Friday, August 31, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 216

HappyUP!!! - a lazy morning
Why it happened - I put in a long hard work day yesterday
Why it made me happy - I laugh when I hear "9-5." I don't have an "established time" that I go to work or leave work...I'm in management. I can say that going in at 9 is a rarity. I took my time this morning...did a little casual watering...I caught the President's speech. Yes, I have a lot to do at work....but some days, though rare, it's good to give yourself the gift of time.

HappyUP!!! - handling a tense situation
Why it happened - we are trying to get some big rules changed
Why it made me happy - I had to help get some people back oan task. It takes a cool head, ears that really listen, and a degree of understanding where the people are. It was a good piece of work.

HappyUP!!! - a car admirer
Why it happened - I was getting gas
Why it made me happy - the person pumping petrol next to me how I liked my car. He told me how he wants to get one. I helped him get closer to his dream. Now, truth be known, any car including my own isn't that exciting to me....but I am an aberration. I could have told him, "it was OK," but that would detract from his ride here on the orb. I felt good after the fill up.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 215

HappyUP!!! - breakfast with a friend/adviser
Why it happened - he made the call
Why it makes me happy - who knows who gives you the best financial advice in this world. The important thing is a guy that gives you great service, cares, and is someone that you trust. His job is to maintain my relationship but, through that, we have become friends. I enjoy our meetings

HappyUP!!! - positive signs from a recruit
Why it happened - I used a third party to intermediate
Why it makes me happy - I could have done this myself but I thought. THIS person, though I know them, may want to talk to my recruiter, a third party...someone he doesn't know. It was the right call on my part whether it turns into a new hire or not.

HappyUP!!! - great conversation with a recruit/friend
Why it happened - I dogged the guy
Why it makes me happy - I'd love to have this guy on my team. I don't know whether it will happen. If he leaves his company, he will come over to me. In the meantime, we had a friendly business conversation.

Donner Lake...."Who's For Lunch?"

That's a bad old joke!

I still remember - my trip to Truckee, California, 30 years ago. It was a time before tacky T-shirts were all the rage. There it was, in the tourist shop emblazoned with the title statement above with a picture of a family of settler's looking off in the distance.

Truckee has two claims to fame - there are times of the year when it is the coldest place in the United States. It was also the place where the Donner party ran into a little issue as they attempted to settle out into the West.

I can just imagine them arriving from somewhere - that you can see on the other end of the lake in this picture. They knew they were a little behind schedule. They saw this lake for the first time and probably said, "what a nice spot!"

Then, some bright guy in the group probably looked up to where I was standing to take this photo and said something like - "uh....excuse me....I think we are screwed!"

The Power of Positive Thinking - hadn't been written yet but there was probably a person that replied, "you are always so negative. It is what it is. If need be, we'll just hunker down, camp by the lake, and the trip is just going to take us a little longer than we planned."

Of course, not knowing this freak little basin that they were caught in, - the second guy was on point as well.

Most of you are probably aware of what happened from there - they couldn't find enough food to fend off the extreme cold winters. Starvation set in. Cannibalization of the dead to survive began.

I wonder what the conversation was like - before someone actually carved into that first "meal"? NO, that is not a gross thought! YES, it was a tragedy, but someone had to think about it first, be brave enough to think about suggesting it, and then actually broach the subject. It HAPPENED!

Next thing you know it - the people are digging in!

While I didn't stop this time - there is a monument there that I would encourage you to spend some time with so you can become a little more familiar with this unique piece of American history.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 214

HappyUP!!! - meeting with an employee
Why it happened - it was overdue...and I needed to get some status
Why it made me happy - for legitimate reason, we hadn't been as in contact as we should. It was great dialogue.

HappyUP!!! - big issue decided
Why it happened - a meeting was called by someone to get it done
Why it made me happy - the decision brings challenges. The decision wasn't my favorite. But, a degree of ambiguity was taken off the table and we can all move forward.

HappyUP!!! - phone chat with a friend
Why it happened - we needed to discuss a Toastmaster's issue
Why it made me happy - he is a long time member of our Toastmaster's Club. I mentored him long ago. He has grown a lot through Toastmasters. We are definitely equals in our speaking abilities...he is probably even matter. It just reminded me of those calls years ago when he was soaking up information.

Monday, August 27, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 213

HappyUP!!! - lunch with a friend
Why it happened - I made the call
Why it makes me happy - we are old friends that have sometimes run afoul...really afoul. Yet, we are in the same industry and long ties dictate that we should always be friends despite differences that we have at times. It's good we stay connected.

HappyUP!!! - Monday morning meeting
Why it happened - it's on the calender
Why it makes me happy - the leader of the meeting is no comedian....he is a serious man...which makes it that much funnier when he says something funny. You just don't see it coming. Today, he was in fine form.

HappyUP!!! - belated birthday surprise
Why it happened - that crazy staff of mine
Why it makes me happy - it makes them happy to embarrass we could all use a little extra attention. The fruitbasket cake was awesome too so that didn't hurt!


Taking tomatoes
Monday meeting
Manager consultation

Sunday, August 26, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 212

HappyUP!!! - solving the NY Times Sunday Crossword
Why it happened - I got some help
Why it made me happy - I stopped by my bro and sis-in-law's house. We were just sitting there and we morphed into tackling this project. It was great fun just to be together and figure this behemoth out.

HappyUP!!! - breakfast in Truckee
Why it happened - I got an invite
Why it made me happy - I hadn't been up to the Squeeze Inn in quite some time. They have about a million omelettes....but only one with my name on it, the Hot Weed. Give me that Chili Cheese omelet every time and a happy tummy is sure to be the result.

HappyUP!!! - health diagnostic
Why it happened - I weigh in every Sunday but I did blood pressure too.
Why it made me happy - my weight was back to where it was when I left on my trip....that was a neat trick to be gone for 8 days, not work out, and not put any weight on. Between the omelet this morning and a Blizzard this evening, we'll see about next Sunday! Nah...I'll be fine. Now that the birthday is over, I'll be back hitting the regimen tomorrow. My blood pressure was 96 over 66 this morning upon was around 106 over 70 when I went to bed last night so things are looking good there too.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 211.......Adoption

HappyUP!!! - the stork new baby

Why it happened - I spent some time on the project

Why it makes me happy - a voice in the choir has been replaced. I learned a lot in the process. I learned that my ear can hear the difference between mahogany and rosewood. Brand marketing wasn't the driver of my purchase. Service and my ear were. I went from a a a Martin....and back to the Taylor. The Taylor has a high end that my others don't. While I like the warmth of my other two acoustic guitars, I didn't need another 6 strings emitting that tone. Plus, I have an upgraded ability to play with my amp.

HappyUP!!! - the Fifth String Guitar Store
Why it happened - I have purchased there before
Why it made me happy - though I didn't deal with the owner this time and get my commensurate stories on guitars, two of his employees tagged team me and gave me the information and space to make an intelligent purchase.

HappyUP!!! - Chema Salinas
Why it happened - I met him at the guitar store...on his last day there
Why it makes me happy - he is a business and communication studies graduate student. He will be teaching at my alma mater, Sacramento State, soon. He has loved his time at the Fifth String but now it is time to finish up his studies. We had a great discussion about communication in business, his area of study, plus he was extremely helpful in my purchase. It was nice to be around someone excited about where he is going, where he has been, and where he is today. A HappyUP!!!er


How much of a HappyUP!!! is this? - a 500 foot slip and slide.

You know you have thought about it - maybe you even have tried it to a lesser degree.

This story is so cool - multi-generations of family, ideas powered by beer and bulldozers and, at the end of the day, a heck of a lot of fun!

For more pics and info, you can find it here

Friday, August 24, 2007

QuoteUP!!! 4....Tony Robbins on Movement

"Motion creates emotion"

-Anthony Robbins

What do you feel like? - your feeling is the manifestation of your emotions. Your emotions can be manipulated (that is not a bad word). You can override the natural state you are in by MOVING. It doesn't require running a marathon either.

Try something stupid - well, you will think it is stupid. Right now, start to chuckle, then giggle, then laugh, then laugh hard, then side-splittingly move into a bust of the gut. Continue in "bust-a-gut" for as long as you can.

Then - stop.

How do you feel compared to how you felt before? - depending on how much you went for it in the exercise, be cognizant of how long you stay in a changed state from when you began. Motion can be as simple as laughter. It can be a jump up and down and a fist pump. It can be 10 pushups. It can be a brisk walk around the block. It can be a stroll. It can be a quick run up the stairs. note on the laughter exercise - you are probably saying, "that's stupid, forced and contrived because nobody said or did anything funny. It's fake." No, what is fake is your belief. Laughter is laughter. I looked it up in the rulebook. There is no rule that says that you have to have an outside stimulus to laugh. If you did the exercise, you just proved it.

It's funny - if you did the exercise, you are feeling better right now. Admit it. You feel better. Yet, you will probably never do this again. We are a strange breed of cats. Most, if not all of us, would like to feel better. Even if we feel good, we want to feel better. Laughter is something that was given to us just by being born. It's free. It can be done on a seconds notice. It can be done anywhere. It has nothing but positive after-effects. It makes us feel better so it provides the answer to the issue of wanting to feel better....

...yet, left to your own devices - you won't do the laughter exercise again.

Instead - you will turn to alcohol, gambling, sex, watching TV or any of other 'socially acceptable" addictions to self-medicate from whatever pain is in your life.

Laughter - the best addiction that there is.

HappyUP!!! Day 210.....Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to ME!!! - I'm not a big birthday person. With me just coming off the road trip yesterday, I was not in much of the mood to "make something happen." Still, it was a nice day.

HappyUP!!! - the Breedlove guitar
Why it happened - I was willing to step out of brand
Why it makes me happy - I lost my Taylor guitar. Taylor is a big brand name. You can't go wrong. Great instruments. When I was in Bakersfield, I was trying a Taylor. The sales guy was a GREAT guitar player. He was behind the Breedlove guitar. I came up to Roseville and was trying a couple of Taylors. The salesperson here said, "it's a great guitar. I own this one." It was a Breedlove. I am kind of fixed on the Taylor but I sat there with that Breedlove. It had a low end and a warmth that I actually could feel. It resonated with me. I could literally feel it move through my skin. I was allowing myself to feel outside of my Taylor brain. I left the store for a meeting. I went back to by the Breedlove BUT nobody wanted to help me today. Oh well, off to another store tomorrow. The HappyUP!!! was that I actually was feeling the instrument.

HappyUP!!! - my new salad vessel
Why it happened - it was my birthday and I have a great admin
Why it makes me happy - she had hand thrown a cereal/salad bowl for me earlier this summer. She knew how much I liked my water vessel that she made for me at Christmas.....and she followed it up with a nice salad bowl.

HappyUP!!! - happy birthday e-mails
Why it happened - my boss's staff broadcast to the world it was my birthday
Why it made me happy - I usually keep my birthday low key. The e-mail exchanges that were going back and forth regarding my birthday were comical.

That Sinking Feeling

(A special post for my friends over at SundayScribblings)

Travelling, especially business travelling, can put one out of synch especially if you do it like I do it. I travel some but not enough to call myself a pro by any means. There is nothing wrong with getting out of your routine once in awhile. I believe it is highly desirable.

(My lost baby and my lead singer laying it down)

Last week, I hit the road early on a Thursday morning to drive to a business event. It was about a 5 hour drive to the coast. The business event was more fun than work so it was something to look forward to. The catch was that on Monday I had to be about 2 hours inland from the

coast. Once I would get to that destination, it would still put me 5 hours from home. It made no sense to me to drive all the way home on Friday night just to get up on Monday, work a few hours, and then make virtually the same 5 hour drive back. So, it was a weekend at the coast.

Then, my boss invited me to play golf with him at his club on Sunday afternoon. This would take me away from the coast a little earlier than I had planned. I decided that, since I was leaving the coast early, I might as well make it real early. I decided to tee it up at a great golf course on the coast, play the round, and then travel over the two hours to my boss's club for another round of golf.

I started to load up the vehicle at about 5:30 in the morning. It was still dark outside. The small hotel lot had been full the night before and I had to park across the street. I grabbed a light handful of things and went to my car. Upon reaching my rental vehicle, I set everything down so I could open the door. I loaded my few things and backed the car up so I could bring it to the front of the hotel. This would allow an easier loading of the second group of items.

I went to my hotel room. I made a sweep around the room like a detective to make sure nothing was forgotten. Satisfied nothing had been left behind, I exited and started the traveller's waddle down the hallway with a wheeled suitcase in tow and a bag or two over my shoulder.

I stopped and said, "some detective you are. Do you have your guitar anywhere in your midst, Nutster?"

What a dork! I got out the magnetic card, made a few swipes, and the door popped open. I went to where my guitar had been but no longer was.

And I got that sinking feeling.

"Uh oh. That first load to the car. I had my guitar in my hand. When I backed up, I remember hearing a strange little kind of noise."

The traveller's waddle now became a comical jog. I flew through the lobby and tossed my items into the Xterra. I fired the 4x4 up and screamed across the dark parking lot readying myself for the ultimate horror that I had run over one of my precious babies, my Taylor CE614 guitar. As I got to the empty parking stall that had been mine, I stopped the car and shined my lights on the darkened spot expecting to see my guitar in a crumpled mess.

But there was nothing.

My poor guitar had laid there in the dark for only 15 minutes in the predawn hours but it was now gone. Resigned to the fact that I would never see it again, I only ache for closure and to know it's condition.

I hope my baby lived and it's sturdy case protected it from my early morning brain fade. I long that whoever picked it up can put it to better use than the clumsy hands that had held it previously.

Moral of the story: watch your children. It only takes a few moments of negligence for them to be gone.

(Don't feel too sad, however. While I lost my child just a week ago, I am gleefully dashing from guitar store to guitar store in search of adopting an upgrade! While the loss was sad, we mustn't dwell in the past!!!! Plus, today is my birthday so I get a new UPGRADED toy!!!!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 209....HOME!

HappyUP!!! - walking into the house
Why it happened - I have been on a business trip, with a little pleasure mixed in, for 8 days
Why it makes me happy - you know the feeling. You have been gone...and you walk into your house. Now, the house was at 90 degrees so it was a bit stifling but it was still home.

HappyUP!!! - the drive home
Why it happened - I had to get home somehow...and a phone list
Why it makes me happy - it was almost a 5 hour drive...on terrain without much scenery. It flew by. I might has well have been at the office. I had a solid phone list to get to on the way home. Time flies when you are on the phone.....just ask new lovers about that.

HappyUP!!! - 3 promising...very promising recruiting calls
Why it happened - as I have been saying, our company is attractive
Why it makes me happy - I said it yesterday so I will save type. This one is always going to make me happy because it is so important to my job.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 208

On the road and working -not much personal time so the HappyUP!!!s are going to be work related today.

HappyUP!!! - a call back from a hot recruit
Why it happened - she is becoming concerned about where she is working
Why it makes me happy - recruiting is an interesting game. It is kind of like dating when you don't know where you stand. The call that I got today was a good sign....a very good sign.

HappyUP!!! - the amorous couple
Why it happened - uh...."the call of nature"
Why it makes me happy - I don't know if this one made me happy as it cost me a few winks of sleep but it sure was funny. I am on the road and there was no doubt that only a thin wall seperated me from a couple of people HappyingUP!!! It was funny! ...last night at 11....and this morning at 6!

HappyUP!!! - three new recruits
Why it happened - the industry is driving people on a flight to quality
Why it makes me happy - good people...and many of them....considering working in my organization and bettering their lives. It's why I is one of the things that gives me meaning.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 207...Still in Bakersfield

HappyUP!!! - 9 holes after work with my boss
Why it happened - he invited me
Why it made me happy - we whipped it around in less than an hour and a half. My boss played some great golf with two birdies. The evening was pleasant and no one else was on the golf course. It was a nice conclusion to the the day.

HappyUP!!! - taking a conference call and presenting on behalf of my boss
Why it happened - I was asked to step in
Why it made me happy - there were some big wigs on the call from another business line that we support. I prepared a little bit and delivered. No stuttering. No "um's" and I gave them what they wanted to hear.
I earned some brownie points on that one for sure.

HappyUP!!! - I get to come home a few hours early on Thursday
Why it happened - my part of the facilitation wraps up by noon and the lead facilitator cut me loose
Why it makes me happy - are you kidding? It is a 4.5 hour drive home. I'll get to make business calls during business hours to help pass the time. I will also get home by 5 or 6 rather than 8 or 9. It will be like a regular work day!


9 holes of golf after work with my boss
My presentation on a conference call
Learning that I get to go home early on Thursday
A new search engine trick
Facilitating training
More opportunities at work
The people at training

Monday, August 20, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 206....Waking Up in Bakersfield

It doesn't take long - to figure out why Bakersfield has a history of traditional country singers hailing from it or coming from it. It's the only real "oil town" in California. Oil has a mystique about it that just seems to breed a lot of things that make country music...

...that and a lot of dust! Let's HappyUP!!!

HappyUP!!! - sleeping in
Why it happened - not much sleep the night before, 36 holes of golf, and being in the sun all day
Why it makes me happy - it's kind of cool to know that I can still sleep 8 hours on occasion. It was a quasi day off for me so I was out of routine and not running to a calender. Waking up at 7 on a Monday didn't throw me off schedule.

HappyUP!!! - meeting Dustin of JD Hardy and the Sinners
Why it happened - I was guitar shopping
Why it makes me happy - Dustin has a record deal. They had to drop "and the sinners" from their band name to please the record label. Who knows...they could be playing the Bible Belt someday. The CD is coming out Sept 2 and Dustin wrote the first single. They are going out on tour. The label has invested in them. He's going to chase that dream. He may make it....he may not. He knows it but he's making that run. It was cool to be in his presence. Plus, he gave me some "pickin" tips as well as some good guitar advice.

HappyUP!!! - tripping to and picking at two guitar stores
Why it happened - I found them on line
Why it makes me happy - I got to do some picking. One store was within walking distance of the hotel. The other was only 8 minutes away driving. I gathered some data. It all eases the pain over the guitar that I lost (may it Rest In Peace.....or be in the hands of someone that is a better player than myself)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 205

HappyUP!!! - 36 holes of golf
Why it happened - I decided golf was the name of the game today. I got up early and played a golf course I may not get a chance to play was "extra golf" (though I think that may be an oxymoron)
Why it makes me happy - it's golf!!! It is very rare that I get a chance to tee it up this often

HappyUP!!! - golfing partners
Why it happened - I'm lucky?
Why it makes me happy - the morning round, I was taking what I get. Whomever is at the course is who they put me in with. I played with another single and two other guys who knew each other. They were all decent golfers and very enjoyable company. In the afternoon in a town two hours away, I played with my boss and two of his friends. Great guys to hang out with.

HappyUP!!! - dinner at home
Why it happened - my boss invited me over to his house for dinner
Why it makes me happy - it was a delicious dinner. No, I didn't NEED to get seconds or the dessert but, it was so good that I had to. While it wasn't my intent, it was also a very polite thing to do.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 204...Saturday at Pismo

HappyUP!!! - a room with an "OK View"

Why it happened - I told the hotel....I want a room with a view

Why it makes me happy - oh, please! Isn't there a phrase about pictures being worth some amount of words?

HappyUP!!! = golfing at Avila Beach Resort

Why it happened - I decided to walk on as a single and tee it up

Why it makes me happy - I don't even want to tell you how gorgeous the weather was here today. This Central California coast will spoil you. I mean....NICE! The course was kind of cute. It was a decent test of golf. I actually broke 80 for the first time in a loooooong time! I'm also happy that I wasn't the guy in the picture to your left. That is not supposed to be part of the golf course! I took this picture from where I had CRUSHED a drive (a HappyUP!!!....a rare HappyUP!!! lately) which left me only a 5 iron second shot into this par 5. It actually was a perfect drive in length and placement

HappyUP!!! - that drive I was just talking about

Why it happened - I did what I was supposed to do

Why it makes me happy - my golf swing is starting to come around. I used to be able to play a pretty mean game of golf many years ago. It has been hard trying to find my swing. This drive was out there about 300 yards and it was laid out perfectly between the two big rock hills that the fairway went through. You literally could not drop a golf ball in a better spot. The drive also had a little draw (right to left spin) which tells me that I am on the right track. More golf tomorrow!

Where's Tom Hanks?

I found this on the shoreline - he must be nearby, right?

Friday, August 17, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 203

HappyUP!!! - a morning walk on the beach
Why it happened - I got up and went
Why it makes me happy - I was the only one there. The sound of the waves lapping up on the sand. The smell of the salt. Even the pungent aroma of the seaweed up on the shore. Waves breaking in rhythm is the ultimate white noise.

HappyUP!!! - an unexpected golf invitation
Why it happened - I ran across a co-worker in the lobby of the hotel
Why it made me happy - this guy is a local. His house is in a gated community that had a nice golf course. I was in the lobby of the hotel on my way out to play some golf. He said, "hey, let's go play at my place!" It was cool. The golf course had some great greens. It was in awesome condition. I got to get some time in with a business contact. The weather was awesome as well.

HappyUP!!! - breakfast with a friend
Why it happened - we were both hanging out at the hotel
Why it made me happy - conversation. This is a common HappyUP!!! I have known this co-worker for years but we don't get a chance to talk very often. Today, I learned about his grandfather's immigration from China. Very interesting stuff!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 202.....the Ocean

Day one begins of my working/pleasure trip - and what fulfilling day it was. A great day. An over the top day of joyful experiences and things to notice. The top 3 for HappyUP!!!s will need to be picked at random because they were so plentiful and superb that few stand out above the rest

HappyUP!!! -seeing the Ocean
Why it happened - I had a meeting to go to on the coast
Why it makes me happy - have you ever taken a drive, gone through miscellaneous terrain, and then...BOOM...there it is: the Ocean! It's that first view. It's those initial seconds. I love that

HappyUP!!!-Extreme Hummer Ride
Why it happened - it was our scheduled activity
Why it makes me happy - have you ever ridden with 5 coworkers in an open top Hummer with a trained driver going for it over the sand dunes on a gorgeous day by the ocean? If not, you won't get what I am talking about. It was crazy. Sand flying everywhere. The wind blowing. Racing straight up sand dunes that are like mountains, making a 90 degree turn at speed, riding perpendicular to the face of the hill with the hummer sliding sideways, while you are going, "why isn't this thing tipping over?" Exhiliration

HappyUP!!! - pool time with my peep's
Why it happened - we needed to get the sand off of us after that hummer ride
Why it makes me happy - the sun and wind combination was perfect. There was no where on this planet that had a better combination for laying there and enjoying the sun. It was a sensory experience that you only get a few times a lifetime (well, unless you live in a really ideal spot and lay in the sun a lot).


Vc Mail from a close friend
Recruit's return call
Another recruit's return call
Yet another recruit's return call
A recruiter found another great prospect
A possible favor/accomodation
My company
Time with my boss in the hummer
Dinner out on the wharf
Peach cobbler ( deviation)
Stocks were up!!!
Nice resort I am staying at
A golfing invitation

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 201

HappyUP!!! - a phone call of apology
Why it happened - a person thought they treated me poorly on the phone
Why it makes me happy - I had made a call to a guy....potential client...friend at times. He was short with me and a bit abrupt last week when I made the call. It was no big deal. I figured I caught him at a bad time. He must have felt bad about it. He called me and said that he owed me an apology. It was nice...not necessary...but nice.

(Hmmmm....who do you or I owe a phone call too?)

HappyUP!!! - two great recruiting situations
Why it happened - the market is weird....really weird right now
Why it makes me happy - this is a big part of my job. My success makes my boss look good....and, when you go to work at a company, that is the name of the game. It also makes life easier for me.

HappyUP!!! - PACKED!
Why it happened - I'm leaving early in the morning
Why it makes me happy - this is a business a couple of days, pleasure a couple of days, business a couple of days trip. I'll also be on the cool coast for half of the time and hot Bakersfield the rest of the time. I'm not a light packer...when I go somewhere, I like to have my stuff nearby. It all combined for a tough pack....I even made a list...a looooong list. It's all done and time to go to bed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy HappyUP!!! Anniversary - 200!!!

And a small reminder - it's not about me. It's about YOU!

You have seen the template - 200 times to be exact. Put it in place.

Need accountability? - go to . Start a weblog. It's free. It's easy....really!

Need convincing? - what? I'm not enough? OK, how about this? The Positive Psychology movement is being taught in some of America's most prestigious universities......does Harvard mean anything to you?

Here is the direct link to the landmark article if you are into reading about the study that inspired my HappyUP!!! project. WARNING: it's a scientific paper. Print it out and do some grinding on it if that kind of reading doesn't come I had to.

Here is the link to the Harvard professor whose classes overfill every semester on the subject. If you go to his 6 tips on becoming happier, here is tip number 6:

Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

I know - you already KNOW that is a key. But, do you really, really, REALLY do it everyday?

HappyUP!!! - give it a shot for a couple of weeks

HappyUP!!! Day 200

HappyUP!!! - picked up some new shorts
Why it happened - I'm heading to the beach
Why it made me happy - while there is work involved in the trip, there is a lot of Friday afternoon through mid-day Monday! I'm gearing up for some time at the Ocean. Plus....the shorts I bought were a couple of waist sizes smaller than the last time I bought shorts. While it was a distraction to not KNOW my size, I happily left the changing room in search for the trimmer threads!

HappyUP!!! - a GREEEEEAT business meeting
Why it happened - some potential clients CALLED ME and wanted to go to lunch
Why it made me happy - I knew one of the guys. The other guy is a LEGEND who I have only heard about. We had a great lunch and are going to do some business.

HappyUP!!! - housesitter found
Why it happened - I called my brother
Why it makes me happy - if I called a nephew or niece, there could end up being a party at my house!...without me there! Not something I am going to want to come home to next week.

Monday, August 13, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 199

HappyUP!!! - plans confirmed...Pismo Beach
Why it happened - I have a trip to the Central Coast this week and Central Valley next week
Why it makes me happy - rather than two long drives, I'm spending the weekend (and Sunday night) on the coast in a fabulous spot that I have never been too. Plenty or nothing to choice. I'll have books, pens and paper, golf clubs, guitar, whatever...and I will be ready for it.

HappyUP!!! - builder meeting
Why it happened - every Monday
Why it makes me happy - the principal was gone for a couple of weeks. It was good to see him back from his trip to Italy.

HappyUP!!! - a great diet day
Why it happened - who knows
Why it makes me happy - it wasn't even a struggle. A shake for breakfast, a piece of chicken for dinner, a snack bar, and a shake for dinner. Plenty of food!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 198

HappyUP!!! - riding the bike
Why it happened - finding fun ways to get my excercise in
Why it makes me happy - tonight, my legs are a little spent. I was on Lifecycles all last year....and rarely do I feel the level of tiredness I am finding today. Could it be that riding a Lifecycle and riding a bike pushing around 170 pounds aren't the same workout? I used the mountain bike for some errands and my road bike for a workout. Who needs the gym? (Sorry all you young gals at the gym that just want to check out my south side)

HappyUP!!! - weather
Why it happened - who knows...August in Sacramento should be hotter
Why it makes me happy - we can go out and do stuff in the low 90's. August is known for 100 degrees. It was a glorious morning too.

HappyUP!!! - salmon
Why it happened - I bought some yesterday
Why it makes me happy - all you have to do is look at the picture below. It also helped me stay on my program today. This is working out pretty well. All you really need is one excellent meal to look forward to everyday. The shakes can cover the rest. Speak to me in a month....we'll see if I am singing the same tune. If I was to keep this up for a couple of months, I think that I could see a weight that I haven't seen in a long time.


grapes for friends
bike ride
official weigh day
taking care of dad
room at the beach

BikeItUP!!! Back on the road

Cycling and I - took a left turn 20 years ago. Sure, there were times when I would pop back on. The town grew and traffic increased. It just got too dangerous.

I also got tired of "flats" - there is nothing worse than getting yourself geared up, dressed up, and out the door for the workout. You pump the tires up to about 140 psi and the....poooooooossssssshhhh!

You get off - in your silly shoes by the side of the road and either throw in a new tube or do a quick patch job. Then, you use the hand pump which MAY get you up to 100 psi with a herculean effort. You end up riding the rest of the way feeling like you are on low air.

But now - I am not going to worry about it. I have a 4 mile loop around my house. The traffic is light. All of the turns are right handed so there are no roads to cross. If I flat on one of the laps, I can probably limp it home and fix it at my house. If not, I also got some handy, dandy Co2 cartridges which should give me 125 psi out on the road.....suuuhhhweeeet.

I thought I would go out and blaze 3 or maybe 4 laps today - well, after 2 laps I thought that I better not push the condition of my I had already rode 3 miles on the mountain bike this morning.

Boy...not even 50 - and struggling with a 10 mile ride! It's a long way....and about 25 pounds....from the days of blazing out for 30 miles in an hour and a half. Still, even when I first started way back then, I don't think I averaged more than 16.3 mph as I did today. I think the speed curve is going to go up rapidly with a little more time in the saddle.

SalmonUP!!!.....OK, Kids....Secrets Divulged

Who wouldn't serve this to ANY guest in the world? - you all know that salmon is good for you.

Everything about this little piece of fish - is as healthy as the salmon itself. Well, the sprinkling of mozzarella over the top may be cheating a little bit.

First step - get yourself a WILD salmon filet with the skin on one side. WILD...WILD...WILD....I don't want to mess with that farmed stuff.

Then, chop together - lots of fresh basil, onions, and garlic. I use a Magic Bullet chopper/processor for this. You will also want a dash...just a dash of olive oil into the chopped mix.

Take your mix - and fork it into your salmon. Just poke it on in there. Sure, you are making the top of the fish look like a track meet was just held on it but who cares. First, it will even out during the grilling. Second, people would see the herbs as bumps and not the bumpy skin. Third, you are going to cover it up anyway.

Grill - I like to put skin side down for a short amount of time. It is just enough to get your ingredients to set a bit. Then, carefully, flip your salmon with the ingredients/non-skin side down. You'll lose a little ingredient but that's OK. After you grill that way for a few minutes, turn it back over with the skin down.

Put a couple thin slices of tomato over the top - and seal the deal with some mozzarella cheese. Finish grilling until the fish starts to flake.

Guaranteed - you won't get much better eating on this planet and it's practically all pure health!

Throw a nice glass of chardonnay on the side - and your dining experience will be downright scary!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


(A special post for my friends over at Sunday Scribblings ).

I have actually felt a goose before. It was a fairly healthy goose as far as I could tell. I didn't feel one bump on this goose. Why, then, is it that I get goosebumps when I am cold?

That is about the only time that I get goosebumps. Perhaps I have encountered them while scared but I don't recall. "She gives me goosebumps," is not a thing that guys will say much. If they do, I haven't said it lately which may be a reflection on the women that I have met lately. I guess I should hang out in other places than the bus station, soup kitchen line, and the women's recover center!

It is August here in Sacramento. Goosebumps are a good 4 to 5 months away. Unless, of course, I meet someone that "takes my breath away", "makes my heart go pitter patter", or "turns my knees to jello". Wait! Not one of those is a skin condition.

Goosebumps? See you in January.

HappyUP!!! Day 197 - The Good Life

How can you beat a day - that starts with helping your ailing father, picking some homegrown vegetables and fruit, heading over to some friends for a family brunch by the pool, heading to Sac town to do some shopping around some bike stores, going for a bike ride, watching some PGA Championship, riding a little more bike, etc? The hits just kept coming in.

HappyUP!!! - birthday brunch by the pool
Why it happened - some friends had birthdays
Why it made me happy - gorgeous backyard...nice lite like family. Enough said.

HappyUP!!! - a bike ride
Why it happened - I got my cycling computer fixed...had to try it out
Why it made me happy - I didn't take it very far but it felt like the old days....mph, cadence, distance travelled, etc. It was like I was in training. Who knows...that could be next.

HappyUP!!! - fixing that bike computer
Why it happened - I went and bought new batteries
Why it made me happy - electronically, I have a few skills. I am not expert but I am not a klutz either. Due to a lack of patience in this are, I would have to say that I am a hair on the klutz side. I have an old bike computer that had been idle for a long time. It needed new batteries....and new calibration. The thing is 20+ years old...those instructions are LONG gone. Fortunately, the good people at Cateye have all of their old manuals on line. I found my model, downloaded, actually followed instructions, and old dependable was working like a champ. The HappyUP!!! was for how easy it was to get it working again.

Friday, August 10, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 196

HappyUP!!! - feeling great
Why it happened - could it be my diet program?
Why it makes me happy - woke up without the alarm, took my time getting home (not staying at my house this week), getting ready for work, I just savored the morning rather than rushed into it.

HappyUP!!! - going to my dad's at lunch and helping him
Why it happened - he called me...he had a special need
Why it makes me happy - as I was taking care of the situation, the hospice nurse stopped by for her visit. I learned some things about his care that I didn't know. She also performed a procedure that was NO HappyUP!!! for Dad but I know it was good for him. He will be better off for it.

HappyUP!!! - taking a nagging issue off my plate at work
Why it happened - I had a deadline put on me
Why it makes me happy - it's done. I could of/should have done it two weeks ago. It was done just as well under the pressure of a deadline as it would have been done if I did it two weeks ago. When will I learn that time is not going to produce a better product....just move it along. Anyway, it's done now!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 195 - Long Day at Work

Nope, the title above is not an oxymoron - if you put in a good, long day once in awhile, it should be a cause of happiness

HappyUP!!! - branch manager meeting
Why it happened - I do it monthly
Why it makes me happy - it is great to get the peers that report to me together all in one place one day a month. Today, we got a cameo from the regional manager (my boss) so that was good. On top of that, my staff and I put together a solid day long event.

HappyUP!!! - an interview
Why it happened - we are growing
Why it makes me happy - I met a guy, had a nice conversation, and maybe we'll pick up a guy with some potential

HappyUP!!! - got an HR situation handled
Why it happened - stuff comes up when you run an organization
Why it makes me happy - it's not always fun stuff but it is done and it worked out fine

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 194

HappyUP!!! - the new fireplace insert is in
Why it happened - the workers showed up
Why it makes me happy - one more thing done off the remodel list

HappyUP!!! - got the thumbs up on my bedroom dimensions
Why it happened - my buddy the builder called me back
Why it makes me happy - on a rough, down and dirty estimate, I believe that I have enough room to do the addition that I want to do to the house. The space should be workable and the city should be able to approve the on to plans and specs.

HappyUP!!! - it's my 19th Wedding Anniversary!
Why it happened - hey, you have to get married on someday, right?
Why it makes me happy - I mentioned that it was my 19th anniversary. The person said, "you're not married." I said, "I didn't say that I was. I said it was my 19th Wedding Anniversary." The person just looked at me and shook their head

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

HappyUP!!! 193 - Playing Hooky

I had a bit of an eye problem today - it was such a nice day that I couldn't see going into work!

In reality - I rarely play hooky but I only have about a bazillion vacation days that everyone is always bugging me to take so I took one today. With no appointments on the docket, WHY NOT!

Tough to pick the top three today!

HappyUP!!! - running/weight/momentum
Why it happened - started on a program
Why it makes me happy - I am actually enjoying the program. Enough so that after a vigorous day of gardening ( included rototilling so it was vigorous, I got my fanny out there for 4 miles of roadwork. I only ran two of them tonight...oh well, I had to walk in the other two because it was the only way home. And, an enjoyable walk it was!

HappyUP!!! - Toastmaster
Why it happened - it was Tuesday and that is when it happens
Why it makes me happy - we heard a great speech...I ran a great meeting which kept everyone involved...we finished right on time. It was a good and enriching time had by all.

HappyUP!!! - results
Why it happened - I started on the program
Why it makes me happy - just about the only thing that bugs me in life is my weight. No one would call me fat. I just know that I sometimes carry around a few more pounds than I should. When I have lost weight before, I have never focused, really focused on my diet. I have learned that it isn't that hard to be disciplined. You just eat less. When I get up tomorrow morning, I should be about 10 pounds lighter than one week ago. There was NO WAY I was expecting that kind of result that quickly. A heavy person can easily drop 10 pounds in a week with some focus. Losing this 10 pretty much puts me right up against that "last 10" right away. Bring it ON!

Jolly Jottings

-invitation to the Running Y golf course
-conversation after toastmasters
-that moment when I said, "why don't I just take today off," and I looked and saw I had no appointments
-going to the building department
-helping out dad with another problem
-going for a two mile run

Monday, August 06, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 192

HappyUP!!! - a pluot
Why it happened - a friend that I have been taking tomatoes to dropped a bag by
Why it made me happy - what an interesting little fruit. He bought it at a farmer's market. I'm not much of a fruit eater but this was tasty and put a smile on my face

HappyUP!!! - helping dad
Why it happened - he had a special need
Why it made me happy - he was a good sport about it. I did something that I hadn't done before. Who knows ...I may have picked up a transferrable job skill!

HappyUP!!! - a great day in the stock market
Why it happened - who the heck knows
Why it made me happy - after the Thursday and Friday beating, it was reassuring to see the market up 280 today. Let's face it.....the stock market is, at the end of the day, legal and socially acceptable gambling. I don't get that excited about the day to day doings but, with some recent moves, I was happy to get a strong positive shot today.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 191

HappyUP!!! - a spot of tea on a lovely afternoon
Why it happened - I received an invitation and, because I don't book my free time with a million things to do, I was able to accept
Why it makes me happy - the company was most enjoyable. One pattern that I notice about my HappyUP!!!s is that quality conversations always seem to win a spot in the daily picks. Today's was no exception. Plus, it was such a lovely afternoon, it was beautiful to soak it in outside with a refreshing tonic.

HappyUP!!! - weekly weigh in
Why it happened - the weigh in happens every week
Why it made me happy - I am about 5 pounds down from last week. I am at a spot that I hadn't seen in about 15 weeks. It's funny. As my weight was heading up, I was going, "oh no, I'm top ended. I better do something." Today's weight came in at 2 pounds under the top end and I am saying, "I know what I am doing and I am going to keep doing it until I blow that top end away!" Momentum is a good thing

HappyUP!!! - being here for Dad
Why it happened - the usual caregivers (brother and sis in law) are out of town
Why it makes me happy - I don't actually do that much. I sleep on a couch at the caregivers house rather than my own bed so I can be there during the night should something happen. I help with the denture care, taking of the pills, and making sure feeding is going along as scheduled. They are little things but they are important to my dad. I owe a lot to my dad....and to my late mother. She took pretty darn good care of all of us until the day she died. The cycle of life continues when I do things like this.

The Psychology of Gratitude

"In research done by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, those who kept a daily gratitude journal -writing down at least five things which they were grateful - enjoyed higher levels of emotional and physical well being"

from the book Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar, Harvard Phd and leader of courses in Positive Psychology at Harvard University
(If you go to the link above, make sure you read the customer reviews.....rarely have I ever seen such a lack of negative comments on a book reviewed by readers on Amazon)
I just got the comment today - "I'm not reading your blog anymore. You gotta lose the HappyUP!!! thing because it is boring me."
To which, I can only say - "I totally understand." I have the ability to look at life from a perspective of the unexpected. The term "contrarian" has come up. I wouldn't call that an accurate summation. I would call it a label and, as most labels are, it would be limiting. When I go into this mode, I can put some pretty creative ways to think up on the table because, while I don't run away from the masses solely for the jollies of ticking off the crowd, I ask the crowd, "where did this generally accepted idea come from? Who wrote the law on that one?"
I am fine with doing the popular thing - not because it is popular but because it makes sense. But, as often as not, I do the unpopular or unexpected the thing. This grants you the title of "eccentric," "weird," "he sure is different," amongst many other things.
I am not mainstream - and that is my message. If you don't want to be mainstream, you don't have to be. If you want to go along and be mainstream, that's OK too. I only ask that you ask why you do the things you do. If you say, "because it is generally accepted," I am going to counter with one of the first lessons I ever learned in life....
"If everybody jumped off a bridge, does it mean you should to?" - after wandering the orb for almost half a century I would now answer, "nope, but if you don't, there are a whole bunch of normal people that are going to grab you as they say 'Geronimo' ."
Why do I make my readership - who enjoy my slant on life tolerate my daily observations/journal regarding what can seem like mundane events in my life?
1. They aren't all mundane - when I have a bit of time, I try to mix in a few gems of levity or thought. Keep in mind, however, that this is at the end of the day. It's not always the time that I want to stimulate my mind. The Nutster needs sleep too!
2. I have accountability to stick with this process - my goal is to get to 500 consecutive days of HappyUP!!!s and evaluate where it goes from there
3. To always be increasing my level of happiness - and I wholeheartedly believe that this process does that and putting it out on the internet creates extra accountability for me.
4. To be able to go back and look for patterns so I can somewhat scientifically state what is it that makes me happy everyday. I am my own laboratory
5. To inspire everyone I come in contact to try this process for 10-30 days - and increase their levels of happiness. If a simple guy like me can do it for 500 days, you can surely do it for a fraction of that amount of time.
6. To keep me engaged in the study and pursuit of happiness - a concept so important that our forefathers made it part of the Constitution. Aristotle, Plato, and the greatest thinkers of our time constantly considered "what is happiness," to be THEE question. It is my opinion that it is a question that has no answer. It has as many answers as there are people which is why the question, those easily avoided, needs to be asked.
7. One other reason that I can't tell you about just yet - it's big though!
"Nutster, the quote you started with says 5 things a day and you only do 3. Are you cheating?" - wow! That's what I love about you. You don't pull any punches. The gratitude list is similar but not the same as the daily HappyUP!!!s.
With the gratitude list - you could put it on auto-pilot everyday, "my wife, my kid, my other kid, my dog, and my job." OK, for a lot of you, "my job" would be a stretch. Get a new job. There would be nothing wrong with repeating that list everyday if you really took some time to say to yourself or your journal why those were so important to you. Think about it. No matter what happened during that day, if you said, "I am so grateful for my wife," even though she is nagging the living tar out of you, do you think that you may treat her a little differently than if you harbored resentment?
HappyUP!!!s - can be the same everyday but they encourage you to really examine the good things that occurred during the previous 24 hours. It has been my experience that people will replay the bad things that happen over and over. By replaying the good, you automatically crowd out some of the rehash of the bad. You only have X amount of time for rehashing....make it about the good stuff.
As my schedule allows - I'll always try to make a post about something that gets my attention. I will admit that those postings have been a little skint as of late. I shall do my best to bring things to the fore that attract my attention.....and, as an observer of life and human behavior, there is a lot of it.

HappyUP!!! Prelude to day 191

It's not even 8 a.m. yet - and I can't wait until tonight to write HappyUP!!!'s.

JollyJottings (so far)

Weight - Sunday is my official weigh day and I am down 5 pounds since last week. While I can't expect this kind of weekly progress, it has been 15 weeks since I have seen this number. It's nice to know that, with a little self discipline and a program, I can still get this issue under control

Taking care of Dad - brother and sis-in-law are out of town for a week so I'll be doing duty. Yes, it's inconvenient to house sit over at their place but it's something that needs to be done. It requires a little bit of putting oneself into a "vacation mentality." You take a book and other things and then forget about the items "back home" that you should be doing.

Beautiful morning - it was over a 100 in the big Tomato (Sacratomato, that is) yesterday. There is a nice cool Delta breeze blowing right now. I am not sure it will even make 90. That is a nice summer day.

Great new book - which is based on classes being taught in college on Positive Psychology and Martin Seligman's concepts. These same concepts are where HappyUP!!! gets it's foundation. I am learning some very interesting statistics and historical information.

I'll get a run in - yes, I will....this early JollyJotting is my commitment.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 190

HappyUP!!! - grilled salmon for lunch
Why it happened - I stopped at the store and got some
Why it made me happy - first, I enjoy bbq-ing for lunch. I don't know why. I don't know why I don't do it more often, either. Second, I took about 6 ozs. of WILD salmon, sprinkled a little garlic salt over the top, stuffed some fresh basil leaves (right out of the garden), and threw it on the grill. When I turned it skin side down, I put on a couple of slices of fresh tomato and just a bit of mozzarella cheese. My goodness....this was the best eating I have had in awhile.

HappyUP!!! - fireplace insert scheduled
Why it happened - I made the drive to the fireplace store
Why it made me happy - I think that anytime you do something that you procrastinate upon, it makes you least it does me. The guy came out to the house in the afternoon, sized up the job, and the insert will be in on Wed.

HappyUP!!! - did some weedeating
Why it happened - I fired up the weedeater
Why it made me happy - my view toward the weedeater is that it is a pain in the fanny. It takes a lot of pulls to initially fire it up, it's noisy, it aggravates my forearm, it always needs new string, ...wah, wah, wah. But, now I have weeds knocked down and things look better. Plus, in the fiddling with the weedeater yesterday, I actually have a better feel for how it works so the rewinding and firing up of it should be easier in the future.

Friday, August 03, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 189

HappyUP!!! - car wash
Why it happened - I took the minute to drive through
Why it makes me happy - when you don't keep a spotless car all of the time, you really like it when it is clean. Somehow, I think that if you were a "spotless car guy" it would just become habit. You wouldn't get the happiness of the contrast between clean and dirty.

HappyUP!!! - modem card came in
Why it happened - I ordered the upgrade.....YESTERDAY!
Why it makes me happy - I didn't think I would get it until next week. Now, I can get it all set up on the weekend and better enable me to work outside of the office.......which I'll need.

HappyUP!!! - a former co-worker rejoined the company
Why it happened - the company he worked for melted down
Why it makes me happy - a good guy is back on our team. It's a brutal industry and it feels good to have one of the good ones on our side.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 188

HappyUP!!! - un-mauled
Why it happened - the pit bull wasn't hungry?
Why it makes me happy - so there I was, face and arms into a tomato plant picking some cherry tom tom's when I look up. Less than 10 feet from me is a pit bull that I had never seen before.....and he is ambling toward me. I had just heard a dog barking in the alley a few minutes before. I also heard him leave. The next thing I know, he had come back through my vine covered gate that was slightly opened. At this point, there was nothing I could do except put my arms behind my back, stand there, and say, "what a nice puppy," as he came up and give me a sniff! A properly raised pit bull is a great dog...a pussy cat (with BIG, Powerful jaws). Unfortunately, he didn't have his diploma hanging off his collar. As he sniffed me, I slowly moved toward the gate and he ran and beat me to it. Out he went and the gate shut immediately!

HappyUP!!! - a meeting with the diversity council
Why it happened - I am on a committee at work
Why it makes me happy - I work for a large organization. I volunteer my time to this group. I had to miss the first meeting this year. It was great to see everyone. I met a couple of new people. I learned some new things. We will also be undertaking year 2 or an excellent project we started last year.

HappyUP!!! - sending a reference letter
Why it happened - I was asked to give one by a friend
Why it makes me happy - none of us stop, think, and say enough nice things about people. I know I don't. At least for today, I did.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 187

HappyUP!!! - roadwork
Why it happened - I got myself out there at 5:20 a.m. to run
Why it made me happy - running first thing in the morning is not my favorite thing. The fact that I knew it would be rough but I still put in 2 miles to start off August makes me happy. I may have been a distance runner at one point in my life but I haven't run at all lately. This was a big step...
which will probably be followed up with soreness tomorrow!

HappyUP!!! - first day of a 9 day cleanse/diet
Why it happened - a friend turned me on to it
Why it made me happy - I don't think I have ever formally committed to a diet. Sure, I have some excellent meal replacement shakes but I have never done an actual program. Day 1 was rough. It wasn't far from a fast. But, here I am, still alive and heading off to bed!

HappyUP!!! - nice conversation with a on again/off again friend
Why it happened - I happen to run into him
Why it made me happy - this person runs hot and cold with me so I don't invest much in the friendship. Today, he was on and we had a nice exchange.