As the American Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, I have to think about gratitude. I make no bones about being atheist. I don’t hide this from my friends, or my children. I also don’t make it a big deal. However, when being grateful, or thankful, one generally have some one or thing that they are passing their gratitude to. I don’t have a God, so I will simply thank dumb luck for what I have

  • I am thankful that I have two wonderful children. I was so fortunate to overcome infertility to have biological children, but even if that didn’t work, I would have been thankful for any child that I could love and raise.
  • I am thankful that I have a house to live in. Many Americans are terrified of losing their homes during the current economic crisis.
  • I am thankful that I have good friends who are willing to help out when I need it. Thank You L, for stepping up and taking the kids for the night when I couldn’t handle the stress of being mom for that night.
  • I am thankful I live in a country where I have the freedom to both thank our Troops, who are fighting a terrible fight, and yet still be opposed to their mission.
  • I am thankful that I was able to go to college and get a BS in my true love Astronomy. I am even more thankful for the people who helped me get my Master’s Degree as well.
  • I am thankful that both Jay and I have jobs that allow us to expand our knowledge base. We could both leave our current positions for more pay elsewhere, but the pure knowledge and challenge keeps us going.
  • I am thankful that a combination of good luck, and hard work has allowed us to be in the upper middle economic class.
  • I am thankful that I am often reminded of the lower classes and how much luck plays into that, and how I should not forget to help those who need.
  • I am thankful I live in the United States. We are a wealthy country in money, knowledge, arts, and freedom. Of all of the places in the world I could have been born a citizen to, this is my favorite.
  • I am thankful that my girls, and Jay and I all are in reasonable health. There may be some Crohn’s complications down the road for Jay, and I do worry about Soleil perhaps having it as well, but they are healthy. I am very thankful that my thyroid disease is starting to get under control again and that cancer of the thyroid was ruled out.
  • I am thankful that my depression has been under control this year. Last year, I had a terrible, deep hole that was hard to dig out of. This year, I have managed it with medication and exercise. I hope to continue to avoid another crash, although I know that it will eventually happen.
  • I am most thankful for my husband, my soul mate, my love, Jay. He understands me, he lets me be me, and he sucks it up when I can’t always be there for his needs. I cannot express how much of my happiness is dependent on this man.
  • And lastly, I am thankful for you, my readers. I know I will never be Dooce, or Cecily, but I don’t strive to be. You allow me to get out of my soul what I need to say, and for that, I thank you.

A warm welcome to a cold season!

The long nights of winter are starting to settle in. It always blows my mind that the longest day of the year is the first day of summer, not the middle. And here in the far east of the United States, darkness settles in a bit earlier than I would want! By 3:30, darkness is approaching and by 4:30, it is already dark out.

 Things get tiresome in the dark, but I am trying to keep myself out of the SAD and into the light this year. I’ve installed new lights in my office that are in the solar spectrum, in an attempt to lighten my mood (get it? Lighten? HA HA HA HA HA, man I am pathetic). I am also making myself get a walk in once a day during the light, even if it is a cold rainy or snowy day (not much snow yet)

I am looking forward to this winter. I want to have a good year and I want to learn how to really fight the depression this year.

Coming up : Class photos! I may post them soon!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends!


Soleil asked "Mom, can we talk in private"

"Sure, what’s up?"

"Aaron made fun of me today. He laughed at J and I because we are Jews"

Sharp intake of breath on my part. Calm voice to address this carefully.

"What do you mean? Can you explain what he did?"

"Mrs. G read a book today where the kids all made fun of the new girl who was Jewish and came from the Soviet Union. The kids in Molly’s class made fun of her and said her eyes were small and her nose tall. When the other kids in the class made fun of Molly and teased her, Aaron laughed and said that it was funny."

Ok, this is probably her first experience with teasing based on religion, stop, think, relax.

"Do you think Aaron felt that the teasing was funny? Or did he think that teasing you and J was funny?"

"He kept telling the class that the teasing was funny. It made me feel bad for being a Jew."

"What did Mrs. G do?"

"She asked him not to interrupt the book and after the book, she took him to talk."

Whew, way to go Mrs G! Take the situation, address it privately with the child, move on without making a big deal.

"Okay- that sounds like the right thing to do."

"But it hurt my feelings"

"I know…there is good teasing and bad teasing. This was the bad teasing. Good teasing is from your friends and makes you laugh. Bad teasing hurts your feelings. This was bad teasing. But, I think Aaron was just trying to figure out the teasing. Don’t you sometimes have trouble knowing when to tell a friend they are cheating and when to just let it go? Maybe that is what Aaron was doing, trying on teasing. It doesn’t really look good on anyone."

Jay was kind enough to bring up some of his experiences as a kid. He talked about how Aaron (who is of Chinese decent) might have only heard teasing in regards to himself and didn’t think about others getting teased for what they look like or what they are as opposed to their actions.We explained that since Jews are a minority in this country, there are times people will tease her. People sometimes tease those who are different. She felt better and did say she was proud to be Jewish, but felt bad when Aaron was laughing at the teasing. I asked her what she would do if she saw a classmate getting teased. She immediately said "Stand up for them, because that isn’t right!"

I think the teacher addressed this well, but Soleil was still worried last night. Welcome to the harder parts of parenting, teaching your kids about the REAL world, not the perfect one.

The book they read was "Molly’s Pilgrim"




*not his real name

Reflections…real and imaginary

I am working on some complex code with the spacecraft. It is hot n heavy, C++, Object Oriented, and may soon contain some ray trace coding in it. Very scary stuff. Most of this has to do with the earth warming our radiators. What? The spacecraft has radiators? Why yes! Just like a car, the spacecraft needs to move the heat of the instruments out to space. Unfortunately, sometimes the earth shines on the radiator and warms us up. To make things more complicated, this nice happy radiator which looks out into space is also surrounded by two shades. One blocks the sun, the other blocks the heat of the spacecraft. The inside surfaces are coated with a highly reflective material to reflect the heat of the radiator right out into space. Bye bye heat. But of course, reflections work both ways and if the Earth happens to illuminate the surface of the reflector, heh, it reflects the heat from the Earth ONTO the radiator, and in effect, warms our instrument.

This has led to some heavy duty programming on my part which I am still not comfortable with doing. Not the C++ or the OO code. Hell, I have a pretty certificate from Harvard University Extention School saying I am a certified software engineer! No, it is the ray trace stuff. This is tough crap. It scares me a bit. I get nervous about my abilities and then I am confused as to what I should be doing and if I am doing the right thing. One of the other people on the project heard of my code and ran right away to write up the ray trace stuff in a scripting language. I would rather put this directly into my code, but I am still deciding how this will work and behave.

This always traces back to my insecurities. I started my professional life with a Master’s Degree of Science (Astronomy/Planetary Sciences). I then worked as a data jockey for a year and then moved to software (scripts) and was encouraged to get above certificate. It took me 4 years to take all of the classes in addition to working, but I did get the certificate. So I moved from scripting to software engineering. I have always been very nervous of others looking into my codes and I am terrified by someone saying "Hey! Look at this stupid move". I wish I had a stronger shell. I know that when I take critism seriously, it can break me. I need to allow some of this to relfect off of me and into space. Let go what I think people are saying about ME.

And just BE.

Front Porch

The Hunter’s Moon rises slowly over the eastern edge of the Horizon
as the last rays of the sun illuminate the clouds above.

Wisps of cirrus hang above, streaks of moisture that refused to be
wiped clean.

Crumpled dry vegitation crackles as the breeze moves it along the

The air is mostly dry, static electricity that should be stirring my
blood as it flattens my hair.

But I long for the ocean tonight.

The driving winds off the Sound, the
crash of the waves, the cold,briny smell that permeates the
air; the black air complementing my black mood.


My next door office mate, kindly stores my chocolate for me.

There is a ton hanging out in her office. Yesterday, I grabbed a Dove mini. Yum. On the foil wrapper, the message was "Remind yourself that it’s okay not to be perfect."

It is now taped to my monitor because that is one thing I truly have difficulty with reminding myself that I am human and that I need to hold myself to the same standards as everyone else.


In other news, I have set a Lasik appointment! Dec 3rd. I started going to my glasses today. I am nervous and excited. I have to work out the prices and such, but with all of the stupid eye infections I have been getting, I need to do this. I already have my glasses headache, but one month of headaches is worth this.


Soleil has a hockey team! She’s on the Capitals! Woot! First practice/game is 7:15am Saturday. Jay is taking her, so I’ll take Luna to piano. I swear, we are becoming such, <sneer> parents</sneer>