Thursday, June 30, 2016

The baby raccoon

One for the story log...

Yesterday I called my wife and said "I got the estimate for Joe's air conditioner repair bill"  It was high.  So high that for a moment I thought about saying "He can sweat".  But that's a topic for another blog post...

After we discussed that my wife said "We have a problem here.  There is a raccoon laying on the front porch.  A small one.  He might be dying."

I said "You win."

Any time you have a nocturnal creature that comes out during the day and isn't afraid of you, you have a rabies problem.

Let's jump to the end of the story.  We didn't have a rabies problem.  We had a hungry baby raccoon problem.  Well, it was walking around, so maybe it was a toddler raccoon.

At any rate, it went away, and came back later that day.  This time I was home.  It was walking around our garage.  We had a group of people at the house.  Before alerting them, I decided to test the raccoon.  I put some dog food down in the garage (this might have been a BIG mistake... Time will tell).  It ate the dog food.

A couple of us looked at it, and decided "not rabid".  Then the braver from among us (not me) put on a pair of campfire gloves, picked it up, and relocated it to our woods.  It was not a happy raccoon.

End of story?  Maybe.  Best part of the story?  Absolutely not.

When we were concerned that the raccoon might be rabid, my wife called the health department for advice.  They recommend a 3 step process.

1. Kill the raccoon.
2. Cut off its head.
3. Send the head to a vet in Batavia who will check it for rabies.

My wife said "What am I?  The Godfather?"

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I'm fired up

I just got back from a Toastmasters meeting in Cincinnati.  A club is celebrating their 10th anniversary and I was honored to be the guest speaker. 

The best part of the day?  It was the chance to meet new people, to hear their story.  It happened during table topics, and at the gathering afterwards.

The second best part of the day?  The new thumb drive they gave me!  An official Toastmasters one...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I'm on fire...

Yesterday was a day of non-stop productivity.  I was hotter than the Cleveland Indians.  (Side note - no Cleveland team has lost a game since the Cavs won the NBA championship.  The Indians streak is at 10).

I took calls like a switchboard operator.  I had productive meetings.  I ate at my desk.  When I got a break I went to the fitness center and worked out.

(More important side note:  The break to go to the fitness center was scheduled on my calendar.  If I wait for a fitness center break to magically appear, it usually doesn't happen).

When there were unscheduled breaks, I made a few phone calls to fix things or answer questions that were on my list.  Joe just got a car - how do we transfer the title?  Why is the Enquirer not showing up in my driveway on Sundays?  Etc.

After work, I came home, and immediately went to Vacation Bible School where I had dinner and helped out.  I came home, made milkshakes, sat down on the couch a little before 10, and passed out.

And there was the problem.  Nowhere during the day did I unplug and rest for even 15 minutes.  During the drive I listened to a book.  I crammed as much as I could in to the day.

Today I want to have a similar day, with one change:  I will take a few minutes, a couple times during the day to unplug and rest.  Experience has taught me that when I do this, I will actually have a more productive day.  Research tells me that it busts up stress and is better for my heart.

Call it meditation, call it visualization, call it what you will - I need to take a 5-10 minute break a couple of times today.

So do you.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Morning and it's off to the racesI

I like to hit the ground running on Monday morning.

If I want to do that, I need to spend some time on Sunday evening planning my week.

Every Sunday:

- I set my four goals for the week.  I do this again on Friday evening or Saturday morning for the weekend.  These goals usually involve current projects.  By necessity a goal must be part of a project.  If I'm trying to "read more" - that's not a project, and it's not a good goal.  If I'm trying to finish Moby Dick by the end of the week, that's a project, and a good goal.

- I update my daily scorecard with the current week's four goals.  What gets measured gets done.

- I book time on my calendar each day to work on the big 4.  This keeps the urgent from crowding out the important.

- I book time on my calendar to exercise.  I want to make sure that good things go into my mind and my body.  That means eat right, read and learn new things and exercise (and so much more).

- I pack my workout clothes for Monday.  This is actually a daily event.

- If I have the time, I also pick out the shirts and pants I will wear for the week and arrange them in the closet.  This is a sometimes thing.  Right now it involves looking up the weather forecast to decide short vs. long sleeves, so I generally go on a day by day basis.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pete Rose and the Hall of Fame

Let me start by saying - I'm not qualified to have voice my opinion on this.  I'm not a Reds fan.  I'm an Indians fan.  My experience growing up was an occasional Reds game on the radio, then the World Series on TV.  So I did see Pete Rose a few times, but I'm hardly an expert.

But so many unqualified people voice their opinions on so many things these days:  Brexit, Harambe, politics, you name it.

Besides, it's my blog...

So...  Should Pete Rose be in the hall of fame?

I have had strong feelings about this for a number of years.  Strong that no he should not.

But then I decided to look at WHY I felt he should not.  Other than the gambling, there were three reasons:

1.  I felt like his pursuit of the hits record was done at the expense of other players. When Rose managed the Reds in 1985 and 1986 he put his name in the starting lineup even though he had what I felt were better options.  Especially in 1986.  Kal Daniels (OPS .917) and Tracy Jones (OPS .860) were sometimes on the bench while Pete (ops .586) played.

Looking back, I still don't like this, but it's really not a reason to keep him out of the Hall of Fame.  It isn't like Kal or Tracy either one wound up going to Cooperstown.  And the argument could be made that both Kal and Tracy were so successful that year because they were only put in situations where they could excel. 

2.  I was still mad about the 1970 All Star Game and Ray Fosse.  Enough said - not a reason to keep him out.

3.  He had an awful haircut.  Just kidding.  I mean about that being a reason to keep him out.  Not kidding about the haircut.  It was bad even by 1970s standards.

Yeah Phil, but what about the betting on baseball?

In 2015, John Dowd, the man who handled the Pete Rose investigation, gave an interview to the Cincinnati Enquirer.  He said something that changed my mind:

"Interviews with Dowd and others reveal this: Rose could have avoided his eventual conviction on tax evasion and his five months in prison – in addition to his lifetime ban from baseball – if he had only come clean in 1989.

It was fairly common knowledge back then that Giamatti was open to a suspension for Rose if the Reds manager would admit to gambling on baseball and enter treatment for his gambling addiction."
So if we boil it down - what Pete Rose did was not serious enough to get a lifetime ban, if he just said "Yeah, I did it."  In other words, Pete Rose is suspended because he didn't confess.  Kind of like the Spanish inquisition...  nobody expects that...

(Cue Monty Python).

The bottom line:

After I read that, I looked at the bottom line.

Assume we were able to replay every baseball game in history, but this time every player would give it his all on every play.  Assume he would show up ready to play, and never take a moment off.

Would Babe Ruth have more than 714 home runs?  I'll bet he would.

Would Pete Rose have more than 4,256 hits?  I don't think so.

When I look at it like that - I come up with a new answer:  Yes, he should be in the Hall of Fame.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Tom gets trained

We picked up Tom at NYLT yesterday.  NYLT is the Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training. A group of boys spent a week at a fairly primitive camp site (they had a shower,  but no flush toilets). The week was crammed with learning and fun activities.  Each group of 6-7 boys had a campsite, and functioned as a separate entity (patrol).  Cooking was left up to the group (although the ingredients were provided).

Along the way the boys learned concepts such as the EDGE method of teaching others.  (Explain, Demonstrate, Guide and Enable).  They also learned and experienced the stages of team development:  Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing.

I can tell that it stuck with Tom - because he said "Well, our patrol yelled at each other at first, but we were just storming."

Tom did a great job.  He was still enthusiastic in the end.  I feel like he has grown a lot this week, and I am very proud of him.

It was an entire week of fun, and learning.  That was time well spent for a 14 year old on summer vacation.  It would be time well spent for someone of any age, at any time.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Why I love Kroger

Beth and I went to the Kroger Marketplace in Mt. Orab last night.  Why I love it:

- Every employee is friendly.  When they see me wandering through the aisles they ask if they can help.
- They have good seafood.  Not Jungle Jim's seafood, but good.
- They have good meat in general.  Years ago they had a slogan:  Kroger means better meat.  It still does.  (Again, not sure they beat JJ on this one...)
- Kroger brand frozen yogurt is the best for milkshakes.  By far.
- I like a lot of the Kroger brands.
- They are community minded.  The Boy Scouts did a fund raiser - for $10 we got a card that saves 10% (one time use) at Kroger.  The card has other fund raiser items - one being a buy one get one free 3-way at Gold Star.  But the reason we bought was the Kroger discount.  That and the fact that $5 of the money went back to our son Tom's scout account.  Last night we saved $20 with a card, so that puts us ahead by $15.
- Speaking of community minded, they always let us sell popcorn at Kroger.

I'll admit - Kroger costs a little bit more than Meijer, at least for what we buy.  But the Kroger experience is worth it.  Also - with the 10% off card we come out even if not ahead.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Great things that happened yesterday

- Got my annual blood draw and physical.  
- The nurse did the best blood draw I've ever had - I barely felt the needle. As someone who is not a fan of needles, this was definitely great.
- Survived a 9 hour fast to get to the blood draw.
- Listened to (most of) a TIm Ferriss interview of Malcolm Gladwell. Even traffic jams can be great if you have something to listen to.
- Ran for 30 minutes.
- Got my entire task list checked off
- Had dinner with Tom and Logan at NYLT camp.

This is one of those days where one great thing really stood out:

I had a very enjoyable visit to NYLT to see Tom and Logan.  I kept telling Tom to call me his scoutmaster instead of his dad.  He got a kick out of that.

I was very impressed by how he is doing things for himself.  I almost did something for him (taking his bag from the dinner to the “campfire” while he was using the KYBO, but then I realized he could and would do it for himself.  I put it back, and sure enough, he did it.
At the end of the night they decided to evacuate the camp.  The Scoutmasters stayed and helped with the evacuation. I managed to find Tom’s camp and help him.  That also meant I helped him out.  That worked out well, because there was one point where he would have missed a step and fallen in a ditch but I grabbed his arm and re-directed him.  He was a little tentative after that, but he did quite well.  I’m very proud of him.

There were a lot of other nice things that happened yesterday but none of them compare to the night at NYLT.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How a Keynote Speech Evovles - Part One

How a speech evolves.

1. I write a first draft in Word.  For this keynote it was not an outline - it was a draft.  It wasn't a complete draft.  For example - the story about Kohl's is something I've told 100 times.  Instead of writing it out, I simply noted "Tell the story about Kohl's."  Then when I record the story, I can watch it and improve it later - at which point I will probably write it out (the improved version).

2.  I put the slides together.

3.  I gave it at my club, and recorded it.

4.  I post it on YouTube.  This enables me to free up iPad space as needed.

http://youtu.be/3lMrEOxPRtU

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Raspberry season

There is a patch of black raspberries that grow on our property.

Unlike the blackberries that grow wild at the edge of the woods, this patch looks like something that was deliberately planted years ago.  There was a cabin on the property that was demolished around 1960.  We used the stones from the cabin fireplace to build our own fire pit, and a bog garden.

Every spring daffodils pop up near the cabin foundation.  Every June raspberries pop up around the foundation.  They were likely planted behind the cabin, but they have migrated over time.

Each morning for roughly 2 weeks, I go out and pick raspberries.  I don't take headphones.  I listen to nature.

I get a handful of raspberries.  The raspberries ultimately will go in to wine.  The wine will likely be opened at Christmas time, and memories of picking the berries, listening in to birds and enjoying the morning will come back once again.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thoughts on a Cleveland Championship

Yesterday, for the first time in almost 19 years, a Cleveland sports team played in a game where winning would make them the world champions.  (The Cavaliers have played in the NBA championship twice before, but never won more than 2 games.  In 1997 the Indians played in a game 7 in the World Series).

Yesterday, for the first time in my lifetime, a Cleveland sports team won a World Championship.  (Technically the Browns were NFL champs when I was 1 year old.  But technically I went to California to visit my Aunt and Uncle when I was 3 months old.  I don't count that as my first trip to Calliifornia either).

Now - this isn't the first time one of my favorite teams has won a championship.  The Ohio State Buckeys have twice won the NCAA Football championship in my lifetime, including one of the all time great wins in 2004.

But this one is special.  The whole series is special.  The Cavaliers lost the first two games in historic fashion.  After winning one at home they lost again to fall behind 3 gams to 1.  With two of the last three games on the road the Cavaliers could have given up.  Instead they doubled their effort.   In games 5 and 6, they simply worked harder and wanted it more than Golden State.  Then last night, in a great game 7, they outplayed Golden State in Oracle Arena.  This Warrior team was one of the all time best.  They lost only 9 games in the regular season (and 9 more in the playoffs.  YES!)

But every time Golden State took a lead, the Cavs responded.  An incredible game, and incredible win, an incredible Father's Day gift.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Doggie Depression

With the recent loss of Riley, we are all very focused on Bailey.  I've taken her for a couple of runs - something I will continue to do.  Throughout the day she has people petting her, playing with her, loving on her.  Yesterday I said "Bay - do you want to play ball?"  She started whining (a happy whine) the actually started barking excitedly.

Still, she is a little lost without Riley.  She will whine for no reason (and I don't think it's a happy whine necessarily).  Riley was the lead dog, and Bay followed her lead - if it was time to go outside Bay didn't go without Riley.  There were competitions for treats and food that no longer exist.

Ultimately we will get Bay another companion dog.  Meanwhile, there is a whole team of us playing with her and spending time with her.  And no - it's not just for her sake.  We need her as much as she needs us.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Scout Law

I have two Eagle Scouts and a 14 year old who is at Life rank (one away from Eagle).  I am very proud of all three boys.

Every week the boys meet and repeat the scout law.

A scout is:

Trustworthy
Loyal
Helpful
Friendly
Courteous
Kind
Obedient
Cheerful
Thrifty
Brave
Clean, and
Reverent

Sometimes, at the end of the day, I ask myself how I'm doing on the scout oath.

(I always do well on "thrifty")

I should be doing that every day.



Friday, June 17, 2016

A great moment - Memories of Rocco Scotti

Last night my friend Jim Key wrote a Facebook post that Cleveland is the all time champion for great National Anthems, based on this year's NBA finals.

It instantly took me back to Rocco Scotti, the opera singer who sang most (if not all) of the National Anthems for the Indians when I was growing up.  Even on the radio it was not to be missed.  Live though - was out of this world.

If it wasn't opening day or a special game (like July 4 fireworks, or the famous five cent beer night), the stadium would be somewhere between 10 and 20% filled (capacity was 77,000 - crowds were normally between 7000 and 10,000).  Rocco's great voice would echo through the cavernous stadium.  It was frequently the highlight of the day - even when the Indians won.

I looked it up on YouTube, and sure enough, there is a video of Rocco singing the National Anthem at the 1981 All Star game.  The video was doubly cool because of all the famous people captured in it.

Rocco passed away last year at age 95.  I'm not sure when he last sang at an Indians game, but I'll bet he belted it out.

http://youtu.be/l86Av14bujo


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Take a humor break

It's on my calendar for today:  Take a meme break.

Our project timeline is aggressive.  The team is stressed.  In 15 minutes I can google "meme generator", create a couple of project related memes, and the entire team gets a quick laugh.  Productivity goes up afterwards.

Take a humor break - it will pay off in productivity.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Heart attack thoughts

It's been quite a couple of weeks around here.  On Sunday evening a neighbor from down the street passed away.  It was a heart attack caused by a blood clot (this is second or third hand information).

When I had my heart attack last August (over 10 months ago now!), they put in two stents and cleaned out blood clot.  The artery that was 95% blocked also had a blood clot.

I think the smartest thing I did was to go to the nurse when I did.  That in turn sent me to the hospital.  I wanted to go to Las Vegas in the next week.  And Myrtle Beach the week after.  I knew that I was putting both of those trips at risk by going to the nurse.  But if I had skipped going to the nurse, I might have had a blood clot break loose, and I might not be here.

Before I congratulate myself too much, it's also worth noting that I was an idiot for not calling 911 the night before when I had chest pains in my tent...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Aunt Betty

On Friday of our vacation we received news that Beth's great aunt Betty passed away after a long illness.  Her family was there with her as she passed.

I remembered the first time I met Betty.  December 24, 1990.  Beth and I were newlyweds (almost 2 months at that point).  Beth's family always went to John and Betty McLean's house for Christmas Eve. 

We drove to Beth's parents house (we were staying overnight), then Beth's dad drove on to Betty and John's house. 

John was head maitre d at the Maisonette (Cincinnati's five star restaurant).  I had never been to a five star restaurant, so having John waiting on us was a new experience.  He never let my wine glass get less than half full.  No matter how hard I tried...

Well, at one point during the party, I told a joke to my table mates (Beth and her sister Paige if memory serves).  Have you ever had one of those moments, when you say something embarrassing  and the rest of the room goes silent? 

That's exactly what happened. 

In that moment of silence, a thousand things rush through my head:  "Why is everyone looking at me?  Am I going to have to walk home?  Can I walk home?  Can I walk?"

All of the sudden, Betty just busts out laughing.  Then everyone laughs.

Next thing you know - I'm over talking to Aunt Betty, and she says "Tell your Aunt Betty another joke..."

That was our tradition over the years.  I would look up jokes and bring them with me.  Political jokes were always a hit.  (Some years more than others..).  Come to think of it, with Aunt Betty any kind of joke was a hit.  She had an awesome sense of humor.

December 24, 1990 was when Betty McLean became my Aunt Betty.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Vacation = Making Memories

The ride home - was it 12 hours long?  Or was it full of memories?  It all depends on how you look at it.

The boys were in the back seats, watching two episodes of House on the way home (and Austin Powers Goldmember on the way down).  They laughed at House's comments. 

There was lunch at Hardee's, dinner at McDonald's.

Then there was Kenny and Tommy alternately saying "Window!" and Phil quickly pushing the buttons to open the window and air out the van. 

(The last two paragraphs were related).

There was Kenny driving grandpa's van... then Joe driving for the first time.

There was the alphabet game - where we have a category (Song, Musical artists, other names for body parts...) - and then in turn each person names one starting with A... B... etc.

(And yes - the nicknames for body parts was suggested by one of the kids).

The ride home was 12 hours long.

But it was 12 hours of memories.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I'm going to do something great

I'm going to write books.

Starting now.

This is something I was supposed to do on this vacation.  Instead I took it easy.  Nothing wrong with that - I spent a lot of quality time with family.  I even managed to get some much needed rest.

But now my week is a week behind.

Except it's not.  And that's the real problem.  Up to this point the book has been a hobby, not a project.  I need to step back and look at the book as a project with a start date, an end date and a plan.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Don't Act Great - Be Great

I know people who act like they're great.  Casually mentioning whatever success they've recently had or their most recent purchase, etc.

I know people who don't worry about how they act - they just ARE great.  They do great things.

Sometimes I catch myself acting instead of doing great things.

You were put on the earth to do great things, not tell people how great you are.

Do great things - let your actions speak for themselves.

(This blog post is written to me more than anyone else)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Unplugged week III

After the heart attack I committed to having an unplugged week once a quarter to lower my stress.  This week is one of those weeks.

Obviously the concept of "unplugged" has evolved.  For one thing I'm sitting here typing a blog on my iPad, which will wireless updated the Internet.  The idea is to unplug from stress.  So for the week I'm not really plugged in to work.  I have gone as far as deleting any message that won't matter next week when I'm back - I don't want to have to sort through 500 e-mails to find the ones that matter.  Additionally I set up as many e-mail rules as possible to eliminate or automatically file messages that don't need a response from me.

But beyond checking my e-mails and deleting the ones I don't need, I am unplugged from work.

That doesn't mean I'm unplugged from stress.  But I'm trying.  Today's focus will be on a stronger family, having fun, and not worrying about anything.

As I sit here on the deck I pause to watch five squirrels playing in the tree next to me.  Or fighting.  Who can tell?  They're having fun, and so am I.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Seeing Stars

We took a walk on the beach.  Tom saw a starfish, but it went back to sea before he could get it.  A little while later, we saw one washed up on the beach.  It was still moving, so Tom took it back to the ocean.  He said “it’s stuck to my hand!”  When he came back to the shore I said “That means it was laying eggs under your skin.  They will go through your system and eventually leave through your digestive tract.  We will need to get a strainer for you to catch them…”

He’s 14.  He no longer believes things like that.

I need grandkids…

A little while later we saw a bunch of starfish washed up on the beach.  Most were still alive – we took turns throwing them back in the ocean.  We probably saved 40 of them in total.

I was hoping that Tom would ask “What difference will it make?” So I could have my own version of the sand dollar story.  But he didn't.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Agile Project Management

I'm not sure that's what we practiced on vacation yesterday, but it's close.

Our plan was:  Go to Fort Moultrie, then the beach.

We went to the Fort Moultrie, and it started to rain.  We checked the forecast and saw that a tropical depression was causing the rain, and it would be an all day deal.

We quickly moved things around, pulling the antique stores to the rainy day, and moving the beach off the schedule for the day (we normally like to do the beach every day).  Kenny didn't want to do the antique stores, so he took a dip in the pool - which works even in the rain (it was rain only, not a thunderstorm).

It all sounds like common sense (because it is).  But how often do project managers ignore the forecast, ignore the signs, and refuse to make adjustments that would save the day?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Skip this post if you're not a fan of potty humor

We have wonderful hostas growing next to our house.  They love the shade and they grow well.

The problem is - deer love the hostas, and feed on them when we go on vacation.  Unless...

A few years ago we came up with a plan.  Deer are very smell sensitive, and if they smell urine on something they will stay away.  Normally a boy dog could help here, but we don't have boy dogs - only girls.  We do, however, have four boy humans in the house...

Ever since we implemented the plan several years ago, the hostas have been deer free when we are on vacation.

So we're sitting at breakfast Monday morning (Phil, Beth, Kenny - my father in law, and Joyce - my mother in law), and it suddenly hits me:

Phil:  Oh we forgot to have the boys pee on the hostas.
Beth:  No I had them start doing that on Thursday.
Joyce:  I need to start doing that.  We have one that the deer destroycd.
Phil (to Kenny):  You could do that, but you might need an extra beer.
Joyce:  No I was going to do that.
Beth:  You could make the gross list.  (The list of gross things that happened on vacation).
Phil:  We can loan you the  boys…  ‘We covered the hostas, and the strawberries, and the asparagus.”
Beth:  I’m not going to eat the strawberries…
Kenny:  Yeah, the asparagus.  Give it a taste of its own medicine.
Joyce:  Those boys don’t stand a chance.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Riley

Yesterday was not a great day. We lost our 12 year old Labrador Retriever Riley.
In preparation for this day I wrote this a while ago. I cried when I started to write it, but the more I looked up memories the better I felt.
Great memories we have of Riley:
- Joe coming home from Kindergarten and telling us he learned about graphing from his teacher – her dog had puppies – some black labs, some brown labs.
- Our family discussing the idea of getting a puppy. We were moving to a house with a large yard, and it seemed like the time.
- Bringing her home in the car.
- Holding her as a puppy, having 2 year old Tommy come up and say “Riley wants down…”
- Taking her (as a puppy) for a long walk on a leash, and having her finally sit down and stop walking. I carried her home.
- Kenny and Beth taking her to the Pet Smart doggie obedience class.
- Riley learning how to sit, come when called, and (almost) learning how to stay when a treat was put near her.
- The time she grabbed an entire 6 pack of Danish off the table when we weren’t looking.
- She would sit near the sandbox and watch Tom as he played.
- The excitement in her eyes when I grabbed a tennis ball – TIME TO FETCH!!!
- Joe asking Beth the question: Can you make Riley a birthday cake? Don’t you have any meat flour?
- The way she would come up to me and lay her head on my lap when I sat on the floor.
- Joe came up with nicknames for her, one every day of the week.
- Her reaction when I would say “Riley! There’s a deer in the front lawn”.
- The deer’s reaction when I opened the door and Riley took off.
- Playing baseball in the yard with Kenny. I pitched, he hit, Riley retrieved.
- Using Riley as an assistant for Tom’s spelling homework. If he got the word right I pulled her ears up like a wolf. If he got the words wrong I scrunched her face up like a Sharpei.
- Riley (before we got the electric fence) brining up two deer antlers.
- Riley and Bailey running in the yard.  Bay was faster, but Riley knew the angles to cut her off and roll her.
- Bringing a new dog (Bailey) home a few years ago, and watching the two of them bond.
- Joe took a pain killer after surgery. He handed Riley a cracker and said “Riley, who’s more baked right now? Me or this cracker?”
Not every day is a great day. Some days lit’s hard to even think of a great thing that happened… but there are always great memories

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Little things can make a big difference

The Cleveland Indians were in the midst of a e game losing streak in what has been (so far) a very up and down season.  They were 3 outs away from being swept at home by the Texas Rangers.  They tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and went on to win in extra innings.

The next night, home against the division leading (and defending world champion) Kansas City Royals they again found themselves losing late in the game.  Once again they pulled it out.

Yesterday, they went out and beat the Royals 6-1.  One more win and the Indians will now be the division leaders.

Second baseman Jason Kipnis said the two walk off victories in a row were a turning point.  It looks like the team believes that.  I remember in 1995 - early on the Indians came back from a huge deficit to beat Toronto (8 or 10 runs, I can't remember exactly).  All of the sudden, the team caught on fire, and won the division going away.

One or two games in the midst of a 162 game year shouldn't make that big of a difference.  But they did in 1995, and hopefully they will in 2016 as well.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Ape thoughts

To this point I have not expressed any opinions about gorillas, but I feel like I can no longer remain silent. I know what I am going to say might offend some, but remember, this is just my opinion:

Growing up - I never found Grape Ape that funny.

It was one of those shows that, on the surface, sounded good. But all the ape ever said was "Grape ape." Not funny really.

In fact, now that I'm on a rant, I never found the following shows funny either:

Inch High Private Eye.
Captain Caveman
Hong Kong Phooey (well, the dog was a little bit funny).

Pink Panther, on the other hand, was consistently hilarious.

So glad I was able to get that off my chest.

As for the other ape crisis right now - Jack Hanna weighed in. Jane Goodall weighed in (frankly, I had no idea she was still alive). Everyone else weighed in.

I'm a Cincinnati Zoo Member.  I've seen the gorillas. 

That no doubt makes me more qualified than many of the people with opinions, but it in no way qualifies me to make any kind of public proclamation.

I'll stick to things I know.

Like Grape Ape.
 

The Things I Want to Do on Vacation

I need a vacation.  A break from the daily grind.

In fact it's Doctor's orders.  In August after the heart attack the doctor who did my surgery said "One week every 3 months you need to unplug.  It's not worth it."

(Yeah, maybe someone like a heart doctor can do that... But a project manager?  Come on...  I have GANTT charts to make...)

To that end... On vacation I want to:

Read
Write
Relax

That's it.  That covers any vacation.

NOTE:  This was written on June 2, but I clicked "Save" instead of "Publish"

A missed day

I very rarely miss a day on this blog.  But yesterday I did.

Every day I miss, it's the same thing:  The next day, I sign in, look at my blog and suddenly realize:  I missed yesterday!

That's a process problem.

More to the point, that's a Phil following the process problem.

The answer isn't a new process.  It's a revised process.  One with fewer steps.

One of the benefits of the upcoming unplugged week is the time to focus on life - what my goals are, how I'm doing on those goals, and what the supporting processes should be.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The 30 minute all Billy Joel workout playlist

Used today as I rode the stationary bike:

She's Always a Woman
Movin Out
Only the Good Die Young
Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
Pressure
Uptown Girl
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me.

I guess once I get in better biking shape I can move "We Didn't Start the Fire" in there...

Zig Ziglar's thought of the day

Life is easier when you're hard on yourself.

I wish I hadn't hit the snooze button this morning.  6:15 is early but I committed to 6:00.

The easy answer?  Get rid of the 6:15 option on my fitbit.  That will be hard on me, but it will make life easier.