Learning & Life

Change, Life, Rambles

Creatures of Habit

It’s 6:15 AM. I’m usually the last to get out of bed. It’s a known fact in this family and even the dogs know it. Mornings are not my time. I like to ease into my day. Maybe it is the chaos of the move or just the songbirds welcoming the morning light that have me awake today. I knew better than to just lay there. It would be so easy to slip back into slumber, even if it wasn’t actually sleep. I told my husband I was going to shake things up a bit this morning. I’m getting up and I’m taking the dogs out. This is a big deal and one of those moments where we will look back and say, “do you remember that morning when…”. Well, the dogs are shocked. I didn’t do it like daddy. I took Ella and Pachelbel first. Sawyer and Rachmaninov joined. They don’t need a lift down the stairs. I then went back for Benny and Mozart. Mozey was still asleep, oblivious to the whining of his best friend. There are some benefits to being deaf. Mozey has a pretty strong sleep game.

Now that we’re outside and everyone has done their business they are all staring at me like, Daddy feeds us now. Well, I’m enjoying my coffee go smell stuff.

So here we are. Me typing away on my iPad, wondering if this is even going to post when I finish and the dogs just waiting to go back in.

Sometimes it’s good to get out of our comfort zone and try something we don’t normally do. The sounds of the birds and fresh air with my coffee is nice. I love being outside. It inspired me to write, which I haven’t done in some time. I’m easing into my day a different way. No promises that it will become a thing, but I don’t hate it.

In 2020 we all were forced out of our comfort zone, then we developed a routine a new normal- however weird it was. As 2021 threatens to get back to something resembling our previous normal there are a lot of conversations surrounding what we’ve become comfortable with. It’s going to require compromise from both sides of the work from home vs. back to the office groups. We’ve found that we can be effective regardless of where we work. Some of us are comfortable at home, some of us need the interaction of the office. To be effective as a team we have to be flexible, step out of our personal comfort zone and meet the others halfway. It is not going to be one or the other, it can be both and we can appreciate the benefits of what is out of our personal comfort zone.

Even creatures of habit need to shake things up. While the dogs are still waiting to go back inside they are now all relaxing at my feet listening to the birds. Well, Mozey isn’t listening to anything, but he did find a cool bug that has his attention.

Rambles

A Year Ago Today

A year ago we were walking around with our face uncovered. A year ago we were working in the office. A year ago we thought we would work from home for a couple of weeks and everything would go back to normal. A year ago we shook hands or gave a hug. A year ago I didn’t Instacart every grocery order or even remember my Door Dash password.

A year. It seems like so long ago. I haven’t worked at the office in a year. I haven’t been on a plane. I haven’t gathered with co-workers in person.

I haven’t missed going into the office and can honestly say I’m accomplishing more in my personal life than ever before. My commute time is now my workout/walk time. We have a camping trip or two scheduled for every month. We’re spending more time on our outdoor activities. My dogs are spoiled beyond imagination. Two are covid pups and have never known a life of going to their kennel each morning to nap while we go to work.

My husband will not be going back to the office until at least 2022, and even then he will not have to go in all the time. I will be on a similar schedule after receiving the vaccine. It will be good to have in-person interaction again. I’m not going to give up Instacart or Door Dash. It’s been a wonderful weekly time saver.

The big questions: Why did it take a pandemic to get people to wash their hands?

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday February 17

I’ve been a busy bee lately!

Photography, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday February 2: Thirty One Days

For 31 days I worked with the manual settings of my camera. Using a tripod in the same place every day, between 9:00 and 10:00 AM, I took a picture. Then, I took a picture of the same tree limb in a different area of the yard. It was in this period that I worked with light and my camera settings to determine the impact of one setting on another.

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Life

Quick and Easy Makes the Best Meal

Egg Roll in a Bowl

It’s a healthy meal that with a little planning can be ready in less than 30 minutes.

  • Shredded Chicken (or ground pork, ground beef, ground turkey)
  • 1 Package Broccoli Slaw (or Cole Slaw mix)
  • 2 carrots chopped or grated
  • 2 broccoli stalks chopped or grated
  • Sliced Mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
  • Salt/Pepper/Garlic
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

  • In a high-sided skillet or wok, brown the ground meat and remove it from the skillet/drain.  (Skip this step if you use precooked shredded chicken). We like to slow cook chicken breasts in the crockpot on low for several hours. Then shred it for adding to the veggie mixture. I add a little of the broth to the wok before adding the vegetables.
  • Add shredded veggies to the same skillet, toss until slightly wilted.
  • Add rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, seasoning mix, and ginger.
  • Add mushrooms (optional).
  • Set heat to high and return ground meat. Add hoisin sauce. Mix vigorously.
  • Serve by itself or over rice.

This makes 2 – 4 portions. It’s super easy and super yummy.

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday January 27

Take the win where you can
Comment or Linky Link and I will be by to see you this evening. Happy Wednesday!
Best Practices, Self Improvement

Active Listening

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” -Bryant H. McGill

Communication requires speaking and listening. It’s a dance where effective communication requires the participation of everyone. One of the most difficult parts is active listening. Here’s a quick summary. Take two minutes and watch.

Forbes offers 10 Steps for Effective Listening. The article is from 2012, but still good advice.

  1. Face the speaker, maintain eye contact
  2. Be attentive, but relaxed
  3. Keep an open mind, don’t judge
  4. Listen and picture what is being said
  5. Don’t interrupt or impose your solutions
  6. Wait for a pause to ask clarifying questions
  7. Ask questions to ensure understanding
  8. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling
  9. Give feedback by nodding, reflecting, show some feeling
  10. Pay attention to non-verbal cues

And I will add…

If you are the speaker, give the listener a chance to offer a response or ask a question. Conversations shouldn’t be a one way street.

Friday is for

Friday is for…Finally.

It is finally Friday and I could not be happier. It’s been a long week.

I do believe the United States has breathed a sigh of relief this week. Regardless of political affiliation, it is good to see the inauguration and transfer of power complete. This election was stressful. I’m glad to see it done, and I am hopeful for the future. I’m always hopeful for the future.

No big projects this weekend. We have a family dinner planned for Sunday. We’ve decided that will be a nice addition for 2021. We’ve worked hard for 9 years to blend our families. There are times it has worked, and times it has not. That doesn’t mean we stop trying.

That’s the way with each week too. Whether it is busy, stressful, or not good we still don’t stop working through it.

It wasn’t a bad week, but it was busy. I don’t do boring, so that works.

Empowerment, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday January 20

Taken from President Biden’s Facebook Page

Family, Life, Quotes, Today I will

National Day of Service 2021

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Steve and I wanted to do something today for #nationaldayofservice. It had to be Covid-19 aware and something important to us. The Covid Aware part was the biggest struggle. What can we do that is adequately socially distanced and we will not risk exposure? Today we chose to take the afternoon, enjoy being outdoors in the cool day sun, and pick up trash. We were not without subject matter to work with!  There are several local parks we like to visit. Some days there is a good bit of trash and it is terribly sad to see. 

There is a growing awareness that single-use plastic is detrimental to the planet. Do you know what’s worse?

Humans.

If we would make better decisions, pick up after ourselves, and work for the good of each other so many issues in life could improve.

I digress. This is not a post about how much humans can sometimes suck. Although, I’m sure as my husband hauled a giant lawn leaf bag full of trash around our favorite park the thought crossed his mind several times.

While there was plenty of trash to pick up, there was beauty worth working for. Nature always finds a way to make us smile. Deer and raccoon tracks were all over Pharr Mill park. Families were using the trails or playing by the water at Frank Liske. From trash to fungi to waterfalls our time outdoors today was wonderful. 

It is not uncommon for us to take trash bags with us when we walk the beach at our favorite Dauphin Island. I believe it will now be a regular part of our park excursions.  The parks that do not have on-site attendants fare poorly.  I expected to need the large trash bag, I did not expect to fill the large trash bag overcapacity.  

Our parks are not able to have their regular clean up events. They are understaffed as it is. Picking up is something that needs to be done, and we don’t mind doing it.  I believe this is a regular task to add to our 2021 goals and I want to find others.

Organizations that rely on volunteers are struggling. They are struggling to raise money for their organization. They are struggling with volunteers and health protocols.  I encourage you to find something you care about and discover how you can contribute. It doesn’t have to be for a specific day. Every day is a great day to work for the good of our community.