Ericka, Matt, and Jeff where
Kennedy was shot

I spent Thanksgiving in Dallas (photos) with my youngest brother, Jeff, and his fiance. My brother Matt and his wife joined us from Mammoth Lakes, California. And my mom, who lives in Pittsburgh, tagged along as well. It was the first time we had all been together in over two years. So that was cool.

What was also cool was taking a break from school. I was very happy that my professors did not expect us to accomplish much, or anything, during the break. I thus did very little.

Of course, my designer brain did not completely turn off. For instance, at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday before Thansgiving, when going through airport security with my mother, who has not flown since 1999, I recognized an obvious design opportunity.

As we made our way through the line, I first told her to get out her license. This proved difficult when already holding her boarding pass and her purse. Some security person was screaming this to everyone, but my mom didn’t register it until I told her.

Then I told her she would need to remove her shoes. She looked at me dumbfounded.

I wonder how much design thinking went into the airport security process. I didn’t notice much in the way of signs. There’s nothing to say you must take off your shoes. There’s just security personnel barking orders occasionally as passengers are hoarded through checkpoints as if prisoners entering prison.

I digress…

I find it interesting that when I go on vacation I can mostly forget about all the worries I have related to work and efforts toward achievement. I felt this way when I went to Barcelona/Amsterdam earlier this year, as well as during Thanksgiving.

I can be totally happy doing nothing but hanging out, dining, and drinking. It makes me wonder why I feel compelled to be so productive all the time. But mostly it reminds me that there is more to life than work and achievement, and that balance is necessary.

Not sure if school allows me to find that balance, but at least I have a long winter break coming up in two weeks.