Category Archives: 9031

Nothing good to say since July, Kathleen? Really?

Nothing good to say since July, Kathleen? Really?”

That’s part of a comment Jerry Nixon left on my blog. I need to get off my butt and give some explanation for my silence.

Life got in the way, then a break to figure out what I’m doing next.

Last July I took a job at Digital Folio. Startups are dynamic environments and this time the wind shifted such that my responsibilities were much different than I expected. This was not altogether bad. I really enjoyed leading a group and I was working with amazing folks. But it wasn’t what I wanted to do so I left just before the first of the year. Since I was also supporting a long term client, I was working two jobs, maintaining a speaking schedule, and committed to working out and taking better care of myself. I often felt I didn’t have time to breath.

But that changed in late December. It’s nearly March. Where did those two months go?

I’ve made a significant lifestyle change. I’ve given up having a home. Home-free is probably a better phrase than homeless, because I am embracing this by choice and it’s the culmination of a process that started two years ago. I sorted everything I owned to store, donate or keep with me. And then I went through the “keep with” stuff twice more the same way. Everything I now own is either in storage or fits in my car. And no, it’s not a van but my lovely 37 mpg Hyundai Veloster.

I suppose there is a blog post inside me somewhere on what I’ve learned about stuff, but I don’t think that processing is done.

I’ve always wanted to drive US 64 from end to end. I used to drive bits and pieces of it and thought they were the most beautiful pieces of highway. I wanted to keep going, so I did – well, at least half of it. The other half is scheduled for late June if all goes well. We’ve lost so much of the gracious old highways. It was nice to travel what is left of this one before the 4 lane expressways and semi-expressways eat all of it. My mother thinks I am silly and nostalgic (her home state Tennessee had done the most damage to US 64) because she says everyone other than me just wants to get where they are going. US 64 is probably a blog post too.

And where does a home-free person stay? Friends, family, house-sitting, hotels, monthly rentals, camping – although I’m waiting for summer for the camping part. At least that’s what I think will happen. I’ve only been at this for a little while and I may quickly grow weary of it. My theory is that there are things I can bring that are different for everyone that will have people look forward to me coming back. I hope so.

It does mean I’m available for on-site coaching and possibly other work. That’s a different blog post, but I want mid-term part time engagements where I can watch a team grow and help them meet technical, team and personal goals without disrupting ongoing projects or becoming dependent on my presence.

My tentative plans for the mid-term are to be in Colorado most of March, on the East Coast and traveling from there to Seattle in April, in Seattle during May, and spending June back in Colorado to see family, kayak and backpack. Next events are Wintergrass (Bellevue), the MVP Summit and DevConnections March 26-30. I’m speaking at the Northern Colorado .NET User Group March 12, Vermont .NET in Burlington April 9th, Great Lakes .NET User Group in Southfield, Michigan April 18th. I’m also trying to get in touch with the user group in Fargo, ND or in Illinois to see if I can set up a talk when I drive through April 23-26.

In addition to mentoring, I have an exciting project that I hope to be able to talk about next week and a boatload of blog posts in process on work my son and I have been doing looking for common themes between the many, many flavors of composition.


We Shall Overcome

Today in church we honored Martin Luther King by looking beyond him to others in the movement, including the Reverend James Reeb.

Someone wrote in the Joys and Concerns book (I paraphrase) “that my 7 year old may never fully understand the magnitude of what will happen on Tuesday is how we measure how much has changed.”

This is a moment in time worth savoring, especially for those of us that believed it would not come in our lifetime.

As you savor it, consider that there are many verses to “We Shall Overcome. “ They include “We shall walk as one”, “We shall all be free”, and “We shall live in peace.”

In the Bush years, I turned my TV off. The implications of giving up our rights for a false sense of safety, for seeing failure at every level of government oversight,  for seeing the government fail to guard the life of every serviceman and Iraqi,for seeing the reins of our government treated frivolously – these things twisted my stomach in a way that I could only turn away from.

Today, freedom, unity, and peace, especially worldwide seem impossible goals – but the I believed Tuesday would not come. If Barrack Obama will be president, what else is possible if we work together? If we are willing to risk working against the status quo, even when the risks are very real.

Remember the other verses, remember the other dreams. This must be only the beginning.We have the new battles with health care and the economy, but let us not lose sight of the old battles: peace, liberty and justice for all.


Ten years ago, a few short miles from my home a young man lay dying. He was a child, a college student, a young man coming of age as my children are. He lay in the same intensive care unit where my best friend’s son’s best friend would die, where my best friend would lie paralyzed, where my boyfriend’s neighbor lay comatose.

People come into that ward for many reasons, the cable breaks on a crane, a car runs a stop sign, a foot is caught on a pedal in a fall.

This is the place; these are the rooms my family would lie in if something awful happened. This is the neurosurgeon; these are the nurses of hope, and sometimes there is no hope.

Ten years ago when that young man lay dying I did not go. I had children and schedules and I did not hold a candle there in the darkness too late for prayers. I could not have changed anything, but I would have shared in the horror. Shared in the humanity coming to grips with what had happened.

Because sometimes a child goes to those rooms because of the deliberate acts of other human beings. And in the most terrible of cases a child goes to those rooms because someone hates who he is and how he chooses to live his life.

It is hard to be this close. I am not so naïve as to say “that was Laramie”. I have been to Laramie many times. It deserves pride in its western heritage and the western attitude of live and let live. It is absolutely not a city full of hate, and all of us live in places where some people hate.

In the last few years some in Laramie have tried to come to grips with what happened there by saying it was a normal crime gone bad – a robbery or drug deal. We must not rewrite this history. We must face it and we must fight the hate behind it. The evidence and confessions are clear. Mathew Shepherd was beaten and left tied to a fence to die because he was gay.

Sunday we had a busy service at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Collins. Peter Mayer played and we honored the youth by letting them tell us the about their program. I had forgotten the date. Slides included them standing on street corners with signs saying one heart plus one heart equals marriage. Then the minister, whose extended family was lost in the Holocaust, spoke separately of Mathew and that we must never allow a child to die from hate again. I was deeply moved by these people slightly younger than Mathew fighting their own fights celebrated in the shadow of the day Mathew died. The slide show played “Teach Your Children” and in the pew I sang along and cried.

I hope you will light a candle in your heart or in your room because sometimes it takes a village, a nation to bury a child. Maybe play “Teach Your Children” and celebrate the young people in your own life. We need to move on. But that means we do not blind ourselves to what happened or try to rewrite history. Moving on means fighting against hate within ourselves, within the people close to us, and within our world.

Whatever you believe about hate crimes legislation, same sex marriage, civil rights guarantees for sexual orientation, a black president, a female vice president, caring for the homeless, drug laws or any of the hundreds of issues facing us that tie into our preconceptions and emotions – make your decisions looking into yourself and ensuring there is no trace of hate or a bias that degrades you. I do not ask that you agree with me. I ask that you come to you choices without hate. This is what Christ asked. This is what makes the world a better place for your children. This is what honors your soul.