Yesterday, the address book in my phone disappeared.

9 years of accumulated data -

Was it backed up?

Ah, another in a long list of “to-dos” that have not been getting done.

The excuse?

In short, I am too busy, too stretched, too tired, too blah, blah, blah...

I don’t really believe in excuses.

I screwed up. I admit it. My fault. I will do better next time. I will reevaluate and find...

The solution?

Well at first, I thought the solution was to focus more, work more, hunker down all weekend, try to get ahead, but then I stopped myself.

Okay, Netter stopped me.

Still, I started to take a second look. Maybe there was a better idea.

It starts with a break which fortuitously Netter and I had already scheduled for this weekend, which has a lot to do with why she stopped me. Who wants a stressed out husband on their weekend break right?


Also, time for some sweeping changes on my return...

So at 5:30 today I’m unplugging.

Stop gaping. I mean it.

I’m turning off the notifications. I’m logging out of everything. I’m stepping away from the computer and I’m going to try as hard as I can to stay away from my phone.

Netter tells me I need to learn to say no, to learn my limitations, to learn to give myself a break. “You can’t dwell on what you haven’t done, what you haven’t accomplished,” she says.

And she’s right...

I’m burned out. I’m done. I need to step away. I can’t focus. I can’t sleep. I can’t read more than two sentences in a row, or apparently put more than 3 lines together in a blog post.

This is not the way to move forward.

You can’t change if you don’t do things differently right?

I guess we’ll see what happens...

Have a good weekend!

Why I "Really" Support Libraries

Talking with my Dad on the phone yesterday he asked me what was going on politically here in Ohio. He lives on the east coast and seemingly loves to talk politics.

But I don’t. I don’t do public politics. Oh, I vote and I have preferences or parties I prefer and some folks might even know what they are, but outside of maybe 10 or so people that I feel comfortable having that discussion with - they don’t know because I told them. At best, they’re just guessing.

Publicly I preach purple because that’s truly what I believe. United we stand. Divided? Well, I think we look like idiots most of the time.

I try to stick to my guns with this too. It’s just one of those things...

No goofy signs in my yard. No diatribe commercials on my television. If you send me a postcard I keep it so I know who to strongly consider not voting for. If you call me, yeah that seals it.

Recently however, I’ve had to make a couple exceptions to my hard fast political rules. If you know me, you know why...

I placed a sign in my yard last May, August & November for The Southwestern City Schools levy I discussed here, that thankfully finally passed, and I placed 2 signs in my yard this year for library levies both that of the Southwest Public Libraries, Issue 8 and The Columbus Metropolitan Library, Issue 4.

I have the post cards. I even took a couple phone calls. In this case, that's okay.

Now, before anyone even asks let me say that I do not support these levies just because I work at the library. This is not about my job.

What it is about, much like the school levy is the kids. I support things that help children.

Just yesterday I talked to a woman who told me how much she appreciated the children’s librarian who read to her son when he was young and recognized him years later when he visited the library again, and how much that meant to him as well. Children’s librarians in particular are pretty magical people by the way.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

While the library provides a slew of services for adults, Job Help Centers, computer and business resources, the list goes on and on - I think that the library’s strongest contribution to the community is what it can do for kids. If you take a look at those kids and realize the benefits they see from the library, how much it means to them and their future,... - you know why this is so important.

Which is why I make the exception in case you don’t know me or didn’t already know...

Children in story time, teens in Homework Help Centers, Latchkey kids having a place to go and thrive after school, a welcome, learning environment that is not the street, where a friendly librarian might even sit down and play a game with a kid who looks like they just need a friend. Hey, I’ve seen it happen.

The best thing?

It’s free.

Okay, the levy might cost the taxpayer a few bucks, the price of a fancy meal perhaps, but to that kid who has nothing else, and nowhere else to go - Free is a pretty darn good price.

If you haven’t already please be sure you get out and vote tomorrow. As a personal favor, and I don’t ask for many, if you live in Franklin County, or you have a library levy in your own area please consider voting yes and making a difference in the life of a child.



Today, I want to ask some questions spurred by a number of recent incidents, most notably the Ohio State loss at Wisconsin last weekend.

While this post does contain some content about football, it is not a football post.

Here’s what it is about...
*note - all you’s, we’s, they’s, & such are intended to be non-specific except where otherwise designated.

Why do we have to hate each other just because we are different?

Why do we have to show scorn for others who are not in our party, not on our team, not of the same sexual orientation, not fans of the same team, not our race, not our age, not our demographic in general?

What the hell is wrong with us?

If my team loses to another team, why are you, (folks in Michigan) laughing at our misery?

If we have a rivalry, why do you wish, (folks from both Ohio and Michigan) that the other team loses every single game including the one against your team?

Having been both a Wolverine and a Buckeye I can honestly say I think shirts that say “Ann Arbor is a whore.” or “F*** Michigan” are incredibly funny during rivalry week. But I wonder, (folks in Ohio) why those shirts were on sale during the Indiana game?

No, it is not the week before!

The 2006 game that matched undefeated teams for the first time in forever was one of the best I’ve ever watched. I can’t imagine it would have been remotely the same if one or the other of the two teams had losing records or had not won even one game.

Bo and Woody were friends for 51 weeks out of the year folks. Woody was Bo’s mentor. Heck, Bo coached at Ohio State before he went to Michigan. Jim Tressel himself called Bo a Buckeye when Bo passed away.

You’re gonna argue with “The Vest?”

I found myself a few weeks ago spouting that Sparty, (Michigan State) is evil because that’s what we said when I lived in Michigan. But, the more I thought about it... Well, I really like Mark Dantonio, (MSU head coach) and Le’Veon Bell, (MSU running back) is from Reynoldsburg, Ohio and they’re really just a bunch of kids playing a game.


Get some perspective Jimmer!

I root for my team. You root for your’s. We don’t have to root against each other.

If I express a point of view in the comments section of the newspaper that differs from yours why does that make me a flaming idiot? or an ignorant dolt? or “fill in your insult of choice here?”

Why would you hate me because of who I choose to share my life with? Does my sexual orientation really matter to you?

Are all teenagers idiots? Are all old people grumpy? Are all rich people elitists? Are all poor people lazy? Are all “West-Siders” criminals? What about “Detroiters?”

Get the picture?


We heard the sirens during the band booster meeting we were attending. We went to bed fairly certain that once again kids in our community were facing tragedy. We woke this morning to find that was indeed the case, to learn their names, and to know a man had lost his life in the accident.

Netter and the girls usually leave about an  hour before I do in the mornings. They always come in and kiss me goodbye. We tell each other “love you, have a good day, see you later,” and such and then I fall back to sleep grateful I still have that hour or so.

Today that didn’t happen. I could tell as Netter leaned down to kiss me that something was amiss, something was different. So, I asked  her.

“Nothing,” she said: “Well not nothing um, the kids that were in the accident. Well, we know who it was.”

I sat up a little and asked who and she told me their names. I didn’t know any of them personally. One of their parents were friends of friends. I’d done some computer work for them. Dad had played in Golf for Joy one year. Mom and I are Facebook friends. Acquaintances. Still, I could feel it in my gut.

Netter assured me she had talked with the girls and they were okay. We said goodbye with extra emphasis on the “see you later,” (because I believe that makes it so) and I lay back down in bed.

I didn’t fall back asleep this time though. I got up to call Mulligan to help comfort me, and darned if that dog wasn’t standing outside the door waiting for me to let him in. His sensitivity still amazes me. I’ve no idea how he does it.

Mulligan and I laid in bed snuggling, and I dozed a bit, but mostly I just thought of those boys and the accident, of the multitude of things I have done behind the wheel of a car in my lifetime that could have landed me in  jail, or the hospital, or yes, even the morgue, and how many times presently that  I am afraid of driving, afraid I’ve used up all my chances.

I thought about K, who is in the process of taking driving lessons, but not very eager to finish her in car session, and how I might be okay with that... Now.

I thought about D who declared recently that she never wanted to drive and Netter who waited until she was 25 to get her license, and how that might not be such a bad idea for the girls.

Then I rolled over, picked up my phone and read a text I received from our friends of the friends telling me about the boy in the hospital, knowing I would want to know.

I got ready and came to work and went online to read the articles, and watch the slide show and the video about the accident, and unfortunately began reading the comments after those articles.

Apparently only a few of those folks were ever teenagers who ever did anything wrong, and didn’t understand that a car is essentially a 2 - 3 thousand pound missile just waiting to go off. I know I didn’t. I thought I was invincible. But the adults in the comments section have apparently always been sensible, and well mostly judgmental and yes, it pisses me off.

So I stopped reading those comments and checked on the status of our young friend who is still in the hospital and sat down to write, mostly because it helps me collect my thoughts and find calm.

There were mistakes made in judgment. There was at least one child who will have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. There was the  tragic loss of a young father, only 31 and there was once again, the unfair, unexplainable, and seemingly random happening that makes us ask “why?”

Nobody really has any good answers. All we can do is make this a lesson, and remind ourselves that each second, each minute, each hour, every day, and every year is not to be taken for granted.

Throw up a prayer, look up, sideways, around, whatever you do to send good mojo and thoughts to the young men involved, to the family of the man whose life is gone, to all involved, and all affected...

That they may find peace. 


Yesterday Netter and I joined some friends to help them celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. It was quite an occasion with many friends and relatives joining in, poems and songs, stories and even a prayer or two. If I’m lucky, we will get to celebrate 50 years one day too. (Netter and I have been married for 20 years last June.)

Now when I say some friends I should mention that these were really Netter’s friends which is why I’m telling this story. Netter grew up with these folks and their kids. The fact is I had only met one or two members of the family and then only in passing.

On the way home Netter and I had this conversation.

Netter: Thank you for coming today.

Me: Why are you thanking me? Why wouldn’t I have come?
Netter: Well, I know you didn’t know these folks. You said you have a lot you wanted to do today while you were off. I just want to thank you for taking the time.
Me: Honey, something that is being lost, well really within our generation is “doing the right thing.” Yes, I don’t know these folks. Yes, I have a lot I’d like to work on, but here’s the thing... This was important to you. I could tell how excited you were to see these folks and help them celebrate. I could tell how much they mean to you by listening to you tell stories from your childhood and beyond. I could even tell how important it was to you that I dress up a little bit, but thanks for letting me wear shorts. Anyway, if it’s that important to you, then it’s that important to me. It’s just the right thing to do.

Now, I’m not patting myself on the back for all this. I didn’t really do this on purpose so to speak. The truth is I don’t know what I would have done if Netter had said ahead of time that I could stay home. I do have a lot to do. I’ve got a list a mile long and a goal I’d like to reach for managing my time better. I’m quickly losing patience with myself at that goal gets delayed.

But that didn’t matter yesterday.

I think I did the right thing. I wish more folks would do the right thing more often. I fear that’s getting lost and I’m not sure we will get it back.

What do  you think?


Recently I decided that I have too many to do lists. Not wanting to just let anything go though I decided that I needed a place to collect everything, kind of a brain dump if you will. This was partly because of my summer of rumination and partly because I had run into a couple of conflicts, particularly with my schedule and I found myself saying: “I need to learn to say no.” When Netter agreed with me, I knew I was onto something.

Before I started saying no however, I thought it would only be fair if I at least tried to keep the commitments and obligations I already have in place.

Wow! What a list I found for myself. A lot of ticky tac stuff, some big projects, some projects whose time had passed - the assessment was formidable.

Just look -

No, my handwriting is not worth a lick, but I can at least read my own chicken scratch.

How on earth could I ever even dream about catching up and changing my workflow?

What is it Major Winchester used to say on M.A.S.H. ? (Kinda dated myself there didn’t I?)

I do one thing at a time. I do it very well, and then... I move on.

Um, no that won’t work either... That means some folks have to wait longer than others which might be okay most of the time, but not when you’re already playing catchup.

Okay - I need to designate time. I’m calling that time pockets.

Each category or project will have a pocket. Currently there are 6. This is how I’m lining them up. I have a very big, very important project I have to finish first, but as soon as that is finished - these are my pockets.

  1. MJB Foundation work - 2 hours every Tuesday until caught up, then every Tuesday thereafter as necessary - at least during down (non-event) times. So, yes this will be very much like regular business hours and if you have something MJB Foundation related you want to discuss, the office opens at 6:30 p.m.
  1. Work projects - every Monday - while I’m fresh - could be Network Logix, Library or other career-related activities - anything that moves me forward in the professional realm. I’ve got an awesome family and friends. It’s high time I find my career.
  1. Special projects - currently busy with a college football related activity. That comes on Wednesdays until bowl season is up.
  1. Writing, blogging prep, (not to be confused with actual blogging which can happen any day.) Social Media maintenance is on Thursdays. Learning to pick my spots better - i.e. I don’t need to sign up for every service and I need to be conscientious about pulling myself off of the platforms I don’t use. Finding time to read and comment on other people’s work and digging my way through hundreds, maybe thousands, (years - yes plural) worth of favorites and must-reads and not letting that all get piled up again are among my other priorities in this area. This medium is very important to me. I think it is worth its own pocket.
  1. Fridays and Saturdays are time for family and friends. Time to be social away from the computer screen. If you see me post something on Saturday or Sunday it probably came from my phone. I don’t want to completely miss the conversation on the weekend, but I need to fuel those real-life relationships too.
  1. Sundays are time for family and family business.
Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t do other things on those days, but it does mean that I will devote some pocket of time on each of those days to each of those things, and for right now - those are the only things I’m working on on a regular basis. Does that seem fair? Exclusionary? Am I over thinking this?

Hey, a fella has to have a plan.

Doesn’t he?

What do you think? What are your pockets? Do you have a better or different idea?


Two customers got into a fight today that started over a chair. That’s all, a chair.

No really.

So now I’m thinking a lot about the things people spend their energy on and remembering a couple of things that have happened in my life fairly recently.

Last Sunday Netter and I were shoe shopping. I found a pair that I wanted to try on and was attempting to find the correct box number and size when a voice behind me said: “Excuse me.” Thinking I was blocking the aisle I quickly grabbed the box I thought I needed and stepped aside only to have this older gentleman step around me to stand exactly where I had been to look for  his own shoes. Apparently, I had taken too long and clearly he thought it was his turn. I glanced down to see if I had actually grabbed the correct box, (I had) looked at the man and said: “Really?” and walked away.

He shouted after me: “What? What did you say? Excuse me. What?”

I just ignored him and walked away. I thought what he’d done was rude, but I wasn’t going to get into an argument about it.

I thought.

It turns out he was trying on shoes directly behind the pole where Netter and I were trying on shoes. As he walked toward us he caught my eye and was staring at me intently. I think they called it “Mean Mugging.”

So I said: “I said ‘really’ because I thought what you did was rude.”
He said: “You were just standing there blocking.”
I said: “I was looking for a pair of shoes, but apparently you are more important than everybody else and your turn comes first.”
He said: “Well, if you want to talk about rude...”

It occurred to me at this moment that this was really silly and we could go back and forth arguing about it all day. So I stopped him: “Do you want to fight about it?” I asked.

He replied: “Well, I don’t want to fight about it, but...”

I cut him off and said: “Well then back off.”

And he did.

I felt bad about the situation and worried all day. Should I apologize to him before I left the store? Should I just chalk it up to a misunderstanding? Should I apologize for the misunderstanding? On and on. The whole thing weighed on my mind. I was spending a ton of energy worrying about a disagreement over picking out shoes.


During football season last year Netter and I were out at a restaurant watching games and having dinner. On one screen was the game I had all my football pool hopes on. It was the very end of the game and another patron stopped directly in front of me blocking the screen.


I waited a few seconds and said: “Hey Bud you make a better door than you do a window,” which was one of those funny things my parents always said to me, but apparently this fella didn’t think  was very funny. He wheeled around and proceeded to try and pick a fight with me, swearing and carrying on.

Don’t worry. We didn’t fight, but really a fight about watching a football game. Not even playing, but watching.


Obviously, I can be just as guilty as the next guy, but in the long run don’t we all have more important things, bigger issues and such to spend our energy on?

Just some food for thought.

What do you think?

De-Cluttering - Hey, That's What I'm Calling It...

I haven’t been here much lately. There are reasons for that. I’m not sure they’re good reasons, but they’re really all I’ve got. I don’t believe in excuses, but I think explanations are important. Does that make sense? Anyway - here goes...

Every year I crash after our golf tournament. I love my MJB Foundation work, but the weeks leading up to the tournament are filled with activity, sometimes overly stressful, and definitely stretch my capabilities for keeping up in general. This year I crashed extra hard. I was off my game on tournament day, (not my golf game, my Founder game) and mostly because I was just flat tired. I don’t know if it was because we added Bowl for Joy this year, or because my volunteer force grew to 17 and then shrank to 9, or what it was, but I was gassed.

Thankfully, this did not affect the tournament. We were still able to raise a good amount of funds for children with challenges, and while the day ran long - another story entirely, and probably my fault - it was still by and large a success. I think so anyway.

We took the week after the tournament off, and I mean off. We laid around. We watched movies. In general we just vegged as they say. We did go to the zoo, and we visited some friends, but for the most part - yeah nothin’. I was good with that.

As the summer progressed I was still good with that. Anything that required any sustained sort of energy, like blogging went by the wayside. My Twitter feed slowed down. My Facebook updates dwindled. At times I felt like Four Square was the only social media app I was using on a consistent basis, and honestly that just felt odd.

So I started to take a look at things, really ruminate if you will and I noticed some patterns.

Like History, my life really seemed to just repeat itself over and over and over and over and over and over and... You get the picture.

Even some of the posts on this blog were really just repeats of something I’d said before and hadn’t realized when I posted them again.

So I decided to make some changes, to really work on doing things differently instead of just talking about it all the time. This meant more work off line, but it also meant a clearer mind for me in the long run, and more importantly that change. It’s coming. I can feel it.

Still when you take a step back from something it can be hard to get “back into it.”

I managed only one post all summer. An important story I wanted to share that just sprang out of me because I told it when it was fresh and clear in my mind. Obviously, that’s something I need to do more often.

But outside of that one instance every time I was ready to post again I would get caught up in the advice of the experts, well mostly this expert. But that’s not Chris’ fault. In reality I wasn’t even listening to myself.

So finally I recognized that and I decided to just do it. To just put it out there, but even that seemed forced, and ultimately I just waited - until something felt right.

And they’re you go.

I’ve really decided that life is sorta random and strange and hard to plan for and more often than not so am I. Just ask my wife, and yeah, my kids too.

But I’m going with that and I’m going to embrace it. I’m random and strange, (Maybe I should say different?) but I’m really just me, and that’s really just my blog , and that part about the cluttered mind is a lot more true than I thought.

I’ve learned a lot about myself this summer, and along the way I’ve picked up a story or two to tell. I’ll get to those. I’ve picked up a new second job, which I’m very excited about. I’ll talk about that too. I’ve also picked up a secret new addiction, which I may or may not talk about I haven’t decided yet. Oh, who am I kidding...

Anyway, it’s good to be back, and I’m not just saying that this time.

Mulligan is Med Free!

Quick update on Mulligan James to get the blog rolling again. It's been an interesting summer. Working on a little more new about The Life of Jimmer as we speak.

For now - Here's a quick word on Mulligan. If you can't see the video click here.

Mulligan's Facebook page can be found here.  (p.s. it was the girl's idea.)

Hold My Hand Daddy

Quietly, and without a word she reached out her hand in support and I took it and held on tightly thankful for her knowledge.

Every year we go to the fair with Netter’s family. We have a route we follow, meeting at the Cardinal, onto Dinky Donuts, a stop in the grassy area near the Rhodes Center, then through the sheep barns, next to the pigs and the horses and the steers, onward to Fine Arts followed by lunch at ODNR. It’s all very scripted, but somehow new and fresh every year. A good time with family. We visit. We laugh. We have fun.

One year, I decided that I would take all of the kids on the Giant Slide. The 7 of them, and me. It was my thing. I bought the tickets. I called for the lineup. I took over at the top of the slide to make sure we all got to go at the same time. “Uncle Jim’s Slide” was an annual thing. Something I looked forward to very much. The kids all knew how much it meant to me and even as they were getting older they still humored me and went along for the ride. They got it.

Unfortunately, I don’t think their parents ever did. Each year, despite my insistence that it was my treat, my thing, Netter’s sisters and their husbands would insist on trying to pay for the tickets, and each year she would tell them “It’s Jim thing. You don’t have to pay. He wants to do this.”

And I did. I really, really did.

Last Saturday however, marked the end of an era for Uncle Jim’s slide ride and I found out just how much the slide had become part of the routine.

You may have heard me talk a bit about K’s involvement with the All Ohio State Fair Youth Choir. K loves the choir. We all love going to listen to her sing and visiting her as often as possible. But one of the things about visiting K is that we have to follow the Choir schedule and guidelines for being able to see her. This means among other things that we have to walk to the dorms to pick her up. It’s a very good idea actually. The Choir kids are not to be alone on the fairgrounds for safety reasons. Usually, this means a  little extra walking, but it’s a minor inconvenience and I can use the exercise. On the day that the family comes to the fair though it can throw a major wrench into the routine.

So on Saturday while Netter and I hustled to get K from the dorm after the 4:00 parade the family went to buy slide tickets and the kids went on the slide without us.

We arrived just as they were ascending the stairs. K and I really didn’t know what to do. “We didn’t know you were coming,” my mother-in-law said.

Sure enough later I would look at my phone and see that while we were running across the fairgrounds to get to the slide, my youngest, D was texting and calling and I just didn’t feel the vibrate.

Still, at that moment, I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. My tradition, one of the things I most looked forward to at the fair had been taken away. Uncle Jim was very disappointed.

I spun around, and kicked the air. I think a blue word or two escaped my lips, but I tried to stay clear of the family because I didn’t want to argue. I knew that when rational thought took over I would see their reasoning and everything would, (eventually) be okay.

I asked Kailey if she wanted to ride the slide. She said, “No, well only if you do Daddy,” and I decided that I didn’t. She needed to eat something before her next concert and I had promised her some fair corn. I told her to tell her Grandma we were getting something to eat and asked them to wait for us to come back and we walked away.

A lump formed in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes. I thought to myself, Well there’s nothing special about the slide at the fair anymore. The kids were all growing up anyway. I’m sure it’s not big deal. But it was... And then it happened

My little girl reached out her hand to me. My little girl once more. Not a word was spoken, or glance exchanged, but the meaning was clear. K, oh wise K, knew that her Daddy needed her, that he needed to walk with his little girl.

Yeah, the lump in my throat got bigger, but that was okay.

Hand in hand we walked to the corn stand, and with a final kiss in the air we let go our hands and continued our day. We finished our corn, and K said goodbye to the family before I returned her to the dorms to line up for the next concert.

I talked to Netter about the slide a little bit. We both agreed that nobody meant any harm. They were just trying to follow the plan, the routine, and they obviously had no idea how much that meant to me.

It’s all good, as they say.

While I did lose something that day, just for that fleeting moment in time I had my little girl once again.

I’ll take the trade.