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Thursday, May 29th, 2014 06:18 am
Woke far too early this morning, worrying about work things (mainly an ongoing failure to complete responsibilities to my staff).

Reading through folks lives, i remember there are other issues that deserve care and Light.

I hold up my fallibility, our human fragility, our broken hearts and remind myself of the four gifts i rely upon: grace, courage, support and wisdom. May we all experience the grace and support we need, and be supplied with the courage and wisdom to move through our day providing grace and support to others.

I did have a happy discovery when reading my RSS feeds yesterday. Stanford's art museum, the Cantor, is sponsoring a landscape photography workshop at Jasper Ridge, an area with fairly controlled access. It's just $10. It will be on the summer solstice, so in this dry year there may not be that much in bloom, and i'm no grass expert. I will, however, try to remember what the images are that one needs in identifying grasses before i go.
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Thursday, February 20th, 2014 06:27 am
One of the things i've found in my botany dabbling is that there are names of people i now recognize from just seeing their names associated with observations in databases. It's kinda cool: a different sort of social network.

On iNaturalist, which intentionally has brought social networking to the observation identification practice, i've a plant under the "ID me" page for which i have rejected several suggestions so far. I wonder what sort of impression i'm leaving. Careful? Or quarrelsome?

Yesterday's work was a struggle: i am resenting the onerous process and some of the responsibilities that i need to fill. Basically, i find i need to tell people how to do their job. I write in the install plan that folks need to shut down software. Since we had an issue where that shut down didn't seem to occur, i now need to write a step that says, check to make sure it's off.

So the frustration, resentment (because i don't know how to do their jobs, i have to be told what to tell them to do -- spending time being a puppet is no fun), and the tedious nature of writing these plans is really pushing me into work related depression again. That, on top of the down feelings of my long weekend, have me doubting my coping with depression. I identified yesterday that the drought is probably dimming my sense of hope in the whole botany-web app vision. Not a rational dimming, but the anticipation i've had of flower hikes this spring is falling away to a wonder of whether we will see green hills this year.
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Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 06:24 am
A good night's sleep, a phone call with someone about Meeting things which was dosed with praise for my listening skills and with laughter, some time with my beloved ... I'm on a much more even keel this morning. Forcing the toxic thoughts to print helps me to understand them, otherwise the thoughts of flit about under sheets of emotions, hiding their causes, and leaving black slime of their effect.

I had thought that much of the work this spring had distanced myself from all the tendrils of identification and sense of being trapped. It was surprising yesterday to see how a day that could easily result in thoughts of "This is so dysfunctional, i feel like we're all reenacting Sisyphus' punishment, and i'm certain there was deceit to be punished. How soon will i be able to leave this job? I'm going to do [action] at the end of the day." turned instead into thoughts just wanting everything to stop.

The old thought patterns are still in place, and i need to be more intentional about my chemical crutch. I think the cup off coffee earlier in the day -- right after the 1 pm meeting that really pushed me into the spiral -- would have helped. Instead, i had oreos, which didn't help.

Caffeine not sugar, caffeine not sugar!

I still can't figure out what got the morning off on such a wrong foot yesterday, such that i did not feel i could be intentional.

I'm starting today with journaling, and i will be intentional with my self care. I will not be here forever. I cannot rescue anyone other than myself. I cannot shield my team from all of the dysfunction. I am doing too much. I am not spreading the dysfunction. I am acting with integrity. I am acting with compassion.
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Sunday, September 8th, 2013 08:16 am
Thursday night's configuration switch (which should, if managed well, be completed in 5-10 minutes) took three hours. The first couple of hours were due to management issues: folks not following the plan. The third hour had one technical issue (application failing to talk to its database after a bounce, wtf is going on with that?) and one operator error (staff member failing to understand what they were supposed to do).

Friday morning i was cranky.

I cannot believe that was a four day week. It felt like a month had passed since the Labor day weekend. I'd spent time in post mortem meetings about the August install and meetings wringing hands over the November install: death watches, as a friend suggested, picking up on the theme of the post mortem. I'd trouble-shot, and a stack of the trouble shooting had nothing to do with my team's work. I am, apparently, one of the "best" (where best equals willing, i think) plus, as authentication and authorization is entangled with everything, it's easy for everyone to point to it as the root cause of a mysterious issue.

My counterpart said, "Go home." And as i wanted my staff member to "go home," i did. Well, i set skype to "invisible" while she set hers to "away," thus i witnessed her responding to a team member's request for help.

I then spent the afternoon and evening on the questions facing our meeting's Nominating committee. Yesterday morning, i followed up on details and put more data into my Numbers spreadsheet.

As an aside: the Number's application sucks when it comes to managing something like 300 rows and 9 columns. I have to wait while the CPU use goes to over 100% (dual core CPU, so it's possible) if i change a row so its sort order needs to be reevaluated. This is what you get for $20 vs paying for excel. It's pretty, but maybe i just need to learn how to really use mySQL.

I also spent some time with Christine, who is still recovering from the grief and frustration of her trip east to see family (the week after the August install: we are all still recovering). She's also missed me as i disappear into deep work distractions or into my relief work of peering at Friends' process or my photography or botany research.

This morning i posted the following to a mailing list of Quaker friends:

T--'s observation, of discovering something new about a dear friend [she writes about newly noticing birds in her daily walks in the woods], leads me to write about my new hope.

I think i've written about the depression i've wrestled with over the past years and how that is tied up with my employment: my workplace is wringing all the management skills out of me, particularly the gambling part of management. Gambling? Yes, the decisions one is forced to make with too few resources. Just like someone choosing to fix their car instead of pay for health insurance (because without the car they can't get to work, yet...), when one has too few staff, one is gambling that not working on this to work on that will allow you to eventually get back and fix this. And then there's the engagement with people, which, for this introvert, is pretty costly, too.

I think i do the management well, but it's not the part of me that hums and brings in more energy than it takes. It sucks me dry.

This spring i engaged with a career counselor and was blessed to be dropped by one who would have probably led me down the wrong path, to find just the right person. She led me through an exercise of brainstorming that has opened me to how i can take a current joy and start it down the way to another type of employment.

Over the past eighteen months i've been intentionally photgraphing California wildflowers and then working to identify them. I've gone from "I have a blue flower" to learning patterns of plant families to taking flowers from my garden and gently dissecting them. My photography has improved, and i might just commit to always carrying a tripod.

As a move to shift my career, I'm working with my spouse, Christine, to create iPad apps to teach the skills for identifying flowers.

I need a deep grounding for work, and as i run away from management (which i find to be a type of ministry) i needed to find a similar spiritual grounding for this work. The importance of diversity in an ecosystem and helping people be aware of difference: yes, that's of value, but...

And i held on to that "But..." in worship for some time.

And then it came to me, how important it is for each of us to be seen. We're not just blue flowers or men or women: we are distinct, and we want others to truly see us. To truly see a flower, you have to see the whole plant, and to see that plant you really need to take the time to look. To know each other, we have to take the time to listen and observe.

To distinguish between the different genus and species of popcorn flower[1] one has to look at the bristly hairs on the plant. I think of my undergraduate years in physics. Professors would exchange the names of another woman and i when calling on us in class: we were close friends but we were not interchangeable women in physics! Not only could visual observation distinguish us, but our research interests and -- oh, how could i forget how differently we went about solving problems: I used a sensible visual understanding of the math and she just did crazy things -- our problem solving styles were quite distinctive.

How sweet it is when we are known, when you know me well enough to know that drawing me a picture (or graphing out the data) is going to help me understand quickly. We want you to slow down, understand where our birds live and our spiders spin their webs, understand whether our bristles are soft or not, remember to draw us a picture. Taking the time to know others, to observe all the distinctive aspects, as opposed to putting folks in a box (Lesbian or Gay or Bisexual or Transgendered or, damnit if you have to put this writer in one, call it Queer) and being done: this is a ministry.

I'm not sure if any iPad app can express this ministry, but that understanding is guiding my vision of how to express my passion going forward. I don't know if our app model will be enough to feed us or if it brings us attention for other employment (more gigs for Christine, contract work in environmental monitoring and data analysis for me), but it's a hope i can nourish and grow.

I'm delighted by reading T--'s adventure with her creek, accepting her narrative as another person's adventure in practicing taking the time to see.

[1] http://www.flickr.com/photos/elainegreycats/8622714749/in/photolist-e8XEFF-eH9bXy-eH3aKe-eqwfUr-ebuA8j/
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Monday, May 13th, 2013 06:49 am
My mother spent her mother's day flying on a delayed flight from San Francisco to hong Kong and getting a middle of the night flight to Singapore. She and my father are now with my brother's family. Christine muttered something about people being so different, and i prodded her. She marveled that my brother's wife was up for spending weeks and weeks with my mother. Ah, i pointed out, she's going to North Korea.

I'm gearing up for all sorts of agitated criticisms of my brother's child raising choices in June.

And so it goes.

I was wakened yesterday at 5:30 for install issues: we worked on resolving them until a bit after 9. I could have gone to Meeting and Meeting for Business but i wanted to give myself time in the woods. We drove to a nearby point and found it overrun with families. I wasn't surprised. We ended up visiting the Castle Rock State Park, also crowded and packed. Such a contrast from my Monday walk.

I saw some flowers i had learned in my review on Monday, and i spent a small forever at home going through the key for Delphinum to identify the larkspur we saw growing beside the trail. It was lovely, but my photos are poorly composed or out of focus. I did get a luminous photo of a spotted coral root orchid and a macro image of a tiny violet, white with purple and yellow markings.

Christine and i talked about our app, what taking notes in the field on an iPad was like, and speculated what life could be like as freelancers. While the field notes app seems most interesting, i think an app that shows images and steps the user through "Is this a lupine?" could be game like, engaging, and something that could be engaged with while waiting for the dentist. I watched all the other folks on the trail: younger folks running up the hill, parents wrangling children, couples striding purposefully. No one else was noticing all the flowers or listening to the birds. While i have learned there IS a value in making tools that one would use oneself -- the tail of the market is still big enough to be interesting -- it was interesting to note the behavior of all the other trail users.

I suppose i ought to be driving to work in moments, so just a note that we also talked about my fantasy of living as free lancers in an RV, taking some http://www.camphost.org/ jobs, and so on. I also probed Christine about where she would want to move if we were to live somewhere cheap, and we speculated about the mountains in NC. It is a plausible move: if freelancing has some dependency on nature photography, the region would offer plenty of opportunity while being closer to family and that network of relationships. I remain dubious/curious about freelancing. While we thought of add ons to the floral app - eCards and cafe press items for sale - i don't think it would ever be quite a complete business. eBooks are apparently sold at a better price point, so i can imagine repurposing to a guide as well, but still...

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Saturday, May 4th, 2013 10:21 am
We've been having a heat wave, so i find it hard to comprehend Gurdonark's posts about record lows. One of the charms about California is how quickly the evening cools off (compared to the humid southern evenings of my youth). Our deck faces west, so we are out here in the morning, shaded by the building, and then we return as the sun drops down behind the redwoods.

This morning i swept up the fallen bird seed and refilled the feeders. The lesser goldfinches, oak tits, chickadees and house finches have been swooping in and out of the deck doing risk assessments: just how dangerous are those humans and cats? An Anna's hummingbird visits the scented geraniums with businesslike precision. Overhead, four crows harry a hawk. Seagulls circle and cry in the far distance. I hear a robin's call in the distance.

Last night i skimmed through "Repacking Your Bags" on the recommendation of the career coach. There are lots of things i am carrying along but in general, i do feel i have stripped my life to the authentic parts that are me. I'm not focussed -- and i know some of my friends find focus to be ill-advised -- yet i am so defocussed that i think that i loose some of the pleasure because of juggling.

One of the back and forths i have with myself is about house and garden, owning, renting. Where we live now is such a sweet spot in so many ways, and i acknowledge i don't have the time, it seems, for much more in the way of gardening and managing. Yet there's something about hows ownership that i return to: a message of responsibility and "being an adult" tangled in with childhood drawings of home design and dreams of off the grid living.

The ranchettes i grew up with -- horses, dogs, cats, chickens, orchards and gardens -- don't really support full Saturdays sitting and watching the birds at the feeder while reflecting on life and writing to friends.
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Friday, May 3rd, 2013 08:07 am
I had my second session with the career coach yesterday, finally. The brainstorming processes is really quite fascinating, because you trick yourself into coming up from behind your deep motivations and fears to get them to reveal themselves.

I felt skittish at the end as we discussed what the homework is: at the end of the process is sorting out what most excites one and what most worries one about these brainstormed career possibilities.

I feel threatened as i look at the "what most excites you."

As long as i don't have an answer to that, i can continue in my rut, with the response, "But i don't know what else i would do."

Instead, i'll know that I'd rather be recreating Steinbeck's & Rickett's trip to the Sea of Cortez, traveling over rural routes to document the old homesteads and graveyards of folks' ancestors, making handmade nightgowns for night-sweats sufferers, taking photographs of the landscape....
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Monday, April 29th, 2013 07:27 am
Yesterday i got distracted in the morning tracking down court papers about something that looks to be part of what Southern Poverty Law Center calls "paper terrorism." A guy insisted he couldn't have a black bagger "due to his creed", and after the store owner kicked him out, he filed a civil rights violation. This was eventually dismissed in the Federal court, and he's now appealing the case.

All the court logs and a good bit of the paper work is in this Evernote.

I've no idea why i found it so imperative to follow up. It was amusing to read the five point complaint and see to what claims what the defendants agreed, but was i just rubbernecking?


I've been in the Parker Palmer class that talks about the five "habits of the heart" that one needs for democracy. I've not engaged much in the past two weeks, and i haven't followed through on the assignment to "pick a habit of the heart that you want to develop and do a "force-field analysis" on it. What are the inner or outer forces that support this habit? What are the forces that inhibit it?"

During worship, i heard that "finding my voice" is what i need to work on. (It's not far from some weeks ago and the "write a book" message, i suspect, and Christine said, when we chatted about this, that she too thinks that would be the area of growth i should pick.)

I didn't know what it meant: i feel i have voice and agency, no one at work would think i keep quiet! So i asked myself what i would paint if i had to paint this out. The images formed a narrative, and i noted the narrative quickly after meeting:

A new small voice, reflecting the voices around it.

The voices became overwhelming, the new voice turbulent with the energy of the others. Voice retreated, to a small depression, a bowl, and iced over.

With time the voice grew, stretching its surface, growing growing, eventually it looked a egg.

The egg protected voice observed how big voices disrupted and shook other voices, and then those voices picked up the turbulence, a cacophony.

But other voices seemed to resonate, voices affecting others , a calm tone resulting.

The egg voice listened and learned, admiring the others, practicing on its own, listening to its own voice.

What does the egg voice need to do next? How can the egg voice stay free if all the turbulence without the protection of the shell? yet with the shell, the voice was nearly inaudible.

What next?

This was not an easy thing. I cut and paste because of the emotional turmoil that resulted, and my following inability to focus the rest of the day.


I'm currently feeling caught in a "procrastination" pattern (hard to distinguish from an overcommitment pattern). Part of it is a frustration that i haven't gotten back to the career clarity process in a literal way, although it's not far from my mind. This above is part of the non-linear process.

Must go to work, then show up at a Meeting committee meeting for which i am completely unprepared.
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Monday, March 4th, 2013 06:00 am
"Start each day with expectation, end each with gratitude." I reread some advice i'd squirreled away for myself.

I suppose looking at the coming two weeks as an unwelcome roller coaster ride is a frame that won't shape my experiences well. I loved actual roller coasters as a kid, think fondly of them now, but never really liked the theme parks in which they are found.

And it's not entirely true. I can and will have the opportunity to pace myself. So maybe this is a chance to see if i can transform the sense that i displace my whole sense of being when i travel.

So today, i expect i will be able to plow through all sorts of details. There may be Surprise Meetings despite my blocking the day clear, but i should be able to settle in with my responsibilities after this three day weekend.

I am grateful for my Meeting, despite my befuddlement when it comes to the mythic beast called community. I ponder a message from worship, a sense that i am asking the wrong thing when i ask for a leading for what i am to do next, that i should instead ask where i am to lead others. "Write a book," floats through my mind, and i respond that there are too many books. (Nota bene: When Christine talks about writing books i encourage her and do not think there are too many books.)

I feel confident in the learning journey i have been on, incredibly fortunate in being placed on the path, but i don't know that it is translatable.
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Friday, February 8th, 2013 07:36 am
Nutella: any more nutritional value than cans of grocery store icing?


I've been puttering this morning with Amazon's Cloud Services. It seems to be one of those simple tasks that spread into a web of to-dos. Ah, i can't simply do what i want with CNAMEs, i'll have to use Amazons DNS service Route 53. Ah, i should use the multifactor security: let me download the app. Ah, i'm going to need their particular barcode scanner because i won't be able to type in the manual string precisely.... and so it goes.

Ugh, i've forgotten how long the TTL (time to live) on name servers could be. I have no idea how long the TTL is on previous DNS host; it's 48 hours at Amazon. Ah! But until it propagates the mail records from the old server will continue to route mail. *whew*

Well, Sometime early next week Google will crawl the new "underconstruction" stub.


In Career Counselor news, i spoke with "Mikey" last night. I think there are some very specific ways he could help me at a later date, so i'm glad i chatted with him. If i was to bail from the Whale asap, i think he could help me make a rapid transition. I think i first want to do the deeper discernment process with the Purpose Clarity Coach. And given she's much less expensive than the original coach, all is good.


... and i forgot to post before getting working today. However, my DNS nameserver change seems to have succeeded pretty quickly and my website has a minimal greeting up now: http://wheresitup.com/results/51159de4d33116994f0001a2
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Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 04:46 pm
Besides sinus pain, other disappointments yesterday included that i had not heard back from the career counsellor whose website i liked, and the "Mikey" career counsellor missed our 2 pm call and tried to call after 5. This morning i contacted the first career counsellor through her form on her website. That produced results! I have an appointment for a 4:30 pm phone call with her. I have also agreed to chat with "Mikey" on Thursday.


Well, i stayed up late. New yarn arrived: Jojoland Rhythm. It's for a simple pattern -- covering a purse Christine loves but which has flaking leatherette. The purse is a simple square so the cover will be straightforward. Christine watched a Mission Impossible movie, and i stitched up around a hundred yards of yarn while watching with her.

Meanwhile, i forgot that the Quarterly install is tonight. I may get called in a few hours about an emergency.

Uff, i'm an idiot. I knew there was something i was forgetting.
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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 06:39 am
TMI about my sinuses. )


We had ISO 9001 training yesterday, which had some somewhat tautological definitions of Quality Management Systems. As far as our motivation, I find this statement somewhat backwards, "[The Whale] is committed to attain and maintain its ISO 9001 and 27001 certifications because the benefits are immense. These certifications promote [The Whale's] commitment to produce secure, quality, products and services for its members."


Dinner with D's brother was pleasant, but because i didn't frame my expectations to him, i didn't really get to drive the questioning. The frame he brought was a "who can i connect you to" frame, which will be useful, when i know what direction i am going. I was more curious about, "What is work life like outside my limited scope?"

(Ugh, i still haven't posted this. Off it goes)
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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 06:07 am
Tonight we are off to see Jackson Browne as part of Christine's birthday celebration. I didn't really know much about the musician, so on her birthday proper we watched Jackson Browne: Going Home. This helped me see why Christine called him "The Amy Goodman of Rock and Roll." I asked her who the Bill Moyers of Rock and Roll would be. This morning she woke to suggest maybe Stink or Joe Strummer, Jerry Garcia must be the Charles Kurault. Bob Dillon, she opined, would be the Walter Cronkite.

I'm sure your milage will vary.

Now Michael Stipe is the Bill Moyers.....


In New Director news, the Wednesday trans-Atlantic director & manager meeting is canceled for this week. I appreciate this much more than a cancel at 6:30 am, too late to keep me from preparing for the 7 am video conference. There's no "critical" agenda item, New Director claims. On the other hand, apparently he "caught it" two weeks ago (remember the car in the parking lot meeting cancel?) over our monthly reports. Last Monday there was a burst of a communication about how he would be giving us a template because it is too hard for him to pull the information out for his report.

Said template is not yet available.


Wednesday afternoon i will be meeting with the Career Counselor. One of the reflection questions was what was i going to do to keep moving forward. I hope that this investment does help me figure out a good forward for me. The schizophrenic pull towards more management and leadership and pulls towards anything but that is, i'm sure, because the management and leadership is what i know. Fix the broken process, damnit! I found myself daydreaming about giving the as yet unnamed new president a piece of my mind. What if he turned around and offered me New Director's job? The question just hung there in the daydream, and i came up with the questions i would ask back. "Would my position be backfilled?" is the question i remember now. The daydream points to my desire to be recognized as competent and respected, not to my desire to do more of this management stuff at the Whale.


Frost has continued in the morning, here, but perhaps this morning will simply be heavy dew. The sweet gum tree at the end of the sidewalk has lost many of its leaves now, and the spiked seed balls hang as bird feeders. Over the weekend i noticed a flock of goldfinches pulling seeds out; yesterday morning a junco fed at the tree.

My potato has survived the frost: only the top of the vine has been nipped back by frost. The pimento pepper looks very sad, though, despite being pulled back under the eaves and sheltered by the dropped outer blinds. I think it might drop its leaves, but survive: that should be sufficient for it to be robust next year and produce a bit more fruit. The deck is a mess, though. I've either been sick during rainy weather or busily distracted during cold weather. I look forward to a chance to tidy it.

I'm taking Friday off: that might present an opportunity if we do not go kayaking in Half Moon Bay. The Groupon offer expires in February, but Christine is feeling overwhelmed right now. With today's concert and tomorrow's beginning of classes (and classes Thursday night) i understand the sense of worry. I'm not pressing for the outing, and i suspect i can put the time to pleasant use without an outing. At the very least, i think i might hie myself to Edgewood or into the hills to photograph plants or fungi.
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Saturday, January 12th, 2013 06:43 pm
This "worksheet" for the career advisor is .... daunting. As always, i don't know how to give short answers.

Here's one of the steps: would you like to play?

Poll 3 people (for instance, friends, spouse, significant other, family, colleagues, supervisors) and query them on these sorts of questions (email me the findings of your poll): If you want to hold off on this item till later, that is fine, too.

1. What do you see as my 3-5 greatest strengths?
2. What adjectives would you use to describe me?
3. What do you see that comes naturally to me that I might be taking for granted?
4. If I couldn't do anything similar to my past line of work, what completely different type of work would you see me doing?
5. In what type of work do you see me making the greatest contribution to my corner of the world?

Next step asks about greatest accomplishments. Accomplishments? Greatest?
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Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 06:50 am
Career discernment correspondence has been my focus in the past 12 hours or so when i was awake.

The first bit of correspondence was with a friend who had questions after reading some journaling from last week:
Q&A )

Another friend asked about my interests and i decided to share one of the hobby project ideas i have with him:

personal data mining idea )
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Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 06:21 am
I had the energy to get through the work day, but anxiety ate at me in a self-sabotaging sort of way. I used the tools i've been amassing, even going out for a quick walk. I think the first thing that bent me out of shape was that i had a fairly clear day when i checked my calendar, but had meetings 9:30 to 1:30 by 9 am. Fortunately, some were meetings i was not engaged in, and i multitasked like mad through those, getting not only time-card like paperwork done, but i also planned when my next breaks are.


I know i live under a rock, but the fact that there is a drug that PREVENTS HIV -- did this just not get reported widely? I'm looking at HIV prevention pill receives approval by FDA from July 16, 2012.

The cost, $13,900 in the US, is challenging. How does this get to the places where HIV is rampant, up to 20% infection rate in one country in Africa?


After work i visited with someone from Meeting who is becoming a friend. She is starting up on a new job and has an enthusiasm that comes from the new success that she is sharing with me.

What i discovered as we talked is that i still have some fairly substantial and practical discernment to do. Some of that discernment may be helped by the career coach, but i'd really like a therapist who is a good listener, too. I may go back to my body therapist, just because she is saavy.

I suppose i should write out the decisions and try to map them.

* making information available.
** Compare to Wikipedia, Evernote.
** Background with museums, archives, libraries.
*** several years working on copyright issues in developing system to discern copyright status of US items
** User-centric "data bank," helping individuals manage and mine personal data, with appropriate sharing with business
*** current specialization in Identity management
* Environmental issues
** GIS certificate
** analysis skills from nuclear physics training
** hobbies of gardening, hiking, botanical identifications
* (Data) analysis
** physics training
** interest in analysis in GIS, "data bank"
** undergraduate work in nonlinear analysis
** system design and identification of gaps
** UX analysis: identifying user needs, interface design issues
* "servant leadership" and managing teams
** working with team members to find meaning for them in their work
** agile practices
** Quaker decision making process
** forward looking at full system issues, problem identification & solving
** "professional development" - helping people shape their work to be most effective, energizing
* Design & arts
** hobbies include photography, acrylic painting, crochet design, card design

First: How "good" is my current job? Is it worth the negatives[1] to stay for the general area of specialization, benefits and people?

1) If i was to leave my current job for a similar job, what are the odds of a frying pan to fire experience?
1a) How similar is "similar"?
1a1) How likely is it to find a smaller company that isn't a start up?
1a2) How likely is it to find a management position that is far more creative if i am not a coder?
1b) If i look for the job title "architect," how should i package myself? What are the odds of finding something? [ie: how frequently would a non-computer scientist, non-programmer be accepted]
1c) If i look for the job title "UX manager/developer," how should i package myself? What are the odds of finding something?
1d) Is there another software development focussed job title i should examine?

2) How possible would it be for me to move to a leadership job in the bay area with no financial management background but an interest in team management? The COO position?
2a) in software development?
2b) in something else?

If i decide the current job is good enough for the immediate time, then there is the exploration of what to do in a mid future:
-- in a year, year and a half when Christine looks for a PhD school and we may move
-- in 2016 when a loan against my current retirement plan is up

[1] (1) Poor ability to influence upward because of (a) distance from the hq, (b) poor understanding of the role of management by director, (c) lower priority yet critical infrastructure project; (2) narrowing of job to more restrictive role so less 'creative' activity; (3) constant meetings during east coast overlap with many 6 am meetings -- which is the best time for me to do 'hard' work. Afternoons are my best meeting time.

I guess it's time to dash.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 08:39 am
I wrote a few days ago, "i need to ensure i am able to engage in them [hobbies, crafts] deeply instead of flit, flit, flit."

[personal profile] sonia replied, "My immediate response to this was, 'Why? There's nothing wrong with flitting.'"

It's a good question, and, given the day, one i'd like to meditate on at more length.

I know i have a certain need for novelty, but i also have a need for a deeper satisfaction. When i stick with using tools i develop a proficiency that then leads to a pleasure of having a skill.

Part of my flitting is inspired by new school (or art or craft) supplies and the promise of a fresh start, the possibilities the new supplies signify. (Or new books that i don't read or new notebooks i do not write in or new....) I start, and then flit off again. It's very common, i think: the term "UFO" in the yarn world to designate an "Un-Finished Object" points to the temptation even when one stays within a craft. In our culture, for the many who are moderately affluent, it's easier to buy new supplies for a new project than it is to finish an existing project. And if the existing project isn't going quite right, or some of the pleasure has waned, the new project is free of those associations, and exists in the potential of perfection and joy.

So now that i have a new shiny toy, a digital art device, i reflect on the other drawing tablet devices i've bought over the years and have used once or twice, the stacks of supplies, and i want to stick with this and pursue my creation to some level of satisfaction. I'd had a box of 64 crayons and a sketch pad next to my bed for a long time, well over a year, but after discovering an application called Skitch, i'd been doodling on my phone before sleep. It's the consistency with which i used that application -- not very consistent, but consistent enough -- that made me covet the iPad. I had more colors of crayons than i had in the palette on Skitch, but the ease of managing my phone made it easier to use the application to sketch.

Buying such an expensive New Thing did make me think about all the space allocated to the old things, lying fallow. I'd passed on old acrylic paints this fall, keeping the one product line that i really like. I think i could stand to do more lightening. Intensify what i know i enjoy and use, let go of the older dreams that walked through my life.

I can remember a really powerful session scribbling with the crayons, venting anger onto a page. I know that physicality isn't in the tablet. But is that potential need for a future catharsis enough to keep that tool around? I don't think so: i will still have paints to have a tactile physical experience.

Flitting and acquiring are great practices for exploration: i think i want to move on to discovery, be more intentional, let go of dusty habits and tools and decorative items and books.

I can't imagine i will stop trying new things, but new is a fractal experience.

We can look at a young child and recognize a new life, celebrate the newness of a new year, awaken to a new dawn, or even recognize the new beginning available with an intentional deep breath. The cycles within cycles are there, providing new opportunity and novelty wherever one wishes to find it.

So, instead of new tools, new techniques with existing tools. Instead of a new wardrobe, pare away the clutter and worn items to see the core essence of the wardrobe i have. Digest what i read instead of dashing on to the next new bit of information.

There's nothing wrong with flitting: there's a beauty and a joy available there. I'm feeling a need to make a change, like a season shifting, though.

I don't know how much is symbolic, tied to the need for change at work, and how much is tied to spiritual change and practice, and how much is a pragmatic examination of the "total cost of ownership" of stuff.

It's good change though, i think.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, December 29th, 2012 08:37 am
Yesterday afternoon was lost in a spate of waiting. Starting at 3 pm when i arrived to find the previous patient waiting, there were other waits in line to find things that were to be ready long before needed another ten or fifteen minutes.

This morning i still bewail my sinus condition and the various resulting discomforts.


I received in the mail a Travelsmith dress bought on eBay as part of my attempt to get work dresses for under $20. This dress turns out to be far more curve accentuating than my usual choices and yet doesn't leave me feeling like i'm wearing a sausage casing. It's knee length, which is also shorter than i usually choose. It will suit Christine quite well if i can't find myself wearing it, but i will give it a try today as we go out for brunch and then visit The Conservatory of Flowers and the De Young in Golden Gate Park. I'd love to go to the Academy of Sciences as well, but the day may be too short for that.

The switch to dresses is a shift for me that i think is mainly being driven by comfort and annoyance with the challenge of finding pants and jeans that fit. I feel like i never get the length right even if i finally find something that works with my hips and waist. For years i wore skirts, but somehow the skirt doesn't seem as appealing as the simplicity of a dress: one outfit all together. This then leaves me considering my collection of exceedingly sensible shoes and wondering what to wear on my feet. My usual go-to walking shoes don't quite seem well paired with a dress.


On The Situation: I'm doing so much better than i was in November, do i have to keep working on this? )
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, December 28th, 2012 06:28 am
Yesterday morning i paused to look at the avian inhabitants of the water feature. Our building actually has three different bodies of water: on the side i park there are two. One is the building's fountain and pond. This is presumably fresh-ish water. The other is a little finger of the Marina Lagoon. I'm happy to see that my estimates of how much the water dropped and why are correct: http://www.ci.sanmateo.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=1067 .

I was drawn closer to the lagoon finger to see what looked to be a bufflehead, although i had recently confused bufflehead males and hooded merganser males. However, this was definitely a bufflehead male. After getting the best shot i could to make sure i could confirm my identification later, i noticed a female hooded merganser entering area from under the bridge. Their crests are nothing like hoods, more like sails.

Beyond the bridge were more ducks so i went to take a look, luxuriating in the lack of time pressure. There was a brown diving duck: brown head, bright eye, dull beak, dull body. After diving for a bit, it headed towards the end of the little inlet, flattening itself out in the water. Was it sneaking up on the mergansers? The male had joined the female. I watched the mystery duck chase the mergansers around in circles: diving and approaching from underneath, doing the flattened dash across the surface. Flipping through my dreadful photos and the All About Birds list of ducks, i can plausibly accept a male redhead duck as the culprit.


In "Good Progress on the Situation" news, the career counselor has agreed to see me, huzzah. For the review of my depression medications, the UHC Appointment folks have kinda-sorta found appointments for me, so i'm seeing someone who isn't particularly talented at leaving voice mail messages at 3 pm today. Just looking for a reasonable prescription.

I wish the psychologist i contacted would get back to me, so i could happily leave the therapist, but it's still "the holidays." I fear that psychologist has dropped UHC, too.


For pleasure, i spent the day (and a good bit of the evening) writing an AppleScript to generate the six-months-to-a-page weekly calendar i use to visualize our work flow. It wasn't entirely necessary, but it is another thing i could post to a revitalized professional blog. It was also delightful to feel the little tingle of a new skill, new tool. I've enjoyed Omnigraffle as a diagramming tool and have been considering buying it for myself. With the added skill of the AppleScript hacking.... Hmm, i can't think of how i might use this skill again except to make maintenance of the calendar more automatic.

Python remains my goal if i am to bring myself up to a reasonable skill set.


Still sick, still making do with dayquil.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, December 25th, 2012 04:13 pm
Wrote a psychologist to see if she has an opening and can replace my current therapist.
Wrote a career counsellor to see if i could get an appointment.

If i'm spending all this time in some sort of chthonic self development, i want to help along the process to seeing the change spring forth into my day.

Haven't heard from UHC regarding getting an actual appointment with a psychiatrist to have my medications evaluated.