Saturday, June 14, 2014

Class of 2014

Graduation at their school is an event unlike any other... it's a celebration that cannot be contained, for students that are inspired and inspiring, from a place that supports, and respects everyone. This was Bambi's day to graduate from high school, and we were honored and happy to share some of that day with her and her family.

She's a talented Ballerina, disciplined, and graceful. She speaks Japanese, and is a gifted, hardworking artist. She's quietly kind... the sort of person who shows up ready to help, lend a hand, do the job, aid a friend, get things done. She knows all about bats, and loves them dearly. Seriously... a real chiropterologist! Bambi is great fun to have around, a friend who feels like one of the family. We feel excited for this time in her life, and happy for what lies ahead.

We arrived early. You almost cannot arrive too early to one of these graduations. And we didn't want to miss a bit!

Maria remembered the last SDA graduation: Bring spirit, bring shade, bring water, bring patience, bring lunch, bring your camera! And get there early!

We saw a few more familiar faces, dear friends. Cassidy M... this young woman is going places! And it was a happy pleasure seeing her at back to school nights, Sky Consortium parties, movie nights, here, there, everywhere! Congratulations, Cassidy!

What the Sukes?? It's our Albanian exchange student, all dolled-up and ready for her European summer adventure. But first she's gotta cheer for Grant's UCSC Banana Slug graduation, this morning! Yo! Grant! Congratulations!

We saw some Foxes, and some Shaws, and Saakes, and Swits. We cheered for Serena, Stacia, Peri, Powers, Gregory B., and Terren B. I remembered little Kristin M., and waved to Celine P. We saw Hannah P., Lauren S., Joseph and Rafael!

We enjoyed catching up with our robotics family, and spotting favorite teachers, neighbors, friends.

Serena S. Karen, she looked radiant and joyful. What a beautiful success you and Tom share.

Special shout-out to Sam W. Sam, from the beginning, when you showed up to work on the parade robot, you impressed me with your smile, your attitude, and your enthusiasm. It has been an honor, and pleasure, to see what you have accomplished... the places you've been and adventures you've embraced. Virginia Tech is really lucky to be getting you this Fall!

Here comes Bambi... squee! The students choose who they'll sit with, so they can have their best friends with them... no alphabetical order nonsense. And they write the words they want read about themselves by the counselors. Songs, poems, gratitude, inspirational quotes, humor, heartfelt reflection... each student is a part of the whole, and the whole is made of many unique and special individuals. It's a treat to hear their thoughts, in their moment.

The day is special, the passage significant, but I am happy to say that there isn't the sense that this is necessarily their finest moment, from the best years of their lives. {That was the kind of nonsense we were fed in heaping spoonfuls when I graduated high school.} They may, or may not, be "exceptional," and I do happen to believe that most students are amazing, and brimming with potential and brilliance... what is exceptional, here, is that they are celebrated for their individual, unique, and own, whole, selves. Expectations are high, and support is strong... I like to think that young people can soar when they have the room to fly, and the ground crew to cheer them to the heights they want to achieve. And from what I have seen of many of these young people, they do rise!

Cheers, class of 2014! Keep moving forward!

Friday, June 13, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to 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.

Dallas sent us this precious photograph from their visit: Maria and Pumpkin squeezing in a few more minutes of fun together, before the school bell rings.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How Old In Cat Years?

Is it still the practice to estimate a cat's human age by multiplying how many years old the cat is by seven? Mister Washburn Foo was born a year ago. So, he is seven years old in people years. Maria has been enjoying this calculation, and comparing Foo's personality, energy, schemes, and intelligence with that of seven-year old people. He is playful and exuberant. He can be overly-rambunctious, and sometimes {often} single-mindedly determined for things to go his way. Now! Maria thinks that Foo is very much a seven year old.

And what about Chango? Our old man cat is ninety-eight people years old! And sometimes {often} he very much seems like a very old man, but a spry old man, a fit-as-a-fiddle old man. He talks a lot. He converses over his empty water bowl, and calls us to the kitchen for breakfast. He will reach, with a paw, claws retracted, barely, and tap a thigh, then ask for love, or to be let out, or both. His meow has become more plaintive, the quality more gravelly. Sometimes he sounds like a tired child, or a strange bird. He sleeps a lot. He stares at me for long minutes, and I begin to feel he can read my thoughts, and that he is not impressed. He can elicit confessions and profuse apologies from me with just a two minute stare down. He's a powerful old man cat.

When Mister Foo stares at me, I laugh. Or I question the sense of inviting predatory carnivorous seven-year old beasts into our homes, and hearts.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Many Good and Fair Things

We woke up Sunday morning, with plenty on our plates already, but realized it was going to have to be a Fair Day. Compulsory. Fated to be. We'd already waited three years since our last visit, and even though the Fair is around through the Fourth of July, our calendar is filling up quick. Grab the sunblock, find some hats, lace the walking shoes, or pull up the boots... time for our day at the San Diego Fair, in Del Mar! Geoff is willing, and eager, to go every year. Me? I need extra incentives, like a robotics showcase, or this year: Max's entry in the Student Showcase! I could not miss seeing Max's submission from his architecture class, and also, I was over-due for an ear of roasted corn.

Usually, Monday's are for Five Good Things. Today I am sharing Fair Things. Fab Fair Things!

1. We got the best parking space, close to an entry, and close to the sheep and goat barn!

2. There were llamas, and sheep, and baby pygmy goats!!

3. We saw wool spinning demonstrations. The woman using this hand spinning device made it look so easy, I almost thought I should take on a new hobby, but I suspect her skills had more to do with the success of her yarn making, than 'easiness.'

4. Maria and I got to swoon over hand carded wool and gorgeous colors.

5. Goats!

6. Mamas, and babies!

7. Max let me take his picture with his work. He had very little to say about this achievement, but I was, of course, teary eyed, and delighted.

8. A one year architecture course, accomplished in one semester, and he can already design, draft, illustrate, and create... and stop me, I am bursting.

9. Another red ribbon, this time for FIRST 2102 Team Paradox and the robot named in honor and memory of Tom Saake... Mr. Snacky.

10. The Roxy Falafel Burger. The legendary family favorite.

11. Gorgeous onions destined for deep fried greatness. Darn... I missed those. Next time.

12. Someone may be getting her ears pierced. She has been debating doing this for a couple of years. Now she has some pretty little amethyst studs for motivation.

13. Beautiful sights, and temptations in the gem and mineral pavilion.

14. The thrills and chills of midway mania!

15. Counting tickets and picking rides.

16. Maria and William agreed to ride a tame looking round-and-round ride with me...

17. All smiles, moments before I would realize the evil forces lurking in round-and-round rides!

18. Not too hot, not too crowded, but beware the tame looking round-and-round rides!

19. Our own Fab Four.

20. Tilt-A-Whirl. That's the one I should have gone for.

21. In the future I will remember to consult with Alex before picking rides. After my earlier choice, I asked him to asses and rate everything, and he had expert, and skilled analysis for safety, barf-factor and ride comfort.

22. Ride buddys.

23. Ride smiles.

24. Seeing them smile was all the fun I needed.

25. Watching the thrill seekers from a safe spot.

26. Knowing my limits, and enjoying their happiness.

27. Every expression! Max, so calm. William delighted. Maria thrilled. Geoff happy and protective.

28. Knowing I got the shot! I love my camera.

Maria, June 11, 2011... Not yet.
A promise kept: She was so disappointed, three years ago, when she was too small for the roller coaster.
This time, she just came to the mark and was thrilled to have her chance on the wild ride!

29. She did grow, but she still looks very small, from here!

30. Good things... Sharing rides, sharing funnel cake with strawberries, sharing laughs, sharing the day at the Fab Fair.

Will you be going to a county, or state fair, this summer? What good things are you enjoying, or anticipating?