Monday, February 29, 2016

A giant Leap

Today has been cathartic on so many levels. First of all, it's Leap Day, the so-called extra day that comes around every four years. I've never really grasped the concept of Leap Day, and never really considered it "extra" and apparently I'm not the only one -- check out this blog entry by Tamára Lunardo, who happens to be one of my favorite Internet philosophers. :)

I gave notice at my job today. For the past 18 months or so, I've been in a situation where I felt like a square peg in a round hole. Sure, I've met some great people that I want to keep in contact with, worked on some interesting projects, and learned some new skills. I've grown. I've stretched. But I've also bent over backwards. Pulled some muscles. Torn some fibers.

Sometimes you have to go. Life is too short to get stuck in what Tamára calls the damned blocks. I took a Giant Leap today. And soon I'll take another, when I begin a new role with a new company.

Are you taking leaps? Is there something in your life that you need to change? Change is scary sometimes. But sometimes, change is exactly what you need.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

What's your word?

Late last year as I was considering whether or not to make a New Year's resolution, I decided to focus on a word for the year instead of something I'd probably forget about after a few weeks. My chosen word -- Gemütlichkeit -- is a German word that's meaningful to me. (You can read all about it here if you're curious.)

In order to keep myself focused on my word, I ordered a What's Your Word? necklace from It came recently and I've started to wear it a few days a week. I think it's pretty cool! Check out the web site for the story behind the goods & the organization, and some of the press it's been receiving.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Podcast: Us & Them

Us & Them logo from
Do you listen to podcasts? They've been around a while, but I've only been a regular listener for about a year. I have a long commute (60-75 minutes each way) and a good podcast or two can make it seem like no time at all. One of my favorites is Us & Them, a collaboration with West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Us & Them focuses on "telling stories from all sides of the Culture Wars" (their description). The host, Trey Kay (known for lots of other stuff including contributions to This American Life and a 2009 radio documentary series called The Great Textbook Wars), does an outstanding job of presenting the issues and is thoughtful and fair with his interviewees. (Side note: He's become a sort of mentor to me. Thanks to his influence, I've stopped calling people who think differently from me "idiots.")

A typical episode of Us & Them examines a hot-button issue and talks to people on different sides. Examples include: the Confederate flag, the "war" on Christmas, evolution and climate change, and panhandling. Some of my favorite episodes are the ones featuring Trey and his friend Alice. Trey, a native of West Virginia, is Gen X and progressive. Alice is a Baby Boomer who lives in the South, and she's very conservative. Despite their differences, they respect each other and make an excellent team. I could listen to the two of them talk about anything.

Occasionally, other folks contribute to Us & Them, which is how I found out about another favorite podcast that I'll write about in a future entry.

Check out Us & Them. And next time you have the urge to yell at someone for their stupid point of view, take a deep breath and remember: there's a story behind every opinion.


Monday, February 15, 2016

The winter storm that wasn't

So today we were supposed to have some sort of winter storm. The predictions started about a week ago, and not without drama. A local newspaper included the phrase "up to five inches" in an article, which started a conversation or two about whether or not the newspaper should have written that when it's impossible to know for sure what was going to happen so far ahead of time.

My iPhone weather app began showing the snow and freezing rain symbols late last week. Yesterday, it indicated snow starting around 11AM today and freezing rain from 2-5PM. I checked again first thing this morning, and things had been pushed back a bit: snow at 2PM, freezing rain after that.

Local schools closed today in anticipation of "wintry mix." (It was supposed to be a make-up day from a snow day earlier this year. Ironic.)

Well, guess what? Nothing happened. Not a bloody thing. Except for rain, which came down hard starting around 3PM but didn't last long.

Talk about disappointing.

I know this is North Carolina, and we don't typically get much snow. I usually rejoice in that fact because I hate driving in it. But I was kind of psyched up for an event today and it didn't happen, and I feel really let down.

Just saying!