Monday, April 30, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 93

HappyUP!!! - getting around an accident
Why it happened - I was in tune with my surroundings
Why it made me happy - all of a sudden, a car fire erupted about a block in front of me. The cars in front of me were stuck. I saw a guy make a quick right. I sensed he knew where he was going. I went after him. I went through a parking lot and came back to my same street...but one block further up. It was right where the car had erupted. While not my thing, I got a nice view of that too that no one else did as no cars were being allowed through.

HappyUP!!! - a clean car (and a cool photo)
Why it happened - I got some gas...and ordered an early morning wash as well.
Why it made me happy - hey, who doesn't like to start the week with a clean set of wheels. Plus, I had the presence of mind to whip out the camera and get some interesting shots.

HappyUP!!! - a going away meeting
Why it happened - a valued employee clocked in his last day today.
Why it made me happy - I used to have to dislike people that left. It was a strange detachment thing that I had to do. While I still don't like it when people leave, if they are leaving on the right terms, I now wish them well. We had a nice get together to do just that tonight.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 92

Just a flat out - awesome day. I may carryover a few of the JollyJottings and use them tomorrow. No! Wait! Who is to say that tomorrow may not even be better than today?

- time in the sun with Dad
Why it happened - another trip to Martinez
Why it made me happy - I wheeled him out into the courtyard. The day was glorious. The sun was warming but there was a constant wind that cooled it off perfectly. It was a bit more than a breeze like down in Orlando. It was just wonderful. On top of it, Dad has a little spirit back. Morphine....don't! I am so glad we caught that and got him off that in time.

HappyUP!!! - potato chips in the vending machine
Why it happened - I reached out to help
Why it made me happy - while I was down at the VA Center, a vet had plunked his money down for chips. They were really stuck in the vending machine. I mean stuck! It took some Nutster McGyvering and a bit of dexterity that this wounded vet didn't have to get them out. It was looking grim but I got it down. No damage to the machine either. No, I didn't save the world. I just helped a guy get some chips. Yet, it made me happy.

HappyUP!!! - a workout
Why it happened - I finally broke the seal
Why it made me happy - I was sitting here watching the NBA playoff game. I have been telling myself to start a dumbbell workout for every time I am watching an NBA playoff game. Tonight, I did it. No, it's not a fancy bowflex workout. There were no massive weights at the gym. I can guarantee you that my muscles are going to be just as sore in a couple of days as anything else I could have done.


A great phone call
Saving the cell phone
NOT going to Starbucks
NOT grabbing a sugary juice and buying some water instead
Planting a couple of plants
The helpful lady at the Cingular store
Sleeping in a bit
Gorgeous weather

Note to Self Update

Hey, you have to hand it to those people at Motorola - the Razr gets the full washer treatment including conditioner and a high speed spin (I've got the new front loader....whiiiiizzzzz).

The battery? - torched! A new battery, however, and the phone appears to still be working. Yes, it's a bit quirky but I got some calls in today. We'll see tomorrow. Even if it was one day, THAT was an impressive piece of techno recovery.

Note to Self.....and for your benefit too

I don't care how dirty your cell phone is - DO NOT under any circumstances run it through the washing machine!

Your cell phone manufacturer - did not put this in the instructions of things to avoid. I know that you have been thinking about doing it. Resist the temptation

Now, I can attest - that it actually does spiffy the cell phone up which creates an exception to the rule. Only do this if you are planning for your cell phone to become a museum piece.

The functionality of the device - will most likely be severely compromised.

(Those cargo pockets on the legs of pants sure are handy as a place to comfortably pack your electronic devices. They are so inobtrusive that it is very easy to forget to check them before you toss the garment into the wash)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 91

Three months - it's official. It's there for the entire world to see. Though I had been doing this off line, three months of this daily exercise is in the books. It's just a natural thing to do now.

I wish that I could give you the blessing - of what it feels like to look back on your day, no matter how you think it was in general, and get to re-experience the wonderful things that happened.

Let's look at today - in general. Quite honestly, it was a pretty bland day. I didn't have that much contact with the outside world. It could lead to a feeling of lonliness....of boredom...of disconnection. It could.

It didn't - I thought about it for a second. I almost went there. Then, I said, "who said that 'connectedness' has anything to do with being connected to other people all the time?" Once again, I went to the rule book. The rule isn't there. Someone else made it up along the way. Hey, the way we think we are supposed to live is starting to sound like some of the religions that have been created along the way! ("Nutster, knock that off!")

HappyUP!!! - breakfast with friends
Why it happened - I decided to meet up with some friends who are really more like family
Why it made me happy - I started the day with some laughs. It also meant that I would actually be connected with people today. I didn't have anything on my calender...nowhere that I needed to be today. I can go a day without seeing people on a weekend if I don't have something planned. While it is not required everyday, it is nice to start the day with some good folks.

HappyUP!!! - yardwork
Why it happened - I got an early start
Why it made me happy - while I didn't do major damage, I got a start on some sprucing up that needed to happen. Tomorrow, I'll get a little gardening in.

HappyUP!!! - guitar lesson
Why it happened - I found a tip on line
Why it made me happy - a visual brought some text alive that I have never understood. Now, I see how the pentatonic scales in different positions work. All I need now is to return to the diagrams that have always befuddled me and read them from new eyes. While I am doing that, can anyone send me some finger dexterity?


(A special guest post for the fine people over at SundayScribblings )

Something opens our wings
Something makes boredom and hurt disappear
Someone fills the cup in front of us
We taste only sacredness

-Robert Bly, Anam Cara

Picked up this gem - from Fabulous Friendship Festival . I have meant to read some Bly. I must confess that snippets are all that I have ever consumed.

I've thought about picking up Iron John - but that one looks like a tome that would take some brain power. A vacation may be good for that.

In the meantime - thanks, Susan, for being who you are and writing the new book. I am sure it will continue to provide blog fodder as friendship, particularly friendship with yourself, is what HappyUP!!! is all about.


"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to the other, 'what! you too? I thought I was the only one"

-CS Lewis

And a special HappyUP!!! - to Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (SARK) on her new book, Fabulous Frienship Festival. I just picked it up at the psyber encouragement of my friend, McNair.

I was reading SARK - long before my acquaintance with McNair. I am sure that I would have come across this book eventually. Friends have many benefits. One is that they can be your scout out there. Who knows how long I would have been deprived of this latest treasure.

CS Lewis was a genius - I think this is beyond my belief. For those that know of him, I think it has pretty much been accepted as fact. Let's look at that quoted above. You read it. You have never thought about that before. Yet, the second you read that quote, internalize it, think about it, create a situation where this has happened, you know exactly what he is talking about. To yourself, you exclaim...

That's it! - and it is, isn't it? Perhaps one of the HappyUP!!!s in life, in fact one of the largest, is the constant discovery of the people that make us feel less alone. Our best friend may not even be THIS kind of friend. My best friend and I often think very differently. He is not likely to say something where I go..."wow, I thought it was just me."

Yet, as I lunch with people - that are not as close as him, I will share something that maybe others just aren't willing to share. You watch their eyes light up. You know that they have the same "dis-ease" as you do. You just cured it. Friends like this, through their own actions, allow you to be OK with those things within yourself that you may have thought, "good" people don't think or do things like this.

Of course, I am not talking about violating laws and other's rights - though peer pressure can drive one there. Those aren't friends. Those are manipulators because you didn't feel like they did originally. Yet, you liked them. They then used their friendship that you have come to cherish as a bargaining tool. "You want to keep my have to do what I do." That's not friendship. That's a transaction.

No...when you find that person - with more than the sympathetic ear but with the synonymous belief, it's a HappyUP!!!

Hope you come across a new one - soon. Until then, you have my permission to be who you are.

Wow.....someone thinks that I have a brain!

If that doesn't qualify as a HappyUP!!! - I don't know what does. And to think, I thought that I had got by all these years on just my pretty face!

One of the people on my physical periphery - Angela at AngforHim, has nominated me as one of her five Thinking Blogs. Angela has a kindness of spirit seldom found. She has deep faith and is a very talented writer and mother. Spend some time with her.

While recognition is not - one of the things that fuels the Nutster fire, can any one of us honestly say, "oh, please...stop with the accolades. I get them so often that I just can't stand it anymore." So, I now have one of these to hang on my blog shelf:

To find out more about what this award is all about - just go here.

I guess an acceptance speech is in order - "First of all, I would like to thank my mother who forced me to take a full year of typing when I was in high school. It was arduous work sitting in that class being a senior amidst all of those freshman and sophomore girls. Yet, I persevered and, thanks to you mom, I have never been a hunter and pecker." (Can I say "pecker"...this is a family blog, after all. I think that, in this case, I can).

"I also need to thank the editor of the local sports page when I was in high school. He made me go to every basketball and football game for my high school to write the recount of the action. Though it caused every football and basketball star on campus to kiss up to me for good press, I learned to report the facts and only the facts."

"I could go on and on but, for now, I will nominate the blogs that make me think and continue this meme to force them to do the same:

Positive Sharing - and my cyber friend, Alex. His constant advocacy for happiness in the workplace should be an inspiration to us all and a must read for every business owner or supervisor that is in a position to create a different climate from 9-5.

McNair Wilson's Tea with McNair- keep checking back as he posts with consistent irregularity. Also, if you ever get a chance to see him perform live, do so. I would describe what he does live here but I can't really describe what it is that he does. His advocacy for creativity is boundless.

Wes Roberts - if you are looking for some spiritual depth without being "John Three-Sixteened" on, this is the place to go. If you were looking for a man/couple to pattern your life after, you could do a lot worse than go here. He is known as the wild old man. He accomplishes this without attempting to be wild. As a matter of fact, he attains wildness through mildness. That, my friends, is a neat trick.

Monday Morning at 9
- Nic Askew creates short 5 minute films. A new one plays every Monday. Through these films, Nic makes the viewer delve deeper into what the meaning of life is all about. I think some of his work will blow you away.

Paris Parfait
- T nominated me for a thinking award awhile back but this is not a returned favor nomination. She is a journalist by trade. She is one of the best writer's on the entire web. She writes on politics, world conditions, and also on art. Her photographs are thought provoking. If you are into world affairs, antiques, Paris life, or many other things, this is the place to go. Though we don't share political beliefs, she does cause me to think...and that is what this nomination is all about.

Friday, April 27, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 90

HappyUP!!! - last day for my admin
Why it happened - she's off to have a baby
Why it makes me happy - everyone got together and stopped, had some cake and ice cream, and took a few minutes for my admin. It was a fitting sendoff. I got to give her a hug as I walked out the door. While it was sad like a breakup, it was happy because of the reason. Count on a HappyUP!!! six months from now upon her return.

HappyUP!!! - mowing the lawn
Why it happened - I got off my fanny at 8 pm
Why it makes me happy - I overcame some procrastination. I now get to drive up to a freshly cut lawn all weekend. It just gives me a moment of happiness every time I drive in which, on the weekend, is all the time.

HappyUP!!! - cake
Why it happened - see last day for admin
Why it makes me happy - it was great cake!!!! ...from a grocery store!!! It was worth the calories (which I will be dealing with next week).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hungry....and on a budget?

If so, this is your lucky day - you couldn't have come to a better place on the web.

The Cafe VA - in lovely Marinez, CA. They are now serving Value Meals for your gustatory pleasure.'re getting hungrier by the minute aren't you?

Here's the chuckle - which is always a HappyUP!!! If you are a patient at the rehab center, you already get your food for free. It's part of the benefits.

I therefore assume - that this poster and display is directed mostly at visitors like me. They have gone to a lot of trouble to put this sign together.

Now, I am thinking that just about anyone - that is a possible target market that is visiting the VA Rehab center is going to fall into one of two categores. One camp is going to eat before they come. Camp two are the really hungry people. I am thinking they are going to leave so they can go eat.

Just who is the target market, then, for this sign? - I've got it. Forgetful visitors that are dying of starvation!

You don't think that they go out to local businesses - and try to draw the public you? "Hey, Jim...I'm kinda busy. Call Cafe VA and have it brought in."

HappyUP!!! Day 89

HappyUP!!! - my meeting today
Why it happened - I have staff meetings
Why it made me happy - there was a lot to deliver. It could have been a huge data dump. As it was, it went just beyond threshold but not a total blowout. The points and vision got across. It was a mentally challenging day. I deem that, for me, mental challenges are a HappyUP!!!

HappyUP!!! - the missing garage door opener isn't missing
Why it happened - I found it when I wasn't looking for it
Why it made me happy - I think there was a post awhile back about me being the only guy that could lose both of his garage door openers and then have to get two new ones. The first of the lost ones showed up sitting out on the lawnmower in the tool shed a while back (no, I never had looked there!). The other one showed up today when I looked in my gym bag. The HappyUP!!! is that I love it when I find stuff. I am now garage door opener rich! (Of course, this should tell you how long it's been since I used the gym bag....oooops!)

HappyUP!!! - my dad
Why it happened - I made the drive to see him at the rehab center tonight
Why it made me happy - I got there and he was out of bed and sitting in the wheelchair. He was talking to his roommate at the VA center. No, he's not back to his old self. It is doubtful that he ever will be as he descends into this final chapter of his life. He was a lot better than the last two times I saw him though. It appears that the rehab center may have been giving him some unnecessary meds because, since terminating the dosing, he is now somewhat coherent and respondent.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 88

HappyUP!!! - woke up early
Why it happened - who knows
Why it made me happy - I got some extra day in and I wasn't tired all day. More day....that's a HappyUP

HappyUP!!! - coffee with my friend
Why it happened - it's a weekly thing
Why it made me happy - we missed the last couple of weeks due to my travelling. We had a good talk that went by too fast.

HappyUP!!! - getting rides
Why it happened - I did something stupid
Why it made me happy - at the touch of a couple of buttons, I got a ride home. I got a ride back to the office late by someone that had keys to the office....and my office. Yes, I locked my keys inside my office inside of the main office. Bad night for that to happen. Disaster was avoided. It's good to have friends and family you can count on nearby.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 87

HappyUP!!! - Toastmasters Meeting
Why it happened - it's every there
Why it made me happy - we had a small group today. A couple of key people didn't show but people filled in, we had two great speeches, and it was a great place to be. This is one of my families that I actually had a hand in choosing.

HappyUP!!! - An interview
Why it happened - we interview at work
Why it made me happy - I had to break the person down a little bit. We dealt into some touchy feely areas. There were things that I had really liked about the candidate but there was also something that had bugged me from the previous interview I had with him. We brought him in. We got things on the table that most people probably have never addressed with him. At the end, he welcomes getting some coaching.

HappyUP!!! - no traffic
Why it happened - I was off to Martinez to visit pops again
Why it made me happy - when you put in an hour visit, it ends up being about a 4-4.5 hr trip....without traffic. I got on the road just in time to duck under the rush hour today. Coming back, of course, was a breeze. I say, "of course," but I am not taking that for granted either. It doesn't take much to back up traffic out on I80

Monday, April 23, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 86

HappyUP!!! - an employee amazed me
Why it happened - this guy gets it
Why it made me happy - when the company has an idea...and you roll it out...and people don't do it, it is frustrating. When someone carries it through, it's a HappyUP!!!

HappyUP!!! - under attack but handled it
Why it happened - an employee tried to put me in a tough spot
Why it made me happy - I had exactly the right answer at the right time. When you get challenged as a leader, you sometimes have to put it right back on the incoming pressure....even if the pressure was intense. There are some people that would have caved on this.

HappyUP!!! - some awesome ORGANIC chicken
Why it happened - I bought some of this type yesterday and threw it in marinade
Why it made me happy - it was OUT OF THIS WORLD....and it was just chicken. I'd like to say the marinade I threw together did it. It was part of it. I think it may have been the chicken which was free of growth hormone.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 85

HappyUP!!! - a trip to Martinez, CA
Why it happened - first time to the VA rehab center
Why it made me happy - well, I won't kid you. This wasn't good but it was better than I expected. At this point in my dad's plight, this was a good beginning. Will it get better? Who knows? We hope for better before the inevitable worsening comes. I shall leave it in His hands. Traffic was light which was good. I caught a thunderstorm on the freeway. Everyone had the sense to slow down to about 30 mph when it happened. Hey....sanity on the highway. That's a HappyUP!!!

HappyUP!!! - Golden State beats Dallas and Denver beats San Antonio
Why it happened - it's the NBA 1
Why it made me happy - the Davids beat the Goliaths today. Now, I doubt either of them will win their series but they have a better chance tonight than this morning. Plus, the Goliaths are both from Texas. Sorry all of you Dallaseans/'s a California vs Texas thing.

HappyUP!!! - a glint of a rainbow
Why it happened - those atmospheric conditions
Why it made me happy - to come back to town after the trip to Martinez and then catch this rarity, I chose to see it as a message from my late mom thanking me for making the trip. Yeah, it may be far fetched but it's my reality to create (as is yours) and I liked it today.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 84

HappyUP!!! - the lady with the bad hand
Why it happened - I cared
Why it made me happy - her hand was in a strange contraption. The car that someone else was driving while she slipped had flipped. 12 surgeries later and with more to come, her outlook was outstanding. She even said that, at Thanksgiving, her children were thankful for her accident. They said that it has made her more positive and a better person. WOW!!! I was blown away.

HappyUP!!! - coconut oil discovered
Why it happened - I read about it
Why it made me happy - it's a nice thing to cook with besides olive oil. It has a nice flavor to it. It's healthier than butter. It smells nice, too!

HappyUP!!! - apples
Why it happened - I was doing some reading
Why it made me happy - no sugar today. I snacked on a couple of delicious organic apples. It led to a very good eating day. After a couple of business trips and mega food, today was needed!


(A special post for SundayScribblings)

May 28, 1944. A young American navigator was going up for his 30th bombing run over Germany. With his long tour of duty nearly complete, he gives this account:

"We were attacked by
fighters of all kinds. In all of the missions, we had not encountered as many aircraft. Some of them, I didn't even recognize. When we finally got to our target, we opened the bomb doors and they disappeared as they had been shot off. We dropped our payload and decided to try to limp back home fully knowing that we would eventually have to abandon the craft due to the extent of the damage it had sustained.

We were flying over a complete cloud deck that day. We finally saw one small clearing. It was right over the German city of Liepzig. Seeing through the clouds enabled us to steer clear of it. A lone, crippled B-17 would have been easy fodder for the anti-aircraft guns protecting the town."

The plane dropped to 18,000 from 24,000 feet. The rear of the plane was so badly damaged that the entire crew had to huddle together in the front. It was the only place where oxygen was available.

At 17,000 feet, our young navigator and the tailgunner bailed out at the instruction of the pilot. The 8 remaining crew members were exploded out of the plane seconds later. The pilot and two others perished at that moment.

"As instructed, I made a free fall from 17,000 to 2000 feet so to go unnoticed. My first attempt at opening my chute failed. I reached into the pack and pulled out a handful of silk. When the chute opened, I thought every bone in my body had been broken."

Though his desperate tug had worked in getting the chute to deploy, he was still carrying excessive speed. The airman slammed to the earth. He was severely shaken but now grounded. His welcoming committee to the German Motherland were a vigilante mob of angry farmers armed with shovels, pitchforks, and fists. They weren't too keen about this young flyboy who, just minutes earlier, had been bent on destructing the Third Reich.

"I was being beaten up rather severely when a German guard on a bicycle took charge and captured me."

Off he went to the POW Stalag where he would spend the next 8 months. It was 11 pm on January 25, 1945 when he would next walk out of those gates. Unfortunately, it was not a walk to freedom. With the liberating forces moving in closer, the Germans rousted the 2800 prisoners in the middle of a fierce blizzard and sub-freezing temperatures and marched them farther inland. There was no Patagonia. No Northface Outerwear. Old French Army greatcoats were de riguer.

2800 men were just picking up one foot and putting it in front of the other and planting it in the fresh Bavarian snow amidst the silence of the night. 800 stopped to rest. It would be the last respite they would take as they either died of exhaustion or were shot by the German guards.

Our 1st Lieutenant would live in deplorable conditions as the prisoners were aimlessly marched for months to come around Germany. Flea ridden abandoned factories. Cattle cars on trains jam packed with prisoners of war so tightly that no one could move during the ride. He would finally be liberated in May of 1945. There was no heroes welcome waiting for him when he finally came home. Only a surgeon's scalpel to remove a frost-bitten toe. Because he waited to have the surgery done by a private doctor, there would not even be a Purple Heart to hold on to over the years. Finally, over a half century later, the medal was awarded.

A break in the clouds. Being one of two men that jumped out of the plane before it exploded. Manually opening a parachute at low altitude after it had failed to open
(it was the only time he ever parachuted...all training was theoretical on the ground). Surviving the impact of the late opening free fall . A German officer patrolling the countryside on a bicycle. The will to survive a march of death. If any one of these things had failed to happen, you would not be reading these words today.

The brave 1st Lieutenant was my father.
I must be one of the luckiest men on this earth just to get a chance to be here because, as you can see, logic would say that I shouldn't be in attendance.

Today, at the age of 86, he lays in a VA rehabilitation center recovering from radiation treatment on his cancer. He'll be gone within the year per the doctors. The hope we have is that he gets through the radiation well enough to be brought home. There, he can be surrounded with the grounding that family can provide during the hospice period. We won't know that for another week or two.

Death comes to us all. Our family has reconciled with that. The thought of a man so brave withering away in the confines of a VA Center 90 miles away is unbearable at this time. No need to give it any more thought than that.

If you have a prayer in you, please utilize it to help get Lt Colonel Nutter back home . He was part of the fight for freedom that so many enjoy today. We all owe him, and the others that served, gratitude but prayer is what is needed at this time.

Friday, April 20, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 83...Back in the Saddle

Well...kind of like a saddle - I was actually riding my chair at my office which is kind of like when a cowboy goes to work. After being gone for three days at meetings, it was nice to be back at the nerve center of the operation.

And a stellar day it was!

HappyUP!!! - breakfast with one of my managers
Why it happened - we have it calendered every two weeks
Why it makes me happy - I see progress and hard work and a guy just busting it. He is really trying and starting to put together what I think is going to be one kick butt team. This creates an energy that I look forward to being around.

HappyUP!!! - the MAME Awards
Why it happened - they always happen this time of year
Why it makes me happy - this is one cocktail/social hour that I love. A lot of people that I know come and they are all gussied up. Many of them, I only get to see this one time a year....this is always a HappyUP!!! for me. I love my people out there on the fringe.

HappyUP!!! - "confluence" and "paramour"
Why it happened - I listened to a talk and received an e-mail late tonight
Why it makes me happy - OK...I am a weirdo. I really like it when someone drops a word in that you don't hear very often and it is used well. It is becoming a lost art. No, five dollar words don't impress me. These two words were just smoothly inserted into a couple of communications that I was exposed to.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 82....Back Home...Ahhhh

HappyUP!!! - walking into the house
Why it happened - I was gone for meetings for 3 days
Why it made me happy - when you leave the west coast on Tuesday, go to meetings on Wed and Thursday, hop on a flight at 5:30 Eastern and walk in your door at 11:30 Pacific Time, it's a happyUP!!! That's about 9 hrs of travel time. I guess you could get used to it. I don't see how people can be business travellers. It's a HappyUP!!! just thinking about how seldom I have to do this.

HappyUP!!! - laughs with a peer in the bus from another state
Why it happened - we were on the bus to the airport
Why it made me happy - we were both busting a gut laughing over some fairly childish humor. It was one of those where he said something and we both busted up. Then, we weren't done laughing an I said something, then he said something, then I said something....we were killing ourselves with humor. Laughter is the best!

HappyUP!!! - great speaker at our meeting
Why it happened - the meeting organizers knew we needed a speaker
Why it made me happy - it was Rocky Blier of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He just had a very motivational message. I remembered him from my old days when I enjoyed football. He really embodies overcoming adversity. More important, he actually talked about all the "bad" things that happened that he wouldn't have wanted to happen....BUT...if they didn't happen that way, he wouldn't have four Super Bowl rings. He also emphasized some very small kindnesses that people did when he was down and trying to recover. It was the smallest of things that kept him going. Amazing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 81 ...Wed

HappyUP!!! - time with another peer
Why it happened - he asked me to join him for dinner
Why it made me happy - I am relatively new to the team after a work reorganization. I got to spend some time alone with one of my peers. I saw a different side to him tonight. It was a more playful one. It was some time well spent.

HappyUP!!! - a call from a "client"
Why it happened - I have something he wants
Why it made me happy - the tide has turned. This person is someone that I have wanted to be a client for years. Now he is calling me to get on an approved list. In a sense, he wants to be my client. This will make it easy to become what we should have been all

HappyUP!!! - a party
Why it happened - we went to an after hours event for work
Why it made me happy - it was a great setting. It was an old house by a lake that is set up to hold business functions. We all got casual and got to spend some time networking and catching up with old friends. Excellent times.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 80 to Orlando

HappyUP!!! - easy flights
Why it happened - I had to go to a meeting in Orlando
Why it made me happy - are you kidding me? When was the last time you flew, had a connecting flight, had the perfect layover time (not too much, not too little, plenty of time to get to the next gate), and had absolutely no issues. Hey, when it happens, drink it up and praise the Lord!

HappyUP!!! - shirt off at the pool
Why it happened - I acted quickly
Why it made me happy - sure, there is a lot of knocks agains the UV rays. Sunblock is all the rage. No one talks about the nutrition we get from the sun....and the chemicals we absorb with the different creams to block it out. I got into Orlando and had just enough time to dash down to the pool and soak in the warm sun while the balmy breeze drifted over my epidermis. It was the perfect combination of warming and cooling. Ahhhhh.....45 minutes of heaven.

HappyUP!!! - a workout
Why it happened - my travelling buddy forced me
Why it made me happy - in May, I am going to be "hitting it" again. That's right. It is time to put a little extra focus on my physical health. While not terribly out of shape, I have been letting it slide. This workout was with weights. I detest weights but am coming to realize that this is the area that is most likely going to keep off the pounds. A year and a half of consistent cardio proved to be nothing more than a succession of sweat producers. It's time to build some muscle. I will be sore tomorrow but I can do this.

Monday, April 16, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 79

Here's a novel idea for a HappyUP!!! - but you have to be a grown up. Can we be grown ups for a second? Can we be clinical?....

...good, I thought so - and, because you have agreed to be so grown up, I will agree not to be graphic. While I will never post a HappyUP!!! here around this topic, it is perfectly OK for your HappyUP!!! to involve a bodily function in whatever capacity "bodily function" is to you. This is all about YOUR HappyUP!!!

With that HappyUP!!! thought - let's look at today

HappyUP!!! - woke up really early
Why it happened - who knows other than I told myself last night it would be good to wake up early
Why it made me happy - I'll be really tired tonight when I go to bed early. And I need to get up stupid early in the morning.

HappyUP!!! - conversation with a friend tonight
Why it happened - I had to take something to his house
Why it made me happy- it's just a carryover from my sense of community HappyUP!!! from the other day. We were just talking about some Roseville stuff.

HappyUP!!! - breakthrough work from an employee
Why it happened - she has been busting her buns
Why it made me happy - I can't go into details as I don't discuss work things in specifics. If you knew the whole story that led up to this, you would understand what a huge HappyUP!!! this is.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 78

Today, we create a new variation of HappyUP!!! - this is what is great about being the founder of something is. You get to make up new rules as you go along. Hey, do you think Abner Doubleday had baseball down pat on day 1? I kind of doubt it

Normally, I would file this under some kind of "bonus HappyUP" - but it actually qualifies today because it made me happy today...even though it happened last night

HappyUP!!! - running into the person that I NOW can say that I have known the longest of anyone that I still run into. Does that make sense? Read on
Why it happened - we were both at the Apostolos dinner
Why it makes me happy - you all have someone outside of your family that you have known the longest time in your life. For most of us, the delivery room nurse or doctor would be that person technically. They were just doing a job, though. They had to be there. Last night, I ran into a lady that I went to elementary school with. She was one of my pal's kid sister. I don't know if I had seen her since high school. She lives right here in town and is doing great! Really great! That's a big HappyUP!!!...especially if you knew my graduating elementary school class. I am not thinking that much came out of that group. We were all fairly high risk. Anyway, I was pleased she was doing well and I now have a new "longest person outside of family that I still run into" person.

HappyUP!!! - met an old high school underclassman today
Why it happened - he's in real estate and I was at an open house
Why it made me happy - he was a couple of years behind me. We didn't know each other in high school. It was wild as we started to piece together how many "1 degrees of seperation" that we had. It was almost eerie! I love coincidences. They make me happy.

HappyUP!!! - saw my brother and sister-in-law
Why it happened - we both were heading to see my dad at the same time
Why it made me happy - half way between my house and the hospital, my brother called me on the cell phone. He says, "hey, who are you following?" Sure enough, I was right behind them......pretty coincidental. We have already established how I feel about coincidences.


As I have embarked upon the HappyUP!!! project - with my life as the guinea pig, I have encountered some opposition in a few different forms.

"You are deluding yourself."

"You can't always be happy."

"I don't need that junk....I'm already happy."

It goes from the subtle - to not so subtle. Some of the opposition has been an obvious attack. Some of it has been masked by self-direction on the part of the assailant but it was probably hurled at me.

Take Nothing Personally - is one of the Four Agreements that I must always remind myself of. Another person's manifestation toward you is just an inner reflection of what they have going on.

I am the product of Western culture - I have worked in the sales environment for twenty years. I have been exposed to techniques, ways to close, an emphasis on "always being up" because that is what is attractive. It is what sells. There is nothing wrong with that. I constantly refer to William Shakespeare's, "we are all actors and the world is but a stage." So, when I am on stage, I am on stage. It has served me well in many respects

But, when does the play end - and real life begin? Or, taking Billy Shakes literally, does it ever end? Are we always on stage even when we are playing to an empty house?

Virginia Woolf said - "If you don't the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people."

And, of course, we have Shakespeare chiming in again - "To thyself be true"

Emily Dickinson weighs in on the matter - "Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it"

What is the truth about myself? - there are times when I feel as though I am outside the window looking in at other people. It does not appear that my circle of friends is as broad as others. Everyone is always glad to see me. It is always more fun to have me around than not yet I feel as though a pane of glass separates me from the world.

This bothered me for a long time - and, at times, it still does. It is during those times that I must remind myself that it is this pane of glass that allows me the freedom to behave as I have chosen to behave. I also must remind myself that I can break that glass anytime I really want to.

But, do I want to? - I think the overriding answer is, "no, I really don't."

I enjoy my time - to wander examine window talk to the silence and see what it has to say in return. I must be forever cautious, however, of allowing that silence to become solitary confinement. Work helps fulfill that role for me. It keeps me relevant with a very large circle of acquaintances, friends, customers, and constituents.

Yet, on that stage - am I telling the truth about who I am?...or am I playing the role of a lead character in a very long running production? Shakespeare is confusing yet clarifying in his two thoughts, "to thy self be true" but "you are an actor and the whole world is a stage."

Artists and creatives - are known for their dark, moody side. I have one. There is no doubt about it. I don't allow others to see it, though. I don't allow myself to see it.

Why? - it is scary. If one can increase their level of happiness as I have over the last year by paying more attention to the daily things in life that makes one happy, it only makes sense that one can increase their level of darkness by paying more attention to the dark side of the psyche and life.

I don't want that - there doesn't seem to be any game in that. Yet, it does remain tempting to think that somewhere down there in the shadows lurks a treasure that is waiting to be discovered much like the sunken chest at the bottom of Davey Jones locker.

But, what if the murks are explored - and the pain and struggle to get there is endured and the treasured box is brought to shore where the light of day can illuminate the contents? The lock is opened. The hinged top creeks as it is pried open and all that is found inside is a note that says,

"Hey, thanks for finding me. Have a nice day"

One thing that I do know to be true -
is that there are a myriad of things that give me moments to minutes to longer periods of happiness during each day. I like the feeling that I get as I takes the time to acknowledge their presence. It is a savoring before moving on to whatever the next bite of life I take or to the next role that I will be playing.

That is truth

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Secret Identity

(A special contribution to the weekly blog, SundayScribblings)

Paper faces on parade


Hide your face so the world can never find you

-Masquerade, Phantom of the Opera

I enjoy a good play. I always have though I don't go as often as I should. I still remember going to see Phantom of the Opera in San Francisco. It was on it's last year of a run that must have spanned close to a decade. This was the only play that I have actually seen that was the big city production in the big city theater. Yes, I have seen a few that roll through Sacramento...the travelling show. Those are great but there is something different about a show in a long venue. The stars are long tenured. The production has grounding. Well, who am I to judge? I have only gone to the one but, instinctively, I think I get the whole "Broadway Theater" concept without having been.

I still remember how moving this production was. This probably was 8 years ago now. I still remember being in the lobby afterward making my way to the exit. I was numb. What was it about the storyline that got to me? It was all summed up in the chorus to one of the many outstanding songs that came out of this musical. Perhaps it has something to do with the number of years that I have worked in the lending industry. I actually have gotten a look "behind the mask" of a lot of people over the years as I assisted them. Getting a loan is one place where it is difficult to hide who you are. The credit report tells the story.

Maybe it goes further than that. Was the play about hiding who you are from yourself? I have had the privilege of getting a lot of high level coaching in the position that I am in. Between that and my thinking nature, I have been led to some interesting "layers of the onion" that had been put on. The coats of protection that we have accumulated can be like a room that is repainted without ever being stripped. Yet, there are a couple of layers of paint that have hung on beneath that may have served us once but they no longer do. So, there can be a tendency to just "slap on another coat."

Can you identify the coats that have been layered on? If so, which ones are from the original construction? Can you get down to the "bare wood" and rebuild but, this time, with many years as an experienced painter? It takes some elbow grease to chip away to get there.

....or does the Masquerade just continue and the Secret Identity remain hidden forever?

Happy UP!!! Day 77...Groundings

HappyUP!!! - breakfast with my best friend and his family
Why it happened - I got off my fanny and went to breakfast
Why it made me happy - it's always great to get around that bunch. The three brother's and the mom and pops combination. It's just something that is part of living in this town that I have the privilege of being a part of

HappyUP!!! - the Apostolos Fund Dinner
Why it happened - my friend, Apostolos, sent me tickets
Why it made me happy - the cause is great. It also is like a multi-class reunion every year....without all the class reunion type pressures. It's just good to see people that still live in and around the surrounding areas that you grew up with.

HappyUP!!! - ran into an old friend during the day
Why it happened - I went and visited some Open Houses for work
Why it made me happy - this was one of my old escrow officers that I did a lot of work with years ago. I hadn't seen her in about 10 years. She is a real estate agent now and seems to be doing well in a market that has more than a few challenges. I ended up staying at the open house helping was busy! I think she even sold the house which NEVER (almost never) happens that the house an agent hold open actually sells!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Airman Gets De-Commissioned

"The colonel" - also known as my dad, got the news today. The blockage in the lung is non-small cell (not brought on by smoking) and is terminal.

It doesn't come as a shock - anytime an 86 year old goes into the hospital with something, you know the clock is starting to tick a little bit faster.

Today - the clock was set. 10-12 months. Radiation will probably begin next week.

What's on the Nutster's mind tonight? - pain....a hope and prayer that the month's to come spare him of pain. That is really it.

As I left the hospital - I said, "is there anything that you need from home that I can bring you?"

"Yes," - he replied, "a cure for cancer."

I cracked up - because, if you read that line the way he said it, the timing was pretty funny.

HappyUP!!! Day 76

HappyUP!!! - comment during interview
Why it happened - I interview people
Why it made me happy - the lending industry is going through some changing times. There are a lot of johnny-come-lately's who don't have a clue as to what the business is like when it gets rough. I was interviewing a gentleman who has been around awhile. He said, "there are a lot of loan officers who are out of business but don't know that they are out of business." Now, that may not seem funny to you but this isn't about what makes you happy. This one cracked me up!

HappyUP!!! - Natalie Gulbis on the leaderboard at the GINN
Why it happened - she had a couple of good rounds of golf
Why it made me happy - while not a huge Ladies Pro Golf Assoc (LPGA) fan, Natalie is from my city. She has been on the tour for a few years. She has done well but she hasn't won. She goes into the weekend with a chance to win. You have to root for the hometown girl!.....oh, yeah. One other thing.....she's hot!

HappyUP!!! - call from my boss telling me I nailed it
Why it happened - I grabbed a topic near and dear
Why it made me happy - I did a presentation on behalf of his entire region to the sales force on a call. It was exactly what he was looking for. He called me right after the call to tell me that so I know it wasn't a gratuitous stroke. It also makes me feel good that I am making a contribution.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 75

HappyUP!!! - seeing my dad
Why it happened - I went to the hospital and visited
Why it made me happy - we are spending some quality time. The downside is that he is far from at his best. The good side is that some of his defenses are down. The sharing is a little better. No, it is no HappyUP!!! that he has reached the stage in life where we will start looking at possible dates that the angels will come. There is grieving around that. There are also a few specs of sun that poke through. I am choosing to grab those whenever possible.

HappyUP!!! - helping an employee develop
Why it happened - he has a transaction going sideways through no fault of his own
Why it made me happy - he is in a stressful spot. While I don't wish it on my staff, he is in pain. I have been there. I can see that he is learning to think in this situation and grasping the underlying situation. Pain does this. I wish this didn't have to happen but our business is to problem solve. This employee is "getting it" and developing on how to do that on his own.......with a few sprinkles of guidance from the old guy.

HappyUP!!! - recovering from a major faux paus
Why it happened - I am quick on my feet
Why it made me happy - we did breakout sessions at our meeting. Each group had to come up with a solution or ideas. Then, someone had to present. We hadn't thought about that. Out of nowhere, I got the nod right at the time of delivery. We were talking about things that management can do around a better workplace. As I got up to our flipchart, I realized that we hadn't addressed recognition.

"We didn't list recognition," I matter of factly began, "because talk is cheap. We act. At this point, I have to recognize Victoria, our scribe, for the absolutely beautiful penmanship."

From across the room, someone blurts out, "...are you talking about Virginia?"

Yes, the room erupted. I had just met our charming scribe the day before and, quite honestly, I wasn't listening when she mentioned her name. It probably wouldn't have mattered because I didn't use her name after that so I would have forgotten it. I had asked my tablemate what her name was earlier in the meeting so, in the future, I could address her properly. He had said, "Victoria." He sucks at names too! Anyway, I was able to put some fancy footwork and increase the laughter with some self deprecation and all was good. It was funny!

HappyUP!!! Day 74...Business Travel

It's Wednesday! - OK....I am posting this on Thursday so I am reading from my journal. It was an overnight business trip just loaded with HappyUP!!!'s. Now, we all know that there is no bed like home...but....

HappyUP!!! - Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa Bed
Why it happened - this is where we did our meeting
Why it made me happy - I don't know if I would want a daily diet ('s a bed...I guess that would be nightly diet) of a bed this feathery and soft, but it was really nice. I don't think they make up beds much softer than this. I won't claim to have travelled the world because, well, I haven't. I have slept around a bit (in HOTELS...and I said "slept" so take your mind out of the gutter). I have been in some nice places. This just felt great on this particular night.

HappyUP!!! - Portofino's in Lafayette
Why it happened - our work group had to eat
Why it made me happy - where do I start? First, I ate at a great restaraunt.....and I didn't have to pay! That's always a HappyUP!!! when the company picks up the ticket. It wasn't even on my expense report. The waiter was outstanding for our party of about 26. The appetizers kept coming. The antipasto was indescribable. Yes, a Caeser Salad was involved. It wasn't the very best but it was still great. And then, the ribeye....oh...the ribeye. Done perfectly with a wrap of bacon. Should I even comment on the tiaramasu? I also got to eat alongside some people that I didn't know or know well. Their company was outstanding.

HappyUP!!! - the drive to the meeting
Why it happened - I went EARLY
Why it made me happy - when you leave Sacramento to go to the Bay Area, you can hit several persnickety
little snarls. I had none of that. I just got on the road and beat the traffic in all locations. Yes, it meant getting up at 4:15 in the morning. I just got to the meeting three hours early, did some e-mails, and didn't have traffic hassles. Traffic and me? I don't do road rage. I have no fears about traffic. I just find traffic to be a waste of time and a bit I avoid it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 73

HappyUP!!! - hearing a voice from the past
Why it happened - I got a phone call
Why it made me happy - ever have someone call you that you haven't heard from in awhile. They don't even have to say their name. You hear the first few syllables out of their mouth and you quickly and intuitively think, "good to hear from them. I wonder how they are doing." This, of course, is the precursor to asking, "hey, how are you doing," and other conversation. It's a happy moment....that blast from the past.

HappyUP!!! - another friend called
Why it happened - they didn't get my text over the weekend until today
Why it made me happy - while I hadn't lost sleep over it, I did wonder if they had gotten my message over the weekend. It was good to hear they hadn't until today.

HappyUP!!! - gave a solid speech
Why it happened - it was my turn at Toastmasters
Why it made me happy - I didn't have a lot of time to prepare. Lots o stuff going on in the life of the Nutster these days with pops in the hospital. Yet, I took some recent information that I had received and turned it into a speech. It probably wasn't my best talk but it was solid. Sometimes your best is the best under the circumstances and not the all time best.

Fascinating Read..... least it is to me - I have been reading, "Stumbling On Happiness," by Daniel Gilbert, Phd out of Harvard and an American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award winner. The book is more about the strange way in which we think. As I read the book, it makes me think about the popular Freakonomics tome that was written not too long ago. Here is a brief excerpt :

"To my knowledge, no one has ever done a systematic study of people who've been left standing at the altar by a cold-footed fiance'. But I'm willing to bet a good bottle of wine that if you rounded up a healthy sample of almost-brides and nearly grooms and asked them whether they would describe the incident as "the worst thing that ever happened to me" or "the best thing that ever happened to me," more would endorse the latter description than the former. And I'll bet an entire case of that wine that if you found a sample of people who'd never been through this experience and asked them to predict which of all their possible future experiences they are most likely to lok back on as "the best thing that ever happened to me," not one of them
will list "getting jilted." Like so many things, getting jilted is more painful in prospect and more rosy in
retrospect. When we contemplate being hung out to dry this way, we naturally generate the most dreadful possible view of the experience; but once we've actually been heartbroken and humiliated in front of our family, friends, and florists, our brains begin shopping for a less dreadful view -and, as we have seen, the human brain is one smart shoppper. However, because our brains do their shopping unconciously, we tend not to realize they will do it at all, hence we blithely assume that the dreadful view we have when we look forward to the event is the dreadful view we'll have when we l back on it. In short, we do not realize that our views will change because we are normally unaware of the processes that change them."

Because we act today based - on how we think we will feel tomorrow, the above becomes an extremely interesting thought to consider. Chrisopher Reeve believed that becoming a quadrapalegic was the best thing that could have happened to him. How could that be? Was he merely making the best of an inevitable situation? Did he really feel this was true?....or does it even matter which is which? Where would you fall on that thought? If you think, "he was delusional," I would only have one thing to add....

...May I be blessed and graced - with that kind of ability to handle the difficulties that life hands me.

(NOTE: the above paragraph is a stated opinion by the author. Most of the book, including the reason he is lead to the conclusion on the above situation, is packed with results of studies that have been done based on how we think.....and subsequently act).

Monday, April 09, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 72

HappyUP!!! - a stress free commute
Why it happened - Monday is commute, I left early
Why it made me happy - I got to where I needed to be easily and early. I worked on e-mail before the meeting at my client's office so I got a head start.

HappyUP!!! - visit with Dad
Why it happened - dad is in the hospital
Why it made me happy - it's a bit of a haul to get over to the hospital. Dad appreciates the company even though he doesn't have a lot to say. That's good enough for me.

HappyUP!!! - cancelling a day of a business trip next week
Why it happened - decided I was too busy to squeeze in a play day in Orlando
Why it made me happy - are you kidding? It's like getting 24 hrs of life handed to me. Orlando sounds cool but, when you are going on businesss sans kids, it is no adult paradise. Sure, I could find something to do there......but I could take the day and find something more interesting than in "the town that Walt built."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 71

Today - for the first time, we go living in the past for a HappyUP!!! No, it isn't because nothing good happened today. Come was Easter! If God sending His Son to Earth to show the way and then allow him to be crucified to show us the way isn't a HappyUP!!!, what is? That's a no brainer.

HappyUP!!! - my "roadie" on Wed night
Why it happened - he offered, I accepted
Why it made me happy - this little guy asked me at home church if he could carry my guitar out to my truck. As you can tell, the guitar is about as big as he is. He just wanted to do something to serve. No expectation that I could figure out. There is a lot more to this but I will keep it to myself. Why did I just post this today? I just downloaded my pictures. I had forgotten all about this. When I saw the picture, it actually made me happier thinking about the gesture than when I received the offer.

HappyUP!!! - the masters and Zack Johnson
Why it happened - he stared down Tiger Woods
Why it made me happy - Zack is a lot like I was in my younger, competitive golf days....a chipper and a putter. He doesn't hit it long like the rest of the guys but he keeps it straight, stays out of trouble, and then scrambles to make up for what he lacks elsewhere. Also, while Tiger Woods is incredible, you could see how much this means to this guy and his family. His background is quite a compelling tale....driving the mini-tours, staying at the motels, playing in front of small crowds, etc. It's the minor leagues except you don't travel with a team. It is a mental game with a lot of easy detours. I really liked this guy today and how he kept it together in one of the most pressure packed situations possible.

HappyUP!!! - Jim Nance
Why it happened - I caught the Golf Central piece on Nance and how long he has been covering sports
Why it made me happy - Nance is so good that you don't even think about the flavor that he adds. He is not looking for the limelight. He is soft spoken....but very well spoken. He said, "I'd give up covering 20 Super Bowls to do one Masters Tournament." I believe him. The Masters - it was exciting and a good spend of time this weekend.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 70

HappyUP!!! - a trip to the VA Hospital

Why it happened - dad has been stricken

Why it made me happy - OK...I would rather not have to have made this trip. As I got there, however, I took some time to appreciate the surroundings. As we approach April 15, tax day in America, it was nice to see that my tax dollars are being spent on something worthwhile...our veterans. Yes, a lot of the Vets are crotchety in the hospital. They may not feel the level of care is all it can be. Let's face it, though. No one is at their best when they are hurting. So, for a few moments before having to see dad prone in a hospital bed, it was time for some appreciation.

HappyUP!!! - dad had an "accident" right when I got there

Why it happened - hey, you get to be 88. You lose control of some bodily functions when you are ill...heck, that can happen when you are healthy and much younger.

Why it made me happy - the nurse was right in.....uh....let's do I say this because you have to understand the part of the process for the story to be funny....but I don't want to be gross. OK...let's be adult for a second. I was standing outside the curtain. The nurse was in mid-wipe. I then hear my ailing father ask, "is this the height of your medical career?" I don't know who was busting up or the nurse. You have to make the best out of the most unpleasant situations!

HappyUP!!! - the Masters

Why it Happened - it happens every year at this time...and you can count on me to be watching

Why it made me happy - it is one of the ultimate tests of golf. This year, Augusta National is set up to make the best in the world do nothing but make mistakes. Whoever screws up the least, wins. It makes for very interesting viewing. I love golf. I love athletics at their ultimate. This is the combination of the two.

HappyUP!!! Project Revisited

I just noticed - there are still a couple of people on the internet that have not found NuttersNotes

Because the last of the stragglers will probably be stopping by today - it is prime time for a little refresher course in what this HappyUP!!! thing is all about.

For an older explanation and the rationale - you need to nothing more than click here

...and you really should do that - because I can't devote this entire post to remedial students. I have to take care of the people following along.

If you are a follower - there has never been a better time to step up and lead. Your family needs you to do it. The world needs you to do it. I need you to do it. YOU need you to do it.

You may be happy - which makes you an excellent candidate for the project. The daily excercise is so easy that even the Nutster has been able to do it for over 60 documentable days....right here in front of your own eyes.

All I am coaching you for is - to do 7 days....and then stretch it until it becomes a daily habit. The net effect is that YOU create your good news. Tired of the newspapers and the fabricated stories that are beaten into the ground? Don't take more in....DO something about it. Here is a great example:

The HappyUP!!! - a fish with lips

Why it happened - I was carrying my camera when I went to dinner. I commented on the aquarium to the owner of the eating establishment. "Did you see the big fish....the one with lips?"

Why it made me happy - do you remember the old game when someone asked something really obvious? Today, we just go "duh." In a more creative time, we would say, "Is the Pope Cathholic?" or "Does a bear poop in the woods?" for a positive answer. If the answer was an obvious "No," we would say, "does a fish have lips?"
Well, as it turns out, I guess a fish does have lips!!!

....and that makes me happy - that's all there is to it! It's so easy, even the Nutster can do it! I took a moment, not all day obsessing, and recognized that little situation made me happy. The more times you realize what makes you happy, the happier you are going to be.

It's easy to single out all of the things - than make you mad, sad, frustrated, etc and attach all kinds of emotion to them. Why do you need to do that? The answer: you don't NEED to do CHOOSE to do it. And, just like you made the choice to focus on the crappy, you can make a new choice to focus on the Happy.

Yes, it is a formalized version - of "count your blessings." Is there a better time to start than right now?

If you are a fellow blogger - you can even work it into a daily posting amongst the other wonderful things you are posting. It's a wonderful accountability to yourself. I can't tell you the number of times I have gone up to bed, laid down, and said, "oops...I have the HappyUP!!!s. I just forgot to post them."...and back to the computer I went.

....and it has been worth every trip! - I have been hearing a comment from people lately that I have never heard before. "Nutster, you are so positive....I really like that." Hmmmmmm........I think I am going to continue.

Friday, April 06, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 69

HappyUP!!! - the Masters Golf tournament

Why it happened - I took an early afternoon

Why it made me happy - I was supposed to be off today but had to put some time in the office. At 2, I split and caught my favorite sporting event of the year.......with an entire weekend of Masters golf to look forward to.

HappyUP!!! - Good Friday

Why it happened - Jesus sacrificed for all of us

Why it made me happy - this gets a bit personal for the entire world and my purpose here. This is a seperate post but, though I don't serve him like I should, I know that there is a higher power that forgives me for my trespasses.
HappyUP!!! - an interesting discovery at work

Why it happened - I did some analysis

Why it made me happy - I found something that I am guessing no one in our company has analyzed. It backs up something that I am passionate about. Will it do any good? I can only try to make a difference. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

-a great phone call
-a super breakfast
-an interesting discovery

I Don't Get It

Studies have shown - that a consumer will drive all the way across town to save $50 on a $100 radio.

Yet, they won't make the same trip - or even a shorter one, to save $50 on a $50,000 car.

When is fifty bucks not fifty bucks? - I guess it's not the same when you are buying things of different value. Wow! to me!

When it is sitting in my bank account - I don't know where the half a hundred came from. I'm just glad it's there.

My conclusion - my old radio is fine and my car keeps getting me where I need to go. I'll just take the shopping time and drive over to work and make an additional $50. I come out $100 ahead.

In The News

( A guest contribution to the blog, SundayScribblings . This week's topic: "In the News" )

I was channel surfing last night and happened upon the FoxNews show, Hanniday and Combs. It was evident to me in seconds as to why the news is of little interest to me anymore.

They had ultra conservative Republican Ann Coulter on the show. The show's hosts and the network's show before them, Keith Oberlin, were as Democrat, liberal, and anti-Bush as you can be. I detest labels. The problem with labels is that a label is an assumption. If you want to lead an unenlightened life, make a lot of assumptions. The labels that I just used describing the adversaries on the show probably aren't totally accurate. If one, like myself, that has such intolerance for labels is moved to draw a conclusion so quickly, you can only guess how blatant the stances of these warring factions were.

These two sides were not having a debate. They were having an argument. I have no room in my life for going out and looking for people arguing. You stumble across enough of those. Though their points may be erudite, these people of above average intelligence both appeared idiotic due to their method of presentation. I have little room in my life to seek out stupidity and hang around those that demean themselves intentionally by engaging in rhetoric like this. The blatancy of what was being sold was clearly evident to me. I figured this out in the flash of just one quick channel surf during a commercial from the show that I was watching.

People are trying to sell their argument. They pass it off as news. The terms liberal and conservative have only been learned by me in the last few years of my life. I went almost a half of a century of pulling this off. I never took a class in this. I never read a book about it. Sure, the topic has come up in things that I have encountered. My definition of these opposing tribes has been shaped mostly by observing the two sides going at it on the small screen.

Am I more intelligent for learning this? Am I a better person for picking up this knowledge? Does having this knowledge make me happier and better equipped to help the world as I watch these types of pseudo-news programs? No. It has merely trained me to make labels....the very item that is one of the most damaging things you can do to another human being.

If shows like these are so obvious, how much more discrete are the "real" news shows and newspapers in adding their view of the incidents that happen all over the world? Perhaps my age has outweighed my indifference in my attempt to avoid judging and stereotyping others. If you are exposed to the media long enough, you can't help but be drawn in.

Our local paper, the Sacramento Bee, ran a headline news story the other day. This was front page with a font that was only slightly smaller than the biggest one that they would ever run. It was rivaling "Pearl Harbor Attacked" in it's size. Did a famous person die? Did a major news event happen? I will let you be the judge. The headline was something along these lines: "Subprime Lending Crisis May Cripple Area Home Values"

First, when did something that may happen that I can do nothing about become a news item...let alone a front page story? The article went on to trash the home lending industry. When you got done, you would think that the entire industry takes advantage of people. You would be led to believe it is the cause of your home values declining due to people being granted credit that were not able to make their monthly obligations which results in foreclosure. The truth is that some of these people did get credit. The fact is that, because this happened, home prices rose as well. Investors saw the fervor and jumped in. Values rose much more quickly due to the increased demand that this type of lending brought on. The bubble burst and now values are returning to the place where they should have been had the phenomenon not happened. I am not advocating one side or the other. Homeownership became available to many people that it would have otherwise not been presented to. Those people are still in their homes today. They are benefitting from being able to excercise their right of homeownership. The minority are the ones facing foreclosure.

I am in the lending industry. This is one area where I see what happened. I have more access to fact than the media does because I was on the front lines. I lived through it. The distortions that are being played out around this topic have led me to adopt the final conclusion that most of us know. The media has come to exist to sell the media. What other topics does it grossly distort? Am I really unintelligent if I don't have an opinion on whether Nancy Pelosi should be in Syria? If someone does think that about me, it is probably just their need to label me so they can feel more intelligent about themselves. I don't need to play this game. It is a lot of talk without anyone doing anything about it.

In The News. If it is a fact, I am interested. If it is a distortion, I would rather read a fairy tale. I am too weary to try to maintain and upkeep the filters that are required to tell the difference. The media is no different than alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes. It seems enjoyable while you do it but the addiction that is formed by the engagement is too dangerous for my health to partake in. I have better things to do.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 68

HappyUP!!! - Helping a buddy out
Why it happened - weird timing
Why it makes me happy - because I think it is the right thing. It doesn't make all the sense in the world to do. It probably could use a little more analysis. On the other hand, when something like this is laid in front of you, you jump on it and you make it happen as best you can. (I know this one doesn't make a lot of sense to you as a reader....but, keep in mind, some things require a little privacy)

HappyUP!!! - lunch
Why it happened - my friends and business associates invited me
Why it made me happy - one of the guys is on my nicest guys in the world list. His partner is a nice guy too. Who wouldn't want to go to lunch with a couple of really nice guys

HappyUP!!! - praise from an employee
Why it happened - he took my suggestion
Why it makes me happy - sometimes you try to help your employees. You know it is the right thing for them. At the same time, you get the feeling you are their mother, "junior, pick up your room!" In this case, doing some preparation gave him some confidence to go after some business today. I hope he gets it. The odds seem a little against him.....I have a feeling he is going to get it. If he does, if that doesn't make my HappyUP!!! list tomorrow, tomorrow will have been an outstanding day.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 67

Today was just an amazing day. Nothing gargantuan. Just a continual parade of blessings. Just incredible. It's really tough to pick just three HappyUP!!!'s.....what a tough problem to have, right?

HappyUP!!! - admin solution
Why it happened - something else didn't
Why it made me happy - my admin is going out on maternity leave....soon. I had another opportunity, an excellent one, come up as a replacement. It was right in front of me.

HappyUP!!! - a client called
Why it happened - he needed something
Why it made me happy - by the time I called him back, one of my staff had already handled his need....and it was more business for us. And, I did nothing! Need I explain more? Happy...Happy...Happy

HappyUP!!! - music at home church
Why it happened - I offered to play so we could all sing
Why it made me happy - music doesn't always work at our home church so we have gotten out of the habit. Because we are in Easter week, I decided that a little worship would be good so I made the offering. We all were better off for doing a little singing and praising

Just a stellar day.


Lunch meeting
Got accounting issue settled
Home church
Music at home church
Chocolate Chip cookies
Hearing China stories
Builder called me....problem was fixed
Coaching an employee
Coffee conversation
2nd Coffee conversation

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 66

HappyUP!!! - I woke up late

Why it happened - I didn't get up when I woke up the first time

Why it made me happy - though rushed, I still made it to my meeting on time. If I fell back to sleep, I really needed the sleep

HappyUP!!! - meeting with my co-worker friends at dinner

Why it happened - they made the invite

Why it made me happy - we had fun conversation, heated conversation, called each other on stuff, etc. I also found out things going on in the rest of the world that I didn't know about. Plus, Mikuni had a new roll, the Regina. Delicious.

HappyUP!!! - made some headway on a compensation issue

Why it happened - I got an e-mail giving me the opportunity

Why it made me happy - I actually may be able to settle something for one of my direct reports. I knew all along that I would be able to...I just had to have faith it would take some time. Still, I was between the rock and the hard place. I didn't let that position tear me up as it might have in the past, however.

Monday, April 02, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 65...A New Week

HappyUP!!! - Beating the alarm clock

Why it happened - who knows....I woke up at 4:45 am

Why it made me happy - it put me ahead right out of the sheets. You will find that this is a consistent HappyUP!!! for me. For one, I don't like noise waking me up. For two, it gives me a few extra minutes to look forward to the day. Today
, it allowed me to to send out a couple of personal e-mails that I wouldn't have been allowed to. It also made me think, "wouldn't it be great to see the sunrise?" Rather than drive right to the office, I took a detour and took the shot to the left. Today, I am an artist. I call this, "Hopeful Anticipation."

HappyUP!!! - No traffic

Why it happened - I ran early

Why it made me happy - I found out that this is a great time to go to my standing Monday morning meeting. I have a cellular modem in the laptop for work. I got to my meeting way early and just did my normal work of any traffic stress. This could become my Monday morning routine easily

HappyUP!!! - recognized for good work

Why it happened - my boss heard about what I did Friday. He was nice enough to point it out on a call with my peers

Why it made me happy - I turned in a good piece of work on a new initiative on Friday. I wanted to make my boss proud of this new project that he is unleashing. My teammates did good work too. I combined a little extra preparation, a positive attitude, and years of Toastmasters training to bring my segment alive.

-email exchange with a coworker negatively impacted by some recent changes
-got some good work off of my desk in quick time
-a late evening face to face with an employee a couple of steps down
-meeting two employees, one new and one that has been with my organization for awhile, for the first time
-a great e-mail from my bosses boss

OH....and one more thing...........the anticipation was worth came through again....just like it always does