I’m over 40 and overweight.  It’s common enough that as I look around my peers, I can _nearly_ justify that I’m less overweight than most.  But it still bugs the crud out of me to find myself past certain scale thresholds… So, when a local gym that a friend attends put on a weight loss challenge, AND that local gym is a martial arts gym where I’ll get to hit things – I had to give it a go…

3 times a week, I leave more sweat than I ever thought possible on the mat in its classes.  I’ve done more burpees of late than I’d imagined possible.  Tons of pushups and squats, too.  And yet the scale goes nowhere.  Even, on days that cause me to curse, slightly up.

But I continue in the classes…  Because on those days where I curse at the scale, at least I get to hit things.

“What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done, Mom?”, asked my eight year old.  I’m not sure what prompted his question, though I’m certain the chance to get an answer which delayed bed time might be part of it.  I thought about it, and answered: “Having kids…”

Undoubtedly that’s not what a kid wants to hear from their mom.  I went on to tell him that at his age, and much beyond, I pictured my life as kid-less.  I’d have a house full of puppies, but no kids.  It wasn’t until well after I met my husband and started to think of kids as a creation coming forth from both of us that my picture changed.  That I went from dreams of puppies of all sizes, to wondering what our kids might be like, and looking forward to how we’d raise them together.  That I stopped thinking of all the pain in the rear part of having kids to considering the joys of seeing things through new eyes, of getting to see these young people grow up to have opinions and interests of their own.

So my son got to hear that he was one of the craziest things I’ve ever done, and that I love him (and his sisters) immensely because of it.  Oh, and that going out for rugby was on the list somewhere, too, and that the opportunities presented by “craziest things” are to send you off in new directions and new experiences.

Diving into the summer…  feels like such a chance for new adventures.  I’ve often asked my kids to make ‘adventure lists’, both because I want to inspire them to think big and because I want to come up with big ideas and actions with them.  Follow one’s dreams, not blindly, but with excitement and anticipation to see what paths may open before you.

So, some dream following of late:

1. Taking a chance on a MMA / boxing fitness class.  Working my tail off, with an idea of seeing whether this might be a new competitive outlet for me.  The fitness class was one thing – crazingly sweat-inducing and body shaking.  The striking (meaning hitting and kicking) was another…  even absorbing blows with pads was eye opening.  As in, wow that’d hurt if that landed, and boy, I’m enjoying the effort of hitting these pads.

2.  Letting my daughter head to Puerto Rico to visit some friends.  It’s a scary thing to let her do this on her own, even knowing that there’re trusted folks to receive her on the other end of the plane ride.  She gets on a plane tomorrow: I think once I know she’s there, it won’t be as scary an idea, but right now my chest feels a bit too tight.  I’m proud of her, and delighted that she can have this opportunity.  It’s a gut check, though, on that idea of being parents who help their kids explore the world safely.

3. Started a new job.  The existing one was a great job, but I was no longer seeing that chance to make an impact at it.  I could do well at it, and that in itself is honorable and good.  The company is a fine company, one I was proud to work for.  But I need to see a company grow and shape because I’m molding it.  Having to step up into bigger language – just started to type – “molding some area of it”.  But the truth is, I want to mold something more completely, maybe not all at once, but over time, I want to see where I’ve brought it forward.  I’m coming into someone else’s company, because I didn’t jump completely into the deep end to start something brand new.  I joined a company where I know and respect its owners, and they and I want to work together to continue to build upon what they’ve begun.

Dreams yet to pursue:

1. Going to pull that unicycle out of the basement this summer.  Since I have two thanks to a generous friend, giving one to a neighbor, and learning on the other.  Debating whether to take it with me to our summer getaway and just dedicate some time each day.

2. Stock options from my old company are about to convert my motorcycle dream into reality.  The stock is a good investment, but sprung free it’ll make donations to worthy causes as well as cruising wheels.  And heck, the drive to my new job is relatively short / safe – great jaunt for a motorcycle this summer…

First day of summer just this week: summer adventuring under way.

Just realized a theme key for me in how I browse the internet, with my ten Chrome tabs open.  Twitter is like Pinterest is like Facebook, in that in each case I’m getting a stream of ideas or images or information that are related to my interests or people I’m interested in.  No one theme or person fills that pipeline overwhelmingly, which is how I enjoy it.

Instagram is like LinkedIn is like reading a particular RSS feed: they have their uses, but are not among my preferred areas to spend a lot of time.  Too much is coming from the same authors or points of view.  I don’t get that ah hah! moment of the choice of many rabbit trails.

In both worlds (creative chaos vs. stuck on point), they’re merely an entry point to see if I’d like to figure out more, either through the links on that site or through my own hunts off to the side.

 

I’ve been on a Douglas Adams kick lately.  His birthday celebration recently caused me to look up a bit of his quotable stuff…  a few below.

 

A learning experience is one of those things that says, ‘You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.

 

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.

 

You’re paid a lot and you’re not happy, so the first thing you do is buy stuff that you don’t want or need—for which you need more money.

 

These are all from a book called ‘The Salmon of Doubt‘, which was published posthumously.  To discover a new Douglas Adams book with such quotable items in it – pure delight.

Digging around, I further found that Douglas Adams was once a writer for Dr. Who, and that apparently the 3rd book (‘Life, the Universe and Everything’) of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ was originally intended to be a Dr. Who story.  MORE delight.

I now quote the prologue to ‘The Salmon of Doubt’, from the words of Douglas Adams describing himself: “I wanted to be a writer-performer like the Pythons.  In fact I wanted to be John Cleese and it took me some time to realise that the job was in fact taken.”   I wish I had known this gentleman.

 

Query: does anyone else ever think about whether they’re making the person next to them look bad by putting more weight on the bar than they’re lifting?  And why does that thought usually only come to mind when it’s a guy next to me, rather than a woman?  Bleah.  I don’t want that moving around in my brain while I’m trying to hit a new max or otherwise just trying to move that weight.  For a woman, I’m impressed if they can do more than me.  For a guy, I’m happy to be in the same realm, excited when I’m pushing more.  (The guy next to me was able to squat lower / more perpendicular to the floor – I worry too much about the strain on my knees, given their history, to squat that low with much weight.)

Letting my competitive nature consume too much of my brain…  need to compete just with me for this stuff, rather than risk doing something dumb.

 

 

 

The life of a technologist is rarely boring. If you’re a senior developer or architect, you’re expected to drop into a project situation and make sense of nebulous requirements, new and/or undetermined technology stacks, and unreasonable timelines (they’re always unreasonable – it’s a truism – partly because the requirements are nebulous, partly because you’re getting up to speed on the tech stack..) Your job is then to convince folks you know enough to get the job done, while knowing you don’t yet, and then paddle like crazy to figure out the right stuff to actually get the job done. If there’s a new technology out, you’re supposed to have an understanding and an opinion of where it fits in the ecosystem. To be effective, you have to know how to do all of the above, while keeping your conversations at the business impact level. Oh, and you have to find a way to lead folks who think they can all do things better than you. If you’re honest with yourself, for at least some areas, they can. Your job i to stitch it all together. Good luck.

[Note: began this post a few weeks ago…  to take “tonight” to mean, some evening in time..]

A few weeks ago, I suggested I’d be taking a look at how we/I use social media, and what it implies in terms of the digitization of information.  Other than this blog, tonight I’ve looked up deviled egg recipes via Google, pulled up a particularly yummy-looking Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs one from AllRecipes, posted a comment about my enjoyment of my first pumpkin beer this year on Facebook, watched videos and submitted homework for a statistics course on Coursera, and added a goofy comment on Twitter.

That leaves behind a trail of both specific thoughts (my answers for the statistics homework and impressions of pumpkin beer) and sign posts to what things interest me (bacon cheddar deviled eggs, apparently).  The rub for anyone digesting all of that is to determine which of those are core or repeatable insights into me, and which were insights into a particular moment.  Even those momentary insights are pointers – the question is becomes how to interpret what they’re pointing to.  I think of Netflix movie recommendations or Amazon movie recommendations – they’re always heavily tainted by what I’ve last seen, whether or not they were core items or momentary insights.  Yes, I did watch a kids cartoon with my kids after they begged me.  No, I don’t want my feed to be perpetually filled with My Little Ponies.  But I also don’t care to point out which things are core versus which things are momentary.  I’d rather the systems be wrong most of the time than spot-on right.  Would rather not be quite that knowable.  Particularly not by computer systems…

 

Today was 1 day short of my duodecimal birthday – new word I hadn’t heard before my hubby announced it as upcoming yesterday.  In short, it was one month after my (ahem)th birthday, and he wanted a chance to mark it.  The actual day of my (ahem)th birthday was pretty low-key, and  he decided he wanted a birthday “do-over”.

I woke up to a happy birthday message on the bathroom mirror in dry eraser.  Came back from my gym workout to find breakfast on the table, all 3 kids up, and 2 presents next to my plate.  Open the first wrapping paper to find a Galaxy S5 box.  Open the box, very excited (I’d been contemplating the phone upgrade for a while!) to find no phone, but instead my engagement ring all nicely fixed up and shiny.  Somehow about a year ago I’d bent the ring badly enough that it no longer fit on my finger.  It had sat in my jewelry box forlornly – we hadn’t known who we could trust to fix it well.  He’d tracked down a jeweler, got the original ring reshaped, and the gem setting fixed…   And then he pulled my new phone out, separately wrapped up.

So this evening my ring finger is shiny again and I’m having fun getting my apps and settings over to my new phone.   Samsung’s done a great job making it simple – I gave it my Samsung credentials and all (OK, make that many) of my apps started porting over to the new phone.  I’ve deleted a few that were only useful for a one-time event kind of thing (conference agendas, anyone?), but otherwise am looking forward to a pretty smooth transition!  Cameron will be able to bug me for Temple Run.  One of the apps I haven’t seen make it over yet is the Furby fart and burp control app – I’ll have to work on building it on my new Android Kitkat 4.4.2 operating system.