Week 40: Rub-a-Dub-Dub

About a week and a half ago I found myself sitting in a pool of self-loathing, and like, an actual tub of water. I was depressed and started to shower then decided I didn’t feel like standing so I sat down for what my kids like to call a “shower bath”-plug the drain but keep the water coming from the shower head. I don’t mention the depression bit as a cry for help or to alarm anyone (really, I’m fine Mom) but simply to give context as to why I was sitting in my bathtub while my shower was running and explain where the idea for this week came from. At some point while I was sitting there I started thinking about how I never took baths and how that would be a fun thing to try for Five Day Discipline. I remember taking baths as a kid but somewhere between childhood and adulthood baths were replaced with showers and I can’t quite remember why.

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Notice the appearance of the rug I shortened during Week 31. It’s such an attention hog.

Five Day Discipline: Take a bath each evening.

I’m going to toss out my typical blog format of telling you what I did for each of the five days in favor for a pros and cons list. I’ll post pictures at the bottom of what different bath additives I tried.

Pros of Bathing:

  • It feels nice to soak in warm water. Of course, my bathtub isn’t big enough for my whole body to actually be under the water all at once, but with the power of my imagination I imagine that would be a pleasant experience.
  • You’re using a finite amount of water. Yes, a full tub of water is a lot but at least you can measure it and know how much you’re using if you’re the eco-conscious type. With a shower you can’t know how much water you’re using and it’s completely determined by the length of time you spend in the shower.
  • Epsom salts. Soaking in a bath can give you muscle relaxation and relief that you can’t get from a shower.

Cons of Bathing:

  • They seem to take much longer than showering. While I was bathing it was hard not to imagine the alternative ways I could be using my time instead of sitting in a bathtub with my knees poking out of the water.
  • I sweat. One night as I sat there in the bath I realized I was sweating. I’ve heard this would make some people’s “pros of bathing” list but for me it is definitely a con.
  • You’re sitting in your own filth. Not much to explain here but obviously whatever grime is on your body when you enter the bath will just be hanging out with you until you pull the plug.

So will I be adding baths to my normal routine?

In short, no.

In long, I had a lot of fun this week trying different kinds of baths (plain baths, baths with Epsom salts, bubble baths…even a slime bath) but aside from the fun of the novelty of it all I didn’t care for them. I did feel good after my baths with epsom salts but the trade off of time isn’t worth it for me. My mind and body like to be moving and sitting in a bathtub for 20 or 30 minutes made me kind of twitchy. I’ll stick with showers.

Cheers,

Daniel

P.S. If you’re here for the Christmas present keep scrolling down

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This $4.97 bag of epsom salt made me feel very fancy.
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The Great Bath Tour of 2017. Some friends of ours have an incredible bathtub/shower room and are the kind of people you can ask, “Can I take a picture in your bathtub?” without weirding them out.

 

 

 

 

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This stuff actually works. It’s so gnarly. Buy it for your kids they will love it!

 

 

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Who needs a washing machine? Scoff.

You read all the way down here? Thanks! Five Day Discipline is something I do for my own personal growth but I love sharing it with you and I do put effort into writing posts like this so I appreciate those of you who read along. As a way of saying “thank you” I want to send you a Christmas present for not only clicking my links but for reading the entire thing. Send me your address by DMing @fivedaydiscipline on Instagram, messaging me through the Facebook page (facebook.com/fivedaydiscipline), messaging me through WordPress or by emailing me at danielturner@hotmail.com. I’m not sure what I’ll be sending as gifts yet I guess it depends on the size of the response but I promise it will not be any sort of propaganda or pamphlet.

More cheers,

Daniel

Week 39: Español para cinco días

A few weeks ago I volunteered at my kids’ elementary school and spent the day playing and talking with lots of kindergarteners and second graders. One of the kids didn’t seem to be responding to me and when I kept trying to talk to him I was told by the other kids that he only spoke Spanish. I hated not being able to talk and play with that kid. But imagine how he feels every day? He’ll learn English eventually but right now most of the people around him can’t talk to him. Living in Texas, this is not an unusual encounter and that’s a shame.

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Five Day Discipline: Practice Spanish for at least 30 minutes each day. Practice in an attempt to learn, that is. I took 3 semesters of Spanish in high school but I’ve forgotten most of it. Sorry, teachers. I know almost no Spanish. Nada.

Well, almost nada. I am a big musical theatre fan and one of my favorite musicals is called In The Heights and it mixes in Spanish with the English. From that show I know things like paciencia y fe (patience and faith), ay Dios mio (oh my God) and no me diga (don’t tell me).

What I did this week to try and learn Spanish:

  • I downloaded an app called DuoLingo and did their lessons for 20+ minutes each day. This app is great because it mixes up different ways of learning and best of all it is FREE.
  • I immediately switched the language on my phone from “English” to “Español”. This meant I couldn’t read a lot of the words that were on my phone but because I am so familiar with it I had a healthy dose of context to guide me through my day. On social media instead of “Like” buttons I had “Me gusta” buttons. Instead of a “search” button my phone said “buscar”. Immersion is the best and fastest way to learn something and while this is only a small amount of immersion it is really helpful.
  • I listened to music in Spanish. I discovered an artist on Spotify named Luis Miguel (who from what I can gather is uber popular) and listened to an album of his called “MEXICO! Por Siempre” about 5 times through I like it so much. I then found an album of his that takes traditional Christmas songs and translates them to Spanish. Again, I didn’t understand most of what was being said but at least on the Christmas songs I had some context.
  • I started watching a set of videos called “Destinos” that are Spanish lessons. I watched these in high school spanish class so I was all-in on this nostalgia.
  • Another show I started rewatching was Narcos on Netflix. It follows the Columbian drug trade and Pablo Escobar and is largely in Spanish with English subtitles. When I watched this show the first time I wasn’t trying to pick up any of the language but this time around my focus was on learning a bit.
  • The Dallas Cowboys played the Washington Redskins on Thursday night this week and for the game I switched the language on my tv to Spanish.
  • I learned to play and sing a song in Spanish called “Recuerdame” from Pixar’s newest film Coco. I included a video of me singing this song at the bottom of this post. I’m sure I don’t pronounce everything quite right but I still learned a lot figuring out this song.

Obviously five days isn’t enough time to learn an entire language but I ended up learning a lot more than I thought I could in that small amount of time. More importantly, I learned that fluency is possible if I’m willing to put in the time and effort. I have actually wanted to become fluent in Spanish for a long time but it seemed so overwhelming. This week got me over that.

To that end I have decided to keep my phone set to “Español”. After enough time things that require thinking now (like the days of the week) will become second nature to me. I’m also going to keep using the DuoLingo app and watching Destinos.

It’s going to take a while but some day I’ll get there. Some day I’ll make my high school Spanish teachers proud. Most importantly, some day I’ll be able to volunteer at my kids’ school and talk with the kids who can only speak Spanish.

Salud,

Daniel

 

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If you like mariachi music at all look this album up. It is equal parts fun and beauty.
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This is from the DuoLingo app. Ella come manzanas.
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Me finding a place to watch this this week was destiny, er, destinos.
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This musical from the genius who gave us Hamilton will teach you a few Spanish phrases as well as keep your toe tapping. I actually like this musical a hair more than Hamilton. I know that sounds crazy but In The Heights is just that good.

You read all the way down to here? Dang. Good for you. Thanks. I appreciate it. Leave a comment here or message me on Instagram or Facebook so I can know how awesome you are.

Week 38: Peas in a Podcast

I’ve been aware of podcasts for about as long as I’ve been aware of iTunes. I could Google when Apple launched iTunes but I’d rather type this sentence about not wanting to Google it than look up the actual date. Ten years? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. The only thing pertinent to this post related to podcasts is that I have been aware of them for years but for whatever reason I never really spent much time on them. Sort of how I am very aware of The Rolling Stones but I’ve never listened to them intentionally. Maybe I would love them if I gave them a shot, maybe I wouldn’t. It seems like there has been a big push with audio lately and some of the social media people I follow have podcasts so I figured now was as good a time as any to dig in and see what the deal with podcasts was.

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Five Day Discipline: Listen to a podcast each day.

Day 1: The Hamilcast & My Favorite Murder. Both of these podcasts are just good friends talking about subjects that fascinate them. I was unfamiliar with any of the hosts but passion is the greatest credential and they all had it. Even if you weren’t into musicals or murder these are a good listen because of how into it the hosts are. Also, I finally solved the mystery of why so many women in my life were pronouncing “Bye” as “Bye-eee” (Thanks, My Favorite Murder podcast hosts!).

Day 2: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. A friend recommended this one to me and I’m really glad he did. History was always my favorite subject in school and I spent all of my elective hours on history classes in college. This is a podcast I’ll likely revisit when I’ve got a lot of time to kill and zero distractions.

Day 3: Comedy Bang! Bang! Another recommendation I picked an episode of this one that featured Ben Schwartz (Jean Ralphio in Parks & Rec). It was heavy on the language and crude jokes but it was fun listening to two people being as silly as they can. There is nothing sacred and no holds barred in this podcast.

Day 4: The Tim Ferris Show. Tim Ferriss seems to come up everywhere I turn so I wanted to see what he was all about. I found an episode with B.J. Novak (The Office, Inglourious Basterds) where he gives anecdotes from his days writing and acting on The Office and talked about his writing process. As a(n aspiring) creative writer this was the most interesting podcast of the week and the most helpful and encouraging for me.

Day 5: The Pauly Shore Podcast Show. I grew up watching Pauly Shore’s movies like Encino Man, Jury Duty, Bio-Dome and A Goofy Movie. I’ve always enjoyed his brand of ridiculous so when I was looking for something to listen to for Day 5 and found his podcast I immediately quit scrolling. Even better that I found an episode with everybody’s favorite sitcom dad/blue comedian Bob Saget.

I loved every podcast I listened to this week and I know I’m just at the tip of the iceberg. I always pictured podcasts as a bit stuffy but I was quite wrong in that assessment. So I’m in. I won’t spend all my time in the car with a podcast on but I’m definitely a convert. If there are any podcasts out there that you can’t live without please let me know. Just don’t recommend a Rolling Stones podcast because I’m not ready to give them a fair shake yet.

Cheers,

Daniel

Week 37: I Am Iron Man.

I’m not a fancy guy, particularly when it comes to clothes. My closet is comprised mostly of tee shirts that I’ve had for ten plus years, each one showing their age with tattered edges or holes. These things don’t embarrass me. If I find a shirt I like I wear it until it more or less falls apart. There are, however, a few exceptions. I’ve got my “funeral” shirt and my “wedding” shirt which also doubles as my “interview” shirt. You know, button ups that I wear when the occasion requires. And wrinkles aren’t invited to those occasions. But, ironing always felt like such a task and I never figured out how to safely (without burning my clothes) use the iron I’ve got so if I needed to de-wrinkle-fy something I would throw it in the dryer with a towel and cross my fingers. I was Dryer Man.

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Five Day Discipline: Iron every day. The goal this week was to learn the ins and outs of my iron-the iron we got shortly after getting married more than 8 years ago. It gets hot fast and has lots of buttons so frankly it scared me. Any time I’ve needed to iron something I’ve been too afraid to use this contraption for fear of burning my clothes.

Day 1: I grabbed a random button up shirt that I never wear so I was okay if I burned it. Luckily, I didn’t burn anything. 

Day 2: My son joined Cub Scouts in the summer and since then we’ve had patches that we were supposed to iron on his shirt. It turned out to be a really simple, 10-minute process that I felt silly for putting off. Simply place the patch where you want it, put a piece of paper on top of the patch so you don’t scorch it and apply the iron for a bit.

Day 3: I did some forward thinking on Day 3 and ironed a shirt that I’m supposed to wear for family pictures we’re taking after Thanksgiving. Now the only thing I have to do is figure out how to smile without looking creepy.

Day 4: The Collar. I have a shirt that is about 15 years old and the collar has been in the wrong spot for years. You’d think I’d correct this but no, I’d just fiddle with it any time I wore it. Now, though still a threadbare shirt, I can prance like a peacock wearing it.

Day 5: This day turned out to be the greatest challenge of the week because the shirt I chose was a super thin cotton blend and it was sticking to the iron like it was melting. I used the steam and spray function to get the shirt wet and that seemed to help as I somehow avoided a melted shirt. What a world. What a world.

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It’s funny how often we avoid trying things. More often than not it ends up being less hassle to learn and do the task than it was to avoid it. Case in point, ironing. It was never a question of difficulty, just equal parts laziness and fear of burning things that kept me from it. Turns out it doesn’t take much time or effort and it’s harder to burn clothes than I thought. Now, thanks to this week’s Five Day Discipline, when I’ve got an occasion that requires wrinkle-free clothing I won’t have to throw the clothes in a dryer and cross my fingers. I’m no longer Dryer Man. Now I am Iron Man.

Cheers,

Daniel

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I’m doing a weird thing with my tongue here but it looks so natural on Daniel Stern, as you’ll see in the picture below.
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Everybody’s favorite Wet Bandit moments after taking an iron to the face.
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I promise I didn’t burn any garments this week despite what this picture may indicate about my ironing tactics. Also, the lighting is awful in this shot because I am not really a blogger.

 

Week 36: To Nightcap or Not To Nightcap?

I’ve never been into wine. Or alcohol, really, in general. I’m not opposed to it it just never suited my palette. But I’ve always been fascinated by wine because of how enamored others are with it. They smell it and swish it and aerate it and collect it and socialize with it. My own wife loves it and tends to finish off most of her days with a glass of it but it’s never been something we shared. Until this week.

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Five Day Discipline: Drink a glass of red wine each evening. Maybe if I gave it a real chance I would love it and my wife and I could wind down our evenings together over a glass. Originally, I wasn’t sure if I was going to try a new type (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc.) each evening or stick with the same one but my dear friends on the internet had so many suggestions on what to try that I ended up trying something new each night.

Day 1: First up was The Dreaming Tree’s Cabernet Sauvignon. I chose this wine because this one is my wife’s favorite. My initial reaction was that it “wasn’t so bad” but it also made my mouth feel dry and bitter, an experience I would be informed later was probably due to the tannins in the wine. I looked up what tannins were but I’m still not exactly sure. Whatever they are, I don’t like them.

Day 2: Next up was a Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Blue Label Merlot. That’s a lot of words on a label. And I don’t think anything that costs $11 should be called “Diamond Collection” but I’m not in charge so the name stands. I was with a friend playing music and we were drinking the wine as we played so my attention to this wine was distracted at best. Still, it was sweet and less dry/bitter (maybe less tannins?) than the previous days wine.

Day 3: Alamos Malbec. This was a strange one because my wife and I had very different reactions. She loved it and thought it tasted like “Jesus Juice” aka Grape Juice and I thought it tasted nothing like the divine and had a weird, salty aftertaste.

Day 4: Dark Red by 19 Crimes. Each day I would read the bottle and when I found out that 19 Crimes is named as such based on criminals getting transported to Australia I immediately thought of The Princess Bride (my favorite book and film) where Vizzini is trying to decide which wine glass is poisoned with iocane, his or the one in front of the man in black. Vizzini mentions not being able to trust the man in black because iocane powder comes from Australia and, as everyone knows, Australia is peopled with criminals. This led me to get out my book to get the exact passage and I ended up doing a live reading of it. Almost nobody watched it (I get that) but to those that did, bless your hearts.

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Have you ever seen someone pretend to be so sophisticated?

Day 5: My last glass was a Woodwork Pinot Noir. At this point I’ve exhausted my wine lingo and don’t have words to describe this wine but I liked it because it didn’t leave any unpleasant flavors lingering in my mouth like some of the other wines did.

Conclusion: I’m hooked on wine and will likely become an alcoholic. Kidding. Although that’s not something that should be joked about so let me just delete this from the post. I enjoyed this week much more than I expected, and I learned a lot, but I don’t anticipate having a glass of wine each night. It’s just not my cup of tea (I don’t drink tea either). The whole time I was drinking it I was thinking “this isn’t so bad” but that’s not exactly a raving review. Why would I drink something I feel “isn’t so bad” when I have the option of drinking things that I love? I wouldn’t, so I won’t. I’m not saying I’ll never drink a glass of wine again but if you’re ever looking for me, you’ll probably find me at the kid table drinking my Dr. Pepper. As for my wife and I not being able to share a nightcap, well, I don’t think she’s too disappointed about that. After all, that means she still gets the bottle all to herself.

Cheers,

Daniel

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My order of preference, from left to right.
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What’s that? You’re suggesting that a “wine jacket” isn’t a real thing? I won’t hear of it.

Week 35: Might As Well Jump (Jump!)

I hadn’t done anything physical for my Five Day Discipline in a while so I decided this would be a good week for it. My friend had recently been raving about this jump rope program he did so I thought I might as well jump (Jump!). Cue the synthesizer. Go ahead, jump (down to the rest of the post)!

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Five Day Discipline: Jump rope for exercise. More specifically, I was going to do the first five days of Zen Dude Fitness’s 4-week challenge. As mentioned above I have a friend who tried it and loved it so I figured I’d give it a go. I wasn’t committing to the whole four weeks just the first five days.

Day 1- I got started by making a video and breaking my kid’s playset. The intent, of course, wasn’t to break anything but I was jumping around being silly and the old playset we have couldn’t handle my weight. If I had to break something though I’m glad I caught it on (digital) tape. And it made a really great cracking sound. The actual jumping rope (jump roping?) was fatiguing but fun.

Day 2- I dressed up like Batman because it was Halloween-not because I dress up like Batman and play make believe every day. You’ll never know the truth. Anyway, my calves were super sore from the previous days jumping but once I was done I felt good the rest of the day.

Day 3- This was definitely the hardest, sorest day of the week for me. The two previous days of jumping compounded the soreness of my legs, mostly in my calves, plus I had tap dancing class in the evening. I pushed through class but I really was wiped out by the time I was tapping. Tap dancing is all leg and my legs were maxed so it was by far the hardest tap class I’ve endured.

Day 4- By day four my body had finally gotten over the worst of the soreness. I was still tired and sore but it felt more normal and manageable. I jumped and jumped and jumped and felt good the rest of the day.

Day 5- More of the same. Jump. Jump. Jump some more. Normal soreness.

This week turned out better than I anticipated. It was hard physically and mentally at times but I ended the week feeling amazing. I knew I was going to feel good because exercise always makes me feel good (endorphins and stuff, I don’t know I’m not a scientist) but I feel better than I expected so it’s worth it to me to continue the 4-week challenge. So that’s what I’m going to do. Keep jumping. Might as well jump.

Cheers,

Daniel

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A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
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Most everyone’s mad here.
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This concludes the random photos of me related to the jump rope.

Week 34: Five-letter word for an amused expression

Growing up I remember both of my grandfathers working on crossword puzzles constantly. They didn’t mindlessly sit around watching tv like most of us do (“When I was your age, television was called books.”) but instead they mindfully sat around working on crossword puzzles. Normally I was just a fly on the wall witnessing this but I remember like it was yesterday the time that my Grandpa Jack was stumped on a clue and asked me if I knew a four-letter word for “God of Thunder”. I was into comic books so I was proud to be able to help him out (THOR) and I’ll never forget the smile he gave me in return. It’s that smile that I see when I think about him to this day.

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Five Day Discipline: Work on a crossword puzzle right before bed each night. No looking up answers and absolutely zero screens once I start the puzzle. One of the main purposes of doing this Five Day Discipline was to see how removing screens right before bed would effect my sleep. There’s like, research, man, that says it’s bad bad not good.

So I had to go out and buy a big crossword puzzle book. I couldn’t download a crossword app (screens!) and I don’t get the newspaper. I used to have a big crossword book that I had gotten from my Grandpa Jack’s house but a few months back I gave it to my mom because it was written in the early 90’s and I was born in 1985. Some things never change but there were just too many instances where I was running up against obscure proper nouns that I was never going to figure out. So I bought a big book of 300 crosswords written in 2016. I wouldn’t know all the proper nouns but at least I’d have a chance.

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Harry Potter, y’all. When I saw the title of this puzzle I knew it would make the cut.

With 300 options and only 5 puzzles to pick how would I decide each evening which puzzle I’d attempt? Simple. A ouija board. They aren’t simply for spirit communication anymore! I’m kidding, I picked based on the titles.

Once my day and duties were wrapped up I’d put my phone/computer/tv away and sit down with my crossword book. I spent anywhere from 15-60 minutes puzzling my puzzler until I had filled out as much as I could. Ironically, this Five Day Discipline which was intended to gently help me drift into Slumberland actually ended up keeping me up later than normal. I’d get wrapped up in the crossword puzzles and I probably ended up going bed an average of an hour later than usual each night.

Why this week was awesome:

  • I learned a lot of new words like “peal”, “cloy” and “abrades”. Learning new things is always awesome. I’d prefer not to spin you a cloying story that abrades any good will I’ve built with you though so I’ll just move on now. (Cue peals of laughter). Point is learning is useful.
  • I made some new internet friends and reconnected with some real-life friends through the internet. I decided to post whatever I was unable to solve online the following day and let the good people of the internet help me finish it. I didn’t actually think anybody would care to see me posting crossword puzzles (and most of you didn’t care but who’s counting [of course I’m counting, you jerks!]) but I ended up getting much more engagement than I expected. It was a blast to be getting answers from lots of different people and to have them asking for updates on the crossword puzzle we were all working to finish together.
  • I slept really well. Honestly though, I always sleep really well (I know, I’m the real jerk) so I don’t actually know how much of an impact the lack of screens had. But it definitely didn’t hurt. I fully embrace the digital age we live in but less screen time is always a good idea.

So now my week of crossword puzzles is complete. But I still have 295 more puzzles to do in my book and I don’t like leaving things unfinished so I’ll continue working on them until all the clues have been solved. Maybe after that I’ll buy another big book of crosswords. And then another. And maybe one day, many years from now, I’ll look up from my crossword puzzle and find a grandchild of my own standing there, eager to help me. And I’ll smile.

Cheers,

Daniel

Week 33: Wake Up Call

In life there are two kinds of people: morning people and everybody else. Generally speaking, I am a morning person. I tend to wake up chipper and singing and I seem to (unintentionally) annoy those around me who are cranky in the morning. But, I don’t get up super early and have zero interest in any situation that requires me to get up earlier than normal. I want the sun to be up when I wake up. However, my wife got up at 5AM one week for her Five Day Discipline and she loved it. It’s become an integral part of her daily routine so I thought I’d give it a try myself. If I got up an hour and a half earlier than normal how much more productive could I be?

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Five Day Discipline: Get up at 5:30AM each morning. My normal routine is to wake up at 7AM, drink a glass of iced coffee and then it’s out the door to walk the kids to school at 7:15AM. For those of you who don’t like to do math, getting up at 5:30AM is an hour and a half earlier than normal.

  • Day 1: I got up and did yoga (https://youtu.be/Is8tMCpv4F8), did my daily run and workout before I normally would be awake.
  • Day 2: Again yoga (https://youtu.be/AF9d2Icl4fA), a little Christmas shopping online (because it is never too early to get that out of the way), relaxed with a little iced coffee to try wake up a bit, did my workout and worked on this blog post a bit. All before walking the kids to school. It was a lot harder to wake up Day 2 than day one. It took me a while to actually start yoga.
  • Day 3: I woke up and didn’t feel like doing anything physical at all so I decided to clear my inbox. You know those pesky emails that you keep around because maybe they hold a sliver of information you might need in the future? Gone. I filed what I needed to and deleted the rest and boy(/girl) did it feel good staring at an empty inbox.
  • Day 4: I did a deep stretch yoga that lasted about 45 minutes (https://youtu.be/GLy2rYHwUqY) and not much else. Nobody was going to school because our house had been hit with a bug the day before so I just sat around with the kids who were awake before I was off to my day.
  • Day 5: I sent some important emails, started reading a book written by a friend (https://www.amazon.com/Can-Have-Your-Attention-Constantly/dp/111939046X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8) and did a bit of stretching.

So, all of the above is what I got accomplished before my normal wake up time. On it’s own I would call it pretty successful. Except as with all things there is more to the story. What the above doesn’t tell you is what I ended up accomplishing the rest of my day. Or, rather, what I didn’t accomplish. My energy level was fine during the day but by the evening I was just wiped out. Typically in my house I help get the kids down (four and counting?) around 8PM and then I use the next three hours getting done whatever I need/want to get done for the day. This week I got almost nothing done after the kids went to bed. I didn’t want to go to bed early but I was too wiped to be useful. Overall, I was actually less productive with the extra hour and a half of day.

Needless to say, I won’t be waking up at 5:30AM anymore. And my wife is thrilled. She uses her early wake up call to have alone time (a rare commodity in a family of 6) and prepare for the day and I was sort of cramping her style by being awake so early. So I’m back to my normal routine and everybody wins. I’ll be more productive and she’ll get her alone time.

Cheers,

Daniel

 

 

Week 32: Juggling (Or Tossing Three Balls In The Air Repeatedly Without Letting Them Hit The Ground)

Last week while I was learning to use a sewing machine I ended up sewing some bean bags and decided that learning to juggle would be a great Five Day Discipline for me. I’ve always thought that juggling was a cool trick but I had never taken the time to learn how to do it. What better way to learn than on bean bags that I had sewn for myself?

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I used croquet balls, baseballs and bean bags to try and learn to juggle.

Five Day Discipline: Spend 15-30 minutes each day learning how to juggle. I wasn’t expecting to become a master in this small amount of time but my hope was that I would be able to do a simple three-ball juggle by the end of the week.

I started where I always start when I need to learn how to do something: The Internet. A Google search leads to a YouTube video and suddenly all the answers are right there. For all the perils of technology it really is a beautiful world we’re living in to be able to get all the answers we need at the click of a button. I watched a quick video about the basic idea of juggling and then I was off to the races.

As expected my first attempts were pretty rough. I was starting at a Level Zero for juggling ability and someone watching me would think I was just throwing things up into the air and testing the gravity of my surrounding area. As with anything, though, it eventually got easier and the balls and bean bags I was juggling with were hitting the ground less and less. The video below shows how far I got during the week,

I’m not saying that I’m going to join the circus any time soon but I’m now able to juggle enough to where my kids are thoroughly impressed and the neighbor boy even told me I should be a circus clown. The biggest reason I wanted to learn to juggle was to be able to entertain my kids (and hopefully some future grandkids) so while I’ve got a ways to go before I can juggle with fire I’m pretty pleased with the results of this week.

Cheers,

Daniel

Week 31: Sew Much To Learn

My brother-in-law and I like to use the phrase “hyphenate yourself” with other whenever we’re discussing new things we’re learning or things we’d like to learn. The idea is simple: learn how to do new things and become less dependent on other people. I’ve thought about that phrase this week as I am learning how to use a sewing machine for the first time. Up until now if I ever needed anything sewn I would simply drop it off with my mom and then pick it up when it was finished. She has always been happy to patch things up for me but she won’t be around forever (sad emoticon) and one day my kids will ask me to sew their holes for them so I figured now was a good time to hyphenate myself.

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In preparation for a week of sewing I went over to my parents’ house on Sunday afternoon and got my mom to show me how to use her sewing machine. She showed me where to put the spool, where to weave the thread, loading the bobbin, etc.

Five Day Discipline: Sew every day. What I really mean by that is use a sewing machine each day. A bit of hand-stitching occurred as well for edges and such but the point of this week was to learn how to use a sewing machine.

  • img_0163Day 1 – Turning my grandpa’s old boxers (Yes, my grandpa’s old boxers) into bean bags. When my grandpa died a few years ago my grandma asked me if I wanted his boxers with Disney characters on them. I’m a huge Disney fan and loved my grandpa so of course I said yes. I realize most of the civilized world will find this weird but A) my grandma told me they were unworn and B) I don’t even wear boxers I was simply taking them with the idea to reuse the fabric in the future. Anyway, converting the boxers into bean bags was a little tricky because the material was soooo thin. And I didn’t look up instructions. And it was my first day of actual sewing and not just theoretical sewing with my mom. But, after a first failed attempt I managed to make 3 bean bags.
  • Day 2 – Fixing a stick horse. The fabric holding the pvc “stick” had ripped so lately it’s only been getting use as a pvc sword. Swords are cool but swords mean hitting and hitting means crying and crying means…you get my point. The horse needed to be fixed or thrown away. To make it easier on myself I sawed a little bit off of the pvc so that I’d have more room to work with the fabric. Once the pvc was the right length I simply put it back into the horse and sewed a straight line to seal it in.
  • Day 3 – Shortening a bath rug. Of all of the things I sewed this week I am proudest of this. My wife recently found bath rugs that she liked but we needed a smaller size than the manufacturer made. To remedy this problem I took off the seam binding of the rug, cut 3″ off the width of the rug and then reapplied the seam binding to the now shortened rug. I went extremely slowing putting the seam binding back on because the rug pieces kept getting in the way but I managed to get the rug back in working order without any real problems. Looking at the rug on the bathroom floor there is no way to tell that I altered it in any way. If you were to look underneath at the stitching you’d realize that it’s very crooked but, if you look underneath someone else’s bathroom rugs you’re strange anyway. Perhaps even stranger than a guy who would happily inherit boxer shorts.
  • Day 4 – Fixing a bike helmet. This fix was even faster than the stick horse from Day 2. My son got a new bike helmet and the manufacturer put one of the clips on backwards. All I had to do on this day was remove the stitching that kept the clip in place, turn it the right direction and sew it back in.
  • Day 5 – Beginning a tablecloth. I didn’t have very much time to sew on Day 5 but I did manage to get the thing started. It was the longest thing I had sewn together so I found the amount of fabric I was dealing with a bit awkward but it went well. The stitching definitely veers in places but overall it was a decent line. Not bad for my fifth time sewing at least.

This was a great week because I feel like I picked up a really useful skill. I’m very much a novice, and I realize sewing is something that would take years to master, but I can sew two pieces of fabric together now and that’s good enough for me. Once I finish up the tablecloth I’ll return the sewing machine to my mom but the next time I need something sewn I’ll be able to borrow her machine instead of borrowing her time.

Cheers,

Daniel

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Getting the run down from my seamstress of 32 years.