Monday, December 12, 2016

Home Court Advantage

Happy Holidays!

My eye caught an inbox article on how to maintain weight during the holidays...many interesting tips, such as:  instead of declaring "I won't eat any cookies during the holidays!" you might decide "I won't eat any cookies today!"  It's basically an AA mindset.  Avoid the sugar, the salt, the fat...just for today. 

There is also this from MyFitnessPal:
Tighten your home court...eliminate unintentional and totally not-worth-it splurges.
That’s why during the holidays it is more important than ever to lean on your Home Court Habits to keep you on track.  Your HCH are things that make your life awesome (right?). If you have enough impactful habits, you should normally be able to get away with doing “most of them, most of the time” and maintain your weight and health.  During the holidays make sure to maintain as many HCH as possible, and do “all of them, most of the time.”  This is the best possible thing you can use your willpower on during the holidays.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The National WWII Museum

We visited the National WWII Museum and were riveted. We both spent considerable time looking at the artifacts from the world through the lens of knowing that our fathers both served. Shawn's dad served in the European Theatre in the Army Air Corps and my dad served in the Pacific Theatre as a navy guy, aboard an LST. It was a moving afternoon and, with our first cold beer in the French Quarter after our visit, we toasted their courage and sacrifice.


We landed in the Big Easy, that Mississippi River port town, Nawlins, known for spicy cuisine, jazz, and the fun of the French Quarter.  It's so obvious that the city has a rich history and is a melting pot of French, African, and American cultures.  

The last time I visited NOLA, it was 2009 (with Kate, for her 25th and my 50th) and not much has changed. Bourbon Street is mildly interesting for a few hours, but is still raunchy, stinky, and visited by inebriated tourists. We went to Pat O'Brien's and ordered the famous Hurricane. For dinner we had jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and shrimp creole. In the morning, we ran by the Mississippi River and then dined on beignets at the famous CafĂ© du Monde. It was a fun 24 hours but we were ready to bid adieu when it was time to go!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Privacy? Or Secrecy? Oh Please!

There's a big difference between privacy and secrecy and ancient conversations about how even married people deserve their right to privacy.  And yes, yes, we do!

Privacy is what you might want somewhere in your house, say maybe when you are trying on a pair of pants that you know won't slide over those big-boned hips of yours.  Privacy is for bathroom business, birthday gifts, imminent surprises, that kind of thing.

Secrecy is something else entirely.  If you cover your internet tracks so your spouse doesn't know where you have virtually visited, or don't share your mobile pass codes so your spouse can't access your texts or emails or videos, consider this your warning to rethink those habits.  Maybe it's just a pair of shoes or tool you purchased and you have just "forgotten" to tell your partner about it.  Maybe it's your fears, your feelings, your friends, your fantasies.

What are you hiding?  Why aren't you sharing with the person you have chosen as your life mate? If these questions bother you, it may be important that you invade that space, in your head. Nothing good comes if you choose this road; this dishonesty will only grow and can lead you down a very painful path.  There is no intimacy where dishonesty exists.

Image result for privacy vs secrecy in marriage

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Love Maps

We spent the last two days of July in Seattle, at a Gottman workshop called "The Art and Science of Love".  Their marketing blurb included a comment about helping distressed marriages get better and helping good marriages get great.

I'm going to start at the beginning and remind you that every marriage, er, committed partnership, needs tending.  We know that about our businesses, about our work, about our households...but way too many marrieds behave like once the rice is swept away and the wedding is over, the marriage can just be; it can just cruise.  We were reminded, at Gottman, to put our whole heart into our marital relationship, the way most of us put our whole heart into loving our children.

One of the first exercises, on the first day, involved Building Love Maps.  What's that? involves asking questions, and encourages you to keep asking questions, every day.  They jokingly said in a serious way that listening builds libido.

Do you really KNOW your spouse's world?  Does he/she know yours?  Maybe there's knowledge about how you take your Starbuck's, your idea about the ideal a/c temp, but does your partner know your stressors, your goals, your key players? 

These are the things that matter.  These are the things that connect you, and without these love maps, the path ahead is treacherous.  Failure to to connect is the reason people argue.  Failure to connect is the reason people split (it's not issues over money, sex, and in-laws as popular culture tells us).  

As John Gottman said:  "There's no mystery.  It's really simple, but you've got to do it!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Twenty Minutes

One of the recent takeaways I had from the Gottman workshop we attended a few days ago...
Don't miss an opportunity to connect with your partner, ever.  How do you do that?  Make sure you have a daily, current glimpse into their inner world.  You might I did at first...who's got time for that?
It's easier than you might think.  First, you need to set aside twenty minutes every day, hopefully near the same time of day everyday to encourage the ritual.  Then, spend 10 minutes as the listener and 10 minutes as the speaker, affording your partner the opposite role.  Now...what do you talk about?  Three's that easy...or that complex, depending on how engaged you are:

1.  What's the best thing that happened to you today?

2.  What's the worst thing that happened to you today?

3. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

Try it for a week or a little longer, a lifetime.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

19 years, Seattle, and sleepless

We took a ferry to Bainbridge Island to celebrate our 19 years together...and enjoyed some time walking the island, contemplating the real estate, and relaxing at Harbour Pub House.  

Earlier in the day, we walked through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center - the foundation's impressive work includes so many innovations and inventions that are helping to create a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life. We were so impressed!

At the end of our day-long anniversary adventure, we dined at Anthony's on Pier 66, enjoying fresh Halibut, coupled with clam chowder, and of course, toasted ourselves with local Pinot Noir and Cab.

And yes, I'm a little sleepless.  Tomorrow?  Cedar Rapids!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Touristy Monday

After a slow start and a 3 mi run, we found Tully's on Union St, and we lingered over morning coffee, because we could.  Then, we shifted gears and grabbed the Monorail for the Seattle Centere, and more specifically, the Space Needle.  It showcases phenomenal 360 degree views of the city, including a glimpse of snow-capped Mount Ranier.

Waiting our turn at the Space Needle afforded us the time to enjoy the Chihuly Garden and Glass grounds.  The light and color of the glass was inspiring.  From wiki: "Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.  In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art."

We enjoyed fish tacos, Pacificos, and Seattle Fudge...and each other.

Later, after a hotel respite, we walked north (uphill!) to Kerry Park and enjoyed a scenic view of the city and Mt. Rainier, and enjoyed a long walk, gawking at the beautiful, old homes on Queen Anne Boulevard.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


Tonight we finished Day 2 of a weekend workshop for couples sponsored by the Gottman Institute and called "The Art and Science of Love".  It was presented by Dr. John Gottman and his wife Dr. Julie Gottman, world-renowned professionals on all-things-relationships. He is a research scientist with 40 years of research (and 46 books) with thousands of couples. She is a respected clinical psychologist Who works with couples and families. They were a phenomenal teaching team and made their lectures and exercises fun, playful, and very instructional.  You know, when I told people back home that we were attending a couples workshop, I often got the inquiry: "Is everything OK?" It dawned on me that when you have plans to go to the gym, no one says is everything OK? It is a given that you have to keep maintaining your body, or trying to improve your body. So it is with relationships... We learned many valuable tools that I will share in future posts. The experience was well worth our efforts.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday in Seattle

We started the day with an early morning run down by Elliott Bay waterfront, strengthened by the beauty of Puget Sound. The busy town was quiet, just waking up, and we needed to get in a few miles before our workshop, which I will discuss in a separate post.

After a stimulating day, we returned downtown and traveled to Waterfall Park in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, the original Seattle neighborhood. We saw the birthplace of United Parcel Service started in 1907 by two young men. The plaque that Shawn stood next to was appropriately brown. Dinner tonight was at The Brooklyn. Naturally, I had the salmon with a regional Pinot Noir. Shawn had a local Pilsner with the Bouillabaisse.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Settled in Seattle

We arrived in the Emerald City via a brief layover at DFW.   Seeing Mt. Rainier was such a bucket-list thrill. After settling in, we walked to nearby Seattle Public Library (Central) and experienced a 4 story book's an incredible complex structure of glass; the library on this Friday afternoon seemed valued and used. 

After that first stop, we walked to the famous Pike Place Market, a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle. The Market opened in 1907, and is the oldest working market in the US. We had local beers and cheese curds from Beecher's. What a chill town...while the downtown area has big city shopping and dining, it has a chill hipster vibe.  You can buy armfuls of lilies and hydrangeas for a few dollars and sockeye salmon for $9.99/pound. I'm loving this town!