Messing around on my team's IRC channel (Ian wanted me to post this last week):

13:08 < mchua> Sometimes, we get to see the grand plan the universe has laid out for us. The years of toil, sweat, blood, tears - it has brought us all together on this day...
13:08 < mchua> rbergeron's years and years marketing prowess, ianweller and ricky spending so much time learning infrastructure-fu, sdziallas's past 3 years of making remixes, spevack's half-decade of trolling practice, mizmo's graduate studies in graphic design... we thought they were for things like "Fedora" or "school"
13:08 < mchua> A grander, larger purpose has been revealed.
13:08 < mchua> ALL HAIL OUR NEW GOD

Rolfing occasionally hints at interesting effects the pneumonia had on my movement patterns. Since I can't hear, I focus a lot on vision, meaning that I tend to tunnel-into whatever I'm facing, giving me a very forward-leaning orientation and little peripheral awareness (which glasses don't help with either). My Rolfer Jason has also noted that my torso is very flinchy - I can take bodywork on my arms, feet, shoulders, etc. pretty well now, but get anywhere near the vicinity of my ribcage, and I tense in a way that I still struggle to gain conscious control over and relax. He pointed out that this should actually be the case for me - in addition to the ribs/gut/etc being a vulnerable region in anyone, it's also a particularly traumatized one for me because I have so many chest tube scars (I'm even told by my mom that they stuck one in without anesthetic at one point, but don't remember this because I was (a) 2 years old and (b) in an induced coma at the time). So yeah, if I weren't flinchy after that, it would be surprising. Gentleness and time, and just letting things relax and open up in their own way.

Diana Martin has some great notes on the application of the lean startup methodology to grad school.

I laughed:

“Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful
objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill
gives us modern art.” --Tom Stoppard

And laughed ruefully at this one, because I seem to be on the opposite side of the gender role for many things involving "dealing with emotions."

"The... tactic known as "stonewalling"... was identified by
researchers John Gottman and Robert Levenson at the University of
California, Berkeley. Gottman and Levenson found that when men and women
in close relationships talk about subjects over which they are in
conflict, men often stonewall - their faces become frozen, bereft of any
emotion, unreactive to their partners. Men also refuse to talk about
the emotional subject, often becoming silent or walking away as women
try to work through their differences. It's not that men aren't feeling
any emotion. They just refuse to show any emotion, because they can't
deal with their own feelings or the feelings of their partner." --The
Power of Women, Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, PhD.

Old musings about opportunity cost.

How do you
choose which doors to leave open behind you? They might as well be
closed, because you’ll likely never have the time to come back to them
again. --Feb. 5,
(senior year of college)

I miss
my family
, flung out across the world, keeping in touch through
scattered messages, balikbayan boxes, and hand-carried items passed from
luggage to luggage over spans of months as individual sisters fly in
and out of each others' homes.

We look at the
emailed pictures of preschoolers we’ve never seen; we send clothes and
hope they fit, hope a hand-me-down can somehow hold the memories of
multiple little girls climbing on sinks to brush their teeth,
complaining that they’re not yet sleepy, growing up until the sleeves
reach halfway past their wrists... This is one way I know my family – by
the boxes that they send, by the luggages full of toothpaste and
seasoning and dietary fiber and Pepto-Bismol I haul to them when I
visit, and by the same luggage stuffed with dried mangoes, Mama Sita
mixes, jars of nata de coco, pouches of Mang Tomas, and paper-wrapped
tablets of tsokolate on the way home. Long-distance love, highly
asynchronous. And I wonder if, many years from now, I’ll be packing
sneakers into a box to send to my cousins’ children somewhere across the
world, and whether they will fit.

It's a fact of life for me, distributed asynchronous connections with the people I care most about. It always has been. I have no idea what it's like to have all of the people you know be in one place, to have all your connections be local, in-person... to have it be normal to see people and weird to email or Skype with them. In times preceding Skype, the Christmas, New Year, and Birthdays Long Distance Phone Calls were a staple of my childhood. Half my very early childhood memories are of bawling my eyes out when one or another of my aunts moved out of the house they shared with my parents, brother, me, grandparents, and the sisters-that-hadn't-yet-gotten-married, because I knew in my tiny little mind back then that it was the sort of goodbye I wouldn't get them back from. And I find myself now at 24 not knowing how to set down roots and build much in the way of local connections, place-based relationships that last more than a few months or years - because all the communities I've ever cared about have either been transient (school enrollment) or distributed (relatives, open source). Heck, even my high school friends came from all across the state - hurrah for residential magnet schools! - so even teenage summer gatherings were tricky logistical affairs, and reunions nowadays are downright impossible.

I'm trying to build these sorts of skills. And trying to keep connections open. Sat down and wrote emails and letters to some of my cousins today - but these ties seem so feeble, disconnected, and bereft measured against the standard of connection that my mom and her sisters have - or had - growing up in a big house with multiple families and kids under the same roof, visiting relatives every weekend. I tell myself that this is a new world, we've got different sorts of lives here (and honestly, I couldn't stand up to that much of a torrent of relatives for long!) but still - I miss... connection. Family.

I do, however, note with pride that some of my aunts are starting to check chain letters against snopes when they appear on our family mailing list. Score!