Thursday, July 25, 2013

Life Is So Tenuous

I got home from a short business trip to Denver today at around 4:30 PM.  I was doing some unpacking and catch up work at my desk.  The phone rung.  The caller ID was from my brother-in-law from Ohio. 

"How's it going"
"Not good.  A, our son-in-law died today.  We're driving to Washington.  It was a freak accident."

I'm speechless.  Their daughter and her husband have been very close to us.

"I know there's nothing we can do for you now but let me know if there is as you get a handle on things."
"I've got to call my other brothers and sisters."

Wife and I are both stunned.  Sure you read in the paper or see on the news every day the tragedies that affect others.  But as long as it isn't anyone close to you, you live the fantasy that your life and the lives of those your care about will just go on in complete unfettered normalcy.

But that's not the real world.  The real world has its tragedies, its lack of logic, its unpleasantness, its unhappiness.  Its the yin and yang.  There is no good without bad, no life without death, no happiness without unhappiness, no pleasure without pain.

We want it all one way, the nice way.  And maybe you are very fortunate to go a long time without being reminded of that.  But you need to be reminded and remember how lucky you are when things are going well.

In the meantime, Wife and I wonder, what can we do, how can we help, how do we be of some kind of support but not a burden.  I remember with my Dad's passing how I got to hate all the attempts of people to support me because I got so sick of telling the same unpleasant story over and over.

I'm sure it will come to us but right now we're still just sort of in shock and so sad for our niece and her parents.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

More of the 1.1-a-thon, The Bonding Continues

Things have been pretty much non-stop with 1.1 being here.  Actually I'm pretty amazed at just how much there is to do with your child here in Albuquerque.  To date we've been at:
  • The Fun Park
  • Hiking
  • The Aquarium
  • The Museum of Natural History
  • The Dynamax Movie
  • The Planetarium
  • Shopping
Hoping to get in a movie and the tram tomorrow before she leaves on Tuesday.  Here are some more of our 'bonding moments'.

Bonding with Rays

Bonding with Jellyfish

Bonding with Newspapers at Lunch

Bonding with Science

Bonding with Ice Cream

Bonding with Dinosaurs

Bonding Being Fed to Dinosaurs

Saturday, July 20, 2013


As with many other families where the generations are split over great distances, the right of passage of a grandchild flying by themselves to the grandparents is a tradition with ours.  Our kids loved having their alone time with their grandmother and ours enjoy coming to see us.

1.1 is the latest to be old enough to have this experience.  She arrived on Thursday.  Her Mom was only slightly terrified but everything went very smoothly (except for Wife and I being totally late and frantically trying to get through the airline and then security to be at the gate on time!).

Much bonding has been taking place

Bonding through Battle

Bonding through Racing

Bonding through Bouncing

Bonding through Gaming

Bonding through de-I Sandia Outfitter Guide Training
(We believe in starting them young)

Bonding through Legos

More to come

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lamb, Lamb & Lamb

This could be the name of a professional firm like a law firm, or architects, or financial planners.  It would have to be a family firm I expect because what are the chances that you would have three principals with exactly the same name but unrelated.  However, in reality this post has nothing to do with professional firms, it has to do with...FOOD!

I know, it's a shocker that I would post about food.  Our friend, The Count, has befriended the Palestinian owners of one of the better Middle Eastern places in town.  Some how they got on the subject of lamb cooked in the traditional Palestinian way which led to Count deciding to commission the cooking of a lamb for a group of coworkers and friends.  We did this last week Monday as Mohammed, the owner was heading back to Jerusalem on Wednesday to be with his folks for Ramadan.

Our Lamb Fest Laid Out

Mohammed makes some of the best hummus which takes 48 hours cooking the dried chickpeas and all.  The rice in the center was also very interesting with toasted almonds that had a flavor that I could quite pick out but were quite addictive.

Our Lamb Ready to be Devoured

Mohammed was giving us the full Palestinian guest experience.  There were about 17 of us.  He served the meat to us refilling each plate with bits that we would explain were the choice morsels.  We were eating with our right hand in the traditional manner.  We ate more meat in this one meal than I probably eat in three weeks!

What Was Left - Not Much

It was really a wonderful experience (even if it took me almost two days for my digestive system to recover!)

Thanks Count!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Shit on the Internet!

Not shit as in "I hate you internet"

Shit as in Guano.

Wife and I were having dinner today and we were talking about our plans to do some landscaping in the backyard.  She introduced an idea of putting bench in one of the corners on the upper tier.  She said there was going to be a tree put their according to the plans and that the bench under the shade would be be very nice.

I replied, "But dear, it will be covered with bird shit."  We have doves here,  If there is a tree, there will be doves.  If there are doves, there will be dove shit.  Wife has been complaining for years about certain parts of our back patio that get non-stop shit on them from the doves.  After some back and forth I could see I wasn't going to win this argument and being a successful husband (the one word key to a successful marriage - Capitulate) I said, "OK.  Good idea.  After about 10 years we can gather up the Guano and sell it for a profit.

Wife says, "It won't be GuanoGuano is bat shit." I said, "No, it's bird shit too."

Now things get transformed by Wife and my begrudging introduction into the 21st century with our iPhones.  I get my phone.  Go on the internet and look up Guano Wikipedia and it says Guano is sea bird shit, bat shit and seal shit.  Thank you internet.  Thank you iPhone. 

(BTW sea bird shit is much better fertilizer than bat or seal shit.  Also Guano is preferred to other natural fertilizers like manure because it doesn't smell.  Thank you Wikipedia)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

More On The Process Of Transition

Does 5 weeks count as 'a few'?  It was May 24th when I wrote my first post on the process of my transitioning to the next phase of my life.  I finished that post by saying that I would have more (hopefully) on this over the next few weeks.  Well it's July 4 and this is the first time I'm returning to the subject.

So I was relating that one of the things I found hardest to do was to identify what I really want to be doing going forward.  But before I get into that, I think I will reprise what this looks like from a human process standpoint.  I'm pulling from working with others as well as my own experience here.

First, one gets the recognition that one is not going to last for ever.  This recognition is not just the academic sort of exercise we all say in a glib sort of way.  This is the real visceral, in your face understanding that it really is getting late...that you don't necessarily have that much more time.  In my case, I was on that path but the year of my Dad passing created the 'in your face' realization.  There are a lot of people who never seem to get this realization.  They just kind of fritter their life away and then just 'find themselves' someplace and it is never what they hoped it would be because they've never engaged in a process that would define what that is or work toward it.

Second, one starts to get serious about where one is financially.  I've been self-employed the bulk of my working life.  Most of the people I work with are the same.  So it is hard for me to understand this from the point of view of a person who has been employed most of their life.  But what  I've seen in the world of the self-employed is that this realization often comes late.   That realization takes the form of 'Gad, I don't want to have to be working this hard until I'm dead!'  That leads to 'getting religion' as in starting a serious process of saving and building capital.  I've been here and it has been the mental focus for much of my last 15 years.

Third, if one has success, luck, or both a day arrives when there is a realization that, 'Gee, I actually have enough where I don't have to work (or work nearly as much) if I don't want to!'  This is a big shocker.  If you're a type A work, work, work kind of person and you suddenly realize you don't have to the next question is the one I posed last time, 'So what do I really want to do going forward.'  Closely related to this often is some side realizations such as 'I am really not just daily tired but weary lifelong tired'.  And that leads to 'You know there are about 2/3rds of the work things I do that I really don't want to be doing.'

 Fourth, if you're taking charge of your life rather than let it take charge of you, you now say, I really need to think this through and make some decisions.'  If you're smart about his, you get someone to help you.  Even though I have helped hundreds and hundreds of people with making decisions about their business and personal lives, I recognized that this is not something you can do on your own.  It really helps to have someone, maybe more than one, who can act as your guide in working things through and who can provide expert advice as needed in areas where you don't have the knowledge.

This is where I'll stop now and pick up next time (hopefully with less of a break than before).