Forward Basic

Forward Basic

Ms. Coco and I have dived into Salsa dancing this month. We have done several private lessons with our salsa instructor. We are preparing for our trip in August.

They say if you can dance together then you can do anything together. I think, how well you dance also tells a lot about how well you will work together.

Sometimes in life, we get grumpy or frustrated. I feel like I get grumpy more than most. I liken it to the bell curve of life, sometimes you are on the up slope, and everything is fine, at others you are on the down slope reverting to the mean. If you can learn to dance with your partner through life cycles, then you’ll be ok.

Dancing with style and grace is not always easy. When you first learn the Salsa basics, there are specific step to follow. In life, love, and relationships there are also generally accepted steps to follow.

First, you have to find the beat in salsa. We do this with a halftime step that’s not as quick as the music so we can get on the beat.

The leader of the dance signals to move into the first step, usually something basic and easy. A forward and backward step that one dancer must lead and the other must follow. Dancing can be awkward at first as you learn to move and dance together. It’s not just about learning the steps, but how to hold yourself, and how to signal your partner as well. If I want my partner to turn, I try to squeeze her hand one count before the turn, so she knows it’s coming.

Like relationships sometimes we miss the signals and have to catch up find our way back to what our partner is doing. It’s not important if our steps are right but that we enjoy dancing with each other.

Dancing with Kids

Dancing with Kids

July has already been a busy month for Ms. Coco and me. The last week of June we went on a little vacation and watched Ms. Coco’s young nieces and nephews. We decided to bring two of them back to Kentucky with us for a week.

Our second week with the kids at home was fun and hectic. Ms. Coco had a county fair she was managing all week, and I was working on several projects while trying to keep the kids fed and entertained when Ms. Coco was busy.

My first idea was to take the kids fishing which turned out to excellent except we did not catch any fish and when we attempted to go a second time a thunderstorm rolled in and rained us out. We rushed back to the car just before the sky opened up. I drove the kids to Ms. Coco’s office while they slept in the back of the car.

We got to have dinner together while we watched a produce auction and a swine competition where pigs competed with their owners for money and the honor of being a blue ribbon hog. The pig show was entertaining, and the kids liked it until the pigs started getting a little too close for comfort.

To have children for two weeks was a new challenge for us, and I feel like we did a pretty good job of entertain the kids for the short time we had them. All the kids said they wanted to come back and visit again, so I say that was a win.

I look forward to the rest of the month ahead with Ms. Coco. We are going to be taking some dance classes before our big August trip. I hope that I can remember something from my high school dance class!

 

How does one live a good life?

How does one live a good life?

Work life balance is hard for many people; I’ve still yet to master it.

Last week Ms. Coco talked about a mission statement. I’ve been thinking about the question she asked last week. I don’t have many answers yet, but I’m working figuring out the answers.

I recently attended a conference for work. But this conference was quite exceptional in that, you could bring your family, and made time each day for a group/family activity. The family time not only helped the attendees bond, but it also gave folks time to bond in a new way.

Ms. Coco had to work this week and could not attend with me. I missed our time together and wished she could have joined me. But I feel like this period apart was also valuable in that it made me appreciate our time together so much more!

The habit of taking a break a once a year to reevaluate work and family priorities is important to me.

How does one make sure they are a good husband, father, and person? This issue that was presented to me this week; by a colleague. I’ve found that asking better questions is a valuable skill.

So my plan this week is to take some time to try to answer some important inquiries. How am I going to do this? I don’t fully know. But I’m sure it will start with reading and research.

Writing about Habits, Rituals, and Traditions

Writing about Habits, Rituals, and Traditions

Right now I’m planning for Sunday dinner. A new Tradition we are working on adopting. For some reason most of my new habits and traditions revolve around food.

I also have some new personal habits, like being active an hour a day, writing, and reading for at least 30 minutes a day. We also have our relationship goals, like celebrating accomplishments, new holidays, and planning out at least one meal a day for the whole week. 

I’ve been writing a lot this last week. I was attending a writers conference and trying to improve my ability to put pen to paper. I learned a lot from several very good writers, about their habits, and how they keep themselves productive. Haveing a routines like taking a walk befor and after working for several hours, making tea, or finding a inspiring place to work like your front poarch of writing cubby helps keep you motivated.

Makeing small adjustments has made it easy and seems more effortless to adopt these habits. I’ve also been careful about how I add or take way thing. I know I’m busy on Fridays and I kept out date night their so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking on Friday which is usually a busy day for us both. Sunday dinner is also good because it give me a chance to shop for the week ahead and make a little extra for Lunch on Monday and Tuesday. 

Ms. Coco want to celebrate more holidays, so I’m talking it upon my self to learn more about the holidays and traditions associated with them. My family was never big on celebrations but I do enjoy them and I know she does too. I’m going to be learning a lot this week about June-teenth, wish me luck and you can help me out by commenting about June-teenth traditions.

Buses, bikes…and no cars.

Buses, bikes…and no cars.

So it’s roommate month, so far, all is good. Actually it’s great, great knowing that I’ll get to see Ms. Coco everyday. My only concern now is, how am I going to deal when this month ends (I feel like I’m sounding really needy right now!)

Anyway, what I really don’t understand is why people feel the desire to never change, learn, or try different things?

I feel like I’m at my best when I’m learning, experiencing, and deep into something I don’t understand or fear. 

Even during the tuffest periods in my life, I have tried to find the lesson in my struggle. This seems to make life so much more enjoyable when things are going well.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this month together. Next week, I’m at Ms. Coco’s place. So that means I’ll be commuting everyday, like she did last week. I know it was hard on her and I’m very grateful that she is willing to do that for me. 

We are learning a lot about each other.  I have faith that we will be better off for all of these challenges; even if they are self imposed.

Also this week Ms. Coco has my car. She misplaced her keys and I volunteered my car since she is commuting almost 60 miles to work every day, at 6am.
I’ve decided to bike more around town and  got a bus pass! The buses having bike racks on the front, has opened up a possibility for me to ride my bike around the city.
I’m also getting lot of exercise and sun, luckily Ms Coco keeps reminding me to put on sunscreen so I don’t burn up.

On a different note. What do you say to yourself when you are having a challenging day? 

I’ve been embracing the idea of self talk and mantras recently. “Relax, breath, you got this” is what I have been using recently. Or at the gym it’s “one more” when lifting or doing exercises. Or ride my bike “just make it to the top of this hill” is very common!

Roommates … who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

Roommates … who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

“Maybe we could live together now, that we’re grown. But that was the worst year of my life, you were so dirty!” This was what Ms. Coco’s twin sister told me when I asked about what it was like to live with Ms. Coco.

This might have made me a little worried if I didn’t have so much faith in Ms. Coco. 

I’m quite experienced at having a roommate. My first roommate when I was young was my brother. I don’t always fully appreciate what a good little brother he was growing up. 

Summer Camp for three months every year was a experiment in how many kids you could cram into a small dirty cabin, for three months, while not bathing or washing  anything properly, and see who could survive.

Boarding school was another experiment in how many kids you can cram into a small room and keep them alive till college. 

By college I had decided I had enough roommates and I wanted my own apartment off campus. Let’s just say that did not last long!

My roommates in college mostly came about by a friend asking if the could crash for a couple of days at my place. Three months later I would end up charging them rent. 

After college the same thing happened over and over again. I can safe say Ms. Coco is the only roommate I’ve ever planned on having, she the first one I’ve ever asked to move in. I think that’s a very good sign!

I try to make every day fun for us and jump at the chance to try new things to break up the routine (the routine is also important). So when I saw the figget cube and figget spinners I knew, I have to get one for Ms. Coco. 

We are off to family for the weekend. Next week is my turn to live at Ms. Coco’s place. I’m hoping, I’m as good of a roommate for her, as she is for me! 

Extreme Couponing and Acts of Service

Extreme Couponing and Acts of Service

Ten for ten dollars is my new jam! But free is even better. These are some of my new mottos.

The monthly challenge started out slow. I made it the first two weeks with only a few coupons, totaling about $30 in savings.

I managed to step my game up by using couponing apps like SnipSnap (good for non groceries items) and KrazyCouponLady (good for telling you what items are on sale at every store).

I could average savings from 20-30+% per shopping trip if I planned well and focused on building my weekly menu around sale items. This could be exciting at times when a new item I had never tried was on sale (I’m making pickled radishes! Radish bundles were 2 for $1), but mostly it was work.

Mailer coupons were the best! $10 off when spending $20 or free milk, eggs, chips, or bottled water were all easy to come by.

Acts of service was the other part of the challenge this month. I agreeded to help Ms. Coco teach a class at work. This made me a bit nervous since it’s been a while since I taught anything.

While Ms. Coco seems to have missed out on the deals this month she has been very good about acts of service!

She has helped landscape the entire front of the house. We have shoveled mulch for hours and have found ourselves covered head to toe in dirt most weekends.

After all the landscaping Ms. Coco still agrees to walk on my back even after a long day of shoveling. This might sound a bit weird, but for me, it’s the best massage I’ve ever had. Something about her perfect weight and feet kneading my back muscles! It’s the best!

Looks like next month will be roommate month. This should be fun!

We have three months without any challenges any suggestions on what we should do next?