Tag Archives | holiday

Turkey Time (actually no)

This Thanksgiving our family is near Lake Tahoe at a ski resort called Sugarbowl. The only catch is there is not enough snow for skiing. However, we are still finding things to be thankful for like the company of family and friends, playing games, and a little time in the hot tub. Thanksgiving tends to remind people to take stock of all they have. I tend to do that throughout the year and this day does make it just a touch more special.

Have taken some time for a quick post. Something special this year is that we are NOT having a turkey for dinner. We are having ham. So we spared the turkey but not the swine. Hey, a family has to eat.

While I am thinking of holidays. Here is my companies holiday greeting this year complete with a free gift of desktop downloads.

OK, back to the vacation from home and holiday time with family.

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Taking Breaks Big And Small


Something I am not good at is taking a break from work. Any type of break–5 minutes or 5 days. On a daily basis I find myself sitting at the machine for 3 hours at a stretch without getting out of the chair. Obviously this is not good. I did get a pedometer over the holidays to see just how much movement I am getting during a typical work day. Right now I am averaging over 10,000 steps a day which is not bad for a mostly sedentary desk job. On a day-to-day basis I do need to take more breaks and get up and move around. I don’t think we as humans were designed to be seated for long periods of time. To help with that I recently setup a small mac-based application called FlexTime. It is a great app that will let me program periods of time and breaks, and it will put notices up in front of me to let me know to take a break or switch gears. Not only the physical change, but the mental change of focus and attention will help as well.

Other than the day-to-day breaks are the BIG breaks–vacations. We all need vacations to help rest and recharge. Problem is in this country (US) we tend toward the workaholic side of the spectrum and take very few breaks on a daily basis and take very little vacation time when compared to the rest of the industrialized world. Then again our GNP is the highest in the world so there is a positive side to it. However, I tend to work so hard for so long that I get burned out. I have been to burnout and back several times in my career and its no fun. To help keep this at bay I recently made a decision to take a vacation that sort of landed in my lap. A friend who is going to Mexico for 10 days asked me to come along–out of the blue.

Initially my reaction was. “Well, I do have so many projects going on right now I’m not sure I can spare the time.” I told this to someone I met at a party over the weekend and he looked at me and said, “You should go on the trip. Work will always be there, a chance to go to Mexico will not.” I thought to myself, he is absolutely right. It is the advice I would give to someone else if they were telling me the story. I would say figure out how to make it happen and I am making it happen. My new passport is on the way and I leave 2 weeks from this Friday. I have never been to Mexico and I have lived a couple hundred miles north of the border for almost 15 years. Its about time I take a visit. The work will be here when I get back.

When was the last time you took a vacation or a day off?

Yeah. Exactly–too long. Make it happen. Take the opportunity when it comes, or make the opportunity now.

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Do You Call It A Resolution?

Sign of choice

I’ve changed my attitude a bit since the stroke of midnight on 12/31/2008. Nothing drastic just a change of perspective really. I have decided (key word) to be less stressed. Yes, I have decided to be less stressed. I can you know. Because after all stress does really comes down to choice. When presented with a situation I can choose to stress about it, or go with the flow. During last year I tended towards the stressed side of life. Everything became stressful no matter how insignificant or benign. It was exhausting, frustrating, tiring, and no fun at all.

I worked hard in the last half of last year to come to understand that everything involves choice–especially your emotional state, what and how you label things, and how you ‘feel’ about it. Thing for me was that being ‘stressed’ with regard to just about everything became default behaviour. The stress compounded to create anxiety about everything. I got tired of feeling stressed all the time and sought out answers and remedies to feeling stressed all the time. Yes, hot baths, exercise, massage, acupuncture all help create periods of relaxation but they can be fleeting. What I needed was a something longer term and I found it in understanding that I have a choice to how I react to everything around me. Choice is the power to steer clear of default behaviours. The first step is awareness and from that ‘choice’ can turn what would be stressful by default into just another thing. The fact that I did not do my 15 minutes of posting yesterday? No stress. It was a holiday.

So, I’m not sure I see this change as a resolution so much as a serious lifestyle change, or should I say lifestyle ‘choice?’ Do you see stress as a choice? Or, something else?

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Drowning in Packaging


The things I buy typically have too much packaging. I am usually aware of this and when dealing with one or two items purchased at the store it is not too big a deal. There is a moment that the thought goes through my head…

“Man, this is WAY too much packaging for just this one small item.”

Sometimes I need sharp scissors or pliers to get something open, and then I return to my life and the goings on.

This past Tuesday on Christmas the above thought kept happening over, and over again. I have 3 small children who are very lucky to have grandparents that like to dote on them by purchasing gifts. Granted the amount of gifts this year were more than needed but what really opened my eyes was the amount of packaging waste each and every gift produced. There was ‘tons’ of plastic and paper used on every gift–this does not even include the wrapping paper to hide the gifts. The best though is all the wire twists (like the ones you use to close your trash bags) I had to unwravel so that my kids could get at the toys. When I was a kid ( I sound like someones grandfather talking about walking barefoot to school uphill both ways ) we never had this much packaging and tethers to opening gifts. Hell this year I actually had to get out a screwdriver to remove screws from the feet of one toy to release it from its packaging.

We did produce a fair amount of refuse. Good thing is that we can recycle most of the plastic and paper that the gifts came in. It makes me shiver to think how much energy and resources went into creating the packaging alone. It can make ones mind go numb to think about the waste they produce either singularly or as a family and then take that across the United States. That is a lot of packaging waste. The fact that within the United States its people are not considered ‘citizens’ but rather ‘consumers’ should make you stop and think about whether you really NEED that new widget, or your WANT that new widget… (OK I will get off the soapbox now).

Overall I wonder, does ones good fortune during the holiday season increase their carbon footprint? If so, how many more credits does one need to buy? Or could it all be a scheme?

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Some people like to produce long-winded reviews of the past 364 days of the year—I do not. However, I will offer up some things I am interested in pursuing in the new year. These are not resolutions, rather they are what I will call pursuits. Continue Reading →

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Most wonderful time of the year, the trifecta.

It really is for me. I have noticed this holiday season that I am truly blessed in so many ways. I have many things to be thankful for (sounds like I’m talking Turkey Day here). The combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s is interesting in what it causes me to do. Continue Reading →

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