Sunday, September 28, 2008

Enjoying Fall Foliage, Ouzo, and Bowling

Well, it's that time of year. The leaves are changing colors and apparently, you have to time it just right to catch them before they're all gone and Winter sets in. While my memories of Fall include long hours in the front and back yards of my parent's place raking up leaves, Erin has always had fonder memories of the time. So yesterday we jumped on the motorcycle and rode up to Georgetown and Guanella Pass.

While it was very warm down in Denver, it didn't take us long to regret not dressing more warmly for the mountains. Even as we reached Georgetown it had already started raining. But after a brief break in a coffee shop, we were on the muddy, pothole-ridden rode up the pass. It wasn't too far up though when another motorcyclist coming the other way told us that it was hailing up on the top. We decided to enjoy the views from where we were and then go back down for lunch in Idaho Springs.

After lunch we enjoyed the ride back on 6th Ave. through the twisting canyons and tunnels. By the time we got back we were both tired from having been on the bike for over three hours. But there was little time to rest. We got back with just enough time to change clothes and head out to meet with our friends with whom we were having dinner.

There's a great Greek restaurant on Alameda called Pete's Central One where we enjoyed hummus, seafood, and baklava. The great thing about the place is that Pete is such a gracious host and comes around after the meal to share some ouzo with you. Though I'm not a fan of ouzo, it was a fun time.

We ended the night with a few games of bowling which were also very fun. Our first game went very well with most of scoring over 100. By the second one though I think the day's activity had caught up with us (or maybe it was the ouzo) because we all did much worse.

Still, all in all it was the kind of wonderful day, packed with activity, that I truly enjoy. I'm looking forward to another one soon.

See more pictures of the weekend here

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Mixed emotions on the edge of the work-life balance

I don't think work-life balance is a very good term. It assumes that they're two separate things. Like a person's "work" is just what they do to pay for what they do in their "life." But for many the two are indistinguishable. What we do for work makes up a big part of what our life is about. There are certainly people who are content to sit around and do nothing, but I could never stand to do that for too long. Don't get me wrong, it's wonderful to relax and recharge the batteries, but I prefer to be doing something valuable most of the time (even if that just means going out and flying a kite).

I guess at the other end is the life that's constantly filled with constructive activities. These aren't necessarily part of a job or a career, but they require effort. So maybe a better term would be the relax-effort balance. Too much effort, and you burn out. Too much relaxation and you feel like a worthless slug (or maybe that's just me). I'm sure it's different for everyone and maybe it's like working out where you need to train yourself to become more effort-full, but that's another discussion.

My point is that there's a sweet spot, right in between the two. When you're in it, it's great and things just seem to click. For the past two or three weeks I've been in that general vicinity. With classes, the AIM presidency at Daniels, a part-time internship, and web development contracting it would be hard to imagine that I wasn't. My main problem is that usually I start on the boredom side of things, load things up on my plate that have lengthy commitments, and then suddenly find myself shooting past the sweet spot right into crazy-stressful land.

Especially on the stressful side of things I've seen my emotions spiking from happy to angry to morose and back to happy. For example, on Wednesday, I organized a meeting with AIM, got praised at my internship for some good data analysis, then went to an interesting class, and finished the day by making progress on a contracting gig. All-in-all I was happy when I went to sleep that night. But the next day, with nothing scheduled I didn't want to get up, I didn't feel like doing anything, I got some bad news about some upcoming costs I would have to pay and I was altogether feeling down.

Even this weekend, as I got to spend time with my girlfriend, I felt bad because I had so much work to do and bills making me feel like I couldn't afford to do anything even if I had the time. I think next month will be better and all this work will start paying off, but until then, I expect life to feel a bit like a roller coaster...I just hope it's a fun one.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Outlaw Day

This last week my girlfriend agreed that this weekend I should get to do what I wanted to do (since we'd done several things that she wanted to do lately). So during the week as I came across a show about motorcycle riders and I felt the urge to be an outlaw...within reason.

So on Saturday morning after sleeping in and breakfast I got my leather jacket on, we put on our helmets and hopped on my motorcycle. It felt good to be out on the road, riding against the wind, just a pair of rebels...on our way up to Brighton to pick fresh berries at the Berry Patch Farms (you didn't think my girlfriend would participate in an "outlaw" day if it didn't involve something for her, did you?).

With our freshly acquired stash and a bit of lunch we were back on the bike heading back into town for our next event. Every outlaw has the need sometimes to fire off some rounds, sometimes it just feels good. So we went out to shoot off some pistol the Cherry Creek Family Shooting Center (just a note: 1. I love that name. and 2. You may be noticing a certain compromise-seeking trend here).

For the final part of the day, my girlfriend had a school event to attend, so it was time to hang out with some Army buddies downtown as we tossed back some Guinness and vodka. I'm not going to go into how the night ended here, but I didn't get home until early in the morning. All in all, it was a pretty good outlaw day, and I didn't even have to go to jail.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Starting Classes and Already Missing Summer

Well, it's that time of year again. Classes are starting up for the Fall Quarter and for the first time in my life I'm going to class at night. My first one, Developing International Markets, is tonight and Wednesday from 8pm - 10pm. The other, International Political Economy, is tomorrow night from 6pm - 9pm.

I'm actually looking forward to both of these classes as I believe they will provide more of an international business focus than my earlier "core" classes from last year. What's more, I've heard other students talk about the good hands-on approach in the Int'l Markets class and the engaging presence of the Political Economy professor.

I'm a little weary of having the night classes and wonder what my energy levels will be for them. I scheduled them later so that I could work during the day and start paying off my student loans. The work isn't very fulfilling unfortunately and I'm looking for something more suited to my abilities. Perhaps I'd feel better at a smaller company or simply doing more work on my own...

As the new school year has been ramping-up I've also been doing more with my student organization, the Association for International Management (AIM) of which I'm the president. I signed up a lot of incoming students last week and this Thursday we're going to have our first meeting. It's been quite a new role for me since I haven't led a club since I was in high school. Still, it's exhilarating meeting and talking to so many new people.

This weekend and last weekend have been good opportunities to get out and have some fun (like going down to see Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds with my friends), but now it seems like it's time to get back to work...wherever and whatever that may end up being.