Thursday, October 12, 2017

Poems

Some poetry on a beautiful fall morning.

Otherwise

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.
—Jane Kenyon

“It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?”
Pat Schneider

Marie Howe, “Hurry”

We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.
Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?
Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,
Honey I’m sorry I keep saying Hurry—
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.
And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Everything Store

I'm overdue on recapping a few good books I enjoyed this summer.  Let's get started...

The Everything Store is the biography of Amazon as we know it today.  It includes a lot of anecdotes and history about Jeff Bezos without being "the Jeff Bezos story".  Every day my building lobby is filled with Amazon boxes and I certainly make multiple purchases per month - appreciating the ease and speed of the process.

I wanted to know more about a company that is critically changing life as we know it.  My son won't know life without 1-click, 1 day (or less!) shipping of what we need.  Jeff Bezos wasn't a passionate bookseller when he started the company.  He was, however, certain that the internet was going to revolutionize commerce and life and he wanted to be at the forefront.

I enjoy reading about visionaries -- creative thinkers who take enormous risk to push the boundary for the rest of us. I am forever interested in understanding the combination of factors and timing that make someone successful in accomplishing their mission.  I applaud the book for not making Jeff Bezos a flawless hero, straightforward boss or even-keeled decision maker.  Nothing that good comes easily.  His humanity - imperfect, brilliant and impactful - made the book a compelling read.

A link and an excerpt from his baccalaureate speech at Princeton

Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life -- the life you author from scratch on your own -- begins.
How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.

Monday, October 9, 2017

HONK!

We stumbled upon this fantastic event over the weekend.   A completely eclectic mix of musicians performing in the streets for anyone and everyone to enjoy.   Toddlers danced, kids watched in awe, adults smiled.  For that moment there was only joy.

What is Honk?
Throughout the country and across the globe, a new type of street band movement is emerging — outrageous and inclusive, brass and brash, percussive and persuasive — reclaiming public space with a sound that is in your face and out of this world. Called everything from “avant-oompah!” to a “brassroots revolution,” these bands draw inspiration from sources as diverse as Klezmer, Balkan and Romani music, Brazilian Samba, Afrobeat and Highlife, Punk, Funk, and Hip Hop, as well as the New Orleans second line tradition, and deliver it with all the passion and spirit of Mardi Gras and Carnival.
Acoustic and mobile, these bands play at street level, usually for free, with no stages to elevate them above the crowd and no sound systems or speaker columns to separate performers from participants. These bands don’t just play for the people; they play among the people and invite them to join the fun. They are active, activist, and deeply engaged in their communities, at times alongside unions and grassroots groups in outright political protest, or in some form of community-building activity, routinely performing and conducting workshops for educational and social service organizations of all kinds.
At full power, these bands create an irresistible spectacle of creative movement and sonic self-expression directed at making the world a better place. This is the movement we call HONK!




Monday, October 2, 2017

Wake up

Wake up and say it's a great day to be alive.  In a world of mass shootings, bicycle accidents, car crashes and disease, we simply never know what life has coming.  I do know that I spent a weekend playing legos, soccer, doing races, art, tractor rides and cuddles with my sweet boy and for that, I am simply grateful.

Life can be a cruel teacher and a good friend.  And so it goes.  Onward always.  If the worst may happen, I can say my boy felt true love from his mama.  I slowed down to the pace that he wished to go and loved him as fiercely and bravely as I knew how to do.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Sunny days

There are grey days.  Inevitable.  Always.  They are as true as the sun rising and the tides changing.  But there are sunny days, too.   Days in which life is full of possibility and promise - where what you believe seems to be validated by people who's opinion matter to you.   Hope - always the antagonist of sadness.

James Altucher says if you try to get 1% better each day at your health, your relationships, your creativity and at turning despair into gratitude, then that 1% compounds into something pretty amazing.  I will never have all the answers but I can always improve.

Walking home from lunch in Davis.  A perfect early fall day, a proud work moment and a weekend on its way.  All is good.




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ray Dalio

Listened to his great interview with Tim Ferriss this week.   Lots of takeaways from this smart investor.

"Truth - more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality - is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.”

“Above all else, I want you to think for yourself, to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true and 3) what to do about it”

“View painful problems as potential improvements that are screaming at you. Though it won’t feel that way at first, each and every problem you encounter is an opportunity; for that reason, it is essential that you bring them to the surface. Most people don’t like to do this, especially if it exposes their own weaknesses or the weaknesses of someone they care about, but successful people know they have to. b. Don’t avoid confronting problems because they are rooted in harsh realities that are unpleasant to look at. Thinking about problems that are difficult to solve may make you anxious, but not thinking about them (and hence not dealing with them) should make you more anxious still. When a problem stems from your own lack of talent or skill, most people feel shame. Get over it. I cannot emphasize this enough: Acknowledging your weaknesses is not the same as surrendering to them. It’s the first step toward overcoming them. The pains you are feeling are “growing pains".

“Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice? Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.”

And this one, especially this one.    

“I also feared boredom and mediocrity much more than I feared failure. For me, great is better than terrible, and terrible is better than mediocre, because terrible at least gives life flavor. The high school yearbook quote my friends chose for me was from Thoreau: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”   

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Up

There's always another level up.
There's always another ascension.
More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion.
More to shed.  More to grow. - Elizabeth Gilbert