I learned something new about Word Press today. Saving something as a draft doesn’t mean it will. I had written this post originally on the train returning from Venlo. The internet connection on the train was wobbly so I decided to save a draft and go back to watching the countryside go by. Well, the draft it saved contained the title and lots of white space.
Anyway, I went to Venlo today to give a lecture on software testing to the computer science students. Their professor made it a mandatory attendance which is always fun to know your audience is captive. I like to think that I entertained them and gave them something to think about. For sure, at the end several of them told me they were highly skeptical of getting any value out of this lecture but with mandatory attendance they didn’t feel they had an option. And they told me they were quite surprised and they thought it was the best lecture they had all year. I guess I would have to say it was my Game of Thrones references that really worked. Or as one of the professors said (in Dutch) to me “You really like to entertain. That’s a very American thing, isn’t it?” They gave me a bottle of wine afterwards, as a “thank you”. Venlo sits all the way in the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is a couple of hours by train. It is equivalent, scale wise, of travelling from Seattle to Tennessee. Not quite all the way out beyond the borders but close. From what I understand, Germany is 5 km away from where I was.
It did give me some things to think about on the way back to Amsterdam. One, I really love the fact that my employer gives me a first class Dutch railways train card for these kinds of trips. I felt very Ms. Fancy Pants sitting in the First Class cars. It is just more space and they are silent cars, meaning no cell phone conversations. Two, I do like to entertain – I like to talk to groups of people and learn from them. I think information sticks better when you make it relevant and interesting. Who wants to be bored during a presentation? Whatever else happens career wise here, as long as I stick to what I really like doing – problem solving with people, I’ll be okay. That doesn’t change, regardless of location.
Some very good news came out of Seattle this morning. Mom had wanted a Sleep Number bed for a long time. Last year, before we knew she was sick, I told her after my annual review, I was taking the pay raise and getting her the bed she wanted. I took Lawyerella along to pick it out because as I have been told “you don’t know really know anything about being comfortable”. This is very true. Well, we picked the right one and it was delivered to the new house in time for Mom, when she came out of the hospital/skilled care. She loved that bed. I slept next to her on it every night and I can tell you that there were many nights I would wake up because she was changing the level of her feet or her back, etc. I think it made her somewhat more comfortable. And I put it right in the living room so she wasn’t isolated, she was the heart of our family and belonged in the heart of the house. After she was gone, I told Rupert that I wanted the bed to go to someone else who could benefit from it, either because they couldn’t get a hospital bed or because they had to spend a lot of time in bed. We were in agreement on this. I didn’t just want to put it on Craigslist or blindly donate it to Goodwill. During this move process, it remained in the house, one last unfinished thing and I was getting worried about what to do. Well, today it went to someone with ALS. ALS is also known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”. The ALS society picked it up and they were driving it straight to their client. It appears the family had been looking for a bed like that for their loved one for a while now. It seems like the intention was answered, it just took a little longer. So that feels really good.
For all of you headed to Thanksgiving tomorrow, be safe and enjoy yourself. Over here, it’s a regular work day and then tomorrow night, I am taking myself out for Indonesian food – to start a different kind of Thanksgiving dietary tradition.
Oh, and for Nespresso fans, there’s a new campaign with George Clooney all over it. I took a picture of the ad and put it in the folder. I think it’s pretty funny.