Game Night

I don’t want to spread myself too thin.  I understand that I’m taking on a lot of projects right now and some of them may not work out.  I’m fine with those failures (as I’ve said in a previous blog post) and won’t let them stop me.

But as thin as I spread myself at work and home, I don’t spread myself so thin that I neglect my family nor my friends.  The family gets the lion share of my time.  Rightly so, I mean I live with these guys, they can’t escape me.  The friends, I am lucky, are for the most part the people I work with.  Even those that have moved to different companies, different internal jobs, etc.  We still keep in touch.  And that’s a thing to marvel at seeing as I work from home and not a single one of them lives in the same city as I do (well maybe a few live here).

I have friends from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Aurora, Illinois, Portland, Maine, and others in various spots around the country.  And these are friends that I hang out with weekly outside of work.

All thanks to the internet and console gaming.  One night out of the week I take a night where I sit down in front of the Xbox and get on party chats with my buddies while we play games.  We have been known to discuss work, but we talk politics, family happenings and just general guy things.  My wife accepts the fact that I get some guy time with my buddies (and secretly is happy that I’m 1. in the same house as her while I’m doing it and 2. doesn’t have me discussing the finer points of her Lifetime movies that she can watch by herself).

Just once a week, but I’ve developed some crazy good friendships over that time.  My longest friend (outside of my wife) is starting a podcast with me…  As much as I love my hectic schedule, I love the breaks as well…  Now, I’ve got to go, because…  It’s game night!

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My Favorite Dad…

My Mom taught me so much.  Cooking, creativity, kindness, caring, empathy, and how to properly vacuum a floor and make a bed.  I owe her more than I could ever repay.

My Dad, he taught me everything else.

Dad taught me how to never quit.  He taught me that working at something was work.  And working at something always paid off.  Sometimes it paid off in areas that I wasn’t working towards but it always paid off.

He taught me how to fight for what I want, to sacrifice one thing to earn something else.  He taught me that dreams and goals matter and are achievable.  In teaching me that, he taught me that some teachers and people who speak from authority are liars or ignorant.  Don’t tell me things aren’t possible when I’ve seen my Dad DO THEM…

My Dad coached my brother, my sisters, and his grandchildren in a sport he knew nothing about because he wanted to be in contact with us constantly.  He wasn’t a helicopter parent (nor was my Mom).  We wouldn’t have been able to ride our 3 inch wide skateboards down the sharp inclined sidewalks into what I recall was shards of glass had he been a helicopter parent.  But he sacrificed his time for his children.

My Dad taught me how to be a father and a husband and how to respect myself and care for my family regardless of what happens.

My Dad, made me awesome.

(If you know me, you obviously saw that coming…).

One of my favorite expressions of love towards my wife is this:

You are my favorite…  (person).

I whisper the person part after a short pause.  And, yeah, it’s true, she’s my favorite person, my best friend, etc.

But Dad…  You are my favorite Dad…  Bar none..

Tidal Movements

Ebb and flow.  Pendulum.  Up and down.  Call it what you want but life is full of momentum swings and I love feeling the flow of it.  Discovering the number of swings that are moving at the same time is … adventurous.  I’m swinging up with health, love, energy while I’m swinging down with patience, calm, understanding and I’m mid-swing with research, reading, and faith.

These are not actual metrics, I wish I was that self aware.  And isn’t that the point of it all?  The complexity that we surround ourselves in keeps us moving forward or moving backwards depending on our situation and reaction to it.  Do you distress on the down swings?  Do you use the stress of the down swings to help shift your inertia (eustress)?  Do you, as I do, stop and contemplate what’s happening?  And I mean what’s happening right now.  Not the past that got you to your present.  Not the potential future…  The actual breaths that you are taking, the sounds that surround you, the people right next to you (even the e-friends that you have).

It’s in those times of

meditation

prayer

silence

rest

stillness

that we feel the movements.  That we can start to control them.  Focus them.  That we can, at the very least, feel blessed by the up swings and appreciate the down swings for what they are.

It’s the stillness and silence (even if that silence is a headset full of music or the nighttime song of the crickets) that we need more and more.  It’s that moment in the pool/ocean/bathtub/water where you are underneath the surface and feel the sound around you.

It’s always then when I know that, in my stillness, I have no control of the pendulum swings.  Oh, I can push here and there, use my inertia, etc…  But I’m not in control of those tidal movements in my life anymore than you are in yours.

I absolutely love the ride though…

Transformation

It might not be what you expect, but when does life always go your way?  I have been writing this blog for several reasons.  Quite honestly, too many.  I am not even sure I can label all of the reasons why I started to commit myself to writing here three times a week, and I’m not going to try.  There’s no reason to because the more I write in here the more I realize that most of the reasons aren’t legitimate.  There are only a small subset that matter.

I’m writing this to improve my writing.  Back in the day, I wrote constantly.  In college I had a notebook in my back pocket and a pen with me at all times.  I would write while I waited in lines.  I had completely lost track of that and this three times a week blog has rekindled a little of that.

I have felt guilty for the past decade or two when I spent time on something that didn’t involve my wife or sons and engaging with them.

Don’t make me out to be a saint here…  I spent plenty of time on video games.  But if I wasn’t coaching, or cooking, or being directly involved in supporting the family, I typically didn’t do it.  Even the video gaming initially was to become more socially connected with people I work with.

So writing fell to the wayside.  It meant that I would have to step away from the intteractions with the family and it wouldn’t be adding to the money intake.  So, I stopped.  And nobody made me, nor was it a conscious decision (other than wanting to devote time to my wife and sons.  NOR DO I REGRET IT!  You might not have expected that bit after the pity party I just threw!

I wouldn’t change anything about the last 2 decades of my life.  I’ve spent them with the woman I love and my best friend, my two boys, my extended family, and all the friends I’ve met along the way.  I wouldn’t change a thing about that.

But, I stopped writing and I’ve realized that I miss it.  I also realize that me spending some time on things away from my responsibilities to focus on things that make me…  whole…  matter.  Doing that makes me a better husband, a better father, a better friend.  At least I hope it does because that’s what I’ve been doing with this blog and I have enjoyed it.

So this blog is transforming.  It’s my writing outlet.  Not enough people read it to make a bold statement, but I will tell you that you shouldn’t expect a specific topic to be focused on here.  If there are websites that need to be created for cookbooks or what not, I’ll link to them and write about those things there.  And as I do that and those demand more time, I might dwindle down the amount of entries here.  But we’re not there yet and I’m still getting my fix…

For those few who have been reading, I applaud you.  I welcome your comments.  I expect that you will be happy with some of the changes that will be coming here.  I expect to really enjoy them myself as well…

I Absolutely Love My Wife

Self explanatory, I know, but she has consistently refined my rough edges and delivered the blunt truth to me for 17 years.  I would not be me, if it weren’t for her.  The most recent example of her meddling came yesterday as I prattled on about something I had just researched on podcasting.

She stopped me and asked me why I was focusing on monetizing it when, in reality, I was initially interested in podcasting because it was a fun idea that I was passionate about…

Well, of course she’s right.  And, of course, it hit me like a ton of bricks that  my focus had shifted.  She knows me too well, obviously…

So, I’m refocusing and making certain that she gets all the credit.  I’m not sure what a modern feminist would think of her, but she is exactly what a powerful woman looks like to me, and I love her for it.

If, eventually, I get to a point where I have a following and can make some dough off of it, then great.  That’s not going to be my focus initially though, and I think that will lead to a better product as I learn to edit audio, to present myself on video, and perfect my interviewing skills.

My new gauge will be whether or not my wife thinks I’m enjoying doing it and approves.  If I can impress her, then I’ve done a pretty good job.

 

 

Sitting or Quitting versus Doing

I wrote last time about waiting and it driving me crazy.  I’m not sure I fully understood even then what I was trying to communicate.  I have spent my entire life not finishing those books.  I’ve been sitting and thinking and not DOING.  I’ve never met anyone who would deem themselves successful without initially doing something.

So just as I’m about to stand up and really actually follow through with it.  Researching, planning, writing, getting things together…  Any delay…  Every delay.  Is difficult.

I don’t want to fall back down the hole of not having accomplished something creative that I’ve been wanting to do.  Sure, I can accomplish work related tasks and projects.  It’s my bread and butter.  And I’ve accomplished creative tasks, but not at this scale.

And this scale is the scale I’ve dreamed about since i was a kid.

I also, like this blog, do not expect to quit.  Once I start, even if it’s god-awful, I plan on working until it’s complete.

It might be god-awful initially… I’m not scared of that anymore.  I will be doing it though, rather than just consuming others.  And if I fail, I’ve learned how to modify and post edit audio tracks in Audacity.  I’ve helped my buddy become a better cook for his kids.  I’ve created something concrete that others might enjoy/participate in.  I’ve improved my self and gave myself a creative outlet…

I’ve sat too long…

I Hate Waiting… and Doubt…

I’m at a standstill… I want to move forward, I want to create content, but I’m unable to do so because of shipping…  Well, because of shipping and an 8 year old laptop that can barely have two apps open simultaneously, let alone record audio/video and edit it effectively.  So, I’ve ordered a long overdue laptop replacement and am impatiently waiting it’s delivery.

I know, I know, poor me, waiting on a brand new laptop…  I’m not frustrated with the actual laptop delay, I’m frustrated with the delay itself.  The delay has made me think of all the things I should be doing while I’m waiting.  I should have the Cooking Dad blog up and running, with affiliate advertising hooked in and ready to go so that when the pocast gets published it can direct people to the blog page…  I should be writing down episode ideas (I’m totally doing that…) and start writing some of the shownotes in advance (I’m totally not doing that…).  I should be, I should be…  The more I think about what I should be the more discouraged I am that I’m NOT…

What am I missing?  What should I research and learn?  How badly am I going to fail?  Basically, the waiting has taken advantage of some of my early confidence in doing this regardless of failure…  Now I’m wondering if I should even start until I’ve (insert your favorite excuse here).

But I will…  I will start (and it will fail) and I will start the next (and it might fail too, but it might not), etc…  I will not let the waiting discourage me.  I will not let a delay cause me to question myself.  I will continue on attempting this because I love the idea of attempting this and learning how to do it and make money off of it.  Even if I don’t make money I love the idea of learning how.

Or, I guess, how NOT to, which might be the name of my book when it’s all said and done, How to fail at making money with podcasts.  I think people would be interested in a failure story as well, if done right.

Either way, I fully expected delays, I’m still on the right track/date, and I am actively trying not to overthink things while i wait.

(I’m also excited about the new laptop!  That should be enjoyable to say the least.)

 

Knowledge and Interests

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the internet is full of research oportunities.  It wasn’t hard to find many “How to podcast” websites…  However, filtering the trash from the gems is difficult at times.  Having worked in IT since the 90’s and watched companies like Google recreate how we find items in the digital world, I’ve learned to filter through and identify some of the obvious trash.  But even when you find a gem, like John Dumas’ EOfire podcast training  course, there will still be a few imperfections under the surface.  To me, these imperfections are obvious, but I can’t deny how effective they are.  I’ll have to learn how to use these tools that I find annoyingly obvious if I’m going to be successful with my goals.

One of the gems inside Mr. Dumas’ training was to define your interests on one side of a page and the things that you and your friends and family think you are good/an expert at on the other.  The result could lead you to identify content that you might be interested in podcasting about.  I think this is a great idea, and not one specific to podcasting.  It’s also a useful tool in identifying areas of your life where you need to focus on and areas where you might want to.  Here is a start to my list (I absolutely think this is a constantly growing and changing list on both sides).  I’m also hopeful that you can help me (those of you who know me) with things that you think I have forgotten.  What have you seen me be interested in, what do you think I’m knowledgeable about or a field that I’m an expert?  Leave your suggestions in the comments, please.  The list is not in any order and not exhaustive…

Knowledgable:                                                                    Interested/passionate about:

Exchange/SMTP/IT                                                              Gaming

Cloud/Office 365                                                                  Playing/interacting with kids

Coaching                                                                               Researching/internet

TCP/IP                                                                                    Liberty/Libertarianism

DNS/AD                                                                                 Coaching

Cooking                                                                                 Cooking

Strategy                                                                                 Writing

Mentoring                                                                             Talking/Mentoring

Trump Covfefe tempreature changing coffee mug.

Covfefe

So there are several things that I’m passionate about and knowledgeable about and it’s those things that I’m trying to key in on for Podcast content ideas.  Which is where the Single Man’s Cooking podcast came from.  I love cooking and am knowledgeable about it and  I love teaching/Coaching and am knowledgeable about it.  Seems a no brainer…  There are several other podcast ideas that I gathered out of this list.  For example, there will more than likely be a “real world IT” podcast for recent college graduates to get a sense of what to expect in corporate IT workspaces.  Baby steps initially, however.  Right now, I’ve got a plan, a date, and an idea of where I’m heading.

Please send comments, especially if you think I need to add to my list (those of you who know me well or even those of you who are my online “e-friends”).

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