Wednesday, January 5, 2011


And to think the Y2K bug was all that 11 years ago. Time flies.

I'm glad to put 2010 in the rear view mirror for a myriad of reasons and look forward to a healthy and exciting 2011.

2010's highs and lows were a bit of a rollercoaster ride that I hadn't experienced in decades. I left a job where I spent 22+ years to start my own company during the greatest recession in a generation (or 2). Leaving my former place of employment was a difficult decision and caused much strife within the extended family with whom I used to work with. At the end of the day, it's just a job and our family relationships are far more important than where I go M-F. I'm glad and fortunate that we've been able to move on and keep the family together - time is a good healer.

My nephew and business partner and I continue to work much harder than we ever imagined. Starting a business from scratch required significantly more effort than we ever thought. We laugh about it now, but 6 months ago we were just 2 guys sitting in an empty room with a table and 2 chairs....leftover from the previous tenant. The only breathtaking technology we possessed were our cellular phones. As days and weeks went by, we found ourselves ordering furniture, computers, software, copiers, printers, office supplies and meeting with internet providers, graphic artists and ad agency folks. Slowly but surely things moved along.....we even wrote a national account in 2010 that helped put us on the map - a small dot on a big map but on the map nonetheless. We hope to build on the success we had in 2010....time will tell. We're happy and laugh a lot - so we have that going for us....which is nice.

2010 also saw Alec graduate from the U of Utah with a degree in physics and be accepted to medical school. He is in heaven learning all the things needed to become a physician and I'm very happy for he and his wife.

Jake's return in late, late '09 allowed us to spend 2010 with him again after serving 2 years in Ecuador on a church mission. Having him around means we laugh a lot, talk sports a lot and watch a lot of ESPN. He's enjoying his time working as a student manager for the Runnin' Rebel basketball team. He too is working harder than I believe he thought this postion would require.....he's gone at least 6 days a week plus attending UNLV. His plate is full and he's a wonderful son.

The biggest and best news of 2010 was the birth of our granddaughter Reese in September. She is a blessing to our family and having spent the past 5 weeks here in Las Vegas, it was VERY hard to see her leave and go back to Northern Nevada with her parents. Thanks to technology, we're able to skype and see pictures of her almost daily.

As the year wound down, as always, I reflected on the highs and lows of 2010 and while the emotional rollercoaster went higher, sped faster and lower than ever, it also allowed me to see what I am made a father, grandfather, husband, son, brother, in-law, businessman and friend. Adversity is a good teacher and 2010 provided plenty of challenges yet also some of the most wonderful events a human being can experience.

Hail 2010 - you weren't just were GREAT.

Here's to a more of the same in 2011.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Turning 50

I turned 50 years old the other day and at the same time I felt, all at once, relieved (that I made it), sad (that 1/2 my life has been lived - yes I plan on making it to 100), and happy since I feel damn good about my health and my station in life.

While no one can lay claim to having a perfect life, I must confess that mine has turned out better than I could have ever hoped.

Kids? Check
Good kids? Check
Healthy kids? Check
Happily married? Check
Happily married for 25 years? Check
In reasonably good shape? Check
Career? Check
Problems, worries? Check (no life is without them my friends)

And so the usual contemplative moments came when turning 50 and prompted an honest appraisal of where I'm at..... wanting to do better in all areas of my life is a given. There is much to improve on. With age come mistakes, the wisdom of knowing some of life's secrets through trial and error.....and more error. The wisdom that comes with age is knowing how little we really know about life.

I have much to be thankful for. Many have lived longer and many have lived shorter lives but this is my life.

And remember......It's all about me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Work, Work, Work

I have been so busy with starting up a new company with my business partner that I looked up at the calendar today and realized that we have been at this business for four months now. Seems like yesterday when we resigned and immediately jumped off the cliff into the abyss - sort of like when Butch and Sundance leaped into the river while being chased by the Columbian army. Granted our escape wasn't as dramatic or life threatening, but a leap it was nonetheless.

As with any big life change you quickly find out who has your back and who could care less.

The last 4 months have flown by and have been a nonstop adventure full of challenges, laughs, disappointment, success and more laughs. To say that I'm content with where I am would be an understatement. I miss many of the people I used to work with - some for 20+ years - however this emotion is tempered by the absence of communication I've had with them over the past 120 days. Such is life. Friends often hastily part ways not knowing they will never see each other again. Life's playbook is complicated.

On the flip side, we've met a lot of wonderful new friends at our business park and have developed relationships built on trust, friendship, pranks, and downright hard work. Changing environments has been refreshing, uplifting, motivating, fun yet also challenging and tiring - all at the same time.

I've missed my beloved golf all these months and I could count the number of times I've played on one hand....and usually in a tournament meeting prospective clients and passing out business cards. I've also had more breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings in the past 4 months than I did in the past 10 years. This is good and bad. Good for business, bad for the waistline.

Enter Markus.

My fitness trainer.

He has me doing stuff that I always thought I could easily pull off. During our first session we laughed like hell at how breathless I was after he put me through some circuit training. I'm not 20 anymore. Hell, I'm not even 40 anymore and to say that desk time, sofa time and too many meals at Cut, Flemings, et al have combined to make realize that many hours of gym work is necessary. I'm on week #3 - started slow and have good days and bad days. Having someone to push you to work harder is significantly more difficult than going to the gym alone where you can move at your own pace, watch some TV, grab a drink, and move from one piece of equipment to another at your leisure. With Markus it's all commando-style training and it HURTS. I've been sore for weeks now but in different spots. We're doing all sorts of crazy routines that look easy but kick my ass. I joked that the first day of training I was sweating cream cheese and diet coke. Things have improved although I do dread the whole "Getting to the Gym Process." Like most activities, once you're there, it's easy. It's all the stuff your mind whispers to you like, "You're too busy, too tired....go home and take the night off." Tempting I know.

Thanksgiving is next week - hard to believe that the holidays are already upon us. Christmas stuff is next and that brings an entirely different stress into spousal relationships. Let's be honest, guys want less everything; less lights, fewer ornaments, fewer presents and less stuff to do. It's ingrained in our DNA. Women on the otherhand want more lights, more trees, more decorations, more presents and more events. Their to-do lists are overwhelming. Guys shoulders tend to slouch more this time of year, our gait begins to shuffle, shirts are untucked more often and the smart ones know just to keep their mouths shut and go along with the festivities. Like many things in life, you just have to suck it up and get to work.

We're very excited to see our granddaughter next week.

Alec and Tiffany are coming down for Thanksgiving and mom and daughter will be here through the new year while Alec will head back to school after Thanksgiving to finish up his first semester of medical school before coming home for the rest of the holidays.

Jake continues to enjoy his duties as a student manager for the undefeated Runnin' Rebel basketball team. He too is working hard like the rest of us and I look forward to the day he comes to work with me in the not so distant future.

Work. It never ends. And that's not a bad thing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Why is it that airports provide some of the best people watching experiences of all time? PEOPLE act STRANGE at airports - no question about that. I even act weird once I hit the terminal....constantly checking and rechecking for my wallet, keys, glasses, sunglasses, boarding pass etc..... At the airport, I become a checking machine.

Then there is your stuff; your travel stuff....a carry on bag and/or a briefcase. Yesterday's jaunt to the Bay Area was a one day affair so I just had my leather briefcase but I must have checked a dozen times that I had that sucker right next to me. Don't want to lose that thing to the imaginary thieves and bandits stalking our nation's airports.

Airports are great cauldron's of humanity; people there are all sizes, from all races and religions and have their own built-in quirks.

Like me.

Of course I'm tolerant of myself, so I enjoy watching other people navigate their way through the airport. From the curbside circus of mismatched luggaged to check-in to the security screening area, our airports are a mess. First of all, they are all under construction of some sort so even driving to my own airport is a white knuckle experience. And attempting to leave Las Vegas on a Sunday morning is like trying to cross the US-Mexico border on the weekend: Pure Chaos.

Our trip was a quickie of the business variety and it was a short hop from Las Vegas to Oakland. Of course it took longer to drive to our meeting than it took to fly 500 miles tells you something of the traffic and road maze that exists in the bay area. The bottom line is that the trip was a success.

And that people watching in Airports never gets old.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Warriors

Janae and I had the pleasure of watching two of our nephew's little boys over the weekend. Trey and Bing are ages 11 and 7 respectively - they play organized football, organized basketball and unorganized other stuff.

Saturday Morning....early.... the sun was just cresting over the horizon and it was time for football. The location of the field required some advance planning and we input the location into the car navigation system so we were good to go. The boys wanted Jack-in-the Box french toast sticks for breakfast so that was stop #1. Within 60 seconds of getting the food out of the bag we had a maple syrup circus on our hands - literally. Stop #2 was at Walgreens to pick up wipes to soak up the Bing's syrup mess which was now expanding faster than the universe. Syrup is one of those things you can have for breakfast and hours later realize you have some on your sleeve or the inside of your elbow. Strange phenonmenon. Overwhelmed by syrup, we had tried our best to clean up Bing and the car in the parking lot. It was hysterical. I told him, "just think how good you'll smell when you get tackled." Meanwhile everything was sticking to him - wipes, napkins....and by the end of the game, dirt and grass managed to cling to him as well. When we got home we tossed him into the pool for 6 or 7 hours.

After 4 hours of football came 2+ hours of basketball. Thankfully Janae spared me that experience - I've never liked indoor sporting events and the noise level at youth basketball games is often louder than jet engines. Grandpa needed a break.

We relied on play station games, TV, pizza delivery and drive through service for most of the weekend except Sunday's BBQ which was awesome.

Since the kids go to a new school Monday morning was an adventure. I wasn't sure where the school was and the kids sort of knew where it was......somehow I managed to get them dropped off on time, with backpacks and lunch money.

My work is done.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Beach House A Go Go

On Friday I was supposed to have a 10am meeting and then hop on the I-15 for a trip to Mexico with my new adopted family the Zobrists. Alas, 10am turned into more like 130pm and we didn't arrive in Rosarito until 830pm but since arriving we have done nothing but laugh, eat, laugh some more, play golf, watch football and gaze out upon the ocean. I love Mexico.

The border crossing into Tijuana was pure chaos.

Lights blaring, cars everywhere merging into some 3 lanes. One can drive into Mexico rather easily - no passport check, just a wave and a nod, but coming back across? I'm sure that will be mess and require a xanax. We'll see.

Sure I've been down here before, but this time, spending more than just a 1/2 day, I feel like it's my new home away from home. Had the best taco ever - Yaqui's....the newer one. Apparently there was bad blood between the original owners and there are 2 Yaqui's right across the street from one another. Dining tip: Go to the joint where the people are congregated and not the empty place. We did. GREAT authentic dining experience. I could even hear the dogs barking and cats meowing in the kitchen...

Golf at Bajamar was interesting. The course was in fine shape and the greens surprised me by being in such good condition but the eery thing was this: we didn't see another golfer on the course the entire round. Even though Richie, Mark and I played so-so, we had a great time. The highlight of the round was the bobcat we saw not 50 feet from our carts.

He was hunting the quail that were munching on grass seed on the teebox. Not seeing the fowl, I screeched to a halt, the quail went scrambling and then the bobcat's head and shoulders rose up from the bush.....he was likely pissed that we spooked the quail into scampering away. He looked at us (meanwhile I calculated I could probably outrun Mark) and then we watched him jog off. That was a first. If Garth were there, I'm sure he would have whipped out his knife and gone for the kill adding yet another pelt for his wall.

The trip home was far more adventurous and entertaining. The living theater part was the 2 hour wait to cross the border. Peddlers were selling everything imaginable from authentic Mexican art (?) to authentic Mexican pinatas to food and drink. The trick is to not make eye contact with them or else you're toast. I kept my sunglasses on and stared straight ahead while listening to the Eagles-'Skins game on satellite radio. I'm not good at waiting in line so the 2 hours spent in traffic was akin to a death sentence and quite uncomfortable for me. In fact, my right ankle is sore from braking yesterday. After getting through that bottleneck, we stopped north of the border, near Temecula, and bought a bunch of fresh avocados, peppers and tomatoes to make some homemade guacomole for MNF. This time of year, life revolves around football, that's just the way it is.

The real fun was when we stopped in the middle of nowhere to switch drivers.....unknowlingly my phone fell out of the car, we drove forward 100' when I hollered, "My phone!" Sure enough, not only did I drop it, but we also managed to run over it. Crushed. All this while I was dodging Wal-Mart semi-trucks that were pulling up in the exit lane. Nuts. I shouted the obligatory, "*$()@#*#&$&@!" and after about 30 seconds of that, I was laughing. I just blamed Janae.

The tough part of replacing the phone is the hassle that ATT/Apple will give me. I usually have to make 2 or 3 trips in order for them to straighten out who exactly is supposed to sell me my phone, and then comes the setup hassle. Admittedly, I'm not a tech guy so reprogramming/uploading all my stuff will be stressful and laborious. Uggh....just the thought of having to deal with the ATT people.....Maybe I'll just have Janae do it....

Mexico was great. I even managed, fortunately, to handle the wait to cross the border without freaking out the border guard and requiring a full blown strip search.

Now that we'll be spending quite a bit of time down there....

....expect more stories.

Good ones.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Flying in 2010

Traveling by airplane in 2010 continues to be an adventure.

The corporate jet (Southwest Airlines) continues to be the best way to fly around the western United States since their schedules are so convenient. SWA has come a long way since the days of just lining up to be first on the plane. Boarding the aircraft has got easier and while it still resembles a flying bus terminal, the convenience cannot be overlooked.

Some observations.....

I was walking behind an older gentleman yesterday on the way back from Reno when he stopped and let out a huge marlboro-cured cough...

We all held our breath and turned away as we walked through the invisable mucus-nicotine cloud. Then came the shake down. Security. I usually mess this part up but the past few trips I've managed to strip down and get through without a forgotten belt buckle or gum wrapper setting off the metal detector. As I was collecting my stuff, an elderly woman was being put through the ringer off to the side. I thought, "Is this really the best use of our security resources?" This poor old gal was being turned around, patted down and her carry-on was being searched. I say again, "When was the last time a plane was hijacked by anyone other than Muslim extremists?" Yeah, profile THOSE guys. I have no problem with that.

The boarding area is also pretty cool. You have a literal smorgasborg of people coming and going. Cowboys, hippies, bikers, biker chicks, businessmen, tourists, youth groups, female softball players and jokesters like Jake and I who can't keep our mouths shut and run commentary on the living theater going on all around us.

Some rules and observations about flying in 2010:

1. Respect the aisle and window seat people. They either paid for or were sharp enough to get an 'A' or 'B' boarding pass. Middle seat people need to keep their knees and elbows to themselves - no hoarding space over the imaginary line of demarkation. This can make for an unpleasant flight for window and aisle people.

2. Try not to cough your lungs up on the plane. Since we are all breathing the same air, I've found it impossible to hold my breath for the duration of any flight therefore please be kind to your fellow travelers inside the long aluminum tube. Same with sneezing - cover your mouth.
3. Not everyone has to stand up once the plane reaches the gate. We don't all leave at once. This leads to #4.
4. The people in row 11 get to exit the plane before the people in row 12. Hold your horses and allow an orderly exit.
5. Rolling of eyes is permitted when people try stuff their oversized carry-on into an overhead bin.
6. Dont' stop in the middle of the jetway to adjust your bag, purse or will be overrun by the guy in aisle 12.
7. Why is it that my bags are always the last to appear on the carousel?
8. I like the way Southwest pilots make the turn and then hit the gas on takeoff. Other airline pilots seem to want to make the turn, come to a full stop, put their foot on the brakes and then gas it up.
9. The flight attendants on SWA are too cheerful.
10. Hour long flights always seem so much faster than driving but door to door, it's only about 1/2 has fast.

Had a great weekend in Reno and got to meet my granddaughter for the first time.

Can't buy that thrill.