I am so far behind on my blog entries, so I’m going to list everything I’ve done since the middle of March.
Trip to Stennis Space Center, Mississippi
About a month ago I was given the choice to have my annual performance review either through video conference or in person at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. I didn’t hesitate at the chance to get out of the office for a couple days. On Sunday, March 22nd I flew out of Huntsville, AL to New Orleans, LA. The supervisor over the Education Specialists and my Supervisor was and still is traveling to each NASA center to see the Specialists in action and to meet with the education Directors, Center Project Leads, the Project Assistants, and anyone else the Project Assistant at that center thought would be a good person to meet with. The trip to Marshall is not until the middle of May and my performance review had to be done by April 10th, so that is why I had the option to travel to Stennis or do it over video conference.
Once in New Orleans, LA, I met up with my supervisor (he flew in from Penn State Univ) at the airport to wait for the Specialist’s Supervisor to come pick us up and head for Slidell, LA to our hotel. I actually take care of all the admin stuff for Steve (Education Specialist) at Stennis along with everything at Marshall. I had never been to Stennis Space Center before and it eerily looked just like Marshall (my center). After Steve took us around the Center showing us all the places he frequents, he took us to his office and we parked our stuff, toured the museum, and got some lunch. After lunch I had a 3 hour performance review. That may sound bad, but it was really good. My Supervisor is new as of November and doesn’t know much about what the Project Assistants do, so we all have been telling him about what we do from our perspective. I came out of the review with the highest marks. It felt really good! Tuesday morning I was headed back home to Huntsville.
Wednesday was my only day in the office for the week. All I did was catching up on entering expense reports in to the system and getting ready to be off for Thursday and Friday.
Sinus Surgery #2
Thursday, I had some outpatient sinus surgery again. This time it was minor and very quick. I have some scar tissue on the right side of my sinuses that was making me get frequent sinus infections again. This surgery was hopefully going to take care of that, becuase I’m tired of having sinus trouble. I didn’t have any pain with the surgery even though I had lots of sinus pressure that made me off balance. I was given some pain medication to help with the pressure, but it made me very hungry, shaky and disconnected. I went back to work on Monday and had to take my medication so that I could take my mind off the sinus pressure. That was very interesting to deal with since I wasn’t suppose to drive while on the medication. It took about 45 minutes to take effect, so I would take it just before I walked out the door. I would have about 15-20 minutes at work before it would start making me drowsy. I had to make sure I brought my lunch so I could take another pill before lunch. That way the medication would be out of my system enough for me to drive home at 4:30. By Thursday, April 1st, my nose had healed enough for me to start blowing it. One side effect of being able to blow my nose is that I started getting motion sick very easily if I got over heated. I would get it without even being in a moving vehicle.
The Great Moonbuggy Race
The week after my surgery I had 3 days to get everything in order for me to be gone for 2 weeks because the Great Moonbuggy Race was Thursday – Saturday. This year I was asked to help with registration as well as be in charge of the 2-way radios. The Moonbuggy Race is an engineering design challenge NASA created for high school and college students to create a buggy that could stand up to the harsh elements and terrain on the moon just like the original one. Once they have their buggies made they race against the other school to get the best time on the obstacle course that weaves around the different attractions outside at the US Space and Rocket Center. Usually the weather is bad on either Friday or Saturday and part or all of that day is cancelled. This year Thursday afternoon was bad and Friday and Saturday was nice so both days of the race went as planned.
Woman’s Leadership Conference, Penn State University
Sunday, April 5 started a 2 week trip. The first 4 days of the first week I was at Penn State University for a Woman’s Leadership Conference and a Professional Development day at the office, and from there I went to Minnesota to visit the family for Easter.
The Woman’s Leadership Conference was really good for the first conference I’ve ever officially attended. My Supervisor decided to bring all the Project Assistants to Penn State for the Conference. The conference was actually only one day, but was repeated the next day so you could take sessions on the second day you didn’t get to on the first. Out of the 7 sessions I took, only one was really boring and fought to stay awake.
The third day at Penn State was a professional development session on how to communicate with difficult people in the morning and a few hours of just talking with our Supervisor in the afternoon. That probably doesn’t sound like a fun day, but it was actually a nice day and very productive.
Easter/Vacation in Minnesota & Wisconsin
When I left from Penn State I was on my way to Minnesota for some relaxation and family time. I got to see my Grandma who is temporarily in a rehab nursing home preparing for some foot surgery. I got to see all of my extended family at Easter – drama and all. Spent Easter weekend at my Sister’s and took care of my niece Morgan the Monday after. I always joy my time in Minnesota.
As usual, I don’t get as much time to spend with my friends as I’d like, but they all have lives and I’m the one on vacation. I always have lots of fun when we get together even though the time flies too fast.
My favorite part of my vacation in Minnesota was all the time I got to spend with Morgan and see how she has grown. I can’t believe that at 18 months she is running around, talking about everything, repeating everything you say, and putting together 3 word sentences. She is full of energy and is nonstop chatter. She pronounces most of the words she says clearly except for my favorite word she says “gibbage”, which is garbage. I’m very happy that she can pronounce my name correctly. Most toddlers pronounce my name as “Tatie”, but she says it like “Kay-Tee”.
The last big activity I went to while in MN was a piano recital for my step nieces Margaret and Mary Emma. It brought back many memories of my own piano recitals and actually has sort of given me a bug to start playing again. I have one problem with this bug, I don’t have my piano – my sister does.