Sunday, July 19, 2009


July 19, 2009

Almost everyone in the Brazos Valley has waited all summer for it to cloud up and rain. For days and days, weeks and weeks, we have not needed the weather channel to tell us that we can expected fair skies, with a high of 100 (plus or minus a couple of degrees) and a low of 75 (plus or minus a couple of degrees). Monotonous, not to mention hotter than two cats fighting inside a wool sock.

Anyway, everyone wants rain, and for the past couple of nights the wind has stirred and the sky has clouded up and teased us. Sound and fury, of course, signifying nothing.

Not only did the faux storms lead to no rain, they kept me from stargazing. Didn't know I was an amateur astronomer? I wasn't, until Friday. My lovely nephew and niece from Carrolton, Mark and Alicia Taylor, drove in to claim the furthest traveled award for the lanyard workshop (I interrupt this story to remind you that we will take July 24 OFF from making lanyards and resume on July 31). They also brought birthday gifts. I didn't look in the tall, skinny brown paper bag with Davis's name on it, but since he turned 21 in April, I'm sure whatever it is will not be unfamiliar and will be appreciated. For Erin? They named a star after her.

Next time you find yourself hoping for rain when there's not a cloud in sight, use it as an opportunity to spot the Erin Channing Buenger star. As you can see from the star chart below, it is fairly close to the Little Dipper. (If you are really interested, I can tell you the exact coordinates.)

First, locate the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). Because it has seven bright stars, you can usually find it fairly easily. Use the Big Dipper to help you find the Little Dipper (its handle points to the North Star). You might have more trouble making out the Little Dipper than the big one because,except for the North Star at the tip of its handle, all its stars are fainter. If you need more help than this, here's a link to more specific stargazing instructions (How to Find the Little Dipper). Erin's star is a little to the left of the third star in the handle of the Little Dipper.

This was a cool gift just for its creativity and permanence, but beyond that, Erin loved the night sky. It didn't happen too often, but she would get so excited when we would take a "night walk" and lie on the cool pavement at the boat launch, counting stars and listening to night noise. After Alicia and Mark registered the star for Erin, they went out to locate it. After a little struggle and a little prayer for inspiration, they opened their eyes and saw a shooting star (not Erin's actual star, but perhaps she was in transit out to her new place).

Besides telling you about the star, I'd also like to tack on some thanks to this post. Athena and Tracy took a load of lanyard to the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation Conference this weekend and traded a good number of them for generous donations. They cut their effort a little short when Alex, Athena's precious NB survivor, had a severe pain attack that hospitalized him for a couple of days. I don't think the docs ever got to the bottom of his problem. Ladies, we all appreciate you muling the lanyards (and manyards) around. Pat, thanks for supporting their efforts and taking over when they had to leave! Thanks also to Janice and her lovely daughters who took another batch to Mo ranch this week.


  1. What a wonderfully creative and perfect gift to name a star for Erin! I will think of her star and look for it next time I am stargazing. Erin continues to shine, day and night...



  2. Vickie,
    Wow! Erin's very own star! I can just picture her billion-dollar smile up in heaven. By the way, we got a new dog (Yellow Lab) about 2 months ago from an area shelter. Her name is Stargazer and we call her Star. Just sayin...!