Bill Lovely Sr. and the value of mentorship

I learned that Bill Lovely Sr. died this past week.  Made me sad. I will remember him fondly. 

During the summer of my freshman and sophomore year at Brown University, I received an internship from on of my parents friends -- Bill Lovely Sr.   He was one of the managers at a brokerage house in Boston, MA named Kidder Peabody.  I was into the stock market and wanted to learn more. I don't remember much from the internship other than the commute from S. Easton to Boston in the morning and at the end of the day.  Bill was a charming, charismatic Irishman who could bend a tale about the history of Boston, the banking industry, and politics with the best of them.  Each morning he drove me to and fro work -- and would talk about life. I was bushy taled and hung on every word. I'll never forget he used to tell me that "you'll lose your liberalism when you lose your baby fat".  Hasn't happened yet and my baby fat is long gon -- but I loved the quote.  At route, I always felt like Bill Lovely Sr. liked me -- and that meant a lot to me.  I'm not sure why he liked me but the approval of an elder man other than my father was important personally and professionally. Thanks Bill. Rest in peace. 

Great weekend with the family at Sleeping Lady resort

Every now and then you go to a great spot that you know you want to return to....the Sleeping Lady resort outside of Leavenworth, WA is such a spot. It was awesome. It's rare when a place is able to cater to both kids and to adults successfully. But this place managed to do just that. From an adult perspective, the food is great, the accommodations comfortable (cozy even), and the setting romantic. From a kids perspective, there's a pool with a place to jump off rocks into the pool, a hot tub, a game room, a popcorn machine, and wenatchee river nearby to go inner tubing!  I can't speak about this place enough -- we're already talking about when to return and with whom. Supposedly in the winter it's a great cross country ski and snow shoeing spot!

Father's Day was great

I had a great father's day weekend with the family.  As a gift, I got 4 tickets to the American Idol concert in Seattle this summer. Yes....I hate to admit it, I'm a fan of American Idol and now I am going to have the unique pleasure of going with my kids to the show. Should be a trip. I haven't been to a concert in over 10 years!!

We spent the morning sorting my clothes and emptying my closet of clothes that on average were 8 years old. We went to Dim Sum for brunch then proceeded to Nordstrom's for the Father's Day sale.  I got a bunch of new clothes. Came home and watched the first half of Avatar. Really fun day. 

I know it's a Hallmark created day -- but it actually worked for me yesterday. Thanks family!

Capitalism, health care, and my dad

I'm writing this post and my guess is it will be longer than my normal posts. You know when you sit down to write a diary post to sort out your feelings -- that's what this post is. 

I have an MBA and I'm an entrepreneur. I'm a capitalist. I believe in capitalism (for the most part). I understand very well that profit is a strategic imperative. I understand that managers sometimes need to make what appear to be bad decisions or inhuman decisions to achieve profit.  Unfortunately, I understand the rationale of laying off a division of a company because the organization needs to go in a different direction.  In most instances, I view this type of rationale as a strength of the US economic and politics system as opposed to those countries that have stringent rules about when a company can fire a person mandatory employment. 

At the same time, I think I have an understanding of the human toll of layoffs. I feel connected to the people I work with -- and even when it doesn't work out from an ongoing employment situation. I want to be friendly toward them -- and them toward me if I see them at the market.  

However, capitalism shouldn't be a license to fuck other people or to be a dick. Unfortunately, that's what the US version of capitalism has come to stand for.  It's hard for me not to be disgusted by the financial shenanigans of wall street over the past few years. And you should know, I believe in universal health care.

However, this wasn't meant to be a political post. It's a personal post. My dad is a rheumatologist. He's been in private practice for about 40 years and has worked the majority of his professional life with the same hospital. Just recently, my dad's practice stopped receiving referrals from that hospital. No one bothered to communicate that to my dad.  As a result, my dad's business was affected ....but more importantly, his sense of connection to a career and to people has been deeply wounded. 

I'm seeing where I want this post to go now. 

I guess the thing that disturbs me the most is that the hospital didn't call and tell him directly of they're decision to stop referrals. It's this loss of human relation and acknowledge -- that may be uncomfortable or hard -- that is so important.  It's not just business -- it is often very personal.  

I know that the scenario I layed out is subjective and complex. I know there's many other sides to the story. But, I'm feeling bad for the humiliation my dad must feel after working somewhere 40 years and having that disregarded. That's gotta feel shitty. And at the very least -- this post acknowledges him and his work. 

Time with my daughter

I had the pleasure of taking Friday off and spending Thursday night and Friday with my daughter.   We had a great time. We went to the Great Wolf Lodge outside of Olympia, WA.  It's a destination resort -- part of a chain of indoor water parks.  We had a fabulous time.  I try to go away with my kids at least once per year if not more -- just the two of us.  If you're in the Seattle area and want a family resort -- Great Wolf Lodge is somewhere between Disney World and Chuck E Cheese -- I know it sounds a bit much...and it probably is....but we had fun anyway!

Survive medical school and earn a tequila shot

My wife, Alexa, started medical training in 1992 as a post-bac at Harvard extension school. After finishing an undergraduate degree in Psychology, she needed to go back and take the pre-requisites for medical school.
Hear ye, hear ye - she finishes her residency this month. Last night, we through her a surprise party and I took a tequila shot or two. It's been a hard, grueling and long ride. I'm proud of my wife ....and I.  My wife seems to have found her passion and niche in life : as a psychoanalyst.  I'm super grateful for that.  I'm even more grateful that this whole 16 year medical training thing has (is) coming to an end!  Tequila shots for all those finishing medical school and medical training; they help wash down the memory of the process :-)

Return from Disney World

I'm back. I actually arrived home in Seattle this weekend. It took me a couple days to decompress from what turned out to be a great, albeit tiring week. Disney World is a weirdly special place on a lot of different levels.

  1. First, as a family vacation for my dad's 70th -- I think the trip exceeded his expectations and mine. There were no major family fights. The hotel was nice -- and the grandkids ages 1 to 8 loved the parks.
  2. Second, as an incarnation of an entrepreneurs vision -- it's amazing. In my mind, it's as impressive as cirque du soleil.  The breadth, scope, and execution are truly impressive.
  3. Third, as a business operation the place is amazing. Everything from the transportation, the trash receptacles, the technology, the marketing, to the customer service. The business lessons abound.

My cousin stuart died

My cousin Stuart died last week. Stuart Graber was Anna and Sids son and lived most of his life in coop city, New York.  Stuart was my dad's first cousin. Anna was my dad mother's sister.
The most poignant part of Stuart's life and death is that he largely died alone -- more alone than most.  I thought I'd do a little acknowledgment (and it is little)  to him on my blog. Goodbye Stuart. I'll always remember how you tackled me outside my grandmothers apartment without ever moving. I was 8 at the time. Rest in peace.