Friday, November 18, 2016

Crashing On My Feet

Last month, I lost my job very unexpectedly, under circumstances beyond my control. Sounds terrible, right? It was, of course. It was shocking and disorienting and generally uncomfortable. Even though my performance was not at issue, my results were clear and acceptable and I was growing into the role, a decision was made and executed.

It's not personal. It's business.

I took it in stride figuring the executioner didn't want to be doing it anymore than I wanted to have it done to me. I comforted him during the process... even complimented his shirt. He made a comment that he couldn't believe I could still be bright and tell jokes and even compliment his shirt and support him during such a stressful event. 

I told him, "Humor and positivity have served me well in life. As such, there are few moments I look back on that were disastrous. those that were are marked by my failure to maintain a positive outlook". And it really was a nice shirt.

I think the way I handled the circumstance left an impact, as a couple days later, my boss called me back and offered me a lifeboat in the form of a job that used to report to me. Now, I'm with the same old crew, trying to feel my way through the situation and exercise an entirely different skill set, all the while trying to maintain that positive attitude and disposition. It's only my pride that hurts. I'll get over it.

Of course I've been looking for other jobs. While I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to stay gainfully employed, and I believe the promise of "better things to come" within my organization is a real possibility, I have always been the kind of guy who makes his own luck. Patience was not a gift practiced in my house and I never bothered to pick it up along the way.

I've had a couple interviews this week. The first since this business all began. These are good companies and good jobs within my abilities. But the prospect of being offered any of them leaves me oddly ambivalent. What I have done up to now, what I know how to do best, doesn't really make my crystals vibrate. Sure, there are aspects I truly enjoy, but the bulk of the jobs would be just... bulk.

One of my favorite lines is to say "I don't know what I want to do when I grow up", funny because in a lot of ways I am childlike, but I am also middle aged and should be well and truly on a path by now. Or at least that's how I feel and how I think most people feel.

I have engaged myself in some thought exercises and today I had an epiphany. I really want to help companies go through the process of creating and following a strategic plan. I would spend a few months at each company learning about their business, their model, their people, their customers, culture and processes. Armed with those insights, I would facilitate a two or three day strategic planning session that addresses the way to get a company from where they are to where they want to be. I would go back for follow-ups on a quarterly or semi-annual basis to make sure everyone is doing their part and be a third party voice that would help dismantle croneyism and groupthink, and keep organizations on the shining path they agreed to follow. Or to adjust the plan for reality. Even the best laid plans have to cede to reality.

Who knew at 41, I would finally find a clarity of purpose that also fulfills what I love best and am naturally good at doing? In short, I grew up. But I feel more childlike than ever before because I don't have the first clue on how to break in.

My ideal life is not best explained as long stretches of monotony punctuated by moments of sheer terror. But that is the best way I can describe how I feel about my professional life right now. Being a person bound to faith and positivity, I cling to the concept of "crashing on my feet". In my past, and I have to believe going forward, every slip and misstep has been met, eventually, by opportunities to grow and learn and excel.

Right now, my question is, should I prepare for landing, or try to soar?

I'd love to hear from you if you've been where I am.

Wanna do a Podcast?

Yes. A thousand times, yes! I want to do a podcast, but have not the wherewithal, equipment or time to put it all together. Also, there's the issue of the fact that I have been bereft of any clever or even partially clever ideas for the last 18 months.

Hence no blentries. No ideas. No mojo.

According to my wife, I know everything. You'd think this is a desirable quality, and that when she says, "Ask my husband, he knows everything," she was saying so in a complementary fashion. I have come to learn this is not the case, but let's focus on the crux of the issue and not its predicates. I know everything.

When Tom and Ray Magliozzi retired from public radio as "Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers" on their nationally syndicated radio show Car Talk, I said to my wife, "That's my dream job!" When Tom died in 2014, I took it hard. Not because a disembodied voice of a person I never met was gone, but that one fewer person in this world was living out my dream. After all, the next best thing to achieving something for yourself is to bask in the reflected glory of another.

I loved playing along with "Stump the Chumps", where Tom and Ray bravely had on previous guests to ascertain whether the answers they got from the hosts were accurate. I can tell you, I had a pretty good record against the gurus. And I'm at least as funny as they are, and mom always told my I had a face for radio.

Todays radio for amateurs is a podcast. The great democratizer. Nobody blogs anymore! How antediluvian, antebellum and anachronistic! With a podcast, any nut with an opinion can find there audience. People don't even need to discipline themselves enough to sit and read. You can absorb a podcast while you are supposed to be focused on texting and driving so that you don't get caught.

Hello, caller...

Firstly, my podcast is not open for just anyone to come in an blather their opinions on whatever matter is on the table. Have you listened to a call-in show lately? The callers absolutely stop the program. There is nothing worse than a caller who is either too star-struck or so verbally impacted they can't manage to stutter out the point they were going to make when they dialed the phone. I sometimes wonder if people are getting on the air after waiting so long, they have forgotten what they wanted to say.

I nearly always avoid call-in shows because they let me down. I'll be so in to a topic, eating up what a panelist, novelist, futurist, whatever-ist is on the show and then the callers come on and ruin it all.

Firstly, one question in 12 parts is not one question, just like 20 cans of cat food is not one item, no matter how much you protest, crazy lady who smells like pee and Paul Mason.

Also, why are you calling if you don't have a question? If we wanted your opinion, you'd be a guest on the show. What can Martin from Schenectady offer to the discourse that the 13 year-old triple PHD astrophysist from Betterthan U hasn't already said herself? Martin, are you trying to swim in the same pool as the panelist? Be honest, you called just to prove you were smart. Dumbass.

The single exception to this general rule of thumb was Car Talk, because they made the callers the joke and the callers were in on it. I guess the other single exception would be Wait... Wait, Don't Tell Me, another NPR production, where the callers are ostensibly contestants on a trivia show.

Yes, you can have two single exceptions. Remember rule #1... this is my blog.

Topical? Don't Rub it in!

If we delve into today, we do it only to offer waypoints relative to our topic. I want to have a podcast that is an escape into something that isn't an election or overly "newsy". My audience is someone who just ran out of weed and their 16 year-old dealer is at Disney with his parents until the end of the week, is freaked out that Trump will be the next president, and is "too broke" right now to renew their Amazon Prime membership, thereby necessitating the consumption of poorly produced, free media in the form of a midwesterner blathering on about...

Scripts are for Doctors.

Let's have a general outline. I envision something like this. "Today's Topic _________." Simple, effective, easy to crank out 3 minutes before the bell rings. Just like school. All that aside, I work better under the concentrated heat of the spotlight, as the aforementioned Tom Magliozzi of Car Talk fame would say, "unencumbered by the thought process". Thinking about things before you say them is for pastors and multi-level marketers. My mouth resides solidly on my cuff.

So, what do you want to talk about? 

Things that go, places to go, music, why people shop at Wal*Mart without being forced to, my cats... these are just some of the topics on which I consider myself an expert. I can also fake my way through nearly any topic not requiring the understanding of mathematical concepts I needn't employ whilst balancing my checkbook. On second thought, my wife does that, so let's just avoid math, shall we?

I like old movies and actors and imagining scenarios in which improbable things happened to famous people. My friend Mike and I used to do a "celebrity hot tub" bit where we would be people who kept namedropping stars from the 70s we were somehow inevitably with in the hot tub. It was really schticky.

"I was once smoking a cigar with Norman Fell in the hot tub, you know, like I did in those days... and out of nowhere, Lindsay Waggoner came over to borrow a cup of sugar! Turns out, she had just moved in next door, where Vic Tayback used to live. Now there was a neighbor. We used to sit in the hot tub for hours until our skin was about to come off.
Old Vic, what a funny guy. One night, the three of us, me, Vic and Fyvush Finkel..."

And so it went. Probably for too long, but goddam did we laugh.


Since the blog thing is played out and the podcast thing is about to be supplanted by whatever is popular now that I don't know about because I am not popular, (young, cool, well-connected), I figure it's time for me to jump into the mix. That will signal to the rest of the world that it's time to move on.

So, who's in?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Little Ponies

"The two best days in a person's life are the days he buys his (sports car, boat, cabin, Russian bride) and the day he sells (or are indicted for having)  it..." -Some Rotten Smart-Ass

That rotten smart-ass might be on to something because I am feeling a sense of relief akin to the first time I ever went to confession, (at which time I earnestly confessed I had sworn in a foreign language for no reason other than shock value and I hadn't been nice to my sister).

My Audi is gone.

I explained to my niece that it was like having a unicorn for a pet. You got it because you read all kinds of stories about how wonderful it is to have a unicorn as a pet. It was exotic. You would look successful... after all, they're so hard to find, they must be expensive...

But they're not expensive even if they are rare. You spend your top  dollar on the first unicorn that comes along, hoping that some of the distant grumblings you've been hearing about how difficult and expensive unicorn ownership is prove to be overstated. 

It turns out unicorns make terrible pet. They eats voraciously, makes noise ALL the time... there is no quiet moment. It never saunters or loiters, each move is purposeful like Solid Gold dancer. Wonderful, but exhausting. 

And dammit, even though you take great care of it, keep it clean, buy it the best straw for its bed, it still breaks a leg almost every month, meaning your bill with the vet is getting steadily more worrisome. 

Life has become a constant endless cycle of caring for and feeding the unicorn. Sure, sometimes she takes you for a wonderful ride, but you have to spend a lot of time mucking the stalls before you get there.

The unicorn won't even take you to work reliably and one time even just stopped flying halfway home from a long way away and refused to take off again, in spite of her doctor pronouncing her in fine fancy with no concerns nary a day before.

As a toy, a conversation starter, a mere bauble, unicorns are great, but as everyday pets, they fail to be practical, reliable or in the end even particularly enjoyable. Can't use too much magic because that flying horse with sparkles coming out of its ass breaks all too easily. 

I guess you get the point. 

On to the next person then, a young man beguiled by her looks and called in like sailors to the Sirens' songs of her sonorous exhaust. Few mortals can resist. Certainly I couldn't. But enough time on the rocks will make you really think about whether those Sirens are worth sticking around for.

In the endless hall that contains my memories of all the cars I've owned, she's up there near the top for shear presence, and for the shear joy I am feeling on the day of her departure. 

Onto smaller and more efficient things, then. A practical little runabout suited perfectly for today's reality of a short commute and a lot of city driving. Cheap and cheerful with a bright demeanor and a desire to please. Kinda like the cute girl who works for your dentist. You just look forward to seeing her.

The order is in... Thursday is the day. Care to guess what, (not you mom... you already know)?

Friday, July 17, 2015

My Three-and-a-Half Month Review/Pluto back in the News

I changed jobs in March and I'm finally getting good enough at the new one to be able to take a breath, look back and side to side in an attempt to figure out how it's going.

In an effort to be quantitative, I've compiled some statistics:

# of days I didn't want to get out of bed and go to work:    0
# of times someone has raised their voice at me in anger:  0
# of weekends worked:                                                        3
# of compliments received:                                   8.4 X 1023
# of people who have outright said they think I suck:        1
# of 12 hour or more days:                                                  3
# of formal performance reviews:                                       2
# of times phone has rung on weekends/evenings:             3
# of times the multi-layered support system has failed       0

As you can see, it's a pretty good gig. It's not that my last gig wasn't... I learned a lot, it kept a roof over my head, and when we had fun, we really had fun. I love those folks and miss them still.

But the numbers are what speaks here. And the numbers are good. Sure, people still say "irregardless" and for some reason, I think people are getting a commission every time they use an apostrophe, but I guess I can run but never hide from all that.

Emily commented about how it's nice that the "honey-do" list is being kept up on and someone else can clean up the dead animals Atticus brings in as prizes from the latest hunt.

I eat better, exercise more, get more and better sleep, drive less, and am generally finding this to be a really good fit.

Now, everything has it's downside. My boss' boss told me the other day if we all kept a list of things we didn't like about where we work, we'd do nothing but develop and edit the list... and if we change jobs, we may as well take the list with us, because in the end, a lot of those things are internal.

One major downside it that I am constantly throttling back because I spent so long being a scrapper. It was a requirement of the job and culture from where I came. And I am good at it, accustomed to it. But everyone here is so... nice.

They don't think they are, but they are. The corporate culture really is "people first" around here which is great until you realize that if people are first, what you want is at best second.

My mom on our recent vacation, turned to me the second day and said without a hint of irony: "You're used to getting your own way, aren't you?" When the shoe fits, pick it up and fling it across the room. Mama, I can't tell a lie. So... moving on.

Also, it's big. You get a sense of just how big when you go to a regional or national meeting and you see over 2,000 others with the same name tag as you. And that's just a small group of people performing certain functions... there's a whole lot more where that came from.

18,000 people in the U.S. and I'm used to knowing almost everyone's name. I've got a lot of memorizing to do!

Lastly, my office is a little small. Actually, maybe it's that my desk is a little big. But, I have overcome this by spending vast swaths of time on the phone, looking out the large picture windows to see the wildflowers, pond, geese, occasional snapping turtle and even a tree frog that comes to visit me by sticking to my window from time to time.

In sum (with apologies to John Lennon)  - I like it, Emily likes it, they like me, and are all together...


It's nice to see plucky little Pluto back in the news. I made no secret that I felt like the littlest kid in our neighborhood got a bum rap when it was demoted to a "dwarf planet". 

Really, when we take the time to get to know it, we see 11,00' soaring mountains! and on its moon, six mile deep canyons! Take that, Earth! 

Far from some dumb rogue ice cube bumbling along in its own eccentric orbit as the IAU would have had us believe, Pluto is clearly geologically active and has an intriguing young history, with much of the activity having just recently, (in geological terms anyway), begun. And there's a lot still going on!

Emily and I were talking as the discoveries were unfolding. It takes an almost unfathomable 248 years for our little buddy to make it around the sun. You can almost hear it shouting, "C'mon guys, wait up!!!". It has a funny, eccentric orbit, spinning around with all the grace of a newborn fawn. Mercury by contrast orbits the sun each 88 earth days. It orbits the sun nearly 1,008 times for every once that Pluto flies by.

 Imagine your obituary, all things being equal, on Pluto:

Bill Uebbing, lived to the ripe old age of 3/8 of a year and accomplished much...

It's the perfect place for procrastinators. "Mom, I said I'd take out the trash tomorrow!"

Seriously, one Plutonian day is 6.4 Earth days. Imagine missing a deadline on Pluto. It's probably punishable by death... or at least a good, stern talking to. "I just wish there were more than 153.6 hours in a day! When am I going to get this laundry done?"

And so what if one of its moons is almost as big as itself? Some of Saturn and Jupiter's moons are the size of Mars and Earth or larger... Hell, Titan is 50% bigger than Earth, has atmosphere and liquid water (probably, maybe). Are we going to discount our own home because there are mere moons out there that are bigger than we are?

Pluto deserves to be in our consciousness. Pluto deserves to be the Pizza in the mnemonic that helped even the most dimwitted second grader pass that section of the general science test. Without Pluto, it's  like a David Lynch movie. There's no discernible ending...

My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nine....
Nine what?
Somebody tell my, what did my very elegant mother just serve us nine of?
Why won't you tell me?
It's over?
What do you mean it's over?

It's no secret that Pluto would be picked last for every backyard sports team and maybe it isn't going to known for its fiery disposition, but what ever happened to sure and steady wins the race?
Pluto has proven it's not a laughing stock. It is a character all on its own worthy of our study and interest.

One day, our sun could explode, (not likely given its size and composition, but you probably don't know that for sure and this is my blog), and if so, we'd all be dead nearly instantaneously. By contrast, Plutonians would have 5 minutes to get their affairs in order, kiss their weird little children or knock over a liquor store for old times' sake and know they were all alone in the solar system before the cosmic shit hit the fan.

Then the last shall be first. Or something. I don't know. Lunchtime is over.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Suffering for Art, Shatner is Brilliant and my Awesome Aunt Dorothy

It is said that all good art comes from suffering. You can't write a good breakup song when you and your love are happy and inseparable. You can't paint a brooding canvas if all you see is sunshine and lollipops. The list of artists who died tortured, broke, drug addicted, addled, diseased or some other malady is virtually endless. Google "the 27 club" for some modern examples.

Maybe that's why I have so little to write about. There's not a lot of pain, suffering or angst lately.

I mean, I have to have my house replumbed which was not planned for and I suppose the fact that I am learning a new job in a  new company in a new industry could be construed as being somewhat stressful. I'm turning 40 in a few days... an event that has proven to be a huge speed bump to many a man who has chosen to drive his new Porsche down to the trophy wife store to buy himself a big, fat do-over.

Good for me in general. Not so good for blog fodder. One can only belly ache so much about his commute doubling to 20 minutes because of an accident, or the fact his office gets hot because all the windows allow the sunlight to radiate in. I suppose I'm a little annoyed that sometimes people come to my office and introduce themselves and genuinely provide me with interesting and informative anecdotes while I am trying to do some mindless paperwork.Someone took the bagel I had my eye on this morning and the only cream cheese left had nuts in it.

Oh, cruel fate, why do you toy with me?

As you can no doubt gather, things are humming right along. It's taken some work to get here, it won't be here forever and I will miss it when it's gone, but I sure am enjoying it now. If attitude is everything, then I've got the world on a string, the tiger by its tail, the brass ring is within my reach.

Saying all this, putting it out there for the Universe to see, will undoubtedly invite all sorts of calamity to my doorstop. I wrote a post once a few years back about waiting for the other shoe to drop. It did, of course, it does and it will do again.

This time, I'm not dreading the inevitable speed bumps that are surely somewhere on the horizon, nor am I waiting with glib acceptance that at any moment the fit will hit the shan, so why bother to duck...


William Shatner has an album called Has Been. It has been out for some years now and it is for the most part delicious, if you're into William Shatner. I happen to think he is a genius. The list of singers who can't sing is almost as long as the tragic artist list from the previous rumination. Shatner doesn't pretend. Shatner is what he is, does what he does and the end product delves deeply into his psyche... from the whimsical to the tragic.

The eponymous track to Has Been is extremely well done. I recently heard Lorne Green "singing" a song called Rango that somehow won a Grammy in the late sixties. It was the first time I heard it and it made the song Has Been even more funny because I get the homage.

Go listen to the exploits of Shatner dressing down "Never Done Jack", "Don't Say Dick" and "Two Thumbs Don". It's worth your time, especially the final line, delivered in perfect Shatnerian style;

"Has been implies failurenot so. Has been implies history. "Has been," once was. "Has been" ...might again"

We should all be so lucky to look at life like that. It's helped Bill Shatner live long and prosper for a good long time.


Finally, I'd like to thank my Aunt Dorothy Bucci, who is the only member of my extended family who, without fail, always sends a card and sentiment for things like Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas, etc. I don't call her... I'm a terrible Nephew. In my family, we don't "do" close. But I appreciate her and her cards more than she knows and I hope she takes the time to read this.

Thanks, Aunt Dorothy. You're the best!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Coming Down to Speed

The new job is going really well. I like the people I am working with directly and those that I only know by phone or e-mail are pretty great, too. I got a greeting card welcoming me aboard from the company's Chief Administrative Officer. In her own pen. The welcome has been overwhelming. It's a very nice place to work.

They keep telling me, only half facetiously, that this is one of those crazy jobs in a crazy place filled with crazy people and had I any hair, I'll soon be tearing it out by the fistful. Upon being told this by literally everyone, my eyes begin to gloss over and I fall into one of those stereotypical Hollywood flashbacks of days gone by. "Target should be clear if you go in low enough! You'll have to decide... decide...decide...." (Please watch the movie Airplane! if you don't understand the previous reference. You can then send me flowers and candy as a thank you for changing your life, forever.

See, my last company, a good one, is in a really tough industry. One could be forgiven if they described it as lose-lose. And keeping people happy, content and otherwise engaged under such difficult circumstances is difficult. At least it proved difficult for me to the extent that I consciously escaped.

There will always be bad days, tough customers, pissy coworkers. Right now, my office is so hot I think I'm going to wither where I sit. I see heat ripples across my monitor like one sees dancing over a hot desert road. The office supply truck, upon which is my brand new fan cannot come soon enough.

So, sure, I am not in the garden of Eden, but for right now, I am enjoying coming down to speed. Certainly I'm challenged. I'm prepared and ready to handle it. I think I'll keep those flashbacks handy for when things do go sideways. It will help me keep perspective!

Emily's Grandmother passed, one day following her 94th birthday. She was a force of nature in a lot of respects. But she treated me like family from day one and never failed to make me feel welcome and involve me in the goings on of a large, dynamic family.

Grandmother Vera as I called her was smart and funny. She was good for a well placed bon mot and didn't miss much. One could sense her watching the goings on as she held court, trying to keep up with the drama, even after she stopped being able to hear much of it. This, I have long presumed may be why she liked me. My inability to moderate my voice was a positive for Grandmother Vera... She could hear most of what I was saying. And she laughed at my jokes. Anyone who knows me knows that's the real key to my heart.

I remember walking her (considerable) property with her, 15 years ago or so and I marveled at how well an 80 year old got around. Then at 90,. I marveled at her general alacrity. By 93, Vera began to slow. This more than anything made me sad. One of the first things she said to me way back when we first met was she wanted to live until the minute she couldn't be autonomous. She was ready to go and at peace with her accomplishments even then.

I've been to many funerals. Family, friends and oddly quite a few people I hardly knew at all. One of the most emotional was of a woman I had yet to meet. I remember being swept away by emotion as the Cantor in the temple sang prayers. I remember being overwhelmed at the turnout and the diversity of the people in attendance. This was clearly someone who touched lives in a positive way. I missed out  meeting her and I was as sad for myself as I was for all the rest of the attendees.

I was not emotional when Grandmother Vera died, nor was I emotional at her funeral. I simply said my standard send off, with a wink and a nod... "Well done, good and faithful servant. Rest now. Your journey is complete, your burden is laid down at the foot of your savior and you can finally be in peace everlasting."

 She will be missed, but more importantly, she will be remembered and revered by so many for many years to come. That alone transcends the loss. In the end, Vera got what she wanted, hoped for and prayed for so long. I couldn't find it in me to be sad about that.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hitting 'Reset'

I've had a lot of time to think this week. Unfortunately, my week has consisted of an unplanned and forced sabbatical from routine. I have been ill. Not a little ill or inconveniently ill, but really ill. I have been knocked on my ass, frankly, with a couple days being spent mostly in bed alternating between reading and "resting restlessly" and the rest of the time shambling around the house and slouching in my easy chair swathed in blankets and cats.

This fact was not well received by those with and for whom I work, making it even more of a struggle. Sitting at home lamenting being sick while outside forces make being sick a crime is a double whammy.

As I stare at 40, much like I did when I stared at 30, I am taking stock of my life, my direction and the person/husband/son/brother/employee/mentor that I am. I'm not freaked by 40, but I do tend to set my life rhythm to time benchmarks. I understand time. My mind is prone to asking why start something on Thursday? That's not a day to start anything. Hell, by Thursday, I'm focusing on wrapping up the week... Let's do it Monday. Fresh start. New week.

Birthdays, New Years, Lent... these are common benchmarks people use to take stock, make resolutions, come to understandings and perhaps even get around to actions.

Upon looking, I discovered much. Much to like, and much that needed to change.

Interesting that in moments of need, answers come our way to help us untie the knot of conflict. In reading this week, it has come up in multiple books that as workers we spend fully 50% of our waking lives working. We spend untold more hours being on our way to or from work, thinking about work, being preoccupied with work and otherwise not fully engaged in our own lives, families, needs and journeys.

That's fine. Hard work and purpose go hand in hand for me. I don't have kids, so I strongly identify with work. But what's the payoff? What am I supposed to get in return?



Career growth?

A feeling of success or that I made a difference?

Have (at least a little) fun?

Populate your own list. Our expectations are all different. There is no one right answer to fit all people.

It has become clear to me recently my input didn't align with my expected and needed return. Moreover, I came to the conclusion by way of introspection, reading, and covenant conversations with mentors in positions uniquely qualified to offer quality insight, that they never would.

Just as with so many other times in my life, when I needed it most, an opportunity came to me from the clear blue sky.

So, I notified my company that I had made the difficult, but completely correct decision to part ways. It's a good company. Many, many great people are involved. I have been fed, clothed and housed for seven years in return for my investment of time and labor. I have learned,laughed, yelled, become enamored, disillusioned , achieve great clarity, been higher than high and lower than low... sometimes within the same week. As the song says, I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

And then, I got sick.

Timing as they say is everything. And for the last week, I sat on the sidelines, unable to play in my last big game and the coach just handed me my walking papers.

No chanting my name, no Gatorade baths, no being carried off the field on the shoulders of my teammates. Just an inglorious end to what in retrospect will be regarded as the most fascinating time of my life so far, with all the wide open vagueness and opportunity for ambivalence for which the term allows.

I just know I'm done.

So,I face an unexpected but welcome week to go before the new gig. I'll be hitting reset. I've already been catching up on reading and learning and I shall continue. As my strength returns, I shall endeavor to walk, and get fresh air. There is a honey-do list the length of the Dead Sea Scrolls that I can work on, too.

When I was younger, this sort of thing would have had me brooding, angry and indignant. Time has told me that I cannot control circumstances so much as I can control my response to them, and how they affect me and inform how I should cope.

Another central tenet of reading that has come up during this week of infirmity is the notion that everyone wants to change the world, but few start with themselves.

So, I'm hitting 'Reset'

Let's try this again.