Tag Archives: 49ers

Lunch meetings build connections to those unconnected

I like to spend time with the homeless and struggling in my neighborhood. They are appreciative and interesting, and often teetering on the sharp edge of reality. I’ll make some peanut butter and banana sandwiches and go out to the park. I find out a bit more of what they need and try to round it up for the next time. It doesn’t do much, but for a minute it helps them stay aloft on the edge a bit better.

The more I get to know some of these folks, the more two things become unmistakable:

  1. They are fully human with deep feelings, conflicted thoughts and even some faint mixture of hope amid the sorrow and regret. In other words, just like us. The titles they wear–homeless, crazy, bums, nuisances, etc.–don’t help. They share the one that is important to all of us: Human.
  2. They are fully traumatized. They suffer a lack of nutrition, sleep, security, comfort and any measure of peace. They are on their last nerve, or more accurately, far beyond it. I heard a homeless advocate once asked why the homeless seem so, well, crazy. She responded that crazy is the most normal state in those conditions. If you were kicked awake any number of times a night, if you were frigid cold and hungry and scared without respite, how long would you hold onto your sanity? Ever snapped at someone because you didn’t sleep well the night before? Imagine that times 100. Those that aren’t crazy are the miracle. I’ve met these miracles. Happily so.

Disclaimer time: I have no interest in the political scrum. I’m not one any side. I’ve walked down Market Street and see the deterioration. I know the city suffers and residents have grown weary of trash, urine, panhandling and misery at their doorstep. I get it. I take no sides. I just want to know my neighbors.

One of my favorite folks to run into is named Papa Smurf. He’s sort of the leader of the band in our neighborhood. He says he has a spiritual intuition and could tell the moment I first walked up that we shared a spiritual bond. Over lunch in a park with about five others, I overheard him call me a guardian angel. I felt like I won an Oscar, well aware I couldn’t live up that in a million years or with a million peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

I’ve been asked a lot about “what can be done” about “the homeless.” I’ve never once ventured an answer. There is no membership club. “The homeless” is not a thing. It’s a condition with a wide revolving door, a complex group of people suffering from any number of causes: financial calamity, addiction, past mistakes, mental illness and trauma to name a few. I don’t spend lunch with my neighbors because I have any answers; I spend lunch with them because they are my neighbors. When my family walks through these places, I want the residents to know us and for us to know them. I want to feel safe, and I want to contribute to their feeling of safety in some small measure. If they know one neighbor, they are likely to feel a bit more like the belong.

The sad part is, they won’t belong for very long. San Francisco is the host for this year’s Super Bowl 50. Even though the game itself will be played in the 49ers billion-dollar albatross of a stadium far south of here, the village for the eight days preceding will be at Justin Herman Plaza and Market Street, which is where these people I share my lunch with now live.

Mayor Ed Lee has not been shy about displacing those who make their home in the plaza or along one of the city’s signature streets.

“We are always going to be supportive,” Lee told the San Francisco Chronicle. “But you are going to have to leave the street. Not just because it’s illegal, but because it is dangerous.”

Well, the reason my neighbors live here is because it’s less dangerous. I’ve gone out at night in the city’s notorious Tenderloin district, home to all the vices in the world and a vast number of the city’s more than 6,000 homeless residents. For homeless folks trying to sleep there, well that’s dangerous. As Papa Smurf explained, the folks who come down to Justin Herman Plaza are seeking the outskirts. They want away from homeless politics and fear. They want to rest. On Sunday afternoons, there is even a church service, for the homeless, by the homeless. It’s their community church. It’s part of the neighborhood.

But the mayor is clear. The Super Bowl is coming. They got to go. Lee made that clear: “They are going to have to leave,” he said after the city announced its Super Bowl Village plans.

There goes the neighborhood.

All that’s wrong on display in #SuperBowl

The stars have come out in force from the songs being sung, the TV shows being pitched, the old timers reliving gridiron glory, the perpetual comebacks of Brittany Spears, Brett Farve and Lindsey Lohan and oh yeah, the players in pursuit of football excellence.

Billions are being spent to put on a single event called the Super Bowl. Do you think Vince Lombardi ever imagined this?

I love football, still, somehow. Yet, I find myself less and less interested in actually watching it.  If you just take a step back it seems so … empty. For more than thirty years I’ve watched the Super Bowl and never imagined blogging during it because frankly it… bores me. I just can’t buy into it all anymore, especially now that “it” means so much than an athletic event.

It’s not revolutionary to say the powerhouse NFL has had a terrible year that helped a lot of us take that step back and re-assess. The nauseating domestic violence shed light on cover-ups and spin as if politicians were running the sport. The Aaron Hernandez murder trial has also begun this year offering a needed reminder of the trappings of excess the NFL nurtures. The still lingering impact of the Javon Belcher and Junior Seau suicides demand more serious consideration about the impact of football on the brain. The hubris of coaches who think they are entitled to unfettered, unaccountable, limitless fawning so they can work their “genius” has grown more nauseating than “celebrity chefs.”

From now on call me “writer.” Yes, writer, like Yes Coach! Yes Chef! As if these professions are somehow more noble than say teacher or firefighter or landscaper or farmer. From now on at the growers market I’ll say “Yes Farmer!” whenever ordering greens.

Once the game finally kicked off and the ferocity of the sport was juxtaposed with the glittery pageantry, I couldn’t help feeling just a bit like the District 1 residents watching The Hunger Games. Aren’t we all just a little bit too engrossed by culture’s egoism and bedazzling idiocy ?

Just for a little perspective, which was so decidedly lacking during all that is #superbowl hype (seriously, Deflategate? This is worth a special investigation? Could we instead investigate a do-nothing Congress that is still trying to vote on Affordable Health Care that was passed by Congress, validated by the Supreme Court and endorsed during a presidential election? Bedazzling idiocy.), let’s consider another carnival of excess in a super power culture that would go to any lengths for its entertainment.

Back in the fifth century when Rome was hitting its beginning of the end, it thrilled its citizens with bloody, destructive combat that made our football look tame by comparison (thought, perhaps in the long run, just as deadly). The gladiators and their blood sport ruled the hearts and minds of the Romans, until a monk came to the #superbowl of that era and saw it all for what it really was: a bloodbath or carnal excess.

From the historian of the day, Theodoret of Cyrus (Cyrrhus in Syria), The Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter XXVI: Of Honorius the Emperor and Telemachus the monk.

“Honorius, who inherited the empire of Europe, put a stop to the gladitorial combats which had long been held at Rome.  The occasion of his doing so arose from the following circumstance.  A certain man of the name of Telemachus had embraced the ascetic life.  He had set out from the East and for this reason had repaired to Rome.  There, when the abominable spectacle was being exhibited, he went himself into the stadium, and stepping down into the arena, endeavoured to stop the men who were wielding their weapons against one another.  The spectators of the slaughter were indignant, and inspired by the triad fury of the demon who delights in those bloody deeds, stoned the peacemaker to death.

When the admirable emperor was informed of this he numbered Telemachus in the number of victorius martyrs, and put an end to that impious spectacle.”

I suspect if someone tried to stop our #superbowl like Telemachus they’d receive similar hate and scorn.

I’m a hypocrite of course. The game sucked me in. As a San Francisco 49er fan, I felt my emotions rise as the arrogant Seahawks started taunting in the 3rd quarter. I couldn’t believe it when the Patriots again seemed doomed to lose in a David Tyree revisited Twilight Zone. And I genuinely cheered when the Patriots won, high-fiving the bride. I too still get caught up in it. I just wonder more now why I do.

To be clear I’m not saying there is no room for sport or fun or even occasional excess, it’s more how woefully out of balance this seems, which is pretty much how our entire culture seems. We have no idea what matters any more, but for me a truly hoof-to-head approach to my life needs far less sport, far less fandom and far more people, service, God and wisdom. Call it my #superbowl resolution this year. No judgement for those who disagree, but it’s the resolve for balance I want to pursue for my own health and wholeness.

How interesting that needed perspective came this morning from a sarcastic sportswriter of all people who tweeted:

I’ve already seen “214 days until season starts again” tweets, and I am reminded how desperately forlorn we are as a nation.

“Desperately forlon.” Couldn’t have said it better.

Nor could one of the commercials during the #superbowl built on the theme off Muhammad Ali’s “how great I am” rant so perfectly appealed to the mood of the day. Isn’t that what our entire culture is trying to say… and sell?

The question is why are we buying it?

Is God a sports fan? A question for a spiritual slump

I’m in a spiritual slump.

Like a hitter than can’t get good wood on the ball, or the San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick against the Seattle Seahawks, I am not living up to my full purpose lately. So I’ve tried to spend some time with God sorting it out. But true to my slump, my energy and focus during those times isn’t sharp at all, certainly not enough to reconnect me to the God who inspires most everything I try to do these days.

That discordant reality brought me around to a basic primer I often employ in my ongoing 11th step process of Daily Moral Inventory taking. I often ask myself how do I spend my time? How do I spend my money? Both reflect my priorities better than my hopes, talk, and wishful thinking of well-intended beliefs. They are true tests of my spiritual condition.

Which brings me full circle to the opening question: is God a sports a fan? Because I spend a lot of time lately watching sports. I spent some money lately on sports, like San Francisco Giants playoff tickets and a World Series Giants sweatshirts and a big spread for the Oregon Ducks thrashing of Stanford.

Despite it being Thanksgiving with my family and a really beautifully simple day, I found my mood turn plenty sour watching the 49ers beating by the defending Super Bowl Champs. It all feels a bit out of balance.

I am not one of those sports fans. You know, the crazy eye-black wearing fans, the dropping numerous C-Notes on the latest gear fans, the watch a full slate of games Saturday and Sunday and watch two hours of ESPN fans. I don’t “live and die” with “my” team. But the current 49er offense sure can ruin any given Sunday.

During the season I watch the Giants most nights, but the Bride and I do that together while doing other tasks. Our whole family loves baseball. I rarely feel guilty about my lifelong love of the beautiful game because it binds us all together.

We are also a family of Ducks. Three generations have ties to the University of Oregon. My loyalties to the Green and Yellow (back when they still wore their colors… before they became a weekly habashery of Nike fashion) go back prior to the Kenny Wheaton interception that turned the Ducks into a real college football team back in the 1990s.

It remains one of the top five favorite moments I’ve ever had in sports.

And of course the San Francisco 49ers, my longest standing loyalty to a team, dates back to when I was a kid and watched a fellow Catholic become the team’s new quarterback in 1980. Joe Montana remains my favorite player of all time and The Bride’s favorite player, so much so she chose to name our youngest after him even though she’s a girl.

So while I may not one of those fans, I’m still pretty invested in sports. It still takes a decent amount of my time, and a chunk of my money and assumes a priority in my life that could very well be outweighed with other things if in fact, God is not a sports fan. 

Even as an athlete I mocked the idea of praying for victory. I roll my eyes at the gyrations players go through to cross themselves and point to the sky and even pray after games, all in an attempt to bring God into the arena of sport that seems … well… weird, if you consider it for very long.

It’s hard to see God giving a rats ass about the 49ers injuries and ridiculous front office sniping. I see Her rolling her eyes at me as I pout following the 49ers loss on Thanksgiving.

The easy answer of course is hell no, God is not a sports fan. Consider that about the only thing God gets really, really pissed at in the Bible is idolatry, then look at the idol worship, egoism, gross extravagance and insular narcissism of professional sports and even thinking there is a chance that God is a sports fan seems ludicrous.



But, I think God may well be a sports fan. I could make a list the length of the the Book of Isaiah on the good sports does and the values it instilled in me. But it’s easier to recall that impressive speech in Chariots of Fire, when the humble servant of God who would become a missionary and die in China after devoting his whole life to God says, “But when I run, I feel His pleasure…” and I get all chocked up and know God is a sports fan.

If Eric Liddell could compare faith to running in a race, much like St. Paul himself did, then its not hard to believe God can be a sports fan.  I remember back when I was a young athlete and young believer and heard this comparison. I felt inspired both as an athlete and a follower of God.

I could use some of that inspiration these days. Perhaps God’s not a sports fan. Perhaps She is. Perhaps it doesn’t matter and like many things I obsess about it has little to do with my spiritual slump. Perhaps. But I know that by taking the time to consider what God thinks and what God wants and what God prefers for both my time and money, I get closer to breaking out of the slump than if I go on without a care.

Is God a sports fan? I dunno. But what matters is that I care about it one way or another.

So what do you say? Is God a sports fan?

The power of the dollar at work: Say goodbye to Uber

I recently tried out Uber, the ridesharing program that is all the rage. I liked it. It seemed so modern, cooperative, empowering. I felt better when I rode around with some guy in his car in the front seat instead of the back chatting up the Giants or the weather or whatever.  I wanted to love it.

Instead, I ended up really, really disappointed, so much so I doubt I’ll ever use it again.

A recent open letter to Uber in the San Francisco Examiner took those nagging thoughts I had whenever I rode Uber and brought them to the surface of consciousness. The writer, Beth Powder, illustrates the problems better than I, so it’s worth a read if you are serious about understanding this issue and making an informed choice when you spend your money.

Confused? Let me explain, because for all it’s savvy PR and techno-advances and feel-good people-helping-people vibe, Uber is in fact far more like a Company Town of the Robber Barron Age. So what if the Robber Barons wear hoodies. They are still focused on money, still taking advantages of hard working people to make their millions and still basically full of shit when it comes to their so-called goodwill. Uber makes a loan shark look like a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Sound harsh? Don’t believe me? Consider what Uber charged those unfortunate enough to be at the first clusterfuck in what will likely forever be a clusterfuck that is the new Levi Stadium in Santa Clara (don’t get me started on how much I hate this new stadium, how much I think it will ruin my beloved 49ers, and how much it will likely be empty once people figure out how horrid it is to get there… see, I told you not get me started). Hundreds of bucks for one ride.

But if you think it’s an anomaly, think again. They charged $450 just to get a ride from the outside lands concert in the city of San Francisco.

The price gouging goes on every day. On a Saturday morning when the true busy time hadn’t even heated up yet, The Bride and I were doing some shopping. We almost always take Muni or BART or walk, but when you have arms full of groceries, it’s easy to grab a ride. We planned on getting Uber. Then I realized (after buying the groceries) that it was Fleet Week in the city. Tourists a plenty. Not that anyone was up and at ’em yet. It was early. Still, Uber had its gouge on trying to charge me three times its normal rate for a less than two mile ride with no traffic to speak of.

Gouging people is one thing, but edging taxi drivers out of work takes it to a whole new level. For a city where working class people are constantly shoved aside by six-figure earners in the tech industry, the few middle class jobs that remain need to be protected.

The deeper I looked I learned many of the Uber drivers are getting screwed as well. They lease cars and take risk and then are dealt with poorly by an employer who is dodging employment rules and obligations of a business owner by contracting instead of employing. The Uber drivers have few rights and many are fed up.

“They’re running a sweatshop with an app. They don’t have the balls to come down and talk to us. We’ve been here for two hours,” said Raj Alazzeh, a driver with SF Best Limo who is serving as the group’s spokesman during a 2013 protest here in the city.

The idea of ride sharing to save people money has tremendous merit. The idea of a few venture capitalists making billions at the expense of everyone else associated with it — the drivers, those customers, the competition, the city itself — well, that’s enough for me. I’m done.

Argue the facts all you want. I know I’m painting with a broom. I haven’t spent days and days researching this complicated problem. I just want to spend the few extra bucks I have when I need a ride on something better. Uber isn’t it.

Lyft? Well, see ya. We never really had a chance. I tried them once. Every time I tried to hire their driver they were in a “demand” time period and wanted to charge me excessively. They simply can’t compete on price or availability.

What then will I do in the City when I need a ride? Just as I’ve always done before. I’ll hail a cab. I know the fee when I get in the car. I know the practices are legislated, the owners are contributing taxes and operating within the law. I know the drivers are earning a living.

Most importantly, the number one reason I chose Uber in the first place: I could hail a cab from my smart phone and pay it directly. Guess what? Flywheel allows me to do just that and still use a cab. Their slogan: The same price 24x7x365. In other words, no ride pricing with the vigorish built in.

Uber is to thank for Flywheel. I’ll give them that much. But we don’t need you any longer, so … hit the road jack, and never come back… no more, no more…

The bag is the bomb in enthralled city by the bay

You can’t spend 20 minutes in San Francisco’s downtown and not see someone — or more likely several someones — touting a stylish shopping bag — or several stylish shopping bags — from Bloomingdale’s, Victoria Secret, Louis Vuitton, Diesel or the telltale bag of the all, the little blue bag from Tiffany.  This city we love is known for many things, but we all know that shopping reigns supreme. Ugh.

So it’s no surprise this morning on my jog around AT&T Park a certain bag today topped them all. They were EVERYWHERE! The bag? The orange and brown bag of The Dugout, the official San Francisco Giants swag store.

Less than twelve hours after our miracle hometown nine wrapped up its third National League Pennant in five years ( and it’s second walk-off clinching homer and subsequent “The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant” radio call in sixty years) San Franciscans were doing what they do best: They were shopping. Lines at The Dugout in Embarcadero Center were still requiring red rope type security at the entrance late in the Day. By early afternoon, the World Series T-shirts were sold out.

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The massive store at the ball yard itself had folks waiting before it even opened.

In short, this town’s gone mad for its Orange and Black Boys of Summer. How do we express it? We shop till we drop, apparently.

What’s all the fuss, you might ask? The million-dollar boys club of professional athletes and the American Idol-like worship of these often flawed heroes is in many ways as superfluous and surfacey as TMZ and reality TV.

True, all true. I often ask myself why — after finding so many other interesting and productive things to do with my time — why, why do I still get wrapped up in something like  a Pennant Race.

It’s an intriguing question, one The Bride and I both have revisited often this past year. We’ve loved the 49ers since before we met (we jumped on the 49ers in 1980 and didn’t find each other to jump on until 1984) but the team sold its sold for a billion dollar stadium in the burbs that nobody wants to go, the league is wracked with violence, especially against women, and we know its stars are killing themselves with concussions. Why contribute to that? Honestly it gets harder and harder, which is why the 49ers are now about the only football team I’ll watch. The Bride is still protesting the stadium, but she’ll come around by the playoffs I’m guessing.

I gave up basketball more than a decade ago.

But baseball, well, that’s something all together different for me, and few teams I have ever cheered for have ever so embodied what it means for a city to be in love with its team. This overachieving bunch of transplants that have so little in common with the city’s ethos, have come to embody us with its togetherness, teamwork, genuine affection for each other and defiance of the highest bidder franchises like the Yankees and the Dodgers.

Watching them play baseball is like watching something so ugly and odd that it becomes its own work of art. Timeless and memorable. It’s the art of this team — teamwork — I celebrate today along with thousands of other orange and brown Dugout bag toting fellow fans.

I’ve watched baseball ardently for forty years. I can’t recall a team ever — EVER — that was as unlikely to win as this group. Some playoff teams have holes. Some get hot and overcompensate. But if these Giants had Swiss Cheese like weaknesses its safe to say they were more hole than cheese. They just shouldn’t be winning. In one clinching game they started four lefties and a right-handed batter hitting .160 and a pitcher against a lefty pitcher. They shouldn’t have scored a run, yet they won. It made no sense. Still doesn’t. Yet game after game they had no business winning, they did just that.

They won and won and kept on winning.

All year long the team’s slogan as been “Giant Together.”

Watching this team, I see it’s true. Baseball has brought my entire family together many times. We cheer together go to games together, text back and forth during games together and get pissed together. It’s the one game we all love. I have memories at ballparks across the country with my kids. I proposed to The Bride in a ballpark on the big screen. It’s just our place and it means so much more than professional athletes and professional sports and all that is wrong with both.

But when a team in a city comes together and transcends all that professionalism, well it doesn’t get any better than that. These Giants do that. This season has done that. It’s been wonderful and delirious and unexpected and victorious by our team in our beautiful ballpark in a game that is largely unchanged from 100 years earlier. It’s the game of my youth. A game of symmetry and beauty and balance with no clock and yet its ageless.

I love the game. I love this team. I even bought The Bride a sweatshirt, doing something I never do: shop… and stand in line to do it no less. Why not? The Giants won the pennant!

It’s just one of those things you can’t explain, just like our National League Champion San Francisco Giants.

Add a little life to last-minute lists

I made a list of the things I needed to do before Christmas yesterday. As I wrote it all down, my anxiety began to rise. I’d already been working full-time the last few days on various projects and gifts and planning for the holiday events. But the list seemed ominous, a monster under the bed with those scary musical chords that suggest something bad is about to happen playing in the background of my mind.

So I dealt with it then and ther. I slayed the monster.

First I remembered old Chuck Winchester III. One thing a time

Next, I added to the list.

Check it out. Here’s the first list:

– Ship packages

– Finish DIY presents

– Finish Christmas cookies

– Wrap DIY and cookies and mail

– Mail out Christmas cards (yes, I know, they’ll be late… )

– Make and hang burlap curtains

– Decorate house

– Get tree (don’t ask… I just didn’t get to it this year yet)

– Decorate tree

– Find Xmas CDs

– Make Peanut Butter for Test Kitchen

– Make Peanut Butter-based test recipes

– Plan holiday week menus

– Shop for groceries

– Clean house

– Make stockings for new family members

– Get some actual work done (good luck with that one…)

Here are the modifications I made to the list:

Watch 3- hour Eagles documentary (which led to add on: write blog about Eagles documentary). So cool. Stayed up a bit too late and slept not enough, but it was worth it.

– Ship packages – I left this at the top because the clock was ticking. Once I did this and scheduled the postal pick-up, my stress level went down… way down. So that’s something I do with lists, attack the hard stuff, the procrasting stuff first. As M. Scott Peck wrote in The Road Less Traveled, do it first. Shove it to the top. Once you cross it off, the momentum is like riding a bike downhill.

– Finish DIY presents

Plan menus – I like planning menus and after the shipping and the projects, I needed a break. This turned into a fun Sunday break.

Go for a run, end at grocery store and shop- It’s easy to let yourself go when you’re trippin’ on stress. By forcing myself to do something healthy, I felt better about the day.  I worked in the shopping to still get a key item done. The one downside I didn’t fully plan for was carrying $80 of groceries up this hill:

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Lift weights- bonus round. My arms and shoulders and calves felt blown out once I got the groceries home.

– Finish Christmas cookies- satisfied with my workout, I turned on a football game and baked cookies. An agenda item turned into a pleasant afternoon. I added an impromptu item to the to-do list:

Facebook your Seahawks loving nephew and punk him about the loss… at home no less! (Check that one off right away. tee hee… tee hee…)

– Wrap DIY and cookies and mail – I really don’t like wrapping presents. I’m not that great at it and you never really know how much there is to do until you start in. Typically I’d wait until Christmas Eve, turn on It’s a Wonderful Life, and wrap presents for the the whole three-hour movie and then still not be done at the end. I’d be wiped out Christmas morning. This year I want to be awake. So instead I watched The Big Lebowski and wrapped most of my gifts early. I have only about six more to do on Christmas Eve, which will be a pleasant tradition now as I watch Donna Reed (I’ve always had a big crush on her) and leisurely wrap a few presents. Not to mention “The Dudeness” was so stupidly funny, I had a good time. Besides the sugar high from tasting some of the cookies amped me up a bit and I ended up cleaning the living room. Bonus.

– Mail out Christmas cards (yes, I know, they’ll be late… )  I told myself to let it go. Who knew the little photo cards would take more than a week to ship? The cards are ready, addressed and stamped. They’ll get there late, but they are nice and its done, so for now, this will have to do. (Family members reading from home… this is my excuse. Ok? Save the hostile emails for the Test Kitchen.)

– Make and hang burlap curtains – One of those projects that sounded great on paper… now… eh? I know it’s going to be a lot of work, so I’ll tackle this first thing Monday morning (after I write this blog of course). Just like shipping yesterday, I’m knocking off the hardest thing first.

– Decorate house – No biggie. I’m no longer the nutty guy in Christmas Vacation with all the lights. I used to be, I confess. I used to be…. now, this won’t take thirty minutes.

– Get tree (don’t ask… I just didn’t get to it this year yet)- Still 50/50 on this. If I don’t have time, at this late date, we’ll just do without. My daughters will give me shit. They’ll get over it. I’m sure I’ll buckle under, but right now it doesn’t seem too important. Besides, how am I going to tie a tree to my bike? We’ll see. I’m giving myself permission to skip it so, I’m moving it down with get some work done and as the optional part of this list.

– Decorate tree- Hey, two for the price of one! This too moves to the bottom of the list.

Yoga– the run made such a difference yesterday both physically and mentally that I want to follow it up with yoga this morning. I already feel my head telling me I don’t have time, which is precisely why I’ll do it. This little diversion will pay benefits all day long. 

– Find Xmas CDs- Already found them when looking for shipping boxes! Cross that baby off

– Make Peanut Butter for Test Kitchen – Afternoon activities

– Make Peanut Butter-based test recipes

– Plan holiday week menus- check, see above

– Shop for groceries- check, check… who hoo! 

– Clean house – I’ve been taking a room at a time. I’m almost half done without even trying. Tuesday I’ll do a once over that will take about a third of the time I envisioned when I wrote the list.

Watch 49ers game on Monday Night Football.- This little bonus is the payoff for finishing the burlap. Once I know that’s done, I can relax tonight, so I’ll watch the game and while I watch I’ll: 

– Make stockings for new family members – another chore turned into a fun evening. 

– Get some actual work done (good luck with that one…) Yeah, we’ll see about that… maybe once the tree is up, or maybe instead of the tree. 

The point is, if there is one, that lists can so consumed us with the future we miss the present. The obligation of all these things — most of which I took on because they are fun and show my love for my family and friends — threatened to not only take away the joy of the present but make me miss the Holiday season altogether. A few modifications, a few add-ons, a lot more in-the-moment living instead of future trippin, and the dread turned to experiences I welcome and have enjoyed. 

My whole outlook has changed and I will be in much better shape to thoroughly enjoy the holidays with my family now then I was 24 hours ago.

Make time for what matters. It really is as simple as that.