This little baby girl grew up and became a warrior who stood against hate and injustice.
Say her name. Remember her name.
This little baby girl grew up and became a warrior who stood against hate and injustice.
Say her name. Remember her name.
I spent a week at Kripalu Institute for Yoga and Health last week, teaching storytelling to a dozen remarkable people.
On Tuesday night I performed my one-man show, and on Thursday evening, ten of the storytellers from class took the stage and performed.
It was an extraordinary night.
One of my storytellers had not spoken to a group of people in more than 15 years after suffering a terrible embarrassment in high school. Just standing in front of 50 people was an enormous accomplishment for her. I felt so honored to give her the space and support to help her conquer this enormous fear.
Then she proceeded to make the audience roar with laughter with a hilarious and moving story about her childhood. It turns out that she's a storyteller.
Several of the storytellers stood before this audience of strangers and told stories about parts of their lives that they had never shared before. Hard parts. Haunting parts. The parts that require more bravery to tell than most people can muster.
There was laughter and tears. Gasps and guffaws. Hilarity and heartbreak. There were lines that I will never forget. "Golden sentences" one of my storytellers dubbed, and she was right. It was 90 minutes of beauty nestled in the quiet mountains of the Berkshires. It was dark outside, but each storyteller shone bright that night.
After the show, a man approached me. He reached into his pocket, removed a small container, and held it out for me to see. He explained that he suffered from a heart condition, and this was his nitroglycerin. The medication he needed if his heart started "acting up."
"But I feel like I should throw this away," he said. "My heart doesn't need medication. It needs what you did on Tuesday night and these people did tonight. I've listened to all these stories, and my heart hasn't felt this good in twenty years. This is what people need. This is what I need."
I suggested that he keep the nitroglycerin close in the event a storyteller is not available when his heart started "acting up" again, and he agreed.
But he was right.
Stories are good for the heart and good for the soul.
I think we should hire people for any and all jobs using the following procedure:
1. Interview the last five people who served the candidate in a restaurant. Inquire about how the candidate treated them over the course of the meal.
2. Interview the candidate. Ask the following questions:
Unorthodox but effective, I think.
It's hard to acknowledge your privilege when you've enjoyed it for your whole life.
It's even harder to admit that your success is very much the result of that privilege, and that your self-perceived story of hard work, sacrifice, discipline, and skill might be entirely different absent your privilege of race, nation, gender, socioeconomic class, or health.
Someone who has been listening to me stories this week said to me, "It's amazing that you've come so far given where you once were."
I replied, "I'm a healthy, intelligent, white man in America. Even with the misfortune that I've suffered in life, I was already hugely advantaged from the get-go. Change the color of my skin or my gender or stick me in a third world country, and my story is probably very different. My path might have been hard, but it was a hell of a lot easier than most people of the world."
It seems to me that there are a segment of people in America today who enjoy the same or similar privileges but refuse to to recognize their good fortune. They feel like victims rather than the benefactors of a lottery that afforded them enormous privilege. They fail to see that the struggle of others is in large part the result of institutions that make their path more difficult because of their race, gender, or country of origin.
It made me think of these words, spoken by fictional Game of Throne's character Tyrion Lannister:
We spent last week in Washington, DC. We visited with good friends, ate good food, toured the museums and the monuments, and had a grand time.
What I will always remember about this trip, however, is the way my daughter's insatiable curiosity, her incessant reading, and her mother's influence have transformed her into a student of the world.
Clara loves Clara Barton. This love began with the name they share, but it quickly grew into a genuine interest and love affair with this woman. She's read several books on Barton and can detail her life history if you have about an hour.
The Clara Barton home is coincidentally just a couple of miles from our friend's home, so we stopped to visit. We were sad to discover that the house is closed. Though it's designated as a historic site (it was also the first headquarters of the Red Cross), it's in disrepair, and it doesn't look like it will be open anytime soon.
We went to look at it even though we knew it was closed, planning on taking a photo of Clara standing outside the house. Instead, we were met by three men who were inspecting the building, and one offered to bring just Clara and Elysha inside. He gave them a private tour of the home, and he and Clara exchanged Clara Barton tidbits.
It was almost better than the house being open to the public. Clara was the first child in a long time to enter the home, making the moment for her very special.
Later that evening, we were touring the FDR monument when Clara spotted a statue to Eleanor Roosevelt, a remarkable politician in her own right. Clara began spouting facts about this female American icon as well, but she also asked at least twice as many questions.
We ended our tour of the monuments that evening at the Lincoln Memorial. Having lived in DC for six months, I'd visited this monument many times, but it was just as awe inspiring this time.
My son, Charlie, couldn't believe that we were allowed to step inside. He asked an endless stream of questions about the architecture and Lincoln himself.
Elysha and Clara sat down in the north chamber so that Elysha could read her the Gettysburg Address aloud.
It's easy in today's political climate to become despondent over all that we see. It's not hard to lose hope and perhaps think that our country is spiraling in the wrong direction.
I am not immune to these sentiments from time to time, and I am an optimist and an anti-alarmist.
But my trip to Washington renewed my spirit.
Abraham Lincoln led our country through the Civil War. Millions of Americans died on American soil in a battle for the future of our union.
Clara Barton served as a nurse during the Civil War. She witnessed horrors beyond imagination in a time when women did not have the right to vote and lacked many of the basic rights and privileges enjoyed by women today.
Eleanor Roosevelt helped to lead our country through the Great Depression and World War II.
These were some of America's most challenging times.
Yet here we stand today. Our country persists.
The not hard to imagine the despair that Americans must have been feeling during the times of Lincoln, Barton, and Roosevelt. I must have been easy for those men and women to lose hope in the future of their country.
Yet they fought. They battled. They persisted. Just like we will.
My greatest hope comes from the wide-eyed, insatiable curiosity of my children and their inherent desire to, in the words of Abigail Adams, do good and be good.
Lincoln, Barton, Roosevelt, and their generations of Americans faced enormous, almost unimaginable challenges, and they won. They preserved and protected this nation for future generations.
Just like I know we will, for Clara, Charlie and their future generations.
I'm teaching storytelling at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health this week.
This morning, I returned to my room to find a note from housekeeping:
"You don't need to make the bed."
I laughed. I didn't make the bed. When I went to sleep last night, I climbed onto the bed and simply fell asleep atop the sheets and blanket. It was a warm, summer night, so I had no need to slide beneath the covers.
When I woke up in the morning, I was still in the same position, lying flat on my back in the center of the bed. I stood up, leaving a perfectly made bed behind me.
I told some people in my workshop about the note, and they looked at me like I was a monster.
"You just fell asleep on top of the covers?" one woman asked. "Who does that?"
"I can't fall asleep if I'm not under the covers," said another.
"What kind of monster are you?" a third asked.
There were mentions of Frankenstein as well, and one person suggested that I might be a robot.
I really didn't expect this reaction.
I've always been able to fall asleep this way. At summer camp as a boy, I often slept atop my sleeping bag because of the heat. I've taken naps at work when I was sick by lying down on the carpeted floor and falling asleep during my lunch hour. When I was homeless and living in my car, I slept on the backseat, where blankets and sheets were impossible.
Is this really as strange as the folks in my workshop made it seem?
A waitress with a pro-LGBTQ tattoo received this note from a customer.
I realize I am a reluctant atheist, but in my lifetime, I have read the Bible from cover to cover three times (which is more than many ardently religious people), so I am familiar with the teachings of Jesus.
And yes, while it would admittedly run counter to everything Jesus taught, I am fairly certain that he would at least want to punch this bigot in the nose for invoking his name in support of intolerance and hate.
I like to think that even Jesus had his limits.
Her name was Heather Heyer.
She died when a car with an Ohio license plate rammed into a crowd near Charlottesville's downtown mall after the rally at the city park was dispersed. Heyer was one of the counter-protesters marching in jubilation near the mall after the white nationalists dispersed from the scene.
Heather Heyer went to Charlottesville to stand against torch-wielding, gun-toting, Nazi flag flying white supremacists who were there to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the Emancipation Park.
Now we know whose statue should replace the traitor and racist Robert E. Lee:
Heather Heyer, an American patriot and hero who stood against hate, intolerance and violence, and paid the ultimate sacrifice so our country could be free and safe for all.
When asked how to combat writer's block, my answer is always the same:
If you have writer's block, you don't have enough writing projects.
My list of writing projects currently includes:
How could I possibly suffer from writer's block with this many projects underway. Stuck on one? Move to another.
While teaching a group of about 30 middle and high school students this summer, one of the students asked if it would be okay if she started something new.
"Of course," I said. "But why are you asking me for permission?"
The young lady explained that her teachers insist that she and her classmates finish one writing project before moving onto the next.
"That's crazy," I said.
"My teacher does the same thing," another student said.
"Me, too," said another.
My head hit the desk. More than three-quarters of the students reported suffering from similar restrictions, which is, of course, stupid.
I know many writers, but I have yet to meet a single one who is only working on one project. While my list of projects is admittedly longer than most, every writer has at least one project on the side, oftentimes in another genre.
I can't imagine telling a writer who is suddenly excited about a new idea to finish their current project before trying something new. That is truly one of the stupidest teaching decisions I can imagine.
There's nothing wrong with deadlines.
"I need that essay done by the end of the month."
"You must hand in three poems by Wednesday."
"Your research paper is due at the end of March."
But to expect that students will work on that one project until the due date is an outstanding way to kill any love that students will develop for writing. It places classroom management ahead of creativity, choice, executive functioning, and an authentic writing process.
Not enough teachers write. Teachers require students to write persuasive essays, even though most teachers haven't written a persuasive essay in a decade or more. Teachers require students to write fiction, even though most teachers haven't written fiction since they were children. Teachers expect students to write research papers, when those teachers last wrote their own research paper in college.
When it comes to writing, we have an army of educators who are teaching something they never do. Even worse, in many cases, it's something they don't like to do.
If you never do it in real life, can you expect to teach it to novices?
If teachers were writing, they would understand the need to have multiple projects in a writer's life. They would understand the insatiable excitement of a new idea. The need to turn away from a project when enthusiasm wanes. The ability for writers to manage more than one writing project at a time.
I felt so much sympathy for the two dozen or so students who said that they would returning to classrooms in the fall where they could only write one thing at a time. I told them to rise up. Declare their writing independence. Insist that their needs be met. Demand to be treated like writers.
I also gave them my phone number. "If your rebellion fails, tell your teacher to call me. I'll see what I can do."
I'm expecting a lot of phone calls.
September approaches. Teachers return to work. College students leave home. Perhaps your starting a new project at your firm.
For many, meetings and classes will commence shortly. One reminder:
"Gosh, I really hope we open this meeting with an ice breaker," said no human being ever.
It's kind of crazy that huge swaths of Americans study an ancient, religious tome, ignore an enormous number of its rules, but obsess over the ones about how and where to use penises and vaginas.
Elysha and I brought the kids to Action Safari this weekend. Stretching the meaning of the words "action" and "safari," this attraction features a taxidermy museum that made me sad.
Even worse than the enormous number of stuffed animals was the moment Clara called out, "Daddy, what's a dik dik?"
You can imagine my confusion.
It turns out that Clara was reading a plaque about an African antelope called a dik dik.
Sadly, no adult was present to take pleasure in the enormous number of jokes that filled my brain, just waiting to spill out.
Last night, as Charlie was getting out of the bathtub, he looked down at his chest and apparently noticed his nipples for the first time.
"What are these?" he asked, pointing.
"Nipples," I said.
"What are they for?" he asked.
Once again, no adult was present for the flood of jokes that filled my mind, desperate to escape.
The right audience is everything.
I played golf yesterday morning my two friends, Andrew and Plato.
The sky was blue. The sun was low in the sky. The greens were still sparkling with dew.
We walked and swung and talked about our kids and the way we had spent our week apart. We told stories. Ribbed one another. Laughed a lot.
On the fourteenth hole, Andrew hit a chip that rolled into his own putter, which is had errantly placed on the green, costing him a two shot penalty and the lead.
First time I'd ever seen that happen. He took it well.
Plato lost a ball in the high grass on the seventeenth hole, handing the lead back to Andrew.
On the last hole, Plato holed a 20 foot chip to win by one stroke. Plato punched his fist into the air, knowing he had probably just won the match. Andrew had a chance to tie with a long putt, but he left it short.
I was a non-factor, having put five balls into four different ponds along the way.
Here is one of the beauties of golf:
When was the last time you spent nearly three hours with friends and didn't look at your phone?
When was the last time you took a three hour walk with friends and didn't receive a call, answer a text message, or check email?
When was the last time you took a walk with friends and experienced moments you will never forget?
People are rather fond of championing the many ways to disconnect from the phone and the Internet. They love professing the value of being "in the moment." There are programs that will force your computer or phone off the Internet for designated periods of time to avoid the temptation of being connected.
I'm personally a fan of avoiding temptation by avoiding temptation, but if someone needs to tie their own hands by their back to stop themselves from clicking their device, so be it.
Or maybe just play golf. It's a frustrating, inexplicable, seemingly impossible game to play, made more than tolerable by the fact it is played with friends between grass and sky, absent of life's technological distractions.
I can't recommend this episode of StoryCorps enough.
Entitled "No Barrier for Love," it features immigrants talking about what’s important to them — from falling in love to feeling like they do or don’t belong, memories of how they made their way to this country, and what they found when they arrived here.
It's really so much more.
It's 16 minutes long and worth every second.
It's also important for people to hear. Too many Americans misunderstand immigration on an economic, humanitarian, and historical level.
Too many stupid white men in the White House have embraced nationalism and racism over common sense, basic economic principles, demographics, patriotism, and basic human decency.
My children will be listening to this episode soon, and in September, my students will be listening to it, too.
You should listen now. Then pass it along.
Like me, my friend, Charles, agrees with the implementation of unisex restrooms but makes an excellent point about the naming of these spaces.
Shouldn't they be called omni-sex restrooms?
"Uni" is a prefix meaning "one, or having or consisting of one.
"Omni" is a prefix meaning "all, of all things."
A unisex restroom is intended for all people, and yet the name we currently use implies that it is for only one person.
All gender restroom works, too, but definitely not unisex.
Someone go fix this. Okay?
I love this video so much.
I love this guy so much. If I owned a company - any company - and was hiring, this is the person who I would hire.
So much of life comes down to grit. Persistence. Commitment. Tenaciousness. Practice. Yet so few often seem to be willing to put in the time.
I write novels. Though some may argue this requires a certain degree of talent, I would argue that the most important attribute I possess is the willingness to commit my ass to a chair for a long period of time.
Truthfully, I believe that it's been my willingness to sit in a relentless, non-precious, non-idealized way for an incredibly long period of time that has led me to my writing career.
I started writing in late November of 1988 when I was 17 years-old, and it is not an exaggeration to say that I have written every single day of my life since then.
I have not missed a day.
Wedding day. Birth of my children. Death of my mother. Pneumonias. Honeymoon. Vacation. Concussions. Homelessness.
I have not missed a day.
When I was younger, I wrote in journals. I wrote letters. Short stories, Newsletters. Poems. Zines. Dungeons & Dragons adventures. Comics. My classmate's term papers (my first paid writing gig).
In 1990 I began blogging on an early version of the Internet known as a Bulletin Board System.
In 2004 I took a graduate level class on blogging and began blogging regularly, first at a blog entitled Perpetual Perpetuity, and then Conform Me Not, and now here. Since 2004, I have not missed a day.
I started writing at the age of 17. I published my first novel at the age of 39.
Talent? It took me 22 years of constant, consistent, relentless daily practice before any publisher was interested in my work. Maybe I'm a talented writer, or maybe I simply forged myself through hard work into someone who looks like a talented writer.
In a Wall Street Journal interview this week, Trump claimed that the head of the Boy Scouts called him to heap praise on the politically aggressive speech Trump delivered at the Scouts’ national jamboree last week.
“I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them,” Trump said.
At that point, all but the blindest of Trump supporters already knew he was lying.
The Boy Scouts confirmed these suspicions. “We are unaware of any such call,” the Boy Scouts responded in a statement. They went on to specify that neither Boy Scout President Randall Stephenson nor Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh placed such a call.
Faced with this unequivocal denial, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that no phone call had taken place but said “multiple members of the Boy Scout leadership” approached Trump in person after the speech and “offered quite powerful compliments.”
Sanders explained the discrepancy Wednesday by saying Trump misspoke when he described the conversations as calls.
“The conversations took place,” she said. “They just simply didn’t take place over a phone call.”
In other words, he lied the first time. And he probably lied about the "quite powerful compliments" about "the greatest speech ever," too, considering the Boy Scouts apologized for subjecting the boys to his bizarre tirade.
No, he definitely lied about that, too. He lies. He lies and lies and lies.
Even worse, his lies are so sad. He's lying about nonexistent compliments. He's lying in the hopes that people will like him more. He's lying because there is obviously something broken or missing inside of him that requires him to invent these self-serving statements.
He did the same thing later that day when he claimed to have received a call from Mexican President Peña Nieto.
"Even the president of Mexico called me. Their southern border, they said very few people are coming because they know they're not going to get to our border, which is the ultimate compliment."
Sanders was later forced to admit that the call didn't happen. Her explanation:
Trump was actually referring to an in-person chat with the Mexican president last month at the Group 20 Summit in Hamburg even though Trump implied that the phone just happened.
So he lied. Again. Attempting to praise himself in the process.
We should not be surprised.
As you probably remember, in the 1990's, Trump would frequently pose as fictional publicist "John Miller" or "John Barron" in order to say flattering things about himself.
More than 25 years later, Trump would name his son Barron. Apparently his fondness for the name did not wane.
Here's what I'd like:
I want the media to stop using phrases like "misleading statements" or "false statements" or "corrected statements. I just want them to say,
"Trump lied. The Boy Scouts never called."
"Trump lied. The Mexican government never called."
"Trump lied. He admitted to masquerading as a publicist in the 1990's and now denies it."
I want them to use the word "lie" when appropriate.
I arrived at the dentist office at 1:40 PM for a 2:00 PM appointment. With a book due in less than a week, I was anxious to return to the manuscript.
The dentist has a television in the waiting room, so rather than trying to write with a talking head yammering in the background, I took a seat beneath a small tree on an island in the center of the parking lot and worked for 15 minutes.
I finished a chapter and revised the end of another.
I mention this for two reasons:
1. I meet a lot of people who claim that they can only write under certain conditions:
I have yet to meet a published writer who suffers from any of these limitations. I also like to remind these tragically limited writers that soldiers wrote poetry, letters, and novels in the trenches of World War I while wearing gas masks.
John McCrae wrote "In Flanders Field" after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres.
Thank goodness he didn't need a cappuccino to write one of the great poems of the twentieth century.
2. I mention this because the question I am asked most often is "How do you manage to get so much done?" While I have many, many answers to this question, yesterday's writing session on the island of a parking lot is a good example of one of those answers:
I don't waste a minute. Rather than being precious about my time, I believe my time to be precious. Instead of waiting for ideal conditions to complete tasks and accomplish goals, I take what I can get, when I can get it. Time is our greatest commodity, so I don't wait a minute of it.
1. Don’t die.
Foul ball nearly clocked me in the head at a minor league baseball game, but my cat-like reflexes save me.
2. Lose 20 pounds.
I remain stuck at six pounds lost. The summer is full of good food.
3. Do at least 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups five days a week.
4. Practice yoga at least three days a week for at least 15 minutes each day.
I participated in two yoga classes while working at Kripalu in May. I return to Kripalu next month for a full week. Perhaps I'll take a class every day and get started.
5. Take the stairs whenever I am ascending or descending five flights or less.
I took the elevator in a parking garage with Elysha. We were four flights up, and I thought about asking her to take the stairs with me, but it was hot and we were running late.
Otherwise, it's been the stairs every time.
6. Complete my sixth novel before the end of 2017.
Work continues in earnest. Due date in has been moved back to October.
7. Complete my first middle grade/YA novel.
Work continues in earnest. Due date is December.
8. Write at least three new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist.
I started work on a non-fiction picture book about the great Idaho beaver airlift of 1948.
I also pitched a series of picture books to my agent. She liked. Eventually. They may be better as a series of graphic novels.
9. Complete a book on storytelling.
Work almost complete.
10. Write a new screenplay.
11. Write a musical.
Done! I was not able to watch the debut performance of "Back in the Day," but I hear it went really well.
12. Submit at least five Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times for consideration.
I have submitted one piece to the Times so far in 2017.
13. Write a proposal for a nonfiction book related to education.
Note-taking completed. My proposal will need to include some sample chapters, so that process has begun.
14. Submit one or more short stories to at least three publishing outlets.
15. Select three behaviors that I am opposed to and adopt them for one week, then write about my experiences on the blog.
On the suggestion of a reader:
I spent April praying to God at least once a day. Quite often three or more times per day. As you may know, I'm a reluctant atheist, so I hadn't prayed in a very long time.
I'll be writing about the experience on my blog this month.
I'm currently looking for my next behavior. Ideas anyone?
16. Increase my author newsletter subscriber base to 1,600.
I grew my list by 28 subscribers in April (and 187 overall this year). Total subscribers now stands at 1,471.
If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter and receive writing and storytelling tips, Internet recommendations, recordings of new stories, and more, you can do so here:
17. Write at least six letters to my father.
I wrote one letter to my father in July. Two in all so far.
18. Convert Greetings Little One into a book.
19. Record one thing learned every day in 2017.
Done! My favorite thing learned in July is this:
Highway signs have sides equal to the hazard ahead. Railroads have circles (infinite number of sides) because getting hit by a train really sucks. Stop signs are octagons because running one also sucks.
20. Produce a total of 12 Speak Up storytelling events.
No shows in July. Our total number of Speak Up shows in 2017 is nine.
21. Deliver a TED Talk.
Done! I spoke about the important things that teachers do at The Pomfret School in April. It went well! Hoping the producers recorded the talk well, and it will result in a quality video.
I've pitched talks to two other TED events.
22. Attend at least 15 Moth events with the intention of telling a story.
I attended three Moth events in July (two StorySLAMs in NYC and one in Boston), bringing my yearly total to 12.
23. Win at least three Moth StorySLAMs.
Done! I won a Moth StorySLAM in Boston in July. It was my third win of the year and 31st win overall. I placed second at a Moth StorySLAM in NYC and failed to get selected at the third slam.
24. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.
It looks like my next opportunity to compete in a Moth GrandSLAM will be in September.
25. Produce at least 50 episodes of my new podcast Live Better.
I pulled down my first episode after receiving feedback from a friend who works in radio. I'm currently re-recording with a slightly different format.
I expect to relaunch this summer. I may have a producing partner.
26. Perform stand up at least once in 2016.
August 21. Sea Tea Comedy Theater. I'm kind of terrified.
27. Write a one-person show.
The "writing" for this show is nearly complete.
A local theater is interested in having me perform. I'll be meeting with the director in the summer.
28. Explore the option of teaching a college class.
I met with a professor from a local college and described my proposed class. She approved of my idea and promised to pass the information onto her department head.
This isn't enough, of course. I need to speak to a department head or higher myself.
29. Cook at least 12 good meals (averaging one per month) in 2016.
A friend has passed on ideas and recipes for meals that I plan to make this month.
30. Plan a 25 year reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.
The search for a location continues.
31. I will stand in vocal opposition to every negative comment made about age disparities between male and female romantic couplings because I choose to respect a woman’s choices of romantic partner regardless of their age or the age of their partner.
French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron's wife Bridgette Macron is 25 years older than him and recently in the news when Trump told her that she was in good shape. As a result, she was in the public eye for a bit, and in two cases, I had to interject when one woman and one man commented negatively on the age gap between the couple.
32. I will report on the content of speech during every locker room experience via social media in 2017.
Over the course of the month, I heard no man bragging about sexually assaulting women in any locker rooms (or anywhere else for that matter).
33. I will stop presenting the heteronormative mother-and-father paradigm as the default parental paradigm when speaking to my children and my students.
Done. Not as hard as I thought. I switched over to "parents" in January and haven't slipped yet.
34. I will not comment, positively or negatively, about physical appearance of any person save my wife and children, in 2017 in an effort to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall.
I had many negative thoughts about the physical appearance of Chris Christie in July (due to some questionable actions on his part) but refrained from making any of them.
I've also learned that at least seven other people have adopted this policy, which thrills me.
35. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2016.
Two surprises so far in 2017. Flowers and a Cadbury Egg. I have two surprises in the works for her currently.
36. Replace the 12 ancient, energy-inefficient windows in our home with new windows that will keep the cold out and actually open in the warmer months.
We've hired someone to clear our windows, but this does not count.
37. Optimize our television for a streaming service.
We upgraded our cable television interface to a voice activated, much more intuitive system that may fit the requirements of a streaming service. This upgrade is tremendous. Credit Elysha for the upgrade as well as the reduction in our cable/Internet bill as well.
One of my anniversary presents is her promise to get the Apple TV working, which would complete this goal.
38. Set a new personal best in golf.
I shot a 48 for nine holes on Sunday, which is one stroke off my best round ever. Things are starting to come together with my new grip and swing. I also tied with my friend, Andrew, with the 48, which was both satisfying (he shot a 37 the previous week) and frustrating (so close to beating him).
39. Play poker at least six times in 2016.
No progress. This annoys me so much. I love to play poker. How have I failed to get a game going?
40. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 25 years.
Four days spent working as DJ's at weddings in total.
I invited him to attend a Moth StorySLAM with me tonight. He declined.
41. Post my progress in terms of these resolutions on this blog on the first day of every month.