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Showing posts from December, 2016

My Process – January 2017

Every January I go through a process of reflection on the past year and planning for the next year. I start around New Year's Day and continue through my birthday near the end of January. It's a cross between making New Years resolutions and goal-setting.

I couldn't remember much about the results of my process last January, so I looked it up. It appears I did not get very specific last January and apparently the same is true for the previous January.

Hmmmm. Last year I decided to carry over 'discipline' as my keyword for 2016, in part because I failed to follow through on discipline in 2015. Looks like I've done it again.

Another thing I noticed is that I considered letting 2016 just be whatever it wanted to be. I am often guilty of overthinking and making detailed plans that I don't follow through on. In reflecting on 2016, I guess I really did just roll with whatever came.

The year itself was weird, dominated by political crap. However, it was a pleasa…

Age and Mick

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Legendary Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger just welcomed his 8th child. Mick, age 73, and his 29-year old girlfriend Melanie are parents.

Ok, I'll pause for a second while you think about that; about their age difference.

Some questions probably float through your head:
-Isn't that a crazy age difference? What do they have in common?
-Why does Mick want to be a dad again in his 70s?
-What does she see in him?
-Can you picture them together naked?

The real question: what difference does it make?

I clearly remember four years ago when I didn't understand why some women I was interested in hesitated getting involved with me because of a twenty year age difference. Mick and Melanie are 44 years apart. Mick had five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Again I ask 'what difference does it make?'

I know a couple who are twenty years apart. He's 74 and she is 54. They are an awesome couple.  Three years ago I found someone who is six years younger than me and tha…

It IS Rigged

Our voting process is definitely rigged, but not quite the way Trump whined and lied about during his campaign.

Maybe rigged isn't the right word. Our process is unfair and outdated, subject to corruption, just plain stupid.

The math is really simple: Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, yet Trump will become president because 302 'electors' of the 538 voted for him. Why is this antiquated and obviously unfair system still exist?

We don't actually vote directly for
President. We vote for 'electors' to the Electoral College. The exact formula varies from state to state and is more complicated than I want to talk about here.  The short version: we elect electors and they elect the president. Millions of voters pick 538 people who actually elect the president.  The electoral college electors do not actually have to vote for the candidate they pledged to vote for, although most do.

What all this means is that my vote in Maryland is not the same…

A Wireless World

Technology is awesome, scary, miraculous, confusing, helpful and creepy.

My work world depends on technology and I embrace most of it. I do a reasonable job of keeping up with changes. Yet I seem to be a little behind the curve sometimes, marveling over things that are new to me but firmly established for many other people, especially younger-than-boomer aged people.

Some examples: I've had an iPhone 6 for a year but rarely use Siri. I'm sure it would be easier to say "hey Siri, what's the weather forecast today?" than to type in my passcode, click on my weather app and scroll down to the forecast. But I do the latter.

Prior to Christmas Eve my only Bluetooth devices at home were a printer I bought a few months ago and a speaker I received for Christmas last year from my girlfriend's sons.

On Christmas Eve her sons gave me two more Bluetooth devices, which I am connecting as I write this. Right now I'm playing a playlist on my phone through my stereo, w…

Does It Have To Mean Something?

My high school buddy Jim had the right idea about jobs. He was a U. S. Postal Service letter carrier for more than twenty years. He did care about doing the job well but he didn't particularly care about the job itself. He didn't take it home at night, he didn't think about it much during his off hours. It was just a job, merely a way to earn money to fund the other parts of his interesting life. He had no identity wrapped up in it and he hasn't missed it at all during the five years since he retired from it.

I have poured my heart and soul into my jobs for four decades. It's a career and I take pride in my work. My industry is 24/7 and I do think about work when I'm not at work.

To a large degree what I do is a big part of who I am. I care deeply about what I do. Some parts of my job have great meaning to me. So when management messes with parts of my job, effectively diminishing the importance of certain parts of it, I get pissed. When I don't even know a…

Wow What's Wrong With Me?

Every December I realize, and reluctantly admit, that I am gift-challenged. I give Christmas gifts to my sister and two very close friends, and participate in couples or group gifts for a few more people, but I rarely think about getting gifts for anyone else. Till someone unexpectedly give me a gift.

What's wrong with me?  I certainly appreciate co-workers, colleagues, the neighborhood mailman, the apartment maintenance guy. And I think I'd like to give them something. But then I forget.

A salesperson at work just gave me an Amazon gift card as a thanks for what I do to help her clients. She is very easy to work with and helping her with client relationships is part of my job. I don't expect anything more than the occasional gratitude email and I get plenty of those from her. But I barely know her and was surprised to get a gift. Appreciative but surprised.

Ten or more years ago I gave some coworkers holiday gifts, customized to their tastes. Simple things like picture …

Zero G and I Feel Fine

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Most dads went to work while most moms stayed home to cook and clean. Cars had AM radios and crank windows and a house usually had only one phone. A typical house had only one TV, a small black-and-white set, and there were only two or three channels to choose from.

In 1962, kids like me were glued to that TV every time a man was launched into space. On February 20th that year John Glenn became the third American to be launched and the first to orbit the earth. He died this week at age 95. If you're religious, you might say he was launched to heaven.

"Roger, the clock is operating, we're underway,"

John Glenn was memorable for many reasons and a role model for living and for aging. He was a fighter pilot, a test pilot, an astronaut (at the relatively old age of 40), eventually a Senator, and then at age 77 he became an astronaut again, the oldest ever, flying with a space shuttle crew and conducting tests related to aging. That's what I call not letting age defin…

Family

Thanksgiving week in my hometown New Orleans is an interesting mix of old and new attitudes, old and new people, old and new places.

We stayed at my sister's house, which is the house she and I grew up in. She moved back in when we had to move our parents into a nursing facility. She moved out after Hurricane Katrina flooded it and returned after two years of rehabbing. It has the bones of the house Dad built but is now totally reflective of her tastes and lifestyle.

Interesting then and now emotions spring up as I wake up in her guest room, which was my bedroom growing up. I wrote this at her dining table which is in the exact spot where dining tables sat for the whole 50-plus years this house has existed. A pleasant difference: the wall between the dining area and the living room was removed, making way for a more contemporary open floor plan.

I visit New Orleans every year or two, although I should visit more often. Those trips usually include cousin reunions. I lost touch wi…

No Bah Humbug

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The first time I saw a live performance of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol" was in December 1984. A manager at work treated a dozen of us to a memorable evening that included tickets to see the play at the historic Ford's Theatre in Washington DC.

I promised myself that night I would see the play at that theatre again one day and hopefully share the evening with a special lady. Twenty-nine years later I finally did and now we've made this an annual tradition.

The whole ghost of a story resonates with me and I'm not completely sure I know why. I do know that I get teary-eyed near the end, even though I already know how it ends, and I feel so good after it's over. And for weeks later.

We see it during Thanksgiving week and the spirit stays with us through the season.

Maybe it's the idea that we often get so busy in our lives that we lose our heart. Without even realizing it, we lose the wonder, caring, purpose and fun of our youth.  It is re…

Different Stuff Matters

Maybe this is why people retire: their priorities change. Things that matter so much at work for so many years eventually begin to seem like a waste of time. When viewed in the context of a person's life, little details that seemed so important don't really matter.

We begin to question things. We seek meaning and purpose in life.

On the other hand, maybe we just get tired of working. At the peak of our careers, if we have careers, we work our asses off, we get really good at what we do, we make more money than we thought we ever would. Then we sort of crash.

I love what I do, I'm good at it, I'm at my peak earning power; and sometimes there is just too much on my plate. And sometimes I laugh at myself when I look at the tiny details and think that those details that seemed so important a year ago or a decade ago aren't really that important.

Somewhere between mid life and retirement age, we read that this is the time to do what we always wanted to do. I am lucky …

Black

Colored, Negro, African-American, Black. These monikers, and a few more that I won't print here, show an evolving attitude about race in our country during the boomer era. I'd like to believe we've come a long way since the 1950s. I'd like to believe there is little or no discrimination based on race. I'd like to believe our children accept the equality of all races. I'd like to believe I have escaped the racial prejudices of my Louisiana upbringing.

I'm not sure any of that has happened. We've come a long way but are we there yet?  Do we still make judgements based on color?  Is this a white issue? A black issue? Everybody's issue?

Do we ... and by that, I mean us white folk ... see a few black faces in suits in our work place and say to ourselves 'we've come a long way'?  Do we (white again) go out of our way to hire or befriend black people out of some form of white guilt?  Is that kind of prejudicial attitude just as biased as reje…