poisonwood's Diaryland Diary

Date: Oct. 03, 2004 . Time: 7:57 p.m.

Exhuasted Entry:



I ran 9.5 miles today. To say it was torturous would be a mild understatement. I didn't anticipate the route I'd chosen being quite that long (I clocked it after I ran it) and I don't think I was really in shape to run that distance. I think the most painful part of my body, interestingly, was actually my feet. Maybe I need better socks. In any event, I feel more confident about the half marathon, but I feel completely and utterly exhuasted right now to the point of nearly being sick. I wish today was not a work day . . .

7:57 p.m. - Oct. 03, 2004


A volcano?

One thing I never expected to be on was a volcano watch. I never expected to peer anxiously at the tickertape at the bottom of my screen waiting to find out whether Mt. St. Helens would affect Seattle or not. The TV tells me there's a 75% chance of an eruption in the next 24 to 48 hours, but that it "shouldn't be as devastating as the 1980 eruption that killed 5x people." I certainly hope not! Apparently, it shouldn't have ash landing more than 10K beyond the volcano - but since I so helpfully just watched the IMAX production (now I wish I'd paid more attention), I know that the ash can blow a long way from the volcano. We'll see. It's exciting. As long as it doesn't get bad.
But really, a volcano watch? I can't believe there's actually a volcano exploding nearby. Hurricanes I'm used to. Tornaodoes maybe. Moving to CA, I entered earthquake in possibilities notes. But this is new.

9:10 p.m. - Oct. 02, 2004


a worthwhile read

Please, read this article.

12:56 p.m. - Oct. 01, 2004



I listened to the debates last night on the radio (since I don't have Cable). I wonder how much that affected my perception of things. I didn't hear the beginning, maybe the first half hour. When I turned them on after I got back from my run, I found myself cringing at every response from both candidates. Bush was worse, but they were both bad. The silence reverbrate so much more when there is no visual distraction. I was thinking to myself, oh my God, one of these will be president for the next four years? I've already been dismayed with Bush, but I don't actually hear him speak all that frequently.
However, as things went on, both candidates got better, at least from where I sat. Bush's high points was North Korea. For me, someone who knows very little about the issue, he was quite persuasive. He seemed very upset that Kerry disagreed with him; almost as if he wanted to convince Kerry just in case Kerry became president and went forward with his terrible strategy. He wasn't trying to win the debate; he was trying to convince someone of an important point. It was well done.
On the other hand, I thought Kerry did a good job of bringing up the very things I think are important in Iraq; getting the world involved. He emphasized it over and over (Bush's counterpoint being that he wants what's best for America, not the rest of the world.). It's obvious but I don't know if I'd ever actually heard him say it.
In general, of course, Kerry was more eloquent. It would be nice to have a president who could express himself.
K found Bush far weaker than I did and Kerry stronger. Part of the difference, I think, was the format. I couldn't see that clock that indicated that Bush wasn't using his time. I couldn't see their expressions. Part of it is that K is a raving liberal, whereas I'm only a moderate liberal.
I'm a little distressed about the utter lack of talk on domestic issues. Maybe that happened at the beginning or will happen in another debate.

8:41 a.m. - Oct. 01, 2004


washington writers

Around three o'clock every day, I start feeling this creeping fatigue. Today I feel it as usual and it is amplified by the fact that the day's activities weren't riveting. I spent most of the day writing a memo on what I've been working on the last several weeks, and the other bit calling a vendor to try and get a part delivered sometime this century. One major drawback of working for a small company is that you order small numbers of items, so suppliers feel free to treat you well or not, as they are inclined, since you don't have a major financial impact on their lives. I have been dealing with an extremely obnoxious character named Du*ffy. If you're ordering aerospace parts and you run into him, steer clear!
I've run for the last two days and really don't feel like running todaytoday, but am trying to motivate myself by considering the rest day on Friday. Oh glorious rest day! I dream of reclining and resting all evening without feeling guilt. In the meantime, I suppose I'll drag myself out for a three-mile jog this evening.
This book I'm reading, Buddhist Da, is quite an enjoyable read. I recommend it. I also read David Guterson's new book recently, Our Lady of the Forest, and though it was good, it failed to live up to Snow Falling on Cedars, which if you haven't read, I highly recommend.

4:13 p.m. - Sept. 30, 2004


space ship one

And Space Ship One has a successful, if scary, flight. This is really exciting. It makes me realize that what we're trying to do is doable and that the horizon is short. And this is only step one. I had a nice lunch with my boss and mentor today. Such chats are always inspiring. I'm starting to really like my job, even if I don't love Seattle yet.

1:03 p.m. - Sept. 29, 2004


rambling monologue

Today I just want to go home. I had a great trip to CA, but now I'm exhausted. In addition, last night's trip home, as always, was eventful. This time, I didn't have any flights delayed or cancelled (though I didn't get a seat initially), but after emotional goodbyes, a bumpy ride to the airport, and a packed flight, I came home feeling feverish and nauseous. I ended up basically puking my guts out that evening and not sleeping 'til late. I'm not sure if it was all the bumps or the questionable clam chowder I had at SFO. The chowder was a poor decision; from now on I'm sticking to Burger King.
I was relaxing at Stanford at the third floor Cro*mem landing yesterday afternoon with Steph and Rh*ea as we spent many an hour doing last year, and who should walk up the stairs but Ro*hit, another old Cro*mem regular I had a lot of fun with in past. He actually lives in LA now, and we were mutually about the last people we expected to see. It kind of put the icing on the cake.
Now I'm feeling hard-core frustrated with coding, and like I said, I just want to go home. Sarah is shaming me with her spiffy running site. I put up a link to my running log, if anyone wants to read it. Sarah, in her first week of training, has run a longer distance (8 mi) than I've run to date. And I don't even feel energetic enough to run 3 today.

2:18 p.m. - Sept. 27, 2004


the opportunity to puke at 60000 feet

Missing the zero-g experience? Try Virgin Galactic. Interesting. But expensive. $100,000 bucks. Still, it's more doable than it used to be. Now your average multi-millionaire can afford a quick trip to space.

10:59 a.m. - Sept. 27, 2004


from a sunny place

My friend Rosa is in the Dominican Republic with the Peace Corps for the next two years. She's updated with an interesting entry.
I'm in CA and Oh God I just wish I could stay. I'm trying to comfort myself with the thought that I'm reducing my risk of skin cancer by living in Seattle. I just want to hold onto K and never let go. And I literally burst into tears when i saw my friend R again just for the emotion of actually having a good girl friend to hang out with and talk to. I have to change things, my social life that is, when I go back.

1:43 p.m. - Sept. 26, 2004


a control engineer's life

I just got a new chair, and I feel like a new person. Is that sad? Perhaps.

Yesterday was a nightmare of debugging code. Debugging code is one thing when you wrote the code, but trying to interact with someone else's code is another. When you compound the problem with Simulink, it's overwhelming. I find programs like simulink challenging. My research (which I will resist the urge to cover with quotes) at Stanford involved a program called Contr*ol She*ll which is like Simulink, only worse. Yesterday was a brief reminder of how hard it was to figure out that program and how frustrating bugs in it can be. In normal code, you step through, line by line. With this, you instead bang your head into the nearest wall.

Yesterday, I fell asleep after I got home from work and missed my running window. It is starting to get dark early here. Sarah misses the leaves in Houston. I didn't really miss them in CA; the beautiful weather made up for it. I hope, however, that they turn here. There are in general too many evergreens and not enough deciduous trees, but if the leafy trees that are here do turn, it will help make up for the colder weather. Houston may be bad, but cold weather without snow or golden leaves would be about more than I could take.

Last night I spent trying to assemble a desk my parents sent me. What would have been an easy task for two people was nearly impossible for one. More than once I've been trying to do something and all I've needed is another body to hold something in place for one crucial second, and all I can do is prop books and use duct tape to less effect.

Blah. I feel like my life has gotten rather boring lately.

3:07 p.m. - Sept. 22, 2004


the quiet of an empty room

In just three days (or four if you count today) I'll be heading back to sunny California. It'll be nice, but hard. It'll be very hard to see my friends again, to see K again, and to have to leave after only two days. It'll be hard to be back on my hall with someone else living in my room, someone else who is either totally uncool and not worthy of living there, or else someone who's totally taken my place. I know I sound like a two-year-old. This whole matter is compounded by the fact that I still haven't made any friends here. Acquaintances yes. Nice people I say hello to at work, yes. Friends, not so much.

I met some of my neighbors today, which was nice. They were from Virginia, interestingly enough. They told me they really wanted to go back and they were so excited to see VA plates on my car. They said, Virginia gets cold, but it's still sunny. Not like here. I said, I don't know what the winter is like here, but I guess I'm going to find out. And I missed Virginia. CA is wonderful. Hopefully WA will be nice. But I love Fall in the Blue Ridge.

Meanwhile, it looks like I'm going to get Cable and Internet at home. For the local company, Cable is basically free with internet. For internet, there is a $10 surcharge if you don't have cable with them, and cable is $13 a month. So it looks like I'll be wired soon enough.

Meanwhile, today's run is hill work. Sunday was a 7-miler. This half-marathon thing is starting to look doable.

10:06 a.m. - Sept. 21, 2004


writing from work just isn't as fun

Thank God it's Friday . . . except it's not. We have a meeting tomorrow. Nevertheless, I won't have to think, which is a good thing, because my brain in exhausted. I need to plan a trip to Ikea sometime soon, which should be fun. I've never actually been there. K is a recent convert and is planning to purchase a bed there after 6 weeks of sleeping on the floor. I used to think people who slept on the floor were nuts, but I spent a couple weeks doing it myself and found it quite comfortable. It's all about the company. I mean. The lighting, or something.

Without a TV or computer to distract me, the time passes more slowly. I even feel the urge to go out and explore, to join a club or a group or something. But I'm so internet dependent, I don't know how to go about figuring out what's going on without good old IE.

In other news, my phone works! I've never been so happy to hear a dial tone.

3:06 p.m. - Sept. 17, 2004


there's a revolution behind my eyes

Yesterday, I was talking with my boss about how to isolate a vibrating object, and twice I said vibrator instead of isolator. It was completely innocent (not Freudian) but embarrassing nevertheless. I plowed on without acknowledging I'd said anything out the ordinary. My boss politely did the same.

My apartment was quiet and empty yesterday. No phone. No TV. No internet. Heck, no computer. I wish I could get only TBS and WB on cable. The rest I can do without. Someday, there will be a revolution in TV like there was a revolution in music. Or maybe not. Heck, I don't know.

4:39 p.m. - Sept. 16, 2004


in the news

My company made the news. See the paragraph on Jeff B*ezos for commentary.

Though I didn't know the NDA I signed was the "stuff of legends." That makes me a wee bit nervous.

10:33 a.m. - Sept. 15, 2004



Today was, as a famous author once put it, a terrible awful, horrible no-good very bad day. It started out fine. Then that once-a-month evil hit with a vengeance, and I was utterly unprepared. I had to deal with the awkwardness, the uncomfortableness, and last but not least, the god-awful cramps. Without Ibuprofen. (Thank God for Ibuprofen; I don't think I could go through that every month. Though I think there are natural remedies.) Anyway, for about three hours, I seriously thought I was going to die. Of either boredom or discomfort or frustration. It seems silly in retrospect.

Then I came home from work to discover I couldn't find Ibuprofen at home either. Finally, I headed up the street to the only good thing about my apartment complex, the local grocery. It was closed. So I embarked, against my better judgment, on a trip to find a drug store. After an hour and getting utterly lost for the millionth time, I finally found one and got my pills. By this time, the cramps were finally passing.

I headed home to my devoid-of-food apartment, and started packing my car. This took hours. Finally, I went to bed late and tossed and turned and worried all night about moving out.

Today's problem is that I have to check out of my apartment and the mover who required a three week window picked today to come. So, I'm supposed to meet him at 4. But we all know how reliable movers are for showing up on time. So, if he runs too late, I won't be able to check out of my apartment on time.

It actually seems very manageable now that I've eaten (I went out and had bar-b-q for lunch. yippee!) and feel fairly well. And I've dragged everything from the apartment to my car. The moving experience is finally nearly over. I thought it would never end.

This is my first update from work. I feel mildly guilty about it.

2:07 p.m. - Sept. 14, 2004


the only star in the sky that never moves

Today I ran 6 miles, the first major hurdle in my half marathon training program. It's the longest distance I've run in a year or so. I was never exhausted at any time during the run, as I kept to a steady 10:00 pace, but it was just mind-numbingly long. And boring. Totally a mental game. Now, afterwards, it's left me completely wiped out. I don't feel like I have the energy to do anything. Just talking to K was about as much as I could take. Even watching TV just seems exhausting.

After running indoors for a month, it's going to be interesting heading outdoors again. Running on the treadmill really drives me nuts, but you don't have to deal with hills or weather or measuring your route or getting lost. I plan to head outside again on Tuesday in my new neighborhood.

10:03 p.m. - Sept. 12, 2004


'The most important thing in life is to love . . . and to be loved

Philip Wunch of the Dallas Morning News describes Vanity Fair as "A magnificent viewing experience, with each costume and set capturing the grandeur and squalor of both England and India." I wonder if he even watched it!

1:01 a.m. - Sept. 12, 2004



Pictures from my new home.

11:47 a.m. - Sept. 11, 2004


whenever you tell my story

This article is inspiring because it reminds me that there are people in Islam who are feminists (as I refer to any woman who fights for equality) and men who support them. Though it is written in a positive light, however, it is impossible to miss the statistics about the decline of women's rights in American mosques. Once again, a reminder that progress is not inevitable. If we're not careful, we'll find ourselves in the 50s in this country. Parts of the rest of the world have already reverted to their own private Dark Ages.

Another reminder is the fact that I'm the only woman engineer in my company. This is primarly due to the fact that there are only two or three new grads. The company is primarily and intentionally made up of experienced engineers. And clearly, the women who studied and became engineers in the eighties are gone. I don't know where they are. Maybe they all work for NASA (where I've probably seen more women engineers than anywhere else). Maybe they're all raising children. Good for them if that is the case. But why haven't some of them returned to work when their children were older? If there are "working women," they certainly aren't in aerospace. I see lots of them in WalMart. In addition, most of the men at my company uprooted their families to move to Seattle and take this job. Perhaps women do not have the will or "power" to do that to their family. The norm, as far as I can tell, is for women to marry men who make as much or more than them. You can't move your family very easily if you're not the primary wage earner.

So in summary, when my Mom started work as a computer programmer in steel mill installation for GE, she was the only woman engineer. That was 35 years ago or so. And now, in my first job, I'm the only woman engineer. Not much progress, I guess.

And I sure hope this mosque bill of rights thing takes off. In that particular religion, I think it is perhaps time for another Bill of Rights.

10:49 a.m. - Sept. 11, 2004


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