Month: May 2013

On My Way to the Misfit Conference

Back in January, AJ Leon sent out a message to some folks about a conference he was planning on putting together called the “Misfit Conference.” By his description, I immediately knew that I wanted to go. I also knew that it wasn’t necessarily something I could ask work to cover my expenses on.

I decided it was worth it to make it happen and told AJ & Melissa that I was in. I’ve spent the past 24 hours on a train headed to Fargo, North Dakota.

I decided to take the train for a couple of reasons. A) It’s a very Misfit way to travel. B) I wanted some thinking time, but I didn’t feel like driving. C) There were no direct flights between Nashville & Fargo. I hate flying, but I really hate flying & having to transfer planes.

You would think that Amtrak has some sort of presence in the Nashville, Tennessee area, right? You would be wrong. The closest train station to Nashville is over 2 hours away. (Also, I forget living in the suburb hamlet of Goodlettsville that I now live in “the South”. That was unmistakable in Newbern. In addition to living in the “south”, I’m frequently reminded why some of California’s laws and regulations regarding things like cleanliness are public restrooms are good things. I went to the restroom in two of the strangest restrooms I’ve seen in the United States.

I’m now about 3.5 hours away from reaching Fargo. I’m hoping that the Radisson folks will have pity on me and allow me to check in to my hotel room early, so I can get a few hours of sleep before things kick off with the Misfits.

Finding Identity Through Genealogy

Lee & Sue Anne Growing up, I always felt a bit like a mutt. You know, those loveable dogs at the animal shelter with no identifying characteristics — they aren’t Boxers, Poodles or Labradors.

I’ve never had much of a cultural identify. It was obvious that I was some mix of Western European … between my light complexion and the surnames of Phillips, Berryman and Gibson sprinkled through my family, there was not a whole lot of mystery as far as the general geographic region.

Growing up within the Mormon community, this was tough. No one had done my family group sheet. I didn’t come from pioneer stock. I wasn’t descended from Hyrum Smith like a few of my friends were.

The lack of relationship to my father also didn’t help sort out my identity. I didn’t know much more about him than his name. Did he come from a large or small family? Were they immigrants or had the family been here in the U.S. for generations?

Because my siblings and I all had different fathers (four children & three fathers), we also looked different. You could tell just by looking at my sister that she inherited my step-father’s Italian genes, but the rest of us could really have been from any Anglo-Saxon country.

It wasn’t until I started digging into my genealogy that I started to really find out all those details I had been missing. No longer was I this strange Anglo-Saxon Western European mix, but I could tell you that I had strong German roots with several of my grandfather Berryman’s family coming from Germany. I can tell you that my great, great grandmother Lizzie Puckett was born in Wales. (I’m a bit stuck on her right now.)

On my father’s side of the family, while I haven’t found any Mormon pioneers, I have found men who fought in the Civil War. And, a great grandfather (too many greats to list here) that was part of George Washington’s Revolutionary Guard.

My sister finds it humorous about how excited I get with each new little discovery, but for this mutt they mean a lot.

My first week in my 40s

I have officially been 40 for a week. It hasn’t been a great week. 

After two weeks straight of gym-induced muscle pain, my body & it’s crazy auto-immune, Fibromyalgia craziness finally complained and knocked me on my butt. 

I felt pretty good on Sunday and went and picked up veggies from my CSA and did a little grocery shopping. Later that evening, I started to develop a bit of a headache but really didn’t think much of it. 

On Monday, I was miserable. I was having problems with my neck, I was feverish and flushed, I had a really bad headache and overall I just felt icky. I cancelled my appointment at the gym and also didn’t go to a post-PodCamp Nashville debrief meeting I was supposed to attend. I wound up taking a bit evening nap. 

Tuesday was much of the same. Headache, neck pain, general all-over achiness, and just feeling icky. 

Wednesday was similar. I finished work around 6 pm on Wednesday evening and almost immediately went to sleep. I woke up a couple of times throughout the night, but pretty much slept from 6 pm Wednesday until 8 am Thursday. 

The good news is that long slumber and basically taking it *very* easy all week did the trick. On Thursday evening, I started to feel better. On Friday I felt pretty good, too. I went to go my chiropractor and got my neck adjusted. 

I was a bit cranky on Saturday, so I spent the day taking care of some things around my apartment that I had been putting off for a bit (like taking down my Christmas lights). 

My plans for Sunday revolved around going down to Franklin to see my nephew play a soccer game. I also did some laundry on Sunday and got a mailing for work ready to go. 

Here’s hoping my second week in my 40s is better than my first.


Tennessee: One Year Later

In addition to today being my 40th birthday, it’s also the 1-year anniversary of arriving in Tennessee. Sue Anne & Brendan

I had a few main reasons for moving cross country and leaving California:

  • Spend more time with family
  • Develop some semblance of work/life balance
  • Get healthy
  • Fix my finances

When it comes to spending more time with the family, that has definitely been a win. On average, I see my sister, brother-in-law and nephews at least once a week. This will be even more frequent when I move up to Clarksville, which will be happening sometime this summer.

I feel like I’ve been pretty successful in having more of a work/life balance. There are definitely times that are better than others on this one. But, most weeks, I’m working my 40 hours and then turning off my computer for the weekend. With my two previous jobs, I felt like even when I wasn’t working I was obsessing about work and often feeling like I should be working, and I don’t have that feeling these days. One of the most important things I’ve done is remove work email “pushing” to my phone. In order to look at email from my phone, I actually have to log in and check email. This has been a *huge* change and super important.

I have not been very successful in “getting healthy”. The good news is that I haven’t gained weight since I moved to Tennessee. I have lost a little bit of weight, but I’m still struggling with making the changes I need to make. My broken ankle and the 2 months of downtime didn’t help.

Have I fixed my fiances? That is an interesting question, which I’m not sure of the answer. My big goal is to be completely “debt free”, and I had originally set a “debt free date” of today. Last fall, I realized that I would have to get very intense if I wanted to hit that goal and that’s not how I wanted to live my life. Over the past year, I’ve paid off a handful of debts. I’ve gone from four student loans to two student loans. I also haven’t added any new debt — especially any new medical debt. I might be debt free by the end of 2013, but sometime in 2014 is more likely.

I have absolutely no regrets about making this move, and I’m looking forward to what my 2nd year in Tennessee brings.