Jerry Rig

Jerry Rig or jury rig, is the practice of making due with what you have on hand to repair something or otherwise solve a problem. Making due, that’s a good life lesson.

Things don’t always go as we’d like; sometimes to get some result close to what we want, we have to make due, make the best of the situation as it is.

Opportunities arose for this practice all the time. It promotes compromise and resilience and fortitude.

Don’t be afraid to jerry rig something if need be to accomplish your goal. Be resourceful. Make it happen.

Oh yea, and if you want to learn more about the term and it’s history, see below.

Stripped Down Week

Not sure why, seems I’m frequently battling these days. Battling with tasks at work; battling with conflicting priorities; battling my moods, working to keep things on the up.

So stripping down this week, taking the minimalist approach, working on the basics. If grand insight presents itself, you’ll hear about it, no doubt; but not looking for it. Striving instead to as efficiently and effectively as possible, put one foot in front of the other.

Expecting some bumps as the week starts, so one foot in front of the other I think is the best approach. Yes, one foot in front of the other. Here we go…through it all, and all the same though, the same mission:



I’ve been making lists for a long time. The practice likely parallels my efforts in school, work, and life to be more organized. It’s been a mixed bag of results.

But the lists go on!

I prescribe mostly to the idea that having one (or at least only a couple few) master list(s) is a good idea.

At least, better not to use the backs of envelopes, loose/scrap paper, post-it notes to keep track of things. White board at home? Ok.

I end up making a few lists: grocery; work (at least a couple, different places, tactical, strategic; personal, those tend to be the most stagnant.

But make ‘em all the same, chase ‘em too. Every day. Do so. Let’s GO~

House White Board

Lights Out!

I’m a little too young to have been an active listener to “Lights Out!”, the famous early horror radio show from the 1930’s and 40’s, but I recall my folks talking about it. And I do remember Bill Cosby talking about it in his famous bit “Chicken Heart.” I listened to hat bit over and over, and laughed anew every time. That funny story made my heart sing!

This piece isn’t about that radio show, however. It’s about learning good habits, including turning the lights off when not in active use. It’s a little about how we might attempt to teach our kids these values, how we might instill in them the lofty and also practical benefit of such a habit as turning the light off.

I find myself walking around the house pretty well constantly turning lights off on rooms where no one is.

It’s a simple lesson. Turn off the light if no one’s in the room. Learn that lesson, and apply it regularly. That same mindset can be applied to leaving the water running, and monitoring the thermostat. Using natural resources carefully, thoughtfully, that’s the underlying ideal I’d like our kids to absorb, and practice every day.

Walking around the kitchen this morning, I noticed a piece of broken tortilla chip; when I saw it I remembered seeing it yesterday. At the time I thought, “Let’s see if anyone else picks it up. No one did. So this morning, I picked it up and threw it away. There was a bit of wrapper next to it, too. That went to the trash as well.

That’s another fundamental ideal. If you see garbage, pick it up and throw it away. This approach might well apply only in your home, but on that planet. How much cleaner would things be, how much healthier would nature be, if everyone did that? And the pre-step of course too: Don’t litter.

So the turning off the lights, picking up around the house, and everything in between; do a little more, or at least, do what you should do. I know it’s often more complicated, but maybe it shouldn’t be, influencing our kids. Just do what you should do.

[Disclaimer: I suspect some reading this piece might object to even mentioning Bill Cosby in a positive way, given his falling from grace and crimes for which he’s been convicted. That said, he was also one of the great comedians and entertainers of his era. I do not condone in any way his behavior otherwise, Full Stop.]

Do What You Can Do

Two examples here I’d like to share. Two men who believe in taking care of the planet: Doing the right things around that every day.

The first guy I know; he’s family. He’s a dad and a public servant and a bike rider and an outdoorsman.

And he picks up the trash when he’s out in nature as well.

This next guy I know only by what I read and podcasts I’ve listened to. Similarly, this guy is a dad, public servant, and outdoorsman.

And he picks up the trash when he’s out in nature as well.

Math: Break It Down

It’s like a never ending puzzle, doing math problems. There’s always another problem, always another bunch of numbers to fiddle with. Numbers are infinite, and so are the possibilities.

My dad was a math teacher. In point of fact, his college degree was in Mathematics. He was good at it. And he loved to help people, and especially kids, learn to do math.

I was only ever an average math student, when all was said and done. My dad helped me from time to time, especially when I was younger, up through middle school. Then he’d provide less, hands-on guidance as I got older; he encouraged me to ask my teachers questions, which I did; only once in a while would my dad give me reassurance on my thinking about particular math problems, verifying (and gently correcting some of my) ideas on how to solve, etc.; all together, that got me the rest of the way through. But again, I feel I was just about an average student of math.

The thing was…is…it really comes down to patience, and concentration. Whether I’m doing algebra from back in the day (and even today, if I had to), or compiling number data for reports at work, that’s what it comes down to.

Patience and Concentration. And taking things one step at a time. Patience, and Patience, and then add a little more besides. As we all know, sometimes patience isn’t the easiest thing to come by.

In fact, of late I’ve been thinking back to my old man helping me, HIS endless patience with me as I worked to wrap my head around concepts old and new.

I think back to how I’d get frustrated doing math problems. And as I recall, it was wanting to rush through problems, rushing to get the answer, instead of taking things step by step, that’s what tripped me up.

And so thinking back, and also considering the math I do now, it’s all about applying patience, and concentration, and breaking it down.

Now, if I can only help my kids in some small measure the way my dad helped me.

Bonus: One of my favorite formulas, though I can’t rightly say I can remember why. : – ) The Quadratic Equation

Back to the Wild

It was such a success, we did it again.

Such a simple act, readily accessible, waiting for you, for me.

We were out on a pedal boat, sparkling gold, something like the sun off the water. Greens and blues and birds, several types.

Lucky to have the chance to be on the water. Lucky to paddle around in that little vessel with my girls. Just plain lucky.

Back to wild, extra fun, the water adventure a bonus, icing on the cake, a wild cake, a blessed time.

And then some time from shore, just being, seeing what we could see, family together, blessed be.

Blessed Time. Blessed be.

Simple Blessings

Friday night, front end of the three-day holiday weekend.

Everybody ready for bed by eight in the evening, relaxing, screens fired up, and kids winding down.

Room lighting just so, a fan blowing gently behind me, easy breeze, hum, glow from the screen on the wall delivering food network fun, light, soft-brain goodness. What’s on? “Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives.”

That’s about it.

Brain slowing, blood pressure easing up, sleep soon on the way. And up ahead? Well, nothing but home time and family time for the weekend.

Simple. GOOD.

Thanks, Guy.

Guy F., (Right), “Diners, Drive-In’s, & Dives.” Food Network

It’s Complex

SCU Complex. LNU Complex. CZU Complex. Ah…what?

Not new vitamin supplements; rather, each a name that’s been given to one of the three wild fires currently burning in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In Santa Clara County (south bay). In Sonoma (and neighboring) County (north bay). In Santa Cruz County (further south bay).

Hill communities. Suburban communities on the fringe.

Already Pandemic Life. Already Distance Learning for our children. Already Work-From-Home for many; or working under additional constraints “on-site.” And of course, the Essential Workers grinding it out in even more extreme ways often.

The physical toll. The mental toll. The emotional toll. Those last two are different. The mental is adjusting your practices, routines, expertise to cope and hopefully thrive in the new set-ups. The emotional is the ups and downs along the way.

Hopefully we’re getting to more ups. Hopefully the downs aren’t as deep.

It’s complex.

The Next Right Thing

Pretty frickin’ powerful lyric for a cartoon “kids” movie.

Learning the lessons young, amen to that.

“The Next Right Thing”

(from “Frozen 2” soundtrack)

I’ve seen dark before

But not like this

This is cold

This is empty

This is numb

The life I knew is over

The lights are out

Hello, darkness

I’m ready to succumb

I follow you around

I always have

But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find

This grief has a gravity

It pulls me down

But a tiny voice whispers in my mind

You are lost, hope is gone

But you must go on

And do the next right thing

Can there be a day beyond this night?

I don’t know anymore what is true

I can’t find my direction, I’m all alone

The only star that guided me was you

How to rise from the floor

When it’s not you I’m rising for?

Just do the next right thing

Take a step, step again

It is all that I can to do

The next right thing

I won’t look too far ahead

It’s too much for me to take

But break it down to this next breath

This next step

This next choice is one that I can make

So I’ll walk through this night

Stumbling blindly toward the light

And do the next right thing

And with the dawn, what comes then?

When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again

Then I’ll make the choice

To hear that voice

And do the next right thing

‘Frozen 2’ Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez