- Buy a custom door that would cost over $300 and probably take a couple of weeks until I would get it back or
- Buy a standard door and cut it down to size
- Used clips I found at the Hardware store to keep the tarp in place instead of stapling it to the boards
- Left extra tarp on the small boards' side because as last year I was cutting it really close after the water pulled the tarp to the deep end
- WordPress.com and WordPress.org - via Wordpress.com
- "The $64,000 Question: WordPress.com or WordPress.org" via The Daily Post
- "WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: A Definitive Guide For 2014" by Raelene Wilson
Can someone have too many hobbies or side projects?
That is the question I have been pondering over the whole month of February. Also, yes I know it is ironic since this is the same month I took a Blogging 101 course as well as having this crazy idea of creating a site called the Bloggers Meetup.
I look back at the month and I have still continued to do things that I have wanted to do, like running, reading (or listening to book tapes), keeping up-to-date with some podcasts, and trying to spend more time with my family on the weekends instead of being buried in work or side projects.
However, I do sometimes wonder if I have taken on too much. It is unfortunately in my nature to keep volunteering at events, helping non-profits, starting side projects, or just trying new hobbies. I am thankful that most of the things I do have different cycles of when they are busy and when they aren’t so it normally doesn’t create too big of a conflict. However, then there are the times when my hobbies start to become more of a burden and it overlaps with other projects/hobbies or just my family time and that is when it really makes me think.
I really starting thinking about this a couple of weeks back and even though I love all of the projects I have been doing/created, I believe I would like to take the next step and get more focused on a couple of them. It is not that I couldn’t continue what I am doing today but at some point when the next side project comes along that seems interesting I won’t have any resources to devote to it. Or I will not be as devoted to another project and at that time, it might be one I would like to be devoted to.
So this year in my year of changes, I am going to try to make sure I keep tweaking my focus on things. That is not to say I will drop everything tomorrow or even next month or within the next year. I am going to start by looking at what projects/hobbies I carried forward from 2015 and make a list of why I am doing each and what I hope to continue to gain by doing them. Some are very obvious to me right now but others are not. As I am not sure what my longer term vision of doing it is.
How about you? Do you have any hobbies or side projects that you have been doing for a while that you need to take a closer look at the why? I would love to hear your thoughts.
I have been in a couple Blogging 101 courses over the last couple of years and I have enjoyed them as they push me to continue writing and more importantly, I always stumble upon a couple great sites that I frequent well after the course is done. One of the things I always enjoyed about the course is the sense of Community. You had people of all different blogging/WordPress expertise working together and helping each other out along the way. I was in a course a little over a year ago and was thinking wouldn’t it be great to continue the conversation after the course was done?
Now I know you could still visit people’s sites and make comments and suggestions. However, by only doing that you never get a chance to ask questions? You could end your post with a question but what if your question was about WordPress specifically, or a Theme, or just anything else that is random but doesn’t really fit as a blog post on your site for people to respond to? Also, that is assuming you have a magnitude of followers that actually see that post on a given week/day.
As I was in February 2016 Blogging 101 course, it was on my mind again about how could we do this. I have seen it done before but most of the time they wall it off with a Private Site and then it makes it hard for people to even find it or know what it is about unless you stumbled upon it by someone else’s post. Also, there were blogs I started to follow that continued my thinking about this little project. One specifically by Amanda titled “It Matters”, which it really resonated with me and I suggest you read it as well now. Ok, now that you are back.
Insert, the Bloggers Meetup, where what finally pushed me into starting this was based on a simple post I read in the Blogging 101 course where a couple of people were asking what will happen next after the course is over. I saw it as a time to recruit these people who had the same interest as myself in creating an Open Community where Bloggers could come and go and just chat with other bloggers. You can read more about my initial thoughts on the Bloggers Meetup as I don’t want to republish the whole thing here (also this is getting long right?). However, I would encourage any of you to register on the site and then I hope to see you chatting with the Community. Also, since it is just starting up feel free to throughout your ideas of how to grow or what you would like to see it become.
Finally, I want to thank everyone so far for registering and showing interest in this Community project. Not to mention some of the first people who reached out to me like @Amanda and @AmeenasMusings, who have really helped get things off the ground there. I can’t wait to see what is next for all of us!
I saw this Inc. article last night by Shana Lebowitz called “This TED Speaker Has Revealed the Best Way to Break a Bad Habit”, and thought it would be fitting to share the TEDMED video that the article was referencing. Judson Brewer is talking about Habits and the groundbreaking research his team discovered that can effectively help break bad habits. Since I had a post last Friday titled “Power of the Habit”, I felt that this video seemed along the same lines and worth the share.
I finally got around to catching up on some blogs and podcasts that I listen to late last week and I realized that two of them seemed to be touching on the same topic, “Habits”.
Now each of them talks about it from different angles but both have made me reflect on the habits I have been trying to break this year. Or even more specifically some of the good ones I am trying to create this year. Some people might say well that really sounds like a New Years' resolution, but for me, it is more of a time commitment change in focus that will be ongoing.
This brings me to the first blog that has been actually talking about it all year. The site is called Break the Twitch and it’s creator Anthony Ongaro does a great job of framing this up in his post a while back called “How I Created Daily Action Steps to Achieve My 2016 Vision (And You Can Too)”. There is actually a lot of good stuff in there about helping you create a vision for 2016 and follow through with it. However, based on how I have been changing my habits this year the following quote resonated with me best.
To eliminate a bad habit, we first need to establish a good habit to take its place. - Anthony Ongaro
Then as I was running last outside last week and listening to The Tim Ferriss Episode titled Naval Ravikant on Happiness Hacks and the 5 Chimps Theory. I would definitely suggest you listen to it as there are lots of good nuggets of information in that podcast. For me, the reason it really stuck out again was this talk of habits and breaking habits.
Learning how to break habits is an important/great meta skill. - Naval Ravikant
He talked about the power of habits and that after you have broken a habit it helps teach you that all habits can be broken. In fact, he said he break habits and creates new ones frequently. One tip he had to break habits is a daily workout as he suggests it is very important to do some kind of physical activity at the same time every day no exception.
He suggests further that it happens in the morning as it will lead to better choices as you have to make sure you get to bed earlier.
I couldn’t agree with him more on the psychology of physical activity and having it be in the morning. For me, I have been adding a new habit this year of running but not in the morning as he suggests but at night. This isn’t the most ideal, and it does lead to some of the same things he mentions as leading to better habits all around.
How about you, is there any new habits you are hoping to create in 2016 and in the process remove some bad ones? I would love to hear about your success so far or what is holding you back in the comments below.
I am not one of those people to ask others for things. Specifically, in my career I am good at what I do but when I want to make a role change or find out about an opportunity from someone I end up dragging my feet and most of the time miss out on the opportunity. I tried to do better over the past couple of years but still it is something I am uncomfortable confronting people about. However, for those times that I have stuck my neck on the line it has been worth it even if it didn’t end as I would ultimately hope but, at least, I didn’t have to think I just missed out.
Today I was again reminded that it never hurts to ask. I have thought about my career path at the company I am working at lately. Don’t get me wrong what I am doing now is fine and I don’t mind doing it but I keep thinking in 10 years I don’t want to be doing the same thing. Also, as I have grown more in figuring “Life” out the last couple of months I realized I really would like to do something different.
On the same lines, I am reflecting back on an email I sent to a CEO that I have run into from time to time over the past 3 years. The company he works at had a job posted that I was interested in, I didn’t think I was qualified and kept dragging my feet for weeks. However, I finally found the courage to ask him if he would mind chatting about it which within an hour he emailed me back the name of the CFO for me to email as well copying himself. In the end, my thoughts were right, they wanted someone with a little more experience but I feel a lot better knowing it wasn’t just a missed opportunity.
Do you have any times in your career that you wished you would have spoken up to find out about an opportunity? Or did you have a time that you did speak up and how did it turn out for you, I would love to hear your thoughts, leave them in the comments below.
“You weren’t born to just pay bills and die."
My wife sent me this quote the other day and it really made me reflect on things so I thought I would share. I decided to put that quote on a photo I took while hiking with a good friend in Colorado a couple of years back. In fact, my wife bought me the plane ticket to go see my friend for my birthday and looking back it was a great present as it got me to do what I had been talking about doing since I left college but kept saying to myself I was too busy.
I was more out of shape back then as I hadn’t gotten into the swing of running again but it was well worth it once we made it to the top. It was a gorgeous day and the view from the top of Estes Cone was awesome. Luckily, the trail we took, which started at Longs Peak Trailhead, wasn’t too strenuous and I would suggest it to anyone that finds themselves in the area.
Here are a couple other pictures I took from the peak, hiking up, and from the base of the mountain to give you a feel for how high up we were.*Panoramic picture from the top of Estes Cone in Estes Park Colorado.* *Picture of the other Mountains around Estes Cone as we were hiking up.* *Estes Cone is the Mountain we hiked up to get the pictures above.*
Yep, I was the person outside in Minnesota on January 9 when it was -4 degrees running around the streets.
However, since then the weather has been mostly above 0 when I go out on my runs even though most of the time it is around 9:30 pm. Honestly, I wish I had a better time to do it but I have tried to create a habit in 2016 of running and I tell myself that if night running is my only time, then night running it is.*Sometimes the sidewalk ends when running in the winter*
Now, for fun here is a little background on my running, I used to be a runner back in High School (long ago) and loved running, still do, but I lost the actual urge to run as I fell into a busy trap. I could find lots of excuses after college, heck even in college. I ran off and on my Freshman and Sophomore year just as something to do as at that point I wasn’t too buried in the books. However, I took it up a notch the summer before my Junior year as I conned my brother into running the Twin Cities Marathon with me in October. I ran ever day all summer no matter what and sometimes 2x per day. However, once school started up in the fall I never really found time to run as I made excuses. Never fear, though, I was young and determined to still run the Marathon and I actually finished with very little walking. However, since that day I have always made excuses and let the excuses win. I would try from time to time but never keep the momentum. In fact in spring, summer, and fall of 2015, I think I went on a couple weeks worth of running and then stopped. Part of my problem I found was I wasn’t making the right choice or prioritizing my time correctly and my excuse was always that I could never find the right “time” to run.
###Starting over again
Fast forward to the start of 2016 and something clicked. It might have been some of the changes in my life that occurred in 2015, or that I wouldn’t mind losing a couple pounds, or maybe I finally remembered that I love running and gives me time to think. I am honest with myself in knowing that I will not run every day but I would like to run a couple times a week.
There is something great about running as it is just pure. You can only move as fast as you can, as far as you can, and as long as you can. However, it is all up to you to determine what you “can” do and what you get out of it.
For me right now I am not worried about the distance, or speed, or length as I just enjoy putting my shoes and going for a run, even if it is below 0.*Picture of me after one of my many night runs so far in 2016*
This quote works perfectly for me as I end the first week in 2016. I know everyone has probably reflected on 2015 and they looking forward to what they will accomplish in 2016.
Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be. - Marsha Petrie Sue
The picture was taken in Lubec, ME at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse as my brother, sister-in-law and I sat on a picnic table and I sat and watched the sun rise at what is the Easternmost point on the United States mainland.
Right now as I am looking at this picture now so much of my trip is coming back to me that I will start writing about now and publish soon. However, I want to keep this post brief as a quote.
This isn’t going to be the post you are expecting for an introduction as I am really going to talk about why I am taking another Blogging101 course. However, for those of you that are new to the site, I encourage you to find out more about me by reading my About page. So the question is why am I taking yet another Blogging101 course? The answer is actually pretty simple and you can read why below. Also, if you are like me and a returning Blogging101 student I would be curious to know why, so let me know in the comments section below.
Giving back by Helping others: This is one of the biggest reasons I signed up again to do the Blogging101 course this session. The last session I made a point to try to search out and find people needing help or having questions on how to do certain things in WordPress. I actually have a couple different sites that I have helped maintain over the years for Non-Profits, Businesses, and just friends/family members' personal ones.
Forces me to Blog, Learn, and Network: It should be easier to make me blog than having to sign up for a course. However, with everything else going on in life it is not always the first thing I remember to do. By having the daily reminders to do something on my site helps remind me that I should also start writing something (even if it isn’t published that day). Also, by doing the daily tasks each time, I have learned something new by trying new things and reading/seeing what other people try. Most importantly the networking part kind of goes with my helping others as it makes you feel part of a community. However, by signing up it allows/encourages me to find people who are writing about things that I am interested in, and that in turn encourages me to write more as well.
Traveling: I can see where this one is kind of odd one to put down. However, I am currently traveling in China for work, in fact, I just landed in Shanghai last night. Then after I get back to Minnesota for a couple of days before my wife and I head to Seattle for one of our good friend’s wedding. So I thought signing up for this course again would be good as I should have some time to blog during my downtime at hotels, airports, and on airplanes. Who knows I might even come up with a couple of tips on traveling as we go.*Arriving in Shanghai China Customs*
I am working on a couple other posts but this one I have had in my draft folder for some time and I am not sure why I never posted it. Maybe I was waiting for the perfect day or say a day where I would have a bunch of meetings at work like today. Either way it is still funny and I feel like I know a couple people that do these tricks in meetings (they must have read it when it first came out). Does this remind you of anyone at your work or volunteer events? If you do now you know their secret.
I am a big fan of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, it probably is because I am a fan of Jerry Seinfeld from way back in my younger days. However, it doesn’t hurt that they show some really cool cars and well drink coffee which I enjoy as well.
This episode with Stephen Colbert is really good and I just had to share. Unfortunately, you can’t actually embed any of the videos from the site so you will have to click on the link below to watch it. Don’t worry it is well worth it.
I found this cool trailer for the whole Season 6 of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee that is actually pretty good and seems like there is some other takes here that weren’t in the actual final cut. If you have some time to spare I would actually suggest watching the whole Season if you haven’t already.
At what point is it unreasonable for a previous employer to continue asking questions of you? I was gone for over 4 months and I still receive questions.
I feel as though I am a reasonable person and tried to everything right by my previous employer. In fact I even gave them over a months notice that I would be leaving the company. In all the time I was a manager people only gave me a couple of weeks notice and then I had to scramble to back-fill that individual. Also, I never remember calling anyone after they left the company to ask how something was done, that was what I had to figure out before the individual left.
In the end though, I always try to exceed people’s expectations and I did continue to provide answers to some of their questions as time allowed in the evenings. Mostly because it is in my nature to be helpful and I didn’t really see any reason to burn bridges of the people I worked with for 7 years over a couple of questions here and there (I can say all of this now as I haven’t had a question for 3 months).
For a longer read, I will give you more of the back-story as I have not really talked about why I ended up looking for a new job. It isn’t that I have anything bad to say about my previous employer and in fact I enjoyed everyone I worked with and had a great time learning along the way.
Over a year ago the company I used to work for announced it was going to be merging with another company. It was an exciting time for the company but also left a lot of people worried about what was going to happen. Honestly, I was never really that worried, I figured I would get an offer to stay at the company doing what I was doing or I would go somewhere else. In the meantime, before the deal could close there was going to be a lot of work done as I worked in Finance and needed to assist all 3 companies involved. Budget models needed to be created and vetted out before too long so it wouldn’t be done last-minute.
Information was very slow to come from our company about what the future was as far as Corporate location and the big unknown… Jobs.
As I suspected, I was offered a similar position to what I had with increased responsibilities but that would require me to move out-of-state and away from my family that lives here in the Midwest (this happened about 3 months after the announcement). I didn’t really like that option and at the time that was the only option they had available for me. I was completely up front with them and said at this time I did not want to move but I realized that my job would no longer be in Minnesota after the company merged. At that point I made sure they knew I was going to start reaching out to other companies and told them I would continue to be open and honest about what I was thinking. They confirmed my thoughts on my current position by saying they are sorry I wouldn’t take the offer. Also, they wanted me to know that my job wasn’t going away on day one and they would try to find something else before then.
About 4 months after the offer I went back to the same individuals and told them that I had found another job and was giving them my month notice with a couple of conditions attached. The reason for the conditions was mostly because I knew it would be helpful to them if I stayed until January and in turn that could help me so I could spend a week watching my 2 young girls and working here and there that week.
Looking back how the whole process went, I think the lack of communication was the biggest downfall from what I could observe. There was too much unknown for people and some of the people willing to stick it out were asked to leave at a later day due to synergies. It didn’t help that on top of that a good handful of the upper management were not sticking with the merged company (where most people were going) and were either retiring or going with the new company.
Another question for anyone that has made it this far… Have you had an experience with a company merging of equal size and or spinning off a portion of a company, if so how did it go?
Replacing interior doors in your house should not be a hard task to accomplish. Just measure the rough opening, purchase a new door that should fit in the rough opening, and then install the new door in a matter of minutes. However, if your house is like mine and you had previous owners like me you will understand why there is nothing “easy” or “standard” when it comes to house projects.
To spare you the long story I will jump right in that I needed to replace the downstairs bathroom door and jam (frame). Should be an easy task right? Think again. I quickly realized after taking the door and molding off that the rough opening of the door was not even close to a standard size but yet they somehow took a standard door and shoved it into the opening they had. Very classic for my house and I really shouldn’t have expected anything less. So that left me with two decisions:
Once the frame nice and snug in the rough opening it was time to cut the door down to size as of course it was too tall. Now this is not as tough of a task but since I was using hollow core doors it added to the challenge as I was taking more than 2 inches off the bottom. Which means that the bottom of the door would have been left open as I would be cutting the entire filling piece off. Since this had already happened to me before for some closet doors I replaced I already had a solution.
In order to make a nice cut and not chip your wood up to much I would suggest putting a line of painters tap on both sides. You will probably still have some chipping but it will help reduce it. After you make the cut you will want to clean out the spacing foam/cardboard to make room for a new cap.*Inside of the Hollow-Core door*
If you have the right materials around you can cut a new piece of wood for the filler. If that is the case make sure you are measuring from the outside edges and not the center of the hole. Otherwise, another option in a pinch is to use the old filler from the part you cut. However, it takes a little bit of work pealing the outside paneling away without breaking the cap. Either way works as I have done both before. Finally, to secure it in place I would suggest using glue and then tack it with a brad nailer.
Here is the finished product which tuned out nice after spending about 2 hrs more than I had hoped to.
Follow-up: So after writing all of this I decided to see if anyone had a video of a similar process that I took of cutting the hollow-core door. I was in luck as Rick Arnold published a video on FineHomeBuilding that is pretty much identical to what I did.
“You’re either the author of your own book or a character is someone else’s.” - Christian Macy
This is one of my favorite quotes and I encourage you to watch Christian’s entire Ignite Boulder presentation as the whole thing is really good.
As the first full week of 2015 is coming to a close I couldn’t help but think this quote was perfect as I started a new job on Monday of this week. I am not starting a job in the way that Christian describes it in the video, as I gave my previous employer about a month’s notice and wrapped up all my outstanding tasks. However, my new job was really me taking control of my career as the other options in front of me I wasn’t as excited about. So I decided to take that step outside of my past 6.5 year comfort zone and I found another company that I could get behind, enjoyed the people I met and hopefully I will be able to do great things for.
I can’t believe I missed the video below as it practically happened in my own backyard. However, you have to watch this video of 5th grader Cordell Steiner giving a TEDx presentation at the University of St. Thomas about the benefits of video games in the classroom to further students learning. First of all, how impressive that he stood up in front of the audience and gave such a presentation.
You can tell that Cordell is very enthusiastic about education through failure as it is just as instructive as classroom success. He makes some really good points in the video and it is refreshing hearing a kids perspective on how video games (or Apps) can really help every student learn to their full potential.
I think with technology changing it is only right that education and how students are taught will change as well. My son started kindergarten this year and everyone in the school has iPads. I have been fortunate to help out in the classroom on a couple of occasions and watch how the kids use the iPads first hand. Most of the Educational Applications they use could probably be considered games as they try to encourage students by keeping a tally of right and wrong answers. Also, from what I could tell most of the Apps would change automatically change the difficulty as the child answered more and more correct. There were other Apps that allowed the teacher to set a baseline of what level the student was at and she could track their progress of how they are doing by easy to view reports on her computer. They don’t use iPads as the only way to learn as the teacher still does instruction as we all remember. I would estimate that they only use the iPads at most an hour a day (over the course of a week).
As a parent and technology enthusiast I actually like that they are using technology to assist and educate my child. I know for a fact that by allowing him to have some time to learn at his own pace using the educational Apps has only furthered his interest in learning by continuing to keep him challenged.
What are your thoughts about the use of video games or apps in education?
The weather is finally turning cold in Minnesota and that means that people are starting to think of the one sport everyone in Minnesota seems to play… HOCKEY!
For some background, I grew up in Iowa never playing or really watching hockey. Once I moved to Minnesota after college I started watching Hockey and have even taken up skating. It really must be something in the air or water here as my kids talk about hockey all the time and it seems to be on their mind all the time (Not that I am complaining). For that reason, when I had the opportunity to acquire some boards last year to set up my rink in the backyard I took advantage of it. Some of my friends outside the state of Minnesota are shocked that we actually flooded the backyard to create a rink to skate on. Honestly, it does sound a little strange but the whole family had a blast skating and playing hockey on it last year. The best part was you didn’t have to get in the car, or walk down the street to enjoy it.
Since the weather has been turning colder and there was snow in the forecast, I spent some of the weekend setting the rink up to ensure I was ready for the season. I was lucky that some family was in town to do some of the heavy lifting/swinging to get everything setup in really good time. Here is how it looked as of Sunday night with the Boards up, and the tarp clipped down.*Backyard Hockey Rink*
There were two things I did differently from last year:
Below are some pictures of my helpers assisting in the setup, as you can see they had a great time helping set the boards out.
I have never really thought it mattered to me as I have had a blog for a couple years but have never really consistently published stuff. So I used the cheaper alternative of using WordPress.org (or a self-hosted site) because I have had the server and storage space for some other projects I work on. It works well for me and I appreciate being able to have full control of the site and can make any changes as necessary.
However, after publishing my first assignment for Blogging101, I realized that there are a few differences between the two depending on what you are looking for. Specifically for this course, I realized that my posts might not get as much attention as others since they don’t show up in the WordPress.com Reader under the Blogging101 tag and there is not an easy Follow button at the top of my site. Thinking about that a little more I realized that by having my own Self-hosted site I really would miss out on the community part of my WordPress experience.
I decided to do some more digging on finding the differences and see if there was anything out there that could help bridge the gap but I couldn’t find anything. In my searching thought I found a couple of useful articles:
With that information, I was left to ponder the question that I had never really thought about before. Which platform is better for me now? Ultimately, I decided to buy a new domain name called StillThinking.me, which will be the blog I use going forward for the time being. Don’t get me wrong, I will miss having more control over my site by using plugins and other customization. The nice thing is that no matter which you choose WordPress.com or WordPress.org you can easily import/export to either if you change your mind down the road.
So what platform are you using? Have you ever moved from one platform to the other? What do you feel is the pros/cons of each?
In a hope to continue to jump-start my writing on this blog I decided to sign up for a Blogging 101 course through The Daily Post. I have blogged off and on for many years now but only seriously thought about putting my blog together about 3 years ago (that wasn’t for family travel/photo purposes).
For some quick details about myself check out my about page.
Now on to the more meaningful question about why I am blogging, what will I be blogging about. The first question is an easy one about why/what I am blogging about since I changed how I would be using this site a couple of months back and wrote about it. The short answer is I am blogging as a way to share interesting stories and thoughts. The topics will probably be a range of things that I find interesting and will probably be clearer as I post more often so stay tuned.