Mom wins my heart.


Mom sent me this email. She nearly had me in tears.

Date:    Wed, 11 Aug 2004 09:35:23 -0700
From:  	 Vicki B
To:  	 Kitt Hodsden 
Subject: RE: Good morning!

> Overwhelmed with things I want to do, but not overwhelmed
> with things I have to actually do.  So, doing okay.

I can certainly relate to that! I don't know if I ever told 
you this, but I admire you for leaving your last job. It's a 
real act of courage to step away from something that's 
comfortable and provides a reasonable income. Whenever I think
of you doing that, I always see one of those high divers off
some cliff in Mexico, leaping out into the sky with such
incredible freedom, arcing down toward the water. I just love
that image, the idea of not being confined, touched by nothing
but air.  You're my idol.



ABCs & Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?



I just realized that the ABC rhythym is the same as the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Actually, I didn't realize. I had to be told it.

Omigod. I am so clueless.



I don't like dealing with disappointment. I think everyone can say he doesn't like disappointment, but some deal with it better than others. I'm one of those others. Today's disappointment is with our wedding thank you cards.

Our friends and family have been incredibly generous to us. The gifts from our wedding have been abundant and overflowing.

My belief with gifts is that you shouldn't use them until you have properly thanked the giver. I define proper here as "send them a hand-written thank you note." As a result, we have stacks of gifts unused because we haven't written the thank you card yet.

One can, at this point, imagine the cramps one might get from writing thank you notes for many gifts. The process takes time. Each card should be personalized, say something to the giver that's meaningful.

Did I mention Kris hates writing thank you cards?

So, we divided this task up into two parts: I would write the thank you cards, stuff the card into an envelope, put a stamp and return address label on the envelope and address the card to the recipient. In return, Kris would sign the card (after my "Kitt and"), find the recipient's address for the card, write said address on the card and mail it.

Easy enough.

Three weeks ago I handed Kris a stack of 20 thank you cards to mail out.
I received all but 2 of them back this morning. All but 2.

Here I thought all these cards had gone out. I could freely use the gifts. I could talk to my friends without worrying if they thought I was a slacker (because obviously I was not, I had my thank you cards out within days of returning from the honeymoon!).

I was mistaken.

Ignorance may be bliss, but disappointment hurts.

Bharat's recommendation


I think the older one gets the more aware of one's abilities, strengths and shortcomings. I also think there's a higher level of acceptance of each of these.

In applying for a UPA position, I needed two references. I asked Bharat and Mark. Bharat's seems pretty right on in my opinion:

Bharat Mediratta: ok, here's what I've written
Bharat Mediratta: To whom it may concern, 
Bharat Mediratta: I've known Kitt socially since about 1995 
  and have collaborated with her on ultimate and technology 
  related projects since about 1998.  I worked with her in a 
  profesional capacity from around June of 2000 to around June 
  of 2004.  During this time, I found her to be smart, talented 
  and generally a pleasure to work with.
Bharat Mediratta: Kitt's strengths are intelligence and 
  creativity.  She is quick to learn new technologies and has 
  no shortage of good ideas.  She is a very capable and 
  prolific software engineer when she is working on projects
  that interest her.  I've typically found her to be highly 
  motivated when working on web based software projects and 
  ultimate frisbee related activities.  Doing software 
  engineering at the UPA seems like it would be a good 
  conjunction of the two.  She has strong math and analytical 
  abilities and a solid grounding in the fundamentals of web 
  based software development.
Bharat Mediratta: Kitt's weakness is that she is put off by 
  complexity unless it's associated with something that she is 
  very motivated to solve.  The only times when she has failed 
  during our professional career together have been times when 
  she was required to work on difficult and uninteresting 
  problems.  During the times when she was engaged on 
  interesting problems she consistently worked diligently to 
  complete her tasks as quickly as possible.
Bharat Mediratta: -----
Bharat Mediratta: it's an unfinished masterpiece.  pretty fair, 
  though I think.
Kitt Hodsden: Got me pegged.

What if, if only.


What if I had sent the thank you card on Monday?

If only I had called to tell you how much I love the artwork you gave us for our wedding gift.

What if I had called to share my garden vegetables?

What if you hadn't chose to come off your medicine? Would the pain you endured on it be more than the pain your family is going through now?

If only I had known.

If only I had done something different.

Feast & Famine


Mike warned me.

Yesterday, I was having serious doubts about quitting my job. I had miscalculated the balance in my checking account by, oh, about $4000. That's an awful lot to be off by. I slept not so well last night and woke up once or twice a little (more than a little) stressed.

Today, I sent a few emails out as feelers about work. One reply looks very promising. That, and a proposal Mike is working on looks very favorable, too.

Neither is a guarantee, but I'll be sleeping better tonight.

New food philosophy


Kris and I buy a lot of food that we don't eat. It could be I buy more of that food than Kris. Suffice it to say, too much food is thrown out in this house.

Since we just returned home from our honeymoon, and cleaned out our fridge when we arrived, now is a good time to start a new food philosophy. Let's try this:

  • All food gets eaten.

I'm pretty sure we won't be able to eat all the food before it spoils, but this translates into several specific actions that we can do to minimize the amount of food we throw out. These are:

  • Eat leftovers as quickly as possible.
  • Purchase food that will be consumed in the next few days.
    This means more trips to the grocery store, but I don't believe is is problematic at the moment.
  • Plan meals weekly, to minimize overbuying of food.
  • Eat in more frequently.
    We were fixing less than I'd guess 2 of our non-cereal, non-breakfast meals a week. We can do much better than that, using meals out as special occasions instead of the norm.

We could also try things like buy a freezer for storing foods. For now, we'll try the action items listed above and see how well we do.

On our way!


After a night of completely no sleep, we're on our way! The plan is 2+ weeks in Europe (specifically Norway and Scotland), then a stop over in Virginia on the way back for an East Coast wedding reception.

Kyle will be here taking care of the dogs, the house and the grounds (read: gardens). The big reason I was up all night was that I was trying to get him a good task list to keep him busy while we were gone. Not sure if the list is long enough (or the tasks described well enough), but taking care of the house and the dogs is plenty lots to do.

So, we're on our way!

Last day at VA.


Today was my last day at VA. Part of me is incredibly sad. Everytime I think about the VA crowd, and that I won't be seeing them just about every day, I become saddened.

The group of people at VA is an incredible group of people. They are intelligent, entertaining, honest, delightful people who are a joy to be with.

One of the amazing qualities of the group is the complete lack of politics within the group. I've never experienced such openness and honesty in a work environment before. One example is, when we were nearing the end of a cycle, when one person finished his tasks, he immediately checked in on the rest of the group, and took tasks from the most heavily burdened coworker. There was never any "us vs. them", or "what can I get away with?", it was always, "Let's get this task done as well as we can, as quickly as we can."

I'm going to miss the Engineering group a lot.

But, it was time to move on.

Kyle's second day!


Kyle Smith has been helping me around the house, and is planning on helping me with various projects throughout the summer. These projects include stuff around the house (painting, gardening, sorting, pitching, fixing, arranging, scanning) as well as programming working (,, the Town of Or, and

These first few weeks are going to be crazy, since I'm in my last week at VA, so can't help as much around the house. Hopefully after the honeymoon we can hit the ground running!

However, today I arrived home and looked out into the back yard. Holy crap! It looks like Kyle started doing some magic! He dug up some volunteer trees and, wow, does the whole back yard brighten up! It's an amazing transformation. I'm pretty excited about it, about the house, about the programming projects, and about Kyle.

Yay, Kyle!