Category Archives: Featured

Impact an even more thrilling bottom line

I was talking to a number-crunching libertarian who made a compelling point that businesses exist for no other reason than to make money. Some of my fellow liberals in the conversation took issue with him. I found I couldn’t argue the point.

That’s not to say businesses can’t do a whole lot more but the less a business is cluttered with thoughts other than profits, the more that business will be effective.

This is why I’ve been a terrible businessman.

Maybe it’s just the circles I work in these days, but I am positive about what seems like a newish trend for those in business to give a shit about more than just money. In fact, many seem to exist to do a whole lot of good while they make money. Some even see money making as necessary, but not necessarily the reason to be in business for the first place.

The flaw in this argument is not in the economist’s position. The flaw is ignoring social impact and soceital good will threaten the bottom line profit. As the innovation economy shifts, it shifts toward the importance of businesses coupling social responsibility with bottom line profits.

It’s a lot less clean than my economist friend would like, but I love it. This is an era of rewriting what’s possible. Nothing is off the table. Just look at the United Nation’s 17 sustainable development goals. It reads like a laundry list of impossibility. But that billions will be poured into these initiatives shows how much things have changed. Anything is possible and business, of all things, play a key role.

To be sure, many don’t get it. If they do, they simply don’t believe it. I’m not being scientific here, but my impression is that the vast majority of professionals are driven the be the alure of more money. Social impact? Eh. Not so much.

Case in point: I met a guy who considered himself something of an entrepreneur who prattled on about his big venture. Four years in the making, it had a few props, a few signs, a Facebook page and some handouts. No customers but big ideas that he assured us would be “extreme.”

After quite a long while, he decided to ask a little about me. “So you’re into some nonprofit thing, right? What’s that about?” he asked.

“Impact,” I said.

He couldn’t have been more bored with me. Me too, come to think of it. I could care less about his extreme business and how much money it would make. We sat there a bit more in awkward silence. Mercifully, I had something else to do and was soon on my way.

I had no interest in trying to explain the importance of organizations founded for something other than profits. If I had, I could have pointed to so many transformative, mission-driven efforts that are every bit as ground-breaking as the latest dating app or “sharing” business. We are in an era of change and changing the way we change and getting up in the morning about something more than a green-colored bottom line.

It may not be a clean bottom line. But the more this era of social impact grows, the bottom line will only get more robust while making society a bit better at the same time.

To me, that’s “extreme.”

Crumbs, mice close Cronut bakery – Independent.ie

So this is how prophet’s feel? It feels kinda bad actually. Nevertheless, I did call it when I wrote that “Cronuts are so yesterday.” Of course, I didn’t think someone who went to such artistry to launch the cronut (and then to trademark it to keep others from profiting on something he didn’t really invent, but perfected) would be so careless as to let his SoHo New York restaurant be overun by rats.

Karma?

Far be it from me to say it, but read on:

Health officials have closed a New York City bakery famous for serving up croissant-doughnut hybrid treats called Cronuts because of a “severe mouse infestation.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman says the Dominique Ansel Bakery in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood was shut down yesterday.

She says the rodent problem requires professional pest control but the bakery can reopen after inspectors determine the problem is fixed.

Bakery spokeswoman Amy Ma says a customer posted a video of a mouse online instead of telling bakery staff.

She says workers are now re-cementing the basement and will exterminate. She says they hope to open on Monday.

Cronuts have become a food craze in New York. Queues at Ansel’s tiny eatery often start forming at dawn, hours before it opens.

via Crumbs, mice close Cronut bakery – Independent.ie.

It suddenly makes my little Teddy Bear Claw Croissonuts and Italian No-nuts look pretty damn good huh?

Cronuts2

But maybe I’ll not go the trademark route. It seems elitism can lead to a far fall from grace.

So here’s the proverbial $64,000 question: Will the lines around the building return when the mice are gone?

All-time Giants team beats Dodgers every time

So, this Opening Day is not wearing off quickly, thank God. As I sit here and watch my Giants and am filled with hopes of another World Series come fall, I drift back to my youth.

In a life that has spanned nearly half of a century, there are few constants. Hating the Yankees, is one of them. It goes back to my earliest sports memories. It goes back to my youth in Los Angeles, when I bled Dodger blue. My old favorite Italian Uncle Phil actually used to send me clips from the San Francisco Chronicle about his Yankees and we’d argue and argue about them. He was a cantankerous SOB, and I was his favorite nephew so he’d twist my tail into knots over the Yankees. I loved the Dodgers back then with their Italian manager Tommy Lasorda and their incredible unchanging infield of Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey. I died when I watched them storm back with three wins on the final three days to end the season and we stalked the ticket line to get into the one-game playoff with the Astros, only to lose 8-1.

But nothing stung worse in my early life than Reggie Jackson’s fat pin-striped ass stuck into the double-play ball that I still believed cost the Dodgers the series against the Yankees. Through it all my Uncle Phil taunted me with his malevolent smile.

When Pedro Mania came along and we finally beat the Yankees (in a strike-shortened season that crushed me unfortunately) I finally gave that old man an Eminem-style battle trashing. My hatred for the Yankees was sealed.

I married into San Francisco, but I had long left my Dodgers behind. I didn’t like the post Lasorda era much and I hated the new owners when the Alston’s sold. In 1986 I discovered a fan base that hated the Yankees as much as I did, and well, the Red Sox became my love. When I moved back East and bought into season tickets at Fenway, well I’ve never loved a team like that in the early 2000s. That was a long… long nearly two decades until the legendary 2004 Comeback made it all worthwhile. But in 2003… in those late innings, with Pedro tiring and … oh man, it was actually worse than Reggie’s hip.

Marrying the Bride meant accepting the Giants. As a lifelong 49er fan (forty years, never wavered, its about the only commitment I’ve kept all those years) I thought it would be easy, but my old Dodger roots made it tough. I really didn’t like the Giants. I hated Barry Bonds. But that stadium… oh my how I learned to love that stadium. The team was bleak when I first moved three blocks away. But few things pull so deep in my heart as San Francisco, The Bride and the 49ers, so eventually I became a baseball polygamist. I agreed to an arranged marriage with the Giants.

Like most arranged marriages, I learned to love them. I loved that they lost a lot at first, because I could get cheap tickets with ease and go to lots of game. When they got good, a different energy drew me in. A Friday Night in AT&T out in outfield pavilion is a party like few others every week of the season. Two World Championships with scrappy, overachieving teams didn’t hurt either. Now I follow them as much as I follow my Red Sox… some days even more so. And I’ve learned to hate the Dodgers nearly as much as the Yankees, especially when they went all billion-dollar purchase and payroll on us the last two years. Who Yankee like? Magic… Magic Johnson, favorite Laker of all-time, say it ain’t so…

Life changes. I change. But hating the Yankees, that’s forever.

Oh yeah, I promised another list. This one is my ALL-Time San Francisco Giants team. (I won’t name any New York Giants, period. Too close to the Yankees. Willie Mays is a SF Giant. Let’s make that clear).

It’s tough leaving off the great Christy Mathewson, Mel Ott, and Sal Maglie (who wouldn’t want a guy known as “the barber” for his five o’clock shadow and chin music to opposing hitters?). But the New York Prohibition stands.

The Giants are maddening to try to build a line-up. They have awesome first basemen, second basemen and outfielders. Then they have big holes, none so apparent as lead off.

Nevertheless….

ALL-Time San Francisco Giants

I wish I could steal Rickey Henderson from across the bay… sigh… I’d like to snag Jackie Robinson since he was traded to the SF Giants (he chose to retire instead) but that’s too much of a stretch, even for me.

If the Giants EVER learn the true value of a dynamic, OBP-type playmaker at the top of the line-up, they will be a force.

But until then we will go with:

1) Bobby Bonds, RF- We need his speed and dynamic five-tool talent at the top of this masher lineup. Felipe Alou, doubles as player/coach and has speed for the top of the lineup, will be a reserve.

2) Will the Thill- 1b- Defensively he’s a gem, only JT Snow may have manned the bag better. But he’s a gamer and a fighter and an OBP machine, so we need him to help set the table.

3) Willie Mays, CF- The greatest. The only man who can compare to Babe Ruth and played in the era of desegregation. He alone makes this team dominant.

4) Orlando Cepeda- LF- The baby bull is a beast. Notice who is not here:

Giants3

The reason is simple. His Pittsburgh Pirates, non-steroid years were awesome, a rare mix of defense, speed, obp, and power. But by the time he came to SF, he was a one-dimensional freak who was cancer in the locker room. The steroids alone earn him a lifetime ban from your list, but his personality makes any loopholes close forever.

willie_mays-300x3001

5) Willie McCovey- DH- The greatest Willie not named Mays. (yes I get to use a DH in all-time teams, because I say so.)

6) Jeff Kent, 2b- AN easy choice. Our lineup is getting a bit RH lopsided, so we need a lefty PH/platoon guy somewhere. It won’t be here. We want Kent all the time for his consistent glove and unheard of power. I think we’ll teach JT snow to play SS and get his left-handed bat in the lineup (lol). Kent’s our clubhouse asshole (and we’re ignoring his time on the Dodgers, fleeing Bonds anyone can make that mistake), but minus the younger Bonds there is room for one.

7) Matt Williams, 3b- I always suspected him of steroids. But there is no denying his power and excellent defense and he’s an easy choice here.

8) Buster Posey, C- Admittedly, he’s still a little young. But an MVP, two world series rings, and a stellar clubhouse leader. He’s in.

Giants4

9) Johnny LeMaster, SS- This is just a tough one. Rich Aurillia would be the likely pick because of his offense and leadership. But this team’s defense is going to be its greatest strength and LeMaster’s a wizard without the Ozzie. Omar Vizquel would be great, but he was old by the time he came to SF. Chris Spiers was Rich Aurillia, before Rich Aurillia.

Starters: The Giants have depth here, with a lot of stellar pitchers. The ace is none other than Juan Marichal. We have to add Matt Cain and Tim Lincicum (the two Cy Youngs, two rings, make this a must even if now he’s… not so special).

Timmy

Then it gets dicey. Vida Blue? He’s an Oakland A, more than a Giant in my book. The Count of Montefusco was sure entertaining. But I’ll go with those stellar Jason Schmidt years and Gaylord Perry, though Rick Ruschel should get some love too. Hell, there’s a lot of guys here. Can I just take Christy Mathewson and call it good?

Closer: Rob Nen- A beat, who literally gave up his arm in the World Series loss to the Angels. Rod Beck is in the pen but not closing. Dave Righetti will be our swing man, long-relief, and pitching coach.

Manager: Bruce Bochey. He’s won twice and don’t forget how good he was with the Padres. He’s vastly underrated.

Ok, that’s my list. Go Giants.

For the All-Time Boston Red Sox, click here. And for the best five stadiums of all time, click here. And for my 2014 predictions, click here. With that, we return to our scheduled, non-baseball, Effin Artist programming.

 

 

 

ount of Montefusco

All Time Red Sox Lineup: Celebrating baseball, lists and opening day

Opening day was so great this year I have to keep it rolling one more day… hell, it may roll all week! But in true celebration, I’m taking the day off watching baseball and taking the Bride to a nearby authentic mill that grinds its own flour among other things (yes, you can expect a post soon, once this baseball euphoria passes).

Baseball and lists and opening day(s) all swirl in my mind’s sky like the purples, pinks and oranges of a perfect sunset.

And for a bonus list of the many I keep in my mind related to baseball, I give you the All-time team that would play in Heaven’s baseball game against the Yankees in Fenway Park (The Yanks lose every game in Heaven). Compare mine to the fans ballot here.

My All-Time Red Sox lineup:

  • 1) Tris Speaker, CF (but my heart belongs to Dom DiMaggio, SF-born Italian, brilliant mind, great person and wonderful CF).
  • 2) Bobby Doerr, 2B, Hall of Famer gets the nod over all-time gamer, Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia makes the team as our utility guy.

pedroia

  • 3) Ted Williams, RF- Moved him to right, because let’s face it, his defense sucks everywhere. But gotta love his bat. He’s the one sour apple in our clubhouse. But I recall a quote of his as a manager of the Washington Senators. When asked about pitching, he stalled and stammered and then said, “Fuck it. Let’s hit.”

Williams

  • 4) Yaz, Lf. The best in left off the monster ever. The best in the clutch ever (even you Mr. Ortiz). A true great. I bet he’d beat Ted Williams’ ass every now again, too (and Pedroia probably helped).
  • 5) David Ortiz, DH- When you are given a plaque by management calling you the greatest clutch Red Sox hitter ever, (it’s not accurate, see above) but it’s saying something. When you almost single-hand-idly break the eighty-year old curse with clutch game-winners over the Yankees, well… carve the statue.
  • 6) Jimme Foxx, 1b- Gotta have a life of the party, and besides, Jimmy Dugan was based on his life, so this our EFFin Artist favorite on the team by association.

Dugan

  • 7)Jimmy Collins, 3b- This is a tough one. I bet Doerr could have played here and then I’d put Pedroia in. Hell, I know Pedroia would play there. But neither did. So I’m inclined to simply take one of my all-time favorites, Kevin Youkilis. Because fans in heaven want to scream YOUK… But Collins was a hall of famer, so… Oh yeah, and no, I didn’t forget Wade Boggs. When he rode that GD#(#$% Horse around Yankee stadium in pinstripes, he was dead to me. Which is also why you won’t find Roger Clemens (double whammy with the steroid thing) on this list or Johnny Damon (loved him.. damnit). But you will find Babe Ruth, because he was ours first AND he was sold, not swooned.
  • 8) Jason Varitek, C- The Captain was such a great backstop and leader he’d be the captain in heaven too. He’s a man.

Tek

Let’s face it, you have to have this happen over and over in Heaven. It’ll never grow old. NOW, I KNOW, I know,… Carlton Fisk. Game 6 alone should make him a roster spot. But I’m going with Varitek. Fisk lost game 7. Varitek won two championships. Varitek finished his career with the Sox. Fisk left (though I blame management). You need two catchers, I’ll take both.

  • 9) Johnny Pesky, SS- Nomar was better, but I suspect steroids, AND I hated his prima dona attitude. Pesky was a baller. Plus he has his own pole in the stadium, so he’d have to play in heaven.
  • Starters: My Ace is Pedro. Plain and simple. Until that unfortunate taunt of drilling the Babe’s ass, he was the best of his era by far. Babe Ruth (and then you get his bat too, and he can take Foxx out on the town each night, fun for all Boston!)

The Babe

  • Lefty Grove, Cy Young, Smokey Joe Wood (with apologies to Mel Parnell).
  • Closer: Give me Pap man. He was ungodly before he left. And he didn’t go to the Yanks. Who doesn’t want to see this at the end of every game?

pap

  • Manager: Terry Francona. Two world series. End of story. Management did him wrong. Sad. I love that he’s doing it again in Cleveland. A prophet is never honored in his own town.

There it is. Let the games begin. And the arguments I hope. Red Sox fans, chime in below. Who is on your team?

I’ll save my Giants all-time team for a later day.

Jesus held hostage by the fundamentalists

Remember WWJD? The parodies of it were memorable that’s for sure. Like most fads, especially Christian ones, the whole thing turned sort of nauseating really quickly, like fish left out too long.

But my gripe wasn’t the idea, which came from the rediscovery of a sort-of archaic book that really was pretty inspirational back in the day. The notion was this: If you’re not sure what to do in a given situation, ask yourself what would Jesus do. That makes sense.

The only problem is most of the people wearing fancy bracelets and spouting WWJD didn’t seem to actually know Jesus all that well, at least judging from their behavior.

Read through the New Testament about Jesus. He was truly only pissed off at one group of people: The religious leaders. He loved the sinners. He thought the cast-offs were fun and interesting and chose to hang out with them. He liked to sit and talk with hookers. He didn’t like the wealthy and elite, and they didn’t like him much either, but still he treated them with compassion. But he had some harsh, harsh words for the religious leaders of the day. Brood of vipers I think he called them.

So ask yourself this. If Jesus were here today, who would he call a brood of vipers? The Fundamentalist Brigade or the Rainbow Coalition? He’d love my gay friends, I know that. WWJD with the gays and addicts and felons and rebels of today? We already know because he did it. He’d love them.

And what would he do if he walked into a Mega Church on Sunday morning? We already know because he did it. Tables would be a flying.

For far too long Jesus has been held hostage by the fundamentalists. They’ve changed his brand. They’ve Americanized it and cleaned it up and made it stand for white, rich, bigoted, elitist and hateful. So a lot of people have learned to despise the Jesus brand without ever knowing about Jesus the man.

More of us who have tried to get know him need to free him from captivity. We need to let people know the powerful political voice of conservative Christians doesn’t speak exclusively for the Jesus we read about in the Bible. They may contribute a verse, but they don’t get to sing the whole song.

I mulled this today as I realize that balance is critical to my hoof-to-head approach to healthy living. I have to spend as much time on my soul as I do on my body and mind. I have to nurture a proper spiritual condition as much as I consider what I eat, or won’t eat. The more I do this, I more I feel the weight of Jesus’ hostage situation and my long years of silence about it.

Jesus is not a brand. And nobody gets the corner on his market, not unless they want a table flying in their face and whip cracking above their head.

Think about that next time you wonder WWJD.

The perfect dough for the imperfect cause

I’ve been fiddle futzing with pizza dough for a long time. Friday night pizza night in our house has been homemade for a decade at least. My youngest has been smooshing dough since she was five. She’d toss it so hard it’d rattle the overhead light fixtures in the kitchen.

My bride keeps telling me how great it is. She doesn’t know I never ever make it the same way twice. I haven’t found the perfect dough yet, so I keep monkeying with the recipe.

Until, perhaps, now. This last Friday night I made the closest batch yet to the perfect dough. It was light and airy, yet still packed an aldente bite when I bit down. It didn’t get too hard. It was thin, but with a nice airy crust on the edge that tasted like a seasoned bread stick.

I could stop tinkering and have my dough. But as I said, perhaps. I’m not sure yet. It’s really, really great, but perfect? Hmmnn…

Perhaps, as today is another Pizza Night. We’ll see.

Nevertheless I thought enough about this dough to enter it in a contest hosted by my latest WeBromance, NudoAdopt.com.

The fine folks at Nudo artistically experiment with infused olive oils. I read about how they grind the rosemary with olives at the press, rather than soak the rosemary with oil, and I though, “Wow, they’re EFFin Artists, man!”

Then my oldest told me they were having a contest, casting about for recipes that use their rosemary olive oil and an experimental olive oil they made combining coffee beans with the olives. If you’ve followed me at all in the Test Kitchen, you know damn well I’m in awe here. Coffee olive oil, not infused to so to speak, but actually conceived in a blend before the birth of the oil. And a contest to boot?

I was speechless really. Then my daughter challenged me to submit my recipe ideas. I went from speechless to obsessed. I winnowed down several ideas. My daughter and I texted back and forth, all the while I smashed my perfect dough in my hands, pulling the zen artistry out of it.

I had to make a coffee pizza I decided. I seriously wanted to win this thing, just to connect with the artistry of my latest WeBromance. We’ll see. I’m saying a few decades of the rosary just to help the cause. (Note: the pizza pictured above is not this one. I forgot to take a picture of this and I didn’t have the actual coffee olive oil, which I hope to get when my Web crush folks at Nudo pick me, pick me! and send me some. I’ll post a real photo then, scouts honor).

My daughter helped create this. Here is the recipe we came up with, including, my nearly perfect dough.

Coffee Chicken Pizza

For the dough

  • 1 cup seminolla flour
  • 1 cup OO flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsps of active yeast.
  • 3 Tablespoonns Nudo Coffee infused olive oil

For the white sauce:

  • 3tbs butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp of nutmeg
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesean
  • 3/4 cup mozzerella cheese
  • splash of fresh lemon
  • Fresh chopped italian parsley
  • pinch of salt

For the pizza

  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup or so of romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup esspresso
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1 tbls of red chili flakes
  • 2 tbls of coffee-infused olive oil by Nudo

Make the dough at least two hours ahead by:

  1. Mix flours, salt and sugar in a glass bowl.
  2. Mix warm water and yeast and let stand for 6-8 minutes until disolved
  3. Pour olive oil and water/yeast into flour. Swirl into a ball.
  4. kneed until smooth, adding a little flour as needed.
  5. Oil up the bowl, put the ball in it and cover to rise.

To make the sauce:

  1. Melt the butter and sautee the garlic, chili powder and nutmeg, 2 minutes
  2. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. whisk often, for 2 minutes
  3. Add the parm cheese and whisk often. Simmer 5 or so minutes more until thickens.
  4. Add the mozz and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the splash of lemon, salt and fold in parsley. Keep warm. (you’ll have extra for alfreado in coming days)

To make the pizza

  1. Whip the coffee into the ricotta, using more ricotta or a bit of cream cheese if it gets too runny. Set in refrig until needed.
  2. Treat pizza stone with light dusting of cornmeal and warm up in oven, heated to 500 degrees.
  3. Hand toss pizza to make thin crust with thicker rounded edge. Spread out on a pizza board or the stone (careful not to burn yourself and work quickly if you do this option).
  4. coat with a thin layer of white sauce
  5. cover with a thin layer of thick- shredded romano cheese
  6. Drop dollops of coffee-flavored ricotta throughout
  7. Sprinkle shredded chicken, diced tomatoes, roasted garlic and chili flakes over the pizza.
  8. Drizzle coffee-infused olive oil over the top of everything.
  9. Slide onto pizza stone for 10-11 minutes.
  10. Let cool for five minutes before cutting and serving.

WINNER, Winner Chicken Dinner? Come on Nudo… don’t break my heart!

As it turns out… we won! Coffee and rosemary flavored olive oil on the way. I love it when a WeBromance works out like a rom-com starring Adam Sandler.

Procrastination is the name of my game

I procrastinate. I can’t help it. I know when I’m doing it, and most often I know why I’m doing it. It weighs heavy on my mind right now as I think about the reasons why. The last few mornings I’ve been obsessing over the game Solitaire and Yacht Rock.

Turns out I’m really good at Solitaire. And, really good at remembering the lyrics to yacht rock songs. For those of you unfamiliar with “yacht rock” Wikipedia states that it was an online video series following the fictionalized lives and careers of American soft rock stars of the late 1970s and early 1980s. You know the ones….Hall and Oates, Steely Dan…It boggles my mind that I can’t remember where I put away the tweezers that I just used the other day BUT I can, line for line, recite “Ride Like the Wind,” by Christopher Cross.

“It is the night, my body’s weak/ I’m on the run, no time to sleep/ I’ve got to ride, ride like the wind/ to be free again… and I’ve got such a long way to go (Michael McDonald lends his background vocal expertise here…)/ to make it to the border of Mexico/ so I ride, ride like the wind/ ride like the wind.”

The soft rock songs are lite, and happy (usually) and I’m amazed at my Rainman ability to recite useless trivia related to the songs as they play all day on my Pandora station. My husband can tell you all about it. We’ll be in the kitchen working on a project. Kenny Loggins “This is it” starts playing, I turn to my hubby and ask him “tell me what yacht rock superstar sings background vocals on this song. Tell me? Tell me! You know it. You KNOW IT! Listen to the voice. LISTEN to the voice!!!!!”

“Honey, I don’t know… I don’t knoww… I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!!!”

“Yes you do…THINK!”

“Ok, uh, James Taylor.”

“COME ON, really?”

“I said I don’t know…”

“Michael McDonald! Listen! His voice is distinct!! Listen!! Listen!!! Listen!!!”

By the way… can you all name the superstar band that Michael McDonald belonged to in the 70s? Doobie Brothers!!!

Hmm…maybe I’m just really obsessed with Michael McDonald. I did really love “Ya Mo Be There” back in the day.

(Editors note: Don’t let her fool you with the soft rock stuff. It’s a phase. She’s a closet head banger, believe me. I owe my allegiance to Ozzy to the bride.)

But, the issue at hand is my procrastination problem. I will procrastinate on anything that I think is difficult. Look how long I just procrastinated writing about procrastinating?

And I stress that I will procrastinate on anything: A DIY project (most recently body scrubs) and distressed wooden signs we made for gifts, which now that I think about it, my husband had to finish up after I left. Ooops!

2013-12-23 17.39.40

(They did turn out pretty nice though…if I must say, which yes, I must!)

I procrastinate making phone calls — the ones that I think are difficult — like calling our cable television company to scream about our bill, which each month becomes increasingly difficult to comprehend, like solving a calculus mathematical problem. Conflict makes me really uncomfortable, very, very uncomfortable, so I will procrastinate any situation where I think conflict could arise as a result.

When did this start? Childhood, where else! Probably as early as the 70s (which now makes me understand my obsession with yacht rock). My husband, and kids will tell you that I am the hardest on myself (aren’t we all). Women – why do we all feel that we have to be perfect (wife, mother)? Why can’t we be satisfied with ourselves, just the way we are?

My life, at 47, I’m still trying to figure out. I’m still trying to figure ME out. And, I procrastinate the most on that right now as I sit here unemployed, and about to go back to school. I procrastinated all the way into my late 40s to finally determine what is going to make me happy. I’m still trying to figure that out. Just ask my husband. He is a patient man, and he loves me unconditionally. Always has. He listens to my rants as they make their own path through my mind, sometimes never really having a definitive end…

”Honey, I think I want to own a farm.”

“Babe, I definitely, definitely want to buy an apartment in San Francisco.”

“But, I KNOW I will be happy on my farm, away from people, raising chickens and goats.”

“Sweetie, I think I want to go back to work…in Human Resources.”

“Hey, I’ve decided that I want to go back to school to become an esthetician. I could have my own boutique in our small town, and I will make my own natural skincare. I would be so happy on the farm, making furniture from distressed wood!”

I might figure it out one day, but then again, I might not. Right now, right this minute I’m not going to worry about it, because Solitaire is calling my name, which I’m great at. And I’m going to shut up right now because Rosanna from Toto is playing in my ear “All I want to do when I wake up in the morning is see your eyes. Rosanna.”

Did you know that Toto’s keyboardist wrote Rosanna for his then girlfriend, actress Rosanna Arquette? And, do you know who played Rosanna in the video?? Why, it was Cynthia Rhodes (dancer extraordinaire..remember her in Flashdance), and Cynthia is married to soft rocker Richard Marx!

And… well, let’s just procrastinate on that one shall we? Next time! Maybe?! We shall see!

Time tells the story of our true lives

I wish I had the time. If there is a bigger lie in modern American culture, I’m not sure I’ve heard it. “I wish I had the time,” is the psychotropic drug of our beleaguered conscience, the purple pill to make reality diminish in a blissful fog of indifference. I wish I had the time…. ahhh….. and all that guilt goes away, for… a time.

If I’ve learned one thing these many years bumbling and stumbling through life its that virtually everyone makes time for what is truly important to them. Just as a person’s checkbook register tells the story of their priorities, a bank balance on time spent shows what we are really all about.

Sometimes we actually stop and think about it. We consider all we said no to, and all we said yes to, and where all that time went, and it scares the living shit out of us. That’s when the need for delusion steps in and we medicate with that lovely, “I wish I had the time…”

Nobody hears this more than God. In the cacophony of noise, needy prayers, God must hear excuses about time more than anything else, a creative list of of reasons why the one thing She wants the most — time with us; that’s what we were created for, after all — is the last thing we bring to the relationship. I’m a fairly typical Christian liberal. I can make myself very, very busy FOR God, while having virtually no time WITH God. I’m so busy trying to make God happy I don’t pay much attention to whether He really is happy. So the excuses flow: “I wish I had the time…”

Case in point: Coffee. Not a day goes by I don’t make time for my coffee. Most days I have it the very first thing every morning, having taken the time the night before to set up the coffee maker. I wake up, walk to the bathroom and on my way push a button.  A little while later, I have my coffee.

For more than a year, with equal regularity I made time for God without fail. I grabbed my coffee and my spiritual books and gave a few minutes every single day no matter what to God. I read, I prayed, I sat quietly and tried to listen. I just gave God the time we both needed.

Now that meeting place gets lost in the shuffle more than I like to admit, even though there really isn’t a reason. I walk by the yoga mat, and ignore the books instead of laying out the mat, grabbing the books and sitting by the fire like I did first thing this morning, my first few moments of wakefulness on this blessed new year.

This morning anyway I didn’t have to say, “I wish I had the time.”

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The time for what? To simply sit. To clear the clutter of my life away and sit with God. Everything else comes after that. To be with God is what I’m created to be.

I can try to change the world but God has even that taken care of, telling us to simply pray it into being: “On Earth as it is in heaven.” The change I want in the world is already reality on the other side and God assures us She will blend this side and that together in seamless harmony.

In the meantime, if we take the time, we can see it for ourselves by simply being with God. God taught us this; He explained how He felt and showed us how we function best. Have you ever fallen wildly in love? Your thoughts swirl around that person in blissful orbit. You talk for hours about nothing. Every moment is precious. Suddenly that busy life that had no room for love is now defined by that love. Time expands. We make time for what we want to do, and loving someone is the best thing ever, so we want to fill our days and nights with their presence.

So imagine the broken heart when God hears again and again, “I’m sorry, I wish I had the time.”

Time spent. That’s sort of what God had in mind, because She was lonely. She wanted to be with us. She loves us that much. I’ve read often of late how a 15-minute-a-day practice of meditation produces vast improvements on our physical health, and I think, “No shit.” Being in our Creators presence every day is bound to make us healthier and happier than if we go it alone.

Doing what spiritual sages have prescribed for millennia simple recognizes our humanity and what it means to be fully human.

We live an almost inhumane existence with incessant chimes and bleeps and blips demanding our attention and over-indulged schedules that imprison us and cost us the freedom of our own time. We wouldn’t dream of stopping the Habitrail we scamper on in endless panic to simply sit and be and experience God, never mind the reports that act as if this ancient knowledge is “news.”

Last night we stopped and paused to count time. We paid attention to clock ticks. We became aware of this limited resource incessantly passing through the narrow end of the hourglass, that is if we stayed sober long enough to consider it. Isn’t it ironic that one holiday dedicated to an absolute focus on the present moment has become synonymous with blinding drunkenness?

Today we may be full of resolve to use those grains of sands better this year. To “make time” as if we possess that Divine ability. Stay off the medication of excuses just long enough to grasp this simple reality. Your priorities are evident to all, especially God, by how you spend the time She has given you.

May this year those expenses be conscious, purposeful and mindful, and may you use your time on those that really matter.