Category Archives: Off The Cuff

Valentine’s Day Poem – Minecraft style

Lava is Red

Water is Blue

Diamonds are rare & precious

And so are you.


Happy Holidays – See You Next Year

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Blessed Solstice! Or… Enjoy Your Time Off Work!

What ever your flavor of celebrating I hope it is full of laughter, light, family and friends. 


May your New Year be a joyous occasion full of excitement for new beginnings. 

I’ll be back with new fiction and new posts next year. 



Mottos I Try To Live By

Just a few words of wisdom I’ve picked up over the years. Some I’ve made up and some I’ve appropriated from others.

1) Good enough never leads to great. (Personal Motto. I love it so much I had it engraved on to a charm and wear it daily.)

2) Marriage is a Team Sport.

3) Regret tastes worse than fear and lasts longer.

4) No one, on their death bed, wished they’d slept more. (This is what I tell myself when I want to sleep in instead of getting up to write.)

5) Even Stephen King got rejection slips. 

6) The First Draft of Anything is Shit – Hemingway. (This is what I remind myself when the internal editor starts giving me crap.)

7) When being with another person is more important than being right all the time you’re with the right person.

8) This too shall pass. 

9) If you run headlong into your fears you can usually get past them. If you run from them they’ll just follow you forever.

10) You’ve got to live this life you’re given like it’s the only one you’ve got. – Three Doors Down “The Only One You’ve Got.”


44 Facts about Rylie Dalthrys

This post is inspired by a post the Optimistic Kid put out. [I’m new to WordPress so if I’ve gotten the link wrong I’m Sorry!]

His post was 67 facts about the O.K. I don’t know if I can top 67 but we’ll see. 😉


1) Rylie Dalthrys is a pen name. I use a pen name due to the nature of my day job. AND for the simple reason that if I ever have to switch jobs again I want a prospective employer to find my professional accomplishments if they google me not my writing. By the same token, should I ever be fortunate enough to be googled by an agent I want them to only see my writing.
All the letters in the nom de plume are from my real name and it is the ONLY “off truth” that will ever be in this blog. 

2) I love hockey. I watch it constantly, not just my fav team but just about any game that’s on. During the lockout I even watched AHL, college and <gasp> High School hockey to get my fix. 

3) I also watch Football, Soccer, Curling (when I can, we don’t get much down south), Rugby, and some Baseball.

4) I don’t smoke.

5) I rarely drink but when I do it’s bourbon or whiskey, usually in an Irish Coffee or Hot Toddy. 

6) Hubby and I have been together 26 years and I adore him more with each passing day. I consider it one of the greatest blessing in my life to be able to be with the same fella from teen years to middle age. 

7) This is my favorite number.

8) I cry at sappy commercials, blog posts, news articles, and any story about animals being lost or reunited. And if anyone gives me crap about it I’ll cut’m!

9) I own one firearm and I know how to use it. My reasons behind having the pistol are simple. How can I write a convincing running gun battle if I don’t even know what recoil feels like. 🙂

10) I think Astronaut Abby totally rocks! [same caveat about links as above] Seriously, check her out. She’s amazing. If the link doesn’t work just Google Astronaut Abby. 

11) I’m a space nut. Even my coworkers IN the aerospace industry think I’m a nut. 

12) Hubby’s a space nut too. 

13) I’ve been to England several times.

14) I’ve been to Scotland once.

15) I’ve been to Seattle half a dozen times. 

16) We want to retire to the Pacific Northwest some day.

17) I’ve been to the Caribbean but didn’t like it much.

18) I’m struggling to get to 20…. geesh, how it O.K. get to 67. 

19) I love Christmas music. 

20) Wow, I just witnessed a road rage altercation outside my window. They yelled at each other for a bit and I screamed Merry Christmas at them. I doubt they heard me but it was fun and they did finally move it along. 

21) My current addiction is to Harribo’s Lemon-Ginger gummi candies, hence number 22.

22) I need to lose weight. 

23) I don’t text. 

24) I don’t even own a cell phone that can text.

25) It was impossible to get a cellphone without a camera but it was amusing to see the various expressions from the sales reps when I asked. (Work related issue.) 

26) I was raised with dogs but I currently own cats. Love’m! 

27) I have ridden a horse and an elephant, neither is something I care to experience again.

28) I love to swim. 

29) I own a house with a fireplace and have never used it.

30) I was raised in Central Florida without air-conditioning or heat, and survived just fine thank you <twitch>.

31) I’ve done past life regression and discovered I was completely ordinary and boring in every one. 

32) This time around I aim to be a little more memorable. 😉

33) I hope to one day live completely off the grid. 

34) And I hope one day to make a living by writing. 

35) I clearly have a lot of work ahead of me to get to 33 & 34. 

36) I can’t watch scary stuff before bedtime. It gives me nightmares. 

37) I prefer Sci/Fi and Fantasy but will read some types of romance and mysteries.

38) I read science books for fun.

39) I read books on grammar for fun too. 

40) I like bananas but dislike anything banana flavored.

41) I love anything watermelon flavored but dislike the fruit.

42) Clowns freak me out.

43) I can’t stand emory boards or the sound of things being sanded.

44) This is as far as I’ve gotten in life so this is where I’ll stop. 






Orion Launch – WOooOoo HoooOOo

Yes, I cried when it launched. 

So excited for the team who built it and excited for the team who will eventually fly in it.

And soooo flipping relieved it went up on time without a hitch.

Yes, I cried when it splashed down after a flawless mission. 

But I was also laughing because a good friend of mine who’d been tasked with helping right the ship when the schedule started going sideways was trapped at the Doctor’s office and couldn’t watch the splash down. I gave her a play by play, in text. So she still thinks I’m a tough broad instead of a blubbering loon. 


Orion Launch

I had high hopes in being able to put up an excited post about the Orion capsule going up and coming back down. But alas, instead you’re getting a frustrated rant. 

The company I work for played a major part it designing and building Orion. I was not directly on the team but I was called in to support occasionally and to clean up a mess or two. But, over the years I’ve become friends with those who are on the team. I say are instead of were because there is still much work being done. 

These fine, fine individuals think nothing of working 60 sometimes 70 hours a week, not once in a while, or for just a few weeks but months on end. When the company went on double shifts to try and keep the tight schedule the fella in charge of making sure the bits and pieces got put together right could be found at the office at 3 AM just as often as at 3 PM. 

Theirs is not a job that can be “mailed” in. The dedication and passion have to go bone deep. 

So the fact that the mission had to be scrubbed today broke my heart. All those people were there to watch their “baby” go up. And it didn’t. NOT because of any fault of theirs. 

A boat wandered into the restricted area….REALLY… How effin irresponsible can a person be?  It’s not like this was hush-hush military satellite going up. There has been more media coverage for this launch than all the others in last few years combined.

That turned out to be their best launch window because by the time that got cleared up (and a small software issue) the winds kicked up and then a valve didn’t shut properly. The valve was on the rocket, not Orion, which upsets me because this is not ULA’s first friggin rodeo. 

Speaking of media attention. All the major and most of the minor outlets were there. And what’d they see…? nada but a lot of steam and near misses. Grrrrrr. In comparison Japan sent their second astroid hunter up from their Tanegashima spaceport without a hitch. Also, at the French Guiana’s spaceport, Kaurou, a major communications satellite is set to go up on Friday. I do not wish them ill but darn it, it’d be nice if we weren’t the ONLY spacefaring nation with issues. 

I think few people outside the Aerospace world understand how badly we’re falling behind in the quest to explore and harness the solar system.  I refuse to point fingers because we’re all responsible in one way or another. 

And I know there are “issues” here at home that need attention. BUT, it’s kind of like writing. (Like how I did that? ;)) People who wait for the right time to write. The ones who say, “I’ll do it when I retire, when the laundry’s done, when the kids go to school, or college, or move out.” These are the people who miss out, who wait and wait and then look around and see the book they could have written, should have written, already on the shelves.

We, as a nation, need to not be those people. I do not want to wake up and find India, China or even Japan sitting atop the moon in their shiny new base. 

I don’t know if Orion is the answer. Actually I don’t have any answers. I just know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that we must never stop asking the questions that lead us to out the great beyond. 

Orbital, CRS-3

This is not my normal posting day, nor will this be a normal post. 

Last night Orbital Sciences Corp’s Antares rocket and the Cygnus cargo spacecraft exploded just after launch from Wallops Flight Facility.

No one was killed or injured, thank God. But it was a huge loss none-the-less. 

As a member of the aerospace community my heart goes out to everyone who worked countless hours and gave blood, sweat, and tears to that project. Whether they worked on the payload, the rocket itself, or the launch, trust me when I say they worked their tails off. 

You will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated, more passionate group of people than those who work in aerospace. It is not a job for the faint of heart though. One mistake can cost millions of dollars or even lives.  

 So riddle me this… Why in the heck can’t mainstream media devote as much time to the launches that go right as they do to the ONE that doesn’t?  Grrrr. I know tragedy sells more than success, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.