to becoming a Hillsdale Associate, helping the College in any way I can.

Onward to the Next Great Adventure!

Damn You, Jay Inslee.

Damn You, Jay Inslee.

Another notch in your (well, I was going to say gun, but you abhor guns) billy-club.  Congratulations, you have destroyed another small business in Washington State. Another livelihood ruined, lives put in jeopardy by your “Rule by Decree”.  We have to destroy it in order to save it.  You’re lucky that the Sheeple of Washington are more than willing to let you ride roughshod over their lives, in order to “protect” them from the Evil Wuhan Coronavirus.  I feel for the proprietors of the LaConner Sweet Shoppe, who are now forced out of business.  While you sit, secure in your office in Olympia.  Your livelihood and job are in no danger, so it doesn’t matter to you, how many others’ jobs and businesses you destroy.

Well, we are not all Sheeple. It is abhorrent that you make the legitimate small and large businesses in our state do the enforcement for you.  You make THEM require all their customers to don a disguise before entering their establishments.  So if I exercise my God-given right to freedom of association and refuse to cover my face, they are the ones who suffer if I am allowed to.

MaskRules

Welcome?  Masks Required doesn’t sound very welcoming to me.  It says “You and all our customers are Dangerous!  You are by definition Infectious and might Kill us and the rest of the customers in our store!  Max four customers?  Not too welcoming to me.  And then, there’s this:

StateOrder

This has been pretty effective in causing the destruction of Society, for it is not society if we are prevented from seeing our friends’ and neighbors’ faces.  No way of reading lips for deaf citizens either.  Just more destruction.

And you want a third term?  Disgusting!

Lens-Artists Challenge #111 Everyday Objects

When I saw the topic for this week’s challenge, the first thought I had was “Ooh, this one is going to be fun!”.  And I think it will be.  I hope my readers think my choice of said objects is fun.

My first two everyday objects are items that are precious to me.  The first one, I have had since October of 2003, when I got married.  My boyfriend and I had been looking around for suitable wedding rings (not matching, since our tastes are different).  We happened to be in one of our favorite places, Leavenworth, Washington, and walked into a little jewelry store on a side street, away from the tourist-trap main drag.  And there I found exactly what I had been looking for.  It was made by Margaret Ostling, and it’s called a “Mini Moebius”.  She made them in both white and yellow gold, with and without diamonds.

IMG_0713

Such a simple concept, beautifully made, it is a continual source of wonder, and feels so good on my finger.  And it’s unusual enough that I have never seen anyone else wearing one.

The other most precious object is my violin.  It’s a bit older than the ring, having been made in New York in 1987.  I bought it from its maker, who moved to Seattle just before I bought it.  I took my violin teacher along when I first went to play and see if I wanted it, and she was quite impressed by its sound, saying that it sounded almost as good as her 18th-Century Italian instrument.

Not only is it beautiful to look at, it sounds wondrous, and I love playing it.  When I bought it new from its maker, I had the idea that even Antonio Stradivari must have had to start somewhere, and was a young violin-maker just starting out, hoping people would like, buy, and play his instruments.  Well, we know how that turned out!  I just hope that David VanZandt of Seattle will become as famous.

Now, for something a bit more “everyday”.  I took this picture of a very every-day kind of object, for a post that was based on a pun.  But, now that I look at it, it’s quite a contrast between the object, and the pretty placemat that I used as a background for it.  How best to show off your “tuber”?

Tater

A friend at work is a quilter, and I bought a set of six placemats in this ornate pattern from her at our holiday bazaar a few years ago.

Last but not least is an item that is not everyday for me, but is everyday for my dentist, and I thought it was so beautiful a tool that I just had to get a picture.  Can you guess what it might be?

TeenyTorqueWrench

Actually, it’s a little precision dental instrument, a very tiny torque-wrench, used to tighten down a crown onto the dental implant underneath.  My dentist loves it because it feels so good in his hand.  In my opinion, it’s a piece of industrial art, too.

Well, thanks for accompanying me on this tour of Everyday Objects in my little world.

Here’s the Link to Patti’s Original Post.

 

WheelTug, Driving Aerospace

A friend of mine is the CEO of a company called WheelTug.  They are an aerospace startup, developing a product that fits inside the nose wheel/landing gear of an airplane, enabling it to move under its own power around an airport, including pushing back from the gate, turning around, and gliding up to the taxiway so it can take off.  This is a really exciting product, and they already have about 2,000 commitments from airline customers.

Next month, they will be giving the first fully-public demonstrations of the WheelTug system.  This Video acts as an Invitation to attend the TestDrive, either online or in person.  I invite my readers to take a look, and see if you don’t think this is a remarkable invention.  WheelTug promotes their system to airlines, not as a fuel-saver (which it does), but as a time-saver, adding minutes per day that airlines can use to squeeze in additional flights, or improve scheduling.  The system also saves aggravation, and eliminates the need for a separate ground-tugger and personnel to man that tugger (and potentially get in the way of the airplane, causing damage).

Take a look at the video, and tell me what you think.  Comments encouraged!