Footbridge Repair to Albert White Park

Cheers to the crew who replaced the footbridge at the Albert A. White Memorial Park in East Lansing, Michigan. IMG_0755

It looks safe and sturdy and builds on the previously existing walkway, which had fallen apart. Improvements like this contribute to a sense of the park being cared for, and are likely to reinforce efforts to reduce littering and vandalism, one hopes.

The big project in the park is dredging the pond. Is there any group or effort afoot to dredge the pond? But well done to the construction crew. It was a desperately needed improvement.

Seriously American Breakfast

There is hardly a more American breakfast imaginable that at The Golden Harvest in Lansing, Michigan. One feature of the experience is the necessity of waiting 15-more minutes in the cold to get in the door. We had the best seats in the restaurant, right behind the short order cook, whole was the most skilled multi-tasker I’ve seen in years. Don’t miss the breakfast you’ll never forget.

Getting Started on that Book

A elderly woman was sitting next to my daughter on a train to London, asking another passenger if he was a publisher. No, he wasn’t but he inquired about why she asked. Not surprisingly, she said she was writing a book. More endearing was her explanation that she had finished the book, but the publisher she approached said she needed to ‘type it up’. I so much hope she can find someone to type her book in this digital era, and that she types it up on a computer and not a typewriter.

Still, like taking the first wave, getting started in the hardest part. Good for her.


Surfing Through Life Revived

I’m back. I’ve survived a huge metaphorical wave that took Wiping Out with Dignity out of commission for a long time. Hoping to return to service, helping myself to put the everyday trials and tribulations of the world into the perspective of a surfing philosophy.

You’ll me happy to know that my rescue dog is alive and well and too inland at the moment to watch the surfers.


Appropriate Media: MH370 and Geriatric1927

The text sent to the families of those lost on Malaysian Flight MH370 has been widely criticized for being insensitive.

In contrast, the last blog of Geriatric1927 was incredibly touching: ‘In conclusion, I would say my possibly final goodbye. So goodbye.’ Here is his last YouTube video. If you don’t have 5 minutes, listen to the last minute. Peter Oakley died a month later at 86 years of age.

Any media can be used appropriately or inappropriately, but there is no simple principle about face-to-face communication always being the best medium. I recall when sending a short telegram of congratulations was one of the greatest messages you could convey. Likewise a text message can be a perfect way to contact a close friend if used well and with sensitivity.

Hopefully, the MH370 text will remind many to consider the potential impact of what we say on any medium, whether a tweet, a text, a call, a Webcast, or a conversation – and also to forgive people we they get it wrong.  Image


An Olympian Feat of Engineering – Curiosity

Watching the Olympics over the past days has been inspiring to old and young. Everyone hopes the games will spur the next generation to engage in sports and see role models in their Olympic favorites. Likewise, seeing the joy and exhilaration on the faces of engineers and scientists at the NASA station on 5 August 2012 as they discovered that the Mars rover Curiosity had landed safely was just as compelling, even far more compelling in my mind.

Curiosity Team, from Washington Post

A problem is that you can’t find a Usain Bolt or Jessica Ennis in the control room – only a team of dedicated scientists and engineers. Perhaps that is the key inspiration that might come from Curiosity – the significance of team work in the new era. Of course this comes across in the Olympics as well when credit to a basketball or football team is assigned to them working like a team rather than a set of individual stars, but at the end of the day, we focus primarily on individuals rather than teams, and this might be a fault that Curiosity could help address.

Surfing through life is often – almost always – about the individual, but the surfer is one piece of a larger technical system of tools and techniques designed by people around the world to ride the waves. Congratulations to the team at NASA – a continuing role model for teams across the world.

Irreplaceable Maggie Whalley at Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary

Maggie Whalley, the warden of Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, ‘passed away last month. She died aged 57 on July 23 at Sobell House Hospice in Headington, after suffering from liver cancer’. Her obituary has been published at thisisoxfordshire

I met Maggie when my wife and I started walking dogs at the Sanctuary. It was so apparent that she cared for each and every animal in the sanctuary – she will be absolutely irreplaceable, but she is supported by an incredibly strong and caring staff who are arranging a dedication. We are among the lucky people to have adopted a dog from the sanctuary, and it probably would not have happened without Maggie’s reassurance and advice.

Maggie protected and respected the dignity of all the dogs and animals and died with admiration from everyone who knew her.

Maggie Whalley with Ragamuffin from Oxford Times