Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where was this on my To-Do list?

As life rolls along, sometimes we take for granted the things that have no problems. You don't think about your calendar until you lose it, you don't worry about your body until you fracture your foot, and you most certainly don't worry about your skin until you wake up with a rash.

Yes, dear internet, this morning I woke up and it seemed like my eyes didn't quite open all the way. I just attributed this to the fact that it was 7am, and stumbled into the bathroom to take my shower.

I noticed that my eyes still felt puffy, and when I washed my face my skin was itchy.

Upon stepping out to brush my teeth, I was confronted with my own red, blotchy face in the mirror - what has happened to my FACE?

Somehow I have managed to attain a rash over most of my face. I made a pit stop this morning for Benadryl, which has helped greatly. The only thing I have ever been allergic to is the skin on mangoes, so I'm not sure what caused this. The only two things I can think of are 1) the new face lotion I'm using this week, or 2) the mango sherbet I had for dessert. The only problems are 1) why wouldn't lotion problems have shown up sooner, like the day I first used it, and 2) there is no mango peel in ice cream, and my bowl of sherbet was from almost the bottom of the container - I've had no problems eating the first 2/3rds of the pint!

Either way, this wasn't something I was planning to have to deal with today. But life rolls along regardless...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Austin City Limits

Way back in January, I bought discounted early bird tickets to this year's Austin City Limits - a big music festival out in Texas. I watched the airline prices, and scored a great deal this summer on a direct flight to Austin.

And then finally, when I had almost forgotten that I made all these preparations, the day arrived! Earlier this month I attended ACL, and had a blast. I stayed with a friend of mine from college, and spent the weekend with a few thousand of other festival fans:

Even got to spend some time with another friend from undergrad:

Enjoyed myself under the wide open southern sky:

And listened to awesome music played from seven platforms distributed across the field (or mudpit, as it became by Sunday...):

Also, thanks to my host, I got to see the Texas captiol buildings and the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential museum. We ate at a tacqueria that served the fresh version of Dr. Pepper (only available in a limited area of Texas), and chowed down on a huge bag of kettle corn. Life is good!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Adventure That Wasn't

Do you see that time? That was AFTER my shower, I was actually up at 3:45am. There is no way I ever see a "3" or a "4" on the clock from the GETTING UP direction as opposed to the STILL UP direction, unless I'm planning on an adventure.

And oh, what an adventure I had planned.

I was going diving with sharks.

Sharks, I have learned, have migration patterns. In the early fall, they congregate off the New England coast. I have a scuba diving license, and I have a friend whose job it is to tag sharks, and a friend who is an underwater photographer. I had it all planned to go out with them on a charter boat with a shark cage, to spend the day swimming with sharks.

The day before the trip, I rented the gear I needed from a dive shop. Then that night I packed up my tank, B.C., regulator, wetsuit, fins, mask, snorkel, food, water, camera, towel... Gracious, it takes a lot of gear to go diving! I went to bed especially early. I was carpooling, so at 4:30am my ride pulled up and we rolled out, headed for Rhode Island. We made it there in good time, although it was drizzling. We pull up to the dock, pile out of the truck, and meet up with our boat captain.

"We're not going." he says.

Aw, man.

Turns out that some other fishing boats had already been out beyond the breakers (!!! it's 6am, how were they already out and back? guess that's fishermen for you...) and reported 12 foot swells. That's too much for safety (and comfort - hello Drammamine) of the divers. Plus, it was drizzling, so visibility wasn't that good. All in all, if the fishermen don't want to be out making money, there's no way our captain wanted to be out with expensive gear and people's lives in danger in the water.


And, to top it off, the captain was completely booked for the next several weeks - plus, it was late in the "shark season." So there were no available rescheduling dates.

So, next year we all agreed we would be back. More adventures await, just not that day and not that adventure.

I' d love to see one of these buggers up close and personal. 
In fact, I want to spear one with a tag.
It will happen next June, believe me. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009


It snowed today.

Winter has begun.

And it won't end till next April.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Winter Vegetable Hash

Vegetable Soup:

Kale and Vegetable Stir Fry:

I've got veggies coming out of my ears from this farm share!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Toasted eggplant:

Chopped fresh squash, onion, and tomato:

Sweet bell peppers:

All cooked with spices in a warm comfort food, ratatouille:



I have been excited to decorate my room as an RA. It's a step up from my old dorm room in terms of size, and it's a semi-public space because all the girls on my floors are welcome to stop by whenever I am home and have my door open. I realized that I was missing an important thing - a clock! Every room needs a clock, right? So I did a bit of searching, and look how slick my new timekeeper is:

As I was picking out the clock, simple as it is, it got me thinking. My room is all I have as my home right now. And humble as it is, it's important to me that the girls be comfortable coming to my room to talk to me. It needs to be welcoming, with plenty of room to sit and chat.

I will post pictures eventually (when I have it all clean!). But I was reminded of something I read in an article recently. It said that as you get older and accumulate material objects, the things you buy and surround yourself with make a statement about you. And I want to make sure that my home and my life reflect who I am. I want to be surrounded by things I enjoy, not unnecessary knick-knacks. I want to have fewer things, and higher quality of what I do have. I want to be stylish, but warm and welcoming. I think these principles apply to my living space, my office space, and even the clothes and shoes I own.

So I smile when I look at the jewelry rack that I made myself (my own design in cherry wood, with all my favorite dangly earrings hanging on it). I look longingly at the top shelf of my bookshelf, filled with books I have yet to read - and with satisfaction at the bottom THREE shelves full of completed class notes, textbooks, and reference books. I know that the top cabinet above my closet has three bags of tools and supplies waiting for me to tackle a new project, and that the whole floor of my closet is covered in cute shoes waiting for a night on the town with friends. My favorite cotton PJs fresh from the wash are snuggled in the bottom dresser drawer. My neatly organized desk has a handful of the best liquid ink pens, and stacks of engineering paper for studying.

I feel better when my surroundings are in order. All seems right with the world.

So good night, from me (sitting here wrapped in a down comforter from my grandmother) to you (hopefully safe and happy in your own home, wherever that may be).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tape Measure CAD

Remember that tape measure I took apart? Well, the professor approved of the choice and it is now the official object my team is going to work on all semester. The first thing we had to do was make a CAD model of it. Three people on our team of six worked on the CAD (including myself), and if I do say so we kicked butt! For reference, here is the actual tape measure:

Then look at these gorgeous models:

And the pretty drawings we made:

It's a little ridiculous how excited I was about these pretty pictures. After six years of engineering training, this is what I do - model gadgets that have been around since 1868...

Journal Papers

I am pleased to announce that my very first journal paper (I am a co-author, not the first author) has made it past the review process and been accepted for publication. In a good journal, too. (At least, I think it is - impact factor of 2.4 - whatever that means. I'm having to learn the lingo here...)

And also, another paper on which I am second author has just been submitted to a journal for review. It's too early to hear back yet, but I have high hopes!

Look at that - one of these days I may see my name in print! Miss Outlier, published author... I like it.