Friday, January 31, 2014

PHL Master Categories

When Cindy and I first sat down to talk about Project Happy Life, we established a couple of things.  One, Cindy would be the scribe.  I make my living as a stage manager, so I don't want to take notes any more than I have to.  Besides, Cindy is a fountain of enthusiasm and took to the task willingly.

From Cindy's first page of notes
Second, we figured out three main areas of our lives (as a couple and as individuals) that we wanted to focus on.  They are:

Health and Wellbeing (including nutrition, exercise, appearance and wardrobe, education, and edification)

Profession/Careers (including our current day jobs - mine in theatre and Cindy's as a tour guide, as well as other possibilities for work - acting, woodworking, design, environmental stuff, writing, teaching, and possibly coloring (more on that last one some other time)).

Home/Life (including the basement workshop, our plants (inside and out), our cats (Melvin and Jane), the upstairs rental, restoring/updating our house, home decoration/use-of-space, landscaping (front yard, back yard, the roof - more on that another time too), surfing, gardening/farming, cooking, playing games and sports, our spiritual practice, friends and family, movies and books, life long learning, finances, and travel)

Since that first meeting, we've been setting aside time and going through our sub categories as the mood strikes us.  We have meetings to talk about them or work sessions to address them.  And, I must say, it's been fantastic to have a little project to do together.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Well, after a few days of pondering (agonizing) over how I should go about the business of describing Cindy's and my Project Happy Life thing, I've decided to drop it.  I'll write about things as they come up, and you'll get the idea.  To that end, I'll tell you a little bit about what I'm currently working on.

First: Lanikai
My friend Kat has asked me to help design a stage for her children's elementary school in Hawaii.  Coincidentally, she lives just a hop and a skip from where Cindy's mother was living before she moved into a nursing home.  And when we're out there for a visit, we always stay with our friend, Annie, just a short walk away from where the school happens to be.  It's also a short walk away from Kailua and Lanikai beaches - a couple of the most beautiful beaches in the world, if you're into that sort of thing.  

I've been toiling away on a handful of design ideas for their stage for the past couple of months, and yesterday, they chose the winner.  I call it the 40' dais design.  I made the model in Sketchup and geo-located it on a google map.  I had fun googling and employing a method for calculating the heights of the buildings and the tree by measuring their shadows and the shadow of a (hopefully regulation height) tennis net pole from the same map image/day.

I like the idea that the kids can drape themselves on the steps surrounding the stage during recess and such.  It's going to be constructed around this gorgeous banyan tree that towers over the school yard.

Anyway, we're going to have to chose a spot to add an ADA compliant ramp up to the stage, and I've got to get started sorting out where the removable railings will go and what our options for lighting positions might be.  I've also been doing LOTS of thinking about how best to construct this thing.  I was advocating for cement, since that would be low maintenance and simple to build.  But the school seems confident that they can handle the upkeep of the stage if it is done in wood, and it will have a nicer, more organic feel.

This hippie is all for organic.

So, we'll see what we can do.  I'm thinking of concrete footings with an aluminum framed structure built off of that, and then the whole thing could be "skinned" with wood, making the structure easier to keep nice in the face of termites, sea air, rain, and the constant drumming of little feet.  Or maybe the parent/contractors will have a better idea.

For a little Summer dreaming in these swirling, polar vortex days, here's a picture from the beach in Lanikai.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Skinny

A few months ago, I was sitting in my office, and I thought, "If we don't get strategic about our lives, we're going to be stuck in the same positions doing the same things forever."  So, I called up my wife, Cindy, and told her about my vision.  I wanted to have a series of meetings and work sessions with her to discuss all the aspects of our lives as individuals and as a couple that we could think of, and I wanted to make specific plans for each of those areas.  At the very least, we would know what each other wants.  At best, we would achieve what we want.  And along the way, we would deepen our connection and give ourselves a new way to look at our lives.  We call it Project Happy Life.

This is the place for us to document our Project Happy Life work and discussions.  Next time, I'll start going into detail about what exactly Project Happy Life entails.

Until then, this is what Cindy looks like when she sleeps in: