Sunday, December 12, 2010

Friendship is what really matters to us

Got a minute?

It has been a while since I've posted here, and even longer since I have done a podcast. But as of this week, I'm going to be back in business on all fronts.

It was 30 years ago and far away ...
Anyone who knows me knows the premium I put on friendship. To me there are few things more important in this world than the friends we make and the way we treat them.

Last month I had the opportunity to attend a 30-year reunion and see friends I hadn't seen since the early '80s. I was one of the founding members of the George Mason University chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and I was the first elected president after we received our charter.

I didn't stay in the Washington, D.C., area after college. My career took me in a different direction, but it would have been interesting to have been able to maintain those friendships during the last three decades.

Friendships matter -- more than just about anything in the world except family.

Without friends, we don't have much.

With friends, we are wealthy indeed.

Thanks for the minute.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moving doesn't solve all your problems

Got a minute?

It has been a while, and I need to apologize for that. I have been wrapped up in my own problems and haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking great thoughts.

Mid October 2010
As we get closer to leaving for Georgia, things become more and more complicated. We'll give up the car this weekend so that we can recover it in Atlanta on Oct. 29, when we arrive.

We'll give up our furniture next Friday so that it can be delivered within the first couple of days we're in Georgia, and for all the work we have done packing, there is probably still a good two days worth of work to do.

Both of us are looking forward to the movie as something that will solve all our problems, and of course that doesn't work the way folks think it will. I have been quoting a great line from a movie I never saw -- "Bucakroo Banzai" -- for the last 20 years.

"No matter where you go, there you are."

Thanks for the minute.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just feeling better and better these days

Got a minute?

It isn't always easy to explain why we feel the way we feel, but sometimes it doesn't matter. Sometimes we feel so good that all we can really do is ride those feelings and enjoy them for as long as they last.

I'm not sure exactly why I'm feeling so good -- I suppose a lot of it is that our move to Georgia is getting closer and closer -- but I have been feeling lately as if I'm a battery that is just charging and charging.

The time since July 18, when I returned from Texas, has felt like a sort of interlude to me. Everything I have been doing since then has felt either like spinning my wheels or getting ready for the next phase of my life. But now that we have settled on a mover and a moving date, now that we know we will be in our new home in Georgia when October ends, all of a sudden everything feels great.

And the only piece of advice I would give anyone is that when everything feels great, you don't ask why. You just enjoy it.

Thanks for the minute.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Being oblivious isn't a good habit to have

Got a minute?

If there's one thing that is really difficult at times, it's understanding that in a relationship, doing things the way you want to do them isn't always the way your partner would prefer.

My wife understands me pretty well, and one thing that disappoints her is that I'm not particularly observant. In fact, if I didn't know it as a fact, I probably wouldn't even be aware that her eyes are blue.

Nicole last Christmas with Ryan, Maddie and Pauline.
She asked me to pick up some energy drinks for her the other day, and I grabbed an assortment of various flavors.

"After 18 years, don't you know yet that I don't like lemonade?" she asked.

Actually, I didn't.

If we're going to retire to Georgia together and spend a lot more time together than we do now, I definitely have to become more observant.

Thanks for the minute.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Big jobs get easier when we break them down

Got a minute?

Some big jobs seem almost overwhelming, but if you break them down into single steps, they become conceivable -- and doable.

The destination
We're in the process right now of getting ready to move all the way across the country next month, from our apartment in Southern California to a house in North Georgia. It seems like a really big deal, although Nicole has been preparing for the move for months by packing things into boxes and putting them in our living room. I've never known anyone better at getting things accomplished, and in being organized at it, than my wife.

I moved every year or two through the 1980s. Heck, I lived in Virginia, both Carolinas, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada during that misbegotten decade. And since I was single, I always moved myself, including loading and driving the U-Haul.

We'll be using a professional mover, so the biggest part of the job for me is getting estimates so that we can pick the right company.

I ought to be able to do something that simple, right?

I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for the minute.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One of life's great pleasures -- beach music

Got a minute?

William Congreve probably never heard of Carolina beach music, but he still came up with one of the most famous quotes ever about the value of music when he said, "Music has charms to soothe the savage breast."

Big Bill Congreve
He's often misquoted, because a lot of folks think he said "savage beast," but he didn't. The music of his time (the early 18th century) wasn't that powerful.

Still, if any of those savage beasts -- or breasts -- had stopped in on a summer evening in Myrtle Beach, S.C., or at any of hundreds of fraternity houses at Southeastern universities, they might have felt very soothed by the likes of General Johnson and the Chairmen or the Tams.

Or they might have been inspired by the song chosen as the greatest beach music song of all time, "Sixty Minute Man," by the Dominoes.

I grew up on groups like the Showmen ("39-21-46," "It Will Stand") or Virginia Beach's own Bill Deal and the Rhondells ("I've Been Hurt," "May I").

In case you don't get it, beach music has very little to do with surfing. It's basically R&B songs of a certain type, with a beat made for dancing the Shag and drinking beer out of Dixie cups.

And it is wonderful.

Thanks for that minute.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Succeeding at anything just a matter of willpower

Got a minute?

I'm here to tell you that you can do amazing things, whether you believe it right now or not.

I have never considered myself a person of particularly strong will, but simply by putting one foot ahead of another and simply dieting one day at a time, I have lost 102 pounds in less than five months.

178 pounds
How did I do it? I didn't take diet pills, or wear a lap band, or get my stomach stapled. Liposuction was not involved.

Starting at the beginning of May, I awakened each morning with two decisions -- one positive, one negative. I made the decision each day that I was going to walk, usually 5-6 miles, and that I was not going to eat more than 1,500 calories during the next 24 hours.

Since I weighed 280 pounds when I started, any thought of not being overweight was a long way off. I just tried to crack the 270 barrier, then the 260, and so on.

I started with a Body Mass Index of 39.0, and since anything over 30 is considered obese, I had big problems.

But the weight came off, and I got stronger and stronger in my resolve to succeed. This morning I weighed 178 pounds, and my BMI is 24.8, which is at the high end of the range for normal weight. For the first time in about 20 years, I'm not even one pound overweight.

Now I believe I can do anything.

And so can you. All you have to do is believe in yourself.

Thanks for that minute.