Friday Faves, Issue #24

ShaZAM! Another edition of Friday Faves for you.

Hope these  provide you a little pick-me-up ~ if so, please share with your peeps to further the GOOD.

Destination of the WeekDandeli India, a place I knew nothing about until I met a fellow Lion from there, and our two clubs started a partnership to provide free eye care screening for those who would otherwise go without.

Quote of the Week: “Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.” ~unknown

Band of the Week:  Nineties band EXTREME still ripping it up all these years later. HERE.

Meal of the Week:  Pot o’ Beans.  Peruano.  Good for breakfast, packed up with protein and fiber and YUMMY.

Website of the Week: Another GREAT resource for helping find care for elder parents, etc.  Found HERE.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome. I’d LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse via that micro-blogging site:  my handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Ownership: It’s on YOU


The title says it pretty well.  With maybe capital letters to accentuate who needs to step up.  YOU have ownership.  Of EVERYTHING.

Lately I’ve been listening to a great voice on leadership, Mr. Jocko Willink.  Am sure I’ve mentioned him elsewhere in this blog.  Suffice to say, he knows a lot about leadership, and has some very defined ideas about what that looks like.  Want a taste?  His first podcast was a great indication of the content he’s bringing to the world.  Fresh yet timeless, simple yet not easy, and worth applying to YOUR life for sure.

What’s maybe the best thing I’ve gotten from following Jocko is taking his motivations and inspirations and examples and spinning them into the context of family and parenting.  In fact, when I think about it, a lot of what he has to say I’ve heard time and time again throughout my life:

Take responsibility for your life, for what you do, who you are, and where you want to go.  You can’t control a lot in this world, but you can control yourself. So focus on that.  That is how we make it better.  That is how we make ourselves happy.

It’s simple.  But often not easy, for sure.

With current events in my world right now, taking responsibility, taking ownership for everything that I can control is key to moving forward positively — and just plan maintaining sanity — on a day-to-day basis.

Over the past week I’ve thought more about engaging my family — my wife and kids — to take this approach as well.

I’m very thankful that they’ve taken steps in that direction.  Of course, we all “take ownership” in our own way.  The main thing is not the how — that will evolve, it will ebb and flow — but to simply to think differently, to be responsible.

Here are two quick examples.

First, one of my main roles at home is to be the dishwasher. Especially when the kids were infants, it was a task I could do easily, do quickly, and help keep the house running.  Besides, I was raised that way.  I’m happier that way.  It’s ingrained in my DNA to keep the kitchen sink clear of dirty dishes.

However, in the last few weeks I’ve not had nearly the discretionary time at home in the evenings to do my duty.  This week my wife stepped up to support our family (and my own mild neurosis) by doing the dishes.   That’s ownership.  In this case, my wife took ownership of something I was lagging on to lend a hand.  BIG help and I’m grateful.

The other example is related to the kids.  As you may have learned from my other blog posts, we have three little kids.  They are five years old and younger.

I’m responsible for taking the kids to daycare on my way to work.  It’s a tight time frame. To cope, we have a very established routine in the early morning to leave the house in timeline fashion on workdays.

As we’ve worked to maintain this routine over the past five years, I’ve been thinking of late how important it is for each of the kids to be more responsible for being ready to go.  How does this translate for a five year old child (or three, or two year old)?

They like having their loveys with them on the ride to daycare.  Up to this point my wife and I are the ones who make sure the loveys are in the car when we leave the house.  More than once I’ve elected to go back in the house and find the fuzzy little dog because one of them has forgotten.

I’m taking a new tact starting this week.

I’m reminding my kids that each of them needs to be sure they have what they want to take to day care; they can’t simply rely on mom and me.  That includes their loveys.  Granted, it’s early in the process, and I’m sure they’ll falter some.  We ALL forget things, at least some of the time.

The main point is, learn to be responsible.  Take ownership of the things you want in your life and the things that happen in your life.  It’s the only way you’re going to change things for the better.  It’s really the only way to be happy.


Friday Faves, Issue #23

And just like that, Voila!  Another edition of Friday Faves for you.  ENJOY!

Destination of the Week:  Verbier, Switzerland.  Ahhhh, where?!  HERE.

Quote of the Week: “I really don’t give a shit what they think about how I dress…why does it matter?  It’s the music that matters.” ~  Yuja Wang

Band of the Week:  Not a band, but a Gen Y virtuoso on the piano. Here’s a sample.

Meal of the Week:  It’s GOOD for you. Oatmeal.  Eat it. Everyday!

Website of the Week: These folks have been a big help lately. A Place For Mom is AWESOME. And free.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome. I’d LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse via that micro-blogging site:  my handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Sometimes Sleep

Sometimes sleep is exactly what we need.

Sometimes we’ve worked long hours for many days.

Sometimes we’ve taken on more than we bargained for, juggling more plates in the air than we may have thought possible.

Sometimes we realize that things are just difficult from time to time, or frequently, or constantly. For a while, maybe, or a long time.

Sometimes we need a break. Sometimes we’re better off turning off the screens, and the lights, and our brains. Sometimes it’s best to shut it all down, rest up, reset, and get after it tomorrow.

Sometimes sleep is exactly what the doctor ordered. And its time…is…now…zzzzzzzzzzz.



Stroke, Day 20


It’s been rather rough the past week or so.

The reality of our dad’s stroke has thoroughly soaked in.  There’s only a sticky residue on my skin now.  I can’t wash it off.  This situation is the new normal. It’s going to be with us as long as our parents are alive.

There’s way too much to be done to wallow in the deep, warm pity pool, feeling sorry.  These are the cards he’s been dealt.  He can’t fold and walk away from the table.  This hand has to be played.

The good news is that it’s not just me.  My brother, and our aunt (my mom’s sister) are at the table too.  We can help each other make decisions as to how to play things out.  But at best, this comfort is fleeting.

It’s like being on a golf team that suddenly is being asked to jump in the pool and play  water polo.  The learning curve is steep. There’s no time to practice.

Today marks the one-third point in what the doctors say is about a 60-day period when the most recovery and rehabilitation is going to happen for him.  After that, where he is, that’s where he’s going to stay.  But that’s only  with respect to his mental state and physical capabilities.  There’s a lot more too it than that final “assessment.”

There’s where are they going to live, my mom and he?  How are they going to interact?  How much of their stuff will they be able to keep in their new place? How often will see them now that they can’t drive any more? What’s their quality of life going to be now?

All these questions will be answered in due time.   We’ve got to play each card and see how the game unfolds.


#kidtime/2, Sunday

Not sure how it is in your world, but on this side, it seems like the list of things to do is never-ending.  Sundays are no exception.

There’s the usual stuff we all have to attend to:  dishes, laundry, picking up from the previous week, checking and paying the bills for the week, grocery shopping…if you add on any yard work tasks, the list doubles, at least.

But sometimes, it’s best to pause and make special effort to soak up the moment.  That happened this morning.

Little L was the first up this morning.  It was around 645am.  The other two kids were (thankfully) still fast asleep.  We had an hour of couch time under a blanket, snuggling, then quietly watching Handy Manny.

She had some milk and Gold Fish cheese crackers.  She lied on top of me watching her show. It was really nice.  She and I don’t get much time like that most days, it seems.

Of course, like a lot of good things, the moment was fleeting. By 825a the older daughter was up and the one-to-one dynamic evaporated.  Soon the trials and conflicts of little kids came to the fore.  The little one hit the older one with a doll, crying ensued, a time-out was levied, and then the oldest started whining about changing the channel to her show.

We were into the day.

But for a bit of time this morning, thanks to being present with our younger daughter, I got a great dose of being a daddy.  That’s what it’s all about.

Oh, and a little while later?  Big A (the older daughter) gave me a BIG hug.  That’s what it’s all about too.


Don’t know about you, but on my side 2016 is starting off at a pretty good clip.  Another week in the books, another edition of Friday Faves for you.  ENJOY!

Destination of the Week:  Kerala is a state in the southwest corner of India.  13 reasons for applause and an indication that things CAN get better, even in a country with 1/7th of the world’s population.

Quote of the Week: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” – Winston Churchill, addressing the House of Commons, 13 May 1940.

Band of the Week:  The Sultans of Swing gave us Money for Nothing topped off with Heavy Fuel. THANK YOU, Dire Straits.

Meal of the Week:  A big Caesar Salad sounds pretty good about now.

Website of the Week: Gentlemen, it’s long over due. It’s time to stand together with women EVERYWHERE. HeforShe. NOW.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome. I’d LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse via that micro-blogging site:  my handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!


Relative Struggle

The dictionary defines the word STRUGGLE thus:  “To contend resolutely with a task, problem, etc.; strive.”

There’s been a fair amount of low-level, daily struggle with my family’s current health situation.  As I shared last week, my father suffered a stroke on New Year’s Eve.  He’s now in a stroke rehabilitation center beginning his comeback.  My mother is a 20-year stroke survivor, and heavily disabled.  It’s been quite a lot to pick up, between my brother and me.  All aspects of our parents’ lives now rests on us for regular attention and management.

I’ve got an old friend who’s in a similar (but more advanced) family situation.  Last year he took on the role of full-time care-giver to both of his aging and ailing parents.  His dad is now in his “final innings”, as he puts it.  My friend is channeling a massive amount of grace and positive energy as he cares for his parents, and especially his father.   Grace or not though, that effort is sometimes a significant struggle to keep a lid on everything: logistics, planning, operations, and emotions.

All that said of course, it’s true also that these two examples play out over and over by the tens of millions around the world every day.  The experience is at the end, a human experience.  Dealing with life, and struggling with it sometimes.

Being in the thick of it, an apt remark to summarize a way to think and cope goes like this:

IT’S ALL RELATIVE.   Sure it’s cliche, but it’s also quite true.  It’s a tough start to the new year in my family.  Then again, there’s a lot to be thankful for.  And considering how things are around the world, millions of people have to deal with very similar personal situations while living in much more extreme conditions.

What do I mean?

Think of these millions of scenarios playing out around the world, INCLUDING places like the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya.  Or in the midst of the strife in the Central African Republic.  Or Darfur, Sudan. Or war-torn Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan.  Or rural China, or the hinterlands of India. Millions of people struggling just to stay alive day-to-day, never mind deal with near-universal life circumstances I mentioned earlier.

It’s all relative.  When I think about the situations in any of these places noted above, that helps me cope with own particular struggles.  At the end of the day, it’s just life happening.  And I’ve got it pretty reasonable, all things considered.




Friday Faves, Issue #21

Quite a week. And just like that, it’s time for another edition of Friday Faves.  ENJOY!

Destination of the Week:  Bekasi Timur.  Indonesia.  Ever heard of it?  Me neither.  Until today.

Quote of the Week:  “Get up. Dust off. Gather yourself. And get after it once again.” ~ Jocko Willink

Band of the Week: The Roots. House band for Jimmy Fallon. GREAT fun to watch and listen to.

Meal of the Week: Pancit is DELICIOUS.

Website of the Week:  Medium is a platform that serves up a ton of good content.  Here’s a great sample.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome! LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse via that micro-blogging site:  my handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Marriage is a Choice


My wife, SCL, is a very thoughtful person.  Smart too.  And pretty, well…pretty as well (I was going to say HOT!, but thought better…whoops!)…

We’ve been together ten years, married seven, and have three kids under five (if you’ve read other posts, you might know this already).

The following is a piece she posted a couple days ago.  I couldn’t be more proud of her for this work.  And couldn’t agree more with the belief that marriage is a choice.

And I made the right one when I married this woman.