Keeping the wolves at bay

They come when you least expect them. You’re going about your day, you’re responding to an important work email or doing chores around the house, you’re deep in your own thoughts and the next thing you know you look up to see that you’re being chased. There’s five or six of them, running effortlessly, running stride for stride with you.

The keep their distance, but are still close enough to attack. They flash their menacing teeth, jagged and as sharp as switchblades. One false move and they’ll pounce, pulling you to the ground, and slicing you into pieces. You’re at their mercy.


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The year in Writing from the Heart: 2017

When I was new to the workforce, I wrote every day. I churned out copy faster than President Trump, love him or hate him, pushes out a new tweet. When my career took a few unexpected twists and turns, I wrote less, but still needed a creative outlet.

Fortunately, I got the idea for this blog. I created the blog three years ago to get back in the writing habit. I’ve come to love the immediate feedback. I need to make some improvements to my site to make it easier for others to find and read, but I still love the instant feedback.


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When is a size 4, a size 12?

I have a bone to pick with clothes retailers.

When my wife and I visited my daughter a few weeks ago in  Washington, D.C. we decided to take her out shopping for a formal dress. She has a formal event this weekend at her college. I’m the last person you want to take shopping, but I knew that she would be hesitant to splurge on herself. I figured it was a great opportunity to reward her for all her hard work.

Now I’ve gone shopping with wife and daughter plenty of times over the years, but each time I go I’m still amazed at the challenge. It’s nothing like shopping for a man.


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Where has the service gone?

The cashier greeted me with a quick hello and a smile, and jumped into the job of ringing up my grocery order. She went about her job with speed and confidence. When I handed her my money to pay the bill, she counted out my change in a slow, deliberate fashion so that I could see that she had given me the correct change. I chuckled quietly to myself. She probably thought I had lost my mind. I laughed because when I do pay with cash, which is a rarity anymore, the cashier usually hands me my change in a wad that I’m scrambling to put away so that I can get out of the way of the next customer. It’s a rarity anymore to see a cashier to go to those lengths.

Two days later, I went out with coworker for a quick lunch. We didn’t have a lot of time in our schedule, but we also needed to get away from the office. We needed the break from deadlines and if nothing else, staring at a mountain of emails. The waiter looked barely old enough to drive, but when we told him our time constraints, he got right to work getting our lunch to us. In fact, he had us in-and-out with time to spare


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Jumping the shark 

When a TV show has had some level of success and starts to live off its reputation rather than come up new material or changes in a significant way in an attempt to stay fresh, television critics say it has jumped the shark.

The sitcom Happy Days is partially to thank for the phrase. In its fifth season, Fonzie, the leather jacket wearing, auto mechanic and star of the show jumped over a shark while wearing water skis. Critics panned the move and would later point to the shark jump as the moment when the show had reached its peak and was never the same again.

A few other oft-cited jump the shark moments: working class Roseanne and her family  winning the lottery; the series finale of Seinfeld; and when Olivia joined the cast of the Cosby Show to name a few.

I’ve been thinking of things outside Hollywood that have also jumped the shark. The television networks frankly come to mind, with more people nowadays watching Netflix and Amazon and the networks becoming more and more desperate for viewers, but there are many other things too:


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Killing time

iphone-518101_640I love my iPhone. I wouldn’t say that it’s attached to me at the hip, but I definitely rely on it for a multitude of tasks that I never would’ve guessed just a couple of years ago.

In particular, I love that it’s turned me, a one-time technophobe fearful of all new apps and social media outlets, into a lover of all things technology. I can’t get enough of it, mainly because it helps make life easier.

However, saying all that, there’s one simple app that I’m ready to kill. It’s not really an app per se, but I hate it all the same. I hate the alarm clock on my phone. If I could, I would eliminate it, but, of course, if I deleted it from my smartphone, I would need to go back to a real-live alarm clock and I hate them even more.

Like most people, I need my alarm clock to exist, to start my day and get off to work. As I blogged recently, we purchased a new bed and that has made a ton of positive improvements in the quality of my sleep, but I’m still not getting enough sleep.


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Learning to let go

vials-1781316_640I should be better at this.

My son is attending a science camp geared for middle school students at a local college this week and has come home with stories about the experiments the class has performed each day and some of the antics of the other kids.

I’ve been encouraged by the experiments, not so much by the other kids. In short, some of the boys have been rude to the teacher and other students; played video games when they should have been listening; and misbehaved. The behavior hasn’t been crazy or even extraordinary, just bothersome.

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The games we play

The running back slid one way and then cut back another, gaining huge chunks of ground with every carry. He was so quick and even if a defender started to tackle him, if you tapped on the “b” button at the right moment, he’d spin out of the tackle and go onto score. He looked unbeatable.

Likewise, the quarterback threw bullets for passes and when the wide receiver caught the winning touchdown he danced in the end zone just like in real life.

In the early 90s, I bought my first gaming system a Sega Genesis. I came home from work one Friday, exhausted from a long week and went out and bought my first system. I figured that I had a job now. I wasn’t in college anymore. I could afford to blow off a little steam. Why not?

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When the real thing becomes a letdown

When I was six or seven-years-old, I saw my first drive-in movie. One of my school friends asked me to come along with his family to see the Walt Disney Productions animated feature Robin Hood.

I remember being mesmerized. I talked about the night-out for weeks. First I couldn’t get over what a treat it was to see a movie. The animation, while out-of-date now, was revolutionary at the time and seemed to jump off the screen. And secondly, I was thrilled to be able to throw a football with my friend before the movie started and then actually watch the movie outdoors.

With that idea in mind, my wife and I took our kids recently to participate in all things American: the drive-in movie. We had fun. It was a great night, but I drove away thinking the night was a letdown for my teenaged kids.


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Missing the Big Valley Part II: Sending out my message in a bottle

I feel sort of like the guy who writes a message, rolls it up and puts it into a bottle, and then throws it into the ocean to see where it lands. The note could be an SOS message to potential rescuers, a message to a long-lost love, or even a silly schoolboy note, the topic doesn’t matter.

The bottle floats here or there in the choppy waves and most times the note — in my case, my blog — goes unheralded floating forever in a nether world. Oh thanks to modern technology and social media, I’m able to see that my blog touches home with a few loyal Facebook friends and family members, who have my eternal gratitude, but it floats into nothingness.

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