Friday, June 29, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 154 "Hey, nice melons!"

HappyUP!!! - melons!
Why it happened - I planted them....and they grew!
Why it made me happy - this is my first foray into cantaloupe. Well, these are actually ambrosia melons. Is that the same thing as cantaloupe? Honestly? I don't know. All I can tell you is that this isn't the only one of these puppies growing out there in the garden. It is the first one. It was getting bigger and bigger. I really couldn't tell when I should pick it because I didn't know how to tell if it was ripe. Guess what? IT told me. It dislodged itself from the vine. Maybe that is what they do. As said, I don't know. I am not even a big melon eater.....until now. This baby was suuuuuhhhhhweeeeet!

HappyUP!!! - another part of my project at work came together
Why it happened - luck?
Why it made me happy - I thought this piece of the project was going to be a real pain. It just came together least, for me. One of my partners really did the job and came through. The project is getting exciting!

HappyUP!!! - breakfast with my co-worker
Why it happened - we do it every so often
Why it made me happy - we got quite a bit done.....and had fun doing so!, I got my short stack and side of sausage!

Special HappyUP!!! - top down on the way home from work! It was so nice, I hated to get home. I may need to head out for a drive tonight!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 153

HappyUP!!! - pizza
Why it happened - I was in a training and they brought in lunch
Why it made me happy - I love pizza.....but I never eat it. Somewhere along the line, I came up with a belief that is extremely expansive to my waistline. Now, right now, waistline expansion is the last thing that I need...really! Yet, I enjoyed the moment.

HappyUP!!! - more good training and project conversion
Why it happened - work calls for it
Why it made me happy - making progress.....seeing more vision....making some new's all good.

HappyUP!!! - telling the company story
Why it happened - I set it up
Why it made me happy - there is a charming story about the company that I work for that I love to tell. I got to tell it to some new employees...they loved it and I loved telling it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 152

HappyUP!!! - Paris Hilton is free and speaks!
Why it happened - she was on Larry King and I chose to spend an hour of my life listening
Why it made me happy - frankly, I really don't care much about Paris Hilton. However, she is an inescapable figure. I have never heard her talk. While I am not sure that I believe that she has had a life changing experience, I thought I would give her a listen. Why? Hey, even if you don't care, you probably have some mental reaction to who Paris Hilton is if the subject comes up. I want the voice in my head to be a bit more informed because, like it or not, she is going to be around awhile. We'll see how she next surfaces.

HappyUP!!! - good day in training
Why it happened - an on-going project at work
Why it made me happy - we made progress today. I see potential. Now, it will be exciting to see how things develop and what kind of changes people, including myself, go through as a result of it.

HappyUP!!! - a training seminar
Why it happened - I was invited by a peer
Why it made me happy - it's always good to hear from someone that you have some commonality with. The person speaking has accomplished some pretty neat things...more than the average people. I like being around that kind of mindset. It gives you new ideas. I like ideas. "Call Starfish!" (<----flashback from the movie Nightshift)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 151

HappyUP!!! - hurdle one cleared in a BIG BIG work project
Why it happened - we are close to the deadline
Why it made me happy - I finally got a chance to get somewhat involved, roll up my sleeves, and make some contact with people involved.

HappyUP!!! - a great lunch with our HR person
Why it happened - we were working on the big project together
Why it made me happy - I just got to know a co-worker a little better. Plus, she is a pretty cool HR person...some in my businesss (sales) might think that is an oxymoron. Not where I work.

HappyUP!!! - dinner with my boss
Why it happened - he was up working on the project too and he needed to eat
Why it made me happy - first, we went to a great place. Second, I like hanging with my boss. Just a good meal with a good friend...and boss.

Monday, June 25, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day A Buck Fifty (that's 150)

HappyUP!!! - visit to the chiropracter
Why it happened - I had a pain on Friday...this was a followup
Why it made me happy - the tenz machine, the thumper vibrator, the rubbing of the right muscles in the correct manner.....and then the Cuuuuuurrrrraaaaaaccccckkkkkk! Plus, the assistant has been a good sport and an excellent audience to my nuttiness. Best of all, I can practically get to this guy's office through my parking lot. Nice!

HappyUP!!! - meeting with a two down this morning
Why it happened - he called me with a business opportunity
Why it made me happy - the guy looks up to me. It gave me the opportunity to do a little bit of coaching. He acted right away and made an appointment with an agent for tomorrow...I like speed to action.

HappyUP!!! - my brother is in for Pebble Beach
Why it happened - I was offered an opportunity to go
Why it made me happy - I played there once in a big tournament a long time ago. Back when I was good...or thought that I was. My brother caddied for me. This time around, we'll both get to stand on the tee of the historic Pebble Beach looking out at that ocean. It will probably be windy or cold (it's usually one or the other in Monterey in June) but I am not going to care much. It's going to be a special treat with memorable moments I am sure.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 149 Congratulations Robert McGrath!!!

HappyUP!!! - Robert McGrath qualified to play in the PGA Championship

Why it made me happy - I know this guy. I am almost related. He's my brother's brother-in-law

Why it happened - he played in the PGA Championship for club professionals the last 4 days. My brother caddied for him. Over 300 pros from around the country teed it up. These are the guys that are out giving lessons and running golf shops. If you finish in the top 20, you get to go to the PGA Championship. It's the final of the four Major championships in all of golf
and Bob will be there...with my brother caddying!

Bob even had to survive - a playoff. There were 6 guys playing for the last 5 spots! It was exciting day around the tube at my house.

HappyUP!!! - BIG stuffed 8 ball zucchini

Why it happened - I didn't throw that big fella away.
Why it made me happy - sometimes a zucchini can get too big too use. It just gets too fibrous in my opinion. I thought I would give this big boy a chance. It was plenty for me and my Dad to have for lunch!

HappyUP!!! - the marigold project
Why it happened - see the posting farther down
Why it made me happy - beauty has been created every

time I drive in the driveway. And it was EZ!

Looks good, huh?

HappyUP!!! - The Ultimate Gift

Here is a little gift - from me to you...The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. In this easy, light, and quick read, you get as good a life's lesson plan as I have ever read.

...and I read a lot! - Stovall himself is an impressive individual. He is the type that you read about and go, "where the heck did I get short-changed?"

Stovall was a national champion and Olympic weightlifter - that should be enough. He has authored several books. In 2000, he was named Humanitarian of the Year (Jimmy Carter and Nancy Reagan have also received that distinction). more little thing - he is blind!

This book is presented in fable style - you can read it in a couple of nights. You could spend a lifetime trying to live it. Here is my present to you. It's the headings of each of the chapters that the hero has to live through. I can't think of a young person....or a person of more experience...who wouldn't see this as a sweet addition to their life's experience.

Gift of Work - He who loves his work never labors for money

Gift of Money - Money is nothing more than a tool. It can be a force for good, a force for evil, or simply be idle
Gift of Friends - It is a wealthy person, indeed, who calculates riches not in gold but in friends
Gift of Learning - Education is a lifelong journey whose destination expands as you travel
Gift of Problems - Problems can only be avoided by excercising good judgement. Godd judgement can only be gained by experiencing life's problems

Gift of Family - Some people are born into wonderful families. Others have to fin or create them. Being a member of a family is a priceless privilege which costs nothing but love.
Gift of Laughter - Laughter is good medicine for the soul. Our world is desperately in need of more such medicine
Gift of Dreams - Faith is all that dreamers need to see into the future
Gift of Giving - the only way you can truly get more out of life for yourself is to give part of yourself away
Gift of Gratitude - In those times when we yearn to have more in our lives, we should dwell on the things we already have. In doing so, we will often find that our lives are already full to overflowing.
Gift of a Day - Life at it's essence boils down to one day at a time. Today is the day.

Gift of Love - Love is a treasure for which we can never pay. The only way we keep it is to give it away.

The Ultimate Gift - In the end, life lived to it's fullest is it's own ultimate gift

HappyUP!!! The Marigold Project

Part of my job - as the resident HappyUP!!!per (ooh, an new noun....HappyUP!!!er), is to make a big deal of the ordinary.

Why? - because people make a big deal out of the CrappyDOWNS all the time. We need to balance things out in life. We need to NOTICE and CELEBRATE the things that go right. It is imperative to optimal mental health.

For a couple of years - this little patch leading up to my doorway has been a bit of dirt that accumulates weeds. I then pull them and/or turn the dirt. It's nice dirt. It doesn't stay that way for long and the cycle continues.

Why didn't I do something about it sooner - it wasn't a high priority. I also procrastinated until I could think of something that was "just right." This is a habit that I have. I have come to realize that the time spent to figure out "just right" doesn't come. I also have to admit that I don't have the "just right" skill set on all things to figure them out.

Yesterday - I was at Home Depot and just did SOMEthing. I bought some marigolds and stuck them in the ground (yes, I used some potting soil). Then, I said, "do I really want to weed around these flowers?" I was on my way home from an errand and popped back into the Home Depot. They didn't have the fancy Cocoa Mulch that I used in my garden. I really didn't want to use redwood mulch. It was what they had. I was ready to leave....

...until I said - "Nutster, just do SOMEthing". If I find that the redwood mulch is oh so offensive, it isn't going to be that big a deal to change it.

Net net - outside of popping in and out of the Home Despot, I have 45 minutes invested in a project that will surely be beautiful. It's already a HappyUP!!! Can't you see it already? Make sure you check out that creative one color up one color back symmetrical planting technique.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"What will it be? The usual?"

"Of course it will" - and in about 10-12 minutes, I'll have a short stack and two sausages sitting right in front of me at my favorite breakfast joint.

I suppose some would call that dull - or predictable.

I call it - a man that knows what he likes.

I was in a relationship once - and I took great care before I made the statement as I knew full well that it wasn't that romantic...

"You're like a short stack and a side of sausage" - remember, ladies, before you go, "Nutster, never say that to a woman." Remember, I fully set the table. If I can't be transparent, I can't be with someone. I am way too old to play make believe and Prince Charming games. Nevertheless, I don't think she really got what that meant. It meant that I was happy. I wasn't going to try anything else off the menu...even the special of the day. Sure, it might be more interesting...who knows because I wasn't going to try it.

If I didn't like the usual - I probably wouldn't be at/with that establishment anymore.

""Give me the usual" - it's the ultimate compliment

HappyUP!!! Day 148

HappyUP!!! - GettinUP!!! 4 a.m.
Why it happened - for fun? To be a HappyUP!!!, you would think that would be the case, huh?
Why it made me happy - my sis in law missed a flight yesterday. She rebooked for 6 a.m. today. She does so much for my bro and my dad, I will never say "no,' but it goes beyond that. It really helped her out to get a ride to the airport. The happiest HappyUP!!!'s usually involve doing something for someone....even if it is just lending an ear.

HappyUP!!!- Marigolds
Why it happened - I went to Home Depot for something else
Why it made me happy - ....then I said, "throw some flowers in that flower bed out front." Rather than analyze an entire relandscaping project, I just bought some yellow and orange marigolds, drove home, and immediately planted the dozen. It probably took me a grand total of 30 minutes to plant the 12. I have a feeling they are going to supply me with a lot of HappyUP!!!'s (or at least JollyJottings) as I drive up to my house in the days to come.

HappyUP!!! - breakfast with my nephew
Why it happened - he got off the graveyard and stopped by my bro/sis in law's house as I was there caring for Dad.
Why it made me happy - in many ways, I was an absentee uncle. There were reasons...none of them particularly good ones. No bad blood or family squabbles. Everyone gets busy. Plus, we aren't the touchiest, feeliest of families. This nephew has battled through so many health problems, however, that I have always considered him a bit of my own hero. He is about 23 now. I am not sure if we have ever gone out for breakfast alone. We had a nice chat.

Friday, June 22, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 147

HappyUP!!! - golfing at Pebble Beach in July
Why it happened - I was invited
Why it makes me happy - c' Pebble Beach. I was invited today. I have only played there once and it was 20+ yrs ago. I'll be playing there in about two weeks. I better go start getting some practice in!

HappyUP!!! - met a cool chiropractor
Why it happened - woke up with some kept increasing
Why it makes me happy - "c'mon, Nutster, what is the HappyUP!!! about being in pain?" I hear you. I would rather be without pain. But pain happens. I haven't been to a chiropractor in over 12 yrs. A friend recommended a guy that is literally right around the corner from my office. He was a nice guy. I liked his assistant. It's good to have this guy around when you need him.....and so convenient.

HappyUP!!! - took Dad a homeflipped burger
Why it happened - my night to watch over him
Why it makes me happy - I got to feed him a burger patty with cheese and some nicely sliced tomatoes that I have grown right in his old garden. He loves them. I think he loves the fact that I have taken up gardening so much sooner in life than he did.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 146

HappyUP!!! - waking up early and sleeping in
Why it happened - who knows
Why it made me happy - I set my alarm early though I didn't need to. It gave me the luxury of just laying in bed for awhile before work. Some people may do this every day.....but then it would just be normal and not special.

HappyUP!!! - getting to the root of an issue
Why it happened - I sent someone on a deep dive
Why it made me happy - the person at the heart of the problem did some of the research and figured it out....and, in so doing, convinced himself of the solution. I didn't have to solve the problem AND sell the solution as well.

HappyUP!!! - my own bed tonight
Why it happened - a scheduling error
Why it made me happy - I thought I was sleeping at the couch because I thought my bro and sis in law were out of town. Someone needs to be there to watch over Pops. As it turns out, sis was back in town so I will be sleeping in my own bed...ahhhh

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 145

HappyUP!!! - back home
Why it happened - time to get back from BAKE-ersfield
Why it made me happy - home....after a 4.5 hour drive.....from Bakersfield to Sacramento. Do I need to say more? .......I didn't think so.

HappyUP!!! - question from my co-worker
Why it happened - who knows
Why it made me happy - happy? It busted me up. He said, "Nutster, as soon as this training is out, I want to jet out of Bakersfield." Remember from Day 143, he was the driver so he was giving me instructions. I turned to him and said, "Gee, I don't think so. I was really thinking of hanging around BAKE-ersfield for a few hours to make sure that we take in all it has to offer before we drive 4.5 hours home!" It was a well placed piece of sarcasm

HappyUP!!! - the groups that we trained
Why it happened - they had to get in breakout groups and then present us what they learned. We told them a trinket of a prize was involved and style counted too.
Why it made me happy - these were managers. One group incorporated gymnastics, another guy sang in Spanish, another team did a cheerleading routine, and another guy called himself "O.W.R." - Old White Rapper and did a rap. Now, if we had ordered them to sing or do a dance or anything, they would have said, "too corny." Left to themselves, however, they had a blast......and it was pretty entertaining. At the same time, we got the substance that we would have received anyway.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day Bakersfield

HappyUP!!! - my pillow!
Why it happened - I brought it for the car when I was the passenger (see Day 143)
Why it made me happy - once we got to the hotel, I said, "hey, I might as well bring my pillow in with me." I know that some people travel with their pillows religiously. I have always thought those people to be a bit persnickety. I do have to say that, even though the hotels pillows were nice, my melon much prefers the pillow and case to which it is accustomed. Would I pack my pillow along if I had to fly? Nah.....I think that would be a bit much. But, if I have to drive, why not!

HappyUP!!! - poker night
Why it happened - we did team building after our training today
Why it made me happy - I got to spend some social time with people I didn't know. Plus, we went to an Indian Casino in Bakersfield. Now, "casino" was a bit of a stretch. It was more like a large seedy card room....packed with people from Bakersfield who consider this venue to be the highlight of their Bakersfield day...oh my! We just did a fun dinner and tournament to ourselves so we were sequestered away from the locals. No, I didn't miss much by not experiencing the total "local Bakersfield vibe."

HappyUP!!! - my presentation
Why it happened - I was counted on
Why it made me happy - after having gone to Toastmasters for years, it is great when you get to go to a place and let your skills shine....have some fun...etc. I know my boss appreciates's always good to please the boss.

Monday, June 18, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 143....Bakersfield

HappyUP!!! - a ride to Bakersfield
Why it happened - a co-worker now has to make most of these trips with me
Why it makes me happy - the co-worker is also a buddy. I was amazed at how much faster that 4.5 hr drive went by with someone to talk to. I thought that we would get tired of chatting. Nope. Plus, he insisted on driving. I thought being the passenger would be the tough part. Heck NO! I even took my pillow and reclined. I was polite and didn't pass out though. I was comfy. Speaking of comfy....

HappyUP!!! - Yoga Pants
Why it happened - I bought some on a whim a couple of years back
Why it makes me happy - no, I don't do yoga. You ladies out there have this figured out, though. For comfort, a pair of loose, thin pants are more comfortable than shorts. The perfect traveling attire.....especially to hot, windy places like Bakersfield!

HappyUP!!! - Carina at the Holiday Inn
Why it happened - we had to check in at the hotel
Why it makes me happy - hey, while I don't qualify as an old codger yet, I have to admit that being greeted by a cute, young perky girl at the hotel was a welcome bonus for a couple of stiff-legged travelers. She recommended a great restaurant, wrote out the directions, and got us into upgraded rooms!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 142

HappyUP!!! - intervals
Why it happened - I decided it needed to happen
Why it made me happy - I overcame a lot of inertia to get going on this one. When I was done, I was happy!

HappyUP!!! - visiting with a neighbor
Why it happened - I stopped and chatted on my way back from intervals
Why it made me happy - I really should talk to my kitty-corner neighbors more. We went to high school together. We have both been doing some remodeling so we checked out each other's pads. I gave them some vegetables.....really cool because I needed to find some people close by to off-load my produce too. One guy can only eat so much

HappyUP!!! - US Open finish
Why it happened - it was round 4
Why it made me happy - it was suspenseful. I love it when the top people in the world are going after it and really grinding it out. I would have liked to see Tiger pull it out. Man, did you see that guy? He is one buff dude...not something you see in the golf world.

Special HappyUP!!! - Father's Day
Why it happened - I don't know...someone started the tradition
Why it made me happy - though I didn't do a lot of celebrating, I stayed with Dad last night, got him out of bed, got him his breakfast.....and brought him some tomatoes that I had grown from my garden....the same garden that used to be his. This was a painful Father's Day. I had to search for the HappyUP!!! With Dad chair/bed-ridden, it's difficult to watch him deteriorate. Yet, I was happy to drag him from his bed to his chair and back to the bed at the end of the day.

Back to the Track - Intervals/Fartlek

Three days ago - we established a benchmark for running (not jogging) one hard mile....

7:09 - which was not that impressive for someone that 20 yrs ago could click of 20+ miles at 6 minutes a mile.

Oh well - it is what it is and every journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step. So, we will now leave the glory days behind and start from where we are at.

Today - it was quarter mile intervals. This is one lap around the track hard, then a jog around the track, then a hard lap, then a walk/jog, etc.

The four quarter mile intervals were as follows:

Interval 1 - 1:57
Interval 2 - 1:42
Interval 3 - 1:34
Interval 4 - 1:37

This is actually a pretty good pattern - the idea is to actually run each interval faster than the one before. It's a discipline thing. It is also a test of the mind and the will. Each interval gets harder to do because you are, theoretically, still feeling the effects of the interval before.

If interval 4 had been at 1:30 - it would have been the perfect set for the first day of interval practice. I would have ended with an interval that was exactly on pace of a 6 minute mile.

One mile in 6 minutes - is now my goal. I am almost 48, 5'7", and weighing in at a 4 yr high of 180 pounds. Obviously, as some weight comes off, the engine won't have as much to pull around that track. If I use the same amount of heart/will that I used this morning (and, yes, I was gutting out that last interval), the 6 minute mile should easily fall by the time I turn 48 at the end of August

"What about your pulse rate, Nutster?" - I know. You are concerned. Immediately after completion of a couple of the intervals, I was pushing 200 - 210. Any book that you read is going to tell you that is WAY up in the anaerobic threshold range and will discourage you from being there.

Here is what I know about my own body - a lot of good things start happening when I start delving into the anaerobic workout. The downside is that, theoretically, one's heart could explode. I am kind of thinking, and have always thought, that most of us have an interior governor that prevents that from happening. In other words, you can only go so long for that hard and then you have to stop.

Trust me - at the end of each quarter mile, I was at the point where it was all I had and it was time for a walk.

The Scandanavians - have a term for intervals. It is called fartlek. You run for a while, jog for a while, run, walk, skip, run, jog, walk, etc for as long as you want. It is an effective workout.

Running is something that I can do - jogging doesn't get it for me. Under the heading, "be your own doctor," the slow pounding of jogging causes too much downward pressure on my feet. It aggravates a slightly arthritic condition right where my big toe hits into my foot. I tried an orthotic for awhile but it didn't seem to be the solution. A faster motion that keeps the weight moving more forward rather than down seems to be OK.

We'll see - how things react this time. I am pushing a lot of weight around on my frame right now. I lost 30 pounds about 4 years ago....funny thing....I found 25 of them.....and I wasn't even looking!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 141

HappyUP!!! - TOMATOES!
Why it happened - it was time for them to turn color
Why it makes me happy - come on! You know that a tomato right out of the garden, sliced, salt&peppered, and placed in the fridge to chill is happiness waiting to happen. Yes, I will get tired of them by the time the crop is done. For now, it's heaven. Friends love fresh tomatoes too!

HappyUP!!! - US Open
Why it happened - it's an annual event
Why it makes me happy - this is legitimate couch potatoe time for me. It's calendered every year. Today, I was treated to one of the best ball striking rounds in the history of golf. Tiger Woods hit 17 out of 18 greens including a par 5 in two shots (that's like hitting 18 greens).

HappyUP!!! - sleeping in
Why it happened - who knows
Why it makes me happy - I was awoken by a noise last night. I had trouble getting back to sleep. Not tremendous trouble...just some trouble. My body accomodated and I slept until 7:30! I never sleep in that feels good to know that I can do it!

What is it about guys......

....and their need to brag about their large zucchini's? It's childish.

......but always damn funny no matter how many times that you do it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 140

HappyUP!!! - Going away party
Why it happened - a coworker left after over 10 yrs
Why it made me happy - lots of good conversation with people that I don't see all the time. The really good but bad for you bar food was delicious!

HappyUP!!! - meeting with a manager
Why it happened - I had to make a visit and do a report
Why it made me happy - he confirmed what I suspected....and gave me permission and the commitment to support what my people need to do

HappyUP!!! - meeting with an employee
Why it happened - she came back from maternity leave
Why it made me happy - it's a tough new world she is coming back to. She has more of a chance than I thought. It will still be tough but she just may make it happen.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 139

HappyUP!!! - got out to the track
Why it happened - I just did it
Why it made me happy - other than stiffness creeping in tonight, I can still RUN a mile. While 7:09 may seem like jogging compared to my history, I am gaining on being on the planet for a half a century. I wonder how much of the male population can break 7 minutes at my age. What about breaking a 6 minute mile by my birthday in two months?

HappyUP!!! - traffic court
Why it happened - I am fighting a silly ticket
Why it made me happy - I didn't actually sit in court. I had to go down, enter my "not guilty" plea, and get my date in a couple of months. I didn't want to sit in a courtroom for hours today.

HappyUP!!! - after work chat
Why it happened - a coworker was stressed
Why it made me happy - he needed to blow off steam...really. I was glad to be there.

Back to the Track.......

Feb 25 of this year was the last time I was on the track
. If you click the link, you are going to go through my history with running. In my mid-20's, I started to pick em up and put em down as a distance runner.

Today - it is that time in the past that is a distance. It has been over three months since I ran anywhere other than to the refridgerator. I am probably weighing about 5 pounds more than then....35 pounds more than 30 years ago when I was running 6 minute miles for 26 miles at a time.

I am coughing and gagging - as I type this. I just went one mile. Running...not jogging. No windy conditions. Just a bit of heat starting to generate off of the valley floor. We'll probably make it above 100 degrees later today.

The first quarter mile - was right at 1 minute 30 seconds. That is exactly on pace for a six minute mile. I actually felt OK as I saw the watch. It only took one straightaway for me to start feeling the let down however. The next two laps from that point were going to be tough.

But....I gutted it out - in the last half of a lap. I put on the old "finishing kick" that used to be my trademark. I can always reach down and find a little something extra.

7:09 was the final time - 10 seconds slower than 3+ months ago. Not important. It was important that I was out there. The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step. Very shortly, I will make a decision around this topic....

.....stay tuned - because I am convinced that DECISIONS do Shape DESTINY. I don't make them lightly.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 138

HappyUP!!! - compliment from a meeting attendee
Why it happened - he appreciated my participation/presentation
Why it makes me happy - while I don't need it, don't we all feel a little better when our efforts are rewarded

HappyUP!!! - call from my boss
Why it happened - he felt compelled to call me about nothing in particular
Why it makes me happy - it meets a basic human feel significant

HappyUP!!! - a good night's sleep
Why it happened - who knows
Why it makes me happy - it was a little warm upstairs. Nope, I didn't get the upstairs remodel done this year...or the AC installed. The mercury went up cooled down enough for my slumber to be unaffected. My next happyUP!!! around this may be "my futon" which is where I go downstairs when it is too hot to sleep. I call my futon "the summer home."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 137

HappyUP!!! - waking up at 4:50
Why it happened - my alarm didn't go off at 4:30
Why it made me happy - I set my cell phone to wake me at 4:30. I had a shuttle to catch at 5:30 from my hotel in Riverside to the airport. The phone/alarm didn't go off. I'm an early riser but waking before 5 is not par for the course. Because I had packed up most of my stuff the night before, I calmly took a shower and gathered the last of my things and caught my ride. If I had missed the ride, I wouldn't have landed in time to get to an important meeting that I was presenting at. Think about it. How would you have started your day running that far behind with that kind of pressure.....swearing? rushing? thinking it was a bad day? I started in gratitude even though the world seemed to be a bit against me

HappyUP!!! - world was for me
Why it happened - because I'm me?
Why it made me happy - the hotel drove me to the airport in a Lincoln Towncar...celebrity treatment. I breezed through ticketing to check in my golf bag, security was a breeze, the flight went well, my bags were some of the first one off on the carousel, the parking garage was empty which allowed me to change into "meeting clothes" without embarrassment, the drive to the meeting included the window down and a cool breeze in my hair, and I got to the meeting on time. How beautiful is that when you are travelling???

....I also think that was about 10 HappyUP!!!s

HappyUP!!! - my presentation was extremely well received
Why it happened - preparation
Why it made me happy - I am a great presenter. If I applied myself and had the passion, I could speak professionally in some capacity. I also take the presentation...and in my powerpoints. Today, they were ON THE MONEY. The group also got distressful news in the middle of my talk. It had the ability to totally sink my presentation. Instead, I was able to roll with it and get the group back on line. In the end, it ended up being a blessing that we got the news in this meeting when we were all together. The possible worst ended up being the best.

Woke up in time
Towncar to airport
Checked right in
Bags were first out of the carousel
No one in parking garage
Window morning
Got to meeting on time
Presentation went awesomely
Great dinner
Back Home

Monday, June 11, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 135

HappyUP!!! - meeting my friends for breakfast in Riverside
Why it happened - a little brekko before we headed to the golf course
Why it made me happy - fellowship. I am becoming convinced that good conversation...even if it is BSin around are some of the best moments for me. Plus....I caught some excellent grapefruit.

HappyUP!!! - ride to the golf course in my buddy's RED VO6 Corvette
Why it happened - I needed a ride
Why it made me happy - hey, it is a nice ride. Plus, speed makes my friend happy. This puppy has it. It will blow twin turbo Carerra's away. Now, it's not my cup of tea and, thankfully, it was just surface streets between the hotel and golf course. Yours truly was in no danger at any time. My bud did punch it a couple of times, however, and I have been in a few Corvettes. I could feel the potential.....potential to get whiplash by getting my head snapped back by the acceleration

HappyUP!!! - a few quality golf shots
Why it happened - if you are lucky, you get a few in a round
Why it made me happy - I am not worrying much about score these days. It is all about how that contact is made with the ball. I have come to learn that I just really dig a purely hit golf shot....not just a good shot...a pure one. I had a 6 iron, an 8 iron, a hybrid, a 5 iron, two 3 woods, and a couple of drives hit that way today. I am not kidding. Even a decent player can go an entire round without "pure-ing" a shot. I had several today. I had some very, very poor shots too but what else is new? I just need to be on the links a bit more.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 134

HappyUP!!! - getting Dad up this morning
Why it happened - bro and sis in law were out of town...I stayed with dad last night
Why it made me happy - I suppose if I did it every day, it could be a chore. This was the first time that I helped my dad out of bed, got him into his chair, went through his meds, got him the paper, some breakfast, etc. It really isn't much.....and it's nice to be able to help out. He has done so much for me.

HappyUP!!! - dinner with old friends
Why it happened - one of my former co-workers put it together for me
Why it made me happy - just good to hear the old stories.....and be around the people that were all working at the same place that started me on the career that has been so good to me.

HappyUP!!! - making my flight
Why it happened - the line moved
Why it made me happy - most people would complain about the ridiculously long lines I had to sift through to get to my plane. NOTE: don't fly on graduation weekend! I am questioning if this might be the busiest travel weekend of the year. Anyway, it didn't look like there was anyway the line was going to relent and get me to my plane. It did...I made my flight.....and, rather than gripe, I was thankful. I also got the privilege of helping an elderly lady with artificial knees through the line and the airport as well. I had met her and her daughter on the lower concourse. The daughter was nervous about leaving her mom in such a long line. As she was taking the same flight as mine, I said, "I'll get mom on the plane." The daughter didn't know me....but she was relieved. Just a simple act of didn't cost me anything. Think about it.

HappyUP!!! June 10......HappyBirthday, Mom!

I'll be catching a flight in a few hours, mom - though it's been 5 1/2 years since you caught the last plane out of here, you are remembered....especially today on what would have been your 88th birthday.

Do I think about you everyday? - no, I don't. You wouldn't have wanted it that way. You did your job. You raised your boys to be on their own. You know you did your job. It was the only job that mattered to you. You did it without a good example to follow considering what your parents did to you back in the twenties and early thirties.

My words to you today - are the same as when I stroked your hair on that hospital bed when they gave Dad and I the news and we were able to come visit your physical body for the last time. Your soul may have left but the words remain as true today as on that Thanksgiving eve of almost 6 years ago...

You were a good mom.....such a good mom - you put your children's needs before your own...and then picked it up and started again with the grandkids.

Don't worry about Dad - he'll come join you soon. You got out of this piece of loving deserved to. You put in your time. We're all pitching in to try to make the remaining days and months as comfortable as we can.

Mark Twain said - "losing someone close to you is like your house burning down. You don't realize what you lost until 10 years later." I hope Mr Twain was wrong in your case. I can't think of anything more of you that I have lost than what I have contemplated over the last 1/2 decade.

Rest well - we'll all see you again soon enough.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 133......Saturday...ahhhh

HappyUP!!! - breakfast at Pacific St
Why it Happens - it just does on most Saturdays
Why it makes me happy - it may be the same cast and crew. It may be the same short stack with a side of sausage. It may be a routine. It still makes me happy to hang with my friend and their family. My dad doesn't have many days left. I only have one blood brother left. It's never too late to put yourself up for adoption!

HappyUP!!! - a BBQ for a grad
Why it happened - the same family above had a high schooler graduate so they did a poolside BBQ
Why it makes me happy - it's people getting together to talk and big drunken blowout. A few burgers, a few dogs, a few beers by the pool......nice.

HappyUP!!! - Dad duty
Why it happened - bro and sis in law are out of town
Why it makes me happy - it was up to me to make sure that pops was taken care of last night. I will tell you...this has been an eye opening experience. When my dad was the age that I am right now, I was about 8 or 9. Follow me on this. In a way, I am now the age that my dad was when I really started realizing he was my dad...taking me places....etc. I now help him out of the chair, into bed, and with hygenics. It is like I am now at the beginning of the entire trip that I have witnessed him take. Does that make sense? Yes, there are thoughts of my mortality that creep in. There is something more, however. It is like I see a new beginning...a new segment of my life because I have seen this segments of my father's. Anyway, the happyup!!! is just that I can be of use and help my pops. It's more important than anything else right now.

Friday, June 08, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 132...

HappyUP!!! - neighborhood packed with cars
Why it happened - it's Graduation Night
Why it makes me happy - I live a few blocks from the high school. When fall rolls around and homecoming is upon us, I see a few cars overflowing the high school's parking lot. One night a year, however, the neighborhood is overrun with parkers. This is how I know it is graduation. No nieces or nephews going through the drill this year for me. Still, a new crop of kids feeling the accomplishment of finishing the required schooling. Promises being made to always stay in touch.....not knowing that time and circumstance will divide many of them until a possible reunion. It's a wistful time for those of us a little older who think back to when we were on that stage 30 years ago.

HappyUP!!! - the first tomato
Why it happened - one tomato broke out
Why it makes me happy - it's time to find my friends who love homegrown tom-toms. I have a lot this year. There was one that turned color. The rest will be close behind. To someone that loves tomatoes, there is nothing like homegrown.

HappyUP!!! - the lawn is cut
Why it happened - I didn't feel like doing it...but I did
Why it makes me happy - I'll get to enjoy the look of a cut and watered lawn when I get up and all day tomorrow. This is one of my simplest pleasures.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 131

HappyUP!!! - seeing an old client
Why it happened - we were at the same convention
Why it made me happy - it was great that he recognized me after all these years. I think we had totally forgot about each other. We had a great relationship years ago and then just lost track of one another. It was super to see him again.

HappyUP!!! - the books showed up
Why it happened - home office came through
Why it made me happy - it means less work for me!

HappyUP!!! - conversation with co-worker friend
Why it happened - I called her while she was thinking of calling me
Why it made me happy - we went over business....but went over our own struggles. It was a real conversation. Real conversations always makes me happy

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 130

HappyUP!!! - a presidential candidate caught in fabrication
Why it happened - channel surfing
Why it made me happy - though the elections are far away, I'll remember this "small" mis-truth. If he is going to fib about the small things, what we Barack Obama do over the big stuff? I saw the clip of the speech when he was talking about how politicians and how newscasters had moved on from Hurricane Katrina victims. "Long after the politicians are gone, the networks are gone, and Anderson Cooper has moved on, the victims are still there," or something like that. Well, I happen to know that Anderson Cooper continues to go back and broadcast from the storm battered land...I've seen the shows. Obama could have just left it with the networks moving on and made his point. He went a little was a stupid thing to do. It makes me happy because, unless something else happens, one candidate just fell off my list to make a decision about come 2008. I like it when things get easier.

HappyUP!!! - tradeshow throngs
Why it happened - our group had to do a realtor convention
Why it made me happy - you can burn a lot of time at conventions. Our booth was jammed! While we had to scramble to resupply the means opportunity for my people

HappyUP!!! - employee on the mend
Why it happened - it looks like he is recovering and won't need surgery...he is home
Why it makes me happy - hey, I care about my people's welfare. Enough said!

Extra HappyUP!!! - a courtesy and reciprocation
Why it happened - I held the door open a little longer than is required by etiquette
Why it made me happy - once we got through the outside door, the lady I waited for (who I did not know) said, "you have your hands full. Can I help you get into your office?" She didn't work at my place. She had nothing to gain. Her gesture was beyond was extremely thoughtful.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 129

HappyUP!!! - toastmasters
Why it happened - it was Tuesday
Why it made me happy - I didn't get much sleep last night. This was one of the days that I didn't feel like going. There have been a few of those in my 20 yrs with the organization....but I go anyway. Glad I did. We had a full house and two great speeches to listen to and it included one that moved me. It was a guy doing a career change from sitting behind a computer to his 30's. He's through his first classes and is dead serious about doing something that adds some feeling of meaning. It was a great talk. Plus, the other speech taught me about floating concrete! It's not everyday you get treated to listening to a retired bridge builder talk about concepts that he had patents on.

HappyUP!!! - chicken tacos and family
Why it happened - we had a rare family meeting
Why it made me happy - my bro, sis in law, and the nephews and niece all got together for a serious discussion... well, as serious as we could be. We were all coming together to figure out how we can contribute to taking care of dad/grandpa. It was cool.

HappyUP!!! - setting up the tradeshow booth
Why it happened - we have a show tomorrow
Why it made me happy - rather than the traditional tradeshow display, we ordered a cool mural to hang instead. Everyone has the rollup tradeshow booth. The mural with the company logo is unique...mainly because no one has our logo. It's different...but cool.

Monday, June 04, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 128....Bilitnekoff Golf Tournament here I am....-just trying to go out and put in an appearance at a celebrity golf tournament. That's all I wanted to do. I just wanted to go out and contribute to society.

No sooner do I get to the venue - these gals from the Raiderette chearleading squad grab me and demand that they get a picture with me.

Well, it's just one of the things that I have to get used to - so, for those of you who like pictures of a good looking guy surrounded by a stagecoach and scantily clad women....this is your lucky day.

Special HappyUP!!! - I walked up to the driving range and hit balls with Fred Bilitnekoff
Why it happened - I positioned myself correctly to take advantage of the opportunity
Why it made me happy - think about this. This was one of my boyhood idols. We got to take a long walk to the range together. I asked him some questions that the average yokel doesn't...and it was definitely something he had some passion for. Shortly, we were joined by Pete Banasak...another former Raider great.

HappyUP!!! - the Bilitnekoff Hall of Fame Golf Classic
Why it happened - I was invited to play...well, I kind of had to ask to get invited
Why it makes me happy - golf. Fred Bilitnekoff was my childhood idol. The cause is tremendous. It was a gorgeous day to be outside.

HappyUP!!! - played with some new friends
Why it happened - they put me in a group of people that I didn't know. Nice guys....all of them.
Why it makes me happy - contacts....contacts....contacts. They never hurt.

HappyUP!!! - breakfast with an old friend and client
Why it happened - they were at the golf tournament
Why it makes me happy - I got reacquainted. I really enjoy this pair. They told me about an opportunity that I had already been thinking about and how much they enjoy it. Plus, it was a darn good breakfast!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 127

HappyUP!!! - new plantings
Why it happened - I needed a new garden hose. While at the store, I said, "what the's not too late in the season"
Why it makes me happy - I am going to get some watermelon around Labor Day! Plus, I had more space in the garden that really needed some vegetables. It will also give me a chance to do some testing with a different method of planting. Always learning.

HappyUP!!! - New "Pirates" movie
Why it happened - it had been awhile since I had been to the theater
Why it makes me happy - Captain Jack Sparrow and his antics are usually more of a crack up. This movie didn't have that but it had some other aspects that were excellent. I think there was a bit more cannonballs firing than were necessary but, hey, if you got the special effects I guess you need to flaunt them.

HappyUP!!! - a new garden hose
Why it happened - I acted on an ingenious thought
Why it makes me happy - just buying a garden hose that was 75' rather than my 50 footer is going to save me a ton of watering work this summer. I tested out the idea when I got home. It works. I live in an older home that doesn't have an automatic sprinkler system (that most people overwater with). I have a "travelling" sprinkler. I can have that little guy walk all the way from the front yard to the back. That's about three operations cut down to one.....and it will insure that it all gets done! It's a small thing...but it makes me happy!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 126

HappyUP!!! - in stitches
Why it made me happened - I went back to the doctor today.
Why it made me happy - my stitches are looking good on my thumb. I will get feeling back in my thumb as nerves reattach. Best of all....I have clearance from the doctor to tee it up on Monday in the celebrity golf tournament.

HappyUP!!! - talking with my nephew
Why it happened - I called him because I heard he was sick
Why it made me happy - I am never happy when my nephew is sick. He is in his twenties now. He has battled an immune deficiency all his life. In many ways, he is my hero. He stays in good cheer despite getting dealt a pretty crappy hand in life. He has HypoIGE with IGG2 subclass. Basically, he is very susceptible to staph infections. It was good talking to him and finding out he is feeling good enough to head to the China vs USA soccer game today.

HappyUP!!! - struck up an on line conversation with a new friend
Why it happened - just stumbled across this person and shot a message
Why it made me happy - laughs! I have a bit of a wit. It is good to meet someone and correspond with someone of similar background.

Friday, June 01, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day's June!

But no swooning here! - no, the solstice is not upon us, but the arrival of June is the pre-season for summer.

Ah...summer - it means so much to the school age. They may still be held captive physically for a week or so but, with the end a few days in sight, the last days of scholarship are merely for collecting autographs in yearbooks.

For the rest of us - it means AIR CONDITIONING!

HappyUP!!! - a great breakfast
Why it happened - a meeting was arranged
Why it makes me happy - good fellowship and conversation...the essence of life

HappyUP!!! - a good dialogue with a future business partner
Why it happened - a deal was consumated
Why it makes me happy - new blood. It is great to have someone new enter the picture.

HappyUP!!! - Gladiator
Why it happened - a little channel surfing
Why it makes me happy - this movie stops me every time I come upon it. I thought only Shawshank Redemption had that effect of me. Gladiator is Hollywood at it's best. The score, especially at the end, gets you right to the core. The end is tremendous. No, I am no movie critic....but I love meaning.