Flesh and Blood, Seattle Art Museum (SAM) Exhibit

I recommend seeing the current SAM exhibit is Flesh and Blood, from the Capodimonte Museum and showcases the beauty of art from the 16th and 17th centuries Renaissance artists Titian and Raphael, Artemisia Gentileschi, Jusepe de Ribera, Guido Reni, and Bernardo Cavallino. Paintings are from the Farnese collection. The Farnese family was an influential family in Renaissance Italy. 

The displayed frames of still life, portraits, religion, history, mythology and artistic talent from the Renaissance wrapped together, brightened my rainy day adventure. This exhibit at the SAM ends January 26, 2020.

A Day at SeaGL

SeaGL is Seattle’s free open source conference; this was the seventh year for the event hosted at Seattle Central Community College. This is a great venue to expand your IT knowledge on free open source tools through vendors, demos and speakers.

One of the speakers was a ten year old girl Alice, who’s parents were there for support. She did a grat job showing how to use the tool Krita, a free professional and open source painting program. Alice demonstrated how to use the tool and answered questions from the audience. Alice is creating a game using Krita. Children and adults can learn new skills through playing games. Kudos to her parents for encouraging her to play, learn and teach.

The other two presentations I attended were very educational, I had never heard of multicast, a communication method that broadcasts to users and hosts. The presenter Brett Sheffield is using multicast over UDP, a simple message-oriented transport layer protocol, and creating a LibreOffice project.

The third presentation was on how to create consistent technical documents using Emacs and Org mode. This expanding my Linux knowledge base. Mike Hamrick did a great job sharing editing, writing and formatting techniques for professional documents.

A check off for another technical event and life long learning endeavor. Ensuring my brain does not wither away to dust blowing in the wind.


Thinking a Career Change

If you are considering changing your career path, I recommend the book, “Switchers”, by Dr. Dawn Graham. This book shows you how to land the ideal job through examples and stories from her personal journey and others. Dr. Graham is a career coach and licensed psychologist and recruiter, and a career switcher herself.

The book is sold on Amazon and on the bookshelves of public libraries. As a switcher myself recently through a planned retirement from the federal government; planning takes time and resources. On my first day of actual retirement, I felt more confident and tranquil. It was the right decision for me. This period is a sabbatical. Gradually, I will continue my career, working at a job that complements my values and interests. Enjoying today.

S.T.E.M. – S.T.E.A.M. DAY

November 8, 2019 is National STEM – STEAM Day

The data says children are better off with strong science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics skills. That’s why STEM and STEAM education programs are important.

Sharing a link on why we celebrate this day. https://nationaltoday.com/stem-steam-day/

Celebrate Closure

Celebrate closure to engage forward motion in your life. Today is day one of my retirement era, I have planned for this event for decades; it appeared as a far away planet in the universe until a few a weeks ago. It s now my reality and I am excited for this time. The time is about focusing on working on projects that are fulfilling and spending time with people who are enlightening my life with their presence.

Celebrating my last day at work with my coworkers on Halloween was a good idea. These are the people who I shared daily challenges on accomplishing goals and meeting deadlines over the years despite budget cuts, furloughs and staff reductions. Retirement was a personal goal in my life and ending my federal government service with a festive celebration with my peers on a sunny day in Seattle was a successful milestone. We do have the bluest skies.

Celebrating retirement

Seattle Give Camp 2019

A whirlwind of activity of ten teams creating websites and applications for local non-profit organizations. This is Seattle Give Camp’s annual three day hackathon at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington.

This year my team role was project manager for Team Roots-Shelter, in Seattle’s’ University District. The organization finds temporary housing for homeless youth. We migrated their hosted web site from WordPress to Wix. We encountered a few challenges on the way, beginning with none of us had any working experience with Wix. We had a crash course Sunday morning. Fortunately, Wix is an easy application to learn for developers and non-technical people.

The best part of a hackathon is the collaboration, enthusiasm, and the can do attitude from the team, who start the project as strangers to one another abd finish the project as peers and friends. Roots-Shelter now has a new web site that is easy to maintain, operate and update. Time to celebrate with photos and cupcakes! Thank you to our sponsors and volunteers for a successful event.

Embrace the Moment

I like to embrace the moment, breathe and clear my head. On Sunday, I grabbed my camera and drove off to photograph nature in one of my favorite Seattle neighborhoods; Fremont, the center of the Universe. This neighborhood has a reputation for being quirky and colorful.

My walk began at the canal, observing the afternoon activity along the trail and through the Fremont Market. The Fremont Market is a great venue for people watching, noshing and discovering treasures from vendors. My camera captured the colorful stroll along the canal, the reflections from the water and people sailing. A typical day for this neighborhood and a beautiful afternoon for wandering.

Autumnal Equinox: The First Day of Fall

Wikipedia states, an equinox is commonly regarded as the instant of time when the plane (extended indefinitely in all directions) of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun.

Autumn is my favorite season. The air changes, it is cooler, the leaves change from green to yellow, orange , red and brown. Autumn is the signal that starts a new school year. As a kid that meant I picked a new pair of shoes for the school year. Seasonal events encompassed high school football games, Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, means I am close to the water, mountains and dessert and all four seasons. Drizzling rain and wind blowing in my face is a a treasure to me. I savor breathing the salty air from the beach and the pine cone fragrance from the trees.

My autumn ritual is appreciating this change in seasons by photographing nature and life from my walks, hikes and autumn events.

Code for America

National Day of Civic Hacking

This morning, I was excited to see a diverse crowd at Microsoft Building #20, specifically noting the percentage of women was visibly above the usual less than 20 percent female/male ratio at a hackathon event. This was my first Democracy Lab hackathon.

This hackathon followed a general format, of an opening, guest speaker, non-profits pitching their projects, followed by teams forming , a flurry of project planning and teams sprinting to the finish line. I joined the Caerusly project team; Caerusly uses data science and AI to help small businesses win government contracts. We did have a Scrum Master named Jackie assigned to our team to keep the five of us on track. Not an easy task.

Our Statement of Work for the day was to determine the project’s essential tech list items and focus on key tasks: design and structure a database to receive data in different formats and file types and convert them into a consistent format. Plus, determine storage needs and define required data inputs from APIs. This project cannot be completed in a day, it will progress in stages. Creating a design for a MVP presentation to investors; testing all elements of the design, including the branding, design, functionality, and usability was a challenge.

The current government contracting process is antiquated, fragmented, and labor intensive. The government agencies are receiving fewer bids which translates to higher costs to the public. At the end of the day, our team of five accomplished these tasks and provided input for a vendor survey for a government bidding process. There is still work ahead for Caerusly. The owners are closer to their next goal, pitching Caerusly to investors next week, on a solid platform.

At the end of the day, all the teams showcased their accomplishments. Goodwill was created, ideas generated and technical tools were created. A day of community in the civic area, developing professional connections and the sun was shining. This event was successful due to people working together, teaching others and sharing resources. Thank you to the sponsors: Microsoft, Reactor, Textio and Bellwether.

Improve Performance Through Relationships and Feedback

This is the feedback I received from the audience from my speech “Objectivity is an Illusion”, and what should also be included when offering people feedback. It was a room field with positive energy and people eager to learn how to improve performance.

We need to develop relationships between the giver and receiver through trust, confidentiality and clarity on expectations. Feedback should be timely and specific to improve performance. We need to acknowledge our own learning styles to comprehend what we are hearing when receiving feedback. Feedback is pertinent to our development and learning process; it is meant to improve performance. We need to have crucial conversations consistently to develop healthy relationships at work, home and in everyday life.

This research project has been educational. I became more aware of my own communication style and how to improve my leadership skills. Plus, teach others how to be improve their communication styles.

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