Friday, June 29, 2007

Happy 29th of June

I had someone at the doctor's office say, "have a happy holiday" and it stopped me in my tracks.
Holiday? What holiday is it? Is one coming up?

Then I remembered that Independence Day was around the corner. It took me awhile because that's not on my top 10 holidays list. After St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Flag day...there just aren't many holidays that I think about a whole lot.

I do like the fact that we've changed Independence Day and identified it by the actual date. I wonder if we could get the same thing going for December 25th. Merry December 25th everyone!

Just a thought.

I've always thought it was interesting that we celebrate Labor Day by not working. I guess it's not any more quirky than celebrating Jesus resurrecting from the dead by hiding plastic eggs.

The thing about the Fourth of July is that people tend to think two things - fireworks and picnics. Primarily it's the fireworks. Every time I watch fireworks I think, this is the same thing with different colors over and over again. You could basically do this whole deal in two minutes - show all of the different tricks and colors...but you're going to put music to it and stretch it out for twenty, aren't you?

I think I'd like them better if there were helicopters flying above. It'd be like when you're at the driving range and the golf cart guy is out there sweeping up the loose balls. I'm guessing the fireworks wouldn't actually hurt a helicopter - but it'd be fun just to see a target. Maybe they could just put up a tethered balloon or something...although helium and fireworks might be bad.

Oh well, have a happy 29th of June!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

wheel of fortune at 6, followed by nap...

I've always thought it was interesting when I'd talk to an elderly person and they'd tell me about what they had going on. I had an 84 year old friend in Middletown who used to tell me how crazy her week was.

"I've got a doctor's appointment on Thursday and then I'm expecting a package on Saturday...and if that wasn't enough, I'm going out to lunch next Monday"

I just always thought it was funny how busy they felt when they had maybe 3 or 4 things going on in one week.

This was my week. I've been home with the kids since Monday morning and found myself thinking that today was the big day because I have a doctor's appointment at 1:30. I really was thinking through what my day was like and how it revolved around this one thing I had to do.

I've said a few times that I know plenty of people who aren't that busy, but don't know anyone who doesn't think they're busy....and now I know why.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sugar bucks

"Starbucks isn't in the business of selling coffee"

me: huh?

coffee guy: Yeah, they're more into selling dairy products and sugar.

I wasn't sure what he was talking about. He's the guy I know that gets insider trade magazines about coffee. He could give college lectures on international coffee competitions and why you want your coffee to brew for a certain amount of time...and what it should smell like, and even look like.

He's really into it.

I asked him how starbucks does in those international competitions and he just kind of laughed.

Apparently that's like asking a food expert how McDonald's did at the international competition of fine dining.

"they have Batista's from around the..."
me: "oh, Batista's like at Starbucks?"

No, Starbucks doesn't really have Batista's. All of their machines are automated...they have people who pour drinks"

me: really don't like Starbucks, do you?
No, I appreciate that they're bringing coffee to the marketplace.

I thought it was interesting and then happened upon this article from the times - apparently a frappucino is the equivalent of a McDonald's coffee with 11 creams and 29 packets of sugar. It's a coffee flavored milkshake. There are as many calories in a venti cafe mocha with whipped cream as in a quarter pounder with cheese.

People pay for that kind of deal. I'm guessing they'd rather pay someone to put 29 packets of sugar in my coffee than to sit there and do it myself while realizing what they're ingesting.

I was in meetings all last week with folks who walked right by a machine with freshly roasted coffee (fair trade and better quality beans) to go out and get overpriced, over roasted coffee
and I couldn't figure it out. I'm guessing it's quicker to drive to Starbucks than to spend 20 minutes tearing open those sugar packets...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

we're's just true

You want to start an argument. Mention that guys are generally going to do better at sports than girls. They're bigger, faster, stronger...

Some people will say, "Well sure, there are more men competing in sports, attending sports camps and obviously men and women are built it just makes sense"

some will say, "You jerk! You couldn't be more of a sexist!"

There are high school boys who would win the Olympics if they competed as women (although they'd look kind of silly in those bikini-suits they wear). It's because men and women are built differently. I saw the boys from Middletown H.S. run the 4 X 100 and they were about a second faster than the women's world record...because there are some differences between boys and women...and that's ok.

Now what's weird to me is when men and women compete in different categories in games (as opposed to sports) - like when you see a women's division in shooting pool on ESPN 7. I would guess that maybe they're on equal footing in billiards. I'd say they're on equal footing in race car driving. I'd say they're on equal footing in Monopoly.

Don't get mad....we're different. It's ok. Pretending that we're not to keep the peace isn't a good idea.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Vacation starts today. Annie is headed to Tennessee and I'll be hanging with three great kids for the week.

Cooper is kind of sick (and I've been nursing a sore throat for over a month now) and we'll miss the heck out of Annie, but otherwise I think it'll be a great week.

Two days ago Griff came into the house and said, "I decorated the mailbox daddy!". I thought that was nice and was getting ready to go out and see it (thinking stickers or one of his drawings taped to it) when he said, "I painted it blue!" That sped up my tour a bit. In fact my mom and Annie both got up to see his work.

He painted it blue. Actually there were only blue spots. Mostly he painted the mailbox It's the kind of color you'd paint your mailbox post if you wanted your neighbors to know you're a professional clown...or your parents didn't pay enough attention to you as a child.

He created either something my neighbors will wonder about or a project for me to cover up - but I loved it. I couldn't help but think it was hilarious that he thought it'd be all right to go out and get some paint and just start painting.

That's what some kids do. They just do stuff. I found his bike leaning up against our van yesterday...and a one inch gash in the side of the van where the metal end of the handlebar was resting.

I have a ridiculously expensive hand-made guitar that's worth more than my van - but since I have kids - I have to hide it in the basement.

Kids just do stuff to stuff. Sometimes it's kind of annoying, but I still think the mailbox deal was pretty awesome.

So if you'd like your mailbox know where to call.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

one day at a time

I picked up the glass and hesitated for a few seconds. Should I call Annie....or Alton first?

It'd been awhile and I hadn't had one in so long it just felt wrong to pick up the glass. I told myself I was done...but it turns out I wasn't.

On March 28th I stopped drinking....Diet Coke. I didn't want to have any more carbonation (bad for your oxygen absorption) Aspartame (bad for your not dying or getting Alzheimer's) or caffeine (not great for your heart) or overpriced flavored water (no matter how delicious....because it's bad for your wallet)

I've saved probably $32 or so (money that can go to something better) and haven't died of brain cancer or had a heart attack. It's been close to three months without a diet coke and I sure do miss that sweet sweet mistress and her delicious carbonation.

So last night I gave in. The crazy thing is that I honestly considered calling someone and having them talk me down. There's this overpriced book that talks about "the greatest question of all time" and it all boils down to asking yourself, "what's the wise thing to do?" If you ask yourself that question before you do anything, and then act'll avoid a lot of pain and mistakes.

I didn't ask myself that question. I didn't call anybody to have them talk me down. I gave in.

So today I'm off to my DCFA (Diet Coke Freaks Anonymous) meeting and I guess I'll lose my 60 day button.

just one day at a time..

Thursday, June 21, 2007


T-ball is officially over for the Lakota Eagles.

Some quick stats.

Our team batted .987 - which is pretty good.

we had 432 singles, 19 doubles, 1 triple and 14 homeruns.

We were 0-0-15

We recorded 27 outs.

We had 16 snack times.

We built 48 sand castles.

We kicked up 253 sandstorms.

We had an average attendance of 52 fans.

We had one official photographer.

We had one "banquet" held at Ci Ci's - the choice of fine diners across this beautiful country....or at least diners who don't mind bland, greasy pizza.

I'll always remember my time as the head coach of the Lakota Eagles.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

seriously? (Jana stole that from me)

So four of our 21 buses took off yesterday with no passengers.

Why would you do that bus company?

Well, you were supposed to leave at 11am and you weren't on the buses until 11:08., that seems like a reasonable time lapse to get 800 people on buses.

Yeah, but we had to pick summer school kids up at 11:30.

come again

Yeah, we had summer school kids scheduled at 11:30.

Even though we had folks going to Clifton, Monroe, and all over Cincinnati?


That seems like a mistake....

So to make up for it - the bus company sent us a bus in the afternoon....for the middle of the day when we didn't really need it. I guess they figured that if a restaurant screws up, they give you a free dessert.

So we had a big shiny school bus sit in our parking lot for an afternoon....and that was our free dessert. I guess that makes it all ok.

Monday, June 18, 2007

eyes on the prizes

96 hours of SOS left. Ironic that it's the "summer of service" but lasts five days. Four and a half really. Actually, five hours for four days of service...unless you count lunch...and travel time....and um...well, calling it 12 hours of service just doesn't have the same ring to it.

In all honesty, it's a conference that pushes the idea of spending your whole summer serving others. It might start with 12 hours in Cincinnati...but what if it went beyond that?

Maybe it'd be a whole summer...maybe a lifetime?

It's a nice thought.

Next year we'll call it L.O.S. (lifetime of service)

you heard it here first...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Today is Father's day. I've been pretty lucky in the father, grandfathers and sons category. I had a champion golfer grandpa, a really bad golfer grandpa who was a champion story teller, a dad that was good at anything he tried (except golf) and I'm the dad to three great kids.

Beyond that - we all have a "Father in Heaven" that loves us more than the best of dads.

There's a pretty good picture of how much God loves us in the book of Hosea. In the book, God asks Hosea to go and "woo" or love, a certain girl. The first problem he has here is the girl's name is "Gomer" .....seriously? You want me to go love a girl named Gomer?
The other problem is she's kind of a floozy. The kind of gal that wears too much eye makeup and charges guys by the hour. (ask Fuller if you don't know what I'm talking about)

So Hosea goes and loves this girl despite her past and despite her awful name. He marries her and treats her like a queen. All is well, until she starts sleeping around again. She prostitutes herself again...and I can't imagine anything worse for Hosea. He loves her and she treats him like that. If you've ever struggled with jealousy - it can be the worst feeling ever.

So Hosea's probably a little ticked...and then God tells him to go back and "woo" her with his love.

Eventually that's our story with God. He continues to woo us with his love. We prostitute ourselves and fall in love with money, jobs, screwed up relationships, ourselves....and God just keeps wooing us with His love -despite our junk.

We've all got a pretty great dad...

Friday, June 15, 2007

a new catchphrase

I was talking about a new catch phrase with a friend last night. He suggested, "and you can take that to the bank!" complete with a pointed finger. I suggested adding "mister" at the end. The bottom line is that's been around for awhile, but like "I'm going to give you a knuckle sandwich" I'd like to see some of the classics come back.

I'm trying to keep the awkward high five, with people too insecure to actually lift their hand above their head, alive.

I'd like to see "you go girl" and "you rock" go away...that's just me. I feel like they've had their time and like "achy breaky heart" have worn out their welcome.

I'd like for people us "book" or "bookin" to describe how fast they were running. We were booking down the street - or - I had to book on out of there.

Maybe you could help me get that one out there on the street.

I know I shouldn't - but I can't not laugh when I hear, "that hurt like a mutha". It brings me some sort of moment of humor when people describe pain as a "mutha". I assume those are people too classy to end the hyphenated expression.

I'd also like to start a new one like the new guy on the Office tried with a "Shrute" as in, "you really Shruted that one".

I'm just stuck in which direction to go....something to think on I guess.

and you can take that to the bank

Thursday, June 14, 2007

six more days

I'd like to go back to the 24 color crayola box. I get diversity. I understand there are different shades...but come on. I want to say colors like Black, Red, Blue and not midnight, rose or sky.

I get that I just want to dumb down the system because I don't want to spend time learning new names. I know that it's selfish, but who's in with me?

You could say dark red, or light blue if you want...but let's just make that as far as we go.

I think we can agree with the Quakers on this one - simple is beautiful.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

world revolves around my general area

I know that the one word that everyone loves best (according to a bunch of science geeks that have done many studies about such things) is their own name (even dan kalbach...."hi this is dan kalbach, you can leave me a message and I'll call back....get back is like kalbach" it's his answering message, you'll have to ask him).

So you'd think I'd spend more time trying to remember people's names, but I'm busy (see previous post) and incredibly important. I'm so important that I can show up late to meet you, because my time is more important than yours. It's understandable that someone as busy as me doesn't have time to remember the thousands of names of people who come to me for various things (money, advice, socks, how to include a bunch of these ( ) in a post).

It's always interesting to think about how much time people spend ruminating on even the simplest of compliments. Apparently that's a really big deal to people. It's hard though to take 7 seconds from thinking about me and instead thinking about what the great things about this person I'm looking at are....

I guess that'd make a difference in their day if I took those 7 seconds and actually asked, "what's happening in their life that's really exceptional?" "What's a bigger deal than how nice their shoes are or how high their collar is up?" I guess if I were to verbalize some of the things in their life that were worth noting, that might actually stick with them for a few hours.

It might cheer them up if they're having a rough day. It might keep them going a little longer on a long day. It might just take an average "C" day and turn it into a "B" or a "B+" or an "A-" or a "pass" or an "A" or a....I guess you get the point.

too bad I'm too darn focused on me and all of my stuff.

ah well...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

two for Tuesday

Big day today. I get to follow a work day with a work night. We figured that since next week will be one of our busiest weeks all year, we'd have me speak somewhere tonight, have a t-ball game tomorrow night, friends over for dinner on Thursday and then go to a two day seminar on Friday and Saturday.
This will give us a day to get our house ready for three guests who are staying with us next week....while we're hosting a week long conference....that I'm speaking at....and we're dumb.

So I have this little speaking engagement tonight that I haven't really prepared for (is that bad?). Unfortunately I have a full day of meetings and work to do so I'm not going to get a ton of time today to pull some things together. Maybe I could have Dave guest speak and tell his Bumper story (have you heard it yet?)

Busy = important
you know that right?

I'm incredibly busy - ergo, I'm incredibly important.

I'm also incredibly smart - ergo, I use the word "ergo".

Oh sure you could argue that there are busier people out there (Bob Saget, Kate Blanchett, Tom Delay) and I concede that they are even more important than me...but I'm still really important.
And let's see them use words like "ergo" or "pedantic" or "pasta-like". I'm here to tell you that I use big words and have lots of meetings all the time.

I'm really not sure why I'm not the president of this planet.

Someday....oh yes, someday sweet friends.

As for today, I'm hoping to get some things done....maybe have a pasta-like lunch.

Monday, June 11, 2007


my back is out...

actually I don't really know what that means. I mean, it's right here. It didn't leave. I'm guessing that means it's out of alignment...yeah, that makes sense.

In any case it hurts. Apparently your back is kind of a key deal because you can't really adjust to a different position when you're sleeping and all of a're comfortable.

It affects everything.

I'm already thinking about the chiropractor. They catch a lot of flak from a lot of people who don't know better. Chiropractors actually study anatomy more than M.D.'s do. They've helped me when I've thrown out my back in the past and doctor's often just throw pills at me.

I go to the spa-aaaah. I avoided it for over a year even though it's walking distance to my work and they don't require appointments. I didn't go near the place because it looked like a naughty massage parlor and I've been avoiding Fuller for months. Anyhow, I called the closest doctor that was in my insurance plan (I should put insurance in quotes) and sure enough they answered the phone, "it's a great day at the spa!". At that point I just went because it was close and I could get in right away. Turns out it's a legitimate place that can fix things.

It is interesting how defensive a lot of chiropractors can be. I've been to about a dozen different ones over the years and a couple of them have charts up proving their credentials and education. I'm not just talking about their degrees - they've got lists of classes they'd taken, how long they'd studied, what their time in the 40 was....the list goes on and on. (people usually say that near the end of their lists)

So I'm off to get my back cracked. When they crank your neck around, it makes the actual sound that you hear when you watch someone get adjusted on's no joke, and it works.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

it pays to ask questions

I bought some attractive Ohio license plates yesterday.

The thing that threw me was that they charged me $79 for the plates. When I asked why it was so much, I was told that I was paying for a full year + 14 days because my birthday hadn't passed yet.

"But the plates say June, not the date in June"

"Yes, but we know your birthday is on the 19th"

"will it say that on the expiration date?"


"Um, how much would it be if I came back in a couple of weeks?"


"isn't that about $4.50 a month?"

breaks out the calculate....."um....yeah, just about"

"So to get my $54 worth of plate use and an extra half month I have to pay an extra six months?"

"yes, I guess you do"

So I just used Annie's birthday and saved $27. I guess it pays to ask questions...

I've got a great deal for you

If you're looking for a great guitar - you should check this one out:
great guitar

the great thing about it is "it did not get played heavily as it was hanging in a musicians collection while he toured internationally"

How cool is that?

I should mention, in the interest of full disclosure that this wasn't really hanging in a musicians collection while he toured internationally. It was hanging in a friend of mine's collection...and he's a musician - in that he can play guitar and sing - but not in the sense of, "Hey let's go pay $14 to go see Stacy play". The only international touring he's really a part of - is going oversees to adopt a child.

The thing is - he had his guitar stolen in State College, Pa a little while ago. Fast forward to e-bay item #290123497259. It has the same look, same little problems, same little features, same.... serial number...
you could make a good case that this is probably the same guitar that was stolen from him.

And now the guy has the guts to sell it on e-bay....from State College.

So anyhow, I've heard's a great guitar. You might consider buying it...just passing it along.

I was going to e-mail the seller, but my e-bay account name has Centre County in it, and that might give away the fact that I might know he sold it. So if you want to e-mail the seller and tell him you'll be driving through Pennsylvania on your way to NY on vacation...maybe you could get him to agree to meet you to purchase it.

It'd be like a little blog based sting. You'll be Paul Newman without the salad dressing and Stacy will be Robert Redford without the film festival.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

silly I tell you

Lou Piniella is a grown man who wears an incredibly tight baseball uniform even though he doesn't play. It'd be like a wrestling coach coming out in a singlet for a match...or a football coach coming out padded up. Silly.

The ridiculous thing about Lou is he had a little meltdown in front of tens of thousands of people who spent a bunch of money to see these baseball players play ball. He did what they teach you at baseball manager school. They tell you that arguments in baseball aren't like they are in real life.

You get one inch from the person's nose and yell while shaking your head violently. Ever see anyone do that in the real world?

You also kick dirt onto the person's shoes to let them know you really know what you're talking about. It gives you credibility.

Lou kicked it up a notch....he also repeatedly kicked a hat...his own hat. It's almost like he was saying, "Pardon me, but you were 25 feet closer to the play than I was...and you do this for a living...but to prove to you that I'm a man who knows what he's talking about...I'm going to kick my hat...repeatedly."

I'd suspend him at least for 10 games. I know that it's somehow a "part of the game" to have managers throw bases, kick hats, kick dirt onto the umpire while standing one inch from him...but in basketball they'd toss you from the game and give you a least. There'd be a severe penalty that'd cost your team something. In tennis you'd forfeit a game.

It's just silly to say that because it's baseball, it's not ridiculous to act like a bratty four year old.

Monday, June 04, 2007

why focus on the differences?

I was at a group discussion of different religions yesterday. I met an incredibly nice man from India who happened to be visiting from India. He was a Hindu and I am a Christian, and we had a pretty good and respectful discussion about our respective faiths.

What was interesting to me was how adamant a guy in the crowd was that we don't spend any time discussing the differences of the different religions...he wanted to talk about the similarities.

I've heard many times the argument, "there are many paths to the top of the mountain, and all are equally valid" and heard yesterday, "there are many side streets that lead to the destination, but they all end at the same place". That was the first time I'd heard it said that way...but basically it's the same old argument.

Yesterday the similarities and differences were both brought up. Some of these religions/cults/beliefs have a monotheistic view. Most believe that you have to do something to get right with God. Most believe that there is an afterlife. There are tons of similarities. But the minute the differences were brought up - people would get immediately defensive.

The facts are that there are significant differences. To pretend that there aren't would be to be intellectually dishonest. I'm not sure I understand the idea of whistling a happy tune while we all pretend that we believe the same things.

We don't. That's ok. We can all still get along. We can vote for different people and still love one another. We can believe that the team with five Lombardi trophies is vastly superior to the team with one winning season in the last 20 years and still hang out for dinner on Tuesday night.

We're different and that's just true. How would pretending we all believe the same thing help?

Friday, June 01, 2007

she's the best

If you happen to see a beautiful girl with three great kids strolling through your neighborhood...and the kids keep shouting, "Happy Birthday Mom!" you'll probably wonder why her husband isn't with her celebrating her big day.

Because I have to work...until 10....PM.

So instead of spending this day celebrating her birth, I'm writing this blog post. I figure that's a half step above a Hallmark e-card.

We do this training weekend every three months. It happens to hit on our ServeFest weekend...and also happens to hit on when I'm leading a training...and speaking at an event. I just can't get out of everything this weekend to do something extra special for this awesome girl I get to spend my life with.

So I'm writing this blog post. I figure it's about a step above 5 index cards that say, "this is good for one back scratch".

So if you see Annie today, wish her a Happy Birthday. I don't want to imply that she's superstitious and really gives any power to your wishes (even you Ezmerelda) but it's a nice sentiment, isn't it?