Capsule Wardrobe

I started travelling light back in 2011. Or at least, travelling lighter back in 2011. Lorraine and I were still hauling 40 pounds or so of luggage when we travelled.

We eventually found a way to really cut down on our luggage and with numerous trips to Europe, we found our stride and we can now comfortably tour with one small carry-on bag and one small personal bag each.

As retirement approaches, I am re-thinking the whole clothing thing. For the past decade or so, I have been working in a predominately business casual environment with the odd business suit day.

I have two suits, six dress shirts, six pairs of casual pants, four jackets, as well as a rather large collection of clothing that I wear when I am not at the office: shorts, jeans, t-shirts, casual shirts, jackets, sweaters.

Clothes. Lots and lots of clothes.

Time to simplify that part of my life.

But where to start?

Capsule wardrobe.

Steve Jobs embraced the minimalist approach. His wardrobe: black turtlenecks, Levi’s jeans, New Balance sneakers.

According to Wikipedia, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that do not go out of style and can be augmented with seasonal pieces.

For a man, a capsule wardrobe could be as simple as the following:

  • A suit
  • A pair of jeans
  • A coat
  • A few t-shirts
  • A few cotton shirts
  • A sports jacket
  • A pair of casual pants
  • A pair of dress shoes
  • A pair of casual shoes
  • A sweater
  • A watch
  • A jacket

How many items? Well, Project 333 would say 33 items or less for 3 months. They even offer a microcourse on how to dress with less and create your capsule wardrobe.

My motivation is practical. In just a few months time, Lorraine and I will be heading south in our motorcoach and we will need to be very minimalist in what we take with us as we will not have much space for an extensive wardrobe.

It’s Official

Upcoming retirement – Information Technology

Richard has announced his plans to retire in the third quarter of this year. Richard joined our company as Senior Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer in 2008.

Over the past decade he has ably led our Information Technology division, tackling the myriad of issues that come with the rapid evolution of technological change and digital innovation and ensuring the organization’s IT and project management capabilities are keeping pace with the change.

We will miss his deep knowledge and his ability to share complicated ideas and concepts in a clear, simple and engaging way.

We are focused on a transition plan in light of Richard’s well-deserved retirement and will share news with you as decisions are made. In the meantime, I am fully confident that the strong IT leadership group Richard has built will continue to enable their teams to meet the needs of our business.

Please join me in thanking Richard for his many contributions and in wishing Richard and Lorraine all the best for a long, happy and healthy retirement together.

Details on a retirement reception will be shared within the next few weeks.

Mark
President and Chief Executive Officer

The Secret to Career Success

A bit of an unlikely source for career advice although no question that John Berardi, co-founder of Precision Nutrition, has been exceptionally successful with his chosen path.

If there is a formula for the kind of success most people want, even if they don’t know what that looks like yet, it might be something like this:

Strong personal mission
+
High competency
+
System for execution
=
Personal and career satisfaction

Have a look around.

You’ll find there’s almost nothing more powerful than someone with a deeply held motivation to do their work plus high level of skill plus a blueprint or system for executing every day.

Retirement Transition

5 months and 5 days.

According to my countdown app.

Not that I pay much attention to the countdown, other than to remind myself that I do not have much time left at work to finish a number of objectives.

I have been planning for this day for many years. The date itself is a bit later than expected. I thought I would retire in my late fifties. I will be sixty-one when I make the transition into retirement.

When I say planning for retirement, I really mean financial planning. Although Lorraine and I have a good sense of how we hope to spend our time in retirement and, as with all new experiences, we are not necessarily sure what to expect, most of our planning time has been spent in looking at the financial side.

As the date is quickly approaching, I am a touch uneasy. There are a number of challenges that many seem to encounter when they make the transition into retirement: loss of identity, loss of structure, and a heightened sense of mortality.

Over the past several months, I keep encountering “endings” in my life, a stark reminder that my time on this earth is closing. I’ve allowed myself some negative thoughts. I wonder what I might lose next.

All due, I suspect, to being in-between the world of working and the world of retirement.

I’ll make it to the other side and, when I do, I’ll give myself some time. To relax, to get myself reoriented to a new way of living. I’ll craft a new identity, create new routines, build new friendships and relationships, and find a new path to travel.

5 Tips To Becoming A Better Musician

RJ Ronquillo published a YouTube video where he shares his perspective on how to become a better musician.

I’ve paraphrased his points a little:

  • Find your inner rhythm, the drummer within.
  • Play with others
  • Take chances and go outside your comfort zone
  • Listen to music, really listen to music
  • Don’t take it all too seriously

Like many things in life, the journey of a musician takes a lot of discipline and effort to master an instrument. Much of it is physical and mechanical. Learning where to place your hands. Learning how to play in time. Learning how to make an instrument sound good. All of which could be described as developing the conscious musician.

There comes a point where the advanced player transcends the conscious musician. The physical and mechanical attributes of playing an instrument fall into the shadows. The musician discovers a musical voice. And that musician can speak with their instrument without conscious thought. There is no active consideration of where the hands need to be placed. There is no active consideration of how to create music through the instrument.

For want of a better term, the music flows through the artist. And you can see it when that happens.

All too often I see players fixated on reading charts. Unable to be free of the mechanics of what to play when, they invariably play poorly. Almost stilted. As if the chart itself is somehow making them play the correct notes.

For myself, I try to move from conscious to unconscious play whenever possible. And that usually means freedom from a chart. In addition to RJ’s tips, I have found that learning arrangements, committing them to memory, and playing them without worrying about where the tune is going, provides so much opportunity to play with freedom. And playing with freedom generally means playing better.

Here is RJ’s 5 tips to becoming a better musician.

Team

This was our stage from the final performance of Celebrate Christmas. Celebrate Christmas started out way back in December of 2009. The vision was to share the joy and meaning of the Christmas season with our community in Kingston. Each year, a team would be assembled and, each year, we gave it our best shot.

Over the past few years, we gained a lot of support for the program and we selected the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts as our venue. A beautiful concert hall.

The last two nights of the program were very special for me personally. More important though was bringing together a great team of people to make something special happen.

Trevor posted our team photo with the following statement: Greater things can always be done “in team” than alone.

So true.

Thankful for all of the wonderful support by this team.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Another video from our Celebrate Christmas event. First gig with my Collings Eastside LC guitar and a bit of a tough tune to execute on guitar. Overall, pleased with how well the instrument played. I was fighting the resonance a little bit in the hall as I would with most any archtop although it recorded without a hint of feedback.

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Another video from our Celebrate Christmas concert. Love this song.