Spring 2014 5 20 14 Tuesday

70 degrees this morning.  A little cool, but I decide to sit on our wonderful patio to write this.  The wind is blowing through the trees, the birds a chirping and it is wonderful.  First time this spring.

Re-entry into daily life after China has been ok.  I have gotten back into my exercise routine without any problems.  I am waking up at 2 a.m., probably related to jet lag.  I like the extra productivity time, but I know it isn’t sustainable.  My experience in China has made me a lot more aware of Chinese stories and books..  Actually, in China I really enjoyed the “Shanghai Daily”, which was a English language paper for Shanghai residents and provided a lot of insight into Shanghai.  

Reading and listening to “The Bully Pulpit” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I love her books.  I read it on the way from Shanghai on the plane and got about maybe 25% through, so it is not a fast read but it is  a good one.  I also am listening to it on my morning walk.  I discovered I liked doing that since one reinforces the other.  It is a book about Teddy Roosevelt, but also William Taft and S.S. McClure and numerous other characters that are woven into a really enjoyable story.  

I first heard Doris Kearns Goodwin at a landmark City Managers Conference in Cincinnati.  I immediately got all of her books and started reading them (it took me several years).  At the same Conference I heard Beck Weathers (Left for Dead) and his fascinating story about mountain climbing, which was more of a story about addiction (not the right word) and focusing on the wrong thing and not letting yourself lose focus over what is important in life.  I also started reading mountain climbing books, and still do, but I have not desire to climb a mountain, any more than I’d like to learn boxing because of my secret liking for boxing.  

I heard Doris Kearns Goodwin in Pittsburg and actually met her at the TGIFridays restaurant in the Airport.  (She spoke on “Team of Rivals”.  I just told her I enjoyed her books and left her alone, but I was kicking myself for not bringing all of her books with me to ask her to sign them!  

She is going to be at a conference later this year and I”m sure, will speak on The Bully  Pulpit. I am looking forward to it and I want to finish the book and the recording before the conference.  The recording is challenging, I think it is 39 hours.  At 1/2 hour per day (my walking time), it will take me about 3 months to listen to the entire book.  

I will be going to my first “job fair’ this week.  I am going more for experience as anything, but who knows.  

Rats, wind is coming up a little too cool on the patio.  I don’t know how it looks so bare in winter and so lush in Summer.

Our house is on the market again.  The buyer we had the contract with backed out for a variety of reasons.  She wanted some modifications and I think found they cost than she expected.  

One of the difficult aspects of being away for awhile is to catch up on all your mail and reading material (magazines etc.).  It takes me a week to go through everything and I just throw away all the back magazines and newspapers.  I learned a long time ago not to even try.

Watched a Front Line last night about “solitary confinement”.  It was fascinating, a study of absolute rage at being in a small room by yourself and how prisoners deal with it.  

On the plane, I noticed how everyone waited the next meal, snack etc.  Kind of like being in prison you think of it, you’re in a seat belt, under complete control of authority, and no means to escape!

That’s it for today.  Tuesday, May 20, 2014.  

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