Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Push Ups

I jumped back from maternity leave a little early this time to get my team going. I'm a fall sport coach at at local university.

We've had leadership meetings since January for this coming season and although it didn't solve all of our problems, it surely helped. We all promised to bring something to the table that will help make the team better. I can't say what each of the five girls did but I know they certainly took turns really shining. I enjoyed the relationships we built because of it.

I wanted to bring consistency with small measurable goals. I really enjoy helping people make progress. One of my coworkers told me this story about a softball team who built a culture using rituals. They did one push up everyday and added one each day. I was nervous about adopting this in August because I couldn't do push ups...tall girl with long arm syndrome :-) I feel like push ups and pulls ups are one of those things that a person who considers herself to be pretty bad ass should be able to do.

So we did- one push up a day and add a push up each day we were together. Practice or game, win or lose. It was fun some days. It was not fun others.

Once we got twenty days in we started to break them up in sets because I didn't want to compromise form- we weren't just doing them to do them. We were doing them to get stronger and build the culture that repetition builds habit and lifestyle changes.

I could hear the groans and see the eye rolls when I told them to hit the deck. Also, since I was doing it with them and I took a loooooong time to complete mine, I really don't know if they did them all... either way they know how many they did and have to live with their choices. Some will care. Others won't. That's life.

Once we hit thirty or forty or so I started to notice pectoral muscles sticking out a little and feeling more strength in my biceps when we did them- I was taking a really long time to do them since my arms are so long, but I did them. And now I want to wear all the halter and tube tops! Some of the girls even admitted they enjoyed doing them now.

The exercises we hate the most are the ones that are most needed.

The season ended last week and I need to fill two hours of my day that was once occupied with practice. I want to be able to run. I want to be able to do unassisted pull ups. I started couch to 5K yesterday and body weight hangs. I did three hangs for one minute each throughout the day. I hear that a by-product of these hangs is increased grip strength. I still think I'll let Todd open my jars.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Word choice; choice words: the impact of negative words.

Pre-script: I brainstormed for a while for a fun title to this post. I was going to go with Words Count for the word play aspect...but the Search Engine Optimizer in me said no. Cheers!

A few years back I attended a conference. One of the workshops was about productivity and success. The speaker told a story about a young waitress who was struggling to make money. The speaker observed the waitress while she was dining and mentioned to her (I think she was a regular so she wasn't just giving unsolicited advice) that the words she used with her customers could be impacting her tips. Negatively. 

This all was really interesting to me. I took a linguistics class during my undergraduate study and since have monitored the connotation and denotation of words. So although the waitress wasn't doing anything wrong, per se, such as using the non-word irregardless, but she could've been doing things better. 

When diners asked her for things, she replied with, "No problem!" for each request. 

The speaker recommended to the waitress that her words matter and the phrase "no problem" contains two negative words. And people subconsciously hear that and could be put off by her remarks and also her. 

She encouraged the waitress to replace the words with, "you got it!" or "I'd be happy to!" and asked her to observe any changes. 

A few weeks passed and she dined with the waitress again- her tips were up nearly 20%. Now- maybe the server was just being more aware with her actions and that was cause of the increased income or perhaps her words really mattered to her customers. 

I try it at home with my fam and kids. I've read that kids do not respond well to negative statements, only positives. So when I want my kids to do something, I try to tell them the positive behavior I want: "only walking on the pool deck!" "Gentle touches with the cat!" "Listen on the first time!" 

Sure, I feel like a tool sometimes but if I say to Maks "don't touch the remote," it's like magic- it's the first thing he'll do: touch the remote. 

Another magical phrase that is almost a guarantee, "Don't forget!!!" I've replaced that with, "Please remember!" and it helps me and my fam and subordinates to remember! Is not perfect- but it's better. 

I noticed a recent change to the way my husband, the yin to my yang, speaks. I'm an optimist and previously, he's been a glass-is-half-empty AND IT'LL PROBABLY LEAK ALL OVER THE FLOOR BECAUSE OF IT!!!! kind of guy. Last night said to our kids that he would be happy to help them with something. He used to say 'no problem' for everything. I started doing this about six years ago- and now he is too. 


One final wordy observation- the impact of people's words can also give insight to how they feel about ther lives. My mom is always 'orchestrating' something. If she's talking about the sale of my grabdmom's house, or all of the paperwork she has to complete for Medicare- sure! Orchestrating works. Lots of moving parts, possibly complicated, looking for harmony. She used that word three times in about ten minutes in reference not only to Grandmom but also packing for a vacation and feeding and walking the dog. Interesting insights- she thinks there are a lot of parts that have to harmonize that work. So much depends on orchestrating. 

Maybe I'm nuts. Or maybe this works. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Best Paper Airplane EVER

Yea, I'm blogging about paper airplanes. 

You live with little boys, you better learn how to fold paper into things that sort of fly. 


Despite a junky flight in the video were I fold the plane, the plane took a glorious flight so I made a second video to capture it. And then I took a third video because I ALWAYS forget to hold my iPhone in the right direction for a landscape video. 

Third video/flight:

Thank you for watching my silly videos.

Go fold a paper for yourself. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Easy deep dish pizza!

I haven't been to Pizzeria Uno in about seven years- Todd and I went to the one in the Inner Harbor before we had kids- maybe even before we were married! I had a hankering for a deep dish and we ain't gettin' out much these days because all of the children so I made a SUPER EASY VERSION myself! If I could get a MySpace wall sparkly .gif of 'super easy' I would. It's that easy. And delicious. 

I hate reading super long personal stories before recipes so that's enough yapping from me. 


-Grocery store brand flaky (imperative!) pre-made pie crust.  (They come in a two pack- I used to other to make a SUPER EASY chocolate cream cheese pie- more details to come)
-One 14.5 can of Italian-herb seasoned crushed tomatoes, drain (also imperative!!) the liquid
-One ball of fresh mozzarella cheese torn up
-Handful of Italian-mix cheese
-Fresh basil leaves- I tore off 10ish
-A few squirts of olive oil (I keep my EVOO in a squirt bottle- maybe 1tsp?)

Toss it all together:

I cooked at 350 for 45 minutes or until it looked like this:

I was nervous because it looked like I didn't drain enough liquid from the tomatoes as it was cooking since some was pooling at the top- by the time the cheese was browned it mostly cooked off. I'll make more of an effort to really drain next time because the bottom of the crust was a little soggy. 

Picky four year old wouldn't touch it. 
Hungry two year old loved it. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

I've got an itch!

I used to do morning pages right before Royal was born- it helped me think more clearly and I was able to work through problems and find patterns to some of my more interesting life choices. I've had and itch to write recently. I'm sure it's that I'm home for maternity leave again, or maybe it was my subconscious telling me it's been a year since I wrote last but whatever it is, I needed to get some words out of my head.

I don't think I have a whole lot to say except that there are a ton of fruit flies in my house. That makes me feel like a five-star 'winner' as a home maker. The tiny fruit fly has a way about it.

I just finished reading B. J. Novak's book (Amazon Associate link below) and it got me all nostalgic. I really like to read- but going to bed early barely after the kids fall asleep really only allows for one chapter a day. There's a chance I like to tell people I read more than I actually like to read but I'm not sure there's much of a difference. I'd give One More Thing four MySpace Kudos. Todd and I met on the MySpace through his MySpace Blog. He loved a good Kudo. I think Netflix stars have since replaced the MySpace Kudo for us but there's a chance that Comcast ruined that for us.

So many of these stories remind me of the kind of stories Todd used to write about. Some are very, VERY short- micro machine stories, if you will, and some are a little longer but they're all very, VERY good. Novak uses the same kind of humor he showcased in his writing of The Office- it's silly and if you're not paying attention you really might miss the humor- but just like exercising and reading- that's EXACTLY the kind of humor we all like- the kind not everyone gets.

Get after it, friends.

I was motivated by the 4th to read Liberty's Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty .