New Year, Same Me: Hello, February.

It’s been two whole months since I’ve actually published anything, and my goodness have those two months gone by fast. Perhaps I should start where I left off.

My last post was December 14th, from the lovely Houston, Texas. It was the day before I turned in my NASA badge. No, this is not going to be my long NASA post, but that will come, eventually. It’s slowly growing in my drafts, and I want to make sure it’s perfect.

December 19th. The day I got back to my apartment after the three day road trip with M. What a long, fun drive filled with country music, migrating birds, and stupid hotel laws (I’m looking at you, Arkansas). Sven (the trusty ’04 Jetta) made it home safe and sound, as did his driver (yes, that’s me).

M left the next day, I drove her to the airport at an ungodly hour in the morning. I spent the next few days unpacking and spending time in my apartment. I bought a desk, and M had bought me a microwave and some other various kitchen supplies as a housewarming gift. I miss her, she was a great friend and person to hang out with.

It didn’t really feel like Christmas this year, mainly because I’d just left Houston- where it was a beautiful minimum of 50 degrees every day (and no snow!). I spent Christmas with my boyfriend, his family, and his grandparents. It was lovely.

Two days later, I flew to The Netherlands to spend New Year’s with my family.

It was so nice to see my mom and brother again- and my bun. George is still a lazy floof, but he’s happy and healthy and turned two on January 21st!

We had our own Christmas; and all my gifts were absolutely NASA themed.

And suddenly, it was 2019.

We went ice skating, ate lots of great food, visited my great grandma, saw the Joker statue up close that we’ve always driven by,  pet Ophelia the cat lots, gave a presentation at my brother’s school on NASA, and well- then I went back home. It was a nice trip and I’m so glad I got to see everyone.

When I got back to the United States, I spent another day with my boyfriend, and then headed home. Of course I had to stop at IKEA to get some furniture for my place… I now have a queen sized bed (and it’s lovely).

Since then, school has started again. It’s a strange semester. Getting back into the swing of classes has been hard. It’s also snowed, a lot. We had this fun “Polar Vortex” come through and cancel classes for two days. I’ve gone back to work at OCDE, and that’s been nice as well. I was selected as Cadet Commander of the 2019 Ohio Wing Encampment, and planning for that has been in full swing.

Of course, FIRST Robotics Competition’s build season began in January (and ends next week!). I’m super excited about this year’s game (Destination: Deep Space), and even more excited about the rookie team a fellow mentor and I started.

I’m so proud of the dedicated kids who have been putting time into this program. We may not have a big team, but those who are involved are awesome.

Life has been pretty quiet around here. Very busy, but quiet. Work, school, homework, robotics, extra stuff for my major (like attending the Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing Conference next week), Civil Air Patrol, exercising, cleaning, getting groceries… Yeah, I’m somehow balancing this. Being an adult is overwhelming sometimes, but honestly, it’s nice. Also, so is living alone. 10/10 would recommend.

So, obviously last year’s writing prompts did not go very well (if I tagged everything correctly, I only actually did 4 months out of the 12… yikes). I’m going to go back to doing goals, like I did in 2017. I set a few goals in January on my lovely Trello board (Trello is my life lately), so let’s move them here and possibly add a few.

2k19 – Goals

  1. Achieve the Carl A. Spaatz Award in the Civil Air Patrol
  2. Obtain my CCW
  3. Get a computer certification (CCNA, CompTIA, etc.)
  4. Obtain a General Class HAM Radio License
  5. Go scuba diving
  6. Save $1,000
  7. Stop apologizing all the time
  8. Read at least one book per month
  9. Stop looking down on myself and gain some confidence
  10. Don’t blame myself for everything

These goals seem pretty achievable. I age out of CAP in October, and I really want to have at least attempted the Spaatz exam before then. My goal right now is May, but I’m extremely nervous and I know I still need to work very hard to get there. The other ones are all pretty self explanatory. Certifications, licenses, yeah! Let’s get this bread (is that still a meme?).

Alright, let’s set some goals for the month now. I missed January due to my lack of blogging, but that’s alright. February: let’s go.

February 2k19 – Goals

  1. Organize my apartment and make everything look nice
  2. Run and walk more
  3. Do dishes immediately after using them
  4. Cook at home for every meal feasible
  5. Sleep routinely
  6. Apply for scholarships
  7. Clean my car
  8. Be the best coach I can be for the robotics students

These are good goals. Hopefully doing this again will encourage me to blog at least once a month. I honestly cannot believe I’ve been blogging for almost three years now; it’s so crazy to read back on some old posts and see how far I’ve come.

So, with that, I will end this post. I will finalize my NASA post soon, because I’m sure some of my followers are just here for NASA. That’s alright.

As always, thanks to my followers and readers. Y’all are awesome.

Image result for thanks oppy

Last, thanks for everything, Opportunity.

“My battery is low and it’s getting dark…”

You were a good rover. The best. What started as 90 days became an amazingly long mission that allowed us to learn so much. Thanks, Oppy.

Maybe we’ll see you on Mars one day.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” -Henry Ford

~E.💕

Ad Astra

I wouldn’t wish this feeling upon anyone.

I feel like I’m leaving part of my life.

Today was my last day at Johnson Space Center, and I turn in my badge tomorrow. It’s been so amazing. I’ve had such a wonderful time.

I’ve grown to be much more confident. I’ve met so many amazing people. I’ve had opportunities to work on amazing projects.

There will be a longer post later. I just needed to ramble for a moment.

But I promise, NASA, you haven’t seen the last of me. I will be back.

~E.

Intern Space Program

We just so happen to all be interns in Houston, Texas.

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Yesterday, five of us made our way to Paige, Texas to launch a beautiful rocket that interns had been working on since the Summer tour. The orange tube with a glider on top of it was our Monday evening for almost the entire time we have been here so far.

From avionics work, to soldering, and even coding on the three hour drive there: the ever-dwindling group of interns I worked with on this was in love with this rocket.

On the day of the launch, it was pretty cold but we were excited. We wanted to test our fins, because we thought those were our weakest point on this rocket.

glider flip

Approximately two seconds into launch, the glider slipped off the top of the rocket, and the shock cord zippered the airframe.

The glider’s tail ripped off, and we recovered it in two large pieces on the ground near the launch pad.

The rocket kept going up, and we lost it in the sky for several breathtaking seconds.

Someone spotted the rocket, but no parachute had deployed. People screamed “heads up!”, while others scrambled to find the rocket. It landed about three feet away from four cars, and came down with a whistle and a loud thud. When we turned around, we saw the state of our beautiful orange rocket…

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Crushed and broken into two pieces, the parachute never deployed. However, by some miracle, our fins stayed in tact. The indentation in the ground was rather large, and we had to pull about six inches of dirt out of the rocket once we dug it out of the ground.

We weren’t going to let one unsuccessful launch deter us from another launch- we still had avionics sensors to test!

Using one of our interns’ level 2 certification rocket, we strapped in some avionics equipment and hoped for a successful launch. On our launch card, we named the rocket “Shame”.

Perhaps “Lawn Dart” would have been a better name.

_EKB0683

The ejection charge never happened, and the rocket came right back down in a beautiful parabola.

While the rocket most definitely did not survive (it was dug at least 8 inches into the ground), every electronic component that cost more than a dollar did. _EKB0695

We were actually able to recover data, so for our purposes… that was a successful launch.

That poor rocket, though.

We all had such a fun time though, and went to dinner at Bastop Roadhouse after. I’ll have to say, their Sourdough Bun was phenomenal.

All in all, we all learned so much… learned so much. I’d always been interested in rocketry since completing Civil Air Patrol’s model rocketry program, and this was definitely a HUGE step up from that.

I’m so excited I was able to be a part of the Intern Space Program. 

InternSpaceProgramLogo-Transparency

Allons-y…

Here we go, a blog post written at 4 o’clock in the morning. I just need to talk. To write. Every normal person’s asleep, so I figured I’d turn here.

My high school robotics team was called The Sonic Screwdrivers. Based on, you guessed it, Doctor Who. I got the references for the most part then, but I’d never watched it. I always brushed it aside.

I started watching Season 1 on Amazon Prime Wednesday night, and continued Thursday night. I finished Season 1 early this morning- well, maybe yesterday. Saturday. Words aren’t my strong suit right now, yet I can’t seem to shut up.

Image result for rose tyler doctor who

I fell madly in love with the idea of Rose and the Ninth Doctor, portrayed by Christopher Eccleston. It took me a while to warm up to David Tennant… But I did. Moving along, I grew just as fond of Rose and the Tenth as I did before with the Ninth.

I watched all of Season 2 today. In one day. well, rather, one span of 24 hours… I don’t think it was really a “day”. Your concept of time kind of goes away in the TARDIS… Ha. Haha…

So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. I sobbed. I sobbed like there is no tomorrow. I was not ready for the ending of Season 2. Oh hell no. I’m honestly still lightheaded and it’s been half an hour since I finished watching. Perhaps that’s from staring at a screen all day. Perhaps I cried too much. Maybe I should eat something. Oh well.

Image result for rose tyler doctor whoI’m not sure yet if I’ll move on to Season 3. I don’t think I’m ready yet. I need to do something productive this weekend. I guess it kept me from spending money on stuff I don’t really need, so there’s a plus.

I am still in awe. Still in shock.

My high school robotics team was named after this show?! Why did no one grab my by the arm and force me to watch it? I could have had such a better appreciation.

I’ll watch Season 3 eventually, but I honestly don’t think I’m mentally stable enough to start again any time soon.

Image result for tardis

So, lion girl, is this a fandom blog now? No. Not at all. I just needed a place to capture these dumb emotions posed on me by a fictional television show.

I started writing this at 4:15, how is it already 4:45? This is crazy. why does time move so fast- yet so slow?

I need to get some sleep. I should get some sleep. Oh yeah, and I guess my birthday’s in 12 days. That’s kind of neat I suppose.

If you read this, thanks. Thanks for reading my dumb ramblings from crazy hours. I promise, this blog is occasionally fun to read and actually relevant. I’m going to make an attempt to go to sleep (and maybe ditch this onsetting headache…)

Time Lord science… It’s bigger on the inside.

~E. 

Tomatos, Tomatoes, and NASA.

For a large part of my life, I rejected the letter “e”. Words like the plural of potato, the plural of tornado, the plural of tomato.

Tornados. Tomatos. Potatos.

Adding the “e” was heathenish. It was an injustice to the word. It degraded its value.

For the longest time, I would do this. I’m not quite sure why. My science teacher asked me one year why I deliberately spelled “tornado-e-s” wrong, when the rest of my spelling was impeccable. I never did quite have an answer.

I still don’t have an answer, and I still have my judgement against adding the letter e into those words. It’s simply unnatural.

I did finally learn how to spell necessary, though. A shirt has two Sleeves, and one Collar. And exercise. I still struggle, a little. but, it’s not a size. Exer-cise.

Spelling is weird and the English language is crazier.

On a whole other note, NASA is going great. I’m still drinking from a fire hose, but it’s getting so much better. My mentor and coworkers are phenomenally brilliant people. I’ve made some great friends and I’ve eaten a lot of great food… and some borderline terrible cafeteria Indian food.

I’ve also checked two goals off my goal list. I met an astronaut, and I attended a lecture. I was able to attend the Expedition 58/59 News Conference with NASA Astronaut Anne McClain, Roscosmos Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and Canadian Space Agency Astronaut David Saint-Jaques. The news conference was broadcast on NASA TV and you can replay it on YouTube. I really liked the introduction video music. I was able to get a selfie with Anne McClain, and we were also able to take an intern group photo with her. It was phenomenal!!! The lecture I attended was given by Ginger Kerrick, the first Hispanic female flight director and non-astronaut CapCom. She was amazing.

Today, I competed in the JSC Hackathon. My team was posed with the Integrated Flight Scheduling Application challenge, to create a process or system to manage the Aircraft Operation Division’s resources and flight assets, which can be anywhere on the globe at a given time. It was absolutely amazing and I learned so much!

We ended up coming in first place out of the 10 teams competing.

It’s been such a crazy and amazing ride so far. I’m the POC of the intern Professional Development committee, I’m Co-Chair of the Social Media committee, and I’m the PAO of the Intern Space Program. I told myself in the beginning that I wasn’t going to run for anything and I was going to chill, but you know, life happens.

I cannot believe tomorrow closes out my third week as an intern at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Only 13 more weeks to go, and I know it’s going to FLY by. I’m still learning something new every day. I’m still journaling.

I’m currently in a debate with myself whether to upgrade to the iPhone 8 or the Google Pixel 2. NASA bought my project two Google Pixels… and I fell in love. Accidentally. My current phone’s battery life is terrible and Snapchat hates me, so hey. What could go wrong. I feel guilty because I feel like I -just- bought an Apple watch… but we’ll see. Maybe it’s time for me to go back to the Android side.

Classes are going well, my weekly journal for my internship credit is a breeze. Philosophy is rough because it’s online-discussion-based, and ew. But I’ll survive. Countering opinions with people is a fun pastime.

I have yet to take Leo the Lion on site with me, but maybe he can tag along tomorrow. We’ll see.

OH. I got a massage on Sunday, and it was the most AMAZING thing I’ve ever done for myself. If you’re in the Houston area, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Tippy at Sabai Massage and Health. Wow.

I’ll leave you with a quote said by David Saint-Jaques in the news conference.

The only way you can achieve something is by doing something you love”

~E.🚀

drinking from a fire hose

All my life, I’ve been told things that most people struggle with are like “drinking from a fire hose”. What a beautiful analogy for trying to process a lot of new information at once. Things like starting college, filing taxes, and getting a job. Things I did not struggle with.

jsc sign

Working for NASA as an intern is no small feat, I’ve known that from the start. I did, however, finally experience what drinking from a fire hose tastes like. I’m still finding out. I just completed my first week at NASA, and almost everything feels over my head. It truly is an incredibly humbling experience, though. It really took one of my co-workers to sit me down and tell me that if I learn nothing else from him, let it be that no one is going to care if I ask questions. That no one will think I’m not smart. I really had to break out of my shell, and swallow whatever pride I thought I had.

I’m surrounded by a wonderful group of peers and mentors that absolutely love what they do, and I am so fortunate to be able to learn from them. All the other interns are incredibly friendly, too. There’s about four others from Ohio, which is really cool. I guess in my mind I pictured that everyone would be from Texas, but that’s actually not the case at all! One girl I befriended at orientation had spent a lot of time at Kennedy Space Center, and another guy had just finished working for Lockheed Martin.

nasa goals

I also decided it was time for me to finally try out the bullet journal thing, which I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. I’ve set a few internship-long goals, such as obtaining my amateur radio license and a scuba certification. One of my favorite goals, however, is to learn a new thing every day. At the bottom of every day’s page, I’ve written what I’ve learned. It’s such a beautiful, creative, and fun way to keep track of things.

Some things are not quantitative goals, like being more confident, making new friends, or being less picky. I love the challenge though, and I’m having a blast.

When it comes to food and my picky-ness, Texas is a wonderful place to attempt to overcome this. As long as I can continue to stay away from seafood, life is good. I’ve been packing my lunch most days for work, which is really good for my attempts to avoid getting a lot of fast food (and blowing my entire paycheck at the Chick Fil A across NASA Parkway).

My mentor and his wife took me out for lunch at Noon Mirch on Thursday. Noon Mirch is an Indian buffet-style restaurant about five minutes down the road from NASA. I ate a lot of new foods that I never would have tried before. I had a variety of lentil-based dishes, and I even had a breaded jalapeno.

noon mirchMy favorite, by far, was the creamed spinach (known as Saag). The Naan (a flatbread-like bread) was good, too. There were chicken meatballs, and rice, and more breaded veggies.

For dessert, I tried some rice pudding with a cookie. It was an interesting dish.

On Friday, I went out to eat with a different group of co-workers to Ritter’s, a burger and hot dog place that serves frozen custard. I got a burger there, and it was pretty good. I mention this since I mentioned trying to not be picky- the burger had “Ritter’s Sauce” on it, and I have no idea what it was.  Five points for me. Yay.

rocket park

Here’s a view of Rocket Park, where I ended up because I needed to use the restroom while waiting for my badging appointment (and their restroom didn’t work). It was super cool to see. I’ll definitely have to go again and take the time to look around inside the giant hangar- there’s a Saturn V rocket in there.

On Friday evening, I participated in Critical Mass with the family I’m staying with. Critical Mass Houston is a GIANT bike ride through Houston. Like, there were probably around 2,000 people there. It was super cool. The event began as a social protest to bring awareness to how un-bike friendly cities are, and I think that’s a great point.

critical mass

We ended up riding almost 25 miles, which was an incredible feat for me since I haven’t really rode a bike since being in the Netherlands in May. I felt incredibly accomplished when I finished all 25 miles. I met a bunch of really nice people (almost everyone in Texas is super nice) and I had a blast. My legs didn’t even hurt that bad the next day. I should do this more often. It was also a phenomenal way to see Houston. It’s such a beautiful city- especially in the dark. It also has a lot of one-way streets… And I thought Ohio was bad! 

saltgrass steakhouse

Yesterday, M and I drove down to Galveston for dinner. We went to Saltgrass Steakhouse, and yes, I got double potatoes. YOLO, right? (Please never let me say that again)

The fries were phenomenal. AND I WAS, AT ONE POINT, PROBABLY 30 FEET FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO. That was incredibly epic. It’s nothing like Lake Erie (whoa, who would have guessed).

Texas is super cool, and NASA is amazing. It’s a little weird to not be in classes right now (*glances at the two online classes I’m taking*), but it’s such an amazing experience. I’m so happy I took the internship. I’m so happy I got this opportunity. Right now, it’s like drinking from a fire hose- but soon, I’ll learn. One co-worker I met that I got lunch with Friday said that it’s still like drinking from a fire hose, but she just found a way to redirect it to a pool first. Maybe I’ll find my own pool soon, too.

Last, everything is genuinely bigger in Texas. I always thought it was a joke, but it definitely is not a joke. A movie theater we went to to see “Crazy Rich Asians” had over 25 theaters. It was crazy huge. Oh, and I said y’all. Once.

Alright, I think it’s time for me to keep convincing myself I’m being productive by staring at my philosophy class and not actually doing anything. Wish me luck!

I looked up “space quotes” to be cute and end this in a NASA-esque fashion but this is what I got and I thought it was cute anyway… so here goes.

“There is always space for improvement, no matter how long you’ve been in the business.”

~E.🌎

How to Survive a Drive with a Lion

Buckle up and hold on for the ride, because I didn’t even know driving 7 hours and only stopping once was something this girl is capable of. The drive from NE Ohio to Houston, Texas was WILD. To be completely honest, I was pretty sure that my 2004 Volkswagen Jetta would die on the way. Spoiler alert: we made it!

But like.. how?tx1

Well, none of it would have been possible without the help of a phenomenal family friend. He drove the rest of the time, which… 20 hours minus 7 is a whopping 13 hours. He started in Ohio, and drove all the way to Jackson, Tennessee. Tennessee was probably the most boring part of the drive in my opinion. It felt like we were in Tennessee for EVER. Leo and I shared the Chips Ahoy cookies in the backseat next to him in Tennessee, and probably ate a few too many, but that’s okay.

I drove from Jackson to Marshall, Texas. I drove through Memphis, and all the way through Arkansas. The sunset was gorgeous. Driving through Little Rock was an interesting experience. Lots of bends, lots of cars, and lots of lights all at once. Gas prices started going down the farther south we got though, which is something I’m super thankful for. Also, why does Arkansas smash city names with the word “Arkansas”? Like… Is Arkadelphia really necessary? Even auto-correct wants to change that to Philadelphia. Also, why not “Philansas”?

Driving into Texas was crazy. By this time, it was dark. I had my first experience driving on a road with a speed limit of 75 miles per hour. Legally going that fast is pretty cool. I’ve been told there’s a road somewhere in this state (which is unnecessarily large, by the way) where the speed limit is 85. I may have to go find that road.

We made it to Marshall, Texas where we stopped at a Whataburger. I will admit, that was a phenomenal hamburger. Especially at 1 o’clock in the morning (two o’clock to my body, yay central time!). After eating, my friend drove the rest of the way.

tx3

We got to the place I’ll be staying right around 5 o’clock in the morning and met my host. Leo was extremely excited to stretch his paws after such a long drive. The bed was super comfortable. I finally fell asleep around 6 o’clock in the morning.

Somehow, I woke up at noon. I took a shower, organized a bit, and met the family. They’re wonderful people, and I’m so excited. The house is gorgeous. My room is so nice. The daughter is a year older than I am, and she’s super cool. We’ll call her “M”. M and I got Chick Fil A today, after she showed me around the area. There’s a Chick Fil A right across from NASA, and I think self control may be the biggest thing I learn during this internship. I also saw a real palm tree for the first time today!

tx4

Orientation for the internship is on Monday, and I’m so excited. I’m also nervous, though. It’s going to be crazy. I don’t think it’s truly sank in that I’m in Texas, and I’m about to work for NASA.

tx2I’ve jokingly told a few people now that if the Space Force Academy becomes a thing, I’ll be one of the first females to graduate (super relevant, I know). But you know what, you never know where life takes you. Leave your options open.

I just hope next time I leave my options open and go where life leads me, the bugs are a tad smaller. When they say everything is bigger in Texas, they mean it.

So, how do you survive a long drive with a lion?

  1. Lots of Chips Ahoy Chewy cookies
  2. 1 cold Gatorade for every 2 hours of driving
  3. A cool family friend (knowing lots about cars and playing cool music is a bonus)
  4. The ability to admit when you’re tired
  5. The ability to sleep in the passenger seat of your own car (yes, it’s super weird)
  6. Lots and lots of adrenaline. Arkansas was boring, but once we got into Texas…
  7. Clean your windshield every chance you get at gas stations. Dead things leave streaks if you use the wipers.
  8. There’s no shame in going the speed limit, even if cars in Kentucky decide they want to attempt to take off next to you.
  9. Don’t merge too close in front of drivers from Arkansas. They need at least two semi truck-lengths to feel secure.
  10. Have fun!

So, there you go. Enjoy your next road trip. Or don’t, that’s all up to you.

I’ll be back to ramble to you from NASA’s Johnson Space Center next time, right here on my blog! Hopefully maybe my nerves will settle down. That would be cool.

Until then, don’t be afraid to try new things!

~E.💫