Monday, January 20, 2014

Women & Wine

Grapevine, TX - Eatzi's Bag

January 19, 2014

I was at a little wine & cheese thing with a bunch of women at a house in the suburbs last night.  They were all very beautiful, fit, totally together women.  They know each other from the gym.  Most of them were about a decade older than me, several were recently divorced.[bxA]

We talked about dating.  The really tall athletic one, about my age, has extensive experience with online dating and told us how to spot the weirdos.  If a guy posts only one photo, no way. He's not attractive.  One photo from a distance, even worse.  If they're willing to travel in from another city, think twice.  Personalities, she said, come across in the email exchanges before the date.  Trust your intuition. If something seems weird in the email, it'll be weirder in person.  If he comes across as a good person in email, it'll probably pan out. Never go to dinner, just get coffee you don't want to be trapped.  A lot of guys talk incessantly about their divorce.

The whole thing sounds excruciating.

I moved to the sofa and compared notes with two women who work remotely.  "We're virtual.  We communicate by Webex."  I wanted to know what their Webex meetings are like, do they use the video features.  We don't.  We show the screen of the person hosting the meeting, but not the face.

Do you like it?  I asked, about not going into an office.  "It's a blessing and curse," she said.  Working alone, in house clothes, with flexibility to do whatever you want whenever you want, but.... "I need people." So do I!

I told them I'm struggling with the work-from-home thing.  Should I work in the office?  Should I make my team?  I keep meaning to google Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo! who made all the remote workers return to working in the office. "I believe in the synergies that occur when people are in the same room together," I felt their presence as I said it, "This conversation would be different if the three of us were Skyping.  I like being her in the room with you."

But then we started talking about what it would be like to have a real job again.  Showering early in the morning, putting on real clothes and then there's the commute.  Traffic.  Every day.  

I can't even imagine.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Memorials & Mourning

Dallas, TX - JFK and Jackie

January 15, 2014

Today I took my houseguest to the JFK Memorial in downtown Dallas.  We paged through a book in the museum gift shop, slowly reliving the national tragedy of the assassination.  Afterward, [bxA] we hit a Mexican restaurant that's been featured on Diners Drive-ins and Dives.  We've had a great few days together, connecting over our shared loss of connection.

Dallas, TX - JFK Memorial Plaza

Tonight I came home late to learn on Facebook that a good friend's brother was killed by extremists in Syria. For many months my friend's been posting photos of all his slain friends.  Helplessly, today I "liked" his posts and changed my profile pic so as to remove my smiling face, marveling all the while at how well Facebook keeps us connected to our disconnectedness.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

These Boots

Ft. Worth, Texas - Boot shop at the Stockyards

January 14, 2014

One of my Wayfinder friends is visiting from NJ so we went to the Stockyards in Ft. Worth to feel like Texas and search for the perfect pair of cowboy boots.  Tonight after eating scrambled eggs with leftover Mexican food, we brainstormed names for her yoga class and reminisced about the retreat where we met for the first time last March.

Just before midnight I filled out a form and wrote a check intended to change my trajectory.

One of these days these boots...  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Incredible Cloud

Office of my morning meeting.

January 9, 2014 - Dallas, TX

This morning I used the Waze app on my iPhone to navigate the traffic laden journey to a meeting at the technology company that provides managed services to my company.  Basically they are our "IT guy" now that we're too big to have just a guy.

The offices were cutting edge cool with lots of comic book memorabilia.  My team sat with their team in bright colored high back chairs at a round table in a glass office.  A couple of their guys had "Cloud Experts" embroidered under the logo on their black polo shirts.  We talked about laptops, virtual environments and what on earth to do about Windows 8.

When the expert told us, "if you bought Windows 8 Pro it comes with a free downgrade," I burst out laughing.  What a great marketing campaign: if you spend extra money for the "Pro" version of Windows 8, it comes with a feature to make it seem like you never bought 8 in the first place.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Brown Haired Girl

Screenshot from my iPhone.  

January 8, 2014 - Grapevine, TX

Today I texted my sister a photo to show her my new hair color.  I guess you could say I'm getting back to my roots. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Roller Coaster Repair

Six Flags Over Texas - Arlington TX.  Amusement park across the street from my office. 

January 7, 2013 - Grapevine, Texas.   Stasis sucks, but sometimes you gotta stop the ride and do a little maintenance work.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On the Ball

January 6, 2013 - Arlington, TX.  Outside my office (Texas Rangers Stadium)

I've lost command of my technology.  The Google+ app on my iPhone "backs up" every photo then adds special effects like snow falling and Christmas lights twinkling.  Almost everyday I get alerts that [bxA] these auto-awesome photos are ready for viewing.  I don't know how to stop it and I don't really mind that it's happening.  But it's weird.

Kelli, the friend who got me my crazy job back in 2011, sent her farewell email to All Employees today because this is her last week at work. We talked a lot this morning and late tonight -- she's handling it better than I am.  It's the end of an era ~ 5-years for her, 3-years for me working with her.

Things are changing quickly.

I don't know how to stop it and I don't really mind that it's happening.  But it's weird.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Notebooks

 January 5, 2014 - Grapevine, TX.  Work notebooks circa 2011-13.

I was about eleven years old when my Language Arts teacher assigned us to write in a journal every day of that semester.  Since then I've always seen empty notebooks as blank canvases on which the details of an unknown future would unfold.

Nowadays it's old school to write on paper, but [bxA] the thought of keeping electronic notes slays me.  I love the spirals and the covers and the college rule and my favorite blue ballpoint pens...and the pockets where I cram bits of paper that transport me back in time.

Today I organized the work notebooks I've been throwing in bins for almost three years.  I tried not to get swept into the memories of the notes or preoccupied by the unfinished tasks.

Not sure why I used heart-shaped post-its for these peculiar 'things to do.' I did, eventually and surely at the last minute, complete my 2011 taxes.  I didn't tend to the executrix issue so I believe I lost the gig.  Not sure if I meant "resume life" as in start living again, or update my resume ("CV") to reflect my current life.

I probably meant start living again because 2012 wasn't a piece of cake, but, I'm not sure I did such a good job of that in 2013.  It's been feast for famine.

I went to Nigeria in 2013, which was definitely a feast phase.  My sister and I hosted my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party in Boston last summer, another feast.

Not much to say about the famines.

Oh, and this notebook is a gift I got from Martha Beck on a life coaching retreat early last year where I learned what it means to be a Wayfinder.

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams." 
- Arthur O'Shaughnessy

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Blind Boys & Books

Album Cover:  I'll Find a Way, Blind Boys of Alabama.

January 4, 2014 - Grapevine Texas.

After my haircut at Tony & Guy this morning, I ended up on a cushy chair at Barns & Noble reading Coming Apart, about the unprecedented class divergence in white America, while the sound system played gospel songs by the Blind Boys of Alabama.  

It's one of those days [bxA] I'm not sure how I'm going to figure things out, so I tried not to try.

Just when I needed it, one of my former neighbors from the Phuket days posted on Facebook a delightful short film created by her daughter's friend.  It was named best of 2013 by USA Today.

I needed some delight and so this made my day:  

the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

"When the scared feeling comes into you, the scared is scared of things you like."

Yup.  I'll go with that.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Paint It Black

January 2014 - Southlake, Texas.  Nail salon next to Ethan Allen.

Today while my toenails were being painted a color called "Voodoo You Do" I lamented that my life needs some magic, black or otherwise.  It took several attempts to stop texting on my iPhone and relax into the foot massage, at which point [bxA] the pedicurist's cell phone rang and she talked to the caller in another language for the remainder of the treatment.

Earlier I'd watched a film on Netflix, Me and You and Everyone We Know, where an art reviewer asked of each post-modern piece submitted for an exhibition, "What does this tell us about the digital age?"

I'm tired of the digital age.

What comes next?