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.