Anniversary – Dad

ImageYesterday was the one month anniversary of my Dad’s passing away.

I felt off most of the day, but didn’t realize why until later.   That’s the way it seems to be going for me, I’m fine and then something out of the blue reminds me of him.  There are times that I catch myself wondering when he is coming to visit again, or think of a golf course that we need to play…  Of course, those are the times that hit the hardest.

Dad was a big man physically and he had a big heart.  In fact, he lead with his heart most of the time.

He lived passionately and was the biggest optimist I will ever meet.  People have told me that I do a good job of looking on the bright side of things.  I used to say “you should meet my Dad.” Now I’ll have to remember to say “you should have met my Dad.”

We had Dad’s service here in Portland the Saturday before Easter, a stunningly sunny, warm spring day.  I had committed to say a few things there, hoping I could keep it all together and form intelligent sentences.  I knew what I wanted to say, but didn’t really put fingers to keyboard until the night before.  Once I started writing, the words just flowed out.

I have put the text of what I said below, not to show off any oratory skill I do not possess, but to remind myself of the topics I covered.

  • Life is short, enjoy the time we have.
  • Don’t live in the past, or in the future; focus on today.
  • Love your family and close friends and make time for them.
  • Love, live, forgive, forget, move on.

Here is what I said that day:

Today is a day to celebrate a life, to remember the good times we had with Walt, and mourn his not being here with us.  It’s a selfish day really, designed to help us – to help us all start to heal the hole in our hearts left by his passing.

One Day at a Time –

We heard that phrase a lot during the last month or so of Dads life.  It seemed to be a favorite of the hospital staff whenever we asked for more information; when we asked about an outcome;  when we asked about expectations….  which really wasn’t very helpful at all.  Being in that situation and hearing that phrase so often really got me thinking about it really means.

One Day at a Time

And this is what I have come up with – One Day at a Time means to live life like there is no tomorrow – To live like yesterday’s woes never happened, to work your butt off to make TODAY the best day of your life – and if you get a tomorrow, then use that tomorrow to top what you did today.

Today is a day to tell stories, to cry, to hug, and to heal – One Day at a time.

I learned a lot from my Dad, I was fortunate to have worked with him in two different companies.  He had an ability to listen to what a customer was saying they wanted – and then ignore what they said and instead, give them what they really needed – which often was a completely different thing …

Listening – really listening – One day at a time.

Another lesson was that passion in pursuit of a dream can be a powerful, driving force.  And forgiveness is even more important.

I remember a time where we were in a argument about some detail of the business, something he was passionate about having his way and he was getting really angry with how the argument was going and he stormed out of the office – taking both hands and shoving a four foot high pile of magazine’s off the table and all over the floor on his way out.

I was left alone in the office, scared for my life for when he came back!

Instead of being angry when he got back, he gave me one of his huge, “Uncle Walt” hugs and we were all good again…

Forgiving and forgetting – One day at a time.

Another thing I learned from Dad, and many of you in this room learned too, was that he always looked on the bright side – to say the least – he was an optimist.  – he assumed the best possible outcome in every situation, no matter what.   Sometimes his optimism didn’t quite workout the way he assumed it would – and sometimes, that was to the detriment of us on the other side of his optimism !!

Reminds me of the lyrics by John Lennon =

“you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”

Dreaming and Believing – Ond Day at a Time…

As we continue to work through our healing in the weeks and months to come, we need to remember the feeling of connection and togetherness that we are creating here in our mourning – our depending on each other, our sharing (keep the stories flowing!) and our increased closeness.

the next part of the lyrics penned by John Lennon are:

“I hope some day you’ll join us – And the world will be as one”

Because it strikes me that this togetherness, this closeness, this enjoying the time that we have and the good memories we make are what really matter.

Making the most of the time we have – One Day at a Time.

I think that sums it all up for me – what I’ve learned from my Dad, what I chose to remember  – all of the best of him, and how I want to live the rest of my life moving forward.

One Day at a Time, focus on the important things in life.

Dad sent this to several of us in email a couple of years back – I think it’s a great way to be reminded that there is ALWAYS time for the truly important things in life, if we make them the priority:


When things in your life seem, almost too much to handle, When 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy classand had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students, if the jar was full.   They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar..   He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.  The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor, as the laughter subsided,  ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. 

The golf balls are the important things – family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions.  Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else –The small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’  He continued, ‘there is no room for  the pebbles or the golf balls.    The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, You will never have room for the things that are important to you.


Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

  • Play with your children.
  • Take time to get medical checkups..
  • Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time for the “sand” in life, take care of the golf balls first —  The things that really matter.  Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.  ‘I’m glad you asked’.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.’

Walt Gorski: My Dad passed away at 66 years of age.  I will miss him for rest of my life, but he continues to live on in my heart and the lessons he leaves behind.

Apple software gripes

I love my Apple products.

However, two smaller items have me thinking of a more seamless experience.

First – in iOS 6, Apple changed it so that app updates do not need a password. Just hit the update button and the app is updated. So much more simple and elegant.

However, ( and here is the gripe) why do I even have to hit a button? Why isn’t there an auto update? I always update all my apps anyway, so why not do it automatically?

Second – in iTunes on the Mac (and I suppose on a windows PC also) why do I have to download my iphone apps to the computer? I am syncing via wifi and iCloud. Do my apps need to take up space on my computer anymore?

They don’t do much for me, except to give my compulsive side another “update” button to hit.

Now, off to CES!

GTD – does it get things done?

I have noticed a sort of trend lately – bashing GTD for not Getting Things Done.  Examples are here, here, here, here, and here.

One common theme seems to be that running the GTD system takes too much time, so much in fact, that you don’t actually GET things done.  After all the time running the GTD system, there is no time left for deep thinking, strategic planning, or concentrated project work.

I think this line of thought is missing the while point of GTD.

GTD is built explicitly to clear your mind and your sub-conscious of the nagging, slowing, fogging thoughts that keep us from doing Deep work.  The design of GTD is such that you can make it as complicated or as simple as you need it to be.  You take from the system only the pieces you need, using them to clear your mind of self doubts, reminders, and worry.

I have read the book a couple of times and make use of as much or as little of the theories and systems as I need to simplify my life and clear my mind.  Some weeks or months I get heavy into the ‘system’, and sometimes I hardly use any.

Using more of the system than you need goes against one of the basic founding tenants of the system “Mind Like Water.”  That means in all things, act or react only as much as needed, no more and no less.  Similarly, as Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

GTD  can’t be blamed for an inability to focus on the deep work – GTD is only a system.  It is up to each of us to make use of the system, not to allow the system to use us.

Book review: Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin


Stop Stealing Dreams

Thought provoking book on education, students needs, and where we are heading. Godin brings together insights and anecdotes in his normal far reaching process and applies his intellect to come to some provocative conclusions.

The education system exists to serve a need that doesn’t exist anymore. What the world needs now are people who can solve problems, write coherently, self motivate, and create. The education system churns out people who know how to memorize things for a short time.

I wish this was book was required reading for educators and parents – maybe even students who know what they were getting into….

See other reviews and thoughts here on Goodreads…

I read a newspaper today!

We started receiving The Oregonian today – for free – for some period of time.  I am of two minds over this.

First : the positive.  I love getting things for free.  Who doesn’t.  I love holding a newspaper, seeing all of my reading options laid right out in front of me.  I like being able to scan the large page and see the layout of the articles and ads.  I like how having it all right there in front of me tends to make me read more of the articles about subjects I would not have seen in my RSS, Twitter, and Facebook scanning.  (Who knew that no one seems to like the two candidates for Mayor of Portland?)  I like knowing a bit more about the area I live in and the world in general.  (kinda – more below)

Now, the negative.  I hate having paper laying around after I’m done with it.  I hate the news print on my fingers.  (don’t want to dirty up the iPad or iPhone….)  I actually didn’t like most of the articles that I read – way too much negativity and ‘bad stuff’ happening.  I think I was better off before knowing about all that junk going on.  I don’t like that I can’t find other articles or more information about a topic very easily after reading it.  I don’t like that I’ll have more recycling to do.

I think it is a telling thing that I had to be given The Oregonian in order to get me to read it.  Obviously printed papers (and magazines, like US News and World Report) are on their way out and this is an attempt by the paper to keep “readership” numbers up to prop up advertising rates.  I just wonder how much longer they can keep playing that game?

Do you read the newspaper any more?