News Reports

We’ve been following the news regarding the impact of Hurricane Harvey.  It’s always sad seeing homes destroyed and people stranded.  But then I started wondering how wide spread is the devastation?

I remember years ago there was flooding along the Willamette River and people began calling my parents to make sure that we were not sitting under water.  Well, the flooding literally was just along the river but the reporting made it sound like the whole of Portland was being threatened.

Then I started thinking about when I was in Kindergarten, one time probably after a Typhoon, part of the school field was flooded.  The water was probably chest deep (okay I wasn’t a big kindergartner) and the bus driver had to pick us up one by one and carry us to the bus just outside of the gate.  I can imagine if the camera was only zoomed in on the effort, it would probably appear as some heroic rescue of little children from a major flood.  Hum…

So anyway, I started wondering about the degree of flooding.  Of course I’m not dismissing that there is bad flooding in certain areas around Texas, nor am I down playing the suffering of the people impacted by the hurricane, but I am wondering about the degree of the impact especially when I have friends living near Huston complaining about being stuck with the kids at home for a whole week.  That doesn’t sound like major storm impact.

I remember after Katrina, there were aerial view and maps of the parts of New Orleans under water which is rather lacking here.  Also, knowing that yes flooding will be a problem for some  in the low lying areas, but given that the whole area is pretty flat so the water would probably be more spread out and there won’t be significant run off into just one small region.  Thankfully unlike New Orleans, the area is not below sea level so the water does have a chance to drain into the ocean.  So my hope is that the flooding and destruction is not as bad as what the media is making it out to be.

Again, I’m not dismissing the problem being faced by those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed or even those who had suffered minor flooding in their home since even an inch of water in the house can cause significant head aches and repair costs to the owners.  But it is worthwhile whenever we watch or read some news report to think through it critically and not to make broad general assumptions.  No, the whole of Houston is not under water :).

Homeschool planner

I was looking for a planner that my kids and I can share. Since my boys don’t have phones or tablets so apps wouldn’t do them much good. I came across it was fairly easy to set up and I think I’m going to like it. Since it’s online, we won’t be having the issue of lost checklists and it’s not dependent on access to a particular computer. If the kids don’t finish their work I don’t need to worry about rescheduling on the spreadsheet. Of course only time could tell and it’s only effective if the kids do get their work done. But isn’t that true with any planner? We can have the best planning resource, but unless we are consistent and follow through, they are no better than the chicken scratches written on the back of an old receipt.

A Heart to Serve Others

I hear much about volunteering and many of the kids’ activities such as scouting also ask their members to put in a minimum number of volunteer hours. But the ironic things is that while often kids are fulfilling their volunteer hours often their attitudes remain selfish. I’ve had times where the volunteers did more harm than good to the projects. Some of the volunteers were only interested in wearing the feather and telling others what to do.

The sad thing is that those who were there for themselves often walk away less happy than those who were there to serve. In fact there are studies that show people who are more altruistic are happier.

I don’t know how best to teach such a heart to serve. But for my kids, the thing I’ve done is modeling it in my life and taking my kids along side when serving including many behind the scene things that others don’t notice. If anything, it has helped develop some level of work ethic and a sense of others, and a deeper relationship with my kids.

Too Busy to Get Anything Done

I often find myself being caught up with doing this that the other that at the end of the day I realize that I have not really gotten anything done. It’s not that our lives are defined by what we manage to accomplish, because over time I’ve come to realize that the process is as important as the results and especially as a mom, much is accomplished through interactions that has no immediate measurable results. But especially now in the electronic age we can be so easily distracted. And there’s always a few more interesting thing to look up.
Okay, time to stop this post and get back to actually accomplishing something worthwhile for today.

plugin options

I’m in the process of putting together a website for the local homeschool band.  The latest task is trying to put together online registration.  Being new to WordPress I’m trying to look through the plugins to see if any of them will work.  I’m used to being very primitive and just writing everything from scratch so while I was looking through all the options I felt like Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson looking at all the coffee choices instead of waiting in a long line for the choice of just coffee.

I think I’ll just go and faint for a while.  I’m thankful for the choices that I have today and thankful for a free market where people are free to be innovative so we can have these choices.  Things sure have come a long ways.

For those interested, I finally chose Caldera Forms plugin for band registration.  Of course like everything else, I may go a bit ways down this road and then change again.  Choices are good, but they can be such time sinks….

Happy Father’s Day

Don’t forget to call your dad and wish him a happy Father’s day. Dads are special and are so important to the development of their kids. Also, encourage a father to do his best. They need lots of encouragement to carry on.

Paper shadow box

What do you get when you cross Pinterest diy paper crafts with an ex-computer geek.  You get variable 3D shadow box templates.  It’s great being able to explore different areas of interest.  Now I’m looking for  a way to make my solution available to others in an user friendly way.  That’s always the trick right?

Always stay engaged.  Life is never boring and even the oddest combinations could result in something wonderful.  What are the things you are or have been interested in?  Take a step today and to become more engaged in the pursuit you never know what awaits you around the corner.  Yes, I never thought that my love of craft and computer programming would come together.

Pop explosion

Did you know that if you leave a soda can in the freezer it can “explode?”  Well, I knew from a number of first hand experiences.  Have I learned?  But this one is very impressive.  The whole can was split open.  Oh I need to stop being so absent minded.

I’m sure there is some lesson here to be learned and the “teacher” in me is dying to make some philosophical point, but I’m too tired right now and I need my caffeine, just not from this can.

Effective “multitasking”

How many times have you heard that multitasking does not work.  And I totally agree, if the person tries to read text, talk on the phone, type on the computer, eat dinner, and watch their favorite show all at the same time the mind cannot effectively process everything.  The interesting thing is that our brain only have 2 at most 3 short term memory slots and each time we switch tasks, there needs to be a context switch of those slots.  It’s like sometimes when the computer slows way down because it keeps trying to pull things from the disk for different tasks.

But there’s a time to be effective with the idea of accomplishing multiple things in a given period of time if we at least mentally anticipate dead times where they can be filled with other tasks.  I used to stand around and wait for the pot to boil when I plan on making noodles.  Now was that really necessary?  Okay, if it’s things that I don’t want to boil over like making candies where I don’t want the content of the pot to go past certain temperature, of course then I need to be close by, but does it need my full attention especially when I have a digital thermometer that would beep when a certain temperature is reached.  So if I planned ahead, I can leave the dishes until I’m making the candies.  While the syrup is cooking, I can get the dishes done.  But if I don’t think ahead, I may have already spent the time putting the dishes away and got everything else in the kitchen done, in which case I will need to hang around the kitchen with nothing to do.  Or the other thing is when you go on errands, can you attach multiple errands to the same trip and plan the timing accordingly.

All these things takes planning and eventually with enough practice that at least some combinations of tasks become more natural.  I think this is the effective form of multi-tasking.  So next time before you start a task that you’d like to do as part of multitasking, think ahead and ask if there are actual dead time in what you are planning to do.  If not, put away the cell phone and remove whatever other distractions (pomodoro technique).  Otherwise, think ahead as to what can fit into those dead times and be disciplined enough to pull yourself away in time,  instead of just responding to everything as they happen around you and do the first thing that comes to mind.  Now, that’s the only way to be truly effective with “multitasking.”

Setting up website

One thing that I tell my kids is that I don’t believe that any true efforts that we put into things is ever wasted in life. In the past, I’ve volunteered for different things thinking that they are just one time events. But over time, I’ve learned that the thresholds that we cross and the new things that we learn become stepping stones to other things.

So Here I am, being rather a newbie at WordPress (not quite new at web design and development) is helping our homeschool band set up their new website. I have truly experienced in life, there are so many exciting doors that will open up for us if we are willing to step up and try new things.

So, go out there and do something new, you may find the new niche that will invigorate your life for the better.