Thursday, November 28, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey

It's Thanksgiving time and maybe we all need to understand a little more about what we celebrate. I feel a bit confused recently as it seems that the definition has possibly changed over the years. I always thought Thanksgiving was simply about THANKS. Thankfulness for what we had been prospered with throughout the year. We all got together and had a big meal (the pilgrims and the Indians that is.......hope I didn't offend any of the pilgrims by mentioning their name). They would share a meal and share some of their blessings with each other and even talk about how thankful they were at what God had blessed them with......or Gave them.

Flash forward a few hundred years and we have made Thanksgiving the starting line for shopping for Christmas. Run, Run, Run. Some of us get an early start or even plan this event with great strategic effort. They map out their agenda with certain maps and coupons from the newspaper circling and marking them up like some sort of play book.

Speaking of play book, some of us equate Thanksgiving Day as a great day of football! Some go out and actually play football in the yard. That sounds like fun. Others just watch it on televison. Or maybe you are like me and eat a big meal and then sit down on the sofa and fall asleep. The curse of the tryptophan.

So since I am so confused, I decided to see what the dictionary had to say about certain key items of this day. This should clear it up.

Let's start with TURKEY
Tur·key   (tûrk)A country of southwest Asia and southeast Europe between the Mediterranean and the Black seas. The region was dominated by many ancient civilizations and peoples, among them the Hittites (1800 b.c.), the Greeks (8th century b.c.), and the Persians (6th century b.c.), and in a.d. 395 it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The area was conquered by the Ottoman Turks between the 13th and 15th centuries and remained the core of the Ottoman Empire for more than 600 years. Its modern history dates to the rise of the Young Turks (after 1908) and the collapse of the empire in 1918. Under the leadership of Kemal Atatürk, a republic was proclaimed in 1923. Ankara is the capital and Istanbul the largest city. Population: 71,200,000.

tur·key   (tûrk)n. pl. tur·keys
1.a. A large North American bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that has brownish plumage and a bare wattled head and neck and is widely domesticated for food.b. A related bird (Agriocharis ocellata) of Mexico and Central America, brilliantly colored and having eyelike spots on its tail.

2. Slang
a. A person considered inept or undesirable.
b. A failure, especially a failed theatrical production or movie.

3. Sports 
Three consecutive strikes in bowling.

Idiom: talk turkey Informal 
To speak frankly and get down to the basic facts of a matter.

[After Turkey from a confusion with the guinea fowl, once believed to have originated in Turkish territory.]

Hummmmm, well maybe Cranberries?
The Cranberries are an Irish rock band who formed in Limerick in 1989. The band consists of vocalist Dolores O'Riordan, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler. Although widely associated with alternative rock, the band's sound also incorporates indie pop, post-punk, Irish folk and pop rock elements.[1]

cran·ber·ry   (krnbr)n.
1. A mat-forming, evergreen shrub (Vaccinium macrocarpum) of eastern North America, having pink flowers and tart, red, edible berries.
2. The berries of this plant, used in sauces, jellies, relishes, and beverages.
3. Any of several similar or related plants, especially Vaccinium oxycoccos.

[Partial translation of Low German Kraanbere : Kraan, crane (from Middle Low German kran; see ger-2 in Indo-European roots) + bere, berry.]

Hummm, maybe Stuffing?
stuff•ing (ˈstʌf ɪŋ)

1. the act of a person or thing that stuffs.
2. a material or substance used to stuff something.
3. seasoned bread crumbs or other filling used to stuff poultry, vegetables, etc., before cooking.

Well, maybe just look up the word Thanksgiving.
thanks•giv•ing (ˌθæŋksˈgɪv ɪŋ) n.
1. the act of giving thanks.
2. an expression of thanks, esp. to God.
3. a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor.
4. (cap.) Thanksgiving Day.

There we go, I like that one. I should have started there!

Well, whatever it means.....I think I will go help mix up some cranberry salad, cook some turkey, mix some other fixins' together and sit down with my family to eat. After that I intend on falling asleep on the sofa with my new grandson while watching the football game........and all of that......I am Thankful for!

Many Blessings to you my friends.

Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I was going to write something...but.....

Me waiting for the mood to pass
Sometimes with Social Media we are inclined to write every thought and post every emotion whenever and whatever it is. Good or bad. My mood swings are many......I was going to write something.......but I decided to wait for the mood to pass.

Monday, November 25, 2013


 I am a bit speechless. Not a good thing for a blog! Last night I officially became a grandpa. My little girl had her little boy. Man how time flys! It was only the other day that I was holding her in my arms. And then coaching her in basketball.....and then walking her down the aisle at her wedding. ZOOOOM, where did the time go?

I had gone to church yesterday morning and then spent the rest of the afternoon......and into the evening working on some of the office renovations. I was putting up the wood wall panels up on the reception wall. My wife had came up just about 5:30 to see how I was doing. Just a few more pieces to put up and I would be finished.

And then my wife received the text message from our daughter. They were heading to the hospital. It was time. The message read: "Having contractions, going to the hospital." 5:43PM. Great Googliemooglie! I quickly wrapped up what I was doing and we jumped in the car headed to Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center. She had planned planned on doing a natural child birth....with a hot tub.....and using a midwifery.........whatever all that means. (Actually, I do know what all that means but I am going to pretend I am more manly than that and not talk about it.)

We got there about 6:45 and had the thought that maybe it was just false labor pains. But my wife said that she sounded like her breathing was the real thing. And she was close to her due date of Thanksgiving Day only a few days away. Once we got there, we headed upstairs and the place was pretty empty and quiet. The desk sent us around to the actual delivery area. A nurse came out of a room and we asked about our daughter. The nurse was hustling and said that yes she is here and we could sit in the chairs outside the room as it probably wasn't a good idea to go in right now.

OH THANK GOODNESS! I certainly didn't want to go in there! Been there! Done that! Just want to there near by if she needed me.......otherwise.....I going to the waiting room.

Off we go to a little tiny waiting room with a dinky television mounted to the ceiling that looked to be 20 years old. You would think that a big medical center could swing a few hundred bucks for a flat screen? After all we figured we would be waiting in this room until midnight. I quickly went around the channels to find a football game. The match up between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady was to happen this evening. 

Oh, and another thing......wouldn't you think a hospital could get a few good channels? Never mind. This channel came in clear enough. I laid down on the sofa....if you wanted to call it that. A quick inspection of the ceiling tiles realizing that maintenance switched out some tiles at some point with once that didn't match the originals. Three different tiles in one small ceiling. And what the architect thinking about when they laid out the six non symmetrical down lights? Sometimes it is bothersome being an Architect!

The game was about to start and I was also about to fall asleep. Might as well get some rest. We hadn't heard anything and it was about 10 til 8PM. I told my wife to go check since it seemed the nurse had kind of ran us off and might not have told the kids that we were even there. We needed game time updates with stats and play by play account........not really that much information needed!

As I drifted off to sleep, still annoyed about the ceiling tile thing......did I mention sometimes it a pain being an Architect! My wife ran back in and said he is here! Who is here! Stupid response. He was born already. Wow! That was fast. We got to the room and they were just cleaning him off and wrapping him up to give to his momma. 

So cute, so tiny, so precious. Momma and Daddy looked pretty happy and pretty proud. All were good. A couple of quick peeks and then off to the corner for me. The nurses were very nice and encouraged "grandma and grandpa" to come get a closer look. Pretty awesome!

November 24, 2013
7.3 pounds
19 1/4 inches long
My first grand child......Slater Von Showalter is here.......Just in time for Thanksgiving!

We left about 9:30 to let them all rest but not before I got to say the first prayer thanking God for the many many blessings and this wonderful gift. God is good! Very good!

I am sure many pictures to follow from this grandpa!

Eugene "Papa T" Thompson
ET This I Believe

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I so far away

Yeah that was my theme song yesterday. I had set my goal of running twenty miles for my birthday two weeks ago. It just wasn't going to happen. I was too tired after several days in all day classes in Richmond on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. When I went to go for the run Saturday morning, the day before my birthday......I was just pooped. 

So two weeks later, not that I have gotten much more rest but I needed to meet this goal. I felt pretty good. I also knew the temperature was beginning to get colder and it would be harder real soon. Also needed to get this hurdle over to stay on pace for my training for the marathon in only 49 more days.

With ear buds plugged in and new running socks and shoes I was off and running. 54 degrees yesterday in Virginia Beach. I'm a wimp when it comes to cold but figured I would warm up so just shorts and a long sleeve running shirt from the 10K Wicked a few years ago. One of my favorites. And no beany for my bald head!

Man it didn't get warmer. Along my run I came across several other running and they were dressed head to toe....dang, I might have been wrong about this dress thing. The wind was picking up!

I ran my normal route. I like familiarity so I can figure where I am and distances. Eliminates it from the unexpected struggles. The first loop around the neighbor hood always gets me. The first half mile that chirps out of my only 39 more half miles!    WHATTTTT!? I just keep going. Mile after mile. Zone out to the music. Tell myself, "Have a Fun Run". Something my neighbor told me a while back that has always stuck. 

Mile 4....5.....6....7 doing well on my pace. Mile 8....9.....10. I am at the furthest distance from home I have ever been. I pick a new route as the city has finished a nice path along princess anne road....11....ugh......getting. Tired. Stop at mile 11.5 for a quick Energy Gel. Tastes like frosting. Back to running.

I try to cut a new path through a Nimmo Parkway but it isn't finished construction. Contractors might not be happy with me. I turn around at mile 13. That means I won't get all the way back home unless I run a full 26......that ain't gonna happen.

Wind is cold. Mile 13 is my wall. I just push. I start telling myself mind tricks to keep going. Most I have ever ran was 17. That is 4 more miles.....ughhhhh. Too far. My iPhone died on me last time with only 15 miles posted. So that is my goal. 13.5....14....14.5......15. No longer is it miles it is half miles. I met that goal. Now to push for beating next goal.

I don't even remember mile 15-17. I zoned out. Beat my record! Really tired.....want to stop! Do I really need to go 20? Get my mind right! But my calf feel like they will burst. My feet are sore. Toes sore. Hamstrings are getting tight. I have to speed walk for a bit.....can't go further. I do another Energy Gel. Walk a bit more and then yell at myself to keep running.

17.5....18.....just two more miles. I text my wife to be ready to pick me up on Dam Neck. 18.5.  Ughhhhh. 19 miles! Not going to stop now. Pushing pain aside and just going. Back on to a decent pace for this far. 19.5 I begin yelling at myself through the music......singing songs! Doing my own countdown of distance and time in my head........keep going.....not going to stop!

And then the Runkeeper said it......20 miles! I do the Rocky dance in the middle of the run path. I am sure the drivers that I was crazy. 

My wife pulls up, gives me protein drinks, performance.....and the most painful ICE BATH.

The crazy things we do to stay young!

I far away!
Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


It is that month when I seem to get the blahs. I always hate when I get in these moods. My wife hates it even more. She calls it depression.....I just call it BLAH. It isn't really any more serious than that. She will ask me, "What are you worrying about?" It isn't really that either. So this morning, awake at 4:30, with an extremely long day ahead of me, I decided to put down some reasons why this time of the year begins my blah moments.

I am going to say that the first major reason for blah-vember is the weather. It begins to get cold and rainy even here at the beach. That has to put a damper on anyone's attitude. Who wants to really bundle up to go running? Who wants to go out to the car and sit in the cold while it warms up? Who wants all this cold rain? We won't get much snow if any at all around here but just dreariness. 

Cold season begins. It seems like with the colder weather also comes the sniffs and sneezes. The beginning of the weather changes seems to be more like a pogo stick with the temperature going up and down. One day it is 45 the next it is 75. That not only messes with your internal thermostat but also messes with your head. Should I wear a sweater or shorts? Boots or flip flops? Parka or tank top?

For me the holidays have always been a lot of fun. However all the kids are now grown and doing their own thing. That is a bit of a bummer. Completely expected and should have been anticipated but still I remember the times when we all went to cut down a tree after Thanksgiving. Or decorating together. It will take me some time to get into a new tradition with just my wife and I. I am sure I can find something creative and fun. (I will say that this year begins the fun of becoming grandparents for the first time......that will be fun.)

You remember that honey due list you started last January?.....for a New Years goal?......and now it is less that 45 days away and the list hasn't been has increased! That sucks! What have I been doing all year long? Where did the time go? Man, now I need to hurry and try to get some of that stuff done......before all the guests come over. Guests!? Oh great! Them too!

You remember all that hard work all summer long on the yard? And the shrubs? And the roses? And the edging? It is all brown! Enough said.

Along with those lists for the end of the year comes the fiscal year's end. So either a bad year and great we owe taxes still. Or we had a great year and oh yeah, we still owe taxes. It is bad enough that we had to consume all our time this year trying to save money to make ends meet and really dig into how we could get new clients, new projects, new opportunities but now Uncle Sam wants to take his share. Small Business......I don't remember this uncle ever coming to give me any help? Or never sense in complaining about this one. Death and Taxes. Need I say more?

So after thinking on these things that seem to drag me down I had to put a spin on it to appreciate what this time does offer:
It is great to see the change in seasons. I am sure I would (eventually) get bored with nice warm weather. Thankfully I don't catch colds very easy....very thankful. The holidays are fun. Time together, time off, taking time.....we have so little of it. New traditions. I look forward to them. I have new tools to take care of the honey due list. Little by little it will get done. No worries. I brought some of my great plants inside to avoid the cold. That is nice! Taxes? Well, at least we did have a great year. It is nice to be able to have a job, a home, great employees, a car and go out to eat every now and again.

BLAH-vember? Maybe not so blah after all.
Have a great time this season my friends and don't forget to enjoy every moment you have. It is better to focus on the positive than to dwell on the negative. Share how you overcome your blah moments.

Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Monday, November 4, 2013

Early Bird Gets The Worm

Yeah, we have all heard this saying somewhere in our lives. It was probably first from our parents when we were teenagers wanting to sleep in late on a Saturday morning. They had other plans for us most likely relating to yardwork. Then it might have been from one of our college professors as we dragged in early every Tuesday morning to that class on Calculus at 7AM. I am sure there were no worms getting math equations first thing in the morning. Then we heard it from one of those young professionals forums where we read, "How to Get Ahead in Today's Business Climate." We were all trying to be successful and I guess it had to do with getting the worm thing. And then we told ourselves once we were married and started a family that in order to get ANYTHING accomplished we had to get up early. After all the kids were waking us up early too. We might as well get up and begin the day. And then finally we began telling our own teenagers......out of revenge from them waking us up early all those previous get up and get out of bed. "You're wasting your day away." Sounds like a vicious cycle doesn't it?

So what is it now in my life where I find that I don't need an alarm clock any more. At least the one that sets on my nightstand. I wake up automatically all the time .......on time. Actually, rapidly approaching the age of 48 years old, I find myself consistently waking up at 6AM every morning. Weekends as well. Truthfully, I wake up about 10 minutes until 6. It like I don't want the clock to hit 6 before my eyes are open. I have some sort of built in alarm system that I am sure I didn't request.

However, over the last two weeks, I have been waking up around 4 or 4:30. Now that is too early even for worms. My wife thinks that I am worrying about something. But not so much. I am just waking up earlier for some reason. Three times last week I was up before 5. Oh yeah, I tried to fall back asleep but that just wasn't going to happen. You almost get more frustrated at that than you do waking up early.

Sunday morning I thought I had got back on track and all was good. I woke up about 5:30 but that wasn't too light savings was actually 4:30, the clocks just hadn't changed yet. That is crazy! Even my body worked itself around the time change. 

So here I am this morning on e again, running through all the things that my week will entail at the pre-crack of dawn. At least it is peaceful sitting in the dark waiting for the coffee maker to start up. I write my task lists for all the things that need to be accomplished and even do a bit of reading of some articles I saved. I can hear the wind rustling the leaves outside. Sounds cold. I hear the house creak and moan a bit. I wonder what each sound is since all th kids have grown up and moved away. It is so quiet I even hear our little dog snore. Man, now I am jealous!

Actually this is all good habits. I do get a lot accomplished by being the EARLY BIRD. I was thinking about the worm. If the bird is up early catching the worm......the worm had to be up early too. As a matter of fact, the worm had to get up before the bird because he is so slow he needed to get started on wherever he was going sooner. Maybe I SHOULD BE LIKE THE WORM.......JUST FASTER!

Too much thinking this early in the morning my friends. Just enjoy your matter what time you start it.

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson