Self Confidence and Minorities

Yesterday I gave my pep talk to a friend. The summary?

  1. You do better than you think
  2. Don’t compare yourself to others
  3. Contributions don’t have to be equivalent to be valuable
  4. When you don’t feel as smart as everyone else just work to be handy, helpful and hardworking ™

The irony? Normally I give this talk to other women in the technology field who work predominantly men. Yesterday I gave my pep talk to a black man who works mostly with white people. It got me thinking. Is there an inherent self confidence issue to having obvious physical differences from everyone around you? Maybe particularly physical differences that have been labeled negative, like being overweight?

If I searched I’m sure I would find other stories, researched I would find data. Meanwhile it’s just a thought. Add to that some articles I’ve read recently about confidence and career advancement and I have some more thoughts to think.

Meanwhile, remember, you don’t have to be a super hero to be good at your job. You don’t have to be Bruce Wayne to have value.

Categories: philosophy, women in computer science | Leave a comment

Six Months Post-Op

June 6 was my six months post-op date and I didn’t post. I feel so much better that having had brain surgery feels like it could have never happened. Except for the spot on my head with no nerves, the twinge in my skull when the weather changes, and the occasional bit of buzzing or ringing in my ear. So I can feel I had surgery but meanwhile I just feel wholer than I did before.

I also feel more relaxed, less anxious. I try to get to the gym twice a week, am getting to work regularly with sick days only for when I have a normal sort of flu or cold, and am thinking very clearly. I’m not as productive as I dreamed I would be. Instead I find myself thinking about who I feel like now that my head is all healed up. Not that I am a different person from before my surgery. It’s just I feel more capable of doing more in a slow and graceful way. I am also out of the habit of doing more and am slowly building up my stamina for life.  Still taking long naps on weekends but not as often.

What next? Camping. Road trips. Building up friendships.

Categories: health, SCDS, surgery recovery | 2 Comments

Drupalcon in Austin Texas: Day 1

I left home yesterday (Sunday morning) at 6am. I was supposed to fly out at 8am but my flight was delayed. I suppose that would have been a great chance to go back and get my walking stick which my subconscious had conveniently forgotten but instead chose to consciously forget. I am so tired of the walking stick.

My first plane left at noon and arrived in Dallas around 6pm. Dallas was a long walk from one terminal to the next then waiting and frustration. I’ve flown Delta for so long I’ve started to take for granted good customer service. American Airlines does not compare. I arrived in Austin around 8pm, waited for luggage, waited for a shuttle to a hotel, talked to a neat person also attending my geek conference (aka Drupalcon).

I had a light breakfast, early lunch and no other food. I arrived at the hotel hungry to discover that it didn’t have a cafe, that nothing was in walking distance, that the only option was an overpriced tv dinner sold at the front desk for the microwave in the room. At least the bed was comfy.

I woke at 6am, had the Best Western powdered egg and mostly meat breakfast, then walked about a half mile to the nearest Car2Go. I just didn’t feel like dealing with a cab. Walking out of the Best Western I was hit by a wall of humidity and heat. There was a field of scotch broom the size of small trees. Flowers bloomed. Yards were full of cactus the way small ornamental trees are planted in Portland.

An hour to get to the hotel to find out the room hadn’t been changed from the person who didn’t go to my name (the person who went instead) and checked my bags so I could go to the conference without dragging them around. I took the class on security which was fun, ate conference food for lunch, conference food for early dinner, some socializing, my annual Rackspace t-shirt.

Back at the hotel my stomach started rebelling from the poor food. I went to a late dinner at a nice Italian restaurant called La Traviata. Duck confit and pinot grigio. I’m feeling much better. I’ll write up more another time. The pool opens at 6am and I hope to wake up just about then and try to swim a bit before breakfast.

Categories: Austin TX, geeky, traveling | Leave a comment

From Going to Running Away

The gym I joined has a class named Barre. This is a ballet term that describes a series of exercises that would be fabulous for my vestibular system: standing up straight, positioning feet, bending knees and standing on tip toes, moving arms, all without falling over.

When I was last at the gym I noted the time it took place: 5:30am on Tuesdays.

Last night I went to bed early and this morning I woke up at 5am. I really want to go to this class.

I got dressed and ate a light breakfast (cottage cheese and peaches) then tried to figure out what shoes to wear. I’ve taken ballet, both as a child and as an adult, but don’t have ballet slippers. I also don’t have tennis shoes. I do have house slippers. I grabbed some house slippers and slipped on some Crocs.

On the way to the front door I passed the window into the room where the class was setting up. I could see that people were wearing neat light tennis shoes, socks, and some ballet slippers. I suddenly felt frumpy. I try to take pride in the fact that I haven’t spent ridiculous amounts on the informal uniform of athletic clubs. The sleek black lycra with racing stripes. I really do need to get some appropriate shoes though.* House slippers? Really? But I really want to go to this class!

It also seemed as if the class, which was gathering, was full of petite athletic women. I look like a woman from a Wagnerian opera, except I don’t sing that well and I’m not blonde.  Deep breath, I really want to go to this class.

Into the gym I dash, momentarily hating the sign “strong is beautiful.” Who cares about beauty? Why does beauty have to come into it? Why can’t strong just be strong?

Through the maze of exercise machines and over to the class room, I open the door, and the class has started. Probably only by seconds but started. I duck out like I’m lost. Try to convince myself to go back. Instead run away.

Next time I will get there early. Being in a rush, starting late, just increases the awkwardness beyond what I can stand. Next steps: appropriate (pretty), comfortable shoes, get there least ten minutes early, deep breaths.

 

 

*Appropriate shoes: my preference is to be barefoot. I admit that I wear the Vibram funny toe shoes. Now Vibram is paying everyone who ever bought their shoes money because they are sorry because people who wear Vibrams are stupid. I feel like wearing them is a big stupid mark on me. I like them though and have the hardest time finding any shoes that are as comfortable as being barefoot or Vibrams which is nearly barefoot.

Categories: health | Leave a comment

Irony Loves Me

I drank a lot of tap water in NYC. I drink tap water at home. Tap water is safe.

Yesterday morning I came down with horrible stomach sick including stomach cramps like you wouldn’t believe. Stomach flu, food poisoning or something.

Nope. Portland OR has a “boil your water” warning out and I (probably) have e coli.

Why does irony love me? I spent the last twenty four hours chugging water in an attempt to stay hydrated because of my stomach thing which is probably the result of drinking that same water.

Categories: health, Portland OR | Leave a comment

Home Now, Last Days in NYC Recap

We’re home safe in Portland and the cats are in tip top shape. As always our cat/house sitter has done a fantastic job. I don’t know what we’re going to do after he moves away.

Saturday we went to Amaluna, the Cirque de Soleil performance currently happening by the Mets stadium. It was beautiful and fantastic and breathtaking. Before that we had infinite tea and scones and tea sandwiches at Alice’s Tea Cup. Breakfast was mueslix by Isaiah and dinner was a little Mexican restaurant that is a haunt of Lisa and John’s and their friends. We played a round of Ascension (fantastic board/card game) then collapsed.

Sunday the four of us went to Butter, Alex Guarnaschelli’s restaurant in Manhattan. Afterwards we went to the Whitney which is moving in 2015 from its current location. There were heart wrenchingly beautiful things, interesting things and things that didn’t touch me at all. Much like any museum I go to. Once done at the Whitney we were looking for dinner and somehow ended up at Chris Santos’ restaurant The Stanton Social in the lower east side. Completely different vibe, equally delicious food. In fact my suggestions on this trip have been good enough that John & Lisa have requested additional recommendations.

Once back at the apartment on Sunday we played more Ascension then went to bed. It was sad to say good bye to Lisa & John. They were fantastic hosts.

This morning we didn’t do much besides pack, boarded a plane at 5:00 and arrived home around 9:30pm. It’s not hot but warm enough that I’ve decided to switch to our summer comforter. Meanwhile I play with the cats and type.

I feel like I want to write more details on the places I ate and the things I saw. I want to do a lot of things. This trip was invigorating. Happy to be home. Head full of ideas.

Categories: cats, New York NY, vacations | Leave a comment

More Vacation

Spent Wednesday taking the Circle Line boat tour around the bottom half of Manhattan. It was supposed to be a break but was surprisingly tiring on my vedtibular system.

Wednesday night we saw Act One, a play about the early life of Moss Hart, a playwrite. Dinner was amazingly delicious at PJ Clarkes.

Thursday, yesterday, Isaiah and I hung out at John and Lisa’s apartment resting. We had infinite tea, sandwiches and scones at Alice’s Tea Cup. Then Lisa and I went to get manicures and pedicures. Isaiah and John went to The Compleat Strategist, a game store, and picked up Ascension.

Today Isaiah and I had lunch at City Diner with an old frind’s father and got to learn some of the history of the upper west side as well as punch card programming. Afterwards we returned to AMNH where we looked at dinosaurs and I bought most of the presents for the trip.

We had a bit of time so we took several trains to Grand Central Station and the quilt show at the transit musuem there.

Home for pizza and games at the apartment and a nap for me. Isaiah is also doing laundry as he is out of clean shirts or socks.

Categories: New York NY, Uncategorized, vacations | Leave a comment

Yesterday at the Met

Yesterday we had breakfast in the apartment we are staying at then made a bee line (on the 6 train) to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I think Isaiah was overwhelmed. The Met is wandering around on an infinite path of beauty where if you attempt to get to a location you will stumble across glades of distracting amazement. One of those for me was Muller.

Lunch was afternoon tea at one of the cafes in the Met. Delicious.

Dinner was Ruby Foos near Times Square with John and Lisa. Afterwards we went to Raisin in the Sun. An amazing performance by Denzel Washington and the entire cast.

Home, upload photos to Flickr, sleep, and awake to another day. More museums? A ferry ride? What delicious food to consume? Vacations.

Categories: New York NY, Uncategorized, vacations | Leave a comment

Walking Seven Miles Around NYC

We left our friends’ apartment around 10am, ate breakfast at Clark’s Cafe, then walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Breakfast was funny. Isaiah ordered a chilli cheese omelett and had to get something else when it came out with chilli not chillis in it. Vegetarians.

Once in Manhattan we took the 6 train to Forbidden Planet and the Strand. From there we went to Tea and Sympathy for a British lunch.

The afternoon was spent wandering the Americam Museum of Natural History then back to the West Village for dinner with John and Lisa at Westville. Dessert at City Cakes for cupcakes and a milk bar in Chelsea Market for milk.

Along the way Isaiah bought a book, I got a tshirt, and we got some loose tea.

Back in Brooklyn Heights with sore feet and tired head. The hepa filter air thing makes my ears pop and roll. Time to read until bed.

Categories: New York NY, Uncategorized, vacations | Leave a comment

Travel Day with some SCDS notes

The balance therapist at Dr Wackym’s office told me before flying to take Sudafed for three days, drink lots of water and take 5mg valium before boarding the plane. My ears have been popping but there is no pain on my surgery side ear until I wrote that then there was the tiniest twinge. Overall though flying is going really well. We took of a bit after 7am and have been in flight for a half hour. I will copy this note into wordpress later. I don’t feel like paying $15 for inflight wifi.

Isaiah is reading the Delta magazine. I am listening to music on my phone, writing this post snd shortly will either knit or nap. There is good leg and head room but my back hurts from the seat. Four hours shouldn’t be too bad.

A little over half way through the flight. If I had bought the wifi I could message Isaiah’s sister that we are flying over her now. I love these flight data screens with maps.

Three hours into the flight and my head started feeling odd pressure. Took 5mg valium. If that doesn’t help I will try more Sudafed though my sinuses are incredibly clear. Nothing I can’t live with but I am trying to live life preventively.

Landed safe. Leaving JFK. Wonderful to get away from home to someplace different and familiar. <3 NY.

Categories: New York NY, Uncategorized, vacations | Leave a comment

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