Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Late-Springtime Colds


I think it is happening. I'm coming down with some crud that has been going around.

What a pain.

I had nasal drip all night and now my throat is sore. I'm stuffed up. AND I get to go to the dentist today for a crown.

Somehow I don't feel like a king!

And it's going to cost me money. And on top of it, I feel crummy. (that of course is a technical description). Thank goodness for Tylenol.

And this is graduation week for Patrick--who is completing his undergraduate life and receiving a degree in History! Following a family trend--both Jeremy and I have history degrees. And you would love the discussions we have.

Well, at least I get to leave work early to go to the dentist and I do not need a root canal because we caught the tooth problem during a routine check-up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tear 'em Down or Build 'em Up? Leading in a mixed up world.

What is a team leader to do?

Standing in the doorway watching the members of the team stroll in for the work day. Some with smiles on their faces and some with frowns.

Ever notice the ones whose shoulders are hunched over as if they are carrying a heavy load of burden and stress?

Wonder why the ones smiling are?

What is a leader to do? Add more stress and tear down the ones who are smiling so they can join everyone else?

Some days it seems that the "misery loves company" motto is too true.

Don't believe it. Teams need encouragement--not discouragement to be effective. Focus on the positives to remove or minimize the negatives.

Let people know what they are doing that is right and great.

Leaders need to help keep the team focused. This is a tough job. Build up--do not tear down.

People spend about one-third of their waking hours at work--so the environment we create at work is going to affect people and we need to manage it to keep it positive or at least neutral.

Productivity and creativity will increase.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Musings - May 18, 2009

1. This is graduation season, and this year we are celebrating with a lot of our family as they accomplish their educational goals. And it is awesome.

2. The first pool party of the season was a success--it was a bit cool, but two intrepid swimmers made the water.

3. Who says my dog has stopped growing? She is still eating!

4. Really? You want lights around the pool house so it looks like Disney what?

5. Hostas can get really big. On Sunday, I moved two of them that looked like the "hostas that ate New York." Only, New York couldn't get that lucky.

6. Youth Sunday at our church is really a high energy, light your hair on fire experience--and I love it.

7. Watching hockey with the boys is the best! Especially when the Penguins are winning.

8. Taking care of and learning new bosses is a lot of fun--as well as it is trying!

9. Spending a dinner with old friends, over wine and good conversation, is an awesome way to spend a Saturday evening.

10. It is not good to be so "up tight" about the plans of the day that you don't enjoy the day as it unfolds. Worrying about what's not happening on time takes away the pleasure of what's happening right now and washes out any enjoyment that the day may bring.

11. The one thing I can tell you about the weather is--it is! Cope with it. It adds a randomness to our plans that keeps our lives fun.

12. Don't use an umbrella when walking in the rain. You can't enjoy the splashing of the raindrops on your face when you are hidden under an umbrella.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Frustration in the Car!

It happened so suddenly.

There I was, driving to work and listening to my I-Pod. Singing along to a tune. And then it all went silent.

My I-pod was dead. The battery depleted even though it is hooked up to the car charger.

What happened, I wondered even as I continued driving and possibly becoming a menace to traffic around me.

I checked the connections--all seemed good. But then, I noticed the little red light on the charger was not on.


Did the fuse in my car somehow blow? How could this happen. Let me check (all while driving) the other two spots where I can plug in my charger.

No joy. (oops, must avoid the truck in front of me!)

No power. I wonder. It is the truck or the charger. Hmmmm.

Sensing a dilemma, I then decide to push in the lighter (yes, my truck is so old it still has a cigarette lighter which has never, until today, been used)

The lighter heats up--meaning the problem is not the truck but the power converter for the I-pod.

Am I happy? Well, happy it's not my truck but still perplexed about the I-pod.

And now, I have to listen to the radio. Did I ever tell you how I feel about commercials?

I think I have a replacement at home so hopefully I'll have tunes for tomorrow's trek through the traffic-filled roads of Maryland.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Am Free to Dance

I was driving to work today and listening to my I-pod and it rolled to a song that really hit me, and brought back a lot of good memories.

It was done by the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I have a bit of history with this song, because when I was serving as a worship leader at our old church, it was one of my favorite songs because of its clear, definite lyrics. it is also fun to lead and I have a hard time singing it without becoming very enthusiastic. Jon Egan wrote this song:

Through you the blind will see.
Through you the mute will sing.
Through you the dead will raise.
Through you all hearts will praise.
Through you the darkness flees.
Through you my heart screams I am free.
I am free to run (I am free to run)
I am free to dance (I am free to dance)
I am free to live for you (I am free to live for you)
I am free (I am free)

This morning, it brought back a lot of emotion and reminded me of so many enjoyable worship times. But, most importantly--it really spoke to me and reminded me that through Jesus, I have been freed from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. - NET Bible

And we are truly free and we need to live as free persons and not slaves to sin and death.

I really love it when the sun is rising as I am driving to work after playing racquetball! The world looks so cool.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Musings - May 11, 2009

1. Mother's Day can be a lot of fun if the weather is nice and all the kids and their families show up, and the mother is actually feeling better.

2. Traveling takes its toll on my humor and stamina. The more I travel the tired-er I get thinking about it.

3. It doesn't matter who or what is sick--cleaning up body fluids from the bathroom floor in the morning before coffee is no fun!

4. Love means taking care of your mate, even when its really inconvenient on a beautiful May day. It gives new meaning to the"for better or worse."

5. It really sucks when the dog is sick, too! She doesn't like her medicine, either.

6. Don't ignore the: "I need too out and poop" whine from the dog, even if we was just out a couple minutes ago. If you do, you'll have a mess to clean up.

7. Pike's Peak is beautiful to look at, but it is a long way from the ocean.

8. It is hard to sleep in hotel beds--they just never seem to sleep like your own.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Makayla Graduates

I missed it.

Last week, Makayla successfully completed her first school--puppy training class and graduated. She was tied for first in her class (of two).

I was away on a business trip to Colorado for the last class. But Mommy successfully took her through class and through her paces.

Makayla had been going to class every week for eight weeks and has learned an amazing assortment of commands that she can successfully demonstrate depending upon her mood at the time.

She has learned: sit, down, stay, wait, shake, come (sort of) and puppy push- ups. We are still working on roll followed by over. She doesn't like to roll over and would rather back up to get the treat.

But, being a keeshond, she does have a stubborn streak and being a puppy she is very much a creature of the moment--be that a new smell or a fast running rabbit (at least until she comes to the end of her leash).

So, in the beginning of many firsts Makayla was a DG from her puppy training class.

Oh yeah--DG? Not distinguished graduate--but rather done graduated.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek - Movie Review

Where to start? One word--FANTASTIC!

The movie is a great ride, has a tight plot and successfully restarts (some call it reboots) Star Trek in a manner which essentially provides the writers of any future sequels with a blank canvass. You will have to see the movie to understand how this movie, although set in a time before the other movies and the series, is not a prequel but rather a brand new start with familiar characters. And it works.

I am a Trekkie at heart. I have been part of the Star Trek empire since the series was running on TV originally (OK--so I'm old!).

The film opens with the Federation starship USS Kelvin investigating a "lightning storm" in space. It turns out to be a black hole, and the Narada, a Romulan mining vessel, emerges from it and attacks. The Kelvin's captain, Richard Robau (Faran Tahir) is captured and killed by the Romulan captain Nero (Eric Bana). First officer George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) takes command and sacrifices himself and the Kelvin by ramming it into the Romulan ship in order to allow the rest of the crew to escape. During the escape, George's wife Winona (Jennifer Morrison) gives birth to a son: James Tiberius Kirk.

And then it begins and it doesn't stop until James T. Kirk is promoted to Captain of the venerable USS Enterprise, NCC-1701.

The plot is the complex, futuristic plot complete with twists and turns that Trekkies have come to expect. It is a tight plot and all the loose ends are wrapped up. Yet, this is a new start--a "do-over" for the Trek empire compliments of the plot.

The possibilities are again endless not bounded by everything which has happened before.

So while NASA sems to be having trouble exploring the final frontier, movie makers have fighured out how to keep us interested and transfixed.

RECOMMENDATION: A must see! Good for kids--although there is one gratuitious (and somewhat disturbing) sexually oriented scene.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Musings - May 4, 2009

And here they are!

1. Rain. Ugh! I know we need it, but where's the gopher wood and "what's a cubit?" I think I saw wild animals collecting themselves in pairs in the wooded area next to the house.

2. The pool is nearly ready--now if only the weather would cooperate I could actually swim and not develop hypothermia just thinking about diving in.

3. Puppies are a lot of fun to train--they are a lot like training children--and just when you think they've got it--you realize there is more work to do!

4. I hate it when both the teams I'm cheering for lose on the same day (O's and Pens)

5. I had 66 hours of plans for a 60 hour weekend but I only accomplished about 43 hours of the plans. What happened to the rest of the time, do I get it back? Is there the possibility of a "do-over?"

6. Grass grows really fast when it is warm and rainy. Now if it would only stop raining long enough for it to dry so we could cut it. Does it really make sense? We plant grass, fertilize it, and make it grow so that we can cut it. And then we do it all over again, why?

7. A rainy Sunday is a good day to sleep in late, take a nap, go to the store, and spend some time with family--like the grand sons! The hard part, is forgetting about what I should be doing rather than what I am doing and being in the moment. But an awesome lasagna cooked by my daughter really helped.

8. Makayla likes sleeping on the bed with the rest of the "pack!" Does that make me more of a dog, or her more of a person?

9. Business trips are a good idea when they are being planned, but a rotten idea when you actually have to go on them. I'm flying to Colorado Springs for the rest of the week. And guess what? It's raining there, too!

10. April showers bring May flowers. Hey, wait, it is already May! Turn off the showers!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Weekend List--Stress Looking for a Place to Happen!

Last weekend it was all wine and food in St Michaels--this weekend?

Between 5PM Friday and 5 AM on Monday there are 60 available hours. Here is how I plan to use them:

1. Finish opening the pool (I figure four more hours conservatively)

2. Mow (again!) (one hour)

3. Fix the garage door--some kid rode his bike headlong into it (one hour)

4. Play with Makayla (two hours)

5. Dive Kitty somewhere, anywhere (one hour)

6. Pay the bills

7. Watch the Pens beat the Caps (or crapitals as I prefer to call them) with Jer and drink copious quantities of beer (three hours)

8. Nap (two hours)

9. Take another Nap (two hours more)

10. Play with Makayla, again (just because she's cute) (two hours)

11. Go to church (two hours)

12. Surf the Internet (when I can) (five hours)

13. Watch the O's play a reasonable facsimile of baseball (nine hours)

14. Go for a walk (one hour)

15. Drink some wine and eat some cheese (when doing nothing else) (two hours)

16. Say Hi to my wife in passing as she does whatever it is she has planned with the "girls!"

17. Figure out how to get a three-day weekend because there's waaay to much stuff crammed into this two-day weekend

18. Sleep (26 hours)

19. Happy Hour on Friday (three hours)

BTW--it adds up to 66 hours so far!

Unplanned items:

weed the gardens,

fix something that breaks,

read the magazines I got in the mail this week,


transit time to shop,

do a blog entry,

whatever it is that Chris really wants me to do!

I'm not sure which is more stressful--
my weekend or my work week!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Leadership: The Power of "Good Job" and "Thank-you"

I have written before about encouragement and empowerment from a larger team framework--but I want to get really personal about encouragement.

How did you feel the last time someone--like your boss, told you "Good Job!" and they meant it!

I usually flush with embarrassment because I always try to do a "Good Job", but I always appreciate being noticed, too. AND, do you feel a little bit more noticed when the boss says these words in front of others--and they are not forced or preplanned?

Sometimes I think it is easier for us to say "thank-you" to a perfect stranger (like for holding a door open for us) than it is to say "good job" or "thank-you" to our co-workers and friends. A sad commentary on where we are in our society.

OK, OK -- we get paid to do a good job, right? So it's expected?

But we all know, some good jobs are harder than others. When people really give a little of themselves and sacrifice for the team--then we, as leaders, really owe them some recognition and "thank-you" goes a long way--especially the impromptu "thanks--that was a nice job."

AND now the hard part--a forced "thank-you" or an after thought "good job" is almost as worthless as play money.

When you say these words--you must mean them and they need to be a true representation of how you feel. Otherwise, they will be seen as gratuitous.

This is the hard part for some leaders--actually recognizing the hard work of their team members and appreciating their efforts. Leaders get wrapped up in the "crisis du jour" and easily overlook the team members who are there beside them day after day.

Leaders intend to recognize the team, it just doesn't make the "top ten crises" being worked right now.

Change that.

People, and especially your team, need to be in the top ten list--every day!

"Good job!"
My Zimbio
Top Stories