Ursula Sadiq

"Hey, how did I get here?", asks the once and future geek. "Each step made sense along the way, didn't it?" Didn't it?

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I *know* I always feel good when I finish a project. Why do I instead sit on my butt most days and let inertia settle in? Dunno. But anyway, today I did a thing.

Sometime back I ordered some fast fashion for next to free from one of those websites. I can't remember if it was Shein, or Ali Express, or Temu or whatever. I have a young teen, who sometimes NEEDS OMG NEEEEEEDS! something or other from such a site. Sometimes I acquiesce to the need, then typically pad the order with several too-cheap-to-be-real items. And sometimes those items are clothes. But sizing is a crapshoot. I used to order off the site's sizing list, but almost always it came in too small. So I size up these days. Of the 5 dresses ordered, 1 went straight to goodwill (cause it felt like it was made from a shower curtain), 2 pretty much fit, 2 were sized for a MUCH heftier body than mine. And the one pair of pants were cut for a 6ft tall person. Ok, maybe a 5'11" person - and I'm 5' even.

And today, a mere 3 weeks after they arrived, and 2 days after retrieving the sewing machine from the depths of my basement, I hemmed the pants and took in the oversized dresses. The fun thing about altering cheap clothes is there is no pressure to get it perfect. I did not get it perfect - but it's perfect enough to wear. Yay me!

Tomorrow I'm hemming some sweatpants I've have for 3 years that I love but are 1" too long. And I also hemmed a pair of shorts for a neighbor. Doing the things!

So I'm feeling good about life just now (despite being stood up for a scheduled call). I think I'll get some wine and play Baldurs Gate.

colorful botanical fabric pants

Checkout the glorious pattern on this pair of $6.81 pants! (I looked it up. SHEIN.) And that straight hem!

My kid has since informed me that we will not be ordering from Shein in the future, because of their purported sketchy business practices. Now I know.

<< part of my continuing series recording memories to assure myself I've actually been to the places I think I've been to>>

I'm doing New York in two parts. This part is just about the New York City area. At some time in the future I may write about the not-NYC part of New York. 

Excelsior is Latin for “Higher.” And the NY state motto. Now you know.

Despite growing up just 3 hours south of New York City, it was never an experience for me as a child. NYC was that far away overwhelming dangerous big city. Nevermind that we went to DC a lot,  Philly sometimes, and Baltimore upon occasion -- I do not have one childhood memory of going to NYC.

My first NYC memory is when I was about 19 and I had an interview in NYC for some summer internship (that I didn’t get). I stayed with my cousin who lived in Brooklyn, navigating my own way via Amtrak & subway. By this point I’d already spent time in Madrid and maybe London - city transit did not intimidate. About that same age - maybe a year plus or minus, I met up with a few friends in Manhattan. We went to my first Broadway play - something forgettable with Mark Hamilin (yes, of Star Wars fame) as the lead called. . . queue me going on a google dive to find the name . . .yes, found it THE NERD 1987-88. That would have made me 18. I remember it as it was my first NYC play. And I remember noticing how the sidewalk of Broadway sparkled in the night light. I thought then, as I do now, that more sidewalks should be sparkly. 

Across the years I’ve had a number of trips to NYC. I've had a work meeting or two there; a work meeting or two just outside the city that I would tack on a day or two to visit into the city. Plus a few other personal trips here and there. One that sticks out in mempry: while I was living in San Franciso, 3 of us gals did a weekend in NYC in November 2008. We ate our way through top chef restaurants, went to night clubs and speakeasy style bars. It was wonderful and we felt so chic doing the cross continental weekend trip to the Big Apple. Here, a photo of us at Buddakan. 

In January 2017 CM Adams ​​​​​​​ invited me to this event in NYC (well, Brooklyn) called Zlatne Uste Golden Fest. It became a mini-reunion as a few other college friends joined; we’d do the event and then some city tourist things. I must shout: ZLATNE USTE GOLDEN FEST IS THE BEST PARTY. Rooms of music, tons of dancing, great food, fancy fancy location “Grand Prospect Hall”.

I ended up going back 2018, 2019, 2020 and then it didn’t happen in the Pandemic years. The venue got sold and demolished. Very sad :-( I thought the Golden Fest would become one of those awesome things in my past, never to experience again. However, it appears they have found a new location and it will happen this May 2024! Same bat party, new bat venue! I just got tickets & bringing my kiddo!  WOOT WOOT. Also WOOOOOT.

Just last fall I did a 3 night jaunt to NYC to see the Broadway revival Sweeney Todd - the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I was only vaguely aware of this musical, but a friend really really wanted to see it. I was happy to join her and have an excuse to visit the city. The musical was great. The eateries we went to were great. The Brooklyn Museum was well worth it. Consuming too many mimosas (because we couldn’t find any Bloody Marys) and talking about art for hours was definitely worth it. It’s always great to have an excuse to visit NYC. I’m glad I have another one coming up soon.

So yes, New York City. Been there.


As the years go by, my lack of memory intensifies. I can no longer recall which memories I recorded for this project. 

Can’t you just look up what you’ve written? Well sure, except I’m on a plane on my way to Los Angeles for a mini-vacation. And I don’t want to spend the $29 for wifi. I’m reading a book that mentions sound & light at 40Hz can improve brain function in mice. Maybe in mice and men? I’m thinking I might make one of my LED strip flash at 40 hz and see if that does anything other than annoy me.

But I’m pretty sure I did NOT record Oregon yet, so here goes.

This same 40Hz book mentioned memoirs aren't just recorded memories, they are reflections on learning from those memories. I will endeavor to be more reflective, but for now just MEMORIES of OREGON, not a Memoir.

Oregon. I don’t know its motto since again, NO WIFI. That will have to be a learning from a future time. 

Portland Oregon is a town I went to a few times for work, I’m thinking around 2007-2009. At the time, there was an Antiques and World Goods shop there that I really enjoyed owned by Stalin’s niece (maybe great-niece). It was called Monkey something. I bought a spirit house and some corded dragons there, and some Indonesian style puppets which I gifted to my mother. Later, when she passed, my cousin asked for them and displays them in her house to this day. This store is no longer in business - I looked. They have that massive bookstore Powell's which wasn’t as magical as I had expected. They have a hot-chocolate shop - like a coffee shop but for hot chocolate - a different interesting experience. I remember noticing there were more folks with dreadlocks than I was used to seeing in San Francisco or elsewhere.

Eugene Oregon is a town I went to a few times for work in the 90s. I recalled microbreweries and a campus art museum that I never got around to visiting. The work there was at a semiconductor factory, the only semiconductor factory I’ve ever been to. It was super clean and they certainly used some different equipment than the power plants and water treatment plants I was more used to. ALSO, I just remembered, this was the site of the worst car accident of my life. I was a passenger in a car driven by my boss and we were t-boned on our way to the kickoff meeting. No one was hurt but the rental car was totaled. Boss was super shook-up. I popped into the nearby drugstore to get a disposable camera as this was well before cell phone cameras. And documented the carnage, which turned out to be useful in the ensuing insurance issues. I remember two weeks later when I came back to continue the software implementation, the rental car folks were all “Hi, we remember you!”

Just this year I went with my brother and cousins to Oregon for a nature/hiking vacation. We visited Crater Lake National Park which was cool. Crossed the border to Lava Beds National Monument - which is more about caving than surface lava beds. Also cool - well actually it was super hot. But interesting! And we hiked/rafted the Rouge River. We had an outfitter who arranged the trip which was a 40 or so miles hiking along the river, with stays at lovely lodges every night. And if you decided you didn’t want to hike you could ride the supply raft on the river instead, I opted for about 60% hiking, 40% rafting. It was a very enjoyable experience and I’m thinking I’ll do more outfitter supported multi day trips in future years.

Ok so, I’ve been to Oregon. Check!

$29 for airplane wifi?! Jeeeeeezus!

What's the name of the 40Hz book?

Back in 2018/2019, I was reading about 40Hz lights and/or sounds and the benefits thereof, especially on the brains of people who were suspected of having Alzheimer's and TBI. We would play 40Hz sounds for an hour a day for my mom who was just starting her decline into dementia-land. She had tinnitus so she couldn't hear it, but it made my perfectly-fine dad feel "vaguely weird" and slightly barfy. He also built a 40Hz light just for kicks but we never got around to using it on Mom. But it was interesting.

You are cool and I like reading about your travel memories.

Oh, the book is the same book I've been middling though for the last 6 months. "Your Brain on Art" by Ivy Ross & Susan Magsamen. www.yourbrainonart.com is their trippy, some would say annoying, website.
Ālīs volat propriīs!

And does she really?

When I lived in New Orleans, there was this sketchy run down convenience store around the corner for me. My neighborhood was in that transitional space between genteel and super-rough. I recall when we bought the house and asked about the crime in the area the response was "It's fine! There hasn't been a murder in this block for at least a year!" The convenience store was run by folks of a far east persuasion -- I'm pretty sure vietnamese. It was the type of place that had 2 dusty cans of all the staples and was always out of milk. It kept weird hours and had bars on the windows/doors. It also had a food counter. The only two things I recall from the menu was Fried Chicken and Special Soup. I never knew the soup name - it was just "soup" on the menu - or maybe they said the name but I didn't catch it.

At the time I was young and brave enough to try random dishes from sketchy places. The soup was the most amazing soup I've ever had. Complex broth, melt in your mouth beef, spaghetti noodles, a hard boiled egg, plus scallions I think thrown on top after it was ladled into the togo container. After I moved away from New Orleans, I assumed that I would never have this soup again. I thought it was a specialty of that store's cook, and it was to just be a cherished culinary memory.

I learned its name just recently - it's apparently a traditional New Orleans hangover soup called "Ol' Sober" or "Yakamein". It's a mashup of Chinese and Cajun cooking, and this weekend it showed up as a New York Times recipe! NYT recipes are firewalled but here’s a different link. Or, that same link with just the recipe and no chitchat. (I learned last week that if you put cooked.wiki in front of any web recipe, it distills out the recipe, removing the color commentary & ads. Neat.)  I'm quite keen on making Yakamein as a day-after dish for the next big shindig in my life. Or maybe just the next time the family gets together. 

So anyway, another Louisania memory to say yes, indeed, I've been to Louisiana. Check that one off the list twice.


<< part of my continuing series recording memories to assure myself I've actually been to the places I think I've been to>>

North Carolina's motto is Esse quam videri is a Latin phrase meaning "To be, rather than to seem." Let's all ponder that for a moment and then move on with our lives.

I have 2 distinct sets of memories from North Carolina. The first is a camping event that I attended in June 2016 called Transformus. The second is my one and only trip to the Outer Banks there in October 2020. There is a fair chance I was also there for a work trip at some point across the years, but I don’t remember any in particular.

So Transformus - this event is one of the numerous Burning man inspired regional events.  What makes these regionals interesting to me is the culture of participation and community. I know every event and organization goes on and on and on about community. But there's something about burns that seems to work in community building. Maybe it is because of the “no onsite commerce” rule. With no vendors - with no t-shirts, trinkets, drinks, nothing to buy, it changes people to be more open. Maybe because it’s all volunteer run - who would think that 5000 person events could be run with ALL volunteers and not turn into another Frye fest? And yet, it happens, with people volunteering at all levels from Board oversight to organizing porta johns to directing traffic. I could go on for hours on how this neotribal transmodernist activity is different/interesting/amazeballs. But I won’t - I’m back to writing about North Carolina

Transformus was held outside Asheville North Carolina in a temperate rainforest. So it was damp, and humid though I don’t remember it being very hot. There were 2 lakes onsite for swimming. There were about 5000 participants attending, set up in different camping “neighborhoods” - the only neighborhood name I recall was Valhalla, where the sound camps played dance music all night long. I helped a little in building one of the art pieces (which we later burned).

More on that art piece here. I recall being part of the parade around the lake to light the structure for the last night's bonfire. I had some whimsical makeup on, which I forgot to take off. The next day I got the weirdest looks at taco bell on the way home 4 hours down the road. 

What I mostly recall is a feeling that Transformus was magical, the best, reminiscent of my first burn experiences in the Black Rock Desert Nevada in 2006 & 2007. I vowed to come back and talk all my friends into coming with me. And then Transformus lost the lease on that land and there hasn’t been another Transformus in North Carolina since. Sigh. I'm very glad I made it to that one.

My other North Carolina memory is all around a week a spent with a dear friend in the Outer Banks. Her family had a large vacation home there and early October was shoulder season, so we got to use it for next to free. Outer Banks is a cool place to vacation - wild horses on the beach, Kitty Hawk, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, lighthouses to climb, beautiful sunsets  and it was even warm enough to get into the ocean. Another set of friends joined us for some of it and we had meals and played board games. This was Fall 2020, so still full pandemic time - thus we didn’t hit any restaurants or shows or any other crowded places. And let me tell you, climbing the zillion stairs to the top of a lighthouse with a mask on is challenging! This was also where I learned that National Park passports are a real thing - I had thought it was just a euphemism when people talked about getting their park passport stamped. Anyway, I bought one and started collecting stamps. I hardly leave home without it anymore.

So yes, I’ve been to North Carolina and made some excellent memories there.

Nice choice of board game. Even more challenging than climbing a lighthouse is _moving_ one, which has been done in North Carolina. I'm always amazed to read about stuff like that.

<< part of my continuing series recording memories to assure myself I've actually been to the places I think I've been to>>

Maryland's state motto is Fatti maschii, parole femine which generally translates to "strong deeds, gentle words". Words that date back to Lord Baltimore in the 1600s when he got his Maryland land grant from the King of England. The next King gave William Penn some of the same land in the Pennsylvania grant. This led to the little known border war in the 1730s between the two states (well, they weren't states yet) known as Cresap's War.  Eventually Mason & Dixon were hired 30 years later to establish the definitive border lines. Whenever I get a chance I like to locate one of those Mason Dixon line markers - dozens still exist.

As a state that borders my homestate of Delaware I indeed have been to Maryland. I still go there often as I have family in the DC area. Growing up we'd go to Chillum Maryland (which I was told was Hyattsville, but apparently it is Chillum) like every 4-5 weeks to visit my cousins. Lots of memories of visiting the Smithsonian, or of going to theater (Shakespeare!) or Opera. Yes, my mom was one of those who dragged her pre-teen to the opera. I often fell asleep in the second act. Now that I'm a mom myself, I bring my kid to the Smithsonian and to the theater there (and elsewhere). Ok, technically some of this isn't Maryland, it's D.C. But we'd stay in Maryland. And some of the shows are in Maryland. Tomato Tomatoe.

It's less than 30 minutes to the state line between Delaware and Maryland from my house. There is a winery on the border called Harvest Ridge Winery. I'm part of their wine club, so I go there at least every 3 months for wine pickup. And yes, it has a Mason Dixon marker on the property. It's intentionally on the border so it can take advantage of both states' small producer alcohol laws. Maryland cares about bottling location; Delaware cares about point of sale location. So the bottling plant is in Maryland and the tasting bar is in Delaware. 

With the border being less than 30 minutes, I'm often in Maryland to shop, or eat, or visit friends. Or hike, like to the tri-state marker on the corner of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware at 39°43'19.9"N 75°47'19.0"W. I do that hike every year and so far the marker has always been right where I left it. I haven't done that hike yet this year - but putting that in my February plans. 

Tri-state Marker 39°43'19.9"N 75°47'19.0"W

So yes I've been to Maryland. And I'll be there again and again.

I have got to visit this winery.

My grandmother used to spend summers in Sudlersville, MD when she was a child (back when people got out of West Philadelphia during the summer to avoid illness). She had a deep emotional connection to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Every spring, she and her best friend Hicksie would drive down to Maryland, find their favorite liquor store, and fill the considerable trunk of her car with cases of liquor.

When they exited the parking lot, instead of making a left to go north, they'd make a right to continue south and keep driving down to Sudlersville. They'd pick up my grandmother's cousins, and then continue on to their favorite Eastern Shore restaurant. They'd have a delicious crab cake lunch, fight over who was paying the bill (this often involved subterfuge, such as Hicksie excusing herself to go to the ladies' room and then slipping her Amex to the hostess), and, by the time they were ready to drive home, the Maryland state police officer would have completely forgotten about the Buick with Pennsylvania plates driven by a little old lady, with thousands of dollars worth of booze in the trunk.

Every spring, my grandmother would call all of her close relatives and friends of legal drinking age to ask what they wanted to drink for the next year. My father would always protest mightily, insisting that if the cops picked her up for booze smuggling, he wouldn't be able to come down and bail her out for at least six hours. "They're going to handcuff you to a radiator just to prove a point!"

"No they won't, Edgar. Now, what do you want?"

"oh... get us a gallon of Mount Gay Rum..."

Isn't it the Pennsylvania police who would be interested in preventing you from importing liquor, rather than Maryland police preventing you from exporting it? I admittedly have no actual knowledge about this.
I don’t know? It was probably more that my dad wanted to dissuade her from leaving her car parked in a lot with a trunk full of booze while having a long leisurely family lunch, and her car being a jackpot target for anyone who knew how to break the lock?
I have heard rumor of the PA cops casing these joints’ parking lots for an easy quota, so the general concern seems valid. Maybe it’s an urban legend we all believe to feel a little bit badass about our life decisions.
Exactly. My dad was the king of those little stories.

My grandmother’s best friend Hicksie, on the other hand, probably helped her brother run his liquor still.
That is the best! My only MD liquor story is about being in college and crossing over to Elkton to buy booze on Sunday. At the time DE had blue laws allowing no sales on Sunday. Never occurred to us that the cops might object. Regardless, your grandmother's story sure beats that!
Moonshine runners ain't got nothin' on the ladies who lunch and their 18-foot Buicks!
From where do you recommend hiking in?

Lindsay’s story is wonderful.
I hike in from White Clay Creek Park, usually parking at the Chambers House Nature Center. It's about 3 mile roundtrip hike from there. I sometime also hit the "Arc" monument on that hike, which is the end of the curved arc across the top of Delaware. It is just between PA and DE, but cool non-the-less. Makes this hike more like 3.5 miles.
  • Making: Paper mandalas and/or mandala resin coasters. (Just a plan - this is a Teaser! Photos if/when I actually make them!)
  • Reading: Your Brain on Art by Susan Magsamen & Ivy Ross
  • House project: Hang hanger for my necklaces. Hang necklaces from hanger

No, I've made no progress on the above list since last week. I did complete a 1000 piece puzzle, and read a bit of a different book on parenting teen girls. It is called Untangled : guiding teenage girls through the seven transitions into adulthood by Lisa Damour. Apparently girls are supposed to turn into jerks to their family and prioritize friend group packs. Mine hasn't (yet), but I'm reading up on what to expect.

My fridge has given up on cooling, and it snowed so the kiddo is home. So instead of an early start to all the things, a workman is here taking apart my fridge. I'm having trouble focusing. I don't do well with workmen in the house. And it's distracting - will I get a new fridge? Will I fix this one? Should I price new ones? How much will the damage be? Should I throw out pickles and juice and grated parmesan if it hasn't been cool in 48 hours? Did critters get into the food I stashed in a box in the garage? (just checked: new one is $810 + $79 to haul away to the old and deliver the new.) Distracting.

I've started to plan my 2 weeks in Portugal for this summer, based out of Porto. If anyone has suggestions on what to do, please let me know! I like history/prehistory, art, wild landscapes, typewriters. I don't much like sitting around on the beach (for more than a hour or two). If anyone had a recommendation on where to learn Portuguese history - book, podcast, film - please let me know that too!

One of the things I got for Christmas this year is a water bottle with spaces for stickers of all the states. I've decided I'm not going to put any more stickers on it until I've written up memories of the stickers I've already stuck. More "States I've Been To" memory posts coming soon.

Water bottle with state stickers
Good luck with the teen!
It's concerning - the book is a lot about how they find real world friends/friend packs and how that affects their actions. I'm worried because my kid shows little interest in real life friends. I think she has a few in school, but she shows little interest in those friendships during non-school hours.

On the plus side, there is also a lot of good advice on how to coach your teen into making choices that are appropriate and save face. Like "don't be that super friendly mom in public" so that the kid can blame you when she needs an out. Or how to handle when another kid is in a bad situation and asked your kid "not to tell anyone".
I’m not sure why being friendly in public would prevent one being used as an excuse. “Sure, my mom seems friendly, but she never lets me do anything dangerous.” Is there something else one for which one would need to be blamed?
How is Your Brain on Art? I think I had that on my hold list at the library and then forgot about it.

Whoops, never mind. Googled it, skimmed it, bought it. I definitely need this for work.

<< part of my continuing series recording memories to assure myself I've actually been to the places I think I've been to>>

So I've only been to Hawaii once, in 2022. I was there for about 10 days, all on the island of Oahu, where you find Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, the Dole Plantation, and Waikiki beach.

I dug up some old note of some "recommendations". Plus with the almost 2 years of distance, I've added some more. 

  • Don’t waste that jetlag! So, Hawaii is 5 hours off east coast time. This means 7pm Hawaii is Midnight for NYC. I suggest you go to bed early, get up early 4am = 9am NYC. And do a sunrise hike! In particular I recommend the hike up the eastern most point in Oahu the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail. This hike is paved and perfect for dawn hiking. Get there about an hour before dawn to give yourself lots of time to climb to the top. The hike is steep but paved all the way. Parking lot is closed but just join the other folks parking on the road outside the gate. Bring binoculars - We saw a dozen or so whales from the peak when we hiked it early February.
  • Turtle Bay hike is also a nice early morning hike to the most Northern point. Get there early and beat the traffic! We saw a monk seal on the beach there. On the way back, get lunch in Hale’iwa, then swing to the Dole plantation for a Dole Whip. I didn’t do the tour, just entered through the gift shop and got a Dole Whip with Pineapple. They are huge and tasty.
Dole whip and Dole Plantation
  • As a beach, I really liked Iroquois beach. It had a little food shack with a full bar. A clean bathroom. And lots of open sand, umbrellas, little pavilions. I think the umbrellas/pavilions are for residents, but we were there late in the day and they were pretty much all open. No one seemed to mind that we sat under an umbrella. The sand in the water is a little rocky, but I still went in barefoot.
  • Other things that were also cool and memorable are the Pali Lookout (photo below), Ho'omuluhia Gardens, and Waimea Arboretum.
View from Pali Lookout
  • If you're into Petroglyphs (as I am), you can find some in the Na'uanu Cemetery 21°19'27.2"N 157°50'48.4"W 
  • Honolulu is meh. Don't make it priority.
  • I was there visiting a dear friend, who as a goverment employee has miltary base access. So we got to do the Kolekole Trail hike at Shofield Barracks (where I broke my phone), an "off the beaten path" but "don't stray from the path" type hike.
Trail with "Explosive Hazard in Area" sign

So yes, I've been to Hawaii. And I have to get back there and explore other islands. Someday! 

Ah, Hawaii. Brings back memories. We went with the kids when they were young (ages 2 or 3 to 10ish), so Honolulu was a lot less meh for us. We were staying within walking distance of Waikiki beach. We also went and spent a little time in and around Turtle Bay resort and the north shore as well.

If we ever went back, it would be a very different trip of course, more adventuresome and more adult. But at the time it was just right.

<< part of my continuing series recording memories to assure myself I've actually been to the places I think I've been to>>

Today, being undermotivated to write about my current life, and my head spinning with the realization that yes, indeed, I did book a 2 week trip to Porto and now need to figure out lodging & accommodations, I’m going to fall back on writing about a State. 

I’m gonna write about Connecticut

Almost all my Connecticut memories involve one formative trip to New Haven to vist Yale in the late ‘80s. These memories are poignant to me for some reason, clearer than trips I took even last year. I was a student at University of Delaware (Udel). I had a friend Nancy from summer camp who was going to Yale, so one long weekend I took the train up to visit her. Summer camp = CTY,  which was accelerated summer classes at a college campus. Smart kids could test out of a highschool course after attending CTY’s 3 week residency program. It was the first place I found my “pack” - other clever kids who didn’t 100% fit in back home. We kept in touch.

Anyway, I visited my CTY roommate Nancy and together we had a great long weekend. I look at my 20 year old self and cringe. I was a smart girl, but oh so boy crazy. But also zany and prickly and not interested in settling down. On the weekend up at Yale I found a guy (Ed, from wealth in upstate New Jersey) who I dated off and on for a year maybe. It went nowhere. I wonder what became of him. I wonder if I’d even recognize him now, or he me. I do look back and wonder, why was I so boy crazy and interested in dating around when I 100% did not want a future with anyone? I’m thinking it was probably the entertainment value, and that it made me feel more alive, and some insecurities that needed attention to ease. Still I cringe to think of my gauche self now, and wish I’d played some things differently.

I recall at Yale being introduced to the concept of veganism. We went to some party and the people drank vegan beer (isn’t it all?) (ok, I googled it. Beers are sometimes filtered with animal derived products. So those aren’t vegan), and there was talk about starting a brownie centric vegan bakery. Mind you, this was like 1989 and vegetarian eating - let alone vegan - was far from mainstream. Vegetarian food was often meat centric dishes without the meat, and sometimes tofu substituted in, and generally not very good. It was not the tasty inventive plant based dishes we have today. The Yale crowd was cutting edge in this regard. And I, a small town girl from a state school, wasn't sure if I was impressed or if I wanted to scoff. It did open my eyes to political relativity (<<< that’s probably not the right term but I don’t know a better one).  At UDel I was slightly on the liberal side of the population, and Yale I would be considered solidly conservative. 

There is a gate to an historic graveyard just outside campus engraved with “The Dead Shall Be Raised”. I have always found that ominous. I was impressed by the old stately architecture in general. I was in a phase of being fascinated by stairwells, but stumped on how to photograph them properly. Looking back, what I was experiencing was a fascination with Liminal Spaces. It wasn’t till recently that I understood there was a term for this - I learned it from my pre-teen. A liminal space means somewhere on the precipice of something new but not quite there yet. Often eerie, forlorn, surreal. I took a number of photos of the stairs, none of which came out. In those pre-digital camera days, I wasted much time and film trying to get a liminal shot. Never succeeded.

Visiting, I figured out that the students at Yale weren’t any smarter than the students at UDel, particularly in the area I was studying of Mechanical Engineering. But still they were offered more opportunities. I started to understand the value the network at a “brand name” school offered. Subconsciously, I set my sights on “brand name” for grad school, knowing that I could compete successfully with the Ivy crowd. I ended up going to Carnegie-Mellon, which didn’t exactly live up to my network expectations. Maybe it has one, but I never figured out how to engage it. 

Decades later, I wandered around New Haven when I was there for a work trip. I was hoping to find the mystique I felt from my college trips. It was not to be found. 

Most recently, in November 2020, I drove to Connecticut to buy a Ford Transit van which is now my camper van. I did not even try to look for the college mystique that time.

So yes, Connecticut. Been there.

I am so relieved to hear that someone else in the world books their travel arrangements before having any of the “where will I sleep, what will I eat, what will I do” details figured out.

I have a great love of travel but am colossally overwhelmed when it comes to a lot of the practical details.
I hear you. Most of my weekend plan in to figure out what I want to do while there. As I've gotten older, I've rely more and more on organized trips. It can be pricey, but sometimes I want to pay to not be stressed by planning.

Next on my docket to write about is Florida. But instead, gentle reader, I will talk about a glorious weekend of doing nothing. Nothing except watching season 2 of Bridgerton on Netflix and declaring to my offspring that I will be dressing like those society ladies. She asked: when will I dress so? I answered: For the rest of my life. It helps that the leads have skin approaching my complextion.  Visuals here. Representation, yo!

So today I’m up predawn and in my sweats because I have to do the school dropoff then head to the gym. One must workout if one is to fit into a regency silhouette.


The other thing I did this weekend is make a box on my trusty laser cutter. We’re doing a belated holiday gift exchange at work, where we are all exchanging mugs. I know very little about my coworker so I got her a mushroom mug because *I* think it cute. I did ask around and learned she likes Alpacas. So I AI’d (midjourney) a bunch of Alpacas for engraving, and made a box for the mug.

4 sketches of alpacas (under a mushroom umbrella, in front of a frame, in a flowery hat, and  in the mountains with an easel.)
Laser cut box with engraved alpacas and a hint of a mushroom mug inside.

It feels nice to stretch the maker muscles now and again. I’ve slowed way down and am undermotivated these past few months. Which is okay, I know. But I also know I feel better when I have a project to make.

Florida notes will likely also not be done tomorrow. After kiddo dropoff,  I drive 2 hours for a typewriter pickup. My typewriter obsession is cooling, partially because they’ve become a demand on me instead of just a joy. The sit and judge me, saying “When are you going to get on with fixing us, Tinkeress?” I’m working on working on it, you marvelous machines! So it’s cooling, but not so much that I won’t drive 4 hours roundtrip to pick up a new and delightful one!


It’s fun to sing to the tune of “Lollipop, Lollipop.”
The contents of the box cannot possibly live up to the box itself! But the box can't be used to consume coffee, so there's that.
Tell me about your laser cutter. If I were going to purchase one, what do I need to know?
I have a glowforge. Which is a great machine for a hobbyist. Less great if you want to make a business out of it. It's a bit pricey but it's also really really really easy to use. It takes household power, Wi-Fi, and a window to vent out of.

if you want I know more let me know and we can chat about it