I’m currently on a 3500-mile road trek from where I live in the middle of Utah, through Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado. In that time, I’m speaking and attending conferences for work, visiting family, sorting and closing out the storage unit for my Mom’s possessions, and all sorts of related tasks such as distributing tax records to her former clients. I wish I had time to visit friends along the way, but because I am also maintaining my normal work schedule East Coast hours, alas not this time.
Driving & Making Music
As I drive, I’m making a ton of music! It’s been a while, and it feels good. Music is how I process and how I heal. Especially as I finally deal with my mom’s passing on an emotional level, there’s a plenty of processing and feeling and healing to do. Since I first learned to drive, my car has always been my safe space. Historically, it’s where I do the most rehearsing and experimenting and even lyric writing. This trip, I find myself recording a musical figure, then singing a few bars, crying about what I just sang, then singing a few more bars, then adding a groove or melodic underpinning, then singing a few more bars and listening back, and crying some more. It’s cathartic. I’ve really missed this.
I’m about to attend the Data-Centric Architecture Forum in preparation for a new role I’m being stepping into at my job at ConvaTec. It’s a world I’ve watched from afar and toyed with on occasion, but never really done anything with. I’m quite sure that I’m not the person who should be doing this where I work, but there’s no one else to do it and I hope I can at least get things started on solid footing and then hand things off to the proper owner. I took a job at ConvaTec two years ago next month, and since then I’ve never really been able to do any of the work I was hired for because (among other reasons) our data is in such sorry shape. I’ve decided to stop waiting and inviting and complaining and instead roll up my sleeves and see what I can fix. I hope this conference will reduce the number of stupid beginner’s mistakes that I’m about to make, or at least make them higher quality mistakes!
Things that are on hold while I’m doing all the above include buying a plane which I’ll probably come back to later this month. I suspect it may be July or August before that transaction completes anyhow, due to some interesting elements of the paperwork and quirks of the owner. I still think it’s worth it and am on track, just slowly.
More news as I have it! How about you? How you doin’?
Happy Star Wars Day! I don’t have any Star Wars stuff to post this year. Instead, this is my Now page for May 4th 2022.
Closing out my Mom’s life
On April 30th, what would have been her 72nd birthday, the celebration of my Mom’s life went really well. Plenty of friends & family, old an new, came in from all over the country to be there. I’m glad for that, and though I’ll probably never stop missing my Mom, it was helpful to me to help others find closure and be there for each other. I’m currently still driving back from Oregon, in my Mom’s car that’s full of my Mom’s stuff, and even though it’s been months since she passed, I still have lots of Mom details to continue working through. Financial, legal, and maybe finally more emotional too.
Buying an Airplane
Right before leaving Utah for this trip a week ago, I made an offer on to buy a plane. More news to come, don’t wanna jinx it. But I think it is THE best plane I could get for Denise and I to continue learning to fly in, and have a few years of great adventures in as well!
Speaking at Conferences Again
This time at HR conferences instead of L&D ones. No, I won’t be at ATD or Learning Solutions this year. But yes, I will be at Empower HR Tech Americas and The #1 Conference for HR, Learning & Recruitment Leaders, Unleashed America. Prepping for both and looking forward to seeing what this world is like.
Musing about Work
I’m coming up on two years in my role as Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager at ConvaTec. It’s been good, and it’s been challenging. Lately I’ve been struggling to see a way out of some of the persistent challenges inherent in my role, and inherent in the nature of the company. I’d never worked with a manufacturing like this before, or with a global medical solutions provider. When I jumped in, it was all in. I honestly thought I might never leave. Now I’m wondering what two years from now will look like. Will I be in a different position in the same company? Or another company? Or back to mine? Or something totally different? I’m not making any sudden moves, just contemplating the next ones.
Or trying at least. I’ve gotten really behind on too many things and have been overwhelmed a lot lately. Things are slipping, important things. In this month of May I’m trying to carve out some time to get back on track, and maybe sleep enough. That would probably help a lot.
Lately my life has been consumed with stuff. And oh I’m at capacity and feeling really done with stuff.
After several trips to Oregon and a whole lotta help from family & friends, the house my Mom lived in is completely cleared of all her stuff and has already changed hands to a new owner (who happens to be a previous owner as well, funny enough). SO glad that part is done! This month is going through stuff in storage with family and distributing it, and filing her last taxes and financial stuff like continuing to fight to gain access to any remaining accounts. But most importantly celebrating her life on what would have been her 72nd birthday! If you knew her, please come. It won’t be a funeral, more like a party that I’m organizing for a guest who will only be there in spirit.
No, I’m not moving, but I’m in Maryland right now helping friends move. As I wrote about last month, they are close family friends and this is a chance to repay some of the help they’ve given me over the years. At this point, they both have medical conditions and really do need support to make it through this. But DAMN it’s a lot of stuff! I’ve ended up opening boxes full of the same things I just gave away at estate sales and free-if-you-can-carry-it-away days at my Mom’s.
I’m training in a new LMS admin, a lady who really seems to know her stuff. That’s a welcome relief! There is still much stuff that remains undocumented and unresolved that I’m always wrestling with.
Taxes are due on the 15th. And though they are indeed simper for me this year than they’ve probably ever been since I officially started working, there is still much to do and prepare. I’m trying my best to simplify more along the way. Maybe someday it really will be simple! …Dare to dream, right?
Denise and I rent a house, and it came furnished. For this reason, and a few other less explainable ones, we have THREE storage units full of stuff. This month I’m on a tear to purge any and all possible possessions that are no longer serving us. I hate waste, but right now I’m even more allergic to clutter. Everything I own is about to find itself in a moment of reckoning. Either it is has been useful to me in the last 2 years, or it has not. Either it is projected to be useful in the next 2 years, or it is not. All the “nots” are about to find new homes because this stuff is stifling, and I’m about to say stuff it!
What keeps me going during some of these more challenging times is funny stuff. Like my eternal favorite, George Carlin. In case you too could use a little 5min pick-me-up, here’s his 1986 routine on “stuff”!
Wow, it’s a LOT of work dealing with someone’s death! Even setting the immense emotional components aside, the number of tasks and things that need to be handled has been daunting. I’m still deep in handling everything for my Mom’s meager estate. Fortunately (from what I hear?), it wasn’t a lot, and my brother and other family & friends are all pulling in the same direction here. Still, it’s got most of my focus on most days.
We’re closing in on the end of Q1, and with it our trajectory for 2022 is cementing itself in. Right at the same time The Great Resignation is affecting me personally. My right-hand man is moving on to greener pastures, and I’m returning to the “if I don’t do it, then it doesn’t happen” mode. Not a fan of that mode. Trying to architect even a vacation anytime in 2022 is challenging right now.
Helping friends move
Family friends Phyllis & Kent have known me since I was 15. We’ve been pretty close since then, and they ended up moved to Utah last year. I spent a lot of time & effort helping them move in and get settled, and now they’re moving again as Ogden didn’t really work out for them. This weekend I’m helping with their moving prep, and later this month I’ll likely be traveling to the East Coast to help with the settling on the other end too.
Private Pilot’s License
Though I’ve slowed down a bit recently, I’m still going for my Private Pilots License (PPL) soon. This month I’m getting in the air with my flight instructor, and I’m studying for my written exam in May. Given all that’s going on in life, I’ve decided to relax my schedule and focus on learning well as opposed to learning fast. The truth is that I’m actually a very slow learner in some respects, painfully awkward for an uncomfortably long duration. But then I speed past everyone else with a greater mastery and depth of understanding due to my hard work overcoming my limitations.
My video and web skills are what makes a PPL possible for me & Denise. As it happens, our flight instructor wants to build his business, and I have all the skills to help! So we’re doing some work trade that’s working out well. Not sure how much of that I’ll fit into this busy month, but fortunately neither of us is in a huge hurry at the moment.
How about you? How are things in your world these days? How you doin’?
Mom Estate Stuff
This month I’m making two 3-day trips to my Mom’s house to clean up, pack up, and dispose of her every earthly possession. Good times. Fortunately my brother, my aunt, and my love are helping me through this. We’re going to have a celebration of her life on what would have been her 72nd birthday (April 30, 2022) in Silverton, Oregon. When I get too mired in the details of this time, I focus on that one.
Finishing Ground School & Getting into the Air I’m going for my Private Pilots License. This month sees the conclusion of my weekly classes in the hangar, and gets me in the pilot’s seat — with my flight instructor of course! Putting what you’ve learned into practice always exposes how much there is left to learn, so here’s to that :)
Building an Aviation Business
The only way I’m able to afford to become a pilot is that my flight instructor is willing to do some work trade. It just so happens that he is looking to build his business, and I happen to know more than anyone else around about how to do that. I’ve already been giving him some consulting advice and making minor corrections on his website, but I’m also going to build out his entire business infrastructure and create a YouTube channel for him, and shoot and edit a bunch of videos. I am still paying $140/hr hard costs for the plane, but we’re trading time for the flight instruction for Denise and I.
With the passing of my Mom, my work family has been super supportive of me. Our little team gets along great and accomplishes a ton together. And we genuinely like each other too, which helps! It’s a rare and precious thing that we have built such a high-functioning team (especially in a relatively low-functioning organization) and we all recognize it. It feels like we’re finally getting somewhere with a lot of the things we’ve been working together towards in the last year, when we basically started over re-inventing our department function.
Now is not the best time to build new habits, but it’s the most important time to put them to good use. I’m trying to reinforce and double-down on the things that ground me, keep me healthy, and make me nice to be around. I’ve not felt grounded or healthy or very friendly lately. Though I’m not doing anything vocal much anymore, all my other personal calibrations really do help.
How about you? How are things in your world these days? How you doin’?