Wow ... we have been living here nearly 1000 days. There are few places I have called home for 1000 days.
But it is time for us to leave Circle Drive. We'll miss many things about it, but we are also very excited about our new home!
Here we go!
Friday, February 27, 2009
While Mardi Gras was a busy day in the midst of a busy, busy week and we were thousands of miles from home, we did mange to break away for some Abita, crawfish etouffee and catfish at Hard Knox here in SF.
It was a nice spark to a special day.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Grungy Loveseat (Trixie included!)
Grungy Couch (Mac not included!)
Grungy Chair (Cat hair included)
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
No time for blogging, but plenty of Flickring going on.
I just put up a short Tennessee Valley hike we took with Sam's friend Eric
A our weekend in Oxnard, CA with Mary's folks: including DOLPHINS!
Mary and Sam are going to hang around, but I am back in SF and school/office on Monday.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Pitchers and Catchers report next week.
Our fantasy league is getting formed and the rankings are starting to come out.
And today, I bought tickets to all 4 Cubs games here in SF in September. Any of my Cubs-fans friends and family planning on being here for that weekend?
For much too long, I have been thinking about taking the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test. Heather first recommended it to me over 2 years ago. She mentioned it to the students when she came and spoke at the school. I've discussed it and had it reinforced by a fabulous career coach in the class. I have told students how important it is to focus on strengths because:
a) We have been a part of an education system which highlights our weaknesses and asks us to spend EXTRA time on them, but then excitedly announces "You are good at this, so you'll breeze right through it." This realization first hit me in the frequently-mentioned Ken Robinson TED talk and discussions with Charlie about Imagine Learning. Therefore, I find many students haven't flexed their strengths as much as I'd expected. CHANGE OF FOCUS TO USING STRENGTHS RATHER THAN CORRECTING WEAKNESSES.
b) Personal strengths seem to be something that people have an awareness of, but can't quite grasp how to articulate them. In fact the StrengthsFinder test is a self-evaluation, so it reinforces the idea of being self-aware. However, I am shocked how many times I ask young people about their strengths and it is suddenly obvious that they are looking at a mist trying to figure out how to take a hold of it. ARTICULATION OF STRENGTHS.
c) Another problem I think people have with their strengths is not only an articulation of the simple talents, but the necessary understanding of how to combine your skills into an expression of unique, applicable talents. This is something I suffered early in my career. I could discuss my passion, my curiosity, my ability to present, my quick wit, but I never figured on applying any Symphonic Thinking (as Dan Pink so brilliantly discusses in Whole New Mind) to my strengths. How do I combine and apply these skills to become one-of-a-kind? I never thought to discuss my skills in this fashion. SYMPHONIC THINKING ABOUT TALENTS.
Anyway, I finally got the book and took the test. [Quick side-note: All Academy of Art University "planning students," if by Thursday, February the 12th at 4pm you get me $10, I'll happily invest the $3.17 into your strengths focus, realization and articulation. And also bulk order the book for free shipping. Get the money to me or Dana/Varsha in the office. Make sure you leave your name with the money.]
The test determined my strengths to be:Learner
People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
People who are especially talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.
People who are especially talented in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.
People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
It's funny, because it seems like such absurd personal lauding, but it is by definition the things we excel at doing, our best attributes which we need to focus on more regularly. It is not like you are going to get something returned from the test that is bad. Not to mention, I assume that the fact that these things are strengths of mine also impacts my impression of them. I probably hold these things in relatively high esteem, because they are things which I value due to my advantage. Not to say I am not AMAZED by people who have strengths in my lacking areas (piano-players and masters of foreign languages - I tip my hat); I just naturally gravitate towards understanding the application of my own strengths.
Another point about the Focusing on Strengths idea that I love, is the whole idea that rather than learning to fix weaknesses, you learn to acknowledge "gaps." Because you are focused on strengths, there are things which will lose priority. So, you discover ways to again use your strengths to fill in those gaps. What a remarkable idea. For instance, Mary, my impatience is because of my Activator strength! ;)
For those who are curious, yes they have one for children 10-14.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
The first was during lunch. At Pizza Antica, I was introduced to Shiner's Bohemian Black Lager. I have always been a Shiner fan, probably 2nd only to Abita. Third on my list would be a Guinness. So seeing a dark beer from Shiner is a lovely sight for me.
It was a lovely beer, dark but not heavy. I like the Jack-like label. A good beer for some fancy pizzas.
Later today, I went upstairs to start the goodbye process for our awesome upstairs neighbors (we'll miss them so!) Gaju had cooked up another Nepalese delight. A potato, cucumber, radish and many exciting-ingredients-that-aren't-in-my-kitchen-but-I-wish-were dish. The highlight of the dish was this remarkably spicy pepper. WOW. Fortunately, Gaju had a wonderful giant Yeti beer from Nepal/India for me. I've been seeing some pretty poor reviews for this beer online ... mostly that it was too sweet. As someone who just downed a HUGE bottle with super-SPICY Nepalese food - trust me, it is perfect. The beer-food pairing was delicious ... an incredible sum of parts.
Also, why do Super Bowl advertisers think I'd rather watch their crap, when I've got the internet?
Sam is doing a great job adjusting from elementary to middle school. However, there is one significant problem: the hill. (The picture doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.) The climb is quite significant for a bike/scooter every day. He's a total champ and keeps doing it, but it is the "worst part of his day."
So, we started exploring options that rid us of the hill. First, we found some things further down the peninsula. We looked at one place that was okay, but there were four sets of stairs; Sam thought it was better, but we still had doubts about how long that would be fun.
Then we saw a place opened up in the Cove. We have had our eye on this place since we first started looking at Tiburon as a possible place to live, back in Chicago. It is just down the hill from where we currently live. Sam would only need to cross the "busy road" once a commute rather than twice. He would spend more time riding along the water. There are swimming pools ... and kayak storage'launch (looks like it is time for a new outdoor hobby!)
The place is bigger, and has a more open floor plan.
It has a fireplace, and we back up to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary:
In fact, the complex has a gate right to the coastal part of the sanctuary, with wonderful views.
Hmmm ... we'll be making a decision in a couple of hours. (I'm kind of sick of making big decisions ... but glad we have so many wonderful opportunities available.)