Goodbye old friend

“This is my little Samsonite suitcase that I bought back in 1997 to take to Europe. It’s not readily identifiable as a Samsonite anymore because the badge got ripped off on one trip or another in the last couple of years so you’ll just have to trust me on the brand. … I took this picture on my way home from a business trip last August because I thought it might be my last trip with that suitcase and I wanted something to remember it by. Not that I have any reason to replace it at the moment, but I don’t think it will be too long before I do.”
01/21/14 webpage post

Well, one year after I posted this ode to my trusty little suitcase, I finally had to say goodbye. I bought it to go to Europe back in 1997 and it has served me well over the last eighteen years. After the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend in May I discovered that one of the wheels had completely fallen off which made it difficult to maneuver. And noisy! However, I still tucked it back in my closet when I got home and forgot about its shortcomings. Then at the last minute I decided to take a carry-on size suitcase rather than my larger one to Hawaii last month. I had completely forgotten about the missing wheel. Oops. When I arrived at LAX for my flight it was far too late to pick a different piece of luggage for my trip, though. Luckily it held up just fine and I got back to Los Angeles without any additional pieces falling off. I decided that trip to Maui was my old suitcase’s swan song, though. And what better way to go out? I’ve taken that little guy all over the world! But now it’s time to find a new travel companion for future adventures (and not-so-exciting business trips). I hope I can find something that will last just as long!

Moving again

“I’ve had a weird couple of days at work. A few weeks ago we found out that our work area was going to be turned over to another program, meaning that we were getting kicked out. Thus began the aforementioned Great Cubicle Move of 2005. We had to be out of there by the end of the day today so things were a little hectic. … Our personal belongings (of which I have very few) turned out to be the easiest part of the move. We also had to prepare our computers for the movers. Disconnecting the computers was pretty disgusting work because of the accumulated dust. … So, as you can tell, many strange things happened at work this week. I’m sure things will be back to normal on Monday, though, as long as I can find my new cubicle.”
9/30/05 webpage post

History certainly has a way of repeating itself! Nearly ten years after the Great Cubicle Move of 2005 my program is in the midst of another migration. Actually, we’ve moved a couple of times in the last decade, but I couldn’t find any posts about the interim ones. One of those moves was from the Huntington Beach facility to the Seal Beach facility so I’m surprised I never wrote about it, but I guess there are a lot of events (both small and large) that I never shared on my blog. (Per my New Year’s resolution #4 I’m trying to change that! Not that anyone is really interested in reading about the tedium of cubicle musical chairs, but that’s what’s going on in my life today. Deal with it!) Back in 2005 my co-workers and I were moving from one area of a building to another within the Huntington Beach facility, and this time around we’re moving from one building to another within in the Seal Beach facility. It’s a pretty big change. I should have started packing up my office a week ago, but we’ve all been incredibly busy preparing for and executing several important events. I’ve been pretty frantic. But the move is scheduled to happen tomorrow, so I spent almost all of today boxing up my personal belongings (my 2015 race medals, work awards and certificates, and my Gandalf toy I got from Burger King back in 2001) and dismantling all of my computers and phones. It was messy work. I really need to dust my cubicle more often. Specifically the computer. Thank goodness my neighbor brought a Swiffer duster today. Even though I waited until the eleventh hour to pack, by 3:30 PM I was done. Everything in my office had been sorted, boxed, and labeled. I was exhausted! It was a little strange seeing the cubicle empty as I got ready to leave. I felt a mixture of sadness and nostalgia. I don’t have the same attachment to my work area as I do to my home or anything like that, but I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years. But I know that I’ll be settled into my new office and working as hard as ever soon. There are plenty of good times ahead!


“I am a big fan of Disney Broadway musicals so I picked up a copy of the new Tarzan soundtrack at Target the other day. At first I was disappointed because, unlike other Disney shows, it didn’t seem to have a particular song that caught my attention. The Lion King has ‘Endless Night’ and Beauty and the Beast has ‘If I Can’t Love Her,’ both fantastic songs that I listen to over and over again. Then today as I was listening to ‘For the First Time’ I got goosebumps and realized I had found the song I was looking for.”
9/29/06 webpage post

The first of this year’s Academy Awards nominees I saw was “Into the Woods.” (Technically it was “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” on Christmas Day, but that doesn’t really count since it was only nominated for sound editing. How the mighty have fallen.) My parents and I went to see “Into the Woods” on December 27th. Being a huge fan of musicals in general I thought I was going to love it. I was wrong. Maybe I didn’t enjoy it because I’ve never seen the play before (how is that possible?) and I’m not familiar with the score, but something about the movie just didn’t hold my interest. None of the characters were particularly likeable, and none of the songs gave me goosebumps like I wanted them to. When I saw “Les Miserables” on Broadway in 1996 something magical happened. The first time I heard “On My Own” I was entranced. I couldn’t stop thinking about that song. I bought the soundtrack as soon as I got home from New York and I listened to it constantly for a while. It was fantastic. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything like that in “Into the Woods.” On the other hand, last week I popped the “Newsies” soundtrack into my car’s CD player and it reminded me why I love that movie so much. (Not just because it has Christian Bale and Bill Pullman either!) The songs just make me so happy that I can’t help but smile. I can listen to the soundtrack over and over and sing every song at the top of my lungs. That’s what musicals should do. They should stir up your emotions until you can’t help but sing along. It’s just a shame that “Into the Woods” didn’t have that quality.

X-Files revisited

“In a plot that sounds eerily similar to the Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale, Mulder is put on trial where he must defend the very existence of the X-Files. Granted, you don’t have Q running around mucking everything up, but still.” (Entertainment Weekly, 05/17/02)

My dad and I will be somewhere between Florida and California when the “X-Files” series finale is aired one week from tonight. Let’s hope that, wherever that is, a Fox network is available.
5/12/02 webpage post

Last week there was major buzz around a possible reboot/revisit of the “X-Files” franchise, and as a massive fan of the series I was extremely excited about this. Then last night I finally listened to the Nerdist podcast that was actually the impetus of the movement. It was amazing! As I mentioned in my previous post about my second New Year’s resolution, I’ve been listening to Nerdist podcasts in the evening while I’m getting ready for bed. I enjoy just about every episode, but this particular one was really special. Not only was Gillian Anderson an incredibly awesome guest (I didn’t know what to expect, but she was fantastic), but she and the hosts actually invented the #XFiles2015 hashtag that started it all! How cool would it be if that podcast turns out to be the catalyst for new X-Files content on television? I’m super excited just thinking about it. Not only was I watching the show when it was still on Fox every Sunday night (I remember watching the season finale in a hotel room in Utah back in 2002), but I enjoyed the “I Want to Believe” movie back in 2008 too (I just added it to my Netflix queue so I can watch it again). Pretty much anything in the X-Files universe is fine by me. And besides just crossing all of my fingers and toes to help this effort, I wrote a tweet with the #XFiles2015 hashtag tonight. New X-Files must happen! And if there’s anything else I can do to keep the ball rolling I hope someone will let me know!

Not missing out this year

“Back in September I saw a ceramic pumpkin luminary that I loved at Pottery Barn, but by the time I got back from my month in Florida it was sold out. So I missed out on that this year.”
11/09/13 webpage post

I have a confession: I’ve already decorated my apartment for Halloween. It’s not anywhere near the scale of my Christmas decorations (no tree, obviously), and I usually wait until October 1st to put them up, but I decided that I want to enjoy my Halloween items for longer than usual this year. The weather is unrelentingly summer here in Los Angeles, so the fall décor reminds me that cooler weather will be here eventually. (As far as I’m concerned, fall can’t come soon enough.) The funny thing is, before Halloween last year I only had one item to decorate with, and that was Witch Duck. I love Witch Duck dearly, but Halloween needs more celebration than that in my apartment. So in early November I bought a couple of things on sale online in preparation for Halloween 2014. Like the Peanuts set in the above photo. Isn’t is great? “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is my favorite Halloween tradition so I was happy to find this adorable set at Macy’s. Regarding the quote from my 11/9/13 webpage post, as soon as I saw the pumpkin luminaries appear in the Pottery Barn catalogs again I bought two of them. No way I was going to miss out on them again this year! I don’t have a good photo of them yet since I haven’t bought any battery-operated candles to go inside, but I’ll get around to that soon. Another thing I missed out on last year was getting a set of Halloween-themed Minnie Mouse ears at Disneyland. I should have bought them at Disney World last September/October when I was working at Cape Canaveral, but I figured there was plenty of time to pick them up when I got back to California. I was wrong. By mid-October the orange and black spiderweb design ears that I wanted were nowhere to be found in Disneyland. So this year when I saw the Halloween items first appear in the park shops I bought a pair immediately. Yet another thing I wasn’t going to miss out on this year. Now if only some cooler weather would come along then it would really feel like Halloween is approaching!


On Friday my alarm went off at 5 AM. I was running the Huntington Beach July 4th 5K at 8 AM and I wanted to get there early so I parking wouldn’t be difficult. It was still dark when I got out of bed so I didn’t notice the pair of shoes that I left next to my closet the night before. Yes, I did indeed trip over them and fall on my face. Sheesh. I hit my right knee on the ground pretty hard so I laid on the ground for about 10 seconds assessing the damage. I thought to myself, “Am I hurt? What did I injure? Can I still run today?” Luckily I had just bruised the crap out of my knee (as of today it’s a lovely black and blue color) so my running wasn’t affected, but I still felt pretty stupid about nearly killing myself first thing in the morning. After picking myself up off the floor I threw on my running clothes, grabbed everything I needed, and headed down to Huntington Beach. I got there around 6 AM so parking was a snap! While waiting for the race to start I sat in my car, watched “Frozen” on my iPad, and ate my breakfast. Very relaxing. It had been 14 years since the last time I’d participated in the Huntington Beach July 4th race back in 2000. One of my roommates during my first Boeing internship asked me to go with her – I walked the 5K while she ran that year.

“Sarah and I got up at 5:30 AM (which is a half hour earlier than usual for those of you who don’t know what time I get up for work on weekdays). We left the apartment at 6 AM headed for Huntington Beach and the annual Fourth of July 5K race.”
7/4/00 diary entry

My only real goal for the day was to beat my previous 5K time – 34:03 from the Orange County 5K in May. That certainly wasn’t a lofty goal to begin with, but it wouldn’t be easy since it was a warm day. But despite missing the water station because it was crowded and having to take two short walk breaks because I pushed myself too hard, I still finished in 33:53! I only beat my old 5K time by 10 seconds, but I’ll take it. After the race was over I didn’t stay for the parade. It was hot and I felt pretty gross so I went home to take a shower. I fought laziness for quite a while, but then I realized I had to get up off the couch if I wanted to bake something for the party I was going to that afternoon. My first thought was to make chocolate chip cookies or pound cake, but one of my co-workers requested a chocolate dessert so I tried a recipe for dark chocolate brownies using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder. Oh my goodness, they were so delicious! I ate way too many, but they were really yummy. I will have to make those brownies again soon and post the recipe too. As soon as the brownies were cool enough to cut I packed them up and took them to the July 4th party. Lots of friends, lots of fun, and lots of food. The perfect summer holiday. I went home before dark so I missed the majority of the fireworks, but it was still a great July 4th. And the best part was that I still had a whole weekend ahead of me! July 4th should be on a Friday every year.

Writing prompt – Blogiversary

NaBloPoMo writing prompt from March 10, 2014:
How has blogging changed your life? Tell us one thing that is different now than from before you started blogging.

On May 19, 1999 I started my first blog. (This was also the release date of “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” Coincidence?) I can hardly believe it’s been fifteen years! To answer the question posed by this writing prompt – what’s NOT different now than it was back then? When I wrote my very first webpage post I was a twenty year old college student, attending summer classes at the University of Florida, with more free time than I knew what to do with. Even though my two classes were pretty intense, considering they each crammed a whole semester’s worth of information into just six weeks, I still had far fewer demands on my time without the rest of the college experience (my sorority, AIAA events, etc.) going on. University campuses are very quiet in the summer, and that was even more pronounced in an otherwise sleepy little town like Gainesville. There were things I liked about it (no crowds and plenty of parking), but I didn’t know what to do with myself in my time off. So I started writing. I’d kept a few paper diaries and journals when I was younger, but they were all short-lived and fairly satisfying. Scribbling away in a notebook that no one was ever going to read seemed like a futile pursuit to me. (But if I ever get ahold of those things again I’m sure I will bust a gut laughing.) Fortunately in the late 90’s the Internet came to my rescue! I’d been dabbling in simple webpage design since starting college, but when my best friend Käthe started an online diary to tell everyone about her exciting life, I had to follow suit (although my life wasn’t nearly as interesting). Publishing my ramblings on the web for anyone to read was exhilarating (although I could count my readers on one hand). I felt free to share my thoughts, uncensored, and let everyone know exactly how I felt about topics and situations I encountered. This is a familiar concept these days with the ever-present nature of Facebook and Twitter, but it was much less common back then. (Maybe I was ahead of my time? Why didn’t I invent a social network?) Fifteen years later, blogging is still my main form of self expression, and even thought I’ve taken breaks every now and then, I’ve really enjoyed it. I definitely won’t be stopping anytime soon.

“In the past I don’t think I have expressed my opinions as freely as I should have. Before now I have felt intimidated by opinionated people and rarely did I oppose them for that reason. Everyone should be able to say what they think, but in a way that does not degrade any particular person for their beliefs.”
5/19/99 diary entry

I have nothing better to write about

“It can be argued that individuals are defined by the people and things they surround themselves with so I think mentioning how I spend my time is important in describing my character. Anyway, I just thought I would justify the recent TV discussion so that you don’t think I have nothing better to write about.”
04/04/01 webpage post

Actually, I do have something better to write about, but I’ve been exceptionally lazy this weekend. Despite spending quality time on my couch catching up on a whole bunch of TV shows, I didn’t strain my brain trying to write anything. Instead I watched “Once Upon a Time” and it’s spinoff “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” (which ended its single season run this week), “Agents of SHIELD,” “Big Bang Theory,” and “Elementary.” A veritable nerd’s paradise! However, it has come to my attention that I don’t get nearly enough accomplished on weekdays when I get home from work when I park myself in front of the TV so that has to change. Maybe it’s time for a new resolution? For now I’m going to go work on resolution #4 and read a little bit of Allegiant (the third Divergent book) before I go to sleep. Good night everyone!

New Year’s Eve 2013

“The holidays are over. Boo! My birthday is approaching. Ugh. But I was still happy when I woke up this morning because it’s a new year and that means new beginnings. I thought I knew what kinds of things 2012 would bring, but I was so wrong. So as 2013 dawns I’m not even going to try and guess how it’s going to unfold. Hopefully it will be much better than I could ever imagine.”
01/01/13 webpage post