"I'm at the awkward stage between birth and death." - Zen to Zany image of an older woman holding her handbag while standing in front of a chair

This weekend, for the first time in my life, I harvested artichokes from my garden. Cooking them took significantly less time than it usually does with store-bought artichokes… and when we got past the tougher outer leaves, there were no bristly choke leaves. It was all buttery, juicy, flavorful heart of fresh artichoke–but this time including all the inner leaves and without having to cut out inner protective spines.

Maybe there’s a metaphor here. I haven’t had to spend time on-site in any offices recently, so I’ve been able to pile on credentials–if you want an Agilist, I now have my PMI-ACP as well as my ICP certifications on top of the Scrum Master. I’m still studying for my first SAFe credential, but have also picked up several employer-specific badges. It’s hard to tell at this remove whether I’m just gilding the lily, or there are real benefits to be gained. I will say that among the ceremonies, core values and principles, the signal that I’ve seen get lost in the noise over and over as Agile is implemented, is that the whole point is to work toward creating a high-performing team–which really isn’t possible without a leader who is fostering an emotionally safe space in which a team can blossom. Tellingly, if you head over to Women In Agile, you’ll find a blog full of tips about being a good mentor.

Agile is primarily a tool used in software development, and certainly that’s where I’m at home with it. Yet there are interesting signs that our love affair with technology might be facing a reality check. I recently read a review of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” that came with the headline that the movie “predicted our bleak relationship with technology.” And another article that argued against the deeper use of AI. And finally one that many sci-fi authors before me have addressed about the creation of an “ideal city,” designed to maximize its private owners’ vision of a technologically advanced and yet human-centric location.

I’m actually more encouraged by news about partnerships between small farms and localities, such as NPR reported a few months back. In my quest for more reasonably priced, as well as organic and heirloom varietals of seedlings, I discovered Azure Standard, which seems to be working toward connecting ethically and organically sourced produce with discerning consumers. Then there was the validation that having a hobby (in my case most recently, gardening), has a slew of significant mental health benefits.

So while I’ve been radio silent here, there’s been a lot of necessary activity around what we’re now jokingly calling the Husky Homestead. We’ve already built and filled one raised bed and are in the process of building a second one. Since we’re following Hugelkultur practices, that means we’re also cutting down major dead branches and collecting as much garden debris as possible to save on topsoil. It’s been quite a work out.

So the more sedentary pursuits of winter writing sprints are in my rearview mirror for the moment. And given the strange turns my dreams have been taking lately, I’m sure the twists of the final chapters of the Planet Seekers series will be all the better for having lain fallow for a few months. As usual, I’ll keep you posted here.

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