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what languages do I encounter

today's question is from yamamanama - What languages do you encounter in your daily life?



Less than weekly, but frequently

Also it should be noted that my almost two year old babbles constantly in a language known only to her, with a few english words sprinkled in. Entire statements, questions, arguments, and conclusions come out. We can tell by the inflection. But only 25% or so of it is decipherable.

Last week I noticed she learned the word "birthday".

My almost five year old speaks in english words, but even when I know the words, I still don't always know what she's talking about.


there was a good freakonomics podcast this week about diamonds. basically all stuff I knew about how there's no logical reason diamonds are expensive and in-demand, it was advertising that got us where we are today. but you could say I'm biased, I always thought this. I was a teenager when the stories of abuse and torture of diamond miners started breaking, but after those were investigated and possibly resolved, it lead a lot of us to ask the questions of what we all did to empower an industry to go to such unethical lengths to turn a profit. I didn't need much of an excuse to not like diamonds. So even if they are 100% nice to all those workers (which I doubt), there's still the silly history of marketing schemes giving people a false sense of value and taking their money for something totally impractical.

which leads to the podcast, touching on practicality. in the story, they interview a couple whose marriage almost dissolved over a diamond. the husband in the story is notoriously cheap, unscrewing light bulbs in the house to save money, categorizing everything as a need or a want. the wife puts up with this but doesn't totally love it. So at a charity event, they win a $7500 diamond, and then there's the controversy: the wife is thrilled she can finally have something nice and luxurious to wear, the husband says it's obvious they should just sell it and use the money to pay down debts.

luckily marc and I would have no marriage issues if this happened to us, we'd both sell it in a heartbeat! but it got me wondering if this is a problem everywhere. so hey, a poll!

if you won a diamond worth $7500...

I'd keep it and wear it
I'd sell it because I'm not a diamond fan
I'd sell it, and do the same for any luxury item I'd won

bonus poll question: if you have a significant other whose financial resources are linked to yours, do you agree on this?

we agree we'd keep it
we agree we'd sell it
we disagree

incidentally, the podcast ends with the couple having a nice discussion, admitting that they each just wanted to fill listened to, and agreeing to sell the diamond - and as proof, it's currently on ebay.

where I fall when feminists disagree

today's good question of the day is from metawidget :)
April 18: name a feminist and/or LGBTQ rights issue that reasonable feminists can disagree on that you have a strong position on and tell us about it.

I'll name several, since I'm an overachiever!

Patricia Arquette said it was time for minorities and GLBTs to fight for women, implying that we've done so much for them. Caitlin Moran said she didn't give a shit if television shows featured only white women.

I disagree with both and say we have got to be less racist and the only way to do that is to make a conscious effort to include, not DISMISS, voices of non-white races. We can't hide statements that marginalize black women by saying "oh well she didn't mean to be racist, the intent was good"... intent is nothing. It doesn't kill us to admit we have white privilege and do some damn listening.

However, I don't think feminism has made SO many racist mistakes that we should just throw it out and not call ourselves "feminist" anymore. I think it's worth saving. I think there's hope.

The definition
I do not like over-simplified flippant definitions of feminism. The simple "do you think women should be equal? then you're a feminist!" definition - doesn't do it for me.

I think that to be a feminist, you have to do more than just believe that women deserve equal treatment - you also have to admit that we're not there yet. You have to believe that women deserve some specific questions because there are oppressive, unfair things are disproportionately happening to women. today. in almost every country.

Lean In
Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In got a lot of criticism from feminists, but I'm not sure all those critics actually read the book. They're saying the book is about being a workaholic, and accused Sandberg of blaming women for their problems. I read it and it said quite the opposite to me... it just said that if you want to be ambitious and enjoy your career, don't be afraid, and don't let our screwed up world tell you "oh you're going to regret this someday when you want to have a lot of kids and sit around knitting because that's how ALL women get!" It very much blamed culture for our problems, and presented some fantastic ways to own and recognize those issues, which are the first step in squashing them.

On Disagreements, in general
And finally here's the most important one... I think feminism supports the idea that women deserve to disagree. It's what makes feminism a great thing. That ancient idea that women should be meek and quiet is over. The patriarchy-driven idea that women can only "catfight" and sneer at each other over trivial issues needs to be over. We can discuss. Being a feminist does not mean you have to support every choice that every woman makes - it means you think women deserve to talk, whether it's about feminism, or motherhood, or anything going on in our lives. And that's what these disagreements are: talking. Not a sign that our movement is a mess. A sign that our movement is loud.


friday 5: restaurants

Well heck I suggested this week's thefridayfive questions so I guess I should answer them!

1. What's your favorite restaurant in your city?
There are so many. I'll say Sumo, the hibachi grill on the east side.

2. What do you like to order there?
Ahi tuna with fried rice

3. What's your favorite appetizer, at any restaurant?
Chips and spinach dip

4. What's a restaurant dish you've tried to make at home?
I don't do the cooking at my house, but Marc has been making fried rice lately and doing a darn good job of it. We also really love fried plantains aioli sauce and yup, he took those on too! Great success!

5. What would make you refuse to go back to a restaurant?
Slow service, especially with kids, it just doesn't fly. There's a mexican restaurant on the west side that lots of people love but when we went there it took us forever to get seated, forever to get our food, and they brought the kids meals out even LATER! Always bring the kids meals out first, zomg, quiet them down and keep them out of my food!


livejournal friends, I've taken it upon myself to bring back the feminist community.

because it was good for me, in my early life, very good. and because it's obvious that there are still feminists on livejournal everywhere! heck just on my friends list, like 70 people said they were interested in feminism... I didn't even think that many people read my livejournal! so it pains me that livejournal has no feminist community. Also unlike others I'm in, I don't even think feminist was killed by generic livejournal death - I think it was ontd_feminism that did it. it got really popular, so people kinda started ignoring the classic feminism Q&A in favor of debating katy perry quotes.

so I have a slow plan to put up some shareable feminist q&a memes and see if it works.

here's today's:

Inspired by Bioethics professor Alice Dreger live tweeting her kid’s abstinence/fear-based sex education class, how was sex ed where you went to school? Why do you think comprehensive sex ed is so important?

This topic is actually quite dear to my heart.

In the early 2000s I started up this website called advicenators where people would ask for advice. the idea was that everyone was an advice columnist, you got your own page with questions you'd picked and your answers, you could pick the colors and everything.

It got really popular among young teens. when it kinda "hit big" we suddenly had 10,000 and then 20,000 and then 30,000 active users, and that's when I pulled away from the project and actually gave my site away to another coder... but that's another story.

The thing is with all the teen users, we had a lot of sex & contraceptive questions. How can you not get pregnant, could I be pregnant, "I heard that you can't get pregnant if..." sorts of things.

and it really demonstrated to me that in the absence of comprehensive sex ed, kids can and WILL make shit up. And they will take to heart whatever their friends make up. Very few humans in the history of the world ever said, "I haven't been properly educated on the details of sex, so I guess I'd just better not ever have it."

hell, now that I'm a parent I see it's the same with everything. your toddler will walk and talk. you don't teach them this. some toddlers try and walk long before they're coordinated enough to catch themselves when they fall, so they end up with very bruised foreheads. luckily the bruises heal up pretty quick and there's no permanent or life-altering experiences as a result of this trial and error.

I was taught everything I wanted to know about sex, and was still very responsible about it, I was at least 18 or 19 before I had sex and then it was only in committed long term relationships, I was on the birth control pill and using condoms. So I am living proof that sex ed does not turn every 14 year old into some kind of crazy slutbot. And even if it does, shit people, it's sex, we need to get over some of the bullshit issues we have with it.

sex ed sex ed sex ed. in public schools. for everyone. the data supports it, logic supports it, everyone deserves it.


where I'd like to travel

the question meme is producing more questions. slemslempike asked, Do you have any plans about where you'd like to travel internationally?

yes, but the plans are still vague. I posted before that I felt bad about never having traveled, like a person needs to get out in the world to gain some perspective. So we are trying to go to europe next year.

Spain is a candidate because marc and I both speak a tiny bit of spanish, not a ton but with some brushing up there's hope. Also since it's on the coast we'll get a much different lifestyle than we get in our landlocked state we live in.

Switzerland is a candidate because marc has a good friend who lives there, and having a local guide can really help out, in any city you go. I'm worried it might be a little weird to get to.

Amsterdam is a candidate because I've always wanted to go there for the museums, I've heard it's friendly and easy to get around.

I'm kinda wondering how the trains work, if we spend a week there would it take way too much time away if we took a train to see a second country? I hear these stories that make it sound like people "do europe", I don't know if that's a better option or if we should stick to a single city and emerge ourselves in one culture.

The following countries have been kicked around, but are not candidates:

England - Sorry people but I really cannot imagine this being that much different from America. I want an eye-opening world travel experience. I don't think I'll get that if I go someplace where they all speak english, that's cheating isn't it? And I work with people from England every day. If I want to talk to someone from England I can go across the aisle, so why fly across the ocean to meet more? Same with Australia.

India - Too different, I'm not ready, people said it'd be daunting. Also I want to go someplace where I can trust the food and water and I'm not so sure I'm ready for that elsewhere. I do want to go to India for sure someday but not next year.

Japan - Sounds so cool I actually don't want to go there for our first trip. We're bound to screw something up in all this, so let's not start with one of our #1 destinations.

So next steps... I might see if there's a local travel agent who could give us advice on this, or just a well-traveled person. I know how to find guidebooks but they're mostly about what to do when you're at a country, not how to plan to get there, right? Also we're getting passports this year, for sure.

I really want this to happen. I feel bad that I'm in my mid-30s and haven't been off the continent yet.


the best of @spacefem on twitter

yes it's true, I complain about people who ship their tweets to livejournal because it they never make any damn sense... links, @replies, out of context retweets. I like that livejournal has that modify friend page so you can filter out tags you don't care about, so really most of you who ship your tweets here, don't worry, I won't even notice and complain about you, I screened those posts out long ago.

but I do like twitter and do have some tweets I'd rather not lose, so here's the livejournal version of my favorite tweets of the year. based on personal opinion, and my favstar. while I do like actual blogging better, sometimes I can come up with a reasonable thought in 140 characters, right?

parenting tips...

4yo learned to apply temporary tattoos by herself. looks like she joined some kind of queen elsa biker gang. [...]

Kid hurt at birthday party, we're like RUB SOME FROSTING ON IT GET BACK IN THERE [...]

I support mothers so much I help them get drunk at their own kids bday parties [...]

office politics...

Is it gloating to have "I Told You So" trophies made up to hand out at opportune times? [...]

I thought I'd be an engineer like on Star Trek, the only part that came true was that we can't get drunk at work. [...]

Is January the month when it gets less cool to share leftover Halloween candy with your coworkers? [...]

Has anyone gone on Shark Tank with a nudist laundromat? Cause that was gonna be my big idea. [...]

When I'm a CEO I'll just have a huge desk with three buttons: schedule crunch, schedule slide, release the hounds. [...]


Anti-feminists make me feel like I'm totally missing out having never been on a sinking ship so I can flaunt my lifeboat privilege. [...]

and finally, twitter itself

When someone complains about getting stars instead of RTs on their tweets I so want to just click the star. [...]
ironphoenix asked: Do you have any thoughts or experiences to share that are particular to being a woman managing an engineering group?

Awkward hard question because I don't like to think about that much, and was really scared to write about it, so this entry might get rambly and not make tons of sense. As engineers we all tend to say "it is what it is" and move on. And I know, being a good feminist means I have to think about matters related to gender... this is why I think a lot of women engineers aren't feminists. It's a defense mechanism to pretend like we don't see it, and an engineering reflex to pretend like "people stuff" doesn't matter.

When it might matter, it's complicated.

I have several examples from throughout my career of times I did things well. A mentor once told us to always keep a file of our "successes". So I've got that folder. Deliveries we made, projects that were saved, solutions that came together nicely and got some attention. Evidence that I could be a go-to person on a few specific technical areas. And some people ones too. When I left my last group, another group lead who I thought I'd disappointed several times shot me an email that said, "I enjoyed working with you, and I don’t say that about many people."

But in a new role, with a new group, I am still scared to death that they'll think I was put in charge just because I'm a woman.

I'm one of the younger managers in engineering but not the youngest, and that makes me feel a lot better about the situation. But do have direct reports with more leadership experience than me and way more engineering experience than me. That's awkward.

And because there aren't very many other women in engineering, I just don't see any good way around that insecurity, or any way to really truly prove that I'm here based on merit except to keep proving myself. If there were more women in my group, I wouldn't represent All women in everything I do. (and a side note: I'm not the only women on my team of 20 people, there's another one, so there you go.)

So that's why we need more women in engineering... so we can be leaders, without the baggage that comes along with also being a token. This is the reason why I'm in Society of Women Engineers, and I'm very involved in the women's network at my office, and I try to go grab lunch with the other women when I can, to encourage.

But it won't change anything instantly, so I gotta fall back on the engineer "here's where we're at" mentality and just not talk about it.

As a leader, I try to put an extra emphasis on making sure everyone is heard. Making sure everybody is helping everybody else out. If you're the expert in something, it means it's time to start bringing someone else along with you when you go fix that airplane. I know we tend to gravitate towards people we have things in common with, and we also have this myth going on in STEM fields that talent come automatically, you're just born with it. Not true. Those "part of the family" relationships are what make the team smarter, so we've got to treat everyone like we have things in common with them and actually teach each other what we know, even if our first reflex is to have the expert to just do it him/herself.

As the only woman leader, I find that I have lots of allies among the men I work with. I'm not the only person who believes that it's good to be a team player, you don't have to be a woman to see the benefits there, in fact I learned a lot of those concepts from the smart men around me. So I surround myself with those allies, they're my go-to people, and we're all doing well together.

Something occurred to me recently when I was reading an article about STEM bias against women. The amount of sexist bullshit I've dealt with has dropped dramatically over the years. As a college freshman, sexism was kind of a weekly event... no one wanting to be my lab partner, male posturing, being excluded. By my senior year, we were all friends.

Likewise my first year at work, I had all kinds of examples of guys being jerks. I was immediately introduced to the social committee with the assumption that I'd want to plan the Christmas party. I was asked to attend a meeting just to take notes, when I had other much more important tasks to attend to. I had a coworker interrupt a conversation to warn the male engineers that I was "sensitive". I had someone flat out tell me that if I did well here it was because I was a woman.

That shit just doesn't happen anymore. So if anything, getting a few promotions makes my job a hell of a lot easier... that's what I need to remember. When I feel overwhelmed, or scared, I need to make sure I'm watching out for every other woman or minority in my group, or even just the outsiders who are a little different or not from here.

So if my gender did factor into my promotion, then that's the reason... I have a lens to look out for others. And that's still worth something. There's a business case and a thing I'm bringing to the table.

I can't be insecure about it, because there isn't time. there's too much other important stuff.

little girls and earrings

Josie is going to be five in a few weeks, and for her birthday she really wants her ears pierced. I know! Where does she hear about this stuff?

Preschool! the social pressures, you wouldn't believe it. She's been asking about this since she was three and saw other girls in her class with earrings.

I asked her, "Do you want earrings just because your friend sophia has them?" and she said yes. hmmm. too bad about the conformity, but points for honesty!

I had friends who had their daughters ears pierced as a baby which I was totally against. For one, a lot of them had their ears pierced so that people will "know she's a girl" and that's an unfortunate reason, why is it so important for people to know that an infant is a girl? How about we just let them be little people as long as we can, before society's tight gender boxes get around them?

Second, I am against the idea that any person can decide that any other person should get a cosmetic body modification. Leave kids the way God made them. I thought it was totally weird when people asked if I'd get a strawberry mark on top of Josie's head removed... I was told it'd probably fade away anyway, or get covered by hair. Why accept the risk of a medical procedure? And if she'd been a boy, she would not have been circumcised.

I was not going to get Josie's ear pierced unless she herself asked me for it.

Then she did.

So do I just give in? Or choose some other arbitrary age, I think my mom said I had to be 12, I don't know how she came up with that.

I think Josie is old enough that she'll take care of them herself a little bit, keep them clean, turn the posts, with a little help from us.

But then she'll be wearing earrings, forever. A rambunctious little kid on the playground, with earrings? does that sound bad?

I'm tempted to keep coming up with reasons to wait.

list of things I'd like to learn

charmedroses contributed this to my question meme:

What's something you'd really love to learn about/learn to do?

everything, really. my mother once said she could just be a professional college student, I immediately felt the same way. so this will be a list... top 10 things I'd like to learn!

1) I would like to take more business classes and/or get an MBA. right now I'm trying to make up for it by reading books. it's not the same.

2) I'd like to get my instrument pilot's license so I can fly through clouds.

3) international travel. I haven't been anywhere, haven't ever left the continent, I've been saving up money but have not started researching this and it needs to happen.

4) this year's new years resolution book learnin' topic was poverty. I haven't made tons of ground, but I'd love to learn how people can break out of those deep generational cycles of poverty, and even more what I could do to help.

5) I never learned to play dungeons and dragons, is that a need?

6) I am well versed in php, but sometimes wish my skillset were more broad when it came to coding. java would be one I'd like to crack.

7) I played some with google sketchup over christmas designing parts that could be produced with a 3d printer but I didn't get very far in it, wish I had more time to really get someplace.

8) being an electrical engineer, people are always asking me how to, like, wire their house. I have no idea. I only live in worlds that are 5V or 14V or 28V. Maybe I should expand.

9) I like sewing but could never figure out how to ease in a sleeve in a way that looks halfway decent. I really just try to not make shit with sleeves.

10) I tried, and failed, to learn to trade stocks in the stock market. I later read that trading stocks is not a good idea for individuals, a lot of people fail. so I should let it go. but every time I hear from someone who bought a few stocks and doubled their money, it makes me wonder. then I try and remind myself hey, I tried to learn, it didn't work out, give it up.

I check the price on AMD when I get tempted, I still have something like 15 shares of that one that I bought $25 each. Yeah, it's now $2.71. okay, lesson learned!

Why Star Trek is better than Star Wars

Star Trek or Star Wars?
Oh god, star trek, a million times.

What the hell is Star Wars even about? One nobody from anywhere bringing balance to the force? Using religion to fix politics? I like a good wookie as much as the next nerd but Star Wars was designed to create taglines for action figures to say, not to explore the deeper themes that science fiction is entitled to.

Star Trek, on the other hand, is about everything beautiful and right in the world. A meritocracy where humanoids of all races and species wander the galaxy in a world seemingly free of budget constraints. Where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but not in a borg kind of way. Who we are as individuals adds and compliments everyone around us, where we all know Spock will fight for what's logical and Captain Picard will wear whatever the aliens tell him to wear on his head for cermonial purposes and Admiral Janeway doesn't need to introduce herself before giving orders.

And most important... it's a place where engineers are totally cool.

Give me Star Trek any day. Never enough.


guilty pleasure books and shows

I asked my friends to ask me questions for lj inspiration this month, and am still accepting some, but thank you to hardblue for this one!

Apr 10. Do you have any guilty pleasures in terms of movies that you like to watch or books you like to read?

so the sad thing is that my guilty pleasure books I immediately forget the titles of. yes I pick them up. usually they're in the little free library by my house, I'll be in there browsing for Serious Titles. Non fiction, business or personal finance, classic literature. But instead I'll find some book whose spine is not beige, whose jacket reads like "martha loves her totally cool life and job, until a parallel universe opens and a total hottie sweeps her off her feet, is he really an ALIEN?"

and I'll say sure what the heck.

and then I never blog about it, and the titles are totally gone from memory. let's see... last one I can actually recall is the first book from the sharing knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold, I swear I did not even know they were going to hook up and be sexy, I swear.

After I read that I have to balance out with something that makes me feel smarter, but I have learned that balance is good. Better to read five smutty silly chick lit books in a month than have some smart physics-y book like "Fabric of the Cosmos" on your nightstand for eight months straight, you need those quick reads to get you reading again. My roommate taught me that... I'd pick up her overdramatic jodi picoult novels, kill it in a weekend and say "there, I read a book".

so that's books.

when it comes to the screen it's reality TV, which marc does not like but I do. bridezilla's marriage bootcamp? awesome. nanny 911? fantastic, I could judge the shit out of those families all day. anywhere that people are just generally dysfunctional and can't get along with each other because they lack basic logic or reasoning skills. I also watch some home decorating shows. I think "clean house" with neice nash has to win my award for best reality tv ever because it combined home decorating WITH dysfunctional people, what's not to love.

movies, I don't really watch because I don't ever have time, it's sad. I can't sit for two hours and watch something. so it has to be worth it. I don't have two hours to be guilty about.


critics of hippie parenting

Apparently wanted to celebrate its best of by reposting this rant against hippie parenting, by a former child of boomers who raised her in a free-love commune with a no rules mentality that ended up being very bad for her health and safety. it's a sad story, but as another friend of mine said, it's a story about neglect. not hippie parenting.

the conclusion of the story is that kids need rules and authority, and us crazy new age parents who are afraid to say "because I said so, dammit" are ruining our kids lives.

It's backlash I'm familiar with, but sick of. Yes it's true, I do not like to tell my kids "because I said so", "because I'm bigger than you", "because that's the rule, period."

this doesn't mean we have no rules. it just means I think we can reason things out together sometimes. communication is healthy, a little guidance helps, hearing what's going on in their little heads sometimes helps me be a better parent.

to me, I see two totally even and disturbing ways to teach a kid not to think:

1) you can totally neglect your kids and teach them nothing, you can let them do whatever they want without ever considering consequences and other people.

2) you can also teach them to blindly follow authority.

these are two sides of the same coin to me. why is the authority side of not thinking any better than the consequence-free side of it? that's the only thing us "freedom from rules" parents are asking, when you come down to it.

yes, sometimes when we're shopping and josie is whining about wanting me to buy her something I want to just say "no, because I have a job and you don't."

but I don't think that's fair. So I'm trying to explain to her financial responsibility, and how we go to the store to buy things on our list that we made before we went to the store, and the list is based on what we need for dinner tonight. and stores know that if they put shiny things out for us to see we'll want to buy them, but let's work on just appreciating the shiny things at the store, with the understanding that they don't all need to be in our house. so kid, if you really think you need that thing, let's get out of this tempting environment and you can make a case for it later, and the conclusion will probably be that it'll just have to go on your birthday list because that's the best we can do with toy requests, but that's something. not just, "no".

yes, I realize the world is dangerous. so I've explained what cars can do if they hit a kid. and josie figured out from that to watch for cars, hold my hand, stay close in parking lots, don't run out into the street.

the two year old doesn't get as many words in her explanations but even with her, we point out "your toys are messy, let's pick them up" and she likes to follow examples. again it's more communication, less yelling, somehow turns out okay.

more empathy, more communication, less yelling, and definitely avoiding the blind authority rules, and so far my kids are turning out okay.


20 questions talking meme

A lot of people do those memes where they ask their friends to ask them questions, and I tend to love reading those entries, so I wanted to do that too. Except I'm only going to offer 20 spots and go every other day because I like to cheat at memes and make them my own.

So anyway, pick a day and ask a question!

You can pick more than one day if you have a few questions. If a couple people pick the same day, I'll re-arrange. If I don't like your question I'll blow it off entirely, but I'll tell you first. Gosh this is starting to sound like my normal livejournal. No but seriously, thanks for doing this, and no question is too stupid, if you ask "where'd you get your dog?" and I link to the post where I just talked about my dog I will not blame you one bit for missing it, we all miss stuff. Your question can be totally stupid and reflect no evidence that you've ever read my journal or it could be random and have nothing to do with me, I do not care.

However I will make this simple by posting some entries that answer questions I see on lots of these talking memes:

will you be having more kids? (no)
why are you a feminist? (I like asking questions)
why did you become an engineer? (I thought it'd be logical)
how did you meet your husband? (road trip to defcon)

April 10 hardblue - Do you have any guilty pleasures in terms of movies that you like to watch or books you like to read?

April 12 charmedroses - What's something you'd really love to learn about/learn to do?

April 14 ironphoenix - Do you have any thoughts or experiences to share that are particular to being a woman managing an engineering group?

April 16 slemslempike - where do you want to travel?

April 18 metawidget - name a feminist and/or LGBTQ rights issue that reasonable feminists can disagree on that you have a strong position on and tell us about it.

April 20 yamamanama - What languages do you encounter in your daily life?

April 22 elainegrey - Does your field have any standards bodies/professional societies that would be possible for you to be involved in? What have been your reflections on doing so?

April 24 jume - did you do any crafting as a kid/teen? If so, how does it differ from the crafting you've done as an adult? If not, how did you get started?

April 26 lepid0ptera - What are you planning to tell your daughters about sex, and when?

April 28 teazle - What is your birth control of choice? Would you be open to a female version of a vasectomy if it wasn't massively invasive? Why did you choose your current birth control?

April 30 astrogeek01 - What is your favorite dessert (or desserts, if you can't pick just one) that you don't get to have very often, why do you like it, and why don't you get to have it often?

May 2 open

May 4 open

May 5 yamamanama - Do you have any sibs? How did they ( or their absence) affect you?

May 6 open

May 8 open

May 10 lantairvlea - What do you like to do in your (I imagine often hypothetical) spare time?

May 12 open

May 14 open

May 16 yamamanama - what if you had a time machine that could go anywhere in space and time but only worked once?

May 18 yamamanama - who are some of your favorite artists?

May 20 is my birthday, so I will talk about whatever the hell I want :)

what I'd do all day

ironphoenix asked me this question in another entry: Would you go back to non-managerial engineering if it paid the same as your current salary?

that's complicated. at first glance I thought oh god yes in a second.

then I thought about it and realized some other things.

First, last week I kinda did get to do just that. Another program needed help making some due dates, they called for all hands on deck to write reports. I did not quite get to abandon my entire post like some people did... but I was asked to step back from things, and work some extra hours, and just sit and write a report. I haven't done that in a while. It was kinda awesome. Put on headphones, look at a relatively simple system where I was familiar with all the resources, spend 2-3 hours at a time on a single task.

The week before, a lot of people were out so I got a call from the line with a troubleshooting question. I grabbed some new guys and we walked out to the airplane armed with schematics and we pointed out an issue and pressed some extra buttons just to remind ourselves how everything work and learn some things and say we'd pressed those buttons, and it was awesome. anything that involves touching the airplane is awesome.

so in a way, I haven't ever left what I was doing, I just have more of a mix now. more schedules, meetings, determining priorities, weird questions about the feasibility of off the wall ideas, fighting for resources. I like mixes, that's always been my favorite part of working where I do, that it changes every day.

I think back to 3-4 years ago and I was frustrated sometimes. I'd have an idea, but didn't know where to go with it. That's the thing about being an individual contributor... you're not really given time to fight for stuff.

within a few months of getting my first team to lead I realized that suddenly, it was part of my job to raise the flags so we could all do the right things for people. and yes that's kind of every engineers' job, but when you get to see more projects the flags are bigger. you are entitled to get the information you need to determine "is this a big deal?"

In most engineering departments there's a good technical path that will get you earning just as much money as the managers. It's usually related to having some big test or certificate under your belt. You get to be a sage up on a mountain where people just bring you documents and ideas and ask if they're good or bad. So yes I could have gone for that. But that wouldn't have been simple either. Nobody gets to go back to their old job, nobody gets to stay in the same place and not be challenged. And as engineers we wouldn't want that anyway, that's the point of what we do, you can have the "same" job 30 years and still be slammed by strange new things all the time.

I like helping people and looking for ways to develop new engineers. I like meeting new people in different departments and figuring out how we're all going to help each other. And as I said, I really like doing something different every day. So even when the job feels overwhelming and totally out of my comfort zone, that's got to by my place. I can't be comfortable and happy for very long.

I've said before that there are lots of things I like to do... sewing, writing code, reading to toddlers, getting a pedicure, etc. But when it comes to things I'd want to take on for 40+ hours a week, every week? The only thing I've found so far is my job.


hockey game

last week's highlight: a friend of our scored tickets to the hockey game, so we ran out to see the Wichita Thunder play... some team in red. details are inconsequential.

Olive was pretty happy with it! Marc taught her to say "hockey game". We bought her a hot dog, which she only ate the top of:

She loved watching the zambonis, but who doesn't? one of the zambonis had a logo on it for the Make A Wish foundation, which got me thinking, what if some kid's wish was to ride around on the zamboni? there's not a seat for a passenger though which I think is a loss. I googled, and there are some setups for this but they're a little complicated. Given how many people love zambonis I'd think they'd put more into this, make it like a parade, waving politicians or mascots on them constantly, right?

speaking of mascots I spotted the Thunder Dog in our section and took olive to go see him and josie wanted to go too, which didn't make any sense because she's still afraid of people in full costumes, yes. I guess she just didn't want to get left out? So we get up to the dog and Olive is a little stand-offish but gives him a high five, and Josie cowers behind me despite any encouragement I can offer.

actual hockey game: no idea what happened, josie got tired and whiny and wanted to go home so we left after the second period and it was tied 3-3. I got to witness one of those six goals scored, the rest of the time I was walking around with kids or just kinda zoning out.

here's a blurry family selfie!


happy easter!

here, it's a bunny hero:

Easter weekend started with Egg Hunt Saturday

1) Woke up and went to All Star Sports for their big easter egg hunt

2) Grabbed lunch, went to the zoo to get more candy

3) Little one was done. We got home, hauled her in and threw her on the couch and she didn't move.

4) I took the big sis to the easter party at my employee club, which went a little crazy when the 4-6 year olds started their easter hunt zone slightly before the "go" permission happened. it was a matter of one kid going so they all go.

My friend manages all star sports and she's learned that an egg hunt launch can be tricky. she's got all these teenagers who work for her, and she tells them just to hold the kids back and repeat "do not go on the grass yet. stay off the grass. stay back." If you say anything else, like "are you ready?" or "okay" you will lose control. Well, the employee club guardians weren't paying quite as much attention. the 0-3 age group doesn't know what's going on so they're not going to jump the gun. the 7-9 year olds apparently know the rules and understand that every kid will get candy so they know to pay attention to the most authoritative person there.

4-6 year olds are tiny anarchists.

But as I said there was lots of candy and so what if a 4:00 pm egg hunt starts at 3:58, right?

I woke up Sunday at 5 to play easter bunny around our house. After mega-candy saturday I was glad that I'd made the decision to fill a lot of our eggs with little toys, necklaces, and bunny crackers.

Church was lovely, dinner at my inlaws was very nice, there was turkey. we hid eggs for the kids there too. Olive learned to say "egg" but it sounded more like "ehch", but she got the point. Now she's asleep again and josie is playing some toys I got her in her eggs, little plastic parachute people that she's throwing off the balcony.

and I think she's got another sucker, hell, that's gotta be five for today... I'm going to go cut her off now.


how I met my husband

I love the meme people are doing where they let their friends ask them questions and blog about them, I might have to do that sometime! I like reading the stories.

But anyway, on almost everybody's questions there seems to be one for "how did you meet your SO?"

And I haven't really put that story on one livejournal post, mostly because it's all on livejournal, I started livejournal in 2002 and met my husband in 2005. The rise of our relationship is all on here, right after the rise (and fall) of a few others. But my friends list now is quite different than it was 10 years ago, and I can't just send people back to read those entries because it gets more spread out and complicated in real time. And it's not that wholesome a story, it wasn't love at first sight, once we were together I wasn't instantly 100% sure he was the one. It was during a pretty crazy time of my life... well, let me just start in...

Short version: I like to say we met on a road trip to a hacker conference.

Longer version: Read more...Collapse )


Wow, mega drama going on over at the invite your friends to livejournal announcement.

I will say a few things.

First, it does reek of despiration when a website tries to do a "revival" and bring back old times, without even talking about anything they're changing to be a valuable resource to people. I found it super creepy a few years ago to find that livejournal basically killed the suggestions community, we used to be able to post up pretty much anything, even if it was moderated. Now it's not only moderated but nothing is allowed to show up apparently. Trust me there's gotta be no shortage of suggestions.

Every website's user base will accuse its owners of not listening. Facebook, always... but people still use it! Etsy, oh man it's toxic over in those forums... but they continue to grow.

Shockingly I managed to update the design this year and people liked what I did. But even on my own website, there's been plenty of times when I redesigned and everyone hated it because "stuff moved".

It's like the one true constant of having a user base. They WILL hate changes.

And one downfall we have as users... there's no evidence to suggest that website companies who ignore users lose out in the end. Lots of them do great.

Livejournal has done a few good things. I like the friends page layout now. I am also really happy that they introduced scheduled posts a few years back... I might have bailed if not for that. So I give them credit.

People launched protests movement over the navigation bars at the top of journals. They really were not that bad.

What is missing, in my opinion, is a vision. What are livejournal's plans? What are they rolling out? When will we have responsive designs for our journals? Where does livejournal see its nitch? We don't hear from them very often, which contributes to the "lj is dying" vibe that I managed to fight off myself this year with a few good additions to my friends list.

This place is weird... but not doomed.

I did invite two friends to livejournal, that's the daily limit for their new invite tool, and it's a completely stupid limit because they don't even tell you about it. The next day I couldn't remember who I'd already invited, so I'm just not going to use that tool anymore. I can't tell if livejournal is interested in that feedback or not. And that's typical of the weirdness. We see a glimmer of development, then they go back in the closet and we're on our own.

Bear with them people, that's my recommendation. Don't let the lj haters get you down.
my good friend tabloidscully shared this a few days ago, and I wholeheartedly agree:

April Fool's is coming up. I like a good joke as much as the next. But I'm also hoping that this year, my friend's list won't be inundated with people posting "jokes" that poke fun at really harmful, painful experiences. This includes, but is not limited to: fake pregnancy tests, images doctored to look like someone was a victim of domestic violence, claiming to have committed a crime when they didn't, experienced a crime that didn't take place or people posting about people dying when they haven't. If it's on this list, it's become some ridiculous fool on my friend's list at some point or another has ACTUALLY done this.

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April 2015


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