Rosetta Stone – Slow Repetitions

Has anyone else tried Rosetta Stone? I bought the Spanish packet years ago – possibly 8 years ago.  I admit that I have been working on my Spanish for that long and have only slowly been improving.  Regardless, I have this program that I started and just want to finish.  However, they are focused on repetition so you look at the same pictures and the same phrases for several lessons.  I think this does help with vocabulary but also becomes boring very fast.

My online subscription is done in May so I need to finish it in the next few months.  Over the years, I have made it to lesson 10 of 20 so my fingers are crossed that I can get through the next 10 in 3 months.  It’s a goal though.

An application that I really like is DuoLingo.  Progress is so much faster.  The bad side of it is the simplicity of the levels.  It feels more like flashcards.

Mango Languages is offered by my library for free but I have not had a chance to really use it.  I shall add it to the list of things to do in the future.

So many tools, so little time… especially if you like to check through the boxes one by one.

(Re)Learning a Sewing Machine

I have two growing boys.  I have become accustomed to buying them pants and having them folded up in inch increments and hemmed two inches high because they will undoubtedly need to have them pulled back down at the next growth spurt.  It’s $10 for each pair of pants.  However, I know my mom taught me how to do this but I just do not remember how to do it.
IMG_6311So, when I was visiting my mom this weekend, I asked her to help me remember how to use the sewing machine.  Luckily, my mom is accustomed to my engineering curiosity so she gave me a detailed tutorial on proper setup of the machine and the necessary tension for different fabrics. She then went through a detailed demonstration of where setups can go wrong and cause unnecessary anger and frustration.  She laughed as she told me that she has done all of it too many times and if she can help me avoid the issues even once, the world is a happier place.

End result = 3 pairs of little boy school pants properly hemmed and two adult shirts fixed.  It was a victory day for spending time with my mom and (re)learning a skill.

Diet while Visiting Mom

Two weeks ago, I got very serious about my calorie count.  When I hit 1300 calories in a day = That’s It!  No more food or drink goes into my mouth.  It has not been super hard, although in most cases it means I am done consuming by 6 PM.  However, yesterday, I flew home to visit my mom.

My mom loves to take care of her kids.  She bought special food for the house so I had my favorite things available.  I told her about my diet and she changed up plans so we would have less calories.  Somehow though with freshly grilled chicken, delicious cheese and a huge salad with olives and walnuts and so many good things, I am already at my calories for the day.

I know that I should be focused on my #longtermgoals and should walk past but how can you do that with fresh food made by mom?  Short term happiness is sometimes the key to long term satisfaction.

I will just try to eat smaller portions.  🙂

Potential Employment Scan?

Today was going well until I received a strange email from someone I thought was a potential employer.  I am not going to put any details because I am not 100% that they are scamming me but reading over the information after lunch, I feel scammed.

Here is the story:

I have been applying to jobs that look interesting.  This has been helping me to arrow in on the type of jobs that are most appealing whether I am fully qualified or not.  As this is an exploratory search, I have not been keeping a detailed list.  Then, I receive an email in December – “Thanks for applying.  We are interested.”

I was traveling so I did not follow up until January when they told me the position was still open.  However, as part of the application process, they had a 5 week training that everyone goes through with a test each week.  I thought it was weird but figured it was a good way to know who could work remote and who could not.

So for two weeks, I have been in correspondence with a guy that has sent me new material each day and a quiz on Fridays.  I received a call from Sweden, theoretically an interview, but they never asked any questions.  Then today, I received an email that asked me to buy things on my credit card and have them delivered to somewhere else!  WTH?!?

Luckily, I have other opportunities but I can see how this scam could work.  As it stands, I was experimenting to see where it goes but now am mad at myself for letting this go as long as it has.

MIT App Inventor

Screenshot 2019-02-04 13.59.04Started week 2 of the App Development class with Shaw Academy.  The new tool for the day is the MIT App Inventor.

Our assignment for this class is to recreate the steps of the professor to create a simple app that involves visiting a zoo and checking when you see a Bear, Tiger, Bird or Wolf.  (The instructor used different animals but I like these four and was able to find pleasant black and white illustrations that I liked on the website PixaBay.)

The MIT App Inventor is very intuitive and is drag and drop type coding from my desktop. I do not know how intuitive it would be for people that have never tried to code or thought about coding or are just not good at thinking in process diagrams. There is a logical thinking pattern that needs to be followed and I know from working with people to make flow diagrams, not everyone thinks in an A to B to C manner.

I am looking forward to showing it to my family.  The 7 year old will catch on to the theory relatively fast.  The 5 year old might need to learn to read a bit better before he will be able to use it but it is a fun thing. We like to expose them to lots of stuff and then let them pursue at their leisure. Sometimes it feels like throwing darts at a little dart board, we are never sure what might stick but when it does it’s a bulls eye.


Dry January = Over

November and December are crazy months of eating and drinking.  When I was in Spain I learned about a thing from the UK: Dry January.  On the day I read about it, I was recovering from too much wine after the completion of our last graded class, so it was particularly apt.

person pouring wine into wine glass
Photo by on

Starting on January 1, I stopped drinking alcohol for the month.  Health wise, it was very easy.  My body easily fell into the groove.  Sleeping improved – my watch tells me I went from an average of 6 hours of sleep to 8-8.5 hours a night.  Although, that might have happened because my MBA was over and I wasn’t staying up late posting and writing.

I did not lose any weight but I heard that is a side benefit for many.  At 3600 calories a pound that is around 30 drinks so I can see how that would not be a weight loss differentiator for most.

For me the hardest part was social. Alcohol helps my extroverted talkative side come out. However, it was easy enough to fall into listening instead of talking. It was good to listen to people and hear their stories. So, bonus points for learning that my introverted self can survive parties just as well.

I do not plan to continue with the absolutely no alcohol rule. Reduction is good though, and I intend to maintain a new lower limit.  I learned from a friend that she only drinks once a week and special occasions. That sounds doable and healthy.



Beginner Mobile App Development

I believe my posts are already establishing that I have a wide range of interests and jump around a bit from day to day.  That being said…

An app I use for audio fitness classes, Aaptiv, provided a link for a free class with Shaw Academy.  Nothing is better than free, so I signed up for Mobile App Development.  Yesterday was my second class.

It is an interesting parallel to what I learned with my MBA.  Very often, app developers want to jump into the coding.  However, no matter how elegant the code or how perfect the solution, none of it works if there is no customer.  I have enjoyed how the course has laid out that everything needs to build off of the customer.  Before you start working, you need to think about the customer, if they even really need your new app and how you will make the customer happy with your solution.

Based on the course outline, the next class is going to go more into coding but I am impressed that 2 out of 8 classes on Mobile App Development was spent on understanding the customer.  Props!

Our homework was to think of a customer persona for a particular app idea.  Realizing this has already been done, but also that I am a “baby” app developer: I plan to create an app that guides aspiring writers through creative exercises to get words on paper.  The customer is frustrated writers with a story inside that just won’t get on the paper. Right now, I am the customer and I really don’t want to design an app for one.  🙂

Let me know if you have developed an application, it is yet another online world that I am exploring.