I was born in Monterey, California in 1961. My dad was in the US Army, and I’ve lived a lot of places, mostly in Germany. I started sewing when I was 5 years old when my father gave me the first and only sewing lesson I’ve ever had. Judging from the results, he must have done a respectable job. He still owns that machine too.
My interests are both predictable, off-beat, and fairly limited (unfortunately). Other than all things sewing related, I like to make things…anything (lol). Fitness is a priority for me. I lost about 150 lbs. over 30 years ago and fitness helped maintain my weight loss.
Social activism is a defining paradigm of my life and that should be no surprise to any of you who have read me. I am fundamentally committed to sustainable economic development to improve the quality of people’s lives. I do not believe that businesses have to make ethical trade-offs in the interests of profit and growth.
I am committed to an ecologically low-impact lifestyle; I’m a vegetarian (that means no meat of any kind for those who don’t know) and consciously limit my lifestyle and spending towards choices that reflect my values. In simplest terms that means I’ll never own an SUV, a large screen TV (actually, I don’t watch TV at all but I’m a life-long NPR listener and supporter), or any of these sorts of things.
I like to read quite a bit; mostly non-fiction topics such as anthropometry, brain architecture, morphology, the mechanics of skill acquisition and learning, smatterings of light science, anything mechanical and lastly, my favorite which is the development of process controls, i.e. the architecture of quality.
Probably the book that has had the greatest overall influence on me is Man’s Search for Meaning (Victor Frankl) because it forever changed my attitude about the power of choice in people’s lives — particularly when you think you have none — which is why I always say that being a victim is a choice; you’re only a victim if you stay “there.” Another is Diet for a Small Planet (Frances Moore Lappe) which compassionately, logically, and eloquently discusses the ecological devastation of the average American diet and how to live more healthily, sanely and compassionately. I also urge all women to read The Cinderella Complex (Colette Dowling) — be forewarned; it can be a frightening thing to face internal reality. This book can be a very constructive tool to redesign your life-long priorities, particularly if you are single.
I read some fiction — admittedly escapist, remember no TV — but that’s mostly science fiction. My favorite contemporary author of the genre is Sheri S. Tepper (try Singer from the Sea). She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Probably my favorite sci-fi title is The Game Players of Zan (M.A. Foster), which is a real brain squeeze if you appreciate the difficulty and endless complexity of designing a fictional seminal social system. I also enjoy a genre described as Latin-American surrealism, which includes anything from 100 Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) to The Milagro Beanfield War (John Nichols).
The last (or rather first) thing you should know about me is that I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s is a pervasive development disorder (a type of Autism) that severely impacts my life, restricting my ability to socialize and be with people. I cannot work at a regular job or be engaged in the kinds of daily life activities that everyone takes for granted. My eye contact is poor and I am very shy. I STRENUOUSLY dislike being the center of attention and for this reason, have very frequently regretted having ever written a book or having done anything else that has put me in the public spotlight. Yet there is no doubt that this genetic anomaly is what has created and affected my depth of interest and mastery in my field.
If you are interested in knowing more about Asperger’s, you can see how many Asperger-type traits you may have by taking a quiz at Wired Magazine. There’s also a companion article, “The Geek Syndrome,” that asks why autism and Asperger’s are so common among the children of people working in Silicon Valley.