I Have a Woodshop
My grandfather encouraged me to make things and he taught me how to work with wood. Most of the tools I use are his from the 1940's and 50's. Now, I run a small woodshop called WoodSong. I haven't been as active as I would like in recent years between having a young son and coming out as transgender has put a damper on my creative energies.
But! I'm finding my way back! I started building birdhouses with my son, who is now almost 8, and I have a piece of American elm chucked in my lathe from a tree that was felled a few doors down from me during the derecho that moved through here in June of 2020.
I Grow My Own Food
I find an enormous amount of relaxation and centering cultivating plants. And a GREAT deal of satisfaction and gratitude. My garden is where I go to calm my mind. I go out and pull a few weeds and watch the little ecosystem of insects and worms doing their thing out there and, well, my problems don't seem so large...
I also think it's important for us as humans to be connected to our food. To understand where it comes from, who labors on it, and how it gets to us. And there is no way to be more connected to the process than to do it yourself. I plant in the spring, eat in the summer and reserve the harvest for the winter in the fall. The entire process is very fulfilling for me.
I'm An Andean Archaeologist
From 2002-2005 I spent my summers on the North Coast of Peru excavating a site called Cerro Santa Rita for my Master's degree. Along the way I had the opportunity to work at a couple other localities including Huaca Cao Viejo an the historical Spanish colony next to it and floral and faunal remains from the Zona Urbana at Huaca de la Luna.
This period of my life as been the source much recent soul searching as I work to understand the pain and distress the institutions and work I love have caused others and begin to take steps to decolonize myself as well as the disciplines that I grew up and was educational in. I was part of the problem. Now, I work to be part of the solution.
I've Worked with Sharks
Growing Up in Miami, Florida, I was aspiring to be a marine biologist. My junior year of high school, I was selected by the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to work with Dr. Samuel Gruber and the Office of Naval Research to establish a protected breeding ground for Lemon Sharks in The Bahamas.
A group of five high school students, including myself, were flown out to South Bimini Island where we joined the University of Miami's Shark Lab. We spent the following days catching, tagging and tracking all species of sharks, playing with a new device called a Global Positioning System that would track the sharks via satellite as opposed to sonic transmitters.
I've Raced Solar Cars
I failed out of my first college, New Mexico Tech. I had been planning on studying geological engineering. I switched to electrical engineering where I fell in with a club at the college that designed, built and raced solar cars. Subsequently, I spent ALL of my time at the solar car shop working with all kinds of ultra-light-weight materials and ended up switching majors AGAIN to material engineering.
In 1999 we successfully completed a 1,300 mile race from Washington DC to Orlando, Florida. And after skipping every class, every day, to work on the car the previous semester, the school asked me not to come back in the fall. Despite all of that, I still consider this whole project and school a valuable life experience.