Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What it’s like to travel with my dad…


Growing up, my dad would often take my family or individual children on trips. But, it wasn’t a standard vacation as in “let’s go and hang out somewhere.”

No, we had a syllabus.

That’s right.

He would give us books to read to obtain what he called the “[insert place name] of the mind.”  You go to Norway and it’s “Norway of the Mind,” “Malta of the Mind.” You get the picture.

When I was 14, he took me to the then Soviet Union, Poland, and East Germany. I read some Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and more. It was intense.

And my dad is a history-savant. Deep in knowledge and, well, always willing to share it.

So, I wasn’t so surprised when he filed a report after taking my 8 year old son to a baseball game on Memorial Day.

“Paco was, as always, a great companion.

He has a sense of humor.  When we discussed that Boston had just experienced a long losing-streak.

He said that this was the second curse of the Bambino.  I don't know if read that reference or originated it.  (The first curse of the Bambino was that for decades Boston did not win a World Series, attributed to the fact that  Boston traded Babe Ruth to the New  ork Yankees and was cursed by that transaction.)

On the ride home, we discussed Harper's Ferry, the arsenal, the role of water-powered machinery before the advent of electricity,  the fact that the Potomac is not navigable because of the falls, the role of locks in  raising and lowering boats and ships, the Panama Canal, how American became involved and that the Pacific and Atlantic are not at the same height, necessitating locks to lower and raise ships.  The transportation advantage of shipping through the Panama Canal instead of going around the tip of South America.

We briefly discussed the significance of percentages in baseball.  He seems to have a grasp on that topic though we did not explore.

Because this was Memorial Day, at 3 pm, there was a moment of silence for fallen military, apparently throughout the country. Because one of the mascots at the game is William Howard Taft and another is Theodore Roosevelt, we touched on their respective Presidencies and their eventual rivalry that led to the election of Woodrow Wilson.

A beautiful day for Baseball.   The outcome of the game was not great for the home team.”

He’ll go pretty much anywhere w/anyone if this is your style. Just let him know.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

40s and the Decade of Mild Disillusionment?

People often comment about my proficiency in acknowledging birthdays.

I call about 1800 people per year and I do it because I enjoy maintaining relationships and hearing differing perspectives.

What’s been interesting to note as I (and the bulk of my cohort) age is that the good news (educational, professional achievements and personal milestones of marriage and children) is now being tempered with some of the hard realities of life.

People who have been laid off and are having difficulty finding work.

People with severe challenges on the part of their children, either disabilities (ranging from mild to major) or behavioral (addictions).

Marriages that have been dissolved or are in distressing and precarious positions.

Deaths of loved ones, both premature and of a more natural nature.

And the strain becomes a domino effect…one area (a disabled child) affecting another (marriage).

It should really be of no surprise, obviously this is what happens as you advance in the game, but still, it’s a wake up call.

You recognize, again, that life is not all Disney movies. Things never work out as you anticipate and you have to continually reassess your own position on the board.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How Posture Can Make You More Successful

Two minutes a day of stretching can make you more successful. See this video


Monday, May 05, 2014