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  • As a writer, I find that I am never at a loss for words. What I struggle with is the deciding – which of the many thoughts bouncing about in my brain shall I choose to write about this day, this moment? I find that there is only one way to figure this out – start writing.

    If I try to think about what I’m going to write, try to formulate it in my brain before I engage my fingers on the keypad and see the words begin to appear on my laptop screen, once I decide what I will write about, and begin to type, I am never happy with the result, and it often strikes me as contrived and unauthentic. These writings never make it beyond my “unfinished drafts” folder. They go in there, and never make it back out. They just don’t feel right.

    There’s only one way for me. Sit down, and start writing. Follow the thread that always appears when I do this. Write my way out of the labyrinth that the thread leads me into. So, this is what I do.
  • I have had an interesting couple weeks back from vacation. What I have discovered at work is what I was missing there for about the past 6 months – a sense of humor. It has been what might otherwise have been a dreadful two weeks back. First, we had the Navy Yard shooting, day one back on the job. Luckily, I worked from home that day, but it had an impact on folks nonetheless, and the impact could be felt all over town. Then, on my third day back, Wednesday of last week, both of my bosses were out of the office, so I was acting for them. That was the day we had to start our Government Shutdown Furlough planning for our agency of 9400 some employees. About 1000 of them, including most of the folks in headquarters, will be sent home on furloughs beginning Tuesday if Congress once again fails to do its job.

    That’s a lot of planning. That has been my life for the past 10 days, living, eating and breathing government shutdown planning. I’ve had to deal with officials at all levels of government, under impossibly tight deadlines. Sounds like a headache, right? But, I’ve been having fun with it. Haven’t taken any of it too seriously. Haven’t taken myself too seriously.

    Life’s too short to take any of this crap too seriously. I have been laughing and dancing and singing my way through this labyrinth of chaos that is life in D.C. in 2013. Last week, I faced the possibility that I may never play softball again. Sunday night, I was back out there, rusty but happy to be playing. Thursday night, I played the crap out of two games. I mean, I was on it. Back down at the Hot Corner, the “scene of the crime” so to speak (where I took a line shot off the ankle a month ago that almost shut my career down), ready to rumble. In the second inning, a very large batter smashed a scorching line drive right at me, and I had my glove up and snagged that bad boy, immediately throwing the ball across the diamond hard, and with an attitude, trying to nail the runner who’d strayed off the first base bag. I hit the ball all over the field, all night long, and had a guy from a serious senior league team that travels to tournaments all over the country ( they were going to play in Las Vegas this weekend) try to recruit me for his team – actually, a team I had played for 8 years ago when I was first eligible to play Senior League ball (you have to be 50 or older).
  • “Why don’t you play in the Senior League, Pete? You’re much better than most of the guys on our team.” I’m having too damn much fun playing with these younger guys. I like to play on a team with 20-, 30-, and 40-somethings, and have the manager bat me in the third spot in the lineup, because I’m one of the better hitters, and have him play me at third base, because I have great reflexes there, and can make the difficult throw across the diamond in a hurry to nail the runners at first. I love it. I’m not ready for the Senior Circuit, just yet. Talk to me when I’m 60 – no, make that 65. Maybe then. For now, I might be nearly 59 years old, but I’m playing with the damn kids, as long as I can. Vegas will have to wait!
  • Yesterday had a touch of sadness, and a few tears. A fellow I spent four years working closely with on the Public Employees Roundtable Board – he was the Vice President and I was the executive secretary of the Board – died. I hadn’t even known he was ill. I’d last spoken to him about six months ago. He was someone I learned a great deal from – a lawyer who spent his time and energy using his talents and skills to help others, especially public employees (who don’t have many friends in these parts these days). Bill was a staunch supporter, and did a ton of volunteer work on many different fronts. A true gentleman, a passionate man, and a good friend. He was too young, only seven years my senior. I will never get used to losing friends.

    I have no idea what next week will bring – if there’s a furlough, I’ll at least know that I did a knock-out job of planning for my agency’s shutdown, and everyone will have what they need to handle that, largely because of my efforts. If there is no furlough, no problem. Either way, I plan to dance, sing, and laugh my way through, whatever it is, and maybe shed the occasional tear for things, and people, that get lost in the shuffle.

    In between now and then, we have a great weekend planned with our old friend, Deb. She just texted me that she’s on the train, on her way down, and we have the Pete and Kathy Grand Nickel Driving Tour of the DC monuments and memorials planned for the afternoon. Other than that, there is only one thing certain about this day, and this weekend…stories will be told!
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