While it’s been snowing for a good part of last week, and as SurlyLady has mentioned, we’ve been bikeless lately – save for the spinning classes. Today it was yoga, and I feel all glow-y and peaceful-ly as I sit here, reflecting on all the stuff happening lately. Namely:
What *is* that humming noise at the beginning of the Fiery Furnace’s Navy Nurse, and that repeats with each massive bass and geetar twin riffing sequence? A Leslie speaker indirectly, the whir of the motor, or machine hum?
Holy crap: Wisconsin, and the Middle East? If a Poli Sci professor or grad student studying the liturgical surgical histories of revolutionary people, movements and means had gone into a coma in December and woke up today to read the NY Times they’d look around and ask the first person they saw, “WTF? Am I in some alternate universe?” In Wisconsin Republican Tea Partiers continue pulling propaganda wool over Fox News eyes but real people, with cheese on their heads, are actually rallying and civil disobediencing? As in like the 70s? And of course much deadlier, sadder and foundational, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya. I almost can’t believe my own eyes and I’ve been watching the increments each day. At work, a very smart co-worker who is only a larger stock portfolio and a few parenting years away from truly turning conservative (as it stands there are still a few whiffs of his younger liberal days drifting through now and then) is completely freaked out. Oil prices will disrupt our economic recovery! What if whackos get in charge! What if this, what if that! And I respond: if you want Democracy, it has to be self determining. And Democracy, and self determination, are messy things. This isn’t a plutocratic corporate oligarchic board meeting type of dealio, this is about people who are hungry, angry at bread prices rising (seen the crop failures in Russia, China and even stocks razor thin in US?)(remember panem et circenses?) who, if trained to be a teacher, are unemployed taxi drivers. And besides, wasn’t there a whole lot of noise just a few years ago, when the NeoCons were the au courant under a Republican administration and Congress, about how the whole Iraq war thingie was about bringing Democracy to the region, and that it and Afghanistan were just the start of this wave of populist uprisings etc? It wasn’t so freaky back then was… Oh, right. They never really meant it, did they?
Dinner tonight: SurlyLady is making Saag Paneer. Yum!
Biking isn’t the central biggest thing in my life: There, I said it. I’m diversifying. So while this crappy weather makes me frustrated I can’t get out on the roads, and while I still am spoke tension aimed at RAPsody and High Pass Challenge, I find myself just suddenly okay with not putting in 6000 miles a year. I’ll still ride, but it’ll maybe be more of the fun stuff, with the commensurate base miles even more fun than previously, less obligatory in other words. The last two winters I would bike commute in weather in the 20s, even down to 16 degrees one day. Back then I was obsessed with losing more weight and getting in shape, and I still needed it. Today my efforts are more at the refinement side. I even find myself not daydreaming as much about the longer Randonneur rides; the idea of riding two days straight sounds like a noble goal but it also just sounds like a lot of time commitment. My goals are less number driven and more quality driven, i.e. I want to be Fit, Strong, Healthy and… have fun doing it. Ultimately, for numbers, the more I can lose this winter and spring the better hill climbing I’ll do in summer. And for me, summer hill climbing will be the dessert on all this winter veggie base.
This isn’t to say I’m quitting. When nicer days roll around I’m going to be fairly twitching to get out on the Salsa Vaya or the Poprad – every time I go to do a load of laundry in the bike/utility room I look over at the bike stable and promise them that soon we’ll be out on the road seeing beautiful vistas. And this year, going even faster and further than before.
New job at work: I’ve been at the same company for over 13 years. The department I’ve been in has presented lots of challenges and learning opportunities (that’s the polite way of putting it). But the good news is I’m officially moving to a new department this week. I’m over-the-top excited about it! It’ll give me a chance to work on larger projects, with bigger budgets and teams, on matters that are more squarely on the heartbeat of the company (less back-of-the-house). Even better, our first major cap project will intentionally be run with Lean/Agile, which I have a great interest in, and fondness, for those few times I’ve been able to adapt pale pieces of it in my old department (they weren’t Lean/Agile, were more in fact Heavy/Inflexible). Best of all, I feel like I earned it. For the past 6 months I’ve become a serious student of how an IT org hires, plans for high potential/leadership tracks, how the process of growth and selection works, the science of that (and there is one, along with a lot of soft-skills art). I’ve gone out on a limb and scheduled chat meetings with a series of folks in leadership positions, higher and lower, for advice. I was surprised at the diversity of opinions and advice, but also took notes, particularly those things that every single manager was telling me: get into a different department, one where you’ll be recognized, and reach out for mentoring opportunities as much as you can. Circulate, in other words, get to know lots of people. All stuff I tended to dismiss previously, thinking more along the lines of “keep your nose down and work hard and rewards will come” and while the second part is still true, acting like an ostrich wasn’t getting me anywhere. All of this prepped the way for the interviews I had for this new job. I hadn’t had a real interview since 2005, and was awfully rusty. I started to consider those responses and qualities I would like to hear if I was hiring a project manager type; I exercised some of those general muscles that were out of use: meeting new people; talking about self, but not too much; looking engaged, informed, happy, passionate and centered all at the same time… and I nailed the interviews! They offered me the job at any rate. Starting immediately I believe I’ll see quite a difference in my daily stress count and, where there is stress, it won’t be wasted on repeated, remedial measures but instead spent on higher band quality issues. I’m super stoked.
All in all, even with the snow and freezing rain, life is full of Beatles mornings and Wings afternoons lately, and I can’t complain. But I will admit a good part of me is thinking ahead to these kinds of days: