Today I feel like I am a terrible traveler. Partially its because I refuse to check a bag, and thus feel I must be a minimalist in what I bring. Partially because no matter how many times I leave, it always seems that I have packed too much or not packed the one thing I need.
Typically I am found somewhere in the first world. I have a credit card. I usually have command of a language that is spoken by someone around me. I can cope.
So tonight I am packing for two trips that are back to back. There is a planned touch and go in the middle, but on the off chance I do not have fly back home to leave again, I am packed for both trips. The temperature range is approximately 30 degrees and the occasions requires some semblance of natty dressing.
What does this have to do with Instagram?
A few months ago, a friend of mine, Kristy embarked on a thirteen day trip to the Eastern US and the Maritimes. She was spending a few days in Boston and NY and then the rest of the time was cruising. Before she left, she figured out her outfits and then instavideoed her wardrobe. I could not stop watching it, it was brilliant.
I wish I had time this trip to be this creative. Instead, I'm going with one extra pair of jeans (mailed home from California, a pair of boots that I may regret, a pair of ballet flats that I am mailing home after my meeting) and a crap ton of grey t-shirts. No one messes with a girl wearing a grey t-shirt and a black cashmere sweater and jack purcells.
The sadness of the last few hours of light today was hard to take. I hate Standard Time. I hate coming home in the dark. I am resolved to get out at lunch and catch some sunlight. I'm lucky enough to take Ernest on two to three walks a day, but this time of year, they are all in the dark. TH does his lunchtime walk.
Light is important. I live for flights above the clouds. I pine for Hawaii in December, but always end up in London.
It is 525 am here and after a rabble rousing night here, I slept fitfully. That one iced tea at 7 pm killed me. Sad isn't it?
Looking back at my to do list, I realize I have not accomplished much, but I am trying.
8. Revisit the Spiral Jetty.
That and starting on my iTunes library (#10) is all I have done. The weather is prone to be vile next week (upper 80s) so that should be reason enough to learn how to grill (#3 and #4). The idea of turning on the oven has no appeal.
In other good news, I shall dip my toes in the lake after work. Yup, work.
Post no thrills, taken in Mid-Mahattan, February 25, 2012
Instead of focusing on what I am trying to not do this year, here is a list of things that I would love to do/try/learn this year.
1. Learn how to properly snorkel. I spend enough time in the warm waters of Hawaii, you would think that I enjoy floating with my face in the water and a tube shoved into my maw to get oxygen to my lungs. I really don't. I need to chill and learn that you can see a lot in 6' of water and that maybe fish can be cute and entertaining if you relax and learn to breathe.
2. Learn how to sea kayak. Insert cold water, San Juan Islands, eskimo roll and terrible currents into the previous thing to learn to do and realize that North Pacific fish are not entertaining enough to pay much attention to them unless they become dinner.
3. Learn how to light a barbeque and learn how to grill.
4. After I master that, move on to indirect heat grilling.
5. Pressure can tuna.
6. Run faster, longer and without stopping.
7. Finally go to Marfa, TX and see all that great art work.
8. Revisit the Spiral Jetty.
9. Go to Argentina in our fall when the weather is more to my liking.
10. Listen to all the music I have in my iTunes library, make a few play lists and start culling things I do not care for any more.
I think that is a pretty good start, don't you.
What do you want to do this year, or next year or ever?
Welcome to the Boulangerie at Casa Beagle. Dogs welcome.
Let me set something straight, I love pants. I love skorts even more, but that is fodder for a series of fashion related posts. This post isn't really about clothing, but about creating a weekend that is filled with nothing more than being yourself. It is about giving yourself permission to let the week slip away behind you. No errands, no dinner commitments, no plans are made on these weekends. I look forward to my no-pant weekend (yoga pant weekend just doesn't sound that exciting, nor drives blog traffic) which usually starts with the mad drive to the ferry and taking the happy dogs for a walk on the beach before the boat ride up to Orcas.
The weekend stretches ahead with all sorts of possibilities - long dog walks, trying new recipes, beating back the garden, long conversations after dinner, napping with assorted hounds in sunbeams and catching up on reading. There is no need to impress anyone, here we are all ourselves. A nice dinner in town can even be pulled off if your yoga pants are clean and neat (note to self: buy smart yoga pants). No one really cares what you look like and sometimes this is the best part. Reality bites soon enough as you merge into the line of traffic heading towards the freeway. You'll soon put your big girl pants again to face real life at home with a head full of memories, a few tired dogs and new hope to help you make it through the week ahead.
Taken early morning on January 1, 2013 from Orcas, looking towards Lopez.
The first year and month of 2013 is over. There is no need to resolve anything in 2013 if you are still on the fence. I have decided it is easier to plow on and do the right thing, especially if you have no real vices to resolve ending. It is just better this way.
All I want is for 2013 is that it be better than the last. I want my parents remain healthy and independent; Ernest's visits to the vet be be few and far between; and my new niece or nephew be born healthy. My wish is that TH keeps on striving ahead and thinking of ways to move science information into the new territory and build new collaborations. I want the federal government stay solvent and keep on functioning. I demand that my friends stay insured and employed, and that I find a great job as well.
Yup. I am still looking.
I am trying to challenge myself to write more. I spend a long time thinking as I walk the dog about things that I would like to write about, but am afraid to bore you and maybe me to death. I have great respect for those who can write and most likely carve out time every day to write.
You go girls.
Given how things could be, I am doing just dandy and for this I am grateful.
I am starting to collect family stories in a more orderly and formal fashion. I have heard many of them before. As a child, they both fascinated and bored me to tears when all I wanted to do was go play outside or hang out with my friends.
Now those stories enthrall me and make me realize how much about my parents I don't know or didn't consider was important. I am honestly in awe of half of what they have done. This past week I had the incredible pleasure of sitting down with them and hearing the stories, spending time with them and my mom's extended family.
Sometimes I am so disgusted by what has happened to Iran as I knew it growing up and from family stories. I am usually on the other side of the argument, trying to explain and maybe rationalize behaviors of a culture which I am fiercely proud of being associated with and a country that is now so insular that many cannot remember life before the Revolution. I must have been living under a rock when this was first announced.
Please donate what you can to help feed and house these dogs until their are rehomed. I was also flabbergasted to hear that the current Western embargo against Iran bans the import of flea and tick medication for these dogs. My mother worked tirelessly to bring humanitarian goods into Iran after earthquakes and helped raise funds to shelter and home street children in Tehran. She retired from these efforts when she returned from San Diego, but when she hears about this, I'm sure she will with these efforts. While she can't walk and play with these dogs, she can work to educate Iranians around Seattle and try get some of these dogs settled, transported and help write letters to get medications to these dogs. I will be at her side helping and learning from her, she is the master of persuasion.
I recognize there are a million things going wrong in the world and we can't fix everything, but if every person did one thing to help another person, creek, playground, ocean, forest or garden, the world would be a better place because of it.
Many of you know of my not so secret obsession with frequent travel and my vast, yet esoteric knowledge of some frequent flyer programs. I was recently featured by the Frugal Travel Guy on his blog. FlyerTalk is where I found a group of like minded folks who flew both for work and leisure and enjoyed talking about all things points and miles. I have made some great friends and connections through FlyerTalk. My dearest @joanek is one of them, without her in my life I would never have eaten a sweetbread, cared about helper monkeys, enjoyed Kamakura and hanging out in Paris going from market to market. Ditto for @missydarlin who has roped me into many a race starting in 2007. She met her soon to be husband on FlyerTalk as did a few other of my friends.
The FlyerTalk community started out as small group of passionate flyers who were looking for like minded individuals. The forums looks very much the same as when I first found it in 2000. Some of the same people still post, some of them I count as my friends. I still go to the forums for travel advice. I go because many FlyerTalkers have the same travel habits that I possess,and partially because I know much of the advice is tried and true. Like other brands FlyerTalk has joined the rest of the social web. While I follow their twitter stream, post pictures to the Flickr group and like them on Facebook, I find most of the advice and knowledge is still active and alive on the forums.
Thanks to the folks who keep FlyerTalk well moderated, active, and fun place for me after all these years.
This is one in a series of blog posts I have been cogitating upon about job hunting... Please read the first post here.
4. Get dressed every morning
We undress E every night before he goes to bed. His harness and collar are taken off to air his belly and reduce amount of noise when he shakes or scratches during the night. Every morning we put his collar and harness back on and get ready for his day. He loves his routine and very rarely strays from it - breakfast, walk, nap, walk, nap, run around, walk, dinner, walk, and bed.
After walking E and going to the gym in the morning, I shower and get dressed in casual, but work appropriate clothing including shoes just as if I was going to my office, but with shorter and more pleasant commute. I try to keep the same rituals as before, except for going out for coffee or listening to the radio while driving. It is easy to let these habits slide as you move away from the structure of a typical office environment. I try to get all my job hunting, scholarly research and data analysis, and meeting coordination tasks done during a typical work day time frame. That way, I retain my work/life balance when TH gets home.
5. Have someone check your work
E's best friend Charlie often will pick up E's chew toys after E is done and chew on them a little more and vice versa. They optimize the chewing texture and consistency of each other's bones to bring out the best flavor. It is all in a days work for the hounds.
Find someone you trust to give you constructive feedback on your job application material. Even better would be someone who to carefully proofread for overlooked typos or grammatical mistakes or number transposition in your contact information. After staring at your own writing for three hours or three days, you start to miss the little things that a recruiter or hiring manager might pick up on the first glance. Another set of eyes can be a tremendous help.
6. Stand apart from the pack
E has unusual markings for a basset hound. Even better is that he will perform an impressive commando crawl around other humans when things don't go exactly his way. He will do this when have to move on from a riveting conversation, an adoration session or we're not taking the routing he desires on his walk. It is nothing obnoxious or dangerous, in fact it is quite enchanting and charming. However, as the person who replaces his harness every few months, I am not as amused. It does make him memorable.
I am not suggesting that you should start crawling on your belly or break into song at a networking event or job interview. However, you increase your chance of being remembered by presenting yourself in the best light. Be conversant in the topics of the day and listen to what others are saying, carry great looking business cards with your current contact information and remember to use them and be genuine. If you promise to follow up with someone, please do so. It will show that you have follow through and many will remember that.
This is one in a series of blog posts I have been cogitating upon about job hunting...
I spend a lot of time talking about my dog. Ernest is a pretty special basset hound. Many have remarked on him - his markings, his personality and his demeanor. We were very lucky to be picked by him.
He has also taught me a lot about patience, tolerance in the pursuit of a new career path. I have learned much from watching him interact with others to win over their hearts and their minds.
1. Pick a path to follow, but be prepared to make adjustments.
E goes for four walks a day. They are not long walks, they are very thorough walks - no blade of grass goes unsniffed and no phone pole goes dry. He has a set pattern of walks he takes every day. However, at times something sends him off down another street, a scent or a lead. Some times that street brings him to a new discovery or a new friend. If not, we don't take that path again.
Job hunting is very much the same. We routinely set up job agents and check for results daily or weekly. If nothing interesting or compelling is being returned by these agents, if may be time to shake things up and try something new. Check out key words in new job listings that are pertinent to what you are looking for, it may be time to adjust your search to find new leads.
Ernest walks so much not because he needs the exercise, but because he craves the attention of his public. He loves meeting and greeting his old friends and making new friends when we explore new territory.
Getting out there and networking is hard. Putting yourself up for public scrutiny and judgement can be painful when you are shy or out of practice. It takes time and courage to start networking. Start small, work on your small talk and your pitch (genuine) and soon people will be seeking you out.
3. Sit to greet
E infuriates me at times because he refuses to advance while walking because he sees another dog in the distance. In a way, this is good. He recognizes something is coming our way and wants to meet and greet before moving on. He does the right thing in doggie obedience training. He sits to greet and if the dog or owner is friendly, they sniff,wag and sometimes play. If he gets a bad vibe, he tends to move away and lets the dog move on without a lot of interaction.
Do try and make an effort. Eye contact, a firm handshake, calling someone by their name, trying to introduce that person to others around you are all good ways of showing your interest in someone and you are being polite. Don't be aloof, be respectful.
This is my 1000th post. Gosh, where has time gone?
Lounging on the High Line, New York City, February 2012
I am on the job market. Some of you know may know this, some of you may not. I am actively looking for a position that uses my expertise project management along with social media analytics, engagement and and strategy. Finding a position that capitalizes on my background in environmental sciences, my canny ability to network and bring people together, my love of data and innovation would be ideal. I am however, completely open to other opportunities and markets. I love the idea of working for a startup, something I thought I would never say.
I look to self-help articles, social media, expert opinions, friends and networks for any information on how to best go about looking for a job. I am very appreciative of those who have listened to me, encouraged me and sent me leads. I cannot thank you enough.
I have a long way to go, but I am optimistic that something good will happen soon.
I am done with my web optimization class. It was not easy, but I learned a lot. I was going to take another class this quarter, but decided spending the rest of the summer working on my job search and writing a book chapter would be better.
I hope to spend at least one day a week writing and at one afternoon taking a nap.
First of all, thank you all for comments on my last post. I know its a pain to comment, but I appreciate that you spent time to give me your thoughts. I wish there was a way to mush three blogs into one. I'm not sure would work really well unless I can figure out a way to do it all with tabs. Hmm. Let me think on this.
Some weekends, when the rest of the gang retreats to the North! and Casa Beagle, I remain here to do exciting things like homework, book club and to eat standing in front of the fridge. Its all so very mature.
By the end of the week I just can't be bothered to cook or nor speak to anyone about what I am planning on having for dinner, especially if it involves words like verjus or ramps. Yesterday, I discussed on my Facebook page the angst of deciding to drive to a grocery store with self-checkout versus one without to pick up a frozen pizza. The self-check would help avoid in engaging in inane conversation with the checker about weekend plans, the weather or anything mildly uncontroversial. This Facebook conversation went on longer than it would have taken me drive to the store and pick up my pizza. I realize this is a behavior that I typically mock. My dinner of turkey jerky, sharp cheddar cheese and oranges because I was too tired from typing to drive to the store was also pathetic and terribly lonely.
This blogging everyday thing is challenging. I am only here once every three days, but I post for Ernest ( paw recognition software in the works), and on banamak.org as well. I feel like I am becoming a content creator par excellence.|Trust me, I have some pretty awesome content when I try. It is hard to keep my voices distinct. I could have Ernest blog about my life (yawn) or cooking (yum) or I could post recipes on Ernest's blog.
I could just chuck the whole thing out the window and start over again.
I get lots of great feedback from my friends, my three admirers and my eight detractors on my content. Some of you are also now starting to post comments and I am trying really hard to engage you by replying to them.
In school, we talked a lot about engagement. I think this is key to building a solid brand and following, and something I should have paid better attention to a while ago.
I love twitter because it throws things out to the universe and usually you get some quick feedback or see if you content goes viral with very simple twitter analytic tools. In my opinion, this is much harder with blog content. With share buttons on blogs or at the end of blog posts, you can all share out my content (please do). But to comment or have a dialogue requires commitment/conversion/a call to action of you, dear reader, to register (no!) or tell me more about yourself (as if I would do anything with that information), in order to engage. In this day and age, this is too much work for the consumer. What would work better for you? I would love for comments, I would love for shares, I would love likes.
I think I'm pretty freaking funny (at times) and have something witty to say (upon occasion) and usually have something worth sharing (more than ever). If you like this content, please send me a sign.
As I learn more and more about how the consumer/reader acts when encountering any sort of marketing/information on the interwebs, I realize how important it is to engage and start conversations. While I am not trying to sell you a toaster/natural supplement/insurance quote, I would love to convert you to a loyal reader and follower of my love of food, commentary on life, social media, travel, and what a six year old basset is really thinking if you let his humans blog for him.
Trust me, this is not an easy thing to write, nor post. I am trying not to grovel, just trying to figure out where to go next.
I am crowdsourcing maraschino cherry opinions today. Thank goodness for the internet. These are so beautiful, I cannot even think of pitting them in order to preserve them. I love them just the way they are.
If you enjoy a Manhattan at my house in a few weeks, take heed.
Other than that, E. went to the neurologist today. She was very happy with his progress and gave him clearance to travel to the North. For this I am relieved, it has been a long few weeks.
If you had asked me a month ago what I would be doing today, I would have told you that I would be walking Ladenburg, Germany where my friend Tracy (@choicemorsel) moved to last summer. Instead, I am in Seattle, gardening between showers and slaving over my web analytics project.
Life can change in a moment. Two Sundays ago, E. was shivering in pain and looked awful. One emergency vet visit, one visit to the regular vet for x-rays and two visits to the neurologist later, we find out that E. ruptured a disc in his back. How this happened is unknown to us. He likes to rough house, he runs like a crazy boy and he jumps off the furniture. E. does everything that a normal dog would do in the course of the day. The problem lies in the fact that long low dogs are more prone to back injuries. Thanks to great advice from our breeder, the neurologist, some pain killers and benadryl, E is definitely on the road to recovery without surgery. He is currently mostly kennel or house bound. He goes for short walks and we have to persuade him to turn around earlier than normal. His demeanor and personality are still the same - joyful, stubborn and ebullient.
There is no rough housing, nor jumping any more. We are trying to adhere to the all four paws on the floor concept of life. We're willing to do these things because E. can walk, run, pounce, commando crawl and curl up like he used to do. We're happy with this.
E.'s injury changed our summer. I will see the gardens of Lombardy some other year, eat gelato when it won't melt, and visit Tracy before too long. I am wistful as I look at friends' summer pictures as the idea of being home bound for a few weeks is my new reality. The fact my dog is going to be okay is the most I can ask for as we go slow and take our sweet time towards recovery.