Monthly Archives: September 2006

recharge on the whole buy vs. make

I thought this was pretty interesting:

a seattle dancer wears the same little brown dress for a year and then after her project is over she commits to wearing only handmade and recycled clothing for a year.

it really reminds me of all the sewing I have to do in order to maintain my buy vs. make concept. and it helped me to make an adult decision regarding this coming weekend: some of my crafty girlfriends and I are planning to drive up to warrensburg for the worlds largest garage sale. Afterwards I wasn’t sure if I should drive home or if I should stay in albany. the idea of an 11 hour driving weekend for just 24 hours of garage saleing seems so silly, but after reading all of the little brown dress journal I think I’ll go home sat. night and on sunday will clean my room and sew a skirt. I have an office party to go on 10/7 and I’d love to have something new and nice to wear. and with all the work I’ve been doing I’ve been way off track on the goals of keeping my house clean and sewing my new clothes. hopefully I’ll be able to get with the program on sunday and get some stuff done!

in other craftastic and recycled clothing news, swap-o-rama-rama looks like an all around good time. I’m hoping to make it to the next NYC event on 10/8. I love it!

Big Red Balls of Sun

there are two reasons why it’s nice to get to work at 6 or 6:30 in the morning:

1. my regular 45 min. or 1 hour of goofing off gets packed in before the day starts, and

2. the sunrise over edison is awfully pretty.

things I feel strongly about

a list of things I feel strongly about, and therefore, may cause me to soapbox about willy nilly:

  • alternative fuels
  • feminism
  • sustainable food sources
  • community
  • reduction of consumerism
  • self-sufficiency within the framework of todays american culture
  • energy efficiency
  • the value of popular culture
  • transportation issues
  • classism and issues of structural violence

my dorkiest story from high school

this NYTimes science article about the discovery of what lucy’s daughter would be, if, you know, lucy had a daughter, (I’m talking about australopithecines here, fyi) reminded me of the year that ruth and I were on Nisk-Art and planned to go to a yearbook and literary magazine conference in NYC. Ruth was into anthropology and made me read a book about the discovery of Lucy (I’m pretty sure it was this book. which I totally did (it was my first non-fiction book for pleasure, and it was a good one to start with!). And then we went to the conference in NYC and totally cut one of the afternoon sessions and went to the museum of natural history, and we saw [a replica of] LUCY’S BONES.

see? how totally dorky is that? this is way dorkier than us learning to spell Tlahuizcowpanticutli. Totally way dorkier.


Excitement is being asked to choose a dinner location for a group of out-of-town work colleagues close to the office, even though you’re not really a local, and finding out that the thai restaurant you’ve picked and said was “nice” is not the one you’ve brought everyone to at all. At least the one we did end up at was very wonderful, with a menu in both thai and english and really fantastic food. not so much with the ambiance, though the napkins were cloth. my coworkers took a photo with their camera phone and promised to reciprocate with an equally exciting dining experience the next time I was in baltimore. heck! I bet that photo makes it into a presentation sometime.

in other news, what are the odds that me having thai food 3x in 4 days contributed to the coup in thailand? when a butterfly flaps its wings, that’s what I say. anyone got any special food binge requests for me?

“But how could the Science Guy fail us like this, Pluto?”

I was looking up Bill Nye on wikipedia and learned that he agrees with the Pluto name and status change. Oh, Bill. Pluto and I are both very sad to hear that.

in more cheerful news, happy international talk-like-a-pirate day!

the promotion came through.

I’m now officially a project engineer/assistant project manager. Which means I get to order new business cards – which makes set #4 that I’ll have ordered in the 1 1/2 years I’ve been here. So far I have had cards for the mahwah office, for the edison office, and updated cards with my PE on them. I’m so glad I just put “engineer” on my notepads! I’d hate to waste them.

of course, now my coworkers are trying to figure out the best way to let the disgruntled senior engineers in the other office know about my promotion. you know, just to shake some cages and rattle some chains. I think I’ll just call up my buddy and let HIM know. he’s a chatter, he’ll probably spread the word pretty nicely. I feel so awkward about it though! there are people who have been working for much longer than I have, and who are not being advanced like me. partly it’s because I’m good at promoting myself and have an advanced degree and a license, but it is still a little lopsided. What can you do? I must remind myself that I worked hard to get this promotion, even if it did seem to go by “all in a days work.”

the only appropriate sept. 11th post I can think of.

>>> “DanAaron” 09/11/01 09:35AM >>>

hey there, can you see the smoke?

Continue reading

Ran Run

Team Lois made a great showing today at the Koman 5K. Not only did we all finish in very fast time (Delia with about 34 min, me with about 36 min, and michelle with about 38 min and that’s counting running in a skirt and carrying a bag and walking because you know, she didn’t really plan on running today), but I bet we raised a bunch of cash for the Cause. Over $1,000, actually.

THANK YOU, friends; thank you so very much for making this possible.

The event was wild, too. I knew it was a big deal but there really was something empowering and emotional about seeing thousands and thousands of people walking and running together. I wanted to do this 5K because it gave me something to train for, and I also wanted a way to support Michelle’s mom. She’s a runner, only she’s not able to run right now because she’s undergoing treatment for her cancer. When I showed up today to run I was so impressed by every one else who turned out. I’m so glad I stumbled onto something so much bigger than myself.

you may know that I find arlen specter to be one of the most frustrating senators out there, because half the time he’s being ridiculous and political and not doing what *I* think should be done, and then he’ll go and say something like this, which I am totally behind:

On the strictly personal level, I have noted the declaration by President Nixon in 1970 when he declared war on cancer. Had that war been pursued with the same diligence we pursue other wars, I believe cancer would long ago have been cured. Without unduly dwelling on my own situation with Hodgkin’s, a year of chemotherapy, I think had the research been fulfilled, I would have been spared that malady.

speaking to the senate on July 17 2006.

cancer and heart disease are two diseases that I feel very strongly we should have had some movement on. if it takes an informed and active populace to get things done, then well, that’s what we’ll do. Like Arlen says: there is a WAR ON CANCER. and it seems to be going about as well as some other current wars that shall remain nameless. And we really do know, generally, why people have heart attacks: yet people are still dying — and often it comes as a surprise. this is a particular soapbox of mine and I don’t want to get to riled up, but y’all: do what you can to make these things a priority. at some point we have to start fighting to learn how to keep people alive. isn’t that a good way for america to spend her money?

two things

1. updated the insight page with mileage data for the last two months.

2. b/c the susan koman 5K is on sunday, I had to make sure I could run 5K. I’ve been doing really well and my knee is behaving like a real superstar! this morning I ran 5K at the gym in about 34 min. That’s a pretty reasonable speed, but I really don’t think I’ll hit that when I’m running outside, you know, up and down hills. But I will finish the run!

csa week 12

I was on vacation last wednesday so I didn’t get a csa share. While I do wonder what I missed, it’s ok sometimes to not get a zillion veggies every wednesday. I’ll get by.

So, this week:


mystery cabbagey food, (so! many!) tomatoes, potatoes, hot peppers, corn, water cress, green peppers, purple and white eggplant, beans, radishes.

by mystery cabbagey food, I mean:

which tastes like cabbage if I eat it raw. any idea what it is?

week 7: green pepper
week 8: potatoes, beets, radishes, hot peppers, chard
week 9: cubanelle peppers, potatoes, kohlrabi stems?
week 10: beans, cubanelle peppers, green peppers, hot peppers, little onions?, cabbage
week 11: none – no pickup

I’d made the eggplant from week 8 and 10 and 11 into baba ganoush for the beach, and took with me the corn and tomatoes.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have no idea how the radish and peppers from previous weeks are doing. I need to check that out.

the cabbage I have plans for an egg noodle gulash sounding dish that should be really good with some brats. I had to pitch some potatoes b/c they’d rotted (weird!) and I am thinking that the kohlrabi stems are more of the mystery cabbage flavored food that I got so much of this week.

I’d like to say that I’ll spend sunday evening cooking like crazy, but then, I don’t want to make any bets. we’ll see what happens. if I did, I’d make that cabbage thing, an eggplant dish to properly display the pretty white eggplant, and some of that tasty spicy cubanelle-feta spread. maybe a cornbread with real corn in it and some jalepenos. and DEFINITELY something with those beans. man! I have 2 bags, and I tossed another one this week.

rains, pours.

after all that rumination I did about my job, and after being so successful and being told about the raise/promotion, I accidentally almost got another job on monday:

there is an annual labor day street fair in my town and the hackensack riverkeeper had a booth. I stopped by to introduced myself because I want to help out – I mean, I am cleaning up the environment right now, but it’s for these industrial clients, mostly, not for the Common Good. I want to help the people! and the earth! I’ve been thinking about volunteering with a local eco/community organization. I said that I am an environmental engineer and next thing I know I’m talking to The Riverkeeper. He started to tell me all about the organization and who does what and then about how he’s looking for a policy person and as soon as he gets funding he’ll be hiring and I was like WHOA NELLIE! and I told him that I would LOVE to volunteer with the organization where ever I can fit in for now and that sustainability and policy and wetlands are, like, my VERY FAVORITE THINGS. I’m going to call them this week and see if I can stop by soon to see what they’re working on and how I can help.

it’s not just me, either – my friend kathleen was with me and as we walked away she said “that guy was going to offer you a job!”  seriously, in every angle of your life: when you’re confident everyone wants to work with you or be with you.  Amazing!

so THIS is what it means to be a valued employee.

It’s a funny situation I find myself in lately: I do, actually, enjoy my job. it’s challenging in a way my old job never was. (the old job was most challenging in situations like: BITING TONGUE so as not to offend boss with direct and powerful honesty.) The work is totally different and not necessarily at all what I thought I’d be doing with myself (esp. after that sustainability masters) but it IS effective and interesting and enjoyable. I love my coworkers. I love my fancy new notepads with my name and P.E. on them. And most amazing, I see potential here for real career development and growth. When does THAT happen? I see a corporate ladder that is scaleable, and I see a consulting company that isn’t half bad. they’ve even noticed that there aren’t many women in the board rooms. they’re giving me training, and they value me as an employee and a colleague. It’s pretty amazing.

The funny situation is that I don’t really know what to do with myself. I still have not committed myself 110% to this career path, and I guess that’s just fine. I mean, I still want to succeed, and I’m not unhappy at all, but I am in a very weird place where my employer really likes me, I like them just fine, I’m doing a darn good job and am recognized for it, and I just don’t know how much excitement to expect. I’m back at that “fun hobby or career path” dilemma – I heart alternative fuels and would love to call up mike bloomberg and tell him that in order to solve potential blackouts before they occur he should make like Aurora and outlaw the incandescent bulb. but I just don’t know where to go with that.

And then I find out that I’m getting a promotion and the seemingly wildly huge raise in the 10s of percents. Which is, honestly, pretty great in an industry that doesn’t refer to annual raises that are 3 or 4% as “standard of living” increases, even though they are obviously NOT a real raise, but just keeping up with inflation. Suddenly it seems like I really MIGHT be on the right track, and that maybe I am doing a very good job, and maybe this IS one of those things that I’m decent at.

I think that maybe because I’m *not* unhappy here I find myself questioning if I’m trying hard enough to get what I want. When you’re unhappy the best path is much easier to find. it’s when you’re satisfied that you really have to look around to decide what you want. And then there is that whole gifted child thing, where I want badly to do well, but not badly enough to actually work at it, and if something seems like it’ll be hard I have to talk myself into going through with it because the fear of failure is hard to overcome. Ironically, I will say that the older I get the less afraid I am of failing. it might be that I am more secure in my abilities, but it might be that I am more confident because I know I’m good at lots of things.

anyway. I guess I’m doing something right, despite being out of the office for 7 days this month. maybe someone noticed all the late nights I’ve been putting in? maybe they haven’t noticed how I am very strict about comping those late nights as vacation time? whatever – I’ll take it!

new books posts

I updated my reading list for the last 6 months – if you’re interested, it’s easiest to find them all here. There’s not a lot of details about my impressions, so by all means if there are any curious readers out there leave a comment and I’ll get into more detail.

I have to admit, in July I was a little concerned that I’d never achieve my general goal of 100 books/year. but now that I see I’m up to 55 at the end of august, and knowing that I’ve already got two down this month, maybe it’s not hopeless! Though I was up by 4 books comparatively in August 2005.

August 2006 Books

44. The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery – Vol. 1, 1889-1910
45. The Unpleasantness of the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers
46. Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
47. The Fiver Red Herrings by Dorothy Sayers
48. Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers
49. Murder Must Advertize by Dorothy Sayers
50. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
51. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
52. Lord Peter (short stories) by Dorothy Sayers
53. Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
54. Thrones, Dominations by Dorothy Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh
55. Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Finished up the Lord Peter novels, which I enjoyed very very much. Excellent beach reading for my two trips there!

camping part two!

a lovely time was held by the core of the usual gang of assateague campers. mariss, kelly, ruthie and I drove down sat. and stayed over at dad and maggie’s site (such brilliant hospitality!) and then we moved over to our very own sites on sunday. it didn’t rain until wednesday night, and we were leaving on thursday anyway, so the good behavior of the clouds in quitting the drizzle when we woke up long enough to pack up camp was pretty wonderful.

in addition, there were several amazing innovations that made their appearance this year in assateague, including:

the campfire cooking tripod that someone had left by their firepit and which dad had joyfully scavenged for us because he thought “well, they really seem to love cooking over an open fire!”

ruthie, kelly, john, mariss

it created such gorgeous results as you may see here:

illustration of whole new world of campfire cooking

have you ever? seen? such amazingly grilled hotdogs? beautiful.

also pictured above is night two of our pirated wood. we didn’t buy any wood this trip and I think we had fires all four official nights we were there! it was great – I hate buying wood. it pays like gangbusters to get to assateague, stay overnight in your parent’s 5th wheel, and to pirate wood from all vacated campsites in the vicinity before the camp hosts or the other campers get a chance to do so. actually, someone drove by while we carried huge armloads of wood and yelled “PIRATES!” and I could only toss my head (roguishly) and grin in (bloodthirsty) acknowledgement because my arms were hella full of my plunders.

the other huge innovation was this magnificent shade canopy:

illustration of whole new world of shade technology

it’s a terrible dismal photo but you get the gist: with this beautiful canopy we were able to dawdle over breakfast without feeling a desperate need to lather up with sunblock and dash to the beach to avoid the hot hot sunrays. it was so luxurious. we took it down on wednesday in anticipation of the rain and even though it was cloudy and post-breakfast, I missed it badly.

lovely time had, regardless of my short workfest at the local starbucks. what is it about the starbucks that makes tourists feel so comfortable? I’m not talking about me here. I was there as a displaced businessperson, not a tourist. and oh, lordy. how about 1 pound of alaskan king crab legs for $9? waterman’s, you had me at all you eat crabs, but your half price appetizer and two dollar bloody mary’s were just what the doctor ordered this trip. amazing. even if king crab is almost too hedonistic for me to eat. so much meat, and so little work! it’s ridiculous! almost shameful!

and I’m back to work today, in what might be the best planned return from vacation ever. happiness is returning for one day to a pushed back deadline and a three-day weekend. oh, and the brilliant photo I took of myself on friday night when I got home, I added it to the last entry. ha!