Thursday, March 31, 2011

Backyard Fun Since 2002

Geoff sends me links through email. I like to think of them as love letters, little tokens of his affection. His most recent love letter came in the form of a news article about backyard chickens. It's all about the backyard chicken phenomenon... small flocks in people's suburban gardens. Hmmmm... sounds familiar. And amusing for me, because I am rarely, if ever, riding the wave of the latest, greatest new thing.

Oh. Hello Betty.

Betty is visiting with the two jail bird roosters. We put them in the poky when Kamen and the Mini-Bots are out... or whenever we don't want our legs gouged by two feathered goons.

Betty wasn't around back in the day, when all our chicas were quarantined. Having backyard chickens is fun, but it has its trials too.

Heebie-Jeebie, Edison.

Speaking of 'trials.'

Kara, you are exactly right, and we joke about this all the time: Edison is like a cartoon villain, and little Zoltar is the foil, small and handsome. When Edison shuffles over to me, with his black cape draped dramatically across his lumbering frame, I just know he has an evil plot in his small brain.

Edison and Zoltar stay in jail, only an hour long sentence, so we can enjoy some peace and quiet... well, we enjoy not being attacked, at least.

Hola, Chicas!

Here, they are, two weeks old, and already developing wing feathers, and growing little tail sprouts. And here I go... hoping those are hen tails! No more gallos, por favor.

Puff was rebuked by Zelda. Neither Betty, nor Puff, has made any attempt to harm Kamen or the Mini-Bots, but Zelda is getting more protective. She definitely kicked Zoltar's feathered posterior. Puff has taken to keeping a clear distance from her Silky sister.

Betty. Betty, get away from those jailbirds!

Either she is mocking them and their pitiable state, or she is working out a plan to help them breakout.

Betty, don't do it. They're no good. Don't listen to their lies. Their cocky deceptions.

I am afraid Betty has forgotten the heartache of dysfunctional, abusive relationships. She's been hurt before, but evidently she believes these two can be reformed. I am not so convinced.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh! The Places You'll Go!

How about Pennsylvania, ... Aboard the Appalachian Express?

I know. You would think the stress building up, would cause me to think on other subjects. I have tried to meditate, breath deeply, unwind... but I am so dedicated to spreading our Passion, our excitement about FIRST and FIRST 2102 Team Paradox, that I feel like I cannot let-up. I don't want to slip, or lose momentum.

So, I don the red pants, and I sweep aluminum filings, I buy one more giant pizza, and I sit up with two build team members, at four in the morning, as they push forward... For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. They have the drive, the passion.

Challenging days, long nights... it can wear a person down, but when I see how this team has inspired others, when encouraging comments appear in Chickenblog, when a big donation arrives in the mail, when a FIRST alumni counts her self a fan of FIRST 2102 Team Paradox... I get re-ignited! I get excited! I feel like it is all worthwhile.

So, Perry Parrot-Ox, our mini-mascot in puppet form has made it across the country, and into the heart of an amazing young woman. Michaela, you are amazing, you know? Thank you for standing with us, and for us! I know I will hear your passionate cheers, with our own, from Vegas to St Louis!

Alex, Tatiana... anytime you want to get a little sleep...
No? Uh. Okay.
Go Robotics!
Go mini-bot!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Little Bit of Stress...

***Warning: This is not appropriate viewing material for parents of freshmen, or prospective, robotics club members.***

Never wanting to create a false impression, I cannot help but keep it real.

I LOVE robotics. I love math and science, gears, making things, industry, design, creativity, and creative expression. I love FIRST, and FIRST 2102 Team Paradox...

But. Oh. Man. I may be losing my head. Just a little bit.

Back in the Fall, when new team members and their families were being wooed to the team, we may have mentioned a "build season... six weeks of intense robotics hours, long nights, weekends, holidays."

Haha... hahahahahaaah... slaps knee, wipes tear from corner of her eye, laughs some more...

Except for the night of winter formal, our dining table has looked, more or less, like this since January 8th, FIRST Launch. And this is because for twelve weeks, and counting, our lives have been very much focused on designing robots, manufacturing parts, sewing parts, mentoring, even robotic themed amusements.

Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. That is, I wouldn't give up robotics, building, designing, supporting, nurturing, learning. It must be quite evident that I am a big fan.
Today I am feeling overwhelmed.

My camera is dying.
So is my car. Does anyone know where I can get a new, or rebuilt, Honda Odyssey 2003 transmission, fuel pump, and side door... cheap?
I am supposed to be at least two other places today, and also here.
Laundry. One word that says so much.
The oven. Yes, that piece of c**p oven. It's broken. Again.
More... there's always more. Right?
I'm too scared to list any more, to think purposely on exactly all the ways I am behind, in over my head, failing... what and who I am neglecting.
Oh dear.

"Build Season" may last six weeks, or it may last twelve weeks, or... or it may last through Championships. One never knows. It helps to have a sense of humor. It helps to not care about looking like you live in a Pottery Barn catalog. It helps to disregard thoughts of anything other than "ssstttuuuubzzzz, magnets, drill bits, motors, button screws, cap machine screws, electrical tape, calipers, micrometers, aluminum chassis. It helps to not faint or cry when hearing: Mom, can you please feed us? No matter how many "us" there are.

We are all in it. Deep. And we love it.

It is a beautiful mess.
But... today I may lose my head.