Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

No sense taking the time to create a beautiful greeting. did that already.  I'd include a link, but honestly, too many popups.  If it weren't for Firefox blocking them, I'd still be trying to close them all.

After wrestling the graphic down to the ground, avoiding all the popups, it became personal.  Just had to use it.

Anyway, sorry for the rant.

Merry Christmas to my blogging friends and your families!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dr. Seuss Knows a Thing or Two About Aging

If you've read the New Blogged Word for any length of time, you know I post a periodic Retirement Countdown entry once in a while. This doesn't really qualify, but it is fun.

A friend sent this to me recently and I just had to share it. In addition to the good doctor providing a clear assessment of the aging picture, here's a few more facts that may or may not help:
  • The people who started college this past fall were born in 1990.
  • They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
  • Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
  • The CD was introduced two years before they were born.
  • They have always had an answering machine.
  • They have always had cable.
  • Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show (until recently.)
  • Popcorn has always been microwaved.
  • They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
  • They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
  • They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "de plane Boss, de plane."
  • McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.
  • They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.
Damn kids.  :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Legal Christmas

A colleague of mine sent a nice holiday greeting over email recently and at the end of a very nice sentiment, he included a very appropriate CYA version that gave me a good laugh. I just had to share it. It is unfortunate that in this litigious world, a greeting such as this doesn't seem too far out there. Regardless, it is a fun read:

From me ("the wishor") to you ("the wishee"):

Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of your choice.

I wish you a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures, and having regard to the race, creed, age, physical ability, faith or choice of computer platform (MAC, PC, C64) of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that:
  • This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal.
  • This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.
  • This greeting implies no promise whatsoever by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes.
  • This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishes in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor.
  • This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.
  • The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.
Any references in this greeting to "the Lord", "Father Christmas", "Our Saviour", "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged and all due clearances and consents of the same have been diligently obtained.

This greeting is made under [insert you company name] Law and shall be interpreted, construed and governed by the laws of said company.


Monday, December 14, 2009

I Have a Badge! (and other updates)

In my other blog, The Ultimate Blogging Toolkit, I have posted an entry about Blog Badges. As you can see, I have added it to my sidebar as a nice piece of cross-promotion.  Check out the toolkit for an interesting look into how this blue/aqua/green/black background was created.  You'll enjoy the story about it being "one of a kind" and you'll learn how to make one yourself.

Notice, too that I am experimenting with Amazon ads.  Yes, if you click through to make a purchase, I'll make a few cents and a piece of cheese.  The Ultimate Blogging Toolkit is the blogger's resource and this is more of a free-for-all, but it is a great sandbox to experiment.  Let me know what you think.  In general, are you interested in helping others by making your online purchases like you normally would, but start by clicking through like this?

Let me know!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Over the Top Christmas Lights - But What Fun to Watch!

A colleague sent a link to this year's video of Richard Holdman's stunning Christmas Lights display, but I have a soft spot for Frosty the Snowman and his musical guest, the late Dean Martin.  Turn up those speakers, enjoy this and Mr. Holdman's other renditions.

'Tis the season!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Agave Azul

New restaurants come and go, but occasionally one comes along that you really wish could stay.  Agave Azul had a brief mention in a recent edition of the Oregonian and the "healthy selections" part caught my eye.

I can only speak for the chicken fajitas - that's what Margaret and I each ordered.  (Of course there was a margarita and a glass of wine involved.)

Our new friend, Maria brought the fajitas to the table with the requisite sizzling pan, but when we dug in, we were both surprised - no grease.  When I pointed that out, Maria said simply, "we use wine instead!"

If you can't read the graphic, they are in Gresham (of course) just off Powell on Vista, near 242nd.  Treat yourself to a friendly atmosphere and wonderfully light fajitas!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Cruise!

Yes, you eagle-eyed readers are right - it has been some time since I've blogged. Mea culpa! Won't bore you with the details, other than a pledge to get back at it.

What has caused me to get off the dime is a commitment I made to some new friends while on our Caribbean Cruise. After trying to determine how I was going to email videos of our Zip Line tour of the jungle in Belize, I realized this may be the easiest. Since the file sizes are much larger than most email systems can handle, it's merely sending a link to this post.

First, my new friend Les. We had to do some quick planning to make sure we had the camera on the "receiving" platform to get each of us landing. Here's my videography of his "zipography:"

Next, is someone who I am sorry to say, I don't know her name. However, her landing was one we shall all remember. It looks pretty "contained" in this video, but I assure you, it was a bit more "exciting" as she was coming to a stop. Enjoy your movie role!

Last, but not least: me. Les and I were quick enough to swap the camera to that we could get each other in our starring roles. And I mean quick! As you've seen, it didn't take long to get hooked in, zip, unhooked, and off to the next platform. We had to do some creative sequencing with some of our fellow zippers to buy some time between zips, but as Larry the Cable Guy might say, we "got 'er done!"

Les and I decided that when we retire and take over the tourist trade in Belize, we would keep the long bus ride, keep the lunch (not bad, actually), keep Mel (Melanie) as the tour guide, but we would absolutely do the Zipline loop 20 or 30 times (well, maybe 2 or 3) before the long ride back.

Feel free to check back for photos and more commentary.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

727 - Two Years and Counting

After blowing past the "two years left until my retirement-eligible target" of August 1, I'm realizing just how fast time is traveling. It seems that in spite of frequent attention being paid to the remaining time, the pace is indeed accelerating. I'm thinking this is both good and bad.

A quickened pace leading to retirement gets to that emotional "nirvana" more quickly, alleviating the "can't wait 'til Christmas" feeling that we all had (have!) as kids. I'm excited to get there and want the waiting time to be short.

But there are drawbacks to the quick pace I'm beginning to experience.

First, there's the very real need to transform the old 201(k) back into a 401(k) to put the retirement funding back on track. You're saying, "time doesn't really go faster or slower, it's just a perception; you really have two years left, no matter how fast it 'seems' to be going."


But with the perception that time is actually going faster, I must be on guard to fight the urge to "catch up" the investment funds too quickly through poor decisions. Stay the course. Make careful choices.

There's another, more deeply emotional aspect of time going quickly: relationships. If I choose to retire on Day 0 (remember, at that point in time I may "choose" to work, as opposed to being "required" to do so), I will be leaving a career-long connection to my professional family. I don't take this concept lightly. My employer of now nearly 31 years has in it a unique and cherished family feel that is quite unusual in what would be a Fortune 600 or 700 company. Large organizations don't always foster that type of close-knit feeling.

I won't even get into the impact I will have on my wife when I retire. Reduced stress for me, but heightened stress for her. Having me around every day won't necessarily be a cake walk. This could be the basis for a whole series of posts by itself!

For now, I will continue to enjoy the Retirement Countdown experience due to (or in spite of) the seemingly quickened pace. Have you experienced these feelings? How did you deal with it? If you're still a long way away from retirement, how do my perspectives affect yours?


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Casual Friday Inflation

What is it with "Casual" Fridays any more? Don't people have pride in their appearance, their roles in their organization, or even the organization itself? As with most other aspects of our economy, inflation seems to have affected the way many people dress on the last day of the work week. What used to be grubby is now considered casual and what was casual is now business casual - at least through the eyes of some.

I remember when Casual Friday in most companies meant, "lose the tie." At my employer, that wasn't actually the case because we didn't have Casual Friday. It was "tie day" every day. However, in June of 2001, my employer changed to "casual business attire" which meant losing the tie completely, unless of course if there was an event or visitor that warranted a knot. The quote from our CEO's email announcement:

"As another step toward making our company a more open and congenial place in which to work, I would like to announce a change in the dress code -- to casual business attire (which of course, does not mean sneakers, jeans and shorts.)"

Now, I have not seen shorts (unless you include women's Capri pants), but I have seen my share of sneakers and jeans, many of which have seen their own share of miles traveled. I just don't get it. We (and I use the collective "we") strive to be treated like professionals. We complain when we are not respected as valued members of the organization. Then on Fridays, instead of tastefully dressing down to "casual business attire," we act as if we are about to change the oil in our cars.

If this is what people wear to work on Fridays, what do they put on to become more casual at home? If the proportions hold true, that level of "casual" would allow them a second job of standing on the freeway off-ramp with a cardboard sign, indicating, "will work for good clothes."

I'm sorry, but keep the slacks, keep the dress shoes and keep the collared shirts. Lose the jeans.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Philadelphians Group Tours

It is always a pleasure to learn something new about a friend. I've been playing tennis with Grant Beldin for several years and never really knew about his company, Philadelphians Group Tours. I'd always heard bits and pieces, but never actually put two and two together. Until just recently.

Grant and his wife, Marilyn own and operate Philadelphians Group Tours, Inc. They have been creating and hosting non-smoking Christian tours since 1980 and here I am just finding out! Their tours are selected with seniors in mind and delivered in a caring and comfortable way.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have not enjoyed one of their tours myself. But I have a different perspective. A perspective most clients don't get to see. I see in Grant a caring, humorous, family-oriented gentleman. If just half of the personality I've known for years comes through in his tours, you're in for a treat.

The conversation I had with him recently that educated me about PGTI painted the picture of detail-oriented planning, the utmost concern for the guests' comfort and safety, and an overall feeling of him truly being a part of ever group he hosts. Not a bad way to travel.

Check out Philadelphians Group Tours, Inc. If you have the need for caring and comfortable travel, where all the details are handled for you, they are indeed your choice.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Better Mouse Trap - Really

Sometimes, I just don't have words to add. When you think you've seen it all on the Internet...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Free Pastry at Starbucks Tuesday

Yes, Starbucks is rolling out the free carpet - at least for one day. Purchase a coffee before 10:30 AM and get one of a variety of pastries FREE.

With McDonalds pushing the latte' wars and Dunkin Donuts fighting hard with great coffee, Starbucks continues to fight back.

Me? I'll make my normal purchase and enjoy a free pastry. Click on the picture to view the large version, print it and enjoy.

If that doesn't work, click here.


Friday, July 17, 2009

YMCA Camp Collins

Summer Camp.

Just these two words conjures up a time when nothing else really matters, September and the start of school is a lifetime away and kids can just be kids. Unfortunately, that isn't often enough these days. Although I didn't enjoy summer camp as a kid, I have been fortunate to be exposed to its virtues in a number of ways since then.

In this area of the country, many 6th graders enjoy "Outdoor School." They spend a week during the school year attending a summer camp along with their teachers and spend an environmentally educational week. For many, it's the first time away from home alone.

Outdoor School didn't yet exist when I was a 6th grader, but I had the chance to be a counselor when I was a senior in high school. All the best of summer camp and more rewarding at the same time.

Then, Daughter Collette went to Camp Collins as a 1st grader. Six years old and a camper for life. On the banks of the Sandy River east of Gresham, Oregon, Camp Collins is the ultimate location. Sitting in a horseshoe bend in the river, it makes it easy to ride the river in an inner tube and not travel far from your base.

But tubing is a small fraction of the benefits that come with a stay at Camp Collins. First of all, your stay will include my 21 year old as the Arts and Crafts Director. Yes, a camper for life. The video above should be your first clue why she's a camper for life and I take every chance I get to visit camp. Add horses, archery, a climbing tower, a ropes course, songs, nonsense, well... you get the idea. A great environment, all with the positive YMCA virtues of love, respect, honesty, responsibility, and service.

But why am I sharing this? Camp Collins needs your help.

Each year the camp raises over $100,000 dollars to help families with tuition assitance. Assistance is strictly needs-based and those needs are increasing during these challenging economic times. Couple that with a more challenged donor base - for the same reasons - and you see the need for this plea.

If you want to help make a difference in a child's life - a difference that amounts to the only positive influence in some kids' lives - please give what you can. A dollar or a thousand dollars - it all makes a difference.

Click on this link, visit the Camp Collins web site, donate, and help make another camper for life.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oregon Food Bank Volunteer Day

A primary responsibility we have collectively as a civil and just society with so much available to us is to help fellow citizens in need. One way to do that is through support of a very basic need: food.

There are many ways to help provide food to those who need the assistance. Food, cash and in-kind donations to your local food bank are just a few. One enjoyable and very needed form of support is your muscle. Individuals in the local Portland, Oregon area are invited to exercise that muscle at the Oregon Food Bank.

Our company is planning a Volunteer Day to work in the Volunteer Action Center. There, 75 of us will repack bulk food into individual and family-sized portions. Bulk foods can range from rice, to beans, to well... just about anything. It will be a great time, helping a great organization do great things for people all around the state.

If you, your family, or your colleagues at work are interested in having some fun, contact the Oregon Food Bank and sign up for a Volunteer Day. Everyone is welcome - even children at least six years old. A Youth Release Form will need to be completed for volunteers under 18 along with the appropriate supervision.

Exercise your philanthropic muscle. It will only cost you a few hours and a short drive to the Oregon Food Bank.


Saturday, July 11, 2009


This is a bit off my normal topics, but with full credit to Get Some More, I just had to share the amazing power of numbers:

See this,and think wonderful Mathematics is.....

1 x 8 + 1 = 9

12 x 8 + 2 = 98

123 x 8 + 3 = 987

1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876

12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765

123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654

1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543

12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432

123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11

12 x 9 + 3 = 111

123 x 9 + 4 = 1111

1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111

12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111

123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111

1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111

12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111

123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88

98 x 9 + 6 = 888

987 x 9 + 5 = 8888

9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888

98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888

987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888

9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888

98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it?

And finally, take a look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1

11 x 11 = 121

111 x 111 = 12321

1111 x 1111 = 1234321

11111 x 11111 = 123454321

111111 x 111111 = 12345654321

1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321

11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321

111111111 x 111111111=12345678987654321



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Energication for Renewable Energy Education

The New Blogged Word has been my tool for "casual blogging." Items of more general interest live here, while topics about what I'm learning about blogging reside at The Ultimate Blogging Toolkit. These will continue to be a places to share my perspectives, but I also want to share the result of two other passions: renewable energy and education.

First, education.

For the last eight years, I've been a school board member. A lot of work, but a very rewarding experience.

Now, renewable energy.

As a self-proclaimed solar geek, I'm always looking for innovative and successful uses of solar technology. Taking a page from the school district's math initiative, I put two and two together - and got Energication.

The combination of Renewable Energy and Education, "Energication" is my latest project bringing information of value to educators about renewable energy curriculum. My hope is that it will become a central topic in all schools across our nation. For now, I'm just happy our local district is interested in pursuing the concept.

Renewable energy is our future. Electricity will be the currency of that future. Through Energication and speaking in person to any school who will listen, I am looking forward to helping our students have some "spending money" when they get to the future.

The first effort is to pursue a working solar system and related curriculum through a grant application. You can read more about it on the site.


Friday, July 3, 2009

759 - Martini Bar Visit For My 21 Year Old

I am about to utter words never before exiting my mouth: "Last night, my wife and I took our daughter to a martini bar." Believe me, that feels strange to think about and even worse to see it in pixels.

Last week, daughter Collette celebrated her 21st birthday with three of the best, best friends anyone could ever have. It's like I have four daughters. With an "adult" designated driver deployed, we weren't worried in the slightest. (Well, maybe about a possible hangover, but that didn't materialize either.) Many thanks to the mother of one of her friends, Jenny, for being the "Driving Diva."

Why do I share this?

Because the martini bar realization has now become another milestone on the Retirement Countdown. To use a carpenter analogy, her 21st birthday was like tapping the nail with the hammer to set it. The martini bar was the hammer that drove it in.

Am I getting old? Sure. Collette lovingly jabs me with that statement frequently. It is the maturing and "rights of passage" when kids provide different perspectives to parents. My perspectives continue to change (mostly for the better, thank you!) as the kids, wife Margaret and I "mature." Things that used to be important no longer matter and things that were never a concern before are now vital. Age seems to do that.

Does this align at all with your perspectives? If you are reading this because you have an affinity for the Retirement Countdown, have you experienced anything similar? I'd enjoy your perspectives.


Monday, June 29, 2009

763 - Relocation, And It's Not Me

Through the course of this Retirement Countdown journey, my focus has been on the changing aspects of my professional, civic and personal life. All of the things you would expect to change, do, on the path to retirement. They've included health, volunteering, college tuition, a heart attack and more. One thing that has been a solid constant has been children... until now.

I am very pleased to say that the change involving the children is quite positive. Son Jake has been pursuing a position in Seattle. Excellent extension to his own professional journey. Two visits. One offer. Accepted. We could not be more pleased and proud.

However, the point of 763 is that now I'm treading in a topic area of the Retirement Countdown never before visited: the moving of a child away from home.

Sure, they both went to college. One local; the other semi-local. Easy transition for Mom and me. This one is different. Not better. Not worse. Different.

Seattle is only a few hour drive away. Twenty-five minutes between PDX and SEA. Geography is working in our favor. But we get the best of both worlds. First, we are proud parents of a successful child. Secondly, we now have an excellent excuse to head up Interstate 5. It's not that I've never had a reason before - Seattle is a great city and I've grown up enjoying it from time to time. Now, there's a "reason."

This "reason" will satisfy my occasional need for a road trip. But the "reason" will have to be managed. After all, my first born will not be just across town. Sure, I may go weeks without seeing him based on our respective schedules and travel demands, but I know he's in the area. Electronic messaging seems to bridge that short gap. A couple of hundred miles will be a wider gap to which I will adjust. Fortunately, it's for all the right reasons.

What's been your experience with distances between you and kids? All positive, I hope? How have you adjusted or endured, depending on the circumstances? What's your advice?


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sports Tradition, Superstition, and Habit

Carl Del Souza/AFP/Getty Images

Wimbledon is probably the most storied and tradition-filled institution in the world of sports. The players, the plays, even the weather have played a major role in creating the aura that surrounds the annual event.

The weather is what is causing the latest stir as it relates to the first-ever retractable roof over Center Court. Countless matches have been delayed or postponed over the years, but weather delays look to be no longer served up. Thanks to a 1,000 ton retractable cover with translucent canvas. As you can imagine, purists aren't pleased.

It appears that even Wimbledon struggles with change. How do you approach your sport? Whether you are a pro, avid amateur, or week-end warrior, everyone has their own traditions, superstitions, and habits. Aspects of our game that must stay the same. But which are they and where do the lines blur between them?

As a hockey player back in the day, I had a very specific way in which put on my gear, stretched, warmed up and took practice shots (I was a goalie.) If you were to ask me then, I'd say, "Well, it's a logical series of steps to prepare for the game." Bull. It was all superstition, with maybe a bit of habit thrown in. The only tradition involved was the fact that I did it that way (habitual superstition) for a long time!

What about you? What quirky... er... I mean... interesting rituals do you practice before any sort of sporting participation?

- Do you wear the same socks when you play tennis because they feel the best, or is there a bit of superstition involved?

- At the golf course, do you hit a bucket of balls before your round to "warm up" or is it more traditional for you?

- When you go for a run, do you listen to the same kind of music each time because it puts you "in the groove" or are you simply a creature of habit?

It's OK to come clean. This is a (relatively) anonymous forum.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day Retrospective

Happy Father's Day to all. If you are a father, then this is obvious. But if you are a wife, mother, sister, or any relation that is a part of the fairer sex, or if you are the child of a father, it is an opportunity to celebrate fathers and look back with them to enjoy fond memories.

My memory is one I keep with me daily - in the form of a fountain pen.

I remember as a child, watching my late father pay the bills. That was a time when the man of the house took care of the financial matters so that the "little lady" didn't have to worry her pretty little head. Let the record show that if I took care of the day to day finances in my home, I'd be a wreck (and so would the finances!) My wife does the "here and now" by taking care of current obligations and I "look to the future" by taking care of the investments. It's a great arrangement in these modern times.

My father was a carpenter and had scarred, tough, beat-up hands. I used to watch those hands create the most elegant and flowing signature when he signed the checks. A signature made possible with a simple Shaeffer fountain pen. A fountain pen that would be my future tie to the past.

Years later (and only a few before he passed away), I happened to ask him if he remembered that pen. He did and said he thought he knew where it was. We went down to the basement and rifled through is his old WWII Army footlocker.

There it was.

I told him of my memory, which took him by surprise - he remembered me hanging around when he paid the bills, but had no idea the impact it had on me. But realizing it then, he immediately made of gift of the pen to me.

That was the genesis of my pen collection.

In my 781 - School Board Farewell Message, I noted the 781 days left to retirement by sharing my final message I delivered at my last Board Meeting. How does this tied together? The gift I received from my fellow Board Members was a fountain pen. They've heard me talk about (and use) special pens for eight years and decided to put their money where my mouth was. I couldn't have been more pleased.

If you are father, congratulations and enjoy your day with family and friends.

If you have, know, remember, or just like to hang around fathers, celebrate the memories they make and tell them how much of an impact they have made on you. They may not know about your version of the fountain pen.

Do it while you can.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pittsburgh Penguins Claim Stanley Cup

Yes, the tuxedo trimed birds claimed the Stanley Cup on a foreign ice flow, winning the famed 7th game in rival Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. The Pittsburgh Penguins: you have to like a bird that dresses for dinner. How can you not want them to succeed? Didn't you see March of the Penguins?

Stanley Cup Finals; 7th Game; down to the wire: what all hockey players use as a backdrop for street hockey (shinny for you purists) games to build drama.

But the drama is something that most people never experience. I've of course never experienced Stanley Cup success, except for when it came through town a few years ago and was able to visit, touch the names and marvel at its presence. As a long time, but quite "previous" hockey player, I get a chill when I see the cup and experienced a thrill when I got to touch it.

But this accomplishment begs a question: if you have achieved a "championship" in any fashion, do you re-connect to that time when you see a team or individual achieve that milestone? Do you (at least temporarily) live vicariously through them? As someone who has experienced several championships in my youth as a hockey player, I can attest to the fact that there are not may other feelings quite as fulfilling.

What's your experience? Have you achieved "championship" status in any endevor? Was it individual or a team accomplishment? Do you relive it with the same passion when you see current teams do the same?

I need to know if I'm the execption, or the rule.



Friday, June 12, 2009

781 - School Board Farewell Message

After eight years on the Gresham-Barlow School Board, I have finally elected to retire. A difficult decision, but one that is right for me. While it is time to move on, I will deeply miss the work, the kids, and my colleagues.

Last night was the final formal business meeting, of which I have had the honor to lead for the last two years as Board Chair. Kind words, gifts and an occasional "jab" made for an excellent send-off. Knowing there would be an opportunity for some final remarks, I knew the only way I would get through them emotionally was to write them down. I'm glad I did, because I barely held it together while I read them. I share them with you here in hopes that some of my perspectives may resonate with you.

Best regards,


Gresham-Barlow School Board
Farewell Message
June 11, 2009

There is something about the magic of this District that I’m sure all of us inherently feel to some degree, but that I have had a difficult time truly understanding until just recently. I’d like to share with you how that perspective has finally come into focus.

Over the past six months, I have seen at my employer, a number of long-time friends and colleagues retire. While my retirement is still a few years out, it is being on this precipice of a significant change in my professional life that has allowed me to relate it to my work in Gresham-Barlow School District.

This has caused me to observe many similarities between our home lives and our professional and civic activities. For example:

  • We are frequently working hard to live within our means
  • We often pack our schedules full in an attempt to do it all
  • We are sometimes dysfunctional (and you know who your are!)
  • We take what we do very seriously, but try to have fun doing it
  • We care about each other
  • We do it all for our kids
  • We are a family

Speaking of family, I want to take this opportunity to thank them for giving up 8 years of Thursday nights. Especially my very patient and supportive wife, Margaret. Without her support, I would not have been able to focus on the work at hand.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to be a part of this wonderful family over the last eight years. It is not uncommon for people in my circumstance to announce that they have benefitted exponentially more than they have contributed, but it is so true.

  • How many people can say that they have worn dorky hats to read Dr. Seuss books to Kindergartners?
  • And at the other end of the educational spectrum, how many people can say that they have been afforded the honor of handing out high school diplomas and shaking the hands of our graduating seniors?
  • How many of those can say they got to hand them to their own children?

As I’ve already discussed with the Superintendent, I hope to be involved with some projects going forward, so I am excited about getting to work with you again, only in a different capacity. Until then, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts:

  • To students: continue making us proud
  • To staff: continue doing the right things for our kids
  • To Cabinet: continue creating opportunities for teachers to succeed
  • To the Superintendent: continue being the leader that you are
  • To Board Members: continue balancing the here and now, with the distant future
I wish all of you the best, both professionally and personally for the future.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Donate Life Northwest Raffle

Donate Life Northwest
Donate Life Northwest

A good friend of mine is the Program Director for a small non-profit organization in Portland called Donate Life Northwest. They are responsible for the statewide public education about the importance of registering to be an organ donor.

Part of their fundraising efforts is an annual benefit raffle which is coming up in August. I am reaching out to all Ultimate Blogging Toolkit readers and fellow bloggers to buy a ticket or two. There are six great prizes and if by an unfortunate chance you don't win, all of your charitable gift is tax deductible and 100% goes towards their wonderful programs.

You can buy tickets online at their secure website:

And what great prizes!

  • Grand Prize: Roundtrip airfare for two on Alaska Airlines within the continental US
  • 2nd Prize: Seven day stay at Eagle Crest Ridge in Redmond, OR (sleeps 6)
  • 3rd Prize: Central Oregon Getaway - weekend stay in a cabin on the banks of the Metolius River and dinner at Chloe Restaurant
  • 4th Prize: 16GB Apple iTouch
  • 5th Prize: A one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry piece by local artist Jessica Vasi
  • 6th Prize: Beach Getaway - Two night stay at a charming cottage on the Yachats River in Yachats, OR (sleeps up to 6)

For more details on the prizes and some pictures of the getaway cottages, you can check out their website.

I'm already signed up as an organ donor. If that appeals to you as a way to help another person, sign up or just buy a raffle ticket. Hey, you may get to pick up one of these prizes.

Donate Life Northwest
PO Box. 532
Portland, OR 97207
Office: 503-494-2257
Fax: 503-494-2290

Register today to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. Thanks for your support.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Words to Live By - From Charles Schulz

A good friend mentioned this in a comment on the New Blogged Word. It was taken directly from I have tagged this under the "Health" category, more for mental than physical. We all can do a lot worse than to follow these inspirational thoughts. I hope you enjoy the sentiment.


Charles Schulz Philosophy

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending
time with


The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care

Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life.??

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
It's already tomorrow in Australia."
(Charles Schulz)