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.

Friday, August 12, 2016

One month of vlogs

Yesterday was the completion of one month of vlogs.  I didn't quite do it every day, but it was close.

Bottom line:  I got better at editing videos, but there's still work to do.  I still enjoy doing it - so I'm going to continue.

The important thing here is to step back and see what I can do to improve the process.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Today's moment of humor

The nurse put drops in Tom's eyes and told him to dab.  So he did...  Then he wiped his eyes (and laughed).


Monday, August 8, 2016

One year later - how am I doing?

Saturday marked the one year anniversary of my heart attack.

Sunday marked the one year anniversary of getting stents implanted.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the start of my recovery.  That begs the question:  How am I doing... one year later?

Physically - I'm 15 pounds lighter.  That's good.  But... I'm 5 pounds heavier than I was 3 months ago.  That's not good.  I have done quite a bit of aerobic exercise, but of late, other things have crowded out some exercise time.  More work required.

But what about the rest of life?  How am I doing there?  If I look at the scout oath and law how am I doing vs. a year ago?

(A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent).

TRUSTWORTHY:  I am, for the most part, sticking to my commitments.  One of the things I started doing early in the recovery year was saying "No" to things I couldn't fit in.  It was a strategy to lower stress.  Ironically, saying "No" more often has made me more trustworthy.  I don't say "Yes" to everything and then wind up missing deadlines later.  If I say "Yes", you can trust it will be done.  If I say "No" you can trust it won't...

That said - I've missed a couple of commitments to myself.  When I miss exercise - that's a problem.

HELPFUL:  Well, if I'm saying "No" people might argue I'm not as helpful.  That said - it's more helpful to tell someone no and let them find someone to do it than it is to say "Yes" and not do it.

LOYAL:  I think I'm doing a good job here.  I was before too.

FRIENDLY:  I don't think I'm any more or less friendly than I was a year ago.  I have spent more time this year with friends and family - mostly family.

COURTEOUS:  I try to be courteous.  Unless you cut me off in traffic.  Still have to work on the stress with that one.

KIND:  I'm kind of kind. 

OBEDIENT:  This was one area that I needed to improve and I did.  I had to obey my diet - something I didn't do before.  I had to obey my body and listen to signals and get enough rest.  I did a good job here, but I need to do better.

CHEERFUL:  This is another area where I improved.  The best way I know to be cheerful is to be grateful every day.  I have done that all year.  I even started a vlog about it.

THRIFTY:  I never needed improvement here.  I'm a natural.

BRAVE:  I'm not sure about this one.  One of the big reasons I stuck to the diet was because I was scared of another procedure.  So Brave Sir Phil bravely ran away from future procedures.  Cue the minstrels.

CLEAN:  Except for a few campouts - I'm pretty good here.  My diet needs a little cleaning up.  And I suppose my mouth could be cleaner.  Especially when I get cut off in traffic.

REVERENT:  I'm better than I was a year ago.  I resolve to be better a year from now.


Bottom line:  I established some good habits early on in this recovery.  Exercise, diet, gratitude and saying No.  I need to make sure I stick to those habits.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Traditions - the third great party of summer

Our family (Beth, Phil and the boys plus Beth's parents and sister) attends four annual parties each summer:

1. The Powers (neighbors of ours) fish fry.
2. Christmas in July (hosted by my in laws).
3. The Craig family reunion (my father in law's side).
4. The Grether family reunion (my mother in law's side).

Each has its own set of traditional activities.

Yesterday was the Craig party.  The tradition, for my older son Kenny and me, is the family poker game.  The weirder the game the better.  At one point we had a game where 3s, 6s, 9s were wild.  A 4 meant you could buy an extra card for a quarter.  If a 10 came up you (first ten) had to match half the pot, or (second ten) were out, or (third ten) had to match half the pot or (fourth ten) were out.

We had another game where we played 7 card stud and if you had a 10 up you were out, but your low hole card was wild.  My father in law got dealt two 10s down... And then a third ten up.

Our summer, and in fact our year is filled with great traditions  Beth, Tom and I go to the Ohio State Fair annually - we have a traditional route that we take at the fair (but we leave options for new things as well).  We have traditions around holidays.

Traditions are great because they bring our family together.  We get to celebrate what's important

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A great day... almost one year later...

It's Thursday at camp. 

My last Thursday at camp was way more eventful than this time.  I ate two large bowls of Graeter's Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream.  (Last night we estimated that it was somewhere between 40 and 50 grams of SATURATED fat...)  Then I played Hungry Human Hippos...

I wound up leaving in an ambulance and spending 2 nights in Bethesda North hospital.  I had a small heart attack.

What a difference a year makes.  In the past year I've lost 15 lbs.  I've take my diet more seriously.  This year at camp I'm eating this stuff called "salad".  And without excessive amounts of this stuff called "ranch dressing". 

(Having said that I must confess - I did have some Graeter's vanilla today...  but NO Hungry Human Hippos)

I take exercise more seriously.  I get moderate amounts (30-45 minutes) of aerobic exercise 5 times a week. 

I take rest more seriously.  Two naps this year - and I don't try to see how many steps I can take.  In past years I went between 25,000 and 39,000 steps every day.  This year I've gone between 18,000 and 21,000.

Most importantly - I don't take life too seriously.  Stress kills.

In the past year I've started something called "Great Things Happen every day".  It's a Facebook post, and more recently a vlog.  It celebrates the little things that make life great.  I've found that taking time to enjoy those little things makes everything better.

It's not quite a year yet - but this camp, and this past year, has been a great one.  (Every day).

Monday, August 1, 2016

Jonathan Lucroy thoughts

So the Brewers catcher winds up in Texas.  I'm sure he can expect a warm welcome in Cleveland should the two teams meet in the playoffs...

There are all kinds of rumblings on why he vetoed the trade.  The most likely being he wanted the Indans to void the last year on his contract.  Right.  Let's give up those four players for about 1/3 of what we originally thought we were getting.

There was some negotiation - no idea what that was... But it's possible the Indians offered him more money on the option or something like that.  He voided the trade, and now finds himself in Texas, where he gets nothing...  Well nothing extra anyway.

I hate that the Indians don't get him - but I am glad to see the players who were headed to Milwaukee still in the Indians organization.  Long term we could be looking at a starting catcher in Mejia, and Chang looks like he can stick at shortstop, with some power to boot.  Both are 20 - so we could be seeing them in Cleveland for a long time.  Or... We could see them being used as pieces to get something else.

I'm of course excited about adding Andrew Miller to the back end of the bullpen.  I hate to see Sheffield and Frazier go - but Miller turns a weakness into a strength.

The last player the Indians acquired, right handed hitting outfielder Brandon Guyer, is very exciting.  His arrival means the departure of Juan Uribe.  I wanted Uribe to do well but it wasn't in the cards (except for four games earlier this year).