Listen Up & Lighten Up

Lessons come from everywhere.  This journey is about hearing them and learning from them.

When I get advice to not take my customer’s requirements to heart so much, that’s valuable.  It’s great to care, it’s great to want to do the right thing, but there is always reality to balance against at the same time.

I have always listened to and honored my customer.  I have always been an advocate for my customers, sometimes referred to as “users”  (Debbie has pointed out that only I.T. people and drug dealers call their customers “users”)  But perhaps it’s also valuable to to lighten up.

This advice was particularly valuable as it came from the customer herself!

Filming Thataway

Insider tip!  Sally taught me that when you see a yellow road sign with an arrow and cryptic letters both right-side-up AND upside-down, it means they are pointing to where a movie is being filmed!

She saw this one one when The Zookeeper was being filmed in Boston:

Note that they can flip this baby to point in any direction.

Sally noticed a new one on Sunday, it said “IHYD” and she was sure it was pointing to another shooting location.

Yup. She found out this this is for “I Hate You, Dad”, starring Adam Sandler, Susan Sarandon, James Caan.

Sally says “Also, look for all the people in the cast, because they’re already being spotted around Boston!”


Lessons within Lessons

You would think I would know this by now, but sadly not yet.  I learned that even if my car gets 39 miles to the gallon, I still need to put those gallons in, and to do it way before I head into the Big City to meet a bus on a busy weekend evening.

After an adrenaline-filled workday, I was calmly on time to drive into Boston when the gas light came on.

Here’s another lesson: Never try to use the GPS (which wanted to tell me that newsstands in downtown Boston sold fuel – like what?  lighter fluid?) and Yelp on the iPhone while driving alone!  As I watched the “range”/miles remaining indicator head for single digits, I took a wrong turn onto the Mass Pike and had to drive in the wrong direction before doing that Boston-U-turn exit to come back and find the gas in Charlestown.  All with a deadline.  And traffic.

Very very stressful.

My very wise sister pointed out that the bigger lesson was to learn to skip the adrenaline even while doing the rest of the adventure.  And if I’m going to that, I might as well skip the daytime dose as well.

Cooking on Both Burners

These are all the things I learned today about our 12-year-old gas grill:

1. How to diagnose the problem of the high-flaring back burner and where and how to order a new burner assembly from


2. How to question my own diagnosis and call Weber and get instant instructions, via email.  On a Sunday.

3. How to disassemble and deep clean the grill, including inside the burners. And how to put it back together again in a way that it works.

4. How to cancel my order for a new burner assembly.

5. How rewarding it is to fix something we already own  Perhaps we were channeling our fathers, who both absolutely loved to do just that, on this sunny Fathers Day.

Weber rocks.  And so does Steve.  And Maddy, who held all the directions and cheered us on.

Or Not

Almost exactly one year later, one of my favorite sources is repeating a quote, and this time my reaction is completely different:

On June 23, 2010 I posted, without comment:

“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill via

That was a particularly dark time for me, and I liked the idea of some kind of valor in my serial failure.  Courage?  Sounded good to me.

But now, one year later I don’t feel that way at all.  It’s not about going from failure to failure with a good attitude.  I am much more interested in going from failure to success, from sadness to happiness, from darkness to light.

I do realize that this is about the journey, the process, the “now” of it all, and this this is a big circle or spiral, not a line.  But the next time I am in a hole, I want to be about getting out, not about decorating the space.

Shift to Neutral

I love coincidence.  Or cosmic alignment.  Or grace.  Or whatever you choose to call it.  The blurb, below, titled “Shift to Neutral”, came into my email inbox just as I was appreciating an amazing time of watching pieces fall into place, in a work setting, just by not acting, by being quiet, by truly watching and letting things happen as they need to happen.

For those of us who want to DO, the doing may be shifting,  Shifting to not doing.

In this case, I learned that I had already done that, and that it was awesome.

The article below is more about how to downshift to quiet in a specific setting, the start of a yoga practice, and that’s good to learn too,

From Yoga Journal:

Shift to Neutral

When do you practice yoga? For many of us who attend classes during the work week, our practice has to fit into whatever time is available, whether that’s before work in the morning, during our lunch break, or after work in the evening. And those of us who don’t work at a formal job still must balance many activities during our busy days.

So how do you bridge the gap between your frantic life and the peace and calm of the studio?

If you find yourself impatient at the start of your practice, anxious for something to happen, just recognize that you’re bringing some of that outside mentality into the classroom. Once you see what you’re doing, mentally reach inward and downshift your gears. If you’re in overdrive, downshift to fourth gear, then third, second and finally neutral. Relax inside, breathe deeply and savor the way it feels.

Excitement yields trouble (or karma)

I have learned that if my hairdresser gets carried away in a very emotional story, I may end up with bangs that are way too short.

Many years ago, I cut hair too.  The people whose hair I cut, and who will forever live with those school photos, may say that this is some kind of cosmic payback.  Watch the space below for that answer.