Saturday, December 31, 2016

Phil Barth highlights

Great things that happened today:

- Beth, Tommy and I got a morning workout in at the Y.
- I set my 2017 New Year's Goals. Resolutions never worked for me.
- Got my last haircut of 2016....
- New Years Eve dinner from LaRosa's. Kenny picked it up while I was at the barber shop.
- Paige, Kenny and Joyce came over to celebrate.
- After dinner game of The Great Dalmuti.
- The party ended around 10.
- But Beth Tom and I stayed up watching the Terminator until midnight.
- Then I went to bed and was probably asleep by 12:15.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Great things that happened today:

- Tommy and I went to work together.
- He built a really cool Yellow Submarine out of Lego's.
- We then went to the fitness center and rode stationary bikes.
- Then we hit Chipotle.
- Tom got a huge burrito.
- The first tortilla broke so they double wrapped it.
- Beth, Tom and I watched some Hawaii 5-0.
- Then Tom and I watched some Angie Tribeca. We laughed out loud, a lot.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Great things that happened today:

- Treadmill run. Running is my favorite exercise - but I'm smart enough to know that (at age 54) it's a great thing that can't happen every day...
- Leftover Christmas turkey for lunch. I didn't microwave it. I love this stuff. I'm addicted to it, but I can quit cold turkey.
- Book progress. It's near completion.
- Beth made baked chicken for dinner. It was supposed to be grilled, but when branches kept getting blown on to the roof and falling on the deck we changed that plan.
- All 5 of us were gathered around the table for dinner.
- Tommy and I shot a vlog.
- Then we prepared for a great day together in the office today..

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Great things that happened today:

- 30 minutes on the elliptical.
- Listened to the book "Essentialism" to and from work.
- My new Spire device reminded me when it was time to get up when I sat too long.
- Leftover Red Lobster tilapia for lunch.
- After dinner birthday cake and ice cream at my in-laws (for Tommy Barth).
- And Port with my father in law and sister in law.
- One of Tom's birthday gifts was a lego set. He came home and put it together.
- Beth, Tom and I watched an episode of Hawaii 5-0 and ate popcorn before bed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Great things that happened today:

- Beth and I went to the Y for a workout.
- Before the workout I had soy butter and jam on crackers.
- The jam was awesome - it was a gift from one of my scouts (Lauren Jones / Tim Jones tell Larry "Thanks!!")
- I worked on my 2017 priorities / goals / resolutions.
- The family went to Red Lobster for Tommy's birthday.
- After dinner Joe, Kenny and Tom went to the Star Wars Movie.
- Beth and I hit the after Christmas sales at Hallmark and Target.
- Tommy and I finished up the day by watching an episode of The Simpsons before bedtime.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

All In

"I'm all in."

"All in", at least in Phil's world, comes from the game of No Limit Texas Hold em.  In the game it means "I am betting every chip I have on this hand.  I am putting all my resources behind it."

It's both a scary and powerful thought.  If I'm right - I could double my money.  If I'm wrong, my game is over.  I am possibly saying no to all future hands to focus all of my energy on this one.

Going all in is exciting.  It's fun.

In real life - if you want real success - it's also mandatory.  When you have an idea that's good - you put all of your energy behind it.  (You may or may not have to put all your money behind it...  the analogy isn't 100%.  Or maybe it is - if I have the biggest stack of chips at the table, I never have to put 100% in to go "All In" - my opponent does though.).

Steve Jobs was all in on the iPod.  Then the iPhone.  And the iPad.

Mark Cuban was all in on

What has your passion?  What consumes you?  What can drive you to say "I'm all in!"

What do you have to give up to do it?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 17, 2016

- Tommy, Beth and I went to dinner at Ruby Tuesday, where the food was incredible. (Oh wait - that's amother great thing...).
- Afterwards we went to Meijer to get a few things and look at bikes for Tom's birthday (December 27).
- We found the perfect bike. So Tom walked it up to the checkout....
- The lines were packed, so we went through the U-Scan. Tom lifted up the bike until I could get the tag to the scanner. (The tag had to be cut off otherwise).
- After the bike scanned the computer asked "Do you want to apply your 20% off one item?" I didn't even realize I had that!
- We then paid and took the bike outside. It was pouring. So I ran to the car, and pulled up and actually got the back of the car under the awning. We then loaded the bike from the back. It never got wet.
- Neither did Tom (at that point).


Friday, December 16, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 16, 2016

- 35 minutes on the elliptical. https.
- With high energy Christmas music (TSO mostly) to make me move faster.
- Nerf dart wars with Joe and Tommy. ...
- Taco night for dinner!
- All 5 of us were around the table.
- Then we all watched Dr. Ken.
- Then Tom and I watched some Shark Tank. I wanna be a shark when I grow up.
- I found a really cool app, which led to...
- A vlog episode with a surprise ending.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 15, 2016

- The moon was almost full on the drive in.
- Ran 4 miles on the treadmill.
- Played a part in the "If I weren't a leader" skit at the pack meeting (Preacher)....
- Great meeting and conversation with Carmen Pazos Hethmon. She's one of those people where we can get the meeting done in half the time, and get twice as much done.
- So is Andrew Jamieson, although we didn't have a meeting yesterday... But we did send messages back and forth, and Andrew pushed me to start adding things like confetti and fireworks to messages.
- Andrew's boss Matt (not a FB friend) and I also had a great meeting in about 15 minutes.
- Learned how to send gifs easily with imessage. Sent one to Kylie Newsom and Kenny Barth. (At different times - so I guess that's two great things).
- Tommy and I did another Christmas vlog


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 14, 2016

- Got my annual eye exam.
- Slight change to the prescription.
- Still not getting bifocals....
- Got two major things done at work.
- Added Jethro Tull to my Amazon Christmas music playlist.
- Troop Christmas party...
- Lots of good food. There was a fruit tray (thanks to Beth) and a veggie tray - so I ate some good stuff.
- I also ate a couple of the cookies...
- The guys had a gift exchange.
- Some of the guys played Poo (a card game - it's in the Vlog - the basic idea is you are a monkey and you want to throw poo on the other monkeys before they throw poo on you. It's not Bridge, but it's a lot of fun).
- There was also a game of electronic Monopoly - you use a card instead of cash. Very interesting.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 13, 2016

- Got a spot in the parking garage so I didn't have to fight the rain and snow mix. Yeah, I know everyone is getting a garage spot right now - but it's still great.
- Weightlifting over lunch.
- Got a free salad from the cafeteria....
- Beth made johnny marzetti for dinner.
- Found my missing notebook!
- Banana cream pie Oikos Zero yogurt and pretzels for a bedtime snack. Not as good a banana milkshake, but more protein

Monday, December 12, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 12, 2016

- Finished the Colin Powell book. The chapter on gifts, while not necessarily key to the overall book, was hilarious and gives great insight into the man.
- Found a Pure Protein Chocolate Chip bar in the bottom of my snack drawer. It was old, but still delicious.
- A FB friend offered a great opportunity for our Boy Scouts this spring....
- Worked out on the elliptical
- Tommy, Beth and I came up for a great idea for a future vlog episode.
- Meanwhile, Tommy and I recorded Part IV of "A Christmas Carol". Not sure if the links will work or not... I'm still learning...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 11, 2016

- Started a new Kindle Book: "Getting More" by Stuart Diamond.
- Ran at the Y on the indoor track.
- My 2013 Budweiser Stein came from Ebay (this actually happened a couple of days ago) and I put it up in its place on the shelf. That means the collection is up to date (pending the 2016 stein which is on my Christmas list)....
- Tommy and I put together the next vlog episode.
- AND we added a cool new opening and ending screen.
- All of which will be published a little later today.
- Kenny and I recorded the raw footage for his first guitar tip episode. It will come out later this week (after finals).
- Grilled burgers with Beth, Kenny, Tommy, Joe and Joe's girlfriend Emily. They are the 90/10 burgers - Sam's club has the best price on that ground beef (by far).
- And a really good chocolate cake for dessert.
- I restarted my blog. The new blog will be a collection of Great Things comments + detailed stories on certain items.
- I didn't watch any of the Browns / Bengals game. I almost did, because it was on at the Y in front of the treadmills. But when I saw it on there, I immediately opted to go to the indoor track and run.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 10, 2016

Great things that happened yesterday:

- Productive meeting with P Jay Madigan and team - learned a lot.

- Beth and I went to friends house for dinner - I completely blew my diet for one day, but wow was it good.

- Especially Beth's chocolate chip pie for dessert!...

- We learned a new card game, which we will teach the kids.

- Got home in time to shoot a vlog with Tommy Barth.

- Got to bed early and got a great night's sleep.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 9, 2016

- Tommy and I made a video: A Great Things Christmas Carol. The first installment is linked here.
- It was the annual day of vacation / Christmas shopping with Beth.
- We hit Kohl's, Toys R Us, Bath and Body Works, JC Penney, Sears, Kroger and Sam's Club.
- Then we came back and home and got a bunch of stuff on Amazon.
- While we were out shopping we had lunch at Panera.
- I had a free birthday cookie on my Panera card so we split that for dessert.
- We got home in time to get Tommy Barth off the bus and give him a ride back the (frozen) driveway.
- We had a great fire in the fireplace.
- Grilled shrimp skewers for dinner (with turkey kielbasa, huge shrimp, pineapple, mushrooms and green peppers).
- Banana milkshakes for our bedtime snack.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 8, 2016

Great things that happened yesterday:
- Tommy and I attended Kenny Barth's concert at NKU.
- We shot vlog footage at the concert (not the actual concert, that's against the rules...). Vlog to follow later today.
- Finished up a productive work week one day early.
- Beth and I prepped for our annual Christmas shopping day today
- Ran 40 minutes on the treadmill.
- Leftover veggies and a spinach salad for lunch.
- That left me with a nice number of available calories so I...
- Finished up the day with some Homemade Cherry Cordial Frozen Yogurt.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 7, 2016

- Detailed 2017 planning session.

- 30 minutes on the elliptical.

- Great Court of Honor. Young Curtis Moore said some really nice things at the end - much appreciated! ...

- Thanks to Randy Lampe and Kylie Newsom I learned something new at work.

- After Court of Honor I had some really good veggies and dip that Beth made and a really good gingerbread man cookie..

- The gingerbread man's leg fell off, which immediately led to some Monty Python humor "Just a flesh wound".

- Tom got a new lego Advent figure and
- We did another Vlog episode.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 6, 2016

- Team meeting with Randy Lampe, Carmen Pazos Hethmon and others... and it included free lunch!
- Virtual meeting with our new teammates in the Global Cellulose Fibers organization.
- Beth and I went to Kroger. We saved $16 with another 10% off fund raiser card.
- They had Family Sized boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats for $1.99 if you bought 4.
- Actually with the 10 percent off they were $1.79 if you bought 4.
- In any case, I'm stocked up.
- Tommy and I did a "Great Things" episode on Nativity Scenes.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 5, 2016

- Ran 40 minutes.
- Low fat fettuccine alfredo for dinner.
- Mapped out three projects on my white board.
- Finished the Elon Musk book (Okay - that was a few days ago). A really good read.
- Read my new book - Colin Powell, "It worked for me".
- Watched Star Trek the Next Generation - the "Inner Light" episode, which is one of my favorites.
- Jammed in my office to Trans Siberian Orchestra.
- Great project meeting with Carmen Pazos Hethmon and a host of others.
- New Vlog episode with Tommy Barth.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 4, 2016

- The Browns didn't lose (aka bye week).
- Weightlifting at the Y.
- Grilled chicken, corn, fruit salad and (a few) tater tots for dinner.
- Over 10,000 steps.
- Another nerf dart war. Apparently buying an extra 100 nerf darts wasn't a deterrent to more wars.
- Fixed a sink clog. Maybe.
- Tommy and I shot a Vlog that was one of my favorites. We had fun making it, and that generally translates to a good video.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Great things that happened today (and some from before) - December 3, 2016

- On Friday I got to talk with Jake Clarkson. A great mix of business and catching up.

- Also on Friday I had this half brainstorm / half why didn't I think of this 2 weeks ago moment that solved a problem at work.

- Today we went to Sam's Club and Kohl's....

- At Kohl's we spent our Kohl's cash, and about 6 dollars more. 5 bucks of that was Tom, so we actually wound up getting clothes, candles and k-cups for a buck.

- Went up to the Old Firehouse Brewery with Kenny, Joe and Tommy. Beers and orange sodas. I swear their orange soda is the best stuff ever. 

- Well, it wasn't as good as the 4 beer flight I had, but it was good.

- Went to the Y with Beth and Tommy. Beth and I walked on the track.

- Actually Beth was walking faster than I was. Her knee is healing nicely!

- I wound up getting exactly 11,000 steps yesterday. Completely unplanned, and in fact unknown until I just looked it up.

- On Thursday I got exactly 10,000 steps. That was totally planned.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Great things that happened today - December 2, 2016

- We had dinner at the Methodist church. Turkey or ham (Beth and I had turkey, Tommy had a little of each), dressing, mashed potatoes, etc.,

 - Kenny had spaghetti from the Presbyterian church but brought it over and ate with us. (Kenny didn't switch teams, but they do make some good spaghetti...)

- Most of the local businesses were open and had some cool displays. We stopped at......

- The library, where I found a book at the used book sale (see also the vlog).

- Pete Cooper's barber shop. Pete had a really cool bears playing Christmas music on a xylophone toy (see also the vlog).

- Krista Garman Joehnk had her Brownies set up giving away brownies for donations as a fund raiser (pretty clever when you think about it - if Tiger Scouts were giving away tigers that wouldn't be nearly as well received).

- Windy's world where we saw some quilts.

- Wrinkles Antiques where Tommy got a stocking.

- Herbst Insurance Agency where they had some really cool electric trains.

- Spekaing of electric trains, I learned that it's not a good idea to play with trains at dinner if you're having decaf and wearing light jeans. The really great thing is they are lined jeans, so the hot cofffee didn't feel that hot when it made it to my leg.

-With all that walking, both Beth and I were over 10,000 steps. The funniest thing was I was holding hands with Beth and felt her fitbit go off at 10,000 steps.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gerat things that happened today - December 1, 2016

- Lunch with Mike McIntosh.

 - We ate at Penn Station East Coast Subs. I didn't realize they had a low fat low sodium choice, but they actually have two (steak or chicken with all the vegetables).

- Lifted at the YMCA.

- More work on the Elon Musk book - I will finish it this week.

- Dropped Joe's car off for brake repairs. Joe and I talked about Elon Musk and Teslas on the way home.

- We had our Pack Committee meeting at the church. The smell of turkey was in the fellowship hall as they prepared the Friday Christmas Walk dinner. Can't wait.

- When I looked in at the kitchen Jim Weaver offered me some turkey skin. I passed.

- Tommy and I did the first of our Christmas Great Things episodes. We also have a blooper reel where I couldn't stop laughing - that may or may not make it to YouTube.

(The outtake video did make it to YouTube):

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Going the extra mile

Today I celebrated my birthday... AND the 80 degree weather... with a run. While I was running I noticed the leaves falling from the trees next to the road. I decided I wanted to catch a falling leaf while running. Leaves fell all around me, but nothing I could catch. But toward the end of a long run, one floated down, right in front of me, and I caught it.

Sometimes you have to go the extra mile, but if you keep hustling, life will give you the opportunity. All you have to do is grab it.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Delta Sky Priority

I have reached Silver Medallion status on Delta this year.  It doesn't get me much - but for one day yesterday it did.  I was upgraded to Delta Comfort+ seating, and got to board with Sky priority.  Both were little things, but both were enjoyable.  Both will help keep me loyal to Delta.

In an odd way, my current status will also keep me from wanting to fly until early 2017 (if given the choice).  There is no real way I can make gold medallion, and I get silver for all of 2017.  If given the choice of flying in mid-December or early January - the trip will occur in January.  That way the miles will apply to my 2018 status and either keep me at silver, or push me to gold.

One thing I don't want:  A sense of entitlement that can come with the status.  The guy seated next to me bitched about the fact we were delayed the whole time.  This despite noting that he hadn't had a delay for a very long time through Atlanta.  (This guy is one of the reasons I wear noise canceling headphones).  Just to make sure the flight crew knew he was mad he bitched at them on the way out - because apparently flight attendants have something to do with plane maintenance and/or the weather in Cincinnati.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Things I've learned - Be more like your dog

Especially if your dog is a Labrador Retriever.

They are happy with an old toy.
They are curious about the world around them.
If they are tired they get some sleep.
They are constantly hungry.
If someone gives them feedback they stop doing the wrong thing (at least for the moment).
They are happy with little.
They are always happy.

As soon as I wrote this the cat threw up and the dog went over and started eating it.  That's why the title of the post was NOT "Be exactly like your dog".

Monday, October 10, 2016


The 2016 Peterloon campout was a huge success.  It will probably be remembered for one important thing:  No rain!  After the monsoon in 2014 this is a huge improvement.

I spent Saturday afternoon hanging out with my son Tom.  By the time I caught up with him he had already welded an eagle, and collected all kinds of swag from the events, including a stuffed frog.

The stuffed frog was a used and somewhat nasty thing, but Tom loved it.  When we got home he cleaned it up.  Then he noticed it had a battery pack.  After putting fresh batteries in we made it talk.  It had a few cute sayings.

While we were playing with it Beth looked it up online.  It turned out to be a 1998 talking bull frog toy.  (So it's older than Tom).  New in box it goes for $50.

Tom needs to become a picker.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Scope

My fourth colonoscopy is in the books.  No problems.  But lots of memories.

A few notes on colonoscopies:

Anyone who has had one can tell you the prep is the worst.  My prep involved taking 4 dulcolax tablets and an entire 14 dose bottle of Miralax, along with 128 ounces of Gatorade (I switched in Cyrstal Light after a while).  It has to be light Gatorade.  My normal favorites (red favors) would, for obvious reasons, not look good on a scope.

Roughly 24 hours before the scope, you stop eating  Liquiid diet only.  This wasn't terrible.  After drinking 64 ounces of Gatorade, I didn't have the desire to eat anyway.

From around 4pm to 7pm I was running to the bathroom.  Things slowed down after 7pm, but didn't fully stop until just before the procedure.

I remember nothing of the procedure itself.  Put on the gown, get on the table, roll over, a shot goes in the IV, and that's that.

Perhaps the most memorable thing about it was the nurse - who told me.  "As part of the procedure the Doctor will blow lots of air in your colon.  You'll need to fart it out before you leave."

As requirements for getting out of the hospital go, this wasn't exactly a high hurdle to clear. 

In fact I don't remember doing that.  But I asked my wife when I fully woke up.  "They told me I had to fart before I left.  Did I do that?"  She just said "You don't remember?"  Apparently the nurse woke me up, told me I couldn't leave unless I "tooted" (this was a different nurse).  I said I couldn't, so she made me pull my legs up to my chest.   That got the desired result.  (Good to know)

I have absolutely no memory of that event.  As far as I knew I said hello to the Doctor, then woke up and drank a Mountain Dew.  Then went back to sleep for a while longer.

The whole idea behind a colonoscopy is to look for polyps.  I didn't have any this time.  I did 11 years ago when I had my first procedure (family history plus some other issue, sure enough, I had polyps).  Untreated polyps will eventually turn into cancer.  If I had ignored my family history and other signs, there is a good chance I wouldn't be here to write this blog.


Now for the fun part...

If you have polyps removed, there is a small chance (I think they said 1 in 200) that the solder or whatever they use to seal the polyp will break, and you will start bleeding.

In 2008 I was 1 in 200.

There are great ways to find this out.  Attending your son's baseball game is not one of those great ways.

I went back to the hospital.  They said "We're going to keep you overnight"  In the morning, the on-call proctologist will see you first.

Next morning he looks at my chart and says "You won't need to go through the prep.  We can take care of it."

I say "Good".

He starts to get things ready and I say "Wait - aren't you going to knock me out for this?"

"No, it's not that far up."

"Is it up your butt?  Because if there's something that's going to get cauterized on my body - I want knocked out."

Well, I lose that argument, and put me on the table, and let me watch the TV screen he will be using.

Scene one.  Camera is on.  We see, on screen, for the whole room to see, bigger than life, my butt.

I look at the nurse and say "Wow.  We don't have this channel on DirectTV".

Zoom in.  Zoom in.  Zoom and it's in.

"Holy crap on a stick are you freaking kidding me?"

He puts a garden hose in there.  It has a lamp to light the way (you know, I always meant to install track lighting but never got around to it).  And I come to find out later it has a water hose, just to clean off anything.  And of course it has this freaking needle to anesthetize the spot once he finds it.

Tears are running down my face.  I am channeling every ounce of hatred I have toward the guy who's using a PacMan controller to operate a Swiss Army knife in my - as far as I can tell by now - esophagus. 

And then he said it.

"Okay.  This might hurt."

Well shoot Doc.  If only there were some way to avoid that pain.  I don't know - maybe with a shot of Demerol???

And then I saw the heated soldering iron emerge. 

And then I said a stream of words that I won't repeat.  Let's just say that - had George Carlin been there - he would have said "Wow - there ARE more than seven."

Later (much later) I realized that the Doctor was likely just following procedure.  I was close to forgiving him.

Then I got the call from my Doctor.  He said "What happened?" 

I described it in meticulous detail. 

He said "How do you know all that?"

I said "I saw it."

And I will never forget what my Doctor said next:

"What?  They didn't knock you out?"

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fantasy Football Monday "Everything I know about fantasy football I learned from the Browns"

I don't play fantasy football any more.  But when I did, I played like a Brown.


Draft Poorly:

In my last season I blew my first draft pick.  Maybe not as bad as the Browns did with Johnny Manziel, or Trent Richardson, or Phil Taylor, or Airmail Erving, or Justin Gilbert, or Brandon Weeden, or...

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  My draft.

I picked second.  This was the year that the obvious choice was Adrian Peterson.  Picking second there were a variety of good options.  The best was the Beast - Marshawn Lynch.  For some still inexplicable reason, I took LeSean McCoy. 

(Side note - Peterson only played one game, then got suspended.  But at least the guy who picked first had an excuse.)

Later, I somehow decided that the Eagles offense was the way to go, so I added Nick Foles at quarterback. 

I did make a good pick eventually, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  We'll cover more about him in part two.


Trade Away Talent:

I traded Fitzgerald, got about nothing.  But I figured I'd be okay, because I had a receiver who was ready to come back and kick butt.


Overestimate your own talent:

My receiver was in fact, a Brown.  Josh Gordon.  When he came back he was awful.  He didn't light up defenses.  He did, however, light up something else, and got suspended yet again.


That was already covered in a prior blog post.  Stick with the survivor pool, and pick Browns' opponents.


Swimmingly.  I took the Eagles this week, and they looked like Super Bowl champions.  People will probably pick them later, and will be disappointed when they find out that a good part of the Eagles' dominance was things like:

1. The Browns calling a fake punt on their own 40.  With no punter on the field.  And only 10 men on the field.  Apparently they were banking on the element of surprise.  Surprise!  You lost 6 yards!

2. The aforementioned Cameron Erving snapping a shotgun snap over RG III's head and out of the back of the endzone.  That tends to make your defense look good.

3. Several dropped passes by the Browns.

All of that having been said, Carson Wentz, the man who could have been a Brown, played really well.  This is a triple disappointment because a) we could have had him, b) our talent evaluators said "he's not top 20", which means we STILL don't know how to evaluate talent, and c) I was hoping the Eagles would go about 3-13 this year (for a better Browns choice).  That's off the table.

SURVIVAL POOL - COMING UP:  Baltimore comes to Cleveland.  My original plan was to wait until the Browns played in Baltimore to take the Ravens, but I don't think I can wait that long.  The league might be over by then.  I'll take the Ravens.

Back to the grind

It's Monday.  You're back to work.  Will you hit the ground running, or will you have a Monday?

It depends on what you did Sunday evening.  Did you take 20 minutes and plan your week?  Maybe lay out your clothes, gym bag, etc?

If I do that, Monday is just another day.

If I don't do that, I have a week of Monday's.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What to post on 9/11

I just completed a nice story about growing up, listening to Steve Martin and George Carlin.

I want to post that.  I want 9/11 to be just like any other day.  But it's not.  Every day on 9/11 I reflected back to 2001.  I was in my office at work when a co-worker came in and said "Did you hear?  Someone flew a plane in to the World Trade Center."  We started to wonder - was it done on purpose?  How could it have been anything else?  But maybe it was some sort of horrible accident.

Then the second plane hit.  And one in the Pentagon.  And another in a field in Pennsylvania.  And life as we knew it changed forever.

Eventually, unbelievably, both towers collapsed, killing thousands.  Many of the victims were fire, EMS and police officers who had gone in to the building to help others.

This year 9/11 falls on a Sunday.  We will have a special first responders service at church.  I am proud to be a very small part of it, and I am thankful for the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day.  Now more than ever we need them.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

This Week's 8 track flashbacks

Supertramp, Breakfast in America.

Found it on Amazon music, and listened to the whole thing.  No track skips either!  I was always a huge fan of "The Long Way Home".  It had several songs that got solid air play, including "Goodbye Stranger", "The Logical Song" and "Breakfast in America". 

Other favorites for me were Gone Hollywood, Oh Darling and Just Another Nervous Wreck.  The last one might be my favorite song on the whole album.

Steve Martin, A Wild and Crazy Guy.

Found a copy at the library.  Listened to it on the way to work.  Found out that 35 years later I can still complete the punch lines.  And 35 years later it's still hilarious.

Best of The Bee Gees

Just because.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We have a varsity golfer

Tommy is now on the varsity golf team.  There are only 4 varsity golfers left after a raid by the football team.  Okay, no one else is saying it was a raid, but when the coach’s son is asking Joe to come out for football (not realizing that Joe is a college freshman) you can about bet that they’re pulling kids from other sports.

He looks great in his shirt and with his clubs.  He golfed at Wilmington yesterday.  He completed a couple of holes.  Mr. Jody said he isn’t ready, but Tom is willing to do it to help the team.  He will learn and he will grow.  Meanwhile, I’m a very proud dad.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Traders World

I was a little surprised when the boys suggested we go to Trader's World over Labor Day weekend.  We hadn't been there in a very long time.  But it was Trader's World.  Why not?

Twenty years ago Beth, Kenny and I used to go once a month or even more.  Of course back then we lived about 15 minutes away.  It's now an hour drive.  In the past we would go up in the morning, take a lunch break, and continue.  On this day we had two hours available.  Joe got off work around 1:30.  We got on the road by 2, and were shopping by 3.

All five of us rode in the Honda C-RV. Our three sons cramped in the back.  As we started to leave Kenny yelled "Shotgun!"  Beth vetoed him.

Trader's World itself has changed.  There is a covered area for some of the outdoor vendors   This area goes on for what feels like a mile.  We started in this area.  Beth and I spent almost our entire time out there (we had two hours).

The shopping at Trader's World has not changed.  In the past we would spend most of our time outside.  This was mainly because we never knew what would be out there.  The inside vendors are more specific.  We know that the vendor with Beef Jerky will always have beef jerky.  Nothing wrong with beef jerky per se, but the element of surprise isn't there.  We prefer the outside vendors, and the unknown.

WHAT WE GOT:  One vendor had tables with piles of miscellaneous items.  I got a couple  of things there.  Tom got a nice putter for two bucks.  The guy was selling entire sets of golf clubs for five bucks.  My first question is:  How little did he pay for the clubs if he can get rid of them for five bucks?  That question aside, two bucks for a putter is a nice deal.  It was a nice putter, better than anything I've handed down to Tom.  Tom still has a putter on his Christmas list, but we will be able to  sell this putter at a garage sale for two bucks next year.  Let's consider it a free loaner putter.

I also picked up a little puzzle at that vendor.  Beth got some antique dolls there.  Somewhere along the line I got a Kings Island salt shaker that looks like a stein.  I didn't even know that it was a salt shaker until the guy showed me.  The pepper shaker that paired with it was missing.  That didn't bother me, because I just liked the stein for my collection.  The guy said "You can just have it".  That didn't bother me either.

At the end of the day the fruit / vegetable vendor said "Four bucks for the rest of my strawberries."  This was seven of those containers they sell at Meijer or Kroger.  The best price I've seen there is 3 for $5.  I bought them.  The kids ate some on the way to Cracker Barrel.  We put some more in the fridge when we got home.  Roughly six of the seven conainers were cut up and put in the freezer.  Future smoothie material for sure.

WHAT I DIDN'T GET:  I thought about getting a Big Bertha driver but passed, this time anyway.  I also saw a book "Faithful" by Stephen King and one other guy - the story of the 2004 Boston Red Sox  I didn't want it for content, I wanted it for formatting.  I figured I can get what I want from the library.

Then there was the electronic football game.  The game where you put the players on the metal board and turn on the game.  I always wanted one as a kid.  But I passed.  It wasn't in great shape.  Besides, I can use that game as justification for another trip.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Great things that happened today

- Beth, Kenny, Joe, Tom and I went to Trader's World.
- Tommy picked up a nice putter for 2 bucks.
- I found another Bud Christmas stein for my collection Think I'm down to one missing year.
- Found a nice puzzle that I still haven't solved.
- All of us found some cool stuff - which we will likely put on a future Vlog.
- Stopped at Cracker Barrel on the way home.
- Trout, salad, baked sweet potato and corn.
- Beth let me have some of her baked apples which made a great dessert.
- Beth found a cool croc for 80% off at Cracker Barrel.
- Tom found a pen for 80% off, and
- I found a Sprite t-shirt for 80% off. $2.65 for an exercise shirt.
- Beth and I took a walk when we got home.
- That put me over 10,000 steps.
- Watched Ozzie and Jack's World Detour.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Related to yesterday's post

Today I will discuss my strategy for picking this year's work pool games. 

Every week you pick each of the games.  Whoever has the most picks right at the end of the year wins a gas card.  In fact, we normally pay somewhere between 3 and 10 people.

Last year one person picked games better than the Vegas line.  That person wasn't me.

This year, I guarantee I will pick games exactly as well as the Vegas line.  And hopefully place in the top 3.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The pill solution

Successful people don't let the dumb person inside sabotage the smart one.  There are points in the day when I'm smart Phil.  There are also points where the dumb Phil takes over.  Normally dumb Phil is in charge when I wake up.  That means I need a daily routine set up to keep me on track.  This involves things like putting my gym bag in the trunk the night before, picking clothes out and having my morning routine all set up on one iPad screen.

There was one large gap in the morning routine.  I was occasionally forgetting my pills.  Since those pills control heart related things, that was dangerous.

The solution?  I put my pills on top of my coffee mugs.  I can't get my morning coffee unless I get my pills out.  Dumb Phil loves coffee.

At the end of the day Dumb Phil (or maybe it's just Tired Phil) likes a cup of sleepy time tea.  Same deal - the mugs are under the pills.

I haven't missed a day since.

Side note:  When I'm on the road I need a different process.  I sit the pills on the sink of my hotel room, but it's not 100% effective.  The process there is an extra set of pills in a ziplock bag in my work briefcase.  This also protects me in the event of lost luggage.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Blog needs a refresh... Maybe

The whole idea of starting a year ahead of time on the speech is a good one.

The idea of blogging about it every day is not.

Every day I make sure I do something to improve myself - by putting things in to my mind, writing speeches, or practicing.

But it's not all blog-worthy.

What is blog-worthy is maybe a once a week post of what I've learned this week.  That could also be a Vlog.

That said, I'm not making a commitment to that quite yet.  What I'm committed to right now is writing.  Every day - working on my new book.  That is working well for me.  I'm focused on that and can see the progress.

But the bottom line is - I want to blog and Vlog every day.  Just not about speaking.  Not yet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What did I do today?

I texted back and forth with Mike McIntosh, my contact for an upcoming speaking engagement (the EMUG conference in Seattle).

I messaged with Pete Punwani - a Toastmaster friend about the upcoming contest season.

I wrote - but not for the contest.

I talked with our group Vice President - who told everyone that "This is a speaking all star".

Some days I won't get a chance to work on my contest speech.  But I will still work on ways to grow as a speaker and a person.  Every day. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

The chase starts today #WCOPS

I've been thinking about this for a while.

The 2016 Toastmasters World Champioship of Public Speaking happened this weekend in Washington DC.

My goal is to win the world championship.

There is one factor in that chase that I can't control:  The competition.

But I can control how much preparation I put into the goal.  I can control how hard I work for it.

So the chase starts for me today.  Actually it started earlier this month when I came up with two ideas for a contest speech.  But the blog of the chase starts today.

The plan:  Blog daily, Vlog once a week.

The goal:  365 days (give or take) from now I will be a better speaker, better communicator, better writer.  Dramatically better.  The only way to get there from here is to work at it every day.

The blog keeps me honest.

This is going to be a very interesting year.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Yesterday - another great day

Beth Tom and I went to Kohl's.

We bought 5 golf shirts, a sweater, some kitchen equipment and two nice candles.

After Kohl's cash our total was 34 cents.  It would have been 45 cents, but the lady at the checkout counter gave us the 20% friends and family discount coupon.

It was a lot of fun.  Our golf shirts were 9 bucks - end of summer clearance.  Beth found a really nice sweater for 5 bucks - the best deal of the day.  (Note to my iPad.  When I put the words "best" and "buy" next to each other - I don't want them capitalized.  I hate that store).

More importantly it was good family time.  I believe, as a result of this shopping trip, Tom learned 3 things:

1. Head to the clearance racks - your money will go further.
2. Be patient and look through everything - the good stuff hides in different spots.
3. When riding the cart, it's best to find an open aisle.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

State of the blog

As I do more Vlog-ing, I do less blogging.  In part it's because the Vlog is new and shiny.

But it's more due to the fact that I haven't stepped back and looked at the blog, looked at the Vlog, and made a conscious decision about what kind of information best fits on each.

If I don't step back and reflect, I make no progress.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tom earns Duty to God. I earn a lesson.

A story from summer camp a little over a week ago.

Camp Friedlander has a 4 tier Duty to God award.  Each of the four levels are earned during one week of summer camp. 

This year was Year 4 for Tom at summer camp.  He was looking to become the first scout in 2016, and third scout ever, to win the Level 4 Duty to God award at Camp Friedlander.

To earn the award he had to complete 3 of 5 possible tasks:

1.  Attend every morning service.
2.  Assist on the Sunday evening service.  This required reaching out to the camp chaplain before the service, and assisting.
3.  Assist on the Wednesday evening service.  This also required meeting with the camp chaplain early.
4. Conduct a service for your troop.
5. Conduct a study with other scouts.

I guided Tom to numbers 1-3.  That seemed like the path of least resistance.  Not that I was looking for the easy way out, but Tom had a full schedule of merit badges too...

At any rate, Tom attended all of the morning services.  He also assisted on the Sunday service. 

Wednesday evening, however, he didn't assist on the service.  He attended, but did not get to help.

After I told him:  "I'm pretty sure you did your best, talk to the chaplain about it and you'll get the award."  He said "No dad.  I didn't do my duty to God.  I'm going to conduct a service for the troop."

On Thursday evening he did just that.  He got other scouts (and Pastor Jay Madigan) involved.  He had all the basics covered:  Prayer, reading, message and prayer.

And then... just before he started he said "Dad, I'm going to do a song."

"Get out... really?"

He did.  He led us in "This Little Light of Mine."

The song and overall service were outstanding.  My son really did his duty to God. 

More importantly - he taught me a lesson about doing your best, vs. doing something less.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Turning a mistake into a great thing

On Saturday morning I was in a meeting.  I grabbed a cup of coffee - my second for the day.  I'm allowed up to two cups, but very rarely have more than one.  (Side note - my one is a mug, so it's probably 1 1/2 cups anyway).

As soon as I started drinking the coffee I felt lousy.  I've had the feeling before... It's when I forget my pills.  I messaged my wife "Can you check to see if I forgot my pills?"

The message back:  "Yes.  You forgot them this morning, and all day yesterday."

Meeting over.  I'm heading home.

I took the pills and rested for a while.

I then completely redesigned my morning process.  I basically made it impossible to get my morning coffee without getting my pills.

Sunday evening I ate at my in laws.  They had Lee's Famous Recipe leftovers from a party.  I know Lee's baked beans are salty, but I had some.  Then I had seconds.  Plus cole slaw.

After dinner I immediately took a nap.

When I got home I hit the wall around 10:00, and went to bed.  It wound up being a great night's sleep.

Bottom line:   I got a great reminder just before I take off on a business trip today.  Watch the sodium, watch the caffeine and don't forget the pills.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

1981 Flashback

Our mall had a 3 screen movie theater.  Screens 1 and 2 were small theaters, screen 3 was the large theater.

When my friends and I went to the movies there were three choices:

1. On Golden Pond - the classic movie with Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda and Katherine Hepburn.
2. Chariots of Fire - the movie that would win the best picture.
3. Porky's.

Guess which one we saw?

Guess which one was in the large theater?

The next morning I came down to breakfast.  My grandma was already awake.  She asked "What did you see?"

I'm 18 years old.  I'm legally allowed to watch Porky's.

But I also know better than to confess that to grandma.

I also know better than to say "On Golden Pond".  Because she will want to know all about Henry Fonda.

I say "Chariots of Fire - it was a movie about Olympics runners."

Sorry Tots.  If it's any consolation, I've never laughed so hard at a movie before or since.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

An unexpected source of humor

Every morning I get up and do my morning routine.  Stretching, affirmations, planning and solitude, gratitude log, and read the Bible.

If that last one offends you - you should stop reading this post right now.

So today I'm reading about Elijah in the book of 2 Kings.

The king gets on the wrong side of God and falls and is hurt.  He's in bed.  Elijah tells someone "Go tell the King he's going to die in bed".

The King hears this and tells one of his guards "Hey - take 50 guys and go arrest Elijah."

The guard does as he's told.  They get there and say "Come with us" and Elijah says "No - but here's some fire for you..." And all 50 of them die.

So what does the king do when he hears this?  He sends 50 more!  Because you know... It was probably accidental fire from heaven, and the next 50 will arrest Elijah.

Nope - they get barbecued too.

So the king calls captain 3 and sends 50 more.  And I'm thinking "Is everyone an idiot?  Is this guard going to DO this???"

It turns out the guard is a little smarter.  He goes to Elijah - but says (in effect... We're using the Barth version).  "Look - we don't want to die...  If we don't bring you back - the king will kill us... But we know about the fire, and that doesn't sound fun either...  Will you come back please?"

Elijah comes back, tells the king "Yep, you're gonna die in bed", and he does.