Beating Home Shelter Anxiety

With extra time on our hands during the “shelter in home” times – I have been trying to keep my mind off all the uncertainties by doing tasks around the house. If you find yourself with a wandering mind and increased anxiety – try doing one or some of the following. You will feel a sense of accomplishment as well as have a break from the anxiety and/or boredom.

  1. Devices: Go through all your photos on your photos on your phone and remove any that you do not need (for me – this includes mistakes, pictures of shopping lists, etc). This will free up memory on your phone and make finding photos you actually want to see easier.
  2. Inside: Go through your media in your house (old DVDs, CDs, etc). Do you even own something that these can be played on? If the answer is no – donate or throw them away. If you do still have a device that they work on – try and eliminate ones you know you have not and will not watch within the next year. Let’s face it – by that time there is a good chance you will not have the device or will have something better. (Example – I own the Sopranos full series on DVD but I also have a HBO subscription which has all of them available on demand. Why am I holding on to these? Repeat this task for clothing, shoes, and anything else you “should go through but never seem to have the time to do”
  3. Outside: As we get closer to nicer weather consider starting a garden or even a pot of herbs. Figure out what you love fresh and try and plant it. This will also go a long way with less trips to and relying on the grocery store.
  4. For Others: Each day – pick up the phone and instead of typing – put it up to your ear and actually call/talk to someone you “should call” or “wonder how they are doing”. Have older relatives? Write them an actual letter.
  5. For You: Being able to control something in these uncertain times can go a long way. Do yourself a favor and get on the scale (just do it!) and use these few weeks to get control of your health by eating better and moving more. Time spent running to the stores should now turn into time walking (inside or out), doing simple body weight exercises/stretches and anything to make you physically and emotionally stronger.

All in all – not being able to see friends/loved ones is tough, but we can use this time to focus on a number of “I/we should” things we have putting off. Put that worry energy into something positive and improve your life!

If the Shoe Fits…

I love designing my own Nike shoes and here is my latest pair. I decided to go with Penn State navy, the silver swoosh (to match my silver boxing gloves) and “Champ” to remind me who I needed to be every time I put them on.

Staying Positive

This has been a rough month at my house, iPhone drop, car problem, death of our family pet, son with a broken arm, and last Thursday, my knee surgery. Through it all – I have to say I feel like I am very fortunate. I have friends who have been very helpful, as well as a supportive and caring family. Thanks to all who have helped out in one way or another! It may not have been easy or fun, but at least I had great people to help along the way. Thank you!

Here is to a better November!

Remembering My Mentor: Alex King

I was very sad to hear that Alex King died a few days ago and have been trying to think about what to say. If you do not know Alex or who he is – he was many things to many people – but to me – he was my mentor. I was an early adopter of WordPress (back before themes and plugins). I started following him (RSS) back in 2002 because he was always creating/sharing snippets and eventually themes/plugins that made WordPress better. I also was one of the first users of his Tasks software which I used religiously – so much so that I would email him with questions/suggestions, and would partake in beta testing new versions. He was also an avid golfer who enjoyed his PING irons like me.

After one email in which I mentioned I wanted to start my own company – much like he did, he offered his support, advice, and even started sending me referrals. I am sure I would not be where I am today without him. He was meticulous with his code and kind with his words. He was always very approachable and always made time for me. He consistently put a lot of thought into his work – so much so that he one time asked for my feedback on possible change options for his email signature. He made sure things were not just done, but done right. He provided guidance to me on many levels – everything from code reviews to business advice.

To me – Alex King will always be the one person in my life that pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, put myself out there, and to do great things. He also taught me that not all ideas/projects will be a success – but to keep trying and never give up. While I am very sad Alex King is no longer on this earth – I am so happy to have made the connection with him 13+ years ago. I will be forever grateful for everything he has done for me and other developers like me. Thank you Alex – for your code, your time, and your inspiration.

#1 Rule for Being Productive

Focus on what is really important.

It is that simple. I was reminded this morning that a lot of people are not very productive and overwhelmed because they fail to focus on what is really important. Instead they waste a lot of time and effort on what is not important.

If you find yourself putting a lot of time and energy into something – ask yourself (sometimes multiple times) – “Is this what is really important?”

Example: people will get stuck in the “you said/I said” cycle and spend hours on that all while complaining that they have no time to do the actual task – they just get stuck talking about it. Know when to stop talking about something and actually do something about it.

The action is what is really important – not over talking about the action. Yes – this means you sometimes need to leave your ego at the door because at the end of the day your ego is never more important than what you actually do/accomplish.

Quote for the Day

This is a perfect quote that relates to just about everything and anything. After a bad day – I always come back to this.

“Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.” -Joe Paterno

We Are…Resilient

Resilient:

  • able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens
  • able to return to an original shape after being pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.

A year ago today I was getting ready to fly down to Florida to see my grandmother as we just got some good news that things were starting to look better after a long/hard surgery.

A year ago today I felt like if I could just be with her – I could give her some of my strength and love – and that would be enough to get her through all of this.

A year ago tonight was the first night my mother was able to sleep and not worry about getting “that phone call” in the middle of the night.

A year ago tomorrow – I got “the phone call” that I never wanted to get. I was very close with my grandmother and I could not imagine not talking to her or seeing her ever again. I was absolutely crushed.

The last year has been long and some days have definitely been harder than others and I still miss her every single day. Not being able to share with her everything that is going on in my life/the kids’ lives has been hard – but then small things happen – that make me feel like the luckiest person alive.

My grandmother loved raspberries. Soon after we got back from the funeral – we bought a few raspberry bushes and planted them in the back yard. Every time I ate one from the bushes – I thought of her and it made me smile.

My grandmother was also an amazing cook. I absolutely loved her homemade noodles and blackberry pie. Over the past year I have made both of those a number of times and it makes me so happy that I have her recipes, in her handwriting. Whenever I make them – it makes me feel close to her. It also gives me great joy to see my kids enjoying them just as I did.

Not only an amazing cook – she was also a world class card player and my euchre partner at our annual family reunion. After she died, I did not know how I would ever play again – but I did this past July. Ken and I took home the trophy – which is such an honor in our family.

About two weeks ago I picked up my 3 year old twins at pre-school and while walking back to the car I squeezed his hand…and a few seconds, he squeezed mine back. While I did not realize it as I did it first – it was something she used to do with me when I was little. I almost cried at first – but then I ended up smiling.

These little things give me great comfort. I know her memory will live on and even though I know there are others with me that were not sure how we would go on – we did…and together we are resilient.

I miss you Gaga!

Out of Order: The Amish

I have to admit – I got sucked into watching the show “Out of Order: The Amish“. I will also admit I have always been fascinated by the Amish. Until watching this show – I had nothing but the utmost respect for them. Hardworking, community oriented, etc. While I still appreciate and respect them – I have to say this show has really highlighted some things I have not thought too much about (what it actually means to be shunned, the consequences of being shunned, their religious beliefs/teachings).

While I am trying to keep everything in perspective – it just goes to show that there are two sides of every story. I look forward to going to NY this summer to talk to a family friend that has close Amish friends more about some of my new found questions.

For Grandma Z

When I was little, not much beat going to my Grandma Z’s house and seeing the Cuckoo clock go off every hour. I have been thinking about getting one for my kids for awhile and after a long Friday – I went out and bought an authentic Cuckoo clock made in the Black Forest of Germany. All three kids run to it on the hour to hear/see everything.

On the hour – the Cuckoo bird comes out, the man chops wood, then the people at the top dance around and the water wheel turns. All in all – it is really cool and one of the first things I have ever bought that I thought will make it down multiple generations (hopefully). On top of the enjoyment I get watching the kids get excited – I am also reminded of the same excitement I experienced when I was little.

We Are…A Family

My kids with Joe.

Some people do not understand it, others think I/we are crazy, but losing Joe was hard. He was more than a coach, a public figure, and an educator…he was part of the family.

After watching the Joe Paterno memorial yesterday one thing was made very clear – we the Penn State community are one big family. Sure – we have our problems, but what family – especially such a large family – does not? Seeing everyone together, supporting one and other, and sharing memories about Joe was pretty amazing and finally made me feel a bit more at peace.

A big thanks to the Big Ten Network for airing it!