ALFRED’S JOURNEY

My search to belong

iStock: jatrax

Here is what the lunchroom has always looked like to me — that is until Coach changed my world.

At my school, when you walk in, you see 10 long tables, in two rows of five. Each table has benches that can seat 12 people comfortably, but 14 if you squeeze in.

Those numbers were never relevant for me — and I love numbers — because I was never trying to squeeze into any group.

There is always one table that has a few random kids sitting in odd places around the table. That’s where I sit where there is…


Let three simple rules guide you

Photo by Brook Anderson on Unsplash

I didn’t really think much about it at the time. I had a good stint at Hewlett Packard (HP) and was forever grateful that they broke with tradition and allowed me to be a part-time “experiment” renewable in 6-month chunks. Our experiment lasted 10 years, and besides opening the door for others, it allowed me to prove to myself that I could work well at home, often at odd hours. This would prove very helpful later.

I left HP when I decided that the risk of growing stale was greater than the risk of an imbalanced work-life. Subsequent employers said…


PERSONAL

Can we really fall in love with it?

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I woke up to the following quote in my email:

“Fall in love with the masterpiece, and also the paint on the floor.” Morgan Harper Nichols

This sounded wise — very wise — but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Morgan Harper Nichols is an artist, writer, and musician, so she probably knows what to do with it — especially since they are her words.

But from my perspective, who likes messy paint on the floor? Isn’t the point to make the canvas look nice and try really hard not to spill the paint? …


HANNAH STORY #4

So I can be understood

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Here is a small exchange that happened yesterday. I would have ordinarily buried the moment, but now that I’m recording things that irritate me and my response, I have captured the event.

So my dad starts the day with, “What do you kids want for dinner tonight?” It’s 9 in the morning, and I am really not that hungry, and dinner is far away. Even still, I know that I don’t want something heavy, like steak. We’ve been eating lots of steaks lately, and my stomach has started to complain.

I respond, “Can we do something light? Pasta or pizza…


HANNAH’S STORY #3

And why I need help with a third

iStock photo: Vavit

I am really glad Coach suggested I make a list of things that bother me. If I can name them, then I can fix them.

So this morning, it occurred to me that I am in a perpetual battle with two “p” words: precision and perfection. I think that’s why I am a list maker. I don’t want to miss something, and lists help keep me “on track.” I use quote marks for “on track” because I am repeating what I often hear my mom say. …


PERSONAL

Essentially all stories begin and end here

Photo by Author in Local Commons

Every day, I pass this bench when I walk my dog. The words of Mary Oliver have captivated me. If a bench could speak, what would it say? What are some of the stories it could share about the people who sat here?

This is what I imagine.

A grandmother sits with her granddaughter. Her granddaughter is confused. She is in love. She is headed off to discover her world and master a trade. She will not be traveling with her soulmate. She sobs while her grandmother gives her a hug. …


POST-PANDEMIC HUMOR

Not screaming fights

Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash

We’ve been at it now for 16 months — on the sofa, remote in hand, decisions to be made, with the hope of a unanimous decision. Unanimous ain’t easy. I know. I also know my rights, and loosely explained, I have the right to more than 50% of our streaming picks. I can’t tell you why other than I just know.

So how has it gone? In the beginning, all was good — kind of like the bible. We watched untold numbers of series and were engrossed. …


HANNAH’S STORY #2

As I search for happy

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I love irony. My teacher tells me that I use irony in my writing the way adults do — to show inconsistency with a tad of humor. That sounds like something I’d do, especially when I consider my habit of list-making.

I know why I write lists. I have a lot on my mind and a lot I want to do. I want to make sure that it all gets done. This can be difficult when you also want to be a straight-A student, and you are asked to help take care of your younger brother. …


HANNAH’S STORY #1

And here is why

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I know that I was born with a good brain. I like puzzles, I like to write, and I love math. I didn’t realize that problem-solving was so much easier for me than others until I observed my classmates at school. They couldn’t see the things that I could, and it wasn’t any fault of theirs. They could do other things well. Some were athletic. I am not. Others could sing. I can direct. I had friends who were full of sunshine and happiness. That’s not me. I wish it were.

So now that I am in Terre Haute trying…


ICE CREAM

In the most uncanny of places

(Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash)

I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream! Particularly on July 18th. In 1984, then-President Ronald Reagan declared the 3rd Sunday of every July “National Ice Cream Day.” It may sound silly, but here is one holiday that everyone can support and feel happy about.

Like most valuable creations, ice cream has a rich history. Its start goes back to 618–97 AD in China when King Tang of Shang had 94 icemen make a dish of buffalo milk, flour, and camphor. …

Jill Ebstein

Write where humor and insight hopefully meet. Dogs, family, business, food are my props. Created AtMyPace series. Love all forms of work in progress. Closet MBA

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