Getting up to speed (again), mastering new skills

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This has been a long time coming.  I get good at doing something and then I loose focus. Creating habits is difficult. I’ve been through university a couple different times (multiple degrees) and still taking time to learn a new skill or master a skill I already have it a challenge.

I spent years learning how to play an instrument. I started in middle school. Participated all the way through high school and then even chose to major in music when I went to college. Twenty years later I still play from time to time. So why do I find something like writing to be such a challenge to sit down and do say once a week?

I’ve seen this video before and it comes to mind now when I think about mastering a skill.  We as humans like to master skills. We like to think we know a lot about a certain topic or be able to do something others aren’t able to do. After so many years of playing tuba I think it’s easy.  I think more people should learn to play an instrument.  The thing is though other people find it challenging or frustrating because they can’t just pick up the instrument and play it.

I’ve wanted to do two things more in my life. Write this blog and read. I have been able to do some in terms of writing in this blog. I bought some books that I thought would be a good starting point for me learn to enjoy reading.  I’ve cracked the books but I probably haven’t read 20 pages at this point.

I wanted to do these two things to help clear my mind of some negative thoughts and focus on more positivity. With everything going on in the world it’s easy to find yourself focusing on things that bring you down emotionally.  Money, politics, school shootings or the homelessness issues we see here in San Francisco.

OK just since I started this post have I gotten distracted and sidetracked I don’t know how many times… That’s something I’m sure we all face.  Being able to say NO to a distraction and then add it to a list of things that need to be done is HUGE. In an age of 30 second to 3 minute videos I think our attention span has gotten pretty short. You’ll hear many people say that.

For now I’m going to wrap up this post and I’m going to finish a couple chores which I got distracted with earlier. I mean we all need to do laundry, dishes and cooking. The challenge is to focus to that specific task and then to get it completely done. Then move on to the next thing. Sometimes you can multitask say when you’re doing laundry.  Laundry doesn’t take 100% focus.  It’s really a timed task.  For example, 25 minutes to wash clothes and 40 minutes to dry them.

Last but not least a company that I found recently which I think is worth mentioning is Imperfect produce. This somewhat new company delivers produce that is surplus or doesn’t meet grocery store standards to your home. Right now I think they’re focus is metropolitan cities in California.  Check it out though because you could find something similar in your area. In your area it could be referred to as a co op.

Thanks for time!

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Monday update for the new week

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So today is Monday and I like most Americans was back to work.  I got up early to clean up some dishes and straighten up the apartment a little.  Doing this helps me feel motivated and productive.  I was able to break out some task and set my pace for the day. I think it’s really important to make small wins especially in the morning.

It always helps me when I’m feeling a little sluggish to get up and be active. Of course when I say active I mean just get up and get a couple things accomplished.  It doesn’t help that accomplishment can be found in laundry and baking. You know, when you do something for 5 minutes and then sit waiting for 30 to 45 minutes for something to finish.

That makes going to the gym a challenge.  Growing up on a farm you learn that running is to get away from a charging animal. It’s puzzling to sometimes to see people push themselves so hard at the gym or to see people running Marathons. A marathon is 26.3 miles. I mean really? Running 26.3 miles is about the equivalent of the drive we had to make to get to town when I was growing up as a kid.

Another good thing that came out of this morning is organizing.  I had a pile of mail on the table that I hadn’t completely gone through. So I went through the pile and threw away half of it. All the mail seems to be to just pile up.  I mean why is there so MUCH junk mail? People must respond to it and so the companies find value in it. I wish they would stop.  You think there’s a service to a list to get on to get that to stop?

Hey ask the all might internet and ye shall receive.  So there’s a site dedicated to reducing junk mail. I took a quick look and credit card offers is one of the things they call out. I know I get plenty of that kind of stuff.  Again there must be a big payoff in order to justify send out all those offers.

Check it out:  https://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail

So part of my new years goals was to eat healthier.  So for dinner I had some frozen burritos, fresh salsa and black beans. I made sure to eat more of the black beans so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat more of the burritos. That kind of the direction I’ve gone. If I’m going to overeat something it’s going to be a vegetable. I need to drink more water too. I don’t really thirst so it makes it difficult.  I can sit all evening and not drink one drop of liquid.  Not ONE DROP I tell you.

I also went to the gym.  That’s important! I think in terms of weight lifting we did biceps and triceps today.  I’m bad about that.  I don’t really pay attention. Then we did 30 minutes of cardio. I’m not setting the world on fire but I made it to the gym and did exercise.

So that’s post is all over the place but I wrote over 500 words!  Again it’s all about habits and repeating those actions over and over again. Creating a new habit can be hard. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. So take the small win.

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While driving home today, holy cow!

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I leave work at 5 PM normally.  So it’s the height of rush hour here.  The freeway is packed with cars and it’s kind of a stop and go situation.  Tonight driving home I drove up to find a bull/steer standing along the freeway.  I had a good laugh over that for sure.  As I thought about it I started thinking someone probably should call it in to the highway patrol. Then of course I thought why don’t I do that. I called 911 and the officer who answered started taking my report and when we got to ‘what’s the object in the road?’ … I respond ‘a cow’. Of course we already know I thought it was pretty funny. The police officer on the phone sounded surprised but also she heard someone else in the office talking about the cow.  We wrapped up the call pretty quickly but I’m sure tons of people were freaking out. Maybe people thought the cow was going to run out in the freeway.

So since we’re on the topic of livestock.  I read these articles regarding a program going on in prisons where the inmates help train while horses.  I was pretty impressed by that as they can be dangerous and they aren’t doing traditional breaking.  These guys are “gentling” the horses.  Which has a lot to do with earning the trust of the horse. So these guys are on the farm taking care of the horses 24 X 7.  As you can imagine many of these guys don’t have a long temper and those working with these horses can be a real challenge because it doesn’t instantly happen.

Programs like these are located in California, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada and Wyoming. These horses are managed or fall under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management.  The Bureau deals with the mustang population as well as wild burros in the western states. It’s been estimated in the New York Times article that after the 2017 season there may be as many as 86,000 mustangs or burros.  In the New York Times article is mentions that the ranch in Carson City Nevada has UP TO 2,000 horses corralled at any one time.

I thought the other thing I read which was interesting is that the program auctions off the horses they train.  So this would help subsidize the cost of feeding and training the horses.  When they have these auctions sometimes the inmates put on an impromptu rodeo and ride the horses in front of the crowd to show off the results of their training.  The record for one of these horses is $15,000.

It made me feel good that something good came out of this program.  Rehabilitation of inmates is something people don’t believe in many times.  Here’s an exactly of a program that’s working. It would be interesting to see if any of these men end up back in the system after going through this program.

For more information you can check out these two articles.

Prison inmates taming wild horses are learning how to handle themselves By Harry Smith – 

https://www.today.com/pets/prison-inmates-taming-wild-horses-are-learning-how-handle-themselves-t120889

Wild Horses and the Inmates Who ‘Gentle’ Them  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/fashion/mens-style/prison-horses-rehabilitation-gentling.html

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