Sticking To The Issues

Jaclyn is visiting her sister and the recent addition to her family. That means that I am responsible for keeping the kids alive for a couple of days, so far so good. We spent time at my parent’s house over the Thanksgiving holiday, we had a wonderful dinner and a very relaxing time. A highlight for me was visiting the Mad Princess Brewing Company with my father and we sampled their flight and each beer was smooth and enjoyable (like me!).

I wanted to inject a little sanity in this crazy mess this country is in right now. I am not scared about this country, because I know we have so many wonderful people living here in America, but I am worried about how mad each side is with the other. People chanted that Hilary needed to be locked up and folks on the other side call Donald a racist rapist.

I think we should all take a step back, take a deep breath, and think about the ISSUES that are important to us. Perhaps it is bringing back jobs to rural America, perhaps it is women’s health issues, maybe you really want America to be safe from terrorist attacks and you feel like we need to improve border security. If you talk about any of the above items, democrats and republicans can talk with each other in a very productive manner. The key is to not let the issue become about a person, the ISSUES are bigger than a single person. If you are worried about Americans having access to large magazine high powered rifles, that requires a movement, it requires representatives, senators, local politicians, a social media movement, funding, courts, and perhaps a president.

Stay on the issues America and remember what Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Who is this guy?

As you can imagine, I am always apprehensive to write much about work, but it has been pretty hectic lately. This has resulted in decreasing blog frequency. This blog will be slightly ambiguous for obvious reasons, but I want to shed a little light on what’s going on, especially since it has recently occupied so much of my time and mind.

As you can imagine, I’ve been very busy just trying to help resolve a lot of the issues that are swirling around. This is truly an intense job in itself with the volume of activities that need to be done and it is all truly urgent in the eyes of leadership. In addition, we recently acquired a company and I’m taking over a lot of marketing responsibilities for some of their major products (this is like doing two jobs). There’s significant pressure on building a long term vision and strategy for the part of the company I work in and that’s been taking up a lot of time too. Finally, there have recently been several internal and external meetings of major significance that have required a lot of my bandwidth + travel.

Had the opportunity to visit San Francisco again for another conference. I feel like many people think of conferences as going to a big ballroom, sitting back and listening to lectures all day. For me, I am meeting with “customers” from 8AM to 11PM each day. It is grueling and I am always exhausted when I get home after these 4 day meetings are finished, with the 3 hour time change, it is even more brutal.

The internal meetings are generally pretty stressful as I usually have to present to a few hundred people from a stage. I generally go into these presentations with the assumption that most people in the room do not want to be there & they are thinking “who is this guy on the stage, who is he to give us direction?” Hopefully after three years of presentations at this company, very few people are thinking this about me, but I feel like the stress of this assumption generally leads to better presentations.

With all that going on, there has been the threat of company restructuring looming. This can multiply the stress of a given situation, especially when you relocated your family and have financial obligations. While some aspects of the restructuring has been completed, the area where I work is still not yet complete.

Please know that I only relate this to you to explain that it has been really busy and I’ve been stressed by it all. It is not to glorify anything, in fact, I think a less stressful situation would be significantly more glorious! I dream of the day when my children are finished college and Jaclyn and I can live off the grid somewhere.

That being said, I’m finally seeing things fall into order. The horizon still looks plenty busy, but I think the trend is past its apex.

With me being out and about and working too much, I had reserved a hotel room in Pittsburgh on Friday night for Light Up Night. I booked it way in advance, so we could get a good room at a decent rate. Light Up Night is when Pittsburgh unveils all their holiday stuff, like Christmas Village, giant tree, gingerbread houses, and santa displays. They also host several free concerts, we attended the Daya performance (she is a Pittsburgh native and ubiquitous on pop radio stations today). Dalia was perched on my shoulders, Winston crouched on the ground pecking away at Kettle Corn like a pigeon. I saw Jaclyn dancing on the streets of Pittsburgh to the music. The best part was the weather miraculously made it to 70 degrees. At the conclusion of the concert, fireworks shot up over the Allegheny River. For about 10 minutes, the fireworks steadily shot up over the river, a constant barrage of sight and sound. I leaned over to Jaclyn and asked if she thought the finale would be able to differentiate from what we’ve been watching, I mean, how can this be topped? Well, the finale was spectacular, it was like 10 typical fireworks performances condensed into 2 minutes of bombastic fury! We strolled back to our hotel, got some rest, and went swimming in their pool the next morning. I relaxed in the hot tub for awhile. Every time I’m in a hot tub, I remember a 13 year old Edman telling me how cool people sit in hot tubs (by putting their arms on the side, really spreading yourself out).

Thank goodness the holidays are here, it is time to relax, see family, chill out, and have a beer or two with old friends.

 

 

Trees

I was sitting in the backyard on an unseasonably warm evening burning old branches in the fire pit. We have enormous oak trees in our yard that drop thousands of acorns and the occasional big branch, on this night, pockets of sky shown through the canopy and the stars were putting on a brilliant display.

The trees in our yard are enormous, at least by Pennsylvania standards. One of our giant oak trees is regarded as “historic”. The historic tree is in the front yard, right next to the road with a little plaque in front of it that states that it is a historic tree from the 1870’s.

These old trees are pretty beautiful, but we sometimes worry about the possibility of one falling over and crashing into our house, our fence, or neighbor’s house. These giants could do immense damage to something or someone, perhaps we should get them removed, but it would cost a small fortune.

Then I thought that the tree would find my musings very amusing.

“Who does this little guy think he is, this 38 year old boy with a bad back, is worrying about me? Worrying about me falling over and damaging his house? I have been around for 146 years, I weigh tens of thousands of pounds, I’m a gosh darn oak tree, solid. He should worry more about his self and hope he lives half as long as me, I’ll be fine.”