When my daughters entered middle school, they were given the opportunity to sign up for two electives each semester. During the first registration, they asked me if they should sign up for band, theater, athletics, art, choir, or cheerleading. My answer for each daughter was the same: “yes”.Continue reading “Try Everything”
The Trust Meter
Trust is one of the most important characteristics of a successful relationship or partnership. That extends to the relationship between parent and child. How often has your child asked you to do something and your nervousness or lack of support related to something related to your lack of trust in them?
My wife and I converted this concept into both a parenting tool and a piece of valuable vocabulary we used with our three daughters as they grew up.Continue reading “The Trust Meter”
Using the “Give More Rope” Analogy
My wife and I decided early in our marriage that one of our most important responsibilities as parents was preparing our children for the day when they leave home and live on their own. Enabling them to be ready to make important decisions for themselves. Knowing how to react in stressful or dangerous situations. Effectively managing their own money. The list goes on and on. But the way we mentally visualized this parenting challenge with the “giving more rope” analogy.
Asking for a Pay Raise
One of the most stressful things about having a job is asking for a pay raise. It would be nice if all managers proactively handled matters related to promotions and pay raises. But few do. This means you’re going to be the one to initiate the conversation 90% of the time. That’s the purpose of this article.Continue reading “Asking for a Pay Raise”
Advice for New (or Aspiring) Beach House Owners
Many people dream of owning a house on the coast someday. My wife and I certainly did, and in 2011 we made it a reality. By that point in time, I was an experienced homeowner and a do-it-yourselfer, at that. But boy was I in for some surprises about what it means to live right next to the beach. This article is a collection of the most common advice I give new beach house owners.Continue reading “Advice for New (or Aspiring) Beach House Owners”
Welcome to my new Grandson Grayson River Stevens
Grayson: I am sure you’ll hear all about this day from your mother and father, but I wanted you to hear in my own words what your date of birth was like and what’s going on in the world.
I am writing this just a couple of hours after your birth while on a transatlantic flight back to the US with your Mimi. We were in Spain and Portugal celebrating 28 fabulous years of marriage. More on that a little later.Continue reading “Welcome to my new Grandson Grayson River Stevens”
Chicken Tortilla Soup
A great option for a cold day, when you’re looking for something with a Southwestern flair.Continue reading “Chicken Tortilla Soup”
RV Trip from Texas to Mount Rushmore (aka – 8 states in 8 days)
This is a trip my wife and I took during month 4 of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’d had Mount Rushmore on our “bucket list” for years. And with the combination of social distancing orders, fears of flying, and our empty nester status, it seemed like the perfect time for a long-distance RV trip.
The trip is 8 days long, if starting from the Dallas – Ft. Worth area, and spans 2,800 miles. We live in Austin but decided to make the 3-hour drive to Ft. Worth the afternoon before Day 1 as shown in our itinerary. That’s because we wanted to make it to Dodge City on Day 1 without having to drive a full 10 hours in a single day. And we had a relative in Ft. Worth that we could stay with that night.
Continue reading “RV Trip from Texas to Mount Rushmore (aka – 8 states in 8 days)”
Predicting 2035 for My Granddaughters
2035 is 15 years from now. My current granddaughters Harper and Olivia will be 16 and almost 20 respectively. Those are good ages to imagine for predicting what their lives will be like at that time. Below are 10 such predictions.
Their educational experience after high school will not involve attending a traditional college or university
Instead, some combination of a future trade school and internships will equip them for entering the workforce
They won’t own a car
I only assess a 50% chance that they will even learn to drive a car
They will get a broad-spectrum immunization that covers a huge quantity of pathogens
Better yet, it will have some ability to self-adapt to protect against mutations of many known viruses
Their annual wellness check will first involve a cheek swab at home that, after lab analysis, will ALSO detect early onset cancers and other non-pathogen caused ailments
I have a feeling it might also be able to detect various DNA mutations that need to be further investigated
Augmented reality will be so widespread that they don’t even notice it
Much like today’s young adults that grew up with a smart phone in their hand perceive it like a body appendage
They won’t own or use a cell phone
At least not in the form factor that we think of it today. It won’t look like a current smart phone with a screen but rather will fit over their ear, be embedded in a pair of glasses, or somehow be carried on their body in a way that they can still access information and communicate through it.
They won’t use paper currency
Actually, they will almost never even see it being used by others
They will be able to fly from Austin to New York City in 1 hour and to Paris in 2 hours
Assuming they can afford it
They will watch humans land on the surface of Mars
Multiple such flights will occur over a period of several years in an attempt to create a perpetual settlement there
They will have a robot at home
I’m not sure what duties this robot will perform but they will ask questions of it naturally and command it to do various things
Welcome to my new Granddaughter, Harper McKenzie Greye
Harper: I am sure you will hear all about this day from your mom and dad, but I wanted you to hear in my own words what your date of birth was like and what’s going on in the world. I am writing this just a few hours after your birth while on a bus ride to Dallas for some business events.
Continue reading “Welcome to my new Granddaughter, Harper McKenzie Greye”
A Model for Career Success
Over time, society has increasingly expected instant gratification and uses of an “easy” button to achieve a desired result. Unfortunately, when it comes to the pursuit of career success, it’s not near that easy. A lot of time and effort is usually involved. I’m sure you have a story about a 25 year old that is already a multi-millionaire and that’s great. Maybe it was pure luck but maybe there was more to it.
The purpose of this article is to give you a framework for visualizing the key ingredients to long-term, personal career success, however you define that term.
Beach House Jambalaya
Wanna feed a lot of mouths with something hearty and with a little kick? This jambalaya recipe makes enough for 8-10 people and is moderately spicy as described here.
Home Maintenance Checklist
Owning home isn’t a “set it and forget it” endeavor. The better you take care of your home the longer you can go between repairs and replacements that cost a lot of money. Your home will also be at less risk of fire or accidental flood if you’ll take good care of it. Below is my personal checklist of home maintenance tasks based on frequency. I hope you find it helpful.
Must-Have Tools for New Homeowners
Most new homeowners previously lived in an apartment and surely acquired some basic tools. But owning a home brings with it numerous new opportunities for do-it-yourselfers that previously were done by the apartment maintenance guy. Below is my personal checklist for spending your money at Home Depot to outfit your new home. Warning, the costs add up pretty quickly so get the items you can afford and be prepared for a new trip to the hardware store with each new project to add to the collection.
Green Chili Chicken Chowder
Great for cold weather or for times when a regular chicken soup isn’t what you’re looking for. This recipe makes enough for 6-8 people and is only slightly spicy as described here. You might also want to check out our recipe for Southwest White Chicken Chili.
Southwest White Chicken Chili
Great for cold weather or for times when a beef-based chili isn’t what you’re looking for. This recipe makes enough for 8-10 people and is only slightly spicy as described here. You might also want to check out our recipe for Green Chili Chicken Chowder.
Welcome to my Granddaughter Olivia Lauren Greye
Olivia: I suspect your parents Kirra and Milo will have some sort of baby book that captures who the President of the US is and other factoids about the date you decided to join all of us, but I wanted you to hear in my own words what your date of birth was like and what’s going on in the world. I am writing this just an hour or so after your birth while waiting in the nursery to visit your mother.
Continue reading “Welcome to my Granddaughter Olivia Lauren Greye”
TV Theme Show Trivia – 1960s and 1970s
If you’re having a party with people that grew up in the late 1960s and/or throughout the 1970s and are looking for some fun entertainment, give this TV them show trivia quiz a try. It’s basically a sampling of the first few seconds of 38 different TV theme shows from the 1960s and 1970s with blank time in between each to allow the contestants to write down their answers. You can play the audio file directly from my website or can download it to play on another device (laptop, TV, tablet, etc). To download the audio file, you might need to use a right mouse click or some other action depending on which browser and system you are using. I’ve also provided blank answer sheets as well as the answer cheat sheet for scoring the results.
Download the Audio File in MP3 Format
Download the Audio File in M4A Format
TV Theme Show Trivia – Answer Sheets
1960s and 1970s Trivia Quiz
If you’re having a party with people that grew up in the late 1960s and/or throughout the 1970s and are looking for some fun entertainment, give this trivia quiz a try. It is a video file that you can play directly from my website by clicking on the video graphic below. Alternatively, download the video file to play it on some other device (laptop, TV, tablet, etc). To download the video file, you might need to use a right mouse click or some other action depending on which browser and system you are using. I’ve also provided blank answer sheets as well as the answer cheat sheet for scoring the results.
Maximizing Your International Travel Experience
I see far too many travelers go to foreign countries and “play it safe” when it comes to really experiencing the local customs and culture. To my way of thinking, what’s the point of going to a foreign land and not maximizing the experience by trying a few things you can’t otherwise do at home? I hate to admit that Americans are probably the worst about this, so hopefully this blog post will give them some ideas to explore on their next international trip.
I have three very simple recommendations to help maximize your international travel experience. I’m already assuming that you’ve done research on the special sites to visit, the basic history of the foreign city/country and things like that. Here what else I recommend to fully round out and maximize your experience:
Continue reading “Maximizing Your International Travel Experience”
The Power of the Word “Proud”
Word type: adjective
Definition: feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.
Synonyms: pleased, glad, happy, delighted, joyful, satisfied, thrilled, gratified
I found the word to be possibly the most powerful one my wife and I could use as a parent. Far more impactful than any of its synonyms shown above. Most kids thrive on making their parents proud. “Mom/dad, look at what I just did!” Next I’ll explain a bit more about how my wife and I used this as a parenting tool.
Sit-Down Conversation Prior to High School
Going from junior high to high school introduces a tremendous amount of change and exposure to new levels of challenges and risks. Because of this, we had a face-to-face conversation with each of our girls sometime during the summer before entering high school.
In the best case, the adolescent will heed some of the advice. In the worst case, they will ignore the advice, but later find at least some of it to be truthful, which gives more credibility to later advice.
Continue reading “Sit-Down Conversation Prior to High School”
Going Through Airport Security
Throughout my 3+ million miles of road warrior business travel, I’ve figured out a few things and developed a system that seems to work pretty well. This post offers advice for going through airport security as efficiently as possible. You might think it’s crazy to go to this extreme but coming from someone who has flown more than 3M miles, I can tell you from experience that if you are running late, a difference of 1 minute can mean making or missing your flight. I can also wish that if every traveler followed this advice, airport security lines would move 20% faster.
Tips for Triathletes Looking to Improve the Swimming Portion
Most triathletes either hate or tolerate the swimming portion of the competition. That’s because most of them didn’t grow up swimming but everyone learned to ride a bike and knows how to run. Learning to swim with an efficient and effective stroke later in life isn’t impossible at all but doesn’t typically come easily without some level of coaching from someone who knows what to look for. Swimmers with a proper technique look like they are just gliding through the water effortlessly. Click here to download a document I put together with a handful of tips and tricks for frustrated or under-producing triathlete swimmers, including workout drills, equipment recommendations and race day suggestions.
Throughout my 3+ million miles of road warrior business travel, I’ve figured out a few things and developed a system that seems to work pretty well. This post relates to packing tips.
Whether or not the law requires a separate, plastic bag for liquid items, there are a few things to pack for contingency needs.
New York City with Kid(s)
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting New York City with each of my three girls when they were roughly 13 years old. These vacations were father-daughter getaways (see related post titled “Father – Son/Daughter Getaways“). Below is a collection of the notes I took during those three visits to share with other family members and friends. Double check any information that mentions when/how to get tickets or days/times the site is open. Things easily could have changed over the years.
Washington DC with Kid(s)
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Washington DC with each of my three girls when they were roughly 10 years old. These vacations were father-daughter getaways (see related post titled “Father – Son/Daughter Getaways“). Below is a collection of the notes I took during those three visits to share with other family members and friends. Double check any information that mentions when/how to get tickets or days/times the site is open. Things easily could have changed over the years.
Father – Son/Daughter Getaways
The title says “father” only because I’m writing this post from my perspective and incorporating actual concepts I used with my daughters. My original objective was to somehow make up for years of job assignments that called for extensive travel. I actually modified an idea one of my IBM bosses used with his kids for the same reason.
The extra bonding I was able to achieve with my daughters and the stories we both are able to tell forever have immeasurable value. I’ve shared this idea with friends and co-workers, many of whom have adopted or modified it for their own use. If you also like the idea, help me spread it to others.
Sticking to the Important Stuff (Teen Years)
Increasingly throughout the teenage years, you will notice mistakes, annoyances, and bad judgment calls exhibited by your child. Everything from not waking up to their alarm or having a messy room to handling social relationships and exploring things that are illegal.
You might find yourself wanting to just tell them exactly what to do, and that’s understandable. But often this just causes them to ignore or reject your directions. And it also doesn’t equip your teen with the skills, experiences and tools they’ll need when they later leave the nest. One of the best ways for your child to learn is by making your own mistakes. But what types of issues and mistakes are worth worrying about as a parent?
Continue reading “Sticking to the Important Stuff (Teen Years)”
Establishing Standards (if Have Multiple Kids)
One of the things we quickly realized is how easily a precedent can be set as a result of decisions made or rules put in place for the oldest child. This is fairly obvious for anyone that grew up in a family with multiple children, but we found that we had to really step back and think about things, not only from the perspective of the decision at hand, but also the possible precedent-setting implications it might have for the younger siblings.
Continue reading “Establishing Standards (if Have Multiple Kids)”