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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today is the greatest day

Well, well, well...

After 25 years of dreaming, fantasizing, and hoping, I finally got to drag my road-weary behind to Arizona.  Anyone that has known me for more than 5 minutes is aware of my love affair with the desert Southwest.  My journey was a labor of love and I always knew it would happen, I just didn't know when.

I lived here as a young adult.  I was broke the entire time I was here, too.  Even so, I connected with this location over any others I'd ever been to.  Having grown up in an Air Force family and moving at least once per year, then serving my own Air Force career, I didn't know about what it felt like to: 1. Live where I actually wanted to live and 2. Live anywhere for longer than 4 years without a move.

In addition to the military moves, I never seemed to land a civilian job that didn't require excessive travel and relocation.  Why am I telling you this?  Simple.  I'm really tired.  Tired not so much physically, but tired of the moving process.  Tired of some company having power over me and forcing me to live where they want me to live...even if it's an armpit like Maryland.  I apologize for any Marylanders that happen to stumble upon this rant, for the record, your State is lovely...really.  If nothing else, it wins the award for the most original boundary lines...have you ever seen a map of Maryland???  Yikes.  Seems like when they were drawing up the State, pot was already legal there...I'm just sayin'.  But I digress...

As I made the final leg of our road trip today through the desolate beauty that is New Mexico, I marveled at the mountains and spaciousness of the land.  It was incredible.  Brown and lovely.  Approaching the Arizona State line, I felt my pulse quicken a bit.  I have been looking forward to this for so long, it seemed quite surreal.  As the mountains drew closer on the horizon, I noticed my right foot press a bit harder on the accelerator.  I made it.

I was asked by my brother a very blunt and poignant question as I visited enroute to Arizona.  He asked, "So how is it going to be for you when you figure out this is your last move?"  I've given thought to the concept, but hearing it from someone close drove it home for me.  Truth is, I have no answer to how I'll respond to a "final" place...a routine...other people's type of normal life.  I just don't know...never did it before so I really don't know what to expect.

I'd like to think that the house we picked out is awesome enough to capture my attention and create contentment when I don't have to drive to an airport 2-4 times per month.  I'd also like to think that I'll have time to spend on some things that have been neglected over the many years of globetrotting, like writing.  I still have "that novel" in me that's screaming more loudly to get out.  By moving here, I have all the opportunity to leverage all the healthful aspects of living here...the opportunities are limitless.  I have been invited to join the local Air Force Chief's Group and have a couple Chief buddies living in the area, so our non-existent social life in Maryland will likely be transformed.  All-in-all, I can't find a down-side for living here.  I'm sure there are some (but it's a dry heat!), but allow me to live in my own denial for just awhile longer...thank you.

The point of this rambling is that sometimes in life you have to decide what you really want and what you really think will bring you lasting happiness.  Whether it's a new location, a new relationship, a new my humble opinion, you owe it to yourself to chase it until you catch it.  In my case, I found reasons (usually financial) for not moving here.  I also justified my perpetual movement on, "a guy's gotta eat...", but what crap that was.  Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful for the opportunities I've been given and in retrospect, wouldn't change any of it...even moving to the Middle East!  Glad I went, won't go back.

Risk-taking isn't for everyone, I should know.  I always felt like I had to be the even-keel and steady one.  Taking risks was for "those guys."  I finally took a deep breath and jumped into the risk--head first and I ain't looking back.  It took so long to get here, I'm only optimistic about the future.  By doing what I did, I really hung it all out, finances, relationships, you name it, I bet it all for this.

What ultimately gave me the courage was faith.  Without getting too deep, it was the deciding factor and what I leaned on so heavily for the 2 years planning I put into this.  Faith that it would work out.  Faith that those close to me would understand and accept my madness and faith that I could personally handle the transition without a melt-down.

Of course, I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but I like my chances that it will all work out in my favor!

So, if you have your "final move"(whether a physical move or something you've wanted for so long but never had the nerve to pursue), chewing on your brain, why not grab some faith, take a risk and get going!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So this is November 3rd?

Howdy everyone, I'll begin this session with a brief preamble about the content of today's ranting:  It's about politics.  

Now, I know that some of you aren't remotely interested in this topic, while others of you may find yourself in violent disagreement with me.  I'm okay with both, really.  This is on my mind today and I have some thoughts to share (assuming anyone reads it) concerning yesterday's mid-term elections.  So, if you need to hit the back button, I won't be offended.  See you next time, I hope.

For those of you that are brave enough to hang around this long...thanks.  Maybe we can start a discussion?

Let's get started.

First, I'm not going to go back to 2008 when America decided it was time for a "change."  It's old news, and quite frankly, boring to me.  Suffice it to say, there are folks around the country that have taken aim at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to "get the country back."  Simply stated, I support them and their ambitions.

Yesterday's election was an opportunity to correct the course of the nation and to some degree, those seeking a change got it.  With a Republican majority in the House and significant gains in the Senate, there is a grand opportunity to engage the Spender-in-Chief in honest dialogue about throttling-back his way-far left agenda.  The difference between November 2nd and November 3rd for him, is that he pretty much has to have this dialogue with the new majority...and he'd better if he stands a chance at a second term.

Ok, so you can see all that diatribe on Fox News (and I watch it).  What I really wanted to discuss today is those races that ended with Democrats keeping seats that defy any brand of logic.  In particular, I want to highlight 4 races that still have me shaking my head.  Here we go:

1. Barney Frank (D) Massachusetts:  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  This guy, along with Chris Dodd were responsible for the housing meltdown and collapse!  They twisted the arms of the banks and forced them (through Freddie and Fannie) to lend to people who they knew could not repay their loans...all in the name of "The Entitlement to the American Dream."  Frank is a crook who has a history of backroom dealing that benefits himself at taxpayer expense.  Case in point, he takes a corporate jet for a personal vacation.  Seemingly, this wouldn't have been so noticeable, but the small, insignificant fact that the mainstream media omitted was that this corporation that owned the jet benefited directly from Franks' generosity in pushing ARRA funds to it!!!  My goodness, am I the only one paying attention to this stuff?  How in the world did he keep his job???  Are the lefties in Mass so hard up to keep a Dem in power that even a known thug and crook is better than a Republican???  I'm astonished.

2. Barbara (Please call me Senator) Boxer (D) California:  This woman's record is so far left of left that there's no more left to go!  She's made a career demeaning decent society, the military and nearly everything that America stands for...and continues her quest for a socialist society.  Here's a fact in case you've been in a cave for the last year or so:  California's BROKE!  Boxer is part of the problem with the social agenda, the safe harbor of illegal immigrants that suck the taxpayers' money into an abyss and a bevy of other atrocities that keep California as the butt of every bad State joke.  She triumphed over a fiscal conservative that would have surely aided the citizens of California in Carly Fiorina.  I know Carly (well, not personally but she was my CEO for about 2 years during my stint at HP).  She's reasonable and tough.  She worked HP through the Compaq merger and emerged as the largest computer corporation on the planet.  She knows how to make money, how to properly allocate resources...she's what Californians needed at this very moment to represent them on Capitol Hill.  Unbelievable!

3. Jerry (Moonbeam) Brown :  This is a double ARE YOU KIDDING ME????  I just have to believe that Californians that were partying before they voted woke up this morning saying, "What?  Jerry Brown Governor?  Ha, no way!  I was just joking my buddies!?  For real?  He's the Governor?  Oh shit...  Well, California, the jokes on you.  My message for California is simple...YOU'RE BROKE!  Bankrupt!  Tapped OUT!  Busted!  You got no money!  So, California, let's examine exactly what you did yesterday.  You traded your opportunity for recovery and eventual prosperity for a re-hash of 1974 and 1978...way to move forward!  You bought into very, very sleazy campaign trickery that Brown brought against his opponent, Meg Whitman.  His tactics were particularly despicable.  Here's what you said a resounding "NO" to, California:  Meg Whitman is an ivy league educated, accomplished executive that has achieved amazing success in every financial venture she's been involved in.  Want me to confuse you with a fact?  She took over as the CEO of eBay when it was making $4 million per year.  In only 10 short years, she grew that company to over $8 Billion (with a "B") per year.  She cared so deeply for California and was so committed to its recovery, she spent more than $140 million of HER OWN MONEY to finance her campaign!!!  Did brother Jerry?  I think you know that answer.

4.  Harry Reid (D) Nevada:  I never say this, but OH MY GOD!SEIU is HUGE in Nevada with all the hospitality workers there.  They quietly organized their workers and "strongly suggested" they vote for Reid (who is a staunch advocate of is the Prez).  Is this illegal?  Not at all.  Is it possible that in order to get workers all over the State to vote (that probably didn't give a rat's you-know-what about this election), without any, ahem, incentive would have been possible?  Bloody unlikely.  Sharon Angle posed a threat to SEIU and in their predictive fashion, the union did whatever they needed to do to keep her from winning.  Such a sad commentary.  Well Nevada, you got Harry for the next 6 years.  I'm confident he can keep that unemployment high for ya and also keep your property values low...American dream, right?  Live with it.

So, what have we learned through all this...and it's is only 4 examples?!!!  We've learned that Red Sox fans would rather keep a crook in office, Californians would rather the Big Government keep them afloat while illegal immigrants suck the life out of the State, and Nevada would rather be unemployed and have toxic real estate than to prosper as it should.  Well done.  Bravo.  Idiots!

I can't finish this rant on negative note.  I do want to point out some States that have had particularly tough times but fought through them at just the right time:

1. First, my birth State of Ohio.  This story is particularly gratifying for me because our Socialist-in-Chief made 12 trips there to charm the voters like he did in '08.  Ohioans voted a Republican for Governor.  It's long overdue and they know things are going to improve sooner than later.  Well done, Ohio!

2. Second, my new home State of Arizona did a remarkable job and kept key Republicans in their offices for another term.  Of note is my most favorite Governor, Jan Brewer.  Has this lady got moxie, or what?  She's rolled-up her sleeves and taking on anybody (including the Prez) that gets in her path.  What a patriot she is!  Next is Senator John McCain.  Hotly contested, but the final results were not close at all.  He's staying around for one more term.  His guidance and experience is exactly what's needed to help the transition of power on the Hill go a bit more smoothly than without him.  I am a supporter of term limits, but one more for John will be good for the country.

I know this got a bit long-winded and for that I apologize.  Is it just me or does what happened in these States yesterday just blow your mind?  I simply cannot figure out the logic behind keeping these folks (and hiring Jerry Brown) around.  How far into the ditch does the country need to go before a majority gets it and says, "ENOUGH!"?

Well, I suppose I should close this out for now.  Thanks for indulgence.  I promise not to make this into a political forum...Lord knows there are too many of them already.  Time to close up shop for the day.  I think I've been tagged to help move Nancy Pelosi's stuff out of the Speaker's office!

<you really didn't think I was going to go the distance without mentioning her firing, did you?>

Cheers, everyone!

Monday, November 1, 2010

So this is a blog???

Well howdy!  I think for my first time out of the gate, I'm going to engage in a little stream of consciousness.  I don't have a topic.  I don't have a plan.  If you knew me at all you'd know that both of those things, a topic and a plan are central to my very existence.  No matter, let's press on.  Some of the things on my mind today are of course, the mid-term elections being held tomorrow.  Folks that know me are aware that I'm an unapologetic Christian and political conservative...but don't necessarily wear them on my sleeve.  I don't put bumper stickers on expensive cars and aside from attending a McCain-Palin rally during the '08 election season, am largely an onlooker.

I just don't seem to have the time or energy to be an organizer or zealot, but make no mistake, I'm keenly astute to what's going on my country and don't like it much.  I do subscribe to the notion that the November 2nd elections are indeed a referendum on the Obama administration.  Call it voter remorse, perhaps.

Let's see...what else can I type about that will help you "get" me?  Well, one thing is certain, I'm not a corporate drone.  I tried off and on, but just don't seem to have what it takes to pull that off.  I tried the buttoned-down, open-collar with khakis and loafers...just not me.  What I have found since I've matured a bit is that I do my best work in shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops.  I'm a home office ninja!  Make no mistake, I do on many occasions put on the navy blue pinstripe suit with french cuffs and hold my own at meetings inside the Beltway, but for pure, unadulterated excellent work, my home office is my kingdom.  And since I'm talking about the drones, why not take a shot or two at them and their lifestyle?  It's not my intent to demonize, but this syndrome is so prevalent in our society, I'm concerned that I haven't seen anything written on the mind-numbing creature we call the "exempt employee."  Or, better yet that human being...person we warmly refer to as "headcount."  Can there be anything so detached from humanity than this?  Yikes.  First time I heard a person referred to as "headcount" I nearly burst a blood vessel!

These EEs (exempt employees) have lives (or dream of such a thing).  As we progress through our work-a-day existence, we seem compelled to spring into action the moment the blackberry makes a sound...and even when it doesn't.  "Is it possible I didn't hear it???"  We give lip service to this notion of a so-called, "work/life balance."  That concept was created by the HR community to make themselves feel good that people do in fact have interests outside the corporation.  The reality is that most EEs are stressed-out, burned-out and enslaved to respond to the corporation 24/7.  Look into their eyes...they're dead.  They can make the most mundane conversationalists, too.  Try talking to one of them for more than 30 seconds while they recount the round of golf they played (on a course they couldn't afford), or the dinner they had (at a restaurant they couldn't afford).  They will go miles out of their way to make sure they send emails out at 11pm, just so someone will know they are putting in extra time.  So, what's all this nonsense about?  Security.  People need to feel secure and will do most anything to feel it.  It goes back to the old Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  People cannot progress from one level in their lives until they fully achieve the one below it.  Security is a basic need that all people have.  But how does achieving security turn good folks into drones?  Easy.  It's the greedy bastards at the top.  While they don't even have direct contact with the drones, they apply constant, ever-increasing pressure from their perches to those just below them.  By the time that pressure flows downwardly through the chain, it actually increases with strength and velocity.  The poor sap of a manager bears the full force of it and without so much as a whimper, takes on additional burden, braves each day with a seemingly indellible, ceramic smile and quietly plots his boss' demise on his commute into the office.  This isn't healthy...but it provides something we all  Security to make sure that they can continue to play golf courses, shop at Nordstrom's, buy timeshares, put the kids in private schools...all things they cannot afford.  Man, I can go on forever about this, good thing this is a blog and I can cut it up in pieces, huh?

Wow, that really got me humming.  So, is it possible to achieve security without losing your identity...and while maintaining close personal relationships and meaningful enjoyment?  I've heard some people actually pull this off.  While I don't know a lot of things for sure, I do know that at least for me, life is too doggoned short to waste it making someone else wealthy while it makes me sick.

Another thing I've learned over the years, probably from one of the preachers I listen to is that stress is actually good for people...stay with me on this.  Stress is actually a positive force that helps us get through situations we encounter in life.  As you might have already surmised, there is also a negative force that messes with our emotions and our physical bodies.  This is called DIS-Stress.  It's the anti-stress...and it ain't good for us.  Another thing I've learned is that when a person has pile after pile of distress heaped mercilessly upon them, it overtakes and overwhelms them.  Being overwhelmed is a terrible feeling for anyone...and we all handle it in different ways.  Excessive drinking, divorce, infidelity, self-pity, angst...the list is endless, but the common denominator here is distress is present.

This is what we allow our jobs to do to us.  While I know it isn't true for everyone, it is sure true for me.  I think I've finally matured enough to allow myself to be "ordinary."  Ever the overachiever, I have been on a self-inflicted quest for advancement my entire life.  I suspect I'm not alone here.  Promotions, perks, bonuses and increases are all wonderful concepts, but what we typically have to do to "earn" them, I've discovered, just ain't worth it anymore...for me.

So, what's the alternative?  If one believes that doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is foolish, the only alternative is CHANGE.  That's what I'm doing.  Is it risky?  Heck yes!  Is it worth it?  If I can break the bondage I've put myself in...heck yes!  So there it is.  If you don't like where you are in any area of your have the power to change it.

I'll be making my changes in the very near future.  Can't wait.  It sounds good, right?  Well, it'll just have to be good, because I have a policy...never go backward.  I haven't and I won't.

Until next time.

Question:  Who reads these things, anyway???