It’s Time For a Little More R+R

As I mentioned yesterday, I did a workshop with Robert van der Meer at Noorderpoort and at the beginning of the workshop, we had everyone make paper desk name plates.

Since I had already made one for Rain + Robert and I was in the midst of quickly showing how it was done, I folded up a second one and just wrote on it “R + R”.

Robert immediately said, “Time for a little R+R”.

I almost died.


Two things were immediately clear – we both like puns and it was going to be an awesome class.

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Stressed About Public Speaking and Leadership? It’s Time For Some R+R

Shoutout to E who is SUPER DUPER pregnant and due ANY SECOND and it’s her own birthday today and also HER mom’s birthday and wouldn’t it be keen if three generations of women were all born today? Happy birthday, E.

And also shoutout to H who totally WhatsApp’d me, “Here’s your daily reminder. Go do your blog before you’re in bed.:-)”


Today was a whole new ballgame for today’s workshop and most of that was due to two very important factors.

1. I experienced yesterday, learned from it, and consequently adjusted my approach.
2. Robert van der Meer joined me.

I guess that first point is more like three factors, but the rest of this could very easily turn into a love letter to those kids because DAYUM it was a GOOD DAY.

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I Was Already In Bed, People

I was just about to fall asleep when I realized that I hadn’t posted today.



This morning I gave this workshop over in Groningen at a business school.

The class was full of sixteen to twenty-three year olds.

Often I think of myself as just a big kid with all the enthusiasm and play that I do, but then I run into actual kids and I think, “Woah. I’m all kinds of adult.”

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Toastmasters Groningen at the Spring Division C Conference

Four of us made our way together by train to get there before the ten a.m. registration / start time.

Let me emphasize how FAR it is from all the way up north to all the way down… to the middle of the Netherlands.




Okay, it’s not that far.

But some of us got up at four thirty even though we set the alarm for five thirty cause we were SO FREAKING EXCITED!

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And Then I Lost

Yesterday was the third round of this year’s International Speech Contest, the Division C Contest.

I did my best. I was overtime. And then I wasn’t. And I almost started crying. The audience laughed a lot. Both men and women told me they cried afterwards. There were some amazing speeches tho. And I wasn’t in the top three.

This is my speech.

I’m flying along at forty thousand feet. I’m dressed in layers. I’m in the window seat. I’ve settled in for a long seven hour SLEEP.

Then I hear those magical words, “Chicken or Pasta”.


Chicken or pasta.

Do I want the healthier chicken or the TEMPTING pasta?

Easy, right?

Chicken or pasta is a simple question. Other questions can be a bit more complicated.

What should I study? What will my career be? Will I date that guy? Will I marry that girl? Do I rent or buy a house? Do I want children?

Contest Chair and fellow decision makers, if you have focus – if you know your way forward, making difficult decisions can be easier.

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In The Midst Of A Job Change And

No, I’m not leaving Red Hat.


I am changing departments and slightly changing responsibilities and while I’m not quite ready for THAT post, I’m totally ready to ramble on about this that and the other. Specifically, I’m LEAVIN’ ON A JET PLANE.

To scoot over to Boston for a team all hands meeting.

For two days.

I’ve never flown so much in such a short time and THEN, of course, the speech competition is this Saturday.

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I’m Competing Next Saturday In A Speech Contest

whenever i start working on this particular speech. this speech that i’m doing for a series of contests. this speech that won THAT club contest and that may or may not win the next level of the toastmasters international speech contests, my stomach starts flipping.

the fuck.


one of the things that happened while i was competing, in both the international speech AND the evaluator contests, is that i was flipping. the fuck. OUT. and that meant that my stomach was doing that butterfly thing. and that i was sweating ALL OVER. and i found it very difficult to focus. at all. i was shaking almost the ENTIRE NIGHT. even after awards were given and representation confirmed, i was high for hours. and then i crashed for DAYS. because this contest? well, it was similar to how i felt when i used to audition ALL THE TIME. back when i danced.

y’know, professionally.

not with a pole so much as scraping by in that weird modern contemporary way with lots of white make up and silky kimonos and excruciatingly slow movement. there were some auditions that were more stressful and somehow OVERWHELMING then others.

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WANTED: An RDO TripleO Speaker for CentOS Dojo at FOSDEM

Rich Bowen, RDO Community Liaison Extraordinaire, is looking for someone to give a demo / deep dive / tech talk:

I’ve been asked by the folks planning the CentOS Dojo at FOSDEM for a howto-style talk about deploying OpenStack on CentOS. This is for a fairly technical audience who will know probably know a lot about CentOS, but perhaps not much about OpenStack.

I know that this is really really late, but if you’re going to be in Brussels on Friday, February 3rd, and you’re not already presenting something at the CentOS Dojo, and you’re willing and able, I’d really like to hear from you (offlist) so that we can make this happen.

If you’re keen and available, quick, quick, like a bunny, comment here or email Rich directly via rbowen [at] redhat [dot] com.