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Welp, Winter Is Here (and 2023 Is Just Around the Corner...)

I had big plans for blogging in 2022, which ended up being full of semi-manageable chaos and unexpected surprises, making it hard to focus and coherently put words to those personal, local, and national/global experiences that require, at least for me, regular moments of reflection in order to write about them. For what it's worth, here's a rushed recap, with some hope on the horizon for more regular updates and observations from me about life and how I am interrogating bias within myself and the world around me.

At the start of 2022, my new-ish full-time gig changed drastically and unexpectedly when the best boss I have had in my 20+ career in higher education told me he was taking a job at another institution. It's cliche to say that I was happy for him and sad for us, but each of those feelings held on strongly as he made his transition in January and February. After he left, he cheered me on and offered advice. As February turned to March, my family and I took a much-needed adventure to Charleston, SC. This was an incredible place to visit in late winter for the food, the beaches, and the history, particularly the MacLeod Plantation, where tour guides never gloss over the horrors of enslavement.

Still, I was, as my daughter likes to say, a giraffe, with my body on the ground but my head somewhere up in the clouds thinking about everything else back at the office and what I should do with my life.

While in Charleston, I was sending emails back and forth with a recruiter who was in contact with me about a specific job, which would have taken me away from higher education. It was intriguing but didn't work out, and a friend familiar with this workplace told me I was better off. Still, after that experience, I knew it was time for me to begin actively looking for a new work environment. In the meantime, I was sustaining and continuing to create new efforts at work and contributing my facilitation skills for the Strategies for Justice symposium on mental health and policing. It was an honor that my friend Terry Watson asked me to moderate a discussion with director Jenifer McShane and Joe Smarro from Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops.

By early August, I unofficially accepted a new role at another institution. I took September off, to focus on myself and our home. After a few years of writing poems, I shared a couple for my friend Rachel Allen's chapbook launch mid-month. My new job started in October and requires back-and-forth travel and also renting (for now) a second home as the family is staying put in Pennsylvania, where my heart will always be regardless of where we all end up. So while I can't complain, as many good things continue to happen, it's been an unsettled, non-routine kind of year. My hope is that the second home in DC will be a weekly writing retreat at least one evening per week, as I balance work, connect with old and new friends, enjoy at least one weekly Zoom dinner with my husband and teenagers, and continue the vision and mission of Interrogating Bias, LLC.

To end, here are a few specific updates about Interrogating Bias, LLC, despite my hectic schedule. While I wasn't able to pour myself into this work in ways I had anticipated, I got all podcasts and modules loaded onto the site in September. Please check those out, use them for your own or small group development, and be sure to share with me any actions you've taken as a result. In early November, we launched L3 at Laurelville with Andrew Miller of Reliad, LLC after a year-and-a-half of enriching conversations full of hearty belly laughs. (If you know Andy, you know exactly what I am talking about! And if you've never been to Laurelville, the photo I am using is what the leaf cover looks like in early November. It is truly a beautiful and contemplative place.) We will spend one afternoon per month over the next several months with an inspiring group of mostly western PA leaders, checking in with them virtually and being part of their leadership journey. And some things that sustained me and provided inspiration to all parts of my life during this tumultuous but exhilarating year included weekly conversations with the lovely people of Harris Connections and our Saturday yoga sangha led by friend Rachel Allen. As 2022 draws to a close and we all take a moment to examine what we want for ourselves and our organizations, several groups are reaching out to me about their needs in 2023 and how Interrogating Bias, LLC can partner with them. I can't wait to see what grows and emerges from those conversations and opportunities.

Yep, I am hoping for an active but also peaceful 2023, in which we all find more agency to make change and make time to rest, reflect, and create more human connection. Happy almost new year!

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