Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What To Do?

I am distracted. I am sitting at work and trying to get my head around each of the various things that I have going on and need to move forward. I am organized but not on top of things. I feel at any moment that an order will come down from "on high" (as it usually does) that blows up all these various activities. I am apprehensive to commit to do anything, but then I feel like the rock is rolling fairly slowly uphill. I hope that the email stays in check long enough so that I can bite into the piling workload in other areas.

What to do? Play video games. Go on a date with my wife. Put up the holiday tree (that will come this weekend). Read a book. Pack for a trip. Anticipate for the inevitable intrusion of Wendy's work on our Disney World plans in mid-December. All these wonderful things are enabled by the messiness of the office environment. After all, what pays the bills are what I am supposed to do sitting at this desk. I guess a little motivation is necessary to get geared up for picking away at this mountain of mundane activities.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Back in Akron for some holiday cheer, the family trekked downtown for the annual Children's Hospital Holiday Tree Festival. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, over 100 holiday trees go up in the John S. Knight Center with all kinds of themes - Akron cheer, Notre Dame & Ohio State spirit, racing, autumn, candlelight, children's dreams, and all other sorts of themes. Throw in Santa Claus, mini-globes, and wreaths, and you've got a cornucopia of holiday fun.

A nice feeling, to be sure. Surrounded by all the decorations that a great holiday should have, the event was for good cause, namely the assistance of children in medical need. Many kids have benefited by the good work that Children's Hospital does both locally and nationally, and it is all too easy to share in such an event for that benefit. And might I mention the reminder that Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are just around the corner?

So here's to a winter wonderland (photos) and a bevy of holiday trees to make it beautiful.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Cross Country Championship

On a cold, snowy morning in Ohio, I ventured out for a morning of competitive golf with the family. Odd, you might say, for such a round of golf at this time of year, but an annual tradition has risen from the post-Thanksgiving food comas in the area. The local country club holds a cross-country golf tourney that reconfigures its course into a nine-hole adventure that criss-crosses the existing layout in new ways. Around practice ranges this way, over the trees that way, a new tee box where the existing fairway starts, and you have a test of golf refreshing and entirely novel. Trouble is that the snow keeps the ball hidden half the time, and assuming that the ball is found, the challenge of keeping hands warm and swinging through the layers of clothing is enough to keep minds off the fact that the feet are frozen.

But no matter. What kept us occupied was the competition between the two threesomes in the group. Surprising birdie after surprising birdie, the fight was to the last hole, when my miracle approach shot from 200 yards out faded closely around the corner pocket of trees and landed softly on the green. When my dad sunk the 20-foot putt, we later found out that not only was our team victorious but that we took all the skins for the day. Meaning a nice, little credit of golf merchandise in the pro shop. 7-under was not too bad and left a series of highlights worth sharing:

Photos at Flickr

Videos at YouTube

Conor dropping a birdie

Steve tree-bound off the tee

Lauren sticking a tee shot

Lauren sinking a putt

Geo dropping his birdie putt

Dad drops a birdie putt

Dad wayward off the tee

Conor works his magic

Dad big with a final birdie

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fun with Facebook

A random entry before heading off on Thanksgiving holiday - fun with Facebook. The internet fascinates me with its way of evolving the way that people communicate. Ever since the dawn of humanity, we have been working out how to better share our thoughts and feelings with each other. From cave wall scrawl to today's computers and mobile devices, we have come a long way - but the underlying urge to express ourselves has remained fundamental and constant.

Which brings me to Facebook and any number of "social networks" that are out there. The buzz is around what is new and additive to our society - no doubt that MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, and the rest are new sorts of "online communities" that connect people in new ways. No doubt also that the implications for business can be profound and that many business plans are built upon the chance that these sort of social networking sites could change the way that we interact with each other as consumers. But the simple fact of the matter is that this sort of technology makes engaging with friends and acquaintances new and often exciting. In short, fun - and I look forward to the continued onslaught of technology to move us all further up the Maslow hierarchy of needs.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Burning...

...the midnight oil. Inexcusably, work has crept up on me again - not that I intended for the office to draw me back in. I am trying to stay on top of a number of items and finding a hard time to say no to the efforts.

No worries, though - it is now Friday since midnight passed! I can slumber in peace knowing that all the efforts of this past week threw me straight into the weekend without a second thought. At least tomorrow I am afforded a nice sleep-in to start the Saturday off right!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Waiting on Something

We are all waiting on something. It could be an event, a person, or a feeling. Sometimes waiting is hoping - either for the future to arrive or for the past to come back. In many cases, waiting is all that is available in the moment - a wait that does not stop the moment at hand from passing swiftly by.

A simple thought, to be sure, and a good reminder to enjoy the moment. Because if a moment is all we have, waiting is a poor substitute for what really happens around us.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sitting in a NYC Taxicab

I was whirring up Park Avenue for a meeting at the Waldorf Astoria (oh, how posh!) when I pulled out my cameraphone to snap a picture uniquely indicative of New York City. Something representative without being overdone (easier said that done!). Something relatable to almost anyone that has been to this wonderful city. Something easy to recognize. Something difficult to forget.

Sitting in a NYC taxicab, it was apparent where the shutter would point itself. Of all the places that I have been in Manhattan through the years, none have been so welcoming and iconic as the backseat of those yellow beacons of light after a bender of a night. An United Nations of drivers mans these vehicles, representative of the dream that the United States has often been for the fortunate, displaced, and ambitious - not that disillusionment did not follow when finding the cab as an occupation hopeful for a better future. Regardless, the taxicab is often friend, sometimes foe - and sometimes the instigator of a New York scrap (hey - you took my cab!!!). And a final note: try to avoid the need for one of these guys when five o'clock turns around - you don't want to be left cursing your luck when these simplest of NYC icons puts on the "Off Duty" light and changes shifts.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

On Track

Used to be, a train could take you anywhere in the US you wanted to be. From Boston down to Washington DC and over to Chicago, you had everyone from big shots to hobos hopping on the line. There was even a rush to make that train go all the way across this great, big country, from coast to coast. Forgotten in the modern age, Abraham Lincoln's greatest achievement at the time (1862) was signing into law the Pacific Railway Act which government-sponsored two railway lines - Union Pacific and Central Pacific - to connect the Eastern United States to California. Lincoln never saw this great vision come to fruition since the famous "golden spike" was driven into the tracks after his death, in 1869 (May 10 in Promontory Summit, Utah, to be exact). Regardless. it brought the railroads to great prominence and drove the Pony Express and the stagecoach into the relics of history.



Now it is the railroad that has nearly been driven into the relics of history (thank you planes and automobiles!), but I am having none of that on my ride in the Amtrak up to New York City. Having a chance to sit back and listen to the great whistle blow as we bluster down the tracks past Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey landscape, I wonder what it used to be like. I cannot think too long, though, because I have work to do - the whole reason I'm sitting on the train to begin with. I guess I'll get back on track and out of my railroad daydream.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mission Accomplished

I wrote yesterday that a down home Sunday afternoon ensued as Wendy & I got back into the groove of getting our house in order. Since the backyard was taken to task the weekend before with mulch and new storage shed, it was time to bring the garage up to snuff with some shelving and storage space. So, off to the Container Store a couple of times and into the mode of do-it-yourself furniture assembly.

In little more than a weekend, the space went from clutter to cramp-free - and now we can walk around the car (kind of) when it is pulled into the garage! The funny thing is how such little effort for noticeable result leaves one with a feeling of mission accomplished.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Down Home Sunday Afternoon

Very few moments can command the pleasure like a down home Sunday afternoon. As I type, I have a number of thank-you cards scattered about me and am looking out to our freshly-manicured backyard. It has been a busy few months with the wedding, honeymoon, and time-consuming business deals at work, but now Wendy & I are stepping back into blissful domestic life. What does that mean? Trips to Home Depot, The Container Store, Staples, Giant groceries, Barnes & Noble (another book doesn't hurt, right?), and driving around. Rationalizing bank accounts. Cleaning out the garage. Making the home office more functional. Paying off various debts. Writing thank-you notes for wedding presents. Selecting photos for the wedding album. Getting ready for the holidays.

So much to celebrate - and nothing like the present to jump in to the mundane of homemaking. And this is the best part of having a down home Sunday afternoon - all the time in the world to make that blissful domestic life happen.