Friday, February 23, 2018

Most Obvious Hack Ever

(source)*see note

My kids were never super adventurous eaters when they were younger, but what they liked, they ate. Trying to expand their eating repertoire (to include maybe vegetables) was something that fell in to the "battles not worth fighting" for me. So packing lunches for school has been something I have done since they were in Kindergarten. There was a brief infatuation with school lunches in grade school but that faded. Oh well. My recipe of sandwich-yogurt-something crunchy-something sweet seemed to make everyone happy.

But then taking leftover pizza to school for lunch became cool. We have pizza nearly every Sunday night, because we are all about spontaneity :-), which makes Monday morning lunch making a snap. Then taking noodles or other favorite dinner leftovers became cool. And they do a better job of keeping my son fed, who has entered the teenage boy growth spurt era (his pants seem to shrink over night). Tooling around Costco one day I found a sleeve of plastic leftover containers, yay! Something that doesn't have to be returned home, but can be thrown in the dishwasher and reused if they do come home. And the new era of lunches has begun. Leftovers for lunch - what a concept! Er, as we say now, life hack!

Note: the tweet at the top and others is from an article on the Scary Mommy blog, which is great fun to follow on Facebook.

Monday, February 19, 2018

More on Warriors in Evening Gowns

In this post, I complained about the purple evening gown worn by Admiral Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi. Comments were split between agreeing and those saying I shouldn't judge. I could see both sides - it should be about what you do, not what you wear.

Fast forward to today, and let me introduce you to Okoye, a general in the Dora Milaje, Wakanda's all-female team of fierce warriors (played by Danai Gurira). You will know who I am talking about as soon as you go see Black Panther. IT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME! The story, the acting, the costumes, the cool imaginary tech - everything about it was great. Okoye was one of many strong female characters in the cast.

In one scene, Okoye is "under cover" in a red evening gown. Her ability to be tough, beautiful, smart, strong - she is a total bad ass, even when not wearing her usual armor - was amazing. There was absolutely no doubt she had a plan and was going for it. This is how I want to feel whenever facing a tough problem :-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Artist in Combat Boots

Meet my friends Jen (on the left) and Sally. We were together in Jen's hometown of Bedford, PA, celebrating her first artist showing (you can see some of her work here). The showing was at the Briar Valley Winery Tasting Room (wine and culture, awesome!) and it was packed with both locals and many friends that traveled to see it.

The next day we had brunch at Jen's house and DROOLED over her cute bungalow and artist studio. It was full of color and joy, which has always been her MO. 

This is one of my favorite corners of her house. On this wall are beautiful pieces by her favorite artists, but also the flag from Jen's deployment as a PERSCO chief, and her commissioning and retirement certificates from the Air Force. 

Jen and I didn't meet because our creative paths crossed (although eventually that happened too). We met because many years ago we were on the same committee, putting on a dinner for the San Antonio Company Grade Officer's Council. 

Jen was an exemplary officer and brilliant mentor to those she worked with in the Air Force. I know this because many were there at her artist reception, so excited to cheer her on. She has a unique way of approaching problems and solving them, which I think was wildly under appreciated by some of her Air Force leadership. I wish wish wish so much that the Air Force, or any organization for that matter, would cultivate more creative thinkers like her. I am lucky and honored to call her my friend. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Current Faves to Check Out

Just kidding, I am listening, but not to music so much. Here are some great recommendations from my recent listens:

If you enjoyed Martian as a book or movie, you will love Artemis. I highly recommend listing to the audio edition - Rosario Dawson does an incredible job. My son ATE THIS UP. He kept borrowing my phone to listen because we were taking too long to upload it to his own phone. There is some mature language, so probably appropriate for teens or older.

I have recommended the Ted Radio Hour podcast many times, but a recent replay of an old episode really captured my attention, called Slowing Down. Maybe this is a theme for me lately? A couple of the stories focused on procrastination, and one speaker, Tim Urban, so perfectly described the brain of a procrastinator...made up of the rational decision maker, the instant gratification monkey, and the panic monster. It's so worth a listen. You can also read Tim's blog post here.

A podcast wrapping up its second season I have really enjoyed is The Hilarious World of Depression. It's not making fun of mental illness at all, but rather trying to make it much less stigmatizing. There have been fabulous interviews with Aimee Mann, Jenny Lawson and Linda Holmes (she hosts another favorite pod of mine, Pop Culture Happy Hour).  You don't have to be a depression sufferer yourself to enjoy this show and learn something.

Last one, and a recent podcast find, Answer Me This with Helen and Ollie. Subjects covered from the latest episode included pope tropes, hotel toothpaste, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Dumbledore's aptitude for HR, cocktail swords, buttermilk, butterfat and globules (among other things). It certainly made the miles I was driving this weekend zip by quickly.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Join Me In The Wilderness

My book club just read this. It's an unusual genre for a book club, and I was pleasantly surprised when it made our annual list of selections (our book club is very well organized :-)).

I loved it! I thought Brown was speaking directly at me. All issues, political, social, whatever, have devolved into us vs. them. I call it the "if-you-don't-100%-believe-everything-we-believe-you-are-not-allowed-to-be-with-us" syndrome. Brown advocates pushing back when getting put in a box you don't want to be in, with civility, with kindness, and with courage. She says, "To know you can navigate the wilderness on your own - to know that you can stay true to your beliefs, trust yourself and survive it - that is true belonging."

The need to belong can be very strong, and sometimes impossible to navigate. When I was first in the Air Force, I was invited to a night out by the folks I was working with. When I got there, I was told, "The guys play poker, the wives go out to dessert." Huh. I was neither. I wasn't a guy, although the poker players were the ones I spent all my work time with, and I wasn't a wife (yet). It probably annoyed both the guys and their wives, but I chose poker. Many times since then, I have been in situations where clearly I wasn't what was expected or didn't act like everyone else. I hate that feeling of not-quite-right, but I would (try to) remind myself all I can be is my own self.   

Kinda airy fairy stuff, but I have to say, it was one of my all time favorite book club meetings. We talked about politics and religion a lot, and all left the meeting still talking to each other. Amazing.

Monday, January 29, 2018

It's So Worth It

Vacations ceased to be relaxing when car seats and strollers entered my life. Heck even a business trip wasn't time off, as my poor children would sometimes have to accompany me if that made their care easier.

But if you have read my blog or know me, the additional humans and equipment did not deter me from travel. Nope, nope-ity, nope. Never once was I in trouble for having use-or-lose leave.

That's why we left at 8pm Saturday, drove to West Virginia, and stayed in a questionable hotel, so that my family could spend the day skiing together. It's a crazy amount of effort just to spend a couple hours skiing, but it's what worked amongst all the other things going on. We had a great time together. 

I am not alone in this crazy desire to get away, or maybe I just collect friends that feel the same way. Two beloved friends have used the 4-day semester break of our local school system to get out of town with their families. One went to Rome, one met up with family to sail the Caribbean. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But I bet both will come home with awesome stories of their adventures. I can't wait to hear all about it.

As I said on this post, life speeds by pretty quickly. There will never, ever be a perfect time to leave work, school and home and get away. It only happens if you decide to make it so. And it doesn't have to be to a glamorous resort or cost tons of money. Take a step off the merry-go-round, pack everyone into the car, and do something crazy.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Lean Out

Do you ever have those days where you would rather be anywhere than where you currently are? Say for instance you are supposed to be at work, and you are, but your mind is completely somewhere else. And maybe it's slow at work, so no one is demanding your attention. So then most of the day goes by and you've at least answered e-mails and the phone, but really haven't moved the ball forward. (This is a completely made up example, COMPLETELY).  

I am a lover of to do lists, and feeling like I have tackled the day, and have gotten something DONE. I might even feel guilty for not doing MORE. 

But I realize now there is value in taking a step off of the merry-go-round and observing what's around you. Leaning out just a little, to take a breather, to get caught up on life, to let your brain rest, is a good thing.