Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Peace

The Blogosphere is full of peace. I keep finding lovely posts about people's intentions to seek calm, to find beauty in anticipation, and simple joys near home, and in home.

I am inspired.

I am also overwhelmed. I get bright ideas, and believe in wonderful philosophies, and then sooner or later I find myself caught up in the mania that I had hoped to avoid.


Where are the stockings? The very same stockings I lost two years ago, and was distressed about replacing! Will our oven survive the next power outage? Is there time to get to the post office... shouldn't I have gifts, wrapped to take to the post office?! Where is Maria's birthday bunting? Where is my mind?

It is ridiculous. The rush. The anxiety. My own visions of how things ought to be, how I wish they could be.

So, I am taking a deep breath. And even though I am frustrated with even the notion that I should let another year go by without accomplishing half of my goals... the fact is... I should let another year go by without accomplishing half of my goals, and chill!

We have accomplished quite a bit. Right?

I gaze at favorite spots in our home, and realize that it is evolving and improving, and becoming ours, and familiar. I think of all those knobs, the ones we bought when we decided to buy our home one drawer pull at a time! How can I let the holidays bring me down, when we have come this far? Our own home, messes and all. We are so blessed.

I want to remember that often times when I let go, I find it easier to embrace what is right in front of me... the things that are right, or easy, joyful.

This doggy was in a favorite thrift shop, and I picked him up for my cousin, Deborah. He reminds me of the dogs she had as pets when we were young girls, best friends. Sooner or later I will get him tucked in a sturdy box, and send him on his way. And maybe I will do the same with other gifts and treasures. Intentions are good. I have many.

I may not know where to find all of the things I think I need, but I have found treasures that I had nearly forgotten, remembrances of our first chicas, when we were Jolly Green Ranchers! Max's chica portrait hung in the coop for Gracie, Luna, Rosie, and Sunshine, so they would have a spiffy abode!

Peace. Throughout the year. It's a gift, not a guarantee. And so I will remind myself to see the pretty things I love, and hear my children laughing, and sing along with the Christmas carols. Letting go, does make room for embracing what is here.

We bought so many pretty knobs. It seemed like every house we came close to buying had disaster written on it somewhere! But happily, ironically, the home that finally came to be ours has an amazing kitchen that does not need a single knob! And it makes me laugh to think of it... to think the one area we took charge of and were decisive about turned out to be fine without our plans and intentions! So, the knobs are other places, on furniture, in bathrooms... pretty reminders of our unexpected blessings.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Geek Pride Day is Now

Have yourself a Geeky, happy lifetime...
Let your heart be light
From now on those bullies
Will have no fight

Have yourself a Geeky, happy lifetime...
to your inner nerd...
Be true.
Express your thoughts
and let
Your nerdy dreams
Shine through.

Here we are as
In clone-war days,
Happy rebel days of yore,
Faithful droids who are true to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the web all
nerds gather together
To take a Geeky vow,
The world will see us
Take our triumphant bow!

We'll have our Geeky, happy lifetime NOW!

For Katie Goldman and every child that has to fight for their right to be themselves.

(Sung to the tune of: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," with apologies to my friend Hugh Martin, and Ralph Blane.)

Thank you to "Random" for posting about Katie, and about Geek Pride Day. Here at Chickenblog, we take pride in Geeks everyday.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Against All Odds

As you may recall, the demands of the week were already stacked against me. I certainly did not need interference... of any kind.

And while I did not accomplish everything on my list, I made admirable progress.

I even made my bed.

Without a lick of help from these two.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Be All I Can Be... and then some

*This may be (another) one of those occasions when I should not be publishing my musings... like being on meds and operating heavy machinery, you think you're capable, but that is actually the first indication that you are not capable, or particularly safe. I will keep this simple, lengthy, but simple.

I must summon untapped reserves of undiscovered energy, resolve, and magical mom powers. I need to unleash my Super Chicken!

1. Maria has relapsed. And what never sounded like "whooping cough" is definitely sounding like whooping cough now. Geoff and I took turns doing a twelve hour shift as living mattresses. This is going to be a painful Monday. Poor Maria. In the middle of one the cough-barf-cough sessions, she sputtered indignantly, "This is so boring!"

2. Max was Constantine. And Augustus. And even though his notice to me was short, we got him in costume, and with good props. I got see the whole program, with students acting out the scenes and events from ancient history. Give me a chance, and I will see about slipping in some pictures... but we have to get Max's permission first. Evidently he is less convinced than I am, that he looks awesome in a tunica and toga!

3. I *heart* robotics, children, science, students, math, children, art, students, music, children, glitter, glue, chickens, and children. And no matter how it crushes my blogger stats, I will never stop posting about robotics.

4. Feedback, comments... these are the fuel that make a blogger's heart beat stronger. I love your comments!

5. Pay bills.

6. Pay bills, clean out car, clean-up carport, clean everything.

7. Seriously.

8. Ask Lonnie if Chickenblog can host her amazing 2102 Team Paradox video. Watching it makes me smile through tears. See #3.

9. Submit Make-Club forms.

10. Clean. I thought of this again, because what I really want to do is decorate for Christmas, but decorating a messy house is yucky for me.

11. Decorate for Christmas! And clean!

12. Make lists... <----- funny, to me. A list reminding me to make lists. being easy to amuse is one of my finer qualities.

13. Cure Maria's sickness.

14. Be everywhere my calendar is reminding me I have to be this week. Cancel those events where I know I want to be, but cannot be.

15. Make gift for the Queen Bee.

16. Clean.

17. Photograph, edit, format, write and proofread, then publish posts about:
a. Missy's aprons, and unbelievable generosity.
b. The success and merits of pie birds.
c. Max as Roman emperors.
d. Ripple progress.
e. And other WIP's.
f. Christmas crafts, dreamed of and real, and my new favorite supplier.
g. General blog love and shout outs with links to new (to me) blogs I am enjoying.
h. Gratitude post about Jola and B, and their sweetness.
i. Humility post about being in pajamas, at noon, when Jola and B came to the door.
j. Gratitude post about a sick little girl and the brothers who stayed by her side and put together a 200 piece ladybug puzzle with her.

17. Get Zelda off of the nest and those fertile eggs! Oh dear.

18. Oh yes, and clean the house. Then move out, and seal it. Just kidding. But, if when it is clean, I better not catch anyone mussing it up again!
Do you ever feel that way?

19. Give me strength.

Super Chicken!
Help me, Super Chicken!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Robot Parade

There is a school. And the school has a robotics club. And the robotics club needed a place where they could build a float for a Holiday Parade. And since we have space, and we love robots, and we love robotics club members, and we love making things!! we said: Okay. Come on over! Let's build a float together. A Robot Float!

And so, what started innocently enough, soon became a total immersion project for our family, for our neighbors, for 2102 Team Paradox!

The results? Team work, engineering, innovation, cooperation, fun, many late nights, lots of food and hot cider, glitter, power tools, parts, parts, parts, and faith. Oh yes, and a fully functioning, rising, grabbing robotic arm!

Celebrating light and service through community outreach, and promoting the values and mission of FIRST,
I am proud to present Lavender, a 2102 Team Paradox Robotic Float and her debut at the Holiday Parade!

FIRST Vision:
"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders." ~Dean Kamen, Founder

Alex and James, prepared to keep Lavender operating smoothly.

FIRST Mission:
Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Suki, team marketing president, gets the float registered. We arrived early to hold our place in the parade line-up. Then we waited for team members to arrive...

...and arrive they did! Meet the new faces of 2102 Team Paradox. Say *hi* to old friends!

Hey! Gabe's got the new team shirt! Lucky.

Wayne and Nate, pulled up with Lavender, and the build team got busy with lighting and hooking up the controller.

Wired, and accessorized in photoluminescent paint, Lavender, is ready to shine!

Alex, James, and Eli getting everything ready for the ride. They were in Wayne's truck for the parade, handling Lavender's arm motions, the lights, and music.

Grant made the generous offer to be our robotics' mascot, and he did an amazing job! He led the float and made community outreach a verb, with robot hugs and high-fives!

Robot-Erika! Robot-Lon! Robot love for everyone! Marketing members are experts with cardboard and duct tape!

Team Paradox president, Nathan, and Alex doing checks, making adjustments.

The sun goes down. Everybody is getting ready!

Robotics is a team sport, and every team has leaders. The float was built by many, but I would like to make special mention of some core team players: Suki, Eli, James, Alex, and William. Grant gets special mention for the blood he donated as the robotics's mascot. These were the members that gave extra much from the start, in the middle, and to the very end.

Team Paradox has great mentors. Please excuse any perceived bias, but trust me: Great Mentors.

Great mentors are the best.
Sandy and Myron, Bobbie and Darrahl!

Applause! Another special mention: Maria is a mini-Paradox. She recruits for the team on the school playground. She serves food at float build sessions. She is learning tools, designing robots, and all in all is simply a spirited robotics fan. This may have been her first parade, but it is definitely not going to be her last!

James, Suki, Alex, Eli, Grant and Chris. And, of course, Lavender.

This awesome robo-suit is the creation of CJ, and first appeared in Las Vegas, at FRC. CJ, this thing is too cool, and with Grant at the controls, it was an awesome outreach tool.

Maria drew a robotic arm, and William cut it out for her. She wanted all the technical touches for her float.

Meet Sam. This guy is proof that 2102 Team Paradox has a bright future. Working on this float was his very first robotics activity, and he showed awesome skills and dedication. Sam, you are so totally Paradox!

It was wonderful seeing everyone, and sharing the success and geektastic joy of seeing the first ever 2102 Team Paradox Holiday Parade entry. Thank you mentors, Sandy and Darrahl.

Coming soon! A re-cap of the robot build.
Lavender's arm moves up and down, and her claw opens and closes. It was amazing to see it come to this point. The journey!

Maria and Olivia. Two spirited Paradoxians.

William, Alex, and Max. They give a lot for robotics.

The float is built, the parade is over...
These four are in the kitchen making pancakes, while I edit and format photographs, and write this post, and they are discussing what's next for Lavender, for next year!

Speechless joy, unending pride...

Makes you want to dance in the street!

Dream it. Design it. Build it. Work it. Make. Tinker. Play!

Play like a robot, and put your heart in it! Right, Erika?

This is so funny... the parade hasn't even begun. We had as much, or more fun, waiting in line, cheering for passersby, and just being plain spirited!

Was it the low light, or me too excited to hold steady? No matter, these blurry images capture the energy of a great event.

These blurry images capture the energy of a great event, and all the kookiness of our wonderful community.

I really hope someone with a steadier hand got this shot!

As spirited as ever, as full of gracious professionalism as Dean Kamen could hope for, as loveable as ever! 2102 was up and cheering for every float and marcher, heading out to the parade route.

The parade may have been on the highway, but the fun began on Second Street!

On Second Street there were robots dancing!

And the Shuffle!

Yeah, that's right: Kool for school.

Number 71?! We're up?! Wayne is ready to roll!

Places everyone! Suki takes command and gets everyone in order.

Check lights. Activate fog machine.
Go Lavender!
For science!
For engineering!
For math!
For art!
For music!
For community outreach and service!
For robotics!

We're rollin'!

Cheering and sharing 2102 Team Paradox Spirit and Inspiration!

This was a triumph.

Go Robotics!