Life Part Two

The adventures of Fay and Bob as they move beyond the 9 to 5 life

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Trip to MN

In mid April we spent 8 nights in Minnesota.   We returned mainly to see Bob’s 93 year old mom and also get caught up with family and friends.   We visited with Helen over 5 days.   She had her “to do” list for Bob to take care of.   Pretty cute.  We stayed two nights right in the guest room that Walker Methodist has so very convenient   We slept in 5 different beds, visited with 28 family and friends, including a nice long lunch gathering with my Randen cousins and some of their spouses, and got introduced to our friends 9 dogs!    I definitely got my four legged furry friend fix!

When we got there no leaves on the trees and the first day was cold but then it warmed up and by the time we left you could definitely see spring was sprung!   A good trip but tiring.

One thing of note was the price of cigarettes.   $8 a pack!   Glad we don’t smoke.  Minnesota has a tax of $3 a pack and South Carolina tax of $ .57.

Bob was thrilled to go have his White Castle burger with his mom and we both enjoyed lunch at Culvers.   We do have a Culvers coming near us soon so looking forward to that.

One last thing, we took our first Uber ride from the off site (not at the airport) car rental place to the airport.   Flawless experience.

We felt like we really had quality time with everyone.



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iMAGINE Upstate Festival

Saturday, yesterday, STEAM Tech Teams spent from 11 – 5 at the second annual iMAGINE Festival.   For new readers, STEAM Tech Teams is a group of volunteers in the Upstate of SC who are helping promote STEAM.   Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math.

We had over 25 volunteers working with us in our two locations.  One group was along the tent line and show off our hands, 3D printing and other things.  The weather was really very nice, not to hot or to cold, however it was windy and that really made it hard to demonstrate 3D printing.   I haven’t heard how many people yet but 10,000 – 15,000 would not be out of line.  This is a very family friendly event.   A big thank you to our business volunteer from Computer Source who sells 3D printers and more.  If you need a 3D printer, repair on a computer or a computer please check him out.

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Fay and Bob and the majority of the volunteers will at the ZEN building with two big exhibits.  The focus of all the activities in and around this building was on drones.  We had one area where we had three flight simulators and our volunteers helped people, mostly kids, try there hand at flying drones.  The flight simulator can get very sophisticated and costs $130.  We figure we had 1500 – 2000 people come through.


In another large room we had three tables set up and people could fly small quadcopters, fit in the palm of your hand.   We had them tied to string so they flew in about a 5 ft radius and didn’t go all over the place.   We had a few challenges but overall it worked pretty well and let people get a safe, not too frustrating experience.  The three boys that Bob worked with at Dorman High School were there all day and were the “lead instructors”.   Most of the other volunteers were over 60 and came from the OLLI at Furman program or were neighbors of one of our volunteers.

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We were very pleased with how things went but were tired when we got home about 6 p.m.   Not much energy today, Sunday!

Our next event is this Thursday when we will be sponsoring with one of our business partners a training for teachers on 3D printing at Greenville Technical School.  After that we have a small science fair at a local private k-5 school and what we hope will be a big science fair at Williston SC, near Aiken.   This is three hours away so we are making a weekend out of it and will see the area.   That’s just April!

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STEAM Tech Teams Busy

We had a very busy weekend last week. On Friday we went to NW Middle school here in Travelers Rest and helped their 3D printing club continue to build 3 hands. On Saturday we went to the Upstate Children’s Museum for their STEM Fest. Over 1000 people there. On Sunday Bob and his friends built the first hovership quadcopter.   The body is printed with our 3D printer. Pretty cool. It needs some tweaking in assembly but it does fly.

This week we met with Dorman High School Engineering Advisory Board.   Looks like they have students who want to build the hovership next fall.   Bob is excited about that.  We also have a meeting this week with another high school for possibly building quadcopters.  We will be making an application to have and exhibit for 3 days and do a 75 minute lecture at a national STEM Conference in Charleston in Sept.   Kind of nervous about that.  It is a big deal conference.

Slater Marietta middle school will be having us for a third time.   This time will be flight simulator and quad copters.

Early April is the huge iMAGINE STEM Festival with a very big quadcopter presence so we are busy helping plan and get volunteers for that.   It is a very ambitious project.

We have a small STEM festival at a private elementary school coming up soon and a mini iMAGINE festival right before the big festival in Spartanburg.   In late April we will be going to another large STEM festival down by Aiken, about 3 hours from here.   That was a big decision because it is such a long way from us but we decided we wanted to explore that part of the state so will make it into a mini vacation.   It is a very rural area and they have little access to these science and technology events so we felt that was pretty important.

So as you can see we are keeping very busy but having fun.


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Roper Mt. STEM festival

Had a very exciting day yesterday at Roper Mt. Center for their STEM event. We were there with about 6 volunteers and they were all needed. Attendance was 1500 people over 6 hours. Our display was front and center as soon as people walked through the door so we were VERY busy. Kevin from Computer Source was there supporting us with at least a half dozen 3D printers on display.
I think we definitely “WOWED” people of all ages with 3D printed hands and other cool printed items, quad copter simulation, Binary Computer exhibits, 3D pens, Google Cardboard Glasses, Power UP paper airplane that you fly with your smart phone and Raspberry PI computer. I never got tired of seeing the puzzled and the “ah ha” moments in the faces of children, parents and grandparents.
Bob and I left this event, took a short nap and then hosted Newcomers Cocktails R Us for about 40 people at our house. We also shared with our guests 3D printing, quadcoters and woodworking technology. Our guests told us they had a very fun and educational evening.
Sabrina was definitely very agitated both before and during the event until I found a safe place for her to be and went and petted her several times.   Smoky hid until toward the end of the party and then came out to get some attention.  I felt bad for little Sabrina.
Today we are resting. Children_museum 008
IT2PI 003

Big Hand – 2 feet

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Greenville homeless and affordable housing and more

Had an very interesting day yesterday at my monthly Greenville Senior Leaders class.   This month we learned about housing.   While each presentation has a focus on seniors each topic covers much more than that.   The morning was spent learning about the issues around homeless people, the agencies trying to help and plans to improve the situation.  Greenville is somewhat unusual in the amount of cooperation the agencies have and in uniting to give the same story of what is needed in the community.  There are around 1000 homeless in shelters in the city and at any time 81% are in shelters and that is a high rate.   There are plans in place so no one will be left out doors when the temperature gets below 40.  Lack of mental health treatment and not enough public transportation and lack of child care are three huge problems that need to be fixed.

After that we got an overview on the situation with affordable housing from a city, state and federal view.  There is a huge shortage of affordable housing and the gentrification of many neighborhoods is making it even worse.  Again not enough public transportation is a barrier to getting jobs.  Federal money has been significantly reduced.   I came away from this with a huge amount of gratitude that I have not been homeless and don’t need affordable housing.

The afternoon was focused on our homes.   Do we age in place and stay in our home or move?   Lots of issues to consider and an appreciation that what works at 65 probably wont work at 85.   Real Estate offices are having special departments to specially train agents on the special circumstances of seniors.  Advice is don’t wait too long!   Moving won’t get easier.   Guess what, transportation for seniors is also a huge issue.   We will be spending one whole day on transportation.

Then a presentation that explained independent living, assisted living, memory care, medical care and how much all that costs.

Finally we received a book on decluttering our home.  Have to read that soon. Sure gave Bob and I a lot to think about and work on.   This is such a great program.


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K9 Dogs, Friends, Mountains, Hair and more

A couple weeks ago Bob and I went to a Greenville Newcomers program featuring K9 Dogs and their handlers.   What an impressive pair each are!    They initially train together for 600 hours.   The dogs come from pure blood lines in Germany.   The attentive behavior of the dogs is so impressive.  I’m so glad I got to learn about this service.   K9 Program is funded through drug money that is seized at crime scenes.
K9 Dogs  Roper Mt 008  Roper Mt 012

On Wednesday we made a drive up to Maggie Valley, about 1 1/2 hours away, but we were at least a week early for peak colors.   We will explore Caesar Head and Hendersonville in the next couple weeks.  Darn.

Our friends Kathy and Tom just returned from Vietnam where they visited their son and new grand daughter.   We watched their house and so they took us out for dinner and we had a very nice visit and got to see some more photos of that beautiful baby girl.  Tom’s brother was killed in Vietnam and he shared with me the stories and documentation of what that journey has been like and the book his sister in law wrote about that experience.   Very moving things to read.  The book is called “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. Crocker.

Furman University is going to be doing Hair, the Rock Musical and so we went to an introductory program on why Hair was so important to the musical theater world along with Showboat and Oklahoma.   All new information to us.   I hadn’t realized how many musicals we have seen over the years both live theater and movies until we started discussing them.

Appalachian History class covered Dark Corner, which I knew quite a bit about, but great new details on how the moonshine delivery and the tax collectors led to NASCAR.  Hint, it all has to do with making that old Ford car improved to outrun the tax collectors.

A second Appalachian History class covered the life of the Cherokee here in the Upstate.  The story of the Trail of Tears/Indian Removal Act sounds even more horrible every time I hear it.  How could we have done that?

Last but not least, my Senior Leadership program this month was on Advocacy.   We heard from Senior Action, the main program here in Greenville, Silver Haired Legislators, AARP, SC Office on Aging, and city, county and state representatives.   The good news is there are many, many services available to seniors in the Upstate and many are not based on financial need.   The bad news is that we still need more.  I feel like I am slowly becoming a resource for my friends as they age.  Transportation, housing, medical and financial issues will be discussed in future months.  To say that my brain was full at the end of the day is an understatement.   I just had time for a short nap and then we were off to Greenville Newcomers Cocktails R Us gathering!

As always, a couple very busy weeks.  That meant I didn’t get to do water aerobics very much but will be there today.

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Drones and more

Another busy week for Fay and Bob and STEAM Tech Teams

Our friend Kevin at Coumputer Source has loaned us a Makerbot Replicator 5, the new model, to take to Columbia for the STEM Summit.   What an easy to use printer with beautiful print quality.  Good thing to play with on this dreary wet day.

Monday night we went to the open house at Southside High School. The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has adopted this school and has ask STEAM Tech Teams to be a part of a couple of their lunch time sessions. Not a lot of people there but those that were seemed interested in the drones and the hand. We were part of the NSBE exhibit along with about 15 other exhibits. Enjoyed getting to know Ken Carter better.

Bob and his 3 junior students at Dorman HS got great news this week. The boys gave a presentation to administration to get funding for some small drones and a big drone. They were able to answer the many questions the principal had and were granted the money. But here is what is really special, the administrators had decided before the presentation that they would only fund the small drones. After they heard the presentation they changed their mind! To say we are proud of these students would be an understatement. The school also wants Bob to consider doing another group of students to print and build a drone next term. We will have some great stories coming up on how the students will be using the drone for events at their school. Bob worked hard to have the boys research lots of things like laws, liability issues, policies and it paid off. I’m really proud of him. Of course, Fay provided some valuable research to get things going so it was a team effort. Here is a link to the big drone they want to get.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone –
Easy to Fly: An intelligent flight system automatically keeps your Phantom 3 Standard in the air and under your control.
Amazing Im
ages: Take stunning 2.7K HD videos and 12 Megapixel photos with the integrated aerial camera.
Stable Footage: DJI’s advanced gimbal stabilization technology gives you movie-quality results no matter how you fly.
Enjoy the View: A live video feed gives you a 720p HD real-time view of what your camera sees right on your mobile device.
Peace of Mind: Fly up to 25 minutes on a single charge, and the Intelligent Flight Battery will automatically remind you when power is running low.

I continue to work with my student on her 3D printed hand but get lots of help from Bernie and Reid who know how to do lots of things I don’t know about. She is excited about coming to help as a volunteer at Roper Mt. Science Center next Saturday.