Who am I? Well I am Gurkie, as if that says something. Although I guess if you want to read into things you could. It means I either like to pick a random name or I came from a family with non-traditional names. It’s the latter by the way. But more importantly I am a wife, a mom, a sister, a friend and of course an individual. In terms of what interests me? Well, there is a lot of overlap between me and the other Rampant Discourse writers, but my take is probably different.
I am an avid reader, especially of YA fiction. I know that may seem odd but the stories tend to be good quick reads, and hey, I am not ashamed of what I like to read. You can generally find me reading fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, paranormal romance, or chic lit. I’ll still try any book except non-fiction or horror (unless it is for work, in which case I might read it anyway). I hate all things Horror, as my husband Paul will attest. I can’t even stand the previews for horror movies; they make my spine tingle and freak me out.
I love playing games, but not video games. I am a tabletop gamer, specifically board games but not war games (ifyouknowwhatimean). I generally play Euros and party games. Social deduction games are great and I enjoy a decent amount of gateway games. I can be a bit of a snob about what games I like and which I don’t, but we all have things we prefer. Some of my favorite designers include Vlaada Chvatil, Friedemann Friese (yes I had to look up the spelling), and Alan Moon. Oh yeah, I like card games too: poker, spades, bridge, pitch; you name the card game (with regular playing cards) and I will pretty much play.
Then of course there are the business aspects of my life. While growing up I had a vision of what I would do when I was an adult. I was certain that I was going to follow in my father’s footsteps and take over his jewelry business. That’s right, my father runs his own jewelry business. Then in high school I took a computer science class and was enamored with the beauty of coding. So, stay with me here, but you tell the computer what to do and it does it. Very simple really. Ultimately if something doesn’t work it is because of a code error and you can debug it. Coding was about logic and very clear and clean. I was hooked. So when deciding on a college I picked a new path. I studied business (major) and computer science (minor) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and then because I had time I went ahead and got a masters in information systems management.
Since graduation I have worked as a tech consultant, senior consultant, project manager, service delivery manager, and I just made a career change into a middleware solutions architect. I have worked at my current employer, Red Hat, for the past 10 years, most of it in Red Hat Consulting. I did some time at another consulting company before working at Red Hat. As you might imagine, I am fairly into technology, how it is evolving and how the community is pushing it forward. I personally have a bias for open source since most of the innovation comes from that direction, but I see benefits with many companies.
Going back to my familial roots, I started a venture with my sister and some help from our father: Four Sisters Jewelry. As you may have guessed based on the name, I am one of four girls. My parents have eight granddaughters and no grandsons. For some reason we just do not have boys in our family. I think we only have females based on diet and pH balance, but it’s debatable. Starting our own retail website has been interesting. We are currently going through the process of getting custom jewelry made based on my sister’s hand drawn designs. She is very creative and has designed and made pieces before, but now we are looking at the manufacturing process to manage it ourselves. It’s been both interesting and time consuming.
I am a mommy to two wonderful little girls (no surprise there), and hence I am into all things mommy. My little ones have completely changed my life. While I will admit I miss aspects of not having kids, my children bring a ton of joy into my life. There are so many parenting things to learn though. I got into sewing years ago, and while I do not have much time to sew anymore I still enjoy making the girls’ Halloween costumes. I also like other projects designed to make our lives easier while making the girls happy. Our house has been taken over by toys. While the mess is annoying, it’s more important that we are currently raising sweet girls who care about people and I hope to help them hold on to that. They go to a school which educates them on virtues and stresses practicing those virtues. I hope these things stick. As a mom I have found that my worries have changed. I have these wonderful girls who need me now, and I need to make sure I am there for them and that I am equipped to take care of them.
With the kids comes a serious crimp in a lot of our social activities. I used to go on a lot of trips. I am no longer an avid traveler, not by choice but because of my family duties. Before having kids I managed to hit six continents1. I would love to go on a safari, maybe hit South Africa or Ethiopia or Kenya. Being able to resume travelling would be fantastic. I look forward to traveling with my girls when they are older.
And that is me, for now anyway.