First Grade Draft

My boss is a fitness competitor. As I walked into his office recently, I was distracted by all the shiny trophies proudly displayed on a top shelf. There were 6, I think. As I stuttered for a second in what I was sharing with him, it made me take a quick look at my own accomplishments.

Memory Lane

When I notice the rack full of medals, I don’t see the end result. I do see the work I put into earning them. And they were earned, for sure. Granted, it’s nice to have them, but it’s what isn’t written on them that makes a difference. Which leads me to this point – you can’t make someone want something they don’t want for themselves. If you’re doing it because it’s another person’s dream for you, the value is minimal, if real at all. Not to say there isn’t value, but it probably isn’t the full value you would have instilled.

All this to say…I believe there’s a draft system in public schools. Very loaded statement, Kel. As mini goes to a small(ish) school – but certainly not as small as mine was – there are 4 kindergarten classes and, I presume, as many first grade classes. So as she has begun peppering me with questions like who will be her teacher next year, I gently remind her I don’t know and probably won’t until about a week before school returns in August. Then she asks who her classmates will be. Wash, rinse, repeat.

photo credit: pexels

Which got me thinking how are classes decided? Is it a drawing? A lottery? Do the teachers drink heavily one night and pick names from an empty wine glass? There’s an idea! My predominant belief is a draft system. As the school year goes on, their teachers are keeping score. Since kindergarten is a (typically) rookie year, they get a wild card pick. So when you see kids getting traded within the first week of school, it’s because a teacher has decided to use her wild card. For the remaining years, trades can only happen when the owner, ahem principal, deems it necessary. At the end of the year, by popular vote, the teacher with the worst class gets first pick in the new school year. Indeed there lives score sheets, mugshots…I mean school photos, and printouts on how annoying the student’s parents were. Sorry, Toots, I bugged the crap out of your teacher.

I’ve been assured the draft doesn’t really take place; it’s all up to chance, so they say. Can’t fool me. I’m convinced there’s a secret society of school personnel who wait all year to call dibs on the class that will rule the school. For one year, at least.

First rule of fight club…

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I ask you –

At what point should my boss stop bringing his big trophies to work?

How many kindergarten classes did your school have? Just one.

Draft: yay or nay?

Share No More + Adopt-a-Highway

I shared my body, my peace of mind, my time, my humor, my breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks, and my personal space with her. I’m not sharing my cookie! P.S. I sat in my car alone and ate the ENTIRE cookie.

Crumbl box sans cookie

Then I did something nice (read: made plans, changed other’s plans, rescheduled the changed plans, updated the newest plans) for a group of people and they thanked me with Girl Scout cookies.

The following emoji indicates the remainder of May’s weather: 🥵 I can’t run outside in this. I can’t even walk! All. Month. Long. My fear is if it’s this hot in May, what will July look like? Please send us rain.

wind = blow dryer

And, like any half-brained person in the midst of triple digit temperatures, I scheduled a Day of Service volunteer opportunity for 2 squadrons and 1 group. AF lingo. I’m supremely pleased with the turnout – 18 people – and the nearly 10 full bags of trash we removed from the sides of a 2-mile stretch of highway. I can’t speak for other states, but Texas has the Adopt-a-Highway program where organizations can “adopt” a stretch of public highway. The intent is for each organization to host quarterly cleanup days to maintain Texas roadways. Admittedly, I had no idea my squadron owned a piece of land until a few weeks ago so my tentative plan is to offer a volunteer opportunity twice a year. Read: when it’s cold outside and the threat of snakes is virtually nonexistent.

…but why…

Oh hell no! If you need me, I’ll be anxiously scanning every piece of dry land for slithering inhabitants. Texas, please stop being so difficult.

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I ask you –

Do you hide from your children when eating snacks? You can lie to me but not to yourself!

Does your state have something similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Snakes: “look, friends” or “run for your life”! Obviously – run for the hills screaming like a banshee.

Day in Photos, pt 9

Haven’t done one of these in awhile. Probably because I’ve had other things to share. Important things, like…I don’t remember exactly what, but I’m positive they were more important!

#leagueofgarmin @garminfitness

Garmin Fitness adopted me. Bless their hearts. I saw where a running friend (who doesn’t really know me at all but alas we’re friends) was also “adopted” so I took a gamble and submitted my own info. Then, they said ok, we guess you can be a part of our club. And here we are!

Pretzel Lightsaber

We have some truly creative people in our squadron. A spouse made these for everyone for May 4th. Get it, get it. Since we’re the force support squadron – you get it, right?

Team JENGA

I stayed up wayyyyyy too late one Saturday night to attend a dining in event with some truly amazing women! There was alcohol, food, shenanigans, and a skit. Video exists somewhere. Team JENGA ruled the night. Except for those 42 women with nerf guns; they had it out for everyone.

The next day – ahem, whole week – I was reminded why I don’t stay out late. Or take shots. Meh. But, the fun was priceless!

I ask you –

Cinco de Mayo – yay or nay? I adore chips and salsa.

When was the last time you stayed up late? And until what time was that?

Vote: Jenga or Nerf! Nerf. Of course.

Facing Giants

I’m 5 weeks into a long 10k training plan and it still blows my mind how I ran a sub 10 min/mile avg for over 13 miles just 5 months ago. And it was awesome! Now? I’m barely sustaining a 11:30 min/mile for a 5k.

Whoever talked so highly about a comeback was a liar. What’s this comeback you speak of? Because I sure haven’t seen it yet. The only thing coming back is my level of discipline. Although work is really trying hard to throw me off. Anyway – 10k. It doesn’t feel possible I’ll ever get there. On the bright side, most knee pain has all but disappeared. Sometimes there’s a twinge, occasionally it’s a little more than a twinge, but I’m reminded this is normal and may just be a lifelong effect of a torn anything. A run last week reminded me I’ve come a long way and not to be too hard on myself. Still weird though.

In April, I also faced a different kind of giant…the celebration of my great Aunt Mary Catherine’s 95th birthday! She’s no giant. But the revere and awe I am of her is bigger than life. You’d think she’d stop falling for these surprise birthday parties, but it worked again. Her big smile, bigger heart, and sweet words make my soul sing. She is a giant in my eyes – of the most tender loving kind I’ve ever known. Many relatives, family friends, and neighbors were there to share in her day. I even convinced her to eat two pieces of cake. It wasn’t difficult.

Mini finagled her way into Rubik’s cube lessons with my uber-smart cousin.

fast learner

We also had time to take Bluebonnet photos on the side of the highway. This was near where I had the car accident 2 yrs ago so it felt good to find something beautiful near a place I’m not fond of.

Giants aren’t always scary, looming creatures; sometimes they’re just small stepping stones. Other times, they’re the people you love the most whom are giant in your eyes.

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I ask you –

Are you currently training for anything? Survival counts!

Who is the oldest living person in your family?

Tell me what a “giant” looks like to you!

Resiliency Revolution

Occasionally I accept as a compliment what people say when it fact it isn’t. That’s a you problem! For example, someone in my office stated “You’re always doing something.” I saw them smile as the words exited their mouth so, naturally, I thought it was a good statement. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I have no idea. But it got me thinking – am I doing too much?

Credit: mytherapistsays via Instagram

My predominant belief is I should/like to give my time and effort to select things. In the Navy, we were encouraged to participate in everything. The problem here is you can’t give even 60% of yourself to 10 obligations. Hello, short stick. I chose (and often got dirty looks) for giving my time to 2-3 collateral duties. Those duties deserved my attention. Fast forward to the Air Force, the duties are called additional duties yet the volun-told status is still in effect. This is why… I take the initiative to cultivate and choose my own additional duties.

Introducing the Resilience Training Assistant (RTA). After a very involved two-day, interactive, emotional course, they felt I was qualified for certification. Yippee! I recognize resilience is a military buzzword; however, it is something I truly believe in because it can be used to reframe the culture of mental health stigma, as well as foster the conversations between military personnel both up and down the chain of command and within all branches. Yes, I know that’s a lot to ask. At the time of viewing the list of qualified personnel on base (nearly 40 people), I only recognized 2 of the names. TWO. Clearly there’s a problem because it means I didn’t know them from resiliency efforts, but from other duties.

Super incredible classmates!

The next hurdle is attending the Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) course at Maxwell AFB. Genuinely looking forward to a TDY. In the meantime, there’s a huge need to provide this curriculum to squadrons, groups, and all personnel. My vision is to ensure the word resiliency doesn’t go the way of other buzzwords, aka out of sight/out of mind. I want people to talk to each other when they’re hurting, when they’re struggling, when they need help. Billions of dollars a year are spent on (I’ll say it) completely useless things – why aren’t we spending money and time on changing culture instead? It costs nothing to empower others.

“If you’re self-aware enough to be self-deprecating, your IQ must be high!” – Will Lannon

We’re going to spark a revolution!

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I ask you –

Have you ever heard of Resiliency Training?

What are some buzzwords in your profession?

Tell me about a time you participated in a culture-changing curriculum!

Things That Make Me Grumpy!

Recognizing what makes you unhappy – or less unhappy, more simply grumpy – is vastly important. As I’m about to demonstrate. Here’s a few things:

Here’s a few things:

1. Virtual medicine has its benefits, but if you’re relying on a doctor to diagnose you with something serious via Zoom where they have no idea who you are on the other end, I advise you to think again. Nothing good can come of this.

2. Leaning. I have a serious problem with people who lean. against. everything. I was raised in an environment of “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” It irks me when able-bodied people don’t stand up straight under their own power. Maybe it just resembles laziness.

Credit: Pamela Colloff via Twitter

3. Meetings that could have (read: should have) been an email. Anything over 60 mins loses value immediately. Avg attention span: 19 mins. Need I say more?

I’m not 100% positive what a “Ted Talk” is because I’m old and grumpy, but I think it would be accurate enough to say now – Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. Kel Talk? Kel Calling? There’s work to be done here!

Now, get off my lawn.

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I ask you –

How often do you rely on telemedicine?

Are you typically the meeting organizer or attendee?

I need a new catchphrase!

Wrapping Up a Few Thoughts

Anybody else panic at knowing the “big hugs” and “so funny I might pee on myself” emojis on Facebook are right next to each other? Just me. I get so much anxiety when reacting to a post. What if I click the laughing face when they’re expressing something sorrowful? Ugh. Social media managers clearly did this on purpose.

And since I’m not a let-me-tell-you-the-problem-minus-a-solution person, I propose users receive a REORDER EMOJIS icon. Not like buy new emojis, but rearrange emojis instead. Simple end user function. With WordPress I’m able to literally change every part of the blog experience. Granted, I pay for this service; most social media platforms are free, but would benefit from this small change! (I feel like I previously posted the above info but I couldn’t find it on another post. So if you’re reading this twice, whoopsies!)

This is how I know it’s cycle time. And I don’t mean bicycle. I genuinely don’t remember why I was even at the store, but this is what I came home with. Completely out of control. Refer to Monday’s post if you don’t believe me.

Fruit. I love fruit. My new nickname at work is Kiwi Kel. Long story. We’ll get there another day.

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I ask you –

Have you ever had a wacky nickname?

What is your favorite fruit?

Pick one: Cookies or cake. Cookies. Always.

Gym Faux Pas

As I’ve made going to the gym a regular occurrence, it’s time to report on what I’ve witnessed thus far.

  1. Stretchy Lady – the one who chooses to stretch in the locker room, centered in the walkway, the only entrance/exit to said locker room which forces the remainder of us to navigate around her with our gym bags. She’s going to get whacked. Sorry, not sorry.
  2. Treadmill Guy – who leaves his gym bag and various other paraphernalia behind the treadmill which impedes patron’s ability to reach other treadmills and equipment. Then, he laughs obnoxiously loud whilst watching Fox News. What could possibly be funny is beyond me.
  3. Weight Whiners – these pieces of work take one of every single weight of dumbbell back to their bench lair and hide them under it like little trolls. I’m thankful we have a gym with multiples of the same weight, but it’s annoying to go search for another dumbbell. My obvious glare should be enough to reason with them.

Sort of gym-related, I need a shirt that says DO NOT FEED DONUTS! This is not a weight issue. It’s a serious problem for me! I see donut. I eat donut. What’s self control anyway?

The weather is completely uncooperative. 98° in April? Someone told me we beat a previously held record in the 1920’s because this particular day it hit 103°. I’m not ready! For those of you who faithfully read my blog and mention snow or rain, I’m jealous. Texas is in a pattern of tornado-wind-drought-hell. Send rain!

photography skills are exceptional

As time goes on, I feel even more strongly I must have some Italian heritage because I can’t talk without my hands. The injury above proves it. How does one scratch the skin off of the area above their eye whilst telling a story? Oh so gracefully! I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

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I ask you

Do you relate to any of the 3 aforementioned gym fanatics?

Are you a hand talker, too?!

Go ahead. Tell me what weather you’re experiencing this week. Hot, hot, hot.

RoF – Caffeine Injected

It seems we’re a family of gadgets. I don’t know how we got to this point, but it’s here for the long haul. I realize it has been awhile since I’ve created a new post for this series; life got busy for a few minutes. This is why…I need coffee.

New Family Member

small but mighty

Introducing Evelyn, the espresso machine. Not to worry – the blog post heading was click bait only. As coffee is an essential part of my life, so shall an inanimate piece of machinery be aptly named. Like Betty. And Dot. Evelyn is a lovely new friend. She graces my life with dainty shots of life-giving liquid heaven and then she elegantly spins regular cold milk or cream into heated, frothy additions. It’s quite the sight.

I can’t wait to share my new coffee-making skills with others. Thus far, mini has had a portion of an espresso shot. Then, she didn’t stop talking for nearly 2 hrs. Whoops.

such a beautiful sight

Seems my afternoon routine isn’t complete without a double shot. I’m not quite there with creating any fancy designs, but occasionally it looks like I poured a glob of foam at the top of the cup. I can only get better from here! Unpopular opinion: the more I research how mainstream coffee shops create their beverages, the more I dislike their practices. Did you know a (very) well-known coffee establishment’s drinks are either a) nearly 3/4 cup milk (as in very little actual coffee) or b) made entirely from a carton of pre-made tea or coffee? Yet we pay $6 or more for something touted to be “hand crafted”. Just wow. I understand we’re paying for convenience, but, honestly, the coffee – what little you actually get – isn’t even that good!

I did my research on what coffee to buy; I even asked my favorite coffee shop for their feedback. What with millions of options, the choice was difficult but I believe I made the perfect one. Lavazza Super Crema has a beautiful finish, it’s smooth and delicious, and it isn’t bitter in the slightest. Granted, Lavazza isn’t a “reserve”-type coffee, but for the price it was a great start on my coffee-creating journey.

Unbeknownst to me, there are many common terms in the coffee industry. Some are puck, brush, demitasse, and many others. I’m still learning designs and pretty things. All I know is I’ve sort of become a coffee snob. It’s hard to pay for coffee when I know I can make the same (better!) at home.

So this is where I typically give you the name and location of my Caffeine Injected series. Alas, there is none to give this time. But if you ever want to stop by for a fancy coffee and some random jokes, I’m always available. Except when I’m not. Which is most days, 5am-9pm.

Want to see more?

If you or someone you know owns or frequents a favorite coffee establishment and you’d like to be featured (or nominate them to be featured), please comment below!

Cheers to the Caffeine Injected series!

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I ask you –

How much is too much to pay for coffee?

Where is your go-to coffee spot?

Rate my naming skills! Evelyn: A+

Outdoor Collections

When Spring comes alive:

Doo-dads!

Aptly named “Doo-dads” because a) my dad created them and b) because it’s fun to say and I have no other terminology. In essence, they are suncatchers. The backyard gets the sunset so it also gets the suncatchers! Unfortunately, I’m either busy or not home when the weather is decent enough to sit outside to watch. To do list item.

Female Ducky

Each year a pair of ducks comes to our neighborhood and hangs out for awhile. With the addition of some new families, I enlisted the help of a few girls to watch over the ducks and make sure their rambunctious brothers and cousins didn’t run the ducks off. Maybe we’ll see some ducklings!

I don’t care what anyone says – daffodils do not exist in my world. There are only jonquils! They may look like daffodils, they may be exactly the same for all I know; however, I will forever call them jonquils. The end. I’m incredibly pleased these bloomed this year and will make a return each year.

Lastly, only in Texas: Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, TX is experimenting with drone delivery. Full details here. Interestingly, they’re not delivering near Brenham; instead the plan is to deliver in two small towns near DFW. Let’s explore this. I don’t know the cost, but it would be a huge problem in my neighborhood. I would be getting daily deliveries! If you’ve never had an opportunity to try Blue Bell ice cream, you’re missing out!

Now I shall go take my daily dose of Zyrtec in order to prevent a horrible case of sneezing, itchy, runny, red eyes and nose. Because Texas spring is in bloom.

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I ask you –

Do you have any yearly animal visitors?

What are your favorite flowers?

Spring: yay or oh-please-not-again. Definitely yay!