Friday, July 25, 2008

big week coming up

We have a big week coming up at my house, or rather, NOT at my house. Our son goes to sleep away camp for the first time. He is spending a week in the dorms at Harvard, attending the New York Film Academy. He's going to be learning the basics of digital film-making. He is accompanied by his two best friends. One friend's parents are driving the boys up to camp, and my husband and I are picking them up and bringing them home.

I'm going to a conference in Boston on web 2.0 for higher ed. So we will be about half an hour away from our son. Work will pay for our hotel and travel, so it works out nicely. I'm looking forward to the conference. I haven't attended anything in my field in years. I did speak at one conference last year, but I only went for my talk, and left afterwards.

We love Boston, so my husband will find plenty to do while I am attending my sessions, and we'll have some time to wander around together in the evenings and on Thursday. Friday we are going to get together with old friends who live nearby. It will be great to catch up with them and hang out a bit.

Any travel is good. And a break from routine is even better!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

things I've learned

I am 46 today. As is usual on my birthday, I try to take a little time for self-reflection.

So, in no particular order, here are some things I've learned in 46 years:

if it sounds too good to be true, it is
never try to fill an inside straight
condoms leak
never go to bed with someone you don't want to wake up with
good friends are essential
if you have to choose between head and heart, go with heart
timing is everything
luck is everything else
everybody needs to feel valuable
everyone has a story -- and they are all interesting
don't walk barefoot on hot pavement
you have to like yourself or no one else will be able to
men have an entirely different definition of FAT
laziness can hurt you
procrastination almost always works in your favor
be careful when you put on suntan lotion to not miss a spot
let your bait sit a minute so the fish can get to it
the error you don't check for is the one most likely to occur
some prices are too much to pay
sometimes you can't afford to save that much
playing the lottery is like throwing dollar bills in the trashcan, but more fun
education is always worth it
don't cook barefoot
the smoke always blows in your direction
you can be wearing too much perfume
laughter is the best medicine
it only hurts the first time someone calls you ma'am
change your oil
eat your vegetables
keep track of your keys

the world is amazing, stop and appreciate it

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Go see The Dark Knight. Go see it twice. Don't wait for video. See it in the theater with a great big crowd of people, at night. Definitely at night.

Heath Ledger has created the ultimate Joker. No one could do it better. Ever. I don't see how anyone could even try...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


WOW. 14 years ago, I had a baby boy. That single day event changed my life forever. And I can't tell you how glad that makes me.

Our son is a good kid, and he is becoming a good man. This summer has been an amazing burst of development for him. He is getting himself to day camp at a nearby university, by taking an MTA bus. He voluntarily got a haircut, told me when he needed new shoes, is helping me carry stuff so I don't stress my elbow, is making polite conversation when necessary, and in general is just more responsible. We can hang out together now, and actually enjoy each other's company.

He's taught me a lot: more patience, taking my time over things, stressing less about the little things, that time passes much faster than you can possibly realize, that the people around you need more than your presence, they need your participation, to give to the needy, respect the differences in how people's minds work, that people can surpise you. That you can love way more than you thought you could. That you can worry more than you thought you could. And that you can enjoy the detours way more than you thought you could.

Happy Birthday, little one.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

lightning fast response to crisis

Let's hear it for the G-8. In response to a world in crisis, they have agreed to halve greenhouse 2050! WOW!! Over 40 years from today. Do they really think you could call this a goal? 40 years is more like someday, or when I get around to it, or eventually. It surely isn't a "we've got to do something, and quickly" type response. Do they think that food shortages and water shortages and catastrophic weather are going to get better over that time period?

In 40 years, I could have water-front property --without moving. I could finally have that summer place in the tropics that I've always dreamed about, right here in Maryland. I could have grandchildren who have never seen a tree, or been outside in the daytime, or breathed pure air.

World leaders? I don't think so.

Monday, July 07, 2008

surrounding myself with good people

This weekend was mostly devoted to social stuff. We went to a neighbor's party on the 4th of July, and then hosted our own cookout on the 5th.

While I have done many stupid or short-sighted things in my life, I have done one thing well. I have surrounded myself with good people. The people I've picked to be in my life are there because they ADD to my life. I am immensely richer for their friendship. The people life has placed in my path -- my neighbors, my co-workers, my relatives by marriage -- are wonderful.

Now I have to find a way to make more time for all of them. That is my biggest struggle these days. To carve out enough time to just hang out with the people I care about. What I get out of it is so huge, though, that I know I'll find a way.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

trying to do the right thing

As many of you know, I am waiting, not so patiently, for a SmartCar. I have a reservation on the waiting list. I paid my $99 for my slot on the list. And. I just got my "delivery date" estimate. Now this is only an estimate, I am told. I could get the car sooner, or later. My date is

October 2009 to December 2009

No, not a typo, believe me. Because I couldn't believe it either. So I asked the company if this was a mistake. They said no. It really would be more than 18 MORE MONTHS to get the damn car.

You know, I am trying, really trying, to do the right thing. I want an environmentally sound car for commuting. One that I can afford. One that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and another leg. And doesn't have huge environmental disposal issues, like the hybrids do with their batteries.

Why is this so freaking difficult? How did we get to the point where a small, inexpensive, fuel-efficient vehicle is like the holy f*ing grail?