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Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.

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By Nick Bridwell

For those of you who were visiting another planet in the late 90s, Pokemon are Japanese “pocket monsters”; amalgamations of different creatures both fantastical and historical. The original video games spawned a TV show, multiple movies, action figures, beach towels, toilet plungers and toothbrushes. This month, Nintendo (the geniuses behind Mario Brothers) released Pokemon Go, a brand new game for mobile phones. And the world will never be the same.

The game uses GPS and your phone’s camera to send you on quests around your neighborhood–yes the real world!– to find the 151 original Pokemon and capture them in your phone. After playing the game for two weeks, I am now determined that Nintendo wants to get me fired. So, Here are 3 Tips to Surviving the Workweek While Playing Pokemon Go.

  1. Charge

I went out for coffee earlier in the week so that I could clear my head in a clean workspace. That’s an outright fib. I went so I could catch Pikachu at the bookstore down the street. Anyway, I caught the little bugger. Even if it did take 45 minutes to find him in the shopping center.  But, when it came time for me to dial in to a conference call, my phone was dead as a doornail. If you’re keeping score, that’s: 1 Pikachu Caught; 1 Conference Call Missed. Don’t forget to bring a charger if you wanna catch ‘em all, because Pokemon Go is a battery zapper.

  1. Think Before You Snap

Posting snapshots of your newest Pokemon is fun. I’ve captured a Pincer, Drowzee, and Pidgeot in the nearby park, a Hydra in the pool, and a Bulbasaur near our favorite downtown pub. All of those catches went quite swimmingly. Awesome! You know what’s not awesome? Tracking a Squirtle to a grocery store parking lot and having to awkwardly explaining that you’re taking pictures of small anthropomorphic sea turtle and not taking pictures of a middle-aged stay-at-home-dad while he’s putting his groceries away. Awkward Squirtle. Do yourself a favor and take a look around before you start your new photographic essay on your favorite Pokemon.

  1. Be Evolved

Pokemon Go is an innovative concept. It’s a video game that gets people out into the community. That being said, the environment hasn’t evolved quite at the same pace of video games. In the old school Pokemon games, you would walk to a river’s edge and have to select “Swim” in order to actually go swimming. This is the real world, yo! Look up from your screen or you might literally end up: a.) Backstroking with Blastoise b.) Roadkill with Rattata or, c.) Walking into Walls for a Weedle. Look before you leap!

I’ve got a hot lead on a Charmander, so I’m outta here.

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Posted by & filed under NDYS.

In this thirty-fourth episode of the Not Dead Yet Show:

We are amazed and better people with greater vision because of our visit to Chick-fil-A headquarters to give the Monday morning devotions.

 

 

Come see the rest of the Not Dead Yet Series

Subscribe to the Not Dead Yet Show newsletter right now or else be prepared to face the consequences of missing the greatest show ever produced about the Munsons living in tents.
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Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.

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by Caroline Bengali (Customer Service)

I went to the mall this past weekend, for the first time in years.  I went because I had to, the mall is not my favorite shopping stomping ground.

There were so many people walking around, and now with Pokemon Go, everyone is bumping into each other even more :).  I decided since I had to be here, may as well try and not hate it.

I got a honeydew Bubble tea, (if you’ve never had one, you’re either going to love it or be completely freaked out by the tapioca balls) and sat on an empty bench to wait for my husband.

I feel this push from the side and think it’s just Richard being funny, then I realize some guy is running down the mall with my purse!  I yell for him to stop then realize why would he so I yell for someone to stop him.  I have on my Nike’s and the sugar from the Bubble tea has kicked in.  So, I run after him.  If he has a gun I will deal with that scenario later, or maybe just not get too close.  Now I know this is not a great idea and that somewhere there is a security guard or 2 but at the moment I can’t seem to find any.  Following this guy, who is now walking quickly because I’ve stopped yelling, is my best option, I can point and nod once I find a security guard. The mission is to not lose him.

My phone beeps and it’s a text from Richard asking where I am, I text him back fully hoping auto correct will not fail me because I cannot walk, stalk, spy and text at the same time.

I still have the guy in my line of sight.  Why isn’t he going to an exit? He is literally stopping to look in the Hallmark store.  Why? Is he planning on sending me a ‘sorry I stole your purse’ card? He totally could since he has my wallet and my address.  Ugh.

I decide it’s now or never.  I see a security guard and make the hand gestures to indicate that that man took my purse.  He raises his shoulders.  I try again, he gets it, I think.  But purse robber man sees him and takes off, my gazelle like instincts and my turtle like legs make me spring into another run to get my purse.  I know he is now going to leave the mall.  Behind me I see the security guard talking into his radio but he’s not running!  I end up running into the back of purse snatcher man and knock both of us down on the ground.  He starts yelling that what am I doing and crazy lady (he used another word that rhymes with itch) and he’s trying to crawl away but I manage to pull his leg…. Like I’m pulling yours.  :)

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Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.

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by Nick Bridwell

 

Ask most professionals to make a list of the most important factors in their productive day and right at the top, you’ll find: “A Comfortable Workspace”.

The human mind can be annoyingly hierarchal. Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs  and that fun pyramid graphic (fig 1) that basically tells you that you are unlikely to achieve actualization if you don’t have food or a roof over your head. That concept totally applies to a productive work day.

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If you sit down at your desk to work on a project and find your beautiful mesquite desktop is covered in layers of paper, three grueling days worth of empty coffee mugs, a novelty day calendar showing a date from three weeks ago, and a sympathy card from when you lost your dog three months ago, you are unlikely to start your mission with a clear head. You won’t be able to actualize your work, because the roof overhead is crumbling!

Looking for an easy solution?

In the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,  author Marie Kondo makes two points that really stand out. I know this, because my wife has been chasing me around the house saying, “Remember what Marie said about…”

1. Only keep what brings you joy.

So, that sympathy card for when you lost dear old Uggy the Pug? That’s only reminding you of a painful moment. Trash it. Oh, and last year’s Pictures of Paris, France calendar was awesome and you loved it. This year, your sister decided to get you Pictures of Paris Hilton and it’s just not that funny. Trash it, too!

2.Have a Place for Everything

This one makes so much sense that it’s hard to understand why it never clicked. It’s so much easier to pick up after yourself if you know where everything is goes.

Make sure you have places to stash your day-to-day folders and documents. That probably means clearing out a drawer or two. Oh, and clean off a shelf for those mugs, too!

Now, your work space is clean and the first thing you think of when you sit down is “What awesome work can I do today?”

Organization is pretty easy as long as you don’t mind getting rid of stuff you don’t like in the first place and finding a spot or two for the stuff you do.

Nick Bridwell is the author of the novel The Ties That Bind and a frequent contributor to the Saddleback Blog and Plano Magazine.

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Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.

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By Erin Murphy (Customer Service)

 

I’ve always been a girl without a home. Not homeless at all now, I’ve always had a place to live. I just always wanted to leave. Denver native but couldn’t wait to leave the mountains. New Mexico, just there for college, thank you. I would’ve stayed in London forever, but maxed-out credit cards and no work visa tend to put a stop to living abroad.

After wandering around the country, I ended up in a small town in New Hampshire. Yeah, that state that most of us can’t find on a map. I was blown away with the massive amount of green! We don’t see that much vegetation in Colorado, and I was amazed. Trees everywhere. Hiker’s paradise.

And then comes the winter…aka Arctic Tundra!

I’ve never been a snow lover. The cold always bothered me anyway, sorry Elsa. Suddenly I was trapped in a place where the air quite literally hurts your face. You have to dig your car out of it’s nighttime igloo at five in the morning because you still have to get to work on time. The neighbors start resembling penguins and polar bears.

A year ago, we moved to the last place I ever expected to call home: Amarillo. My first step in this city resulted in a friendly remark in a buffet line. “Hey, don’t I know you?” Uh, no, I literally just got here.

The restaurant flat out exploded.

“Welcome to Texas!” “Where you from honey?” “You know, we get snow here too!” And the constant, hesitating inquiry, “Do y’all like it here?”

At 100 degrees and up this summer, I’m finally warm. The community acceptance I waited seven years for in New Hampshire took seven seconds. The accent is easier to understand. (Fun fact: the word “lar” is spelled l-a-w in Massachusetts, l-i-a-r in Texas. True story.)

My house costs about half what it would in any of my other home states. I’ve got small-town friendliness in a town with four Starbucks instead of 800 Dunkin Donuts. (I prefer a triple grande carmel macch to a large extra-extra.) And the air doesn’t hurt my face.

I’m happy to trade my ayuh’s for y’alls, and I’m fixin’ ta set a spell in the best state I’ve seen. Yes, friendly lady at Cici’s, I like it here. To paraphrase Kermit the frog, “This girl’s stayin’!”

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Posted by & filed under NDYS.

In this thirty-third episode of the Not Dead Yet Show:

In Mexico we got to hear the results of the English classes we’re offering employees and Suzette got really excited about some hair on suitcase designs.

 

 

 

Come see the rest of the Not Dead Yet Series

Subscribe to the Not Dead Yet Show newsletter right now or else be prepared to face the consequences of missing the greatest show ever produced about the Munsons living in tents.
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Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.

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By Nick Bridwell

 

I strive to live a well-rounded life. That means my nightstand book queue currently features:  Ecstatic Cahoots, a short story collection by modern master Stuart Dybek, The Heart of the Matter, a novel by Graham Greene, the collected works of Lord Byron, and Vincent by Barbara Stok, a graphic novel interpretation of the life of Vincent Van Gogh. I’ll finish all of these books this summer. I probably won’t remember much of anything. I can only fit so much in my brain!

 

The go-to solution here might find you searching for some sort of modern day app to gather your internet observations. Well, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t the future that’s got you covered. It’s the past! Reintroducing: The Commonplace Book.

 

The Commonplace book was first introduced in Italy and became popular in England and France in the 1700s. Since then, famous artists and philosophers such as John Locke, John Milton, Emerson, Thoreau, E. H. Forster, and W.H. Auden have all relied on (and some, like these men, even published) Commonplace Books. Think of a Commonplace Book like a real life, physical favorite’s list.

 

Unlike a journal which contains one’s own thoughts and observations in a linear fashion, a Commonplace Book is a collection of articles, quotes, poems, phrases, lyrics, and more, that have impacted you in your everyday life. Your Commonplace Book can be used for both study and sentimental recollection.

 

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While you are unlikely to recall in conversation a paragraph from The Sun Also Rises after your first reading, copy it down under a category in your Commonplace Book and come back to it a few times. Trust me, it will stick. You’ll have no problem referencing Commonplace material for discussion with friends, family, and coworkers. And what’s even better is that you can write down an article’s personal meaning and come back to exploring that thought process again and again. This allows for a deeper understanding of the articles that speak to you.

 

On the topic of categories: It is important that your Commonplace Book fits your particular needs. Mine contains different areas for “Literary Quotes & Passages”, “Poems & Lyrics”, “Philosophical Potpourri”, “On Art and the Artist”, “On Love”, “On Friendship”, and “On Religion”, for instance. Whatever your categories, the impact is that in the end you have a place you can come back to. I’ll finish reading my summer list and replace those books on my nightstand. I will probably forget much of the content of the books, but lucky for me I can open up my Commonplace Book and have a reminder of the important parts that really stand out.

 

At Saddleback Leather, we create pieces that can be passed down from generation to generation. Nothing is cooler than the thought of my future children and grandchildren thumbing through my Commonplace Book to figure out just what makes me tick. If a human being is a collection of experience and memories, a Commonplace Book is the table of contents to the soul.

 

Good luck creating your own Commonplace Book. Shoot some pics over and let us know how it turns out.

 

Nick Bridwell is the author of the novel The Ties That Bind (link: https://amzn.com/B00O1CCC90) and a regular contributor to the Saddleback Blog and Plano Magazine.

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Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.

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by Caroline Bengali

 

I was watching a movie on my computer last night, my husband was doing dishes, I wasn’t feeling well. For some reason, I looked up and started watching him. Methodically, washing, rinsing, loading the dishes; with precision and total focus.

 

My eyes tear up and like a giant wrecking ball slamming into my heart, it hits me once again  what this man, that I do all of life’s huge and mundane things with, has been through.  He’s not just the funny dude in front of me in his comfortable jeans and his ‘Pollo Hermanos’ t-shirt, using sos pads, he’s a United States Marine that served in Desert Storm and the US invasion of Panama.

 

For two years he flew and jumped out of planes, helicopters, and led patrols into the heart of the conflicts.  He did many reconnaissance dives some in the middle of the night into the middle of nowhere. When the mission called for a convoy, he was always the driver.  This, he said, gave him some small sense of control in this chaotic existence.  He couldn’t control the bombs and bullets aimed at them but he could control the steering wheel.

 

He watched many friends die during the war. He has avoided death himself countless times.

He’s told me these stories throughout the years, sometimes I prod him, others he will just stare off and start talking.  Each time I sit there mummy like, unable to move, and I think what a great storyteller he is, only these aren’t fables, they are his ‘live throughs’ as I call them, because he didn’t die.

 

Not sure how he can just be here washing dishes, smiling telling something about work, me not really listening because I’m just staring, trying to figure out how he does this after he’s done ‘that’. So I blurt out ‘How do you do it?’ ‘Easy he says, you rinse…’ ‘No! I say teary eyed.’ (Now here is the perfect example of why men sometimes look at women like ‘wait, what?’)

He tells me that he has compartments in his brain.  Some big, some small.  They hold instances, memories, things he wants to remember and forget.  He has the key to these compartments and can open them at will, most of them, most of the time.  This is how he stays sane.  He knows ‘It’ is still there, but he has trained himself to be the keeper.  Doesn’t always work and I can only imagine the enormous amount of discipline, restraint and energy this feat requires.

 

I know many that have not been able to have a normal life after experiencing war.  

So for me, watching him put in the Cascade, still laughing about how he won the hot sauce eating contest at work, (true story), is a very meaningful memory.

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Posted by & filed under The Voice of Saddleback Employees.

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By Nick Bridwell, American Writer

USA! USA! Happy Independence Day, Saddlebackers! Today, we’re rolling out our brand new Saddleback Leather US Constitution Booklet! This bad boy is Made in the USA and it is perfect for a little bit of patriotism in your pocket. To celebrate, here are 5 Fun Presidential Facts:

 

 

1. “Four Score and Seven Beers Ago…”

The President of the United States if a pretty serious gig, so it’s nice to know our former leaders could cut loose once in awhile. Washington owned a whiskey distillery and Jefferson brewed his own beer. But, Abraham Lincoln is the only US President to have owned a License to Bartend. Before he won the Presidency, Lincoln co-owned a tavern in New Salem, Illinois called Berry and Lincoln. The liquor business was a bit seedy, so he searched for a more pure-as-the-driven-snow occupation and chose politics. More on this here.

 

 

2. Patriots to the End (and the Beginning)

Three of our US Presidents were such awesome patriots that they actually waited to die until the 4th of July. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died within two hours of one another on July 4th, 1826. That’s 50 years, to the day, after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. President James Monroe died a few years later in 1831. Only one president was actually BORN on the 4th of July. That honor goes to Calvin Coolidge, who was born on July 4th, 1872 in Plymouth, Vermont. Talk about an eagle of an omen!

 

 

3. Two Turkey Days?

Picture this: It’s Independence Day t-shirt shopping time and you find aisle after aisle of red, white, and blue turkey tees. Here’s one featuring the turkey with Old Glory wrapped around his shoulder like a cape. There’s one with the a goofy turkey perched upon lap of Lincoln like a housecat. Sounds pretty far-off, right? If Ben Franklin had won the debate over our nation’s symbol, the eagle would have gone the way of the dodo and we’d all be basking in the glory of the turkey. Ben said, “For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. He is besides, tho’ a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.” Read more about that here.

 

 

4. Patriot by Design

Andrew Johnson, who ascended from VP to President when Lincoln was assassinated, was a man of sartorial substance. For most of his life, and even through his presidency, he insisted on designing and constructing his own suits. This makes Andrew Johnson the only known tailor to hold the office and the closest thing the US Presidency has had to our own Dave Munson.

 

 

5. Just a Big Old Teddy Bear

Ever wonder why we call stuffed bears “Teddy Bears”? In 1902, President Teddy Roosevelt went on a Mississippi hunting trip with Governor Andrew H. Longino. The group hunted for three days without a single kill. On the 4th day, the hunting guide’s dogs cornered a very old black bear and attacked. The guide tied the bear to a tree and Longino invited the President to take the kill shot. Roosevelt refused, however, because the bound bear was not an honorable kill. He did allow the guide to put the bear down as the hounds had injured him. Word got back to the press about the President’s mercy and pretty soon stuffed Teddy Bears started flying off the shelves. Check out more about that story here.

 

 

That’s it for now! Have a safe Independence Day. Be happy that you get to rock a bald eagle on that t-shirt your wife is making you wear for the family photo… instead of a fat turkey.

 

Nick Bridwell is the author of the novel The Ties That Bind and a regular contributor to the Saddleback Blog and Plano Magazine.

 

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