As many of us prepare to emerge from our lengthy isolation, so are the 17-year cicadas

“Tibicen tibicen, Cicada, face, md, upper marlboro, pg county_2014–09–02–11.56.49 ZS PMax” by Sam Droege is marked with CC PDM 1.0

It’s not as horrifying as it sounds. It’s not like World War Z, an apocalyptic horror fiction depicting a great zombie war by the author Max Brooks. The only characteristic these creatures share with zombies is they crawl out from the underground after years of waiting for their time to rise.

Brood X, in this case, represents the Roman numeral for 10 in this designation for what will soon be the emergence from the earth, trillions of these ugly, deafening insects across at least fifteen U.S. states. …

Empowering women, gender equality, and working to make a better future for all of us

“Melinda Gates speaking at DFID” by DFID — UK Department for International Development is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When I woke the other day, engaging in my morning doom-scroll routine, I saw the headline – Bill Gates and Melinda Divorcing After 27 Years. My first thought was, so what. It’s just more celebrity gossip. Why do we care that a billionaire couple is splitting up? I’m pretty sure she’ll be okay once the dust settles.

My next thought: Who the hell is Melinda Gates anyway? Then while reading The Daily Skimm on my commute to work, I see the newsletter included a brief feature on her career and contributions. A quick skim provided enough of a glimpse into…

What two talents, if you apply the regular practice, you know in your heart, you’d be great?

Photo by Mohammed Kuraish on Unsplash

One of these talents could be your life’s purpose.

Positive affirmation at a young age is a huge clue in identifying your natural skillsets. I was careful not to say your passion. Because you can have a natural aptitude or ability in certain areas, yet not be compelled to make it your life’s ambition.

Swimming for purpose

I’m a strong swimmer. I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t. Swimming to me came naturally. I never took lessons. I grew up with neighborhood pools; both private and public opportunities were plentiful. The ability came naturally; it’s difficult for me to comprehend how people…

It’s a simple strategy that kids use all the time to get what they want

Photo by Christopher Carson on Unsplash

They asked for a pig. What they really wanted was a snake…

Negotiate and Compromise Like a Kid

At one time, we had almost a dozen snakes in our house. We had corn snakes, several ball pythons, and a hognose, which I later found out was illegal in Illinois without proper certification.

My wife nor I was thrilled with the idea, but yet it happened. We approved it. It didn’t take me too long after the first snake came into our house that I realized we were outmaneuvered by a fourteen-year-old. …

Simplicity and focusing on what really matters is the key to develop a winning organization

“Management of Complexity” by michael.heiss is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

We purchased an elliptical exercise machine about 4 years ago. It wasn’t even for me. This was for my daughter, who used it regularly for a time, and then the workout sessions became increasingly infrequent. In time, she all but abandoned it.

Enter a global pandemic that forced us all indoors. I was determined to maintain my weight and wanted an option to meet my fitness goals when I couldn’t get outside. I decided it was time to dust off that elliptical, lubricate its pedal rails, and put us both to work.

The use of podcasts and audiobooks helped to…

It’s all those signs of return and renewal that awakens our souls and gladdens our hearts

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Walking in the woods today, it felt like spring wanted to explode from the earth and the sky.

This is near literal terms as I see green shoots beginning to emerge through the dead, brown underbrush. It was only a few days ago when deep blankets of snow pressed relentlessly upon these places.

As I walk, navigating through wetland areas, some are natural ponds, others are temporary holding basins where the melting snow collects into shallow pools. One is attractive enough for a couple of mallard pairs to potch around in. …

Those occasions where we find ourselves within a split second of being a statistic

Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

Ding ding ding…

It’s the familiar sound of the railroad crossing bells. The house where I lived at that time was just a stone’s throw from the tracks. We were about 15-minutes from downtown Chicago, so there was never-ending railway traffic. Freight trains at night, commuter Metra trains regularly passed during the rush-hours and semi-regularly from before daybreak until just after midnight. An Amtrak passenger train would speed past that Irving Park station in a silver-blue blur of entitlement now and then. They carried real travelers. The other trains hauled freight cargo, livestock, and weary working-class.

Ding ding ding…



It’s one way to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Ox

“Oxtails for soup” by mmmyoso is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When I was a kid, it was pretty common to have oxtail soup or oxtail stew on the weekend. Some people enjoy their oxtails braised. It was once a cheap, depression-era food. American butchers were quick to toss the beef tails out. People desperate for meat made it work by cooking the cuts for lengthy periods of time. Hence the weekend preparation of the meal.

The bones make for a very hearty, protein-rich broth. In the past several years, oxtail has become something of a trend. You'll see it more often in upscale restaurants. …

It’s easier to pick up the reading pace than you think

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

“The road to knowledge begins with the turn of a page.”
Abby Marks Beale, 10 Days to Faster Reading

I was shocked to read that prolific writer and author Ryan Holiday is a slow reader. At least, it’s what he says in a recent article. He declares one of his goals for this year is to read one-hundred books.

People assume that Holiday is a speed reader based on the vast number of book recommendations he lists in his newsletter. Not only does he claim to be a slow reader, but he purposefully reads at a slower pace. …

Our relationship with food is always going to be a war, but winning some strategic battles can make a difference in the end

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

It took me some time to forgive myself, or I should say forgive my behavior. Isn’t that today’s new practice? Self-forgiveness, being gentle with ourselves? Oh, and that other one—exercising regular gratitude.

Well, I sure was grateful for that chocolate-covered donut I devoured last night. At least I felt gratitude for about thirty seconds before that feeling turned instantly to one of abject shame.

And it’s always the same pattern. Justification. Momentary satisfaction. Shame. The thing is, I otherwise keep a pretty healthy lifestyle. I’m not what you would consider overweight. And I’m generally very disciplined when it comes to…

Jim Farina

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