Saturday, February 28, 2015

Looking for Inspiration

What flips your switch, lights your fire, brings you to life?

When I moved into my office, I remarked to director that I would bring in the diplomas and licenses and put up the "credibility" wall - he said, "put up what makes you happy to be here."  It was nice to fill the office with things that I enjoy being around, at times it is travel pictures, at the moment bright colorful paintings.  

What I read can inspire me. Some of my professional reading includes reading about dementia, dying and death - not exactly cheerful stuff.  It can inspire me to do good work to improve the quality of life at the end of life. But to maintain my emotional balance, I have to intersperse this reading with things reading that is fun, some humor, a lot of travel narrative, some business and communications. I can and need to control the balance of what comes into my mind.

I can be inspired by things that make me happy, comfortable and good, and also by things that make me uncomfortable or angry. I prefer the good, but I need the bad, I try to balance the two.

The more I understand about what inspires me, the more I can introduce these elements into my life and try to keep the lights on.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What Have I Done This Week That Matters In the Long Run?

What have I done this week to bring comfort, joy, happiness, well being, beauty, laughter and goodness into the lives of others?  Facebook and the blogosphere are filling with tributes and sadness at the passing of Leonard Nimoy. He brought entertainment, happiness and enlightenment in his life.  I really don't want people to be sad when I am gone, I want them to celebrate while I am here, and when I am not for people to think, he did some good, brought some joy, enlightened a few, created some beauty, helped people laugh and in general made the world a little better by being here.  I am not worried about what lies beyond this life, while I am here I might as well have some fun, and bring some comfort and joy.

I write a little, this blogging effort is forcing me to write more, and the more I do, the easier it seems to be.  I do work that helps others, though anymore it is more helping the helpers then it is helping people directly.  I try to create a little beauty - I have created a handful of memorable photographs and a couple of paintings (oh- few people know that I paint.) I love to cook and try to bring joy to others with good food and fellowship. The only way my music ever brought joy, was when I stopped - but I do share the music of others. I am a listening ear - and try to bring comfort to others. I inherited a sarcastic streak that is funny when I control it, and caustic when I don't.  I have a tiny bit of influence in my work, I try to use it for good - to make the world a happier, safer, healthier place to grow old.

So what have I done this week, a little?  I hope all of the little things add up to enough when I am done.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Winter Travel

About 10 years ago I got a wild hair one year, and we went to Paris for Christmas. It was a wonderful experience.  I cashed in Delta frequent flyer miles, for seats on Air France, and booked a Best Western about 3 blocks west of the Eiffel Tower. For out of pocket costs, it didn't cost much more then the two of us flying to Florida, renting a car and staying in a hotel the year before.  It was very low key and low stress.  Paris is a little like Rome, don't try to control it, don't expect it to work as promised, just go with the flow, and out-pout the locals and you will do fine.  I have been trying on and off since high school to learn French, it was at it's best for this trip. One of my favorite stories is buying a metro pass, I succeeded in my elementary French at making the purchase from a not to patient ticket agent in the station nearest to our hotel. Then Jay stepped up, you could see her bracing for yet another foreigner who barely speaks the language, and in perfectly accented French he simply said, "I'll have the same."  He speaks French, I try, but he let me take the lead and stretch my limits.  Isn't that part of what travel is about, stretching our limits and expanding our understanding of the world? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two Places at Once

Why can't I be in two places at once?  It would make life so nice to be on the beach in Kauai and doing the work in my office,  Or like this morning, I could have been on the conference call and interviewing the law student at the same time.  Opps, I put the call on the wrong day on my calendar.  I was double booked, if only I could send one one personality to each - but I only have one personality - with one like this - who would risk a second one?  The woman who the book Sybil was based on lived in Lexington, Kentucky - she was a dear friend of the business manager at the first legal aid program I worked for.  She seemed to have reconciled with herself late in life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Does Not Compute

I am amazed at how much computers have changed our lives, in my lifetime.  I bought my first computer from Radio Shack in the early 1980's a TRS-80 Color Computer, with 16 MB of memory and an external data cassette tape drive. It came with a book on how to write your own software in basic DOS, and snap in read only memory software cartridges, a very rudimentary word processing and the easiest to use spread sheet program I have ever used.  I wrote a software program to calculate mortgage payments and closing costs that was copied and developed over a period of 10 years by a couple of colleagues.

Ten years later, along came Windows. Windows is a huge step forward from writing your own in DOS, but the bane of our existence.  I don't know what was happening in the office this afternoon, but Chrome worked fine and connected to the internet and gmail, but Internet Explorer and Outlook would not work. IT called it a network issue, but it was really a Windows issue.

I have two laptops.  A 10 inch Windows machine that I use when I have to.  It runs Office, and has an old style receptacle to plug in a digital projector.  Almost every time I travel with it, I threaten to toss it on the floor and stomp on it.  It has a habit of downloading updates - tying it's limited resources - at the least opportune time.  One of these days, it is going over the rail into the parking lot from the 20th floor.  The other is an 11 inch Chromebook.  I love my Chromebook.  It is light weight, fast, it is great for email and web-browsing, most of my blog postings are created on the Chromebook (blogger is owned by Google) they have an app for that. I use google apps to open and edit Word Docs.  It is a little basic, but it will get the job done.  The presentations app, has compatibility issues with Power Point. It will open a PP file, or create a file that can be opened in PP, but the formatting changes.  I am not a big spread sheet user, the best was the one for the TRS-80 - I think it was called Specatulator.  I still miss it's simplicity. The weakness of the Chromebook is that it does not run Office (there is dispute over how well it runs Office 365 apps.)  It has an HDMI port, but not the old fashioned port that most power point projectors use.   I use it to take notes in meetings and enjoy traveling with it.  Once or twice a month I get an arrow in the lower right hand corner of the screen that tells me an update is available.  I turn the machine off and restart, a process that takes less then one-minute and the updates have been installed.  How simple.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Thinking Warm Thoughts of Travel

Only a few more weeks and spring has to be here, this cold silliness can't go on forever, it is not like we are in the Antarctic or something.  Actually it might be nicer there then it is here in DC, it was warmer in Alaska the other day then it was here.  The last time I was in Alaska I got to talking to guy running a tourist trap, he said he moved to Ketchican from Chicago, because the winters were milder in Ketchican then Chicago.  Entirely possible, there is a coastal current that moderates weather right along the coast.

A high school class mate on Facebook commented this morning that Bald Eagles have returned to the thumb area of of Michigan. One less morning dove on his bird feeder, one well fed bird of prey for the day.  Some days that is how it is, eat or be eaten.  Aren't you glad the dinosaur birds don't swoop down out of the trees and grab lunch of the sidewalk?  Well it would thin the slow one's out of the flock.  

I had a momentary pause this afternoon and my mind started to wander, in a flash I was driving around the north shore of Oahu with the top down on the convertible.  Then I was back in the my office trying to write an article explaining social media to people who are still using a Rolodex.   It is nice to let the mind travel, as long as it keeps coming back home.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon

Henry McKenna single barrel, ten year old, bottled in bond, made by Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky.  This is a well priced, well selected single barrel bourbon.  It is sweet and spicy, mildly woody, and nicely smooth. The nose is vanilla, cherry and spice. It is nicely mature, as would be expected after 10 years in oak.  It is drinkable and relatively affordable at $30 to $35 per bottle (in it's home state.)  

Bottled in bond means that it is the product of a single distiller, made in a single season, aged at least 4 years in government supervised warehouses (the last I knew the revenue agents held the keys to the bonded warehouses)  and bottled at 100-proof. Bottled in bond,   is a left over from prohibition, when this was the process for legal distillation.  

This may be the best product of Heaven Hill.  HH is on the list for a tour the next time I am in Kentucky (likely a year from now.)  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Confession

They say confession is good for the soul, and I need unburden my soul on this.

I have lust in my heart, for cooking.  I read and collect cookbooks, but seldom follow recipes. I am a better cook, then baker, because I don't do well at following directions. As a child I colored outside the lines and insisted that it was possible for there to be purple kittens. For me cooking is about a concept, technique and method - it is not a chemistry formula to be followed.  When I say I read cook books, I really do read them, exploring the way that ingredients are put together.  The great cook books include narrative describing method and technique.  I love exploring ingredients and seeing how minor changes in ingredients makes subtle changes in the finished dish.  There is a downside to this.  I can't always duplicate my successes - anyone can duplicate a failure.  Until I started trying to describe recipes for this blog, I never really thought about what I put in. I buy what looks good in the market, and add to it from what I have on hand that needs to be used (the shallots in the soup below is a good example.)

More Soup!

Soup and stew weather continues.  Today I decided to try a beef , veggie and pasta creation.

1 large onion chopped
3-4 stalks of Celery chopped
4-5 carrots chopped
1 shallot  chopped (optional- I had it and needed to use it)
2 cloves of garlic chopped
sweet peppers chopped
1 box mushrooms quartered
2-3 small red skin potatoes quartered
1 medium can chopped tomatoes
1 cup favorite shaped pasta
3/4 to 1 pound beef pot roast (bone in if you can find it.)
2-3 strips of bacon chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper

Chop the bacon and saute it over medium heat in a soup pot.  Add the onions, add a splash of olive oil if needed. When the onions have started to cook, add the celery, carrots, shallot, garlic, peppers, potatoes, and mushrooms and allow to saute for 10-15 minutes.  Add the canned tomatoes, and 2 cans of water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the beef and cover.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours.  You want the beef to be cooked to the point that it breaks apart easily with a spoon.  Adjust seasoning, add pasta, cover and allow to simmer an additional 20-30 minutes.  The pasta will absorb much of the liquid - thickening the soup to a hearty soup.

If you are serious about cooking with fresh ingredients, a good start is keeping carrots, celery and onions on hand.  Buy real carrots, some of the varieties of "baby" carrots do not stand up well to simmering for 2-4 hours. A rinse and once over with a good peeler and a quick chop and the real thing goes into a soup or stew easily.  Carrots store well, staying fresh for 2-4 weeks.  Celery is another staple, I have discovered that if I keep it wrapped in plastic is keeps for 2-3 weeks and can be used in a soup or stew even if it has started to get a little limp.  A quick whack takes both ends off, rinse well and it is fun to chop.  I can't imagine cooking without onions, most of my recipes start with chop an onion. I buy a box of mushrooms every week and almost always find a use for them. In my area Trader Joes' has good mushrooms for a great price.  I rinse them and trim the stem, for this soup I wanted them chunkier in the final product so I quartered them.  They are easy to cut, don't buy them pre-sliced.  I generally keep shallots - a small sweeter member of the onion family on hand, you can buy them in bulk at most Whole Foods markets - they keep for a month or so.  I use a little garlic - it gives me gas - so I use very little.

For the beef for this I could have used stew beef, I found this nice slice of pot-roast.  The bone rendered out nicely, adding a lot of flavor from the marrow (the center of the bone.)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Customer Service

It was 6 degrees this morning so I drove to the office, in Washington DC and parked in the garage in the building,  The parking is all valet, allowing them to park cars 2 or 3 deep in parking spaces, there is no option, hand them the keys and they park it.  This dent was not there when I handed them the keys just before 8:00 AM this morning, and it was when they brought the car back to me at about 4:30 this afternoon.  The valet that brought the car out, called for a "manager."  Who tried to debate with me if the damage was fresh, or was there before. The car was perfect when I dropped it off, dented when I picked it up.  He had me fill out paperwork then said that they "would investigate and notify me within three business days of their determination."  What is there to investigate, my car was perfect when I dropped it off and damaged when I picked it up.  Instead the "manager" argues with me that he has to investigate and make a determination, and he can't tell me that they will fix my car.  What crappy customer service.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What Was I Thinking?

I am tired of complaining about the cold, it is not like complaining changes anything,  I drove to the office today, it takes a little longer then the subway and is a little more frustrating, but I was thinking, less time out in the cold, an opportunity to park the car in the garage and get the snow and ice melted off.  

I am working on travel plans - what else would travel penguin do?  I have a conference in Austin, Texas in early May.  It is a conference I have been to year after year, and it is being held in my least favorite city in Texas.  I felt obligated to submit a proposal to speak, so I did two, but not very well.  I was thinking, I will do my part and hope that the proposals get turned down and I can skip the conference this year.  No such luck, both made the agenda.  I need to find a way to enjoy Austin. Maybe some good bbq, and a little rest. I will go on from there to Florida where I have a conference the following week. What was I thinking, two conferences back to back, being gone from the office for 12 days, I will be buried in work when I get back. I really should have said no thank you to Austin this year.

I have been working on comments to a government agency.  I should have said, no thank you, when I was asked to work on them, but I was thinking "why not." I have sorted my way through a long a complex policy process.  I actually wrote in an email that "if I appear to have bruises on my forehead, it was from all of the brick walls I ran into on this project."  Word this afternoon that we have found a way to make it happen, well hopefully, there is a plan B if I run into another brick wall.  I know our policy making process is complex, many- many lawyers trying to be careful not to piss to many people off.  What was I really thinking, our assistant director wants to cut back on hours and surrender the management title, I'd like it and the raise that goes with it.

I keep trying to come up with something funny or inspiring.  The muses are either frozen, or on vacation in the tropics.  I keep thinking they will return, and they will, some sunny warm day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thinking Time

Where can I get time to think?  Long airlines flights sometimes work, the trip home works better then the trip out.  On the way out I tend to think about what I am headed out to do.  I had a three day weekend, followed by s snow day, by Tuesday I was finding time and space to think. I had a nice relaxing afternoon, my mind had time to wander.  I sometimes find time to think on the metro train riding to and from work.  Those are short times, 25 minutes here and there.  In the office I am usually too busy to think, there are too many projects demanding my attention for any of them to truly get my attention.  At home I need to turn off the TV.  Easy for me to do during the rare weekday that I am home, there is nothing on during the day that is worth the noise.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Day!

Part of my growing up I lived in Michigan, snow days were days, or sometimes weeks when the schools were closed. In the 8th grade, we started spending winters in Florida, I moved there after high school. and I didn't experience a snow day for 20 years. I only had 2-3 hurricane days in my years there, and there is a difference between wondering if the roof will stay on and the supply of scotch will hold out and wondering how deep the snow will get. My first hurricane I ran out of scotch before I ran out of hurricane.  

Then in mid-life I moved back north.  Every January and February I question the sanity of that move, but love and money are strong motivators.  So I learned as an adult to experience the occasional snow day - an unexpected and generally unplanned day at home.  Now I am surprised by this one, they usually happen when I am Florida or away from the office working.  I was on the road for 12 days in late January early February and the office remained open.  But here I am a week or so after my return with fresh snow - enough of it to make getting out and about difficult - so the office closed and I get an extra free day. 

When a snow day is announced the first thing I do is panic and check the office calendar to see what I had scheduled.  Today I had a staff meeting and some writing that can be delayed to do.  So I can relax and take the day off.  I stayed up a couple of hours later then usual - discovering that I don't like the new "Tonight Show."  I don't think I have seen it since Leno was forced into his second retirement.  I somewhat understand the reason for the change, but it leaves those of who grew up with Johnny Carson's sense of humor, wondering how the world has changed.  I slept late this morning.  I have checked the blogs, played comment tag on Facebook, and fiddled with a couple of old watches I am trying to get working again.  After lunch I will work on a painting, listen to some music and maybe take a nap.  

The snow fall was less than expected.  If I really needed to be in the office, I likely could have made it.  I expect we will be back to work tomorrow.  Convenient this snow day, turning the three day President's day weekend into a four day weekend.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Taxing Subject – Inspired by Fearsome Beard at

I finished and filed my tax returns this weekend.  My taxes are fairly simple, most of my income is from employment; I am able to itemize deductions. I have nearly always prepared my own tax returns, only once in 40 years have I paid someone to prepare my taxes. Actually that year I paid two accountants, the first one was very creative and scared the crap out of me, the second one was overly conservative and in the end I settled on middle ground redoing the forms myself.  That was before tax software and at a time when my income was complex. I started using Turbo tax a few years ago when I needed to complete a long term capital gains form – a mystifying form if ever there was one. If you understand the numbers, the software plugs the numbers into the right places on the form and makes it truly easy.  I am amazed at the bright and well educated people who are afraid of doing their tax return.  If you understand the basics of the numbers, it is really easy.  The software does the hard part of getting the right numbers on the right lines and making sure the math is correct. Be honest, and the IRS is easy to get along with.  Remember that they know more about your finances then you think they do. 

I am truly fortunate, I had a good year; my federal income tax liability was more than I have made a few years in my adult life. 

I feel happy to pay my share of the cost of maintaining a civil society.  In exchange for this I am able to leave my home without fear for my health and safety.  I would not be where I am today without government programs.  I used a government first time home buyer program to but my first house in 1982 at 12.5% interest when the market rate was 15% (the good old days.)  I started and finished my higher education in state colleges and universities.  I used federally insured student loans to finance graduate school, allowing me to greatly expand my ability to help others and earn a living that results in my paying this tax bill.  Society gets a good return on investment for my education, my guess is that I doubled by earnings ability, hence doubling my tax liability, so for a-couple of percent interest break, on less than $50,000 in graduate school loans (which were paid off in 7.5 years) society gets several thousand dollars in taxes additional each year.  Society needs to make more investments like that.  Surely I pay my share of things I don’t like, want or need, but they are programs that someone needs.  As a member of society I am my brother’s keeper, if I was not, he would not be mine. 

Are there government programs that benefit no-one?  Maybe.  Can government operate more efficiently – yes – please let the post office drop Saturday mail delivery, close underutilized post offices and sell something besides postage in their retail locations. I know the Post Office is an independent government agency, but when it shows a loss, tax dollars plug the hole and Post Office management has been begging Congress for a decade to allow it to change its business model.   But overall, we get a lot for what we pay.  We get a safe and civil society, we get clean air and water; you literately can’t breathe without benefiting from the efforts of our government.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hearty Soup Weather

13 Degrees this morning, time for hearty winter soup

White Bean With Bacon Soup

1-cup dry white beans 
1 large onion chopped
4-5 carrots chopped
mushrooms sliced 
4-5 stalks celery sliced
sweet or hot peppers sliced 
2-3 slices of bacon chopped
1-pound pork tenderloin cubed 
Splash of Port
Olive oil

The evening before start with dry white beans.  You can use any white bean, navy beans, great northern beans, or cannelloni.  Sort the beans, removing any small rocks, or malformed beans.  Rinse with water, place in a bowl and cover with water and leave to soak overnight.  The beans will double or triple in bulk overnight - use a bowl that is larger then you think you need.  When you are ready to start cooking the soup, drain and rinse the beans. Without the soak, the beans will take twice as long to cook and may never get soft enough to eat.

Chop the bacon and place to brown in an oversize pot.  Add a splash of olive oil, chopped onions and sliced mushrooms.  Saute the onions and mushrooms and allow to slightly brown.  De-glaze the the pot with a splash of port. Add chopped carrots, celery and peppers, cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add the soaked white beans and water to cover, bring to a simmer. Split the pork tenderloin lengthwise and quarter, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks.  Add to the simmering soup.  Cover, simmer on low to very low heat.  Taste after an hour or so and adjust with salt and pepper.  Simmer 3-5 hours covered, checking periodically.  Add additional water if needed.

Chop Bacon and brown onions and mushrooms, with bacon and a splash of olive oil. 

Nice multi-color carrots from Trader Joes

I picked up a nice brown on the onions and mushrooms, resulting in a dark rich color for the finished soup. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Seniors Give Gay Advice!



Good Stuff,
A rarity in the collection, Willett's single barrel.  The contents are as impressive as eh packaging.  This is well finished, nicely matured, very smooth. The taste is slightly sweet, a background of cherry,  with just a hint of wood.  Very sip-able.  The first time I tried this, I thought it was all packaging and marketing, but I was wrong.  This is a very high quality single barrel, distilled in pot stills.  I suspect that wheat is the secondary grain, it does not have the bite of a secondary rye.  Well worth adding to your collection. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

How Cold Was It?

My it was brisk outside this morning, 15 degrees with a 30 mile per hour wind out of the northwest.  Walking to the car made my face and hands hurt.  How cold was it, I drove to the office in DC traffic rather than face standing on the subway platform for 10-15 minutes waiting for the next train.  If I drive to the office, I can park in the building, in a nice warm garage.  If not for the traffic, and the cost of parking ($16 a day) I would drive to work more often.

I spent much of today trying to navigate office bureaucracy.  The boss asked me to figure out how to submit comments to a federal agency.  The how to do it is easy, go the website and drone on, any idiot can do that, and many will.  The hard part is getting permission to do so without placing yourself at risk of being fired.  There is a handbook on this, a handbook that intertwines two related but distinct processes for approval.  There is a long check list of required elements in the request for permission, but no example of what this things should look like, and they expect it to look like all the others, Someone warned me that if it looked different, someone might actually read it instead of ignoring it.  If everyone ignores it, it is approved. This is a process of trying to blend in and hoping that everyone ignores what you are requesting.  Legal logic at it's best.  I am glad I don't work for the most complex bureaucracy in town, not by a long shot.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

12 on 12 - 12 photos on the 12th of the month

I was up very early this morning, many-many things to do and I just couldn't get back to sleep

The Metro was Very Crowded this afternoon, the Red line was malfunctioning and the alternate routes were packing in like rats

A 2.5 hour meeting about payment processing and HR.  I managed to stay awake and not say anything stupid or angry.

Lunch, at my desk, working-working-working, as usual 

The office. The Dots are relatively new. Kind of bright and colorful. 

Waiting to start my morning commute

Where are the male pole dancers? 

Turbo prop on Sunday, reminded me of flying with dad

Hang on, Friday is coming

Sunset Memories

There is suppose to be a bird in this picture

A ship in the middle of the Pacific

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Do we want to be a carver of rock or a carver of ice.  The person who sculpted this rock, a couple of thousand years ago, is long gone and forgotten, but their work lives on.  If the same person had carved this in ice, it would have melted away long before they did.  Is my work in ice or stone? Will I be history, or long melted away?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Me Me Me Me Me

John Gray started this on Going Gently how would I describe myself.
I am lumpy and bumpy and a bit heavier than I was last year
I am a man
A man who loves men – well one in particular – but I find many very attractive
I am an explorer and traveler
I am an adventurer – tempted by getting off the main road
I am a partner, spouse, husband
I am a son to two very elderly parents
A brother to three older siblings
I am an uncle twice
A nephew just once
A first cousin just once
I am a college graduate I have earned a BA and a JD
I am an attorney
I am a real estate broker with a long inactive – but current license
I am a homeowner
I am a product of growing up in a rural area, who likes living in cities
I am a cook, who enjoys cooking
I am a collector and consumer of distilled spirits
I am serious and silly
I have a sarcastic sense of humor
I am a skilled communicator, who can nastily eviscerate with words 
when provoked
I am aging, ungracefully,
I am fiercely loyal
I am slow to make friends, but eager to talk with strangers 
I keep many secrets, including some from myself 
I am a cycling enthusiast, who enjoys moving 
I am an odd duck, who does not always fit in, and for the most part 
I am comfortable with that
I have always been a little socially awkward
I am a helper, a fixer, and I want to make it better person, who has 
learned to try to understand what I can do and what can I not do. 
I am my harshest critic
I am a temporary and ephemeral being in a long term world
I am a driver who has owned 15 cars over the decades

Monday, February 09, 2015

Back to Reality

To make the IT security people happy, my cell phone only keeps a week's worth of email on it.  Anything older then one week drops off the phone.  This is usually not an issue when I travel.  I can tell how many messages I have marked as needing immediate attention when I get home.  Then along comes a 12 day business trip, what I thought was 40 or so messages needing my attention today, was about 65 of them,  Some coming up on two weeks old.  It took most of the day to sort through.  Then I worked on the travel expense reports, I have those almost ready to go.  I can't file one of them because expenses have not posted to the office credit card yet.  My replacement American Express card arrived today.  I called the hotel that I suspected I had left it at, and they had the card, I asked them to shred it.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

I'm Home

Fifteen hours of traveling through five time zones, changing planes in the middle of the night, in a strange airport, an hour mechanical delay on the last of 11 flights in 12 days (the first delay) and I am home.  I was nodding off web-surfing this afternoon, I took a long nap and will go to sleep early.  They say it takes one day to adjust for every hour change in time zones, so I won't expect to be back to "normal" by next weekend.  I love traveling, I love the adventures, It does take a little while to get back on balance when I return home.


So Anne Marie said to shout when I was passing through Philadelphia.  As I was talking the shuttle to the commuter terminal I was wondering what the breakfast options might be.  Well fresh local and modern.  Terminal F is worth riding a turbo prop back to DC

Saturday, February 07, 2015


Over the decades I have spoken in some amazing venues.  Now most of the venues are pretty boring, if you have seen one hotel conference room, you have pretty much seen them all and most are either cramped, or too large. Once in a while the space is a stand out.  The venue on Kona was a community center, island architecture with soaring beam ceiling and windows and doors on three sides.  The windows were louvered, so they could be opened and closed to let in the breeze, no heat or air conditioning needed.  It is a community space, used for a wide variety of purposes, sometimes a church, sometimes a theater, sometimes a gathering place for social functions (it had a small commercial kitchen in the back by the stage.) When you looked outside, on on one side was a local farmers market, on another the community school, a cattle barn and in the distance a 12,000 foot volcano with snow on the top.  I'd have to place this in the top 10 amazing places I have been privileged to work for a day.  Having a little fun along the way. 


The Hawaiian adventure is coming to an end.  It has been amazing, if a bit of a grind.  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were 12+ hour work days.  We met some really wonderful and welcoming people and saw some fascinating places.  We provided training to nearly 500 professionals, that should have an impact on the lives of a lot of people.  The airport in Kona, was described as huts, sort of Disney huts.  Open air, outdoors.  We were at a nice Marriott Thursday night.  I may have left my heart in San Francisco, but the best I can tell I left my American Express card at the Marriott near Kona.  I used it to pay for dinner, and the next time I looked for it, it was not in it's slot.It had been a 14 hour day, I think I left it in the restaurant.  I called Amex customer service, and once we got past the I can't give you my card number, because I have lost my card, Amex, checked for charges, the last one was dinner Thursday evening (for the amount of the check, not including the tip.)  They promptly cancelled the card, and will send a replacement. I was impressed with the service, the call took less then five minutes and within a couple of minutes I had an email confirming that they had closed the account and ordered a new one.  I never leave home without 2 or 3 cards, so there is no issue with traveling home.  I has been about 25 years since I last had to report a card missing or stolen, my ex had a card stolen in London the first time I was there - in 1990. I leave Honolulu about 1:30 on Saturday and change planes in LA and Philly and get home sometime mid morning on Sunday.  I will try to post along the way.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Lobby View

I knew I was crazy when I committed to five workshops in five days in four different locations.  We have had a couple of long days and one left to do. Then a 5000 mile trip home.  It has been a good program.  I am not sure I would commit to this aggressive of agenda again.  But it has been a week in paradise.  Is it paradise if you only see it in passing,  kind of like postcards?  I was warned about the cold weather on the big Island.  It is only 66 this morning. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

More Flowers

I should have ordered the chicken for lunch

This is the view from lunch today.
I read about the chickens, Kauai is overrun with feral chickens.  The T-Shirt said, Kauai 60,000 people and millions-and-millions-and-millions of chickens.  The chickens are everywhere.  There were chickens making little chickens under the hedge while we had lunch.  The rosters, were crowing at the moon, street lights, tiki torches, I think even crowing at the blinking message light on my cell phone. I asked if anyone had tried opening a restaurant chain, Kauai Fried Chicken. The Judge, who was born and raised on the island said her grandmother has an old family recipe that would be perfect.  Take a large pot, fill it about half full with water, put in the chicken, salt and pepper, a chopped pineapple, and a rock.  Simmer until the rock is tender, toss out the chicken and eat the rock.  Yes, they are kind of rough and tough little birds, I bet I could make a good chicken stew with one.  Like the one that was crowing on the terrace of my hotel room at about 4:30 this morning.