Sunday, December 31, 2017

Health Care vs Health Insurance

There is much talk about health insurance and even drug costs but so little about health care - quality or costs.

I have had individual health insurance for the last 17 years and for a few other scattered years before that. Most years I have been the insurance company dream client paying more in premiums than they paid out in coverage. One year I had a sports injury (sprain) with an ER visit. One year I had knee surgery and met my deductible but not the maximum out of pocket for the year.  This year was a bit more traumatic for me and more costly for the insurance company but because of insurance, it was limited in out of pocket expenses.

It also provided some data in terms of care and cost with and without insurance. I know that health insurance currently provides me with several things.
  • Coverage for certain preventive screenings and care as required by law.
  • A maximum out of pocket per year amount for health care costs. (and no annual or lifetime limits)
  • A reduced rate for the health care I need (and pay for myself) from in-network arrangements.
  • And as long as I keep insurance, coverage for "pre-existing" conditions requiring on going treatment (ie asthma).
Most (the exception being the variety of choice for and in the in-network provider list) of these benefits are better than the plans I had before ACA and just now (5 years later) becoming more expensive than what I had before ACA. I have said before, the ACA is not perfect. It was too complicated a project to get everything right the first time through. It needs some tweaking. But the past year's attempts to repeal and replace, along with all the calls from constituents demanding components stay around, confirm my opinion that there is more good in there than bad.

I think one topic being left out of the discussion is the cost of health care. It impacts those without insurance and it impacts the insurance companies. Even the not for profit insurance companies just trying to break even.

Many people recognize the maximum out of pocket limits. Many complain that even those limits are out of their reach especially on top of the premium costs. I wonder though, how many realize how much they save by being "in the club".  Take my annual checkup with lab work and stuff.  Most was covered by the plan. The insurance breakdown was
  • Billed: $498
  • Allowed: $255.69
  • Covered: $155.83
  • My costs: $99.86 (I had some additional "optional" labs).
Note that the original billed costs was almost twice the  "in-network" cost negotiated by the insurance company.

My ultrasound (not including the doctor review) was:
Billed: $755.00
Allowed: 275.90

This should be comparable to any xray or scan of a sports injury by an otherwise healthy person who thinks they do not need health insurance.  Without the insurance they would be paying 3x as much plus the costs of the ER visit and a Doctor review and exam. I just gained back a month (or more) of my premiums with the savings negotiated for that procedure.

Then there is the hospital bill for my surgery (not including the surgeon or the anesthesiologist)
Billed: $22,814.89
Allowed: $7,469.49

So really, the hospital can do the surgery for 1/3 the price? Does this qualify as price gauging the uninsured?Or is it a "discount everyone gets" so even a government employee is allowed to be billed the lower amount?

Government talks about drug costs being out of control but they rarely talk about hospital costs and equipment costs. A lot of the equipment costs, like drug costs, are related to FDA regulation, certification, and testing. I suspect there is room for improvement in the efficiency of those procedures. Meanwhile, the costs are set mostly by for-profit companies. Who can retain the best doctors? Can you pay the registered nurses enough to make the doctors look even better? How do we meet the requirements for sterile environments or obtain the most accurate diagnostic equipment? And for the hospitals, who covers the cost of the uninsured who default on payments? Rural areas may have only one hospital and no competition (which can both help and hurt).

Remember when buying a car was about who could haggle the best? There is a suggested retail price and a dealer price (which varied by dealer) and the consumer had to figure out how to find the best deal somewhere in between but few had the "dealer price" available when negotiating. Now it is pretty easy to find out the what others are paying and the negotiation window is smaller. In health care costs, the consumer does not even get to option to negotiate a price between the "billed" and "allowed" that I see on my insurance statements. We have to pick an insurance company (if we get a choice) and hope they are negotiating well with the pool of money they collect from premiums.

With so many private businesses and so little transparency, how can anyone find out these costs before a treatment? How can they shop around for the best combination of care and cost? It is only with the statements from my insurance company that I see these numbers and the huge difference in costs for the uninsured vs those privileged to have insurance. So people look at what they can see. The cost of the premiums and the amount they need to find if they have to pay up to the deductible or maximum out of pocket.

I'm not sold on single payer but I do wonder if letting private industry set the prices is still the best thing. If there were more companies (both providers and insurance companies) competing maybe it would still work. Medicare has some history of red tape, abuse of entitlements, and wasteful spending but overall and recently it is one of the best run insurance companies out there.  Unless government gets involved in more than just the insurance aspect, there is still a battle between the private business elements of health care (providers and equipment companies) and making sure essential needs are available for all humans (especially the children). Is there another option that hasn't been found yet? Will a better understanding (by consumer, business, and government) of the health care costs help find those options?
I have more questions than answers.
I will not, however, be taking advantage of the dropped "mandate penalty".
I will keep health insurance. It is worth the premiums to avoid the financial risk while stressed about ones own health.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

How was 2017? (my personal view)

As the year winds down there is a flurry of "how was your year" posts. Some point to a blog post. Some ramble in the new expanded twitter. Some are probably on Facebook and I'll never know (I am not!). There are all types: the average, the "hated it" but hope for a better next year, the "wow I did that!", and everything in between.

My favorite has been a very upbeat twitter thread:

I stayed out of that thread. The work related accomplishments were good but business as usual and for the personal side I fall more in the started ugly but got better as the year went on category. My personal year in review also makes a solid case for having health insurance and access to great health care (and those are two different things despite what DC and the news might make one think!)

Sidebar: I am a fan of women's basketball and have been since growing up in eastern TN. I was a band geek supporting players who went on (eventually) to the WNBA. While working on my master's degree I found a new team to love. I even had the opportunity to represent SILS as an honorary coach for a game and am now a dedicated season ticket holder. I spent a year taking photos and maintaining the web page and weekly newsletter of the fan club, Team Tempo. I ended up the 2010 volunteer of the year for that fun.

I finished last year reading Coach Hatchell's book Fight! Fight!: Discovering Your Inner Strength When Blindsided by Life. about her winning fight against cancer.  It was inspiring and my health struggles are (still) nothing in comparison. They center mostly around not enough exercise and too much stress eating and social drinking. I had just buried one feline companion and was nursing the other through old age ailments but I still had that Jan motivation to do better this year.

And then...

Feb: (at Dr annual visit...) "it is probably nothing... lets get an ultrasound"
Mar: "Its still probably nothing. 90% are benign but lets get a biopsy"
Apr: (while at the vet) "Suspicious" "surgeon" "Cancer Center" "appointment" blah blah blur.

Somewhere between scheduling the biopsy and the results I was at the Hatchell Radio Show and had her sign my copy of her book. I couldn't help wondering how she really felt hearing those words. I was still at the probably nothing stage and my head was buzzing.

The other really interesting thing that I did not completely realize until after the surgery... for the last couple of months, my cat had been annoying me with her paw pressing on my throat. It was uncomfortable. I would move her, she would return to that spot. She stopped the day I had the biopsy. And after the surgery (and enough healing) when I realized swallowing was easier, I also realized that the paw there had hurt because of the nodule.  She knew? I believe.

In May things got MUCH better.
The surgery went well from the surgeon's view. Everything was benign. I still have the other half of my thyroid. So far it is working well enough I don't even need any drugs to help it work right.

It took me a while to get over the anesthesia (I don't react well to chemicals) and for my body to adjust to half a thyroid. At least it was summer so I was able to stay warm. I slept through a lot of it.

I own the company I work for, so of course my company was supportive. But so were my clients. The part time gig I was working on just got stretched out a bit more. Shorter weeks and more of them but less gaps away teaching. I had to cancel one teaching week and hold off scheduling some others but once I knew I was good, we worked out the scheduling. The year ended up being one of the best for my company.

The year also ends upbeat for a friend of the family also being declared cancer free (after chemo and surgery). She must have told Mom around the time I was having the biopsy. Mom didn't tell me until after the surgery.

So my accomplishments?
- surviving (medically)
- surviving (financially)
- remembering what is important: in life, in work, in friends, in family, in faith.

Overall, and despite the empty house and current pain from cold induced asthma, I am ending the year more calm than I ever remember. And more content with myself and my life.

-SML (Go Heels!)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Holiday week

This is a holiday week. Most of my clients are shutdown for the whole week. Even the local library has a few extra days closed.  It means it should also be a week of personal time for me. Of course, as a small business owner who runs the company on a calendar year cash basis, it is the week I make sure all the paperwork is in order for end of year accounting and taxes. It is also a week where I can use self paced and online learning to catch up on some work related but non-billable professional development. 

While this blog was created to share the more personal and fun side of my professional life shared, it was still intended to stay professional. Sometimes the two mix and this week I am going to try to keep my writings less technical and more personal.

I will start with reading lists. All the year end best reads are out and I am looking for something fun.

NPR has 374 to choose from in their Book Concierge app.

TechGirlz suggested A Mighty Girl list. has 10 must-read DevOps resources (see I can't stay away from work related topics completely)

I also need to get a copy of Despite the Height (and see if I can get it signed at a game this season).


Friday, December 22, 2017

Year in Review - reconnecting with Cloudera Training

I already wrote about Red Hat adventures of the past year but that is not the only part of my (professional) world. I also do some work with Apache Hadoop, mostly in partnership with Cloudera, Inc. I did not make any of the big data conferences this year but I did reconnect with Cloudera Training and Certification.

Apache Hadoop just had a release update but I am not sure when enough changes will trigger a major update to the downstream enterprise products.

The big news of the year for Cloudera as a company was the IPO (unfortunately they did not have a friends offering but hey, it isn't the big boom days either).

Over the past couple of years Cloudera has been moving their certifications to hands-on. This is a "good thing".

The big new class of the year is the Big Data Architecture Workshop which I have not yet had the chance to attend but am very interested (anyone care to sponsor me?). I do need to learn a bit more of the data science developer side first.

This year I had a chance to see some of the Cloudera Training OnDemand training (which they launched in 2016) and continue to contribute to some of their course materials.

A couple of related topics that I would like to explore in the coming months.
  • Integrating Cloudera Manager and FreeIPA. CM recognizes AD and direct admin connections to an MIT KDC but for FreeIPA it needs a custom script. 
  • Expore how the open Ambari manager works with securing hadoop clusters when using FreeIPA for the KDC. It appears to have been available as experimental since Ambari 2.4 according to this article.
  • Investigate Hadoop ecosystem and similar products  with Containers. Such as Machine Learning on OpenShift and Kubernetes and Big Data and Apache Spark on OpenShift Pt. I (2016)

It can be interesting to see the different and similar ways that companies manage curriculum development. Some day maybe I will see if I can get the permissions needed to share my amusements. Of course I have an opinion on which ways are better - just let me check on who is paying my fees for this week....  😇

I'll end with a plug for the Cloudera Training 2018 schedule since I hope that they sell enough seats to need me to teach! :)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Year in Review - Red Hat training activity

I have been a certified instructor since the beginning of the program in 1999. I have contracts with delivery partners and am required to keep up on my skills and other information around the program.  This a roundup of information from 2017 which is relevant to this part of my world.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Themes and Layouts

The layout of this blog was past getting on my nerves. It was an old theme, probably now a "classic" theme, from when I started the blog many (many, many, get off my lawn) years ago.

Blogger got acquired, options got updated, and the look of the theme I had got narrow.  I tried just adjusting the widths. That was "not available for this theme".  So I clicked around a bit and picked something else not too objectionable. 

I did edit and repost the last entry I made. I wanted the pictures to be placed better. But perfection was not to be. At least not tonight. 

I skimmed some other old posts - only a couple of pages worth - and most do not look to bad with the change.

The edit mode is still narrow and not anywhere near wysiwyg. This makes it hard to place pictures and text together nicely.  I may have to try some more options soon.  I may need to find a better host. Change is hard though.


RIP little Toni

Toni: July 14, 1998 - Apr 3, 2017

Toni stayed with me for just over three months after Cleo left us. It just took me a lot longer to pull together the memories and pictures.

She was the inquisitive one but very shy at first. When I met them, Cleo was playing but Toni was content to sleep on the bed in the other room.  She was quiet, small, and shy. When I got them home I found out who was boss!  (hint: it was not the bluebird at the window!).

Cleo would get "caught" on the counters or into something but I soon discovered that Cleo only checked things out after Toni. Toni would hear me coming and get away from the trouble (and look at me innocently) as I chased Cleo away. Other times Cleo sat patiently waiting her turn, such as when Toni took over ALL the new catnip toys.

Toni rarely curled up with her sister and until the old age caused too much pain from the cold, she rarely cuddled with me either. She just was not a lap cat or big on being held.

That is, other than at night in bed - where she also hating sharing. She would glare until her sister left and try to take her half out of the middle even with me before settling in on top of the covers and between my ankles.

She was pretty good at staring me awake in the mornings too. When that didn't work, she would bat at my face.

During the day, she was an expert at following the sun.

The last few months though, in her search for warmth and comfort, she was determined to make it hard for me to type by draping herself across my arm.  These were, of course, work from home, bad hair day, haven't taken a shower yet, productive days.

She also started sleeping under the covers but by then was also so skinny that sometimes I had to lift the covers to actually find her.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Triangle InfoSeCon - a (late) summary

Just a few thoughts on Triangle InfoSeCon 2017:
(and a record of sessions attended for CISSP continuing education credits).

A collection of available slides is at:

For the most part I got into my first choice of talks each session. At least one was full before I decided. While this conference has less tracks than All Things Open (at the same venue) it has only a few less attendees. The people to seat ratios mean that some sessions are very full.

Low Hanging Fruit – Protecting Yourself from Ransomware by Being Brilliant at the Basics (Slides)
An entertaining speaker with good information but the all too common "too much info for the allocated time". I look forward to hearing from him again in the future.

The 3 Reasons Why Small Businesses Don't Have Better IT Security And Where to Start

The Machine Fights Back: AI and the Future of Cyber Defense (Afternoon Keynote) by Nicole Eagan - CEO at DARKTRACE
Fascinating implementation of learning patterns for each deployment instead of always comparing to a common and usually too generalized baseline. 

Basic Web Threat Hunting
You cannot go wrong with a reference to regex golf!

Recent Developments in the Law of Cybersecurity
I think this is was an update of last year. Not as much has changed but I do hope this type of talk continues to get offered.

Trends in Healthcare Information Security and Privacy - Panel Discussion
This ended up being more about Security IT in hospitals and such. Very informative on how recent FDA instructions impact the fight to get vendors to allow OS updates on equipment. However, I was hoping for some information about how trends are impacting the individuals and doctor-patient relationships. Topics such as the privacy of data collected on wearable devices and the risks of attack through pacemakers and insulin pumps.

I also stayed for the After Dark session to race a drone and do a little electrical work.

Or rather try to race a drone. I did get it to take off and cross the first low wire. I also managed to crash it once and flip it once.

The electronics session was hosted by Kramden Institute. They were testing a new class for summer camp. 

Save the date: Oct 26, 2018


ATO2017 - A (late) summary

Just a few thoughts on All Things Open 2017:
(and a record of sessions attended for CISSP continuing education credits).

This event - which happened way back in October - just keeps growing. It is already almost too big!

Sunday: I made it to the early checkin and social in the evening. The location for the social is a cute place. It hosts local art and for the October dates, some spooky themes. Many thanks to Red Hat - specifically the Red Hat Open Source Stories team - for the sponsorship. I am not sure how many people realized that their videos (which are amazing!) were running on the TVs around the space.

Monday: After scoring a pair of socks from, I focused on the Security track with the following sessions:





I also attended one security related talk from the DevOps track:


Chatter on twitter was coming mostly from the the community track which was nice since those talks always have some good stuff in them but I would have liked to hear a bit more about the other technical talks I was skipping. That is the problem with SO MANY tracks. It can be hard to choose where to invest your time.

Tuesday: I attended a couple talks in the Education track and explored the hallway a bit. Unfortunately one of the talks I had to leave due to asthma triggered by (chemical) cologne worn by another attendee. I never really got to feeling all that great the rest of day and headed out early to go home.



I was also asked about the Fedora branded long sleeve white button up shirt I was wearing.  Info is here:

Some slides from the conference are posted at:

A comment on the focus and participation.
I overhead a conversation at lunch one of the two days that despite the name of "ALL" things open, this conference was very developer focused. I think that is and always has been  the intent of this conference. The person who was a bit disappointed is more of an admin and ops person.  I do remember having a few more interesting admin and community options in previous years but that may have more to do with what I was looking for those years. Also this year was in competition with a big conference in Europe that altered the attendance some. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Seeing the same people at all the conferences can result in really good talks by experienced presenters but it can also mean that there is not enough growth and encouragement for new talent in the industry.

As long as this a local, low cost, and fits my schedule, I will continue to attend and offer to speak. Even if it is more developer focused than my usual activities.

Save the dates:  Oct 21-23, 2018.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Taking Stock, Making Plans.

My company has a couple of projects that are about to wrap up. In both cases the client has hired a full time employee to pick up the work. This is great for them and normal for my business but it does mean finding "the next big thing" around the holidays.

My company is small. Really small. OK, it is just me. So I have the flexibility to take my time finding the next big project. I still have smaller, recurring contracts to carry through.

Before I get into what kind of excitement I want from my next big thing, I am looking forward to taking a few weeks off and maybe getting to a few of the many "if only I had the time" projects that are on my list. At least spending *some* time on wish items in between searching for the next big thing.

I often wish I could be more diligent about writing  and presenting. Writing here and even contributing to Presenting at conferences which I have done in the past, but also at local meetups. The small groups are a lot more fun! I had a couple of conference proposals that did not make the cut recently but that I think are still valuable. One I even planned to write an article on and still just have not gotten it done. It is on the list.

As I have watched my Goddaughter grow up, I have meant to get more involved in sharing my knowledge with kids. I took her to a Kid's Day event before a Red Hat Summit one year and we had a blast. Since I first explored the CISSP certification I have had the interest to go through the Safe and Secure Online training so I can look for volunteer opportunities. I also think the Techgirlz program is awesome (I might be a bit biased since a fellow instructor went to work there) and they have a local chapter. It is on the list.

When I got started contributing to open source communities it was with the Fedora Project and specifically the Docs team. I have not been anywhere near as active with Fedora lately and I miss it. I still consider myself an active Ambassador with each class I teach but I have not really contributed through content or formal activities lately. I am actually looking for a new challenge though, rather than returning to an old stomping ground, and probably with a smaller project. I dabbled in an Apache Hadoop ecosystem project for a bit and I still follow that mailing list but I never really got into that community. Melding open source and security is ideal, though I have really enjoyed the past year where I jumped into automation with Ansible and containers with OpenShift. The search continues.

Then of course there is the true time off - something that never really happens when you own your own business - where I can get things done around the house. The builtin bookcase that is already planned, the office cleaned out with all the old equipment donated, the yard spruced up, some light reading, etc.  Also all on the list.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Cleaning the basement

It is a rare long weekend for me. I am wrapping up one work from home project and am already prepped for my next teach which isn't for another week. So I have resumed my battle with the basement where I try very hard to stick to the "you haven't thought about it in over 5 years, toss it out" rule. Of course it isn't working. Instead I just head down memory lane.

This morning I tackled a box that appears to be one of the last ones packed the last time I moved. A collection of things to sort out later. One pile was all papers. Some were worth keeping at the time such as a receipt from a work trip not old enough (when I moved) to be out of audit range. Others are a mystery like boarding passes with no particular meaning. Some are no longer readable.

Then there are the more meaningful tickets to keep like the entry to the Empire State building Observatory. I get why I might have kept it at the time. Sort of. I used to do some scrap-booking but even then, this particular ticket is just a been there done that memory. It was in the evening, after class, by myself. Not a Sleepless in Seattle moment in any way.

Another brought up memories of a planes, trains, and automobiles trip in a blizzard. That trip also introduced me to a really cool coworker. With a storm shutting down the Northeast when we both had classes scheduled, the company we were contracting for at the time rearranged our travel.

We each flew from different parts of NC to Philadelphia
then met at the Amtrak station in the city to catch a train to Boston. I know Boston well and if I had not been with a traveling companion, I would never have agreed to a planned arrival at South Station, at night, in a blizzard, with the need to get out to Burlington.  Yet here I was, meeting a coworker for the first time at a train station in Philly to travel together the rest of the way. It was more like 1am when we got to South Station and my traveling companion managed to wrangle us a taxi over to the airport to pick up a rental car. My knowledge of the area got us to the hotel in Burlington as we passed under road signs indicating all but emergency personnel should stay off the roads. We called the hotel on the way to make sure they stayed awake to let us in which was good since they had about given up on our arrival. Just to add to the excitement, when we got up in the morning to teach our respective classes, the car had a flat tire. The hotel shuttle took us to the training facility and the show continued. I don't remember how many of our students actually made it but since some were from out of town and also in our hotel, I know there were some.

These tickets are now nicely preserved in the wonderful world of the Internet. A few less pieces of paper cluttering my basement.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Box Turtles

Walking home from the neighbors tonight (May 27, 2017) I spotted a beautiful box turtle laying eggs.  It is near the woods but in the sun. Unfortunately it is also a path well traveled by my family.

I returned and took some photos. I used the longer lens in hopes of minimizing any disturbance and I hope that she finished what she was doing.  When I checked a little later she had moved off the nest but I couldn't tell if she had already started to cover eggs or had moved away without laying any. It was just barely dusk so a little early to be done but who knows.

I will look for the nest in the morning and mark the spot so we walk around. Of course even then, survival is highly unlikely with all the snakes, coons, possums, and coyotes in the neighborhood.

I am not sure if this is the same one I saw in the backyard last weekend.

Meanwhile here are some photos.

She may have been looking to use some of the warmth from the carport but the dirt is pretty hard any closer.  Even where she selected, I suspect she was only able to dig the hole today because of how much rain we have had lately.  If the little ones survive, they may have to go further than expected to find water.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Red Hat Summit 2017

A quick recap with self reminders of session links.

Sunday night was dinner with a couple of other instructors. Always a blast.

Monday night was the Ansible (Red Hat Management) Social. The venue (Coppersmith) was really cool. Their description is as a vintage warehouse but it looked to me like it had once been a firehouse.  The kitchen was in a pair of old food trucks welded together. And there was draft cider.

Tuesday was the start of the main activities. It was great to see the community groups in the center of things instead of a separate room like recent years. Also Training and Certification had various booths on the main floor instead of upstairs by the labs. For the print your own shirt, they added a RHCP option but I stuck with the skyline. I have enough other items with the RHCP logo on it.

I am not a fan of conferences in the Seaport district - the hotel and food options (for me and my allergies) are not as good as the older parts of town - but I understand the event the outgrown the Hynes. The extra room did result in a more spread out expo hall that actually appeared smaller than past years. Lines for sessions were also a bit smaller. I never heard the full numbers but I got the impression there was lower attendance as well. I also did not hear as much of an international flavor as previous year.

Tuesday evening I made an appearance at the Containers and Cloud party at Legal Test Kitchen (yummy shrimp!) before heading over to the RHCP party at Harpoon Brewery. They also had a draft craft cider.

Wednesday night we bailed on the Red Sox game. It was cold and windy and I wasn't sure what I would be able to eat. We went to Legal Seafood (again) and made it an early night. On Thursday at Summit I was able to pick up the ball caps with the Fenway logo on them.  There were a couple of other Boston themed giveaways on the expo floor that I was able to score on the final day as well. Specifically, a really nice glass with a Boston map.

The plane up on Saturday morning was about 1/3 hatters and the Friday morning plane home was more like half hatters.  We were all ready to sleep for the weekend.  I did a lot more hallway track this year than in the past but I did catch a few security related sessions.

Keynotes and general sessions were live streamed and are available on the Red Hat Summit YouTube channel.

Red Hat Security Roadmap included some information on upstream projects that Red Hat is focusing on and contributing to including TPM (2.0 and virtual), PKCS#11, NBDE, USB Guard. They also mentioned the ongoing work with OpenSCAP and a new site for container health index.

The Fury and the Sound: A mock disaster security vulnerability fable was a fun panel type presentation which walked through a mock vulnerability with reps from project managements, infosec, exec office, and IT.

Automating security compliance for physical, virtual, cloud, and container environments with Red Hat CloudForms, Red Hat Satellite, and Ansible Tower by Red Hat included some demos of using CloudForms to launch OpenSCAP scans and provide remediation with playbooks located in Ansible Tower.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day

In honor of International Women's Day, I would like to thank some of the allies that have helped me live a life doing something I love and getting paid for it.

First and most of all is my Dad.

  • A man who taught me to make pancakes and made my school lunches. 
  • A man that sat with me (and cleaned up) when I was sick at 2am. 
  • An engineer who taught me to love logic puzzles. 
  • A business man who showed by example how to manage people. All kinds of people. In the realm of manufacturing and quality control.
  • A man who encouraged me and supported me when I was told directly by my teenage boy classmates and even indirectly by one of my teachers that "girls can't pay drums". 
My Mom also supported me and told me I could do anything, be anything that I wanted to be. She was a biology, pre-med major so there was no shortage of science knowledge in our home.

I was lucky to have some great role models in high school as well. A biology and life science teacher was a favorite. Also strong female role models teaching Calculus and Physics. Oh, and a band director that encouraged me to audition for several regional and state honor bands (several of which picked me).

My first full time job had its struggles but I can think of a couple of people that stood up for me, eventually.

As I moved into technical training I found most resistance came from students at the beginning of class.  There is a specific look on their faces as they walk into the classroom on day one and wonder what this chick can teach them about Linux. After 20 years I don't see that very often anymore.  I like to think that it is a good sign for the world in general. I never had a problem proving myself before the end of class - at least for the class in general - and for those few students that just didn't like me for no clear reason, the managers handling those complaints always backed me up.

Since I have been an independent consultant I have had the privilege of working with a few really great companies.  Red Hat, Cloudera, and /training/etc stand out with supportive environments for diversity, including "Women in Tech".  My thanks to several curriculum team members, several fellow instructors, and most of the scheduling and quality managers for their support over the years.

If I name names, I will miss somebody really important. But here are a few that stand out for specific events. Mom and Dad, Amy, Jay, Steve, Joe, Henry, Randy, George, Will,  Susan, Tom, Mike, Nate, Mark, Paul, Wade, Marc, Chris, Matt, and a bunch of others too: Thank You!  And all the other just all around good people that I have had the opportunity to work with or chat with or learn from or follow: Thank You!  And anyone else who has been a good citizen of a diverse community: Thank You!