Ho, Ho, Ho

I listen to lots of music, a lot of it Jaclyn likes, some it she does not.

One musician that I love is Valerie June. Valerie June’s new song is called Astral Plane and it is the perfect song for how I feel today (if you like that song, check out her first album which is fabulous all the way through).

There is big news about my employer getting rid of 10% of its workforce. As you can imagine, this is like cruising around in submarine and then all the sudden, feeling an explosion, red lights blinking, alarms buzzing, and people running around like crazy. After the initial shock, you check all indicators, walk the ship and realize that it is going to be okay. I have walked my ship, put the wrench on a couple of leaking pipes, had a night of reflection over a stiff drink or two, and have emerged with clarity.

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The last time I voted was for Ralph Nader in 2000. I will never forget the god damn person at the polling location who told me that it was a stupid vote and that it was a waste of a vote, I guess it struck a chord because it had more than a grain of truth embedded in it. I didn’t want my vote to meaningless. I was disappointed with who was eventually elected (spoiler alert, it was not Ralph Nader). I wanted my vote to be worth more than meaningless, how do you make your vote incredibly powerful, how do you get to rule the world in the way you see fit? Well, you appoint yourself president, of course! That is what I did in 2000 and I have been running a fairly effective operation since.

The reason I bring up my presidency of sovereign land on an acre of land outside Pittsburgh is because my favorite holiday is New Year’s Eve/Day as it is the time where I reflect on the previous year and the year ahead. ¬†Looking back on 2016, there has been incredible progress.

My children are honest, thoughtful, caring, considerate, and improving all the time. They have embarked on hikes, musical instruments, and academic courses that have challenged them, but they continue to demonstrate an ability to press forward to build on steady progress, I am proud of them and the work Jaclyn and I have done to help them on their journey.

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We have made a difference in our community. To be completely honest, Jaclyn really deserves all the credit, but since I am president, I am giving myself credit for adding her to my cabinet and appointing her community ambassador. She is absolutely amazing. Jaclyn volunteers for meals on wheels, she has bought meals and clothing for people on the route who needed a little extra support to get them by. Jac volunteers at the local elementary school library and has unlocked kid’s interest in reading by finding them the perfect book. Jaclyn has built an incredible network among all the families within the neighborhood and we have hosted several top notch gatherings where we celebrate each other and build community.

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Adventure is important in life and this year delivered it in spades. I enjoyed seeing my first redwood trees and driving through the Colorado Rockies. I now know the woods of Ohiopyle like the back of my hand and can now navigate Pittsburgh with no need for a GPS.

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Business, well, business has certainly had its ups and downs this year. With that being said, I am proud of my contribution and have a sincere belief that my colleagues and supervisors do too. I received a nice promotion this year and despite all the craziness, I have a hunch that I may be assuming more responsibility soon. My mother told me that you should always treat people with dignity, respect, and kindness on the way up, because you see the same people on the way down. There is no better business advice than that, it has rung true dozens of times and I just do my best to honor my mother’s guidance. My father is tough, direct, and not one that appreciates an excuse, like the real world. There is no doubt that I have my mom on one shoulder and my father on the other, talking to me every single day.

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I gave up a kidney to help a sister country who has a very strong female president and supporting cabinet. I’ll never forget how the community rallied around my sister and I, there are just so many outstanding and wonderful people out there and I know that not all of them voted for the same person, I so grateful for my family and my friends, you are wonderful. Very happy that my sister is doing well, she a beacon of what makes this world a great place to be.

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So, yes, I am listening to Astral Plane and I’m looking back on 2016 with a pretty big smile on my face. Jaclyn made me a little key ring holder that hangs in our kitchen with one of my favorite quotes:

“Do Right & Fear No Man”

So, while 2017 can easily bring a couple surprises, we will continue to do right and see where that leads us.

Thank you for reading, thank you for being supportive, and thank you for a wonderful 2016. Happy holidays to all.

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