NASA Adventure - Day 1

Posted by J on Wednesday, August 21, 2013.
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It's freaking NASA! 
Last week I had the opportunity to attend an event at NASA Langley. It was a huge deal to me because I have never been anywhere on my own before for a number of reasons, one reason being that my Crohn's disease makes me super nervous to travel. I had to go this time, because when NASA invites you somewhere, you go, you just do, it's freaking NASA!

I seriously loved this car! 
I arrived on a Tuesday, a day early for the events, and thank goodness I did because my flights were delayed forever, but I arrived safely and picked up my adorable Nissan Juke rental car. Now this car was perfect for me, a person who doesn't really like to drive, because it was small and easy to maneuver. It would be completely impractical in my every day life because my dear husband and our children are all super tall, but for this trip, it was perfect. I got to my hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn at Coliseum Central, and pretty much went right to bed. Traveling made me so tired, I was also really missing my kids at this point an it hadn't even been 24 hours!

I slept until 11a.m and it was glorious! The first event didn't start until 3p.m. and that was meeting up with some of the NASAsocial attendees for dinner. We went to this really cute restaurant, The Surf Rider Grill in Hampton VA. I had crab (of course!) and there was this huge shark on the wall, which I took a photo of like the tourist that I was. Thankfully there were a few other people who were also in awe of the shark so we all stood there taking photos and I realized that I was going to be okay surrounded by this group of enthusiastic people who loved science, space, and taking photos just as much (if not more) than I did.

Virginia Air and Space Center 
After dinner we headed to the Virginia Air and Space Center. The museum had closed to the public and we were given full access. The first thing we did was stand around in a circle and introduce ourselves, I was immediately brought back to the first day of high school and I think I spoke way too fast, but it was fine. One of the engineers who is working on the Orion project gave a brief talk and then we were set loose on the museum. First of all I want to say that if you're ever in the area please go check this place out, it is awesome and admission is super affordable. I definitely want to take my kids here they will absoultely love all the interactive displays, I know I did! There were about a dozen full size airplanes suspended from the ceiling in layers. This place is three stories and it's all open, I'm doing a poor job explaining it but seriously, go.
An Orion Test Article at VASC

Planes at VASC
The Apollo Capsule at VASC

I wandered around for a solid 2 hours and I could have stayed so much longer. There was so much to see and to do. There were several flight simulators for many different aircraft including commercial jets and rockets. There was a whole section of the museum dedicated to the history of flight and another to the technology, history, and science behind space exploration. It was a nerd paradise (this is a good thing). I went back to my hotel, showered, and went to bed early. I set alarms on my phone, my ipad, and the hotel alarm clock, the next day was the main event: The Orion Stationary Recovery Test and there was no way that I was going to miss be continued!
Holding the Earth!


Posted by J on Monday, August 19, 2013.
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This is very hard to write. Christmas came and went, my grandfather spent the holiday in the hospital but came home a few days later. Then he got shingles and everything went down hill from there. He started having trouble breathing, and ultimately my grandfather passed away in January. Since then things have been crazy and haven't slowed down. Right after he passed I was finally able to sleep again. I feel like he gave me that gift.

The week after he passed I started working at another position in the college, this time in the marketing department. I had the privilege of working on the college's magazine, Science Journal. It was a lot of fun and very challenging for me. The first article I was given to write was about astrophysics, so you can imagine that I felt pretty overwhelmed, but it turned out fine in the end.

After the magazine came out I started training to take photographs and took over the social media for the college, which has kept me very busy, and now we are working on another issue of the magazine.

I think about my grandparents often. I know that I was very blessed to have them in my life as long as I did, but it does not make it any easier. My littlest daughter grew very close to my grandpa while he was living with us. They would sit together and eat Oreos, after he passed away she told me that she didn't know if she could eat Oreos anymore. We've caught her more than once in the weeks right after his death in the room he stayed in, sitting in his spot on the couch, having a snack and watching TV. She said that he'd want her to do that, and I think that he would.