Monthly Archives: August 2010

Finally, 100…


Look no further for the reason behind nearly 10 years of letters...Ellen, her hubby Tim, and Reid.

Today’s post is the 100th since this blog debuted last January 27th.   You’ll be spared any additional over-the-top celebration.   Finally, 100 posts.   One would think I’d run out of things to say.

For those of you who are regular visitors, thank you for sticking with me.  You’ve seen a campaign about weekly letters that began as a way to momentarily occupy Ellen and Reid’s time in college.  But since those carefree days, the tone, voice and demeanor of the letters has changed.  Lighthearted reports on joys and home life have given way to stark realities of adult life; wins and losses, disappointments and heartaches, anxieties and doubts.  As the kids have matured, so too has what they read.

I’d ask you for a few favors.

1) If you are a regular reader of these pages, keep doing so.  Thank you.

2) If you know someone with college age children or children who have flown the parental coop, forward my URL to them.  Perhaps they’ll find an outlet for their need to stay connected.

3) I’d like somehow to reach college advisors who wrestle with how to cope with or break the loneliness so many students feel.  Maybe letters are one way to help.  I’d like to reach professors of writing, too.  But I don’t know how to reach the upper echelons of college administrators.

4) I struggle with overall promotion of this blog, so if you have ideas to spread the word about this blog, I’m all ears.

5) A wholesale revision of my book – the new title is under wraps – is underway.  I’ll keep you posted on progress.

But thanks again for reading my thrice weekly foolishness.  I believe wholeheartedly in the idea of written communication.  Hopefully, if and when this reaches a 200th post, you’ll continue to agree with that assessment, too.

————————

Here is last week’s letter to Ellen and Reid.

August 23, 2010

Ellen/Reid: As with subtitles that assure viewers in films that show animals in danger (‘no fish were harmed during the creation of this fishing film’) that was precisely the end result during the course of this past weekend’s trip to westernmost North Carolina.  Rather than dine on fresh rainbows or brookies, Felicia and I instead cooked limp pasta and ate at a funky Mexican place.  It is more proof that I simply don’t know how to cast a fly.  I whipped the water to a froth and the only fish that took the bait were apparently slow on the uptake or had some sort of fish-related learning disability.  The big ones were underwater, laughing.

Saw one of the prettiest streams I’ve ever fished, and if I hadn’t been such a ham-handed klutz in terms of presentation of a fly, I might have actually caught something.  The biggest fish was about 7 inches, hardly enough to keep.  But it was an upgrade from the week before.  At least the catch this weekend was measured in inches and not millimeters.

But it was still fun.  That part of Carolina – almost to Georgia and not too far from Tennessee – is a world apart.  Lots of trailers and the people really do live closely with the land.  We saw some traps and such, and people fish for sustenance, at least in my view.  The streams and rivers get worked pretty hard.  Lots of rafting on the Nantahala (sp?) and a nice river.  It rained hard the last night and that roiled the water beyond fishability.

Now it’s back to the job search.  Sent many letters out last week to local real estate and other companies in the hopes of landing content-related freelance work which is in my wheelhouse.  So many web sites are devoid of true consumer-oriented information.  That might be where I could lend a hand.  I do have my first client – an old friend of mine from Meredith days hired me to do content for he and his wife who are good producers for a real estate company out in the Bay Area of San Francisco.  It won’t be much but the activity around it keeps me eager to do that sort of work.  Who knows, perhaps I can parlay that into other work.  We’ll see.  Literally, there hasn’t been a single feeler from the scads of resumes sent out on so-called Internet job posting services.  Honestly, it will be work in the trenches.  We’ll see how it goes.

Bless Jane H__________’s heart, she is persistent in wanting me to join Dave and Bob F. for a guy’s golf weekend in Idaho in about three weeks time.  It’s a celebration of sorts for Dave.  She’s trying to pick up all the tab, but that’s not going to work for me.  I’d feel too guilty about leaving my post just when I ought to be looking for paying work.  It kills me not to see the guys again, especially after four years, but this just doesn’t feel like the time to be running off and having fun.  Bob is really working me, too, but in a good way.  His most recent text reminded me that the job search would still be there when I got back.  I feel a little bit of a shift, but the guilt would just be overriding for me.

Have to get ready this week for a presentation to the Main Street shop owners in _______, South Carolina.  The street is nearly absent of any business, and the owners appear to dicker about how to attract more business.  What they need to do is spiff up the area and begin to do some group promotion.  The tough part is the Main Street is not one you automatically drive on as you cruise through town.  You have to purposefully turn onto it.  It’s a highly spec job but who knows what it might lead to.

Hey, off to the coffee shop to plot my day’s activities.  You guys be good, keep in touch, and let me know how your worlds are rotating.

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The parental ‘marketing mix’…


The Charlotte Observer ran an editorial suggesting parents cut the cord quickly once their kids are in college. I disagreed - and sent an op-ed piece to the editor. Who knows if the paper will run it. If it does, it will appear here.

Don’t read into this that I’ve caved to the siren call of technology but I do fold like a cheap suit when it comes to frequent use of what I’ve lambasted – texting – with Ellen and Reid.  Instead, consider this my admission of guilt.  To mix metaphors, I talk a good game but don’t walk the walk.

By my count Ellen and I text a leisurely 3-4 times per week.  The frequency is much less with Reid but when we do text the messages go in back-and-forth, rapid fire flurries.  We did just that yesterday; we traded eight or so texts in a matter of minutes.

There’s no denying texting has utility value.  It has horned its way into how you, me, and every warm-blooded person in the universe chooses to contact each other.  Sure, texting has its limitations; word count, breadth, personality, inflection, lack of spell check and iffy punctuation, et al.  Text messages are way too rampant but it is a ready answer to our predilection with speed and yet more speed.  Sometimes I wish it were not so.  Texting is, and should be, part of how parents should keep tabs on their kids.  Think of texting as one portion of your parental marketing mix (as are phone calls and infernal emails).

For me there is a limited time and place for texting.  That place is the back burner.

—————

Mom gets a letter mailed to her every week at her care facility.  Here’s this week’s installment.

August 27, 2010

Mom: We’ve had a break in the heat, if you call upper 80s or 90 a break in the heat.  It was about to break me, that’s for sure.  I’ve had enough humidity to last me a lifetime, and then some.

Not much new to report these days.  These are, however, the dog days of summer.  We went fishing last week on the western end of North Carolina and nothing was biting except the mosquitoes.  It’s quite pretty out that way, with the rolling hills and the trees.  Lots of people but it was the tail end of the vacation season before kids went back to school.  The school year started this week and the traffic has just become bonkers.  It’s added a smooth 10-15 minutes to my morning commute.  Yuck.

Ellen called last night and she’s ramping up for her new classroom and new students.  She is somewhat overwhelmed by all the preparation but she will get through it.  She likes the school but the facility is under some pressure to improve test scores or some such thing for students.  The school is lucky to have her because she will lift those results in a jiffy.  She’s a good teacher and loves it.

Looks like there are some changes ahead for Reid.  He’s had an inquiry at work about looking at a new position (nice to be wanted) in some part of the business that analyzes research results or web pages or something like that.  I don’t pretend to understand much of it.  I hope he gets the new job because change is good in the advertising business.  He’s also looking for a new pad.  Seems like he has his eye on a studio apartment.  The longer he stays in Chicago, the deeper his stake in the ground becomes.  I fear he will become a Chicagoan.  I don’t know if he likes the Bears as much as you do.  He goes to Cubs games now and again.

The battery on the Harley went South.  Have to get a new one today.  In 9 years its only the second battery the bike has had so that’s not too bad.  Tomorrow we are slated to ride the back roads to Greeneville, SC to visit the local Harley dealer there.  I’ve shelved the temptation to sell the bike for the time being as it is one of the few free-time joys that I have.  I just like the riding.  Cousin Richard would be proud.  Now, if I could just get his Hell’s Angels gear…

I’m looking for a new job here in Charlotte that will let me get closer to my writing roots.  I’ve got a friend in California who has nosed around about me writing for he and his wife who is a Realtor.  We’ll see.  Speaking of writing, I will teach a three part class on writing letters at my church.  I’ve closed the registrations at 25 because of the room size but if I get 10 to 12 people that will be fine with me.  Each week I’ll read to them the most current letters to you and the kids.  I’ll try to watch my language although a bad word might slip out now and then.  Be good mom.  I love you.

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Carpe diem or carpe hebdomas?…


Skeptics think I would never hang up my clubs. But there they are and there they'll stay for the time being.

We didn’t speak much Latin in the Presbyterian household I grew up in as a kid.

My command of romance languages has historically been sketchy (care to glance at my report cards?) so I don’t know if there is a ‘seize the week’ equivalent to carpe diem (carpe hebdomas perhaps?  The loose Latin translation is seven days but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it).

But here’s a very coarse interpretation for letter writers everywhere: get off your keester and send someone a letter.

I was just on the phone to my friend Jane in Des Moines and she groused how she and her husband Dave are out of touch with everyone including those who still live there let alone us expats.  Unbeknownst to her, she opened the door for me.  Jane and Dave are perfect letter recipient candidates; long time friends, people who I care about, people who want to know the exploits of Ellen and Reid.  The phone call whetted the appetite but left a void that a letter can rush in to fill like so much sea water.  Jane has no clue a letter is on the way but trust me, it’s already in the works.  You will see it sooner than later, a week or two, perhaps.

I may have a habit of lounging on my tidy rear end, but I know when its time to let my fingers carry the load.

———————-

We’ve gone back a fair number of years for this note sent to Ellen during her first year of teaching in Indianapolis.

July 28, 2004

Cakes:

So now you’re in your new digs and all is hunky-dory.  I can’t believe we unloaded everything in one evening and – more or less – got it all situated before we left.  That’s so cool.  But I was sweating like a sailor at a free dance (to quote your Uncle Ralph) by the time we had everything inside.  I hope to ride the bike to Indy sometime in September, so keep a laundry list of smallish stuff I can tote in my saddlebags.  I’m still uncomfortable with the lighting at the rear of the place.  As the landlord if I can install a motion detector.  I’ll pay for it.

It was so nice of the Timster to make the trip down.  He’s a pretty good guy and his idea of an iPod was a great idea.  But I saw in the paper this morning that all sorts of people have experienced hearing losses because they use their iPods too much.  Heck, I lost my hearing the old fashioned way by jacking the car stereo up too loud.

Reid is on his way back from his concert extravaganza and his trip to the lake.  He’ll be exhausted.  We don’t want to know about everything that went on up there.  The less we know the better.  As long as it didn’t include drugs, we’re okay with it.  If his weiner of a car makes it back, it will be a small victory.  We paid through the nose to have that thing prepped for the trip.  Heck, we probably shelled out more than the car is worth, easily.  Next on the selling block: the van.  It’s served its purpose (to move you and your bro’ and all your stuff) and now is the time to get rid of it.  Your mom wants something sportier but she’ll have to fight through me to get an SUV.  I’ll have none of it.

That sure was a nice surprise party Tim and Afton hosted for you.  Hope you were suitably surprised by it.  Man, what a scorcher.  Good thing the pool was part of it because you guys would’ve wilted like flowers without a way to cool off.  There were a fair number of tenants who seemed to be using the pool, too.

Going to take the bike out tonight to Porky’s while your mom goes out to dinner with the girls.  All they’ll do is bash men.  Same as you and Afton do.  I like to see all the other Harleys.  The reason lots of people go there is bike envy.  They think theirs is the best, although I don’t think there are a ton of other Heritage Softails that are better’n mine.  Once the front forks are chromed, watch out baby!  It will be the best Hog around.

Tom and Michelle ________ called us at the last minute last night to go to the ValAire for The Little River Band.  We couldn’t place their music, but once we heard it, we knew who they were.  It was an older crowd and people were really bopping and a-rolling.  At $10 a throw, that’s pretty good entertainment.  You know when the band is bald that they’ve been around a while.  30 years, to be exact.

Well, back to the salt mines.  I like your classroom newsletter, but I’d shift it a bit away from “…I had the kids…” to more of a “…this week the kids really liked…”  See you sooner than later!

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Passing 100…


Every letter ends with 'Love, Dad' and a variation of a smiley face. The eyes, however, are the window to my soul.

I’ll pass 100 posts on Weight of a Single Page within the next week.  Lucky for you it’s not 200.  Or 300.  Wonder what this would be in dog years?  That’s a rhetorical question.  (Just a heads up: I will ask you to pass this blog along to the parents of college students and other empty nesters because beyond my friends, those souls are really my target audience.  I haven’t reached very many, if any, of them.)

Someone pointed out a few weeks back that this was like reading a mini-soap opera.  Only without a large national daytime audience or a character named Erica.

Perhaps that’s what my week-to-week, year-by-year campaign of letters has been; a compilation of what grips a real family in real life.  As you’ve heard me drone on before, the campaign has morphed from filling Ellen and Reid’s college time with lots of homey nothingness to somewhat less nothingness and more tangents of a serious vein.  They’ve seen it all: divorce, upheaval of a move from friends and family, uncertainty in a new city, uncertainty in a new job, family loss, and more.

Cliche as it sounds, at the end of the day I feel a deep seated need to stay in touch with fast paced, young adult lives that are solidly on their own course.  I’m not comfortable on the phone and emails don’t cut it for me, so letters seem the right fit for my style of contact.  I will go to my grave (hopefully not anytime soon) in the fervid belief that letters ought to have a place – a rock solid place – in how we communicate and stay in touch with our kids and others who are important to us.

A word of warning: get ready for post 101 and beyond.

———————

Here is last week’s note to the young ‘uns.  A couple of paragraphs have been pulled for privacy’ sake.

August 16, 2010

Ellen/Reid: From all appearances you guys had a great time in northern Minnesota.  Reid, it’s cool that your boys would come up to spend a few days with you.  I remember them when you were all just peanuts.  The pagoda is the sort of spot that’s made for people to congregate, especially with a new kitchen.  Ellen, your photo of Henry napping in the car was just a hoot.  What a dog.  Makes me want to get one.  Hey, maybe now is the time.

Really glad about your teaching gig, Ellen.  Finally you have landed, and they’ll be awfully glad to have you once they see you in action.  I am so proud and pleased.  Take a few pictures of you classroom now and then so I can get a feel for the surroundings.

Got my first rejection letter last week.  The salient line in the short note was the job was filled “with another applicant.”  It was a church PR job and would have been a nice fit for me but the chance for an interview never panned out.  That’s okay, although it’s never nice to get such a letter.  Things went fine in Raleigh with the PR agency although in hindsight I likely could’ve done a better job in that interview and in the subsequent HR interview a few days later.  Haven’t heard anything since and that’s not the best of signs.  I know a lot about the real estate topics we talked about but when the HR guy asked if I had any questions about the agency, I didn’t come up with much beyond seeking assurance the agency would communicate differently than the one here are the bank.  Should’ve researched the agency more in terms of their clients and how they operate.  Hope to hear more from them later in the week but the silence so far is kind of deafening.  Since the job situation here at the bank is more or less DOA, my best bet may be to go down the freelance path although from experience I know it takes a long time to build a book of business let alone reach the point where money is coming in the door.  But I will keep plugging away at it.  My plan this week is to send out a very short cover letter (I’ll send one t you so you can see the direction I’m headed and you can make suggestions) plus AP writing samples and my resume to all the PR and ad agency shops in Charlotte.

Went fishing in the “mountains” near Charlotte over the weekend with Felicia, and the sum total length-wise of the four trout caught would not be as long as the width of this line.  Roughly the size of the shiners you catch perch with up at Cass Lake.  Very small but it felt good to get a line in the water.  We’ll try it again this weekend in far western North Carolina.  We got soaked by a medium hard rain on the hike back to the car but it was still fun.  The air was warm so it wasn’t like hypothermia was about to set in.  Ellen, a friend recommended I try caddis flies next time.  Ask Tim if that would be his recommendation as the temperatures cool into the fall months.

Well, I’m gonna take to the keyboard right now and begin to bang out those letters to agencies.  You guys be good, work hard (nice going on the job, EP) and I’ll be in touch this weekend.

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“…filled the position with another applicant”…


Today's letter to mom. Uncomplicated and pretty much a way to help her pass the time - and remind her she's not forgotten.

Landing work is, I think, all about connections.  Try as I might to weave around the HR screens, a few resumes have been sent absent any interaction between me and the recipient.  I’ve expected to hear “no”.  So it is no shocker that the first better luck next time letter has arrived in the mail.  There’s something about reading a sentence that ends “…filled the position with another applicant. ”  It rattles your cage.  For a nanosecond it bothered me.  A tough letter to read but a tough one to write, too.  As they say, you pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

Bottom line, it means  you haven’t cut it, that there was some worrisome shortcoming, a gap in your resume or another factor that overrode supposed strong suits to leave a decision maker unmoved.

Deflating to be sure.  My issue is how to frame it next Monday to Ellen and Reid in such a way that shows forward movement.  We’ve shared a lot of humps and bumps over the years and now is no time to start ducking bad news.   Perhaps this is a moment to drive home that whatever comes our way we can cope with it with acceptance, dignity and grace, positive resignation or other similar traits.  They hope the adage ‘when one door closes, another opens’ is all too true.

Hey, with any luck it will be a set of double doors.

—————-

Of course, mom will never hear of such woes.  Instead, she’ll read about the cheery side of life.  Here is today’s letter to her.

August 20, 2010

Mom: Went up last week into what passes for the ‘mountains’ down here and tried my hand at a little fly fishing, and the sum total of the fish caught wouldn’t have made a single mouthful.  I either don’t know how to fish (which could be true) or there weren’t any keeper size fish.  I mean, what I caught wasn’t even tiny.  Tiny is bigger than what I landed.  How they ever got their teeny mouths around the fly is beyond me.  We ran into one old boy, Charlie, who claimed to have caught more than 30 fish that day.  Maybe I just can’t fish.

But we still had fun.  I am reminded that we are in the populous East Coast when you see all the people on the trails.  Hardly what we were used to in the hinterlands of Wyoming and Colorado.  But people seemed to be enjoying themselves which is the point I guess.  We got caught in the rain on the way back down but it was warm so it was still quite comfortable (if you like dripping wet clothes).

We will head back to the hills tomorrow and this time will go further west into North Carolina and almost to the Tennessee border.  The report is that there are real fish in the stream but until some are actually caught that report remains just hearsay.  We will be along a body of water called the Valley River.

The update on the tomatoes is that there are no tomatoes.  Lots of green leaves but no fruit on the vine.  The only thing that’s doing well is the basil plant, and I don’t eat that much basil.

Ellen is hard at work at her new teaching job.  They’ve hit it pretty hard this week in teacher orientations, and it seems to me her second grade classes start right about the first week in September.  She is pretty upbeat about the whole thing, which is good.  She’s trying awfully hard at it.  She has a big dog now.  His name is Henry and he is nothing short of a horse.  In a pinch he could pull a wagon filled with hay.

Of course, there is no word from Reid.  But does that surprise you?  Not me.

Haven’t been playing any golf.  Just sort of golfed out.  The clubs are on a hook in the garage and there they will stay for at least the near term future.

It’s been too hot to cook these days so the oven and stovetop haven’t seen a lot of use.  The BLTs are good this time of year, and I’ve sliced some cucumbers and soaked them in apple cider vinegar just like you used to do.  Now that’s eating.  Wish there were some tomatoes to go with it but there aren’t.  That won’t stop me from trying to grow some next year.  It can’t be worse than this time around, can it?

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The Mindset List…


Speaking of incoming students, here's Ellen's second grade classroom in St. Paul, MN. Almost all her incoming little ones are immigrant children.

Beloit College in Wisconsin does a cool thing every year that earns it tons of media coverage; it publishes a Mindset List to remind faculty and staff that incoming freshman have a different take on the world. Profs, therefore, need to take the chiefly age-related differences into account as they teach lest students go glassy-eyed.  The hope is to keep classes relevant and therefore stimulating.

For example, don’t inject Dan Quayle into lectures because students won’t know (or care) who he is.  Rodney King?  Who’s that?  Omit from technology classes that phones once had cords.  Few profs realize few students are in the dark about U.S.-Soviet cold war tensions (how do you stay mad at a nation when you lived side by side in the space station?).   Kids view the computers we used as museum relics.  Or that Clint Eastwood was once best known as Dirty Harry, not a director renown these days for artistic films.  Students are used to lickety split in TV, media, social contact.  In other words, they have bypassed all that was familiar to the rest of us.  What’s old will remain old.

But I found one item on the list to be reassuring.  Jessica, an incoming frosh, disagreed that her generation never writes in longhand.  “When I have time, I like writing letters to friends and family,” she said.  “It’s just a bit more personal.  And yes, I write in cursive.”  Hey, kid, your grade for the year: A+.

———————–

As it’s Wednesday, we’ll pull this letter from the long-ago archieves when the only aim was to keep Ellen and Reid entertained and occupied briefly while they were in college.

August 22, 2004

EB and Reid:

We had a great weekend.  You guys weren’t here!  Get it?  You guys weren’t here.

In a couple of weeks, people will ask us ‘what artistic or thought-provoking movies have you seen lately?  Sense and Sensability?  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress?  The Living Sea?”  “No,” we’ll respond, “the only one we’ve seen is March of the Penguins.”  That’s the best we can do is watch a film where furry little birds trudge 70 miles to huddle in -80 degree temperatures and the three year old RIGHT NEXT TO US says ‘what’s wrong with the bird, mommy’ or ‘I haveta go pee-pee’?  Hey kid, so hold it already.

Actually, we spent the rest of the weekend moaning about how sore our hips were from the backpacking trip.  Geez, we’re just getting old.  And when I mention that to your mom she jumps all over me, “You’re only as old as you think you are.”  Yeah, well I may think I’m young but my hips think I’m old and decrepit.

Ellen, skip this paragraph because it doesn’t pertain to you.  Reid, Nick ________ went to one of his summer school finals ON THE WRONG DAY and subsequently failed his conditional status situation at Iowa State.  Now it’s on to DMACC for at least the next semester.  Make sure you have a calendar.

Nonnie was supposed to come over for dinner last night but she opted out because they were having a good meal over at the retirement home.  Our voice mail for her shouldn’t have told her we were having chicken tenders and fries.  I’ll have to try that again.

Went on the Harley for about 100 yesterday, and 300 on Thursday.  Bike’s runnin’ good but still can’t attach my bags until the parts come in.  A vandal stepped on my rear pegs and broke them off, and the bags share the same attachments.  Reid, pawned one of your medium sized Harley shirts off on Louis across the street.  He was in Hog Heaven.  The _______’s went through Sturgis while on vacation and all bought rally t-shirts.

We went to Wakonda for a pool party Friday night, and when the DJ started, your mom was insistent that we dance, so we danced.  There are two things I can’t stand to do.  One is sing, the other is dance.  So when we left, I’m literally wobbling up the stairs and the ________ come up to see if I’ve had too much to drink and do we need a cab.  That’s how bad the ankles have gotten.  That’s when she started all over again on the ‘you’re only as old…’  Can it, honey.

Well, that’s about enough pontification for now.  EB, you’d better draft a note to parents alerting them to the dangers of sticking tongues on cold playground bars or that ‘we strongly advise parents to encourage their children to walk on the playground because running on loose gravel could result in injuries’.

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A psychological holdover…


Reid at the wheel of his boat in northern Minnesota. A bunch of his buddies from Des Moines joined him for the week. Long time friends and good kids.

It was about this time roughly 10 years ago when I spun around at my chair and wrote the first letter to Ellen.  It was the day after she walked through the door of her dorm as a freshly minted college freshman.

To this day I am still not altogether certain why I made a 180 degree turn from my desk to face my clunky Gateway PC and start typing away.  I’ve thought about the ‘why’ a lot over the years and still don’t have a ready answer.  It just happened.  I don’t remember what was written.  The letter was not saved.

In the first ill-fated draft of my book (then titled Weight of a Single Page) I theorized that the first letter to Ellen was a psychological holdover from my days at the University of Nebraska.   Every single day, without fail, I would purposefully glance at the slim aluminum mailboxes at what passed for a dormitory ‘communications’ center (augmented by a pay phone that cost a dime).  There was never, ever, a letter for me.  Nothing.  Even junk mail and credit card come-ons – still years away from flooding college in-boxes – would’ve been a welcome sight to my lonely eyes.  Deep down was some apparent determination to not let the same fate befall her.

So this week is an anniversary of sorts.  We’ll let Ellen and Reid decide if what they’ve received week in and week out over the years is indeed worth a celebration.

——————-

August 9, 2010

Ellen/Reid: Not much new on the job front these days.  Things have essentially ground to a halt inside the bank and now it’s on to other pastures.  I drive to Raleigh first thing tomorrow for an interview with __________.  Not very apprehensive about it having been in an agency setting before.  As you know, Reid, the agency is all about being vocal and making/supporting your own case and hope I get the chance to do just that.

Was going over and rearranging my portfolio last night to prep for the trip, and it isn’t looking too bad.  A.P., WSJ, Christian Science Monitor, Meredith, lots of marketing pieces, etc.  So some parts of the puzzle are in place.  My friend Jim in Des Moines gave me a caution about folks in our age group (60+) who’ve had trouble landing work or being taken seriously.  I’ll stick to my guns in terms of what I know best in terms of writing/thinking for the customer.  We’ll let the chips fall where they may.

Looks like my writing class at the local community college is a green-light ‘go.’  Signed up as the instructor last week so I guess there’s no turning back.  I’m really excited about the possibility and already have been working on writing exercises and class structure and the like.  Ellen, I wish I had your teaching credentials and you can feel free to give me a few pointers.  My instinct is that we’ll work on basics, basics, basics.  Since most of the students will want to get to blogging ASAP, we’ll hammer at organization of content and writing skills.  I will be death on any corporate language in the event there are adults that come from a corporate background.  Words like ‘engage’, ‘metrics’ and the like will be banned.

I’ve hung up the golf clubs on a hook in the garage.  Stop me if I’ve told you this before, but they are literally hanging by a hook and will stay there until something meaningful comes across my plate.  Totally comfortable with that decision.  I wasn’t playing worth a damn anyway.

There’s one less house on the market in my neighborhood.  The unit that sits diagonally across from me just sold this past week and the young couple was outside yesterday fiddling around and grooming the place.  They’re a nice pair.  Hard to believe the unit was unoccupied for almost two full years.  Other town homes though have been popping up on the market all throughout the complex.  Not a very good sign for real estate in Charlotte.  My little neck of the woods has a lot going for it but units just aren’t moving very well.  Totally a buyer’s market.

Reid, any suggestions for the blog are welcome.  Traffic is okay but I wouldn’t mind having more subscribers.  A pretty faithful bunch but it would be nice to have a few more regulars on the site.  I’ll post my 100th post here in the next two weeks.  Thinking of scaling it back to twice a week.  If you guys have thoughts on that, let me know.

I have made a U-turn on the book and am going to revisit it entirely.  My friends Julie and Jennifer were spot on with their critiques about it; i.e. more emotion and less lecture.  The title is new, too.  Really, if either of you have thoughts, let me know.  I’d welcome you guns working on some sort of chapter or preamble that would be included.

Well, it’s off to York, SC for an interview within the hour.  I’ll keep you posted.  Hope northern Minnesota was good and that the mosquitoes were smaller than normal.  I know they weren’t any smaller in number.

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Filed under Adult Children, College, Correspondence, Family, Uncategorized, Writing to college students