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…

In the not-too-distant future

I will describe keyboards to my son one day in a not-too-distant future when he asks about them. That is when he and I will ask the computer to show us some examples. We will spend a rainy afternoon making make-believe keyboards (QWERTY and Dvorak) out of cardboard and crayons and pretend to type in…

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,…

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…

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…

R2 me, too

I was 5 years old when my parents took me to my first movie. It wasn’t just a movie. It was a drive-in movie. It wasn’t just a drive-in movie. It was Star Wars. Needless to say, it flipped me right out. Unlike most of my pals at the time, though, who called out “I’m…

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…

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…

Gratitude is Noticing

It is not easy to notice progress. As a carpenter might build a house, it is not always easy to see construction moving forward. It is only after some time has passed, days and weeks of seemingly endless labor, and only then climbing to the top of a hill in the distance to reach a…

Memorial

Right before you got very ill, Mom, you had already made up your mind. You wanted no funeral. No wake. No trace left behind but the memories you built yourself with each of us. You wrote letters to us to be read after you were gone. You made every consideration to make sure we knew…

The unseen upside to donating our bodies to science

“Donating your body to science” is a well-known but poorly understood concept, at least, according to my own experience in helping my own Mom accomplish her last wish. It is important to know there are a lot of options out there for donating but there is little, if anything, written about the process and true…

Race, Socio-Economics, and being cool with each other

What do I know about diversity? I thought I knew something about race, gender, socio-economics, and my own identity in relationship to something larger than myself. Turns out I knew very little. I learned more from this past year than I ever imagined I did not know and am keeping my eyes and ears open…

Success, Failure, and the Power of the Rebound

I was married to my first wife for 10 years. We were together for 3 before we married. It was a fabulous adventure, a tale to tell, full of ups, downs, and everything in between. We lived all over the place, followed our hearts, made sacrifices to spend time with friends in far-flung parts of…

On being a fan

It is an understatement to say YouTube has changed things. It has replaced Encyclopedia Britannica (merely an artifact from another age of learning) as the de-facto go-to resource for everything everyone may want to know, including how to fix an engine, cook dinner using a recipe, even how to tie our shoes. It is a…

Perfect cubes, balance, and the number 27

It’s the 27th day of the month today. Turns out, the number 27 is singular. The Internet can tell us why, mathematically, the number 27 is so unique. For example, 27 is a perfect cube (3 cubed), a completely balanced equation. In math, that is truly saying something. The number 27 pops up a lot,…

Adaptation, Semiotics, and Being Cool with Things

My awareness of adaptation began in Mr. Johnson’s 6th grade class. I was a 5th grader who school administrators felt belonged there, rather than with peers my own age. This, unbeknownst to me at the time, required a great deal of adaptation. Being smart in school was not sexy then like it is now. Mr….

Baby, life is what you make it

I have heard everyone say it. If I had to, I could not count how many times my pals with kids have asked, “So when are you going to be a dad?” or “How come you don’t have any kids yet?” For years I fielded kind words from my friends who considered me well suited…

Honey, it really works, honey.

Since becoming a grown-up, there are many things about childhood I remember fondly but one of them I was happy to forget about forever and wasn’t anticipating having to deal with again: allergies. For my entire adult life I was allergy-free living in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. . In Chicago, I have tried over-the-counter…