IRL Friends Rock

I may have indicated in prior posts that I don’t have a lot of friends in my daily life (“in real life” or IRL). Tons of friends online (whom I’ve sadly neglected since quitting social media after the Dark Day In November better known as the US Presidential Election of 2016), but only a scarce few whom I see day to day. So IRL encounters with my (mostly) online friends are rare and special. 

Last week, while traveling on business, I was lucky to get to spend time with a couple who have been wonderful friends to me, especially in their support during my coming out. Not only did we have a great meal at a cool place in the community, supporting an LGBT local business, but the sheer delight in seeing their smiling faces, hearing their news and sharing real experiences together was truly enriching. 
Then, later in the week, they graciously welcomed me into their home to be a part of a fun cultural experience. It was Robert Burns Night and I was privileged to partake in my friends’ first Burns Night supper hosted in their new home. Yes folks, I ate “haggis, neeps, and tatties” and enjoyed it very much. I also listened to two Burns poems recited in an authentic Scottish brogue by a genuine Scotswoman, geeking out appropriately. The food was delicious. The company was outstanding in their gracious hospitality and festive spirit. The experience was a once-in-a-lifetime joy that will bolster my spirits through the rest of this dreary, cold winter. 

In a setting as lovely as Southern California in January, and with the kindness of friends with whom to share part of the week, I could not fail to have thoroughly enjoyed my trip. In addition to these festivities, I found time every day to sit outside and soak up a little sunshine, storing it away for those grey, chilly winter days to come. The sunshine and friend-time made an otherwise tedious business trip, filled with demanding sales people, bearable. 

Here’s to IRL friends and stolen moments in the sunshine!


5 Things

Here’s a quick list-y post to keep my posting streak alive. I’ll do a more substantive one soon, but don’t want to miss my weekly target. So here are 5 things I want you to know:

  1. A chance to get some sunshine and a break from snow and ice is a welcome reprieve in mid-winter. I’m lucky to be enjoying a week in San Diego for my company’s Global Kickoff and have found at least 10 minuets each day so far to sit quietly and enjoy the sun.
  2. Apparently quinoa is real food and not fake food. I had some today and didn’t die. Or puke. Second time in my life trying it, I think. Feels like an achievement.
  3. Even straight guys appreciate a well-tied bow tie. I’ve only been asked to teach or tie one for one person this year. Maybe my annual Kickoff bow tie tying tutorials are finally paying off!
  4. Never trust an event planner when they tell you not to worry about preparing remarks because you won’t have to speak on stage this year. You always have to. Just assume that before you go to the event. Avoids the crushing disappointment of getting called to the stage at the last moment. 😅
  5. Friends who encourage you and support you and bravely offer to help with even the most delicate issues without a concern for their own embarrassment or discomfort are rare and awesome. I’ve been blessed with such friends. What a lucky Butch I am!

Vanity, thy name is Butch

Ok, here’s a quick one…

I believe the old adage that confession is good for the soul –  it builds character to admit to weaknesses and foibles. So here’s my confession:  I froze my head today out of sheer vanity. 

The middle of January in the American Midwest means it’s coooooold outside. Not just chilly. Frigid. The kind of cold that goes bone-deep and stays there. Windy, cutting, painful cold. That’s why I normally bundle up, with a hat, scarf, gloves and leather coat. 

But I had a great hair day today! Most days the best I get is just ok hair. But today I had stylish, shapely, awesome, quintessentially butch hair. Paired with a crisply pressed dress shirt and a rockin’ bow tie and Levi’s that are just the right shade of blue and new leather boots…I had the rare experience of feeling truly dapper, authentically Butch. 

I just couldn’t bring myself to crush that great hair with my stocking cap. So my head and ears froze and ached most of the day. But, man! I totally nailed the dapper thing, so it was worth it. 

I’ll wear the vanity label if it means I get a chance at another great hair day. 😎


So I told myself that posting something, anything, once a week is a realistically achievable goal. Then…life happens. I’m still technically on time, seven days since my last post. But I have nothing composed and profound to say. And I still, inexplicably, have the notion in my subconscious that I have to have a substantive, meaningful, professionally-composed something to say in order for a post to have worth. 

I know this instinct comes from a good, well-meaning place. It comes from a strong work ethic. It comes from respect for myself and for my readers. It comes from the belief that leaving a place (even a virtual place) a little (tiny) bit better than you found it is a blessing and a duty. It comes from a desire to be a better me, a better writer, every day. 

But all that pressure to be erudite and profound inhibits spontaneity and, to a degree, creativity. So instead of posting something genuine and fresh from my mind, I either get boring and pedantic, or talk myself out of it altogether. 

I don’t want to fail in my weekly goal on the second week, so this is my post. It’s…something. 

Starting Small 

The blogging goal I set for myself last year (post something at least once a week) proved too ambitious for me to meet. I beat myself up quite a bit over that failure. But that self-criticism isn’t productive. I’m going to call it a good start and start over. 

It’s now 2018. A new year and a new chance to be a more productive and consistent writer. I’m going to try again with the weekly goal. But im going to be even more generous with what “counts” as a worthy post. I figure if I’m not as hard on myself about posting late or just a quick list or some random thought, I’ll be more likely to actually do it. Guilt, especially self-imposed, is a mighty de-motivator. Hopefully, permission given to myself will be as powerful a motivator. 

So, I’m starting small. Baby steps, as it were. I set myself a small, achievable, finite goal for today (I’m taking a couple days off work to rest), something that has a tangible outcome. I promised myself that I’d start decluttering my bedroom, starting with my underwear drawer. I got rid of every worn-out, ill-fitting pair of undies and socks, and old bras and under-shirts. There was a surprisingly big bag of trash afterward. 

I’m glad to have completed the task. I feel a little conflicted about the trash – feels a little excessive somehow. But it’s a start.

Next I’m going to tackle the top of my dresser and chest of drawers. Gotta make room for the watch box I received for Christmas. Again, a small goal but with a finite outcome. Achievable. An outcome I can visualize. 

Next blog post isn’t finalized in my head yet. But a post of some kind next week, even after going back to work after a few days off, is achievable.  That’s a small, finite goal. I can do that.

I hope you had a great holiday season and find ways to achieve all your goals this new year. 

Lightbulb Moments

 Today’s list-y post (because I’m slammed at work but determined to post something to my neglected blog before this year ends) is slightly different. Instead of a few quick things I want you to know, I’m sharing a few things that I guess I’ve just fully realized. They’re things I think I’ve known or have taken for granted, but am now conscious of and actively trying to assimilate into my waking experience. You could say the lightbulb has finally lit in my brain on a couple things. 
1. Life’s not fair. So, so obvious. Yet my fairness bone, that deeply ingrained impulse to equity and fair play, still screams at me and ignites a flame of indignation in my chest when unfair, unjust things happen. Fairness is very real in my mind and soul. So the lightbulb moment here is not that life’s not fair, but that fairness isn’t a requirement for life to go on. I’m working on finding ways to stay true to the belief that fair, just, and equitable treatment is possible and something to strive for, while accepting that injustice and just plain crappy things happen and we have to do what we can to cope with that reality. 

2. No one likes a whiner. Yet everyone expects you to listen to their whining. It’s a corollary to #1 above. (So much in life comes back to that lesson, I’m discovering.) But the secret is that you get to choose whether to let them make their problem your problem. Will you be a sounding board and sympathetic ear, smile (if appropriate) and just let them vent before sending them on their way? Or will you be a “sin-eater”, the sacrificial soul who takes on the burden of the confessor and strives to solve the difficulties of those who complain? Lightbulb: you have the agency to choose either role at any time. 

3. Guilt is a very poor guidance counselor. Many cultures have what I think of as a guilt ethic, an emotional engine that drives progress or obedience or any number of aspirational outcomes through inculcated guilt disassociated with wrongdoing. Indeed, the key to this ‘tool’ is evoking a sense of guilt about thoughts, actions, decisions that are good or right or appropriate for the do-er, but viewed as either selfish or harsh or less-than-optimally compassionate. The idea being that doing the “right” thing never has negative consequences for anyone outside of yourself. In this context, guilt is a lie. My lightbulb moment in this arena is this: negative reinforcement, tough-love, proportionate consequences, and hard-knock lessons are real and have a place in life, and this reality is not inconsistent with, nor mutually exclusive to, altruism, selflessness, or virtue. Neither is self-care a sin for which guilt is appropriate. You can be both helpful and say no. You can choose to to let the consequences of others’ poor choices, the sting of the small failure, happen so that the big, crushing failure won’t happen later on. None of that makes you a monster. 

Best wishes for the end of this hard year and sincere hopes that the new year brings all good things to you and yours. Thanks for reading. 

Some things…

Some things I want you to know:

  1. Friends who call with the express purpose of encouraging you and for no other reason are a godsend. 
  2. Clickety keyboards with a steampunk vibe make new offices even better. 
  3. The new “Murder on the Orient Express” movie is fantastic. 
  4. Grey, foggy, misty, cold days that have me going to work and coming home in the dark both ways take a toll on my spirit. We’re currently on day 4 of the gloomy day streak, ugh. 
  5. Greek yogurt with berries and granola is a nice way to start the day. 
  6. Bonus:  Hooray for brothers who find creative tool solutions to their sister’s odd fix-it dilemmas. Also hooray for brothers who care for their wives tenderly when they lose someone close to them. I’m blessed with both kinds of praiseworthy brothers. 

Tiny Bit of Catch-Up

It’s been too long and too much has happened in my life since my last post to truly catch you all up. But I haven’t forgotten about this blog or any of you faithful readers who still remain despite my neglect. Here’s a quick hit list of a few things I want to share with you all. 

  1. I had a neat experience today. I was asked to move into an office in the executive suite. While it puts me very close to my boss, it also puts me in a situation I’ve never experienced before – I now have the support of an executive assistant. It was weird to have her bring my mail, ask if she could help with my unpacking, and generally just be very supportive. Honestly, I’m not sure how to feel about it, since I’m so used to fending for myself. But I’ll admit it’s pretty nice! 
  2. Stress is a fact of life for everyone, to some degree. It is an unavoidable facet of being a corporate executive and attorney. I’m used to it in some ways. But it’s been sustained and even building for months and I’m exhausted. Balance. It eludes me and taunts my mind. I very much want to get back to a balance (or semblance of it) between rest and demand. I need to find that mythical happy medium of work-life. Dunno how to get there. Anybody got a map?
  3. It’s fall again. Soon (tomorrow!?) it will freeze and my eyes will stop itching and burning to the point of rage and I’ll be so happy! It also means better, more colorful skies, especially at sunrise and sunset. That I’m usually at my office for both events is a bit sad. But look at these pics from this week. Almost worth always being at work just for this! Mornings on top, evenings on bottom: 
  4. Blade Runner 2049 was a bitter disappointment to me. I know this is an unpopular opinion. Too bad – they could have done so much with the talent and resources they poured into that movie, but settled for what I can only describe as pedestrian, predictable, gratuitous flash over substance. What a shame. 
  5. My Vikings don’t suck too badly this season…yet. I have my annual hopes up and fervently hope they don’t dash them to pieces. Fingers crossed!
  6. BONUS:  I’m sticking with my moratorium on social media. Though this blog posts to Twitter, I haven’t been on Twitter or Facebook since the election – nearly a year and I don’t regret it. Even though I miss the interaction with friends, the hate and stress and anxiety I don’t miss. It’s just too hard on my heart and mind to be so saturated by all that negativity. So, I’m waving hello to all my Tweeps and online pals as this posts. I hope y’all are doing well. But I won’t be back online any time soon. 

Peace and love and light to you all. 

Drinkin’ from the Firehose Again

Dang it! 17 days since I last posted. Not meeting my weekly post goal is becoming a habit. Gotta re-prioritize and do better. 

Here are some good things:

  • Was called a “kick-ass attorney” on a conference call today. 👍🏻💪🏻😎 Always nice to be appreciated publicly. 
  • Did some deeply satisfying, intellectually challenging, executive lawyering in a strategic planning conference last week. I love my job most when I feel my contributions have meaning beyond just checking a box. It’s also immensely satisfying to be included among the senior leadership as an equal and recognized as a strategic partner to the business. 
  • Found a new Thai restaurant near my house. Had dinner there with a group of friends and was impressed that the picky one, who always finds something to complain about, loved it and had not a single negative comment to make. That’s a keeper!

I hope your day is full of recognition and validation and good things to eat. Be happy my friends. 

A few things 

Here we are, more than two weeks after my last post, and I’m copping out with another listy post. Truth is that I want to write more, better, and more frequently, but I am in my own way. My inner critic and the demands of my daily life sometimes overwhelm my creative urge to express. The simple goal of one post per week for the remainder of the year seemed so reasonable and achievable when I set it a few months ago. But it has proved much more challenging than it should be. 

Still, I want to write, so I’m writing. Even if it’s just that paragraph and the following list, it’s something. I set the goal for myself, so any progress is also for me and I’m counting this as some (small) progress. 

So here goes, a few things I want to share:

  • Wil Wheaton, actor and author and Internet personality, is someone whose work I admire. Truthfully, on the basis of only his public persona and online commentary, he himself is someone whom I admire, in addition to his creative works. I’ve followed his blog for a couple of years and almost always find in it something to think about, laugh at, or learn from. I love the wit and intelligence I perceive in his writing. This week he posted, as he does not infrequently, about his struggle with mental illness. I so admire his honesty and willingness to be vulnerable about his condition for the sake of helping others. Read his post, please. Even if you don’t struggle with depression, this is a message on self care and realness with yourself that everyone needs to hear. I got a lot out of it and I hope you will too. 
  • Summer time is awesome. I don’t do as much outside as I should, but I still appreciate gorgeous blue skies, warm breezes and sunshine. 😎☀️👍🏻
  • As my work responsibilities have increased over the years, I have grown to deeply appreciate the exceptional benefit that is the work of a good executive assistant. The amount of burden and bother an EA lifts off the shoulders of anyone they serve is enormous! I’m so so lucky that my boss’s EA does so much for me. She’s just volunteered to do a job for me next week that is absolutely not her responsibility, but will save me a half a day of lost productivity, the value of which far surpasses the dollar value of my time and hers. It sounds overly effusive to the point of being fake, but I am genuinely overwhelmed with gratitude that she’s taking that off my hands. Perhaps that speaks somewhat to the level of stress I’m working with right now. Probably. But it also says a lot about how valuable a good assistant is. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of sunshine and things to feel grateful for. 

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