What’s Next?

There probably comes a time in every career when you begin to think, what’s next?  For those starting out, it’s a matter of; is this working for me?-do I like this job?-am I bored?-or I can do better?  For those of us beginning to wrap up it’s a matter of relevance and retirement.  The big R & R.

Many of those in the middle aren’t even thinking about it, somewhat afraid to tempt fate.

Something happens to start the process, for those starting out it’s a matter of money-status-deserving-entitlement!  For those of us wrapping up it can be something along the lines of technology.  Technology rushing ahead of us with the force of its fury sneaking up behind us to bite us in the ass. Or…you can find yourself in the unusual position of being one of a select few who actually know something others don’t.

About what?  A rickety old mainframe system, once state of the art I’m sure, that now needs to be upgraded to interface with the real world. The app world.  The world that includes code and mapping and URLs, that world.

I recently found myself in that position and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  On one hand I feel like a dinosaur about to take the plunge into extinction and on the other hand I feel like a dinosaur being resurrected from a company archeological dig.  You notice either way I remain a dinosaur.

Regardless of how I felt about it I found myself, along with one other colleague of the same status, awake at 6am and at the ready to test the newest upgrade of the poor old mainframe system.  We came to the conclusion that the last time we heard each other’s voices, this time over Skype, was the last time this function got a facelift.

The test failed at 630am and there was much discussion of what went right and what went wrong, most of which escaped me.  Fast forward several hours later and phase one of the testing had been completed successfully.

These are the things that get me thinking, wouldn’t it be better to think of yourself as a well-regarded “company historian” than a dinosaur?  Didn’t it prove better to take a preexisting system with good bones, that has served you well, remains relevant and important and upgrade it?

Could one make the leap that in our throwaway society, where spikey hair and skinny jeans reign, sometimes the lessons and knowledge of the past also serve you well and remain not only relevant but incredibly important?  If only to prevent you from trying to reinvent the wheel?

Perhaps this is what’s next; a renewed respect for the company elders. Perhaps…or more likely, since the last known existing old mainframe system has been upgraded, a bit of R & R is in order.


Ellie, That Friend

I learned today of the death of a friend.  The kind of friend who knows all about you, all the nasty bits, the things you’ve done wrong and the things you’ve done right.  Things your family and other friends don’t know and never will, it’s confidential she’d say. That friend.

The kind of friend who was once in the thick of it with you and then faded back into her life and you into yours all the while touching base on occasion and meeting to pickup where you left off. That friend.

The kind of friend that reminds you that people your age are dying faster than you’d like to admit, that makes you want to clean out your closets (both literally and figuratively) so you can curate what people find when it happens to you.  That friend.

The kind of friend who cared so deeply about others, one especially wonderful old gal and treasure, that she forgot to comb her hair most days.  The one that could occasionally wear mis-matched socks, who had the same thing for lunch everytime we met. That friend.

The impact of this loss will unfold over time, with fond memories and picking up the slack by checking in on our mutual old friend. It will unfold when I put my glasses down and can’t remember where I put them as she often did.  It will unfold when I find myself at our old familiar diner.

She was a remarkable woman who shared.  She will be missed. She will not be forgotten. Farewell, Ellie

Escape! Room? Weekend?

Isn’t it true what they say about the good things always being so unexpected? Sometimes it just starts with an “I want to do this, who’s in?”  Hands go up, shouts of “pick me” “pick me” and we’ve got ourselves an adventure.

This past weekend, before Stella ran her ass through our neck of the woods, two of my nearest and dearest found time, and an opening in their schedules, for a visit.  All centered around too-much-time-had-gone-by and this thing called an “escape room”.

Of course an adventure needs fuel, so brunch was in order at a lovely place called La Pecora Bianca on the corner of 26th and Broadway.  Parking was a breeze on 26th between Broadway and 6th, and Escape the Room is also on 26th.  All thanks to David’s extraordinary “producer” instincts, and recent run on the “Circus”, we were a well-oiled machine left only to enjoy our game.

From Escape the Room:  An Escape Room is a real-life escape game in which you and your team have an hour to solve puzzles and unravel mysteries through finding clues. The room can take up to 12 people; you must work together as a team.

Am I going to be locked in a room?  Yes! It wouldn’t be much fun if you weren’t! Don’t worry though, every game is monitored by audio and video surveillance. In case you need to leave the room during the game, there is a green exit button clearly marked by the door that unlocks the room in case of an emergency situation. Should you choose to leave during the 60-minute time limit, your game is over, however, the remainder of your group may continue until the time runs out or succeed in escaping.

The prospect of being locked in a room for an hour can be a bit intimidating and the blood red walls didn’t help, nor did the slam of the door and the start of the clock.  But that intimidation lasted less than a minute, there was work to do.

Kyle, David and I have been friends for a very long time, our conversations are varied and intelligent and often very funny. Now here we are locked in a room with three very nice kids, college kids, like Harvard and Brown kids.  Isn’t it funny how intelligence can transcend age at times?  The enthusiasm of those kids mixed with our patience and breadth of knowledge made this even more enjoyable.

Set to our task the minutes clicked by and we were sooooooooooo close (no spoilers) but unfortunately we had to be released from the room, we did not solve the mystery.  We have all taken to saying we would have had it solved in another five minutes.  Really, five minutes.  We were that close.

Retrieve the car, back to Stowe Lane, where we took up residence around my table and do what we do.  Catch up, with animated conversation, and divine friendship.  It is so easy to be together, it is so easy to pick up where we left off and go places we’ve never been all without leaving the table.  It wasn’t easy to drop David off at the train station.

One more day with my dear summer sister and she would be out and home before the storm. Her visit to see Gramma was a huge uplift for her in her rather limited existence.  Rere adores her as do we all.

And then we do what we do best, chat or not, coffee and a sweet, love of an old dog make for a relaxed day of this and that.  It was a lovely weekend escape on so many levels.

T.F. Hodge said it best, “Feed the mind good wisdom, the body good nutrition, the soul good vibes, and the heart good love. Elevation for your situation.”


A crisis of relevance??????? Poppycosh she said!

Poppycosh is one of those words.  You know the one’s that joyfully roll off the tongue (like spatula) and make you wrinkle your nose (like balaclava) and chuckle just a little. Poppycosh??????? Then I say, makes me want to write a whole post on Poppycosh.

Turns out you really can’t write a whole post on poppycosh (now downgraded to all lower case) because basically it’s chicken and dumplings with paprika.  And I think we’re even saying it wrong. Isn’t it supposed to be Paprikash?

It sounds like one of those words my mother-in-law would use.  I’m thinking of her today as I’m writing this as it’s her birthday.  She would have been 92 if she were still with us.  If she were still with us would I be where I am…let’s not go there. She was a love but she had a few words she used for things that…I’m not sure were words. Or they were some mash up of Polish and something. But I digress.

Anyway, Urban Dictionary defines poppycosh as a random shout of joy.  Like actually shouting the word poppycosh, I don’t think so.  Is that what they do at Urban Dictionary?

So far my best research on the word brought me here:

So I think what my summer sister was trying to tell me was:


  1. nonsense.
    synonyms: nonsense, rubbish, claptrap, balderdash, blather, moonshine, garbage;

    informalrot, tripe, jive, hogwash, baloney, drivel, bilge, bunk, eyewash, piffle, phooey, twaddle;
    informalbushwa, malarkey, gobbledygook, mumbo jumbo;
    informal,bunkum, tommyrot;
    vulgar slangcrapola, verbal diarrhea
    “their claims are poppycock”

In other words, bullshit…

While I love the plethora of synonyms for poppycock, bullshit seems to be the one that I can most get my head around.  What the hell does that say about me?

It says a lot actually.  In the scheme of evaluating one’s relevance (which is where this whole thing started) are we really just bullshitting ourselves?  Is it up to us to decide where we fall on the relevance scale or does each person we interact with have the honor of deciding that for themselves?  As Wayne Dyer says, what other people think of us is none of our business.  With that in mind, and with my mantra of living my life the way I want my story told in tow, I’m butting out of the relevance thing.

I’m pretty sure you’ll decide.  POPPYCOSH!!!!! she shouted with joy…


It happens to every writer…a block, a blank page, not a damn thing to say.  All the while feeling you have too much to say. Redefining your voice is inevitable at some point, no one stays the same so why should their voice.

It’s March, a month that has always proven pivotal to me. Today on the 1st it’s pouring out, with thunder and lightning, warmer temps and my garden is showing signs of life and reemergence.  I was gifted a lovely bunch of tulip bulbs in a glass vase that is just now starting to bloom.  It’s residing on my mantle but destined for the back garden once those blooms have died back.  I’ll be able to enjoy them over and over in Springs to come.

I’m just coming off the high of hosting the annual Car Hag’s Brunch and feeling a bit…something. Dated perhaps or less energized and I’m wondering am I suffering a crisis of relevance?  Relevance: a quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate. To leave an ordinary legacy must relevance be an overarching quality?  Or will just bits and starts be enough.

To watch these people connect through their listening skills, the way they make space for each other, the camaraderie, the lack of competition, the advice, the lack of judgement, gives me pause that they will all be fine. They live in a male dominated industry, that I worry may never change, but these women are making their way from around my table to the head of the table in their daily interactions and I could just burst with the pride I feel for them. My only job on this day is to provide a safe and comfortable space where your shoulders drop from around your ears, the food is good and the wine is plenty.  The rest is up to them.

I don’t say much throughout the day, I enjoy watching them interact. I’ve been called the mother ship and that bit of relevance delights me. As for true relevance, the bits and starts will have to do for now.  The reassuring phone calls and dealer visits that have become a bit more scholastic than industry standard are more my forte.  I’ll be blessed to leave an entire program behind when I retire but there is nothing that says it will endure if someone’s not fighting for it or if it becomes irrelevant.

Going forward I’m hoping we will be joined by even more Hags, only those that are customer facing or dealer facing, who can speak and, more importantly, listen from a base of true understanding of this crazy car business.  My hope is to need a bigger table…


As for leaving an ordinary legacy, I’m concentrating on the little things, the ordinary moments in time that I’ve been capturing every day through my Instagram musings. People seem to respond so much more to those than anything lofty I’ve tried to conjure up.  Just the words “conjure up” seem inauthentic and contrived for purposes other than my real story.

So it’s back to living my life the way I want my story told and documenting that story through thoughtful words and images.  And even more relevant, sharing other’s stories and heritage morsels and life with an old dog.  “Like” or don’t “like” follow or don’t follow but know that if you wind up here it will be real, the tiniest bit relevant and perhaps something you can use yourself. Crisis averted…