Recently my friend Eric proposed an idea to his circle of friends in the interest of deepening our knowledge of each other beyond our shared history and current situations of jobs and family. Would we be interested to gather one evening and to trade 10-minute talks about a topic we each find deeply interesting, TED-talk style?
Inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ memoir, Year of Yes, I immediately said “Yes”, even though I felt uncomfortable with the idea. Now that some weeks have passed, though, dread creeps upon me. Because even more frightening than the idea of public speaking is the thought, What if I have nothing interesting to say?
In the world of IT consulting, the group of people that you work with generally change every 6 to 12 months, as a project and/or your role on that project has a finite start and end date. Often when a person’s role on the project ends, there is a roll-off party held for her as she “rolls-off” the project. It’s one small way to recognize and thank that person for their contributions to the project. Several weeks ago, I was invited to a roll-off party for a friend who was also leaving the company. I was excited to see some of my friends and colleagues who, uncharacteristically for IT consulting, I had worked with through many years. It ended up being a somewhat bittersweet reunion with my former colleagues.
There was laughter at the table as they shared another story about another crisis that occurred and how they managed to right the ship. It was the same type of stories we’ve been swapping for years, populated with a cast of the same colleague and client personalities. The issues, while different, are bound in their similarity by occurring in the same or similar complex landscape. Multiple business units coexisting with different business rules. The many different client team members in different functions working in these business units, often with competing interests. Vast amounts of operational data required to enable their business to function. A complex spaghetti of back end technical infrastructure as a result of mergers, history, and business growth. And the multi-year IT program we were part of to implement and integrate their IT systems. It was not unlike being on a Tolkien quest to deliver “the one ring to bind them all”.
I think I need a little reminder of some the little joys I’ve experienced this month. More than just the smiles and amusements from things in my FB feed. It’s a balm against the negative news, fear and frustrating experiences I’ve encountered in the last few weeks. It’s something Janice had me do during our sessions together, to just explicitly and deliberately recognize the good things in life. It’s a habit I’m trying to get ingrained into doing, instead of always focusing on trying to fix the negative and problems at hand. So here goes. Continue reading Little joys: May 2015→
I’m going to set the mood for this trip down memory lane by playing the song that featured heavily on the soundtrack to our trip. It was a big hit and we would break out singing it repeatedly:
It was August, 1998. I just finished my hazy, languorous summer term that most U Waterloo coop students know affectionately as “2B”, and I was in a Caribbean island that I had no knowledge of just 2 months earlier. My travelling mates were my close friend and roommate C, and a newish friend S that I’d only met 3 months earlier. S asked us in June, “Hey, you want to come to St. Vincent with me after the term is done?” C and I looked at each other, shrugged, and said “Sure, why not?”
[Aside – one of the most wonderful thing about the university experience is how quickly deep relationships can form. Lots of free time + collective stress periods of papers and exams + frequent social events + a generally more open attitude to connecting with new people + relative isolation from the rest of the world = great friends!]
Last weekend, on Mar 21, I had the honour and pleasure of attending my dear friend Cristine’s wedding. We have known each other since the first week of University, when she sat next to me at a Frosh week orientation activity. Over 18 years later I still consider her one of my closest friends.
Unfortunately, for the last decade I no longer have the pleasure of living in the same city (or country for that matter) as her. We rarely have the opportunity now to spend selfish time physically together to just talk about nothing in particular, or share the minor tribulations and triumphs of daily life. It is in this other city that she met and fell in love with her now-husband Chris. (which of course generated the cute couple nickname, C-Squared) Continue reading C-Squared get married!→
My good friend nearly died last night* Thursday. His heart stopped on two separate occasions, and both times CPR and a defibrillator had to be used to restart his heart. So, one could argue the semantics about it and say he actually died twice.
He was coming out of surgery for a relatively routine, low-risk sort of elective procedure for his shoulder. That it turned into one of those medical dramas that you wish to only view on television is terrifying.
This past weekend, we went on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge at Niagara Falls. It’s a big indoor waterpark resort that has lots of different water features, slides and pools to keep us entertained for a couple of hours each day. The place also has an arcade, craft room, and Magic Quest, that my daughter E1 absolutely loves. But it wasn’t just any regular family weekend to this resort. We went as part of a large group of 20 rooms, all organized by our friend F, so that we could take advantage of a great group rate.
Not content with this organizational feat, F also went on to plan a group kids’ birthday party gathering in one of the resort meeting rooms. This pizza and cake party not only celebrated her two children’s birthdays, but all the kids who had birthdays in January and February. She made and brought in decorations for the room, and arts and crafts activities for the kids. F even made up loot bags for each child who was going to attend the birthday party, the thoughtful contents individualized by age and interests. And of course, there is the cleanup afterwards, the unsexy part of any party. It is readily apparent to me (and everyone else) how much planning and work went into this party, while the rest of us just had to show up to enjoy.