Thursday, January 30, 2020

Books For Travel

One of the greatest challenges I have every time I travel is deciding what books to take.

Traveling, for me, is a time to read.  It is seldom anymore that I feel like I have chunks of time which I can dedicate to reading and not to any other activity and somehow not feel guilty about it.  So any chance to be on a plane is a chance to read.

(Yes, I know, if I was truly business oriented I would be working on work when I fly.  Sadly, or perhaps happily, not the case).

The problem, of course, is deciding what to read.

Often times my selection is the stack of books next to my bed that I have purchased but not yet had the time to read (I always seem to be four to six books behind what I am currently reading).  But for this trip, I am trying to think things through more clearly.

I am coming to some kind of crossroads in the next year or so, a crossroads of what I am going to be and what I am going to do.  I understand this, even as I am not sure of the best way to think my way through it.  Books help me think through it; I need to come up with the best one's possible.

Originally I elected to take books which deal with Japan and swordsmanship - not unreasonable, given the fact that I am going to Japan.  But then I rethought things and decided to go more with books on leadership.  Then I changed again, and added in some books on philosophy.

It has probably changed again since writing this.

I am sure, whatever the choices were, they will reflect my best estimate of the need I have for clarity on this trip.  No matter what they end up being.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Going, Going, Gone....(To Japan)

Hi Friends!  As you are reading this, I am somewhere on a plane (most likely over the North American continent or, if reading later in the day, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean) heading to Japan for Training.

It is the time for our annual training at Katsuura, Japan.   I will be gone from today (29 January) returning 09 February 2020.  Besides training, we will be participating in a demonstration at a Shinto Shrine and observing some of the annual Kobudo Kyokai Enbu Taikai (Traditional Japanese Martial Arts).

Thanks to the magic of the InterWeb, I will have a series of posts during my absence. My apologies in advance if I do not respond in a timely manner.  I promise to do so on my return.

I am looking forward to focusing on nothing but Iai.  It will be a relief.  I desperately need to clear my head and see a vision of my future.  Perhaps it is too much to hope, but satori (enlightenment) would not be an unwelcome thing.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Most Important Issue

In the course of reading the book Leading Out Loud by Terry Pearce, the author asks three questions which I think are worth giving some thought to:

1)  What single value is so important that you would (will) teach it to your children as the most important foundation of a happy life?

2)  What condition in chosen industry would you change and how?

3)  What is the most important social issue that we have deal with as a community?  Ho would you correct it?

Yesterday I discussed question 1.  Today I pick up question 3.

I was torn on this issue, as there are two.  My initial on is the creeping (or not creeping) growth of Totalitarianism.  This transcends either left or right, Liberal or Conservative.  The trend of the modern powers that be is only, ever, towards control.  This seems to be true of any government at any time, but what makes the round seem so insidious is the push to control the lives of the individual to the smallest letter of detail, even thought and speech.  Before you accuse me of choosing sides, think carefully:  Name a political movement that is for decentralization and a recovery of rights that is supported by a local, state, or national agency.  There are virtually none.

As I said, I was torn.  My runner up was runaway environmentalism, the belief that everything must be subsumed to a single movement's belief of what constitutes the "correct" way to save Nature without any sort of use of natural resources - instead of conservationism, the believe that Nature can be card for, managed, and used for resources.

It is funny - identify both yesterday's and today's issues served as a clarifying moment for me.  Perhaps an indicator of what path I need to be on.

Monday, January 27, 2020

A Single Value

In the course of reading the book Leading Out Loud by Terry Pearce, the author asks three questions which I think are worth giving some thought to:

1)  What single value is so important that you would (will) teach it to your children as the most important foundation of a happy life?

2)  What condition in chosen industry would you change and how?

3)  What is the most important social issue that we have deal with as a community?  Ho would you correct it?

These are questions - at least 1 and 3 are - worthy of thought by anyone.  Question 2 I will leave for anyone that is employed to ponder.

What single value is so important that you would (will) teach it to your children as the most important foundation of a happy life?

That was an easy answer for me.


Kindness, in my humble opinion, is one of the virtues that has almost been completely erased from our cultural, national, and international consciousness.  We are called to action, to accusation, to confrontation, to independent "thought" - but in all of this, kindness is never mentioned.

Kindness is the salve that makes the necessary palatable, that makes the required seem somewhat less painful, that corrects without shame, that comes out of the blue to bring a touch of joy into a day of bleakness. 

Kindness takes effort, true.  It means thinking before speaking, pondering before acting, and sometimes being willing to delay gratification or even success to ensure that the individuals involved are successful as well.  Kindness can be as quick as a coffee paid for by someone else or as extensive as a review which should have sounded harsh sounding constructive instead.

If you have been on the receiving end of an unkind person, you know the shame, the anger, the hurt that an unkind person spreads.    And yes, if you read between the lines, I have had all of things in my past.

My mother was and is unfailingly kind and hopefully, any kindness I have is a reflection of her much more evident kindness.

What do you think the single most important value is and why?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

A Few Words From...Alexis De Tocqueville

"I am tempted to believe that what we call necessary institutions are no more than institutions to which we have become accustomed.  In matters of social constitution, the field of possibilities is much more extensive than men living in their various societies are ready to imagine."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Collapse XLIII: Promoting The End

24 October 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

We have had more of a go of power here this week, so I have been to catch up both on your own news as well as the news of the larger world as a whole. I am thrilled to hear you all have gotten your Winter Garden in – in our hometown, if you do not get it in by the end of October the ground will become far too muddy far too quickly.

The news of the world brings me considerably less joy, of course. Even with the minimal “official” reporting that seems to be available, it would seem that we are looking at nothing less than the breakdown of civilization. Whether it is on the scale of the Collapse of the Western Roman Empire or just a setback remains to be seen.

Oh, I believe that this collapse could have happened at any point leading up to this in the years past – all the signs of what are now living were there, the crumbling of the edifice quietly going on behind us as we watched (as I mentioned last letter). But for so many years we had heard for so long the refrain that the end was “almost here”, how the country “could not go on anymore”, how the economy was on “the point of collapse” - and now it was on “the point of collapse”. And so on. One feels one had lived through 50 near misses before we actually arrived here.

After being pummeled with this (if one was paying attention at all to it), I would if the vast majority simply tuned that out: being told that things are failing long enough without them failing and before one knows it, everyone simply ignores the present and moves on.

One assumes as well that a goodly portion of those who were shouting “The End Is Nigh” were those that sought to benefit – mostly financially – from their predictions of doom. Promoting The End is always rather popular, it seems: one can sell to fear almost easily as one can sell to desire and when The End does not come, the money still remains. I think there were some that were sincere in their commentary and warning but many, many were not. It was just another avenue of parting someone from their money.

Either way, society became a sleepwalker, moving through sign after sign that something drastic was going to happen until one day – seemingly without warning but actually well telegraphed by anyone paying attention – thing simply changed.

I look out my window this afternoon at the lead grey sky and the snow overlaying everything, snug in my little world but very conscious of the fact that unlike years past my ability to recover from an emergency or error is no longer assured by my ability to call or drive a few minutes to find what I need. Many people may have missed the signs, but we are all now living out the consequences.

I wonder if those who Promoted The End found themselves ready, or were as cynical about their claims as any snake oil peddler usually is.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Bipolar Weather

Given Winter's choice:
Flooding rain or clear cold sky,
I prefer neither.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Physical Reactions

I am not the sort of fellow that pays a great deal to physical reactions.  They come, they go, I really do not pay attention.  But something happened today which gave me pause.

I was heading in to work (because apparently that is what responsible people do on public holidays).  I had a few tasks I had to attend to and oddly enough, the most productive days of work are when no one else is actually at work (makes those pesky e-mails and interruptions disappear!). 

As I turned onto the road leading into work, I could feel my stress levels rise.  Visibly.  My heart started pounding and my anxiety levels (or whatever the hormones are that cause those) started going up.  It was miserable.

And then it hit me - this is what it feels like, every day now, driving to work.  Miserable. Stressful.  Always feeling, for some reason, that I am just on the edge of a major collapse, of being yelled at, of realizing a failure that has come to pass.

It is a pretty lousy way to live, in case you were wondering.

Not really sure what to do with this.  Other than to note that it is actually happening.  That means something.

Monday, January 20, 2020

No Spend January Part II

So apparently No Spend January is a much bigger thing than I had anticipated.

There is a Book Of Face page for our neighborhood that is essentially one large trading page:  individuals place things with pictures and other individuals request to have them.  The only rule (apparently) is that you have to live in the neighborhood.  I had no idea such a thing existed, but The Ravishing Mrs. TB has spent the weekend slowly going through various things in the house and in the garage.  Small piles of bags have been appearing on our porch, only to disappear and be replaced by others.

One would be surprised at what other people want:  Reams of paper with themes on them.  Jewelry.  Sidewalk Chalk.  Kitchen Utensils.  Dried fruit.  Old brewing equipment.  Literally anything.

On the one hand, I am frankly amazed at this.  I have dealt with similar systems in the past and they were rather complicated, mostly because of the fact that people were everywhere and trying to co-ordinate took a lot of time.  With everyone in the neighborhood, it really takes no co-ordination at all  (yes, I suppose that means people know where we live, but if they want to revisit we surely have additional items we can give them).

On the other hand - yes, I know, everything represents money and in this case, money which is being "lost" (e.g. given away rather than sold). I am rather okay with this however; the ease at which things are flowing out of the house far exceeds the frustration I have experienced in the past with getting sales coordinated and the relatively meager financial returns.

Who knows?  No Spend January may well end up extending further into the year!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

On Older Rock Groups Touring

This morning, perusing her e-mail, the Ravishing Mrs. TB said "Hey!  Christopher Cross is touring now. What did he sing?"

I had to thinking for a moment - I remember "Sailing", of course, and "Ride Like The Wind", and "Laura" (had to do a high school report on that song), "Never Be The Same", "Arthur's Theme", and "Leader of The Band".  (Apparently, in an interesting note, his song "Sailing" has now been transferred into is own category of rock music, Yacht Rock [circa 1975-1984)

She has already purchased tickets for the 2020 tour with Foreigner and Kansas and Europe this year.

She had asked if I wanted to go.  I said no, of course - crowds in public pretty much make me nervous now and I hate going to to anything like that - but it was a good moment of reflection about how, in the last five to ten years, almost all the groups from my musical youth have been out touring.

The hey day of musical expertise runs from approximately 1978-1985, which essentially overlaps my middle school and high school years (probably true of most folks, I suspect).  My musical knowledge extends a little farther into the past - for example, Led Zepplin feel into my musical box as well as Ozzy Ozborne/Black Sabbath and ELO - but not really much past 1985.  I believe this is the period of time known as "Classic Rock" - Foreigner, Journey, Van Halen (The original - and only - with David Lee Roth, let us be clear on that), ZZ Top, Genesis/Phil Collins, AC/DC, Styx, Loverboy - you get the picture.   Their music was a large part of my day, be it going to and from school, playing role playing games (with music in the background) or just in my room, listening.

Most of them did not make the transfer, of course.  The sound changed, the groups moved on or fell apart, new styles appeared and then disappeared in turn.  Some groups changed personnel pretty significantly (for me, changing your lead singer is changing your sound.  You do not remain the same group).  For those of us that grew up on them, our lives were relegated to radio and tapes (then CDs, then electronic files), re-runs in the past.

And then, all of a sudden, they started coming out again on tour.

The cynical side of me sees this mostly as opportunistic:  their fan base (like me) is now in the prime earning years of their lives (and tickets are not cheap, do not be fooled by the age of the performers), so it is an excellent opportunity to recharge coffers.  It is also, I suppose a chance for the bands to hear the roar of the crowd and feel the rush of performing in front of larger crowds and for the fans, to feel the way they felt thirty-five years ago. In some ways, for a brief time it can become a time machine reaching back to an early age.

But it also makes me somewhat sad.

For most of these bands, they tended to not produce after their glory years.  The songs they play now are the songs they played years ago. In a sense they are trapped within their own successes, somewhat doomed to play the songs of  thirty-five years ago, unable (I think) to move on at least commercially in these concerts - people are not coming for new and fresh material, they are coming to hear music of the past.  Their past. 

Nostalgia can be a thing of tender beauty, a feeling that takes us back to a happier time or to a meaningful event.  But  I wonder if - by feeding this nostalgia regularly - all involved are not only reliving a time of their lives that they enjoyed but condemning entertainers and the entertained into a loop  which neither can ultimately escape from. 

Surrounded by the past, none are allowed to move on to the present.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Few Words From...William James

"I have always thought that the best way to define a man's character is to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it came upon him, he felt himself most deeply and intensively active and alive.  At such moments, there is a voice inside which speaks and says 'This is the real me'."

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Collapse XLII: An Opinion Piece

20 October 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

Our power has again been spotty of later – although I admire whoever is on the other end of the power lines for continuing to keep what power the do on. They have done yeoman’s service in this regard, although to be completely honest I not sure what the point is, other than to give the window dressing to the concept that everything has not completely collapsed.

Enforced in-house living, due to the snow, has made for the re-inventorying of everything – both because it is a useful exercise and, frankly, keeps the mind occupied. I have gone through every room of the house (all 3 of them!), checking against the list and inventorying against the day that some of the items will have to be traded for something else.

In digging through my inventory of paper – junk mail, the local newspaper, and the like – I came across an opinion piece we had discussed when it came out (as I recall, anyway) about how once again we were literally within years of reaching the point of non-sustainability, that one with immediate and intrusive government action would life be able to be maintained at some level (interesting, how only government action is only, ever, the way to save the day).

I laughed to myself – somewhat bitterly- as I re-read ot/

One wonders where that opinion leader is now, or the hordes behind them that felt that only government action could stave off the end. The end, or at least an end, has come – ironically enough somewhat enabled by government action. The very body that was supposed to save everything has instead just enable the destruction of the same.

If they were in a city, their circumstances are hard right now, if not awful. I can imagine, even though I am not there: some hours of power, no food beyond what may be distributed, and the sinking feeling that nothing good is coming out of this situation. The very “government” that was supposed to save things has become the instrument for ensuring that (almost) everyone suffers equally. Despair, if not death, has taken hold.

Not to say that all of that is not true out here in the non-urban environment either. Almost all of the same items potentially apply, with the exception of the government ensuring we all suffer together. Government out here was only ever able to manage things a little in the best of times; now they have retreated to the core or to their own part of the countryside to make their way.

I pulled that paper aside to save to read again, perhaps in another year or so to amuse myself again. Or to keep ready when whatever comes after happens and people again believe that government is their only salvation.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Of Cheese And Harps

This past weekend I did two things I have not done in rather a long time: I made cheese and I pulled out my harp.

The cheese was Domiati, a North African cheese known for its heaving salting, which allow it to be stored at room temperature. The harp was still there and (after having to replace two wire strings, which is always annoying) was tuned up and played as always.

I am not sure how these things fell out of my life - after all, my weekends have not been so full that these should have been an issue.  They are certainly things that I have enjoyed in the past. The cost of them is rather low - free for harp of course, and almost nothing for cheese (you have to buy milk, of course, and perhaps some bacteria from time to time).  They are just time.

But I let myself get out of control.

Really, I let myself get over-run by "work" - and by over-run, I mean my inability to manage time effectively to be able to cut off and check out.  I have, sadly, convinced myself that "work" takes precedence at all times over such things.

Now yes, work is important - it does pay for a rather great many things.  But it should never be so important that it completely consumes all that I enjoy in the quest to "always be ready" and "things get done".

To quote my friend Glen, you have to plan your time as much as your money for the day you are not working.  There are worse things than cheese and harps.

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Brief Time Reminder

In case you were dwelling under a rock (or out of any sort of news cycle) last week, we may or may not have avoided Armageddon. 

Yes, as usual, the point of this reminder is not to discuss politics around here (recall, that is something that we do not do).  What I thought was remarkable - and worth discussing - was the speed with which everything happened.

In approximately a seven day cycle, we went from the initiation of the event (a missile strike) to the end of the event (missile strikes).    In a seven day cycle, we went from "The world is over" to "Well, maybe the world is not over.  Our bad.  Carry On."

The reminder to me - hopefully the reminder to you - is that by the time something significant and potentially life shattering can happen - a war, an economic collapse, heck - even a serious weather event - there will be little to no time to do anything about it.

For those that put aside getting ready for any kind of emergency on the basis of "When it is time, I will know it", you logic is flawed.  If we are extraordinarily lucky, you may get a few days of a grace period.  But that will be it - and to be clear, the grace period is really just the time to finish off with the last little bit of what needs doing, not start from scratch for what needs to be done.

It was a good reminder to me - and hopefully to you - to recall that when you really need the time, it will not be there.  The only way to have it will be to be ready so you do not really need it.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Need For Friends

I realized this week that I need to find some friends.  More specifically, some friends outside of my job.  Having to lay my friend off made me realize this.

It is an easy enough temptation, right?  We end up spending so much time at work, at least most of us, that our coworker circle becomes our friendship circle. Our coworkers become more real to us than the rest of the world, because the rest of the world becomes consumed with family or catch up or occasionally the hobbies we like to do.

Until, of course, the person gets laid off or we leave the job.  Like that, our friendship circle gets cut off.  And even if we see each other after that, it is amazing how much the conversation revolves around work. Because in a lot of ways, that is all we really shared.

I think, as well, that as you move "up" the food chain, you become less friend-like - or at least most of those sorts of people I know do.  They are collegial to be sure, and can be even "chummy", if that word still works.  But in terms of friends? There is a hard wall that is present though unspoken, something that I have learned that one never crosses.

So, I need to work on finding a friend - or friends - that simply have nothing to do with my current position.  Yes, it will be a bit of a struggle as I am a bit of an odd bird.  But I need to work on developing some kind of relationship that has nothing - absolutely nothing - that involves anything I do for a living. 

Because that will go away.  And I will some kind of human relationship that transcends it.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Three Options for 2020

Remembrance Day and Culture Change have me thinking about the fact that as my current employer continues to morph and change, there is a likelihood - how much, I cannot say, but I would be a fool to say 0% - that the company or the position will outgrow me.  That is not frightened thinking or pessimistic thinking, that is just realistic thinking given the growth curve of my company, my age, and the way the world is.

So, we need to have a plan. Because (as you recall) that is something we are working on this year.

There are three potential outcomes:

1)  I remain in my job:  Important skills are strategic thinking, leadership, quality training.  Money needs to be channeled into savings.

2)  I do not remain in my job but I remain in the industry:  some of the same things as above, but money management becomes a priority as well (as it should be in general, anyway).

3) I do not remain in my job and do not remain in my industry:  perhaps strategic thinking and leadership matter here, maybe not.  Certainly money management will matter.

The other part for item 3 is what I am calling "Second Life", that point at which - now or in the future - my current career field is spent and I move on to something else (I hesitate to discuss it as "retirement" as I believe there will be plenty of something to do!).  What skills will I need?  What do I want to do?  How do I prepare myself for that day, whether one year or 15 years hence?

It is a good thought exercise of course, but it also makes for a fine planning session.  After all, one of these three things will happen this year.  I need to be prepared for all.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

No Spend January

Rather interestingly through a conversation with a friend, I found about a concept called "No Spend January".  Effectively it is a response to the long slide from Black Friday in November until New Year's Day sales.  In it, you try to spend no money, or as little as possible.

This does not obviate the need for paying for things you actually need of course, like fuel or electricity or food. What it does suggest is that one put a pause on most consumer spending.

I have to tell you that I like this concept.  Yes, in the hunt to be frugal it never hurts to be reminded of what we are trying to accomplish by making a concentrated effort to avoid it.

Yes, I have already not done as much as I could have (I really did need a new sword case and tabi for my upcoming training in Japan).  But it has made me ask hard questions to myself about all other spending so far - for example, books (once the card is gone, it is gone until we decide to spend again.  Worry not though - I am very good at making a book gift card extend to multiple books!).  And it will continue to make me do everything I can to avoid spending any money.

Because - to be perfectly honest with you - I am finding a new found love for having money in my pocket instead of the pockets of others.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Used Book Conundrum

Today as part of trying to spend down my book gift card, I went to my local National Used Book Store chain website to look up a book.  The book was there, but when I went to look at it's location I realized that it was at one of the local sites I visit often.  "Hey" I said to myself, "let me drive over there and see what the cost on the ground is?

The InterWeb price was $4.97 plus $3.99 shipping and tax would have been $8.12.  The in-store price was $7.97, plus tax would have been $8.62.

Now, I like capitalism.  I firmly believe that it has contributed (along with science) to the very fine quality of life that is available in the 21st century.  And by no means do I believe anyone but the supplier or owner should set their prices (based on the what people will pay, of course).  But I find myself in a bit of a Gordian knot about this whole thing.

Either was, the company is making almost 100% profit on the actual cost of the item (even at $4.97, that cannot be the actual "value" of the book).

Now, there are not a lot of choices in the used book market - my other option is The Borg (which was slightly higher and also had shipping and handling).  I suppose I can buy the book new of course, which makes the price go even higher (really, I have not bought an actual new book at a brick and mortar store for some years now - the prices are crazy!).  Or do without.

But 100%?  I find that hard to swallow, even for myself.

This will probably impact how I do things going forward, of course. I have a list of books that I would like to acquire.  But I am going to start asking much harder questions of myself about why I really need them. And if the price I am paying is really worth it.

Monday, January 06, 2020


In taking stock of what I need to "work on" for this year (as opposed to goals or things to accomplish), I came up with a mnemonic for assistance:  CCP (not to be confused, of course, with the Cyrillic language for Soviet Socialist Republic).  These cross both my professional and personal life.

1)  Communication:  At my current workplace, we communicate very regularly - and yet, I would argue we do not communicate enough.  Which actually means we are not communicating effectively.

Writing is much easier than verbal communication, because one has the option to carefully think through one's words and phrases, to parse and re-parse as needed to get to the core of what you wish to communicate.  Verbal communication is much harder, both because one has to do it "on the fly" and one also has to deal with the reaction of the individuals being communicated with in real time - tough if you are an introvert or avoid confrontation (see item 2 below). 

All of this said, I need to communicate more effectively and more precisely and make sure what I intend to say is what I say and that it is what is heard.

2)  Confrontation:  I hate confrontation.  I try to avoid it like the plague.  This stems from two items.  One is the fact that I am, by nature, someone that likes harmony.  Disharmony - angry or offended people - is emotionally difficult for me to deal with.  The second is the fact that I have more than a touch of a people pleaser in me.  Given the opportunity, I would rather that people like me that dislike me and feel good about me rather than badly about me.

Of course this is understandable:  on the whole, I would like to think that most people want people to feel good about them.  But taken to its logical extreme, this means that sometimes hard conversations do not happen, hard decisions are not made, and hard topics are not discussed. 

I both in a professional position and potentially at the sort of crossroads where I cannot afford to avoid dealing with things just to prevent individuals from feeling badly about me or even disliking me.

3)  Planning:  I like to set goals and objectives.  I hate planning.

But planning is really what makes everything else work.  Rather than having to continuing to figure things out on the fly, one creates the plan with its steps and sub steps and then simply execute.  I am not very good at this.  I need to get better.

I am not foolish enough to assume that any or all of these will change my life.  But I do believe it will result in greater effectiveness of getting where I need to be more quickly.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Back from Break: A Short Summary

It was good to be away.

Other than a brief bit of work on the 23rd (and even briefer bit on the 24th), I completely removed myself from work. I did not even take my computer with me.  I moderately kept up with a little bit of world happenings, but for the most part was able to just be on vacation and think.

Both of our families are doing well - health is pretty much as well as can be expected, given our parents' age.  My mother's memory issues are getting much more noticeable (that will probably become something we discuss more this year) and my father in law is doing well although his diabetes complications continuing to be difficult (he has failing eyesight and is a double leg amputee).  As a result, we spent a lot of time just sitting and visiting.  And watching college football.  Lots and lots of college football.

Christmas was as good as it could have possibly been this year.  I "received" a Blacksmith class from Na Clann, a complete set of the Time Life "Great Ages of Man" book set (with ones I have never seen before!) from The Ravishing Mrs. TB, moustache wax, chocolate, shirts, and cash.  

I had a lot of time to think - when I my parents, I made it a point to focus on being present there and at my in-laws, I thought a lot during football.  Which was helpful, because I am finding myself at something of a crossroads.

The incident on Remembrance Day (firing of a friend) was an incredibly stark reminder, going right into the holidays as it did, about the future.  The stark reality is that if they were expendable, any of us are expendable, even more so in a time where the corporate culture is changing and the company is expanding and one set of skills is not necessarily morphing into the next phase - in other words, there is no reason not to think that in the next year or two, the job will outstrip me.  And I need to have a plan for when that happens.

So part of the thinking - and part of what I will be working through over the course of this year is the idea of a Second Life, the life that starts when my current stint ends (There are a number of reasons for me to suspect that after this job, I will be out of my current industry).  And really, within 3 years that last of Na Clann  will be out of high school and into college - so like it or not, change is coming.

It is how we deal with that change that will be definitive.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Ranch 2019: A Winter's Walk

Clear but frosty weather this year for Christmas.  My semi-annual walkabout:

Friday, January 03, 2020

Plan A

Thanks for all your reading and kind words, friends.  We had a lovely visit with lots of time to think.  I am trying to organize the thoughts into meaning.  What it did reminder me is that if you have a dream, you never, ever give up.