Chiara: August 2004 Archives

The joy that is cottage cheese


I have rediscovered that I love cottage cheese. I used to eat it with French dressing when I was a kid. But now I like it right out of the tub. Nothing added. Just a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. Though add some sliced pears and some pear juice - double yum!

Tom Coates, father of one Daniel Mauser, one of 13 people killed at Columbine High School by two students us gathering signatures for a petition to get Congress to renew the national Assault Weapons Ban, which automatically expires at the end of the summer. Congress must renew this ban or military-style assault weapons will be back on the street and available for sale in our neighborhoods. Put pressure on Congress to act now. Add your name to the list of people who want to ban the sale of assault weapons.

Post-Yoga Dealings


I'm finding it very difficult after my yoga class. I really enjoy the class. But I come home and I'm SO hungry and tired. It's really hard not to eat whatever is sitting in the snack cupboard.

Last night I think I did okay. I had a bowl of cereal and the last 2 meringue cookies. Camille brought in cookies and brownies for our working sessions yesterday afternoon. I was so late for work yesterday that I didn't really have time to bring good snacks with me. I ate all my food and I was starving come 4 o'clock when the meeting was over. So I had one of the cookies. One of the 3.5 ounces cookies. It was an oatmeal cranberry and it was WONDERFUL. Actually quite filling. But that ate up a lot of my points so I didn't have that many for dinner when I came home. I ended the day 2 veggies short and a few points shy of target too (depending upon just how much that cookie was). I didn't feel hungry when I went to bed though, so I'm not too worried about it.

I really need to go grocery shopping. I'm starting to run low on staples. I'm really starting to feel that I don't have enough time. And it's not because I'm sitting in front of the TV scratching my butt. I have something going on every night of the week. And I don't feel like I can cut anything. I have yoga on Mondays, which I LOVE. Tuesday I see Dr. D. Wednesday is games or guild or this week it is SCUBA class. Thursday is Weight Watchers. The yoga center is starting a Friday night meditation class in September and I want to go to that too.

But with something going on every day of the week. And then seeing Erik on the weekends, I'm feeling that I have no time to just sit. And no time to do chores. The litter box is a disaster. I still haven't moved the new beta fish into his new tank. I haven't vacuumed in a month, let alone clean the bathrooms. My plants are all dying. The stack of bills and receipts on my desk is ready to fall over it's so high. The balance has been tipped. I went from feeling that I was home alone with nothing to do to feeling that I'm never home.

I'm hoping that the long weekend coming up will help. It will give me time to clean. To pay bills. To catch up. I need to stock my kitchen and I need to have some meals ready to go. Coming home at 7 is too late for me to begin cooking. I'm a bit worried about September. It's a really busy month and it hasn't even started yet.



The American Library Association's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 is a very interesting list.

I'm sure that I have read 24 of them. There are another 8 that I think I read, but I can't remember for sure. I guess is says something about the Newtown school district (PDF) that most of the 24 I read in high school.

I need to have read all of these. My children, if I ever do have any, will have read all of these by the time they are 21.

New Mini-Sub-Blog


I've decided to make a little spin off section of that is focused just on my weight loss efforts. This way I won't fill the main entries with non-scale victories and concerns over points spent and whatnot. (It also won't clog up my LiveJournal.)

I think that journaling my thoughts and feelings (along with my food journal at WW) will be a helpful tool on this journey. Especially since feelings and food are so intertwined for me.

So for those of you who are interested, you'll find these posts via the right hand nav in WeightLossBlog.



The Green Lantern Inn + Point Lobos State Reserve + 10/3.5 = Pure happiness and utter relaxation

6/10th of 1 Pound

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I'm now starting my 4th week on the Weight Watchers program. I weighed in tonight and I gained .6 of a pound. This isn't surprising. The booze this weekend really sent me over my points. I didn't feel well Monday when I got home (I had had soda and candy to try to "wake me up" during my afternoon meeting - smart, I know) and I blew through whatever few points I had left that night. And last night I had 2.5 servings of meringue cookies when I shouldn't have had any.

So the gain isn't surprising. It's actually surprising that it wasn't more. But it's still frustrating.

It's hard to keep the big picture in perspective. The good news about this week was I did manage my food intake and make wise food choices this weekend (even if the drinking wasn't under control). I didn't throw in the towel and eat everything in sight every day this week (since the week was blown already). I got back on track and have been eating pretty well since Monday. And I have been feeling lighter in my loafers lately - so much so that I thought I might squeek in a loss today.

Which is probably why it feels so frustrating. I know these are the lumps and bumps in the road. This isn't even a setback, it's so small. But I want to hurry up and be at goal already. I know I didn't gain all this weight overnight, or in a week. And even though I know it won't come off that fast either, I still secretly wish that it would. I'm ready to look in the mirror and see someone sleek and strong.

Enjoying the journey is hard for me. Once I make up my mind about something I want to hurry up and do it already. Whether that is cleaning the house or planning a trip or being slender. So much of life is the journey, the process. If you cut that out, what are you really left with? A couple of high points with empty space between.

This weight loss adventure is really a gift - a chance for me to learn not only the best way to take care of my body. But to also learn how to enjoy the process. To live life in the moment - no matter how many pounds are in that moment.

Now if I can just get myself to take that to heart...

Feel the Love


Wow... I really was out of it yesterday. Note to self: when people tell you to keep drinking, don't listen! (Or at least switch to water. :)

I reread my post from yesterday and it only captures a small part of what I was feeling about this weekend. Which was this: I'm making friends. With really neat, good, kind, loving, fun people. Making friends is something that is very difficult for me. I've spent so much time being out of touch with my emotions, that it really was impossible for me to share with anyone. Since I didn't even know what it was that I could share. But as I'm learning to embrace what I'm feeling, I'm also sharing those feelings. I've become much more open. And it is so wonderful. It's so great to feel happy or to revel in the enjoyment of something. And sharing that with others makes it so much better. The more I put myself out there, the more I reach out. The more I get back from others. And that is just wonderful.

I keep going back to a quote from Dr. Seuss. He said, "Always do what you want and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." These are becoming the words that I live by. The people in my life need to love me for who I am. I'm going to put myself out there, as honestly as I can, and be as authentic as I can in my interactions. And I do believe that my true friends (or those who will become my true friends) will love me that much more for it. And those who don't aren't folks that I want in my inner circle anyway. I don't want to play mind games. I don't want to hide. I want to be open and honest because I want folks to be open and honest back to me. I realize that this will not always work. But it seems to me a good goal to reach for. A good course to chart one's life to.

So (in no particular order) thank you Erik, Jonah, Christyn, Brian K, Kris, Matt, Becky, Kevin, Will, Jenn M, Tim S, Carrie, Sophie, Sandi, Sarah, Cathie, Jonathan, Beth, Mags, Peterme, Stacy, Jen K, Brian G, Indi, Janice, Fred, Rupi, Ed, Sabrina, Bekah, Tim B, Kim, Gnat, Mark, Vince, Nick, Tamara P, and Michele S. My life is richer for having you in it. (And for anyone in my life that I forgot to name, please know it's due to the lingering effects of the booze, not that I don't treasure you. Really.)

Just Lovely


This past weekend was just wonderful. E's friends Becky and Kevin got married this weekend in Santa Cruz. I've only met them a couple of times, but I really look forward to getting to know them better. They are really, really neat people.

They had a picnic in Santa Cruz on Sat that E and I went to. Brian and Christyn where there, as was Jonah, of course (he was the best man). I also got to meet another CMU guy, Squirrel, who was visiting from Seattle. He's really cool.

The picnic was fun. We played volleyball, which was loads of fun. The food was good (and I even managed to do well points-wise). It was good to hang out with folks and chat and get to know them better. After the picnic E and I went up to SF to Arshad's b-day party. It was at a bar in the Mission. It was fun, but I felt so out of place. I never know how to behave at bars. I feel very much out of my element - it's not an environment that I'm comfortable with. Everyone was very nice, but I still felt less than cool. But at least I went, and I enjoyed myself, so that's good.

The wedding was on Sunday and the day was perfect. It was in 3 in the afternoon, so we had lots of time to get ready and didn't have to rush, which was so nice. The wedding was outside, with the water in the distance. Just lovely. The ceremony was really nice - a neat mix of different traditions. They read the Apache wedding prayer, and broke the glass at the end. There were a few more things that reminded me of my wedding, which was weird.

B and C were at the wedding too, as were Matt and Kris. I got to talk with K a bit, which was really nice. She's another one I'm looking forward to knowing better. B gave me a big hug when he saw me (like he had done at the picnic) and it was so nice. He's such a sweetie.

The reception was fun. I got really, really drunk. I've never gotten that drunk in public before. I haven't been drunk like that since I was at Cathie's when Argus was going out of business 3 years ago. But I must say, it was fun. I just kicked back and enjoyed myself. Everything was so funny. And I rather enjoyed the loss of motor skills. I'm hoping that I didn't embarrass myself too much. E kept telling me to drink more - so I did.

It was a bit hard at work today. We had a 3-hour working session and I almost fell asleep during it. Luckily Camille didn't seem mad. I don't know what folks usually feel while hung over. I know that I was, but mostly I just felt tired and it was really hard to focus on anything. I'm hoping that a good night's sleep and lots of water will get me back on even footing for tomorrow.

Civic Action, Part II



September 11, 2-5 p.m.
Yerba Buena Gardens
Mission St. between 3rd and 4th Sts.

Join Working Assets, Mother Jones magazine, People For the American Way Foundation, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Equal Justice Society, True Majority, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, IMPACT 2004 and others to learn about opportunities to help protect voting rights in key states on November 2. Participants in this outdoor rally and training will receive an update on efforts to prevent minority disenfranchisement and intimidation at the polls, challenges posed by computer voting systems and an overview of the key states where voting rights are at greatest risk.

To RSVP online and learn how you can qualify to win a free Election Protection Volunteer travel prize, including two free plane tickets to Florida, go to

After a one-hour program, participants will attend outdoor training sessions in small groups led by top civil rights groups. Specialized training will be provided for lawyers and law students. Bring your family and friends. No commitment required, just a devotion to democracy and a dedication to a fair and free election.

*gah* I have my SCUBA class all that day. The problem with getting a life is that it quickly becomes difficult to schedule things since so much is already scheduled.

Civic Action

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Be an Election Protection Volunteer

In the last presidential election, millions of votes were never counted. Voters in minority communities were disproportionately disenfranchised through illegal disqualification, intimidation, and faulty voting machiens. The nonpartisan Election Protection coalition needs you to stand up and defend voting rights on November 2.

Wow. This group makes me happy. I wonder if I can pull it off and actually help?


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Not much happened today, but I still felt the urge to post. Smudge seems to have discovered the feline joy that is RUNNING. He's been racing around the living room all evening. It's so good to see. He's finally acting like a kitten. He's rolling around the floor at the moment chewing and scratching the hell out of a little hash sack. A minute ago he was chasing a pink fuzzy ball. Ah the energy of kittens. If only we could harness it we could power a small city.

Yesterday I went to the Ren Fest near Novato with some friends. It was a fun way to pass the afternoon. I got a henna tattoo on my back. AND I chose not to partake in Sin on a Stick. What is Sin on a Stick? Why, it's just the best faire food ever. It's a piece of cheesecake dipped in chocolate and put on a popsicle stick. Tres yummy! But I didn't feel like having any. I didn't feel deprived. I knew that I could have - I had the points. Especially after walking so much at the Faire. But I didn't really want it. It felt so good to be in control of the food for once.

I went to the Gentle Yoga class again tonight. My legs have been so sore since the horseback riding. They feel better now after stretching them. I need to work on my food planning when I do yoga though. I ate all my food for lunch and I brought some almonds that I ate just before the class. I figured that would give me the staying power to get through the class. Nice thought, but it didn't work.

By the time the class was over I was feeling a bit light headed and shakey. I got some take-out from the Royal Tofu House. But it wasn't what I expected and I didn't care for it at all. I ended up just having a couple of bowls of cereal. And a few too many of those chocolate orange sticks from Trader Joe's. I had the points for it (thank god for flex points), so it's okay. But I'm still feeling the effects of my blood sugar getting too low. I hate that feeling.

So next week I need to plan better on Sunday night. Have some leftovers ready that I can just pop right into the microwave. I also should have a piece of fruit or something for right after class, in addition to the nuts right before the class.

Man I'm tired. I hope I sleep tonight. I've been waking up a lot during the course of the night. I go right back to sleep, but it's very distruptive. I've been so tired in the morning too. It's not even 9 o'clock yet, but I think I'm going to crawl into bed. The idea of sleeping is just too good to pass up.

If wishes were horses


I just got back from my first horseback-riding lesson in years. I went to the Sunset Riding Academy in Sunol and had an evaluation. One of their instructors was out sick, so rather than having a one-on-one, I joined the advanced Western class (even though I'd be taking English style).

It was SO much fun! It felt so good to be up on a horse again. And not in one of those horrible wooden Western saddles that they have had on the few trail rides that I've done. We walked. We trotted. I even cantered (though I had a hard time getting the horse to canter and keeping him cantering).

The school seems okay. The horses seem in good condition. They have the students tack up and groom the horses a bit. Kind of fun. It's been a long time since I've curry combed. I came home smelling of horse and leather and dust and sweat. It was wonderful.

It reminded me of the time when I was a child and we went into New York City to see all the Christmas lights. And I insisted on petting every single carriage horse in Central Park. I came home and my little blue mittens reeked of horse. My mom washed them as soon as she could, but I thought they smelled wonderful.

In other news, the vet called and Smudge's blood work all came back negative. No feline leuk. No FIV. No FIP. The fecal sample was a little too dry, so I have to bring them a fresher one on Monday. But it looks like the little guy will be okay. Thank goodness. And they don't need to do another blood draw. Which is good because I would hate to have to put him through that again.

Smudgie Goes to the Doctor

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I took Smudge in to the vet this morning. He was due for a booster on his shots and the vet wanted to make sure that he was putting on weight. He's only gained 6 ounces in the past 3 weeks - up to 2 pounds 2 ounces. The vet said that he should be at least 3 pounds. If he really is as old as the shelter says he is he should be double the size. She's concerned.

So... they are going to do some blood tests. Check his fecal. The poor little guy. He's so tiny they had a horrible time getting the blood sample. I could hear him screaming in the back room. They shaved his poor little chest. You can see all these red spots where they poked him with the needle. They also poked him on his leg. The vet said that they might not have enough blood to do all the tests, so I might have to bring him back on Monday for another blood draw.

The vet doesn't know what it is. He could have worms. He could have a bad parasite infection. He could have some kind of virus. She said even if he is just a genetically small cat, you shouldn't be able to feel his bones the way that you do. So, they are going to run the tests and we wait and see.

I'm all upset. Poor little guy. The more I think about it, the more I realize that he does spend a lot of time sleeping, not playing. I think Riley was much more active than Smudge is when Riley was that age. Smudge is so cute the way he crawls into my lap and snuggles so close and falls asleep that it hasn't occurred to me that he should be spending his time bouncing sideways and racing around the room and chasing anything that moves.

I hope he's okay. I hope Freesia is okay and that she doesn't get what he has. And I hope it doesn't bankrupt me to get him better.

Right to Privacy? Not Here!


From today's San Francisco Chronicle,

The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn California's financial privacy law, which allows customers to prevent banks and other financial institutions from sharing their personal information with affiliated companies.

Of course They don't want any limits to the Homeland Security Act. They want to be able to see all your info and track everything. God help us if they have any limits to that.

Fuck. Isn't anyone noticing these things? Isn't anyone outraged? It's hard not to sound like a conspiracy theorist these days. But the scary part is that it isn't just being paranoid. It's fucking real!

Auntie's Brag Book


Photograph of Nick and Gracie Berlingo, July 2004.

My nephew Nick Berlingo and niece Gracie Berlingo. Aren't they just the cutest ever?

Where: Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA
When: October 1-3, 2004

This weekend retreat is an opportunity for IAs from around the globe to come together in an informal and beautiful setting to discuss and share ideas about the future of Information Architecture. Where are we heading? What is the career path for an IA? What is on the horizon for the next 5 years and how do we plan to approach it?

Supported by IA organizations such as AIfIA and local companies like PeopleSoft, we will be gathering for a weekend to talk with one another, share ideas, peek into the future and see what it holds for us. If you want to help shape the direction our field is taking, get to know other Information Architects, and enjoy a beautiful place near the Pacific Ocean, this is the weekend for you. It will be a IA cocktail hour that goes for an entire weekend, sprinkled with a few presentations and occasional deer leaping across the grounds.

Rather than have everyone preach to each other, it should be a time to make connections, and problem solve together, as a true retreat should be. So far we have Margaret Hanley speaking on career opportunities for IAs, Jess McMullin unveiling trends that will shape the next five years in IA, Peter Merholz pondering the relationships of comics, urban planning and emergent phenomenon to IA and Victor Lombardi offering design patterns for design management.

This is a small gathering -- only 40 slots are available! It's an unprecedented opportunity to have real conversations in an intimate setting. To sign up now fax the completed Attendee Information form [ ] (25kb PDF) to the Asilomar Conference Grounds.

Note: this registration takes care of all meals from Friday night to Sunday lunch, as well as accommodation. No extra fees are collected by the association-- this is by us, for us!

Want to do more than just attend?

Would you like to present? Lead a workshop? Please send us a short (1 paragraph) description of the breakout session or workshop you would like to lead. The committee will review, and work toward putting together a program that will wow and titillate. Here are some ideas we've come up with, but don't necessarily have leaders for that might stimulate your thoughts:

* Collaboration models: How do we work better with our peer designers and developers? What is the IA's role in the organization?
* Cultural perspectives: How will information use be different in Africa vs. San Francisco in 5 years?
* Is ROI really relevant?
* How do you get access to the C-level folks? What do we have to say to them?
* Is the web ready for a paradigm shift? Will it be social networks, new search techniques, or...?
* How do we market our skills to the world? How do we communicate our business value?
* IA Published magazine: Could AIfIA or Boxes and Arrows take this on? Would this be a good way to making us an "established" field? What other things could we do to push the next realm of marketing?

Descriptions are due August 16th, 2004. Send them to

More information is available at [ ].

Why I Want To Be Healthier


I have struggled with my weight and body image all of my life. I can remember being aware that I was bigger than the other girls as far back as first and second grade. I was always a big girl. I was the tallest one in my grade until 7th grade when Ben Garvin finally became taller than me (he's now well over 6 feet tall). I've been this height - 5 feet 7.5 inches - since 8th grade. The smallest I ever was at this height was just before my father died my junior year of high school. I weighed 153 pounds. And I still thought that I had another 15 or so pounds to go.

I have joined Weight Watchers many times, the first time being in 8th grade. I weighed 182 pounds. I have always been successful on their program, meaning that I have lost weight. The most I ever lost was around 30 pounds. I have never done any type of diet other than Weight Watchers. The problem is that I have never fully dealt with the underlying issues around my eating - the emotional and stress eating, the lack of self-love and self-acceptance - before. So I always gained the weight back. Because I always slipped back into the comfortable old patterns and behaviors.

I joined Weight Watchers again on August 5, 2004. I am now a meetings member as well as a subscriber to their online tools. I decided to join the meetings again because I want the sense of community. I want some time just for me, to focus on me. And I want the external commitment. I want the accountability. Which is part of why I'm "going public" with this and putting it on the web.

My goal for doing this is so my body can become healthier. I do not believe that I am healthy at the weight that I currently am at. I do not like that I feel that I am in my own way. I do not like that most of my clothes do not fit. I do not like that I am out of breath when I walk up the stairs to my office. I have been lighter before and I like how my body felt then more than how it feels now.

I do not have a "magic number" or weight goal that I am working towards. Given past weights, I'm guessing that I would feel and look my best around 160 pounds. I may get there. I may not. I am not going to kill myself to reach some arbitrary number on the scale. I will gauge my progress and success on how I feel. I will never look like the women in magazines or on TV. I do not want to look like them. I have womanly curves and I like that. I do not want to loose that.

This is not a diet. It is learning to take care of myself. I am relearning how to interact with people and deal with my emotions with my therapist. I am relearning how to care of my body and deal with food with Weight Watchers. This is a healthy living program. Eating fruits and vegetables is not a punishment. Moving my body each day is not a temporary hobby. No matter how much I wish otherwise, I will need to keep doing these things each day of the rest of my life if I am to maintain a healthy body. A car needs gas and oil to keep running. A body needs healthy food and exercise. It's as simple as that.

Weight Loss Graph


Graph plotting my weight loss each week.

Yoga, You Seek Yoga


Last night I took my very first yoga class over at Downtown Yoga in Pleasanton. It was the Gentle Yoga class, which said beginners were welcome. Which was good. Since the only yoga I have done before was the couple of videos that Carrie and I did in my living room. I wasn't overly impressed with those tapes. The poses seemed rushed, and I felt that I got more just doing my post-walking stretches from TNT.

The class was really neat though. There were only about 8 of us there, plus the instructor. She was very good (Kate, the director of the studio). She took the time to show us how to do each of the poses, and then would walk around to each of us and tell us what we needed to lift or rotate to get into the correct posture. She seemed to understand that everyone had a different stretching ability and there was never any pressure to do more than your body was able. She spent time helping us focus on our breathing as well as to try to feel certain places in our bodies (lift your outer sit bones).

I found the whole thing very relaxing and enjoyable. I think that I am definitely going to go again. I would also like to take the Beginner's Yoga class, but I'm not sure how the scheduling will work. It seems you don't have to sign up for the classes - you just show up and pay as you go (or can pre-pay and get a punch card, which saves some $$).

Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country

I'm getting sick. I don't feel really sick today. But I feel like you do right before you get really sick. I woke up Sat morning with one of the glands in my throat completely swollen and tender. I took a nap shortly after I got up yesterday. The most active thing I did yesterday was go to a movie and cut up a cantalope.

I hate summer colds. The only upside of being sick is that you get to stay home all wrapped up in blankets on the couch. And when it's 90+ degrees out, it's hard to stay wrapped up. Here's hoping it's just a head cold and nothing more.

[edit October 31, 2005 - those of you looking for the words to Shel Silverstein's poem "Sick" please continue.]


Photograph of Chiara Fox. Copyright ©2004 Erik Ogan.

Birthday: March 4
Birthplace: Manasass, Virginia
Current location: Pleasanton, California
Most years in a single place: 8
Profession: Information Architect
First Job: Library Page
Parents: Arthur & Tamara
Sibling: Timothy
Pets: Freesia, Harold, Smudge, and Mod
Nickname: C, Chachi, Tootsie
Childhood imaginary friend: Baggook

Color: green
Flower: freesia, stock
Animal: house cats, river otters
Movie: The English Patient
Television Show: Northern Exposure
Book: The Poisonwood Bible, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Author: Barbara Kingsolver, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry James
Actor: Harrison Ford, John Cusack, Edward Norton, Johnny Depp
Actress: Gwyneth Paltrow, Juliette Binoche
Shakespeare play: Macbeth

Other things about me.

Things About Me, in Random Order


1. I was born in the year of the Tiger.
2. I once had a hamster named "Albert B. Fuzzy Hot-in-Tot Ratman the Third"
3. I hate bell peppers of all colors and refuse to eat them.
4. I like the taste of onions, but can't stand to eat them.
5. My father drowned when I was 16 years old.
6. For the first 12 years of my life I was raised Mormon.
7. I have battled with weight and self-esteem issues my entire life.
8. I first made love when I was 17.
9. I taught myself how to drive a stick while visiting a friend in Colorado one summer.
10. I talk to my cats as if they were people. They talk back to me.
11. I bruise easily and often have bruises that I have no idea how I got.
12. When I was in elementary school my family boarded 2 horses named Kite and Legal on our property for the summer and I got to take care of them. Though I couldn't ride them since Kite had cracked hooves and Legal was too wild.
13. I can French braid my own hair, but not someone else’s.
14. I used to dress up as Colombia when I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
15. I was once part of the floorshow for the RHPS during the Halloween showing at Western Connecticut State University.
16. The college I went to no longer exists. The name was changed from Western Maryland College to McDaniel College. I voted against the name change.
17. My freshman year of college I stood outside a polling location and tried to convince voters to "vote yes on question 6" - which will keep abortion in Maryland if Roe v. Wade ever gets overturned. The resolution passed at my voting location by less than 100 votes.
18. I've been a vegetarian since September 1994. The last piece of beef I ate was filet of beef au poivre at Drake's on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. It was wonderful.
19. For my undergraduate degree I majored in English, with minors in Classics and Comparative Literature.
20. I have a masters in library and information science.
21. I started working in public libraries in September 1990. I stopped working in libraries in 2000.
22. In 2002 I walked 26.2 miles for the Portland Marathon. I did it by training with Team in Training. It took me 8 hours, 28 minutes and 48 seconds.
23. I'm named for my great-grandmothers Chiara Maria Salvatore Nardozza and Florence Mae Courter Mowry.
24. I'm proud of my Italian heritage and want to learn to speak Italian someday.
25. I've been outside the USA to visit: Canada, Mexico, the British Virgin Islands, England, Scotland, Italy, Greece, Brazil, The Netherlands, and Egypt. (And technically I've been to France, but I only spent overnight at the airport, so I don't think it counts).
26. Someday I want to go to Kenya and go on a photographic safari.
27. I have to get over my fear of giant bugs before I go to sub-Sahara Africa.
28. The first "rock" concert I went to was Belinda Carlisle at Hershey's Lake Compound in CT with my Girl Scout troop.
29. I've had two cats that are polydactyl - Scribbles and Freesia.
30. I refuse to buy Nike sneakers.
31. I need to wear orthotics since my feet are pronated.
32. My favorite colors are green and blue.
33. I used to dye my hair all the time. I wanted it the color of a British pillar-box, but never quite got it the correct shade.
34. I have my ears tripled pierced, but I only used the bottom holes for many years. I just started wearing earrings in all the holes again.
35. I think it might be neat to get a tattoo, but I know I'm too much of a baby to put up with the pain.
36. It makes me sad that you can buy "Goth clothing" at the mall now.
37. In college I really wanted to be freak, but I never could pull it off. I'm not even sure that I ever achieved even "weird."
38. In 5th grade I thought if I got my ears pierced and my hair feathered I would be popular, since all the popular girls had pierced ears and feathered hair. It didn't work.
39. I stopped eating meat because I felt like a hypocrite saying, "don't test on animals" and "don't wear fur coats," but then eating a hamburger.
40. I was a Girl Scout for 9 years and earned both my Silver Award and Gold Award. My Gold Award project was to create a council camping cookbook.
41. I earned two scholarships to college - one for getting my Girl Scout Gold Award and the other for academic excellence.
42. I graduated magna cum laude from WMC and summa cum laude from Simmons College.
43. I find European history fascinating, but have no interest in African or South American history at all.
44. Used to ask for a real horse for Christmas and my birthday every year when I was a child. I never got one.
45. I used to give blood as often as I could. I also did aphaeresis (or platelet) donations. My iron counts are too low for me to give blood now.
46. I've never smoked a cigarette in my life.
47. I love the work of Beatrix Potter. My favorite character is Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, the hedgehog.
48. I once had a psychic tell me that my first husband would die of a heart attack. And that I would have three children.
49. I enjoy being a geek.
50. I am a Pisces.
51. I love the way kittens smell.
52. Wear size 10.5 in women's shoes, so often wear men's shoes since they fit better and are easier to find.
53. Started living on my own for the first time in April 2004.
54. I am the first one in my (non-extended) family to earn a master's degree.
55. Studied Spanish in high school and college. Pero no hablo muy buen.
56. Wear a toe ring on my left foot because I think it's sexy.
57. Get professional pedicures because I can't paint polish on my nails to save my life.
58. Never had a nickname that stuck until college when I was dubbed "Chachi." My former roommate and friends from that time still call me by that name.
59. Used to have an account on FurryMUCK, before I knew what "furries" were. I was a river otter named Andromache.
60. My first email address was through a freenet in Ohio in 1995.
61. I love to trace my family genealogy, a hobby I got from my father.
62. My dream car is a hybrid or electric station wagon.
63. My first car was a 1989 Ford Escort. It had been my dad's. The first car I purchased was a Toyota Corolla station wagon. I was 22.
64. One of my dreams is to learn how to make fancy cakes and desserts like the bakery does.
65. I've worked as a: library page, catering waitress, food prep, florist, computer lab assistant, office temp, bookseller, librarian (cataloger, reference, ILL, and serials), and information architect.
66. I wear glasses. I first got them in first grade, but I stopped wearing them in 6th grade because they weren't improving my vision. I needed them again in college and have worn them ever since.
67. I have a cataract in my right eye that I was born with that is outside my field of vision.
68. I'm right-handed.
69. I have great respect for fungus. The world could not survive without it. But I cannot eat it.
70. I love elephant jokes. And chicken jokes. And librarian jokes. And librarian chicken jokes about elephants.
71. I love lists. I love making them and crossing things off them. I also enjoy filling out forms that have lots of checkboxes and other widgets.
72. Both my brother and my great-grandfather were born with 6 toes on one foot. I hope I have a child with six toes, but I think it's doubtful.
73. I once got a speeding ticket while driving to a concert. When I got there the singer, Lisa Cerbone, autographed my ticket. I still have it.
74. I used to want to be an artist. But my skills are not refined enough and I don't have the patience to cultivate them.
75. I have been snorkeling twice - when I went to the British Virgin Islands and when I went to Maui. I'm also now Scuba certified.
76. I have never broken a bone. I always thought it would be cool to break my arm though, so folks could sign my cast.
77. I'm scared of heights - I start to get dizzy and panic. It doesn't stop me from hiking, but it does stop me from climbing and repelling. At this point, I'm okay with that.
78. I don't belong to any political party because I don't want to give any of them the satisfaction of having another constituent.
79. Of the 4 cars that I've owned, three of them have been covered with bumper stickers.
80. I'm annoyed by folks who don't use their turn signal while driving.
81. I drive fast. Often.
82. My first crush was on this kid Michael in first grade. He was blonde and had blue eyes and hated me.
83. I've lived in: Virginia, Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and California.
84. I love snowstorms, especially the first snowfall of the year.
85. I hate heat and humidity. I would much rather be too cold than too hot.
86. I don't like the taste of beer. Though I am willing to try different beers to see if I can find one I could drink.
87. I'm a very bad speller. In middle school I had to take remedial spelling classes when everyone else got to study a foreign language.
88. My favorite bands are R.E.M. and U2.
89. While I miss the community that comes from going to church regularly, I do not miss the dogma, politics, and institutionalism that I've found go along with going to church.
90. I did very well in algebra but hated geometry and calculus.
91. I became an English major because I liked to read and I knew it would be easy and I could be good at it. I'm not proud of that.
92. I'm still friends with more folks from high school than I am with folks from college.
93. I love watching fish swim. Someday I hope to have a salt-water aquarium.
94. I hate that I enjoy living in suburbia. I hate the sprawl and the way it looks. But I like the convenience and that I can go visit the city when I want to.
95. I've only been to Las Vegas once. It was on a trip from LA to Denver and the train tracks got washed out so they put us on buses. And the bus changed drivers in Vegas. I was 8. I just remember bright lights. EDIT: I've now been to Vegas 3 times, once for fun and twice for conferences. I don't really like it.
96. I want to hike in the Black Forest and eat real Bavarian Crème.
97. I love looking at currency from different nations.
98. I will probably inherit my father's stamp collection. And I will probably add to it.
99. I never eat any type of fish or shellfish because I don't like the way it tastes.
100. I am finally learning to love me.

Folk Music Fest



My father would be so proud. I just got four CDs from, all with songs from my childhood.

Kingston Trio, Greatest Hits
Woody Guthrie, The Greatest Songs Of Woody Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie, The Best of Arlo Guthrie
Peter, Paul, and Mary, The Best of Peter, Paul, and Mary 10 Years Together

User Experience Network


There's a new grass-roots organization on the block called the User Experience Network or UXnet. It's a pretty neat idea. There are so many focused groups sprouting up (like AIfIA for information architecture or the UPA for usability professionals) that I often find it hard to keep up.

UXnet seems to fit on top of these other groups, so to speak. They are organizing a calendar of all things related to usability and the user experience, no matter what group is sponsoring them. This to me is a wonderful win. Just one place to see everything that is going on. Woo! They are also working on building a directory of groups. And they are looking for ways to build collaboration between the different UX groups that already exist. A tall order, but it will be really neat if they can pull it off.

You can keep up to date on what UXnet is up to by signing up for their mailing list.


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C and I went to the courthouse this morning and filed the paperwork for our divorce. All told it took about 20 minutes, and that includes the time it took to get though security at the front door.

I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing. I feel sort of... blank. I mean, it feels really good to have it finished. And there is no doubt at all that this is what I want. Yet, this is a big deal. And there was nothing to mark the significance. We just walked in, handed over some papers, wrote a check, and walked out. Didn't even have to wait in a line.

Joseph Campbell used to talk about how ceremonies are important to mark rites of passage. There's such a big deal made about getting married. And there's a big deal for one of the two ways to exit a marriage (meaning death). There seems that there should be some sort of divorce ceremony too. Maybe I'll have to plan something for February. To celebrate my new freedom.


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