Friday, January 31, 2014

The Bowling Alley

My rental shoes, photo by Jeno Berta

Greetings: All:

About a week ago, we went bowling.  We being Dawn and our youngest daughter, Carly.  Cassie, our oldest, declined.  Being 15, I can understand that it was at the unreasonable hour of 9:00 a.m.  I cannot blame her.  If I was a teenager, I'd choose sleep as well.

I had not been a bowling alley for years.  That was not always the case.  My Dad was quite the "kingpin" back in the day and I recall with fondness going to 30 Lanes in Davenport and getting to keep score.  It was great to hang out with the guys, drink 10 oz bottles of grape soda and eat bags of Bugles corn chips.  I remember getting to keep score with a pencil and coloring in the strikes like "Star Wars" Tie-Fighters.  I bowled myself in a Saturday league for a few years and had my own ball.  It was fun.

There is something uniquely American about bowling alleys.  Fred Flintstone bowled, as did Archie Bunker.  I thought I heard that Nixon liked to bowl in the White House.  Then, of course, there is the homage that Hollywood has paid to bowling in such classics as Kingpin and The Big Lebowski.  Bowling is a part of the American culture.  Sad or otherwise, it is also passing from it.  We went bowling early, figuring it would be packed as it was a weekday and the kids did not have school.  The place was nearly empty.  At one point, we were the only people bowling.  Some would call that sad.  Others would say that's just time marching on.  I'll vote for somewhere in the middle.

Photo from Miller Time Bowling in Davenport.  Glad to see "Old Glory" on display and hung correctly.  Photo by Jeno Berta
Bowling's popularity has waned.  I suppose that is understandable.  People now have many other choices with what to do with their leisure time.  When I was a kid, you went to places like the bowling alley to play video games.  Now, you don't have to leave your couch.  Bowling leagues, a staple of American middle-class life, have declined sharply.  Part of it may have to do with economics.  As the good blue-collar jobs ended, so did Tuesday league night.  However, I do not think that is a complete answer.  Kids are in activities and between that, church and other social/organizational meetings and everything else that is "life," bowling leagues have gone the way of the 8-track and the ash tray.

Here's an article from a couple of years' back that lays out the numbers if you would like to read it:

I had a great time bowling.  Well, I had a good time for most of the time.  I did find myself uttering more than once a couple of words ending in "---er" after failing repeatedly to hit the headpin.  However, I did get into a groove and finished with a 140.  Not bad for a lane ball, rental shoes and being sorely out of practice.

The main reason we were there was so my daughter could bowl.  The bowling alley had "bumpers" that prevented gutter balls.  I am not one of those parents who believes in every kid should be a winner and I did cringe in Meet the Parents when the 6th place ribbons were (proudly) displayed by Gaylord's parents.  However, when a kid has not bowled, letting them ease into the sport is a good thing.  After all, we're talking about fun, not a competition.

My daughter Carly bowling.  Photo by Jeno Berta

Bowling is something that I would like to do more of.  Who knows, maybe someday I will get in a league, have a bowling shirt, bag and ball.  In the meantime, I'll come back when there's open bowling.  It is a great family event and a lot of fun.  It is also relatively cheep entertainment and the nostalgia is free.

Be well my friends,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Diana Exhibit

Photo of Diana, from the exhibit, photo use authorized by the Spencer Estate

Greetings All:

Before I get into the topic at hand, a quick house-keeping matter.  On my last post, "The Medal Stand," I outlined three goals I had for last weekend. I plan on writing on that in more detail this weekend.  It was an interesting experiment and one I think I need to run a couple more times.  Stay tuned...

Now, about this post.  On Saturday my family and I attended the Putnam Museum to see the traveling exhibit of Princess Diana's life and times, "Diana- A Celebration."  Now before someone files a writ of execution on my Man Card (I did miss the Iowa-Northwestern basketball game), allow me a moment to explain why this was time well spent.

Full disclosure, I am not a fan of royalty.  Being half-Irish, I still take offense at what the Brits did for centuries in Ireland.  Still, Diana is a historic figure.  She was a fashion icon and in significant ways raised awareness for causes that mattered to her.  She was a leading figure in opposing land mines.  I knew that.  What I did not know was that she worked to raise awareness about leprosy.   That, I did not know.  She made headlines when she touched an AIDS patient.  She also made headlines just about anywhere she went.

The exhibit features prominently her wedding dress and it is some dress.  The train was way long and it was befitting, well, a princess.  There is a great photo of her looking back, her face partially hidden by her veil, as one of her attendants holds the train.  I do not recall much of the wedding but it is fair to say it was a big deal.  Unfortunately, so was her divorce.

The exhibit elected not to focus on this...detail.  However, it was well (and sensationally) documented by the press.  I lived in London for 4 months in 1993 and recall how good the Brits are at writing headlines.  Diana quipped in an interview about there, "...were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."  She knew how to handle herself despite the merciless hounding by photographers.  They loved to pursue her.  Many others just loved her.  I was surprised to see the part of the exhibit that showed the condolence books that were filled out from around the world on her death.  The photo below is a small sampling of the thousands upon thousands of people who paid their respects to her upon her death.

Just a small sampling of the condolence books from around the world at the time of Diana's death.  Photo used with permission of the Spencer estate.

There are those who will say, and rightly so, her celebrity was not from anything she created.  She did not record an album, make a movie, write a book, win an election or an Olympic medal.  She married into it.  Fair enough.  However, look at what she did from that point forward.  She elected not to stay in that "crowded" marriage.  She did not engage in some purely narcissistic post-Charles life.  Her charity work matters.  She used her fame to speak for those for whom there were no bright lights.  She did not engage in some false display of hating dressing up, she freely admitted her love of clothes.  Yet while dazzling on the red carpet, she was promoting causes that mattered.

The exhibit reminded me that she was a person, just like us.  She had two sons she dearly loved and fiercely protected.  I for one think William had grown into a fine young man and Harry will get there soon enough.  For all "Vegas antics" he's also a Soldier, like his brother.  These guys get duty.  Just like their mom.

The exhibit ends, as one might expect, with her funeral.  It is tastefully done.  Elton John's Goodbye England's Rose plays and there are photos of the famous and average who paid their heartfelt respects.  For me, the most interesting part of the exhibit was the eulogy that her brother gave at the funeral.  It shows the depth of pride and grief the family had for her.
Part of the eulogy read at Diana's funeral.  Photo used with permission of the Spencer Estate.

I am glad I saw it.  I learned some things about Diana and was reminded of things I forgot.  Many call her an icon.  The definition of an icon from The Free Dictionary is the following:  "One who is the object of great attention and devotion; an idol."  (  I think it is fair to say that definition meets Diana, the Princess of Wales, the "People's Princess" as Tony Blair referred to her.  Unlike our current (ahem) celebrities, Diana wore the crown of popularity with grace and restraint.  The world was a better place for her being here.  She will be missed.

Here's a link to an article about the exhibit:

Be well my friends,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Medal Stand, Copyright of Rob Woods, topendsports, used with permission as this is a noncommercial endeavor.  Thanks Rob!

Greetings All:

So it's about this time of the month of January when memorial services are held for those New Year's Resolutions.  I am not much of a resolution guy as I think they don't really work.  I do believe firmly in goal setting and focusing in on habits and the systems you employ to make your goals reality.  As I have said before, systems are really just habits that have shaved and put on a collared shirt.

One of the questions I ask myself in thinking about goal setting or new (and hopefully better) habits/systems is where to begin?  There are different schools of thought on this subject.  David Allen, author of Getting Things Done advocates getting everything down on paper.  As I recall, he advises taking a single sheet of paper and writing one thing on it.  Then, after you've swept out your mind, you go through an organization process and throw out/recycle a bunch of stuff. 

It's a great system, except that one needs to commit a LOT of time to make it work.  I tried it a few times with results similar to my stints with the Adkins Diet:  The first few hours are great.  And then, it’s back to the old to-do lists and pizza.

The challenge, at least for me, was trying to figure out everything that I need to and (more importantly) want to do.  Allen’s process is great IF you can commit the time to it.  (To learn more about him, here is the link to his website:

A few weeks back I ran across the Allen book and thumbed through a few pages.  Acknowledging that I am in no position to attempt this program again, I put the book back on the shelf.  Still, I wanted to accomplish more goal setting.  I also wanted to tie it into a sustained, regular process, dare I say it, a system. 

As I was kicking this idea around, the news was on, talking about the security issues in Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.  I made the connection (don’t ask me how, please, as these things just come to me)

Without further adieu, here is the idea:  The Medal Stand.

At the Olympics, there are medals presented for the top three finishers.  There are a variety of schools of thought on the significance of three.  For decades in America, there were the “Big 3” auto companies.  Jim Collins of the Good to Great book states, “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.”  So long story short, the top three matter.  Thus, the idea for the medal stand.
So, to quote The King (a/k/a Elvis Pressley) “A little less talk and a lot more action.”  Let’s put the theory into practice.  Here’s how to take the concept of “The Medal Stand” and put it into practical application:

1.  Think about the things you want to/need to do.  You can take as long as you would like but I am a fan of limiting this to about five minutes.  This stuff is in your short-term memory, so getting the initial stuff down on paper should not be that hard.

2.  From the list, do a first cut of say the top five or six things. 

3.  Now, of this first cut, decide what is the most important thing you need/want to do. 

Example-My Upcoming Weekend.  Here’s my proposed for the medal stand:

1.  Exercise both Saturday and Sunday.  This will involve both doing two sets each day of continual sit-ups and push ups, as well as running for 2 miles as fast as I can;

2.  Cleaning up my office area.  One hour each day on this endeavor; and

3.  Read and return to the library the two books that are (ahem) overdue.

There it is, three things.  This is in addition to the various other thing that I want to do this weekend and the typical “catch-up chores” we all do during these two days.  I’ll do a follow-up post to see how I do.

Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think of this concept.  If you’d like to share what is on your medal stand, please do so.  Here’s to climbing your own medal stand.

Be well my friends,


Sunday, January 19, 2014

American Hustle- A Timeless Tale

The Poster for American Hustle, David O. Russell film,, fair use claimed

Greetings All:

ast night, Dawn and I saw the movie, American Hustle.  It’s the “hot” new film and I can see why.  It is great.  Before I go on with this blog- SPOILER ALERT, I will discuss the film and give a few things away.  If you have not seen the film, and would like to, please stop reading now.

OK, my conscious is now clear.  Here’s my take on this super movie.  It is a good bit of entertainment, loosely built around the Abscam scandal of the late 70s/early 80s.  Although the movie is not factually accurate 100%, it’s great entertainment.  The three central characters are an uber-ambitious FBI agent and two con artists who are forced to work with the Feds.  The supporting cast come off the bench and hit 3-point shots with Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner and others.  I would be remiss not to add it’s a GREAT soundtrack.  I did something I have not done in years and purchased it (thank you iTunes.)  There is a nice mix of different stuff, including some killer ELO songs.  My personal favorite is Mayssa Karaa’s haunting remake of “White Rabbit.” 

And for good measure, it’s got a cameo from Robert De Niro.  Now, please, tell me what more could you want?  The movie is cleaning up in the pre-Oscar awards and it’s probably even money for it to be the best picture at the Academy Awards.

As I am working on keeping my blog posts shorter, I am electing to focus on what I see as one of the strongest parts of the film, the theme of unhappiness or more precisely, the pursuit of unobtainable happiness.

Bradley Cooper’s character of Richie DiMaso, the driven FBI agent is Exhibit A of this point.  He’s so driven to bust the bad guys he goes to pretty crazy lengths to keep the investigation going, including beating up his boss with a telephone.  For a while, the method to his madness is working.  For a while…

Exhibit B is Christian Bale’s character, Irving Rosenfeld.  Here’s a guy by his own admission does what he has to do, “…to survive.”  He’s hooked up with the very talented and beautiful Amy Adams, a/k/a Syndey Prosser a/k/a Lady Edith Greensley.  The only problem with this arrangement is he’s married.  That would be Roslyn, Jennifer Lawrence’s character.  Aside from being forced to work for Richie, his “other wife,” Ros is a handful.  He wants a divorce, she doesn’t.  Throw in her kid, Danny (whom Irving adapted, perhaps the only noble thing he’d done in his life) and Irving’s got himself a situation.  There is a scene where he watches a Mobster putting the moves on Ros and without saying a word he gives a monologue full of pain.  Even through his (presumably) Foster Grant glasses, his eyes display his agony. 

This is just one example of how all the characters binge drink from a cocktail of equal parts guilt and grief.  Unfortunately for them, it’s an open bar.

All of the characters are looking for something.  For Ritchie, it’s the bust.  He’s going to bag some big game and get credit for it.  For Irving and Sydney, they are looking for the exits.  For Ros, she’s looking for an instruction manual for life.  Still, she finds her own way.  I understand why Ms. Lawrence one the Golden Globe for this role. 

There are no real winners in this film and a lot of losers.  A few do survive.  As far as happiness, well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.  At the end of the day, it’s a movie.  It is entertainment.  However, I wonder if the reason we can take away life lessons from entertainment is that we’re not expecting to learn anything.  It just creeps up on us.  Kinda like the ending of this movie.  Oh, and a great soundtrack doesn’t hurt either. 

Be well my friends,


Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Talent Show

Greetings All:

Happy weekend everyone, we got ours off to a terrific start Friday night by seeing our daughter Carly perform at her grade school talent show.  She was fantastic, singing "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Miz.  Of course, I am hopelessly biased as a father (and shame on me if I would not be).  Yet even putting aside my fatherly pride, I can objectively say that she, and all the kids, did great.  My Dad was able to go and I caught a glimpse of him beaming as she was singing.

There were over 40 acts tonight.  Some kids sang, or danced, or played an instrument.  One of the crowd's favorites were two kids in full Japanese armor swinging wooded samurai swords.  The show concluded with the 6th graders doing a group number and at the end held up a sign, "Class of 2020."  I immediately suppressed the urge to do the math to figure out just how old I'll be then.

These events are a lot of fun.  The kids had worked hard and the teachers had spent a bunch of time getting them ready and engaging in the requisite "herding of cats" that had to go on at these events.  The Pleasant Valley High School drama kids helped out by running the lights and various tech functions.  This was not some production in the gym, this was real kids performing on a real stage.  I think some of the parents were more nervous than the kids.

These events are a ton of fun and a collective "good news" story.  Of course, we were there to see Carly.  Yet I enjoyed seeing all the kids perform.  Who knows, some of these kids may go on to perform on much bigger venues.  Then again, for a few minutes last night, they were on the biggest venue that mattered to them.  It was a privilege to watch all of them perform.

I am grateful that I live in a school district where there are these opportunities for my kids.  I am grateful that there are teachers who are willing, on their own time, to work with the kids and enthusiastically support their endeavors.  The beginning of the show opened with the teachers doing a mix of The Lion King in costume.  I wonder how many teachers, despite their best intentions, would return to their schools at night in the inner city?  I hope the answer is all of them.  It may be.  Call me cynical, but I doubt it.  I am grateful for the seat I had in the auditorium where I got to see my daughter and other kids perform.  Oh, and the ice cream my Dad treated us to after the show was pretty good as well. :)

Here's to all the kids out there who get up on stage and fight through the butterflies to share their talents.  Here's to the parents and teachers who support them.  Here's to the others backstage who move the show along.  It was a great event and as I type this can feel myself smiling.  A great way to begin any weekend indeed.

Be well my friends,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Passing of a Dear Friend and Mentor, fair use claimed

Greetings All:

It is with sadness that I write this blog post for the subject is the passing of a dear friend and mentor, Harold C. Keller.  Mr. Keller, or "Coach" as he will affectionately and respectfully be known, passed away this past weekend.  I understand that he had moved from the area a few years back and thanks to my friend Daniel I learned of his passing.

I met Coach Keller in August of 1983.  It was in Public Speaking I at Davenport West High School.  For the next three years, speech and debate for me (and drama) was what Boy Scouts was for me in junior high- my outlet.

I invite and strongly encourage you to read about Coach Keller on the website.  Simply put, he is an amazing man.  He was "Mr. Congress" at the National Speech Tournament and the National Forensic League.  As the photo above shows, he was a man who could (and did) command a room.

Forget all that.  He was my friend.  I do not say this to slight his accomplishments.  They were many and due of acknowledgement.  I say that because he was a great man who transcended his accomplishments.  I recall reading Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden years ago where he talked about the Delta Force Operators as being men who "transcended rank."  In other words, they were so damn good at their jobs that they were defined not by their position but their accomplishments.  My friend Harold was exactly that in the world of speech and debate.

I may be wrong but I bet I'm close to when I claim that Coach K touched the lives of thousands of speech and debate kids.  I talked to my friend Prasanta tonight and we reminisced about the great times we had in speech and debate.  She beat me in a Lincoln-Douglas debate in 1986.  Coach K's response was so great when he said, "Well, it's like losing to your sister."

There was another part to Harold Keller.  He taught the basic speech class at our high school.  Many kids did not want to take this class and some failed.  Still, I have yet to meet anyone who was in Mr. Keller's speech class who did not like and respect him.  Even if he failed a kid, he did it with respect.  He knew better than most the challenge of public speaking.

I will miss my dear friend and mentor Harold Keller.  He said that one should strive to be, "a good person speaking well."  I hope I am.  I know he was.  Rest easy my friend.

Be well my friends,

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My First Book Review of the Year- "Here I Am"

Photo of Tim Hetherington,, use granted by the photo owner, attribution to Michael von Bergen

Greetings All:

I recently read Here I Am by Alan Huffman.  It is the story of an amazing man, Tim Hetherington.  I picked it up without a whole lot of thought at the Bettendorf Library, an impulse checkout, if you will.  I vaguely remember hearing about Tim when he was killed in Libya in 2011.  However, this book tells the complete story of an incredibly talented and courageous man.  Sebastian Junger sums it up with this quote:  "I don't think I fully understood how brave my good friend Tim Hetherington was until reading these pages."

Tim struck out to document the tyranny that was going on in the world in places that I'd barely heard of and really did not pay a whole lot of attention to.  I recall that many years ago at The Airliner in Iowa City, my friend Jaret told me, and not in a mocking tone, "Jeno, the world does not want to be saved."  The more I hang out on this planet, I more evidence piles up to support my friend's point.  And yet, there was Tim, with his camera, and his conscious, to record what he saw.

And he saw a lot.  From various stints in Africa and Afghanistan, Tim recorded the horror and beauty of human interaction.  This was not some idealist.  Tim might have very well been my friend Jaret's star witness in a trial in the court of public opinion about the world not wanting to be saved.  Just a quick perusal of Tim's work would be exhibits A thru double KK to support that point.

And yet...

Ant yet Tim captured the humanity of people in the very worst of situations.  His photo essay entitled, Sleeping Soldiers was a beautiful and jarringly honest visual of the human side of war.  I went on line and watched the collection he put together.  It strikes me as about the most honest thing I have seen come out (from a media standpoint) of the past years of war.  I was struck by the absence of pillow cases for the Soldiers.  Just one missing regular item these young men did not have.

I could write another 1000 words easy on this guy but I am forcing myself to be more disciplined in my writing, shooting for 500 words per blog post.  With that, I am going to punch out of this story but not before I mention the tragic circumstances of Tim's death.  Long story short- he was killed by a mortar round that impacted where he was in Libya in 2011.  The cynic might claim that he had pushed his luck once too many times.  I will say that he was practicing his vocation and sadly died for it.

Please do not view this post as hero worship of Tim Hetherington.  That is not my intent.  I also have, intentionally, referred to him by his first name.  I do not do this out of a sense of assumed familiarity but out of respect.  From reading this book and a bunch of other articles, this guy was about as down to earth and genuine as they come.  I like to think that he'd be cool, if not insist, I use his first name in this post.  So I will.

Here's a book that tells the tale of an amazing person and his life's work, his vocation.  I highly recommend it and it will be back at the Bettendorf Library in a couple of days.  If you do read it, please drop me a line and let me know what you think of it, thanks.

The links below include one to the Amazon site where you can order the book in hard cover.  There is no Kindle version yet.  There is also a link to a website his parents set up.  Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Hetherington have joined an unwanted organization of parents who've buried their children, killed in a war zone.  Their message is moving and I can tell that through their grief they are incredibly proud of their son.  And with good reason.

Be well my friends,


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Minor Melancholy Task

Greetings All:

It's the new year.  It is also the time when the traditional "social" holiday season begins to wrap up.  A fair number of organizations and businesses will have their holiday parties in January but for the most part, the holidays are done, at least in our house.  Thus begins the minor melancholy task of the holiday clean-up/pack up.

For those of us in the Midwest, locked in the "Polar Vortex" or whatever they are calling it, it's way too cold to take down lights.  It's one of the reasons that there are still more than the usual lights on display this far past New Years.  I was able to get mine down on New Years Day, mainly because there were not that many (I love net lights, by the way) and I actually thought about the takedown process before I put them up.  That left the decorations in the house.

Those got taken down on Sunday and full disclosure, I did not help.  I was upstairs watching my beloved Packers come up short in the first round of the playoffs.  (We'll now pause to allow all Bears fans a moment to snicker.  OK, moment's up.)  I did haul the tree bag and the boxes downstairs.  And with that, the holidays in the Berta house are officially over.

Many people go thru a period of holiday letdown.  There are ample posts and articles out there on the internet about this issue.  Here's one I particularly like:

For me, it's both normal and healthy to go thru a bit of a period of feeling melancholy about the tasks of cleaning up and packing up the holidays.  After all, lights and decorations and Christmas music is fun! When fun stops, well, it stops.  We're back to reality.

One could argue that the holiday season is as much reality as today is.  To quote a friend of mine, "I'll buy that for a dollar."  I would also offer this:  The reason we like the holidays is because of the uniqueness of the experience.  If we had the Christmas Tree up all year, then it would not be a "Christmas Tree."  It would be a piece of furniture (albeit one with lights and ornaments) just like the chair or end table that got shifted out of the way when the tree went up.

Look at it like this:  The reason that the season is so special is that it is only for a limited time.  As I wrote a few weeks back, I only listen to the December Album/CD during the holiday season.  It is why it is so great to hear again when Thanksgiving rolls around again.  So when we feel a bit of a sting of sadness at having to put the Christmas things away, that is natural.  By doing so, we're preserving the great feelings we will have in forty-some odd weeks.  It is kind of like paying it forward with a candy cane and a mug of egg nog.

So farewell the trappings of Christmas, we will see you next year.

Be well my friends,

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

The view from our deck recently.  It's not quite this cold as I write this, but trust me, it will get there.  Photo by Jeno Berta.

Greetings All:

As I write this, I am in bed (thanks Steve Jobs for my MacBook Air), watching the Packers game. Meanwhile, outside, the temperature is dropping like my college GPA after I had to keep taking   French.  School has been cancelled for tomorrow.

It is ugly cold.  Now being half-Irish, I do try to be an optimist.  However, optimism has its limits.  One such limit is the reality that is early January in Iowa and for good measure, we're locked in a 20-year cold snap.  If you're curious and/or have a sense of humor, you might ask, "So how cold is it?"

I'll offer this reply, compliments of our friends at the National Weather Service:




Yup, that's cold.  And at some point, you simply have to embrace it for what it is:  A temporary albeit unpleasant period of weather that severely limits your options.

Or does it?

I ask this because I firmly expect that even though tomorrow is a day that is (in both theory and practice) too "cold" for school, there will be kids out sledding tomorrow.  Granted, not for all day, but they will be out there.  Someone will cut a hole in the ice (and please, BE CAREFUL) and maybe catch dinner.  Someone will clean out a closet, organize a drawer or do some other indoor task that would not make the To-Do List in warm weather months.  In other words, it's our choice to how we deal with this cold.  Sure, it is easy to seek to get into "hunker down mode."  Again, as I type this, I'm in bed, under covers, and fully dressed.  It's dumb to not accept the realities of the situation.  Yet at the same time it is our choice to what significance we assign to these realities.

What do I mean?  Well, how about this?  How about saying that yes, in the words of Dean Martin, it is, (Baby) "...cold outside."  but the cold does not have to define us.  Make some hot coco, wear a Christmas sweater you secretly like, make homemade soup, read a book, write a letter (and mail it!) to a family member or friend.  Take a moment to be thankful that you have a house to hang out in and that summer is coming.  If necessary, go out to the garage and look at the lawn mower.  Sooner or later, you'll get to run it again.

Here's to dealing with winter and finding the bright spots in it.  And yes, I'll do my best to practice what I preach.  Although I will be wearing my warm socks for many days to come.

Be well my friends and stay warm!