Hello friends. I thought I’d write a few lines again just to see what it feels like. Almost everything else is different.

It’s a beautiful time of year in this town. The days are getting cooler and the leaves are changing. The air is clear. Mornings are crisp.


7:28:51 AM

Married life is going well. Time goes by so fast. Seems like every year the pace increases. Once in a while we have a lazy Saturday where nothing is really planned or necessary, and these days are enjoyed very much.


Library of Congress basement on a lazy Saturday

Our wedding was in June. We went to Maine for our honeymoon and are still arranging and rearranging our tiny apartment. Now it’s October. Time flies.


Home-made pizza on Fridays

Biking is fun and I go on a ride whenever I can, which is usually about once a week. I enjoy riding the commuter trails because they’re smoother and largely free of traffic lights

CC trail

C&O Canal in Georgetown

I doubt there’s a traffic light-free mile anywhere within riding distance of our humble pad, and the bike trails are very agreeable.


A memorial or two

And the scenery, for a city, is okay if you like sailboats, rocky creeks, and national monuments all at the same time. I do.

Mt. Vernon trail

Mt. Vernon Trail

When traveling for work I like to explore the area by bike, and a recent trip to Houston was no different. I rode along the bayou for a few miles and through the more historic parts of the city.

bat bridge

Bats along the bayou

Bike shares typically charge between $5 and $10 for a 24-hour pass. Checkout times are set between 20 minutes and an hour; in order to avoid extra charges the bike cannot be checked out longer than this limit. It’s easy to check in the bike and check out to reset the timer.

Houston had the most friendly terms I’ve yet encountered at $5 for a 24 hour pass with 60 minute checkout limits. Stations were easily accessible and had just the right amount of full vs. empty slots. It felt like I had the entire system to myself as I didn’t meet a single other B-Cycle rider during my nine mile bike tour.


Houston B-Cycles

My employer has also changed. The work is a continuation of what I’ve been doing in the last two years, albeit with a larger firm and at a slightly faster pace. I consider myself a risk-averse person who values stability and predictability. As a survivor of the Great Recession, I am hyperaware that a stable job and the opportunity to report for work every day is an incredible gift.


Train-ing through New Jersey

On the other hand, I realize that pressure and a different perspective in retrospect have been my biggest growth drivers, and I grow the most under pressure to learn a new role. A favorite quote from one of my professors comes to mind:

Good education usually, even necessarily, entails discomfort on your part as new ideas are encountered and your thinking is stretched beyond its familiar boundaries. The feeling of discomfort, therefore, is actually a sign that you are paying attention, and recognizing the otherness of the phenomenon being explored to your own everyday world. Progress in learning comes when initial discomfort yields understanding rather than reaction, indicating that your mind is resettling in its new expanded terrain, rather than retreating to its safe “homeland.”


A Times Square walk-about

And so it is that I find myself again at the steepest part of the learning curve.


Arlington National Cemetery

All things considered, it’s been a pretty good summer. I like all four seasons the best.


I’m finishing up this post at a coffee shop on Capitol Hill. I have a window seat and a good view of the people streaming by. A minute ago two big SUV’s pulled up on the curb, bodyguards fanned out, and the Speaker of the House got in line for a coffee.

That’s why I like this town – the cozy coffee shops, the fall air, the leafy streets, and the weird feeling of walking through unwritten pages of history.

The road was long
Our steps were new
The storms of innocence
Strong and fresh they blew
Directions turned
Love changing hands
We stood like gods before
Our maps and plans
But all things must change
So don’t look back, just walk away

Now the cars come like rivers
Night comes like madness
Songs come like trains
Headlights flash in the darkness
Memories twist in the rain
And we feel those flickering moments
Like silk they’re the flags of our days
And the past is only the part of life
We’ve thrown away

But all things must change
So don’t look back, just walk away

~Calum and Rory MacDonald, Runrig