Saturday, February 4, 2023

Settling in

Ugh. It's been way too long since I've done some writing. Ultimately, it would be great to put in a couple thousand words a week. It's the same as exercising/playing an instrument/etc.; the more I do it the better I get and the better I feel. For me, writing has the effect of serializing my thoughts. It gives some manner of order, and priority to all the things buzzing around my metaphorical beehive. This is similar to making a list, but I find putting some prose to the thoughts adds some perspective and even some gratitude.

So what's been going on lately? In a word: life. I'm finally starting to settle into the new job. I'm even starting to enjoy it. There's an entirely different set of challenges, however these challenges still rhyme with a lot of what I did at the previous gig. Now that I'm settling in, I'm able to start looking at side projects to augment my experience and pursue some of the academic interests I have. I'm happy that it's not all Gantt charts and marching orders. I'm finding a lot of ways to still be an engineer/physicist.  

The extra head space to pursue new things is most welcome. It's probably even resulting in more room to write. One challenge I'm oddly still having is finding balance with being able to have a work from home schedule. I'm finding that while I can be very productive rolling out of bed, making coffee and hopping on the computer; I'm also not being very disciplined when it comes to doing the healthy stuff. I think the winter is amplifying this as well. To feel healthy I need to get out and get my steps/exercise. I need to take breaks and eat/make healthy lunches, not just strolling past the kitchen hourly for a handful of something sweet or salty. 

I feel more balanced on days I go into the office. There's good space to walk and even when the weather is hard to breathe cold out the building is large enough to walk some laps. Although I think I'm becoming the old guy who paces the hallways. There's free coffee and plenty of water and even some healthy options in the automated cafeteria area.

The reality though is I'd like to find a routine that works regardless of working from home or office. From home I have been taking lunch at the gym some days. The one exception is Tuesday's where I run two afternoon meetings. The prep work has me largely glued to my chair for the day. The answer here may be a home workout or, God forbid, going in the morning! Regardless, I'm sure mindfulness will lead to a solution of sorts :)

Beyond work there's always a lot going on. I'm having moments of realization that my kids will be grown and off to college sooner than I'd now like. They both seem to be thriving though and I continue to enjoy the awesome ride of parenting. Yes, I'm a very proud dad.  Part of the enjoyment is getting to do some travel with them. With the new job taking me to Colorado regularly, another thing I need an impervious routine for, I took the opportunity to finally ski Colorado with them. We took two days to explore Vail and still didn't hit the whole ski area. It was amazing, particularly the second day after a good dump of snow left 7-ish inches of powder on the slopes. It can only be compared to skiing on a cloud.  We rented a condo with my girlfriend (Natalie) and her two kids. They opted not to ski, but found some fun stuff in Breckenridge to do and we would converge in the evening for dinner. We even went to a lovely fondue place for Natalie's birthday. 

At the end of the weekend, everyone flew home and I stayed to work. I'm finding working from Colorado to be interesting and worthwhile. My main charge in MN is on a sort of interpersonal islance compared to most of the company. While we have the usual remote work tools that were honed throughout the pandemic, I find that we still miss a lot of casual conversation that has significant bearing on what we need to accomplish. Thus, I'm trying to hold to a goal of visiting once a month, for half to full weeks at a time. 

My ski boots might make the trip with me as well as my golf clubs when the weather improves;) Colorado is an awesome place for activity and the outdoors. Even in most of the communities there are paths and trails. The drives are short to get to the other side of a hill or mountain and essentially escape. and best of all there are a huge number of sunny days. This is quite the perk and I'm meaning to take advantage of this as I can. 

With the extra head space and finding some routine it's also time to dive into some of the other things I both need to and like to get done. I started brewing a new batch of beer. I'm still just sticking with the extract kits, but may do a partial mash next and maybe even an all grain when the weather improves. I might take a look at distilling, too. If anything the moonshine will help me degrease engine parts. 

As for need. I've been working towards getting the basement bathroom together. It's been torn out since the married days, but it's time to put it back in. There is some impetus as my duaghter is now using the basement essentially as her hangout and bedroom. A finished bathroom would work well for her and relax some of the competition with her brother in the mornings. Recently, I did take a little pause from the work to let life settle in, and wait for the Menards 11% rebates (I don't think they're happening :( ), but am now gearing up to move again.  

As per my usual operating mode, there's so much I want to do. I'm happy that there finally seems to be enough mental energy freed up to get moving again. Like writing a 1,000ish words every now and then :)  Regardless, the view from here is pretty good.

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