Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rules I live By

HAPPY WINTER !! Are you having a great day? I certainly hope so, because me and Tony The Tiger got it goin' on!

I want to share with you a few of the rules that govern my life. Everyone has rules they live by. Not everyone realizes it, but we all have hard-wired internal rules that govern our every action and reaction, the way we take things, understand things, rules that govern our assumptions, rules that determine when we should be offended or elated, rules that define who we are, what we do, where we go, what we say. RULES ! They do a body good -- sometimes.

A problem occurs when we have rules that make us do things and we don't realize what our rules are :-). Violating one of our governing, internal rules -- that we don't realize exists -- can cause us a LOT of pain and stress. Not only that but many people know what their rules are, and don't know *why* they are, which tends to cause a different conflict.

Both of those conversations may be topics for another time, but today, I'm just sharing a few of my own governing rules. I'm not promoting them, justifying them or explaining them -- I'm merely stating them, in no particular order. Feel free to comment, if you like.

My Governing Rules

1. I am KELVIN.
2. Positive, Upbeat, Motivated and Uplifting (PUMU) -- always.
3. If I'm breathing and walking around on my own power... it's a good day.
4. Perspective -- use it or lose it.
5. I don't want nobody who don't want me.
6. If looks like duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck... it's probably a duck.
7. Never interfere with a working relationship.
8. Seek first to understand, then be understood.
9. I help those who help themselves, first.
10. Be good to my friends (includes family members).
11. In my next relationship, neither of us will have to change to make the other one "happy" or comfortable.
12. I never ask God to do anything for me, that I can do myself.
13. Reality is relative.
14. The best way to predict your future, is to create it.
15. You can't talk your way out of something you behaved your way into.

And, that's pretty much... me. I might have missed a few, but I tried to think of the principles I use most often. If I stop to really think about them, one or more of those probably fits within another rule. But generally if I find myself quoting it to people fairly often, I know it is a rule of mine, so I listed it here. Maybe one day I'll explore the rationale behind some of them, one at a time.

Anthony Robbins (there's that name again) notes that some of the most profound wisdom of the ages, is expressed in short, concise sayings: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, Love thy neighbor as thyself, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." I try to do similarly for my own wisdoms.

Incidentally, a few of those are adopted directly from other people. As Charlie Brown once said, "I quote the truth wherever I find it."

Have a grrrreat day.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Decision: Is it Real or is it Memorex?

A couple of weeks ago I got together at my house with some folks, and I put the word out that I had no snacks to offer, so if they wanted to munch while they were here, they needed to bring their own snacks.

"I am not a crappy host", but the reason there was no munchy type stuff in the house, is because I had just thrown out everything that wasn't good for me, because I's let my weight get up to 200 pounds -- kinda chunky, albeit loveable, for 5' 6 1/2" ish (I squeeze all the height out that I can without lying), and thus the lab tests from my annual physical revealed some stuff that made my doctor nervous -- all weight related -- and he was kind enough to point out to me in a somewhat graphic fashion the exceptionally painful, potentially deadly existence I was about to enter.

Now, you might think... gosh, Kelvin hit a bit of bad luck, a few things went wrong and he needed some help... Nice try. Fact is, that what Kelvin needed was some discipline. Kelvin knew better, because 5 years ago Kelvin had this problem before and kicked it's butt. I lost nearly 30 pounds in 30 days, and kept it off (plus or minus 2 pounds) for over 3 years, and in the last year or so... I just kinda... slipped (jumped head first?) off the wagon, and reversed nearly ALL the progress I had made, with resultant health consequences. PLUS, I'd just spent $87 on three pairs of dress pants three weeks before, and now I couldn't button them and still breathe? HA ! No.

NOTE: Whether it is success oriented, business, weight loss, runner training, a relationship, or mountain climbing, whatever you did to win that battle and get to your success level, if you stop doing it... you *will* slide back down the pole and have to start over again.

So here I was back at this juncture again, and... I made a decision, and threw away the stuff that wasn't going to help me get to where I need to be, because a decision is not a decision, until you do something to activate it. If you're "gonna do it later," that's not a decision; its' just s wishful thinking. When you make a decision, you must do something immediately to activate it, or your brain knows that you're just kidding, and wont' help you.

And whenever you make a decision, of course, stand by for "the test". When I went to work on Monday a client brought in a BEAUTIFUL chocolate bunt cake -- thick luscious chocolate icing, and when she opened the box lid the aroma permeated ever air molecule in that office, and you could almost taste that cake. I stood there looking it, decorated with sliced almonds... standing on their ends... like little grave stones. Needless to say with the picture in mind, resisting the cake was (heh heh) a piece of cake :-) and guess what?! I lost 6 pounds in under two weeks since I made that decision, and those pants fit now... and I look *goooood* in them (smiling). But I'm not back to my weight target yet, so I do not relent until I'm done.

So when you make a decision, is it real? or is it Memorex. Do you act on it? or just talk about it ?

Make a decision. It does a body good.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Make Yourself Happy

Sometimes it seems like time never moves, and other times... you just wonder where it all went. I meant to write a piece for Thanksgiving. It was all formed in my mind but never made it to my hands, then -- so suddenly, it seems -- it was the day after Thanksgiving... but the message is still good.

A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with a good friend over lunch, and they were telling me how things were going in their life, and remarked that for their birthday no one was planning anything special for them. Initially they were a little bummed, but then decided, "Heck. It's my birthday, so I'm going to do something for me, to make myself happy." Then she followed with, "I'm ## years old (real age withheld) and I'm not a child anymore and it's up to me to make my birthday special for me..." and she did.

She told me all that she did on her birthday to make it special, the little things she treated herself to because she deserved it, the time she took to do some things she just hadn't had a chance to do in a while that she just decided to indulge herself in -- simple pleasures; nothing exhorbitant. And she said, "you know? it was the best birthday I've had in years," and I'd almost swear she had a glow around her that stood as evidence to how great she felt after taking charge of her day and taking responsibility for her own happiness. It was a bit inspiring, actually.

I'm a great proponent of "make it happen" and a long time advocate of "if it is to be, it's up to me," and a lot of people, including me, apply that to a few areas but not globally in their lives.

So I started thinking about Thanksgiving -- at the time, but it applies equally to Christmas. Maybe you've had some disappointments in the recent past, and you're upset because people you "counted on" seemed too busy or overwhelmed to "treat you" for a special occasion, or maybe they didn't get you "the gift" you wanted and you got bummed. But I'm here to say that we each have within us the ability to make ourselves happy, and our happiness shouldn't depend on what someone else does or doesn't do for us. Yes... it might be nice and something to smile about, but we should each have a smile, regardless.

So with the hustle and bustle of the holidays coming up, I challenge you to find something about the holiday that is special for YOU, that would make you feel good regardless of what anyone else did or didn't do for you. You may be the only person who knows what you did, and that's fine. You could celebrate quietly, basking in your own sunshine, creating your own glow... making it happen for YOU. And when you do, write me a little note and let me know about it, so I can be happy for you, too.

Good night.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Recognize Your Garbage Trucks

Sometimes things come to me and I can't take credit for them; I can only take credit for recognizing it as something worthy and passing it on. This is such a case, that came to me today in an email.


"How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly he or she can get back their focus on what's important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here's what happened. I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were Driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car’s back end by just inches!

The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did.

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck.” I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people a work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do that anymore." I began to see garbage trucks.

Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," the little boy said, "I see Dead People." Well, now "I see Garbage Trucks." I see the load they're Carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I Don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best.

Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses. Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about. The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day. What about you?

What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by? Here's my bet. You'll be happier.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so.. Love the
People who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don't."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Shouldn't She Have Her Own Blog ?

A lot of people consider me fairly upbeat and motivational, but sometimes even a motivator can use a refill, and I am blessed with a few such friends whom I admire, whose attitudes and vision are models for me, and are good places for me to plug-in when I need a pick-me-up.

I've one friend in particular who I keep telling that she really should write a blog, because so many of her words and insights are either very motivational, or very soothing and comforting. I emailed her this morning and explained how pretty the yellow leaves were this morning, on the trees in my yard; and how it was a perfect fall day... and she wrote back with a few memories of her own. I thought I would share them with you, and you tell *me* if she shouldn't have her own blog.

Reprinted with her permission (sort of):

"Sounds like a great morning there....seeing the beautiful leaves falling. Autumn is my favorite season! To me, it is just the most breathtaking of events in nature because of the leaves, the gorgeous sunsets, the harvest moons. Pure delight! I also love ... cold mornings, warm days, with a cool breeze, and nighttime that is cold and crisp.) When I was a little girl, I loved coming home from school in the fall, because Mom always had the most delicious things waiting for us for dinner. Stews, soups, spaghetti, hot apple pies, warm pound cakes, gingersnap cookies, all fresh out of the oven. We would open the back door and take one whiff and it was pure heaven for our senses! I try to do that for my kids, as the memories it makes are just the best!! Dang, now I'm hungry! LOL.

I also love the seasonal events in the fall....Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (even though that is technically winter.) Just call me a sentimentalist at heart! I love watching the same rerun movies every year...."It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown", "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (Snoopy and Woodstock are hilarious with the food....popcorn! HA), their Christmas special too, then the ever classic, "Its A Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart. Wow. My kids know what a "sap" I am! "

Now honestly, folks... doesn't that just make you want to hear about more of life through those eyes? She's got tons of stories. Now if I can just get her to put them in a blog.

Stay tuned... I'll see what I can do.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Communication is a Two Way Street

Hey, there!

WOW... it's October, already! Started your Christmas shopping yet ? Yeah, I know... scary thought. Let's just get through Halloween, right? (smile)

I just sent this out as a full Ramblings, and generally, I try not to do Ramblings and Ramblings Lite the same, but I thought this was worthy, so here it is.

I consider myself to be an excellent communicator. And, it's generally held that if you can't communicate with me, you might as well give it up, take a vow of silence and become a monk or something, because I make it easy to communicate (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Some years ago I read a quote that said, "A misunderstanding is the mark of a lazy communicator," and I took that puppy to heart, so I go a long way in the communication process to make sure that I'm understood, and to make sure I understand what people are saying, so we're all on the same wavelength.

When I talk with someone and they misunderstand something I said, I assume I said it wrong and I try to fix it. When someone says something to me that doesn't feel quite right to me, I assume I took it the wrong way and I ask them to clarify or elaborate so I can make sure I understand it the way they meant it. But, as good as I think I am at it, every once in a while the whole thing gets screwed up and, as they say in diplomatic circles, communication fails.

As luck would have it, I experienced such a situation recently, and whenever that happens, I do one of those
post game analysis things where they replay the game and put every move under the scrutiny of "the experts" to see what went wrong and where, and in doing so I was forced to re-examine the guidelines and assumptions I use for communicating (they say that introspection is good for the soul), and I thought perhaps you might find them worthy of thought, so... here ya go.

First of all, communication is a two-way process. Both parties gotta *want* to be there, and want to understand and want to communicate, or it's not communication. There are a number of names for it (wasted time, for instance) but "communication" is not one of them. Have you ever tried to talk to a teenager who didn't want to be there? HA! Was that communication? I think not! So that's rule #1 -- in my book.

Rule #2: Both parties must assume that the other party is not intentionally trying to hurt them. I have a saying: "I speak intent." It means that when you say something to me, my automatic assumption is that you are not saying it to intentionally hurt me. This is a critical point. If I think you're there to try to hurt me, I'm going to be defensive, ready to defend and protect against your ensuing attacks. In communicating, both people must understand... that we're not here to try to hurt each other. That way, we can relax a little easier, and when one of us says something that feels bad to the other one, we can automatically re-frame it, figure out what was really meant, or ask the other for clarification so we can better understand. Public speaker Dr. Charles Jarvis (I've mentioned him before) says that in any group before a public speaker, there's at least 2 or 3% of the audience waiting to be offended, and if you're waiting to be offended, you WILL be. It is inevitable.

Many times in our interpersonal communication, one party -- and sometimes both -- are also waiting to be offended, and that is deadly to the communication process. I have lost friends -- yes... even me -- over comments I've made that were taken other than how I meant them, and rather than seek or accept my clarification, they chose instead to be hurt and, in some cases, terminate the friendship. So, I speak intent! If you're aiming to hurt me during a conversation, dag nabbit, I'm going to make you prove it ! It will not happen accidentally.

Rule #3: Each party must want to understand what the other party is saying. I know that sounds suspiciously like something I said already, but it's not. Have you ever been in a conversation where one party was more interested in rebutting what the other party had to say than they were in hearing what was being said? Were you that party? In his book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen Covey says "seek first to understand, then be understood." It's another guiding principal for me -- try to understand where the other person is coming from so you know *their* experiences and references. My good friend Mitch Mitchell of TT Mitchell Consulting is probably one of the best I've ever known at being able to put himself in the other person's shoes and understand -- at an almost empathic level -- what they're feeling and saying. I'm not as good at it as he is, but I'm not bad; and I've relied on him over the years to help make sure I was in the proper frame on various situations. But you have to want to understand what the other person "means", and sometimes that goes beyond hearing just their words, and you can't do that if you're there waiting to "pounce." Seek first to understand, then be understood.

Rule #4: It is the speaker's responsibility to ensure that the message he or she is delivering is received properly by their intended audience (single person or group). Another guideline that I adopted, probably about the time I embraced that "lazy communicator" concept. This means I can't just "throw something out there" and expect people to understand what I mean. It is my responsibility to take sufficient care and provide enough background or reference information so that a normal person can understand where I'm coming from. Note: I didn't say they had to agree with it, just be able to understand it. I've seen many people throw out a concept or thought and expect their listeners to "figure it out." Well, "a misunderstanding is the mark of a lazy communicator."

If all this is in place, I believe your communication will succeed. But, ultimately each person in the communication process must take responsibility for their part, to make it work. It takes two to tango! But, what happens if, despite your best efforts, you just can't get on the same mental accord with the other person? Do your own post game analysis and make sure that your piece is in place. If you are convinced that you're not out to intentionally hurt the other person, that you really do want to understand, that you are in fact communicating as clearly and concisely and compassionately as you can and that you've done all you can to understand where they're coming from and understand their views... then... maybe you're not the one being the lazy communicator, and maybe it's just time to get off the field, and try to communicate another day.

And by the way... if in your analysis you find that you were wrong, by all means offer a prompt and sincere apology -- or two -- to the other party, try to re-frame and do better the next round.

That's my take on it! What do you think?

Have an AWESOME day.


Monday, September 24, 2007

I Forgot to Eat, Today!

Ever have one of those days where you forget to eat? I haven't, at least not in a long while. I've had days when I didn't feel like fixing anything, but it's been months -- maybe years -- since I actually forgot to eat. And I have to tell you that it's a good feeling.

For me to forget to eat, it means that I am engaged -- immersed -- in something that I like, that intrigues and invigorates me; something important to me that holds my total attention. It's been a long while since I became that engrossed in anything or series of things... that I forget to eat -- not like I couldn't afford to skip a couple of meals, anyhow. LOL.

Today... I was engrossed in photo shoots -- fun shoots! -- one of which was a stunning young lady who needed senior portraits, and I did a great job of it. Earlier in the day, I photographed a very cute baby for his 1 year old portraits, then later another senior portrait session. In between, I was engrossed with communications with various friends, and all in all... it was a great, fun, productive day, and I now have something to look forward to tomorrow -- like processing and uploading all those images...

Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh. I like my life today. Life is good.

Have you forgotten to eat lately? Well, if not... here's hoping you find something in your life soon -- something awesome -- that makes you forget to eat, and that will be an excellent day.

Incidentally, if you're remotely interested in my various photo projects and commissions, then mosey on over to my photo blog at Sign up to receive email notification when I do a new post there. Otherwise, I'll e-talk to you next time. Who knows, maybe I'll forget to eat again tomorrow. Two awesome days in a row? I can only hope.

Have an awesome day.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Soft Crusted Honey Apple Oat Bread...

Sometimes, life is best epitomized by simple pleasures. I'm not a big bread eater these days, due to my relatively low-carb life style -- note the "relatively" part. But if one is going to veer from the low carb path, it should at least be in favor of high fiber and /or multi-grain, which I'm told are good for me.

I thank whoever in Danny Wegmans' empire came up with Soft Crusted Honey Apple Oat Bread. This stuff is so good I'm surprised it's not illegal. Baked fresh each day, wrapped lovingly. Take a loaf home, slice it thinly... put it in the toaster... when it pops, put some real butter on it (butter has zero carbs, so I'm there in spirit) and when it melts...slip that baby in your mouth and take a little bite. Don't rush... savor that. Oh yeah (was that an Herbal Essence commercial?)

Yup... the simple pleasures in life. You gotta give that a try. When you do, tell Danny Wegmans that I sent you -- maybe he'll send me a coupon for a free loaf.

Have an awesome day.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Year of the Friend: The Sequel

Once upon a time, I read a definition of friendship that has stayed with me, in large part, over time. And though the exact quote had gotten a little hazy, how fortuitous that when I did a search on Google this evening, it was the very first definition to emerge:
Friendship is the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring all right out just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful friendly hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and, with a breath of comfort, blow the rest away.
I don't know if I always live up to that, but I try... and I don't know if that covers the whole gamut of friendship, but it sure does take up a lot of space in it, at least for me. And such was the case for my visit last weekend with my friend Sara, and her husband Vince. Sara and I became friends in Sacramento way back when I was in the Air Force, and we hadn't seen each other since sometime in 1992, I think, when we each left Sacramento for points east -- my points being significantly more east than hers. However, we kept in touch over the years -- some years admittedly better than others. Vince and I had never met, but you wouldn't have known it from the greeting he gave me. Such a nice man and partner for my friend (I wish I could taken credit for introducing them, darn it.)

At any rate, it was an awesome weekend that moved by all too quickly. Seems like one more day would have been just perfect, but you know what they say... that fish and most visitors start to stink after 3 days, so I didn't want to qualify for that. But we laughed and ate and talked and shared old pics, and caught up on 15+ years of separation, and I gained a new friend (or 3, if you count the dogs) in the process. Definitely... definitely... glad we made it happen.

Friendship -- it does a body good.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

This could be fun

Wow, I just found out that I could post to my blog via email. What a wonderful discovery that is, to just jot down my thoughts. . . spell check . . . then email them? automatically formatted, no hassle posting? Add pictures later, if I like? Wow... a recipe for more frequent updates. Get ready :-)

Have an awesome day.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ball Park Franks!

Tell me, please. Who the DICKENS gets urges for BALL PARK FRANKS !? ... besides me? I'm glad I'm not a woman, because I'd think I was pregnant or something. Sheesh!

But luckily, the craving went away, and it only took 4 of the little suckers to quench the urge. The good news is... there was only 3 carbohydrates each so it was good stuff. No catsup or mustard or relish or anything, just heat them up in the microwave and put them on a plate and eat them (fork comes in handy) Aaaahhhhh.

Now the question is... when will I eat the other 3 packages (I bought them at BJs so I couldn't get just one...) and the rest of the first one ? Hmmmm. Party. THAT's it. Maybe I'll throw a party! We'll call it a picnic and give us a reason to eat more BALL PARK FRANKS! -- or not.

Have an awesome day.

Whimsically yours,

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Diary of an Oyster

I like to think that I am very smart, but some days -- I admit -- are better than others. I love to inspire, but also love to be inspired, and sometimes a very, simple story can do the trick. Worthy of Dr. Suess, I'd like to share such a (short but quasi factual) story with you now. Enjoy your day!

There once was an oyster, whose story I tell;
Who found that some sand had got into his shell.
It was only a grain, but it gave him great pain;
For oysters have feelings, although they are plain.

Now, did he berate the harsh workings of fate,
That had brought him to such a deplorable state?
"No," he said to himself, "Since I cannot remove it,
I'll lie in my shell, and think how to improve it."

The years rolled around,as the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate Destiny...stew.
Now the small grain of sand that had bothered him so,
Was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow.

This tale has a moral, for isn't it grand,
What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand?
Think... What could WE do, If we'd only begin,
With some of the things that get under OUR skin.

--Author Unknown

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I stole these (sort of)

Okay... so I was on the web looking for something to illustrate a Ramblings that I want to write, and in the process, I ran across this blog that had a post "Someone Once Said." Well, I'm sure the author didn't come up with these on their own, but I figured the least I could do was tell y'all where I got them, and pay some small tribute to the person who had them there to help me entertain you. So... here goes.

Someone once said:
  • If you must choose between 2 evils, pick the one you've never tried before.
  • There is always one more idiot than you counted on.
  • Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
  • Never, ever take a laxative and a sleeping pill on the same night.
  • Sittin' in church on Sunday doesn't make you a Christian, any more than sittin' in a chicken coup makes you a chicken! **
  • It's easier to tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
  • If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
  • Never kiss a boy or girl with cooties.
  • Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
  • To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is a great accomplishment.
**Note: I actually changed this one from the site I just visited, to this modification I'd heard some years ago from a speaker named Charles Jarvis.

I guess that pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

Have a great day.


Monday, July 02, 2007

What's Cookin' Doc?

I live alone (and some of you are saying "good thing !" We'll tend to you later.)

Have you ever heard people --particularly women -- say, "Hmph. I go out to eat, because there's no one there but me, and...well... I hate to cook for just me."

NEWSFLASH! I love to cook for just me. Not that I'm a gourmet chef or anything (ha!) but there is something soothing and refreshing to me, when I cook -- even if there's no one here but me. You know? I cook what I want, how I want, to my taste -- no one else to appease right then, and no one to complain if it's "not right." A totally self indulgent experience!

Maybe it's because I haven't had to cook for people all my life, or maybe it's just because I'm a man, but cooking makes me feel better, especially when I'm in a funk, and I usually figure about about the time I notice I've got a bunch of food on the counter and a couple of pans heating up on the stove... like tonight :-)

AND.... THE MESSIER THE BETTER!!! Man, pull out the pan -- two or three pans! Grab the chicken, or steak or whatever (not fish...ugh)... Get the bag of flour -- I love those little flour mushroom clouds when I sit the bag down to hard. Turn the heat up, throw some Canola oil in there, slice up some onions and throw them in (it doesn't really matter what's coming in next. LOL). Slice up whatever meat I took out, sprinkle some seasoning on it. BE ADVENTUROUS! Don't look until after you've sprinkled!!!! - okay; maybe I'm just kidding about that one. Put some string beans in the other pan -- oh heck, add some corn -- get it all heated up, serve it up on my plate... and sit down and....relaxxxxxxxxxxxxx and enjoy my creation. Yup, just for me.

And if I'm really on a roll, when I'm done cooking and eating I've already cleaned up the counters and the dishes (at least hidden them away in the dishwasher, but I usually wash them by hand!), wipe down the cabinets being careful hunt down all that flour I mushroomed out earlier, and... ease my now full tummy down into the chair of my choice (either my computer chair or the couch to look out my sliding glass doors or, if I'm in the mood, my nice, soft leather arm chair that's situated perfectly amidst the surround sound to listen to some smmmmooooooth jazz) with a nice bottle of room temperature Poland Spring water and... aaaaaahhhhhhhh. Life is good. Yup... just for me.

And then I sit here and write this blog entry so my friends know..."yup... he's weird." But it's okay. I feel better, and that was that was for anyway.

Have an awesome day. I'm going to go pay some bills now, and have some REAL fun! LOL.

See ya.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Commencing... everything!

Wow... an incredibly busy month for me. THREE trips to Maryland from Upstate New York! and I'm sure I put 5000 miles on my car!

The first trip, we celebrated birthdays and Mother's Day in May. HA! Sister's birthday May 10th (she turned 50), Mom turned 79 on the 11th, my oldest grandson was 12 on the 12th, and Mothers Day was on the 13th. HELLO! That's a lot of celebrating !
(unfortunately grandson got the short end, but his mom threw a party for him the next weekend.)

A week later I was back for a graduation ceremony -- 9:00 a.m. on a
Thursday morning? -- and the party wasn't until Saturday, and I could NOT leave before the party! Back home for 3 days, then BACK to Maryland for my baby boy's wedding. Man, when did he grow up? From knucklehead high schooler to cool grown up to.... husband! Whew? But it was fun. His wife is awesome and her parents were awesome and we just had a great time. Photos here if you're interested :-)

I'm a photographer, and I used to photograph a lot of weddings, so I got to hear the wedding vows
every weekend or couple of weekends, and it used to keep those words fresh in my mind. I believe it helped hold my (last) marriage together, as long as it did. Spaced repetition -- you've heard me say it before.

Well... part of my many travels last month was my niece's high school graduation. Not just any niece, mind you, but my baby sister's ONLY child, so you know there's no way on the planet I would miss that one. Besides, I'm her favorite uncle -- not that she ever actually said that... exactly (cough), but I just "assumed the position" :-) and she was kind enough not to contradict me (see? still respect for one's elders out there. LOL.)

Anyway, it had been a couple of years since I'd attended a commencement, and while I was sitting there listening to the speakers speak, I got pretty jazzed, listening to them telling all those young people about achieving their dreams and goals and working for humanity and don't let anything stop you and remember your strengths and you can do it! It took me back and made me remember other commencement ceremonies and other dreams and ... well, I just started thinking
how nice it would be if, like hearing those wedding vows every couple of weeks, we could all hear a commencement address every few weeks or so, and stay plugged into that incredible HOPE and enthusiasm and fervor that graduating seniors have for conquering the world! Wouldn't that be awesome?

Once we get out in the world, sometimes it's all too easy to forget; get the shine taken off our apples, have our lights dimmed by the someone else's idea of reality, and by the day to day things that try to slow us down, just to see if we're tough enough to step over -- or climb across -- them to keep going. Some of us do and... some of us get bogged down or disillusioned, and if we just could hear that commencement message
one more time, we'd realize... it's all part of winning; you don't appreciate a victory unless you had something to overcome! Do you? So much more fun when had to snatch that victory from the jaws of defeat. Yeah!

So how long's it been for you? Go back in your mind and remember the last commencement exercise you attended. Remember the feelings; remember that sense of "we can accomplish anything", remember that "we're gonna make a difference in the world" mind set that those graduating seniors -- your graduating seniors -- had... and replay that speech, refocusrekindle that fire and... go kick some butt !

Next time you have a chance to go to a commencement ceremony... get a ticket; go, listen, re-energize, live your dreams. Of course, don't wait for a commencement, just remember... and pick up where you left off that energy,
(if you left off).

Have an awesome day.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Year of the Internet Friend!

I get emails all the time saying, "this is National Friendship Week..."; so often, in fact, that I wonder when -- or if -- National Friendship Week really is! And, of course, there's always these peppy sentimental things to do, messages to say, to repeat, to pass on, and often ruined -- in my opinion -- by one of those guilt messages that says, "if I don't get this back, I'll take the hint." Well we'll pass on my opinion of that particular practice for the time being, but it's nice to be thought about during Friendship Week... in a mass email... that went to people the originator probably doesn't even remember they put ON their jokelist to begin with (I'm smiling, by the way).

It's quite a different story, however, when you an email from a friend who says "hey, I'm going to be at the airport on Wednesday between 9:30 and noon and it would be grrrrrreat if we could meet up.... so we can finally meet each other in person!" Such was the case this week with my friend LInda from "up north" who came through. We've tried unsuccessfully for years to meet at one time or another but life circumstances on both our parts just kept getting in the way, but this time... it worked. Kewwwwwllllllll !

You've heard me speak of the woman I've been friends with for years and whose family sent my son care packages in Iraq and I couldn't remember how long we'd known each other. Well last week, she told me.... "because you were the first person to send me an email on my new computer and I got it in 1993... so 14 years!" Met via email, mother of a friend of a friend of my brother... ended up corresponding accidentally because of a darned jokelist (probably something I received during National Friendship Week in 1993...) and here we finally met 14 years later... and it was cool. So now I'm making it a point to go visit her and her whole family in June. I think we're making it a state holiday and giving everyone a day off. I'll get back to you on that one.

BUT... as in last post, maybe this IS the Year of the Internet Friend! Two down and... hmmm.. how many to go? Gotta see if I can get to St. Louis to see Dan and...California to see Sue and....heck, there's Steph in Chattanooga and Roger in Dallas and... heck! why don't I just make out a goal's list. Ya think? Hmmmmm. I'll let ya know how it goes.

Have an awesome day.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Today, I Met a Friend . . .

I've always said that internet friendships are some of the best, or at least can be. You meet someone on the internet, via a joke list or just in a chat room, and you get a conversation going and find out about the person behind the typing.

Internet friendships can exist quite nicely and in the absence of much in the way of visuals, you get to appreciate a person purely on the basis of their conversation and mindset and the way they communicate with you; and in my opinion, communicating via email or chat helps you become a better communicator, because it forces you to be more precise and more literal to avoid misunderstandings. Then, when misunderstandings do occur, it forces you to be get better at explaining your points, so you can get your true ideas over to the other "intelligence" by using words -- (some people aren't real good with words, these days). At least, that's the way I look at it.

So I've many friends -- male and female -- via the net, that I've never met,yet we've become great friends, shared life stories and our humor. Sometimes we've shared photos, but mostly we share caring and share our minds.

Today... in what was almost an accident... I met one of my long time internet friends with whom I've been e-talking since probably 1996 or '97; I don't even remember how I stumbled across them -- or they, me -- but, they ended up on my joke list, then they subscribed to my Ramblings, and we became friends in spite of my babble!

You know the kind of friend I'm talking about, right? Have you ever had a friend that you could always depend on for a kind word, and if you didn't hear from them for a while you felt compelled to check on them and make sure they're okay? Or the kind of friend that when they have a personal tragedy or hardship, you can still help comfort them even though you've never seen them; the kind of friend that you just appreciate for who they are and not what they can do for you... the kind you enjoy just for their sense of humor or their insight or their ability to be real; the kind of friend from whom you have no expectation, other than being themselves... even though you'd never seen them?

Well, today, I met such a friend, whom I've known for years, but just met; and that was pretty cool. So cool, in fact, that it's made me want to meet some of my other internet friends, so I think I'll make that happen. This could turn out to be the year of the internet FRIEND!

This is a good year for it. I'll keep you posted.

Have an awesome day.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Productivity, Not Just Activity

Here I am at the end of a peaceful and productive day -- much more productive than usual. Today, not only did I do things, but I did the right things.

Someone once told me, not to mistake activity for productivity. Generally I *stay* busy, but am I usually busy doing the right things? Often times not :-) I've had many days where I was busy ALLLLLL day, but when I got to the end of it, I hadn't really accomplished anything. Today... was a good, productive day.

To start, I got up this morning, made my pot of coffee then sat down and made my list, then prioritized it like usual.. You see, I KNOW what to do, and how to do it, and I even teach it, but often I don't do the things I advise others to do. But today... I did it right. I made a list of the things I had to accomplish and did the Ben Franklin A, B, C and 1,2,3 within each letter priority. I decided there were TWO things that I HAD to do, so instead of putting them at a high priority like normal, I actually gave them an appointment time... and set the alarm on my Palm Pilot to alert me when it was time. In between the "appointments" I worked on my prioritized list.

Now... admittedly, fixing myself a nice breakfast was NOT on my prioritize list NOR was it an appointment slot, but after I finished making the list, I was suddenly very hungry. So, I cooked up some CRISP bacon, cheese and eggs, a couple of slices of toast from this soft-crusted, honey apple oat bread that I love, got some Smuckers strawberry jam, a small glass of ice cold milk and a fresh cup of coffee... and just... pampered myself. Then, after breakfast, I was ready to tackle my list.

So without drawing this out *too* long, one "appointment" was returning a phone call about doing a some wedding photography, and the other appointment -- later in the day -- was to clean up my son's room! You know, the wonderful kid that comes home on leave from the Navy, trashes the rooms I cleaned up last time he left, and forgets to clean them up again before he leaves? Yeah. THOSE rooms. And although I did move the appointments BACK a couple of times, I finally did get up and go do it, and for the first time in a very long time, I forced myself to do what my calendar and task list told me to do, in the order that I had prioritized it. So the result is... both my major tasks were completed, and nearly all of my "A" tasks -- but I still have a little time left -- just for giggles -- so I think I can finish all the A's before I go to bed in about 20 minutes.

So, that's my day; and I even had time for some socialization and friend emails, and still got my lists done.

While I was cooking breakfast this morning, I was sharing this plan with my friend Jill on the phone. I told her how I didn't do what I taught other people to do, and Jill -- ever so affectionately -- asked, "What is that quote? 'Those that can, do; and those that can't, teach ?..." Ugh. I hate that quote, but it was good motivation -- she knew it would be; that's why I have friends :-). I hate it, but it is very often true in life. Those that can, do. Those that can't... teach.

So at least today, I decided to be a doer. And I'm looking forward to making the same decision... tomorrow. I think I'll make a HABIT of succeeding this way.

How about you?

Have a great night.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

To Send, or NOT to Send...

If someone mailed you a letter with some information in it, and told you to repackage it and send it to 50 or 60 of your closest friends, and have them do the same, would you run right down to the post office, buy 60 stamps and envelopes, make 60 copies of the letter and send it to your friends? No ? Then how come if someone sends you an email... with the same information in it, you just plop that sucker down and send it to everybody you know, and don't even take the time to see if the information is POSSIBLE -- let known true -- before you send it on ?

Well, without going into all the OTHER stuff I could say about this, I want to point out that I believe we have a responsibility to forward information is true and accurate and for the public good, but I FEEL we also have a greater responsibility NOT to pass on information that is untrue, or that propagates hatred, distrust, paranoia and negativism.

This is just my thing ! If you receive it in an email, and it's NEGATIVE and/or it's ALARMIST and it has a huge EMOTIONAL APPEAL... and it's UNSUBSTANTIATED definitively within the message... there's about 99% chance... its' a hoax, and many hoaxes have been going around for YEARS, just rewritten and modified and resent.

How do you know??? Yeah, good point. So let's pass it on JUST IN CASE! Right? Ugh...

Here's one tip. To check on possible hoaxes and unfounded rumors, I use a source called SNOPES ( ) who's mission is basically to debunk rumors, hoaxes and urban legends, and there is a high possibility that the critical email you just received telling you that the world is ending, is a hoax and if you go to SNOPES, chances are you'll get an education AND save yourself some embarrassment if you check it out at least there first. Just go to SNOPES, type the "hoax" in their search box and see what comes up. Everything from missing children, to the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, to Bill Gates paying pennies per email sent, to... "Oh they stole my kidney and put me in a tub of ice..." You'll find it here. CHECK IT OUT before you forward these emails.

Email makes it too easy to spread rumors, proganda and hatred, and ignorance. Like my friend Dr. Charles Jarvis said, "People don't think; they think they think !" If an email "gets you going"... the first thing to do is see if it's true, and if nothing comes up on SNOPES and nothing comes up on a general Google search, then it's probably false. Dump it! and refuse to contribute to the world's escalating high blood pressure problem.

Eh? And if it's true, but passing it on is not going to positively benefit the people you're passing it on to... DUMP IT! and find something positive to pass on to your world. Okay? Okay...

Now... Did you hear the one about the new Fountain of Youth Drug that's been discovered ? The manufacturer is sending a free life-time supply to anyone under the age of 60 who checks SNOPES within 20 minutes of reading this blog posting? You don't even have to contact them; they'll just glean your mailing address from your browser when you go to the site! AND they'll send you a Neiman Marcus cookie recipe !!! I heard it. My next door neighbor's cousin, works with a guy who shared the inside scoop... confidentially of course, and he's already 10 years younger. It's even been on Oprah, they say. Didn't you see it?

Have an awesome day.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Hate Email !

Man... email! Do you have any idea how much time I WASTE using email? I am wholeheartedly convinced that if it weren't for email, I'd be rich by now!

It's a weakness. Man, I come home, walk in the door and go to the basement to turn on the the computer, then I go back upstairs to hang my coat up and maybe go to the bathroom, if I need to, check mail, look for water leaks...whatever.

I'm on the computer all hours of the night, I get 300 spam emails a day, easy! between about 7 email addresses! I use the stuff for business and pleasure and speculation and communication. Heck I even get emails about the emails I get!

If it weren't for email, the albums would be finished, the pictures and frames would be hung, the wallpaper would be down and that ugly wallpaper would be gone, along with that ugly hurricane lampish chandelier type thing, the rest of the house would be painted, the carpets would be shampoo'd, all my clothes would be put away and I'd PROBABLY be skinnier! because I wouldn't be sitting in this darned chair stairing at this compu-beast. Viruses? Oh my gosh... sofware downloads? Newsletters, info-mercials, advertisements, new found wealth solicitations from New Guinnea and a thousand other places. JUNK!

Jokes? Holy smokes. JOKES? There's 95 people on my joke list and half of them send stuff back, and half of those have stuff to look at attached to the email other than just the email! and then there's the CD club news and I HAVE to check out the new CDs, the magazine subscriptions the airlines solicitations and... then... the IMPORTANT emails -- business clients who want products and services delivered or finished or.... worse.. people who want me to love the house (and my computer) and get away from email !!! Are they nuts?

Email is probably the worst thing that has EVER happened to me -- bar none; it's an illness and an obsession unto it's own... and it sucks the life right out of you.. Man... my fingers hurt.. I answered about 75 emails just this afternoon not counting the ones I handled at work today. Email.... wow... how'd THAT happen ?

Oh.. gotta go... I got more (e)mail...

I Love email...

I've got to tell you that I *love* email -- and the internet.

When I think of ALLL the things I can do with email, it just excites me tremendously! (no... get your mind back here....) I can communicate with friends all of the world; I can say hi without bugging you and you can get to it when you time and I'm not intruding. I can send you my thoughts across the word instantly instead of waiting several days. I can receive updates from news services or new articles I'm interested in, updates on my financial accounts, pay my bills, check status on flights when friends or loved ones are flying, have the stuff sent to my cell phone, even!

I can send jokes to hundreds of friends simultaneously, send and receipt business correspondence at the speed of electricity, market my products and services, send love letters to special friends. keep in contact with my children who I wouldn't hear from otherwise.

I can use it for work, send proposals, receive proposal and holy smokes you can even send and receive MONEY using little old email, and yet... if you don't use it or need it, it can sit quietly by and awake your bidding. Email is awesome... probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Enough... by George... is Enough!

OKAY! I give! I thought I could do it all, hear it all, read it all, respond to it all and catalog it all. I want to be smart, cute, healthy, loveable, popular and rich just like EVERYBODY ELSE, but you know what? All this email stuff has GOT to go !!! There only so much STUFF I can wade through and read and act on and...well you get the picture. SO part of my 2007 clean-up is DUMPING a whole bunch of these informative emails I get every week (day?) and restrict myself to the stuff I am actually motivated to do something about.

Make sense to you? Here's a test!
  • If you have FOLDERS AND FOLDERS of really important emails you never get a chance to read...
  • If you find your self hitting the delete button more often than the "read" button
  • If you've got a couple of thousand emails in your inbox and you don't have a clue when you're going to get around to checking them out?
  • You passed! Find the handy dandy unsubscribe button on a couple of those puppies and CLICK THIS! and stop them from flooding your mail box.
If you REALLY get the urge to catch up, mosey on over to their web site and check out their archives and read them there. And if you find that you're not moseying over... then obviously it wasn't important anyway, especially if you're still eating, breathing, walking, talking and your zits haven't increased for having cancelled them. Eh?

Whew... I feel better already.

Have a great year !!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

A "To Do List" for 2007

I sometimes interface with an organization called "Let's Face It". It's a support network for people with facial disfigurations -- which they term "facial differences". They publish a book mark with a To Do List on it (unknown author), that I think is great to take into 2007, so I present it here and perhaps you'll choose adopt some of the tasks :-D.
  • Mend a quarrel
  • Seek out a forgotten friend
  • Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust
  • Write a love letter
  • Share some treasure
  • Give a soft answer
  • Encourage youth
  • Manifest your loyalty in word and deed
  • Keep a promise
  • Find the time
  • Forego a grudge
  • Forgive an enemy
  • Listen
  • Apologize if you are wrong
  • Try to understand
  • Flout envy
  • Examine your demands on others
  • Think of your neighbor first
  • Be appreciative
  • Be kind and gentle
  • Laugh a little
  • Laugh a little more
Have a tremendous year !!!

our free, internationally enjoyed, motivational e-newletter.
RESOLUTION for 2007:
"Talkin' the talk AND walkin' the walk"
Food for Thought:
"If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more, do more and become more,
you are a leader."
-- John Quincy Adams
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