Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my Mom’s birthday, she would have been 84 years old. She is deeply missed. A great Mom, she had a wonderful sense of humor. She and my father were great parents and I am one of the lucky one’s to have grown up in such a caring family. By the time I came around, my parents were well into their forties, I do not remember my dad being young, he was always older, though vibrant and active.

I know that as a father, and as parents, Kim and I started later in life, that has driven me to stay active, to play with the boys and much as possible and to keep myself healthy and in good shape.

This morning when I woke I almost forgot it was track day, I did the unthinkable and hit my snooze alarm, when suddenly it hit me, track! I bolted out of bed and made my way to the gym. Part of staying in shape is my time spent at the track. Today was 6 x 800 @ 3:07… at times it felt too easy at others, it felt difficult. I was right on pace today, 3:07, 3:07 and 3:06. Jay hit, 3:01, 3:03 and 3:04. Not bad, but really I want to do better. I want to this drop down to the sub 3:00 mark before I start training for Chicago and later Boston.

A full day of work will keep me busy, but the reward is softball tonight. I hope to do better than last week, I was in a funk, I’ll also remember my “cup” this time, the line drive I caught in my “personality” was rather painful.

Before the night ends, I’ll toast my Mom’s memory with my brother over a shot of Southern Comfort, her drink. I remember the warm wonderful moments and say thank you for all she gave.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A difficult month

The month of March has nearly passed, this month brought tragedy and left us with heavy hearts and a mind full of questions and “what if’s?” We walk through life so casually, barely stopping to notice how precious and how fragile a gift we are given. However the suddenness when our moment is over is as cold and hard as a slap in the face, it shakes you to the core and forces you to take notice and account.

As you grapple to bring understanding many things are put into perspective, the so urgent items that must be done are no longer that pressing, the great frustrations become only an inconvenience, and worrisome not an issue. Opposite of that smaller gestures increase in magnitude, hugging your child, telling your wife you love her, the pleasure of a good rain, or just being with those you love, are insatiable.

You reflect on the good parts of a person’s life, and you help those who grew with that person, raised them and guided them, as they struggle with the reality of a terrible loss and the tremendous void in their life and their hearts. The voice that they will never heard again becomes an echo, the person they will never see again, fades away only captured by photographs, flash points in their lives. You share memories and you know that the memories that are so painful and sharp right now in their abrupt absence will bring warmth as time passes.

Life is a gift, it can end quickly and without warning, live every moment and love your friends and family.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Health Network, Social Network... Just Network

Tuesday. Day 57.

Frustration. I cancel the early morning swim so I can make a breakfast meeting. As I walk outside the rain I had listened to during the night has turned to snow. There is a mix of rain and the biggest snowflakes I have ever seen. Cool, odd and a bit eerie, but cool. Arriving downtown, my breakfast meeting is late. An email lets me know how late… he is in NY! Rats! I could have put my swim in, a swim I really need. Oh well. I take the time to get some extra work done.

The show I am attending is huge. It perhaps the largest healthcare show, the booths and time spent preparing for this show for many companies is easily in the millions. I stop and wonder, if this much time and energy was put into interoperability and transparency in healthcare cost, the administration of healthcare in the country would be a lot better. The fact is our healthcare is second to none, but a third party system of payment has created a payment and reimbursement mess that distracts healthcare providers from their true mission. The clinical mission.

It is getting better, technology and a push toward greater patient responsibility, re-introduce consumerism to the healthcare market will help. We have already seen as banks become increasingly more important as the insurance companies look for ways to reduce their liability to our well being.

At the end of the day, the insurance company's best customer is the one that pays their entire lifetime and drops dead immediately with no prolonged complication or artificial support to exist, essentially we are better off dead to them, at least by the ledger.

No time for deep thought today, heading out of the show I am searching for a place to connect… inside the building for too many hours I am ready for some fresh air… it is cold air, but it feels good. I head to a coffee house that is on my new favorite part of Atlanta, the West Side!

Entering the coffee house 9 of 10 people are on their laptops. Social networking. I have to laugh, uh, turn to the guy next to you and say hello. I am not a coffee guy, but the hot chocolate is yummy with a cool whipped cream design on top. I find a couch and am lucky that Monica, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel, Chandler and Joey have just left, plenty of room for me.

I hit the emails and settle in for a few good hours of work. I’ll sit here a while longer than it is off to yet another evening of meetings and entertainment.

Shhhh... I'm rabbit huntting

Monday. Day 56.

I sleep in, a bit of recovery from a late business meeting. I know there are more in my near future. I am scheduled with business meeting for the next three nights. I know that my run today will be important and provide me a good feeling of overall fitness.

Meeting Jay at the gym, we select our treadmills. Corey is also there as he is hitting the weights and getting his “pins” back under him from the 20 miles run he had on Sunday. The first mile is EZ as we warm up for a 3 mile 7:03 pace. Hitting the first mile at 7:03 takes some adjustment. I am really not as warmed up as I would like, but by the time I hit the back half of the first mile, I am feeling fine. Lungs working, legs working… my breathing normal and controlled. I consider briefly speeding it up, but know that is not the best idea, not yet at least. I enjoy the run, even though it is a TM. My ipod is keeping me company with a random selection of tunes that each seem to put me in a better mood. All too soon the run is over. Put it in the books, done.

At home I put on my “shiny” clothes and head for another afternoon of business calls and an evening dinner meeting. It goes long into the night. We hit a new restaurant, I am a bit concerned when I see rabbit on the menu, I typically do not eat anything I can hunt in my back yard. The meal is good, I pass on the rabbit but thoroughly enjoy a wide pasta noodle and turkey leg meat in a wine and Cajun sauce. I end the evening with a chocolate cake and at my suggestion have them top it with a ginger ice cream. Yummy. The Chef compliments me on the idea of pairing the ice cream with cake… uh really. Guess he has never been to a birthday party.

I had expected to swim in the morning, though an email dictates otherwise. I now have a breakfast meeting, downtown. Work calls… conditioning will wait another day.

Comb your hair, stand up straight

Sunday. Day 55. As much as I would like to work on the Mustang today, I need a kid fix. When I started my restoration project, I made commitment to work on the ‘Stang every day even if I did no more than clean a bolt. So… I clean a bolt, and twist a few more. Objective met, it is kid time. We play, inside, outside… even just hanging around. The time is well spent and it is my hope that these investments in time pay dividends to their future well being. It is my hope to never look back ans say, I wish I spent more time with the boys. I do it as much as possible.

Plays turns to work as evening draws near. Once again, I dress up again speed off toward downtown for a meeting. Arriving at my destination early I catch the last of the USA versus Canada Hockey Game for the Gold Medal. Very cool with the US tying the game with 24 seconds to go, only to lose in overtime, but what a game. The crowd goes crazy when the US ties and the bar passes around shots of vodka on the house to celebrate the US silver. Cool.

As my work colleagues gather the conversation is a mix of business and pleasure, though underpinnings for a business transaction is laid out. The meeting is good and new business opportunities are built. Success. Run in the AM is pushed to the mid-day. Good thing, the night runs long.

Why You Fifthly *astard

Saturday. Day 54.

Fifthly. I am just filthy. I spent the morning scraping the “gunk” off the Mustang. After too many hours working on an area of the car that likely no one will ever see, I am done, not with that part of the project, I just need a break.

I go inside and spend a few minutes playing with the boys. The afternoon runs by quickly and soon I have to head to the charity event. I shower, scrub myself down and dress myself up. If you put me next to myself an hour before I would not look like the same guy.

The event is well attended, clearly over 200 people and it is in a hip, trendy section of Atlanta, what I would call the “New West Side” I like the vibe.

The evening moves along as I do the "grip and grin" smiling and talking art. I stay for 2 hours, but they still had not started the live auction and I am tired. I head home and wish the event coordinator the best success for the evening and the charity. I later learn that they raised $45,000. A success and more than last year.

At home the there is a party next door. I head over, share a beer and a few conversations. The night ends quickly and the pillow feels really good.