Archive | January, 2013

Spring Fever

30 Jan

Even though we have had a non-existent winter this year, I have spring fever. Even with Chicago being on the “warm line” of every snowstorm so far (including today’s) and a grand total of 3″ or less of snowfall – meaning my giant Snowbliterator snowblower hasn’t gotten out of the garage yet this year – and, after a week that saw 70 degree temperatures on Monday – just this week I suddenly am Jonesing for spring to get here already.

Maybe it’s because we’re starting to already talk about what to do this summer for vacation. Or because our group for Opening Day for the Cubs has solidified already. Or because I went road bicycle shopping on Saturday. All I know is, I’m sick of winter and ready for spring. I’m ready for …

… coming home from work, and heading to the deck with a cocktail, to kick back and relax in the golden sunshine of early evening with Robin and the boys and or friends.

… that wonderful first truly warm Saturday or Sunday of spring when EVERYONE is OUT OUT OUT! Running in the parks, walking the dogs, gardening, shopping, driving the convertible, motorcycling, bicycling, rollerblading, even a few picnickers – people are OUT!

… exercising outdoors – with my new found devotion to fitness, I can’t wait for running/biking/walking outdoors season to kick in. It’s going to be a very active summer!

… bike rides on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

… cocktails on my friend GASHM’s screened-in porch.

… firepit evenings at various friends’ houses.

… washing and waxing the cars in the driveway.

… going on a walk or bike ride and stopping in a local park for a few minutes to watch a little baseball game going on.

… Sunday afternoon ice cream runs to DQ or elsewhere.

… Outdoor live music.

… Sidewalk cafes.

…. My annual switchover at Starbucks from a hot Americano to an iced Americano. Still a grande, still two pumps of sugar free vanilla, but that’s a sure sign of spring.

… afternoon beers in the sunshine somewhere.  Perhaps after having ridden there on a bicycle.

… lunch eaten at Daley plaza or one of downtown Chicago’s many other urban park spaces.

… That first wonderful sail on my friend Professor Troutstream’s sailboat, the good ship Contango.

… Seeing the crocuses, then the daffodils push up out of the soil and turn their heads to the sunshine to bloom.

… Solidifying summer travel plans – and putting the date on the calendar – making it real, versus something you’re just thinking about.

… switching the summer wheels and tires back onto our VW GTI and returning it to the “go cart” handling machine versus the “athlete in heavy snowboots” that it is with the winter gear on it.

… coffee on the deck on Sunday morning.

And the biggest one …

… stepping out of the office and into the afternoon sunshine at the end of the day, breathing in the fresh air and knowing there’s still a bunch of good evening left to go and thinking about how you’re going to enjoy it.

So, here on January 30, three days before Ground Hog Day, this boy is rooting for clouds over Punxatawney, PA on Saturday.

As you were,

Stew

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I love Inauguration Day

22 Jan

And so yesterday, we, as a nation, held our 57th Presidential inauguration. Sure, there are many that say “it’s a second term, why spend the money”, and of course those that are angry because their guy didn’t win, and whatnot, but at the end of the day, our nation does something truly, completely unique that is not repeated anywhere else in the world. In a peaceful, orderly process, we either transfer power from one leader to another, or reconfirm that power on a reelected leader, and we do with clockwork regularity.

Think about how unique this is. It doesn’t exist anywhere else. Most other “free countries” with representative government leaders elected by the people, power transfers occur without schedule. In Great Britain for example, it is a parliamentary system – and the Prime Minister is an elected Member of Parliament. If a coalition of opposition can form (being it is a multi-party system), they can force a “vote of no confidence” in the Prime Minister, and elections are held to elect a “new” Parliament. Conversely, the Prime Minister can also call elections of Parliament – and again, he/she stands for reelection at the same time. There is no pomp and pageantry with installing the new MPs and PM, they just get sworn in and go about their business. They save the pomp for the Queen. This is similar to other constitutional monarchies elsewhere in the world.

Of course, then there’s military governments, puppet governments, etc. etc. – all pretending to be “free election” countries but none of them are. And none of them have any semblance of a clean and orderly transfer of power.

But here in America, we are the shining example of true democracy. Every four years, we hold a Presidential election and the people vote. That vote drives how the Electoral College votes on a state-by-state basis (because, as many Republicans will loudly protest, we are not a democracy, but a Republic), which then drives who we elect as President. And except for a vocal few (Donald Trump?? What. An. Idiot.), those results are respected and accepted. One candidate concedes graciously, the winner accepts humbly, and the transfer begins.

No matter which party you are, inauguration day is a celebration of who we are as Americans, with the greatest, most representative, most democratic, most “voice of the people” political process in the world. And that day in Washington (and someday I’m going to attend one) is truly a celebration of that democracy. It was so moving to see those high camera shots looking down at nearly a million people on the Mall in Washington celebrating America. The Inaugural parade, the Inaugural balls and more. Wonderful, American pageantry. Did we spend $170 million on the party as a country? Yup. Should we? Absolutely.

Again, whether you’re happy about the outcome of the election process or not, (and your turn will come again if you’re not), inauguration day is our day, as Americans, to celebrate the voice we have in our political process. It truly is reflecting of the outcome of the will of the people.

As you were,

Stew

Railroaded, Part II

11 Jan

Since I had so many people tell me that they loved the “Railroaded” post – one of my co-workers kept saying “so damn funny” every time he walked by me yesterday – and so many people responded with some railroaders of their own, I thought I’d write “Part II” to it.

As I said in “Railroaded” – that was written in 2010 – a few months after I restarted commuting to downtown Chicago on the Metra rail system for work. In the ensuing 2 ½ years since then, I’ve had occasion to observe a whole lot more folks, so let’s get started.

The Cosmetologist – Everyone who commutes sees this – and unfortunately everyone who commutes by car sees this. It is the women who apparently don’t have enough time to get their makeup done in front of the bathroom mirror, so they save the effort for when they hit the train or worse, get in the car to drive to work. In fact, straight across the train from me at this very moment, is a woman putting on her makeup. Her picture is below. Now … let’s be honest, among annoying tendencies, this is probably the smallest one – they don’t take up a ton of room, they don’t make noise, no weird smells, etc.

A Cosmetologist in action this morning

But, there’s always this guy:

The Razorman: I don’t experience it too often but every now and then you’ll see this – a guy whips out an electric shaver, fires up the fuzz-buzz and proceeds to “mow” his face. Thankfully, it’s not a real long time to listen to the buzz, and it’s again, a bit limited, but … nonetheless, having used plenty of electric shavers in my day, I do know those tend to generate a cloud of clipped hair as they operate, and well … it’s a bit gross. And once, just once, I watched a guy use a standard Gillette twin blade razor on the train – dry shaving himself as the train lurched and vibrated along. Really?

The Oral Hygenist: Again, you ride the train long enough, you see everything. Always there’s the toothpick guys – guys with a toothpick in their mouths, chewing on it. When this gets gross is when they throw them onto the floors. But … I’ve seen it all – full-on toothbrushing, using a water bottle and a coffee cup to rinse and spit, of course lots and lots of flossing, which again, is just something you don’t want to see. And mouthwash – but what’s amazed me on the mouthwash guys is that they seem to swallow it – and it usually is a fairly drunk dude riding a late train out to home after an after-work bender.

We’ll end the personal grooming habits, with one woman I liked to call “the reverse stripper“. I caught her routine about four times. She rode the train last summer and I’d put her age at “in college” or early 20s most likely. Young woman, likely headed to the city for an internship. She was riding the train from an earlier stop than mine, so I never saw her get on, but on the train, she’d be sound asleep behind huge sunglasses, a sweatshirt or other baggy t-shirt, and pajama pants with wet hair pulled up into a pony tail. She always carried a big sports bag. At some point in the ride about 15-20 minutes before we hit downtown, she would literally get dressed for work. Again, you see a lot of things on the train, but this little phenomena caught my eye when I happened to see her pull a bra out of her bag, slip it up under her big t-shirt, pull her arms in and put it on! Then, using an odd combination of plenty of dexterity with some illusion mixed in, she managed to then put on a blouse over the t-shirt and somehow slip the shirt over her head without exposing the rest of us (much) to too much of her, then sort of half-stood-up in her seat, shimmied into a little skirt over the pajama pants, and remove the pajama pants. Then a cute pair of heels came out of the bag, and she was done – she then turned into a “Cosmetologist” to do her hair and makeup, and of course the crowning touch was just a touch of cologne which wafted through the car erasing the coffee aroma. Everything else went into the bag, and when we stood up to leave, there she was – a young girl ready for work in a big downtown office. Pretty crazy! I honestly have to say I was impressed by her ingenuity. Now calling a category from yesterday, she was also a “Seat Hog” so she had the room to do this.

These days of 60 hour work weeks and the like, both train rides and train riders have changed a lot. With wireless internet, you can work from everywhere, so on every train, every morning you have:

“The Executive”: The executive is someone who is working 100% nonstop all the time on the train. They get on the train, out comes the laptop, usually there’s a wireless USB or hotspot involved, and they are off to the races. Now, this isn’t at all unusual, and I fit this category most days in the “light” version – at the computer, catching up on email, occasionally doing some writing, reviewing, etc. – but the “heavy” version is where it gets ridiculous – they turn their seat into a rolling office. On Metra trains at the end of each car compartment that is the “front” in the direction of travel, there are a pair of seats that face each other. Metra trains, they flip the direction of the seats to always face forward – the seatbacks flip over to do this. So, those facing seats are desirable because it is the only place where being a Seat Hog is acceptable behavior. There isn’t enough room, unless you’re married to the person across from you, or you’re with your kids, to seat four in those facing seats but two Seat Hogs fit nicely. There’s one woman that rides my train line most days and she’s a classic Heavy Executive. She always grabs that double seat section, spreads out across her two seats, opens files, lays out work, does stuff on her computer, and … holds conference calls. It’s all good until she dials into her 7:30 AM conf call. She is clearly the boss, and she’s clearly talking to a group of her staffers that are already in the office. In a loud, stern voice. And by the tone of her voice and how she runs that meeting, well … she doesn’t sound like a pleasant person in the least to work for or with.

Again, I do the The Executive Light thing most days, but I rarely hold conference calls from the train, and when I do, I use my headphones and do my best to keep my voice very low.

Phone Jerk: And speaking of keeping your voice very low, there’s these idiots. We’ve all experienced them. Their phone rings and they proceed to have a phone conversation at normal speaking tones, and they will say ANYTHING – even though it’s in public. I’ve heard people shouting at their kids and spouses, guys trying to arrange to get lucky, girlfriends speaking to girlfriends describing their dates IN DETAIL (yes, even THOSE details! I never thought I’d ever hear “Oh my God, his XXX was so small, I almost started laughing” on a train. But I have.) And the behavior isn’t limited to those that speak English. In fact, I think if you speak Russian, you must think it’s OK to talk loudly on the phone the entire train ride.

And since this train ride is approaching Chicago, I’ll end with this person:

The Petri Dish: Yup, it’s the sick guy or gal on the train, bus or airplane. Hack, wheeze, sneeze. Big wet drippy exhortations of the cold and flu season. Blowing of noses, coughing jags, huge sneezes, etc. etc. Touching everything and spreading the love everywhere they go. Having flown so much and for so many years, thankfully, I think I’ve got the immune system of an alley cat. I very rarely get sick (and by saying that, I’ve doomed myself), but when I do, I’m positive it is because of one of these jerks who cannot figure out that they should take a sick day until they stop being contagious.

Well, another “Railroaded” post has been crafted on yet another train ride. Hope you enjoyed the ride! And, stay tuned for “Railroaded III – the Late Night edition” … oh yeah. Riding Metra at night is a trip for sure!

As you were,

Stew

Railroaded – People watching on the commuter trains

10 Jan

As you know, people watching is pretty much one of my most favorite activities. Anywhere you go, the show goes with you. In line at Starbucks, at the grocery store, and of course famous people watching places like the Iowa State Fair and Walmart. Who hasn’t seen the People of Walmart website? Well, riding public, whether it is the Metra rail in Chicago, or the CTA El in Chicago, the bus, the Metro in Washington DC, the NJ Transit in New York, etc. etc., is ripe ground for people watching. So, here’s a little missive on people I see on the commuter trains.

Full disclosure – this is a repost of one of my favorite little essays – I wrote it towards the end of 2010, about six months after I joined my current job, iCrossing, and was back to riding the trains every day after a nearly 10-year hiatus. I’ve made a few updates to it and well, I wanted to publish something, so here we go. Enjoy:

Nine months ago (UPDATE: and now make that more than 2 ½ years ago), I rejoined the world of the commuter train riders when I reinvented my career by going to work for the rockin’ cool digital marketing agency, iCrossing. (As a Senior Account Director at iCrossing, I should say that my opinions, as always, are mine and not those of my employer. Although I’m sure my commuting iC colleagues have probably seen all these folks on their own commutes and probably find the same humor in them that that I do.).

When I did my job change, I wrote a reflection of what it meant to me to transition from 10 years of working at home to going back to working in an office. Much had changed in 10 years – and it was both a jarring and welcome transition. And, I had to get used to bathing again on a day to day basis.

That said, as much as the world of working in an office has changed, not as much has changed in the commuting world. But, there are changes. Overall, there are definitely fewer people reading newspapers, and the mobile devices – smart phones, iPads, tablets, laptops, etc. are ever present on the train. My own personal habit is to get onto the train, turn on my laptop and immediately get online. In the morning, I check email, make to do lists, fiddle around on Facebook, scan several online news sources, etc. Afternoon, I listen to music on my iPhone, play games, finish up work I didn’t finish at the office, etc. MY behavior has definitely changed. 10 years ago, I was reading books on the train, or the newspaper, and that’s pretty much it. Now, I’m online all the time.

Another broad-scale observation is that the casual office has completely won – it is rare to see folks dressed in suits and ties on the train – most everyone is “business casual” or even more casual than that. It used to be women were in their business clothes and wearing running shoes with little white socks, carrying their heels in their bags. Men would be in suits, ties, topcoats, etc. Big leather briefcases ruled. Now it’s Dockers and jeans, leather and fleece jackets, comfortable shoes all the way to flipflops in the summer, and backpacks are the rule for anyone carrying anything.

So, with that all said, my favorite sport is, of course, people watching, and the train is one of my all-time favorite places to do that. So, let me introduce you to a few folks that I’ve met over the years of riding the train – both in the last nine months and in years past as well.

The Train Runner: The train runner is someone who, the second the train arrives at its destination, bolts out the door and RUNS at a sprint to wherever they run off to. Most often, they are observed at the suburban stations, bolting off the trains in the afternoon so they can be the first to get to their cars, and blaze out of the station in a cloud of dust. Train Runners turn into Parking Lot Terrorists the second they hit their cars. I literally was almost run over by one the first week of my new commute as I had forgotten about these jokers. Train Runners are also often Me First people too. See below.

The Sleepers: The sleepers all have one thing in common: They sleep on the train. You’d think “not so interesting – everyone does this”, But, it is how they do it that makes it interesting. On my morning train into the city this winter, there was a woman who literally went back to bed on the train every morning. We’d board the train, she’d take off her coat and shoes, pull out a little fleece blanket from her bag, pull out a little pillow, clip her ticket to the seat in front of her, and then curl up on the seat with her head on her pillow, her feet up, and the blanket over her (hence becoming a Seat Hog, see below), and sleep until downtown. There’s another guy, and I just haven’t got the heart to snap a picture of him, that literally rubber bands his train ticket to his head, facing the conductor so he doesn’t have to be awakened. Another variant is a jackass I sat next to just last week. I got on the train first, found my spot next to a window, and pulled out my laptop and went to work. This guy sat down next to me just as the train started to move and proceeded to throw his head back, and fall asleep snoring, spreading his legs out so one was in the aisle and the other was crowding me, his elbow in my ribs, etc. And, when it was time for me to get off the train the guy acted like he was mad at me for waking him up. Idiot.

The Eaters: Ok, I fully admit to bringing a snack on the train now and again – a bag of “Nuts On Clark” popcorn from Union Station, or a small bag of chips. Occasionally even a McDonald’s meal if it is late and I know I won’t have dinner at home. But some folks turn it into both a daily occurrence – to the point where I have to wonder – do you ever eat at home? The other morning someone got on the train with one of those “squatty” soup thermos containers, opened it up, opened a Ziploc bag containing dried fruit and brown sugar, dumped it into the thermos container and proceeded to have a fine morning meal of oatmeal. Smelled good too! But, really, oatmeal on the train? And then there are the folks that eat the smelly stuff. The worst actually was not on a Metra train, but on a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. This guy actually opened a CAN of freaking TUNA and proceeded to eat it. [GAG]. I had to get up and leave!

The Amateur: Like every commuter, whether train, bus or car, we all resent The Amateur – that’s anyone that doesn’t regularly do this. They get in the way, they slow things down, etc. On school holidays, it can be the haggard mother dragging her three kids onto the train after a day visiting the museums in Chicago. It can be a young guy, or someone not so young, dressed to the nines in an interview suit, heading off to get a job. However, you still have to feel sorry, for the most part, for these folks.

The Seat Hogs, on the other hand, get no such sympathy. These people are the ones that get on the train and take up two seats and if and only if the train is packed, and sometimes NEVER will they give up their extra space next to them. They glare at you when they do, they “huff” and “sigh” and just make it abundantly clear that they feel that they are special and more worthy of that space than anyone else.

Then there’s the Me Firsts – these are the ones who jockey to be the first one on the train in the morning, get up well before the stop and stand in the vestibule so they can be first off, and they are well known for elbowing people out of the way who keep them from being first.

So, that’s some of my categories of individuals – here’s another category: Groups. These are typically people that ride in groups on the train, have been riding together for years. They comprise two most common variants: The Posse and The Party:

The Posse is typically a group of folks that just sit and ride together. They clearly have a common commuting habit, and most of these are unremarkable, except for a couple of groups I’ve observed over the years. One group, that my friend “Arbi” and I affectionately named “Harold Washington and The Supremes” was led this older, heavy set, grey-haired African American man that looked like, sounded like and (or so we imagined) acted like former/deceased Mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington. He and “the Supremes” – which were three women, one AA, two white, would sweep onto the train, and “Harold” would direct each of the women where to sit– “You sit here, honey, you here, you here…”, and then, even though they’d all be sitting about 4 seats apart, would hold court with his three minions. As near as we could tell, Harold Washington and The Supremes worked for the Chicago Department of Water Reclamation.

The Party is generally always remarkable – typically, this is a group of folks who have been commuting together for years and they drink every night on the train. They seem to have a specific car and group of seats that they sit in, and you get major glares from them if you encroach on those seats. Typically, it is the assignment of one or two people to buy the bottle or beer, another couple of people to buy the snacks, and it rotates. And these people are true friends and have been for years. They play cards, they just chat, etc. Because there is alcohol involved, they are always loud. And sometimes, the conversation gets quite amazing – two guys in a recent “Party” group I observed started doing an amateur review of a recent porn film that they had handed around among themselves.

Finally, there are just the individual characters – people that you see every single day and you just wonder about but they don’t necessarily earn a label. One I remember well was this duo from about 10 years ago, male and female, that my friend and I affectionately called “Moose and Squirrel” – they were a Russian couple, dressed always in black – him in a black trenchcoat, her in a black fur-trimmed long leather coat. They always spoke Russian to each other, they clearly were not a couple – no holding hands or anything – and they just looked mysterious. Another famous one was a guy that a friend had named “Stride Rite” – this guy sat on the upper level of the bi-level passenger cars, and had immense feet, always wore wing tips, and always put them up on the rail so if you looked up, all you saw were these monster soles of his shoes. Ironically, ‘ol Stride Rite was also a train runner. We were amazed he didn’t trip over those things. And finally, just this month, I’ve noticed this guy at my stop and I call him “The Office” … he’s this sort of intense looking guy, he wears these giant oversized aviator-sized eyeglasses straight out of 1985, and he always wears the exact same outfit – a French blue button-down dress shirt, khaki pants, maroon penny loafers and white socks. Wow. Finally, recently, there’s been a guy I like to call “Sarge”. He’s clearly an ex-marine from his jacket (a leather jacket promoting the US Marine Corps, his ramrod straight posture, his “burr” haircut and intense stare. He’s been commuting on and off to downtown this year (2012), and he’s reading training books all the time. I’m hoping he is on his way to get a job, and wish him success. And I feel just a bit safer with this guy, who is clearly a badass, onboard.

There’s plenty more of course, and I wonder if anyone has ever named me … but people watching being my favorite sport, I do have to say, I love my train ride.

As you were,

Stew

2 Jan

Outstanding little blogpost here from a guy named “Simple Tom”. Basically, what he is saying, is “Change is hard. If you want to change, first you have to change your intention.” That seems like a “duh” until you break it down. For example, many people just say “I want to lose 30lbs.” Or, “I want to save $15,000 this year.”. But, they have trouble articulating what that actually means to them. To change your intention, your actions have to be informed with two things:

1) What dies success look like? Steven Covey, (RIP) always said, “begin with the end in mind.” Another great phrase is “Visualize success.” If the goal is to simply have 30 lbs less mass on your bones, or $15000 more in your bank account by the end of the year, then you likely won’t get there. Versus if your goal is “because that will make me live longer” or “that will help me avoid a heart attack” or “that will make a big jump in my retirement planning”, you will do better.

2). Ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?” That is different than the goal. This is the key to unlocking your intention. Doing something without an articulation of “why is this important?” ensures failure. Doing something with an understanding and clearly formed view of Why will drive your success.

Take five minutes and read Tom’s post and watch the videos. It is outstanding,

Simple Tom

Image

Change Your Reality by a Thought

I just finished reading a book called happy pocket.

It was one of the most mind bending books on success and the world around us that I’ve ever read. It opened my mind up to sooo many ideas, but the main thing was we literally have complete control over every aspect of our lives.

It broke down the science of success and happiness to quantum physics… haha probably sounds a little crazy already 😉 The basic principle that It talks about though is that we are the cause of our circumstances, not the result.

What Is Energy?

To tell you how that works, I gotta break it down first.. When you look at a cell under a microscope its made up of molecules, those molecules are made up of atoms, which are made up of sub-atomic particles which aren’t made up of energy, they are energy. 

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You say you want a resolution …

1 Jan

So, New Year’s resolutions are something that we all know are just promises that we attempt to make to ourselves but ultimately wind up being lies. I’m sure there’s a real stat out there, but I’d put it at 90% or more that those that make resolutions don’t follow through on them more than a few weeks.

I was no different – every year I’d say “this is the year I lose 30 lbs.”, “this is the year I get more fit”, “this is the year I’ll start running again”, etc. We all know how all that went. Then in 2012, well, life intervened. My heart made the choice for me – I HAVE to make the physical changes and reduce my cardiac risks or .. well, let’s not talk alternatives as they are not pleasant. My career is in good order and progressing, financially, I could always be doing better, but we’re doing OK and that’s plenty good. So, what’s to “resolve”? (And don’t get me started on the word “resolve” … as it has so many possible meanings.

Clearly, I’m committed to exercise and eating better. The results are starting to become present, and well, that’s motivation enough to stay on the effort. That and the whole “dirt nap” thing. So that’s no “New Years resolution”. I am always, ALWAYS focused on trying to have fun, trying to do more with my family, keeping my priorities straight, etc. That motivation comes from far more than just one thing – although I will quote a plaque that my Grandma Mildred had hanging in her kitchen: “Don’t hurry, don’t worry, and don’t forget to smell the flowers.” Good words on those little plaques in Grandma’s kitchen.

And clearly, I don’t take myself too seriously. Anyone who buys a decommissioned ambulance and drives it around just for laughs, well, enough said.

So, what to do? Instead of resolutions about behavior, let’s make a list of accomplishments:

Here’s a simple list of things I want to accomplish in 2013. All of these are designed to make me happier. Not that I’m unhappy – quite the contrary – but we could all use a bit more happiness, right?

  • Learn to play “finger style” on my guitar. I was taught this in 8th grade, but that one-hour lesson didn’t seem to catch. I’ll spend more time and learn this.
  • Learn to play blues lead guitar solos on my guitar. I’ve just never spent enough time learning scale patterns and notes on the acoustic guitar fretboard. Time to get on that and learn it once and for all.
  • Finish replacing the woodwork in my house – right now half my house has 3″ stained baseboards and the rest has 5″white ones. Just gotta make the time. But once it’s done I’ll be very pleased with myself.
  • Brew more beer. Simple. And this one starts this weekend, I think. Let’s set the goal at 4 batches in 2013. I only brewed two in 2012 and those were two weeks apart. Weak.
  • Spend more time with people that make me happy. Trust me, this one is critical. Hard to put an accomplishment metric on it, but I’ll know when I’ve done it by the lower readings on “BS Meter” and the higher readings on my “Happy Meter”.
  • Go back to reading my paper magazines. I’m subscribed to about six magazines and I spend too much time with my iPad and don’t read them. Time to get back to something I enjoy.
  • Learn to cook at least six good Vegan/Vegetarian dishes. I cannot see myself ever becoming a vegan or vegetarian, but certainly eating more plant-based meals will add some range to my eating and I’ll enjoy the cooking challenge.
  • Ironically, in the opposite vein, read more books, a habit enabled by my iPad and the Kindle app. Easy enough to read on the train and eBooks don’t weigh anything.
  • Plant some trees in my yard. This is going to get very important later this spring – we have an Ash tree that’s owned by the city in our front yard. Buffalo Grove is killing every ash tree in town to combat Emerald Ash Borer. So … plant a few of my own. And not ashes.

I think that’s enough to lay out there. I’m sure other goals will come up. And of course, I have my professional goals that my company tracks.

So that’s the game. Keep exercising and eating better, take my meds, reduce my cardiac risk. Then focus on the things above that will help me be a happier guy.

Have a great 2013, y’all.

As you were,

Stew

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