Thanks, Mom + Dad

Dear Mom + Dad,

Thanksgiving was your favorite holiday, bar none. It was the most special of them all, the only day of the year everyone else acted the way you two did each and every average Sunday: preparing food for the ones you love in a most festive way, with great attention to detail for the ritual and sheer joy of it.

The Military, Vultures + Residential Remodeling – unlikely lessons in UX

Before I moved to the State of Abe a few years ago, I lived in Juneau, Alaska. From time-to-time, I worked with military personnel, most often legal counsel, the types that handle deals to procure real estate on which to build things, all kinds of things, from barracks to administrative offices, training facilities and storage…

Stepdadding: verb.

Stepdadding (sp?) is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging things I have ever taken on in my life. Here’s a part of my stepdad story. An off-the-top-of-my-head inventory of past experiences I draw insights from almost every day in my quest to be a solid stepdad? The list includes experiences like this: Designing…

Merry Christmas, Dad

Well, it’s been a whole year since you left, already. There are still days I think of you constantly, times when I see you driving the car next to me, stepping onto the train, riding your bike along LSD or walking just ahead on the sidewalk. Once I saw you standing in line ahead of…

This Year’s Introspection Perception Reflection

Dear, Daschel, I love this time of year, I love winter and snow and all the festive spirit floating around. But not as much as I love you, of course. There are some emotions only parents have access to. For example, listening to you discovering your own identity, expressing your own point-of-view, these things are…

Heavenfaced: Gratitude and Grieving

When we’re grieving, it’s easy to forget it’s a mysterious process. I’m grateful for the music, stories and art that are also mysterious, the way they find us when we need them and help catalyze the process, which can seem to take such a long time. When Dad died around this time last year, I…

Show up. Do your best.

This is the best advice I’ve ever received. It’s so good and I am so grateful, it is the only advice I ever offer. Not surprisingly, it’s transmitted directly and indirectly by some of the greatest characters in fiction. I offer it to my 5-year-old each day when I drop him at school. He answers…

Blending : Building A New World Family : Part II

This is the second time I’ve written about this (first was back in March) and, since then, we’ve taken huge leaps forward together, and each on our own, as our little family continues to evolve. On August 12, 2016, we (all of us!) officially marked our marriage and new family during a festive celebration at…

Living With Dementia

Mom passed away three years ago today. After initially being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, it was a few months later, at the University of Iowa Hospitals, when she was diagnosed with vascular dementia. As her world (and ours) fell apart, I realized that Mom’s behavior suddenly made perfect sense. I also became startlingly aware that,…

Changing without changing

Many of us make great sacrifice to avoid it. Laws are written and put into place to stymy it. Large, expensive buildings are built to protect against it. Minds are made up against it and reject ideas that even hint at it. Blockades of all sorts are built against potential outcomes that may lead to…

Blending: Building A New World Family

This is the first time I’ve ever done this and, since I’ve spent seemingly countless middle-of-the-night hours reading everyone else’s opinion about it on the Internet, I will offer my own out of respect for others – now knowing just what it feels like, having only imagined it up until now. If you are like…

Perspective

The first time I saw this was sometime in May of 2011 while flying across the US inside a Boeing 737. I was commuting back and forth between the Midwest and West Coast on a weekly basis. I was uncertain about a lot of things. Specifically, in addition to my dad’s health failing and wanting…

Dad

Dad was a storyteller. His greatest gift was making people feel comfortable being themselves. He had a story for every situation, every occasion and seemed to be powered by empowering others. He may not have represented this exactly for his immediate family, but he largely impacted a circumference around himself that he surely thought of…

Parallel Parenting: A Strategy for Acceptance

Divorces are snow-flakey, meaning each one is different. Some people are able to be grown-ups about it and be respectful, friendly enough to co-parent but, honestly, this is the exception rather than the rule. Everyone has to move on, eventually. Acceptance is not always easy, though. Not everyone is good at accepting new paradigms, especially…

The top-ten list of things that don’t get easier with practice – Number One – saying goodbye (Part VI)

On a regular top-ten list of almost bearable life-changing events, waiting-for-your-dad-to-die would rank second, perhaps, only to waiting-for-mom-to-die (depending on your situation), but both are tied for first with most things involving the complexities of life, death, emotion and identity.  On a top-ten list of things that don’t get easier with practice, however, many of…

Does empathy bridge art + engineering?

It takes a special something, a combination of unique experience and compatible disposition, to effectively temper hard sciences with soft ones in practice. Everything may very well come back to user experience, not only in the product (the outcome) but also in the process (the story). Empathy is arguably a key component of both hard…

URL

I learned one of the most important lessons from URL, who was about 3 when I first met him. Known mostly for peeing all over the place whenever he first saw you, URL always got too excited to see people he knew or any people, actually, who were willing to give him attention. URL would…

All in the telling

The latest technologies, including cloud, social, anything mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have and will continue to transform business, especially the customer experience, which still revolves around the story. Storytelling is still the centerpiece. Nothing new there. Storytelling has been the centerpiece since before anyone could even write….

On overcoming adversity

Having gone through a particularly trying time over the past couple of years or so, involving pretty much every type of major life-changing event (moving, career changes, divorce, child-custody battle, loss of parents, etc), I made some time to write down my thoughts about it, to write the whole story from my perspective, what it…

A single-parent household glossary

“Kid-free” I describe every other week as “kid-free.” It first appeared when I started dating again. Browsing the profiles of divorced women and then writing my own, it was important to specify that one was occasionally, hopefully regularly and consistently, kid-free. “Every other week I’m typically kid-free.” Actually, his mom frequently calls on me to…

An Introspection Perception Reflection

I love this time of year. Not just because of winter and snow and all the festive spirits floating around, though. I love it for how people collectively look back at the year that has passed and reflect. For me, this past year was spectacularly huge in contrast to others. The biggest thing is that…