2020-A Reflection

This year was one for the ages. It was a year of great stress but also opportunity. Yes we had/have a global pandemic that shut almost everything down for some time but one thing it taught me to do is adapt. I was able to be at home from work every day since March 12. I was able to make dinners and be home for every one. No travel meant I didn’t miss those moments like the microwave not working or the water heater not heating water (this morning). We rebuilt our deck! I learned having too much toilet paper is just as bad as not having enough!

I was at every scheduled baseball game I could physically make! I learned to change the oil on our cars. I learned I may not have all the answers but what I learned from my parents gives me a good sense of direction and that I know that I can do this. I learned you can’t always have it your way, but you should always listen and learn from others. I learned to adapt and be flexible.

I learned and am still working on treating myself to some away time is OK even if it is for a day or even a walk of a few moments.

I saw firsthand through my wife how teachers with no direction or tools came together for their students and work even harder than they already do to deliver school virtually. Thank you!

I saw pure joy and sorrow as birthday parades and the passing of friends loved ones happened all in the same week. I learned life is short. I was there for my Dad when he learned he had pancreatic cancer and also the weeks in the hospital to encourage him and be there when he needed me. I was there for my Mom when my Dad passed away two weeks ago today.

I saw compassion and care from every maintenance person, Therapist, CNA, RNA, Doctor, Surgeon at the hospitals and I realized how hard they all work with a smile on their face even if they we stressed and exhausted.I learned that all of use are in this together.

I leaned what I means to have great family, friends and coworkers as a support system. I learned to lean on others, be compassionate, be grateful, and say thank you. What I learned is to never take things for granted, take care of yourselves and others. Look at each day as a new opportunity and always say “I Love You” to loved ones.

2020 has not been a good year I many respects but if you look at it you will see some good, and you most certainly learned some things along the 365-1/4 days we revolved around the star we call the Sun. One thing is certain, hindsight is 2020.


If You Give a Boy a Baseball


This year, like many before it has been full of baseball. I am a father of two wonderfully talented boys who play baseball. I am also their coach, #2 fan right behind their mother who is their #1 fan.

Recently I have seen the below story going around social media in different forms that I think is based off the popular children’s books by Laura Numeroff. If you have not shared any of these books with your children, I strongly suggest you do! This story is about giving your boy (Girl/Child) a baseball and its impact on their lives. It is so true and touching that I had to share it.

If You Give a Boy a Baseball
-Author unknown

If you give a boy a baseball, he will want a bat to go with it.

You’ll buy the best bat you can find, and then he will probably want a bucket of balls and a glove and some cleats too.

When he realizes he can’t carry all these things with his own two hands, he will want a bat bag.

Then he will want to spend hours begging you to go out in the yard to play with him even though you just want to sit on the couch and watch TV. He will insist. And his insistence will win!

When you go out in the yard to hit, pitch, throw, and catch. He will not want to go back in the house for dinner and will swear that even at dusk there is enough light to continue playing!

Next the backyard will get too small and he will want to go the baseball field to see how far he can hit and throw. Finally he learns to catch and then he wants friends to play with.

When a boy gets a jersey, he will want pants and socks and a belt and a hat to go with it! And a TEAM!!!

Then life as you know it will end! 

There will be no more lazy weekends. You will see more sunrises than you ever thought possible! Every spare minute of your time will be spent hauling buckets, bags, stinky cleats, and crazy boys all over tarnation for practice and games. Your housewill be a mess, and your car will be dirty.

All because you gave a boy a baseball!

Your weekends will be spent freezing in the cold or burning in the hot summer sun in a lawn chair! His weekends will be spent gaining confidence and friends, learning new skills, and having fun getting dirty. So dirty you will learn a whole new way to do laundry! Like going to the car wash using a pressure washer!

You will be there the day he has his first strikeout, double play and hits his first home run! And he will make you so proud. The other parents will congratulate you. But you feel weird saying thank you because it’s not you at bat or on the mound. It’s all him . . . He did this.

His smile will grow bigger and bigger! And each year that he plays with that baseball, he will get better and better. And his love for the game, and confidence in himself will grow right along with his jersey size!

Right before your eyes, your little boy will be transformed from the baby who spun around with his head on the bat, (because he loves attention), into a pitcher. Because he still loves attention.

Then he might try to be a catcher, outfielder or infielder because baseball teaches him he can be anything he wants!

When you give a boy a baseball, you give him more than just a ball. You give him a sport, and a talent, and hope, and dreams, and friends, a new family, a place to learn about life, room to grow as a person where he can push his limits, and bravery, and courage and life, and memories. He will have all of these things, simply because you gave a boy a baseball.

Because you gave a boy a baseball, you too will develop new/lifelong friendships, developed solely from the same passion for the game and love of your team. You will cheer together, all because you gave a boy a baseball.

Then one day, many years from today . . . he will be in his room and a baseball will roll out from an old dusty bat bag underneath his bed. And he will pick it up and realize instantly that when you gave that boy a baseball, you also gave him a childhood that he would never forget! Then he will hug you, and your eyes may leak – because you realize that everything YOU gave up along the way . . . was worth it!

All because you gave a boy a baseball!

Alexa, Where Is Santa?


That’s right, NORAD and Amazon have teamed up to provide Alexa integration with the NORAD Santa Tracker. All you need to do is ask Alexa, “Where is Santa?” on your Amazon Echo Device(s) and it will request that you accept notifications in your Alexa app on your phone. Once done, you can ask Alexa where the jolly old elf is and it will give you the exact location and offer up some very interesting facts that kids and adults will like. Alexa will even sing you some Christmas songs.

Give it a try this Christmas Eve and enjoy!

Mailing a Lost Wallet-Did You Know?


Chalk this up to one of the many things I didn’t know (#BradDidntKnow), and I bet you didn’t either! Ever lose your wallet or find one laying out in a public place? Good news, people are more honest than you probably perceive as is evident in this scientific video from YouTube scientist Mark Rober where he dropped 200 wallets in various large and small cities throughout North America.

But . . .

Did you know if you find a wallet that you can drop a wallet in any United States postal box and they will deliver it to the stated address on the ID in the wallet? Now you do. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Stuck on “Mars”


patchIt seems fairly certain that if not in my lifetime, in my children’s lifetime there will be humans on Mars. NASA and the University of Hawai’i have teamed-up for the past several years and have sent small groups of people to a white dome on the top of a volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i to simulate living together in a small space for a long period of time. The program is called HI-SEAS (Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation). As of me writing this blog post, there have been six missions simulating the space simulation.

What sparked my interest in this project is a podcast documentary called “The Habitat” that just came out chronicling the one-year Mission IV of HI-SEAS which was completed in August of Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 4.05.26 PM2016. The podcast uses audio diaries sent to the team at Gimlet Media to tell the story of the six “astronauts” over seven episodes that are each around a half-hour in length. I highly recommend you listen to this if you are at all interested in human space exploration. Each episode chronicles a new aspect of the crew and may make you think how difficult it could be sending humans million’s of miles away to the red planet.

The podcast is available on iTunes and your other favorite podcasting apps. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Better yet, tell me if you would like to try this or would you ever consider going to Mars?


Unnoticed Design-Gas

Good design should be simple and intentional. Many times, however, it goes unnoticed. For example, the always there, but yet unseen gas gauge that is in every car and truck made today. Look closer though, I am talking about the icon for the gauge.
If I were to show almost anyone other than a young child where that icon is from, they would most likely say it is from a car of some type.

Fuel gauge

Now here is a question. Which side of the car is a Volkswagon Passat’ gas cap to fill up the car? Left or right? Have you ever driven someone else’s car or a rental and you drive up to the filling station and you realize you are on the wrong side? Why do I ask? Well like I said above, sometimes good design goes unnoticed. Get into your car and look closer at the gas symbol, notice anything else? An arrow? Yes, the often unnoticed arrow that is intentionally there to do one thing—tell you which side of the car your gas cap is on.

Simple, intentional and often unnoticed.

And now you know!




Taking pictures at the zoo is a great exercise. With hundreds or even thousands of animals, there are always moments to be captured.

Yesterday was a beautiful March day, so we as a family ventured to the Milwaukee County Zoo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As we always do, we visited the Ape exhibit where they have several lowland gorillas on display.

Today was a special day as I caught a special moment with Baby Zahra sleeping on her mom, Naku. Six-month-old Zahra (Swahili for Blossom) was born September 9, 2017.

See my other zoo post from 2012 titled “Mandrill”, also from the ape exhibit.

Ice Planet


Muskego Lake, Muskego, WI in Winter

Muskego Lake, Muskego, WI | February 22, 2018

The world looks so different from up in the air. This was taken during my arrival into Milwaukee, WI. This is a Muskego Lake in Muskego, WI. I love the textures on the ice—it looks as though it is of another world.

Four Trends Impacting Employee Benefits in Canada

Note: This is my first blog post (below) for the company that I work for: International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. The post is about four trends that are changing pensions and benefits in Canada, but in general, these topics are also something the U.S. and other countries are seeing and dealing with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Cannabis, pharmacogenetics, blockchain, artificial intelligence . . . here’s a look at trends that might impact employee benefits in Canada.

Source: Four Trends Impacting Employee Benefits in Canada

A Renewed Intention


Brad Bauter at the HRPA conference in Toronto, Ontario

In 2006 I started my blog so I could share with the world things I thought were fun, unique and interesting . . . to me. Then came a child, and my job, and then another child and then, well you get where I am going with this right? Well, I am letting you know that I am back! I hope, I think. I have been traveling a lot lately and with that comes some time for just myself and 140+ passengers in an aluminum tube hurling across the sky to reflect, discover and share things I see, learn and do.

With that said, I am also starting to blog at work, until they flat out tell me that I should just stop. It has made me think of blogging personally again. Is blogging still a term kids use these days? What you will see in coming posts are my personal thoughts, triumphs, challenges along the road of life, oh, and work reposts which I assure you have some interesting content.

I promise I haven’t changed much since 2006 other than hair color (colour if from Canada and the UK) and 20+ pounds—more about that later. So, I invite you to join me on this renewed intention to share with you things that interest me, after all, this is my blog err, posts, um, thingy. Doh!