Saturday, May 19, 2012

Maker Faire Memories

While we are away, making new memories at Maker Faire, please enjoy this blast from the past. It's a post from 2010, and our first visit to Maker Faire!

I took six hundred photographs at the San Mateo Maker Faire. Geoff had his own camera. We were only there for one day. We spent more time driving there, than at the Faire, and then we had the long drive home. But it was so worthwhile, every SteamPunking-Cupcake car-ArcAttack-Maker moment was truly awesome.

So, can you blame me for wanting to share more Maker Faire magic?

Breathlessly, with a wide grin, I told William, "I am going to have about a hundred new things to post about on Chickenblog." I consider William one of my editors. He gently, thoughtfully suggests ideas for posts, and says encouraging things to me, like when 54% of the people taking this week's poll say they do not read Chickenblog, and are not sure where they are.

We are pretty close to updating the look of our 2003 Odyssey. I find inspiration everywhere. Maybe it's time to get the Lego bricks out of the van, and put them on the van.

Look, here it is... Maker Faire is beautiful, because it is a place full of imaginative, creative people, and those same people are enthused about what they imagine and create, so they share, and they teach, and they laugh out loud. It is amazing spending time in this kind of environment. It is encouraging and affirming. It erases fear and cynicism. It is genuine ingenuity, and patriotism, and it is the real kind of initiative that can keep our country great, and make the world a better place.

So, long live Maker Faire!
And long live Dorklandia!

We felt like ice cream... jajaja

Seriously, this ice cream cart, loaded with felt ice cream plushies, was adorable.

And long live Blinky Bugs!

Enchanted by the Blinky Bugs.

Ken Murphy was in the Make Shed, demonstrating how to make Blinky Bugs, and he showed me his kit-book, which is available for pre-order.

I felt like I was from Dorklandia, greeting and meeting every artist, author, scientist and geek, with my usual enthusiasm and zeal. Makers and Thinkers and Tinkers are my heroes.

Long live cycles... large, small, many wheels, mini-wheels, many pedals, new and old, all of 'em!

Out for a ride.

Tiger ride? He can swish his tail, of course.

This. is. my. swing.
I want this real bad.
'cause it looks real good.
I would even settle for it without the patterned shower of water that rains down from the top.

They make music at the Faire.

They make it look fun.

Speaking of fun, you don't have to build a walking, talking giraffe, or plug an oil leak to contribute at the Maker Faire. You can be as craftily creative as you please, which is what makes it fun for young, and mature, immature, and unsure, for all.

Which is why I loved meeting Binka in theTeacher's Lounge-Educational Outreach space. She sent me ideas and links for our family plans for future Maker Faire-Maker Club-Science Sunday ventures.

Still with me?
Even if you just look at the pictures, and cannot bear to read one more enthusiastic-geek-zealous word, you gotta admit, this is pretty cool stuff.

It's cool stuff, made by cool people, like the students from the You Made It! Jamboree.

Please visit their website. They are doing great stuff. Children are learning. It's beautiful.

Look at what Dylan made! This is awesome.

And look!
Look at what these kids have done!
We met these boys in Sequoia Hall, and they were demonstrating and selling the science and project kits made by them.

I brought home the circuit kit and a crossbow kit. I love reading their story, with the list of tools and machines they used to make their creations.

Having spent plenty of time designing and building in a metal shop, Alex was both impressed and encouraging. I think his FIRST experiences give him insight and appreciation for fellow science and technology enthusiasts. He knows FIRST outreach is a respectful exchange within his team, and between his team and his community.

I can keep going. Dare me?

This was a missed opportunity: I should have bought Mark Frauenfelder's book in the Maker Shed. I can still get the book, but it would have been so cool to get it signed. I loved the things he was sharing, and thumbing through "Made By Hand", talking about backyard chickens... I soon realized I was chatting with another kindred spirit. I love that he covers the "joy" and "frustration" of a family going for a Do-It-Yourself life.

Plus: He is playing a cigar box guitar. He made it himself. There is meaning in that.

Long live the Tour de Maker!

Friday, May 18, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Breathing Easy, Feeling Mellow

How can we get away?

For a vacation?

For an educational and fun packed long weekend?

How can we sanitize the house adequately enough, to leave it in the hands of people we know and love,

and leave all of our furry and feathered friends in their care, and then just dash away on our adventure?


Good questions.
Until yesterday, I had no answer.
I had anxiety, stress, worry, self-conscious-psycho-hoopla-babble, and a knot in my guts.

Every effort to put the house in exceptional order was derailed by some crisis, or another. Daily life here is full enough, and mustering the energy and time to get us over into The Land of Deep Cleanliness, Organization, and Serenity is a nearly improbable feat, for me, anyway. I do want to go to there, to TLODCOS, The Land of Deep Cleanliness, Organization, and Serenity, but I stray, I lose my way, stuff happens, I get bored.

Oops! Not sure it's proper to use "boredom" as an excuse for not having our Bird House in better order, but, well, it's out there now... so, come on... can we agree there is some mind-numbing stuff related to being a domestic goddess? And also, I resent the fact that as soon as the house is half way decent someone invariably decides to walk in and start something!! But, I cannot deny, I would much rather chase goats, write blog posts, bake bread, tutor Spanish, proof-read essays, build garden beds, make something, teach sewing... than hang clothes, or shred credit card solicitations. Yes, it's true, even I want to start something, more than I want to iron shirts.

Okay. Never mind all that. I had another purpose in mind for this post.
So... how can we just dash away on our adventure?

After Michael and Patricia came by, I now know the answer: We can go, by accepting the help and understanding of caring and compassionate friends, by trusting that dusty corners, and dirty laundry never really go away... not without sacrificing in some other area of life. We can make this trip because life is not simple, and messes aren't always about laziness or neglect. Some messes are about different priorities, and unforeseen circumstances, and choosing to do things rather than polish things. I have been genuinely and gently put at ease by my friends, and I even feel I am doing the universe a disservice by fretting so much about what I fail to achieve, when the truth is I am trying really hard to keep a lot of things safe, happy, engaged, and moving forward. I feel like Patricia and Michael see this, and accept me. A lot of people do, actually... I just need to turn down my own self-deprecating voice, and listen more carefully.

Dear Patricia, dear Michael,
Thank you. I know you will manage things, here, just fine, and this knowledge makes our trip to Maker Faire possible. It's not just that you've agreed to watch the cats, and feed the goats that helps me breath a sigh of relief, it's the kind things you tell me, the sincerity of how you reassure me, and make me feel like I am on a good path... these supportive gestures give me courage, and soothe my heart. I actually feel mellow! What a gift!

Enjoy the pool, though it's c-c-c-cold. Help yourselves to garden peas and spinach, fresh eggs. And thank you.

We want Michael and Patricia to come with us next year, to Maker Faire. So, I am thinking we need to build a Gypsy wagon that we can tow with our Green Goose, and in the wagon, we can bring all the chicas, goats, cats, the bunny, the automatons. Geoff? Geoff, what do you think? I think I am starting something...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

**Star Student**

Maria is the Star Student, this week, at school. This is an occasion that she has been eagerly anticipating since August; her turn to make a poster about her life, and to stand first in line, to bring home the stuffed dog they call Pal, and to write about her weekend in the class journal. So, from the last bell, Friday afternoon, until this morning, she has been a very busy star.
She chose photographs to print for the poster. She cut them out, glued them down. I typed her captions for her. As excited as she was about this finally being her turn, she did at one point sigh deeply and declare, "This is not good timing. I have Maker Faire to get ready for, and I am trying to get everything done for Mother's Day." Yeah, only seven, and already managing very full agendas!
She cut out all the captions, and glued those down too. Once we saw some of the highlights of her life laid out on display, we were all impressed with what a full and exciting life she has been enjoying!
The part she was most eager to complete were the drawings. She wanted to illustrate her favorite interests and activities, like road trips! This makes me really happy, because I have loved traveling with our family. We've made some really great trips together.
"I like to draw! I add detail to my pictures and lots of colors!"
I like to do math. It is fun!"

Awesome. I see all of this, and feel so happy for her, for all of us.
"Reading is fun to! And I like to write! I do all kinds of things!"
It's true. She does do all kinds of things! And it is so cool that she thinks of more things that she wants to try. She doesn't get too easily discouraged, and she really enjoys the journey, learning and sharing experiences as she goes. She's an inspiration, to me.
I'd love to be there, when she shares her poster. She is hoping her classmates will have lots of questions!
One question I keep asking, how did we get so lucky, to have this special girl in our lives?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Epic Feast and Destruction Mother's Day Extravaganza

And the day is just beginning. There are no words. Love this big defies summaries, explanations.

Happy Mother's Day, to all the women who love big, who play, and work, and share in the many pleasures of life. Love, and be loved.