Saturday, March 31, 2012

24 March 2012

As you probably know if you've been reading along here, is that I recently lost my mind in a likely midlife crisis. The upshot is that I've drafted a team to participate in a Tough Mudder coming this October, and as a part of preparing for that event, I've added two other somewhat similar events. One event is the Warrior Dash, three miles and about a dozen obstacles, held near Charlotte this May. I'm running with a team affiliated with the local LGBT Center, which is why I call this event “Running with the Homos,” a name that has yet to be adopted by the right people.

The second event, The Ninja Run, will be held in June near Raleigh. Think another three miles and about a dozen obstacles. So why am I belaboring you with these desiccated details? It's because we have women at work. Yes, we do, and some of these women are very interesting people. They are strong too. One in particular, I wanted for the Tough Mudder, but for reasons beyond my manipulation, and I did try, she is unable to go with us in October. However, she's able and willing to participate in the Ninja Run, and this means we are going to do much better than we might have.

This means we're going to have an excellent team building event in June, and I'm told there will be ice cream afterward, and in many flavors, especially vanilla. For a cone of vanilla, I might have to send two cards.

Friday, March 30, 2012

23 March 2012

Last week, Danger was driving home for spring break, and he stopped by a friend's apartment in Charlotte to spend the night. In doing so, he parked in resident parking, not visitor, because visitor parking was filled whereas resident parking was wide open. That Saturday night, his car was towed, and although it was towed legally, the act was predatory, designed to generate cash for the driver, the towing company, and, probably, someone with the apartment complex management.

After $120, some unbecoming language, and unnecessarily higher blood pressure, he had his car back the following Sunday afternoon. I suspect he learned an expensive lesson, but we'll see. I rarely park in questionable places because I'm certain the federalies are lurking in the bushes. His mother, on the other hand, appears invisible to tow trucks drivers. Danger appears to have inherited more than my hairline.

Regardless, the incident left me thinking of the parking policy where I live. Rather than tow people for thinking about parking here, our management goes out of its way to invite people, making much of the lot available to students taking the bus to campus. The ensuing lack of angst and worry about a car remaining where it's left is worth a lot more than the card she's getting, and I want her to know that I appreciate it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

22 March 2012

One of the peeps at work is taking a bold step, one that could cost him some sleep if he's not careful, but one that in the long run will pay a big dividend. However, there's no way to judge how big that dividend will be, much less how fast it will come. All I know is that he, as well as the rest of us, will be better off because he is doing what he's doing.

And just what is he doing? He's taking a part of his organization up for external review, and if you've never done that, let me tell you know that it's a scary proposition.

Pretty much, you invite people in, give them all the information they ask for, and then sit there while they tell you what they see that you're doing right and wrong. Most smart people want such a review, and our peep is among these smart ones. It is by these reviews that we become better at what we do, rather than sliding along in our own little world as though our Matters of Consequence were all there was. (See The Little Prince for that reference.)

Nevertheless, this fellow is being brave and doing the right thing, and for that, I'm sending him a card.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

21 March 2012

Way back when Lil was a tiny thing, when she'd fit in a spoon as I told her later, we used to go to the mall for the evening. She'd ride in the backpack, and I'd get a walk in. Not really the aerobic workout one might expect, but a worthy endeavor nonetheless.

At some point after a couple of hours window shopping, we'd wind up in the food court. Yes, standing in line at Lulu's Cinnamon Buns. I'd get a big one with a large cup of milk with two straws. We'd then sit at the table where I'd have the cinnamon bun and milk while she played with the straw. I doubt she'd be so easily entertained now.

Fast forward to the other day when I went to work hungry, and Peep 1 had brought in a plate of veggies and dip. Well, Peep 2 brought in dessert. A box of mini cinnamon buns, and excellent exemplars they were. 75 calories each. Yeah, I ate six.

We can regret that another day, and I'll let you know when that day gets here. Until then, Peep 2 gets a card.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

20 March 2012

It's my habit to work flex hours in the office. Doing so can save over an hour a day in commuting time. Lest there be some confusion, this means I go in late and leave early. It's quite the luxury being able to optimize like that, and The Man gets more bang for his buck, which is a good thing most days.

Breakfast usually happens towards 5 to 6 in the morning. That, in and of itself, is not so surprising, especially with a long past on the farm, but it also means there will be some mid-morning snack, a substantial snack, something more likely to be called a second breakfast.

Yes, I believe there's more than a little hobbit in me.

The other day was no exception other than I missed second breakfast, and that, coupled with more sweating in the gym, left me a little gaunt as I entered the office. Stepping to the kitchen for my usual first quart of water brought me face-to-face with a big plat of fresh veggies and dill dip.

My benefactor is likely in cahoots with my internist, but that's okay, and she can still get a card for saving so many lives that morning, what with them all in peril from my pending low blood sugar.

Monday, March 26, 2012

19 March 2012

A week or so ago, I checked out of my hotel and went to the airport a day early because I was confused about my travel days. Last Thursday, a very few days into the time change for daylight saving time, I went to the chiropractor's office at 9:45, thinking I was 15 minutes early, only to realize I was 45 minutes late. I had believe the computer schedule, not my paper calendar. Fortunately, the doc was able to work me in.
It's better if we can learn from the mistakes of others, and if we can't do that, then we should learn from our own mistakes. In these two instances, it's clear to me that I need to slow my little motor down. It was bad enough that it took three weeks before Lily and I could align our calendars. Now, I've slipped on simple scheduling twice in a week.

This fellow needs to slow down, breathe, and move forward at a more measured pace. It serves no one to burn out in a blaze of glory. Besides, we should be more efficient in our efforts from the simple learning through all those years.

The chiropractor runs a small office, part time, with a single handler who manages the flow of work. They both went out of their way to work around my stupidity, my late arrival, and that means a couple of cards are going out today.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

18 March 2012

People worry about a lot of stupid mess when it comes to young people and their lives, and what they'll do when they grow up seems to be the big one. Always has been. I doubt it'll ever change, mostly because I don't see much evidence that the population is getting smarter, and the political news supports the hypothesis that we're getting dumber. Lots dumber.

So my Lily graduated. Double major. Religion and Philosophy. Now, what might we do with that, so many ask. Why spend all that time and money like that?

Let me real clear: People who ask such questions are damned fools. Narrow minded. Lacking in foresight. Insecure little twits seeking to cover up their own lack of confidence in their own decisions along the way.

So my Lily took a job. Not in religion. Not in philosophy. But in a commercial vet clinic. After about a year, she quit said job, flying in the face of the on-going, and likely vacuous, promises of promotion to management. She did this for two stated reasons: One, to get her weekends back. The other? To reduce the number of idiots in her life.

As though I needed another reason to love this woman. Or to send her a card?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

17 March 2012

Some 23 years ago, my mother went shopping at Sears. She was looking for shower gifts for a not yet born Lily. Mother grew up and lived dirt poor, and when she remarried, it was to a man of a little more means but with a much larger heart. He didn't mind spending a little money to make his sweetie happy.

That day at Sears, Mama became a one-woman shower, and when all the boxes and packages arrived, my now ex was simply astounded, and she understood the greater meaning the shipment had to my mother who, heretofore, had never had much opportunity to gift like that.

Fast forward to last week when she calls me to report that she has some gifts for my niece who then was with child but now has a fresh baby in the house. The question was how to get the gifts delivered, and between my travel schedule and Lily's work schedule, the baby might be in college before we got together.

Finally, yesterday, Lily and I worked it out, and now that circle is complete, if a little bent. I'm sending the ex a card, but I suspect the gifting itself provides the greater satisfaction.

Friday, March 23, 2012

16 March 2012

Like most office environments, ours is particularly social, and I work from home frequently because of the on-going interruptions a social environment presents. This is not to say that I do not care for the environment I find in the office. Not in the least. What it says is that I cannot focus on my work sufficiently well in an atmosphere constantly filled with distractions.

Yes, I'm introverted like that, though more than one would classify me with some degree of some form of autism, probably because those knuckle-dragging people doing the classifying do not understand how some of us need a little silence and solitude to form, maintain, and refine a coherent thought. Notice how I don't go on about the unnecessary prattle they bring to the world while calling it social discourse and thinking aloud.

Before I get on too high a horse here, let me admit to bringing my own set of interruptions to the world and the office. The other day, I had a peculiar question fall on my desk, and although I knew the answer, I felt it reasonable to exercise a little social and professional referencing by alighting on a chair in a colleague's office where I presented the question, heard his answer so similar to mine, and then sent him on to the meeting I made him late for.

For as boring as meetings can be, I doubt my interference in his schedule improved his day, and he gets a card for suffering me without comment. (At least, no comment that I heard.) 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

15 March 2012

Back in the early to middle 70s, I was finishing an undergraduate degree in Physics at UNC Chapel Hill. This school is THE University of North Carolina much as Kermit is THE Frog. The question of what to do weighed heavily on me. I'd spent summers on the farm where I could make money, but I didn't make any real contacts or gain any experience that would give me a leg up on an after-graduation job.

Enter the military, in particular, the Navy. Vietnam was in full tilt then, and the Navy needed science people, especially Physics graduates, and they courted me hard for something called NUPOC. Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate, or something like that. Nuclear submarines were all the rage then, and the rule was that only nuclear trained officers could captain a nuclear submarine. They even offered a whopping amount of money for me to finish school.

However, I wanted to fly. Specifically, I wanted to fly fighter jets off and on Navy carriers. However, we were decades before any form of LASIK surgery, and only people with 20/20 could fly those planes. Or any other plane in the military. My 20/400 wouldn't cut it. Of course, the recruiter said I could be the navigator, but that was cold comfort.

If I can't be the catfish, I ain't gonna swim.

So, two days ago, #1 Son sends a picture of himself in his first flight suit. Talk about a wash of memories and emotion. That'll get him a card, but I doubt he really figures it out for a while.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

14 March 2012

Change comes hard in many organizations, at least in parts, and ours is no different, and in some departments, reluctance to change is almost a good thing, though not in the extreme that leaves those folks struggling when the weather shifts.

One of my work peeps is moving mountains, and apparently bringing a few to Mohammed, in that he is setting up elements of adaptation to change in corners of our world. That, in and of itself, is a good thing, and something to be applauded, but the better thing is the change that he's bringing to himself. This week, he was off taking his PhD qualifying examination in a foreign culture and in a foreign language.

Yeah, he was a little shaky on his way out, which is exactly how we all felt going into those exams, and if he felt any different, I'd be worried. Fear is a good motivator in many circumstances, and this is one.

For helping the world around us learn to adapt better to necessary change, and for bringing that same force to bear on himself, he's getting a card. He'll also gets a bottle of cava, Negro Brut, once we know he passed. (There's a backstory to that choice that'll come out one day.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

13 March 2012

Last week in the hotel after a long evening and business dinner, I was riding up the elevator with a glass of Cabernet in my had, and, bless his heart, my fellow passenger decided to point out that my fly was open. His wife blushed. I snorted, and did nothing because that glass of wine was far more important.

Fast forward to yesterday. I ate lunch at my desk, and onwards to about 2 P.M., I noticed my fly was open. Again. Now, bear in mind that I had not been holed up in my office all day. Oh no, I'd been all over the office multiple times, and no one had said a word. Did they not notice? I suppose a few did not as we have quite a few tightly wound and highly focused introverts on the staff.

So I posted a Facebook and Twitter update about my fly. No better way to make friends and influence people, I mused. Some brief time later, in the copier room not making copies because the machine had me befuddled, in walk two peeps. They had seen my FB post, and they assured me that they had not noticed my fly.

Then the one says, oh, yes, she does, she says, “I usually watch your eyes.” What a wonderful liar by omission she is. She keeps here eyes up to be sure she doesn't lose her lunch. Or worse. But she'd never say that. Never.

For my biggest afternoon-long chortle in a very long while, those two peeps are getting cards. And a zipped fly.

Monday, March 19, 2012

12 March 2012

A lot of people have jobs I do not envy, and I work with some of those peeps. In particular, we have the one guy whose task it is to bridge two major organizations within our company, and those two organizations have some history of poor communications bred of very busy schedules that leave people so occupied doing the work that they have little time to spend developing effective communication channels.

This means that at some point some thing is going to break, and then some body has to fix it. Enter my bud and colleague, the bridge builder. He spent the better part of the day building one of those bridges while discussing it through lunch with me. We'll all be the better off for it.

He's getting a card for that, and also for not slapping me all those times I need it. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

11 March 2012

Another Sunday, another successful close to a qualitative study by a focus group. If you'd told me 10 years ago that I'd be conducting qualitative studies for a living, I'd have laughed in your face, and even now, I'm inclined to giggle. All those years of lab work, math study, and application of multivariate methods to non-linear modeling certainly didn't come with any pretense of working with human beings.

Yet, it seems to have come together, at least for now, and as usual, very little of the success is attributable to me. I just play on the stage provided, a stage that someone else set. In this instance, it was one person who put this event together. She chose the people, and she did so well.

She even challenged me a couple of times, and I relented as it seemed reasonable both times. Besides, she knew as well as I the requirement to reach Sunday noon with a workable product. Many forget in these studies that I have a contractual obligation, and that obligation does not involve solving all the professions ills with a single stroke of perfection. She knew quite well the challenge before us, and worked with me to achieve our mutual needs.

That's getting a card today, and I look forward to the next time we work with this peep.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

10 March 2012

Another Saturday, another false start. Last Saturday, I left the hotel for the airport a day early. This Saturday, I invited my panel to the bar for after work drinks. They'd been extremely productive these past two days, and I wanted to thank them.

It would have been better if I'd remembered my wallet.

Fortunately, the bartender took pity on me, and gave me until midnight to clear the tab. He asked for nothing in return to hold as bond. All I had to do was drive across town twice, which I did. Rapidly.

I paid him about an hour after leaving the first time, and left a decent above average cash tip. I suspect the cash will mean more to him than the card he's about to get, but maybe he will be able to wave it under his boss's nose for a better raise.

Friday, March 16, 2012

09 March 2012

There are many ways to communicate, and, generally, no one manner is superior to the others. What we often perceive as a superior method is far more likely to be a preference, and as a preference, we spend more time developing better skills there. People in business would do well to spend some time developing alternate strategies to get a message across because you never know when a problem is going to force you into some strange land of faxes and hand-written notes. Or text messages.

There's also the business of communicating such that the other person can get the message, and sometimes that other person has not had the opportunity, if not out of body experience, that engenders learning how to communicate beyond the basic face-to-face conversation. In such an instance, the one has to accommodate the need of the other. That, or just give it up and find another job. Or spouse. Yes, work is not all that much different from family in a good many aspects.

Email is a big deal where I work, mostly because of the asynchronous aspect of message delivery and receipt. I suspect it's also generational, but I have no evidence to support that claim. Of course, we use Exchange, just like so many others, and lately, Exchange has been bad, very bad. Or at least lonely.

We have two peeps who've been working overtime to keep our recalcitrant-of-late email going, especially the remote web access, and that's worth a standing ovation, though a card's gotta do for now.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

08 March 2012

Graduation season is approaching rapidly, and #1 Son is in the queue. He's certainly stepped into his own at Embry-Riddle, and that's a good thing to see. He did a better job with it than I did, as best I can tell, but we won't tell him that, not just yet. Besides, his sister did about the same in her turn, and we've not told her yet either, not that I think they don't know it anyway.

So we need stuff for graduation, and by stuff, I mean a sword. He's commissioning in the USAF the same weekend he graduates. After some period of investigation, he finally sent me a link to the sword that would work. Seeing the link and knowing my propensity to wait, I bought the sword immediately.

Some six minutes after the purchase, he sent a note telling me that the link was to the wrong sword. Uh oh.

Fortunately, the owner of the shop in Washington State read my order and also realized it was the wrong sword. He and I called one another concurrently, and after some befuddlement owing to it being 11 P.M. for me, we got things figured out. The fellow is a former Marine, and he knew all about what was up with the sword. He also knew that more was needed than just the sword. Like a belt. A guard. A chain. Some gloves. And a carrying case.

During this, it was apparent that he had no intentions of over-selling. He was just helping me out, if for a price, and that's getting today's card.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

07 March 2012

I attend several professional conferences in the run of a year, and each has it purpose with only a little overlap to be found. Conference attendance and participation is certainly nothing like picking cotton, usually, but there are times when circumstances can arise that make me wonder. Fortunately, those moments are few and far between.

Most of these conferences meet yearly, but one meets twice each year, early spring and early fall. It's an association of nursing specialists that does very good work, especially in the face of limited resources and competing demands on those resources.

The last session held in Tampa was no exception, and I found myself enjoying my time there. It's a very good thing when your work comes together and you actually enjoy the moment. We need to savor and remember those times because all too soon we'll find ourselves in other circumstances where we'll need the former to see us through the latter.

Of course, I'm no nurse, and my work is not directly about nursing, though we work with a lot of nurses. However, the conference encourages our attendance, and we do pay our way because it's important that we maintain the personal relationships that make the business matter go more smoothly. Today's note is going to the CEO of that organization because she has been nothing but cordial and enabling these past many years, and she needs to know that we appreciate her smiling face at the door.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

06 March 2012

I work with many professional organizations and the members thereof. This means I make extensive use of the general science instruction I received along the way. I also augment that science with endless details, some of which are fascinating. Did you know there are three kinds of continence? Perhaps I'll describe them later. The third might surprise you.

For another example, propylene glycol is occasionally used by some vitamin pill manufacturers to hold the pill ingredients together. Read the labels and see. It'll be listed as an inactive ingredient, if it's there.

Now, why would this be a point of discussion along an evening's stroll to a five-star restaurant? Well, propylene glycol is an intestinal lubricant. If you take a fistful of vitamin pills, and those vitamin pills are bound with propylene glycol, you're going to have some interesting moments some six to eight hours later, and let's just say there won't be much risk of straining anything from that effort.

If that's not worth a card, I just don't know what is.

Monday, March 12, 2012

05 March 2012

I've just returned and started the recovery from a two week road trip and professional conferences, where by recovery, I mean grocery shopping and laundry. I probably should have done laundry on the road, but I wasn't sure there'd be a conveniently located laundry place. Yet, there was, and if I go back, I'll bear that in mind.

Just as in most other endeavors, we don't do the conferences in a vacuum. There are many people, each with complimentary roles. One of the better duties while at these conferences is the business dinner, especially when the peeps involved are pleasant, as they were this time.

So we went out to dine at 7:30 P.M., finishing up towards 10. At that point, my role would include returning the client peeps back to their hotel, and I was prepared to do that, but then a work peep offered to do that errand because they were staying in the same hotel.

On the surface, that doesn't sound like all that much, does it? However, this time, I'm not sure I had another hour in me, which is the amount of time I'd have needed for the additional round trip.

I'm pretty sure she saved my life that night, and for as much as a few others might suggest otherwise, that's gonna get a card.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

04 March 2012

My traveling companion for the last part of this prolonged road trip is our CEO. He's an excellent choice for this particular duty in that he hosts excellent dinners, not so much by his choice of restaurant, which is impeccably and something that I emulate as I can, but more in his presentation at the table where he is the consummate gentleman and a model for the rest of us. I should do a tenth as well.

When he arrived, the hotel was caught a little flat-footed, and his room wasn't ready. This is a rare event at a Hilton, but it can happen, as it did this time, and to make amends, the manager gave him a handful of coupons for the bar.

After our business dinner, he offered me a pair from the bounty of his arrival distress, and I accepted them with a smile. Two glasses of Cabernet would make a welcome close to a long day, and they did. What more could one ask from a CEO as a long fortnight on the road came to a close? That's surely worth more than a short note, but it's where I'll hang my hat for today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

03 March 2012

I’m at the second of two back-to-back professional conferences, and this is the last day. Our work here is hardly anything as portrayed in movies and TV shows, but it's certainly better than picking cotton, at least for me. Maybe the party people don't invite me out. If that's the case, I’m fine with it. Late nights, long dinners, and endless social discourse leaves the introvert tired and ready for bed. And happy also.

It takes a lot of work to make these shows happen, and most people have no idea just how much orchestration is needed to make it all look like the smooth and seamless engagement we see. If you ever crave a nightmare, just put on an event. I've done one or two, and that's a gracious plenty for me.

Today's note goes to one such peep. She works in a particular capacity that puts her up front and center in my world when I’m here. Of course, my defined role is to process odd ideas, and the organization encourages different types of thinking and is not alarmed with off-the-wall suggestions. Many good processes arise from such thinking.

Yeah, I’m in my element here.

I also make this particular peep's life a living hell at times, and I apologize routinely. Her response is, always, that I should continue finding ways to keep her busy. She is a delight that way, and yes, she does speak frankly, which is more than enough to motivate a card today.

Friday, March 9, 2012

02 March 2012

I travel a lot for work, usually weekends, occasionally during the week, and once in a while for an extended period. The longest was six weeks a few years back. That one was special, and you'd think I'd have something to show for it, but I don't unless you count the deep-vein thrombosis that has not appeared yet.

This means I occasionally toss a lot of stuff from the refrigerator. It also means I don't have pets. Well, I'd have to own my apartment first. The rental agreement prohibits animals.

But, I’m known to step around rules now and again, especially when they get in the way, and a few months ago, Lil and Josh gave me an aquarium, and it became the home for a Betta. This choice was motivated by several reasons, not the least was the hardiness of the species as I go about learning to be a fish daddy. High on the list, however, was that they can go a week without food. This would be handy.

So BOOM! I immediately book a two-week trip. Never tempt the fates. Never. It's just plain imprudent.

Enter an across town friend who agrees to visit Erasmus THE Fish on the weekend. She'll get a dinner somewhere soon, if I ever get back home, but for now, for saving Erasmus' life, she get's a card.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

01 March 2012

We get lucky once in a while. We were working at a conference just days ago, and we were able to stay in a small bed-and-breakfast instead of the conference hotel. The daily rate for lodging at the BnB was half the conference hotel, though we had to rent a car to avoid the taxis and to make make our planning more flexible. The BnB also had free WiFi that actually worked, and there's another $15 saved each day.

All in all, it was a good decision to avoid the conference hotel. It usually is, but it's often hard to do.

In this instance, the BnB had a congenial host working the early day shift. He made sure breakfast worked out like it should. He arranged lunch deliveries. He had step and fetch refined to an art, all the while maintaining a convivial facade that rivaled Stephen Colbert in it's impenetrability, and he did all this without being intrusive, or worse, annoying.

He made my week in the BnB a delight, and that, in turn, made our work all the more efficient and effective. I'd send him some money, and I did leave daily tips to be shared among the staff, but a card will have to do until I’m there again for another visit.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

February Reprise

Yes, the stories are true. At the beginning of February, I lost my mind. Again, a few might add. Anyone else would be out finding a trophy wife. Well, trophy husband in my case, but let's not quibble over moot points. Another might buy an expensive sports car. Or take a cruise to an exotic foreign land.

Nope. Not stable, predictable, calm, and self-assured me. Nope. I started a Tough Mudder team. Late October. 11 miles. 25 military obstacles by British special ops. What better way to close 59 years on this god forsaken planet? Well, yes, I can think of better ways, but most of them are not, yet, legal.

If you don't recognize Tough Mudder, use Google and go for the first hits. By the way, the name is trademarked by those guys. They own it. Don't try to take it. It'd hurt too much.

At this point, we have about a dozen members who've put down their money. Half did so before the notification email chime finished sounding. The others took a couple of weeks. We might get a few more as the weather clears and warms going into spring.

One hasn't paid yet, that being #1 Son. He was accepted into pilot training with the USAF in early February, and we don't yet know where he'll be stationed. The sad thing is that he is one of the members who could complete the race now, no special preparation required. He also has the military's understanding of teamwork, and I'd really like to see that demonstrated on the team. I think the rest of us could learn something from it.

So to celebrate this nine-month period of enlightenment, we all started training. The first month or so is just to take the edge off, to get over the business of being sore and old, and to wrap our heads around running the course where the final obstacle is patch of wires dangling. Oh yes, charged at 10,000 volts. No, I did not goof on the use of zeros and comma. 10,000 volts. The NPR reporter was knocked out thrice before he got through.

As I told the bemused physician during my yearly physical, the training might kill me, and if it doesn't, the event just might, but then, if it's open season on Jims, I suspect a lot of people already have me already on the list.

So I traveled to San Diego for work. We stayed in the Hilton by the harbor. Flat terrain. Warm weather. Lots of grass. A three mile loop. I interval walk/ran the loop every day. Bliss of blisses.

Then we finished the work, and I had an afternoon without supervision. One loop. Stopped for water. Second loop. More water. Third loop. Foot felt off, but I wrote it off because I am an idiot.

Two weeks later, the doc pronounces a stress fracture in the fourth metatarsal of the right foot. I thought it was the third, but my fingers are fat. Like my ass. This puts me on a bike for the next while, which includes another two-week road trip.

Oh well. Does thinking about training help? Actually, it probably does, and that's where I had to hand my hat until I was in a hotel with a bike.

So this mess has kept me occupied while I wrote thank you notes and worked and cooked and slept. It's good to have a hobby, they say.

I would point out that even with three weeks travel in February, the note-a-day project stayed on track, though there were times when I wondered. Of course, I’m sure postal delivery from distant hotels added some lag to the receipt of the notes, perhaps even bumping up on the corresponding blog posts.

Towards the middle of the month, I received a thank you note for one of my thank you notes. The hotel staff guy who helped me out with my internet connection thanked me for thanking him. That really set me back, and I wonder if I’m the only person in his history who has taken the time to write what so many say as a matter of course, if not with perfunctory and social pleasantness. I hope not, but I suspect there's the distinct likelihood that mine was his first note from a hotel guest.

And forward we march. A note a day. The world slowly morphs, more likely on its own accord than because of anything I write or do. Yet this little corner seems better, and that's surely worth the postage.