Todd's tidbits

Location: Madison, Tennessee, United States

There's lots about me, some of which will come out here, some of which will be revealed over time in the blog posts, and most of which I'll share if asked. Chronologically backward ... we got a new dog in June, 2006; I started a new job as director of internal audit the week before we got Sophie; we moved into a new house in February, 2006; I got married to Casey in April, 2005; I accepted a promotion back to the Tennessee Department of Correction in October, 2004; I accepted a transfer to the Tennessee Department of Environemnt and Conservation in March, 2004; I accepted a transfer to the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability in July, 2003; I met Casey in October, 2002; I accepted a position as auditor 2 with the Tennessee Department of Correction in May, 2001; I moved to Nashville from Madison, Wisconsin in February, 2001; and throughout the entire time, I've volunteered with a wide variety of nonprofits in the Nashville area.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

so long, farewell ... you've come a long way, baby ...

Okay, so maybe Facebook was technically around when I started this blog in 2006, but I don't recall that it was as widespread, useful and many other attributes as it is today. This blog requires more deliberate interaction than my Facebook interaction. Just like my e-mail migrated from one address to another, the place where I post my thoughts will migrate from this venue to Facebook notes. Perhaps it will migrate again as technology continues to develop, but for now, this area will will not be used in the way it has in the past.
Until later,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

we're all human, aren't we?

I was at a meeting on Saturday that demonstrated once again that many perspectives on any particular issue aren't really interested in meaningful conversation to build more vibrant communities. Many people are only interested in convincing others that their way is the correct way and learning what information needs to be conveyed to those around them to convince those people of that.


What would happen if people truly gathered together to talk and learn from one another, open to the possibility that the learning will alter their perspective? What would happen if people gathered together, not knowing who was responsible for the gathering because that information will almost automatically preclude some people from attending the gathering?


Many of us pay lip service to community organizing and grassroots support and broad education and other things when what we actually mean is engaging those who are similar enough that they can be convinced to work with us to overcome the "other."


May we truly talk to our neighbor and learn that they're really as human as we are and that their opinions are as valuable as ours are. Only then can we begin to explore why we have our differences of opinion.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Some people commemorate things that aren't particularly important. Can anyone remember the one hundredth episode of whatever television show?


Some things may appear important, but only if they truly commemorate something. Some people celebrate their eightieth birthday and would be much happier if their life ended instead of being stuck in whatever situation they are in.


Other things are important, but seem to be overlooked in the activities of daily living. Nashville will soon be electing its local legislative body. Unfortunately, I believe the voter turnout will be low. These people will be making decisions that impact our daily living for the next four years and I doubt that thirty percent of the registered voters will participate in their selection. I don't even want to talk about the number of people who are eligible and are not currently registered.


May we influence the really important things so we don't have to engage in things to take our minds off the situation that we helped create with our apathy.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Falling apart

I hear people lament that their friendship is falling apart. Or their employment situation is falling apart. Or their marriage is falling apart. Or their vacation plans are falling apart. What happens when things fall apart?


For some people, falling apart is a destructive experience. They focus on what they are losing and how things are changing in a negative way.


For other people, falling apart is a building experience. They see all the individual pieces of what used to be a whole. They dream new ways of using the pieces in different ways to create another whole that is even better than the one they had before.


For other people, falling apart just is. They don't learn from the destruction of the old. They can't envision the hopefulness of the new. They just meander on, putting one foot in front of the other through a new reality.


May we all recognize that all three are valuable and can play an important part in our lives if we recognize that each of them should only be a part of our lives.


Embrace where you are and move toward a different future.

Friday, July 01, 2011

who's number one?

I've often been perplexed by people's perceptions of fun and enjoyment and related things.


Being out in the sweltering heat and humidity is not fun if it's mowing the grass. Doing a similar amount of activity in the same conditions becomes fun if it's canvassing for a favored political candidate. For some people, it's the other way around!


I believe most of this type of conversation goes back to something more basic that many people are not aware of nor willing to admit to when presented with the information suggesting it.


The core issue involved in many situations is our perception of where we position ourselves in the world. Too many people consider their needs and wants first and foremost. Some people consider solely their needs and wants.


What would happen if all of us considered the needs and wants of others (including non-human beings and inanimate objects) first and our own needs and wants second?


May we all realize that we do not exist in isolation and that what we do affects everything around us.


Friday, June 24, 2011

does it matter II

Too many people are ignoring too many things are relevant to life and should be more involved in living out a more complete life.


I routinely hear people lament this or complain about that. When asked about what they are doing about those things, many of them offer little more than "well, you can't fight city hall" or "I can't change anything by myself."


Every good journey begins with a single step and every single step needs to be taken for the journey to be complete. Without ongoing activism and communication, the critical mass needed to make change won't happen.


I've been tilting at Quixotic windmills for much of my adult life. Some of them remain Quixotic windmills. Others have, through the passage of time and continued advancement of society, become normal and everyday items in our daily lives.


May we all continue to add our voice to society's conversation. Today's far-fetched idea may become tomorrow's everyday occurrence.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

does it matter?

Too many people are hung up on too many things that shouldn't be relevant to most of life.


If I put a set of characteristics in a box, many people would like the package. If I added one more characteristic, many people would intensely dislike the package. Yes, there are times when one characteristic should override everything else. Yes, that is each individual's choice to make. Yes, I believe that someone's choice should be able to be substantiated by more than "just because" or something similar.


If the added characteristic were freckles, most people would recognize that as ridiculous. If it was a height of 5'8", most people would recognize that as ridiculous. Why are gender, ethnicity, controlled mental health diagnosis, religion, gender identification, sexual orientation, age, physical health, and other things different?


May we all try to move beyond the "just because" feelings we have and articulate our deeper concerns that we may not yet be aware of.