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Tag Archives: playa del rey

Richard Ladd – Professional Eclectic, SMSD

As a noun, Merriam-Webster defines eclectic as “one who uses a method or approach that is composed of elements drawn from various sources.” I think this describes me pretty well. So well, in fact, I once printed up business cards introducing me (see the title of this post) as Richard Ladd – Professional Eclectic, SMSD. I used different fonts for each letter of the title, chosen to stress their difference yet not such that they appeared garish or disjointed. At least, that was my intent. I have no idea if I succeeded because I never really passed any of them out. It was a silly conceit of mine.

I added the SMSD embellishment very purposefully. Although I have two advanced degrees I’m reasonably proud of having earned, I seldom place their initials after my name. However, I intended the business card to be somewhat of a joke and, coupled with some minor discomfort in holding myself out as being a true eclectic, I thought to broaden it and thereby soften the harshness of what I worried might be too heady a self-endorsement. One could easily imply calling oneself an eclectic might be a backhanded way of suggesting one was a polymath.

Merriam-Webster defines dilettante as “a person whose interest in an art or in an area of knowledge is not very deep or serious.” Although I have long had a keen interest in many different fields of study, I am not sure that interest is deep enough for me to really be a person with eclectic interests or tastes, not necessarily a true eclectic. SMSD, therefore, stands for “Some May Say Dilettante.” I considered it a sort of backhanded disclaimer, a way of acknowledging I just might not be very good at my eclecticism.

A recent example from an attempt to recreate a former business card

A recent example from an attempt to recreate a former business card

What caused me to think of this? I was looking at my desk, which I had actually cleaned off not too long ago. It is once again cluttered, as it almost always is. It reminded me that I’ve always been interested in many things and easily distracted as well, and it finally hit me that I will likely never be “organized”.

It’s not limited to what I read and study either. When I was living in Playa del Rey and my family’s business was in Vernon (East L.A.) I often tried different routes to go back and forth. I get bored really easy with doing the same thing the same way, over and over. When I worked at Rocketdyne for over two decades, I often drove different routes to get to work and, even more importantly, I often tried new ways of doing things; always looking for a better way to get my work done.

I once worked with a guy who insisted he was far too busy to take time to learn something new. It was his goto response when I suggested he take 10 – 15 minutes to learn a couple of keyboard shortcuts or learn about a macro command that would save time in the future. I’m always amazed by people who have no curiosity and see learning as a chore or something that impedes their ability to get their work done. That attitude is the epitome of the saying “pennywise and pound foolish”, IMO. It’s also the antithesis of being able to see systems or what is frequently referred to as Systems Thinking.

Hmmm. It seems my propensity for wandering has happened with this post as well. I think my main point was a recognition that one needn’t be “organized” or to see it as the be all and end all of being an effective person. Some of us just aren’t built that way, yet we manage to do quite well overall. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

 

 

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Something Borrowed – Something Blue

I got married for the first time (there have been only two) in my early thirties; somewhere around 1980 to be inexact. It was a self-organized, backyard party held at the home of friends in Venice, California. We were living in Playa del Rey at the time. I was just reminded I wore a turquoise bowling shirt a friend loaned me that he had recently  purchased second-hand from Aaardvark’s Odd Ark in Venice.

Turquoise Wedding/Bowling Shirt

My Turquoise Wedding/Bowling Shirt

I have a lot of slides from the wedding. Of course, they’ve been sitting in a binder for the last three decades, which is about how long ago I divorced my first wife (who, btw, remains a friend but who I see very infrequently and always at an event involving my brother’s family, as she was close to my SIL and her family). I have no desire to go out and spend money to have photos made of these, but I did try to scan one of the slides that shows me in the shirt. It didn’t work too well, so I went around the house looking for enough clear backlighting to snap a pic with my iPhone 4S. I offer it herewith.

I’m sharing this because it is somewhat indicative of the kind of relationship, wedding, and marriage (despite its having ended) Alina and I had. In our case, it was the Groom who wore – in one garment – something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.


Dream On!

I posted the other day about my vision getting to the point where it seems everything I look at has a drop shadow and one of my friends tweeted me the following:

This got me to thinking about dreaming in general. I don’t know about others, but I hardly ever remember my dreams nowadays. I assume I dream because I’ve read we all do and, sometimes, I have somewhat of a recollection of having dreamed. I just can’t seem to recall what it was I dreamed about. I think that’s likely a good thing, as I interpret it to mean I’m not terribly troubled.

Which brings me to nightmares. I suspect if I had a nightmare I would remember it. My eight-year-old has them occasionally and she seems to be able to remember them pretty vividly. On the other hand, my 10-year-old has them but refuses to tell me anything about what they are. Drives me crazy! I want to be able to comfort her, but she’s having nothing of it.

I’ve also come to the conclusion not having nightmares is an indication that I’m pretty well grounded and don’t harbor any unreasonable fears about the unknown or . . . even the known. The closest I come to a nightmare is worrying about having enough money to take care of our bills, maintain our current lifestyle, and have enough left over to send my kids to a reasonably decent institution of higher learning. Trouble with those nightmares is they keep me awake, so they aren’t really nightmares I guess.

Speaking of dreams, the last one I recall vividly happened many, many years ago. It was a couple of years after my father died in 1984, shortly before his 60th birthday. One night I dreamt I was on the beach (I had been living a couple of blocks from the ocean in Playa del Rey, CA for some time) and I ran into him. Now my father and I did not get along all that well for most of my adolescence and a substantial portion of my adulthood. However, we had begun to get to know each other better and were growing quite close when he died. Though I missed him terribly, I was happy we had left none of the really difficult issues unresolved before he was gone.

In my dream, I approached him and asked (somewhat incongruously), “Where have you been?” to which he responded . . . actually, I don’t recall what he said. What I do recall is the dream seemed to last an entire day, during which time I was able to share with him how my life was going and enjoy what was a real deep sense of peace and contentment. We joked, relived some old times, and generally just basked in each others’ glow.

I haven’t dreamed about him since, though I do miss him sometimes. I think the quality of that dream allowed me to move on a little more comfortably with my life. I know it left me with a sense of accomplishment that I still feel the residue of, nearly a quarter century later.

So here’s some unsolicited advice. If you have a parent you are a bit estranged from, make an effort to resolve whatever issues remain. Don’t take a chance of having nightmares after they’ve gone and you no longer have the chance to bury the hatchet. That is all.


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