Showing posts from December, 2014

My Process

For the last five or six years, I spent time between New Year's Day and my birthday, essentially the whole month of January, thinking through what I want for the coming year. I call it my 'process'. I also pick a 'keyword', one word or phrase that I use to remind myself of what I expect for the year.
I probably didn't pick one last January, but in retrospect the word 'fun' symbolized the year. Of course you were at the heart of that.
Past keywords include focus, renew and balance. I have since made balance my ongoing keyword. My process is already underway and on the ride to work this morning, some things fell into place in my head. One is my 2015 keyword: discipline.

During the next few weeks I will get more specific about what that means and how I can define it and measure my progress. But I know today that I need discipline to make the coming year what I want it to be.

Aging, Health, Friends and the Holidays

“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” is playing in the background as I write this.The Burl Ives version.I used to get the holiday blues during this season; sometimes it was pretty severe and debilitating.Holiday depression dominated the season.Fortunately it has been several years since that happened.I still feel a little more like “Blue Christmas” at times, but that condition usually lasts hours instead of weeks.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, ‘tis the season to be jolly.Sometimes acting happy leads to actually being happy.I adopted that attitude a few years ago and it continues to serve me well.I urge you to consider it for yourself.Part of why I am playing Christmas music right now is because it puts me in a joyful mood.Some of the older songs help me reminisce, even at the risk of leading me back to the sad mood; generally the songs make me smile. I have also begun some new holiday traditions.The best one is to see “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre in DC.For two years in a row n…


I didn’t really think much about bartenders till I became friends with a former bartender.I didn’t know her when slinging drinks was her occupation, but she and I have been to many bars together and I learned a lot about the profession by absorbing her observations as I absorbed wine with her.

A bartender is often a blend of mixologist and psychologist.Bar flies will tell their bartender deeply personal things they wouldn’t even tell their spouse or best friend.A good bartender is also a sales person, suggesting food or maybe premium versions of the patron’s initial order. My favorite local hangout provides the perfect model for the right way to be a bartender.Each staffer introduces themselves to new customers, they pay attention, engage in conversation, make suggestions.  They know their products.  These bartenders make newcomers feel as at home as regulars.As newcomers become regulars, the staff remembers their preferences.Another local establishment I frequent presents an entirely d…