Friday, November 21, 2014

The mind's camera

Do you ever do this


I don't have kids (obvsly) ... but there are times and places where I stop myself - and enjoy the moment and take mental pictures ... because I never want to forget.

For me - they usually center on light and music.

Like I have all these internal pictures of my childhood bedroom ... and how the sun would pour through a window ... and splash off the tile window ledge ... and the tile would sparkle ... and the room would have a special glow ... and you could see the dust motes dance. And if it was a Saturday ... the jazz my dad was playing would come through the air vents ... and I could hear the pots and pans banging around in the kitchen as he made breakfast ...

And I always thought to myself, "this! this is the perfect hour. Never, ever, ever forget this. The light, the sounds, the feel of this time."

I have those stored up from camping in tents at Buck's Lake and Plumas Eureka ... and the places I lived in Arizona - and my house here .... to Meg and Lee's house  - their porch ... the kitchen - the family room ... and Heather and Tom's old house (my friends in Az) ... from London and McGehee Arkansas to San Francisco and Boone, NC ... the Grand Tetons ... Amsterdam ... Blue Wing Teal's home in Abington, PA ... the Sink's place at Atlantic Beach ... the Farm House on the Saint Lawrence, light on the limestone road cuts in Indiana on the way to Ferdinand, Ind; the living room in Monterey, Louisiana, Grandpa and Grandma's cabin at Huntington Lake  .... all the best places. (and there are about 100 more that are not listed here). 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What I learned

Today I read this cooking blog post, "The Confidence Question"

It aligns with the Agile Manifesto - specifically the section on Iterative and Incremental Development. 

So here's the bottom line. I feel comfortable and safe with incremental learning and the iterative process in cooking. 

In my professional life? Not so much. Why?

 This is so timely. Thank you. I am a former chef – who now lives/works in the software world as a Product Manager. (this means I design the things you use).
As a cook – I am fairly fearless … I know the basics – and if something doesn’t work out – I review for “lessons learned”. Almost always – I am the harshest critic of the meal/dish – while everyone else just eats.
Without much loss of confidence I just adjust for the next time (rapid iteration).
But in my professional life? *shudder*. Any failure/shortcoming is a LACK OF ME … not “Oh! What did I/we learn – let’s work with the team to come up with something better.”
What’s the difference in the two situations … and how do I come to grow and promote the lessons that I’m so willing to try and SHARE in my professional life?



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Return

Each time I return I feel more complete.

Ways to count a successful trip:

  1. Proper footwear ... proper food. 
  1. Mexican food for breakfast first 3-days :)
  2. Attending the Delta Pine & Land for Field Day (although it rained for the first time in the history of field days (look at this!)


Saguaros and Palo Verde trees 



And wide open spaces - so I don't feel hemmed in - and I feel expansive - and visionary 

'

Plus I attended the wedding of year. Sky rockets in flight!



 I chose the music :)

Monday, October 06, 2014

Hopeful

So ... I have 10 other things I should be doing ... 

But at the moment I feel enthusiastic and hopeful ... so I should share, right?

This month is my one year anniversary of being a "Product Owner" and part of the Solutions/Product Management team. March (which feels like it was just last month) was my 4-year anniversary here. 

What does this mean?

  • I worked in Az as part of a Commodity Brokerage team for 6 years 
  • I worked as a Commodity Manager/Information Manager for 2 years in CA
  • I worked as many things (Dir. of Support, Sr. Imp/Training staff member) for 9 years (ok ... that sounds like forever) for a cotton software company in North Carolina 
  • I went back to being a chef for 6 months
  • And now I've been in healthcare software for 4 years - and had 3 different jobs in the same company
I don't know what it means ... maybe there's a link through all of this?

More questions ... what does a "Product Owner" do? If you live in the land of "Agile Development" this means that I'm the more "technical" side of the product management team.  It means someone else (the Product Manager) is the "visionary" person ... 

Example of a Product Manager's vision: "We need "things" people can hold and take to meetings with them and still see all their reports/data - (aka a laptop/tablet/smart phone). 

As a "Product Owner" is is my responsibility for translating those dreams and vague ideas into concrete (small) items that a development team can produce to meet the larger purpose. I need to know all the nuts and bolts and pieces of the product (if it already exists), or all the lessons learned from talking to customers about our previous product(s) - and translate them into making a new/better different product work/better. I work daily with the development team to bring these small pieces to life.

Thankfully "technical" doesn't mean I have to understand "method calls" and "objects", API's, SOAP and REST, and how to write code. It does mean I need to understand data-tables, relational databases, and when we are using REST vs SOAP. 

I also get to draw pictures of what new computer screens should look like, and tell people how they should work ... and then when they ask questions I don't understand I can hide behind, "Teach me" and "make me a diagram" ... and "what do YOU think is best?" and "let me show our customers and get some feedback".

I kinda love it. And I love the teams of developers I work with. They are the best guys (and women) EVER. 

Outside of work ... hmmm ... seems as there's not much "outside of work" these days. 

However, I did go on two(!!!) business trips in September (as first in four years) ... 

And! Tomorrow I get on a plane to go back to Arizona to visit a friend and watch her daughter (who was born when I lived in Phoenix) get married. 

And!!! My visit coincides with Delta Pine & Land Field day ... so I get to stand in cotton fields again ... and talk to my former co-workers ... and FARMERS! and shoot the shit ... and look at plants and bolls and fiber and talk about the market (OMG ... I am so excited!!) ... plus ... the desert ... stark cinnamon-colored mountains and dusty-green saguaro cactus ... and prickly jumping-chollas ... and sage and tumbleweeds and high-moving cloud formations that you can see from 40 miles away ... and THUNDER and LIGHTENING STORMS ... maybe even a flash flood or two (ok ... not that I want to be stuck in one) ... but Oh! to experience the smell, and feel and sounds!

It's going to be the most amazing 7-days. 

And now I better go pack!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What's worth saving for?

I wish dieting was like saving.

I've gotten really good at the routine of saving money ... maybe even too good, because I feel guilty for spending on anything that's not a necessity.

However, I have not gotten good at the 'routine' of dieting. And when I eat "over budget" I excuse myself.

Which kind of indicates to me I am more afraid on pennilessness in old age than poor health.


Hmmm