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Showing posts from 2018

BACK ROOM

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Back Room
"Even Perfection has room for improvement"  Ty Warner

YOUR OWN PORTFOLIO

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"The Chef" One of my large clients owned several companies. I admired the industry he created and always looked forward to renewing our business relationship each year. I was selling financial services, representing a large broker. I remember one year when after concluding negotiations. Howard, the owner, told me that I should expand my thinking about business. I did not always have to just make money for someone else, I could develop my own portfolio. Business that would be mine regardless of what happened in the market. It was good advice. The wisdom of his thoughts would prove out over and over again as I moved through my business career. The most successful business people, ones I admired the most, developed a side business. A portfolio outside the market swings of their main career. Here are a few stories of portfolio hero’s I have known. The Sailor. Del did construction work, but the seasonality of it and swings caused by the economy troubled him. He managed to scrape …

PASSING WINTER STORM

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"Passing Winter Storm"

MUSEUM NOTES: THE SCAD IN SAVANNAH

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Savannah is the most pleasant of experiences. It’s a blend of a working city, tourist mecca and art scene. Not to mention the great walking and culinary treats. It is full of museums that will keep you busy for days. The one that impressed me the most was SCAD. It is part of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The passion of the young art students surrounds this place. We were fortunate to stay across the street at the Embassy Suites in the Historical District. A great hotel, with nice wood panel d├ęcor and lavish green plants around the lobby. Our room overlooked SCAD. We enjoyed the coming and going of the art students, many carrying their current canvases under their arm. The museum itself reflects the edge and energy of the entire college. It is larger than you would expect and pleasantly lacks the too refined movement of collections from room to room. Each room at SCAD cries out to be observed, interpreted and savored. Highlights included the video presentation of “Inverso Mu…

HOUSING - THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE DIVIDE

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It was one of those scenes I can never resist. Fred, a postal worker, stopped his work and ask if I knew what I was taking a photo of. I told him my camera always found karma in open urban space with an interesting colorful subject in the distance. Fred laughed and said, “It’s interesting alright. The opportunity and the divide.”  I ask him what he meant. He continued to sort though the mail and deposit it in the postal box complex near where I parked.  “You see, I used to walk the streets and deliver mail to the housing complex in the distance. That’s before they put this infernal central mail box in.” He looked across at the housing again and then said, “A government experiment in helping the low income that never really fulfilled its dream. Most of the people remain a part of the city, but apart from the wealth of it. That’s public housing for you, it divides.” Fred pointed to the unused urban expanse between us and the complex. “The opportunity, everybody wants this open ground. …

FLOWERS FOR YOU

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"Flowers For You"

EDGES

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“He was a great painter, but he stared endlessly at the edges of his work. The brush strokes, sketches and marks that never hit the canvas…I wondered why?”   Oregon Taylor Fields At the height of my business career, the many stresses of meeting needs left me feeling like a machine simply turning out product. You always had to conform to both company and client needs. To keep myself sane, I decided to start a side business. Since my job was all about selling services, it seemed natural to combine my growing interest in art with helping other artists sell their work. I rented a small studio on the second floor of an old converted hotel in the arts district of the city. The building overflowed with painters, photographers, music teachers and even a recording studio. Just what I needed to take me far away from the drum beat of large business routines.  Overtime some of the artist became my clients and friends. Eric, a talented painter, had the studio next to mine. I often talked with him,…

A PIECE OF CHOCOLATE

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In a city an old couple lived. They were wealthy in love for each other, but not in money. They shared a humble apartment on one of the forgotten blocks of the city.  The Xmas season loomed and despite the lack of money, they wanted to share at least one thing special. They decided to find the perfect box of chocolates and did. There on the kitchen counter a Xmas box of chocolates now rested. There were 25 pieces of chocolate. One to be eaten on each day until the special day.  They agreed to alternate pieces, one enjoying a piece one day and the other the next. The days until Xmas unfolded one at a time and joyous. They would walk through the city together, enjoying the lights, people shopping and the young people frolicking about. They wondered about their dreams.  Each day was made more special by one of them enjoying a chocolate. The other savoring in the joy it brought the lucky one. Xmas day arrived and just one chocolate remained. The old man thought it was his turn, but wante…

PORTLAND WINDOWS

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"Portland Windows" - Pearl District

RETIREMENT NOTE #5: MONEY

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The last in my series of retirement notes is about money. I held it for the last because so much good material is already written about this subject. So, one ponders how much you can actually add. Still, there are strategies that have helped us retire and live successfully. I want to share them with you. Plan– When you think of retirement plans, you probably think of financial planners, numbers and graphs. All important. However, it is equally important to plan around your dreams and goals in retirement. Very early on in our marriage we developed a plan for retirement. We called it the 1999 plan. We did the numbers thing, but also included our dreams. We even cut out pictures of what our home would look like and the places we wanted to live. The plan included not only our retirement but also the interim moves we might make before then. Over time, we would update the plan and add the new strategies and dreams. Our actual retirement date got delayed some, but almost everything we pictur…

CLUBSTERS

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Clubsters Waiting for Night to Fall

RETIREMENT NOTE #4: FRIENDS

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“A Friend is a person whom one knows well and is fond of. A person on the same side of a struggle, one who is not an enemy or foe.”Webster Dictionary It had only been a few months since we retired and moved from Seattle to the Desert. I was still finding my way in the new role of retiree. To my amazement, my long standing friends back in Seattle were slowly drifting away. Guys who had always been part of my life, played golf together and done business with were no longer close. It bothered me for a long time until I settled on a new concept of who friends really are.  The very nature of friendship is a fluid one, based in large part on circumstances and location. You are most likely to have friends in the same school, workplace, club or places where you live. The question is are they long term friends or just acquaintances. Retirement will test this, especially if you move to a new location. I understand now that this is a natural process and not all bad. Friends can unintentionally h…

ENDINGS OF A DAY

RETIREMENT NOTE #3: PLACE

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“The sky deep with blueness, bright, and unending. My fear disappeared into it. I knew that where ever it was, I could find a place…”  - Oregon Taylor Fields The place you retire is one of the most important decisions you will make. We explored many alternatives in deciding where and how to retire. We were tired of the rain in Seattle and some aspects of Urban life,  but were unsure as to the next best place. Was it going to be another city, the country, a small town and or suburbs?  Questions about leaving the friends, contacts, services, cost of living and the home we knew so well in Seattle swirled in our minds. There is a wealth of articles on the “Best Place” to retire. All offer valuable advice. However, we wanted to find that best place ourselves. One of our exploratory trips took us to the desert where we met up with an old friend Shayla. We knew Shayla for a long time. She seemed always be on some new adventure. One thing was clear, she held a wealth of life spirit and earthy…

EARLY MORNING NOTES

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"Early Morning Notes"- Augusta GA

FOUND WALL MARKS

THE LOST ART OF STOICISM

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The Stoic “As a human being, you may have emotions, but these don’t need to affect your soul. The two are not one.” Daphne Guinness, British Artist The car radio blared the CNN report of top news of the day and repeated it over and over again. Changing channels brought more of the same, but with the other sharp slant to things. The traffic around me thick, pushing and shoving. On each side of me, the sameness of unending strip malls. Waiting at the office, people with agendas and no appetite to hear other ideas. I felt surrounded by people with sharp edges, dug in attitudes and impatience.  It’s easy in today’s fast paced dense world to find yourself lost in it all, without the tools to find your own way. A good way to start is exploring the lost art of Stoicism. The Stoic philosophy dates back to ancient Greek times. It emphasizes wisdom derived from objective observation, reason and thought. The Stoic remained open minded to all views, drawing their own conclusions and actions from e…

TURN OF THE ROAD

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"Turn of the Road" - Tradesville SC

FALL WANDERING

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"Fall Wandering"
The days shorter now, thoughts of warm days past filled my senses. Made more dear by the chill of fall. The ever changing of life was before me. I looked back with happiness and forward with faith there were still places to go and wandering to do...

STAR OF THE SHOW

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“Star of the Show”

RETIREMENT NOTE #2: GHOSTS AND OPPORTUNITY

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“The past can become ghosts when you move on.”  T. Fields My career was filled with accomplishments and helping other people. So why after retirement did I still feel empty regarding purpose and lost? At fault were the Ghosts from the Past. They haunted me and held me back from finding the new me. Key among those were identity, purpose and loss of social interaction. Somehow, I needed in retirement to find fulfillment again. If you made it to the doorstep of retirement and figured out funding, you have already accomplished a lot. That plus your career are your portfolio.  The accomplishments of the past need to be savored and honored, but they can also spawn Ghosts that will haunt you into retirement.  When you retire, it’s a new day. The road forward is less clear. Your earned work portfolio does not have the meaning it once did.  There are many good articles on this transition and suggested ways of dealing with it to find new fulfillment. Mentoring others, volunteering, learning new thi…