Solar Eclipse

Monday, August 21st, 2017 10:40 pm
bairnsidhe: (Default)
 I went to watch the solar eclipse, it was AMAZING.  The drive out to the path of totality was a bit rough, fortunately I was on a bus with the Linda Hall Library group that was going, so I didn't have to drive or navigate!  Score!  Once there, we set up and began the wait (we arrived early, so there was a bit, but we got prime spots on grass) and chatted among the group.  I was happy to see that so many families had brought their kids, one girl had even been pulled out of her first day of kindergarten because her parents wanted her to have this once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a total solar eclipse without breaking the bank globe-hopping.

Our spot was by a mall, so when the heat got too much, we ducked in for some AC, and wow, the East Hills Shopping Center of St. Joseph is not joking around!  They had a live band, one of the best Blues bands I've heard in a while, the Frank Ace Blues Band, they had planetarium tours (those filled up fast, sadly, but it was cool to know they had it even if I wound up not doing it) and a BUNCH of sales on, and most stores had a special deal if you showed your eclipse glasses.  I hit up the Topsy's Popcorn for limeades (extra cherries and they did not skimp) and popcorn, and watched the celestial show.

Of course, not everything was perfect, but I can't really dock points from the Library or the Shopping Center for the rain.  Even with the cloud cover, much of the eclipse was visible, and during the full totality the sky went an early-night shade of dark in a matter of minutes, leaving the faint, perfect circle of the sun's corona visible through the clouds.  The entire horizon lit up red and gold like a sunset, and the air lost maybe 20 degrees Fahrenheit for about five minutes.

All in all, a wonderful experience. 
bairnsidhe: (Default)
 So I stopped by the park near my therapist's office on Monday, and WOW.  This is by far the best small neighborhood park I've ever seen.  For starters, it's accessible.

That's right, a park, like with play equipment and swings and stuff, is HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE.  There's a wheelchair ramp built into the climbing equipment so that people with mobility issues can reach at least half if not 90% of the play area that's above ground level.  It's not a huge ugly metal thing that gets in the way, either, it's just a neat concrete gangway sandwiched between the Pirate Ship and the Jungle Gym.  Also for those in wheelchairs is an arm-runner, one of those pedal-like contraptions placed at eye level with an adult sitting in a chair, that you can use to work out your arms.  Except, instead of being grey and medical-looking, it's bright yellow like the Jungle Gym and I saw able-seeming kids using it while standing, because it was treated like any other part of the park.

Speaking of treating accessibility like you'd treat anything else, you know those letter-boards that some Jungle Gyms have, to help kids learn the alphabet?  This park had one that was doubled below the letters in Braille.  The letters were nicely tactile, too, so feeling up the wall seemed perfectly normal.  Add to that the fact that the entrance had animal-shaped statues signing the letters W-E-L-C-O-M-E, and it felt like this was the sort of playground you find on Sesame Street.

(Actually, it felt like the sort of playground you'd find in the Terramagne setting by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith .)

Also, the park had two structures that introduce improved social play and age-appropriate risk.  One was a three-way spring horse teeter-totter, which yes, you can use alone, but it's more balanced with two or three.  I miss spring horses, they kept getting removed in the push to kid-proof parks, and I think that's ridiculous.  A certain amount of risk, falling off play equipment, and learning not to stick body parts in machinery because we all know what happened to Jimmy's cousin's best friend, is good for kids.  But I digress.  The last structure was the best, it was a tilted circle, on which you sat and it rotated.  One person couldn't get it going that fast, but the more people, the better it worked, especially when two or more adult-sized folks got on it with the kids to maintain speed.  People fell off, it's made for that, but the ground cover was a nicely squashy rubber affair that would prevent most broken bones, and the way it was designed, you can't get dragged under.  No more the above-age-appropriate-risk of the metal merry-go-round, this sucker made you stop when your friend fell under it.  You had to stop and help the out to get to make it go again.  Isn't that great socialization?

(Again, shades of Terramagne.)

Next time I go, I'm going to bring a bucket of sidewalk chalk.  Because I think it's the sort of park where nobody will think me walking up with chalk and a request for hopscotch is that strange.  I might even chalk out the word for welcome in other languages besides English and ASL under the statues.


It's a really great park.




Maker Space

Friday, August 4th, 2017 05:16 pm
bairnsidhe: (Default)
 So my local Maker Space had to move (noise and smell complaints from neighbors, lack of parking, it needed to happen) and their new space is AMAZING.

For starters, the parking space is huge.  The space is on something like 3 acres of land, I think.  There's an open parking area and one that's got a lockable fence, so those of us who need to leave large projects in the lot overnight don't need to worry about random theft anymore, so score!

The building itself has a large, well-vented garage and two forges, one charcoal and one gas (I'm planning a project to build a smaller, separate forge for greensmithing to avoid pennying the bigger forges).  Then inside a little ways is a fabrication room with loads of space for messy projects and a giant laser cutter for big projects.

Up the stairs is a set of clean, well lit rooms for indoor projects, including a designated sewing lab, a kids-space, and an electronics room.  There's also a big central room with tables and stools for communal knowledge-shares and group work.  I cannot stress how amazing it is to have a big CLEAN space for crafting in a maker space.  We're not always going to be doing things with grease and Spackle and fire and metal.  I mean, we will often, but sometimes we'll be doing things that need some delicacy and it's good to have a place with no half-tacky stains of dubious origin to work around.

Then, in the basement is the store.  It's a treasure trove of all those things you'll need a few of eventually, but who wants to run to the hardware shop to buy a box of nails you'll only use two of?  It's big, well-lit, and when we went there, had kids with pet rats hanging out and I got to hold them.  Rats are adorable and I love them.

Maker spaces are amazing and important and if you can support one near you, I recommend it.

(no subject)

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017 06:56 pm
bairnsidhe: (Default)
Long personal story that has noting to do with writing under the cut.

Read more... )

And that is how I ended up not getting back to Life-Partner’s house until 4:45 am.

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