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Thankfully, I have been able to string together a few days at work that have been rewarding, productive, and enjoyable.  Although I didn’t get home to stay for the night until after 10:30,  I did sneak out for a few hours late this afternoon to spend some time with the family.  The next few days are going to be full, and I am trying to take it in stride.  It is what it is, and all I can do is hold on tight and make the most of it.  We are in the midst of our summer season at work, and that means we are hosting ten concerts throughout the summer.  So far, the weather has been wonderful.  The volunteers have been happy, and the concert-goers have had a good time.  It’s our fifth season with the summer concerts, and although it takes  time and means extra work, we have gotten things down to a science.

Another project that I’ve been working on for months has required that I call in a group of outside consultants.  It’s been going really well.  The consultants have produced great results, and they’re a pleasure to work with.  Best of all, they are people I’ve known professionally for a long time, and it’s exciting to be able to work on a project together with friends.  It’s wonderful to be able to mix business with pleasure.  They are as passionate about their work as I am about mine.  One of the consultants came into town late this afternoon and will be conducting several public meetings over the next several days.

We met several years ago through a mutual friend (now his business partner) at a conference in Oklahoma City.  That was such a low time in my personal life, and I’ll never forget the conversation he and I had the night we met.  We talked for hours about Southern fiction, William Faulkner in particular.  I’m not sure why that conversation meant so much to me or why it solidified such a deep friendship.  I suppose it was simply refreshing to sit and talk about a subject I enjoyed without manipulation, expectations, or bullshit.

We have remained friends.  Chance had it that our careers have continued to intersect, and over the past few years our friendship has deepened.  We see each other frequently at conferences, and other state events, and he has become my go-to guy when it comes bouncing ideas or work issues off someone.  We wish each other Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas.  We stay in touch through email and the occasional phone call.

Last week he called to ask me if it would be alright if he came into town a day early.  When I asked him why (worried that there was some work-related issue I was missing) he said that he wanted to spend some time together as friends.  Wow.  Of course, I was happy to hang out, and tonight I wasn’t disappointed.  We had a lovely time talking and laughing.  Work talk wove in and out of talk about hunting and fishing, literature,  and rug-making.  We also solved a few world problems during the evening.  As usual, there was no BS and no manipulating.  At the end of the evening, he gave me a hug.  He went his way, and I went mine.  I smiled all the way home.  I felt such contentment and peace.  The terrible ache in my shoulder that has had me popping Ibuprofen like candy all week was miraculously gone.

I’m home now, and it was good to finally walk through the door.  A few hours of doing something just for me, something enjoyable has done me a world of good.  Tomorrow, I will be back to the old grind, but tonight has reminded me of the value of taking time every now and then just to enjoy myself and have a little fun.

Puppy Update:

Our puppy, Caribou, is growing strong and is healthy.  In less than a month now, we will be able to bring him home.  The girls and I have been talking about the new puppy and making plans.  I’m not sure when it finally dawned on T that the puppy was actually real…and actually OURS.  About a week ago, he said, “Are we really getting a dog?”  The girls and I had to laugh.  T just shook his head, but he was smiling.  All is well, and I can’t wait to meet and finally hold our little fur ball!

Caribou the puppy at three weeks

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