Saturday, May 31, 2014


Another month has come and gone. It was a busy month, but a month where I turned a corner. Leadercast was a phenomenal experience that made me think a lot. Some people say it wasn't as good as the previous year, but I got a lot out of it.

I did not post enough in May, I ate more than enough in May, I did not exercise enough in May. Our yard got much better looking in May. The weather was really phenomenal in May. I haven't read enough. I am slogging my way through one book while several others on my nightstand creep towards being due back at the library. At this stage, I'm just storing them for the library. *sigh*

So I'm doing my end-of-the-month review a day late, it's the end of the day on June 1 as I write this, but that's fine, because this month is set into motion well. (Note: backdating it to last night so that it appears in the correct archive.)

On Friday Ben had won an award at school so I took off work a little early to go to that. And then I worked from home and when it was time to punch out, I went outside with Ben. Having no commute would be awesome. You'll find a blog post full of photos from our time outside below (Hello, Summer). Yesterday was a combined family party for our children. Other than Ben spilling a million drinks (we think we won't serve beverages at future parties), it was a real nice time and it was fun to see so many children in the house and so much family. Today we went to the early service at church as a family and then Lori went and took a rest. She's been feeling cruddy for a couple of weeks now with something she's been unable to shake. I hung out with Ben and Rachel disappeared into her room to play with her Legos. She hasn't given us the money yet, but with a little bit of her birthday money added, she's saved up enough to get a Kindle.

Even though I stopped the weekly recaps of my attempts to get a handle on my chores, I still continue to attempt to make a workable system. Today I sat down and whittled and whittled and whittled until I had a list of 75 things I want to get done this month. Big items that there are lots and lots and lots of, I chose the most deserving 75, ranging from washing a set of curtains to changing smoke detector batteries to starting to paint the outside of the house. I had to be ruthless in my cutting and they don't show up on my daily stuff, but I printed them out. I feel good about the list.

I also went running today. 1.5 miles. Small, but it's been way too long. Time to get back to it.

Feeling good. Still struggling in more areas than I'd like to admit, but not going to let those control me.

My Favorite Posts for May
Top 5 Posts (Previous 30 Days)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hello, Summer

Ben was having a rough afternoon after school (where he was one of the "Citizens of the Month" for May) and since I worked from home, as soon as I finished my end-of-the-week report we went out to the backyard.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 58 & 59 (Final)

Sunday, 9:00 pm -- I think it's time to bring this experiment to a close. I've tried a number of different methods to address my chores and my to do list. I've treated them like a challenge to see how many I could do. I've tried to plan them like a sprint. I tried to make a game of it. I think the thing that's worked the best is when I can spend a few minutes the night beforehand reducing the list for the next day, looking at the stuff I should do. What I have learned in the past few distracted weeks that I'm more likely to get stuff done when I at least check my list. Also, if I can plan out longer periods with my family like we were doing a few years ago I'll have a better chance of success.

Book Review: Horde

Horde (Razorland #3) by Ann Aguirre

And we're right back in it. And there's a lot to be in. The final chapter of the Razorland triology could easily by two books. And it would have been fair to do so, if only it weren't the rule that this genre be in trilogies and not quadrilogies. I know I'm critical of long books, wishing that the authors had tightened up the writing, edited themselves and so on. (Kind of like I should have done with this sentence.)

However, in this case, I really wouldn't cut anything. But it does read as two acts. You know what's coming... the titular horde has been growing and something's gotta give. The uneasy tension or looming disaster has to get all resolved before the end of the book. But how? The odds seem too great.

Having seen first-hand what happened when the enclaves of New York refused to work together and then again what happened to Salvation, Deuce is convinced that the key to the survival of the human race is to band together to stand up to the horde. Sadly, this message is not an easy sell.

Deuce finds herself with a small army and they begin to travel from town to town to recruit for their army. The soldiers are weary, exhausted, too small to take on the horde and discouraged. Time for a change in tactics. All this is an opportunity for further growth of our young heroes as the battle looms ever closer.

I don't want to spoil the story for you, but it's what you expect and what you don't expect, a satisfying conclusion that's not entirely forgone. When all is said and done, you can see elements of the journey stretching back all the way to the first book, an author who knew where she was going and who delivers. (Which is sadly what I couldn't say for Mockingjay and Allegiant.)

Enclave (My Review,

Outpost (My Review,

Horde (

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

People pleaser

So I asked Siri if it would be raining tomorrow. (ok, it was a few weeks ago before the weather got awesome, I've just been a little delayed).

But still, this is goofy. Either the data's wrong or the presentation's wrong. I wonder if this comes from testing it only in Cupertino where it's always sunny.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Regret is a Choice #leadercast

I was reading #Leadercast tweets on Friday and came across this one. Ever since then, "regret" has been rolling around in my head, waiting for me to tease it out.

There was suddenly a flash of recognition. That's what I love about events like these - where you can get away from the typical every day and be forced to think differently. And so I've been thinking about regret. What it is, and what it isn't.

Regret is a choice.

I can be sad about things that have happened. Lament, despair, mourn. But regret is different. Regret is active, present tense. Regret is self-incrimination for a failure to act or for a failed act. I regret that I... I regret that I never... I wish I hadn't... If only I had had the courage to...

Armed with this knowledge, we can set about to right that which we regret. We may find ourselves in circumstances of our own making - whether years in the making, or ones that will take years to clean up. But they are ours.

If we can choose to regret, we can choose to change.

I'm choosing to change. I've lived too long feeling bad about circumstances that I wrongly felt were outside my control. They are in my control, I was just using excuses. The man was keeping me down, but I was the man.

Enough of that. Time to live without regrets.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Book Review: Enders (abandoned)

Enders by Lissa Price

Part 1, Starters (My Review) proposed an interesting twist on the post-apocalyptic world - a world-wide war waged using biological weapons killed the all the middle-adults. Children were inoculated, the elderly were inoculated, but due to a shortage of inoculations and the assumptions that the middle-aged would be robust enough to survive, they weren't inoculated and, well, died. Leaving a world of children and elderly. Children who had living grandparents were taken care of, but the rest of the children fended for themselves, trying to avoid capture and institutionalization.

Medical science advances allowed the elderly to live longer and a new technology, à la Dollhouse made it possible for a company to allow the affluent elderly to "rent" teenagers - allowing them to participate in activities that their elderly bodies couldn't handle, like sports and partying. (There were all kinds of rules about what you could and couldn't do and you put up a rather large bond against doing anything that would put your "host" in jeopardy. Microchips and wireless technology allowed the sleeping elderly to control the teens while their own brains were asleep. The microchips also prevented things like using the teen bodies to kill someone else.)

In Starters, a teenager, Callie, was forced by circumstance to enroll with the company that offered this service. But she began coming in and out of consciousness and was able to communicate with the person renting her - a grandmother hoping to find her granddaughter who had enrolled with the company and then gone missing. A conspiracy is uncovered where the company was planning to offer permanent rentals and by the end of the book the company is exposed and dismantled, but the company's founder has escaped.

In book two we learn that the microchips can also be triggered to explode, killing the host. Oh, and the chips can't be removed without killing the host. So the founder, now in hiding, is still able to reach out and access the hosts and is working to rebuild his "army."

It is an interesting concept, but I struggled to keep reading and finally gave up about 12 chapters in (of 26). I even tried reading the last few pages to see what the final outcome was and realized I just didn't care. I hate to say that, but it's the truth. There are more books than I'll ever be able to read in my lifetime, so I just decided it was time to set this one aside and move on to the next one. I won't like every book I read, but I feel really guilty when I set one aside. I've never had a book published so I feel like I shouldn't be in a position to judge a book (funny, I don't feel the same way about movies or television) but, yeah, it's time to move on.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Intentionality #focus

#Leadercast yesterday was an overdue wake-up call. Earlier this year I said I needed to be intentional, and then since then, I have been anything but.

I have done that which I did not want to do and I have not done that which I wanted to do.

I have absolutely and totally failed to be intentional.  (I failed to focus.)

It isn't that life is always up, up, up, but if it's less up than down, then I'm headed in the wrong direction.

I'm headed in the wrong direction.

It's time to change that.

I can't snap my fingers and change that, but I need to figure out how to get those regular doses of that which redirects me back up.

Lots swirling around in my head right now. I think there's probably going to be some posts on the idea of fear, passion, opportunity, stuff like that, as well as a one on Leadercast itself and what I got from it.

Here I am today. Is it where I want to be? Some yes, some no. I should look into my reasons (ahem, excuses) at some point, I suppose.

It's time to change that.

Monday, May 05, 2014


"We give our animals the greenest pastures and they give you delicious and nutritious milk."

Your ANIMALS? You mean cows? 

Or are these mutant twelve-udder milk producing hybrids that can't be legally called cows?

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Week 57 (Final)

Sunday 3:40 pm -- Wrapping up this week. 224 done. That's fine. I am happy with what I got done. I'm feeling prickly at the moment so I'm hiding in our room with headphones on. I want to put some effort into next week's list to make sure that I end up at the end of the week with very little incomplete. But I won't have a lot of time within which to prepare, so let's see what I can come up with quickly.

Book Review: Outpost

Outpost (Razorland Trilogy) by Ann Aguirre

Ah, a trilogy's middle book... By the nature of its position as #2 and in this case, the name of book three (Horde), you know how this is going to end before it begins. Outpost is the story of our young heroes attempting to integrate into life in the town of Salvation. Of course, you know that can't last. The mutants are growing in number, and getting smarter. An isolationist strategy can't last. As all things tend towards chaos, you know chaos is coming.

Outpost is a slow burn. There's no hurry to get to the end, but that's to be expected because while we know it's coming, the inhabitants of the town don't. Sure, there are alarming events that worry those who are paying attention, but it's not like they're bracing for the inevitable, because they've lived there for generations. I didn't find myself wanting to hurry it up because the story was interesting as our heroes grew, learned more about civilization, adulthood, and tested boundaries. The community also grapples with gender roles, religion and some of the societal norms. All while the threat grows.

When all heck finally breaks loose, it's not exactly a surprise, but it definitely makes sense. I have really appreciated that this author has really thought through the story she wanted to tell and mapped it out from end-to-end. And in some ways, by the time you get to the end of Outpost, things are just heating up.

Don't read the author's notes at the end, though. In her attempt to reassure you that she's thought things through I think she actually gives you a spoiler that you don't need.

Enclave (My Review,

Outpost (

Saturday, May 03, 2014

An @Amazon Horror Story

Driving home from our date last night in Seattle, we looked at the Amazon building up on the hill and we joked as we always did about how someone needs to film a horror movie there.

And I was struck with an idea... what if there was a horror film, but it took place at Amazon? What if there was a basement dark basement fulfillment warehouse with narrow, dusty shelves of creepy books, kitchen knives and the shelves themselves were robots that could move around and so the walls were constantly shifting.  At one point they think they've escape the building only to be chased by killer Amazon flying drones.

Someone want to write that?

Friday, May 02, 2014