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100 Things I’m Thankful for so far in 2010

I can’t believe a year has already passed since my last Thanksgiving post.  So now is the time for a little reflection on what has become my favorite post of each year.

This is now my fourth installment of 100 things I am thankful for.  While many of them are similar, I’ve got some new ones and new people I am thankful for this year.  2010 has been so much fun so far with new challenges and opportunities.  Thanksgiving is a great time for me, since I have the opportunity to chat with friends and family, share a great meal and call folks to catch up with others throughout the day.

  1. My family – kid, parents, brothers, cousins, niece, nephews and my wife
  2. That big brothers take care of little brothers
  3. A cup of coffee on a foggy morning day on my deck with just the dogs
  4. That kids are so resilient
  5. The totally awesome group of folks I work with.
  6. Friends that I just don’t see enough of Ruslan, Rick, Chris, Mark, Patti and Dave
  7. A nice walk on a tread mill with a TV
  8. The way Hadrian slowly wakes up every morning
  9. That Jen is a great mother to Kevren and Dijouri
  10. Catching up with Friends when on the road
  11. Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis.
  12. Walking home on a sunny day from the bus stop with Prescott
  13. That Dijouri is so thoughtful of others
  14. That Kevren is growing up to be a cool kid
  15. Every chance I get to see my parents and brothers
  16. That random people will often let you use their stuff if you ask nicely
  17. Watching Prescott do a puzzle.
  18. Watching Hadrian follow his big brother everywhere
  19. The day I learned the concept of 4 corners from JF
  20. The day I realized it’s all just math
  21. On time and on budget feature delivery.
  22. That I really believe most people are thoughtful, kind and mean well.
  23. A quiet snowy morning
  24. Free Wireless in airports
  25. That Prescott and Hadrian are best friends
  26. That Kevren and Dijouri are  best friends
  27. The day I got certified
  28. French Onion Soup
  29. Every time I have time to read to my kids
  30. Taking pictures of Em when she doesn’t suspect it.
  31. My readers
  32. Any chance I can get to visit my kids at their school.
  33. Layovers I can actually enjoy
  34. Back roads driving and looking at fields of amber waves of grain
  35. Ideas that work
  36. Ideas that don’t work and learning from them
  37. Any day I can go to a zoo
  38. Any opportunity where I can teach someone something
  39. That a neighbor was smart enough to make a snowman before it melted
  40. Sleeping in to 6:30 am – it keeps getting earlier every year!!!!
  41. That it all works out in the end, no it really does.
  42. Taking a walk someplace new
  43. Every chance I get the time to enjoy architecture
  44. That I was able to George on his 65th birthday
  45. When my teenagers can schedule me in when I’m in town.
  46. When we remember that a photo might be a good idea
  47. That I didn’t forget my Mom’s birthday – 3 years in a row!  Thank you outlook!
  48. Being home and having nothing to do but chill
  49. Being able to catch a random wedding from a distance
  50. On time departures
  51. That everyday I have the opportunity to help solve problems
  52. Sunny Days with big fluffy clouds where I can imagine shapes with my kids
  53. Oatmeal
  54. The fact I now have many people to be thankful I know in PHX, not just Ron and MJ because they aren’t always around.
  55. That you can always find something to do in Detroit
  56. My dogs – Lilly and Tewsy
  57. For discovering Yelp and how it can find a perfect meal in just about anywhere.
  58. Taking the time to walk to all my flights at hartsfield jackson
  59. Naps
  60. Watching my teenagers grow up, learn and become responsible.
  61. Any chance I get to be in Austin.
  62. A good bowl of soup on a rainy day and a good book.
  63. My mentors (Ron, Ken, John and Jim)
  64. The fact I’ll make platinum this year and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
  65. Playing Angry Birds
  66. Not being able to no to stopping at a random fair in a small town
  67. The fact that I have never played any of the “Ville” games or any other games on Facebook.
  68. Spending any Saturday at a Product Camp.
  69. Days I don’t have to shave
  70. Watching Live Music
  71. Finally catching up with MJ after almost 7 years!
  72. That I’m able on most days to wake up excited and go to bed fulfilled.
  73. Everyday I have the opportunity to learn something new
  74. Every time I don’t forget stuff in a rental car
  75. Not having to travel for Thanksgiving this year – three years in a ROW!
  76. The day I realized that creativity and logic are actually peer concepts.
  77. That just because something seems like a good idea, you still have to do the research to make sure
  78. Cool Bugs
  79. Real life conversations
  80. That unconferences have helped develop communities of learning.
  81. Watching folks who worked for me in the past doing well in their careers.
  82. Cooking dinner with Emily for friends and family
  83. Nicely done bacon
  84. Walking around the parks of NYC and looking at art
  85. That random song which pops up on the ipod.
  86. Halloween
  87. The whole group of folks in Atlanta who I’ve been hanging out with for the last decade
  88. European breakfast at just about any hotel – cheese – mmmmm
  89. When I am actually able to see a movie in the theatre, even if it is a cartoon.
  90. When I happen to actually pack the right clothes for the right climate
  91. Doing spring cleaning in the fall
  92. Just about anything BBQ with DD
  93. Sleeping kids
  94. The fact that the last member of my friends has finally had a kid and now know what it means to be to too tired to go out
  95. Those rare, but beautiful snowy mornings in Georgia.
  96. That Apple just knew the iPad solved a problem I didn’t know I had
  97. Sunny fall days in the park
  98. That I’ve finally come to the realization that I can no longer do 3 straight days of live music, it makes Monday a bunch betterer.
  99. Any chance I can get to do something for someone else.
  100. That the boys were able to find that perfect dog to take Panic’s place.

Hopefully you are spending time with people you care about and sharing a great day with others!  Have a great and safe Thanksgiving!

2008: 100 Things I am thankful for

photo.jpg by you.

So after a year since the last Thanksgiving post I have anxiously awaited the 2008 version of my things I am thankful for post. This post is perhaps the most grueling, enjoyable and fun to write.  The list clearly will include similar and exact things from the last one, but that makes sense since gratitude and appreciation should be fairly consistent.  So while it’s been a very busy year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a bunch of new folks, to try and work on who I am and to try better understand what is actually important.  I hope you have a bunch of things to be thankful for and another full year of opportunity to find new things to appreciate.

  1. My family (all 3 generations)
  2. The Community coffee mug I got this year,  It’s got a great heft.
  3. Spring Time Panic – didn’t get the chance to see Panic at all during the spring of 2008.
  4. Seeing “Greatest” Hits Live Music Shows (I got AC/DC in about 2 weeks!)
  5. Being home
  6. When the batteries die in noisy toys and they mysteriously disappear
  7. On time departures
  8. Sunny Days
  9. A brisk morning walk (the 3 or 4 i get to do a year)
  10. The fact that I almost know how to get around Phoenix now.
  11. Catching up with Ron Kevren at least 1 time a year
  12. Dijouri’s ability to experience pure joy from anything in life
  13. Prescott’s ability to watch something other than “Thoas da trein” on tivo, like “srak”
  14. I still like kids with afros, but have come to not like dreadlocks, I’m so glad that love is hair independant.
  15. That sometimes your wife does just deserves a day at the spa.
  16. My dogs still are cool
  17. Cool maps, like my 1932 relief map of Europe which I can’t seem to get back after 8 years.
  18. A show at the Tabernacle
  19. Sancho’s broken arrow in Denver IS the best bar on the planet with a great ambiance, if you can call it that.
  20. Waiting for the train at Hartsfield to take me to baggage claim
  21. Naps
  22. Watching my kids grow up, learn and change.
  23. A good bowl of soup
  24. My mentors (Ron, Ken, John and Jim)
  25. Golfing when I can
  26. Farmer’s Market Saturdays
  27. The pre-school Prescott goes to, it’s kinda cool being sorta a Methodist, since it is a GREAT school, I guess we should go to a mass.
  28. Mountain weekends thanks to Joan
  29. Being able to have actually gone on a sales call in the US with my friends from the UK – they brought their usual cheer and weather – see below.
  30. That I had the opportunity to speak in Calgary this year and now some kid is getting a scholarship in my name.
  31. The fact I actually made platinum last year, so this was a little premature.  I like being platinum, if you have to fly, upgrades on nearly every flight are cool.
  32. Playing Guitar hero and Wii Fit with my kids
  33. That my facebook network has really become about friends, not just randoms
  34. The connectedness that social media provides with my extended network of friends
  35. Looking at my setlists on my iPhone
  36. That I have friends that do good things
  37. That I don’t mind a juice box every now and again
  38. That Emily is usually right and I now just accept it
  39. When Kevren explains to me just right he is, but typically is just trying to get me to say yes to something, but ultimately understands when I don’t go along
  40. Emily’s cooking, specifically her pork paprikash – this hasn’t changed year over year
  41. When Hadrian pukes and mainly misses me
  42. The day I realized that I have no idea what I did before Google desktop
  43. The Chicago Institute of Art
  44. The whole SOB group, those that that are still among us and those that aren’t.
  45. That Jen is a great mother of Kevren and Dijouri
  46. Days I don’t have to shave
  47. That I’m able on most days to wake up excited and go to bed fulfilled.
  48. Everyday I have the opportunity to learn something new
  49. That I was able to sit in a couple of songs and play Conga’s last week for bunch of folks and didn’t suck @ Fat Catz in NOLA on Bourbon St.
  50. That a headline in a newspaper can change your day.
  51. Random phone calls from folks I haven’t talked to for a long while
  52. Understanding that today can be just as good as any day and it is MY choice.
  53. iTunes Genius functionality
  54. Eating with friends on Lake Austin is about as good as it gets.
  55. That a visually appealing dessert actually tastes better, not sure why.
  56. When I don’t forget my mom’s birthday, 2008 was a non-miss – I was the first of the kids to call.  Bonus points for me.
  57. Not having to travel for Thanksgiving this year – two years in a ROW!
  58. That I still have my atlas from my 18th birthday, it has a few less pages now thanks to my kids
  59. That I finally said yes to Burning Man this year.
  60. The moment I realized I should never drive in the UK.
  61. Tailgating at a show with my friends
  62. When Emily calls bullshit on me – I guess that’s why I married her.  It becoming less frequent, I guess l’m full o’ shit.  NAH.
  63. My first Bulldog game and it was a slaughter of Central Michigan University, which was cool.
  64. A Sunday afternoon drive with the family
  65. Watching Dijouri think
  66. Watching Kevren with his little brothers
  67. Watching Prescott dance
  68. Watching Hadrian walk
  69. That most people are thoughtful, kind and mean well.
  70. Jack’s Five-Cheese Macaroni & Achiote Chicken from Z tejas –  Made with bleu, Jack, cheddar, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, finished with toasted bacon gratin.  The Diablo chicken is good too.
  71. That I’m lucky to still have a bunch of friends with the dreamers disease
  72. That I realized that math is an important thing.
  73. My readers and influencers.
  74. The day I realized that creativity and logic are actually peer concepts.
  75. That I can read not only on a plane now.
  76. Real life conversations
  77. The day I complained about SMC and got to develop a relationship with Chris and Kristie
  78. The new professional traveler line at Hartsfield, I should still get a clear pass, but I’m too cheap.
  79. Moments when I have the clarity of thought to acknowledge that I can’t control what happens – only how I react
  80. That I’m clearly not a handy person and should hire most things out.
  81. Watching folks who worked for me in the past doing well.
  82. That going to Lake Tahoe was good idea and the luck to be able to have KISS playing there.
  83. That a day on the Hooch is as good as anything, just bring sunblock.
  84. That I have time to read to my kids
  85. Direct flights
  86. Ideas that work
  87. Ideas that don’t work and learning from them
  88. Sleeping in past 5am
  89. That I am currently buying into the market at a discount (it’s the only way I can deal with it)
  90. That it all works out in the end
  91. The perfectly mixed Sicilian Kiss (1/2 Jim Beam, 1/2 Amaretto, SPLASH of OJ – Shaken over ice, served in a shot glass)
  92. The day you find a really good $35 bottles of wine which is a repeatable purchase
  93. The day you first try a wegyu steak and the second, third, fourth….
  94. The bacon at the Camelback is just as good, well almost as good, as the bacon at the Four Seasons in Maui
  95. When I get to hear all summer long by Kid Rock and thing to myself – since it is pretty much an accurate portrayal of being young in Michigan with a good beat.
  96. That Chris, Sheryl and other folks were kind enough to help with the eBook on social brand management, The Social Marketing Construct.  Never would have gotten done without them.
  97. When I am actually able to see a movie in the theatre.
  98. A funny text message or Tweet which pops up when I’m in a meeting.
  99. When I happen to actually pack the right clothes for the right climate
  100. Any opportunity to share, listen and be with people I care about

photo by you.

Just like the last time, I probably have another 100 things I should be thankful for…. What are you thankful for?  Have a great holiday and be safe!  Cheers!


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Out of the picture

You may be quite sure you know where you’re going
But sooner or later you’re out of the picture
Too many lost names, too many rules to the game
Better find a focus or you’re out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Firemen save a millionaire’s mansion
But when it’s done, they sleep on the side of the road
You may be lost, you’ll find
Just another paradigm
Just a stop frame in time
And then you’re out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Take away this Columbus Day
No more bones on display
Blackhawk never had a say
Just taken out of the picture

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out
Somewhere along the way it all stands still

Son Volt/Jay Farrar

What are you focused on in life? There are so many distractions on a daily basis that it is sometimes difficult to prioritize your efforts and try to align them to something meaningful. It’s been an interesting couple of days to say the least and hopefully an opportunity for me to make the next year just a little better for the folks around me.

This past weekend I rolled into my 36th year in the game, along with my twin Jay, and with fathers day I was ready for MY weekend. The last year has been great for many reasons – a new son and other milestones which I was lucky enough to hit, but unfortunately, I’ve not been thinking about about me but a dear friend who passed on a couple of weeks ago, Michael D. Foster at 59 years old. You know the type of friend, who I’m talking about someone who you would spend hours with just goofing and then somehow you lose touch. With a single phone call from a friend on my birthday to wish me well yesterday, I was reminded of the fragility of all of this with a single sentence “So I got bad news too — Foster’s dead, not sure you knew”.

Foster was just one of those guys who are one of life’s examples that people are often much more than what they appear on the surface. An unfortunate example of this is the recent death of Tim Russert, he wasn’t just a great political mind, but apparently he was Superman. Foster had a little bit of Superman in him too, he may not have been the godfather to 3 kids or famous on air personality, but he had the same type of unknown side by most. His day job was a way to a means, but family, friends and trying to do something better was his focus. He’s that unlikely sage who you random into at college house, that weird old guy who just happens to show up everywhere and then one day you just connect.

When I heard about Mike’s death yesterday, I immediately pictured him cackling/laughing, thought of his loyalty and his life long passion to do good for those around him. Mike wasn’t the type of guy who you see and say “I bet he’s a good guy”, in fact a good deal of folks would take a couple of steps the other way – he was disheveled to say the least and normally covered in paint, which is a good reason to step away. The guy ruined a couch of mine, got paint on my newly finished banister and tripped and broke a window at my house – kind of trainwreck actually, but part of the unpolished charm.

Mike was a proud father of two, Bob and Joe were central to at least 50% of the stories he would tell, sometime 20 times over – each time just a little more embellished, most of which both denied being something that actually happened, like most of us when our Dad’s tell stories out of school. He befriended probably 1000’s of people who met him during college and most of which drifted away every four years during the his nearly 30 years in and around Washtenaw county, I’m glad to say I met him. I’m glad I was able to learn from him, his lesson’s, his maxims and the crazy “music” he played on his numerous guitars which were never tuned. As his landlord, I had to try and respect the other renters, but secretly I didn’t give a shit – it was Foster, he had carte blanche as far as I was concerned, rent paid or not – mostly not.

So on this Fathers Day and with my slide in to the back half of the average life expectancy of a male, I’m just a little more focused on how to better understand where I’m going and how to not forget too many names. As a son, a father of 4 and a friend of couple of folks, I will challenge myself over the coming year to engage people just a little more and share my personal side with the folks I interact with. Perhaps I can be just a little more Dopp-esque and acknowledge those intersects with people and better prioritize things so that those intersections so they can happen just a little more than they do today.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going….

While I thought this might be a weekend where it was all about me, a mistake we ALL too often make, it’s become more about the people I know and thinking about what they are doing today. I’m glad I got the opportunity to catch up with Mike in May when I was in town, just one of those random schedule and geographic intersections.

Who are you going to catch up with Today? What are you going to prioritize a little higher over the next year?

Clock’s ticking and somewhere along the way it will run out and then you’re out of the picture…

Michael D. Foster