Missing a Third Place

I am reminded perhaps by time and depravity, that I am missing a third place. We used to walk to our third place, aptly named Third Place Books and in the basement, the Pub at Third Place. Imagine that, an after dinner stroll, to book browse or for a beer. If ever you find yourself in the Ravenna neighborhood in NE Seattle, drop in and stay a spell.



Pajamagram: a Work-Life Balance reader for the resocialization of working dads

UPDATE: Telecommuting can improve employee performance: study

“It could be there’s higher wellbeing, there could be creativity benefits too” …and “working parents have lower stress levels when they have the option to work remotely…”

Creativity benefits!? Lower stress levels!?  That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!


My Work-Life Balance reader is for the resocialization of working dads. Specifically, the absentee parent of the 2-career household, enabled by their working spouse since what, grad school? This subset of working dads among the 40 million of us GenXers that have been oblivious, aloof or adrift until this collective catharsis, among the 80 million Boomers on the one hand and another 80 million Echo Boomers on the other, and who I hope are in the middle of an ugly divorce from social media, re-engaging their families, the Children, and their communities in meaningful ways, and adjusting their perspective and priorities toward a work-life balance strategy for their own personal health and emotional well-being not to mention their marriage and, for dramatic effect and a little self-aggrandizement, to contribute you know, live and in-person to the health and well-being of society as a whole.

Follow me. It’s 2012 and the Atlantic article doing the rounds while we were living in Seattle was what got us all to scratch our heads, lift our nose off the grindstone and look up, from our open-office workstations…Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.

The follow-up article to Slaughter’s, also in the Atlantic…Home Economics: The Link Between Work-Life Balance and Income Equality was by Stephen Marche. I regret not discovering his earlier article until now, Is Facebook Making Us Lonely,  because I would be 2 years not just 2 months cold turkey-divorced from Facebook already. But I digress, only because a discussion about balance is lopsided without consideration in the current and pervasive social media context. And one more social media fallout piece for context…Twitter is Destroying Your Marriage, You Self-Absorbed Jerk.

Specific to the architecture profession, there is this podcast, starting @ 19 mins., that put into words how getting the best out of each employee requires an employee retention policy, actual performance reviews, goal setting, wait for it…caring, an accountability culture, purpose, ownership and a sense of being part of the whole. I offer this podcast to establish a baseline workplace culture for this work-life balance rant, anything less confuses balance with flight. Because I would hate that us working dads would stoop to hiding behind our children to get the heck out of a dead end, demoralizing and chronically anemic office environment. In the event this describes your workplace, it might be time to challenge the culture of fear and intimidation, the butt-in-chair, co-located and at-your-disposal business model is old school. And without a job description, work is: do as much as you can physically, emotionally and psychologically bear, go home, take a shower and come back. Eventually, any romantic notion of a nurturing workplace erodes for short-term gain, and the perks of employment – an Aeron chair, beer-thirty, a corner office, a reserved parking spot, a raise, promotion or title – can’t make up for lost time. My children are not motivated by coercion, guilt or one-upmanship, why should I? And why should an employee have to sneak in after 8:30am because it was their turn to drop off the kids or slink out before 5:30pm because you want to be there for soccer practice. Looking at our present day relationship to work, we never put it down, the “it” being the smartphone. A work email never sat unread, and the race to respond was a cultural attitude perpetuated at the price and sacrifice of time, time logged well beyond the 40hr week, time that belonged to someone else, family.

So back to this reader: for some generational perspective…Jimmy Fallon, Elon Musk Lead An Overlooked Generation X.

For the water cooler vibe, the constant state of overwhelmed…America’s Workers: Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, Totally Exhausted

Enter the Federal Employee Act as a point of reference.

So fight or flight?  Telecommuting may be the grassroots way to forward policy and shape the culture of the workplace from within your organization, by example. It’s Unclearly Defined, but Telecommuting Is Fast on the Rise.

Work-Life Balance culture can also and should more often come from the top-down…Sheryl Sandberg Leaves Work at 5:30. Why Can’t You?

And on the 40hr work week…Stop Working More Than 40 Hours a Week.

On ‘resocializing’ working dads and stigmatizing workplace flexibility…The Unspoken Stigma of Workplace Flexibility.

“It’s an issue of balance. If you don’t have adequate arrangements, then it’s very hard for women to maintain their attachment to the labor force and for employers to invest in the women’s skills.” But it’s also an issue of perspective. For women to be able to take advantage of these arrangements without judgment, men need to use them freely, too. But that requires viewing men not solely as breadwinners, but as individuals who also have the same choices as women. “Not only have we put women on the mommy track, we put dad on the daddy track,” said Kenneth Matos, an organizational psychologist and senior director of employment research and practice at the Families and Work Institute, a research group.

Work-Life balance = career penalties…For Workers, Less Flexible Companies.

“Most organizations still treat workplace flexibility as an accommodation,” said Erin Kelly, a sociology professor at the University of Minnesota. “But there is a lot of downside when you set up flex work arrangements as a perk. You are implicitly saying, ‘Most of us will be working these traditional ways and the rewards will come to those working these traditional ways.’ And that is where you have this stigma or career penalties.”

And Slaughter’s 2012 article is bookended with this /TEDtalk: Can we all “have it all”?

Anne-Marie Slaughter made waves with her 2012 article, “Why women still can’t have it all.” But really, is this only a question for women? Here Slaughter expands her ideas and explains why shifts in work culture, public policy and social mores can lead to more equality — for men, women, all of us.

Even our President, the working dad-in-chief, takes up the cause: Presidential Memorandum — Enhancing Workplace Flexibilities and Work-Life Program.

I should report that since summer break, I have carved out 2 days of flexible telework time per week, incremental really, but it goes a long way toward a viable work-life balance strategy for our family. And just as the children’s routine is disrupted (or in the hearts of kids and kids at heart: as things should be in the hazy lazy daze of summer bliss) and Mom adds teaching an online course to her career aspirations, I exhale, scratch my head, lift my nose up off the grindstone and look up from our kitchen table — with my standard-issue laptop and VPN, contemplating the time we set aside to commute in to central business districts, the SF cost to lease Class A office space, the supply chain to support the typical downtown lunch hour rush, what it means to be present, and how to make the most of [real not iOS] face-time at work and at home, but I am also tormented by statistics that call teleworkers 19% more efficient all the while 50% less likely to get promoted for being out of sight and out of mind — in my PJs.

storefront of ideas


Mayo Clinic Retail Storefront at the Mall of America?


Forget the Mall for a moment, this is how corporate healthcare, or anyone could occupy Main Street. A skunkworks right? Incubating ideas? Spurring innovation?



I found the following story on NPR:


Internet Exiles Stores On Main Street
by Alan Greenblatt
– January 6, 2012

Open any children’s book with a scene set downtown and you’ll see a picture of basically the same row of shops. There’s a bookstore, a pharmacy, a florist, a post office and a bank, and maybe a bakery where the kids can hope for a free cookie.

Nearly all those businesses are under threat from the Internet…

So I’d gladly welcome the demise of the strip mall, even those that are thriving are a blight on the landscape and civic psyche and I discount that these car-convenient shopping outlets fit in the Main Street category. And I disagree that the “question now is what type of Main Street business will come under threat next.” And though the piece did suggest that storefronts providing services will be more resilient than those peddling goods, the questions remain: what will Main Street v2.0 look like? How will it function as a receptacle and reflection of our values and what place will it occupy in city life?


[storefront] Olson Kundig Architects/SAM collaborative: Record Store

The timing of this installation, which could also have been any one of these dioramas: the neighborhood’s independent bookseller, hardware store, bakery (pump in the croissant aromas for that 4D experience), butcher shop or cobbler in another era, requiring the deposing of some beloved institution, by some kind of WarMartian, socioeconomic or technological (in this case: Vinyl –> 8-track –> cassette –> CD –> mp3 –> the Cloud) paradigm shift, and the tweet that tipped me off, coincided with the chronic frustration I harbor for what ails Main Street and the role the legions of our new economy’s cottage industrialists, hidden away in their class A basement home offices telecommuting in their fuzzy slippers, warmed by the hum and glow of their carbon footprint, play in our community’s own demise.

Space for Lease.


Made in USA.

[storefront] immediately resonated with me as an idea like Occupy Main Street, a shift of priorities and a kind of playing along, a role in the physical fabric of our neighborhoods, communities, cities. Suspended disbelief until which time another era can reflect and romance its authenticity.

Perhaps we can make stuff again, hang our shingle out there in the glare of daylight in full view, and wrap our arms and brick and mortar around our virtual realities and social networks and be, citizen.


New Heights, El Fronton

Watching too much bodyboarding footage lately but I’m just blown away by how far (and high!) this piece of foam has been taken, at once just a toy for any beachgoing tourist, young and old to frolick in the shorebreak…to the deepest depths, and as if to thumb their noses at the ocean’s awesome power, soaring high above the heaviest waves in the world…












Mount Rainier and the Neighbor

The climber who died this week on Mount Rainier lived just up the street from us, in the house festooned in Tibetan prayer flags. We haven’t met many of our new neighbors, and hadn’t yet met this neighbor, but surely we saw this man this weekend, Lee Adams.

It was only in passing, he was standing in the street with his car half up the driveway the other half across the sidewalk, perhaps loading up his and the gear of the out of town guests here to climb Mount Rainier with him.

We can reflect now how with only a glance from this stranger’s eyes, his smile, all the enthusiasm he exuded for life, and how now a simple glance can contain so much, as to resonate in you for such a long time.

Parade: an organized public procession on a festive or ceremonial occasion

In keeping with their mission to engage and inspire, at the end of yesterday’s performance on the Green in Chapel Hill’s Southern Village neighborhood, Paperhand Puppet Intervention invited the audience to join them in the celebratory ritual of parade.

The crowd was costumed in a U-Haul’s load of masks, under the sway of giant puppets all stomping down Market Street to the rhythm of the drums. I was easily swept up and away. Their mission:

Paperhand Puppet intervention is dedicated to bringing many styles of  puppetry and artistic expression to the Triangle area and the world.

These styles include: Giant puppets, masks, stilt dancing, rod puppets, shadows or silhouettes, and anything else we might make at any time.

Our vision is inspired by our love for the earth and its creatures  (including humans) as well as our belief in justice, equality, and peace.

We are committed to creating multi-scaled and multi-disciplinary puppet performances that support this vision.

Paperhand’s mission is to make work that inspires people, promotes social change, and is deeply satisfying for everyone involved.

The puppet shows we create are a synthesis of many art forms  including (but not limited to):sculpting, painting, music, dance, improvisation, costume/set design and theater.

We are celebrants.

We are activists.

We are puppeteers

Our will is set on undermining, and eventually, eradicating the  institutions of greed, hate, and fear that plague the world in myriad forms.

We will work all our lives uncompromisingly to these ends.

Architect swept up in the moment by Paperhand Puppet Intervention