Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wonders of My World W's, Last of May 31st Edition

Where Have I Been?  Home, the office, the Farmers Market, the gym. 

What has put a smile on my face? A couple of trips with the top down in the little car.  

What has made me sad? News that Sophie is terminally ill.  We will miss our vicarious walks. 

Who is that in the back seat? Panda, he likes taking a ride in the sunshine. 

What have I been cooking?  A nice roast beef last weekend, cheap beef slow cooked in red wine until it fell apart.  

What have I been reading?  I have finished 20 books in five months, I am currently reading "The Secret Life of Groceries". 

What have I been listening to?  YouTube music videos. What ever happened to MTV? 

What have I been watching?  Oh Cook -2, James May is back on Amazon Prime Video - I binged watched the season.  And the Indy 500.  

When is my next adventure?  The next scheduled is August, we are thinking about a trip to Cleveland to see family. 

Who have I heard from? Jay's brother and his wife in Cleveland, Doc Spo, a friend in Boston who invited me to speak at a conference in Chicago in October, a friend in northern Indiana, who will speak with me in Chicago, my sister. 

What is this week's Ray of Sunshine?  A reported deal on the raising the debt ceiling.  It is ABOUT TIME! 

Who deserves a hug this week?  The in-unit service guy at the condo, we put in a request to replace the float valve in a toilet, he showed up within a couple of hours, looked and said, all this needs is an adjustment, 30 second later it was working perfectly.  He knew what knob to twist in what direction and rather than a $100 replacement, it was a $25 house call.  

Who deserves a slap this week?  The fascists in Florida - lots of them.  


Monday, May 29, 2023

Moody Monday: Memorial Day

The last Monday in May, is Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day.  The origins are to honor those who died in War, by decorating the graves.

I have read several books about pilgrimage, most are religious in nature, or retrace family history.  I have experienced a little of those. 

A couple of decades ago, Jay was attending a conference at Oxford, I had spent a week there four years before, and decided I wanted something different.  I looked a the map and the closest different, was the west coast of France.  Normandy attracted me, and off I went.  

I had seen the World War II movie "The Longest Day" a few times, it focussed on the battle for St Mere Eglise.  A little research showed that it was a real place, and a real struggle.  I found the village on the map, and a pilgrimage was planned.  

I was surprised by how moved I was.  Thinking of the commitment of my parents generation to liberating France from fascism.  It was an experience that has stayed with me, and that is the core of pilgrimage.  Honoring something greater than ourselves. 

That is my mood this Monday. 


Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Sunday Five: Get Moving

  1. Do you have access to a gym? 
  2. Do you go out intentionally to walk? 
  3. Do you ride bikes? 
  4. Do you swim? 
  5. Are you a runner? 
My answers: 

  1. Do you have access to a gym? The one above is part of the condo community center. 
  2. Do you go out intentionally to walk? Yes, often on the weekends, I have started getting off the subway a mile from my office and walking the last mile.
  3. Do you ride bikes? I used to, I miss it.
  4. Do you swim? Seldom, I should swim more. 
  5. Are you a runner? I was for about a decade from my late 20's to late 30's.  I swore I would never stop. But I did. I miss it.
Please share your answers in the comments.  


Saturday, May 27, 2023

The Saturday Morning Post: Ducks in a Row

Some days I have my ducks in a row, some days I don't. I missed a conference call recently, I thought it was at 10:00 AM, it was at 9:00 AM.  By the time I realized I was late for it, it was nearly finished and I said, puck-it, I missed it. That is rare for me.  I can't remember the last time I missed a meeting, that I intended to go to.  

I have gotten better about deciding that some meetings, some calls, I am not going to go to. If others from my department are going to be on the call, I ask myself, is it critical that I be there?  If not, I tell them to cover it and skip it.  If all 4.2 of us are on the call, the overall cost is nearly $500 an hour, and I am the most costly of the team. 

So much of my time, I am overwhelmed with work, then I will hit a cycle where I am not.  And I feel guilty when my work is as done as it is going to be, and I have only put in 7 or 8 hours.  I have to remind myself about the 10 and 12 hour days, and Saturday meetings - time that I only get back if I balance it by knocking off a little early when I am caught up. Even with that, there will always be work that could have been done.  I figured out 35 years ago, that I would have a long to-do list when I die, and that is okay.  

I was working on some travel planning recently.  It was a little complex in that I needed to estimate driving times from point to point, and balance it so I didn't end up with 10 hours of driving one day, and 2 hours on another day.  I somehow messed up the timeline, I had started making hotel reservations and had to modify two of them, or I would end up with an extra day in the middle of the trip with no place to go, and no reason to be where I was.  One was easy, and even less expensive, one involved two phone calls and a follow up email, but all of those ducks are now in a row.  I even went back and double checked against the calendar.  

I am a planner, I always think my strength is the big picture, but I am often drawn into the details.  Getting the right ducks, in the right order, qack-quack-quack. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Funny Friday: Ms. Garmin Again

Where the little blue triangle was at, I was parked, in my car, high and dry, overlooking the north Atlantic on one side, and a harbor on the other side.  Look at the elevation in the lower right hand corner.  Sometimes I think Ms. Garmin drinks when I am driving.  


Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Thursday Ramble: Anchor Points

What are the anchor points of our lives?  What ties us to the things we think and do?  Many people are tied to family.  I was for the first half of my life, where I lived was based on where family was. The work I did was tied to the place I was. 

For about a decade, running, cycling, and swimming were anchor points in my life.  My schedule was built around gym time, run time, long rides, fast sprints, and early Saturday mornings about 30 weeks out of the year running with the crowd.  In some way I miss that, in other ways I recognize that it dominated my existence, oh how hard it was to make Levis with a 30 inch waist fit.  

About half a life ago, I broke those anchor points. My new anchor point became my sweet bear.  We moved to opportunity, for Jay a tenure teaching position, for me the chance to start a new career in mid-life.  

Jay and the new career became my anchor points.  Jay has brought happiness, self-acceptance and love into my life in ways I never experienced before.  The new career brought meaning and fulfillment to my life.  I know I whine about work - after all if it was easy - all fun and games - anyone could do it.  Work has challenges, but it also has rewards.  We have made a difference, we have slowly changed how many people think about age and ability.  If our theories are right, we have made the world a better place.  If we are wrong the next generation will fix that.  

Moving forward into retirement, what will be my anchor points?  Initially there is traveling to be done.  Travel that has been difficult or impossible with the responsibilities of work. I will have more time to write, to blogg (oh goody you get more of me!)  To walk, to take photos.  I want to throw the photos out for the world.  I can't take them with me, and someday after my brain deletes the files, so with the servers. I want to get back to the gym, not in pursuit of a 30 inch waist, but to keep myself moving. (I have been walking 45 to 60 minutes a day for three weeks now.) 

Reading is an anchor point for me.  With remote and now hybrid work I have had to change when and where I read.  I want to keep reading as an anchor point.  Reading stimulates thinking, and I want to keep thinking.  

There are others, but this ramble is getting long.    


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

My World of Wonders aka Wednesday Ws May 24 2024

Where have I been?  Huntley Meadows - a wildlife refuge near home - hence the snake. The good dentist, who was early, fast, easy - and complimented me on my brushing and flossing.  The office three times, an extra trip in for a going away party for one of our operations people who is moving back to Santa Fe, he is irreplaceable, big shoes to fill.  And the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony on Saturday night.  

Who have I seen?  Senator Tim Kaine - at the opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station.  (If someone hadn't greeted him with, "welcome Senator" I might not have recognized him.) 

Where am I going?  I am going to check those last two states off the list, I made travel plans this week for a road trip being added to a conference in Denver in August.  I will finally visit Idaho and Wyoming.  A bucket list item for me.  

What am I reading? I have been on a reading binge.  I finished "Sorry I am late, I didn't want to come," and Bob Newhart's bio, and I am working on "At least in the city someone would hear me scream."  The first one was insightful and serious, the last two are fun and funny.  Interesting trivia question, what is Bob Newhart's first name?  George. 

What is new? My sweet bear decided we needed a new television in the living room,  he struggled for 24- hours with set up and cable connections and it works well.  

When have I smiled? A lot recently, a lot of nice walks, lots of great reading, getting a few things done at the office. 

Who deserves a big THANK YOU this week? The people who designed the new subway station at Potomac Yard, it is pretty and functional. 

Who deserves a big slap this week? The idiot governor of Floridah who thinks other states want to follow his model of fascism - on a scale of 1 to 5 at least 5,000,000 slaps (VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!)   


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Travel Tuesday: Gullfoss Photo Dump

Gullfoss is a massive waterfall, about 6 miles north of Geysir.  We had been there for a few minutes in 2022, part of the plan for 2023 was to have all of the time we wanted. What I was not expecting was the ice around the edges this time. 


Monday, May 22, 2023

A Moody Monday: Are We The Conductor?

Are we in charge? Are we able to inspire others to do their best and contribute to something greater than themself?  A great conductor is just a person flailing their arms in the air, if the musicians don't respond to them.  The musicians are all soloists until the conductor brings them together - melding the sounds with magic something that is greater than the sum of the parts. Great conductors know how to get musicians to dig deep and give more than they knew they had to give. Great conductors know how to acknowledge and thank the people who make the music.  If you watch great conductors, the music invades their being. The music shows on their face and body. They often sing along silently, knowing how each part should sound, and how those individual sounds make the whole.  

We need soloists, but we also need harmony, we need to know how to do both.  A great conductor will know how to get both out of us. 

I struggle with trying to bring soloists together.  I study conductors and great managers, trying to be better.  But then, constant study and improvement is something that a conductor must do.    

Sunday, May 21, 2023

The Sunday Morning Five: Osborne & Osborne

  1.  Have you ever ordered from a menu in a language you don't read or speak? 
  2.  Have you ever been surprised by what you ordered? 
  3.  Have you ever told the server, "I don't know what I want, bring me something great"?  
  4.  Have you ever been to a country that does not have a McDonalds? 
  5.  Do you know anyone who seems to always complain about the food in a restaurant? 
My Answers:

  1.  Have you ever ordered from a menu in a language you don't read or speak?  A few times, pointing at photos. 
  2.  Have you ever been surprised by what you ordered?  Yes, one of the joys of the adventure. 
  3.  Have you ever told the server, "I don't know what I want, bring me something great"?  It has been a long time, but I have done this. Probably 3 out of 4 times it was wonderful. 
  4.  Have you ever been to a country that does not have a McDonalds?  Iceland, they had one, once, it went out of business. 
  5.  Do you know anyone who seems to always complain about the food in a restaurant? Don't we all have that one friend who sends half of what is served back? 
Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

The Saturday Morning Post: Notice the Little Things

 There are worlds of wonder around us.  Big scale, vistas, cities, crouds, people, massive machines, the forest - these are the things that we most notice.  They are all around us, they are easy to see, hard to miss.  At the same time there is a tiny world around us.  I remember as a child, stopping and sitting in the dirt examining the flora and fauna around me, while my mother fussed about the dirt on my clothes, and often bare feet.  

It is harder for me to sit on the ground these days, but I can still slow down, look down and around, and notice the tiny world around me.  

We were visiting this fisherman's cottage, part of a historic display affiliated with the Viking World Museum.  There were sweeping vistas, the cottage, and the nearby museum on the waterfront to catch my attention, then I noticed the moss growing along the top edge of the stone wall.  Tinny forests, self contained ecosystems,  right there in front of me, so easy to overlook, so fascinating to explore.  

Stop today, look down and see what is around you.  

Friday, May 19, 2023

Funny Friday: The Modern Library

 I was engaged as a consultant on planning for a new Senior Citizens Center, about 20 years ago.  Two of my suggestions were ignored, adding a Starbucks, and a Martini Bar.  It looks like the library may have the right idea.