Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Backup Key

During our recent trip, The Ravishing Mrs. TB asked a seemingly bizarre question:  "Do you know where the backup key to The Cabin is?"

As it turns out, I did happen to know - my father had told me earlier during the visit.  There is a two step process but yes, I said, I did know where the key was.

"Good" she replied.  "We might need to come up here.  The world is a mess."

My wife has never said such a think before in all our marriage.

I am as hard a Doomer as they come.  I have been seeing the end of everything - or at least the slow, gradual decline - for more years than I can count.  It is a combination of a rather pessimistic view of the world combined with a knowledge of how fragile a thing civilization really is.  But I have never expected to hear this from my wife.

There are a lot of practical outcomes of this in terms of preparation and lifestyle change of course, but that is not really where my thought immediately went on this.  In a way, it made me very sad.

We are in a transition phase - maybe longer than my lifetime to be sure, but a transition phase between what the world was and is to what the world is becoming.  And it strikes that if current events and ways of thinking and acting are any indication, it is not the sort of place that most people ever thought or imagined they would be.

A passing of innocence of sorts.

Which happens to all of us at some point, I suppose.  At that point, it is better to prepare for the worst and be surprised.

But always know where the backup key is.

Monday, July 25, 2016

I Am Back

So I am back.

It was a good two weeks.  So much happened in the intervening period time (to me - I am aware that significant events took place and are taking place even as I type).  Some of the highlights:

1)  Montana is insanely beautiful.  We spent hours and hours driving to and from and hit a lot of the state.

2)  We stayed in a place that was 20 miles in either direction from a town that had a grocery store and 90 miles from a "city"  with chain stories.  Amazing how little I missed them.

3)  Temperature was in the high 80's during the day but feel to the mid 40's at night.  Guess what?  I found out that I do not miss humidity at all.

4)  I had a great deal of time to think - about the world, about myself, about what I want and need to do.  Hopefully that will come through in the coming days.

5)  Yes, I am ready to move.  And maybe, I am moving The Ravishing Mrs. TB in that direction too.

6)  Most importantly (at least in the short term), I have a new job.

(Insert excited emoji here)

It is an equivalent laterally move pay wise (essentially they pay for benefits so that was deducted from my salary), but this will drop my overall income so less taxes.  Of greater gain is the change in title and environment (from Manager to Senior Director and at a much smaller - 20 person - company).  Best of all, it is half the distance and reverse commute so I estimate (besides halving my gas and maintenance and extending the life of my car 50% and thus avoiding a new car that much loner)  I will get 5 to 8 hours a week back in my life.  I cannot put a price on that kind of time.  And regular bimonthly paydays again as well, which makes for all kinds of excellent budgetary planning.

So to summarize:  I got a new job, had an amazing vacation with my family, and came back to only having to face two weeks at the current work environment.

God has been amazingly good to me and mine.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fin de Siecle

Last day of vacation.  As you read this, I am probably rolling through Wyoming at this point headed home.

One thought that has occurred to me as I was setting this vacation up and then as events in my own personal life developed is that everything is sort of reaching a crescendo of sorts, a fin de siecle, an end of the age sort of thing.

Maybe not right at the moment I walk back into my real life of course, These things never come together quite as cleanly as we would like to imagine.  But there is definitely a sense hanging over me that the next turning is around the corner, that the last seven years or so have been a long transition, partially from The Firm but also from being buffeted in my career field to actively choosing my course in my career field.

I am excited about the other areas of my life as well.  The last seven years has been truly amazing in terms what I have attempted to do and learned to do.  Even within these areas, there is a sense of moving forward towards greater ability and (hopefully) greater autonomy.

I would not say that future looks bright.  I know enough not to say that.  But I can say that the future looks as good as it ever has.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

On Fishing

One of my regrets is that I have never kept up with fishing as I might have.

I grew up fishing with my maternal grandfather, who was a mighty fisherman.  My earliest memories of fishing were in Montana, fishing for trout not too far from the cabin that I am staying at while we are there.

We fished for trout in Montana and for Bluegill and the occasional Bass in Old Home.  He would patiently take me out, teach me how to bait the hook and set the line (sinkers and bobbers for a young child), pull them in, and then clean them.

He taught me other things through fishing as well:  patience, a willingness to be alone and silent, of enduring until you reach the final goal.  Being responsible where you fish.  And fish as much as you need, but eat everything that you catch.

He tried to teach me how to fly fish but this was almost at the end of my fishing life and I never really took to it the way I did earlier. I drifted away from fishing after that as high school and then college overtook my time and interest.

I have never really been interested in fishing here in New Home; catfish and bass do not interest me all that much (and I am not really a fan of them, especially catfish unless blackened or fried).  But trout....trout is still something worth fishing for.

I have seen my friend Jambaloney's posts on his fishing over at Framboise Manor and makes me hungry again for those times of silence and patience and the possibility of fresh fish at the end of it.

Perhaps hungry enough to try and learn again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Planning Out The Rest of My Career

As I posted two weeks ago or so,  one of the factors that I have noticed creeping into my own life is a lack of continuing education on my part, largely driven by my distaste of aspects of my current career.

Which brings up a second sort of useful question:  What does my career path forward look like?

Belying my earlier post on robots, I suspect that my career field will at least be viable throughout my working career (in my world defined by another 20 years or so).  The rather unfortunate reality is that while I can improve on my current skill set and knowledge my ability to directly migrate over to a completely new career field (at least, one I would have to do rather than want to do) is rather limited.
I think I have one, maybe two more moves in me.  This is predicated on the concept that at least one of those moves would be for a career related reason and one for a final relocation reason (no idea what that would look like).  I am sensitive to the fact that in my own personal world we are in an era of transition: quite likely within 10 years there will only be two of us back at home. This creates certain options that may not be apparent now.

In the happiest of worlds (or at least the happiest I can come up with)  I have two more positions, each of 8-10 years, ending in some form of executive management.  I believe this to be within my power:  in my line of work (at least currently) experience still merits a certain level of respect and desirability.

If I start with that as a thought - and assume that I find two positions that I enjoy - I can begin to work backwards with the knowledge base and experience base that I would need (yes, it really is rather that easy). Throw in some language study (keep the options open) and I may have the hint of a working plan.

But what of Ichiryo Gusoku, my philosophy on living and sustainability, you might ask?  Legitimate Question. I believe that a plan of this nature preserves my options for this, assuming that (for now) I keep them in a tight circle around feasibility and what I can do given my location (Cheese and Garden Yes, Bees Maybe, Larger Livestock No).

I find it exciting, in a certain sort of odd way.  Having a sense of purpose and control can bring some level of calm to the chaos and inevitable lack of control of so many parts of one's career.

Monday, July 18, 2016


Sometimes I wonder
what I would have done differently
given the chance.

It is hard to know:
Would I have stayed as a Japanese major
instead of coming home?
Would I have stayed with my first girlfriend
instead of saying "Let me try something else?"

Would I have gone back to school a second time?
No school, no Ravishing Mrs. TB,
no marriage, no children.

Would I have continued to teach instead of
doing what I do now?
No travel, no New Home, no writing,
no iai.

Hard to know are the paths not taken;
easy only to see all the mistakes looking back.