Preventing Post-Lunch PowerPoint Paralysis

You’ve had a reasonably good lunch, as meeting lunches go, and now the afternoon is here and it’s time for the first meeting. Uh oh! There’s a PowerPoint! And it’s going to be addressing a topic that isn’t intrinsically thrilling, if you know what I mean.

Already, you can feel your eyelids growing heavy. What to do to prevent a trip to the Land of Nod during the next 60 minutes — which right about now seems like an impossibly long time to hold on? How to avoid the humiliation of a telltale head jerk and doze-off snort? Pinch yourself repeatedly? Stab your hand with a pen?

Any activity seems to help — even taking constant sips from a bottle of water. And when you reach the end of the bottle, on top of what you quaffed at lunch, you may find that other concerns have outstripped the fear of falling asleep. You’ll fidget, to be sure, but at least your head won’t hit the table.


Beachless Winter

Over the past few years, we’ve gotten into the habit of trying to put a little beach into our Midwestern winters.  At least once during the cold months, we’ve gone somewhere that allows us to puts toes in the sand, drink a pina colada or two, listen to some steel drum music, and mostly revel in baking heat and glorious sunshine.

hammock between palm trees on untouched beach in the CaribbeanAnd we’ve done a good job of picking the weeks we’ve gone, too.  One year we missed a crushing ice storm that knocked out power to many homes and left people scrambling for alternative lodging in local hotels until power could be restored.  Another year we missed a freakish spate of ultra cold weather.  In both cases, when we returned from our trips, happy and rested and relaxed, and learned about the crappy weather we’d missed, we felt especially grateful for our beach sojourns and shared a secret smile about it even as we listened sympathetically to our neighbors and friends telling us how bad things had been.

This year, though, we decided not to go with the beach trip.  That was a mistake.   A terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad mistake.

As a result, we’ve been exposed to unrelenting months of cold, bleak weather in every form the creative Mother Nature can devise — snow, frigid temperatures for weeks at a time, freezing rain, and blustery, driving showers with temperatures in the 40s.  The last bit of weather might be the worst of all, leaving you feeling raw and red-faced.  Who really likes windy, rainy days in the 40s?  And, because it’s the Midwest, almost all of these forms of weather were delivered with the accompaniment of gray, overcast skies that feel like a funeral shroud has been tossed over the world.

With each passing year, having even brief exposure to bright sunshine, blue skies, and blue water seems more and more important, just to break up the winter months into two manageable chunks and give us some warm weather to eagerly anticipate.  It’s nice to know that we’re now in March, and the nice spring weather is just around the corner, but Kish and I have vowed that we’ve learned our lesson:  next winter, we’re going to hit the beach again.  No excuses.