Oh, its Christmas again?

I’ll have to check with The Pope, but I’m pretty sure Christmas falls on the same day every year. And yet, somehow it catches me by surprise.   I was vindicated a little by someone telling me that Thanksgiving was late; therefore the whole magical time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was cut off by an entire week, so that’s something, at least.

However, it seems like every year lately, I have that “oh crap, Christmas is next week” moment. This year I’m flying solo Christmas morning, due to a half planned trip that fell through and, well, a lot of work.

So I had plans. I was going to get a tree and rebuild my Christmas decoration stash, which was lost in a mixup with an ex girlfriend years ago. Oh, such plans they were, and that’s what they stayed. My tree situation, as of Christmas eve, was rather bleak:

This 2014 Christmas Tree is Brought to you by Artimide and a single Gensler Christmas ornament from 2001, supported by first edition Ayn Rand novels.  Take that symbolism to the shrink.

This 2014 Christmas Tree is Brought to you by Artimide and a Gensler Christmas ornament from 2001, supported by first edition Ayn Rand novels. I won’t try to guide you through that symbolism.

I’ll blame the mid December trip to London, but it’s still pretty weak – the tree would have rightly survived through not even a week of being gone. There’s all of the work that I can’t ignore – this year has been a crazy warm-up for what looks like is coming for next – but I’m a little sad I didn’t get a tree (I’m into getting the real ones). Nevertheless, this little last minute setup seems right for this year. And what was intended as a full day of solo reflection has become busy at the last minute, which is a nice surprise.

Merry Christmas.

The Year Ahead is Actually Looking Good

A shot I took on a recent trip to Marfa, misguidedly holding the camera out of the sunroof while driving.

A shot I took on a recent trip to Marfa, misguidedly holding the camera out of the sunroof while driving.

After quite a long time of being concerned about how things will turn out for the real estate industry, the city, and the region, if little old me can start feeling optimistic about his fledgling little nobody company, times have to be good.

Two projects I have should start construction at the beginning of the year, and the “big one” should really start moving at about the same time.  I’m also working on something that, if successful (I will know my February or so), might be one of the most ambitious planning exercises that the area has seen in a long time. At that point, it will be time to scale.  It’s kind of scary and exciting at the same time!  I still don’t have it all figured out and maybe I never will… But that first real, full time hire – with the overhead that comes with it – is a big hurdle.  Over the next two weeks, after I take an ever-so-short vacation (it will be my first legitimate vacation in years), I’ll head up to visit my family and probably spent most of the time working on projections and financial models.

On top of that, there is website content, networking, Christmas parties, business development, all of the other stuff that I haven’t seemed to have been able to do. I also have the actual work – that has to fit in there somewhere, right?  I’m looking at working with a virtual personal assistant to try to get some of the minutia off of my plate.  We’ll see how that goes, but I don’t what to offload!  I guess that is going to take some time to figure out.  But there are definitely some things that I do that… May not be the highest and best use of my time, so it’s worth a try.

I’m very thankful for this year.  There have been many trials, some I have been happy to leave behind, another which I still can’t seem to let go.  I have been lucky to have people around me who support me, others who have given me some space, and some good old fashioned luck/divine intervention.  2014 will be the year to pay all of those people back!  You know what else might be cool?  Writing something interesting on here.

I am very interested as to why WordPress thinks I should tag this post with “Great Blue Heron” and “Hawaii.”  I think I’m going to.

I am now officially crazy dog guy.

Yep, its official.

I always thought that three was the threshold before you got to “crazy” status.  For example a lady with three or more cats = crazy cat lady.

 

I think, though, in this case, I have hit the crazy status with only two.  I have had my dog Molly for nine years now, and she’s been a great dog.  She’s been spending time around another dog recently and I can actually see a positive difference in her health, so it got me to thinking… But I never could go through with it.

"Hi - I would like to order a dog, please.  So people know that I am not a dog.  Thanks."

“Hi – I would like to order a dog, please. So people know that I am not a dog. Because I’m not.  Thanks.”

Fast forward to last weekend while I was at the White Rock Market.  I’m just walking around minding my own business when I see this dog, and knew he was for me.  Back nine years ago, everyone involved knew that molly was “It.”  And she has been.

So for whatever reason, I filled out an application, and the next day:

 

"I am literally going to murder you with cuteness."

“I am literally going to murder you with cuteness.”

So I’m in Day three.  So far this dog is amazingly smart.  It took about 10 minutes to get him to sit on command.  Now, by comparison, it took Molly… 8.5 years.  Granted, Molly has magic talents such as holding her bladder for insane periods, but that’s because she’s a dachshund: I think her extended body comprises mostly of bladder.

So far, hes been great in a crate, has never made a mistake in the house, and is very polite (and learns very quickly).  I adopted him from an organization called Angie’s Friends, a not for profit which fosters strays from blighted neighborhoods and finds new homes for them.  Sampson here was 3 month old when he was found, and is now 7 – I think she was afraid he was starting to get too big to find a home.  But, he’s found one now.

 

NEVER FORGET

I was leaving my gym after we had done a pretty high intensity workout (that I finished in a pretty decent time, I might add) and was… a little light headed.  It was the end of the day, so I staggered to the car carrying my clothes and still wearing my gym clothes (which have no pockets).  I put all of my stuff in my car and drove away.  As I pulled on to the access road of Central Expressway when I hear a sliding noise and a bang… It wasn’t until a few block later that I realized: my phone had been on the trunk and slid off.  I painfully drove back to the scene.

I saw the phone sitting there, in the middle of the access road.  It was in the middle of the lane where no tires should really be.  It looked like it could be OK…

Then a long wall of traffic came along.

Crunch-crunch.

Crunch-crunch.

Crunch-crunch

.
Crunch-crunch.

Crunch-crunch.

I think it was only 5 cars who successfully got it.

I walked up to the scene and picked up this:

Phone's Broke.

Phone’s Broke.

Somehow or another, it still worked.  It couldn’t make a sound, I couldn’t see anything, but when I plugged it in to back up all of my precious data, it actually worked.  Being run over 5 cars (that I saw) on the highway was merely a flesh wound.

There is a lesson here, as I’ve never had to replace a phone:

I went to the apple store that evening.  I learned something: even without Apple Care, replacing the phone “under warranty” was negligibly more expensive than the ridiculous “insurance” that AT&T’s deductible.  Hello Apple Care, no more insurance.  Replacing the phone under Apple Care costs $50, and it lasts two years.  Also covers other things (my past two phones have had buttons that have crapped out on me).  When I replaced this phone last night, they have me Apple Care for half off the $100 price.  Note, however, Apple Care does not cover lost or stolen phones!  But go ahead and break the **** out of it.

On the plus side, I did make this handy new phone background:

Phone Background

Listen to yourself.

Sometimes I need to take my own advice.

I have been in a couple of programs where I dish out advice.  Sometimes when I say it, people look at me like a freaking genius.  Maybe its just the way I present it, but maybe there is some wisdom in there.

The thing is…  I don’t live it myself sometimes.

In particular, I need to simplify my life a bit.  Really, it shouldn’t be too complicated.  I’m not married.  I don’t have kids.  On the brink of starting my own full on, by myself business, I became an employee.  Everything should be pretty simple.

But, of course, it isn’t.

There is only so much time in a day.  On top of that, one only has so much evergy.  At the end of it, you need to allocate yourself to what you think is important.

So what I did one day was map out my life with a mind mapper.  This one was called SimpleMind for iPad and iPhone.  I was out at the dogpark when I mapped most of this out.

Photo Jun 18, 11 15 33 PM

Its small because frankly, you don’t need to see all of it. Because it todally doesn’t matter, except for the fact that it is a graphical nightmare.  At the end of it, its loosely color coded into work (yellow), home (green), health (blue), and wants (red).  I just put it all out there.

What I wanted to do was clean out the closet a bit.  For instance, running was on there.  But so is crossfit and cycling.  So, I cut the running.  Made crossfit a priority.  Cycling… Crap.  Still not doing so well on that front.  Maybe its time to reevaluate that one.

But, the lesson here is – look at all of the balls in the air.  Everyone drops a few.  What does that do to you?  Well, I don’t know what it does to you.  I know what it does to me.  It makes me feel guilty and disappointed with myself because I’m not doing it.  Which slides you down a hill.  But when you face it, decide you aren’t going to do it, and move on, there is some peace with that.  Unfortunately, I haven’t done a good enough job.  After cleaning the closet, I still can’t get rid of that shirt that looks like it could be worn with spiky hair – hair that has not been that thick on my head since 2005.

I’ve given this talk to a mentee that I have as well as a group of business owners I used to meet with on a regular basis.  They looked at me as if I was the burning bush giving them the missing 11th commandment: Thou shalt not focus on so many things you can focus on nothing.

Time to pay attention to that again.

Where did I go?

“Good to see you blogging again.”

 

I think that was a comment to a post I made over a year ago, but I think if you were to scroll down (I’m not), that may be five posts ago.  I don’t know why I keep this thing up – sometimes I am afraid of putting things out there for no reason.

But, I’m at Startbucks, it’s raining, the moon is a Waning Gibbous, so I’m feeling a little crazy tonight.  I’m at Starbie’s because I rarely work effectively in an office for externded periods of time, and I had some cabin fever.  But, its two hours later and I’m in need of a break, so I turn to this… I guess it’s beneficial to me and me alone, since no one reads this.  But to me, writing is someone therapeutic.  And I guess there is another level to it when you put it out there in the public, even though no one really stops to notice.

Not that I blame them.

But – I’ll definitely try to write a bit more on here.  I have taken a long hiatus from it, and for whatever reason it makes me sad that I have not contributed to it.  So, without any sort of direction, I suppose I will trudge on.

Good lord, what has happened to me over the past year?  Instead of writing some long ass paragraph (did I just do that and then delete it?), I will do some bullet points:

  • My romantic life has been a freaking whirlwind.
  • I’ve finally gotten into crossfit at a consistent pace, and I really enjoy it.  Maybe next year I’ll participate in the all-cities open while I am young enough.
  • I was still doing yoga pretty consistently (been practicing since 2000) but over the last few months I have been severely slacking.
  • I quit my job.  I was going to start on my own, but…
  • Someone else hired me before I got the chance to get going.  So I’m meeting the commitments I made with that venture,  but the company will mostly be a vehicle to perform pro bono work.  Or something.  I haven’t figured all of that out.  Good news is…
  • I have verifiable income.  So I bought a car, which replaced a 10-year-old one that was showing signs of… let’s call it: instability.  I might refinance the house before interest rates go up, too.  If I get off of my lazy butt.
  • May parents moved, my sister is getting married, one grandmother is in assisted living while the other is in independent living.

2012 was a year of transition for me, and all I am left with is a laptop at Starbuck’s sitting next to someone with severe B.O.  But its pouring outside, so I will stay put.  I do have an umbrella, but I left it in  my new fancy car, so I have decided to sit here and write while my stomach twists into its own version of a bird of paradise (stupid yoga reference, but it is, for whatever reason, accurate).

So if I dwell on what has not changed in 2012-13, I guess the only constants are:

  • My dog
  • Some of my stuff
  • Where I live
  • Close friends

Oh, well, sometimes change is good.  You need a bit of an overhaul every once in a while.  Hopefully I will make a point to post stuff here every once in a while, and maybe keep it from being some self-serving long-winded too-many-hyphened-adjectived drivel.

Mexico City Trip – Part 1

Back in September I took a trip to Mexico City for Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)’s “world summit.”  I was not a member at the time but a friend was an invited me to go.  Below are my initial remarks I made while I was there.  At a time where I’m feeling a little “lost”  its nice to go back over some of these notes.  I’m starting the process to become a member under their “accelerator program,” which is designed for people with new businesses.

These notes were taken in a hotel lobby.  I’ve fixed some of the major errors but bear in mind that I was tapping away on an iPad when I wrote this.  It almost seems that I was on some sort of emotional high when I wrote it:

So I am here in Mexico City…  All of the speakers have had their time and we have done a few offsite activities to see a little bit of the city.  A hot air balloon ride over the ancient ruins of a lost civilization was the highlight of those.  It was interesting to see how most of the “history” was more or less simply theories and projections from the Aztec culture.  However, some of those are most likely sound due to the fact that most religions share lore, sports, culture, and more.

The week as a whole was…  I would go as far as saying it might be life changing.  This is the first time I have been exposed to any level of Latin American commerce, and I have decided to make a small effort to investigate growing my own business into the area.  I already have a trip planned to Chile soon and the is another EO conference in Columbia soon.  This one is a Latin American round up, and I will be interested to see business owners from all over that part of the world.  I will try to attend that as well.  There are some other hurdles to jump, though, including gaining admittance into EO.  I am not entirely certain how I would get my revenue to where it needs to be to join…  There are some different ways,  one of which might be an acceleration program at I have been told is headed to Dallas.  I may get in that way.

Overall, the experience has been beneficial because I am around like minded people from all over the world.  I have felt, for a long time, that I am in an island.  Even though I am around two entrepreneurial spirits on a regular basis, there is a certain energy associated in being with an entire group of them… Diverse in every way, from industry to religion to race… You name it.  The coincidence between the Chile trip and the Columbia trip are uncanny… And, if I can get in quickly enough, I can use the EO leverage while I am in Chile and make a handful of connections there – connections that I would most certainly regroup with on other international trips.

Another desire of mine, as a person, is to grow a family who understands the international scene.  One of the speakers, I beleive it was Steve Forbes, made the comment that your kids should know what you do and how you make things work.  There is no other future for our economy other than to become a truly integrated global player.  The value associated with knowing other languages when you are small and growing up visiting other countries – not just as a tourist, I believe can make a strong position for my kids in their quest to build their life.

All of this comes at a time when I am considering law school in a local arena.  SMU is currently the only law school in my market, and is actually a good one.  I will investigate how their curriculum can support international law as a focus of my study.  It might even benefit me further by doing business abroad as it is.  Boundaries are not the same as it once was – just because I am doing work in other countries does not mean that I would have to be there all of the time.  My goal would be to work abroad each quarter and maintain most of my lifestyle.  The more I think about it, the more I think that it would work and how EO can be beneficial to these goals and more.. Which brings me to another thought….

Rosario Marin was one of the best speakers there was.  She had profound thoughts that will affect my life as a father.. Whenever that happens.  But, I think it will help with my current situations as well… Making my family and the people I love come first.  It doesn’t take a ton of effort, but I have been ignoring the people I love.  In the name of what?  I’m not even satisfied with what I’m doing….  So, great.  However, she inadvertently made a comment that really got my attention.  She said that she always does her best.  Recently I have not been doing my best.  I have been getting along and, mostly, struggling.  It made me think about this: what is getting in my way?  Why am I not doing my best?  I have barriers, and they still need to be mostly identified.

I know there are more quotes and concepts that I have written down that are not discussed here.  But this morning, on a bus to the hot air balloon ride, all of this came rushing at me while I was dead tired.  And I wanted to get it down while I still feel a strong energy about it.  The future is down here and I know it.  And I will be a part of it, while at the same time helping my city grow and prosper.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like the sky is the limit.  I am happy.