I Love Don Week, Recap

At work, we set goals, we launch initiatives, we have budgets and we work to make them happen. After a time, we review and assess performance. I Love Don Week should be treated the same. Let’s look at the good and the bad and next year, make it even better.

My Dollar Shave Club razors and shave butter arrived today. Hooray. Can’t wait to shave in the morning.

I received the following items, too:

  • brandybigBlack iPhone charging cord
  • A new desk
  • Barsmith Old Fashioned mix
  • Tickets (from my sister in law) to Cedar Point for her whole family and mine and it turned out to be the best day ever at Cedar Point – no lines. Seriously. No. Lines.
  • Patriotic Detroit Tigers T-shirt
  • Loud dress socks
  • (2) outdoor chairs and outdoor lights
  • Hosted a small gathering at my house (I like having people over, what can I say?)
  • Lusty Claw Bourbon (from my co-workers)
  • Dinner of my choice on my birthday

I gotta say, with the trip to Cedar Point, the amazing Saturday evening hosting friends, and then the strolling, progressive series of birthday meetings that started my day at work on Tuesday, bookended with a quick happy hour with more co-workers, only to arrive home to homemade Chick-Fil-A (my daughter found the secret sauce recipe online and, shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone) …hard to imagine a week could be much better and end much better.

The only thing I might say could be better is more random gifts from random people, which is really on me. I should’ve posted a more comprehensive list. So that’s something I’ll do next year. Also, because I pretty much stole the entire concept from my brother-in-law (a week devoted to himself prior to his birthday), I might as well steal his idea of having I Love Don Week t-shirts.

So, next year, let’s keep doing what we’re doing, people. Gifts. Over-the-top recognition and praise. And …next year, we’re making and selling t-shirts.

If you have other ideas on how to improve I Love Don Week, please leave a comment. No idea is a bad idea. Green light thinking.

Thank you, everyone, for playing along with my birthday madness.




Mid-Year Review is Almost Here

img_5880For anyone who might’ve stopped keeping track, we’re 14-days away from the start of I Love Don Week and 21-days away from my birthday.

If I may ask one thing for my birthday, is that you don’t scroll back through my Blog posts and don’t ask me about #Project44 and please don’t ask me, “how is your book coming along?” Phew. We all know if you don’t ask, then I don’t have to feel guilty about still weighing too much and still not writing my book.

How easy would either of those things be? I mean, come on, Don. You started the year and you made easy resolutions. The list wasn’t even that long. The simple promise to do things daily around the number 44, which happens to be how old you’d be on your birthday.

I’m blogging in third person talking to myself. That might be early signs of madness.

I was going to do the following:

  1. Exercise for 44-minutes a day
  2. Lower my weight to 144 pounds.
  3. Write for 44-minutes a day

I’m sure there was some other stuff, but if I had been able to stay focused on those three things, wow, how amazing would it be right now just two-weeks away from my 44th birthday?

I guess there’s no time like the present. “Present” = gift. I’m going to give myself a birthday gift and recommit to my #Project44. How much can I accomplish in 21-days? Hey, and I don’t have to have everything done by July 11th, right? I have the entire year.

This Blog entry was supposed to be funny but, dang, it got serious. Well, that’s OK, I guess, because it’s time to get serious.

Are you ready to get “serious” with me, while also having some fun? It’s mid-year for me and it falls in line with my birthday, but it’s mid-year for everyone. Companies re-focus and re-set goals. Bosses usually introduce something new and exciting. Sales people are forced to come to grips with their quotas and budgets and commissions year-to-date.

Let’s all conduct a mid-year review and re-evaluate.

“I Love Don Week” Day 4

Day 3 Banner

Gonna be quick, here. Day 3 and 4 were great and each day brought with is a new batch of desk decorations and, in fact, my co-workers made me a banner. A banner!!! Guess you could call it a “banner day.” Zing! With cleverness like that bottled up inside me, I need a blog for all my puns. Is “banner day” a pun?

Got some lottery tickets from the fam’ at home and won $4, which I’ll use to buy more lottery ticket scratch n’ wins. Cube neighbor C.S. bought me a pound of Tanzanian Peaberry beans from Chazzano Coffee (of Ferndale). Sooooo great.

Don’t forget the list. Not a ton getting scratched off. But I’m sure you’re just waiting for the perfect time to get me the perfect gift. I’m cool with that.

Day 4 = more new signs

“I Love Don Week” Day 3

We’re almost done with “I Love Don Week” Day 3, and I don’t wanna dive too deep into this, and yesterday was good, but …I received zero gifts (save for a free coffee from co-worker C.M., but I think she only bought me a coffee because she’s generally a nice person) on Day 2. Even my wife, while thoughtful by planning a special dinner and keeping my wine glass full during The Bachelorette, didn’t get me a gift. And “the list” (see below) is so easy, this year. Hmmm. Maybe I need to add more ideas.

Two exciting things happened on Day 2 of “I Love Don Week”. First, my desk was #Fandalized (get it? When a person’s “fans” “vandalize” something, I’ve mashed up the words). I think I need to trademark the word “fandalize” …not that I think there’s a great need for the word in the English language. Hmmmm. How do I make it part of pop-culture and the Zeitgeist?

Extra points for me for using the word “zeitgeist” in my blog. And for making up a new word.

The second exciting thing was …my house flooded. From the second story bathroom into the basement. Yes. Through the floor and down the walls. This was thanks to my pre-teen daughter running the sink at full speed, and the shower, and then distractedly walking away. But I learned we have exactly enough towels to handle a small water disaster. Had it been any worse, we would’ve been borrowing towels from neighbors. I happened to be taking a shower in the downstairs bathroom (which is immediately below the upstairs bathroom) and when I got done I was like, “hmmm, why do I hear water dripping?” And then when I opened the bathroom door I saw water dripping.

That was the anti-I-Love-Don-Week moment. Can’t wait to see what else my kids have in store to ruin my week.

I did have a great conversation with a very good friend and it gave me the shot in the arm I needed to be optimistic about turning 42 and not worrying about that which I’ve not done and things I’m not doing and keep focused on the great and wonderful things I am doing and that are in my life.

Speaking of things “in my life”, I wouldn’t mind a few of these things “in my life”. Plenty of time for Amazon to still ship anything on this list.

I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully to brag about some of the great gifts I received.


Run-Up to “I Love Don Week”


In a conversation with some friends, yesterday, someone brought up “I Love Don Week” and I forget exactly who brought it up and felt like talking about me and my birthday – you know how these things just happen spur of the moment.

Anyway, there’s a tradition around “I Love Don Week” that says it can’t be talked about until it’s talked about and then …boom …it can be talked about and blogged about.

For the newbies, “I Love Don Week” consists of the six days leading up to Don’s birthday – July 11th. During those six days, Don is to be fawned over and given loads of attention – and gifts. It all kicks off, this year, on July 5th (only 9 days away …how excited are we?!?!?!?!?).

Start planning. And to help, I’ll post the initial gift-wish-list or, dare I call it, a “registry?” Hmmmm. That gives me an idea. I might go to Target today and ask if I can get a zap gun and make a “I Love Don Week” registry. But if you’d rather shop online, here’s the list.

I feel like I should have more. I’ll put some serious thought into this over the next couple of days. Leave a comment if you hear of any “I Love Don Week” sales going on.

I Love Don Week, Day 1-3

Can you believe it’s already Day #3 of “I Love Don Week” and I haven’t posted an obnoxious blog post listing all the things on my wish-list for my birthday? Luckily, for some strange reason, my family plays along with the “I Love Don Week” concept and I’ve gotten gifts every day, starting on July 5th.

Real quick for the new blog readers …”I Love Don Week” is the run-up to my birthday, which is July 11th (if you want to put it on your calendar). For the week leading up to my birthday I get gifts and stuff every day. It’s a celebration of all things “Don.”

This year I turn 41.

I kicked things off by changing my “look” and getting a new haircut (see previous post and picture top/left). Whether I was pulling off the look I thought I was or not, I had been trying to cultivate the Brian-Williams-Tom- Brokaw -Peter-Jennings news anchor hair and with the ever expanding forehead, and thinning hair, it just wasn’t happening. So I am kicking off the 42nd year of my life with a short and neat haircut. Four days into this ‘do, and I really, really like it.

Now, onto the recap and plans for the rest of “I Love Don Week”.

Day 1 of “I Love Don Week” was the haircut (a gift to myself) and then a pound of coffee beans from a Grand Rapids roaster, ordered by my wife and delivered by my sister-in-law M.B. and her family. I enjoyed it all long-weekend long. It’s smooth …at least it was smooth Up North using well water. The flavor was distinctly different this morning back using city water. I love the subtle differences the water can have on the flavor of coffee. Oh, and my wife bought a big tub of Win Shuler’s cheese spread. I shouldn’t have this, and don’t have it often, but once a year around my birthday, my wife buys it for me and I make a pig of myself. I dip pretzels in it. Yum.

Day 2 I received decorative magnets for my cubical at work. We have fabric covered metal walls …so thumbtacks don’t work but magnets do. These are cool and thoughtful and will add a little flair to my desk.

And today …drum roll …another cool, patterned shirt from Express. I hope all the junk food I ate over the weekend will still allow me to fit into this “slim fit” shirt.

But the real gift was a nice, long weekend with my family highlighted by tons of fishing, lots of snacking, watching World Cup soccer, being with my in-laws and my nieces and nephews, fireworks (my own show and then watching a well-funded, highly explosive community fireworks display), mountain biking, and …I can’t believe I’m saying this …hanging out with my dog. I’m really starting to like this dog. Here’s the only thing I wish I could change about this dog. She’s a “flight risk.” Meaning …we can’t ever leave a door ajar without having her on a leash or bring her out in the front yard or a field with us, because she’d put her nose to the ground and be gone. This, I plan to fix.

Wow. This blog entry is jumping all over the place. Let me get to the sappy stuff.

The greatest highlight of all was my 7-year-old saying at bedtime last night that her weekend at Grandma and Grandpa’s was, “her #1 best weekend” she’s ever had up there. And as we made the four-hour drive home yesterday, I was thinking the same thing. I felt rested. I felt energized. I felt ready to take on the world. I was not dreading Monday morning and getting back to work.

That is how you execute a holiday weekend …pack everything imaginable into it …enjoy every minute you can with your loved ones or with whatever task or project and try not to let your mind wander …live in the moment …and then when you get back to work, you can live in those moments and maximize them.

Mindfulness just sorta happened for me this weekend, and I’m better today because of it. And because of the gifts. That helps.

Hope your “I Love Don Week” is going as well as mine. My full gift/wish list will be posted later. Sorry for the delay.

Follow me at @donkowalewski.

I Love Don Week: I’ll Spoil Myself


Longtime readers of Don’s Ego (my former blog) and Kaleidoscopic Raygun know that the week leading up to July 11th is known as “I Love Don Week.” It’s a chance for the world to celebrate me. Buy me gifts. Shower me with praise. Tell me how great I am and how I’ve impacted their lives in a positive way. It’s fun for everyone. (Wait …keep reading …remember, I try to make a point with every blog entry.)

OK, it’s fun for me. It’s annoying to my wife because every day I act like a kid at Christmas with my hand out looking for a new gift or token of appreciation.

Funny thing is …a few of you have noticed I’m not making a big deal out of it this year. Why, you ask? When it should be the biggest “I Love Don Week”, ever, as I am less than 48-hours away from turning 40!

Is it because I’m depressed about turning 40? No.

Is it because I’ve out-grown the childish and egotistical idea of an “I Love Don Week?” Hardly.

Am I too busy with 40-year-old grown-up commitments like work, family, and charity? Nope.

To tell you the truth, it’s because I do want to make this the biggest and best “I Love Don Week”, ever, and the pressure is getting to me. I could easily make a gift list. I could recount the highlights of the past 39 “I Love Don Weeks”. I could set goals and make lofty proclamations about my “next 40 years.” I could list my many accomplishments from my first 40 years on this planet.

Problem is, I want to do it all …gifts, praise, goals, adoration, philosophizing, and reflection. That’s alot to pack into 7 days. It should’ve been “I Love Don Month”. But too late for that.

I want it all, and I’m going to do something different this year, too. I’m going to give myself a gift. I’m going to shower myself with praise. I’m going to marvel at everything I’ve done this year and for the past 40 years. And from this self-centered, ego-stroking love for myself, I’m going to burst forth with optimism and energy into my 5th decade and beyond.

Um, yes. That is a great gift I can give myself, and we can all give ourselves. Self-praise. We live in a world where a television shows us a constant stream of people living a better life than we live, with better cars and better houses and better spouses and adventure and success. But let’s not believe it.

“Celebrating yourself” is just another way of saying, “count your blessings.”

Let’s celebrate ourselves (but please mix in a couple minutes to celebrate me, still). I’ve been big on making lists, lately. And I’m still struggling to actually do the things on those lists. But this week, during “I Love Don Week”, I’m going to make a list and I don’t care how long it is. The list is going to be “Great Things I’ve Done This Year and Throughout My Life.” The list won’t be mindless celebration, either. It will be a wake-up call. Like, hey, Don …in 40 years, you’ve done all this. Now …top that! Spend the next 40 years doing more things and better things because you hardly knew what you were doing during those first 40 years.

The list starts with this …Happy “I Love Don Week” to me!!!

Follow me on Twitter (@donkowalewski) or Instagram (don_kowalewski) or ‘Like’ Kaleidoscopic Raygun.