Goodbye Ainsley

My wife’s cousin died recently.  She was a quiet star in our life. A bearing for our children. A seasonal anchor to our existence whom we thought we would see every summer and winter holiday until…

It was a car accident. There is not much to say about how horrible it is.  About what a loss it is. I could go on about how she was 23 and an absolute ray of light.  But that won’t change anything. 

I keep thinking of the young girl who I met almost twenty years when she was only four years old.  When my then girlfriend said, “let’s stop at my Aunt and Uncle’s house on our way out to Boston.” She was there when I saw fireflies for the first time. 

I keep thinking of the young lady who stood with her three sisters next to my wife as a maid of honor. Her blonde hair pulled in tight while she was wrapped in a loose flower dress.  She was there when the room made a promise of “we-ness.”
I keep thinking of the young woman who laughed at us last summer when we told her that her fringed, cropped, t-shirt was ridiculously small.  She laughed. Laughed in an infectious way that made us aware of how ridiculously small we were being by judging her fringed, cropped, t-shirt.  Laughed in a way that told us she had grown into a woman with confidence not afraid to wear what she wanted. 

I keep thinking of learning of her diabetes. Of how she had been struggling for awhile before it was diagnosed and then struggled to be okay in a world that kept suddenly saying she wasn’t. 

I keep thinking of the young woman who said, “Beno your so weeered.'”

And I keep thinking of the body of that young woman laying on a table. Bruised. Her hand held by her father. Dressed in her mother’s old red flannel nightgown. I hope her passing was fearless, but I’m probably wrong. I think how it’s not fair and how she is the wrong person. But I’m wrong. There is no fairness. 

Goodbye Ainsley. Goodbye. 

Currently Reading

This last week, I started reading “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss.  I’m a long term fan of Mr. Ferriss’ podcast and often review his show notes.  This book is essentially as portable, offline version of those notes with extra commentary and context provided by Tim.  It reads more like and encyclopedia encouraging you to skip around with the book separated into three parts – Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.  Apparently Tim is a fan of Ben Franklin.
What are you currently reading?  Please let me know in the comments section and if you think I should give it a try. 

Five Fascinating Facts about Women

1) Women are often better educated.  60 percent, or more, of college degrees, are awarded in the U.S. are earned by women every year. In fact, a NY Times article from 2010 showed women are more likely to get a high school diploma as well, and the numbers are only expected to rise in the coming years.

2) The two highest IQs ever recorded, through standardized testing, both belong to women. One of these high IQ women is the columnist and author Marilyn Vos Savant.

3) The first person to attempt to go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel was a woman. On October 24, 1901, Annie Edson Taylor, a forty-three-year-old schoolteacher from Michigan plunged over the falls. She survived with only a small gash on her head but swore to never take them on again.

Annie Taylor posing next to her barrel

4) In 1903, Mary Anderson patented the windshield wiper and it became standard equipment on cars by 1916. She isn’t alone in her inventiveness. Women invented such things as industrial lathes, white out, bras, non-reflective glass, the dishwasher, disposable diapers, petroleum refining methods and much, much more.

4.1) 40s movie actress, Hedy Lamarr was also an inventor. Hoping to find a way to contribute to the war effort during World War II, Lamarr developed a radio-controlled torpedo device which used frequency hopping to prevent the signals from the torpedoes from being jammed. While the technology wasn’t adopted for WWII, it was used in subsequent conflicts.  The principles of the technology are now incorporated into modern Wi-FiCDMA, and Bluetooth technology.

5) Journalist Nellie Bly circumvented the world in 72 days when she attempted to turn the fictional Around the World in Eighty Days into fact for the first time. And, she did it before airplanes were invented. Bly is also well-known for her expose on mental institutions, a project for which she had to fake psychological illness to gain access to the facilities

Cover of the 1890 board game Round the World with Nellie Bly

I learned all this by reading this site

Leadership, Responsibility, and Management 

People, please don’t confuse leadership and management.  They are not the same.  Leadership is the acceptance of responsibility whereas management is a formal declaration of responsibility.

A person can be a leader and assume responsibility without any kind of title.  In the end we all want to be leaders because it means we care. We accept the responsibility of whatever it is we are part of. We think it terms of stewardship instead of control. It is rare that someone actually controls something. Instead, we are responsible for something. That something could be a service, another person, a promise… the list goes on and on. The sooner a person approaches their job as a responsibility, and not an obligation they have to control, the sooner that person is trusted by themselves and the organization they are part of.

Here are the top five places for you to learn how to be a leader, and not just a manager

  1. Manager Tools
  2. Less Wrong
  3. Forbes
  4. Freakonomics
  5. Fortune

Rain

Rain today. Steady, steady unheavy rain.

I need to get more sleep.  I am susceptible to emotional eddies without enough sleep. I get locked into moods. Depressed. I expect to be depressed all day today.

When I was a child. I was depressed as a child. Now that I am an adult I am depressed as an adult.  Which mean I am now conscious of my malaise and cynicism. Not sure what is better.  Ignorant depression, or aware depression.

Today Lesson in Stoicism

“…in all things to endeavour to have power of myself, and in nothing to be carried about; to be cheerful and courageous in all sudden chances and accidents, as in sicknesses: to love mildness, and moderation, and gravity: and to do my business, whatsoever it be, thoroughly, and without querulousness. “

Translation: Be cool and don’t whine.

“This to shall pass”

Today’s Lesson In Stoicism

Of Catulus, not to contemn any friend’s expostulation, though unjust, but to strive to reduce him to his former disposition: freely and heartily to speak well of all my masters upon any occasion, as it is reported of Domitius, and Athenodotus: and to love my children with true affection.

translation: Do not judge or dismiss any friend or partner that insults you or others you love. Remember you are friends. Remember the person they are before this momement. Help them be that better person, and give them time to show you that person again.

sticks and stones may break my bones…

Today’s lesson on Stoicism

Of him also I learned how to receive favours and kindnesses (as commonly they are accounted:) from friends, so that I might not become obnoxious unto them, for them, nor more yielding upon occasion, than in right I ought; and yet so that I should not pass them neither, as an unsensible and unthankful man.

Translation; Accept gifts from others. Show gratitude for the gifts. 

From; Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Innuendo in Music

I think one of the best things in life is seeing something new in something you have looked at a 100 times.  That happened to me today while listening to a piece of music.  Today I noticed the “Chelsea Drug Store”  is innuendo for a drug deal involving Mick Jagger. http://youtu.be/c9mGtDGzoSA