Camping in Santa Cruz

When I start any new endeavor I tend to let my imagination run wild and then I always end up disappointed because reality does not ever measure up to the limits of my imagination. I feared that when I accepted my current job at Twitter that the whole experience could never be as good as I imagined because of this. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Twitter and California completely blew away my expectations!!

First of all, the position I have is new, and it’s a great challenge as well as a satisfying feeling to be building our team from the ground up and contributing to that process. Second, the perks here are well beyond what I imagined it would really be like. A while ago I interviewed for a financial firm in Santa Monica, and they tried to show off all the perks they had for their employees, but I got the distinct feeling that they were putting on a show specifically because there was a potential new hire in the office that day. At Twitter, it really is just amazing all the things they do to take good care of their employees and keep everyone happy. They provide three square meals a day, freshly prepared and cooked on site, as well as an arsenal of snacks, beverages, and all kinds of other perks I won’t even go into because it would just take too much time.

Probably the greatest perk of all though is the fact that they understand the value of having a good work/life balance. My shift covers 12 hours a day, for 3 or 4 day weeks. The rest of the time is mine to do with as I please. This means I see my family more often, and we have more time to do awesome stuff that we couldn’t have done before. In addition, we’re living in beautiful California, where it hasn’t rained for like 3 months.

Taking advantage of this, last week we took off on a one day camping trip to Santa Cruz. When we left home, it was about 92 degrees out. When we reached Route 1 outside Santa Cruz I took my phone out to check the temperature. Turns out it was only 65 degrees there!! We turned off the air conditioning and opened all the windows to enjoy the cool, crisp, Pacific air. We got to the campsite not long after that, and once we had set up our tent and settled in, we took a drive down to the closest beach to see the ocean.

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The beach featured a dramatic drop from the parking lot to the sand, and it happened to be an overcast, foggy kind of day there, but we enjoyed running around for a few minutes before we went back to the car.

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The climb up the stairs was rough!

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Once we got back to the campsite, the girls took advantage of the banana bike rentals and bouncy beach thing:

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While Anna and I sat with the dogs and enjoyed a few relaxing moments together:

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Then Anna cooked up some burgers and hot dogs!!

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Afterwards I took the girls to the pool while Anna tended to the campfire:

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and finally we ended the day by roasting marshmallows and enjoying each other’s company!

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The whole family had an amazing time, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without Twitter! I am forever grateful for all the ways in which this company has helped us to improve our lives!

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Life is Good

I recently passed 90 days doing my new job at Twitter. Anna, the girls and I have started to settle into our new home, and school and work have been great, if not tiring. Bunny has started running track, which she has been excelling at! She really enjoys the events, and the younger kids all do the same events as the older kids, so she really feels a part of something bigger than herself or her school. Lila started doing a dancing/cheer class, which will be short lived but she is thoroughly enjoying it! Anna has been working hard at reupholstering and refinishing furniture in our house, in some cases to great transformative effect! I’m so proud of all my family members!!!

Working for Twitter has so far been the best professional experience of my life. The company takes great strides to keep their employees well (and healthily) fed, the work is very stimulating, and there are tons of interesting events going on all the time. Sometimes they’re just social, but there are also a lot of mentally stimulating events going on, from visitors coming in to present talks, to discussions that occur by serendipity. This week was the first week I took over primary duties in my new role, and while it’s been exhausting, it is really rewarding to know I’m having a positive impact so early on. My new schedule will start soon, and just in time for the summer months so our whole family will be able to spend a lot of time exploring the trails and other places in California. So much to do, and soon we’ll all have lots of time to do them! I’m really looking forward to that.

New opportunities

Yesterday was the last day of my employment at the Nasdaq Operations Center. It is extremely surreal to no longer be responsible for systems that I have been monitoring for several years. All of a sudden I am no longer responsible for the systems that I helped create and curate. It’s hard not to think about it. However, I have a new opportunity at Twitter to leverage my experience in operations at Nasdaq and I am excited to get started there. I will miss the relationships I have fostered at Nasdaq but its time to move on.

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Buddy Times

I just went away for a quick weekend with two of my best buddies.  We converged by plane in the great state of Maine, and basically just played video games and drank beers until we couldn’t stay awake anymore.  I was so excited to go that I didn’t sleep a wink the night before.  There is just something about spending some time with your friends that is so refreshing to the mind and spirit.  We had a great time, and I look forward to our plan of having quarterly get-togethers like that, each time at the next guy’s house, round robin style.

Shutting off

Lately I have been a real hermit.

I didn’t really notice except today Anna posted on myspace commenting on my recent closed-off-ness.

Now looking back on the last few days i realize I have been REALLY closed off. Saturday afternoon I spent all morning doing tasks around the house while Anna was inside with Bunny and then later running her own errands with Bunny. At roughly 4:30 her parents took Bunny away, and shortly thereafter I decended into the basement for a while and Anna made plans to go out as I was very glad to have an oppotunity to spend some time alone. So she went out to the mall for a few hours and I switched between teaching myself UNIX and playing GTA:SA. That night I spent a LOT of time alone, and to be honest, i really liked it. I used to have so much time to myself that I was eager to interact with people, like when I lived in Bloomfield and was unemployed for 9 months. It was nice to have the house to myself, no doubt, but by the end of the day I was eager to interact with other humans. Recently though, I probably only get about an hour or two of pure alone time a day, and somedays that just isn’t enough. I have to point out though that Anna only gets alone time when I’m upstairs with Bunny giving her a bath, and rarely any other time. So it’s not exactly egalitarian. Although I honestly do think that I need to have time to myself more than Anna does. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my guy reaction. But at the same time I have to recognize that Anna is spending roughly 99% of her time (asleep and awake) with Bunny, and the charge of caring for her. So if anyone deserves MORE time to themselves it’s definitely Anna.
So that’s where I’m at, feeling like a hermit lately and just wanting to clam up and shutdown. And I realize now that Anna has been asking me so much lately if I still love her and that she is taking my dimished communicating as a sign that I am getting bored with her or something. This is certainly not the case, but when I get in these funky modes I shutdown everything, indiscriminately. That being said, there is nothing that is bugging me or making me sad or anything like that, this just comes along every now and then and I just ride it out. I do wish I could have more time to sit down with UNIX and learn learn learn, but I’m sure we all have wishes that will go unfulfilled.