Mea culpas for not writing, and on with the Good Stuff in 2019

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It’s not right to blame sloth on watching a lot of late-night hockey, but…

The acquaintance that asked how things were going on the second book and other writing projects I’d mentioned last time we met was the difference maker, bless her soul.  Admitting I’d gotten – if not actually fat, very definitely lazy – about handling my personal blogging and project follow-up, was a thwap! in the back of the head.

Now that Awareness is right-er, Action is following.

It’s not like my thoughts are the second coming of the Mueller Report (un-redacted and with all supplements), and the world’s been waiting these past few months to hear from me. I did a 3,000 word guest post on world waste and recycling along the way though. Just sayin’…

Content creation is my forty hours a week job now, and economically I’m glad to have bennies, regular auto-deposits, and PTO! that I’m going to use some of for a golf outing this Friday. Still, blogging is not brain surgery, just a matter of discipline. I’ll stow any excuses about change in schedules, and state positively that I’ll never go this long again without doing MY blog.  Twice a week actually, count on it.

Absolutely nobody else to blame for non-production. Guilty, history now, mea culpa, Next.

* * * * *

Memorial Day weekend is my anniversary in Charlotte, although its a week earlier this year than when I actually landed here, back in 1995. I’ve got a concert date at the National White Water Center next weekend, and if the great weather we’re finally getting cooperates, I expect a great deal of psychic satisfaction coming.

Over the last couple months I’ve enjoyed getting a bunch of such satisfaction. Socially the Queens Cup Steeplechases last month were truly All That, and volunteering my communications skills for three scholastic events with the Community in Schools program was ‘social capital’ well spent.

I don’t really know if anybody got inspired during 3-25 minute talks at Career Day about my being a Writer, but one simple truth I mentioned was, the most important thing I ever wrote was my LinkedIn profile. After years of using it as an electronic resume, changing to a 1-1, tell-the-story-of-Glenn style produced a job offer in ten days, which was a terrific way to start 2019.

Having made a connection with a leader in the Marketing area of my company, I had the opportunity to discuss the benefits of our CBD oil company relative to a super organization called TEAM RUBICON. TR is about ‘veterans and kick-ass civilians’ doing disaster relief missions all over the country and world. It involves lots of intense physical labor, and I suggested our RECOVER product might be an element that would be greatly appreciated and (hopefully) have some PR value.

We’ll see how that rolls. I’m trying to help the world with some bigger stuff too, y’know?gs w-4lookers

Whether or not my golf game comes through in Friday’s captains choice format – three good putts can make you a hero – hey, its a PAID day off. It’s a specious analogy, but I haven’t put any effort into that golf area in a lot longer than I haven’t written a blog.

I may fix that practice thing after taking Mom to church though.

Writing is often about personal pride, and it definitely isn’t always about the money. I’m working on the Next One Thing though, and I promise it won’t take all summer to figure it out and let you know the results.

To all our veterans – and I told this to a couple active duty people in the tent at the Hotwalkers Ball for post-Queens Cup par-tayh! – the collective ‘We’ appreciates your service, and individually you are all loved by many.

Glenn

 

 

 

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About My Dad (and hoping you have similar memories)

Dad at nephew Curtiss’ graduation, 2012 (I think)

Saturday night after our super successful pierogi dinner (we served way over 500), I had a good talk about deceased parents with another Men’s Club member,  including minor stuff like learning how to read maps while being ‘shotgun’ on long road trips as kids, and an undeniable ‘good hair gene’ that means I have fewer silver foxes in my plentiful brown hair at 62 than most. Dad’s ‘good death’ after just two days in the hospital– versus a long, drawn out, painful, expensive, and wearying on family members decline—was six years ago tomorrow, so a few thoughts about Waldo Frederick Shorkey from Son #2:

  • He won a blue ribbon at the Florida State Fair for a terrific secretary (desk) one year, but lost out on the big prize overall to a jewelry box, the only time I can recall him voicing dissatisfaction about unfairness.
  • When I wrote a take-away piece for people attending their 50th anniversary in 2005, the first line was fact that Dad came down the driveway within five minutes of 5:00 every night, a consistency I’ve always told people was my ‘Leave it to Beaver’ life growing up.
  • That he served his country—as did three brothers—despite a noticeably thinner left leg as a result of childhood polio. He met Mom in Tampa while serving on a destroyer escort, and with only periodic visits, they corresponded for three years before she turned 21 and Grandpa Sevigny let her get married. I’m obviously glad that worked out.
  • I brought Mom flowers for my birthday last week, because she always appreciates them, and Dad put together arrangements for many, many years because he knew that.
  • While he rousted four boys early many times to shovel a path down 150 feet of driveway so he could get to work, when we finally got a snowblower, he always told us to shut it OFF! before trying to clear any blockage of the chute. I know at least three guys who lost parts of fingers because they apparently didn’t get (or heed) such obvious advice.
  • In reading some of the journals he kept while traveling after retirement (at 59!) its impossible not to recognize that whether it was a riverboat cruise in Europe, a chance conversation with someone who spoke English there and told he and Mom things of interest, or even the beef-barley soup a friend made–the first thing he was excited about eating in months after his stroke– his written reaction was always that “It was great!”
  • He was a genuinely positive guy, and truly thought highly of by everyone. That my brother Steve said the Belgian family he was an exchange student with always asked how Dad was doing first vs. even Steve’s family, when he visited over the years has to be some kind of proof.
  • He ate vegetables, which he really didn’t like, to be a good example to four boys.
  • Every time someone gives me an attaboy! about being a good son for getting Mom to church for 10:45 Mass, I know Dad would appreciate both parts of that.
  • When I’m thinking about something– like how to make a scene I’m writing work right-er, and I find myself tapping fingers on my left hand, I like to think it’s a signal from Dad, who was a lefty. His tapping the ring I now have on the steering wheel sticks with me.

I bounced the idea of providing a supply of a specific topical rub the company I’ll start work with momentarily (cbdMD) produces to an operation—Team Rubicon, made up of veterans and ‘kick-ass civilians’ doing disaster relief in the U.S. and abroad—because it relieves aches and pains from all that labor in a pretty amazing way. Helping make some small part of the world better seems like a decent way to be a little more like Dad.

And I believe I’ll have some beef barley soup for lunch today.

TSA, HHS, NASA, DOJ, CDC—and GJS—Waiting on Next Check

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We made about 1,200 Polish cookies last night for Pierogi Dinner. Here’s hoping TSA and air traffic controllers take advantage of free dinner offer.

(FYI- GJS is me.)

For sure, many Americans will have personal feeling about Trump’s shutdown of government functions in pursuit of his vanity project wall. IMHO, you can’t broadcast to the nation that, “I’d be proud to wear the mantle…shut it down for border security…Won’t blame it on you,” and keep carping that the other side isn’t negotiating.

Whatever slick remarks I’ve EVER made about Federal employees, being held hostage to one person’s massive ego goes against the basic tenets of ‘serve and protect’ the people.

“Good enough for government work,” was a phrase my Dad never liked, for fairly obvious reasons.

The government paid him decently and on time; it put four boys through college, and he retired at 59, taking a ‘silver bullet’ combination of years of service– including Navy hitch– and age. Nobody EVER expected the U.S. government could be in the economic fix it seems to constantly battle now.

“No, but I know where you can get a bunch of $6,000 toilet seats,” was my brothers freestyle response to people he spoke with about his Army Audit job.

I got a job offer two weeks ago, right on the screws with doing what I truly wanted to (content creation vs. writing), decent bucks and benefits. I do NOT judge the value of benefits lightly. I’ve had a new knee for just over a year, and I’m thankful as hell for the ACA/Obamacare that made it possible.

On a very real Bottom Line, I’m still antsy waiting for the okay to come in and do paperwork because of a background check,  mostly because it’s a situation that I have no control over, and there’s always some holding of breath at times like that. There’s nothing negative to be found in such a check, but you can’t SPEND a job offer, y’know?

Having just turned 62, I guess I’m officially semi-old, but there is no tuition due for kids anywhere, no car payment, and certainly no mortgage. That’s a biggie for sure–I’ve lived with a brother in other half of his house for a couple years, and he *knows* I pay the rent off the top of whatever I bring in, and a share of the phone/cable is usually on time. Insurance and gas, yeah, I got that. Groceries, just mine. I’m not getting bounced if the next period for rent is a little late. All I’m concerned about is how soon the situation moves forward with that background check– its only been two weeks and I’m staying positive.

I read a piece on Facebook where some bozo threw down on ‘unnecessary individuals’ whose duties (Army mostly) they took up easily and did in far less than full time job as a Fed employee, and while that came across as a planted comment from one of those ‘bots (they ARE still screwing with us folks), some fat in Federal employment is neither here nor there about 800,00 hostages and the economic stress that puts on them AND this country.

I hope we comp a hundred dinners tonight. We’ll have done something positive. Getting the call for my paperwork, I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing about that today either. Or tomorrow, or even Monday.

Please, not later than that.

My church social-community group is having a Pierogi Dinner tomorrow, and we’ve reached out to appropriate people about giving free passes to TSA employees with ID and their families. We have always told people at successful Oyster Roasts, fish frys, and during 33 years of Christmas tree sales that the $$ raised stays in Charlotte, and we’re proud of that. Yes, the last couple years we’ve sent contributions (for the beverages we provide) to Eastern North Carolina and a small parish in Houston after huge flooding, because they know who truly needs a couple hundred bucks to survive a situation dumped on them. If we make less of a profit on this event, no problem, the piece we’re breaking off to give some families an evening out with good food and people is being applied in the strongest possible way.

Waiting like this isn’t the worst situation I’ve ever been in. During the Great Recession I survived in retail for seven years, and while the pay sucked, I still drew a check. I can’t imagine how many of my peers with kids in college and mortgages did it, I assume they stole from their future to pay bills during an extended period of hellish stagnation. That old bat in charge of Commerce Department saying without blinking that he can’t understand why furloughed Feds are going to food banks when they *should* be able to get loans against back pay that will (absolutely?) come after things are settled, has to get most of those 800,000 people as mad as it does me, and I technically don’t have a dog in this fight.

This situation is so obviously WRONG, because holding 800,000 people’s lives in the balance is only the tip of the economic iceberg. The whole mentality seems so skewed to screwing, with total tone-deafness to understanding the unreal stress this WORKING WITHOUT PAY brings. (Which butthead said they are *volunteering*?) All those people probably get the money later, but holy pierogies! Batman, there’s no good reason that all of us are suffering because ONE PERSON and some attending enablers are blaming “the other guys” for a political intransigence–nay, a HOSTAGE situation– over a singular point (the wall), that so many were famously and regularly told would be paid for by others.

I hope we comp a hundred dinners tonight. We’ll have done something positive. Getting the call for my paperwork, I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing about that today either. Or tomorrow, or even Monday.

Please, not later than that. My brother deserves a couple bucks from me soon, even if he KNOWS what I’m waiting for.

Following up is *Always* the Most Productive Element to Success

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In a previous post to LinkedIn, I opined about how many, many job candidates could become better represented by recruiters if those job search firms explored how certain extra experiences might improve the view about a ‘skills gap’ better, more in line with specifications a candidates sees as a strength regarding listings.

A central point of that blog was that candidates should– and BETTER– make all extra efforts to keep themselves proactively involved in desirable job opportunities. I haven’t heard about any great improvement regarding the 8-Second Rule, the time an average resume gets attention.

Having reworked my LinkedIn profile the last few weeks, I *know* it strongly and specifically highlights my abilities and experiences MUCH better now. It includes about a dozen high quality blogs and content creation examples, and features a more personal 1-1 reading style versus, well, just an electronic resume for many. I listened to a guy—Tyron Guiliani, an Aussie—on a couple podcasts, and signed up for an hour phone session with him, specifically about creating a more productive site.

FREE is ME! was part of that decision to listen to Tyron as a coach, as was being on line just 3 minutes before the next on-line session was starting.

In short, while I declined to go further with what he described as ‘high four-figures coaching help’ at the end of a terrific sixty minutes phone session, clarifying my expertise as a smooth, conversational profile/Story of Me on LinkedIn was suitably engraved. I point everybody at that profile—I’m proud of it being both a good read and accurate in conveying my background. Here I am.

 Starting the clock on Success

New Year’s Eve afternoon, right before heading out for a little fire pit action and brewskie in Charlotte’s South End, I clicked Fast Apply to send that good profile for a Content Specialist position. The next day, Happy New Year! for real, there’s an e-mail from a Marketing person, can we set up a time to talk. Next day, instead of talk, there’s another e-mail from company stating I wasn’t going to be considered going forward. Say what?

I mulled it overnight, then early the next morning, I did some copy-paste of material from their site and hand-edited it, pointing out specific flaws. I wrote (IMHO) a fine cover letter with bullet points, and suggestions about those weak points I’d circled. Putting those five pages in a manila envelope, I drove it across town, getting to the front doorbell just as the HR person was leaving for lunch. It’s 12:15, I tell her what the contents are, and that I’m sort of not taking fugedabowdit for a final answer.

I’m asking you this seriously— Do you know what you’re worth when you sit in front of a person with the potential  to determine your paycheck, yea or nay?

At 3:30 I get an e-mail from the Director of Content—he’s wowed by my follow-up, and gives me an assignment for the weekend, 750-1000 words about a specific topic relating to their industry; I nailed it with 890, plus about eight links. Two minutes into a phone  interview Wednesday, he says, “We don’t need to do this– are you available tomorrow?”  and Thursday, after a period of exchanging views about career experiences to date (he’s a 2014 grad, I had better stories) we got to the money question.

I’m asking you this seriously— Do you know what you’re worth when you sit in front of a person with the potential  to determine your paycheck, yea or nay? Most of my career, probably not, but as a research fact revealed, the average salary for Content Specialist job titles in Charlotte is in mid-$50s, about 6% less than the national average.

I got the sort of job offer that’s going to reflect economics of value for my professional skills, and the reality of a barely two year-old company. It’s about to catch major momentum as a result of Senate bill (S.2667, The Hemp Farming Act of 2018) getting passed before the impasse about wall. The company is well-financed, its dead-red on my expectations, and my content creation arena is a decent challenge. Oh, with at least a few ‘silver foxes’ in still brown hairline, I’m actually Senior content guy.

I once did 14-20 minute presentations in one day, zapping through everything I needed to convey about a fundraiser to an 800 person foreign language department. I can talk to a couple coming-up-the-ladder writers aaaany time.

Oh yeah, and that benefits thing. I’ve enjoyed a special physical renaissance since knee replacement and rehab last December-March (God bless the ACA), but there’s no problem having something like that paid for by an employer. In a very real way, getting the 100% okay on that left knee Tuesday, how it has fared is just soooo damned reassuring. As a life-long athlete, the twelve years I was kind of a gimp became ONE as a well-preserved sixty-one with a terrific, year-old knee. No more skipping across the street so I don’t get run over.

Fact: January 3rd I hand-delivered a letter to a company regarding a specific Content Creation situation I’d felt strongly enough to originally quick-click as a LinkedIn application just before New Years.

Fact 2: After some back-forth described in that letter, Diligence was rewarded on January 10th. From ground zero to within an acceptable background check of a greatly enhanced, much better compensated professional mission, results came precisely after ACTIONS in doing the follow-up, right?

As for that knee, it looks real different from a grotesque, pre-replacement 2017 version.    bad knee pre surg12-18cut

Don’t think that doesn’t figure into the overall satisfaction 2019 has brought.

Could millions narrow current ‘skills gap’ in job market with better recruiter interviewing?

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Ask ten managers or recruiters what’s most important on a resume, and beyond contact information, you will undoubtedly get ten different answers. Having commented (and even raved about at times) this under-employment situation with numerous people, I’m committing to a discussion about the pitfalls of ‘You must show ACHIEVEMENT, not *just* did things’ mind set.

I haven’t heard about that eight seconds of viewing aspect of recruiters improving – and scanners are still a problem – are certainly a gripe many will have.

I’ll use three examples regarding resumes and delineating production versus achievement relative to executive-administrative associate roles. Those who think millions lack necessary skills probably haven’t explored beyond singular tests adequately with clients.

Having seen articles about the desirability of ‘soft skills’ recently, communications ability doesn’t equate to verifiable ACHIEVEMENT. In my own freelance writing, community involvement projects, and significant sales background, I’ve relied on the Q&A style of determining what needs to be known with rapport building, and handling of whatever blips or situations come up. While having the necessary computer skills–even if not the most current version thereof– is an expectation, being the oil that keeps gears moving smoothly is a strong factor in administrative associates job. When the phone rings, the keyboarding skills take a break.

Many counselors agree a functional resume is legitimate, many others recruiters feel dates, including when NOT working, are still mandatory.

cropped-1000wd-picture-beyond-resume2As a temporary employee ‘back in the (pre-recession) day’, I became the primary coordinator for a quarterly meeting of a 185-person Master Servicing group, after replacing an executive associate that handled three vice-presidents.

Determining the site, menu and costs for lunch, the AV equipment setups, which logo-ed gift participants would receive, and team building exercises were all wrapped in the project.

It doesn’t have to just be your achievement if you worked in collaboration.

While there was a sub-set of nine or ten others who helped with coordination (especially the gift, a sweet, extra-large umbrella with padded grip from the corporate catalog I still have), it was my job to get the major factors together.

The ballroom location and equipment needs became essentially free once the luncheon cost ($17 x 185= approx. $34,000) was negotiated, and proved a no-brainer to green-light when presented to the veep with oversight responsibility. The lunch banquet worked smoothly, and a scavenger hunt for the team building exercise proved brilliant. The lady who didn’t put a printout in her team’s box by ‘3-2-1-zero!’ as everyone counted down the end of exercise certainly won’t forget it.

It was clearly an achievement, and while banks were fat and it was almost a blank check on budget,  quantifying the magnitude of a similar Great Job! shouldn’t be missed. It’s not fair to you to lump that under an ordinary job description. Take some space on a resume to make sure you draw attention to any similar ability to handle complex or out-of-the-ordinary situations.

In a multi-functional job as Customer Service Administrator, I interfaced with three mutually exclusive data bases, had over-sight and justification of eight technicians hourly and travel expenses, and researched customer billing questions (the techs weren’t always great on documentation). Putting together $30,000-60,000 consignment orders of parts for new locations and call backs were secondary to a full load administratively.

Varied as the factors were though, there’s still nothing that smacks of that all important ‘Achievement’ at an administrative level.

Recognizing the Parts Department was often asked by customers to diagnose what part of a machine had failed, I utilized my writing skills to create a ‘Parts Ordering and Return Policies’ piece, which became that out of the ordinary ‘achievement’.

Diagnosing was a Service function, so codifying how the company wanted callers– generally the guys in the pits with machines, not office personnel– to present needs in 1st, 2nd, 3rd best ways to determine the required part improved process efficiency for the Parts Department.

It took a lot of time, but distilling a comprehensive 1,325 user mailing list from an 18,000 machine database and disseminating those ordering-return procedures became a quantifiable ‘value added achievement.’ Projects like that aren’t about knowing the most current software, its more about showing initiative. That’s a quality potential employers will only recognize if it’s presented on a resume early and somehow as a scannable line of copy. That isn’t always easy, its just what’s needed though, so work it.

During a reorganization of a 105-person Purchasing Department, I was tasked to the change coordinator and became a point of contact for five Team Leaders. Multiple executives or managers is frequently included in position descriptions for administrative associates. Beyond creating and disseminating all new policies through the e-mail system, where does quantifying come in?

Take some space on a resume to make sure you draw attention to an ability to handle complex or out-of-the-ordinary situations.

Well, rewriting an environmental assessment questionnaire was a difference maker. While the vast majority of preparing 150 hefty binders of information for a chemical safety conference was keeping two copying machines operating, at the time it was a two-day rush order that would’ve taken two weeks notice for a corporate print shop. There wasn’t a data file with all the information to tap and go with for desktop publishing.

NOW comes the scanning snafus and eight seconds of attention factor by recruiters, who we *know* are trying to fill a specific need for their clients. Many still won’t sit with someone to determine the ‘extras’ their experience or under-utilized skills might amount to if known about.

Many counselors agree a functional resume is legitimate, many others recruiters say dates, including when NOT working, are still mandatory.  While a uniquely formatted resume is often acceptable– LinkedIn does one– many operations still throw things in a scanner that will not be your friend when parsing.

As a small, reasonable fix, I’ll sincerely offer this: FOLLOW UP with anything you send.

Unlike the NASCAR application I came across with a 2,000 word limit to describe ‘Career Experiences,’ applications usually lack flexibility to include ‘other stuff’. Recruiters might have less resumes than during the depths of the recession, but still too many for every position, and they’re focused on getting a payoff. Your being eliminated because they didn’t see an EXACT match for their job order that included ‘achievement’ will happen far too often if YOU don’t put yourself in the mix more substantially.

Hoping TODAY! is the day a recruiter discovers a unique, shining example of someone whose paper portrait (your’s) includes a factor they hadn’t considered, hmmm. What’s more legitimate is calling them and offering an explanation of experience regarding whatever drew your attention to a potential position. (Yes, maybe you should have included that in a cover letter.)

When you’re looking for a better job, making the time to create the best possible– and hopefully unique– picture of what you offer is a factor every expert agrees about.

Even if you think writing that extra couple lines will never get seen, doing less is seldom if ever going to win the day.

A ‘Tweener’ Feeling About Christmas

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First off, I’m not a Grinch-type, nor do I have an attic full of ornaments and lights and reindeer waiting to be planted on the front lawn. I have yet to try peppermint latte, and while I have a red stocking hung by the chimney with care, its more because my Dad made them for all four boys about 1,000 (okay, 50-something) years ago, with our names in felt and a glittery star at the toe. Putting it up is a reminder how we– and I include family and the many, many friends he treated so kindly– miss his cookies and good cheer. Like Santa Claus, everybody liked Dad.

Several cousins are coming to visit this holiday season, mostly because they want to be with Mom, who at 84 moved to the assisted living side at her senior community at the end of August, but hopefully because we haven’t seen each other in a while. Frank– who was Skip for the first thirty years I knew him– retired this year, and he is financially set to do whatever the heck he wants over the next couple years. He even mentioned going to Minnesota for some *really* cold weather, not something you normally hear from a true Florida Boy. He’s got three terrific kids, as do two of my brothers, Steve and David.

That’s where the ‘Tweener’ thing comes in, because having someone truly special in life to share such times with is way ahead of wondering what you can or should be considering gift-wise. While I could actually use a new basketball, how fully I’ll throw myself into this season of cheer is open to debate. I’ll drink your spiked egg nog, I’m good with any Woman who wants to walk around with some mistletoe and surprise me– hopefully its a worthwhile kiss– and I travel with a small bag of food behind the seat in case I run across someone on a street corner who needs a break from that necessary worry, even for a day. I’ve got six stamps on hand, so a couple people get cards.

late crewdoes tree12-17Okay, I just signed up for a Hawai’ian pig roast, and my experience on that is, no problem smiling about next Saturday. Brother Steve has an oyster roast on 23rd, and THAT’S always a winner, with enough testosterone–guys only at this event–  to float a battleship. Our church group’s 33rd annual Christmas tree sale ends in a couple days, and that’s been an uplifting experience, too.

The hitch of not being a Grinch– a role that’s soooo easy to slip into– or (overly) Super Positive Person for holidays– is over-thinking the Why not? that kind of comes with being a single guy, mistletoe or not. Yeah, yeah, I know its supposed to be about the Christ child’s birth, Peace on Earth-Good Will towards Men (and all other categories of humanity), but isn’t there some “What about me?” when you see a hottie elf nuzzling a geeky guy in one of those super-ridiculous tree lights suits? Without being disrespectful of the many who have much less, not having a couple things to open and wow! at someone’s thoughtfulness for getting it (or perhaps a negative if you recognize its a re-gifting with zero thought), that you’re getting the coffee on (as usual) and hanging out till church, football games and dinner is a relative downer.

It doesn’t seem legitimate to protest that things aren’t exactly as you’d want them to be

When brother Dave, Donna, Maria, Curtiss and his wife, Stephanie came down a couple Glenn w-captainsyears ago it was a great couple days, and even the recent Thanksgiving I got to participate in with twenty others in Gastonia, with food and beverage aplenty, was a harbinger of why many find the holidays somewhat depressing: It doesn’t last. We watch Trump being good (for Trump, no excessive butthead Twitter-ing, and there’s got to be PLENTY on his pea-pickin’ mind right now) at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral for a couple days, but there’s no doubt in our minds that’s going to change real damn soon, right? You don’t expect a three-year old grandchild to be perfect after the 26th either.

In the bigger picture, it doesn’t seem legitimate to protest that things aren’t exactly as you’d want them to be at a specific time. I pity the millions who will make New Years resolutions for 2019, knowing that 99.7% of whatever weight, job, relationship, economic, personal or altruistic promises they make to the Universe or whomever they’re accountable to in their goal-setting awaits failure. I’ve never worried about ten pounds too much-not tanned enough for swim suit season, never sworn I’d move into a perfect new, high-paying job before New Years. I loved the insurance commercial about Mayhem, who was resigned to doing the mundane safety stuff until he found out resolutions rarely make it very far into the new year, because he could be his regular self, the pressure was off at that point.

Of *COURSE* I’ve asked for the stockings I put in my stocking to be filled appropriately with a desirable Her. What I’m going to be glad about is Mom still recognizing me (most of the time) when I pick her up for church, for Mike, who never asks for the rent money absolutely on time (unless its poker week), and if he fixes the head he broke off the choir boys cutout, I’ll be glad to put it on the porch and put some framing tree lights in the window behind them. I’ll kiss under any mistletoe when prompted, just because. I’ll watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (original version) with spiked egg nog and know I’m not him,  watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and consider whether I’m that kind of difference maker in other peoples lives. I will *never* say “Bah, humbug!”

That it probably only takes getting another good gig work-wise (half a loaf is still good) to brighten things brings HOPE, and isn’t that what the season is truly about? Positive expectations people, and Season’s Greetings! to all who might need a little extra cheering to make it though. I’m not a Grinch, you probably aren’t either. Tweener isn’t *bad*, not with all the alternatives and/or blessings we have to help us over The Small Stuff.

And while you’re up, could you get me another egg nog?

 

 

 

Yes, America, it’s that Simple

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No, this isn’t a post-election apocalypse, just the end of our Oyster Roast.

Thanksgiving Day I stopped by the fire station around the corner, and was glad the crew chief remembered me from bringing meatballs & sauce dinners a couple years ago. I brought dinners several times to two stations as a committed Thank you! for having given me another Christmas with my Dad at one point. I’d stopped by to say thanks over the years, finally decided I could do better.

I offered the hope that all their brothers trying to stop California from being a huge torch- and whatever calls Big 3 had for the day- were safe.

curt-stef-photo-bombThe next point isn’t about nephew Curtiss and Steph’s picture (I just really like it), it’s a straight-up, 180-degree political turn-around on Facebook with a guy from high school. Hard core Republican, I guess, but mostly on side of how athletes disrespect the flag version Trump flogged vs. freedom of speech and NOT what the kneeling was about, which was awareness of how many young black men were being shot to death by white police officers.

As many have noted, only VIETNAM has split large parts of America (as cynically planned by administration here in 2018) in recent memory, although those Stoneman-Douglas kids anti-gun tour certainly brought massive crowds into the streets– over 700 marches in one weekend

We can agree to disagree, on a factor that shouldn’t have split people so effectively.

I always mention ‘Nam was overrun the spring of my senior year in high school, 1975. I never served, all four guys in my Dad’s line did. Respect for those who serve has nothing to do with the message of kneeling, a pointed, silent event, not what Trump brands it with S.O.B! flourish. We can agree to disagree, on a factor that shouldn’t have split people so effectively.

On Facebook I mentioned dropping by that fire station, thanking them for service as first responders, and Tony Malizia, the long-time Air Force- 39 years– with stripes to the elbow for each three year hitch–guy from HS wrote it was cool what I’d done, they were the real heroes.

He also wrote that he’s taken politics out of previous gear, that  the country had so much more that bound us, which is certainly how we’d all like to live. I responded that was why I’d essentially reached out. For a lot of reasons, our COUNTRY is going to need to pull in same direction, heal and not commit continuous-contentious stressing. It seems likely indictments or publication of what could-should be damning stuff from Mueller’s investigation will upset the United States a while longer, and I believe Chief Justice Roberts, “We don’t have Obama judges or Trump judges…” even if everything Kavanaugh does will be under a microscope.

I’m heartened by how, under close examination (almost, sorry GA) every step of the way, there was absolutely NO DOUBT how America felt about VOTING for change. Don’t relax and think 2020 won’t be just as contentious people.

That tribe in the Dakotas that  managed to abide by having addresses, and people providing transportation so their voting counted, INSPIRATIONAL.

Like the judge said, “Both sides should turn down the rhetoric.” If I’m right in thinking it only took agreeing to disagree about the message or disrespect of pro athletes kneeling, we’re kind of back on a regular track. I mentioned going to school with the guy, right? He was a lightweight wrestler, Bob Massaroni’s best bud from forever.

Thank you again for your service.

Yes, America, that simple.