Party

By the time you read this, I will have attended three very different parties over the course of a week.

The first was a celebration of life for a dear friend who died way too young. Friends from her college days and early New York years gathered to remember a life so bright that to simply say her name would bring a smile to your face.…


Fit

While reading this New York Times article last week, a turn of phrase caught my attention “one sad nod and head shake after another.” While it was referring to the book, The Age of Grievance, I found it ironic in that it perfectly captured my experience having just read the paper. Every story was one piece of sad or bad news after another. Even the Arts section, which I save for last, so I might end on a positive or inspiring note, was riddled with critics tearing apart various movies and plays.…


Birth

To give birth – whether to a person or an idea – is to bring something new into existence. Its origin is from the Old Norse word meaning “bear.” My assumption is that this was an early acknowledgment of the intense labor that is intrinsic to the act of giving birth.

When we give birth to anything it brings with it a combination of immediate joy, hope, anxiety and fear.…


Photographs

Like many families, every year we create a calendar. Around December, I begin by looking through all the pictures our family has taken over the last year. We then select somewhere between three and twelve to put with each month. In total that means around fifty to sixty photos end up representing our year at a glance.  A small number curated from almost a thousand.

While I’m sure the family members who receive this gift appreciate it; the act of creating provides me with the greatest present.…


Gestures

As part of my season of giving, I asked the waitress if she could add the bill from the two police officers sitting in the adjacent booth to my tab.

Smiling, she told me that the couple by the window had already made this anonymous gesture.  In turn, I asked the waitress if I could pay for that couple’s meal. That too, she said, had been taken care of.…


Giving

As the saying goes, this is the season for giving. Yet for some, including myself, the giving is often focussed on just a few days.

For the rest of the month of December, we’re running around frantically trying to wrap things up – not just the presents we’ve purchased but various end-of-year projects – both work and personal – that have piled up the previous months.…


Dinner

Last week, my entire family sat down to dinner on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights. On Wednesday my wife and I went out for dinner for a date night, just the two of us, after friends had to cancel due to illness.

Since starting a family, dinners together have been a priority.  As they get older, with more after school activities and a natural desire to hang out with friends, family dinners can happen a little less regularly.…


Capable

It is heart wrenching to see what humanity is capable of doing to one another.

How can any person or group of people be capable of murdering innocent children?

It is an unfathomable thought for most.

A difficult but more accessible question is to ask ourselves: What lengths would a parent or group go to protect their own children?

For those of us who have children, we can imagine ourselves being capable of almost anything.…


Celebrate

In the movie The Intern, Anne Hathaway plays the founder of a tech/fashion startup and Robert DeNiro is her unlikely “senior intern.” At the company’s open layout office, there is a tradition where a bell is rung to celebrate an achievement. You can ring the bell to announce that you’ve done something noteworthy or in recognition of someone else’s efforts or accomplishments. When the bell is rung, everyone stops what they’re doing for a moment to cheer or clap, before going right back to what they were doing.…


Strike

The first recorded labor strike in world history occurred in Egypt in the 12th century. Workers charged with building the Pharaoh’s burial tomb stopped working on several occasions because they were not given sufficient rations of food and water.

Let that sink in.

In 2023, so far there have been 200 hundred labor strikes affecting over 320,000 workers. That is triple the number in 2022 and ten times as many as there were in 2021.…


Conscious

I was having a conversation last week with my daughter about phone usage. She was forcefully advocating for Snapchat while we were on the fence. In the course of the conversation, I discovered that in addition to your phone providing statistics on screen time (both in total and for individual apps) it also recorded the number of times you picked up your phone and which app you were picking it up to use.…


Pull-up

Years ago I dropped one of my AirPods onto a train track. After the train passed, I stupidly jumped down to fetch it, not realizing how far down the track was relative to the platform. To get back to the platform, I had to pull myself up. It quickly became apparent that I could not do it. Fortunately two people on the platform were able to give me a hand before an ensuing train came along.…


Noise

On a good day, I find it difficult to sleep on a red-eye flight. Recently, as my family and I embarked on our summer vacation to France, it was impossible. In addition to the standard two to three babies who intermittently scream, we were surrounded on our packed flight by a large pack of college students. There seemed like there were a hundred of them. Talking incessantly.…


Heat

The world has never been hotter. While statistics like Phoenix experiencing over twenty consecutive days of temperatures above 110 degrees are eye-popping, we don’t need numbers to tell us things are getting hot up here.  We only need to walk outside.

Long before this latest and perhaps most obvious manifestation of climate change, my youngest daughter has been turning up the heat in our household for years.


Ritual

The Oscar nominated short documentary “How Do You Measure a Year?” is a film based entirely on a ritual. Each year, filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt asks his daughter to sit in the same spot on their couch and answer the same set of questions. The ritual begins on Ella’s second birthday and extends to her 18th. After not watching any of the footage during those seventeen years, Rosenblatt edits these sessions down to a crisp and moving twenty-nine minute time machine.


Fathers

Each Father’s Day has a very familiar rhythm. This weekend is typically the same as my college friends’ reunion weekend. I will often leave the revelry early to make it home in time to coach my daughters’ soccer games on Sunday. 

Given this schedule, it is often difficult or impossible to really plan anything “special” for Father’s Day. 

Father’s Day usually marks the end of the spring soccer season.


Trying

Tracy Chapman’s song, Fast Car, tells the story of longing for a better life.  Over the course of the song’s four and a half minutes, you’re taken on a ride of yearning, frustration, resignation, and hope.

It is a simple but beautiful song about the complexity of trying to better yourself and your situation.

I heard the song at a pivotal moment in my life where, like the characters in Chapman’s song, I too was longing to escape –  to in her words, “leave tonight or live and die this way.”…


Mothers

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. A time to celebrate, honor or at least recognize the person who literally – and in so many other ways – made us who we are today.

It is so easy and unfortunate, to take our mothers for granted or become frustrated with what we see as their mistakes and missteps. To say that moms take a lot of grief would be an understatement.…


Break?

Years ago I read about an Oakland school that was having increasing issues with student behavior. Fights and disruptions would break out with regularity and teachers were struggling to create an atmosphere conducive to learning.

The proposed solution was simple. Give the kids a break.

Many of the children were carrying to school not just their backpacks but the stress and trauma from difficult circumstances in their homes and neighborhoods.…


Supporting…

Twice I sat in my bedroom chair and wept.

Spaced over the course of a week both instances involved a question of support.  In the first instance, I was overwhelmed by offers of assistance when my wife was unexpectedly hospitalized for almost a week. Friends reaching out to see if we were ok, needed anything, just to say they were here for us. One brought over dinner, another bought us a week of groceries.…


Relationships

Try this simple exercise. On a piece of paper write down the five most important people in your life. It should be a list of people who you truly care about and enjoy spending time with. The only rule is to not include anyone you currently live with.

Now try to estimate how much time you’ve spent with each person over the last year. It should primarily be time spent in person, but if you care to include meaningful phone conversations that’s up to you.…


Generations

Leopoldstadt is the new and presumably last play written by Tom Stoppard. It tells the story of two families and spans four generations. While it explores themes of class, culture and religion, its primary question centers around the obligation family has to its members. Not just present but future and perhaps most importantly past.

Early in the play, the matriarch is showing the family photo album to her grandchildren.…


Cheer

It was a week for celebration in my home.

Our oldest daughter turned 15.
Our youngest received two call backs for the 5th grade play.
Our middle daughter won her first wrestling match.
My wife won her first competitive tennis doubles match.
And my podcast won two golds – one for best interview show and another for most inspirational podcast.

When my daughter won her wrestling match, her coach picked her up in the air as teammates cheered her on.…