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I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

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Paul Tevis

Entries in things i've done (111)


How Good Was This Weekend?

I learned how to make bacon. That’s how good it was.

Last week was a whirlwind, with my trip to San Diego backed up against the West Coast Culinary Symposium. But every bit of it was worth it. While in our San Diego office, my partner-in-crime and I interviewed someone who we really want to work with. Not only is that exciting, the interview itself produced several a-ha moments for me that I’m trying to apply at work today. Follow that with a day-long workshop on retrospective techniques taught by Diana Larsen in a room full of like-minded people (about a quarter of whom I met at the Scrum Coaches Retreat last year), and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty satisfying professional week. And that only took me through Thursday evening.

Thursday night and Friday morning involved an amusing series of train rides to get me from San Diego to Riverside, where I met up with Gwen around noon. She was coming from home and picked me up on the way to the Symposium. We got there just at 3 PM, which was the earliest we were allowed to arrive, so apparently we timed that about right. The train rides and waiting time gave me a chance to almost completely catch up on my backlog of poetry, which took a huge weight off my mind. And then the weekend was spent eating too much, learning a ton (including the aforementioned lesson on bacon), and hanging with new and old friends. I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to run court on Saturday night (though looking back on it, I was the logical choice) and even more pleased with the feedback that I got about how it went. When we got home on Sunday evening, I was tremendously satisfied with the week and ready to sleep in my own bed again.

So what’s on the slate for this week? I need to get started a slightly long-term craft project. Gwen and I need to decide if we’re going skiing or not (and if not, do we day-trip to an SCA event down at Camp Josepho). I’ve got travel logistics for a bunch of upcoming events that I should square away.

Oh, and we’ll need to try the bacon we started.


A Weekend at Home Was Just What We Needed

Because of the kind of people we are, Gwen and I hadn’t had a weekend at home in mumble, mumble. This one was particularly nice. Inspired by the brewing class I taught on Thursday, I moved along several of my brewing projects and started two more batches of mead. I did two shows with the Ventura Improv Company, which was good for the soul. I banged out a bit more poetry. We watched some hockey, listened to the rain, imposed a bit more order on the house, and figured out the arrangements we needed in order to be out town of this coming weekend (because, of course, two weekends in a row at home would be unthinkable). We capped it all off with a wonderful dinner with friends. It was rejuvenating.

This week, of course, will be busy. We’ll be in Idyllwild for the West Coast Culinary Symposium, but before that I’ve got a trip down to San Diego for a workshop with Diana Larsen. This means an amusing series of car and trains rides to make sure that Gwen and I end up in the same place at the same time on Friday, but I’m sure we’ll work it out. I’ve got a weaving project that I would like to get started, but I probably won’t have time to do that before I leave. And I should really start pulling together plans and handouts for the heraldry class I’m teaching in three weeks.

So, yeah, rest was nice. Now back to it.


Owning Failure

Last night, I discovered I’d made a rookie brewing mistake and ruined the five batches of beer I brewed in July. This post is me taking my failure bow.

Short version: When sanitizing my bottles, I didn’t give them enough time to dry, leading to a significant flavor of sanitizer in my beer. Oops.

This mistake came at a particularly opportune time, as I’ve been reading The Gifts of Imperfection, which talks about the importance of acknowledging that we make mistakes. In that process, we have to keep in mind that:

  • “I want to be better. != “I can’t make a mistake.”
  • “I made a mistake.” != “I am a mistake.”
  • “I am not perfect.” != “I am not worthy of love and belonging.”

Do I like that ruined five gallons of beer? No. But there’s nothing I can do about that now. What I can do is surrender the feeling that “I am wrong” by acknowledging that “I did something wrong.” I can decide to do something to move forward, rather than dwell on something I can’t change. I can choose to own my failure, to be vulnerable in such a way that it no longer has power over me.

So: [arms up] [dumb-ass grin] Thank you! I have failed! [bow]

Now to make some more beer.


One Hundred and Eleven, To Be Precise

I’m now more than a hundred days into the year, and the first four months of 2013 have been a whirlwind of doing. One of my few regrets about it has been that this blog has dropped off the bottom of the priority list. What’s been above it?

  • Building my first fighting kit and authorizing as an armored combat fighter in the SCA (as well as becoming a herald).
  • Getting back into running by slowly up-ing my weekly mileage and doing yoga everyday to prevent the kinds of injuries that have plagued me before, then catching a cold and losing almost a month of workout time.
  • Retiring my Dying Kingdoms character in epic fashion and rolling in a new one.
  • Spending almost every weekend since the beginning of the year with Gwen, either at a DK or SCA event, or skiing.
  • Handing off my Scrum Master responsibilities at work to the person who I had (secretly) trained to be my replacement.

When I write it like that, it sounds like so little, and yet, it’s been all-consuming. It’s also been a ton of fun, though I do like that I’m coming up for a brief bit of air.


Friday Roundup for 21 December 2012

Where am I at this week?

Body and Mind

How can I tell that I’m getting somewhere with my mindfulness work? Because when I got stuck in the Denver airport for an indefinite period of time and had to wait in the customer service line for two hours to find out what my options and fate were, I handled it with equanimity, rather than melting down like the woman behind me. That calmness also helped me work though the possibilities open to me and allowed me to realize a not-terrible solution.

Friends and Family

My folks arrived here yesterday and will be with us through next Thursday. I actually got to drive up the coast with them, because the solution to the “the flight to Santa Barbara has been canceled” problem was to fly to Orange County — where they had been visiting the Nixon library — and have them pick me up.


On my trip to Wisconsin last week, I spent most of my airplane and airport time knitting. Now I’m in search of something to do next that will use up more of the yarn in my stash. I did manage to get out that episode of The Paulcast that I promised last week, and I suspect I’ll do a few more before the end of the year. Last night I actually cooked dinner for the first time in far too long, and it was really, really good.


Hardly anything this week. I suspect a backlog will appear next Friday.

This Week’s Soundtrack: Sun Midnight Sun, Sara Watkins


I had a very valuable week with the whole team together in Wisconsin this week, in no small part because the half-life of trust is six weeks, and it’s been more than two years since I’ve been face-to-face with some of my teammates. We got some good work done, and just as importantly, we did that work together.

The Weekend

Improv show Saturday night, catching up on some reading, and doing a whole lot of nothing.