Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Too hot, too cold- Get the Kids Outdoors More

"It's too hot." "It's too cold." These are the responses I get from my kids when I ask them to go out and play.
Do your remember the people on WALL-E the cartoon? They were obese, their bone density had decreased, they could hardly walk, and just stared at a monitor all day? Ok, I don't think we are there yet, but we are headed that way.
When I was growing-up (I know this is the dreaded "old person's" way to start a conversation) we only had television (a couple dozen channels) and Atari. Besides the frequent Saturday morning scheduling of cartoons, I was not glued to the television. I am so thankful I did not have to overcome the temptation today's youth have. Being able to instantly communicate via computer or text with a friend, surfing the net for information on everything, and intricate video games.
I would never have left home.
So, how do we do it now?

1. Start them Young: Anything we can do to start kids enjoying the outdoors while they are young, the better chance they will continue that.
2. You get out. You as the caregiver/parent need to role model being outdoors. Even when I need to do some work from home, I try to bring the paperwork outside to do it (not in the winter though).
3. Go camping. Talk about full exposure.
4. Give them something to do outside. When I was trying to find out the best way to hang a swing for kids, I read something that said, "A swing entices kids to come outdoors." I have found that to be so true. Kids are gravitated to it. Get them something to play with (volleyball net, basketball hoop, back-catch, bubbles, bocce, etc).
5. Get them interested in nature. Give them a camera, bug catching kit, a nature book, or set-up a nature scavenger hunt.
6. Do planned activities outdoors. Plan a cook-out, a hike, cloud watching, a festival, picnic on a blanket, a guided nature walk, a zoo trip, etc.
7. For those who like art, set-up an easel to draw landscapes or nature.
8. Visit waterfalls or other nature spots.
9. Set-up a fort, kids area for activities, a patio or deck. A deck I have been told invites adults to come outside. I am not sure what it is about wooden planks being over a yard verse a table sitting on the grass, but hey if it works.
10. Have a schedule. Home from school, snack, and get outside.
11. Turn off the electronics. (TV, computer, games, not the fridge etc).

If all else fails, sit them down inside and start a story about "When I was your age. . . " They will be running for the outdoors.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Not sick, but not going to work.

I am a big fan of taking care of yourself. Even if you are not sick, you can still stay home from work. I get a Bizillion sick days, and personal, vacation days on top of that. I am one of the lucky people who only get sick a few days out the year, and unfortunately they are usually on the weekend.
So, what happens to my sicks days, they sit in my pay check and play poker with each other.
Take a day off! I tell my staff that all the time. Take it off, plan it to take it off, or wake up and say, "The heck I am staying home today, going to the beach, or going for a hike."
Taking Monday or Friday off is a double bonus, THREE DAY WEEKEND.
Look, as long as your are doing your job, don't worry about it.
Take care of yourself. Life is too short. It is too short. You will never get to all those place "you are supposed to go before you die." Has anyboyd done that. So circle a few and go.
Better yet, keep a list. I am big on lists. A list entitled, "things I will do when I have more time." And then take time off and do them. Have fun cutting your toe nails!

Friday, October 12, 2012

At the End of my Rope, Glad I Tied a Knot the Last Time I was Here

"I am at the end of my rope, I am glad I tied a knot the last time I was here." I have only lived for 37 years but feel that I have had my fair share of ups and downs. I am having a wonderful life. I have not quite hit rock bottom, but I definite know what it looks like as I dangled from the end of my rope.
Lately, I have been having some difficulties . . . work, money, etc and have been stressed to the point I had been losing sleep (something that has only happened 3 times in my life). I am big on using analogies and I can comfortably say I have a knot at the end of this rope. It is much easier to hold on that way.
I think eventually, I will tie several knots in this rope so that I don't slide down as easily and so it makes it easier to climb back up. I was never good at climbing ropes. When I was younger in elementary school we had this thing called Extended Learner. Some kids got picked for Extended Learner Art, Science, Math. I got picked for Extended Learner Gym. I could hang with the best of them. There were probably 20 kids in this class and only 3 were girls. I could run as fast, dribble and shoot as well, but I could not climb that damn rope! Still 30 years later I am still a little pissed at that. I could do some mean break-dancing though.
Ok back off my tangent. I think is important in life to have some perspective to ground you. For some this comes in religion or spirituality, some in philosophy. For me, right now it is that I luckily have a knot at the end of my rope.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trail Swap

A beautiful creation came to light a few weeks ago, Trail Swap. This is my first published ebook. This book comes after years of my work and time. I spent years writing daily and forming characters and stories. In 1998 I started writing about Swap and her adventures on the Appalachian Trail. When I started writing about Swap, I was living in the Florida Everglades area as a wilderness counselor. I was sleeping in a tent nightly, and learning aspects of outdoor living.  In 2000 I moved to Boomer, NC and I started the writing stories about Farryn and her adventures with southern hospitality. Then one late night at a local all-night diner, I had the idea to combine the two stories. Right there, Trail Swap was born.
I put the book to the side to marinate and age for about 5 years, my girlfriend at the time encouraged me to write again. I would write and re-write pages, and she would read them and fall in love with the characters as fast as I could imagine them up. I finished the book, and attempted to court several publishers and received rejection letters. Life took over, and the book sat dormant for 6-7 years.
The Christmas of 2012 my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I am a simple person with very few needs. At this point in my life I have everything I need and want. I have a family, my health, and happiness. I conjured something up to ask my mother to get me, a kindle. I was not sure if I would like it. To me, nothing was going to replace that old book smell and the feeling of a book in my hands.
To my surprise, I got the kindle and I was instantly addicted. I frantically searched the internet for free books, downloaded library loaned ebooks, and even bought a couple of books.
Then it hit me. I need to publish an ebook. My book would reach so many people and I can by-pass the grueling publishing process.
Again, I scooted my lopsided office chair to the computer and edited my book 6-7 more times. My wife formatted my book for Amazon, and I downloaded my book.
Ok, actually I made a long story short. . . let's back up. I actually scoured the internet for the following: how to publish an ebook, how to market an ebook, where to publish an ebook, ebook vs print, what to publish, how to make money on an ebook. There were probably a dozen other topics I looked up. Each of these topics had hundreds of websites. I took notes, I printed things out, and I learned. All this information sat neatly in a binder next to the computer. Then one day I bit the bullet, and I downloaded my ebook.
The cover: then in the effort to avoid a horrible looking book cover, my wife went hiking and took a ton of pictures for the cover and made, what I think, is a beautiful, cover for Trail Swap.
There she was born, my first book. One of my life goals was reached. Many more books have started to pour from my veins. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Movin' Chairs with My CEO

Yesterday I had a new hire start. I usually spend a few hours on my team members first day going over paperwork, policies, etc. During this time my new hire stated, "It is very important to have a supervisor whom you can trust." (I am not sure if they said whom or who.) I paused for a second, and took a few deep breathes, and said, "Yes, you are so right."
A few days ago my company moved sites. We moved from a small venue to a huge office building and merged with four other programs of our agency including the Administration Office which includes the VP's, CFO, HR, and CEO. If you have ever gone through an office move, it can be very hectic. I am lucky because my team has taken it like champs. They have dealt with not having internet nor access to our shared drive along with not having our physical mailboxes and mail room set-up.
I have a huge all-day training today and went up to the training room to see if the room was set-up. I went up and to my dismay the room not only was empty of furniture I needed, but had boxes and chairs that were being sent back to the dealer in it. Let me say, I was a little disappointed and anxious about where to sit 20+ people for the day.
In high-heels and with a smile my CEO came out of her office and helped me move chairs in the training room, move the boxes to the closet and delegated to get the room set-up for tomorrow. I was so in awe that she took time to do this. (Not that she usually was not helpful, I have limited interaction with her.) I was so thankful for her help and time.
When I thought back on it, I am not sure why I was in awe. I am very similar. I have a roll your sleeves up and get to work kind of attitude. When I was a residential director I was out in the mud and rain helping de-escalate a youth. Just a few days ago, I was on the floor plugging in computers. Last week I emptied the fridge and cleaned it out at work.
I go by the motto, "I would never ask my staff to do something that I would not do myself."
I have decided I am a great supervisor, and my supervisees are lucky to have me. I should email them about the party they should have for me. (I can't help but think the title of this post could be a country song.)