Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Not a Creature was Stirring, not Even a Mouse
Here we are again in December with my annual holiday letter for 2009. I hope this finds you well.
You’ll note that this edition has less ‘stirring’ than I typically report out. I just reflected on the year and realized I didn’t travel internationally once! Not even Canada! I guess I am falling down on the job. I do have a few minor updates to share.
In July, after 8 and a half years in lower Manhattan, I moved to Brooklyn. The borough of Kings has fewer tourists, fewer NYU students and more parks. I do a lot more biking now and I’m closer to most of my friends. (I do miss 29 occasionally, especially my pigeon watching efforts.) I’m still only 20 minutes from midtown by subway, but the vibe is much more local. It was a tough decision for me and so far I’m pleased with it.
Another difficult choice I made in July was to leave Accenture after 11 years. For all my colleagues still there, “Go on! Be a Tiger!” I realized I had no interest at all in the partner track and it started to feel to me that the part where you do good work is over and the part where you focus on sales was going to take over my life.
In some ways, the change is barely noticeable. I’m working for Perfect Sense Digital now, a tiny boutique internet consultancy. My client for them is Scripps Networks in Knoxville, Tennessee (FoodNetwork.com, HGTV, etc.). So I’m still a contractor working for a remote client, traveling back and forth each week. The actual work is pretty much identical to work I would have done on a project for Accenture.
In other ways, it’s a big change. The company has about 40 people, not 140,000, so I’m not on any task forces, saleable units, communities of interest or other total wastes of time. I’ve also decided to work Monday-Wednesday, which works for PSD, and for my client. Working 3 days a week is much better than working 5. (On that point I’m uncharacteristically resolved.)
In my spare days, I’ve started doing the things I always wanted to do if I had a bit more time. I’m coaching the Beacon High School Girls Ultimate Team. I’m really enjoying coaching because the girls get so much better every single practice. I start with them at 6:30 AM on Thursday morning and they are always enthusiastic at that hour, which is something of a miracle for 14-18 year-olds.
I’ve also spent a fair bit of time this year walking dogs and socializing cats at a Brooklyn Animal Shelter, Animal Care and Control. Please spay and neuter your pets! Please never buy puppies from farms and breeders that exacerbate the problem. Trust me, there are plenty of good dogs around, and if you ever need one, I will help you get one. Walking a great dog on his or her last day at the shelter has been one of the more bittersweet experiences of the year.
In November, I had a wonderful time visiting my entire extended family in Louisville, Kentucky for Thanksgiving. It was great to see all my cousins, aunts and uncles. In addition to the traditional over-eating, we took group trips to historic Churchill Downs (I won!) and the Louisville Slugger Bat Factory and Museum. I also attended my first ever college football game (UK vs. UT) with 70,000 of my closest allies. Special thanks to my cousins Matt & David who kept me housed, fed and flush with activities.
Ultimate-wise, this year was a bit strange. My beloved club team, Ambush, folded and I decided to try my hand at co-ed. I played for Zojirushi, which was full of nice people, but co-ed ultimate is really not for me, so it was a tough season.
This June I went hiking in Zion National Park in Utah. One of the hikes we did was 14 miles down a cold river with a current and steep rock walls on either side! In the river! I was scared and cold but the scenery was amazing. The highlight of that trip was seeing a pair of reintroduced condors.
My family is all doing well. My parents are still in Maryland and once again hosted most of one of my ultimate teams for a tournament in August. The ‘Ark’ seems to grow larger every day. There are 2 horses, 2 mini-horses, 2 cats and now 3 dogs in the Kelly Maryland compound. Do plan to shower there if you are hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Thanks to all of you who continue to ask about my niece Lindy. She is doing just great (happy, healthy, in first grade) and pretty much about to take over the world. I suggest you get used to the idea. Resistance is futile. She lives with her parents and older sister in Raleigh and all are doing well.
I am sure you all have causes that are important to you in your lives. I’ll just remind you that Pediatric Cancer Research is very near and dear to my heart and recommend Alex’s Lemonade Stand as a great charity to consider. A more tactical (and less costly) approach is to be a platelet donor. If you’re eligible to give blood, you can do it. It takes about an hour and 20 minutes and is just as easy as giving blood but helps cancer patients more than you can imagine.
What will 2010 hold? The crystal ball is a little hazy (try again later), but I expect to continue coaching girls ultimate and perhaps captain a (relaxed) women’s club team of my own. There is also a possible trip to Rwanda on the horizon. Please let me know if you will be in NYC as I’d love to see you.
As always, those of you seeking more frequent updates should bookmark my blog: courtneyspondence.blogspot.com. Best wishes for 2010 and for Peace on Earth.