that’s not exactly true

“Ted Striker. Do you know him?”BuckMurdoch

“Never heard of him. That’s not exactly true. We were like brothers.”

— Airplane II

When I was direct assigned to my current role at work two years ago, right at this time of year, I had a counterpart in another organization with whom I was required to work closely. I found Jan (as I’ll call her) grating, irritating, and difficult to work with. In general I didn’t much like the job in those days (things have since changed). I was unhappy with my then-manager for her role in my being assigned the position, and I was looking around for other options, of which there were few.

Still, Jan and I developed a good working relationship over time and a mutual respect evolved. When it came time for performance reviews and my manager polled my peers, Jan’s praise of me was glowing, almost to the point of being embarrassing. When the company offered an early retirement program for which we both qualified, she told me one day, “Please don’t tell this to anyone. I’m telling you this as a friend, not as a colleague. But I’m thinking of taking early retirement.”

Eventually priorities in Jan’s organization changed, and the close collaboration came to an end. She was later assigned other tasks. Recently, however, interest in the project revived within that organization, but under another individual. Jan came to one last cross-organization meeting where we introduced the new person.

I took a few minutes to thank Jan for her contributions and mentioned how I appreciated her help in showing me the ropes in my early days in the new position, when I was a deer in the headlights or drinking from a fire hose (depending on which metaphor I was in the mood for). Which was in fact true, despite the other stuff that was also true. She said that this was one of those projects where ten years from now you would remember the people you worked with. She said it was fun in those early days.

I said that yes, it was fun. That’s not exactly true. It wasn’t. And I don’t like lying. But there was no reason for me not to maintain a cordial relationship with Jan. We can each go off working on our separate projects maintaining a good feeling about our past collaboration.

That’s not a bad thing.


I encountered a new blog last week, thanks to my Catholic and Episcopal Facebook friends. It’s leave it lay where Jesus flang it, written by Margaret, who describes herself as “an Episcopal priest in Eagle Butte, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Reservation.”

Last week she wrote about the real human cost of the sequester among the rural poor Native Americans.

Regarding the local social services program she says:

…the clients themselves have been cut off –they have received no monies since the beginning of March. They are coming to my door asking for heating fuel, food, clothes, diapers. Children are at risk. There are no Tribal programs that can assist these folks, they are mostly disabled, elderly with grandchildren in the home, or are desperate for work. Last night, after a funeral, I delivered left over food to people’s homes. Funeral food to a family of six of baloney sandwiches, biscuits, two apples, two oranges and some chocolate cake.

Meanwhile, Congress has passed a bill to allow the FAA to shift around funds and avoid the furlough of air traffic controllers. The wealthy and influential, those with a voice and those with influence, cannot be inconvenienced. The poor, the young and elderly, are forgotten and ignored.

It is a tautology to ask what is wrong with our society.

Secular Music Friday: Change of Heart

I may have shared this before, but I thought of it last week when Holly Near posted an item on her Facebook page that included an image from her one-woman show from the late 1990’s, Fire In The Rain…Singer In The Storm. That is where this song comes from. If you listen to the lyrics, I think you may agree with me that they’re really not so secular after all.

thinking about what I’m saying

Terry and I lead busy lives, but we do have a lot of discretionary time. I allocate a good amount of time to writing this blog, as well as to reading books, magazines, and other blogs on my iPad. And yes, I must admit, I spend more time than I should on Facebook. By the end of the weekend there are often some things that don’t get done.

Our financial advisor called recently while I was out to ask if we were ready to make the contribution to our annuity that we had talked to him about. When Terry told me about this I said that I hadn’t yet taken the time to look at our investment choices. I started to say that I hadn’t had the time to look at our choices, but I corrected myself before I spoke.

I’m working at being conscious of things like that.

sourdough (and a slightly sad local note)

I’ve been making sourdough bread for a number of years now. Terry got some vintage starter several years ago from a long-time professional colleague.

I don’t make sourdough bread often, but do from time-to-time. I’ve always known that one needs to let the starter you are going to put into the bread sit out for a while in order to “punch it up.” Due to poor planning (or laziness) on my part I’ve never let it sit for more than an hour. I’ve thought my sourdough bread was good but not great.

Before Terry and I left for the Wildflower 5K a few weeks ago I had the foresight to take out the starter I needed. This meant that the starter sat out for a few hours before I started to work on the bread. The result was the sourdoughiest sourdough I’ve ever made.

So now I know.

On another note, Terry and I noticed last week that our local Chinese fast food place seems to have closed. Their change from hot table food with specials to only bowls and plates was obviously not successful. The fact that they removed the specials for a while after the change likely didn’t help. Unfortunate.


I haven’t vented here for a while. Please indulge me.

Vent # 1

I went through a long phase where I wasn’t taking care of my teeth and gums. This resulted in a lot of periodontal work and oral surgery. And pain. It took me a while to come up with a routine to properly maintain my periodontal health. I finally did. It involved flossing in the evening and using a proxa brush in the morning. The handle-refill proxa brush system was first available in local drug stores. Later it wasn’t, but I could still get the refills from Then the company was bought by a multinational and I had to order direct. Now they have discontinued the system that has helped maintain my periodontal health these many years. I’m scrambling to seek a replacement. Results so far have not been great.

Vent # 2

Facebook updated their iOS app last week. It’s marvelous on my iPad. It’s a huge pain in the rear on my iPhone. I’ve reverted to accessing Facebook from Safari on that device. As everyone who has ever had a Facebook account knows, they are incapable of leaving well enough alone.

Vent #3

This is a recycled vent, but as long as I’m venting anyway: I’m really tired of all the competition and reality shows on the Food Network. I want to watch cooking shows. When we had DirecTV I could switch to the Cooking Channel, but we moved from DirecTV to cable a little over two years ago to improve our Internet speed. And I can’t find anywhere where I can stream complete Cooking Channel programs.

Those are Mike’s vents. That and $3.45 will get you a personal grande decaf cappuccino, dry.

We return to our normally scheduled non-venting blog tomorrow.

follow me on twitter: @MikeChristie220 I tweet whenever I publish a new blog entry.

(cyber) friends looking out for me

Here’s a phenomenon that’s new to me. Cyber friends looking out for me.

I’ve been following one blog for pretty much as long as I’ve been reading blogs. The author shared a video that was supportive of gay relationships. She later shared a remembrance of Mr. Rogers. Both posts brought out replies from a homophobic troll. The first round was general, but the second attacked both me and another commenter. All of those comments were quickly deleted, but I saw them because I had signed up to receive follow-up comments by email. After that second round the blog owner initiated moderation on comments. Looking out for me and for the other commenter.

I was taking an online course and developed a cordial relationship with another member of the class. We became friends on Facebook and all was well until she saw a post of mine that revealed that I actually ate meat. (Such an unusual trait in today’s American culture, I know.) She hurled some venom at me (turns out she’s a militant vegan), and I quickly unfriended her on FB, something I have done perhaps only twice before. I also told the instructor I was dropping the class. The instructor told me that I could continue with the readings without having to participate in the online conversation. She also emailed the individual to advise her of the impact that her actions had had on me.

Online friends, people I have never met in person, looking out for me.

You both know who you are. I thank you both.

Sacred Music Friday: All Creatures Of Our God And King

All Creatures Of Our God And King, arranged by former Calvary Church (Charlotte, NC) organist Dan Miller, performed by John Cleaveland on the Calvary Grand Organ.

a solar milestone

We hit a significant milestone on our path to solar power last week. At the end of the last billing period the amount of energy we fed back into the grid was greater than the amount of energy we consumed from our electric utility.

That’s  pretty cool.


roses and grace

When we moved here to Gilroy in 1997 we knew we wanted to plant roses. My maternal grandfather was in the wholesale nursery business, and one of the two companies he split his time between was the late, once-great Howard Rose Company. Roses are in my genes.

We planted roses in a couple of phases in the late 1990’s, first planting (without realizing what we were getting) miniatures and later full-sized rose bushes. The ones directly in front of the house have always done very well, but one lonely rose bush off to the side and next to the garage door has never put on more than a rose or two a year.

Until this year. And this year, wow! Lots of beautiful pink roses.

Sound familiar? Sound like God’s love and grace? Remember Luke 13:6-9?

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.

I’m glad we were patient and gave the bush the opportunity to finally bear fruit.

A lesson for my daily life.


(Photos courtesy of Terry.)