Chronic Pain

I was diagnosed with chronic migraines in 2006 but in fact had been living with migraines since at least 1997. (Fun fact: my first migraine that I can remember came after going to see Titanic in the movie theater. Turns out that one of my most reliable migraine triggers is strobe lights. The entire time the boat is sinking, about 2 hours, the lights are flickering. The second time I went to see it I just closed my eyes during those parts.)

At their worst, I was having debilitating migraines 3-4 days a week. Now I'm down to about 1 day a week, depending on triggers. I know many of my triggers and have worked with some great neurologists and neurology nurse practioners so that things are much better under control and I have pretty good understanding of many of my triggers as well as a good toolbox of things for when things get bad.

If you have migraines or think you might have migraines I highly recommend two things.

  1. Start tracking your headaches/migraines. Even just recording whether you had pain or took meds is a great first start.
  2. Find (and see) a GOOD neurologist. Note that I'm not wanting you to go to just any neurologist. My first neurologist was a train wreck who understood nothing about me (nor did he care to) and wasn't interested in dealing with headache patients. I fired him. I want you to have a neurologist who will always have a Plan B (or C or even F) every time you come in. Someone who understands headaches and has a deep interest in solving the puzzle that is a migraine patient.


I love food. I know that this isn't super unique but it is a big part of who I am. I grew up, in part, in my home kitchen. My dad cooked traditional Northern Italian food and my mom cooked everything else, including, strangely, obscure dishes like Okonomiyaki, very unheard of in 1990s suburban Alaska. I began cooking probably around age 5 and haven't stopped. While I don't have as much time or burn as many calories as I may like, I am known to make a cake at the end of a stressful day or stirfry zucchini for an afternoon snack, something that I did as a middle schooler.

When I travel I love to eat local dishes and explore random grocery stores. When I traveled with Google my family would often know where I'd gone by what collection of foods they got for Christmas. I've gone on a number of fantastic food tours everywhere from NY to Amsterdam, Delhi, and Tokyo. I will always pick local company so if you need a recommendation, let me know.

It turns out that I have a number of dietary triggers for my migraines so I have to substitute a lot, especially in baking. If you're interested in learning more talk to me about it!


I started knitting more regularly around 2014. I was averaging maybe one project a year until 2020 when I started on a blanket. In 2021 I started stashing more yarn and exploring more projects that I would deem "scary". I currently have two projects on needles (socks and a shawl), two begging to be finished (shawl and a blanket), and at least 4 ready to cast on (3 hats and a sweater).

If this interests you, I've apparently been on Ravelry since 2009. I'm not super good about updating on there, but I'm kpanciera.


Music has been a big part of my life ever since I can remember. I took piano lessons starting around grade 2 or 3 through college. (Very intermittent those last 8 years or so though, so I'm not as competant as I should be). I played trombone in middle and high school as well as a few years in college (band and jazz band) and did private lessons occasionally. In high school and college I took voice lessons and fiddle lessons. I am much more competant on one of those instruments than the other. Because I was such a music nerd (and, in particular, a classical music nerd), I took a number of music classes in college including music theory, sight singing, and instrumental methods. The last of those was a class to help music education majors learn how to teach instruments to late elementary or middle school students. So I can not totally embarass myself on flute, clarinet, trumpet, and percussion. And my brother played the French horn, so, again, I don't completely suck at that.

But my biggest love in the music world was choral singing. I do not like singing by myself, but I adore singing with others. I joined my small church choir at around age 11 and continued with that until I joined my college choir. During study abroad, I joined a student led group at the University of York. Then in grad school I sang in another church choir (auditioned!) and at Facebook I was a founding member of the Vocal Network, Facebook's original a capella group.

I listen to musicals, pop, a capella, folk, and choral music, but my kiddo likes to listen to movie soundtracks and whatever random songs are popular among her friends ("This Land is My Land" was a recent fav). There are lyrics (in English, but also Latin) that will never leave the dark recesses of my brain and I will always be grateful for that

If you're an engineer or mathematically inclined student who also likes music you are not alone! You should check out options to exercise that musical part of your brain. I can't imagine you would regret that.


I LOVE to read. That is not an over exageration. Since I've been tracking my reading in 2018, I've read 347 books. It took a while to get back into it after grad school. (If it makes you feel better while I read 42 books in 2018, I read only 10 in 2014, when I was working full time and finishing my dissertation.) I do not count books that I read to my kiddo, only ones that I chose to read for me or for work or what have you.

I've learned a few things in the past few years of reading.

All of that said if you don't want or like to read, that's useful to know and I don't expect everyone to be a reader. This is how I like to spend my time/energy/money but it's not for everyone.


Over the course of my life I've lived in two countries (US & UK) and six states (Wisconsin, Ohio, Alaska, Kentucky, Minnesota, and California). In addition, I've visited 43 states, 7 Canadian provinces and territories, and 22 countries on five continents. I really enjoy traveling alone although I'm no longer comfortable crashing in Youth Hostels. I also have status on multiple airlines and hotel chains which I think would negate my ability to stay in Youth Hostels anyways.
Some of my favorite trips include: