Brief Interval

What we make of our life, the sum total of thoughts, emotions, words and actions that fill the brief interval between birth and death is our one great creative masterpiece.

I just started listening to this book called “The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science”. I know, what a title. I was sold by the reviews though. I love meditation and I can tell how my days begin to suffer if I don’t set aside at least 10 minutes to breathe deep and observe my thoughts. Read On…

Air Conditioning

We have a goofy situation at our house, where there’s a fused disconnect coming from a separate interruptible power source from DTE directly to the condenser for the air conditioning. At the condenser, there’s an identical fused disconnect there as well. When we bought the house, the owner happened to mention (conveniently after the sale was complete) that he had lost the pull-out handle that goes in the disconnect by the meter, so the system was inoperable until it was replaced. No problem, I thought – it must be a common item.

It’s not a common item. Read On…

Grad Party Season

Yesterday, we spent most of the day hanging out a neighbor’s graduation party. We did this because our yards are adjoined and Sully loved their playset. He heard them assembling it in the morning, rushed to get his tools and went to go assist them hammering it together.

Later that day, after a walk, we wandered over there and he spent a good amount of the day just climbing in and out of it and meeting other kids too.

Extended Vacation

We’re leaving for a long vacation to the cottage soon and I’m excited. We are going to spend a week at the cottage doing cottage things. 

We have a short list of to-dos up there, like fixing the oven and installing a light switch, but beside that, we’ll be on the beach and at the bonfire relaxing as much as possible.

The kids love the water and Sully will get some car time too. The only bummer is the mosquitos are out in full force. We’ll have to bring some of those personal fans to keep near all of us.

The Power of Stories

I was reminded of how powerful a story can be when trying to send a message yesterday during a conference. We had a breakout educational session  during the conference that focused on storytelling and it’s power for convincing someone of something.

We got a chance to practice this, by formulating a message with three supporting points and a story to highlight your personal experience of this.

I didn’t get a chance to use mine, but my message was to try Toastmasters. My story was going to be the time that I went to a U-M interview for a job I thought I was a shoo-in for and didn’t prepare. I froze during a question and never quite recovered from it. It sunk the whole interview and I didn’t get the job.

I joined Toastmaster shortly thereafter and improved on my speaking skills to be able to think quickly on my feet.

I improved my skills and got the same job a few years later with a stellar interview.

This just reemphasized the importance for me to always include a short story to get an important point across, in all interactions.

Up all night

Not sure what brought this on, but I spent the other night feeling awful. I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t leave the bathroom. I’ll spare the details.

I went to an all day conference the next day and never hit a wall. I’m not sure how this happened. Even after work, I kept going with the kids and didn’t feel like I didn’t sleep at all the night before.

Last night’s sleep was deep and I could have slept longer if it wasn’t for work today, but I’m still a bit amazed at how okay I felt after being awake and ill all night.

Process-focused

At work, I try to focus on the big picture, looking at the process by which we accomplish work. Sure, you can ram any given project through, but how sustainable is the process? Is it solid or flimsy? Is it constant or ever-changing? Is it even documented? Do the affected parties even know what it is?

I think an important part of succeeding in any setting is not caring as much about the results, although you should care (your boss will),  but to really focus on how work gets done. Write it down. Talk about it with everyone involved. Does it make sense? Are there unnecessary bottlenecks? Any opportunities to eliminate steps?

Once you do that, you have the chance to scale up your work. You can fly through projects much faster with a solid, consensus-built process.

Morning Meditation

I lost track of my morning time, following the move. Our kids in their new rooms, waking up at different times, with new needs and feeding times are all things I tried blaming for missing my morning time to sit and think. But it’s all on me. I needed to make the choice to dedicate time to myself in the morning – no one else is to blame.

In the time that I was not sitting in the morning, I added some weight, got stressed out and I felt noticeably worse. Since starting back up, I have run 5x more than I was before, I feel better and I can think more clearly throughout the day.

 

Outside Time

We had such a beautiful weekend here. We spent as much time as possible outside, in the front yard, back yard, sweeping the courts and at the pool. The weather was in the mid-70s for the most part, with a moderate breeze, perfect for playing outside. When the weather is so nice, I almost get anxious about possibly not enjoying it.

I think we savored this weekend enough, though.

Restore

Today, we’re going to check out the ReStore, a place where habitat for humanity accepts furniture donations and then sells them to support their work.

We need dressers, side tables and coffee tables. We are sorely lacking in these things but don’t want to pay full price for all of them.