back to school

A few weeks ago, I attended a networking event for college students at MIT. My job for the evening was to represent the company I work for and talk to students about what it’s like to work where I do. I brushed up on the details of the internship program and considered myself more than prepared.

As I made my way across the city, it occurred to me that I was an undergraduate college student 25 years ago. Twenty five years. Here’s a little #tbt of college senior me.

Portrait of a future experience design and product manager, though I’d never heard of either of those jobs when I was a college senior back in 1992.

Portrait of a future experience design and product manager, though I’d never heard of either of those jobs when I was a college senior back in 1992.

I wore a lot of red lipstick back then. My roommate freshman year, an impossibly cool dancer from New York City, introduced me to the idea of everyday red lipstick - Carnation, a sheer, bright red in a bright blue tube, by Cover Girl. I splurged on that shade I’m wearing for my senior photos - Brick by Origins. (Those blonde highlights? Sun-In, baby.)

Right. Where was I?

Each student I met was accomplished, articulate, and deeply passionate about their studies. Not one lived up to the stereotypes, parodies and punch lines about millenials. Since the event was hosted by the Society of Women Engineers, most students I met were female. Despite the fact I believed them to be more together than I was at their age, many had exactly the same questions and worries I remember having 25 years ago.

How did you get your dream job?
Was your MBA worth it?
What’s your best career advice?

Since then I’ve thinking about these questions, who I looked up to when I was a twenty-something student, and what it means for me to be there for the next generation of women in engineering. I wanted to have more answers and thoughts for this post, but after a few weeks of it sitting in my Drafts folders, it’s high time to admit that they’re not yet ready.

election day 2018

Today was about karma yoga, the yoga of action: voting.

(I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 years and I’m one of those people that manages to squeeze yoga into nearly every conversation. I’m working on being less annoying about it.)

My sweetheart and I headed to the local polling place early so we could vote as soon as it opened at 7am. As we queued up outside with about 2 dozen other people on the sidewalk, we chatted about why we couldn’t just vote via mobile phone and skip the whole standing in line thing.

But here’s the thing: I love this part. I like walking to the polls, chatting with neighbors while standing in line, making small talk with the volunteers, and filling out the ballot. I like that the whole process is one I can’t rush, even if I tried.

*****

A few minutes before 7, a woman stepped outside and announced that the polls would open at 8. The crowd responded. “Wait, no. It’s at 7!” I might be reading into it, but the collective tone was a little tense - not angry, exactly. More like impatient. The moment passed pretty quickly when she realized her mistake and assured us that the polls would open at 7.

*****

the local polling place in my neighborhood.

the local polling place in my neighborhood.

Some people stop to smell the roses. In Boston, we stop to check out the fall leaves.

Some people stop to smell the roses. In Boston, we stop to check out the fall leaves.

Part of my walk to the polls follows Boston’s Freedom Trail.

Part of my walk to the polls follows Boston’s Freedom Trail.

october 2018 // my favorite photos

Lately, I catch myself rushing. Rushing to finish yoga so I can go home and walk the dog. Rushing to walk the dog so I can hightail it work. Rushing from meeting to meeting. Rushing to get off one plane to get on another. Scrolling through my news feeds to catch up with as many people as I can, as fast as I can.

Just me?

I like the idea of taking the time to stop and smell the roses. ( To take stock of the good moments, successes, and highlights. I did this a couple of times last year by sharing my favorite photos for the month. It seems like a good idea as any for a post, so here goes: some of my favorite moments from October.

october 31, 2018 :: sunrise over lake chelan. coffee does taste better with a view. pretty sure I posted a similar photo this time last year, too.

october 31, 2018 :: sunrise over lake chelan. coffee does taste better with a view. pretty sure I posted a similar photo this time last year, too.

october 7, 2018 :: rich and I often joke about living in an Airstream someday. For the longest time, we’d talk about  what it would be like, and eventually talk ourselves out of it. Then we met a couple who bought one….and then sold their house. It turns out we have a hard time finding reasons why Operation Airstream Livin’ is a bad idea.

october 7, 2018 :: rich and I often joke about living in an Airstream someday. For the longest time, we’d talk about what it would be like, and eventually talk ourselves out of it. Then we met a couple who bought one….and then sold their house. It turns out we have a hard time finding reasons why Operation Airstream Livin’ is a bad idea.

october 7, 2018 :: Met this fellow at the Smuttynose Brewing Outdoor Expo. I did not ask him how many licks it takes to get the center of a Tootsie Pop.

october 7, 2018 :: Met this fellow at the Smuttynose Brewing Outdoor Expo. I did not ask him how many licks it takes to get the center of a Tootsie Pop.

not a writer. writing anyway!

Should I go ahead and rename this blog something like All my Novembers? It has a soap opera cheesiness I kind of like. Maybe Groundhog Month? A quick scan of my posts reminds me that my Novembers are pretty routine, between holidays and my day job of the past eight (8!) years. There’s Thanksgiving and my birthday, a few token photos of Las Vegas, and some pretty foliage. All the same topics last year, and the one before that. I expect this year to be more of the same.

Despite the fact I’m not a clever writer nor a consistent one, I still want to try.

It’s not unlike the idea of getting a pen pal. (Does anyone remember those? International Pen Friends is still a thing - how cool.) You sign up, get an address and start writing. My nana had a Japanese pen pal that she wrote to for nearly all of her adult life, I think. (Kind of amazing, when you think about it.)

I had a few pen pals growing up, but lost touch with them after only a couple of years. I corresponded with a girl in Bermuda when I was 10, and with teenagers in Switzerland and Greece when in middle school. I remember being surprised that girls in Europe listened to the same music that I liked, and like me, also worried about grades, boys and college. Seems like a pretty simple lesson, but I remember being really blown away by that at the time. It was fun getting to know people who were just sharing everyday stuff. We all have a lot more in common than we realize. That’s what I loved about pen pals and later, following my favorite bloggers back in the 2000s.

I’ve read a few posts lately by bloggers I’ve followed for years and years - more than a decade now, in fact. Many of them are talking about how it felt to write, and to connect with people that became lifelong friends.

“Blogging offers an almost-quaint alternative to the stream…a feed. There’s no missing something a friend posted because you skipped going online that day. No algorithm deciding which posts you see. What I write will be here waiting for you, whenever you feel like dropping by, even if that’s a month from now. There’s no rush, nothing to miss, nothing to respond to unless you feel like it. This is just a place we can hang out and talk about stuff.” -from What Feeds Us by Asha Dornfest, Parent Hacks

Checking my feed is like visiting with friends. To me it feels very different than scrolling through a news feed, posts, stories and snaps. Lately I’m finding it incredibly jarring to scroll through a feed that sandwiches some of life’s tragic news in the middle of silly memes, jokes, and advertisements.

Feeds provide an experience that’s slower…mindful, even. Maybe that’s what it’s about for me: wanting a mindful online life.

Instead of writing and posting daily just because it’s November, this year I’d like to make it about cultivating a mindful online life.

where I was today :: eastern Washington, driving to Spokane.

where I was today :: eastern Washington, driving to Spokane.