Friday, April 18, 2008

Doors Open, Doors Close

I have a mind that enjoys having a Plan B. Perhaps that was to my advantage as a Program Manager. But when I closed the door to HP behind me last May 31st, I did not truly have a Plan B. I was going to become a homeschool teacher - teaching my own sons in Kindergarten and first grade - without pay.

What I did not know at the time was that I had just embarked on the most important position of my life, where I had the potential to make the biggest impact, for the least amount of gratitude. Not a dime will come my way, not a "Thank you" from one of the kids. That's OK; it's part of the job.

Shortly afterwards, however, I attended a one-day workshop to test the waters in a new sea, a position where I could feasibly work at home AND homeschool the boys. A job that would use existing skills, and where I would not be a Program Manager; a more entrepreneurial job.

Yesterday I took an even bigger step into that sea. I have now been trained, and in four to six weeks I'll be able to show everyone a link to the site where I will be represented.

Yeah, that's all I'm saying for now. Mum's the word. This is a new Plan B.

But in December 2010, my PMP certification expires. That's two more years of homeschooling. I have some time to swim in this new sea. The door to HP may be shut, but to other doors it is still open to me as a PMP-certified Program Manager; other doors will shut in January 2011. I must have enough project management-related educational points to recertify, or my certification will simply lapse. I will never take the PMP qualifying exam again - it was awful, and by all accounts it has become even more heinous since I passed it.

I will open doors and see where they lead. I will dive into waters that were untested before. Life is an adventure, or nothing.

A friend from HP died after being thrown from her horse last week. She was young. But she was with the person and the animal she loved most. May we all be so lucky.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Don't do this at home

I bake a lot of bread. Loaves and loaves of beautiful bread, generally by hand. If my kitchen is clean and I have a day to myself, I bake bread. If I'm at loose ends, I bake bread. If I'm showing a munchkin how to multiply fractions, we bake bread. If I can't sleep, I bake bread (the case last night).

Ah, so here begins the recipe for disaster: I was up at 3am today baking whole wheat sourdough bread. I am sleep deprived. Yeah, that's it. That explains everything.

Anyway, here is my latest recipe for disaster:

Bake an artisan loaf that calls for making fast steam in the oven directly after "sliding loaves onto bread stone with gentle snapping motion" (which has never worked for me so far). Use tried and true "put pan in bottom of oven and pour water into it", a method I've even witnessed Peter Beckmann use when helping me with a wet Italian loaf one day.

But instead of using the heavy metal pans I generally use, start thinking about how much fun it would be to watch the water bubble in a glass baking dish. I have SEVERAL bread pans - use one of them. Wonder for a second or two if possibly this could end in disaster (this is called foreshadowing - it lures you into the next paragraph). Think aw, hell, I have lots of bread pans.

1. put glass bread pan in the bottom of the oven. Set the oven to 450 degrees.
2. put the loaves onto the baking stone (with great difficulty, since the stone isn't big enough for 3 loaves) when the oven is heated.
3. pour approx. 2 cups of tap water into the baking dish.

The breakage is immediate and spectacular.
To Pyrex's credit, there were no spiky shards or anything that could hurt me laying at the bottom of my oven.
These were probably be my best loaves ever. :-)