Life Lately, September 2021

Each time I write one of these monthly posts lately, my life seems to have gotten busier and busier since the last one. I want to mention this because I feel like this post is going to give a bit of an inaccurate look into my life. While I am doing more, it’s still fairly limited – it just seems like so much more because I was doing so little. I’m definitely still being very careful about COVID – I’m almost exclusively doing things outside, and if it’s the rare indoor event, we’re masked. I just wanat to make that clear upfront, because I am still worried about getting COVID! Being vaccinated is a huge relief, but it doesn’t mean my life is back to “normal” now.

Anyway, with all of that being said, here’s what my life has looked like lately!

At the end of August, I went back to Carnegie Mellon to talk about diversity in engineering with the first-year engineering students. It was really fun to walk around campus afterwards (even though it was SO hot), see some of my favorite spots, and see what has changed in the 11 (!!) years since I graduated. The first-years were so nice and had such great questions about diversity and inclusion and being an ally. I also got to talk about how important it is to take care of yourself while you’re a student, and not got so wrapped up in your academics that you lose sight of everything else. I’m not shy about saying that my years at CMU were tough – I was overworked and overtired a lot of the time. So I was glad that there was a willingness to talk about the culture there, and, hopefully, a shift since my time there.

We went to DC over Labor Day weekend – you can read about that trip in this post. I don’t want to do another recap since I already did one, but I will say that it reminded me how much I love to travel (and how much I love DC). Even if I don’t do a lot when I’m there, just being in a different city seems SO exciting, especially I’m in my house so much as it is. I have another trip or two planned for the year, and I’m really hoping that they’re able to happen.

I came back from DC to what is arguably the best day of the year – my birthday!! I took the day off of work so that I could slowly ease into the week, and went to explore Pittsburgh’s version of The Highline. It’s a fun concept, but still has some growth to do in terms of adding restaurants/coffeeshops/non-office things to do. There were also some accessibility issues (very few of the tables were accessible for me in my wheelchair; they had bolted down benches), but a kind Instagram follower reached out to me and said she’d pass my comments along and make sure the area was improved!

I then had a very busy weekend, with not one but two events in the same day! It was equal parts exciting and absolutely exhausting. I’m not used to doing so much and talking to so many people!! I wrote about the polo match in this post, which was my first event of the day – it was really, really fun and I’m already planning to go again next year.

I stopped home (picking up a Starbucks en route, of course), had a quick meal and did a quick change, and headed back out, this time to the Carnegie Museum of Art for the ReelAbilities Film Festival. ReelAbilities is a nation-wide film festival focused on films made by and about disabled people. My sister and I recently joined the board of Film Pittsburgh, the organization that puts on ReelAbilities here in Pittsburgh, so we were really excited to be able to support the festival! One of my friends also got an award for her advocacy work at the festival, so I was extra excited to celebrate her! It was a long day, but a really fun one.

I had one final fun night out, just this past weekend! I went to the Warhol Museum’s Sound Series Block Party – an outdoor concert/block party with a full lineup of musicians, food trucks, screenprinting, and a beautifully decorated little park to talk and hang out. I didn’t take many pictures of the setup (I was, unsurprisingly, running late), but they did SUCH a great job with accessibility. They had ramps for each of the sidewalks, a large accessible restroom, and a reserved accessible seating area right up front by the stage! They’ve been so receptive to any and all accessibility comments my sister and I have ever had as board members, and it makes me so proud to be involved.

That’s my month! In between all of these fun things, I spent the vast majority of my time at home, working and blogging and reading and watching TV day in and day out. I have to balance out the excitement somehow!

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