Remembering a Friend

Judy Martin (1965-2014)Today my friend Judy Martin would have turned 50.  Certainly a milestone moment for anyone – instead of preparing for a celebration of her birth, many who knew Judy are remembering a friend who lost their life a year ago.

Many remember Judy in the way she went about life – finding the best in people.  For me, Judy helped me realize there was time to breath and enjoy life.  So Judy, as we mark what would have been your 50th birthday, and a year since you passed, I’ll take a moment today to look about and just breathe.

As time goes by, we remember people who are no longer in our lives in different ways, but I hope I’ve learned how to remember the pieces of people that made them special-and pay tribute them everyday.

Stop today, remember a friend – and breathe.

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Single Point of Failure

Single Point of FailureIt’s been two-weeks since I updated here, which is not unprecedented but is unusual.  As is usually the case life kind of takes up time and things get pushed to the back burner.  One of those “life” moments was a three-week process I was involved in at work, where the term single point of failure was used often.

In the use-case of work, the single point of failure was something to be avoided.  This is where one breakdown somewhere in a daisy chain of events could cause the whole project to come to a halt – and in this case impact paying customers.  The single point of failure must be avoided.

Across the last couple of weeks, that paradigm persists.  We had 13.5’s Washington Trip to get through.  While that was not a huge impact, it did require making sure she was packed, had some healthy snacks to add to the assortment of Oreos and candy that made the trip with her class.

Then 11.0 talked me into signing her up for a second travel softball team.  So now we are deep into a pair of concurrent softball seasons.  The schedules start next week and the practices are already underway.  This gets mixed in with school, Hebrew school and all of her friends.

Add to that I had a week in Santa Monica for work where I managed to come down with a cold.  That cold has slowed me down since getting home Friday night.

Then there was the two-plus weeks my sitter didn’t have a car which really did not give me the peace of mind I try to maintain when I am not home.

All those items above are not earth-shaking.  Cars break, I’ve been sick before, travel isn’t new, the girls do spend time away from home and work has pressures.  But all together, with one parent, there is a single point of failure.

11.0 had back-to-back practices yesterday.  About four hours of softball.  During that time I saw a mix of parents and siblings coming in and out of the ball field – switching up and getting things done.  With only one parent, there is a single path for accomplishment.  So, I was checking in with 13.5 via text (the preferred communication medium) to see if she need a ride somewhere and that she ate.

So, at work I learned the importance of avoiding the single point of failure.  At home I realized a sitter without a car is a single point of failure.  And the reality is, I can be my own single point of failure too.

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Pause for Life, Memories and Perspective

RIP Judy MartinSometimes it’s a bit cliché, but who ever they are say 50 is the new 30.  As I close in on 50, one of the things that still gets to me is when my contemporaries pass.  I got that news (again) today when I found out Judy Martin passed away.  Judy was a friend for more than 20 years and this is a moment that gives pause for life, memories and perspective.

The funny thing about my relationship with Judy over the years (and I think this applies to many who knew Judy), there were moments where our paths crossed and moments where we didn’t see each other – but then when we reconnected it was as if it was just a day ago.

Judy and I first crossed paths at News 12 Long Island – as she was leaving to begin a new chapter in her life and I was just getting there to start a new chapter in mine.  It was four or five  years later before life brought us together again, this time I was at CBS Radio and she was at NPR.  With a hug and a kiss we caught up and went about our work that day.

And that was kind of how Judy was.  Focused on her job, caring about the people she met.  For anyone who was in New  York for 9/11, you know the sense of change your life took.  That moment changed Judy (for the better) and those that she touched.  Judy’s brand was born.

By that time, I was back at News 12 Long Island helping to launch digital platforms and evangelize the conversion of a linear television network to embrace on-demand content.  Judy and I spent hours talking about what the future of news would look like and the future of the business we were in.

Beyond that, Judy was a great friend.  She was a great sounding board as I considered an offer to leave News 12 and begin a new challenge at CBS News.  She was also there in the weeks and months after Risa passed.  Listening and helping me re-focus my life and sharing lessons she had learned in building her brand so I could build my own.

I think anyone who ever met Judy would admit when she came into a room, her smile was infectious.  If you spent any time talking with her, you would understand how her spiritual outlook meshed with her passion of balancing work and life.

In the end, Judy is gone too young, but in the end I can say I am better today for having her as a friend.  So in this moment all of Judy’s friends can  take a pause for life, memories and perspective – and while we lost a good friend we share some great memories.

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8765 Times 3 Plus The Circle of Life

Risa on her wedding day with her sister and mother

Risa on her wedding day with her sister and mother

There are 8765 hours in a year.  In the three years I’ve been widowed, 26,297 hours have ticked off.  Recent events though have made me realize, my life isn’t so bad.  Yes, its challenging at times but as the girls and I mark our third year without Risa and the passing of her mother (their grandma) at 8765 times three plus the circle of life we’re doing OK.

Maybe it’s the time of year that all of this occurs in – the holiday season filled with symbols that make the images of 2010 so vivid.  There was Thanksgiving at our home, a very quiet day with the girls.  We hosted Thanksgiving dinner again.  It’s become an impotent part of our time together.  We know where we are.

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Back then I got the call that Risa was starting to decline.  This year the call was different but the message was not.  A member of the family was approaching the end.  This time it was Risa’s mom Grandma Eddy.  As events unfolded I wrestled with how and when to tell the girls, the message similar to the one delivered years ago.

There we were at our temple’s Chanukah fair, where we were the day after Risa passed away.  This year, instead of talking to the rabbi about Risa, the discussion was Risa’s mom.

The irony of the moment was not lost on me.  Somehow, it seemed to make sense to keep things as normal as I could of the girls.  Let them go through their day, be with their friends and celebrate the holidays.  The moments that we remember.

There are 8765 hours in the year.  8765 times 3 plus the circle of life this year.  It’s a moment we’ll share (again), but it’s also a reminder that all in all our lives are not so bad.

Risa and Grandma Eddy are gone, but not forgotten.  We carry their memories each day.  They are part of us 8765 hours a year – hopefully for many years to come.

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Back To School, Let Normal Return

Life Returns to NormalThe alarms started sounding at 5:45 this morning.  By 6:20 10.5 was eating breakfast.  At 6:50 13.0 was gathering up her breakfast and we were heading out the door.  The girls went back to school.  Let normal return to our lives.

This is a big year for 10.5, she starts middle school.  Also a big year for 13.0, she finishes middle school.

Now that the never-ending summer has unofficially ended with the return to school, the first set of stressors – getting to the first bell – is lifted.  More on that over at my friend Judy Martin’s Work Life Nation blog, where I right about going back to school.

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Here at home, it’s getting ready to let the routine settle in.

Hear that? It’s the sound of silence…ahhh

The girls are back to school, let normal return.

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Twists and Turns To Get Things Done

Twists and TurnsSo last night, as Labor Day Weekend 2013 was in its final stages, we gathered up with some friends who we spent part of Memorial Day weekend with-and the list of all the things we wanted to do this summer came up.  Yeah, there’s a large list of things not done.  But through the twists and turns to get things done, there was also a bunch checked off the list.

According to the calendar, summer 2013 rolls on for another six weeks or so.  Meteorological Fall 2013 is upon us though.  So technically there is still time this summer to get some stuff done.

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But that doesn’t give credence to all that was accomplished.

Yeah, I wish I was able to get more done, and yeah-getting new furniture for 10.5’s room became new mattresses for everyone and added more than $2500 to the price tag-but twists and turns are to be expected.  Results are what is measured.

Sure, the long weekend on Block Island could have gone better-but we did make it.  Yeah, that closet still needs to be emptied out but there are new stools at the kitchen table.

Things get done, sometimes not the stuff that is on the list at the start-but you can’t knock progress.

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Did You Ever?

Did You Ever?There are moments when you look around and realize, did you ever?  And this could be one of them for me.  I somehow manage to get involved with a great partner and I still managed to mangle the relationship.

I am admittedly not an easy person to be in a relationship with.  I think largely my issues in relationships are due to my relative inexperience in relationships and because for five years or more I’ve done what I think is best-with little sounding off.

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That said, I am a good guy at heart.  And being good has to count for something, right?

But that something is relative.  I admit, I make decisions less about what is good for me and more about what is good for us as a whole.  And that probably does not work in a relationship.  But it’s important to me.

I am not deeply spontaneous and mix that with not being a good planner and you end up with an outwardly who is not easy to make plans with.  I am not sure that is the case, but easily it could be.

Over the years I have been dating I have tried to be better at being in relationships.  It’s a learning process for sure, but every now and then I think I make progress.  Then you hit a patch where you say to yourself, “Did you ever?” and all of a sudden your on your ass-progress gone backward and no one to blame.

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The Ruse of the Do-Over

Action and ReactionThink back to the days when you were younger playing ball in the street.  A car came or the ball hit a branch over-hanging the street sometimes after an argument you did a do-over.  Nothing happened, and you get to replay the moment.  Later in life though comes the realization, the do-over is a ruse.

Adult reality is more aligned with Sir Isaac Newton’s law of physics: for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.  And there is no do-over.

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Mistakes happen.  People are emotional creatures which helps cement the randomness of actions and reactions.  Then there are the consequences.

Out in the street there was the ruse of the do-over.  Yes, you can replay that moment.

Later in life, actions and re-actions come complete with consequences.  And there in lies the rub of life.  Stand there, and realize Newton was right.  Actions spur equal and opposite re-actions and when emotions are added predictability is gone.

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Life Without the Eraser

Giant EraserWhen we were younger and played baseball in the street most disputes were settled with a do-over.  Do the whole play again.  Kind of like an eraser for the moment.  Little did I know back then I’d go through life without the eraser we used in the street.

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I think we can all think back to moments we’d like to re-do.  A comment made, a situation that could be handled better, a decision we’d like to re-think.  But life doesn’t work that way.  We can learn and adapt, but we can’t go back and hit a button that re-does a moment.

Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to college a study a little more for a test, or spend an extra hour in the library researching that paper.  Hopefully those moments left an impression, an experience, that we can reach back to when we need to make a different decision going forward.

Life doesn’t work that way though.

We have to live in the moment and hope we can make the right call at the right time.  As age and responsibility add to our lives, the pressure on the decisions gets higher-and the margin for error becomes less.  We can only hope the moments that call for decisions are handled well, in our life without the eraser.

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When Perception and Expectation Clash

When perception and expectation t-bone

When perception and expectation t-bone

When you take a step back and think about life and events looking forward or looking back you can break them down by perception and expectation.  Then there are those moments when perception and expectation crash.

Perception is defined (on dictionary.com) as: immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral,psychological, or aesthetic qualities; insight; intuition;discernment.

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On the same site expectation is defined as:  the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.

When anticipation of a forward-looking event meets with intuition and discernment (either rightly or wrongly) the result can be the great unknown.  That clash of perception and expectation can sometimes have great results, it doesn’t have to be a negative.

The intuition part of perception is colored by the lens of our lives.  Your past experiences help give you the understanding of events to perceive how things will go and what motivation is.

When performing the act of expectation-looking forward to something, you perception of that event is colored by your past.  And when two people have a different past and share an expectation-their perception can be different and the clash occurs.

Sometimes, like a fender bender on the highway it’s not so bad-kind of a headache.  Other times it’s like being t-boned at an intersection and that moment when perception and expectation clash causes the airbags to explode and you end up with a bloody nose.

It’s a fine line walk when managing perception and expectation-you have to admit it.

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