The Right Places

This was kind of fun. Go to and enter your Twitter handle to make a poem out of your tweets. Here’s what I got:

And we’ve made a couple…
Back to the scene of the crime
(and Doug) need great people!
‘Til next time!

After having to recover mine.
Attempt to make the perfect paella.
Little bit of sunshine
So much better than a quesadilla?

A frosty silence
Missing Corners
So honored to be in her presence.…
Playing by the numbers
Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 16: Mine your own material

Ten Tracks

I’ve always been a music lover. The music I love has changed over time, though. I don’t remember what I listened to as a child, but I’m sure it was whatever was on the radio, probably in Spanish, or playing on my dad’s stereo, which could have been anything from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley to Julio Iglesias. As a teenager, I didn’t really care for salsa or traditional Panamanian music (musica typica). It was very heavy on accordion and not what my friends were listening to at all. (I’ve come around since and do enjoy some of this, particularly salsa music.)

By then I was listening to the local pop stations on the radio and enjoying both the Latin pop scene and the music from the States that made it down to Panama. I was also a big fan of the American Top 40 countdown with Casey Kasem. I listened to it faithfully every week on the AFRTS station and would often waste a whole lot of time writing down that week’s list. The year-end countdown was when I would make my own mix tape featuring my favorites from the year. I might still have a couple of those tapes somewhere, but nowhere to play them now.

Now we have playlists instead of mix tapes. For this assignment, I’ve prepared a playlist of ten songs that represent me.  These are in no particular order and just the songs that come to mind right now. The list could be different tomorrow.

  1. I Will Survive — Gloria Gaynor
  2. Walking on Sunshine — Katrina and the Waves
  3. She Works Hard for the Money — Donna Summer
  4. Put Your Records On — Corinne Bailey Rae
  5. Mi Tierra — Gloria Estefan
  6. I Wanna Dance with Somebody — Whitney Houston
  7. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
  8. Amor Latino — Carlos Vives
  9. Mi Verdad — Maná feat. Shakira
  10. I Feel Lucky — Mary Chapin Carpenter

Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 15: Take a Cue from Your Reader

The last hour

The last hour is always the hardest. When it’s the last hour before you go on vacation it will go one of two ways:

  1. Each minute will feel at least ten times longer. You’ve wrapped up projects, prepared out-of-office auto-replies in your email, recorded your out-of-office voicemail greeting and you’re packed up and ready to go.
  2. Either because you didn’t plan properly, or because a last-minute task that must be completed before you go showed up, you know there’s a chance you’ll be working past quitting time.

I’m usually prepared and most of the time my biggest problem is finding ways to pass the time before I can head out the door, without starting any new projects. But this was not the case before my last vacation.

I was ready. My task list leading up to this day was comprehensive and I’d been steadily crossing items off the list. By Friday there were only a few minor tasks left, which included setting up my out-of-office email and voicemail greetings. At four o’clock I started cleaning up my inbox and filing emails. I flagged emails that were pending responses from others for review upon my return. I checked my calendar for the week after my vacation to see where my priorities should be then.

Ten minutes into this a new email came in from Technical: We have brand-new data sheets that we must publish to the website by Monday morning. There’s only about hundred of these — no problem, right? Guess email clean-up is going to have to wait.

Fortunately, the system was cooperative and files uploaded without any major hang-ups. I was able to add these to the required page and have someone look at the page before it went live. I hit the final publish button just as people started heading out the door. No sweat. Definitely ready for this vacation now.

Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 14: Recreate a Single Day/Hour

A Football Haiku

This assignment is all about word count, so here’s my very first attempt at a Haiku. It’s Championship Sunday in the NFL, so..

Let’s bring it home, Vikes.
Time to make history with
A game-winning play.

Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 13: Play with Word Count

The Post: A brief review

Last night we made an impromptu decision to go out and see The Post, the new Spielberg movie starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth the price of admission. Go ahead and spring for some popcorn, too. You might finish it before the movie actually start if you arrive in time to see all the previews, commercials and then the movie trailers, but that’s ok. Once the movie starts you’ll be immediately caught up in the storyline, whether you know your history or not.

Meryl Streep never ceases to amaze me, and Tom Hanks delivers another brilliant performance. This movie is so well done that even after you are done praising the performance, you realize it was all perfectly put together: the dialog, soundtrack, editing, costumes and so on.

And then you start thinking about how these events transpired with these very real characters. This happened almost fifty years ago and feels like it could be happening right now. Women’s rights, freedom of the press, war protests. All relevant today.

 “In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.” —  Supreme Court ruling, New York Times Co. v United States

As we were walking out of the theater last night Doug commented: “All journalists should see this film — and we should all be journalists.”

Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 12: Critique a Piece of Work

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you about the exciting day I had yesterday. We’d been hearing rumors for a couple of months, and then were advised a couple of weeks ago to sign up for one of the training sessions offered. What were we being trained on? So glad you asked. How to survive an active shooter situation.

In preparation for the drill but ahead of the training we were given these instructions:

  1. Do not bring any weapons inside the building.
  2. Do not call 911.
  3. Do not tackle or attack the police officers.

OK now, first of all, I understand we have a right to carry in this state. But the thought that some of my co-workers might be packing on a regular day is not comforting at all. And do they really have to tell us not to actually call 911? I wasn’t expecting anyone to get so caught up in the excitement that they forgot it was just a drill. I was a little confused by #3. Why would we try to tackle the police? But then I realized that by “police” they meant the police officer who was playing the “bad guy” role. During the training they told us that if we chose to defend ourselves, to just put two fists up in the air. This would be the signal that if this was a real situation we would be engaged in some kind of physical battle.

Based on what I saw, I think most people decided to flee the scene. We were all on edge, waiting for the shooter to make his move. During the training session they repeated a couple of times that the drill would take place in the afternoon. Should have known they were trying to catch us off-guard. The “attack” began a little after 11 am. I didn’t hear shots fired, rather I heard a sudden commotion down the hall and as I jumped up from my chair I saw everyone dashing for the exit near me. I looked quickly to see if Doug was at his desk and he was headed my way with everyone else, headed for the door. I moved quickly to join everyone and then heard shots and everyone picked up speed. We ran to the door and kept running once we got outside. I joined the group heading for the tree line and hid behind the trees. I guess in a real situation we would have kept running, but we all stopped there and waited. Every once in a while we would hear more shots fired. Still, we waited, looking for signs of the response team. Turns out they were already there and caught the shooter in about eight minutes. Those eight minutes felt like at least half an hour.

How would I have responded if this had been real? What would I do if this happened while I was grocery shopping? Or attending an event with large crowds and no place to hide? I have no idea. I don’t think I’m any more ready now for those situations than I was before the training or this drill. I might be slightly more prepared for a workplace shooting only because now I have taken inventory of my surroundings and evaluated exit strategies and places to hide. Don’t have anything at my desk with which to defend myself, but I guess at least I know that much now. But what happens if the “bad guy” is already inside?

Think I might need another cup of coffee.

Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 11: A Cup of Coffee

Back to the scene of the crime

Is it possible we’re at the “early bird special” point in our lives? Feels like we’re too young for that still. It’s Winter Restaurant Week downtown so when I planned my menus for the week I allowed for a night out: a date night. It makes sense to go right after work though. No use in going home and then going back out again, especially when you work in the same building and therefore drive to work together every day.

We discussed trying a new place, or maybe the place we keep talking about going back to sometime. But when it came right down to it, we ended up at our favorite hangout. And yes, it was probably not even 5:30 p.m. yet. Maybe that’s already late for the senior circuit? I’m hoping. Maybe we’re right in that in-between stage. Not young and hip, but not old enough for the senior discount.

We walked in and were disappointed our favorite bartender wasn’t working, so we proceeded through the bar and into the restaurant and asked for their warmest table, the one furthest away from the door. This booth also happens to be where we had our first “date.” It wasn’t really a date, though. It was two friends meeting for lunch to catch up after a very long interval of not seeing each other. And contrary to my usual ways, I talked his ear off and barely touched my quesadilla. I had a lot going on and much to say. Poor man. As you can see, it wasn’t enough to warn him away.

As we sat at the table and craned our necks a bit to check out the new chalkboard beer list and the specials menu, I glanced over at the gentleman a few tables away. He was engrossed in a serious game of solitaire on his phone. I only saw a pint glass on the table and no evidence of a dinner partner. I hope he wasn’t stood up by a date.

Our server appeared to be working the room solo and every once in a while I would hear her greet the next guests coming through the door with “I’ll be right with you” as she rushed to bring food to a table or collect the check from another. Several times she would stop and work on putting a few tables together for what appeared to be a large group they were expecting. I said something to Doug about hoping there were reinforcements on the way to help her as the place was starting to get busy.

We decided to take our desserts to go so at least she wouldn’t have to wait on us any longer but thinking about it now, we would probably have at least been an easy table for her.  Which reminds me: I haven’t had my dessert yet. It’s bananas foster cheesecake and I probably burned enough calories in Zumba class to compensate for it. Excuse me while I go indulge myself.

Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 10: Let the Scene Write Itself

To write or not to write

That is the question. This is another tough assignment and I’m not sure where to start. I’m even tempted to skip it. But I did write something earlier about “no excuses” didn’t I?

I’m not a writer by profession but I do have to stretch my creative writing muscles at work every once in a while, even though the subject is very technical. It’s not easy finding different ways to expound the merits of a piece of industrial machinery. But even though writing is not my main job, it helps to be able to spend some of my time doing something different. Some days it’s taking pictures of said industrial machinery or maybe pictures of employees.  Other days it’s helping brainstorm ideas for a new ad campaign. Each of these tasks uses a different part of the brain.

Sometimes while I’m concentrating on one of these other tasks, there’s an idea just kind of simmering on a back burner. If I’m lucky it moves over to the front burner when I return to my initial task and I’m refreshed enough to recognize it and take advantage of it.

At home, I re-charge in similar ways. Cooking, taking pictures, going for a walk all refresh my head and clear the cobwebs. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a shower. That’s when the best ideas come around. Now I just need to work on remembering them long enough to write them down.

Written for WordPress’s Finding Everyday Inspiration course. Day 9: Writing and Not Writing