naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (autumn bountiful harvest)
The sunrise is really beautiful again this morning. For the past year or more I've been quite the night owl, but over the past few months I've been waking just before dawn, and enjoying the sunrises.

The sky is really, really gorgeous just as the first tinges of orange line the horizon.

Right now I'm sitting near an east-facing window with my laptop and a mug of hot chai... now that I'm at home more I'm experimenting with a few types of chai trying to find one with comforting/addictive properties similar to the sort I used to buy at Broad Cafe every few mornings or so.

I've gradually been importing all of my music CDs into iTunes, and from there to my iPod, so my laptop is currently shuffling through my Battlefield Band tunes.

I adore the Battlefield Band. I have ever since I heard one of their appearances on A Prairie Home Companion when I was in middle school, listening to it on WFYI with my parents. They played a handful of strathspeys and reels and had folks practically dancing in the aisles, and played some mournful ballads, and their sensibilities blended so well with Garrison Keillor's own particular brand of humor... each of the musicians introduced himself, and explained what musical instruments they played... traditional Scottish tin whistles, traditional Scottish drums like the bodhran, traditional Scottish bagpipes, traditional Scottish synthesizers... made from traditional Scottish plastic...

And then they announced that they were going to play a surfing song from the Outer Hebrides.

There was a dramatic pause.

Then, they launched into Bad Moon Rising, on the fiddle and the bagpipes.

I adore it. Dad had made a cassette tape of the broadcast, and I made a copy... I listened to it so much I wore the cassette out. And I made another copy.

I still have it here in my two tubs of cassette tapes. But I also have a large number of their CDs, including On The Rise (Amazon will let you listen to a snippet here if you have Windows Media Player), which has Bad Moon Rising on it, along with After Hours, another of my favorites. Their music is also available direct from Temple Records' online web storefront, which has a bigger selection of their CDs than Amazon, as well as a number of free MP3 downloads.

I've yet to find a Battlefield Band song I dislike. Some are very mellow, others are dancably peppy, others are melancholy to the point where if I'm having a really down day I don't want to listen to them or they'll worsen my mood, but I love them all.

I only wish more of the recordings of their music had Alan Reid's introductions to the songs. He has the most amazing sense of humor...

A dear friend of mine went to extraordinary effort to remind me to attend their recent performance at Beckman Auditorium on November 5th. I'm so grateful, because the joy I found within myself during the performance has rattled around in my head and... I don't know... maybe the echoes are reverberating in my soul. Or something like that.

By the way, the Battlefield Band's website says that they're going to be appearing on A Prairie Home Companion again on November 26th. :-)

Lately I've been... I don't know what the right word is... transforming, awakening, reawakening... and reconnecting with what brings me real joy. Some little things, some big things, some nostalgic things which have been present in my life before and now are returning in a new form, some things which in the past I've known I wanted but for various perfectly reasonable reasons set those insights and desires aside temporarily, and some new things which somehow feel like I'm returning home when I find them.

In some climates, autumn is a time of harvest and endings, of the world going dormant and resting as the temperature drops and the soil rests. The plants and animals conserve their energy for the rough, dark months ahead, or hibernate through the winter. I know those lessons. But here in southern California, in the urban jungle of Los Angeles, the bulbs I've planted in the pots on my porch are just sending up new shoots, and the fiery colors of the gum tree leaves are falling onto the brightening green of new grass.

I've said this before elsewhere, but something about this place, this climate, makes it difficult to note time passing. If the turn of the seasons is as subtle as it is here, and the bright sunshine and seventy-two degree days come one after the other after the other, people's time-sense can become so skewed. Some things from a decade ago feel as though they happened yesterday, and it is so easy to put off large goals until tomorrow because yesterday was so like today.

But watching the stars and planets overhead during the dark nights, far above the twinkling of the city lights and the neverending flow of the freeways... watching the sunrise as day after day the sun springs over the horizon in a slightly different spot, watching the plants and listening to the change in the wind... time speaks differently here, but it is speaking, just as it speaks everywhere.

I'm also starting to experiment with podcasts... one of my favorites is another gem I first found on National Public Radio... Stardate is a short astronomy update. You can now listen to it online or as a podcast, or you can read it daily via an RSS feed (here on LiveJournal it's available via [ profile] stardateorg).

Somehow I'm fitting my song of new beginnings, farewell to endings, and insights into myself and the world into this sunny autumn. The horizon's orange edge has brightened to bright pale blue, and the sun rises, accompanied by fiddles and bagpipes.

Good morning!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
Just in case anyone else misplaces these bookmarks as often as I do... which reminds me, other than, what online bookmark management services to you use? My local bookmarks folders are a mess thanks to a couple of browser and hardware transitions, and a hard drive crash on my old work computer, and partially-redundant restores from backup; it's time for me to finally to get a handle on 'em.

Online Job Hunt Links:

If you recommend sites not in this list, please comment! And yes, I know that most folks find their jobs via personal networking. :-)
naturedance: this is me reading Walden (me reading Walden)
Twelve steps of job and life transitioning )

And a few more things...

Remember to breathe.

Take time to meditate.


Be happy.

Live. Laugh. Love.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
I'm already on Orkut and have just joined LinkedIn, and as soon as I doublecheck my password, I'll have access to the Caltech Alumni Network. (And as of 10/31, I'm on Friendster as well.)

What other sites should I be using? Is Friendster or useful? What other social networking sites do you use?

Edited to add: I'm not trying to connect just for job possibilities, in case that wasn't clear... I've had my nose buried in my work so much for the past few years that I haven't come up for air, much less reconnected with friends. I really need to find a better work-life balance for myself, and the layoff has simply gotten me motivated to finally start taking action. It's going to take a while for me to come even a little bit out of my workaholic shell, I suspect.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
I was downsized at work today.

It was... unexpected.

Work has been very stressful lately, we're in the middle of a dramatic reorg, and we were told that some layoffs were coming... but I just don't think anyone expected me to be one of them. I do a lot of very different things, and I suspect that my unpigeonholeability probably contributed to my position not fitting in the new org chart.

And that's the only speculation I want made about that. Water under the bridge, paths not taken, etc etc etc. I do know for a fact that my management pre-reorg was happy with my work, which is heartening.

Tomorrow marks my eight-year anniversary at this job. It's also the day of the all-hands meeting of the newly-reorganized (and significantly smaller) department.

I'm taking the day off, and will spend part of it at home and part of it at Descanso Gardens, but I'll be back in the office Friday to start handing off all of my open tickets, projects and inbox emails that will require someone's attention, or someone's conscious decision to drop.

Next week I'm going to spend time documenting the most critical things for which I have been exclusively responsible, in some cases for eight years. I packed up everything but my ergonomic mice and keyboards at the office today.

At some point next week I'm going to send around an email to all of my associates across campus that I interface with in different departments letting them know I'll be hanging out at the tables outside the coffee shop on campus for a specific hour or two if anyone wants to say goodbye. My official last day is November 4th, but we downsizees are not actually required to be in the office until then, so I'll probably spend that week dealing with various paperwork things (insurance, retirement, COBRA etc etc etc), talking with my grad school about my options for becoming a full-time student, and polishing up my resume.

As I did when I left my last job (which was my own doing that time, but also after a dramatic reorg), I don't intend to just drop important things on the floor... I want to make as smooth a transition as possible for myself, my co-workers, my other associates on campus, my users and my manager(s). At the same time I am putting myself and my own needs first, because not doing that right now would be Stupid-with-a-capital-S. But in fact I need to leave the place better than I found it, and I need to do right by those co-workers and associates who've walked through fire with me and for me in the past. That's a fundamental feature of who I am, and to do differently now is unthinkable for me.

I spent quite a bit of time today reassuring everyone around me that I am in fact fine. It will mean a time of chaos and decision-making for me, but it's also a time of opportunity.

Really, I'm going to be OK.

This is not a life or death thing. Been there, done that. This is a job, albeit one which I have at times treated like a religious vocation over the years. Caltech has been my home, but it has changed and continues to change, and I've been on or near campus for fourteen years between being student and staff, so it's OK that it's time for me to move on.

I've worked long and hard and I've enjoyed much of what I do, and I've really enjoyed working with the people I have. For the other downsizees, I wish all the best... I feel bad for the folks with kids and mortgages and such. For the folks who are staying, I wish all the best... both for the individuals and the IT group and for Caltech as a whole.

I'm currently considering my options, including:
- looking for other full-time work in the Los Angeles area, and continuing my part-time grad school MSIS degree program at Claremont
- becoming a full-time student at Claremont and finishing my MSIS program in a year or so (this might mean moving from Burbank to Azusa/Glendora/San Dimas/Diamond Bar/Chino Hills/etc etc etc closer to Claremont where the housing is cheaper and the commute to Claremont would be shorter)
- looking for full-time work in the Bay Area (Mountain View sounds nice, and as long as I'm not in San Fran itself I think I'd be OK if I could afford the living space...)
- looking for full-time work in Oregon or Washington state, or hey, Vermont is pretty...
- applying to transfer to a full-time graduate program elsewhere (I have family near Madison, Wisconsin and near Bloomington, Indiana who would love to have me closer)

My roommate and I may be travelling together, so if you know of anywhere with companies or universities that are looking for a marketing communications specialist web designer tech writer and an organizey knowledge manager sysadmin documentation process person, please let us know. I'm meeting with a career counselor next week to polish up my resume, but the latest version is here and my roommate Janis' is here.

I'm also deciding whether or not I want to pay my own way to LISA in San Diego this December. I've really been wanting to attend, and it'd be a great opportunity to network if I decide I don't want to go the full-time student route. Plus I'd get to see LISA folks, who are always wonderful.

I think I'm talking myself into that... I mean, I've been wanting to attend [ profile] yesthattom's workshops and get his fabulous new book, and why miss all that?


I'm not a huge Mary Engelbreit fan, but some of her art does speak to me. These kind of sum up my day today:

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lives... Get One

Don't look back

February 2017

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