Posted in meandering

Maybe the talent isn’t skill-based

We might agree on talent: does it exist? What are the circumstances? And so on.

Regardless, no one—talented or not—makes it in a skill-based pursuit without hard work. A lot of hard work. And then more hard work. Topped off with a bit more hard work.

Discipline. Focus. Pushing through “I don’t feel like it.” Giving up other things.

Which got me to thinking…

Maybe the skill, or the ease of picking up the skill, isn’t the talent. Maybe the talent is a work ethic, and the skill happens to be something that lights a fire for the work ethic to stoke.

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, meandering, mindset

Bothering to remember people

Sophomore year of college, I went deaf in my right ear. Not completely—I have about 90% hearing loss. (It was from a mistreated ear infection—meds were for the vertigo, not the infection. Steroid treatment brought back the little I have. When it stopped working, the treatment ended, and that’s where it’s been for 24 years.)

When I’m in places that are noisy, I need to be to the right of the conversation so I can hear it. Being a passenger is better than being the driver. I sleep good side down. I can hold one ear during fire alarms—and particularly bad rehearsal moments—and always held the screaming baby on my right shoulder.

At some point along the way, I learned that we hear diction more prominently in our right ears than our left, which perhaps explains why I struggle so much in noisy places, on the phone, or just being on someone’s left side if it’s not completely quiet otherwise.

I think it also explains why I have had so much trouble picking up conversations in Spanish. Besides the rapid word delivery (and currently being out of practice), I just have trouble hearing the words. Some of that is lack of familiarity, of course, but I don’t remember having that much trouble when I was younger.

Of course, when I was younger, I was also learning German. Maybe it’s just the difference in the language. Or maybe I did have that much trouble and simply don’t remember it.

If I’m in a place where I can’t hear well enough to follow a conversation and can’t seek other conversation elsewhere, I usually just mentally check out. It’s really stressful to try to follow a conversation that I can’t hear well enough, and it compounds social anxiety.

I know that immersion is the best teacher for foreign language. I’ve downloaded podcasts to listen to in the car, but what I quickly learned about myself is: unless I’m working really hard, I employ the “can’t follow it” self-preservation technique and just tune it out.

(Does having it play in the background help?)

Beyond this, what I’ve noticed lately is that I’ve started paying less attention to other things. The checking out is spreading. A couple of times in recent weeks, I’ve run into someone who I had met and maybe had a conversation with a year or three ago. They knew me by name. I didn’t even remember faces.

Some of this was a result of my job. I started in this job five years ago and had 400 students on three campuses—with three sets of faculty. I’m just not that good with names, so my energy went to learning the kids. The next year, I had more students, less than 100 repeats from the previous year, and two new campuses. All name/face energy given to students (and a small handful of people I really needed to know on each campus). This year was the first year that I didn’t have any new campuses and only half of my students were new.

I’ve gotten in the habit of not even trying to remember people.

It’s time to check back in. I’m not entirely sure how to do that, but maybe just being cognizant of it is a sufficiently good start.

Posted in about me, meandering


This is a rambling pointless post about things swimming around in my brain today. Not your thing? We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow…

I’ve been writing often at night lately. While that used to be my favorite time to do quiet work, nowadays I’m just fried. I have trouble focusing. The writing isn’t as good. But the afternoons—when I’ve been writing most of the school year—have been otherwise occupied. As have early mornings on the weekends. Not good.

With summer here and The Kid in half day camp in the mornings, I’ll have some solid writing time when I’m fresher, and that will be better. (That starts tomorrow! Hooray!)

I spent the last two days working on district-owned instruments for our elementary school band programs. It’s always interesting and gross, but we get a little cash for it and get to socialize a bit with people we rarely see, so it’s worth the bit of time.

While working there, I played five flutes that didn’t produce sound. That means there were five kids who couldn’t play. Did their teachers know it was an instrument problem? Flute is hard for beginners, and it’s not unheard of to have a student who still can’t do it at the end of the year (though that’s typically because they give up). But if it’s the instrument’s fault…….

I got to thinking that I might structure band next year like some sort of adventure game. Create a map and make each stop along the route a skill test or song test or some other activity. Or a map for each quarter? It has potential, but I need to think about it more and see how it would work.

The guy flipping the house next door gave me a battle rope to use in my training. I was pretty excited! Used it immediately.

The Kid wanted to show me a LEGO kit that he’s saving money to buy, so we went to the LEGO Store. While there, he changed his mind about which one to buy (and saved himself $80 in the process…but changed to one he’s talked about for a long time). Also while we were there, I saw one that was way cool! I would totally build that! Of course, it was almost $400. Not on the list of things I’ll ever own. (There will always be something better to spend $400 on. Unless I become somehow debilitated and am stuck at home sitting down for a long time and can’t do much else. Then maybe.)

The thing about teaching is that I’ve literally spent my entire adult life postponing projects “until break.” I’ve gotten better about not overloading shorter ones like spring break, but summer? There’s more on the summer to-do list than I have time to do it.

I want to write a lot. Time will be made for this. If I’m going to meet my goal of having my book written by the end of the year, significant progress needs to happen this summer.

I’ve been studying Spanish a little more formally (I do well with books and exercises and conjugation charts). Keep time each day for this, even if it’s only 10 to 15 minutes.

Keep trying new recipes. I like to do this whenever there’s time and mental energy available. Then the options are more plentiful for busier times.

Learn how to use my new camera more. I’ve given it a couple of pockets of time, but it needs more before I even know what the settings do and how to use them, much less gain any proficiency.

I thought about getting a new personal training certificate. My old one expired. I’d like to go through a different certification agency. And then tidy up the garage (which is where I currently do training) so that in the fall when it gets cooler, I could take on more clients. It’s currently looking like this is a project that’s going to fall off the list.

There are many projects around the house. Cleaning out/organizing the office will get done first or second. The wallet/keys/phone charging area is a mess; reorganizing that is the other thing vying for top spot. Others are less important and are likely to get done as I procrastinate something more important but less fun.

And there’s still The Kid. And housecleaning. And daily exercise. Socializing?

I’d like to read more than I am now. I need to clean out my inboxes. Get the e-mess on the computer cleaned up. (So much clutter!) Get my digital photos organized.

That’s a lot of stuff. It’s not all going to get done, even if I am highly efficient all summer. Which I won’t be.

*shrug* We’ll see how it goes. And maybe the things that don’t get done will get done over fall break…

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, meandering

Ding dong! My hair is gone!

When you think about the 80s, one of the first things that probably pops into your head is big hair, Aqua Net, or something in that vein.

I grew up in the 80s, and I never had big hair.

That’s my evidence for how little I care about doing my hair.

It was long throughout my childhood and well into college, at which point I decided that it was too much work (and I never did anything with it except a pony tail anyway) and cut it short.

That version of short would be way too long for me nowadays. Over time, it got shorter and shorter.

Chemo, of course, led to it falling out. I didn’t wait for it to start falling out before I buzzed it, and the worst part about it falling out was that it was patchy.

A year or so ago, I wore it spiky for a few months. That was the most high-maintenance I’ve ever been with my hair and the only time I’ve ever used crap in it on a regular basis.

Fast forward to this past December: I missed my hair cut. Then I couldn’t get an appointment in January. And I don’t even remember all the things that happened, but eventually, my hair was long enough that I thought maybe I’d grow it out and see how it looked.

Once it got long enough, I started using tiny alligator clips to hold the bangs back. (I recently learned they’re called alligator clips.) I had them on hand from an orchid; they had been holding it to the support post in the pot. The orchid was long since gone, but I still had the clips.

Eventually, the hair was too much for those little clips.

I went and got it cut but in a different style than I’d had before. Was cute, but within a week the bangs were bothering me again. I wasn’t going to go for another cut a week after I’d just had one, so I just buzzed it all off.

And life is happy.

I can wear my sunglasses on my head (not possible with the alligator clips).

I don’t need to wear a bandana when I run (since we’re having extended spring; I’ll use one when I start sweating hard again).

Because I don’t need a bandana for exercise, if The Climbing Daddy and I go out after exercising, I don’t have to wear a bandana or hat or something.

I don’t need to do anything to it when I get up. Or at any other point during the day.

I can cut it myself.

Super-short hair is excellent! I don’t remember why I grew it out the last time I had it this short. Perhaps in a few months or a year, I’ll remember. Until then—#3 all the way around!

Posted in meandering

Ah, baseball

We went to a baseball game tonight. Diamondbacks were playing the Giants.

I like baseball, but I completely understand why anyone would not like baseball.

As with most games, there were some plays with a lot of hustle and some plays without. (I have no patience for them being lazy or playing without hustle. The Tall Daddy laughs when I start anything with, “When I own a baseball team…”)

Regardless, there are many things that one doesn’t necessarily see (some rarer than others), and by that metric, tonight’s game was a good one. (Also, we won, which makes the evening a little happier.)

Quite a few double plays. All in favor of the visitors, so I hate to see them in that respect, but I do enjoy a well-turned double play. Even if one is off a bunt.

A few doubles, both regular and ground rule. A triple or two. A home run.

Bases loaded with one out; no runs scored. (That one in favor of the home team!)

Stolen base! (That’s the hustle I’m talking about!)

An ejection! (Sadly, we were already on our way home—way past The Kid’s bedtime—when this happened. Heard it on the radio.)

And, not particular to baseball, the wave went around the stadium three times! Weak on the first round, but solid on the second. Third go-round was interrupted by a broken bat RBI.

The Kid is not necessarily interested in watching the game (though he says he likes going to them), but whenever people cheer, he wants to know what happened. So I explained some of the rules—as many as he had patience for—and explained things as they were happening. Interested, but not captivated.

I hope baseball becomes a thing we can share and both enjoy as he gets older.

Regardless of any of that, it was a gorgeous evening. The roof was open on the stadium—in May! The perfect evening to sit in the cheap seats and watch some baseball.