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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Toronto proper

Going to take a break from the deep thoughts and update you on Toronto.

Had a really nice day - all the work stuff went well. I analyzed that data, boi-eeee!! Have some architectural ideas (I actually should be focused on requirements, not solutions, but it's a damn hard habit to break) and some documentation to do.

But what was really nice today was the snow. I woke up mighty early to go slug it out with the treadmill and bicycle machine. The workout room faces a big window that looks out over the street. I'm 10 floors up and as the morning light started coming in, I could see it was sleeting / snowing. It proceeded to snow all day long. It's still snowing now.

In Dallas so far we've not had "real" snow in the last 3 years. I saw some in north Dallas last year, but this is like Canada snow. It's different somehow. I had a blast walking in it and trying not to slip in my dress shoes on the sidewalk. Tomorrow - wear tennis shoes, note to self.

So we take the subway each morning one street up from North York and trudge out onto the street for a few blocks to where we work all day. Then the same going back to the hotel. Tonight we decided to go into Toronto (I'd been pestering) and I got some really nice pictures which I am having trouble downloading from my camera onto this loaner computer. I'll have them up soon.

We took the subway about 30 minutes to the end of the line (St. Andrews) and then took a streetcar 9 blocks to go to a great restaurant named Biermarkt. We had sausages and cheese and fondue for entree and a ton of mussels for dinner. I, um, had a burger because it was smaller. And I don't like mussels a lot. Drank a couple of beers (both Canadian on tap) and had an overall good time with the ex-current-co-workers. A chai tea dessert followed. After we all pushed our huge bellies out of the door afterwards, we walked the 9 blocks back to the subway. Then after we got disoriented briefly, returned back to the hotel where I sit, periodically looking out the window at the snowfall and trying to go to bed earlier than I have been.

In other great news, I have some more work coming my way that I'm quite excited about. It lets me work with a favorite client and favorite new Dallas friend again. Wow, things may be looking up after all. But, small steps. First one is off to bed. Pictures tomorrow or the weekend. Peace out, peeps.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Deep Thoughts

So here I am in Toronto, Ontario. I've had sort of an unusual day in that this is the first work I've had in several months and I've discovered I have changed a lot in that time.

I've got a one-time and possibly more than one-time gig with a former employer to help them out with some business analysis. It's happening just in front of some other work I really want to do with another northern set of friends.

So the deep thoughts? Well, I've spent the last 3 months at home looking for work, adjusting to not being at work, and getting over a fairly minimal amount of irritations from my last job. When I was employed - at any of my past jobs - there were certain things I "owned" that I no longer own. Politics, and awareness of the inner-workings of a company. Weird co-worker relationships, working for someone else who may or may not share my ideals and communication style, etc, etc.

Also, being the resistant Type-A person I have been for the last x years, I realized that suddenly I am enamored of doing nothing. And it's especially weird to not feel bad about doing nothing. It's like since all this world economy junk has happened and all the change that is going on, it's like I am in between -- the old way clearly no longer works, but the new way is undefined.

So it is with my work situation, and some of my relationships. It's like they worked in the past and all the things I "should" do and have done automatically no longer feel right. But I haven't quite yet figured out how things work - a lot of unknown.

What's also interesting is that I am experiencing some fear, but not as much as I would have thought. This is good - there's been too much fear lately.

So, actually I have more to say but it's late and been a long day with long days ahead. I'll write more tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Loss, change, fear, hope...

I find myself in a complex place this afternoon. I just finished watching the last episode of Millennium, a tv series I enjoyed in the late 90s. I also just completed reading a series by one of my favorite authors, Stephen Donaldson. Both of these were about struggling against apparent good and evil, experiencing the horrors in life and trying to make sense of them. I don't have these kinds of extreme horrors in life at all, but I resonated today with the closing of these two series. I empathized with the way the crew felt in their documentary on working with something special and having it gone, move on. Loss. Ending an intense series is mirroring other losses.

Recently I was a pallbearer for both my grandmother and my wife's grandfather. I lost my job in December. Two good friends of mine are going through divorces. Relationships with my family have changed as they move from protectors to peers, and I grow into whatever it is I am growing into.

I'm contemplating loss today, and as I read an article earlier about Spain giving rights to apes, I imagined the feeling I would have recognizing a consciousness that humanity has probably hurt, being granted a reprieve by our own choice and the great hope that would bring for us a species. I also realized, probably belatedly, I am grieving over the losses I've experienced. Not just the recent ones.

Loss is about feeling like I don't have choices. I explained to Tom the other day that I have TOO many choices, that I needed to write them all down. All the things I want to do. So many, I attempt none of them. I still think about and talk with relatives who are gone. I imagine new interactions. I recall old relationships that served their time but likely will not have the same shining intensity they once had. But still, I dwell in these worlds - the choice is there to see them, they are not lost. They are just... different.

Expanding my vision, I see the world is experiencing loss - the US economy, the world economy, all the terrible things that are sensationalized to make us feel loss - that things are different and changing. Am I just seeing loss around me because that is what I am focused on?

Change is inevitable, and is full of new choices - it's not all about loss, despite what we are shown and what we bring to our attention. Why do we want this loss right now? What are we trying to get over - what are we trying to become?

The old analogy of the caterpiller becoming the butterfly no longer fits. We don't change from one state to another, to a completion.

I think, today, also, that I feel loss that I haven't done enough of what I think I am capable of. I keep my ideals away from my own actions and desires. I am afraid of the next change, of what things will be shed or changed - of the unknown.

I know this though - their are always choices. So many I don't see them all, or at all, sometimes. And, change must happen, whether it frightens me or not. If I see a greater vision, I should pursue it. I could be much more than I am, but I don't know how to get there.

So. I acknowledge all the loss. But I am weary of dwelling on it. I don't want to go down this path of abandoning living for survival. "Fear is the mind-killer" they say, but I think fear is the choice-killer. And fear belongs to us - we control it. It's time to acknowledge and accept loss, and time to address fear. It's time to see the choices and move on to what the butterfly becomes... next.