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Showing posts from November, 2017

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life - Review

As part of my Day Zero Project goals, I am slowly working through the list of unlistened to audiobooks that I have (40 in all!) and have been working backward from longest to shortest.  I was so excited recently when Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson came up next.

I have always loved studying Benjamin Franklin.  When I was 20, I read his autobiography as part of a college class and came to understand Franklin as sort of the quintessential American ideal; curious, industrious, always striving toward self-improvement, always charming and affable.
While I admittedly have an affection for biographies in general (it is probably my favorite genre), this biography has been the easiest and most interesting to listen to by far.  The writer is clearly fascinated with his subject, and Franklin doesn't disappoint when it comes to quirks and stories to tell.
The biography recounts Franklin's early days and goes into great detail about his intellectual curiosities and t…

Accepting Feedback

My coworkers and I often joke that "feedback is a gift" - and hence, every day is Christmas.  It is sometimes hard to put yourself out there knowing that with expression often comes criticism.  And the more passionate and important the expression is, the more fervent the feedback.  It's just the way it is.

I like to remind myself of Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence.  Jefferson was sort of a dreamer, a visionary, but in some ways, he was a delicate soul.  I imagine Jefferson, thoughtfully and passionately writing the now famous and revered words of the Declaration.  He was a young man then, younger than I am now.  An educated man but still an idealist, he poured himself into this work.  
After completing it, he presented his work to the delegation and was met with numerous criticisms.   They struck out many sections of it, and in his later words expressed that he felt "mutilated" by the revisions.  Benjamin Franklin, sitting next to the m…

Flashback Friday to MySpace!

Social media is such a misnomer to me because in having social media we often actually become less social. My observation, which seems to be backed up by people who actually study this, is that people who are immersed in social media forget to actually socialize in the moment with the people around them.
I have had social media in the past, beginning with something called Bolt way back in the late 90s, which I suppose would be considered social media now but I hadn't heard that term back then. Then we had MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, and on and on, and now people socialize without ever speaking to other people.
One thing I have noticed since abandoning my social media is that I actually have developed a deeper bond with my friends. We write emails, and I seek to actually spend time with people face to face, rather than just randomly “like” their photos online.
I have also heard really terrible and disturbing things, such as people posting perfectly normal pictures …

The Blessing of Lifelong Friendships

I was reflecting recently on those friendships that we have where we meet someone when we are young and somehow, through time and circumstances, we still find ourselves together.
My dad had a friend that lasted his whole life, from the time he was a young man until he passed away.  They were such different people, but they had a bond that held them together over the course of their lives.  They shared great stories and had great laughs and even when time or distance kept them apart, they could catch up right where they left off.
My husband has this also with a couple of his high school friends, but one especially.  They met when they were young and have stuck by one another ever since.  Even though life has taken them in totally different directions, they share a bond that makes explanations unnecessary.  That is the best thing about these types of friendships.  You know each other.  You give of yourself and you share in the enjoyment of friendship without the constant need for explanat…

Football is my Favorite Season

I’m sure most people have noticed that when you see a couple in a relationship, one person sort of takes on the interests of the other, but it’s sort of a one-way deal.  I can think of numerous situations where I have seen this happen.  I have been lucky that in my marriage, we sort of balance in that way.  My husband has gotten me into many new things and new music and in turn, because of me he has new favorite things as well.  But one way that he sort of opened me up to new things was football.
I didn’t care for football growing up, and even as a young adult, I was indifferent.  But my husband got me into football the year before our marriage, and he did so through getting me involved in fantasy football.
Now, I went into this with very little background knowledge, just a bunch of stats.  I love stats.  I love probabilities and I love competition.  I am highly competitive.  Through fantasy football, I was able to satisfy all of this in myself without having to actually personally tack…

Finally ran a Mile!

I finally ran my first full mile!
A few days ago, I had signed up for a local 5k, one that I had also run last year. Given my recent success on my half marathon, I had intended to really push as hard as I could to run as much as possible. I had plenty of time to walk around and get warmed up before the race, so I started off running and ran until I hit one mile. I was exhausted but elated!
As a kid, I never ran. In gym class, I would participate and growing up I was a decent goalie in both hockey and soccer, and it prevented me from having to do much running. I have always been an active person, but running was never my thing. I had been born with a bone tumor on left knee, and some activities were uncomfortable or painful.
I finally had that tumor removed when I was eighteen, but that honestly left my knee in even worse shape.
I have always loved biking and walking. For years, I owned a recumbent stationary biked and used it every day. After that, I switched to an elliptical, and no…

My Most Embarrassing Experience

Nine years ago this week, I was living the true life story that would one day become known as “Bubba’s Terlet.”
This is a true story, and not for the faint of heart.  Those who can’t appreciate this sort of humor have been warned!
My husband and I had only been married for a couple of years, and we were traveling across the country to be with his family for a funeral.  I have always been plagued by digestive disorders, and they become worse when I travel.  I’d spent much of the journey feeling sick to my stomach, but felt like maybe I was starting to feel better once we had arrived.
We were staying with his beloved uncle, whom I love dearly, and we had been sleeping for a while in the bedroom there when I woke up in absolute agony.    As my husband dozed, untroubled by my condition, I became entrenched in the “Bubba’s terlet” story, where I could only wonder if I was going to need to call an ambulance or a plumber, or both.
Sparing the harrowing details of my experience, I will summ…

Rising Up Against Bullying

Recently, I was privy to a situation at work where a former coworker of mine began escalating behavior against another employee in a way that constituted harassment.
What really resonated with me is that this employee had harassed me in the past, too.  And when that happened several years ago, I was able to resolve the situation quietly and without getting any official involvement.  I was pleased at the time that the issue resolved itself, but now that this person has a history of this behavior, I very much regret that I did not at least submit a written statement against it at the time.  This person now has a history of this repeated behavior.
I am sure I was not the first person, either.  She has bullied and abused her way through life, and she has zero emotional regulation.  She is an angry person who somehow feels fulfilled by taking others down.  It’s not fair, it’s counterproductive, and no one needs to put up with this.
Sometimes, I think when we get entangled into these situation…

I Finally Got to be a Hero!

This weekend I was able to check another couple of goals off of my Day Zero Project list!
My sister has been a long time blood donor and has a rare donor card. She gives as often as she is able. Years ago, I attempted to donate but the combined fact that I am a hard stick and slow bleeder made this a failure, and the process was so frustrating and uncomfortable for me that I didn't try again.
Until this weekend!
I went to the nearest donation center, where it was comfortable and the staff was very friendly. With hardly any issue at all, I was able to make a successful donation. So I got to check that one off of my list. Secondly, because of donating, I finally know my blood type (I am A negative!). Another one to check off of the list!
During my years as a corporate outreach leader, I facilitated many blood drives successfully. I always cheered people on by telling them that by participating in a drive, they would be a hero to someone. They were giving life. And finally, I got to…