3 Life Lessons from just Blogging about Everything

Sometimes you just have to write in order to figure out what you want to write about…

Over 8 months, I have tried to blog once a week (not always successfully) but did not limit myself to a topic.  I tried quite a few topics everything from deep thoughts on corporate finance to not drinking alcohol for a month.

As many before me, I am climbing a steep hill by joining the world of blogging and trying to be heard.  On the other hand, I have learned important lessons by just blogging, no outline, just typing the keys.  Through these life lessons, I have discovered my writing #passion and the future of my blog.

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The Best Rice Krispie Treat Recipe

The quest for the perfect Rice Krispie Treat Recipe for making a sphere.

I am on a quest.  Part of that quest requires finding the perfect rice krispie recipe.

The quest: Pokémon themed, okay for most allergies, birthday treats

This is the tested, perfect Rice Krispie recipe for making great tasting treats malleable enough for molding into circles.

This is attempt 1 to make red PokéBalls but attempt 10 to make the perfect Rice Krispie treat that tastes delicious and is easily shaped into a ball.

Future iterations will be modified to better resemble Pokéballs.

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Coaching for Odyssey of the Mind

On March 9th, I was very proud to watch as kids from our elementary school participated in the competition Odyssey of the Mind.  It was my first year to attend as a parent and my first year of being a coach.

It is a little bit stressful to coach a team of kids (all under 8 years old) in designing and building a problem answer.  Our problem was to create a museum concept and then build and present three exhibits explaining the theme of the museum.  The problem definition stated it best as the first sentence of the directions was “Children can see the extraordinary in the ordinary.”  This was proved over and over during the course of our work.

Starting in January, we met as a team at least once a week.  Every meeting started with food because hungry kids are distracted kids. Then, we would have our team cheer to build our energy up for the hard work. As part of our cheer, each team member had a chance to do their special move. It was exciting to see what they came up with each week. A simple cartwheel turned into team excitement and cheers.

They worked well together because conflict was ordinary but solution was extraordinary.  The best was when they questioned each other – they did not tiptoe around the subject – they just asked “Why did you make that ugly?” or “Why can’t you keep the theme?” Often the explanation from one kid would get a shrug from the others and an “Okay, if that’s what you think.” After 6 practices we had a 5 minute cheer followed by a race because we changed the theme (after everyone agreed they didn’t want to stay with the original theme) and everyone was super excited by the new theme.

It was difficult to coordinate practice schedules but looking back, it was all worth it. The kids were so proud of themselves after the presentation.  We tried and we did it.


Pokémon Go: A Skill?

Yesterday, an interviewer asked me “Can you give examples of dedication and follow through?”  My first, very quick, fleeting idea was to talk about my Pokémon Go hobby.  I immediately switched to another idea and instead talked about a work project.

Later in the evening, I wondered if there was a way to take my hobby and turn it into a positive during an interview.  I have other hobbies (i.e writing, reading, coaching) that are easy to spin towards the positive. How could I spin a mobile game where I catch little electronic monsters and spar my monsters against other little monsters?

For those that are not familiar with the game: Pokémon Go as defined by Wikipedia gives a great overview.  Yes, the game is still very much alive. The community is active on all social media platforms. We are very active in the physical world (IRL) and have very little problem finding each other when it is time to take a gym from a raid boss.

Case in point: when I was finishing my degree in Madrid, I did not have any friends in the area that play Pokémon Go but I was able to find people on the streets gathered for raids.  I spent an entire afternoon with one group walking around the city. Pokéstops are often popular tourist attractions, so as we caught Pokémon, they also gave me historical information about the city.

Back to the spin… there are different ways to play and I am not the most hardcore. So, based on my playing style, I can think of the following skills:

  • Dedication – I find a spin and a catch practically every day. It does not take me long, only 20 minutes a day but I am dedicated to making it happen.
  • Research – I was not a Pokémon expert before I started to play. Now, I subscribe to weekly summaries on Reddit, Google News and BlogLovin’. I regularly research the newest release news.
  • Strategy – I use all of my research to determine the strategy that works for me. My goal is to cultivate a strong Pokédex with IVs over 90% in just 20 minutes as a day because I have lots of other stuff to do.
  • Collaboration – I like going after the larger Pokémon that can only be gained with a group of people working together. I have a Discord account just for Pokémon Go.

I need to consider this some more but I think there are ways to spin this. Of course, there is also the issue of the audience perception: another post for deeper thoughts.

I would love to hear your comments!  How would you sell your hobbies?

Making the Decision to Become a One Car Family

We made the decision to be a one-car family. This is why and what we learned from the experience.

Late last year, the lease was up on one of our two cars. We decided to delay replacing it.  We turned the car back into the dealer and became a one car family. This was not an easy decision and only happened after intense discussion within the family. We live in Texas for goodness sakes!

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Old School: 7 Habits

Over the years, many friends have mentioned that the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey literally “Changed their life!” It has even become a popular culture reference with people referencing what it takes to be a Highly Effective Person. (And if you click the link above it is quite the marketing machine as well.)

I consider myself to be driven and effective at getting things done but right now I am uncertain of my direction.  I do not know what I really want to do career wise.  I had made many plans but they aren’t really working right now and my momentum is decreasing.  So, what better time to read a book?

In the first pages, the author talks about how his relationships with his children have given him insight into his own immaturity and foibles. I can definitely corroborate that finding. Every day when I talk to my kids, I am humbled by how great they are and how easy it is to make mistakes as a parent.  They are also so accepting of me and worry when I worry. The other day my oldest told me “You don’t need a job. Being a mom is a job.”

I know that my kids are the reason that I am in my current indecisive crisis. In the last two years, I have become accustomed to being there when they have something at school.  When I worked in an office, I needed to be there for my coworkers and was always torn between the two obligations.  Also, it could take hours after the work day to let the happenings at the office go so I could enjoy being with my kids.  Sometimes, it didn’t happen until they were already asleep and then I would log back in to work to make sure everything was still okay.

My brain resonates with the words as Mr. Covey describes the difference between the Personality Ethic and the Character Ethic.  I feel that the world is very focused on Personality. I hope and think that people still respond to Character.

It is definitely not fashionable to be reading this right now but it is the right time for me. This is going to be a good mental journey and I am glad that I started this little detour.