Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Life is a process....

Lately I have found myself in many discussions involving the "process".  It is amazing what fresh eyes will bring to a review.

This past week a group of us were talking about a business process, and what we ask for ....and why?  In this specific line of work, the rules governing what we CAN ask for are broad.  Basically, we can ask for anything, at any time from any one.  This all sounds well and good but the complaints I heard were that some of the information requested was not being provided.  My next question really helped us zero in on what is important.

I asked, "what are the consequences?"  Herein lies the problem.  There were no consequences.  We could ask for anything all day long but without consequences, the "ask" really was meaningless.

Choices can be fun!
We then started down the path of discussing what we REALLY need to make a decision, realizing the lack of consequences.  Thus began a new process that was less cumbersome, less frustrating and would allow us to still do the job effectively.

This leads me to think about authority and the right thing.  Many times in my almost six decades of living, I have heard conversations begin or end with  "it's my right" or "I am not breaking any rules".  You get it, words to that affect.  But just because we "can" doesn't always mean we "should".  Or that it's even right.

Life is a process.  We are not the same person we were ten years ago or maybe even last week.  A process should be ever evolving.  Not necessarily looking for short cuts, but evaluating why we do what we do and are we happy with the outcome.

Because it is all about choices.  Where we are in our life is determined by the choices we have made. Not all of our choices have been good ones, but the beauty of a process is that it can be changed. Once we take ownership of  our choices, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.  When you say yes to one thing, are you saying no to something else?

When I was a Manager of Contracts (at the beginning of my career), I had a frank conversation with another female about my standing in the company.  She bluntly told me I had reached my "peak" due to lack of a college degree.  That was hard for me to hear, but I pondered those words.  I recognized I did not have a college degree based on choices I had made.  I then took her words to heart and decided to go back to school.  It took seven years to get my four year degree done.  (Another outcome of the same choices). Time is more difficult to allocate after you factor in working full-time and raising a family.  After a year off, I went back to school AGAIN, and this time completed my Masters Program in 2 years.

This is what I know.  Because of THOSE choices I made, a whole different level of opportunities became available to me.   It's never too late and every day is a new day to make new choices.

Until next time,
#reviewyourlifeprocess

Your pal,
Kari






Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Play it again

Fall is my favorite time of year.  Even though it is contrary to the notion of winding things down, I always liken Fall to new things.  For example, school starts in the fall which equals new clothes, experiences and opportunities.  At least this is how I remember it.

Hola!
While I have been out of school for 11 years (most recently), this is the year that I am working on accomplishing things I generally just think about.  As I have already mentioned, Rosetta Stone Espanol is happening at my house and I have made it to Unit 2, Chapter 2 (there are 22 units with multiple chapters in all of them).  At this rate, this may be a multi-year effort.  And mainly because I am expecting perfect scores (or pretty darn close) for each chapter.  This has meant that some of them I have repeated a time or two (specifically pronunciation chapters) so that I can achieve a final score I can live with.

What else?  Okay, last week I started a Bible Study at my church.  This particular group meets at 4:00 pm and since I am right down the road, I hustle on over.  This is a small group (maybe 8-10 people regularly) but that isn't what I like best about it.  The best thing to me is that I AM THE YOUNGEST!!!  There are not very many opportunities for me to say this about anything I might participate in.  Most the time, I am on the other end of that spectrum.  So I am really looking forward to this week.

Candid evening shot
Is that all?  Well, no, as a matter of fact...this past Monday was my "first" piano lesson.  I say "first" in that I have not received any formal instruction for approximately 40 years.  When I was just a girl (and not in the Bible Study sense) I took lessons for 4-5 years and really enjoyed it.  I continue to be able to read music and from time to time, I attempt to play the piano we have at home.  Madi has been taking piano lessons for about 12 years and since she just left for college, I took the opportunity of an opening with her piano teacher and, well, as they say, the rest is history.  I have homework to work on before the next lesson which is fine because we all know I love structure.  I will let you know when I am available to play at venues.

I am still trying to work out somewhat regularly; knit on the three projects I currently have in process and read daily.   With new fall TV releasing this week, I am really going to have to focus on my schedule to get everything I want done!  Oh yea, and I have to work Monday through Friday.  Sigh,

This is what my day/evenings look like at a glance.  Alarm rings at 4:40 am - get up and work out or hit snooze until 5:40 and work out immediately following work (see, I allow for some flexibility).  Working hours are typically 7-4.  At five it's time to work out and start dinner or just start dinner (see above).  Immediately following dinner, I have my evening news date with Mom (45-60 minutes). While we are watching the news, I knit.  Immediately following the news, it is time for piano practic

e, followed by Rosetta Stone.  After Rosetta Stone, it is either time for a TV show or reading. We DVR all our shows which is a real benefit to scheduling.  I am no slave to the TV schedule.  Extracurricular activities (bible study and piano) are on Monday and Wednesday so that just pushes my other things back.  I might add that my mom is no slave to the TV schedule either.  She DVR's the news, so that we can watch at our leisure.

Fortunately, work has not interfered too much with all the things I am trying to get accomplished.   In fact, during a brown bag lunch earlier this week (did I mention I started a book club and knitting club at work?) we were all talking about what our evenings look like.  After I ran through my schedule, one of the ladies said "I go home, take off my bra and have a glass of wine"!  Apparently I am not the only one who has a plan for the evenings.

Like I said, I love Fall.

Until next time,
#itsallinaday

your pal,
Kari



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dateline-Sunday

What happened Sunday afternoon could have been the opening scene for one of my favorite shows, Dateline.

Says it all....
Madison and I had just come back to the house after finishing errands.  It was time to take her over to Robert's so they could head back to school.  She ran upstairs to grab a few things while I waited in the kitchen.

First, I heard blood-curdling screams accompanied by stomping and running.  I froze in place.  Almost immediately, I heard Madi begin screaming.  Before I could react, Madison screamed, "Mom, he's coming for you."

And he did.

This wild man burst into the kitchen.  He had the crazy eyes going and was coming for me.  I positioned myself on the other side of the island and we began running - him trying to catch me and me trying to get away.  I thought about running out of the house, but I couldn't leave my baby.  This went on for a few minutes before he leaped up on the island and lunged at me.

Yes, football season has begun with a hard fought victory by the Chiefs.  A
re you ready for some football?

It always starts out calm...
Terry subscribes to the theory that the game is interactive.  We have asked him to watch/listen to any Chiefs games upstairs as he does his level best to help officiate from the couch.  Not only does he officiate, he also assists in coaching.

Early on, Madi and I would use Sunday afternoons for errands, movies or just about anything to get us out of the house.  Before we would return, we would check for an update (via radio) to determine the status of the home-front.  When the news was good, we would just allow for a "cooling off" period before re-entering the house.  When the news was bad..... well, some say silence is golden.

If we had the misfortune of being at home during a game, we tried to make the best of it.  Usually this involved Madison sneaking upstairs to video any particularly moving performance given by Mr. French during the game.  We would then message it to other family members/friends for their enjoyment.  #priceless

On the bright side, there are only three teams Terry invests this much energy into (Yes, college football is another opportunity).  On the not-so-bright side, football has just begun, meaning that I will be "enjoying" this sport with him....without my early warning system (Madison).

Until next time,
#touchdown
#Kansas City

your pal,

Kari








Wednesday, September 7, 2016

College parties and all-nighters...who knew?

Today marks that longest time Terry and I have ever gone without seeing our baby (10 days). I didn't realize those parties and late nights would begin so early.  For all the planning and preparing we have done over the past year, this is one issue that still caught me by surprise.  As I have mentioned before, we started "dating" again and both of us have picked up a few new hobbies.

Mine involve knitting (for gifts and others), reading (a lifetime pursuit) and most recently....about ten days ago I would say, (here's your hint)....hola, mi amigos!  Yes, I have started Rosetta Stone -Spanish.  I can already tell I am going to be a natural and I haven't even made a dent in the program.

Overseeing our options
Terry has been busy managing the construction of our latest family business....more to come on that in a later issue.  He has also been quite the activity planner.

But back to the closing down the party in the wee hours of the morning.  Right out of the gate, Terry planned a dinner party,  The best thing about parties that Terry plans is that they come with a chef and a bartender....AND THEY EVEN CLEAN UP AFTERWARD.  This little gathering began at 5:30 pm with adult beverages and before we knew it, it was 2:00 am.  Oh, did you think I meant Madi?

Suffice it to say, I haven't felt that good (and subsequently that bad) in too many years to acknowledge.  Maybe since before we had kids. WAIT!  We have always had kids.  We are in uncharted waters now.

Party just starting
This week finds us in New Mexico.  I had a conference to attend and since Mr. French has a fluid schedule, he is here with me.  I never knew a conference could be so much fun.

But wait....there's more.  Family weekend is coming up in late September (reunited) followed by Fredricksburg wine pickup in early October.  Two ACL concerts also on the books that month.  November brings that 7-day anniversary cruise (YEEEHAWW) and a potential trip to California for another conference.

Folks, I haven't even factored in holidays and holiday travel.  Who are we?

The day before Madi left for school she looked at me and said quite seriously, "I feel like you guys have betrayed me?"  I am sure I look shocked when I asked why she would think that.  She responded, "You didn't tell me I would grow up this fast!"

My follow-up answer after ten days of empty nesting is "I didn't know WE (Mr. French and bride) would digress so quickly!"

Until next time,
#ignoredrunktexts

your pal,
Kari





Sticks and Stones

Who remembers chanting these words (or a variation thereof) when called a name?   "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can ...