Charlotte Secure The Anchor – All Join In

charlotte_anchorcityIt breaks my heart to see misunderstanding and mistrust cause unrest in this strong city I live in.   But it is no surprise as Charlotte’s strength and ability to anchor down is under attack from every angle.  My belief is the attack is deeper than any of us realize.  It provides a heart opening opportunity through these attacks to strengthen not just Charlotte, but the entire nation.   It is time for Charlotte to live up to its deeper calling as a city of strength and be the anchor to bring America back together.

Sound Reminders

sound-remindersSound Reminders.     Carrying around the weight of the world on our shoulders can feel like pulling a thousand train cars behind our tired little engines.   Timely sound reminders loosen the load.   This Average Joe needs every trick to keeping my mind from becoming overwhelmed, I discovered a new one worth sharing.

Years ago when screen savers were a requirement to prevent damage to your computer screen  I would type in

A Bird on a Wire – Law of Power Position

Bird On A Wire Rom 8-32Some things are puzzling and difficult to understand.  Like, how is it that a bird can sit on a hot electric wire and not get fried?  After being zapped, again, by my neighbors’ electric fence I have gotten to the stage of not wanting to touch any fence, at all.  Thus the mystery of a Bird on a Wire, sitting calmly and alive, always makes me double think on the matter when I see it.

Science was not my best subject by any means.  In fact, in my high school days, I found a lot of it to be theoretical hogwash, and even if it was true, I did not understand why anyone would care other than science teachers, and later, my wife who loves the topic?  It is like trying to figure out the meaning of  Bird on a Wire by one of my favorite fireside song artists Leonard Cohen.      (to get in the mood for this blog, you have to play it while reading)        If you’d also like to know the real reason why a bird does not get zapped while sitting on an electric line, read this MIT article on the topic.

If you remember your old science classes all we need to know about the laws of power transfer, or as  a seventh grader said with a smirk about the bird on a wire – duhh!, is a closed loop.

It’s all about the connections they’re making—or, more importantly, not making.

The Day my son Cory died.

CoryTriggers set off memories,  sometimes good ones and sometimes not so good ones.  A picture was posted of a recent Cleveland Indians game with a fan wearing a throwback uniform of one of my old favorite baseball players, Cory Snyder.  It brought back memories of the day my son Cory died.*

I recall back in 1988 being so excited that our next try for child number two was going much smoother than the first (which had turned into an early term miscarriage).    We were now at week 16 and the doctors said you have crossed that hump.   We could not wait to see the results of the ultra-sound.  The pound pound pound of the heartbeat increased our heartbeats to our hearts being filled with joy.

We just had to know, so the doc zoomed in to the middle to find out, is this a boy or a girl.

Pointing Out Point Provers

PointProversWhat a terror filled summer this has been in America.  Topping it off have been power players proving points at the expense of other people, creating even more disunity.  Ted Cruz, John Kasich, President Obama, BLM, Snipers, ISIS attacks and the latest from NBA Commissioner Adam Sterling usurping his position to dictate law to the state of North Carolina, are just a few examples.   How does an Average Joe deal with actions that bring on outrage made by ‘Point Provers’?  Regardless of our viewpoint on all the tough subjects, should we just sit and do nothing and say nothing?  Alternatively, should we turn over  tables and shout about our dismay?

Stand Together!

Sit In Group

Do you care? What are you going to do about it?  The words rang in my ears as a black woman shouted at me and my son and a friend as we were leaving a baseball game and passing through a small but loud and raucous black lives matter protest in Greensboro, NC Thursday night, July 7th.   I was shocked.  Of course I care, I love all people.  I said back to her, ‘YES, I care’.  She shouted again,  ‘If it were your kids, what would you do? Do you care?’   I said, WE CARE!’   She repeated her lines a bit louder, I replied ‘WE CARE!   A bit of fear started to build up as I glanced around and saw people turning their attention to us.

Ignoring Imperfections

My Odd shoesIgnoring imperfections can be very hard for us perfectionists.   I pride myself on doing things right and being efficient with every second of the day.  That trait creates horror though; when I mess up.  My wife was disgusted with me as I packed my travel bag for this business trip to Dallas this week.  It took less than a minute total!    It takes her days to pack for a vacation; I love to show her up with my tremendous perfect system of packing for travel.  I proudly tossed the travel bag back in the closet after filling it with three nights of clothes and certainly everything I would need for my business meetings and even a dip in the pool.

After arriving at the hotel I planned for my upcoming dinner meeting and all others by hanging my shirts and pants in the closet with the sock and undies hung with each shirt that would be needed for each wake up call. I reached through the bag and found the belt, right where it should be, and paired it with the shoes I would set on the dresser ready to go.  Blood rushed to my head and a taste of my Italian sub from the Charlotte airport Quiznos popped in my mouth upon the discovery of: ONE BLACK AND ONE BURGUNDY SHOE!   How could I screw up like that?

Memorial Day – Gratitude

1942 LouisLaposMy Father pictured here in this 1942 Navy photo did not talk much about his days in WWII.  We know he was a flag man (aka Landing Signal Officer) on an ocean carrier and helped land planes.   Normally I don’t think much about what it must have been like for him and the many others that fought to save our country from the mad men in Germany and Japan, but this year it is different.  It is different because we have a President running our country who has reached out to Japan regarding the act that ended the war, to a country whose leaders at the time cost the lives of millions of people and many of the 420,000 Americans killed.  It has made me ponder my gratitude towards what he and others did, while questioning just what kind of world do we live in.

I cannot imagine what it must have been like for my Father sitting on a boat in the middle of the ocean wondering when and if one of the 7000+ known Kamikaze flights may have made its way to his ship.  Reading from the stories written by those who experienced this  shocking (read here)  fear I am horrified just thinking about it.       And to think, the possibility is very high that I wouldn’t be here to write about it today, had he not been fortunate to survive.   I am grateful for all he and the many soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.Kamikaze attack

30 Years Together – 30 tips on how we made it this far.

30 years together

Thirty years ago today my bride and I made vows to live for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, to stay together forever.   Last night I got the urge to write just how we made it 30 years.  I wanted to search Google for what others have done to have it exactly right. Instead, I said, if I can’t come up with 30 reasons off the top of my head how we made it this far, I stink.   Seriously, if it is supposed to be my most important goal in life, why should I not be able to rattle off the top of my head those things I strive for daily?

Disclaimer – This really was done on the fly, no change to the order, or going back to some important note all the books taught us in the past would say are ‘key’.  I did run it by my bride, who thumbs upped most of it.  Those were the only edits (and my typos)   So here it goes:

30 Tips to stay married 30 years

Standalone Ready!

Z-ontopoftheworldStandalone Ready!

What a great joy to see your son or daughter cross into the threshold of adulthood on high school graduation day.  Yet at the same time inside your gut, it is welling up with fear and anxiety as they head off into the vast uncertain universe.   Internal questions run amuck wondering if we screwed up as parents, or did we do all we could to help them be Standalone Ready?

Neck Pain Relieved!

NeckPainGone

Neck Pain Relieved!

Life can be a real pain in the neck.   Take a few sports injuries, mountains of stress, take many long driving stints for years,  stare down at a computer for hours every day, and bend your neck to hold a phone in place while multi-tasking, and ultimately you look and feel like Quasimodo.

.quasimodo

For many years I, like many people, have walked around with constant pain in my back. The neck had become so jammed up that I could not look over my shoulder to see if a car was in the blind spot.   Thanks to side view mirrors I could make those heavy traffic lane switches without too much trouble.  But at times, the pain had become excruciating to where that is the only direction I could turn my head.

(Not) another, my kid is great story. Ending

Brain_No WordsDid you even wonder what would happen if you had no sleep for days?  Our cover picture is a drawing my creative son drew when we asked him to depict what his thoughts were, during and after, his brain breaking traumatic experience.  For he and all of us, it was an encounter with hell.

In trying to piece together what caused such an escapade I had to do some deep research to not only find out what was going on, but why.  His first symptom was near complete memory loss.  Can you imagine forgetting every password you have including ‘9999’ to get into your phone?  He was also literally seeing fog everywhere, feeling like the walls were melting, imagining that a swat team was on the roof of our house, and hearing voices when no one was in the room, amongst other things.   This stunning article provides a pictorial from Science.mic that describes exactly how and why this can happen.

(Not) another, my kid is great story.

Not another my kid is great storyN(not) another, my kid is great story.

Time flies by so quickly and for a parent before we know it our baby is an adult.   With the permission of my  one and only son, I have the honor of telling two stories of his miraculous life.

I start first with that little doubt that rolls in all parents heads.  It gets set off when those nauseating stories are heard when someone talks or posts pictures about how great their child is.   Some parents today are so full of, or lack thereof, their own dna pride they seem to have to prove it to the world through their children.   But where did it really come from and why do some get that ‘gifted’ child, and some not?  Why is a Lebron James body born in one and a Mr. Bean in another?

Ask and you will receive. Don’t and you won’t.

Ask and you shall receiveAsk and you will receive, don’t and you won’t!   We all hate bills and there is nothing worse than a monthly bill that includes a letter with excuses explaining why they are increasing fees.    Ever wish you could erase those increases?   Ask, and you will receive.

We all love to hear the word yes to our requests.  This past week I heard yes from two places where I am the customer and they sent the letter stating I WILL be paying more for their services.  My initial thoughts were, this stinks, every time I turn around somebody is taking more out of my wallet.  There is nothing I can do about it.

Of All the Days! My Coming out of the Closet!

Coming out of the Closet on Good Friday.

Of all the Days!

It is Good Friday.   Today I’m coming out of the closet.

(Please note –  I wrote this 3 years ago exactly on Good Friday 2013, but was in my ‘I’m too fearful to go public with my writing days’.  This is it  in its original form with a few minor changes.  It was written at the time everyone was putting this:red flag

on their Facebook page over their pictures, remember that?)

Separated and panicked in Atlantis, Left Behind

policenassauI couldn’t decide whether I should cry, freak out, remain calm, or just laugh. Not a penny on us to pay for this cab fare, caught in traffic and wondering if my wife and daughter have decided to wait or head to the cruise ship with our passport, boat pass, and everything else. Ahhhhh!

This is part III of this story.  For the full story first Read Lost in Atlantis  and Lost, separated and panicked in Atlantis if you have not done so prior to this.

Lost, separated and panicked in Atlantis

Lost in AtlantisHold onto our stuff so it does not get wet while we take a little ride in the cove has turned into a manic panic situation for my son Zack and I.   We must find my wife and daughter soon or we’ll not only miss the boat, we’ll be stuck on ‘Paradise Island’ with no passport, no I.D., no money, no nothing! Help! (Read Lost in Atlantis Part 1 first to catch up)

So far we have trekked through 9 tunnels and passed by a rapidly becoming irritating number of ‘aquarium’s’ that all are looking exactly the same. Running from end to end has become the mode of movement, the heck with worrying about breaking the flip-flops, sweating like a pig, and worrying about what people are thinking as I am calling out my wife’s’ name in hopes she’ll hear us and respond.   Still no sign of them anywhere.

Lost in Atlantis

Lost in Atlantis‘Don’t worry, you’ll find us, we’ll be in the tunnel with the aquarium just on the other side of where we ate.’ Me, ‘I think it’s a bad idea, but if we do miss each other, hang by the ‘same’ bathroom where we entered onto the Atlantis grounds.’

Those were the last words we exchanged before being separated, lost, and totally panicked in Atlantis as time was inching towards being left behind by the Carnival cruise ship, Fascination.   What were we to do with no I.D., no money, no phone, no passport, and nothing but our swim trunks, t-shirt and these godforsaken flip flops?

Defeating Defeat – Whilst Dealing with Doubt

Dealing with DoubtThe definition of Defeated – de·feat·ed – having been beaten in a battle or other contest. “the defeated army”,   demoralized and overcome by adversity.

The definition of Doubt – to be uncertain in opinion or belief; to be undecided, to be inclined to disbelief, to hesitate.

I started off this week feeling pretty defeated. First my football team lost in the Super Bowl, so that didn’t help. On the job front, my inbox and to-do list was overwhelming every portion of my mind. How can I ever get all of these demands completed? And even if I fulfill all of them, the odds of seeing positive results seem extremely slim. The negative vibes can sure leave one feeling very defeated at times, ever feel that way?