Half and Half

So we have reached the end of the first half of 2024. The beginning of fiscal year 2025. And it has been and continues to be a year like no other I’ve ever experienced.

The first thing that tells us in which part of the year we are is the heat. And it has been, for most of us East coasters, extreme. If you know me though, then you know it’s hard to keep me inside when it’s not raining. Note I do know to listen to my body and seek shelter/water when told to by my various systems to do so. But understanding my need for heat, my wife got me this cool Neck Fan. Up until a couple weeks ago, I didn’t know such a thing existed. Weighing about as much as a headset band, it fits comfortably around the neck and blows air out through upward-facing slats. I’m actually curious how it works, since obviously there are no blades to generate the air. But you can set it at three speeds, and I’ve found that at the middle speed it’s quite effective in keeping me cool and minizing sweat, which of course helps me retain said water. So that thing is going to make my summer a lot more enjoyable.

The second thing that tells me where I am in the year is the amount of books I have consumed. (Side note: do you said you’ve “read” an audiobook? Because my wife and I are having a little discussion about that as well. I guess as a practical matter you are listening to someone read to you, but assuming it’s still a standard book and not something that tilts more toward an audio drama I argue that you are still using many of the same brain components that are involved in textual reading.) Any way you slice it, I have taken in more books (45) than I ever had at this time of year. I think that stems from my low tolerance for stories that aren’t grabbing me, which means I sometimes flick through three titles before settling on one. Lots of historical fiction, as that’s what people seem to be producing in spades these days. I especially love travel and adventure, currently into one called The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West by Sara Ackerman in which a woman enters an air race from San Francisco to Hawaii in 1927. It has some of the same elements of a Lisa Wingate book, as there is a character in 1987 Hawaii who discovers that she will inherit an estate from her great aunt. I’m not sure yet how the stories are going to tie together, but I’m also enjoying these increasingly popular dual-timeline novels.

And the final thoughts I have regarding the first half of 2024 involve my job. I spent nearly these entire six months working with two individuals in particular. I taught one how to perform some actions required in customer service and to do some basic work in Excel. This was rewarding, as he grasped many of the concepts we worked on. But what I found even more rewarding is the work I’ve done with a woman who wished to start learning some JAWS skills. I’ve learned the art of repetition, and of coming up with strategies to try and make the material more memorable. When I informed her that our sessions would be ending, or rather transitioning into a larger course that I will lead on using JAWS with web browsers, she said “Aww, I want more!” This made me feel good, as admittedly I had hoped she was even enjoying any of it or at least feeling like our work was useful. It is still nice to do work that truly matters, and that I hope will help someone achieve their career goals someday.

and that’s what I got for you as we prepare to embark on the rest of this year and our lives. We shall see what kind of fun awaits us on the other side. How was your first half?

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