In every meeting--whether by chance or by invitation--there is something to be gleaned. We learn something that we did not know before. Perhaps we learn just a name and title of a person. Or we may find that meeting has changed our perception and understanding in some fundamental way.

Certainly, the SWVBRC Orientation leaves a veteran with a sense of transformation. But, like the caterpillar's building of a cocoon, the change is only in preparation for some greater transformation.

In this manner I, the caterpillar, have been wrapped in the title of Learner--my cocoon--so that I may continue to develop my awareness of my role, rights, and responsibilities as a veteran and a contributor to the United States economy. I feel swaddled in the sense that there is something to look forward to--not only for myself, but for all veterans in all levels of need. Moreover, I have been reminded that I am not alone and am a member of a very special race: American Veterans.

NOTE: This is a repost from www.wherecommunitiesserveveterans.org/EbersBlog. Please leave all comments on that original post. Thanks.
 
As 2010 begins, I've got several new things going on.
First is the completion and launch of the new Kineteka Systems website: www.kinteka.com. This project aimed to consolidate the various Kineteka brands (PodGizmo, GeekLoot, VideoSlide, etc) and services into one place. A few bugs appeared post-launch, but that's inevitable. Overall, I'd say that it's a successful bit of news for 2010.
Second is the more personal news pertaining to home appliances. I discovered when trying to run a bath that the hot water heater is rusting inside-out. It's not leaked or blown just yet, but I'd rather not give it a chance. So, a new Energy Star water heater will arrive in the first month of this new year.
Additionally, I've been searching for a better washer/dryer combination for some time. With the new addition to the family due in March, laundry in a 10+ year old top-load washer and electric dryer would be something of an expensive, exhausting challenge. So, a high-capacity, front-load washer and natural gas dryer (Energy Star rated, of course) will also arrive this month.
Preparing for appliances and baby means lots of new work to do around the house. That's a lot of rearranging and organizing for the first quarter of 2010. I'm fascinated to see how my project management skills translate into family/home management.
Another new project is helping Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center gain a foothold in the DFW area as well as taking responsibility for their site: www.swvbrc.org. Although a volunteer position, I am enthusiastic about the ultimate mission of the organization: eradicating homelessness for veterans. Their empowerment philosophy is as impressive as their business plan. More on that as the project progresses.
A few other projects (paid and otherwise) are in the works and I'm hopeful. Of course, finding a full-time job in the near future would certainly top it all off.
Either way, 2010 has a lot in store. Happy New Year!
 
I mentioned in my previous post that I'd been very busy with a very special project. Not the kind that requires much writing, long work hours, or high-tech tools. However, there are numerous 'meetings' and much 'project management'--not to mention all the safety precautions! So what is this project? We're having a baby in March!
Yes, that is my excuse for lazily ignoring my website. I've barely had the energy to keep up with day-to-day necessities, let alone luxuries such as blogging. I'm sure you will forgive me for the absence.
My plans are to return to sketching out my thoughts here in the near future. But, if I'm absent for too long, you can always catch me on Twitter.
 

For those who've not heard, I'm raising money for a good cause: professional development. I'm trying to find the money to pay for my Lavacon registration. Here are some FAQs about the web 2.0 funding experiment.

Why Am I Doing This?
I just found out this week that my company pulled the plug on the funds after I'd been planning all year to attend LavaCon, a conference for advanced technical communication, project management, and related professional development. At the time I started making arrangements I had no idea this was going to happen. It was approved as part of my goals and development training for the year, so I took it for granted. Lesson learned.

How Am I Contributing?
I am paying for the hotel room ($200/night) and airfare ($350) to attend a respected professional conference. But I haven't the money for the registration. I do not have a credit card I can put $750 on. Nor can I get another loan.

Why Do I Need Help?
My husband was out of work from last September until the beginning of this month. And he earns less than I do. We just got married in January and paid for it with our savings. We also just bought a house a year ago. So, there is no way I can afford this opportunity without a little help.

Why Not Just Wait Until Next Year?
Next year and almost every year this conference is in Hawaii. And that is certainly not someplace I could afford (nor would my company believe I was there to learn). A few years back, Lavacon was in New Orleans to help support economic recovery post-hurricane. Once again, it will be there for similar reasons. But when will it next be on the continent? Maybe never.

Why is This Conference So Important to Me?
Many conferences (some much less pricey) offer great information for professionals, but in my experience, Lavacon pins down some of the topics most appropriate to my job and career path. Next to the STC Summit, I would say this is the most important conference for my career.

What Will I Do for These Donations?
In exchange for your assistance, I promise to blog and tweet about this social experiment as well as the entire conference (as much as possible). This will allow you to participate vicariously in the professional conference. If you choose.

What Sessions Do I Plan to Attend?
Although this may change as more information becomes available, these are the sessions I am looking at attending:
* Networking/Reception
* Keynote Address
* Start Early and Plan for Success: Business Readiness for PMs and Tech Writers
* Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: Strategies for Integrating User-Generated Content
* Understanding and Leveraging the Content Lifecycle
* One Hat, Two Hats or Three… How many do you wear?
* Are you a Right-Brain or Left-Brain Thinker? Essential Aptitudes for the Digital Future
* Developing Effective Training for Intangible Products
* Critical Thinking Skills for Conflict Resolution
* Designing and Implementing Embedded, Dynamic User Assistance
* Integrating Usability Testing into Your Product Dev Lifecycle
* Usability Testing and User-Centered Design Activities

How Can You Help?
I'm running this fundraiser through Fundable. There is no risk to you in that if I fail to make the $750 for registration (within the next 4 weeks), the money is not taken from anyone. Not one cent. The website is below:
http://www.fundable.com/groupactions/groupaction.2009-07-13.2168860841
Thank you everyone who is helping make this happen.

 

Some of my more observant friends and peers have pointed out that I've a particularly unique name. This is both a blessing and a curse. In a crowd of people I don't turn my head when someone yells "Jennifer!" or "Susie!" or some other fashionable name. On the other hand, it's rather difficult to hide comments, ideas, and embarrassing information on the Internet.
The obvious and oft-suggested solution is to use a pseudonym. Pseudonyms and nicknames are great and easily help identify one Jennifer from the other million. But, in our modern cybereality, there is no real secrecy--no true privacy. I know this because I do, in fact, have many alternate names. I have a dance name, a gaming name, a convention name, an SCA name, several online names, and oh the nickname my mother still calls me--despite my best efforts to teach her not to.
So rather than bury my head in the ground and pretend these names protect me, I'm baring my being to the digital world in the hope that those who find me here know me well enough to overlook those little embarassments. And those who don't... well, what can I do? I am who I am and I do what I do.
Welcome digiverse. You've found Arroxane.

 

I've been meaning to redesign my website for a very long time. This is round two and I expect it will stay like this for a while. However, please be aware that this site is under construction and subject to change without notice.

For those who tweet, I'm on Twitter as Arroxane.