Sunday, July 8, 2012

19 June 2012

Since I don't so much have a life of my own, I find it helpful to live through the lives of others. Okay, so that's a bit much. Maybe it'd be better to say that I like to read.

Generally the people I meet between the pages of a book are far better company than the people I meet in the world. Yes, there are some notable exceptions, and I've mentioned many of them here, but good literature brings us many things, not the least of which is learning from the mistakes and success of others, even if those people often are not real people.

But who's to say what makes real any more?

Regardless, a colleague at work left me with a good recommendation for my next read, and I've already cued it on my Kindle. This one is not fiction, but from reading the cover, I suspect the author is telling the story of my life, or at least a miserable part of it. This should be fun, and I'm looking forward to laughing at my self and the author. More the former than the latter. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

18 June 2012

I fill out a lot of expense reports. It's a part of the job. I go somewhere. I do something. I spend money to get it done, and then my company fronts me the money and bills the client so I don't have to worry with three dozen different expense forms and reimbursement rules.

This means there's someone in another office who gets to go through all my paper work to be sure I got it right, and by getting it right, I mean down to the exact cent. Accounting people just don't much work with approximations, and that's probably good. You can probably see where we're going now.

Since I depend on that person to do her job so I can get my money back, I try to get my reports as right as I can. Of course, having a PhD means I have documented trouble with some details, and accounting details are among those.

Regardless, for all my efforts, I occasionally blow it, and a few days ago, I really blew one. It was no where near right. Usually when I leave a boo-boo on my sheet, I get it back with a note to fix it, but this time, she saw my hopelessness and made the repair herself. I just had to sign the form again.

That's worth a card. It's probably worth a cut off the top also, but that'd probably not go over all that well at work.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

17 June 2012

Father's Day. I went to visit Lil. Josh is driving from Texas to Colorado. Finally met the grand dog, Seymour. Seven months of mess. Oogled Lil's BF's huge motorcycle. Ate at Rico's. Dessert at DQ. Drove home, ran five miles, and wrote Lil a card. That all seems about right for a Sunday.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

16 June 2012

Many Saturdays, I sleep late, or as late as an old fart can, eat, catch up on laundry, run, nap, bike, maybe step out to eat, and crash. Rinse and repeat. A lot. This Saturday was about the same except for the afternoon's intervention in which a young lady came by, made me go to the orchid farm, tour old town Apex, hopscotch on the sidewalk, and then eat fried green tomatoes and tofu. If that's not worth a card, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

15 June 2012

Sometimes I get lucky. One of those proposals I presented to potentials clients a few days ago hit the mark. I suppose that makes me .500 for the season. I knew I should have been a pitcher.

The guy I was subbing for is recovering from whatever dread disease he brought back from India, and he was in a recent management meeting singing my praises. I'll be thanking him for that. (Let's hope the boss remembers all this next year when raises or bonuses come along.)

Now of course, I've been at this long enough to know the tides go and come. It's just the way the world works. Sometimes it all comes together, and sometimes it does not. The thing is that I'm not sure we have all that much to do with it, though that is the way to bet.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

14 June 2012

It seems ages ago when the foot troubles began. Plantar faciitis became chronic. There were days when moving was a real chore. In time the sharp, splitting pains gave way to an incessant dull ache. Standing for any period produced intense burning. To compensate, I changed shoes two or three times a day to confuse the nerves.

That crap lasted well over ten years, but now, it's in remission, mainly because I wear minimal shoes now. Barefooted shoes. I thought they were all hype, but I gave in last year and got a pair. Then two pair. Now they're all I wear.

There was one doc back in Greensboro who was as long-suffering in the treatment as I was in the aching. He tried everything, many things more than once, somethings just because they might work. Not one every did. I had to wait a long while to figure this one out, and now that the road to recovery appears before me, I feel the need to thank this man for his tireless efforts.

Yes, I'm reaching back for this one, but it occurs to me that he might benefit from knowing what worked for me, especially given that it's counter intuitive.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

13 April 2012

And when it rains, it pours, something I've likely written here before, perhaps to the point of boredom, though it's certainly descriptive of how things happen more often than not.

I have a second presentation. Two days. Two presentations. Two prospective clients. Many things are similar because they both are planning very similar activities. However, I can assure you that if they put their heads together, they'd identify thousands of important differences, and guess who needs to be cognizant of those differences, and least for a couple of hours. This might be the hardest part.

And again, someone has worked diligently for the past several weeks to make this happen, and that someone is not me. Again, I have a folder and some files. Perfectly organized. Ready to go. All I have to do is find another suit (Yes, I sweated all over the suit from yesterday.) and somehow manage to be smart-sounding for a couple of hours.

My colleague will also have to make do with this card until she can locate the bourbon and Vicodin. Of course, she's probably hard at work on what I'll be presenting in a few months, and not noticing such distractions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

12 June 2012

I’m on a road trip to present a proposal from our company to an organization that has worked with us before. I’m also presenting alone, which is uncommon, but not a problem. My role is to look decent and be, generally, smart for a couple of hours. As you might suspect, both can be a challenge for me.

Nonetheless, I pulled out a suit, found a tie, read my materials, and prepared to give the organization two hours of free consulting. That's what these activities often are. Most organizations, especially as they're deciding what to do, really haven't developed a clear picture of what they want, not at this point, though they might think they know, and a large part of my job is to help them talk through options.

It's not bad duty, as duty goes.

However, there's an awful lot of work that goes on long before I receive my materials. Countless hours, we might say, though I’m sure someone really did count them. Without her work, I could not do my part. Not at all.

She deserves more than this card, perhaps bourbon. Well, more likely Vicodin. Perhaps the ink from this fountain pen will buy her a little. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

11 June 2012

You don't have to watch the television much to recognize that the drug manufacturers have figured out that the baby boomers are aging, and what we have now is a pill for about every malady and malaise known to old farts like me. Well, with one exception. We don't have an anti-death pill. Not yet.

This mess surely drives doctors mad. Marketing people drive the ads, not medicine, and if you review the litany of symptoms the pills are designed to cure, you quickly realize that you need that pill. Celebrex leaves you dancing. Cialis puts you bathing together with your spouse in separate tubs. Then there are the Low-T ads.

The people who worry about sex ed in the schools should pay a little more attention to the ads on the six o'clock news, not to mention the dialog on prime time TV. Come to think of it, there's more than a little rape and pillage in that book they so eagerly espouse as well. Okay, I digress. Again.

So I was in the doc's office for a mid-year check-in. No problems, aside from the usual for a 59-year old man, but like every other patient, I’m sure, I had one of those ads on my mind. We discussed some of the science and a lot of the statistics, and I declined the treatment. Clinical studies are one thing. Open trials on the population are another, and I will wait until a few million other people go first lest I become an underlying statistic a la Vioxx.

I appreciate her plain talking with me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

10 June 2012

Sometimes I think I've finished some little something, only to learn at an inopportune moment that what I thought was perfectly clear was somewhat less than lucid for the other guy.

That happened Saturday morning. The email and explanation I sent earlier didn't do the trick. Maybe one day I'll learn to get it right the first time. Wait. That's surely a jest.

So I'm stepping into the Ninja Challenge, and during a brief down moment, I look at email. Uh oh. I didn't respond directly, but I did send a text to a colleague asking if he could send the reference for computing the Brennan-Kane Index of Dependability.

He sent an email with a PDF attached. The PDF was the original article. He also sent a text in which he asked me why I was working on a Saturday when I was surrounded by Ninjas.

That was a good question.

Later in the evening, I returned home, cleaned up, and forwarded the article to my confused peep. I'm sure he grunted, probably even said something untoward, but he did solve his problem, and he can meet his deadline.

My colleague off to the west did a good thing on a Saturday, and he's getting a card. We might even sing to him later.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

09 June 2012

And we did it. We ran the Ninja Challenge. Survival was not necessarily an option, but we made it through. All together. We started together. We faced each challenge together. We finished together. Actually, we finished by skipping across the finish line like a passel of grade schoolers. We were smiling about as big too.

It has been a very long time since I had a Saturday afternoon that went so well. I hope the ladies know how much I appreciate them running with me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

08 June 2012

Our CEO sits on a few interesting boards, and that gives him contact with several interesting people. Occasionally, this mean that he brings the company tickets to events. It's often an opportunity to attend something we'd otherwise never consider. In this case, a concert on the lawn at the Art Museum. The question is: Will I be alive after the Ninja Challenge? We won't know for a while, but if we are, we might just step up the the amphitheater for an evening on the lawn. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

07 June 2012

The peep who usually corrects my broken English and who also agreed to run in the Ninja Challenge with me, took time from her off-work life, made cookies, and brought them in. Ninja sugar cookies. They were beyond good.

What she didn't know was that I was moving too fast to grab some lunch, and even though I had a late breakfast, my tummy was complaining. Her cookies saved my life, or at least the lives of several people around me. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

06 June 2012

Like every other organization in the world, we have someone who is in charge of processing our expense reports. I do my very best to get them right because the penalty is missing the fortnight cycle and having to wait that additional two weeks for my money back. Well, the credit card's money back.

I usually get the paperwork about right, but of course today, being in a hurry, I fouled one up. Extremely fouled, and it was only one line long. Yes, it takes some special talent to do that. Nonetheless, the reimbursement fairy fixed it, brought it to me so I could learn something, and then went on about her business. She could have just said nope, and left it for me to figure out. Of course, I'm not sure that I ever would have gotten this particular one right. She probably knew that already. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

05 June 2012

When I think I've finished a project, I usually burn the files to a CD, and then send the CD to the client representative for safe keeping. Often, that means I send the Word file and the corresponding PDF to a helpful peep to put on the CD, and that's that.

Other times, there's a complicated directory structure involved, and then it's a different beast. In those cases, I just burn the CD myself. It's simpler than duplicating the structure on a shared drive, and then explaining what needs to go on the CD.

However, I still need a label, and while I'm quite fine with using a Sharpie, company standards encourage me to do a little better, and that means I wind up visiting my helpful peep. I try not to just walk in and expect her to do something because that's just plain unfair, but she did just that, dropped everything and made me a pretty label while I waited today.

She makes our lives at work simpler, and she does so with a smile. And now a card.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

04 June 2012

A project is defined as something that has a discrete beginning and end. If something is on-going with no end expected, we call it a process. There! You're all educated now.

I work on a lot of projects that are embedded in processes. The final step of those projects is, usually, me writing some kind of report, and let me tell you right now: Those reports are simply compelling reading.

The thing is a few other people, generally, get to make edits, and the apparent human need to change the written words of another runs very strong, especially in those people who do not write much.

I just turned in a report for the third time to our editor. She smiled. She didn't slap me. She didn't release the Kraken. She just sent me a revised PDF about an hour later.

I doubt I made her day, any more than the revision made mine, but she was a very good sport about it all. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

03 June 2012

So a few months back, I finally got some of the work peeps to participate in a baby mud race. 5K and about a dozen large obstacles. It's called the Ninja Challenge, and it's held locally.

That's all well and good, and then I get to work. We have ninja t-shirts. One of the peeps found ninja t-shirts at Target, and she got some for us. We'll be very well dressed as they drag us through the mud.

This one requires two death waivers. I hope the obituary mentions the shirts.

Friday, June 8, 2012

02 June 2012

I work with a lot of volunteers who are selected by the management of professional organizations. These volunteers work for free, and receive only reimbursement for their expenses. Food. Travel. Lodging. Manicures. Well, not that one.

The important thing is that someone has to assemble the volunteers carefully. One volunteer with an agenda or one volunteer lacking the ability to negotiate and compromise can put our work at risk, and given that these meetings are generally very expensive, it's important that we accomplish the work we've planned in the time we've allocated.

Today, I facilitated one such meeting. Our charge was to determine the passing point of an examination. This is not a trivial task, and it has to be done right, or I get to spend some quality time with fire-breathing attorneys later on. This means much of my success, and peace of mind, is predicated on the work of another, who, in this case, put together a fine panel of volunteers.

We finished our work early, and the panel produced solid data. I want my organization representative to know that I appreciate her hard work and planning.

May in review

May? We had a May? It was so short, I hardly noticed. What I did notice was the many things that happened. Josh graduates. Josh commissions. I spent a week in Daytona Beach running on the beach and eating sweet potato fries with a barbeque sandwich for lunch. Got to see Lil and Maddy. Michele too. Spent a morning with Josh running on the beach with a sandbag on my shoulders. There's some interesting metaphour there. Of course, I spent that week far away from the ex-in-laws, and that was a smart move.

Ran another baby mudder directly after graduation. Mostly alone. Again. Did much better than the last time except it took longer. I'll get there one day. At least the parking for this one was reasonable.

Invited a young woman to dinner and a colonoscopy. Don't tell me that I have forgotten how to entertain the fairer sex. Sang to the staff while I was waking up. Farted excessively. Where else can a grown man do that and have it considered a sign of good health? 

But aren't we supposed to be discussing gratitude here? I believe we are. Work was very busy, and that meant I withdrew to the home office to be sure to meet my deadlines, what with all the social distractions of an office. Of course, I luxuriate going 48 hours never speaking to another person, but that leaves me stretching to continue this project. I think that's a good thing, and while it leaves me frequently expressing gratitude for a simple and small thing, it means that the simple and small thing is also recognized. When I think of it, I believe the simple and small things are important, just as important as, perhaps even more so than, those larger things we more easily see.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

31 May 2012

I mentioned sometime back about the peep holding forth until we had finding for an intern. The intern starts soon, and she's going to develop something called equating software for us over the next two months. If she survives that task, and that's a mighty big if because I'm not sure who in this world can survive two months of focus on statistical equating, then she'll know what she never wants to do again and we'll have a software package we can modify as we need.

Today a card. This summer, a wreath. Oops! Sorry for the hyperbole. She appears to like statistical equating. Go figure.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

30 May 2012

When it rains, it pours. Another proposal was accepted today. This time, it's shared with another organization, and that's very good. Now I just have to figure out what we'll actually talk about, and given that I don't have two decades of history with this accomplice, I'm going to have to actually think this one through. Imagine that.

But, she's a good peep. This will work out just fine, which is why I asked her to dance in the first place. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

29 May 2012

I've probably said it far too often, but I don't work in a vacuum, though I suspect there are those who occasionally wish I did. More to the point, this is the season in which we make proposals for technical presentations at fall and winter professional conferences, and one of the rules placed on us is that we have co-presenters affiliated with a separate organization. The idea is to prevent us from turning the presentations into sales and marketing, not that they really have to worry about that with me.

Most of the professional organizations with which I work are not inclined to participate in these activities. For the most part, the individuals involved say they don't feel qualified. They might feel that way, but I see them as imminently qualified. More likely, they are a bit afraid, not interested, or perhaps already busy enough. Regardless, I don't push the issue.

Instead, I solicit participation from a bud who works as a professor of what we do. I was on his dissertation committee, and we've presented and published together for almost 20 years. Damn, I'm getting old. Nonetheless, he usually agrees to play along, and that make life simple. Yeah, we just had another proposal accepted. We'll be in Palm Springs together again this November.

Monday, June 4, 2012

28 May 2012

After all this time, it finally happened. Last night, the toilet drain slowed, but still drained. This morning, the draining stopped. On a holiday. These things never happen at convenient times. I'd hoped that my snaking the drain myself last night would have solved the problem, and I could avoid having to ask management to call a plumber on a holiday, but it was not to be.

I don't know how much that plumber charged, but I am certain it wasn't enough. I left the light on. I left the fan running. I left the door closed. I stepped in once to fetch my toothbrush, and I haven't smelled such since I toured the maggot farm in Burlington.

The apartment manager was quick to respond, and all was well by the time I returned home later in the afternoon. I should send her flowers.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

27 May 2012

Yep, a Sunday evening, and I had company. This time, it was not dinner and a colonoscopy, but then every day can't be Christmas. This time it was just dinner and a flick. She brought the flick. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In doing so, I believe she saved my life. I'm pretty sure that I could read my way through the books, but now I know for a fact that I never want to be exposed to the movies ever again, no matter how many there are and no matter what the reviews. I could go on about how poorly that story was told as a flick, but I'm going to restrain myself and only write a note.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

26 May 2012

The apartment building hires someone to clean up after us, and by us, I means the slobs who live in this building. Apparently, their mothers were derelict in teaching them how to behave. They drop stuff and walk away. They leave trash in the stairwells despite the risk of a huge fine. One peep tossed the trash bags out the window. I can only assume that many of the foreign nationals living here had staff back home.

The management company hires someone to take care of the building, and the current woman does a wonderful job, though I fear she's overworked and underpaid.

She smiles. She's friendly. She collects discarded clothes for a shelter. In a few days, she'll collect a card also, though it won't go far at the grocery store.

Friday, June 1, 2012

25 May 2012

Today, we had a company meeting. Many organizations do this, and although I'd rather receive the information by email, I do like the pizza lunch that follows. Unfortunately, this time I had an obligation at lunch that took me out of the office after the meeting and away from the pizza. I'm sure wars have been started over less.

However, when I returned and went to the kitchen to refill my quart of artificially sweetened and flavored tap water, I noticed there was left over pizza. Pepperoni. Not my first choice, but this beggar is no chooser, and three pieces found themselves wrapped for my dinner, fueling the 4-miler that followed.

Not a bad way to end a week.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

24 May 2012

We had a little turmoil over in one department of our company, and one of the peeps there stepped in to exert some leadership. Although I'm certain this will all work out for the better, I'm not so certain the peep in question really wanted to take charge of the situation. This is often the case as leadership can be a whole lot of extra work, and I doubt his job description even comes close to mentioning the L-word. Nonetheless, he did it, things are calming down, and I'm glad he is there. And that's all I need to say about that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

23 May 2012

Starting back with the running along with the other prep for the Tough Mudder means I go through several t-shirts a day, and that was putting a strain on my collection, which was generally sufficient for watching TV.

I also have a problem with some corporate logos, depending on the corporation, and I'd as soon not have any more shirts like that, unless the company that hires me wants to advertise on my back, then we can talk. However, I follow this fellow on Twitter who apparently makes his living creating and distributing t-shirts with snarky social and political statements.

His company has saved the eyes, if not the noses, of my neighbors because with a few additions, I don't have to wear the morning's dried shirt in the evening. There are also a couple that invariable have people stopping me to get a better look. In fact, when I travel back home, I go out of my way to make sure what I'm wearing is not going to have me fighting my way out.

I love these shirts, not only for the statements and illustrations but also for the soft style of cotton used. There like crushed silk, and if you've run long enough to soak your shirt in sweat AND you've foregone certain foundation garments, you're grateful for the soft fabric. If my nipples could write, they'd sign the card I'm sending today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

22 May 2012

Many organizations have interns, especially during the summer, to help with some details that might otherwise go lacking while giving the intern a little enriching experience and a glimpse into what the work-a-day world might be like. Our company joins those ranks for the first time this summer, and so far, it's all looking good.

I need to also add this is a paid internship. We have a name for the unpaid internship: Slavery. Those appointments do little more than to make an alluring case for free labor, the idea being that the experience and contacts will pay a dividend later. My problem is that unpaid internships only serve those who can afford to go without payment for their labor. Let me be clear: It's generally the children of the rich who can afford to work for free. This means the rest lose an opportunity for upward mobility, and organizations reap the benefits of planting false hopes.

Nonetheless, I've been in favor of supporting an internship at work for a decade now. The problem was that I lacked the patience to play the game to make it happen. I'm not very politic that way. I don't have much patience with explaining the self-evident to those who choose to not see.

So we hired a new guy last year, and this spring he maintained the pressure to hire a summer intern in the face of substantial resistance. Today, we had lunch with our new, and first, intern. This is a very good thing. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

21 May 2012

Like many organizations, mine uses Outlook for email, and for all it's foibles, email is a primary communication channel by which we live and breathe, something that I suspect is true for many organizations.

This past week has been migration week for the email support guys. They're moving everything from one system to another as they seek higher reliability.

And then it was my turn, and the fellow appears at my door asking it was a good time for the migration. Well, there's never a good time, there are just times, and some are better than others. Given that I could leave my computer running over the evening and night, it seemed like a good enough time.

So we did it. He put everything in place, and I left the machine running as I departed for the night. While we were at it, we also updated the cell phones so we could all keep up even when we're fishing at the lake. I'm not sure email on phones is the good thing it's marketed to be, but it is, apparently, at least a necessary evil these days. And I can turn the phone off at night.

I'm certain he'd rather have a good night's sleep than a card at this point, and maybe he will get back to a normal schedule soon. Until then, he has my gratitude for making the work life easier.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

20 May 2012

Josh visited today. The idea was to bring me the scorpion he adopted in Daytona. He also picked up a couple of bags his godfather brought back from Florida. The real thing was he wanted to drive his new car on the interstate, and then show it off a little here.

He arrived. We brought in Antonov, my grand-scorpion. We went for lunch. Even had some dessert. We went to the orchid nursery where we swapped out some pots. He helped carry the stuff, which kept me from making three trips. We chatted. We laughed. We went to get gas in his car before he left.

A few words by the gas pump, and he was gone. Standing there watching him roar off through the traffic, I realized I wouldn't see him again before Christmas, and possibly not then if the schedules don't work out.

That hit a lot harder than this card for a scorpion will cover. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

19 May 2012

When I came out some 10 years ago, I lost a lot of friends, and for as sad as that was, I saw it as a necessity. If those people could not deal with me as a gay man, and that was the only difference and change before them, I considered them not worth the trouble, and unlikely to have been friends in the first place.

Nonetheless, many of those people maintained contacts with the ex and the children. I considered that reasonable. I still do, especially now that the children are grown and able to process information and make decisions for themselves.

One of those lost souls was Josh's godfather. We had dinner once after the grand announcement by the ex of my coming out, and that was that. He was very nervous then. I don't know what that was about. I can't imagine I was the first gay person he knew. Maybe he figured I was going to hit on him, or something. Maybe he thought I was planning to abandon the children. Frankly, I didn't spend much time sorting through it. I just wrote him off.

Then he appears at Josh's graduation, missing his own grandson's graduation to be there. It was a pleasant, if brief, reunion. Today, he brought over a suitcase he transported for Josh, along with a CD of graduation pictures for me. We'll see how this progresses.

Friday, May 25, 2012

18 May 2012

I've said it before: I don't work in a vacuum. Few of us do. However, I do spend a lot of time working off in some corner of the world where I can plow through the details with fewer interruption and greater efficiency.

This seclusion means that I occassionally do not have access to some office materials, though I tend to keep copies of those things I routinely need. However, I can't have everything, and there are many files I so rarely need that I don't bother with keeping links and copies. Besides, many of those more obscure items change periodically, and whatever I have not might not be up-to-date, which leaves me having to ask for materials now and again.

And so Friday, I had to ask. In the time I could pour another glass of calorie-free flavored water, I have the six files I needed. Sort of like corporate Christmas. Now, we all understand that the peep who replied to my email already had a full schedule, one that she interrupted just for me, and I do try to keep such requests to a minimum, but I'm going to stop what I'm doing now and write her a note.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

17 May 2012

You already know my feeling towards work meetings, especially those that are hardly more than extended precision water cooler discussions and that could be easily replaced with a short email if people ever bothered to express themselves in writing anymore and if the other people ever bothered to open their eyes and read.

Besides, it's been well-documented that we get dumber when we gather in these meeting. More time? More people? More dumb. Period. This is not way to spend time and call it work. Frankly, it's an irresponsible activity that occurs all too often.

Now, this is not to say that we don't need some meetings. There are the occasions where we need group discussion. What we don't need are the endless hours of the inane dribble.

Today, we had one such meeting. It occurs monthly. The agenda was long, and we've demonstrated the ability to go a half-day on far less. I griped to the acting chair. She placed time limits on the discussion, and then just to make everyone smile, she placed me in charge of the clock.

We finished on the dot after a seven-minute late start. I suspect we irritated more than a few in that hour, but we congratulated ourselves anyway, and now she's getting a card.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

16 May 2012

Today was Birthday Day at work. Each month towards the middle, we have cake and other goodies to celebrate the peeps who made it through another year on this planet. Mind you, I'm not sure what all there is to celebrate in that success, but we do it anyway.

Okay, that was a jest. I think.

Today, we had an ice cream cake and a bowl of fruit. This means someone had to go out and fetch the ice cream cake and bowl of fruit, and I can assure you that such a detail is not in anyone's written job description. Someone had to stop whatever was going on, get some cash, and head out to the grocery store.

No, it's not a big thing, but it is a thing, one more thing in the middle of a busy day, and it's a thing that we need to do, perhaps even more often, even when we're busy, and frankly especially when we're busy. It's important that we slow down periodically and be glad for what and who we have around us.

That someone who fetched our afternoon birthday treats deserves at least a card. Maybe even an extra cone of ice cream that she doesn't have to share. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

15 May 2012

A peep at work went shopping. Imagine that. The peeps exist outside the office. That can be hard to imagine. Remember your teachers when you met them outside the school? Some students took a while to come to grips with that. But I digress. Again.

So the peep went shopping, and in the checkout line, then paused to let the woman behind him, the one with a few items and a small child, go ahead of him.

Common courtesy. We see this now and again, but we don't see enough of it. Let's see if we can do something to encourage more of it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

14 May 2012

Many of my ex-in-laws were in attendance for Danger's commissioning and graduation activities this past weekend. As you might expect, I was often in a position of needing to comport myself in a manner typically beyond my means. However, there was one exception. Mark.

Mark married one of the cool nieces. He's seen many tours of duty in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq with This Man's Army, as my daddy would say. To this end, he's seen a lot in his short time on this earth. He was even obliquely on CNN a decade ago when his helicopter fell from the sky. The soldier next to him died slumped in his lap. Mark survived because a voice in his head told him to put on his safety gear. Quickly.

Mark came to Danger's commissioning, and helped pin some color and decoration on Danger's uniform. I cannot think of a better person with whom to share that moment.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

13 May 2012

I dislike large dinner parties. Small ones are not problem. Having four, sometimes even six, people at the table? Not a problem. 17? Now I’m worried, not because I’m shy in front of so many people. Hell, I sang in front of 500 and more when we did Oklahoma way back. Making an ass of myself is not the issue. Hearing all the independently talking people is the issue.

So, we're all gathered for Danger's graduation. Lots of ex-in-laws. I'm hosting a dinner at the hotel I’m using. Note that I’m staying where none of the others are. A little togetherness goes a very long way. Besides, this place has a decent restaurant.

For some over two hours, we dined. Not one big table, but two smaller ones. Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus! I selected the table with the young people. Folks, they are just more interesting. All went well. Some even had smores for dessert.

Our two waiters did a fine job. They didn't miss a beat. In fact, I don't believe they made any mistakes. For this, they received a good tip, but don't get all that excited. Waitstaff often scrape by under minimum wage, which I think is just wrong. They'll also receive cards in a few days. I wonder how many guests have ever sent them cards, and I suspect it's none, but maybe this precedent will set a trend for them. They certainly deserve it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

12 May 2012

Josh commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force today. It was an interesting ceremony that in and of itself is a capstone event, though in this case it is also a preliminary activity to graduation. When we were running on the beach, he spoke of the Colonel who oversees the AFROTC detachment that has been Josh's second home, perhaps even more, these past three years.

To use Josh's word, the Colonel is chill. I believe that is high praise from the young people these days.

All I can really report is that I like the maturation I've witnessed in #1 these last three years, and I’m pretty sure that did not happen by accident. It takes a lot of stage craft and leadership to make a successful program such as this one, and I want this one colonel to know that this one dad appreciates the effort that has gone into setting the stage upon which a fine young man has found his place in the world. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

11 May 2012

So here we all are, piled up in our respective parts of Daytona Beach in preparation for Josh's graduation from Embry-Riddle. Well, he also commissions in the USAF, which probably makes this twice the deal. It does if the requirement for a saber is any indicator.

Mostly, I've been hanging by myself, running along the shore, breathing salt air, and otherwise gathering my energy for the coming huge crowds of people. There'll be some hell to pay for not spending every afternoon with the ex-in-laws who talk loudly all at once while one or more TVs drone with some inane football game, but part of the benefit of being an old fart is the simple ability to say “No, I’m not doing that.”

Don't worry. They won't get it. They never did.

However, Josh is on the ball, and he is planning Death on the Beach for us tomorrow morning. It'll involve sandbags, running, and what he calls statics. No, I have no idea. I just know I'll have sore muscles soon despite multiple four mile jogs down the beach.

I’m looking forward to this. There won't be many more opportunities to sweat with him, and truth be told, I'll be slowing him down substantially when we run, but he'll oblige, just as he always does.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

10 May 2012

After the horrid election that placed North Carolina front and center in the international news, and yes I know this because we had a peep in Belgium reporting what she was seeing on TV in a bar, I left the state heavy of heart for a week-long visit to Daytona for Danger's graduation. Of course, Florida is no better than North Carolina when it comes to enlightened thinkers, but I will be a week by the sea, and even if it rains, I can get my lungs full of salty air as I run my cares away.

Note: The perennial sinus infection dried up within 30 minute of stepping into the sea breeze. I should learn a lesson from that, but I doubt I do.

As I’m prepping for my first trot along the shore, I notice a tweet. And then another. And then a million more. The president of these United States is on national news, and he's endorsing same sex marriage because it's the right thing to do. I never expected to live to see a black man in that office, much less hear him endorse gay marriage. My heart soared, not that I ever expect to marry again, but that should be by choice, not law.

Along the beach, mind sailing through the nothingness that is moving meditation, I look to the left. A storm has moved out to sea, still raining out there, sun shining here, and what forms in the span of twenty steps out over the Gulf Stream but the complete arc of a rainbow.

Yes, I’m sending Mr. President a thank you card.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

09 May 2012

Yeah, Grandpa's back aches, and he recognizes the why. It has to do with uneven movement in the context of extended periods of sitting at a desk. There are several ways to handle this, and one is an inflatable ball that costs about a quarter the price of going to the chiropractor.

However, there was a reason for the low price, that being the supposed pump to inflate the ball. I'm not sure the pump is sufficiently substantial to respond to gravity, much less inflate the ball. This left me huffing and puffing, and that worked for a while, but human lungs can only go so far.

Enter the woman at work who sits on a Pilates ball all day instead of a regular chair. She says sitting like that builds her core. No, I have no idea. Nonetheless, she had a good pump, and she let me borrow it. She even demonstrated its use after I thought it was battery operated. That demonstration led to additional discussion and a bit of blushing. Okay, a lot of blushing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

08 May 2012

Of course, we need more than an editor to turn the Moon blog posts into poster size creations ready for framing, and our CEO has offered to foot that bill. All we have to do is get the prints ready. Yep, that's all we have to do. Like I could do any part of that.

Regardless, it takes a lot of negotiating and communicating accompanied by a mountain of trial and error to make something like this happen. I can only imagine what the 12 framed color prints are going to cost when it's all said and done.

One person stands at the focus of this work, and she needs a card. Well, she needs more than that, but the card's the limit of propriety for the moment. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

07 May 2012

You might remember the moons project from last year. Or not if you actually have a life of your own. Well, that project is seeing a second wind in that our company's CEO has decided to print and frame the 12 paintings and essays for public display in our building. He wouldn't admit to this, but I suspect he wants to create a legacy of beauty, and who am I to argue with that?

To make this happen, the artist and I needed an editor to replace the one who left for greener pastures last week, and before I could phrase the question, our highly qualified colleague stepped in to handle our problem, that being how to make the blog posts look like posters.

In a very few minutes, she had the problem solved, and now we're on our way to printing the first proof of concept copy. Our savior du jour is making us look real good. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

06 May 2012

A few days ago after casting my early vote, I stopped by my favorite bistro for an early dinner. I was the only one in the place, and I sat at the bar to make life a little simpler for the one person in the place. Making her life a little easier makes my life a little easier, and it was a touch warm to be sitting outside anyway.

I had the daily special sided with mac-n-cheese chased with iced water. Yeah, I'm extravagant that way. Dessert was going to be a Rice Krispie Treat, and that's what I ordered, but she didn't bring it to me. Instead, she brought me a sad face and a story about the Treats not being decent to serve.

We exchanged our personal histories with Treats, agreed that little was better, and then I requisitioned a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream. What can I say? It's been a rough season.

She surely saved my life that afternoon. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

05 May 2012

Do you suppose many people send the doc a thank you note for a colonoscopy? It's hard to imagine that I'm about to be the first. Nonetheless, I'm doing it, not so much because of his excellent butt-side manner, as I was sound asleep enjoying my single serving of Proponol at that time, but more for the general friendliness of the staff, which includes the doc.

They didn't even blanch over my word choice as I expressed myself with more colorful language than usual, but (1) I was venting nervous energy while speaking with people who'd likely never see me again, and (2) his signature really did resemble a steaming pile of horse crap, and as one professional to another, I thought, at least at the moment, that he needed to know. Now, not so much, but they all endured and indulged me very well.

In particular, the anesthetist was a delight. There was a sparkle of deep mischievousness resident in her eyes as she assured me that I'd be able to moon walk better than Michael Jackson after she was finished. In the procedure room, she showed me the large syringe of milk of amnesia, smiled with her twinkling eyes, and continued her work as I informed her that she was becoming fuzzy. Very fuzzy.

The next thing I recall was waking up back in my little screened cubicle singing show tunes and farting with gay abandon. By the way, they didn't find the gerbil. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

04 May 2012

Dinner and a movie is nearly cliché. Dinner and a colonoscopy, not so much, but that's where I was last month as I listened to the nurse assure me that a taxi to the clinic was not sufficient. I needed someone who would stay while I was bottoms up, someone who would listen to the doctor while I was coming out of the anesthesia, someone whom I could trust because this someone would probably bear witness to my mysteries, which in my case is more likely to stunt someone's growth than anything else.

So I made my list, which was short on personal peeps and long on work peeps. Last time, I asked a work peep I knew long before we worked together. This time, I wanted to keep the work folk out of it, if I did have offers from the boss and the CEO to handle this detail.

Fortunately, the first peep on the list agreed to dinner a dinner or two at the places of her choosing in exchange for taking me, staying, and bringing me home. That evening, we had bento boxes with sushi. I was starving, as is to be expected what with the dietary restriction of the past several days, and I nearly ate the table. The peep, being more petite and inclined to stay that way, requisitioned a doggie bag that stayed in my refrigerator while we strolled the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. It made a nice snack the next morning, and I thanked her for being forgetful.