dare to be different

52 pickup

When I was a kid, I was one of those gullible types. (Ok, I still am, but that’s a different post). My older brothers enjoyed playing tricks on me. “Wanna play cards?” Of course, as the youngest, I always wanted to be invited to play by the older kids.

“Sure!” I replied.

“How about 52 pickup?”

“How do you play?”

Suddenly the whole deck of cards was thrown in the air. Jacks, deuces, aces all fluttering to the ground. “Thats 52 cards, now pick them up!” they’d say, laughing as they walked away.

And with a frown like a sad clown, I did.

Fast forward to adulting. Life is full of chores, duties, commitments. Most days are full of them.

For me, chores tend to become routines.

Grocery shopping Saturday. Meal prep Sunday morning. Cleaning Sunday afternoon.

Even little things have their routines. Every night when I get home I set up the coffee pot for the next day and either set out my gym / work clothes or pack my gym bag before I settle down.

Sometimes it’s almost like a challenge: Laundry goes in first thing when I get home from work on Friday. The challenge? I have to have all my clothes hung to dry by the time I leave for my gym class on Saturday morning. I have to stay alert to get this one done while I’m tired.

Edit the week’s blog posts on Sunday afternoon / evening so “publish” is all that’s left during a busy week.

At times, even my fitness routines become a part of it. 5:30 am CrossFit basically every day for a year. Before that it was working out after work. For a while it was run a 5k after work every Friday. 10 mile bike every Sunday morning.

For many parts of my life, I like routines. I like predictability. It keeps me on track. I get things done. When my meals for the week are packed and in the refrigerator Sunday afternoon, I feel calm and prepared.

Life isn’t stationary. Even in writing this I can see there are routines in my life that have come and gone. Commitments on Sunday afternoons shift cleaning to another slot on the weekly calendar. Waiting at sports practice provides opportunity for exercise of different times and types. Life keeps evolving and I shift and change and adapt. Small changes, small adjustments. What is important still usually gets done one way or another.

Once in a while life is more like a big brother and just asks you to play.

Next thing you know all your routines and commitments are tossed in the air and you get to pick them up, reassemble them into some sort of deck to play with. Chores to shuffle, meals to make, work to be done. But this time I was the one who tossed it all, and by choice.

Joys of weekend farm life shift Sunday’s chores further back. Editing blog posts later weekday evenings. Exercise as early in the morning as possible, sometimes at home. Laundry on Wednesdays and Sundays. Grocery shopping on Thursdays. Those cards are still the same, just shuffled differently.

Then there are the new cards. Furnishing a house. Farm chores. Helping run a new business. And don’t forget a couple of growing volunteer commitments, too. Some of these are wild cards, but they keep the game exciting.

I’m not usually one to gamble, but this new shuffle is keeping me on my toes. Learning, growing, creating a hand I’d bet on in spades.

dare to be different

If I Was a Shoe

I just bought the best pair of shoes. They are a hodge-podge mix-match-type shoe which is just perfect for me.

If I were a shoe, I wouldn’t be one dimensional. I would have personality and flair. These shoes sport a little camo for my country girl vibe. A blank canvas to show my creative side. A little cheetah print because it’s badass. Then top it off with some snakeskin for overall style points.

They are definitely functional. They blend with many outfits. They slip on which makes them quick and easy for a busy morning. The Blowfish brand got this design right in my mind. Of course my validation is in my description above, but they are a very comfy shoe as well. The picture below shows them paired with some basic pants for a casual day out. Just slip on and go.

If I were giving rating stars it would be 5 stars for appearance. 5 more for comfort. 3 for price. 5 for versatility. For clarity, I’m referring to a 1-5 scale with 5 being the highest. I don’t get paid to endorse this shoe or brand. I am just a fan of them overall and have been for years. In the past I stuck with the no-lace tennis shoe slip-ons but ventured into some zippered camo high tops when those came out. All good shoes in my mind and why I decide dto write about them.

Take a peek at their new fall line. I saw some cute mashups that even included buffalo plaids. Hope you get a pair to check them out. I’ll be hopping around in mine all fall.

https://blowfishshoes.com/styles/?style=sneakers

After writing this I had a conversation with a friend and she said of course this is a brilliant metaphor. Of course the fastest girl in town needs versatile shoes since she’s always on the move. I laughed at this commentary. Of course there’s no time for blisters with all the pivoting and shifting her life demands so don’t bother rubbing her the wrong way. Again I’m inserting a chuckle because this was a live interaction. And of course they’re eye catching and everyone will be talking about them just like her. Big sigh here. I guess this ties into the eyes on you post.

How my shoes became a conversation starter today. Again it’s all about the shoe. My shoe says flair. Let me tell you about my shoe. If I was a shoe, I’d be a damn good story. If I was just a shoe.

After I wrote this post I sort of ordered a new pair of CrossFit shoes. A flashy pair to add to my collection. See below to see if you can spot the new pair? I may have left a clue or two for you.

business

Just 10 Bucks

The other day I read a rant on social media that annoyed me. It insulted many people, myself included, who purchase frou frou drinks at a premium price.

The funny part of the post was it was from a local small business owner who compared the frivolous spending to frequenting his/her upscale business, noting it was a poor choice. I had to giggle and say hmm.

For me, I frequent the poster’s” small business and I frequent the frou frou drink small business. To me it’s the same. Where I choose to spend my discretionary dollars. My dollars my choice.

I may choose to spend on frou frou drinks while other choose cigarettes. Is there a difference? Not in my eyes. Discretionary spends are at the sole discretion of the party with the money! It’s that simple. Clearly I’m not the only one who likes specialty drinks. The pic below is a throwback to a girls day out with a pit stop at the nutrition store. I’m sure there are worse things one could do, right? Needless to say the messages on the cup are inspiring, thought provoking and even applicable in this post.

Now the flip side on this is negative publicity. As a small business owner in today’s environment one would think to support another business vs throw another under the bus especially if it’s the type of business that relies on discretionary spends. It may seem obvious to me but it’s not obvious to everyone and why I chose to write about this.

We all have a chance to impact communities in one way or another. We can all donate to a local food bank to help those in need. We can all support a small business with a community store front. We can buy a fundraiser ticket from a local athlete. We can all choose not to litter when driving down the road. All of these simple gestures improve communities.

Why not be kind? Why not help others? If you are miserable don’t be a negative Nelly online. It doesn’t make you look good and could in fact hurt another local business or yours. It’s a no-win situation. Add in the fact that most community business owners live in their community and raise their family there. That means negative vibes reach them one way or another.

Kindness matters today. My post today is meant to enlighten anyone reading this who may not think about how their negative rants about a business in their community could have impacts. Far reaching impacts that could lead to devastating outcomes.

Support local. Buy local. If you are tight on budget dollars, like a social media post from your favorite restaurant. Write a testimonial on your local insurance agent. Share a post from your friend who is selling something online. It all helps. And I bet if you own a business you would hope your community would support you in the same way.

Today most adults are online. Maybe even 70% or more of their waking hours. There is a very high probability that they will receive an email, text, instant message, tweet, snapchat or other form of digital communication outing a negative Nelly. Don’t be the negative Nelly. People won’t want to be around you let alone support you down the road. If you didn’t know that, I just told you!

This story is titled just ten bucks. No business names are mentioned as I don’t want to throw shade in any direction. I just want to write about a topic that may strike a chord with somebody reading this blog. During this writing process I wanted to think about what I could get for ten bucks. Ten discretionary dollars. I made my list. I get to choose. My choice. My money. My waste. My reward. My happy.

When I went back and looked at all the things I could spend ten bucks on? My frou frou drinks all made the cut. So did a milkshake, a Starbucks drink and dessert, a single meal prep from a local vendor, an ice cream, and so on.

However, the one thing that didn’t make my list was the $15 overpriced discretionary spend from the person’s business who provided me inspiration for this post. So when I reflect and look for waste in my budget and pleasure received for my splurges, I’d have to say I would cut that service provider if the need arose. They priced themselves too high for today’s market and they bitched about it publicly. When push comes to shove I’d choose to shove them off my budget. Thankfully that is not the case today but one day I may need to make a choice.

Just ten bucks. It’s my threshold. I bet they didn’t even think of their price structure when they made a big long rant. But that rant made me review my spend at their location. Wow that is full circle negative karma if you ask me.

Just ten bucks. Make your list. It’s a challenge. What will you cut?

dare to be different, inspire

Sally Said

I’m kind of a big deal.

All my friends want to be around me.

At the park.

At school.

At the mall.

Being a big deal can get crazy at times.

Sometimes one of my friends will get really mad if I don’t spend enough time with just them!

I also have to make sure I don’t leave anyone out when I make plans to play after school.

Sometimes picking teams on the playground can be hard work!

I have to make sure I don’t hurt any of my friends’ feelings when I pick teams.

Who I pick first or last can be a really big deal to my friends.

Being a big deal can be hard work.

I have to be extra nice to everyone all time time.

I mean I try to be nice to people all the time but I might mess up and hurt my friends’ feelings.

I don’t know why I am a big deal.

I get up the same way each morning.

I even have crazy hair in the morning.

I brush my teeth just like my friends do.

I am not rich.

I am not famous but I might be famous one day.

I don’t have super powers.

I am just me.

I really like being just me.

I like to smile and have fun.

I like to laugh at funny jokes.

I like to make funny jokes.

I like to play sports and have fun outside.

I like to play with my dogs.

I like to be around people especially my friends.

My friends say I am goofy sometimes.

I make my friends giggle a lot.

I always have fun playing with my friends.

My dad says I am his sunshine every morning.

My dad makes me feel good when he tells me that.

My mom told me once that he calls me sunshine because I can brighten up any room full of people.

Maybe my mom and dad make me believe I am a big deal.

My sister says I can fall in a bucket of doggie doo doo but still smell like roses.

I never really understood what my sister said but my mom explained it to me.

My brother just says I am annoying.

My mom said you are special.

Your smile is infectious.

You can can make people feel better about themselves even when they can’t see for themselves.

I still don’t understand why my sister said doggie doo doo smells like roses but my mom said one day I will know when I grow up.

My family makes me rich I guess.

I love my family.

I guess I love being a big deal, too.

Being a big deal helps others.

I hope you can be a big deal, too.

If lots and lots of people believe is being a big deal then the world will be a much happier place.

I hope somebody reads this story in China or maybe even Russia. And maybe I will write more stories and become famous one day.

In today’s world we need more Sallies. What Sally says is important. In world of crazy corona challenges we all need to be kind and channel our inner Sally. We can all be a big deal. Today, tomorrow and the next day.

Because Sally said so!

challenges

A Cautionary Tale

The countdown is on.

A few weeks until summer ends and school is back in session…or is it?

My district ended last year with over 40 unexpected days of digital learning due to COVID-19.

Now it is 6 weeks later.  Numbers of cases that seemed to be trending down in my area have sloped back northward.  School districts are starting to try to make decisions about how they will open schools. Cue the special meetings, surveys, and plans (subject to change, of course). Also cue the opinions, the feelings, the exceptions, the arguments, the fears.

Colleagues have asked me many times throughout my career if I would want to become a school administrator.  My answer is always a fervent and unequivocal NO.  Times like this only magnify those feelings.  I don’t envy the public scrutiny that leaders are under in this seemingly no-win time.

I understand…

A significant portion of the economy depends on schools being open.

Many kids have their best access to food, learning, and social / mental health resources when they are in school.

Being taught (in person) by credentialed professionals is what we believe works best for most students.

At the same time…

Many teachers and school workers are themselves vulnerable to serious COVID-19 cases, or live with and care for other people who have those underlying conditions.

This virus is still new and developing, so science is still catching up to understanding what it is, how it moves, and so on.

Our schools are mostly based on kids being close together and moving with organized freedom throughout buildings and surrounding areas.

All the money and power at stake make every decision a politically charged and controversial one.

Then there are the logistics questions that come along with schools opening…

How do kids ride a bus?  How do they have recess? Can they sing? Can they play sports? Will there be field trips or assemblies?  Anyone who has worked with elementary school kids knows that kids love hugs and playing together which often involves contact.  How do I police that? I can’t even start about the masks, or what happens when a suspected case pops up.

Will all the fun stuff just be stripped away? 

In the end, I know this:

No choice will make everyone happy.

No choice will keep everyone healthy.

No choice will meet everyone’s needs.

We will be doing the best we can given what we know, and know that what we know might change at any given time.  Not an easy position for any of us.

I went to a branch of our local public library recently.  They opened up the buildings a few weeks ago.  This gorgeous, light-flooded, award-winning building, created for people to congregate and spend time reading and learning, is full of caution tape to keep people out or at least moving.

IMG_2149 2

I’m not sure there is enough caution tape to insulate school kids and workers from what we are facing. Our best protections will be patience, good faith, positivity, resilience, flexibility and showing kids and colleagues that we care about them in every way we can imagine.