Category Archives: Friends

85 Years

Erica’s mother turned 85 today. What a fantastic milestone. A huge party was thrown in her honor. People flew in from all corners of the country. It was quite the event!

I liked the fact that people cared so much about Marge that they not only took the time to come to Newport for the weekend but some flew hundreds and thousands of miles. Wow! That says a lot about her and the friendships she has made over her lifetime.

I find inspiration from Marge in the many countries that she has traveled. I looked at the list of places she has visited over her lifetime and was astounded. In some years she visited half a dozen countries and she traveled like this regularly for most of her life. I got the travel bug late in my life, but it bit hard and I can’t seem to get enough.

The other thing that inspires me about Marge is the time and money she gives to worthwhile charities and other important organizations. She is continually working to help improve the lives of others. She doesn’t talk about it. She just does it, day in and day out.

Finally, the third thing that I enjoy about Marge is her independence. It’s one of the first things I noticed about her after our initial introduction. It’s a great lesson and inspiration for all who meet her.

So, Marge, Happy 85th Birthday! I can’t wait to celebrate your 90th with you. It will definitely take that long to work off all the food we consumed for 8 or 9 hours today.

Michael

Great Birthday

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. – Chili Davis

Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children. – George Bernard Shaw

I’m sixty years of age. That’s 16 Celsius. – George Carlin, Brain Droppings, 1997

Well, it was a great day for me! Phone calls from friends and family. Some really cool gifts and lots of fun.

I didn’t have to work today which was an added bonus. So, I started off really slow and just stayed relaxed for the rest of the day. One of my favorite parts about birthdays is the calls from friends, family and this year B-Day messages on Facebook. I’m very fortunate to have the friends and family that I do. They are a great gift!

The kid in my really comes out on birthdays. I just want to do things that are fun and really fun.

Erica took me out to a great restaurant in Providence and then we went to see Cirque du Soleil, specifically their Alegria production. Alegria means jubilation in Spanish and let me tell you, this show was full of it. I can’t describe what I saw, but I didn’t know the human body was capable of some of things I saw tonight.

Cirque du Soleil was unbelievable and a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Thanks to everyone for calling, sending me messages or texting me. It made for a special time.

Michael

Rhode Island Air Show

Today Erica and I went with some friends on their boat out in Narraganset Bay. We wanted to watch the Rhode Island Air Show from the water because a lot of the planes would be flying right over us and around the bay.

The weather was perfect; partly cloudy, not too hot and only moderate waves. Wow! What a show. I have never seen planes do the things we saw yesterday. Maybe it’s because I don’t keep up with the latest stunts, but regardless of that, these pilots were extraordinary and crazy at the same time. We saw planes stand on their tails seemingly weightless while others did somersaults one after another all thousands of feet above the ground. From small single engine stunt planes to high performance fighter jets, the aerial entertainment lasted for several hours

The Canadian Snow Birds put on an unbelievable show with 9 planes in perfect formation. They criss-crossed back and forth across the sky in perfect symmetry. One stunt involved four planes, each pair heading towards the other at breakneck speeds. Moments before a mid air collision they make a slight adjustment and pass within feet of each other avoiding collision.

The show ended with the Blue Angels captivating the crowds of people with one perfect movement after another. They seemed so close that their wings appeared to be touching.

Overall, a fantastic time on the water; relaxing, fun and exciting. The only issue I had was trying to take photos of a plane traveling hundreds of miles of hour while in a boat bouncing on 2 – 3 foot waves. :-) I’ll post a link of a few goods ones a little later.

Michael

Friends Helping Friends

Friendships are interesting in many ways. But one of the key benefits of great friendships is that you can help each other through less than happy times.

The perspective you have can sometimes be just the catalyst that is needed for the other person to leap out of a dark time. When times are tough, it may be hard to see that the way out is only a slight change in direction, but from the perspective of the person having the difficult time it may seem drastic or it may not be seen at all.

I have found that with several friends that we all seem to be going in parallel directions; i.e. having similar experiences, learning similar things and etc. The difference is typically in the situations that we are involved in. But, I find the parallels fascinating. It’s like we are all in the same classroom.

I treasure my friends and look forward to helping each other get through the stuff that life throws out us. It’s a gift that never goes away.

Michael

First Live Music Gig

Tonight marked the first live gig for our two person band named “Take 2”. It was for a small private party of seven women. LOL

We played about 14 songs; a mixture of slow and up beat. The crowd seemed to get more and more enthusiastic as the evening wore on. I think it was the wine and beer but I also believe they were enjoying the music.

I was initially a little nervous. But, once we got through the first two or three songs, we settled in to the session and the nervousness never came back. At the end we got a lot (7 total) of compliments on our acoustic sound and how well we  blend and play together. We got a lot of positive comments about one of our originals. That was nice.

This was an important milestone and I think the next time we are playing in front of people, it will be easier. The most important part is that we are having fun playing together. Over the next month, we will work on adding about 10 more songs to our growing playlist. After that we will work on playing for small parties during the summer months.

It’s a good feeling.

Michael

What You Believe in Others

Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them. – Lady Bird Johnson

Belief. It’s a powerful influence not only for children but adults as well. By sharing your belief in someone else, you can actually help them instill that same belief within themselves. It’s a great way to help people and one of the best ways to enable others to learn how to help themselves.

I’ve seen it in work situations, my friends and my daughter.  People will rise to your expectations. Sometimes that is all they need to get going. Once that fire is lit, it will burn on its own eventually.

When you worry about someone or have anxiety and fear, then you are feeding their lack of success. Empathy may not be the answer to helping somebody. Seeing past their own faults and looking into their true nature is the only way to help them. If someone is feeling down, you can’t help them by feeling down also. If someone is talking negative or having negative thoughts, being negative with them will not help them. In fact, all that does is bring you down also. It’s important to not feed someone’s dysfunctional belief in themselves. Show them a different way, a different perspective. That’s the best gift you can give. Sometimes it’s just the support people need to get out of a challenging situation.

Next time you are with friends, family or coworkers, look and see what your beliefs are concerning them. Are you helping them or feeding their hindrances?

Michael

New Paths in Yosemite

Yosemite Falls taken with iPhone

Yosemite Falls taken with iPhone

Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. – Ansel Adams

My daughter and I started the day off by taking paths in the valley that she had not taken before. I wanted her to see the valley from a different perspective. We were rewarded with some great views of Yosemite Falls with the Merced River in the foreground.

The rest of the day was spent finding little areas of the park that we had never explored. We saw several waterfalls and streams on the north side of the valley that were gushing with water right now that were not known by most people.

My goal today was to see popular attractions from slightly different angles. I was rewarded with some lovely views; some were simply from a different angle while others were expressed in unusual reflections.

It’ really important to step out of our regular habits and views periodically to explore what else the world has to offer. Sometimes all it takes is to move over a few feet and the perspective changes completely.

I’m glad our intentions were the same today. All of us got exactly what we were looking for; more natural beauty in low traveled areas of Yosemite Valley. The park is amazing in its vastness. Don’t just see what everyone else goes to see.

Have a great day!

Michael

What Do You Want To Do?

I was chatting tonight with a friend that I hadn’t talk to in quite some time. She was talking about how her job was not that satisfying. So, she was questioning where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do.

That’s the key question: “What do I want to do?” I think it’s the best question to start making a major change in your life. Why would you continue down the path of doing things you don’t want to do? The answer seems obvious but many times, people come up with a host of excuses to continue doing things they don’t want to do.

I told her that she was already ahead of the game by asking that very important question. The next step is to visualize those things that you want to do. Imagine what it would feel like doing them. Picture yourself actively involved in the situation you are imagining. All these steps help to fuel your creativity and put you in a state where you can see new opportunities when they arrive at your doorstep.

It sounds simple, but this is a very powerful technique for making a change. I told my friend that she should be very encouraged as she is on the way to making life changes that will bring her more happiness and feeling of satisfaction.

Michael

First Day of Spring

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers

The Vernal Equinox occurred at 7:44 a.m. EDT. This heralds the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the southern. Astronomical note: The equinox is the point at which the center of the sun crosses the equator.

For us in the north, it’s a time to start coming out from weeks and month of being reclusive. Internally, it’s time to turn away from a time of introspection to more outward endeavors. I love this time of year. People start to thaw out. Plants are budding. Flowers begin blooming. The world is waking up (at least in the north).

I’m looking forward to doing more hiking without heavy coats, gloves and hats. I’m ready to feel the warmth of the sun while sitting on my deck. I’m ready for spring bulbs. I’m ready for the Newport Flower Show. I’m ready for my annual trip to Yosemite with my daughter.

I’m just ready for spring.

I’m glad it’s here!

Michael

Appreciate Someone

Appreciate people. Nothing gives more joy than appreciation. – Ruth Smeltzer

Appreciation is such a powerful tool to help people change. Sincerely given, it can instantly make someone leap out of any quagmire they may find themselves in. Appreciation is universally desired and I feel should be universally given.

We tend to hand out appreciation to our families and close friends, but I think the real magic is in giving it to people you don’t know or know only slightly. A kind word to a stranger. A smile to someone who looks like they could use it. A helping hand to a person in need. Listening to someone who needs to talk.

Think about what our world would be like if all of us showed appreciation to one person each and every day. We’re talking change on a global scale. What if everyone felt just a little bit better today because we all took responsibility in showing each other a little appreciation? I can imagine a world like that and it looks really good. Can you?

I’m going to start today. What about you?

Michael