Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Advice from a big-haired career rookie

(I wrote this as an email on May 23 to close to 100 people who have influenced me during  my working years. I was so excited it got picked up by several professional publications.)

May 23 marked the 30th anniversary of my first day in the work world.

That day in 1983, I started my job as a receptionist on Capitol Hill after a local congressman hired me, sight unseen, over the phone three weeks earlier. I had a head full of big permed hair, big expectations, and little idea of what I was supposed to do as an employed and responsible adult.

Looking back, I didn't have specific career goals in mind at that point, but I did know what I was good at and the type of work I wanted to pursue. Here, 30 years later, I've been fortunate to have a rewarding career that gave me 10 great years on Capitol Hill and took me back to my home state of South Carolina for jobs that combined my love of writing, communications, and politics with my curiosity about people and places.

In 1983, I never dreamed my work would give me the chance to travel with a congressional delegation to Taiwan; raise money for causes I believe in; lobby the legislature and Congress for millions of dollars; ride in a fire truck; bike the Golden Gate Bridge; get published in national magazines; pick tobacco; work with great South Carolina mayors; have my picture taken with famous people like Tip O'Neill and Mister Rogers; visit 38 states; work on national, state, and local campaigns; stand at the podium in the White House press room; or be in the State House dome the day the Confederate flag came down.

I've figured out a few things along the way that I wish someone had told that 22-year-old with big hair walking into her first day on the job. Maybe the thoughts below will help others just starting out. I write this with huge thanks to all the bosses, mentors, friends, family, and colleagues I have had the privilege to work with and learn from over these 30 years.

 
1. Establish your personal brand. Decide what you want your reputation in the workplace to be, and let your actions define you. Keep promises, and make deadlines. Under-promise and over-deliver. Avoid behavior in your personal life that could hurt your professional life (even more true today with all the risks of social media in the mix). Remember that details count, especially when getting the details right sets you apart from others.

2. Seek out a mentor. I'm guessing many busy professionals may say, "I don't have time to be a mentor," but most mentor relationships happen naturally rather than being established formally. Be on the lookout for them. I bet my best mentors probably don't know they even served in that role.  

3. Keep up with the news every day. Read the paper, check news websites and blogs, listen to NPR on the way to work. Know what's in the news about your organization or industry before your boss or client asks.

4. Get away from your desk, and walk outside. Even if it's just to walk around the block or grab a sandwich, at some point during the day your brain needs natural light and a whiff of fresh air, and your body needs to stretch.

5. Plan the work before you work the plan. Having no plan gets you nowhere. Plans will change either by force or circumstance. Be flexible, but have a plan regardless of whether it's a work project, a trip, a major purchase, or an important life decision.

6. Don't pass up a chance to learn. Find out what your boss or leaders in your profession are reading (books, professional publications, websites, etc). Seek out professional development opportunities; pay for them yourself, if necessary. Join professional organizations, and get involved.

7. Go to your boss with a solution, not a problem. Your boss is solving problems all day. Make her life easier by presenting a solution when you present a problem. Even if it's not the solution that ultimately solves the problem, it keeps your boss from dreading the sight of you at the door.

8.Write thank-you and follow-up notes (handwritten, not emailed). Collect cards from people you meet at events, in meetings, or just out and about. A handwritten "nice to meet you" note will set you apart and help the people you meet remember you. Technology is good, but the personal touch still matters.

9. Travel any chance you get. Travel to small towns and big cities across the country and around the world. Don't put off travel. You'll never tell your grandchildren about that great trip you didn't take because you were too busy at work.

10. Be interested and inquisitive. Ask good questions, and ask them often. Young professionals have a great deal to offer a work environment. Speak up when you have something to offer, but remember to balance your enthusiasm with senior-level colleagues' experience.

11. Remember that everyone carries his own sack of rocks. You never know what type of personal issues the co-worker who missed a deadline is dealing with at home or with his family.

12. Create your own personal style. That doesn't mean wearing flip-flops in a formal corporate environment. However, you can set yourself apart from the pack with a twist on the ordinary. To each his own, but just find your own.

13. Stay in the loop, but avoid the gossip. Be a "boundary spanner"—someone who is respected and trusted by people in all parts and at all levels of the organization.

14. Look for "reverse mentoring" opportunities. You can be a resource to your older colleagues. Seasoned professionals can learn a great deal from their younger peers.

15. Looking busy doesn't equal being productive. The co-worker who crows about his heavy workload and long hours is probably much less productive than the one who is organized and prioritizes his days.

16. A good editor will make you shine. Don't look at having your writing edited as you would look at a teacher correcting a paper. Editing is a collaborative process, and there's always room for improvement in your writing.

17. Don't come to work sick. No one appreciates the stuffy-nosed martyr. That's why you're afforded sick days.

18. Cultivate contacts outside work. Your next job will probably come from someone you know through church, nonprofits, alumni groups, friends, and professional organizations.

19. Take risks. It's OK to mess up occasionally. No one can expect perfection. You can often learn more from mistakes than successes. Yes, really, you can.

20. Strive for work/life balance. The "balance" will probably fluctuate daily, but creative outlets, exercise, and hobbies make you a more valuable (and saner) employee.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The simple act of thank you

I recently sent out a blast email at work that had several bad links in it (operator error on my part). The email had gone to 146 people, and our tracking program told me 69 people had clicked on the link. All 69 would have found that the link went nowhere.

Only one of those 69 people let me know about the bad link. Fortunately, because of this one person, I could quickly fix my snafu, resend the email and all was well.
Later in the day I shot a quick email of thanks to the woman who had alerted me to the problem. The next day I got a very nice note back from her saying she needed that “atta boy” at the end of a rough day.

It’s that circular world of the simple act of thank you. We all need it whether we know it or not. It never gets old.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Striking a balance between routine and adventure

I've found most people either lean toward routine or lean toward adventure. I'm pretty sure I fall into the routine category. I generally take comfort in many of the consistencies in my life. Saturday mornings are the perfect example of this.

On the weekends when I am in town, nothing keeps me away from my Saturday morning routine of making a trip to the Soda City Market, picking up iced tea with a splash of simple syrup from Drip on Main Street, eating cheese grits with hot sauce from Rosso's market booth, visiting friends Sally and Stuart at their craft booths, and just enjoying the music, food and cool urban bustle that downtown Columbia has created.

After that, I head to my workout with weights class at Jamie Scott Fitness. I claim my same spot in the room knowing one of several instructors I like will be teaching the class. I chat with several people I see only at this class and line up my weights in the same order each week.

However, as I get older, I find that what gives me the most energy are those things that often fall outside of my routine…or activities that often help me find a new, and sometimes more valuable, routine.

Exercise is a perfect example of this. In recent months I've been forced to vary my exercise routine based on work and travel schedules. I've found myself choosing a workout class based on time availability rather than the type of class I prefer.

Because of this forced change in routine, I've upped my number of cardio classes, found out I really do like sweating in a hot room while doing yoga, made several new young friends while taking Pilates, and learned I have the strength and flexibility to do wall yoga with a group of college students.

When I travel, routine and consistency help ensure I'm not forgetting to pack something or do something when I'm on the road. Chargers go in one suitcase pocket, jewelry in another and snacks in another. I try to be as organized and consistent as possible in my packing to avoid late night trips to the hotel shop to buy a new charger.


But when travelling, I've also learned how important it is to break from the routine of my schedule and enjoy what's around me. If I had taken a cab instead of walked in Minneapolis, I would have missed the statue of Mary Tyler Moore flinging her hat in the air and wouldn't have stumbled on the cool mid-day market on a downtown street. If I hadn't ventured out in Seattle I would never have discovered the wonders of chocolate linguine (yes, really...it's great over ice cream!) or seen the original Starbucks.

Then sometimes, adhering to a routine can actually result in something new. I'm trying to learn to play the mandolin – a beautiful instrument that I'll never master without consistent practice alone and with others. I'm reminded of this when I get frustrated at the routine of practicing chords and scales. The consistency of these rote tasks has helped me understand the flow of the music and the nuances of this instrument so I will ultimately be able to venture out to a more creative, and adventurous, way of playing.

Adventure just for the sake of adventure isn't necessarily good, while, at the same time, routine just for the sake of routine isn't either. Like everything in life, it's all about the balance.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Signed, Sealed, Delivered...By Hand

When I was growing up, the family mailbox was a magic chamber that delivered cards with good wishes, post cards from interesting places and an occasional gift from a far-off relative. Today’s mailboxes, however, often are more of a torture chamber spewing out political post cards, overdue bills and unwanted solicitations. What used to be a daily treat of checking the mail has now become another chore in a busy world.

Think about how you react to what you find in your mail cubby at work or in your mailbox at home. What’s the first thing you automatically throw out? But more importantly, what’s the first thing you put aside to read?
Human nature will likely take us to the piece of mail that looks to be the most personal and least threatening…the handwritten, individually stamped envelope. How many of those do you receive a week? Not many, I’d guess.

When I pull a hand-addressed envelope out of the mailbox, I get a thrill…is it an invitation,  a note from a friend,  a thank-you for a nice gesture? Hand-addressed envelopes say to me that someone has taken time to send me something personal. I always save them to open after I’ve gotten in the house, dumped my work-out bag, and let myself sit down and savor the reading experience.
Handwritten notes delivered to my work mail cubby demand the same reverence. I don’t tear them open in the mail room. I take them back to my desk and delight in the reading experience.

A friend’s young adult daughter recently took on a year-long personal challenge to hand-write a letter a day during her first year in the work world. She said she did this when she first moved to Washington DC after college because she was frustrated that she couldn't keep in touch with her best friends nearly as well as she could when they all lived in the same city.
Over the course of that year, I received several of her “one-a-day” notes, not knowing I was part of her personal challenge process. Later when I found out what she had done, I cherished those notes even more because I knew that she knew how I love to get cards and letters in the mail. Ultimately she ended up writing 472 notes in a year!


This same young woman has traveled a good bit internationally. I love sharing in her experiences through her texts, Instagram photos and Facebook posts in “real time.” However, I really feel connected to her travel experiences through the charming handwritten post cards that have arrived in my mailbox…sometimes days after she has returned from the trip. I keep the postcards and re-read them living vicariously through her travels.
Recently my mother gifted me a file box of letters that had been in my parents’ attic for well over 25 years. When I opened the box, I found dozens of letters neatly stacked in near-perfect chronological order from my late college years through early adulthood. The letters smelled musty and were a bit faded, but what a gift to open that box and get a glimpse of my younger self.


The emotion and connection in the handwritten words floating out of those letters could never be duplicated today by preserving email chains, Facebook posts or text messages, even if someone was so inclined to file them somehow. 
In reading these letters, I marveled at which friends were the most prolific writers. I wondered what questions I had posed to them that prompted a long epistle back to me. I laughed at the things we knew were critical in our lives at the time. I was awed by the insight my friends offered to life challenges we were facing. I loved watching my husband’s notes change in content and tone as we moved from our early dating days through our engagement.
Granted, I don’t practice what I preach as much as I would like to in hand writing notes. I have all the best excuses for not shooting off a handwritten note – can’t find a stamp, I messed up and can’t backspace to fix a word I don’t like, I’m missing the right sized envelope…

And while I can’t say I’m willing to take on my young friend’s “letter a day” challenge, surely I can be more attentive to my aspiration of staying connected through handwritten notes. Writing by hand makes me think in a different way than shooting out words through my fingers on a keyboard. I must be more deliberate. I must allow myself to think through what I want to say and how I want to say it.
As my young friend so wisely told me…hand writing these 472 letters taught her to be “deliberate with your words and intentional with your time.”

Not just good rules for writing letters…but good rules for daily living.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life Lessons from Jury Duty

Finding unexpected life lesson reminders through random daily situations is always a pleasure for me. I was nudged with several of these reminders during a recent week-long jury duty stint. When I received a jury summons back in the spring, my first reaction was probably the same as the average person - do everything possible to get out of it. I had a work trip the week I was initially summoned in May, so I got a postponement.

But reality set in on a rainy Monday morning in mid-July when I found myself in a courtroom with 298 people who had received the same piece of mail commanding their presence. Ultimately I was seated as an alternate and ended up serving because another juror got sick.

The decision we were charged with making would change the lives of everyone connected with this case. It was a wrongful death case involving the driver of an 18-wheeler and an admitted drug user who was the mother of two small children. Bottom line was the truck driver ran over and killed the woman.

The outcome of this civil case would be determined in terms of dollars and cents rather than guilt or innocence. We had to decide what her life was worth and how the company that owned the truck should compensate the woman’s family for the loss of their daughter and mother.

Over this week of emotional testimony, detailed questioning of experts on topics I knew nothing about and a good bit of red herring fishing, I walked out of the courthouse that Friday afternoon believing we had reached a fair decision. Plus I felt thankful for the reminders about good lessons for daily living I got over the course of the week.

Patience
I figured out pretty quickly that Monday morning I was in this for the long haul. It was clear the two parties had no intention of settling.

Since phones weren't allowed in the courthouse, I had to be satisfied with only a small legal pad and nubby pencil to doodle with as we waited in the jury room while the lawyers worked on legal issues. This was a startling reminder of just how tethered I am to my cell phone. I discovered it’s now instinct to reach for my cell phone the minute I finish doing something – walking out of a meeting, coming back from the bathroom, finishing a hall conversation.

No cell phones in the courthouse meant I had nothing to do with my hands and no way to have contact with the outside world. I felt paralyzed the first couple of days. But after that, it was almost liberating to loosen that tether and just doodle on my legal pad. It also gave me the patience to think about the details of why I was there and what my role in the process was -  definitely not a bad thing.

Humility
I was reminded many times of how fortunate I am that paying my rent didn’t hinge on physically being at work all week. Several of my fellow jurors didn’t get paid while they were serving which meant immediate financial ramifications for them. Most brought lunch from home because the $10 we got paid each day barely covered a sandwich and drink at a restaurant on Main Street.  I also quickly came to accept there is no such thing as a true jury of your peers. If that were true, diverse perspectives would never be heard during a deliberation. The varying opinions, insights, perspectives and arguments that came out during our deliberations reminded me that just because I have a college degree, a secure job and live in a safe neighborhood doesn’t mean I have all the answers.

It was the 20-year-old young man who is working at his father’s body shop who reminded me that there’s more to life decisions than what I see in my little life bubble. This young man was eloquent in his discussions, persuasive in his arguments and confident on his feet during our deliberations. He had all of the attributes of a good lawyer, including good grades in high school. But when I mentioned the idea of law school to him, he said it was too much for him to dream about…his family just could never afford it and he needed to learn the family business.

Curiosity
I went into the courthouse on the first day of the jury duty week determined not expend mental energy resenting the fact I was there. I decided I could make the days interesting by trying to learn what I could both from the case and from the people I was destined to share a small space with for the week.

I was reminded how much I can learn from a situation just by listening, observing and using my instincts rather than mindlessly surfing on the phone when there’s nothing else to do. I never would have picked up a great pound cake recipe, learned about getting rid of bed bugs, found out about a new shoe store on the other side of town, or reacquainted myself with the word game “hangman” if I had been engrossed with my cell phone during the endless hours in the jury room.

Acceptance
I had to accept I had absolutely no control of my daily activities that week. We were told when to be there, where we could park, where we could go in the courthouse and which bathrooms we could use.

The bailiffs were our lifeline to the outside world. They, and only they, locked and unlocked the jury room door. They were our conduit to the judge. They determined if we got candy or crackers at the breaks. They were the keepers of our cell phones and the filterers of information.

I also had to accept that justice is slow. There are so many rules to consider. This process is as fair as it can be when no one except the lawyers really want to be there. Some people are natural whiners, natural nay-sayers and natural downers. I had to accept this and figure how to tune out their negativity without the benefit of technology to distract me.

Gratitude
Everyone affected by this case had already lived through a life-changing situation. By the end of it all, I felt the jury came to a much better collective decision than I would have come to on my own. I was grateful that my fellow jurors listened to me when I had something to say and that I listened to them when they raised questions.

It was a grueling week that made me better by the fact I got through it without technology ...using my instincts instead of Google to answer questions ... and using patience and tolerance instead of technology to keep me engaged in what I was doing.

I walked out of the courthouse late that Friday afternoon more thankful than resentful of the experience and shored up with several reminders of important life lessons I may have overlooked on other situations.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How old is old?

When I was a child, my definition of old was my parents and their friends. Anyone who had kids, went to work, drove a station wagon or kept a weekly beauty parlor appointment was old. I always assumed that when you "got old," you always wore stockings, never slept late and got your hair done once a week.

I grew up with a frame of reference about age that revolved primarily around grade levels and ages of siblings. I went to the same relatively small school from seventh until twelfth grade. The caste system was strict among age groups and grade levels. For the most part, there wasn't a lot of socializing between grades other than a few dating relationships where the boy was almost always the older one of the pair. Rare was the lasting friendship that crossed the grade level boundaries.

I'm guessing this was due in part to the fact so many students had siblings at the school. It definitely wasn't cool as an older sister to have friends in your younger sister's class. This experience made me very conscious of the term "my age" growing up – that meant exactly my age within a few months and in my grade. We lost a couple of kids who were held back through the years. They no longer were "my age" – they became "younger."

This perspective worked fine in high school because I always liked distinct boundaries and definitions. Once I got to college, I quickly found the age lines blurring. I joined a sorority where my pledge class was divided equally among freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Much to my surprise, those juniors who would have seemed "old" to me by high school standards were in the same position as I was negotiating the challenges of first year sorority membership.

When I got my first college job working with adults who expected me to act like them, I adjusted my definition again. They were old to me but asked me to call them by their first names and actually assumed I was mature and competent. My college jobs made me understand that "old" people (adults) expected "young" people (me) to behave like them in the workplace. I was to look and act "old" (respectable, knowledgeable, competent), and they really didn't care I was 20 and they were 40.

In my first real world job, some of my parents' friends became work colleagues. The discomfort with calling them by their first names was later eclipsed by my extreme displeasure several years later being called "ma'am" for the first time. But I still wasn't old because I was hanging on to my definition of old that meant driving a station wagon and losing the ability to sleep late.

Marriage and acquiring an extended family further muddled my definition of old. I married at the same age my mother was when I was born, and she had been a regular on the weekly beauty parlor circuit for a number of years at that point. I still wasn't getting my hair done weekly at the beauty parlor, and I surely didn't feel old, but the lines continued to blur.

My husband's oldest brother is 12 years older than I am. The brother's oldest son, Jimmy, is twelve years younger than I am. Jimmy was in first grade when I graduated from high school…literally a lifetime of age difference. The gulf between my 28 and his 16 hadn't narrowed much when he was in our wedding 23 years ago. Today his 40 to my 52 makes him "my age-ish." My husband and I have friends younger than Jimmy is, but I still have a hard time considering him a contemporary.

One night, we met up with Jimmy and several of his friends to listen to music. I visited with one guy a good 20 minutes thinking he was "my age" based on what he looked like – a few crows feet, some grey peeking out around his temples – only to discover he was 12 years younger than I was and would have been in the first grade when I graduated from high school. This quickly halted the "do you know" conversation about mutual college friends.

Then I was introduced to another friend in the group as "Jimmy's aunt." I laughed and said "aunts are old people, I'm just Reba." I realized when he looked at me he was seeing someone "old" by his definition. He said he was looking to date a "cougar" and asked if I could introduce him to some of my friends…ouch on several levels.

Today I hear myself at work saying "I know this might sound old but…good writing skills are critical to every job…a handwritten thank you note is a necessary part of the interview process…" But I also find myself more open to the "not old" scenario of learning new skills from my younger colleagues who I have trained to call me "seasoned" rather than "old."

So for now, I've decided old will not be a number…it will be a state of mind. I have old friends who stopped learning and growing before they hit 40. I have young friends who went sky diving at 60 or had triplets at 42. The number really doesn't matter.

And possibly I need re-evaluate the beauty parlor thing. A friend told me a great story this week about her 95-year old mom who still goes to the beauty parlor once a week, and that's keeping her young. So maybe that weekly trip to the beauty parlor isn't such an "old" thing after all!




Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lucky Dog

The world is divided into two types of people. One isn’t better than the other; they are just different. There are “dog people,” and there are people who aren’t “dog people.” I’m not saying these “not dog people” hate dogs; they may be cat people or parrot people or gerbil people, or they may just be indifferent to dogs…they just aren’t “dog people.”

“Dog people” get each other. We have a common appreciation of the comfort that comes from hearing a dog’s “tap tap tap” as he walks through the house on the hardwood floors. We “dog people” understand that feeling of pure joy when the dog welcomes us back the same way regardless of whether we left to put out the trash or went to Europe for a week. We “dog people” often know the neighbor’s dog’s name without knowing their “person’s” name. We “dog people” don’t mind the family of fuzz bunnies living under the bed from the dog’s shedding each spring.

So when one of my “dog people” friends loses a beloved canine, I get it. One of my close friends lost her old and much loved companion, Coker, back the fall. Coker was a tri-color Springer Spaniel who had been my friend’s sidekick through lots of good and bad. After Coker's death, my friend and I talked about the emptiness in the house, about missing the ticking of dog toenails on the hardwoods and the sound of the doggie door swinging into the kitchen.

When my friend started thinking about getting a puppy, I was all for helping her through the transition. And it is a transition. The new dog can’t fill the first dog’s paws, you have to get a new set of paws.

After our beloved, Beaufort - a large, loving, deep gold-colored Golden Retriever - died at age 14 several years ago, my husband and I knew we could never love another dog the way we did Beaufort. After Beaufort died, we waited about six months to even consider getting another dog. We thought we wanted a rescue dog and thought we wanted another Golden. Thanks to friends, friends of friends and email connections, our Dixie the rescue dog bounded into our lives – a 90-pound swirling dervish of love, energy, white fur and pure Golden Retriever goofiness.


So when my friend told me she had gotten a puppy, a white fluff ball found on a dirt road in Pelion, I was thrilled for her. Before long, though, my friend started having concerns and doubts about whether it had been the right decision. She questioned if she had room in her heart for this new puppy, Clarence, who was so full of energy and so different from Coker.

At that point, Dixie and I knew we had to act. Dixie needed to make a direct intervention with Clarence to make sure he knew what a great “dog person” he had landed. Clarence needed to understand he had to be patient with my friend as she shifted from being the “dog person” of an elderly companion to being the “dog person” of a puppy with endless energy. Dixie composed her first “paw mail,” and she reached out to Clarence with this letter…

Dear Clarence

You are one lucky pup. From a dirt road in Pelion to a house across from a park…with a bed and a yard and a loving person.
I can identify with where you’re coming from. I had some bad years before I found my forever home (details I prefer to forget so I won’t rehash them here), but I’ve learned to trust and love my peeps. You’re lucky that you’re getting found before you have a chance to not trust or love.

Your person is a good, kind and caring dog lover. She has been the person of a much-loved dog for a long time. When Coker crossed the rainbow bridge a couple of months ago, she was devastated. She has a hole in her heart that needs to heal. While she knows you will never replace her beloved Coker, you will help her heal and grow a new place in her heart for you. There’s room for both you and Coker!

Be patient with her. She’s used to an elderly dog who had a whole different set of needs than you will have. She may get frustrated when you chew up furniture or shoes. You may wear her out with all your puppy energy. She may call you Coker by mistake, and that’s OK.

Be her friend, her protector and her playmate. Make friends with her friends’ dogs. Get her out of the house. Love her unconditionally…that’s what we dogs were put on this earth to do. You landed in a good place, you lucky dog!

I look forward to being your friend.

Dixie

This photo was taken recently when Dixie and Clarence met for the first time. Clarence and my friend have settled in nicely, and she is sure there is room for both dogs in her heart.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The State of Borrowed Trouble

Today I travelled through the state of borrowed trouble. It's really easy to get there and almost always hard to find my way home.  As usual when I go to the state of borrowed trouble, I didn't set out to end up there today. I always take baggage I should have shed years ago.

Today's journey through the state of borrowed trouble led me down many roads I should have just avoided...questioning lane, anxiety avenue, the drill is always the same. But I couldn't shake the feeling that if I just took a quick trip I'd allow myself to think the worst about the situation in question then move on. 

Unfortunately when I got there I just kept following one road after another. Before I knew it, I'd let this quick trip turned into a wasted afternoon.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Old camp friend

My mother recently gave me (or more accurately threatened me she would trash if I didnt take) several boxes of old letters and photos that were in her attic. In the box, I found a number of letters from friends I had made during my one year at Camp Pinnacle following the seventh grade.

Over the years, I often wondered what happened to the five or six pen pal friends I kind of lost track of once we hit high school. I found a couple of letters in this box from one of these friends, Frances from Beaufort, and thought about googling her name to see where she landed in life...but then went on to other things and forgot about it.

Fast forward a month or so, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw the daughter of a high school friend in Bluffton got married...and there was a post from my old friend Frances congratulating this mother of the bride. I sent Frances a quick Facebook message reminding her about Pinnacle not knowing if she would even remember me. Her quick response back said she definitely did remember, and we've had a fun back and forth exchange for a couple of days.

I guess it's not all that unusual to reconnect with old friends through Facebook this way, but this type of random connection that neither of us sought out continues to amaze me. This random connect point gave me a glimpse of the seventh grade "me" that Frances remembered and allowed us a quick trip back to those fun carefree days. It's probably trite to say we are getting to the age of nostalgia, but more and more I like making these connections back to the earlier days that made me who I am today.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Why a blog?

A blog, I thought. Hmmm. Would anybody really be interested in my sporadic writing projects, my perpetual lists or my thoughts about the random connections I keep discovering just about every day?

Maybe a blog will give  me the discipline I don't have to practice the mandolin daily or get up earlier in the morning. Maybe a blog will help me be a better writer and editor. Or maybe a blog will just let me do what I love...writing rambling, sometimes connected, ideas.

I've posted some writings that inspired me to go on and start a place to put this stuff. Look to the left to see the links. Some are work related; others are just fun things I've written..

So here it is...my blog is not pretty or highly designed - maybe that will come later. Just a home for my daily random connect points.

Enjoy.