Tuesday, November 26, 2013

International You Day

One of my favorite punk bands growing up was No Use For a Name. They were a part of the Fat Wreck Chords music label, which is a pretty close knit community. The front man, Tony Sly, was known within their circles as being one of the better songwriters and just about everyone's favorite song is International You Day, a song that he wrote for his wife.

Last July Tony died in his sleep, next to his wife. He also has two daughters. The outpouring of grief was touching and recently the Fat Wreck Chords community assembled to put together a tribute album of his band's songs. I bought it and I kind of love it.

I mean, I still prefer most of the originals, but it's cool to hear your favorite band cover a song from another band you love, or to hear what Bad Religion does with one of their songs. It's all pretty neat.

What really touched me, and very unexpectedly so, was that they included a version that Tony had done of International You Day. It's toned down from the original and very sentimental. But what really got me was the last few lines of the song. Following are the lyrics of the last verse:

I'm coming home today
to wipe the tears right from your eyes
I'm totally enamored by your life
nothing that I've done
has ever been for one

But without you
my life is incomplete
my days are absolutely gray
and so I'll try
let your heart know for sure
that I have so much more to tell you
every single day

My life is incomplete
my rights are absolutely gone
so wake me up
before you leave today
something I need to say
cause they'll be nothing when you're gone.

Take a listen for yourself. I'm pretty sure that the cheering at the end is dubbed in, but it's just how I'd expected a bunch of hardened 40 year old punk rockers to pay tribute to their lost friend. It really kind of got to me this morning. I just loved it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jane, My Heart

Jane is so fun lately.

She's walking all the time now, except for when I chase after her and she walks until she falls down and then crawls away as quickly as she can to mom.

She's very naturally playful. I love it. One of her things lately is when I start putting on shoes to head out, she'll come over and grab one of my shoes and run away from me. It's so fun.

While she can walk just fine on her own, she still loves having me walk around with her holding her hands. Part of it is so that she can go faster, but I think it's mostly so she can keep me playing with her as long as she can.

She's always cuddly in the mornings. And even at night. I can usually get her to settle into the crook of my arm on the couch and watch TV with me.

She still loves Fantastic Mr. Fox. She fetches it out of the DVD collection and as soon as it is on she is in a total trance. She'll pause in whatever position she is in and lock in for a solid 20 minutes or so. It's crazy, because she doesn't have that response to anything else. She'll watch anything for a little while, but she never locks in like that.

Jane is very naturally obedient. It's so nice because you can tell her yes or no to things and she's really good at following with most things. Even with things like wiping her nose when its runny, which she hates, you can usually reason with her pretty easily and she will turn over and let you wipe it.

She doesn't do any performing though. And she isn't very verbal at all. I'm excited for her to start using her little voice.

She's a one nap baby, taking one killer 2-3 hour in the afternoon. And she's a dream when it comes to sleeping. She goes down easy and wakes up at 7:30 or so.

I just hope that Peter doesn't rock her world too much, but I can't imagine that it will. She's got such a sweet and mild temperament.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Hardest Part

This job search thing has been a very humbling experience, although I actually had a harder time with it last year. It might have been because I was hearing a lot more no's, but I think having the experience under my belt from last year, I know things work out, and I think I don't have the same expectations that I did a year ago.

I read an article this morning about how being forced to wait has very positive effects: do better at school, get better jobs, more rewarding and stable social relationships, among others.

I had a flyback with Citi a couple of weeks ago and I finally got some real feedback from one of the people who interviewed me. From what I understood, I think I didn't get the job because of the very last line on my resume that says "passion for the tech industry..." which gave them some questions about my long term commitment to the company. It was a stupid oversight that I'm sure I will never make again.

It's an interesting process, but I can attest to the fact that it has really made me think a lot more about where I'd like to be, what skill-sets I'd like to develop, and the ways in which I'd like to make my mark. I''m reaching out in ways to people that I'm sure I wouldn't have before because I've been forced to think about how I can market myself and the long-term contributions I'd like to be able to make. I am reading more articles about analytics and thinking about ways I can further refine that skill-set. I reached out to an old bishop here at BYU to ask him about program evaluation and how I can become more competent in that area. It's forced me to open up more and I can already see the value in being made to wait.

The experience has been trying, for sure, but at the same time I think it has forced me to be more serious and I think that delayed gratification has been important for me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Game Changer

It's weird how something major in your life can happen, and while you're waiting for it to happen you can know so little about it and wonder so much, but then soon after it happens, it feels like it's always been that way the whole time. It felt that way with going into the mission field, coming back from serving a mission, getting married, and most recently with having Jane.

I remember wondering so much about what it would be like to have a kid - to not be able to go to movies freely anymore, or to doing a round of 9 with Amy for FHE, or any of the other things that are easy to do when you don't have kids. (Incidentally, shouldn't there be a word for married people without children? MWOC? Maybe I'll just use that.)

Every so often Amy and I will get out on a date night and all of sudden it comes back how easy it is to be MWOC. You get in and out of a car without having to pick anything else up. You walk into a restaurant and don't have to pick up a high chair. Heck, you walk in and don't even have to worry about what it is that your kid is going to eat for a meal. You can walk into a movie theater and hold hands and it makes sense and doesn't feel forced. That's how it feels, by the way, when you try and hold hands with your spouse and you're also carrying a baby, or pushing a stroller, or holding onto whatever else. It just doesn't make sense to do that, let alone to do the whole door opening thing at the car.

It's so refreshing and nice to have those date nights because it is so easy to just focus on the one that you're with. It becomes such an important thing to do.

And it's during these times that makes me realize how much purpose having Jane brings into my life. I don't just live for myself. Things start to change somewhat when you get married because you can see the impact with immediacy of what your actions and decisions do to the other person, but with a child, it becomes so much bigger. Amy can take care of herself at the restaurant, but Jane doesn't eat if I/we don't think of her. Jane doesn't survive from today through tomorrow if her needs aren't one of the first things that I think of in the day.

That's how it felt a few weeks ago when Amy and I went out. It's not that you can't have meaning when you don't have kids, but having your own family thrusts meaning full force to the very front and center of everything that you do. It is easily one of the most challenging things that I've ever confronted, not because the task of changing diapers, getting food, or anything else you do with babies is difficult, but because it is so constant. And then those needs grow in importance over time.

The nice thing is how rewarding it is. Jane is such a vibrant source of happiness for me. I wonder all the time what it is that filled up my life before this and I really don't know. I guess I just never had any idea then.