April 2011


I don’t have time to post much tonight.  My last final is Wednesday and I had a charity golf tournament today.  I haven’t touched a golf club in 5 years (and my oldest daughter is 5 years old – coincidence, huh).  I played in a foursome with one of our vice presidents and two customers.  I didn’t expect much since I haven’t played in so long and I was just hoping that the rest of my foursome wouldn’t get too frustrated with me.

After my first bad shot (which didn’t take long) I just nonchalantly mentioned that I haven’t played any since “the accident”.  Of course, there was no accident, but they didn’t know that and they were too afraid to ask about it so it worked.  I had a few good shots and a lot of bad ones but in the end, I got to spend an afternoon weekday outside on a beautiful golf course instead of at work, so I guess it was a good day.

I thought about spending more time golfing after completing my MBA, but my readers votes resulted in a tie between learning Spanish and learning how to play the banjo.  The Spanish could come in handy… the banjo – probably not so much.

There’s really no point to any of this other than to let you know that I don’t have time to write.  Now its back to the books for one last final push to the end.  Sorry for wasting two minutes of your time.

I saw a quart of buttermilk in our fridge the other day and was reminded of a story from my childhood.  As a kid, I loved boiled custard.  For you Yankees, boiled custard is eggnog without the spices and about twice the sugar.  To say I loved the stuff is an understatement, I would literally drink about a pint of it at a time, which is pretty impressive considering that a pint of boiled custard probably has as much saturated fat as a dozen deep-fried Krispy Kremes covered in gravy. 

As I recall the story from my childhood, it was around Christmas (about the only time you can get Boiled Custard) and I was craving some artery-clogging deliciousness.  I went to the fridge, poured a big glass of the thick, lumpy stuff, and prepared my palate for the sweet, creamy treat I was craving.  It didn’t take very long for me to realize that the carton my boiled custard came in looked almost identical to the buttermilk carton and I got the wrong one.  I immediately spit it out in disgust and poured a glass of the good stuff. 

Seeing the buttermilk in my fridge last week made me think about this story for some reason.  According to my taste buds, buttermilk by itself is terrible, but if you add a little bit to some biscuits or pancakes, all of the sudden it’s a great addition.  That’s how it works with recipes.  You take a bunch of things that aren’t that great on their own, but when you add them together in just the right combination, you get something delicious.  Isn’t that a lot like society?  Maybe you know someone who’s like crushed red pepper.  They’re hot and fiery and intolerable by themselves, but when you need something to have a little extra kick, they’re just the right addition. 

Sure the spices by themselves can be a bit too much at times, but their absence just results in blandness.  Of course adding spice just for the sake of the spice is never the right thing to do.  I love hot food, but I don’t put cayenne on my cereal in morning.  When you add spices, you’re looking for harmony – the right spice for the right food.  So find out what you have to offer, the dishes you most compliment, and put your spices to work.  Oh yeah… if you’re garlic, eat an Altoid.

I’m down to my last two weeks of my MBA and I can’t wait for it to be over.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed it, learned a lot, and am glad I did it, but a young family, a job, and graduate school is starting to wear on me.  Now I’m trying to figure out how to fill the 20 hours a week.  I’m going to be diplomatic and leave it up to you, my readers to decide.  Click on my poll to decide and I’ll let you know how it goes.

As I said last week, Sara just got back from a medical mission trip to Nicaragua.  This was her first time abroad on a mission trip and she was pretty nervous before she left.  As I recall, I was the same way before my first trip to Belarus.

It can be intimidating going to a different country with a different culture and not knowing how the people will receive you.  When I went to Belarus, I was worried about the KGB (from whom our team got a personal visit – they don’t get sarcasm).  Before my trip to Nicaragua, my worries were different.  I had no idea where I was going, where I was staying, or how I would communicate, but I did know that the health department required a two-hour consultation and dealt out more needle sticks than they would if Dairy Queen hosted a diabetes convention.

As Sara quickly discovered, her fear turned to contentment, which later turned to a longing to go back and help again.  Once we get past our fear, we get a bug that makes us want to go back and no, I’m not talking about malaria.  That’s just the way it works.  Ask anyone who’s ever been on a trip like this.  The images of those kids leave a permanent impression in your head.

Even if you have never felt the desire to do something like this, I encourage you to try it.  I know you may not feel drawn to serving internationally, but once you do it, I guarantee that you will expand your horizons, and there is a very good chance that you’ll want to go back.  The key is to force yourself out of your comfort zone.

Think about the first guy who tried cow’s milk.  Somebody had to do it first, right?  That guy didn’t just go to the fridge and grab a jug of cold 2%.  I’m guessing it was hot and he was thirsty and somehow thought a shot of body-temperature milk straight from a 2,000 pound creature would hit the spot.  I image it was an awkward moment when he and one very uncomfortable bovine arrived at the village to tell the others about his new discovery.  I’m sure there were some scoffers, but guess what – his idea caught on and the makers of Oreos are forever grateful.

That guy took a leap of faith and I’m glad he did because a bowl of shredded wheat without milk would be completely inedible.  Think about all of the other things we have as result of this guy’s resourcefulness – cheese, butter, cool whip, milk chocolate, ice cream… need I say more?  We have all of this because somebody tried something new.  He shook his fist at the status quo and did something unconventional.  Of course, the guy who first tried rhinoceros milk probably wasn’t quite as successful, but that’s a different story.

If you have ever considered doing something like this, my advice is not to wait until you’re completely comfortable with going.  If you wait for that moment, you’ll never go.  Besides, there would be no such thing as bravery if the world were void of fear.