Sunday, December 30, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new—I hope things change, but stay the same too


I have to admit, these final days of 2012 haven’t exactly been the best ones I’ve had this year.  While I got to spend a few quality hours back home with family on Christmas, work has pretty much consumed my time since then.  Besides the year-end insanity of old contracts ending & new contracts starting, we’re also going live with a new line of business on Jan 1.

(I probably shouldn’t be talking about it here, suffice it to say I kinda lost my head at work on Friday & yelled a certain deity’s name at someone in the office.  Oh boy did he have it coming & oh boy I can’t believe he ran to someone else about it, given what I get from him.  I sure hope he doesn’t need help with something anytime soon!)  

Anyway, I’m counting on 2013 being a good year.  I just know this is the year I finally drop these pesky 20+ pounds, build those bookcases that I’ve been tripping over since I stacked ‘em in my bedroom in 2011, and make peace with my noisy gay neighbor (but I’m not ruling out murder just yet).  Someone at work made the comment that ‘13’ does not bode well for us, and while I can’t speak for everyone, I’ve always found the years that ended in ‘3’ to be good ones.  I’m sure my sister Shawn would agree (she was born in ‘63) and I can still remember getting that awesome chemistry set for Christmas in ‘73, making that final student loan payment in 1993, getting my drivers license & car in time for 2003… see what I mean?

Well, I hope everyone here is anticipating a good year ahead too—and if not a great one, at least one like my favorite Lennon Sister Peggy sings below:  “May no trouble travel your way.”  :)  Take care everybody, talk to you again soon.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas to family, friends & visitors to the Teepee (did I miss anyone?)

Just wanted to send some heartfelt good wishes to all the people out there who take the time to visit my little corner of the world here.   I’m always surprised when I click on that Visitors map (on the lower right of this page) and see the various locations people are coming from:  San Francisco, Chile, Japan, Toronto, Massachusetts… I don’t know what everyone thinks of my teepee, but I hope you know how much I enjoy seeing you on here! 

As some of you already know, this is my beautiful niece Sophia Lindon; she’s striking a pose for my sister’s Christmas card.  I just thought I’d share it with all of you too.

Thanks again, Everybody—Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t believe; God bless us, everyone


Last night I fell asleep on my couch, worn out from the long week and still trying to digest the tragic events that had occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary hours earlier, spilling out of both my tv & laptop.  I woke up sometime around 3:40am, turned off my tv & fell back asleep.  When I awoke this morning, I turned on the tv again, watched those same people report the same horrific chain of events, then looked at Facebook and saw a friend had posted this:

STUDENT:  God, why do you allow so much violence in our schools?

GOD:  I am not allowed in schools.

At first it annoyed me:  a so-called Christian using yesterday’s tragedy to promote their personal beliefs about putting prayer back in public schools.  (Dude, face the facts—classrooms aren’t full of little caucasian Presbyterians anymore.)   Anyway, I didn’t stay bothered for long.  The guy who posted it is a kind & good person, and if he sees this as an opportunity to promote some personal feelings, more power to him. 

So I suppose if I wanted to share MY feelings about this tragedy, I’d ask what is it going to take for the government to step in and do something about all these guns?  Last year there were approximately 50 gun-related homicides in countries like Germany and the UK; in the United States there were 10,000.  So what’s more insane, the 20 year old who walked into that school & shot those poor babies or labeling the thousands of Americans shot dead every year as an “unfortunate statistic”?

We need to face some sad truths: the majority of us are not intelligent or wary enough to own a firearm.  It’s proven everyday.  And all of those angry, defensive rants about having the right to bear arms and that it’s right there in the Constitution doesn’t justify all this bloodshed.  (If you want to protect your home, keep a baseball bat by your bed or front door.  No curious kid is going to accidentally club himself to death with a baseball bat.)  Why can’t we be like Australia or Finland?  You can only own a gun in those countries if can prove to your local police you NEED to own one.  Why can’t we have those same laws here?  Are they smarter than us?  They probably think so. 

While I admit I’m not a religious man, personal beliefs about God & such things shouldn’t matter right now.  So I’m going to say a prayer for those innocent souls taken far too soon because frankly it just feels like the right thing to do, and while I’m at it, for this little one too, my niece Sophia. 

I just hope & pray she gets to see the bright future she deserves.   

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Puttin’ on the ritz: Christmas parties sure aren’t what they used to be


Earlier yesterday in the office, I jotted off a quick message to my friend Pen & wished her a good weekend.  I said my work-group was having their holiday party tonight, but I wasn’t going.

Friends & coworkers:  Erin, Kathy, Danielle & Gwen are celebrating the holidays with pickle-back shots

Anyway, I explained that it was just an informal gathering at some watering hole for an extended Happy Hour (I forgot to mention that there may be some bowling afterwards).  And while I feel pretty close to this crew, I’m just not a bar guy.  Pen replied that she felt the same way, and a dinner in a nice restaurant would’ve been a nice idea, or even one of those Gateway Clipper dinner cruises.  (The Gateway Clipper is a fleet of five riverboats that travel up & down the Monongahela year-round, providing dinner & dancing.)  I agreed, but truth be told it’s been a long week—it was black & raining outside—and I was more than ready to just go home, throw on a pair of soft pajama bottoms and flop down on the couch with my tv remote in one hand & a fried egg sandwich in the other.  

It got me to thinking though, about the holiday parties I used to attend in the 1990s.  Man, things sure were different then!  From 1989-1998 I worked for a small but prestigious consulting group, Omega Systems.  And every year, they would host these HUGE Christmas parties for both their employees and their clients (making the event more like a business presentation—it was strongly suggested you be there).  In fact, one year my date (a fellow Omega employee) had one too many & proceeded to ask where the timeclock was, she was ready to punch out and go home.  

I never minded going one bit though—I loved ‘em.  They were huge, lavish affairs that spared no expense.  And aside from one noisome year (when it was held downtown at the Omni-William Penn & I dragged my poor sister Shawn along), they were always at the LeMont, a pricey restaurant on Mt. Washington with great floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the city.  

If you’re fortunate enough to dine at the Lemont, be sure to send one of their ‘Wish you were here’ postcards to family & friends!

There would always be a small jazz combo (for mingling) and later a full-blown dance orchestra.  Omega would hand out pricey gift-bags or holiday baskets afterwards, and while I would probably wrinkle my nose at all that opulence today, at the time I was just some country bumpkin who was new to the city, and excited to have my own business cards & be surrounded by all that bourgeois wealth.  Do companies even do this anymore? 

Well, that was fifteen years ago and I probably earned less than half of what I make today; I no longer wear a suit to the office, heck I don’t even have to be IN the office five days a week; but things sure felt a lot more successful then!  (Oh and for the record—a pickleback is a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle brine; who knew?)  And on that festive note… 

Merry Christmas, Everyone