Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Retirees and CPEs

I am a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).  This is an internationally-recognized certification issued by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2).   OK, way too many acronyms.  To earn this certification, you have to have four years’ experience in Information Security and pass a six hour exam.  The exam was the most difficult I’ve ever taken – ISC2 should hand out coupons for stiff drinks upon completion.

When I notified ISC2 of my retirement, I expected to surrender my certification.  I was delighted to learn that I could keep it, as long as I met the requirements for continuing education and paid my annual maintenance fees.

I decided to keep my certification, to keep my mind active and my options open.  Of course, it is now October 30, which gives me only nine weeks to get the remaining 20 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) I need for this year.   Yikes!  This is a lot – and not being employed by a major company has limited my access to training. 
So I called in the big guns – my former security teammates.  Many have reached out to me with books and web sites.  So far I’ve taken a webinar on the top ten application vulnerabilities, a webinar on data and IT service excellence, a webinar series on Identity and Access Management, and am in the middle of a self-study course in writing. 

I’ve always known I would keep learning in retirement – the CISSP continuing education requirement is just the thing to kick myself into really doing it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The New Routine

Now that we’ve finished winterizing and storing the trailer, cleaned up the overgrown jungle otherwise known as our back yard, and completed road trips to Phoenix, AZ and Cody, WY, I think we might be settling into a routine.

Not necessarily surprising, it’s similar to the routine we fell into at Hoop Lake.  We wake up and have coffee and read the paper.  I run.  We go to work.
Wait – I’m retired.  What’s this about going to work?  Since coming home from the lake, I have mowed lawns, fertilized lawns, sprayed for weeds, sprayed for bugs, picked up trash, hauled trash to the dump, replaced switches, painted decks, and taken door knobs in to be re-keyed.  Whew!  I have to confess that I had completely taken for granted all the work that it takes – and that Paul has done all these years – to manage our rental properties. 

I had hoped to be more prolific in my writing once things settled down at home.  Here’s another confession – I was somewhat annoyed that the schedule we’ve adopted has me doing manual labor during the morning hours, which have always been my peak time for energy and creativity.  But I step back and realize that I should directly contribute to the business that is funding my retirement.
I also should write.  It’s what I’ve been planning to do in retirement since I was in my early 20s. 

So it’s back to the Hoop Lake schedule, and I’m writing in the afternoons.  Trying to do so without caffeine – most days I succeed.  Also trying to do so without the distractions of the Internet.  Wish me luck on that one!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Camp Hosting in Island Park Next Year?

After we left Cody on October 6 we drove west, through Yellowstone Park, to the small resort community of Island Park, Idaho.  Our mission – to see the campgrounds in the area and find out what organization manages them.

Island Park boasts the longest Main Street in the nation.  The area is absolutely beautiful, with mature trees lining the streets and log cabins dotting the hillsides.  From the north end of the city it is only 20 miles to West Yellowstone and the west gate to Yellowstone National Park.  Recreation opportunities include fishing, boating on Island Park Reservoir, ATV trails, and river rafting.
Our hosts, longtime friends Kevin and Roxanne, put us up in their summer cabin and guided our tour.  The National Forest Service campgrounds in the Island Park area are on two rivers, the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River and the Buffalo River.  They sit at around 6500 feet in altitude.  The sites are improved, with tent spots in every site.  Several are large enough for the mega-trailers people are bringing camping these days. 

Cell phone service is available at all but one of the campgrounds, and – get this – the Manager’s site in every one of them has electricity.  Whoo hoo! We’re ready for something a little less primitive, especially if we are planning to move further from home next summer.  Island Park is about a 5 hour drive from Salt Lake.  There are several medium to large cities between Island Park and Salt Lake.
The Island Park campgrounds are managed by Audi Campground Services.  They also manage campgrounds in Wyoming, Oregon, and Utah.  I emailed the area manager from Island Park and received a reply within the hour.  “We will probably have openings in Island Park for next summer.  The application is online.  Need one from each of you.  Call if you have questions.”   That was easy.

Island Park has definitely made the “short list” for consideration for next summer’s adventure.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Thrill of Victory

“You’re going for the win, aren’t you, Mom,” my son asked after I asked him to help me put together a fast-paced playlist for my iPod. 

I had never thought when I started running that I was terribly competitive.  Turns out – I am.  I trained all summer – at high altitude, no less – for the 4th Annual Run for Hope sponsored by Soroptimist International of Cody, Wyoming.  Running this race meant a lot to me.  The race raises money for the Lainey Cole Memorial Women’s Cancer Fund, named for a Cody Soroptimist who lost her battle with cancer five years ago.  The fund provides assistance to women undergoing cancer treatment.

I knew Lainey Cole.  I bonded with her when we sang “I Hope You Dance” together at a karaoke night.  It was her favorite song.  I still get teary-eyed when I hear it. 

This year was the first time I've had the time to drive the 456 miles to Cody to run the race.  We arrived at the same time a huge cold front from the north drove temperatures down into the mid-30s.  We woke on the morning of the race to sunny skies and 25 degrees.  Brrrrrrhhh!  Traded the shorts for sweats – I guess I need to break down and buy those cool running pants that the serious runners wear.

By race time it had warmed up into the 30s.  I was given the honor of singing the National Anthem at the starting gate (check another one off the bucket list), and then off we ran. 

While it’s true that as runners we primarily compete with ourselves, there’s something to be said about hearing your name called out to come to the podium to receive your ribbon and prizes worth dollars.  I was pretty excited when they called my name as first place in my age division.  My first 10K and my first win!
Reality has since set in.  There were only 28 runners in the entire 10K race, five of which were in my age division.  I need to keep working on speed if I expect to ever make as good a showing in a race in SLC.

The real winners of the Run for Hope are the Soroptimists of Cody.  At last count they had raised over $11,000 for the Lainey Cole Memorial Women’s Cancer Fund.  I am honored to have been able to play my small part in such a worthy cause.