It's interesting to me to discover the technology surrounding babies. For instance, the bottle. it has 5 parts: the body of the bottle, the cover, the nipple--obvious enough. The bottom is not solid, and there is an inner (latex?) diaphragm that is domed up a bit--this doesn't let anything leak out the bottom, and I imagine with the negative pressure of sucking, allows enough air in so that the milk can come out, yet without coming out too quickly. Nice. Elegant.
Then comes the technology for cleaning the bottle. I intuited the bottle brush immediately--don't remember eve seeing one and knowing what it is, yet when the glass scrubber didn't fit inside it was obvious pretty quickly. Does it really need the swivel handle? Perhaps with having to clean bottles for every-three-hour feedings this would save the wrist over time. Hmmm. What's with the little nubby spongie thingie at the end? Oh--would that be the right shape and size to clean the bottle nipple? Sho' 'nuff.
Then the making of the formula. Two level, unpacked scoops. Hm. Can't find the scoop--found it with a fork. Hm. What an odd shape--so long and thin--why is it shaped that way? I'm sure there's a good reason; I just can't imagine why. [Making the formula] oh. That's why--if it weren't this narrow, most of the formula wouldn't make it into the bottle. Boy, these folks have had a number of years to figure this stuff out, eh?
Sporadic sharing, rants and quips. I will definitely not be writing in here on a daily basis - only as the urge hits me. I hope to write entries that are fun, funny, or thought-provoking. Feedback is invited.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
TE-I (Loving Messages) Follow-Up
Last week I wrote this thought experiment on Loving Messages. It didn't take long before I had the opportunity to put the thought experiment into action. In most cases I will probably not name the cast of characters involved, for pretty obvious reasons; and I still want to share my results.
Within two hours of writing that post I passed something on, which I considered to be rather considerate. In return I got something akin to a lecture about the concerns of sharing what I did. There was no thank-you for the action, just what could be perceived as criticism.
As the communication started, I had full awareness that this was the perfect opportunity! I was aware that an initial reaction of frustration was welling up. I took a deep breath, and listened for the loving message. The concerns were valid, and the love was found in the very fact of the concerns being expressed--if there weren't caring, there would be no need for the expression of concern. Where in the past I might have gotten very frustrated by the conversation, I listened for the love, and ended up fairly neutral. This was a success.
The next opportunity came that evening. I was driving Josh and myself home after dark. I was about to turn left onto our street, and there was a car waiting at the stop sign there; I was going to be turning in front of them. As I started the turn, they starting into the intersection! I quickly steered away from them, toward the curb, to give them as much room as possible to stop. I was sure that there would be impact, and there wasn't. I sat for a moment and took a breath, then continued on down the road.
It's a bit harder to find the loving message in this "communication." The easy way out would be to look at the fact that they didn't hit me, and that's too easy--I would want to be able to find the loving message even if they had. My tactic, then, is to simply let go of the judgment about what happened: instead of thinking they are a dumb $@#$% for not looking where they're going, I just let that thought go. I have no idea what was going on in the person's head: maybe they were rushing somewhere in an emergency, or to someone they love. Or, perhaps they simply weren't paying attention. It doesn't matter to me. I chose to simply take a breath and let it go. As a result, I had a peaceful time getting ready for bed (while the adrenaline dump subsided), and falling right to sleep.
As if to test my resolve, the near-identical thing happened the next day: I was turning left in front of someone at a stop sign, and they nearly drove into me again! It wasn't quite as close a call as the previous night, and I wondered what I was doing that was attracting this. I'm still working on that one.
The results, so far, from my thought experiment are very good. I continue to incorporate the process into my life. I'll give more updates as I believe they are pertinent/interesting.
Posted by Jay Edgar at 7:49 AM No comments:
Labels: breathing space, driving, frustration, healing, life hack, thought experiment
It's All About the Heart
Last night I took my third annual CPR refresher. The protocol has gotten even simpler to remember, and the teaching style has been greatly improved to be much more hands-on than the previous more-informational style.
If you haven't yet gotten your CPR training, I highly encourage you to do so. Keeping someone's blood moving through their body is absolutely crucial in case of a heart attack. Our blood has enough oxygen for 10 minutes, yet it won't do any good if it's not moving. When CPR is rendered, it's quite possible that there will be no neurological damage due to hypoxia.
We also learned (again) how to help someone who's choking, whether they be an adult or a 2-month-old.
In the Taking It Lightly weekend I do a lot of "heart work." I'm very happy that I know how to do this kind of "heart work" as well.
For information on CPR training, visit www.redcross.org.
Posted by Jay Edgar at 7:13 AM No comments:
Friday, May 08, 2009
Thought Experiment I: Loving Messages
This post is the start of a new intermittent series on Intermittent Inspirations where I will consider "what ifs" that pop into my head. Paul Wesselmann inspired this idea when he, Josh and I had dinner the other night, although he doesn't know it yet. I hope you enjoy.
Last week when I was driving to Milwaukee to teach Taking It Lightly at the Center for Creative Learning, I listened to podcasts. I so rarely take the time to listen in my daily life, so driving trips are a treat for me in this way. I heard an episode of the Get-It-Done Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More. Stever Robbins (yes, Stever) does a fantastic job of sharing truly valuable tips for being more productive, especially with work and technology.
In this episode he focused on saying "no" to difficult requests, say from a boss or a teenager. I was blown away that he interviewed Byron Katie! She's the author of Loving What Is, which is a fantastic book about questioning our beliefs, accepting reality, and letting go of a lot of the painful and troublesome thoughts that we live with on a daily basis. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Here's a brief excerpt of one of the role plays that Stever and Katie did:
Finally, a teenager who wants the car.
S: I'm a teenager and you're a mother.
S: Hey Mom! Can I use your car to go to the movies?
K: No, actually, no.
S: All the other kids' parents let them use the car.
K: Oh, my goodness, it's true, isn't it? You know, we really have different lives.
S: If you loved me, you'd let me use the car.
K: You know, it's so interesting you would say that. You know, I love you with all my heart, and I'm not letting you use the car.
S: Mom, I hate you! I hate you! Everything in my life that's wrong is wrong because of you.
K: Oh, honey. I'm so sorry you feel that way. I adore you.
Did you catch that? No matter what message she received that would normally be considered disrespectful, hurtful or hateful, she responded with love. It was almost as if she didn't hear anything but love. And this leads to my thought experiment:
Thought Experiment: What if we only attended to the Love in all incoming messages?
This doesn't mean that we wouldn't hear the words of messages if they weren't loving; it means that listening to each word we would only hear Love (or perhaps a request for it). When Stever in the role play said "Mom, I hate you!" she didn't respond by hurting back, punishing or judging, she simply expressed sadness, then said she adored the teenager.
It's easiest for me to do this experiment when thinking about a small child who is upset: wouldn't it be easier to understand the child doesn't believe it when she says she hates you? She's lashing out because of some kind of pain. I imagine having compassion for the child, holding her and telling her I'm sorry she's upset, and that I love her anyway.
Well, now apply that to anyone. Let's say I bump into someone in a store and they say something that would normally be thought of as unkind. If I knew that five minutes earlier they had learned someone very close to them had died, wouldn't I be able to have compassion for them, and let the less-than-kind words go right by? Would I instead be able to simply recognize they are hurting, and understand it wasn't about me, so that I didn't need to take it personally?
If compassion is possible in that situation, why not in every situation? Why should I ever take unkind messages personally? How could they ever truly be about me? Even if it's someone I know, even if it's someone who's very close to me, isn't everything they say still about them? What is the benefit of taking anything personally that anyone says? Is there one? What is the benefit of NOT taking things personally? I can't even count them.
I had an experience in this vein while teaching a few years ago: I was leading an activity that had a goal of helping people learn to ask for help. The students were given a task to do individually that was not very possible to do alone, without help. From the previous day, I had identified one of the students as being hyper-independent. She (gender determined by coin toss) immediately reacted when I gave the instructions for the activity. She was angry, and an observer may have perceived that she attacked me. Happily, I was unsurprised by the response. I knew that it wasn't about me, but about her fear of not having the answer, not being able to control the outcome by herself. I responded, "Whoever told you that you had to have all the answers?" She immediately broke down in tears and told a story of just that--having to be in charge, not getting any support, and having to do it all herself. She did the activity and got a huge gift of being able to let go of some of the charge connected to those thoughts.
If I had taken what she said personally, I wouldn't have had the resources to respond the way I did. What do you suppose would have happened if I had responded defensively? It wouldn't have been pretty, and she probably wouldn't have gotten the gift of releasing some of her pain.
When I'm instructing it's a lot easier to respond in that way, because I'm in "instructor mode." I'm not that clear-thinking every moment of every day.
What would happen if we simply didn't respond to anything but the loving content of messages, or responded only with love or positive regard to all communications? Think about your interactions at work or school. With friends. With family. This last one is probably the toughest, since familial relationships are so primary, and thus so tied into our basic emotions and reactions. Imagine the following interactions:
child: if I don't get the car tonight, I'll hate you forever!
parent: I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm afraid you can't have the car tonight, and I love you.
spouse: Why are you embarrassing me by wearing that again?
spouse: I'm sorry you're embarrassed. I love you and I'm wearing this again because I like it.
boss: This report isn't very good--this semi-colon should be a dash, there's an extra space here, and [...]
employee: Thank you for the feedback; I appreciate it.
Do these examples sound ridiculous? Do you get tense just reading them, perhaps thinking another response is appropriate?
Simply imagine what it would feel like to not take anything personally. To see everyone consistently with unconditional positive regard. To not need to get tense or afraid or angry about what someone thinks about us or says about us or anything else. How would things be different in your primary relationships? In your family? At work?
I'm committing to working on this thought experiment in daily life as best as I can. I'll write about my experiences.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this first thought experiment.
Posted by Jay Edgar at 8:09 AM No comments:
Labels: healing, peace, thought experiment
Dealing with Bacon Part II
In a previous post I discussed bacon--emails that I've signed up for, yet aren't a high priority. I've been fine-tuning my bacon-wrangling, and thought I'd share my progress in case others would find it useful.
In that past post I discussed the special Bacon folder I created, and how I created rules in Outlook to look for specific senders and move those emails directly into that folder.
Now I have a much simpler method that doesn't require my adding email addresses to my Outlook rule every time a new sender shows up in my inbox.
Because I use Gmail, there's a little trick I can use when signing up for things. With Gmail, it's possible to create on-the-fly email addresses. Let's say my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org (which it isn't). You can create an unlimited number of email addresses by adding + after the username and anything you want, and they will all be delivered to you!
So let's say I sign up for something, and want the emails they send me to go into my bacon folder. Starting with my fictitious email above, I'd sign up with the email email@example.com. Then, with the rule I have in Outlook that puts all emails sent to that address in my bacon folder, I'm all set! (Other email providers may have similar services--YMMV.)
I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have only important emails in my inbox!
I also use a number of Outlook rules to intelligently put emails into folders based on project or group. I can see them all using the Unread Mail folder, and when I'm done reading them, they are already filed!
This combination of systems has helped me to automate a great deal of my inbox cleanup, meaning I have time for other things. I can't recommend these types of automation highly enough.
Posted by Jay Edgar at 7:53 AM No comments:
Labels: breathing space, life hack
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Last week was a bit hectic. When I discussed it with my friend, Karen, she sent me this, which I think is very cool. Using it really helped me be more relaxed!
Breathing in I know I am breathing in
Breathing out I know I am breathing out
Breathing in I see myself as a flower
Breathing out I feel fresh
Breathing in I see myself as still water
Breathing out I reflect things as they are
Breathing in I see myself as a mountain
Breathing out I feel solid
Breathing in I see myself as space
Breathing out I feel free
Thich Nhat Hanh
Posted by Jay Edgar at 1:27 AM No comments:
Labels: breathing space, health, peace
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
McNaughton 10 II
Last April I told you about running the McNaughton 10 while my friend, Ryan Dexter, ran the 150-mile race. Once again this year, I went down to Pekin, Illinois, and ran 10 miles with Ryan.
I left at 6 AM and once again listen to for hours of podcasts from my iPod. However, this year I drove south with the aid of Bruce, the Garmen GPS that Josh and I bought ourselves for Christmas. last year I got a little lost and needed to call Josh to get assistance through Google maps so that I could find my way.
Bruce has been one of the best purchases I've ever been involved with. It made the drive very stress-free and really enjoyable. I rarely get or make the time to listen to podcasts, so four hours of Grammar Girl, the Get It Done Guy, and Modern Manners Guy was like a four-hour slice of heaven.
A week before the race I was a bit concerned that the weather was going to be as bad as it was last year. I wasn't looking forward to another day of running and standing around in cold, rain, and generally miserable conditions. I was quite happy that the forecast changed: when I arrived it was sunny and in the 50s. While there had been some serious rain at the beginning of the 150-mile race, the sun had dried up most of the mud, so that, for the most part, the run was on solid ground.
Last year I also made a promise to Ryan and that I would run with him anytime he ran 120 miles first. I made even better on that promise, as I ran with him after he ran only 110 miles. I ran the first half of the eleventh 10-mile lap. The terrain was just as I remembered it, complete with the creek and river crossings. At the halfway point, someone took my place and I took the truck back to the starting point.
Ryan's wife, Christina, their boys, and Christina's mother came during the afternoon, bringing hot chocolate with them. This was a big boost for Ryan -- he really enjoyed seeing them.
Later in the afternoon I ran the last half of the 14th lap. Randy ran in front, and I ran behind Ryan, being the voice and is ear. After the first couple of laps, Ryan always had someone running with him, to help motivate and keep him focused. We got back to the starting point not a moment too soon, as it was getting pretty dark by that time.
Dema ran the last lap with Ryan and, understandably, it was the slowest lap of the race for him. Even with this, however, Ryan set a record of having no lap of the race being more than 2 hours 45 minutes.
Christina arrived a while before the race ended, and Ryan finished his race in great style: through the dark we could see five bobbing lights heading toward the finish line -- four of the guys finish the race with him. Andy, the organizer, announced Ryan's finish and there was much applause and encouragement.
We took a few pictures, then I said my goodbyes and took off after 11 PM. Luckily, I had taken a short nap during the last half of the last lap, so I was awake enough for the ride home. And, while Bruce did an equally fantastic job on the ride down, I was a little tired and a bit absorbed with the New York Times fiction stories on my iPod, so that I missed the turn to 39 N. and instead headed toward Chicago. While I was frustrated with my mistake, I was very happy to have Bruce guiding my way. While he took me somewhere where I've never been before, and attempted to get me to do a U-turn where there was a median, he eventually got me back on the right road, adding only 15 minutes my trip. I was impressed.
I got home at about quarter after 3 AM on Sunday morning. My bed felt wonderful, and in the morning I discovered that even after not enough sleep my body felt okay, especially my left knee, which had hurt the most after running. I've been quite happy that I wasn't in as rough shape as I was last year. I hadn't been planning on running the Madison have marathon this year, but if my knee gets back to normal quickly I just may reconsider.
Ryan won the 150-mile race by more than six hours. Not only that, if he had stopped at 100 miles, he would have won that race by two hours. Big congratulations to Ryan!
Posted by Jay Edgar at 6:45 AM 1 comment:
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Strangest Thing I've Done (Naked) In Quite Some Time
[Oh, do you think you know where this is going? I'll bet you don't.]
It's not my fault. It's the cats' fault. [How about now?] This story requires some background:
Josh moved in at the beginning of August, and brought his (cat) girls, Maggie and Feliz, with him. We followed the proper protocol: lock them in a room for a month, and never let them or Raja (my boy) see each other. They can smell one another under the door, etc. At the same time, we locked Raja in our bedroom to minimize his anxiety with all of the noise going on during renovations.
Starting in September we would let everyone out for an hour or so, then back in the room. We gradually increased the time until finally after about two months, I think, the doors were opened for good.
Obviously if a cat is locked in a room a litter box is required, so Maggie & Feliz had theirs, and Raja had his in the master bedroom. I didn't really enjoy this--litter in the bed is a result, both carried by his paws as well as our feet from the litter that was perpetually on the bedroom floor (hardwoods--bamboo--I installed it myself). I find litter in the bed quite annoying.
Even after the doors were open, we often shut the doors during construction to keep the cats contained, which reduces their stress. Once the house was on the market at the beginning of the year, we moved Raja's litter box downstairs to the office. That's when the trouble began.
Maggie and Feliz would chase Raja through the house. We didn't realize the dynamic we had set up: Raja is a very timid cat, and Josh's girls are both much more social and assertive. Raja was spending all of his time on our bed, even after the doors were open, so as to avoid the girls. Thus, they reached a detente that they didn't publish anywhere: Raja may be in the bedroom (actually, on the bed), and Maggie and Feliz may be everywhere else. When he had his space in the office they deigned to let him have that space as well. So, he can be in the bedroom on the main floor, where we fed him, or in the office where his litter box and water were. Do you see a logistical problem here?
Every time he wanted to go to the bathroom he had to run the gauntlet, as well as when returning to the bedroom. the would literally chase him back to his room (sometimes he wasn't allowed to go downstairs) and onto the bed, even jumping on the bed to intimidate him, if I may anthropomorphize a bit.
Josh, ever thoughtful as he is, began getting concerned last week that Raja wasn't getting enough water. So we decided to put a bowl of water in the bedroom.
[Are you wondering what the heck this has to do with my being naked? I'll get there shortly.]
Josh was right: Raja wasn't getting enough water. He was drinking lots of water, so it was good we had the water up there. Lots and lots of water. Water, water, water. It occurred to me to possibly be nervous, but Raja has always been so faithful with his litter box that I considered the risk to be quite low.
Until last Thursday.
Last week Monday through Wednesday Josh took Raja down to his office when he (Josh, not Raja) was working. Raja would use the litter box and hang out for a while, sometimes running the gauntlet to get back to home base.
Thursday Josh didn't go down to his office. I know you see it coming.
As we were getting ready for bed, I walked into the bedroom and saw a LARGE wet stain on the comforter. "Oh, he didn't pee," I thought, "he just threw up." No he didn't--he peed.
On my bed.
On my down comforter.
I'm quite happy to state that I almost never get frustrated with cats, and never when a 'misbehavior' is caused by their stress. I was nowhere near angry with him; indeed, I felt sorry that I had put him in this position. Knowing how faithful he has always been with his littler box, I was quite sure he held it as long as he could, stressed out, and then lost the battle.
I feel like a bit of a bad cat-daddy as a result, but 1) I'll get over it; and 2) that's not pertinent to the story.
I soaked up everything I could with paper towels, then we stripped off the duvet and put the comforter in a large trash bag, in the garage where it would stay cool (we left the following morning for the farm--no time to wash it). I washed the duvet in enzymes, which solved that problem completely. However, an industrial washer and dryer are required to wash a down comforter.
[We're almost there; do you have any guesses yet?]
I intended to leave work by 4 today to get time after work and before a call at 7 tonight to wash and dry it. I checked the instructions of the enzymes and realized I didn't have enough time: the comforter needs to soak for an hour in the enzymes, then finish the cycle, then wash again, then dry. No small project.
[Here it comes; are you ready?]
There's no way to start a Laundromat washer, cycle until wet, then turn it off for an hour. First of all, there's no way to shut one off (that I know of); second, others would need it more than likely, so I couldn't waste the time. So I made an alternate plan.
I mixed the enzymes, waited a few minutes for them to activate, then put warm water in the tub (between 75 and 110°). I'd soak the comforter there for an hour, squeeze it then go to the laundromat.
Have you ever tried to soak a down comforter in a bathtub? I'll bet not. Because the better question is: have you ever tried to submerge a down comforter in water? Or a related question: have you ever tried to hold a beach ball under water? It ain't easy.
If you're a scout and have received your swimming merit badge, or whatever the analog is for girl scouts, or ever taken a water survival course, you learn that blue jeans (without holes) make nice floatation devices: take them off, tie the ends of the legs together, put them over your head with the knot behind your neck, then holding the waistline below the water, "splash" air under water until it fills with air. The water causes the threads of the fabric to expand, as well as adding water tension to the surface. As long as the pants are kept wet, they hold air pretty well.
Now imagine that same phenomenon with a queen-sized down comforter. (No jokes, please. Oh what the heck: jokes, please.) It's actually more challenging than a beach ball, because you push down here and it pops up there.
Being a thinking man, I went to the kitchen and got several cooking screens and racks. I thought I could use them to push down on the comforter. It didn't work--the air kept moving away from where I pushed down.
[ok, you see it coming now, don't you?]
I decided the only way to soak the entire comforter all the way through was the man-handle the thing. I took off my clothes and got in the tub. Even that didn't work at first: I'd kneel here and push there with my hands, and the bubbles would simply move. So I hearkened back to my four months in Asia living with a Thermarest and sleeping bag with stuffsack: I started at one end, squeezed all the air out, then rolled it. Kneel on it. Roll, kneel, roll, kneel, until I got all the way through. It got even more challenging at the end, and I finally did it. I then spread out the comforter and agitated it. I looked a bit like Lucille Ball stomping grapes, except that I'm a man, not a woman; I'm stomping on a comforter not grapes, and I'm naked. Other than that, I'm sure we looked a lot alike. I could make more comparisons, but this is a family show.
Then it's time to get out of the tub. I turn on the water and use the hand-shower to shower off my legs and arms. Then dry and get out.
I mentioned the enzymes: the product is called Odor-Mute, and it works AMAZINGLY well on cat urine: it gets rid of the odor completely and passes the black light test (urine--including human urine--phosphoresces under black light). Curiously, it's the exact same enzyme that's in Adolph's Meat Tenderizer. So not only have I been removing the urine smell from the comforter, I've been tenderizing myself. I must be very tender by now. Throw me on the grill.
Well, I have my clothes back on by now, and it's been almost an hour since I set it to soaking. It's time to go squeeze the water out, and go to the Laudromat. Hm. I'll probably have to get naked again.
Wonder whether it will come out all right? Wonder whether I'll make my phone call at 7? Wonder whether I'll die of boredom at the Laundromat? or get mugged? or meet an angel or something?
Check back later to find out. This is my cliff-hanger.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
MasterMind Program - Starting Soon in Madison!
On March 24 a group is going to be starting an exciting adventure in Madison. We're going to be holding a MasterMind program. For those not familiar, a MasterMind program is a monthly meeting of individuals who are focused on making their goals into reality. We start the group by defining our goals, and meet the 4th Tuesday of every month (Except December 29) for a couple of hours in the evening. Between these meetings participants have a weekly meeting with their coaching partner that lasts about an hour.
I've really been looking forward to this group, which I'm facilitating. It's a great opportunity to get serious about what I want to accomplish! This program was designed by Patricia Clason, the co-owner and director of the Center for Creative Learning in Milwaukee. We'll also be including a slew of valuable resources designed and gathered by Patricia as part of the course.
If you are interested in participating, please download the flyer and registration form. And you can let me know if you have questions.
We can't wait to start!
Posted by Jay Edgar at 8:18 PM 1 comment:
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Two Down, Many to Go
Josh and I went to the Kalahari Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells to celebrate our second anniversary. I would normally eschew something so touristy (I am a snob in several ways...), yet Josh wanted to go somewhere warm. I was happy to go, especially since he got a special deal through work.
We arrived, as planned, before our room was ready, and went to the waterpark. There were, I dunno, a thousand people in there? The Lazy River wends its way through the whole place, which is punctuated by rides here and there, as well as four hot tubs.
It wasn't as warm as we were expecting--at first, anyway. we walked around for a bit, then went on a couple of the rides, then a couple laps of the Lazy River. What's very cool is that they have single- and two-person innertubes. We jumped in a two-person and floated around, then went down more rides in that same tube. Then we went down a ride that used no tube--lie on your back, cross your legs (lest you want something unpleasant to happen) and put your hands behind your head. Unfortunately, I put my hands behind my neck, which did not serve the same purpose--I bumped my head. Not too bad. The ride itself was very fun! It involved shooting down a snaking tub into something large that was akin to a toilet bowl, then getting dumped unceremoniously into the pool below when the centrifigal force dropped. We had a lot of fun!
After a while we sat in the hot tub. However, after a few rides, we were warm enough everywhere in the park.
We went back to the room around 4:30 and had a nap, then got ready for dinner. We went to the Cheese Factory for dinner on Diane's suggestion (thanks, Diane!). If you're a Facebook member, you can read my review.
After dinner we went back and walked around the game area. Not so fun--lots of cheap, shiny things to attract kids' attention. It just seemed kinda lame. However, we stopped and took a sequence of four pictures in one of those machines--that was fun. I'm attempting to get the picture up here or on Facebook and am being stopped at every turn--don't know why.
We went back to the room and played a really fun game of Settlers of Catan cardgame. The game lasted 3 or 4 hours. I just squeaked out a win before Josh was about to take over and win.
What changed our plans was a call before dinner from the "showing line" that someone wanted to see the house a second time at noon the next day! We wanted to spend more time in the waterpark, but that was not meant to be. : ( However, we had a good time while we were there, and will probably go back another time.
Posted by Jay Edgar at 8:01 PM No comments:
Labels: breathing space, snobism
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Take Care of the Bacon, Y'All!
I think I got this from Merlin Mann. It works.
You already know what spam is--it's the stuff you don't want. Well, there are less-important emails you also received from organizations and other stuff you signed up for, but you don't really want to read it often. This stuff is called bacon.
Bacon is really annoying in the inbox. I really just want to see email I'm interested in reading in my inbox. So I decided to do something about it. Since I use Outlook, I created a rule that puts emails from certain email addresses into a special folder called "Bacon" (oddly enough). I've placed this folder beneath my JunkMail folder. As new bacon arrives in my inbox, I add the new email to the rule I created.
Now when I check email, I see the emails I'm most interested in when looking at my Inbox. I then use the Unread Mail filter (saved to favorites) to quickly review all my Bacon and see if I want to read any of it. Otherwise, I can quickly delete.
I also have emails filing themselves upon arrival, and read them all in the Unread Mail filter. This is especially handy if you can predict the subject line (especially from mailing lists that put a prefix in the subject), or if the email is always from or sent to a specific email address.
This all makes email much more painless!
What other tricks do you use to help with your influx of emails? Please share in the comments!
Posted by Jay Edgar at 8:15 PM 1 comment:
Labels: breathing space, frustration, life hack, technology
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I had a very interesting dream the other night. It was brief, yet very emotionally vivid. I don't often dream of such topics, yet I've been so troubled by the violence in the Middle East--maybe my brain was looking for some kind of resolution.
To begin, understand that the world in this dreamscape differs dramatically from the world in which we live. Here were the "facts" in my dream:
- One of the worst things a Muslim or Jew could do cultuerally would be to use a comb that had been used by one in the other group. Kind of like how throwing a shoe is a significant form of disrespect.
- Muslims and Jews wear a small piece of metal shaped something like a ring in their hair near their temple--on opposite sides. These rings are incredibly significant, and one would never go without wearing one, or wearing it on the "wrong" side.
It wasn't clear in my dream which side was appropriate for which group. I should explain that my dreams are never very visual; they are more "situational." I experience in dreams what I do when reading; I don't dream in color, and images are never very distinct. I tend to know who someone is simply because I know who they are--not that they look like the person I know them to be. Also, sometimes I am a participant in the dream, sometimes I'm simply an observer, and sometimes I go back and forth. In this dream, I'm only an observer.
OK, so here's the dream. It's brief:
* * *
The setting is somewhere in the Middle East--somewhere where Muslims and Jews live in proximity to each other. Out in the open, as though it were a market or something. Daytime.
There is a small, simple stage with side curtains and a back curtain. Two men stand on the stage: one is Jewish and one is Muslim, but it's not clear which is which (see how odd my dreams are?). They are doing some kind of impromptu performance. They are both passionate.
One of the men pulls out a comb and runs it through his hair. He hands it to the other man. The second man then runs the comb through his own hair. The crowd gasps.
The men then simultaneously flick the "rings" out of the hair at their temples, and they ping, ping, ping on the stage. A much louder gasp.
* * *
It was clear to me in the dream that these two men passionately yearned for peace. While coming from different faiths, they did this significant show of unity. The comb through both of their hair connected them. The flicking of the rings signified a refusal to any longer appear separate. While the image of the dream was very brief, it felt at the end that this ripple would continue to travel beyond them, and would not be stopped. People would tell the story of what they saw, and somehow understanding and Grace would travel with the story.
I long for a world where that happens.
Posted by Jay Edgar at 5:02 AM No comments:
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I wasn't expecting a first date, but there it is. Josh was out of town; was I cheating on him? I was ironing clothes and getting cleaned up to look just right, taking great care with all appearances, there was even talk of mouthwash on Facebook. Being received positively was so important! What kind of first impression would I make? Would there be another meeting? Would the deal get closed?
OK, enough with the double-entendres (which really means I'm running out of ways to stretch it any more without horrible sentence structure). If you're up to date on my life at all, you've probably already figured out I'm talking about the house: I listed on January 2 and today was the first open house.
While the place was in very good shape already, I wanted it to be perfect. This is a great place for my perfectionism to come out. I've had a basket of clothes thats needed ironing for months. I didn't want the basket in the laundry room, so I ironed everything. By the time I was done doing that and laundry, it was quite late, and the only dirty clothes in the house were those on my body. While I don't achieve it anywhere near what I'd like, I very much enjoy "a place for everything and everything in its place."
I finished organizing some random packing boxes, and some loose odds and ends that hadn't made their way into boxes yet. I cleaned this and that, vacuumed the entire main floor and polished all the floors (which really needed it—I hadn't done it since construction was done).
I planned out everything to be done today, and got to bed late. This morning I did a few more things, then went to church. On the way home I stopped and got a wrap for lunch and flowers for the kitchen. I baked cookies (yes, I'm a completely house-selling whore), prepared the cats for our trek, turned the heat up to 70° and turned on all the lights. A few minute before 1 Connie showed up, and I stowed the three cats and me into my car; we were going to spend some quality time. Everything passed Connie's inspection, so we were off.
Connie found out last week that there was going to be an Orchard Ridge Parade of Homes, and she got my house into it—great timing! So while she showed my house, I went to look at most of the others (there were 12 total). I got to 8 of them in two hours.
It was fun: I got an opportunity to see what the market by me was like. I'm happy to state that I'm positioned quite well. I enjoyed talking with the other Realtors, and was up-front that I was another house on the tour; no one seemed to mind. I walked into one house and a woman was ironing. Hm. I wasn't aware that there were two houses on the tour that were being shown by the sellers. It was even ok with them; we had a nice chat. He enjoyed showing off his house, which deserved it: they'd done a nice job with it.
One beautiful, large, expensive house was vacant and all the storm windows were open! I informed the Realtor and we went about closing them all. Three of the houses had clear pet odor smells. I asked them if they'd like a recommendation (www.odormute.com), and all three jumped at it. It felt good to be able to help some people out. Some of the properties were in pretty rough shape (one in particular), and one small house was absolutely stunning: new maple floors (strip, not plank like mine), in-built maple cabinets with glass doors and lights, beautiful tile by the entry way and other finishes. The woman and her boyfriend had done much of it themselves. I was impressed, and glad that they were only a two-bedroom so that they weren't my competition!
We got back at 3 and Connie waved me in—there was no one there presently. She said four couples came through, which is ok for an open house in January. She'd already prepared us that open houses don't do a whole lot any more, although she always likes to have one after putting a house on the market. Tom, a previous owner, came by with his family and a few of my neighbors, and he left me a nice note. I asked Connie if anyone had critiques, and she said there wasn't one. Everyone loved the floors, the sunroom, the other approvements and appointments, and someone even complimented the staging (points to Connie and Stacy for that one!). Many of the houses I saw weren't depersonalized or staged that much; I was again thankful for my position.
I feel very good about the position of the house in the market, my price point, etc. Now that this "first date" is out of the way, I'm more relaxed. I can be myself a bit more.
I made way too many cookies. They'll go to work tomorrow.
Forgive the shameless plug: see the house at www.1317RaeLane.com
Posted by Jay Edgar at 7:45 PM 1 comment:
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