Leaving the Grind Behind


It’s time to head out on the highway.  The first family road trip is dialed in and coming soon. Leaving the usual day-to-day behind, packing up, and on the road once again.

Very excited for a bunch of reasons.  I’ve loved road trips as long as I can remember. Going new places, seeing new things. Taking the kids on such an adventure, all the better.

No dishes to speak of?  GOOD.

Change up of schedule?  GOOD.

Living out of a suitcase and van for a few days?  GOOD.

Change up of surroundings and scenery?  GOOD.

Spend time with friends we haven’t seen in a while?  GOOD.

Kids get to hang out with new kids, similar ages?  GOOD.

Going to a new park?  GOOD.

Spending long stretches of time with the kids, drenched in ordinary activities?  GOOD.

Spending long stretches of time without screens on?  GOOD.

Let the soul be refilled.  I’m ready.

 

Proud

Pride.

Keep it in check, but let it fuel you inside.

When legit and from real work, effort, and struggle, there are few things that will fortify your self-worth and esteem. Store up those feelings to help carry you in difficult times.

That sort of pride is your armor, your shield. When you’ve worked hard and long day in and day out, let the pride in that effort stand on its own.  Keep it safe and use it to your full advantage. It is powerful.

That said, do not allow your ego and pride to lead the way.  Remain humble. Be open to learning and lessons and new ways.

Take root in the knowledge that there will always be those lesser, and greater than you.  Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how modest. Your effort when sincere and at full measure, speaks for itself.

Keep going forward. Be proud.

Celebrating Susan, 2017

A dozen years back I met this amazing person. Her name is Susan.  I was really lucky. She taught me a lot about myself and love and learning. 

A few years later she became my wife.  Together we made a family, now with three little children. I am even more lucky now. 

Susan teaches me about myself and other ways of being that are good. She challenges me and loves me and stands with me. She helps make life worthwhile. I am SO lucky.

Today we celebrate her birthday, and I thank God and fate and my lucky stars in the sky for Susan, this amazing, smart, funny, inspiring, caring, solid human being I’m going through life with. 

The kids and I are so fortunate, so blessed so filled with GOOD because of her.

Happy Birthday to You, Susan!

A Pile of Shells

We’re heading into one of the main  vacation times of year, and I’m thinking back to the family holiday last year on the beach.

I’ve come to love those days — this will be the third or fourth trip to the California coast near with the family — there’s a total focus on kid fun, beach play time, good food, quality time with the extended family, and slowing life down to reset.

I’m reminded that shifting the mind away from work and normal life’s day-to-day challenges takes effort. It takes conscious effort.

And as the noise in your mind quiets, important “big life” stuff comes to the fore.

Simple things are often the best.

Seek them out and you will see.

Examples?

A walk in the wind.

A little bowl of popcorn.

The Zigzag game around the stumps down the road.

Kids dancing to the boom boom in the living room.

Piles of shells collected by kids and adults alike, simple joy found in abundance, all around.

It’s summer vacation again, the soul rejoices!

Hallway Protocol

We recently moved into a new facility at work. It’s a cool, big building, freshly refurbished to welcome us.

Prior to this home the company had been a bit spread out, across 5 buildings. 

It’s nice to see everyone under one roof, get a more full sense of who’s who. What faces are associated the different groups. Understand more completely the company I work for. Smile at more people every day. Spread more good.

That’s really my number one personal goal at work: smile more, and share the simple, good energy that comes along with it.

Which brings me to the title of this post. What IS the exact, appropriate, “hallway protocol” when you pass fellow co-workers?

We have a lot of long, straight hallways in this building, so you can see people coming a mile away. 

That’s a good thing on the one hand, because you can scan the corridor when you enter to see if anyone’s coming. You can get ready. Then you have a decision to make.

If you haven’t said Hello yet during that day (if you remember), it’s a fresh opportunity to share a little smile and good cheer. Can’t hurt, right?

But if you HAVE seen that person already earlier in the day, the possible exchange (or lack there of) is a bit more complex. You can say “Hello” again, with some little quip to add to the greeting…or just smile, or even choose to ignore the person the second (third? fourth?) time around.

My vote, for what it’s worth, what I try to do, is always try to make eye contact and have some positive exchange. I’m not 100%. Sometimes I get ignored. Sometimes I don’t know what to do. I’ve even gone the other way, so I didn’t have to make decision.

But the best choice? Put yourself out there, say hello, TRY to brighten the other person’s day. You have nothing to lose.

That’s the Hallway Protocol we should all follow. After all, we’re in this together.

Inside the Box, Outside the Lines

There are many metaphors that convey one of the basic dichotomies of life: that middle ground between routine and spontaneity.  The concept comes to to mind thus:  put your life into a neat little box that is familiar, known, manageable.  At the same time, don’t be afraid to color outside the lines and create something new.

This concept is equally applicable and examples abound at work, at home, and everywhere in between.  I think I counted a dozen examples in my own life just yesterday.

I’ve written about routine here recently. This topic is certainly something that is frequently on my mind: striving to be efficient, productive, responsive, and responsible, that’s the main goal.

The other side of the coin though is equally compelling; it offers the energy and excitement of the immediate need, and sometimes that particular spark that fosters creativity and inspiration, as well.  It breaks the routine, marches off in its own direction, responding to the demand of the moment, chasing the muse.

So how do we reconcile the two? I’m not entirely sure.  What I am absolutely sure of is that the two must co-exist. We’re much better off if we learn and accept and master the art of flipping between the two worlds.

The fundamental take-away?

Make the most of what’s inside your box, be able to very familiar with every item in the box, and be ready to paint the outside with colorful splashes from the rainbow when given the chance.

Five. 


Five stands for several, meaningful things in my life. So it’s worth a little share out, to further the good.

First, there’s five o’clock. In the morning. It used to be early for me. Now, not so much. I get up during the work week between four and four thirty. Plenty of dark still out at that hour.

Five.  Not so early.

Then on the Sleep Side, five seems to be my average number of hours of sleep during the week. The experts say 7 to 8 hours a night is better for your mental and physical health.

I just can’t seem to get there. Much. Sometimes, mostly on weekends.  But during the week, nope. That said, I’m really happy when I get up early, get out with the dogs, and then get into the day.

Why do I do what I do?

It really comes down to four reasons : my lovely wife, plus big A, L-Dude, and little Lu, and then of course the doer himself, me.  That makes five peeps in our immediate family.

And then there are my older daughter’s “Cinco Cosas” – five of the things she likes about yours truly, a list she made at school this spring.

Very grateful for her perspective, reminding me why I get up before five o’clock most days, and why I’m so thankful for our family of five.

GOOD.

Debrief: Dad’s Day So Make Hay

Father’s Day 2017.  I gotta say once again, taking the sublime tact has been the right answer to finding joy and celebration.

No rafting trip, no golf outing (that was yesterday, of the charity kind), no ball game (that was last week), no trip to the beach (that’s coming in a couple weeks), just lots of QUALITY.

Here’s a breakdown.

Got up to feed the dogs very early, as usual, but then went back to sleep for two more hours.  NICE.

Doughnuts from my favorite shop with hot coffee at home. A perfect, indulgent breakfast and start to the day.  Chocolate old-fashioned and a buttermilk. YUM.

Visited my Dad and Mom together with my fam.  Nice chat on the back patio in the shade. Kids played a bit. My brother’s family stopped on too. JOY.

A little social media, posting some pictures from the Lions charity golf tourney on Saturday. Sharing thought and props with friends and golfers. GOODSTUFF.

A little writing was in the mix (this blog post). Summing up the good in my life, the particular tidbits that make it that way. I’m grateful pretty much every time I get words down on the proverbial page. HAPPY.

Eureka! Take-out for dinner, Bison Burger medium rare, Truffle Fries, some fruit from the bowl. DELICIOSO.

 Fun in the backyard with the first fill of the kid pool for the summer (it was flipping swelter of a day). Stood in there a bit myself to cool down. They had fun, we had fun, it was. FUN. 

Had a very good and insightful conversation with my better half. Learned about myself, laid a solid foundation for future conversations that will help us grow, and me be a better person. GOOD.

Yep, it was a fine day.