On election day 2016, I wrote that I’d been tired for the previous few months due to low vitamin D, but that I was on the upswing. I shared my enthusiasm about heading to the polls to cast my vote for our first woman president. The future looked bright that sunny fall day.
Oh, but that day feels so distant now.
Life fell into a tailspin after that: Trump, a pinched nerve that developed from a minor annoyance to a major pain, an arthritis flare, and OMG Trump! Knowing he would be/is the leader of our country makes everything worse. But physical pain trumps even Trump. Physical pain takes up so. much. mental space.
Just as my health spiraled down it is slowly working its way up. Two steps forward, one back. It’s a life lesson in the value of the value of incremental progress.
I’m finally to the point where there are more good days than bad, though even with three months of PT and two epidurals, I continue to have some level of pain. What can you do? I’m on new arthritis meds. I’m still here. I’m looking ahead. I’m full of ideas instead of dread.
I’m still here.
I’m looking ahead.
I’m full of ideas instead of dread.
(Accidental poem and, okay, some dread. I mean…Trump!)
Even as I look back at November-March as being a dark, unhappy time that involved a lot of doctor visits during which I was poked, pricked, x-rayed and scanned, I still made progress in Trump’s first 100 days. I participated in the Chicago Women’s March, the first ORD protest when the travel ban was announced, a local untiy rally and the Tax Day protest. I attended a town hall with my congresswoman, hosted a tea with my state senator and a lovely group of women from my community, and I planned and facilitated a community dialogue for a parent group at our high school. My family is still alive and together. I met my client commitments, which included an out-of-state trade show. So maybe I kind of rock?
To be fair, my husband cleaned up most of the dog poop during that span, something that is surely a metaphor in addition to being a literal fact. Go hubs!
So, anyway, speaking of hubs. I’ve been gigging at mHUB (formerly Catalyze) for a year! As fate would have it, I was on a mega dose of prednisone the week of mHUB’s grand opening. We’re talking 40 mg a day, which basically but me in superhero* category–I had little pain, tons of energy, and almost no need for sleep. Perfect! mHUB has a prototyping shop filled with about $2M of equipment: laser cutters, CNC machines, welding and metal grinding equipment, and much more. Although I’ve long had the chance to learn to use it, I never jumped on it. As with some of the cool tech I have at home, I just never had a compelling project idea to propel me ahead.
Until I was updating the mHUB website and saw a video featuring the thermal former I was about to add to a list. A thermal former, or vacuum former, heats up a sheet of plastic and molds it around a form that is placed in the machine. It’s super cool to see in action. But it wasn’t just the action in the video that captivated me, it was the end result. In the promotional video, a chef used the thermal former to make a candy mold. A candy mold! Like the kind of plastic candy mold you might buy at the craft store and fill with the melted wafer-like bits from Wilton.
And just like that, I had a Maker goal. It’s one thing to say that you’d like to learn to use a tool or piece of technology, but you really need a project to drive the learning forward.
My maker goal is what finally drew me to use mHUB’s Carvey, a desktop CNC machine. It carves stuff. I’ll write more about this later. First, I needed to use the Carvey to make…something. And here’s what I did.
Hineni is a Hebrew term that translates as “I am here.” I can’t recall what drew me to the word or why I even thought of it (though it was the theme of an episode of Amazon’s show, Transparent). But that’s what I chose. It later dawned on me that Hineni is a variation of the typical launch of a new software program, “Hello, world.” Thus, it was a fitting first effort in the prototyping lab.
Hineni also echoes a sentiment that’s been brewing in my mind and the minds of many women I know as we work our way through mid-life. or should I say mid-life under Trump: the need to make ourselves known, to take up space.
Hello, world. I am here. Stay tuned for what’s next.
*Your mileage may vary. Prednisone is basically my drug of choice.