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Forgetfulness

July 5, 2015 — Leave a comment

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Turn it on

May 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

I’ve been getting these little video nuggets of golf wisdom and the Square to Square method from Doug Tewell: 8 Golf Myths.

He sends them to my email.

Today I received Myth 5: Turning the Club Head

“Do you turn it off?” the subject line reads.

And in the body of the email:

“If you’ve been turning the club off in your follow-through, then this video is for you.”

http://gt.ontraport.net/c/s/sR0/vXMz2/s/x/zeei/684fQU/609wVBPCwa

Surely Mr. Tewell wasn’t intending to inspire deep reflection about my life and my head based on this phrase or the position of my club head. But he did.

And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

In golf, as in life, sometimes you don’t even realize that it’s off. That you’ve turned it off.

Yes, consider how it turned off in the first place. But don’t dwell on it.

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Focus and turn it back on.

All of it. Maximum power. Full-bore.

Not later.

Not soon.

Now.

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Miracle on Broadway

February 9, 2015 — Leave a comment

This story took place today around noon, within the geographic radius of W25th and W21st streets, Broadway and 5th Avenue, around the Flatiron building in Manhattan.

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It happened like this.

I decide to leave the office, the Flatiron Building. It’s around lunchtime. I have to go to Citibank three blocks away and to pick up something to eat.

Before I leave the office, I do the obligatory winter dance.

I change into my snow boots, layer on my pink fleece vest, wrap my green scarf around my neck to partially cover my mouth, and then finish with my bright neon green windproof, hooded pullover. I grab my cellphone and put it in my jacket pocket, which I zip close. I grab my wallet, which is more like a clutch purse. It’s made of wool, striped cream and white, and about five inches long, three inches high. It’s too large to fit in my jacket pocket, too thin to hold my phone, which is a Samsung Note 3.

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After pulling the hood over my head and putting my gray mittens on, the kind that turns into fingerless gloves, I tuck the clutch under my armpit, which has become routine when I don’t want to carry my backpack or handbag.

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I’m properly dressed when I’m outside, feeling perfectly warm and comfortable despite the wind and frigid cold.

I walk on Fifth Ave to my bank. There are two tellers occupied, and one man ahead of me in line. There is enough of a wait that when it’s my turn at the teller, he thanks me for my patience and apologizes for the delay.

I’m at the teller to get a certified check for my rent. After a few minutes, I have my check, fold it in half, tuck it into the purse and head out. Before leaving the bank I stop at the ATM and withdraw $60.

I walk back, pass the Flatiron. I’m on Broadway on my way to the corner deli where I often pick out a mix of things from their hot buffet when I can’t decide what I want to eat.

It’s busy as usual, lots of people in line waiting for whatever they ordered and others at the cashier ready to pay.

I fill my container with different styles of chicken and some vegetables, grab a bottle of Poland Spring Dark Cherry Sparkling Water and an orange, and walk to the cashier. She places everything into a white plastic bag. The total is a little over $9. I pull out $20 from my purse, pay, get change, and as I often do, walk back to the buffet and grab a few packets of hot sauce and throw them in the bag before I leave.

I walk back to my office building, swipe my ID card, which hangs from one of my belt loops, and then wait for the elevator.

I don’t have to wait long before one of the elevators arrives. I walk into the elevator with about three or four others–no one I know personally.

My office is on the 16th floor. Around the 4th floor, I free my fingers from the mittens, unzip my jacket, then unzip the fleece vest, put my hand in the jacket pocket, feel my phone, and decide not to pull it out. I look down at the plastic bag and then it slowly dawns on me that I’m missing my purse.

I recheck the plastic bag, pat myself down, check the pockets of my pants.

I hit one of the floors to leave, mumbling to everyone that I left my purse at the deli. I hope, I say. One woman consoles me and says, Oh yes, I’m sure it’s there.

I don’t bother to zip up my jacket, take a quick survey of the ground around the foyer, ask security if he picked up a stripes purse, No, he answers and I walk briskly to the deli, looking down at the dirty snow covering the sidewalk along the way.

Just in case.

When I get to the deli and ask if they have my striped purse, they say, No. There’s nothing here.

I believe them. I’ve been going to this deli for years. And if I’d left it, they’d have noticed and held onto it until I realized and returned for it.

I retrace my steps and head back to my building. I recheck the plastic bag. Check trash cans along the way.

I walk back to my office, tell everyone that I’ve lost my wallet. I get on the phone, cancel my bank card and realize that I need to get a new cashiers check. When I ask the customer service person on the line to also cancel the cashiers check, she puts me on hold for a few minutes before returning and telling me that I have to go back to the bank and only a manager can help me.

I haven’t taken my layers off yet, tell the marketing assistant I’m going back to the bank and hopefully I won’t be long.

When I get to the bank, I explain that I lost my wallet and the cashiers check that I had just gotten 20 minutes earlier. The teller remembers me, has a mixed expression of sympathy, surprise, and amusement on his face.

I’ll be back, he says. I’ll help you.

After a few minutes, he returns.

We can’t cancel the check, he says. And because it’s an official bank check, you’ll need to file a claim. Once you file a claim, the process of evaluation takes 90 days.

That’s unacceptable, I say. There must be something or someone who can and will override this process.

He asks me to take a seat and leaves again for a few minutes. While I wait, I google DMV and replacement drivers license. Before I find out the process involved, the teller returns.

Follow me, he says, and leads me into the branch manager’s office. She explains that she’s able to cancel the check, but that I’ll have to wait 24 hours in case the check has already been cashed.

I fill out the paperwork, the branch manager brings in a woman to notarize the forms. Before I leave she hands me a temporary ATM card.

I walk back to my office, turn my computer on, my coworkers want to know what happened and they repeat how genuinely sorry they are.

Then one of the marketing associates walks over to me and then mid sentence says, Hey. You have a message. Your phone’s blinking.

She and I look at each other and say in unison, No. No way. No.

Put it on speaker phone, she says. I want to hear.

I say out loud, to myself more than to anyone listening, No it’s probably just some random work related request. Michelle probably asking me about some schedule.

When I punch my phone’s password in, a woman with a heavy Queens accent fills my office.

Miss Estrada, I’m calling from Bellmar Realty. A gentleman left your purse with us. It’s at the security desk. We’re at 936 Broadway.

I kid you not, the associate starts tearing up and can’t stop saying, Oh my God. Oh my God. Karma, Marie. You have good karma.

As I’m googling 936 Broadway, I say to her, Wow, humanity. I can’t believe it.

As soon as I have the location, I bolt. While waiting for the elevator I run into one of the marketing managers and tell her what just happened.

Her voice gets high-pitched and she says how wonderful that is and how happy she is for me. Awww, she keeps repeating, the way one would while looking at an adorable fluffy kitten playing.

I find Bellmar. It’s literally one minute away, a building I’ve never noticed but walk past every time I walk to the deli.

I tell the woman at the security desk that I received a call and ask her if she has my gray and white striped purse. She smiles, opens a drawer, and hands it to me.

I don’t bother checking its contents. For whatever reason, I know nothing is missing.

When I walk into my office, the associate is all grins.

I still can’t believe it, she says.

I put the purse down on my desk, peel all the layers off, change into my office appropriate shoes, sit down and finally open the purse.

And I was right. The bank check, my drivers license, cash, pink polka dot pen, receipts… everything. I got back everything I thought I lost forever.

I pick up the phone, call the bank and tell them my purse was found. Fortunately they aren’t efficient and haven’t completed the claim process.

We’ll shred the paperwork, the branch manager says. You’re lucky. Your purse was found by one of the honest ones out there. That’s rare.

Yes. Yes. Thank you rare stranger, whoever you are. You’ve renewed my belief in humanity with your actions today. With the choice you made.

Thank you. Thank you. I’m forever grateful to you.

Daily rant. Sorry.

February 2, 2015 — Leave a comment

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I catch myself and others around me using Sorry as filler. As an interruption. A question. An entrance.

And when the word needs to be used as it was intended, it requires a qualification.

I’m really sorry is a common one.

I consciously stop myself now from verbalizing or writing Sorry for minor things. Being late. Bumping into someone on the subway.

I’ve found that other words or an explanation go further.

Excuse me.
Pardon me.
I didn’t hear you. Repeat what you just said please.
The train was delayed. I hope you haven’t been waiting too long.

Maybe I’m making a mountain of a molehill. But it bothers me that we’re saying Sorry when we’re really not. Or if we haven’t done anything wrong.

The New York Times, in an article, Do you apologize too much? explored this same issue. Read the article.

And, what the hell, do this little experiment tomorrow. See how many times you catch yourself saying Sorry or hear others using it.

Mountain? Molehill? Did you mean it? Did they mean it?

I’m forecasting lots of Nos.

To Tsu or Not to Tsu

January 31, 2015 — Leave a comment

I’ve been experimenting with this relatively new, free to join, but invite only social sharing, profit sharing platform for about a month now.

Like anything new I attempt, I’ve been obsessive.

The thing is, if I’m willing to accept something new into my life, whatever that may be, small or grand, I must be willing to put time and effort into it.

If not. Then why bother?

Of course after giving it a shot, doing what I can to see how it works in my life, if it turns out not being worthy of my time and effort, if I’m not loving it, I’ve no problem walking away, closing the door, and moving on.
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I’m not there yet with this new platform. I’m still getting a hang of it, trying to understand how it works. How to play the game.

I started three weeks ago. I’ve amassed nearly 600 “friends” and 220 “followers.” I’ve devoted I’m guessing 10 hours to posting and earned $1.

Before this, I’ve never analyzed or tracked my personal social sharing behavior, the amount of time I’ve spent posting my own content and engaging with others’.

I know for sure that since I started this new thing that I’ve posted so much more than I have before. Trying to catch up with the others who tease me with their 35K followers and post their analytics chart to show the enviable dollar amount.

So it’s hard to say, from the standpoint of monetization, whether it’s worth it or not for me to continue. If I already post anyhow, I may as well get paid for it, is my current stance.

But there’s a healthy load of skepticism in this venture.

I haven’t set a goal or timeframe yet. Sure, the ultimate goal would be to set myself up to a point where the system starts working for me. Where reward far exceeds effort and time.

I suppose this is the ideal ratio and scenario in every project, experience, situation.

It’s still early. I don’t know when and if that ratio will happen here–certainly not now and the way things are looking, anytime soon.

I’ll remind myself now of something I’ve read before that’s always stayed with me–from Seth Godin.

“‘Doing the best I can’ is actually not the same as ‘doing everything I can.’ When we tell people we’re doing the best we can, we’re actually saying, ‘I’m doing the best I’m comfortable doing.’ As you’ve probably discovered, great work makes us uncomfortable.”

I’ve not done everything I can… so onward!

If you’re curious about this profit sharing social networking platform, here’s your invite to join: http://tsu.co/marieeestrada

Connect

January 29, 2015 — Leave a comment

You never know who’s calling even when the ID says it’s so and so.

Most of the time it’ll be that person. But it’s those exceptions that can get you.

A few minutes ago, my phone rang. The caller ID notified me it was one of my best friends.

She calls for good reason. Never just to chit chat. She knows I don’t really like to talk on the phone. So when she calls I always answer when I can.

This time, I answered her call using what was my closest impression of Yoda.

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The response was a pause.

Then: Hello.

It was my friend’s husband. He’s 35 years older than my friend and has had a very successful life in film, art, photography. To describe him as accomplished would be an understatement. He’s sweet and sociable but a shrewd businessman and serious in all of his professional pursuits, of which there are many.

I don’t think he made the Yoda connection though it wouldn’t surprise me if he was on a first name basis with George Lucas.

Fortunately, he has a wonderful sense of humor.

After his initial Hello, he simply laughed. Then he said, Obviously, Marie, the better half has stolen the other half’s phone to call you.

He was calling to thank me for some consultation on one of his projects and for connecting him with a company I work with. He said he hired the company and was over the moon about the results.

Earlier in the week I had a similar conversation with the co-founder of the company. He called me gushing about how excited he was to be working on the project with my friend’s husband and I could literally hear and see his smile through the phone. Like a five-year-old receiving a new toy.

I don’t share my resources with just anybody. And I do so only when I feel the connection is solid. When the personalities fit. When the connection will equally benefit everyone involved.

I knew the connection between my friend’s husband and the company needed to be made. It wasn’t just my gut telling me this. I have experience with what my friend’s husband needed after going through his project. And I’ve invested time in the company I was recommending to do the job. I hired them to work on a big project. I’ve worked closely with everyone on their team. From the copywriters and designers to the two founders. They know their stuff. And they genuinely seem to love what they’re doing. They offer their services at a fair price. They’re efficient, flexible, transparent, communicate their moves. Professional. They’ve built my trust in them.

I told the co-founder that he owed me my finder’s fee cocktail.

I’ll buy you the bar,
was his response.

There’s nothing more uplifting than feeling like you’ve helped get something done. When the stars align. When you can confidently refute the adage, It’s not what you know but who you know.

No.

It’s who you know AND what you know.

Make-up

January 29, 2015 — Leave a comment

A glass of wine does a whole lot of good for me. Shame my apartment is dry. Except for this semi-sweet Merlot that was gifted to me. I’ve been mixing it with bubbly water and a twist of lime–turning it into a spritzer. Otherwise it would be undrinkable to me. But I’m not in the mood for that right now.

Oh, right. And a fancy Barolo, another gift. This one was from a famous icon who was subleasing the apartment across from mine for a few months. He made me promise to wait to open it until he returned. I didn’t promise. But still.

It’s not a drink now wine. It has the potential to age and develop beautifully if I simply wait.

I’m perfectly fine waiting for the right time to pull the cork, whether it’s for a particular occasion or simply because it feels right and I want to do it.

To quote Margaret Thatcher, “I’m extraordinarily patient, as long as I get my way in the end.”

In other words, when my desired outcome materializes. When there’s no pressure. When I’m perfectly content and happy with the unfolding events.

I suppose if you’re restless and unhappy, patience would be more accurately described as impatience–regardless of the desired outcome. And if left to grow, would result in discontentment.

On the subway today, on my way home, I found myself growing extremely annoyed and uncomfortable. Irrationally so.

I have a few pet peeves and while they affect me most when I’m commuting, regardless of the environment, I simply can’t ever get myself to ignore them. I’ve tried. Really.

I’m on the F line, downtown to Brooklyn, headed home, standing, leaning against the doors. At Broadway Lafayette, a woman, maybe 25, dirty blond stringy bob, thin, pale skin, black scuffed ankle boots, large black purse, walks into the train and sits down across from me.

She opens her purse, pulls out a lipstick. It’s new, she’s peeling the protective sticker which gives her some trouble. After a minute, she gets the sticker off and lets her hand fall to her side and drops the sticker to the floor. She does the same with the protective layer on what looks like blush or foundation. Then eyeliner. Then a face cream. Then a lipgloss.

It goes on like this until Essex, one stop from my exit. And with each cosmetic and sticker and plastic littering, my heart races. I feel my chest constricting.

She thankfully hasn’t bought all of Sephora (more likely Duane Reade) and eventually finishes leaving her trash everywhere.

But then.

She sticks her fingers in her mouth. Not just to take the sticker glue off. She starts aggressively chewing them. Bites them. Looks at them. Pulls at them with her teeth. Takes her fingers out. Chews on her nails for a few seconds. Swallows. Then continues the wretched process for the rest of my commute.

You know, there’s a comic book about a serial killer nailbiter. He bites his victims nails. Waits for the nails to grow back then chews his victim’s fingers off.
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Those car doors couldn’t open fast enough. I have little patience for bad hygiene and a blatant disregard for shared public space.

It’s not my way. I was not getting my way.
There was no patience. I wanted out.

Now though, I just wish I had the patience then to say something. Even do something subtle to take her out of her state, point out what’s been dropped or interrupt the finger chewing by asking for the time.

These things probably won’t change her behavior or habit. But at least it might remind her that she’s not alone; she’s in public. Sharing space with me. With others.

Maybe others have or will point it out to her. Or maybe she’ll come to it on her own. I hope all of the above.