Posts filed under 'Schtuff'
I’m looking around my home this morning, two of my three kids in view. One’s at the computer – I’m thankful that we can provide them things that let them explore the world. The other greets me with a chipper “Hi, mom!”. I’m thankful for the great relationship we have with all three of them. The last is downstairs, I think: of the three she’s the one who most often leaves little drawings around, and I’m thankful for her creative spirit. Yesterday, she and her big sister got tasked with “make something that looks like a turkey – here’s some walnuts, pipe cleaners, and other craft supplies”. Our centerpiece of mums ended up with 3 turkey heads poking up out of it, and the explanation was that the turkeys were hiding from becoming Thanksgiving supper.
My husband walks into the kitchen, on the phone with his mom. They’re finalizing the preparations for him to fly out tomorrow to go help his brother and brother’s family move to our area. I’m thankful for my husband’s generous approach to life: his brother one of many folks he’s helped in various ways this year. I’m thankful for the opportunity upcoming to get to know my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece, as they move into the area for a few years. And I’m thankful for my mother-in-law and father-in-law: they were over yesterday for an early Thanksgiving dinner. They have always been supportive of our family, and are just great folks in general.
I think out more broadly… we’ve changed churches lately, and I’m thankful for both the church we’ve left and the one we’ve been attending. Both have and are teaching us much, and I cherish the friendships we grew at our “old” church, as well as the chance to engage with new folks at our “new” church. Both churches honor and worship God, and I am thankful to get to share in their fellowship and worship.
I think of my extended family. Those relationships are more strained this year than I’d like. I’m thankful that there’s still at least the potential to repair them, that family members still seem to have their health, and that for one family member, at least, this year wasn’t their last.
I think of our health, those of my kids and my husband and mine. My husband’s been given a clear bill of health again this year from his doctor’s, and we get to grow another year older together. My kids have been blessedly healthy and even injury free this year. I drew the short straw on injuries and managed to top out our HSA this year (thankful for great healthcare! and thankful for a reprieve from surgery!), but have recovered and gone back to the activities I love.
I’m looking around at my WordPress dashboard, and seeing an upgrade notice. That reminds me that I’m thankful for the opportunity to work in a field I love. Later today and this weekend I’ll be working on a volunteer project to provide a registration system for a charity that’s doing some great work in the community. I’m thankful that the Lord’s blessed me with skills that I can use, and pointed me towards opportunities to use them.
Yesterday we had the mom of Cora’s friends over, and the day before we were out and about with a young lady who’s an extension of the Coleman family. The day before that, we were retrieving Callie from a not-quite-successful sleepover at another friend. Very thankful for friendships, growing and grown, and hope to always remain open and inviting for more.
The Lord has blessed us this year in many ways, and I offer thankfulness to Him for another year to live, to enjoy His blessings, and to learn more how to serve Him well in every area of my life. May your Thanksgiving be as abundant in thankfulness!
November 28th, 2013
Well appreciate this ad campaign for motorcycles. I’m not someone who’s likely to buy a Ducati (wrong style of bike), but REALLY love this campaign.
Full article available at Fast Company…
November 23rd, 2013
Just got a new Twitter follower. Wasn’t someone I knew, so I went out to check out who they were. CEO of a tech company who has a large number of folks who they follow. My suspicion is that this guy noticing my Twitter feed was due more to me following someone else that they follow than anything else, but might be related to OWF or to rugby or to open-source or to who knows what else. Twitter is slightly nondiscriminate.
So, this guy’s tweet feed. Typical executive feed: links to articles they find interesting, which, actually, is far more useful than to me as a Twitter follower than some of the folks who mostly use it to hold visible conversations. Seeing a ‘thanks!’ tweet or ‘I thought the same!’ isn’t enough to make me go check out the full thread to see if there was something useful there. Seeing an interesting article cross-referenced: usually more useful.
2nd tweet down the list:
These High-Tech Underwear Keep Your Farts From Smelling | Co.Exist | ideas + impact http://buff.ly/16u2aON #finally
This poor guy, who I’ve never met / will likely never meet, will forever be linked in my brain as the guy who advertised to the world that he’s interested in underwear that covers up his farts… And THAT’s why you need to be careful what you link to. And now I’m sorely tempted to link to it, just to pass along that ‘hee hee’ moment to someone else.
October 26th, 2013
My kids gets this amazing summertime experience: long days, little to no schedule, and family members around to be able to do things. They have the benefit of a stay-at-home-parent, so we don’t need to send them somewhere to fit into someone else’s schedule. The rub: they’ve got no driver to do anything in particular. So, every summer I ask each kid to think about what they’d like to learn or try over the summer. Callie and I in particular have had a great time building these lists. Last year’s list had everything from ‘go to a tea party’ to ‘rollerskate’ to ‘learn to unicycle’ to ‘go camping’. We didn’t accomplish all of them, but it was a lot of fun to both think up the list, and then also to get to cross things off. I also think it’s important to point my kids to thing towards bigger ideas and goals, to not just live in an hour by hour what keeps me from being bored kind of mental model.
I have an informal summer list this year… things on it include ‘learn to juggle 4 balls’ (I can do 3, but have never solved 4), ‘unicycle’ (we didn’t solve it last year, but now have two unicycles to work with), and ‘write a mobile app’. That last one’s for a contest with a deadline. Deadlines are good things. I’ve had that same unicycle goal on a list of 100 goals since 2007… Some of the other 100 goals I’ve met: I’ve driven a motorcycle, gotten another tattoo, taken my family to Disney, and read the Bible through completely, as well as a few other goals. Of the original 100, I’ve accomplished 12 1/3 so far. The 1/3 comes from a goal that says I’ll crochet an afghan for each of my kids. 1′s done, 1′s in progress (been in progress for a while) and the last hasn’t started.
Looking over the list, none are ones that I want to strike, though a few have gotten more complicated. It was simpler to visit my grandmother once a month when she lived in Silver Spring rather than out near Cumberland: think that one will be amending to ‘visit or call’. I could see adding new goals prioritized over the original batch of 100. For example, I want to earn a most-valuable-player ring from my rugby team, as well as want to win a championship with our team. Those goals might come ahead of ‘spend at least a week touring in Australia’…
Revisiting the list helps kick me out of my own personal rut of whatever I’m dealing with day-to-day to remind me of big dreams and the idea that some things are worth planning out small steps to get to bigger dreams. That’s one of the things I want to teach my kids, as well as remind myself. Going to go sketch in some ideas for my mobile app…
July 4th, 2013
May the 4th was Star Wars Day, as well as Free Comic Book Day. Complete geekfest. After an alumni rugby game (we won, I scored!) and a lunch out with the kids, I took my younger daughter to the local comics store. She’s not hooked, but now I am – after she asked me the ‘where are the girls in comic books?’, I went hunting for female characters. Found two new comic series: the Fearless Defenders and Ame-Comi Girls. Fearless Defenders is a new story line, mostly, while the Ame-Comi Girls series tells the stories of the women from the DC Universe comics. We see how Wonder Woman ended up coming off her island and why she’s in such a revealing costume (she resents it, by the way), get to see adventure stories of BatGirl and SuperWoman, etc.
I was never all that interested in comic books as a kid, but really liking this stuff. I figure purchasing them helps send an economic signal that folks are interested in these story lines. And if it doesn’t succeed, I suspect these comic books could end up as collectibles of interest to women such as myself – win, win.
Oooh, I see there are two new Fearless Defenders out – gotta go hit my local comic book store!
June 1st, 2013
After a pretty lousy day at work, had great fun geeking out a little this evening.
* Lego WeDo – spinning ducks! (first efforts at activities for a corporate Women In Computing Day this Sunday… LOVE that the women in our company are now pulling this together for the 3rd year! Uh, linked video is not me or my child commenting…)
* Used a random number generator online to pick the winner of a 50/50 raffle to benefit some rugby players fundraising to go to Russia for the World University games. These ladies are all Naval Academy midshipmen, so have some significant restrictions on how they can fundraise. Help them out via their fundraising site
* ThinkGeek has a Mother’s Day section! Uh, not so keen on the whole idea of cosmetics on ThinkGeek. That said, superhero socks (somehow listed in the cosmetics section?) would be pretty fun to have peeking out under slacks at work on tough days…
April 30th, 2013
I’m ready to get my next tattoo, or even set of tattoos. Kid-themed, I think, where kids = bears, squids, and maybe CareBears. That’s parental love, if I end up with the pain of inking for a CareBear. Given that Callie just got her hair dyed blue (ends only!), I’m now thinking Squid Girl – anime series.
Tattoos for my kids. Not exactly the kind of rebellion I imagined when I got my first at 19… But somehow a good marker of my life and how it’s changed since then.
April 2nd, 2013
Savvy or slimy? Ordering flowers from Teleflora, there are options for standard, deluxe, and premium. Premium is of course the defaulted option, which I realized when I saw the bill in my cart. Removed the item and went back. Selected ‘standard’ that time. Taken again to the cart, and this time I have three buttons to let me toggle between standard, deluxe, and premium. No such buttons when they defaulted me to premium. By the way, if you select -premium- from the cart area and recalculate the total, you suddenly lose all buttons again and can only adjust the size by removing the item from the cart and starting over. Sorry, but it is worth a bit of headache to me to take $20 off of the bill. And now that I’ve recognized the tactic, I may choose another florist company the next time round.
February 15th, 2013
Rather than resolutions, I’m going to try a Ben Franklin-esque approach, adding new habits over the year. He built himself a list of 13 virtues, and then a cycle in which he concentrated on one per week. He kept a log which then let him hold himself accountable: each day in which he didn’t accomplish his virtue habit, he put in an X mark. The goal, of course, was to have a week clear of X’s. On week 1, he worked on habit 1. On week 2, he logged how he did on habit 1, but really focused on habit 2. The idea was that by concentrating on a particular habit and logging previous, you’d do well at your focused habit, and at least better than you were doing previously on your previous habits. Rinse and repeat 4 times (4*13=52) during the year, and you’re making some real progress..
Not being _quite_ so formal here, in terms of keeping a log, but definitely trying an additive approach for habits on for size. Thinking here the advantage, as opposed to New Year’s resolutions, is you’re adding targets iteratively, rather than having a really large set that you’re bound to fall over on early on. Previous attempts to set New Year’s resolutions end up with 10 out of 13 failing within the first two months or so. This, instead, lets me succeed a bit at a time, and also then know I get three more cycles.
- Eating more healthfully: Vegetables, consumption of alcohol
- Spend time with God: Bible-reading, prayer, …
- Organization – day timer system,…
- Spend more time with family – consistent in/out time for work
You’ll see we’re in the first week of the new year: I “cheated” and started early on eating more fruits and vegetables – started the week before. With the minor scariness of having an apparent allergic reaction to a vegetarian pizza, things have gone swimmingly. I’m in week 2, working on reading the Bible each night. Chronological Bible in hand, doing a bit each evening. So far, success – this one has proved challenging for me before to sustain, though – previous attempts to read through the Bible in a year have take 2 1/2 years or more. I’m also trying out a new organization system in my Day Timer – counting this as a week 3 thing, as I’m not yet sure what the mechanics for my system are… Uh, not doing so well on getting out of work on time lately – let’s make that a habit to tackle in week 4 or so.. :-)
Advantage here: I haven’t yet determined all 13 habits. Observations on the way the year’s going can influence what habits get added in later weeks. Agile self-improvement.
January 3rd, 2013
The Christmas season is fast approaching. If you’re looking for an opportunity to spread some Christmas cheer, particularly with families who are finding it hard to make ends meet, consider contributing a toy to the New Hope Community Church Christmas store. I’ve visited their church a few times, and always been impressed by their approach and attitude to reaching out to the community. The Christmas Store is a great model: new or gently used toys of ~$10 value are made available to families for $2. That lets families shop and obtain toys at a much lower impact to their budget, allowing them to use their money in other ways more necessary for their families (food, rent, medicine, etc), while letting them still enjoy the holiday aspects of giving gifts to your kids that so many of us so look forward to. How much fun is it to select that perfect gift for a person you love and then get to anticipate their face as they open it and play with it?
Their church will hold two Christmas Store days – once in their worship center, and once in a recreation center in the Curtis Bay community. They’d like to provide for 600 children, so every gift added in counts! Look for sales at your local stores, and see what your budget can score to bring a ray of joy not just to the child who opens that package, but to their parents and extended family… This ministry grows each year – your gift will be put to good use.
Happy to serve as a gathering point for these toys, or to put you into contact with the ministry leaders organizing the drive overall. They’re also seeking gift wrapping items – paper, tape, gift bags, tissue paper. Leave me a comment with your contact info or email me directly if you have my address already: comments are moderated, so your info won’t be visible to the world.
November 14th, 2012