Gratitude – 02/29/2008

February 29, 2008

What am I grateful for today?  Let’s see:

  1. Leap Day.  It’s a reminder that we are, after all, only human.  Despite our wealth of knowledge and technology, our calendar is so fundamentally buggered that we need to cram in an extra day every four years to try and compensate.  And even then we haven’t got it quite right.
  2. Electricity.  You laugh, but remember the chaos that ensued back in 2003 when the lights went out?  I recall being in my apartment with my cell phone on, using its eerie glow to grope my way between rooms.  I also recall that it was August, and it was hot, and I was 19 floors up in my building.  Heat rises.  I’ll let you do the math.
  3. GuinessFew beers could be considered equals, and none truly comparable.

And now, a topic on which I have absolutely no authority

February 28, 2008

A friend of mine, who teaches high school, sent me a message a while ago about Professional Development days.

As it turns out, those PD days that we loved as kids, because they meant a day off, do not carry quite the same lustre for teachers.  No, instead the teachers use that opportunity to develop their professional skills.

So far, so good.  Self-improvement, continuing education, dedicated time devoted to development — I’m all for that.

Then I read the list of professional development activities that were available to choose from:

1. Having your dreams interpreted
2. Going for a run in the community
3. Playing co-ed Volleyball
4. Participating in a Yoga class
5. Fitness with an exercise ball
6, Scrapbooking (small fee required)
7. Card-making
8. Basketball tips and workout

I need to ask you to ponder that for just a minute.

Of all the skills imaginable that a professional teacher would want to or might need to hone… would dream interpretation be at the top of your list?  Proper exercise ball technique?  I have no problem with these things as hobbies, or interests, or electives — but this is what teachers are given as their professional development?

If I knew my high school teacher was spending a Friday afternoon boning up on card-making, one of two things would happen: I would become deeply afraid of him or her; or I would become completely unable to look them in the eye without wincing.  It might even be a combination of those two.

I feel for teachers.  I really do.  It would take a far braver person than I to face a high school class if I were armed with naught but mad yoga skills.


Gratitude – 02/28/2008

February 28, 2008

Today’s Gratitude List:

  1. GPS.  I’m one of those people that can (and does) get lost in my own backyard.  I would be so hosed around here without sat nav.  We’ve been pretty pleased with the Garmin we got, though in retrospect we should have just spent a few extra bucks to get the one that reports on traffic.  Every time I’m stuck in traffic I curse myself for that decision.
  2. High-def TV.  I’m a sucker for a pretty picture, and high-def content on a high-def TV just looks sweet.  Even really terrible shows are palatable in HD.
  3. Pizza bagels.  Honestly, whoever came up with the idea of smearing tomato paste on a bagel, loading it with cheese and pepperoni, and jamming it in the oven for a few ticks really deserves an award.  Or free bagels.

The Team I’ve Never Met

February 28, 2008

There’s one aspect of teleworking that I’ve found a little bit hard to get my head around, and that’s working extensively with a team I’ve never met.

Let me clarify: there’s my immediate team, and I’ve flown to Houston on a couple of occasions to meet with them. So that’s covered.

But a lot of my work involves projects, and for one of the projects I’m leading, I have met exactly 1 of the 10 people on the team. And this is six weeks into the game. It’s not a bad thing, per se, but it definitely requires a different coping strategy. Given that I can’t just trot over to people’s desks to talk to them when I see they’re off the phone, I find myself calling and leaving a lot of voice messages, or trying to carve out time in our calendars to talk. It takes away from the spontaneous camaraderie of the team, but it’s not insurmountable.

It certainly hones your skills at distinguishing people by their voices. You really don’t want to be that guy who, six months into a project, is still asking “Who was just talking?”

It also makes for one of my favourite experiences: the first meeting with someone you already know very well. I’ve already created mental images of what all these people look like, and at least 95% of the time I am so way off that I spend the first few minutes of our physical acquaintance just rubbing my eyes and trying to adjust to the reality. However, I really enjoy the goodwill and enthusiasm that accompanies a first-time meeting with someone you’ve worked alongside for a while.

It’s one of the small pleasures in life, and I’ll take it.


Gratitude – 02/27/2008

February 27, 2008

It seems like the gratitude postings are about all I have time for these days.  When I started this blog, I really didn’t think those would be the dominant post, but then that’s the beauty of existence: you always end up miles from where you expected.

 Today’s list of things I’m grateful for:

  1. Pain.  It lets you know when there’s something very wrong with your body.  For example, we have gone to an exercise class two nights in a row, and I now need to leverage myself against the coffee table in order to stand up.  That works fine when I’m near the coffee table; it’s less helpful when I’m in another room entirely.  This pain is telling me I should never, ever, do two of those classes back-to-back again.
  2. Sunny days.  Perhaps that sounds corny, but I’m okay with it.  To me, it’s therapeutic to take a few minutes out of my day and walk along the waterfront while the sun ricochets off the waves.  I feel decidedly less stressed at the end of it.
  3. Everyone who visits this blog.  It’s nice to write something that you know is being read, so thank you for visiting.

Gratitude – 02/26/2008

February 26, 2008

Tuesday evening, and it’s been a long but reasonably productive day.  That’s a good thing in and of itself.  Actually, I think I’ll make that item #1 on today’s gratitude list.

  1. I’m grateful that today was a pretty productive day.  It’s back to square one in the morning, but it’s always nice to end the day feeling like you managed to accomplish something.
  2. Tacos.  I realize that a lot of my gratitude postings center around the gastronomic arts, but I do find myself being very appreciative of food.  And no, I am not an enormous narwhal of a human, contrary to what I’m sure you’re imagining right now.
  3. Exercise.  Yes, today we returned to the gym for another round of voluntary torture, and we paid for this privilege.  And in spite of the fact that the only class available today was Body Combat, and in spite of the fact that males were far and away in the minority, and in spite of the fact that I’m nowhere near fit or coordinated enough to repeatedly drop-kick the air about me in time with Beyonce without accidentally slugging one of the unfortunate souls in my vicinity– in spite of that, I’m glad we went, as it was good to get some exercise and feel a little less fat and sluggish.

Gratitude – 02/25/2008

February 25, 2008

Another long day today, so this solitary post will be somewhat brief.  But it an effort to maintain an optimistic outlook, I present today’s gratitude list.

  1. Water.  I’m not trying to wax rhetorical here, but I think it’s easy to forget just how hard it is for much of the planet to come by clean water.  So as I sip it from an ice-filled glass, I think it’s worth being grateful for.
  2. I’m grateful that neither I nor my wife have any interest in being on, or watching, The Moment of Truth.  That show is a train wreck wrapped up in a kryptonite-filled earthbound comet.
  3. Wired.  One of the finest magazines in publication today, in my humble opinion.