Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. To my Canadian readers, yes, we celebrated in October too. I like this whole double holiday thing! To my American readers, yes, Canadians celebrate it in October, not now. There are advantages to living in a semi-foreign country. Now if only I could get double work holidays I'd be set.

Things I am particularly thankful for this year:
Great friends.
New little babies : Natasha, Victoria, Lauren and the rest.
Having had the chance to know some fantastic people who aren't with us anymore.
Family. No matter how far apart we are, we're still family. Ohana.
New friends. Ohana once again guys, you know who you are!
Quiet time at home.
Loud Saturday nights at home.
Laughing until you can't breathe anymore.
My health (such as it is.... more on that later)
Learning. Sometimes teaching myself, sometimes in classes. On many subjects.
The tree outside our windows in the courtyard.
Fresh blankets from the dryer.
Resettable alarm clocks.

But how've we been?
Busy. Typical answer, I know, but our life is hectic. We literally don't know what to do when we're not running around like chickens with our heads cut off. As for the reference to my health above, I've been having a rough go of it. I've been fighting a migrane for 4+ weeks. I was fighting a nasty systemic infection and started a new antibiotic for it on Nov. 14th. Finished on the 20th. Seemed to have worked (fingers crossed). On Tuesday the 23rd, I broke out in full body hives. Seriously not good. Call my Dr. She's not in today. Decide this can't wait and drive 50 miles to my old Dr, who takes walk-ins. Discover that apparently I'm allergic to the antibiotic that I finished taking 3 days ago! Worked for the infection, just not for the rest of me I guess. Now I'm doped up on serious anithistamines, but that's a concern as they make my asthma worse. Can't win for losing I guess, but overall I'll take the hives to be rid of the infection. I can no longer feel my pulse with my eyeballs. This is good. So, in summary, not great, itchy head to toe, but going to survive.

I should run. Remember to be thankful for the things in your life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Quote of the Day....

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things, they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." -- Apple Computer commercial "Think Different"

I think this quote expresses some of what I was trying so ineloquently to express in my post on human spaceflight.

Welcome Natasha

Well, my little niece Natasha made her entrance in style at 3:30 am on November 10th. Welcome to the world little one and know you are loved. I can't wait until we can get home to see you and I'm working hard on your Noah's Sub... I'm close to finished with the current page! I'll post links to photos below....

Auntie Heather and Uncle Brian.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Time for another update... Warning: this one is long!

Life is hectic but good. We’re anxiously awaiting the birth of our new little niece or nephew who should make his/her entrance any day now. I can’t wait ‘til we get to go home to see her/him. I spent Friday night helping a friend make a pumpkin costume for her little 4 month old daughter. It was so much fun, and turned out well if I do say so myself.

We’ve gotten extremely busy with the gaming. A whole load of scenarios (over 35) retire at the end of the year. The new group that has started since September has decided that they want to get them ALL done. Yep, ALL of them. They are seriously hard core. We’re currently running one mod on Thursday nights and an average of 3 rounds on Saturdays. We did a bit of a Hallowe'en theme for Saturday and I had fun making little 'coffin cakes' and a whole graveyard scene as warning to the guys to play well! It’s a lot of fun, but quite a bit of work too. Brian’s been so good about prepping them all. As well, Brian is now writing for a new region, Bonemarch. It’s going to be a blast and they’d like him to write several mods so he’s having a lot of fun with it. The region isn’t really developed yet so he’s got a lot of freedom in how he decided to set things up. The ‘real life’ area for Bonemarch is Greece, so I think we might just have to do a little ‘road trip’ for a premier. Anyone else coming? And as for our hardcore gamers, they are awesome people too. We have a huge table that I love and bought a while ago. I've been slowly buying my good chairs two at a time to go with it since they're expensive. With the number of people we've been having out we've been borrowing chairs from neighbours etc. but getting by. I bought two more 'good chairs' recently and that helped. Well, the guys showed up on Saturday with two more chairs as a thank you for us hosting/running all the time. Awww... they are so awesome. You didn't have to guys, but thank you!

We start our sign language course tonight at the library. I’m sure it will all be review for Brian, but I’m hoping he remembers how much he enjoyed it. If he can spend the time now learning and improving, all the better for when he can work if he chooses to go into translation. I’m excited about it but I’m stuck working back in Inwood today and having to face that 50 mile drive with Long Island traffic in order to get home, eat and rush to class. It does NOT sound fun. Oh well, it’s just this once. I shouldn’t be back to Inwood for a while after this week .

I haven’t had much time for reading lately, but I did pick up the new David Weber book yesterday at the bookstore. It’s horrible space opera but I can’t seem to put them down! Mostly when I have down time I’ve been working on the cross-stitch for James and Alison (and baby to be!). I’m almost 3/8 finished. Doesn’t seem like a lot until you look at it and see just how much I’ve done. And the good news is that at least half of what remains to be done should stitch up really quickly! My digital camera is broken so I’ll have to borrow one from work again to get an updated photo posted to And I have to look at buying a new digital camera. It really sucks that Sony wants almost as much to “try” to fix my existing one as it will cost to buy a new one. Now I have to decide if I get another Sony (since I have the memory cards) or if I go with something else that hopefully won’t break on me! I love the camera itself, so I'm not adverse to another Sony, just worried about getting burned again.

The US Presidential Election is tomorrow. In some respects, I can’t wait for it to be over and done with. Campaigning here goes on FOREVER. Seriously folks, it started over a year ago. Whether you’re pro-Kerry or pro-Bush, you have to be sick of it by now. Those who know me know my political leanings, and I don’t feel like ranting about them here right now, but I’ve got my fingers crossed. I hope it’s a clear, decisive victory tomorrow too. I really don’t want to see another case of president by appointment.

Back to work for me! I’m ‘observing’ training today, which means sitting here staring at a fuzzy grey screen for hours while the trainee works the microscope. I thought this test was the worst thing possible I could be asked to do at work. I was wrong. It’s much worse to have to watch someone else do it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

To Infinity and Beyond!

They made it. Again. The first flight attempt to claim the X-prize was today, a prize to encourage the development of a reusable, privately built spaceship. Yes, spaceship! Now, those who know me know I’ve been a lifelong scifi junkie. I’m too young to remember the Apollo era, or Neil Armstrong. I VIVIDLY remember the Challenger explosion. I was in 6th grade, and all I wanted was to be an astronaut (or a marine biologist….). When the Challenger exploded, did it make me give up my dreams of being an astronaut? Did it scare me away? No. It made me more proud of the astronauts who were willing to risk everything in an attempt to reach space. Something so immensely important to 12 year old me that I considered it worth dying for. It did scare a LOT of people, and unfortunately pushed the space program so far back that up until a couple of years ago I seriously doubted that anyone would set foot on the moon in my lifetime. In my lifetime. And that was a sad thought. But now, we’ve got a corporation already formed to offer the first ‘tourist’ trips to space. Sign me up! I WANT TO GO TO SPACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I sat at my desk for the whole morning watching the footage streamed live. Truthfully, they should probably dock me a half day’s pay since I really didn’t get ANY work done. I was just glued to my screen. I cheered when they announced the flight was successful. Cheered. Out loud. And didn’t care that the new guy must now firmly believe I am certifiable. He had to find out sometime. Turns out he’s a space buff too. :) When SpaceShipOne started to roll, all I could think of was “Oh no, no, let him be alright. If this fails, it will be the end of private spaceflight. We’ll never get to space.” Was I concerned for Mr. Melvill? Absolutely. But he knew the risks and felt this was hands down worth them. I was more concerned for humanity as a whole. And particularly for ‘Western civilization’.

We’ve lost the burning desire to invent, to investigate. I work in a scientific field. Every week at work I hear someone commenting on all ‘us foreigners’ coming and taking all the good science jobs. In my first group at my current company, the only ‘native’ American in a group of 8 was our boss. Who freely admits he was only a mediocre chemist. (But he was a great boss.) There’s a good reason for the lack of trained scientists here. In school, science is treated as third rate. You’d never get the same response to a math bowl as you did for the football game. It isn’t encouraged. Granted it’s not as much fun to watch either, but it IS deserving of support. At the very least from the school administration. If you want money to buy better equipment for a science lab, there are fifty gazillion hoops to go through and ‘justifications’ required. Football team needs a new $20,000 training push dummy thing-a-ma-bob? ‘Here you go’. The reaction I got at my highschool graduation really stuck with me. When the teacher, who’d known me for several years at this point, went to announce that I was going into mining engineering at university he choked. Looked at me in shock. And took two tries before he could actually announce it. North America, and the US in particular, seems to have lost sight of what inspires people to go into research and the sciences in general. I don't know how it can be taught, other than by example, but someone smarter than me needs to find a way. I can’t clearly articulate how it makes me feel when I *GET* something at work that’s been driving me nuts for weeks. A good friend and non-scientist says she thinks it’s like doing a puzzle without a box for me. I love to get in there and figure it out. Work at it. I enjoy being a little confused, being challenged, and then having that ‘eureka’ moment when it all comes together and makes sense. We need to share the joy of discovery with every child we encounter. And maybe, just maybe, we'll end up with a smarter generation coming after us.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Blessings of a pet…

In the midst of a hectic day at work I got a call from Brian today. “Do you need a laugh?” Did I ever. Turns out my silly cat, with the partly grown out fur (up to almost 3 inches for the first time in a long time!) has been out on our balcony all day. But what’s so funny about this, you ask? It’s pouring rain. It’s been raining all day. It was raining when I let him out onto the balcony before leaving for work this morning. Truthfully, I didn’t expect him to go when I opened the screen door for him. I even made sure Brian was awake and aware that the cat was on the balcony and would probably want inside soon. So now, as I sit here trying to concentrate on the reports I have to get out today, all I can think of is this image of a sopping wet cat. Contentedly curled up on the balcony in the pouring rain.

Here’s to you Percy!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Happiness in life....

I had a reminder recently, with the anniversary of the passing of a friend, to be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives. I think that often we spend so much time focusing on ‘the next ...’ that we forget to stop and look around ourselves. At what’s really present in our lives already. I am grateful that I have such good friends, who know I care even if it’s been months since I’ve taken the time to write. I am grateful for my health, in whatever shape it may be. I am grateful I have a job I like, and one where the world won’t end if I spend 5 extra minutes snuggling up to Brian in the morning. Mostly, I’m thankful that at the end of the day, I can say I am content with my life. I like my life. And it’s taken a long time to get here.

May each of you find your contentment in any way you can.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Stupid selfish immature children I work with.....

Well, here I am at work, twiddling my fingers again. I work with a bunch of spoiled brats. We have 5 scientists currently in our lab. 5. We don't go through a lot of consumable supplies but there are some we need to have here everyday. Like liquid nitrogen. Which comes in these giant huge tanks that will normally last us for about 3-4 weeks. And you have to go to the tank itself to get any. I purposely always order us two tanks so we should always have a spare about in case someone needs a lot of it for an experiment. It's one thing we can't really just drive to the other lab and pick up. Do you think any of them can be bothered to order a replacement tank when they finish one? Or even tell me, with the full knowledge that I can order it online and don't mind doing so for them? Yes, you guessed it, we're completely out. And I've got a rush project (aren't they all?) that needs it. And I get to be the one to call the VP and tell him that I won't be able to start it until probably Monday, possibly Friday afternoon. Oh, and this is my last Friday off for the summer with summer hours. And I've certainly put in my hours to deserve it! All because I work with a bunch of selfish children.


So I go hunting to find the culprit... who tells me, yeah, he used the last of it over a week ago but wasn't worried since he wouldn't need any more for atleast a month so he hadn't done anything about it...

*must resist urge to throttle co-worker*
*must resist urge to throttle co-worker*
*must resist urge to throttle co-worker*
*must resist urge to throttle co-worker*

Okay, I think I have it under control now...

Can you tell this has been happening a lot lately at work? Our admin characterized it exactly right in calling them selfish children. They'll look out for themselves and only themselves and expect their supplies to magically be there when they need them. Never mind the fact that we're each responsible for replacement ordering when using up anything. Or the fact I've made it quite clear I don't mind doing the ordering for anyone who wants since I'm the only one trained on the internet-ordering system. I even keep a logbook on my desk. All they have to do is come and write it in the book and I'll order it.

Okay, rant over...

Other than that life is good. We're still trying to figure out if we're going to make the New York Ren. Faire this year, we're running out of weekends to do it! We have confirmed plans for the Lakewood one (with real jousting! :) ) and tentative plans for the Pennsylvannia one. We really haven't done many of them this summer, but we have done a lot of gaming instead. And my skin with it's lack of sunburns is grateful too. You'd think a parasol and 40 sunscreen would be enough, but you'd be wrong. Oh well, it's a choice. And I choose not to get sunburns if I can help it, but if there's nothing else I can do (dressing in full cover in 35C heat is NOT an option) then I have to decide if I'm willing to simply not go out. And I'm not. I like to get out and enjoy summer while I can since I spend so much of it inside at work.

So that's my final thought for this post,
Go outside and enjoy life!

Monday, August 23, 2004

What a wonderful weekend!

We spent yesterday in the city just hanging out with a friend (Hi Hayden!), talking and enjoying the beautiful weather. It was one of the most relaxing weekends I’ve had in a looooooong time. It was nice to not have to be anywhere at a specific time or do anything we didn’t want to do. The end of summer is coming, so Idon’t know how many more of them we’ll get. My last long weekend for summer hours is coming up (boo!) and so far we have no specific plans for it. I’m thinking if the forecast is decent, I’ll keep it that way. If not we’ll try to organize a game or two, and have fun doing that. We ran a LONG module on Saturday (12 hours, ouch!) and had a great time. All the more so when it started to pour down rain and we realized we couldn’t have done much outside anyways. It still amazes me the ferocity of some of the storms we get here. I know it shouldn’t, but it does. And this one didn’t come off the ocean, it came from upstate. I did get some cross-stitch done but didn’t photograph it. That’ll come soon though.

My parents came for a visit the weekend before and we had a really good visit. They stayed at the Wading River State Park Campground, and it was really nice. We toured eastern Suffolk County, which we have never made the time to do before. I’m going to have to take time to go hit the farmstands for more peaches this weekend! There is such a difference between the two ends of the islands, it’s like going to a different place altogether. I knew intellectually there were farms out east of here but hadn’t realized how dramatic the change was. I loved it and am now wondering just how long a commute I could handle… hmmm… unfortunately the answer I keep coming up with is not long enough!

My best friend in highschool, Mikey Butcher, is now a daddy for the second time. Little Lauren Elizabeth arrived on the 21st of August. She and mom are both doing well. Welcome to the world little one!

Thanks James for the Anniversary wishes, and same to you guys for last week! Three years... guess I really DO need to get my butt in gear on that cross-stitch. I'll post a photo soon at but for now, know it's past the 1/4 complete stage!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Another emergency project! Not again!

As if life isn't hectic enough already. I'm working a lot of overtime on a big project at work (#$!%!#$!#$%$^%!#$! FDA, why do they always want lots of rush stuff in the summer?) My parents are arriving for a visit on Friday, which I'm really excited about but have a lot of things I'd like to do to my place before they arrive. And then, at 4:30 last night, I got handed another emergency project with even higher priority than the 'current big emergency'. Fun, huh? The only reason I have time for this is I'm waiting for one of the 'big strong guys' I work with (notice that's in quotes!) to arrive so I can get them to change over some tubing connections I don't have the shoulder strength for. Yea! No big plans for the weekend as I'm not sure what my parents will want to do. I assume the usual trip into the city (New York City) which should be interesting as the security is getting tighter and tighter. I noticed last time we were there that I don't even really consciously notice the police/National Guardsmen with automatic rifles anymore. I don't think I like that. I don't feel particularly unsafe going into the city, but on the otherhand, I don't plan to tempt fate and will stay happily out here on Long Island during the Republican National Convention. Better safe than sorry as they say. On that note, I think I hear Scott, so I should run.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

First Post

Well, here I am sitting at work bored to death waiting for Brian to come pick me up. The stupid #@%#!#@ instrument has gone down, again. I'm floating around online looking for something to do when I think to check out my friend Mike's blog ( And decide I can do that, and maybe it will help family feel more connected to our lives if they can see the day to day stuff we do. It's our wedding anniversary and we've made plans to go out tonight so he's driven me to Inwood so he can have the car for the day. So now I'm stuck, and his cellphone is off. Oh, well! Life has been busy for us lately. Work is insanely busy, as usual for the summer, but we just had a new drug approved last week, so I guess it's all worthwhile. We're still gaming most weekends as much as we can. Brian's working on a few new mod ideas so we'll see where they go. Back to the grind for me, I guess!