Thursday, April 08, 2010

Three Days In Vegas

It would be impossible, for me anyway, to spend three days in Las Vegas and not take seven hundred photographs. Don't worry only seventy are in focus, and for now, I am sharing less than thirty. My last post, from the pit, emphasized my most favoritist part of FRC Las Vegas, but there were some other good moments throughout...

Day Uno
Thank goodness for the sweet team members that not only smile at Maria, but happily include her in the team spirit and revelry. Of course it helps that she packs awesome toys. The first day in Vegas is the slowest, and very long, and it helps to have a good friend to pass the time with. Right, Suki and Maria?

Then there is always tic-tac-toe. Already been here eight hours... only four hours left!

So, in the pit they have a job to do, but in the stands, it's about team building, alliances, and Spirit! And how many buttons you can hang from your T-shirt before it stretches into a tunic. Tom, how much does your shirt weigh?

Maria loves having her picture taken with team mascots, like 585's Cyber Penguin.

Everybody, meet John. John is an FRC safety dude, keeping limbs and lives sound. Here he is helping adjust Maria's safety goggles. Thank you John. After a twelve hour day, we needed all the help we could get.

Day Segundo

Hey, Soul Sisters.
Isn't it great when the right song starts playing and you gotta stand up and sing along? Love it.

Isn't it great when the Midnight Mechanics are in the house?
Okay. I love this team. They are a sentimental favorite, and not just because they live Spirit and Gracious Professionalism. It goes way back to Geoff's first job, and Mr Preuss.

Don't you panic Maria, you're with the Midnight Mechanics.

Now. this. is. super cool. CJ, dude. You have sweet mascot skills.
Fortunately, no Aliens, showed up, but if trouble arose 2102 was prepared. Gotta love the ingenuity of a member, when he builds something for his team.

This was one of the nicest and most reassuring sights, all three days of FRC. Looking up in the stands and seeing the fans that came all the way from Oregon to support robotics and their grandchildren. They are always supportive.

It's the Paradox and the Mini-Paradox sidekick.

I thought they would scare her, but no. No, she tracked them down. She gave them chocolate Paradox eggs, then she asked for her picture to be taken. No Redstorm is going to frighten this Paradox.

Moving along... here is a fine feathered fellow from Team 4.
Team numbers are the FIRST identity of each team, and it shows the order in which the teams were founded. This makes Team 4 an original, early team.

Now, the Devil Duckies, of Team San Diego, are 1266, a relatively newer team.
It's nice when you are watching matches and getting to know the teams to understand these things, and get some perspective on all of it.

Our good friends and allies, The Midnight Mechanics, are the oldest team in our area, and they are the founders of Team San Diego. "This coalition works together in an effort to bring FIRST ideals to Southern California (and, eventually, across the border) as well."
Very nice. They have inspiring outreach skills.

2102 Team Paradox and 812 Midnight Mechanics attract a lot of positive attention with their spirited and gracious attitudes.

And positive attention from Mark Leon is something an aspiring engineer never forgets.

With these two leaders in the stands, it's no wonder the team brought home an award for Team Spirit.

Hey, lil homegirl...
Sorry. Esa, thinks she hails from East Los Homes.
Orale, Chica, ponte en paz. You gotta save some attitude for mañana.

Then there's these two... gotta keep an eye on these silly guys.

Day Tercero

By the third day things start to slow really pick up. Hey, they don't get the Spirit Award for napping and moping.

Building alliances and showing our team spirit matters throughout the three day event. Maria continued to support her favorite team, by passing out eggs, greeting mascots and players, and regularly singing the praises of Paradox. A robot can do well on the field, but a Team's overall success also depends on the attitudes and actions of all of its players, throughout the event.

Another awesome fan from Oregon. Ron knows, and supports, a good game when he sees one. I think he enjoyed following the matches, analyzing the teams, and getting visits and hugs from his granddaughter.

It's great that so many team families get involved.

It's great that team spirit spreads throughout the arena.
Who would want to be left out of the fun?
Outreach is a major component of 2102, so is dancing!
So, a Paradox would never turn their back on a Phoenix.

Outreach is about building community relations, promoting FIRST and FLL, inspiring new members, and including all members. Good outreach does a team good.

Good outreach does a team good, 'cause who would want to be left out of the fun?

And when a team looks out for another, everyone does better.
Success! Kyle and Maria know.

Andrea, you gave me such an honor, when you handed this to me... a chance to hold a symbol of the weekend's success. I think you can guess, it made Maria pretty happy too. Thank you for being a constant and true inspiration. As a leader, and as a member, of the club you personify the ideals of your team.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Trying For Understated

Some persons want things to be quiet, reserved, low-key, understated, when it comes to their special day. I need to respect a particular person's right to come in under the radar. This is hard to do.

A birthday is personal. Mine is personal to me, and yours is personal to you. But none of us are born alone. Someone bore us, and I have understood and appreciated this since March 1, 1991. Actually, the concept was really contracted home for about twenty fours prior. His birthday is my birthday, and while I do not see this as license to take center stage, I cannot help feeling connected and responsible, involved.

I will save all my messages and affection, my deep thoughts, and other musings for him alone.

And for the record, I will talk about pie.

My mommy dreamt up a pie. It was a feeling, an emotion, an expression of culinary destiny. I think her vision's mission statement is: Pie Should Not Be Understated.

When she came in December she and I were on the lookout for varieties of chipotle jelly, jam, chutney, preserves and powder. We were going for something without dyes. Something that didn't taste pickled or overly processed. She already had great success with her developing recipe when she baked pies in Southampton, Ontario, and over Thanksgiving with the Soquel family and guests.

The pie she baked while she was here was declared "the best pie ever," by her three grandsons. "The best pie ever." This is huge. A statement like this, from the founding fathers of The Pumpkin Pie Club, children who frequently vote for pie over any other dessert... this is monumental. I probably should have a separate Chickenblog label for all of the dear, life altering, life affirming pie moments we have shared. Homemade pies, birthday pies, road trip pies, wedding pies, local pies, a tragic salted pie, Wisconsin cherry pies, Central Coast Olallieberry pies...

Seriously. Their statement about Grandma BooBoo's Chipotle Apple Pie is a landmark in the legacy of pie.

Mom found a marvelous chipotle jam and sent it to me, and the boys have waited in patient anticipation for me to attempt making Grandma BooBoo's Chipotle Apple Pie. As yet, there is not an "official" recipe, and my mom was a bit disappointed in the version she baked while she was here, using chipotle powder. She was disappointed, but the boys were clearly not. I added half this jar of jam, decreased my sugar, and proceeded to make my basic apple pie, and... Success!

I wish Delia were here so we could fine tune the recipe and make scientific measurements, but the boys are completely onboard with this spicy chipotle pie, so we must be in the right zone.

Pictures. of. finished. pie.
Uh, well sorry, but there was a bit of a pie frenzy and no one wanted to pose or look natural, so maybe next time.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I Wore It :: Earring Edition

This is a gratitude post, more than a fashion-faux pas episode. My mother read my post about how I look most mornings, what I am not doing to make myself presentable, and naturally she was shocked in to action by one particular tragedy. I know she loves me, but when she sees that I am going without earrings, I think it must stun and devastate her.

She ponders the forces in the universe and asks, "Why? How can my own flesh and blood, my daughter, greet the world without earrings? Why does she disrespect the lessons I have taught her? Where is her dignity?" Then she probably suspects that I am not taking vitamins, that I leave the house with wet hair, that I keep shabby panties.

And she's right. How does she know these things?

And so, not for the first time, a package arrives and it is full of her wisdom and love, her concern, and her stern warning to get my act together. She sent earrings. Lots of them.

And in honor of her beautiful art, I bought two tubes of lipstick. I brushed my hair too. She didn't run to the bedazzle kiosk at the mall. She makes these earrings. She makes many delectable jewelry pieces. With the exception of my engagement ring and wedding band, I think all of my jewelry comes from her studio, which reflects how much I like what she makes and especially how generous she is. Lucky me.

Self portraits always look like self portraits.
I like this lipstick shade :: Blushing Berry-L'Oréal.
I hope they are a decent company and don't use enslaved chickens to make this stuff.
If a person is thinking of coloring their hair, should they consider a color that complements their lipstick?
This is what I wore to pull weeds for 5 hours. Maria and I found about 42 big earthworms. We need about 900 more for our worm farm.

Thank you Mommy. I am wearing the purple ones today, and I took some vitamins this week. I also got help pruning all those roses. Yesterday I planted a third apple tree, so now we have three apples varieties, a plumcot, peach, Santa Rosa Plum, pomegranate and lots of grape vines planted. I still need to dig holes for the blackberries. Thank you for care packages and jewels, for loving me and calling me, for knowing me. I love you.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mom, This One's For You
In your honor we made a our way to Falafelandia, where everything was nacholy supreme. We raised our smoothies and toasted you and thought beautiful birthday thoughts for you. The children assured us that the tribute would not be complete without ice-cream, so Geoff took them to the counter to choose their favorite flavors.

"Think of your grandma and send her birthday wishes," I told them as I snapped a few pictures.

Maria gave me two bites of her ice cream. I made birthday wishes for you... all about us being together either in Falafelandia or at Foodies, or in some obscenely wealthy-lotto billions scenario where we become co-habitors of a Central California ranchito with full wells, fertile soil, a big barn, a pond, a stream, a few houses, a view to the ocean... you get the picture. There would be room to be together, juntos pero no revueltos.

Like every day, I will be thinking of you and wishing we were together, because I love you. Happy Birthday.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Some Mothering
This post first appeared last year and I think it's well worth repeating, with some additional faces. The first time I published it, it took forever just to gather the images, to double check that I was representing as many mothers as possible and then to format all of them etc. I didn't have time or energy left to name names + I am totally paranoid about misspelling and mislabeling. This seemed like a ripe opportunity to make a classic, if innocent, goof-up. Another thing that I thought a lot about is this... I know many women who are not technically mothers and yet they definitely posses the strength and caring, the nurturing and dedication... doting aunts, dear friends, generous women... is there a name for them, do we recognize those kinds of mothers? I think we should. Happy Mothers' Day to all the women who care and give, and support and inspire. We make a good team.

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