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Archive for April, 2008

Week-ness

I’ve had a full week and it’s only Wednesday.

Monday included a work-related day trip to Chicago for a neurosurgeons conference. Tuesday began with an early morning breakfast with the PR agency assisting the Nature Valley Grand Prix’s media relations efforts. That meeting was followed by an afternoon of frolic and fun caused by a top-level management reorg at The Company. Today, Wednesday, has found me inundated with executive management bios that require updated – caused by yesterday’s news.

I guess the saying, “That’s yesterday’s news,” sometimes DOES impact the world longer than we’d like it to.

On a non-work-related note, tomorrow, May 1, marks the beginning of National Masturbation Month. I’m not even going to touch that one. Well…not today anyway.

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From, “The Natural.”

You know, I believe we have two lives…the life we learn with and the life we live with after that.   -Iris Gaines

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Clinton is begging to go head-to-head with Obama in an Lincoln-Douglas style debate (no moderator, just questions and answers for 90 minutes).

What an ideal way for Obama to shine in the spotlight and put this fiasco to bed once and for all.

But the Obama “campaign” is saying, “No thanks.”

Obama aides said he had already debated Clinton 21 times, “the most in primary history.”

Winners take hold of the win when it’s in their grasp. Hillary is putting herself out there. Obama can’t turn away from this invitation to smoke his rival.

Grab the victory, Mr. Obama.

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For avid and rec cyclists, there’s no shortage of information available in the blogosphere.

Racing at the 2007 Nature Valley Grand PrixOne of the more popular stage races in the country, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, has launched a couple of very informative blogs designed to clue in readers about how to improve their own cycling abilities as well as a blog written by pro riders that give insight into the strategies and behind-the-scenes look into stage racing.

TRIA Orthopedic Center’s Your Cycling Blog: TRIA Orthopedic Center’s Your Cycling Blog features the kind of information all cyclists can use to improve their own cycling, from training tips and nutrition to gear suggestions and much more. Novices and experienced cyclists will gain insights from noted sports and health professionals, including TRIA Orthopedic Center staff physicians and physical therapists. Other contributors include, Larry Foss, the USA Cycling National Team’s massage therapist, Stephen McCarthy of Gear & Training and Dan Carey, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Saint Thomas as well as a former New York Mets pitcher.

Pro Cycling Minnesota Blog: Past and future participants in the Festival’s professional stage race, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, will make up the editorial panel of Pro Cycling Minnesota. This blog will highlight the strategies,
tactics and war stories from the top cyclists and team managers in North American cycling. Fans can feel the thrill of riding in the peloton of a USA Grand Tour ­from a racer’s perspective. Pro Cycling Minnesota contributors include team directors, Giana Roberge and Jeff Corbett, racers John Lieswyn, Teresa Moriarty, Meredith Miller and more,.

Visit these blogs early and often – and plan to attend the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 11-15.

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Literary Cat

I didn’t realize that I had a very literary cat. Sawyer, one of the best cats on the planet, came to me from the local humane society about two years ago. I could have gotten a dog, which would have breathed dog breath all over the house and eaten portions of shoes and furniture…and garbage. But instead, I picked out Sawyer.

He’s become quite the avid reader. As proven by the following:

1) Sawyer catches up on the latest music news in Rolling Stone magazine – with his favorite girl.

2) Sawyer prepares to read the newly released, “So Brave, Young, and Handsome,” by Minnesota-based author Leif Enger. It just arrived in my mailbox.

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I’m a seemingly “nice” guy. At least that’s the feedback I receive from those who know me. Family members, friends, co-workers, and even fellow bloggers have described me as “nice.”

Gag! The Pilver likens me to the character, Paulie, from the popular movie “Juno.”

For a divorced dad who is nearly 43-years-old, being nice isn’t the worst thing I could be. However, in my rarified dating and post-divorce relationship experiences, the adjective nice doesn’t seem to make a lot of women swoon.

So I’m asking you, my female readers (all two of you…that’s an approximation), what adjectives do you prefer to think of when thinking of the man who is most likely to make you breathe a little shallower, feel a slightly dizzy when you catch his eye, or make you weak in the knees when he brushes up next to you in the proverbial checkout lane.

I really want to know. Enlighten this “nice” guy, won’t you?

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Last week I received an assignment from my veep at work. I was asked to manage a fairly major announcement impacting one of the company’s business units, the scope of which ultimately impacts employees and the bottom line – in a positive way.

That announcement came today and through all the many fire drills and last minute changes, the result was exactly what was expected. The media gave the news its due; the spokespeople achieved their objective in delivering the planned message; and the team as a whole was pleased.

It feels good to lead part of an effort that will have a positive effect on a multi-billion dollar business.

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I Swam

First time this season. I’m woefully behind in my swim prep for the June 1 triathlon. The good news is I lap swimswam 500 yards this morning and it felt great to be in the pool. Now that the temps are warming up and Spring is really here, getting out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and driving to the pool for a 6 a.m. swim doesn’t seem so bad.

Although, I had to share a lane with another guy whose swim stroke seemed quite “wide.” Similar to Larry Craig’s wide stance, this guy had a wide stroke and kept bumping me when we passed each other in the lane.

One other problem. I wear Zoomers during part of my swim regimen and the fin cuts across the joint on both of my big toes. After 30 minutes in the water, the Zoomers had rubbed the skin of the big toe joint leaving both toes red and raw right on top. Ouch! I need to fix that.

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Yesterday, April 9, I read about Randy Pausch and his “Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University (yes, sometimes I feel like I live under a rock). But, thankfully, I read the New York Times and journalist/reporter Tara Parker Pope’s article about Mr. Pausch, which drew me in. I was hooked on his concept of living life fully based on the dreams we established for ourselves as children.

Then, last night on ABC Television, the network aired a story in which Diane Sawyer interviewed Mr. Pausch and discussed his mind set behind not only the development and delivery of his Last Lecture, but about his thought process on how he lives joyfully each and every day – even at a time when he knows he’s going to die.

Let’s face it, we’re all dying. But Pausch learned he had pancreatic cancer in the Fall of 2007 and was told he only had three to six months to live. That was the impetus for his “last lecture” at Carnegie. If you haven’t seen the clips on YouTube or read the transcript, do it; do it now. It’s not morose. It’s not “oh, woe is me. I’m dying and I’m only 46 years old…life’s not fair.” In fact, it is quite the opposite.

From his childhood dreams, Pausch conveys the importance of living and living well. Developing friendships and nurturing them, challenging those around him to be their best, to take risks. As a professor, Pausch taught and mentored thousands of students. Through his work he touched the lives of thousands of people and what resonates so clearly for me in reading the lecture and hearing his story is that each person he has touched remembers and has somehow reflected back on him in countless ways. There are few people on the planet who have that kind of impact on others.

I’ll paraphrase a great deal here, but from the transcript of his lecture, Pausch believes that, in life, we all must strive to:

1) Bring something to the table

2) Accept criticism, because it means someone still cares.

3) Realize that experience is something you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

4) Get through the brick walls. Brick walls are in place to keep out the others who don’t want it as badly as you do.

5) Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you. No matter how angry you might be at someone, give it time.

There’s more to the story beyond my few hundred words here. In fact, there’s so much to Pausch’s Last Lecture that he’s written a book about it…a book I plan to buy today – several copies in fact, so I can share it with friends and family.

Most importantly, the Last Lecture, as Pausch so adeptly states, isn’t for the masses. It was for his three children. But through it, his story and philosophies on living have already touched the lives of millions.

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Here’s a truth: Kids will be kids.

They learn to play the situation to their advantage. It’s human nature to play to the strengths and weaknesses of those we have relationships with and kids are the experts – because, in many cases, they want the “normal” that they lost in the divorce back in their lives.

Who can blame them.

When I left my marriage after 20 years, I wanted that normal aspect of my kids’ lives to remain in tact. I only removed some personal belongings from the home they’ve known most of their lives – some clothes, a couple pieces of furniture that came from my Mom. Everything else stayed in place by design. In the process I made sure the kids’ Mom could keep the house that had no value to me, but immense value to her and the kids. Stability. In the meantime, I established a home not far away where each of my teens have their own space. It’s no frills, but comfortable. They are taken care of, by many measures, better than a lot of children get taken care of by parents who reside under the same roof.

But, I think, in the two years since leaving that marriage, I’ve painted a false image of what “taken care of” means to me in order to accept the simple fact that I broke up my home and family.

The kids want to know they’re loved, at the end of the day. They want to be happy and not feel weird about having conversations with each parent about who’s job it is to pay for a prom dress, or whether or not a computer is going to get fixed so it can be used for school projects, or if there are enough clothes in the closet to wear to school. These are just simple things that should be automatics…givens…in order to ensure issues don’t pile on the other REALLY important kid issues of the day.

Teenagers face so much in their teenage lives. Peer pressure, teachers who don’t give a damn, puberty, emotion, and an innate desire to just want things to fit in with the crowd. Sometimes going unnoticed is bliss.

Each day, as a parent, it’s our duty to our kids to express that inordinate, unconditional love that proves to them normalcy can exist no matter what situation they find themselves in…even if just for 10 minutes a day.

Who doesn’t want that?!?!

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