Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

My first course taught me that Leadership is fluff; they may be right ;-P

So my first course was Leadership, and I've conflicting feelings about it.  As it's officially complete, I can now post this ;). The course itself was good - interesting and current collection of sources, good facilitated discussion, multiple perspectives of different issues, touched on cultural diversity and how the role of the leader (and followers) change depending on where you are in the world, etc.  As it's an area I'm very interested in, I really enjoyed all of this.

What I really did *not* enjoy was the writing.  I can see the question marks in your eyes from here ;).  As some of you may know, I *love* to write.  And by the end of my academic career, I was picking courses somewhat based those that have you write papers rather than exams.  So my first paper I wrote a reasonably strong academic paper, and, because the requirements were somewhat ambiguous, threw in a paragraph of what I deemed to be "fluff".   I got an atrocious grade and the comment was basically the fluff was excellent and the rest all academic.  Uh - yeah, it's a masters program.  *sigh*.  But no, it was clear they wanted fluff.

So at this point, I'd already finished my second paper, but with that feedback went back and rewrote it all to be fluff.   One of the hardest things I've done in recent times was to turn in this paper, that I considered crap -- especially knowing that I'd also written a good one.  But I was reasonably certain they wanted fluff - and, well, I can write for my audience.

Sure enough, that paper did much better, albeit still not the grades I'm used to getting.   So then paper three.  Bring on the fluff.  There was *nothing* redeemable in that paper.  Honestly, I'd be embarrassed to share it.  It was a combination of fluff and fiction.  And it did well enough to significantly improve my final grade.  *sigh*

I do recognize and acknowledge that what they're trying to ensure we can apply the academics - which, fair enough.  But the approach was the opposite of useful for me and just turned into an act of frustration.  Although admittedly very real-life business scenario.  I can't imagine there are too many of us who haven't had to write, say, or do something we know is wrong to stroke the ego of someone who didn't read the leadership textbook ;)

So yeah, while I liked the learnings of the course, I was very frustrated with the assessment process.  I would've learned and internalized a lot more by writing about the academics rather than how it applies to my little world.  I'm taking this program to expand my world, not be stuck in it.

That being said, now I'm into Marketing and Operations.  Which both claim to be the most critical process to any business ;).  Onward and upward.

Eventing adventures

While I was not thrilled at setting my alarm clock for this am, in reality, I had so much fun at Eventing Kindergarten today :).   Chilly but sunny and perfect weather.  Today was schooling w the show tomorrow and they were grouping schooling by coach, which was super convenient.

Horses were wired when I got there so we took it easy - just as well as stad was running a little late.  Warmup went well then down to show jumping.  Course was beautiful and there were awesome volunteers there to help adjust fences for the level.  K went first at entry height and they were absolute pro stars!   Then we adjusted to tadpole and E and Jake jumped around.  Double clear rounds - even the skinny :)

Also - can I just say how much fun tadpole is?!?!   Lol what a great idea for rusty riders or new riders or riders who’ve never been outside of a ring.  SO inviting and “trip over it tiny” lol.  Essentially XC will be a trot hack with a few things to step over - except the things are beautifully decorated so they feel like a designed course, not just scraps from the bigger jumps. (Seriously how many PE courses have you seen that are log, log, tires, log, log, log...) but this was even lower than PE and had a wide variety including a ditch and water.  Amazing.

Also loved that the ditch had a skeleton in it - not that my riders would know that since they would *never* look down.   You believe that right?  Lol

So yeah from stad we went straight to XC and other than a little bit of map confusion (based mostly on the map being left at the barn) we figured it out.  Kennedy and Callie were *on* today.  Like the PT course would’ve been a legitimate option.  And while Jake was doing tadpole, there was also some pre-entry and he did both the entry bank ditch like a pro star!!!   

Both horses adopted this mentality today :). It was awesome!

Let’s just hope they have some energy left to do it all over tomorrow ;)

I miss eventing.  What I wouldn't give for a sainted horse to just bomb around the PT course ;).  Doesn't even need to be big or exciting, just PT...  Lol times like this I miss Athena.  Ah well - I'll just have to live vicariously through others for now.

Also - did I mention how jealous I am that the show tomorrow is only stadium and xc?  I expect there will be a lot of ties for first with no dressage to decide things ;)

Leveling up

My first MBA course is complete -- but the final grades aren't up yet, so I'll save my summary of that until after that point ;)

So I've decided to double up on courses this term -- making me a full time student with a full time job.   Good thing we're going into hibernation season and thanks to COVID I've got an extra 10+h/week that I don't have to commute ;)

First up is Marketing, which so far I'm really enjoying.  Their definition of Marketing is arguably questionable, but it actually makes the topic far more interesting as it leads into business strategy as opposed to marketing strategy that I was expecting.  To me, business strategy would incl things like “these are our values”, “this is our product”, and “we’re going to expand globally”; then the maketing strategy would be built to support the business strategy with “this is our approach”, “these are our key messages” etc.   This course is claiming the entire thing falls under the realm of marketing lol.   And while I don’t agree at all, the business strategy side of things fascinates me, so I’m far happier learning more about that - under whatever title you want to call it - than about marketing-specific strategies.  So yeah, I’m actually loving that course atm.  One actual marketing thing I am enjoying is it's giving me increased insight and understanding into the campaigns we're subjected to all the time.  

Operations I'm not as into admittedly.  I don't know if it's really this simple or if I'm missing the point -- will find out soon enough I guess ;). It's a prerequisite to the Project Management course which I expect to be exempted from based on career experience, so I'm not AS concerned about this one.  Essentially seems to be about efficiency gains.  Which I'm reasonably good at to begin with, and certainly it's a helpful skill to have, so happy to learn more.   Although I'm slightly concerned that the first assessment is an oral presentation that still somehow needs to reference at least six external sources?  lol that will be an interesting deviation from reality.  Am definitely amused that they too position themselves as the critical component of the business around which all decisions should be made; unsurprisingly they don't do nearly as good a job of selling it as the marketing people.  But yeah - could you hear my eyes roll?   Ah well.

So yeah - I'm currently a full time student with a full time job, but really - what else is there to do this term anyways?   Trying to get in as many courses as I can before we have to return to the office :).  Which means clearly there will be a ton of blog posts as, well, it's a fine means of productive procrastination.  I can even do it sitting in front of my textbook ;-P

To zen or not to zen...

Random update on my zenness...   Or lack thereof.  It *really* doesn't exist during the day.  It takes everything I have to convince myself to meditate during the day and I'm super not enjoying it.  However, meditating right before sleep -- this has been awesome.  I still don't like it, but it absolutely makes a difference.  I fall asleep faster and stay there longer.  I don't do it every night, but I notice a significant difference on the nights that I do.  As with the daytime ones, some resonate more than others and some are more effective than others, but in general, I'm finding it helps significantly to quiet my mind and give me a pause before my mind has all night to spin.

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time

So I set up a space in the basement that I can play my Quest.  To date, all the spaces I've been playing in have been restricted (there's paint on the controller from being walloped into a door at one point) and so I mostly restrict my games to ones where I'm unlikely to move my feet to lessen the instances of dramatic crashing.   But now, there's enough space in the basement to really play.  AND my workout mat is also conveniently a good size to play, so I know if I step off the mat, I'm out of bounds.  Yes, the game tells you that as well, but usually not early enough to avoid damage ;-P

With my new found freedom I turned on 360 mode in Beat Saber and it was So Much More Fun!  Lol a whole other dimension ;).  It was toned down slightly in that I generally plan on expert and the songs I was playing were only available on hard.  But it adds enough of a twist that the lower level is still highly entertaining.

Also played some Racket Nx, which I haven't played in ages due to lack of safe space (this would be the game that resulted in paint on the controller -- okay in an empty room, less okay in any room with a TV or computer ;) -- it actually has a warning to make sure all loved ones are out of range lol.  So that was fun except that I'm really bad at it so it gets frustrating after a little while.  Highly entertaining just for the VR experience though.

In non VR games, I'm playing my first game since the end of the Kings Quest franchise.  Chris has got me hooked on Zelda -- I am so completely addicted and, since it's on a Switch, I love that I don't have to take over the TV to play, instead I can play while something else is on in the background or while Chris is playing other games.

That one made me laugh cause I was wandering around and there were horses in the field.  There was no way I was going to hunt the horses, so I snuck up on them to see if I could pat one -- and when I got close, "mount" was an option.  Woohoo!  I did that, and promptly got bucked off.  When I stopped laughing I tried it again, to similar results.  Eventually I managed to stay on one, and now I have a new pony ;).  In the same game, you need to "cook" and more than once I've made "dubious food" which is arguably even more accurate than me getting bucked off the horse I randomly climbed on in a field.

So yes - I'm highly entertained by these, mostly cause after working full time and going to school full time and still teaching and at least occasionally going to the gym, I have zero brain power left and games are good for that.  The VR ones could even pretend to be exercise.  Multitasking win ;)

My new addiction

When I signed up for boxing, this is not at all what I expected.

 Today's question:  who is "the glue that hold the organization together"?

  • according to my leadership course, leadership fulfills this role
  • in my marketing course, marketing fulfills this role
  • and in operations...  you guessed it, operations fulfills this role

Just made me laugh as I had all three state that within 48h of each other ;)

I'm current procrastinating Operations writing this blog post :).  I've finished the Leadership course but final grades won't be in for another week or two.

Completely unrelated -- GOLD STAR TO ME!!!   Why?  Because I managed to do a box jump on the "big" box at the gym today ;)

Just like that!

Right - except my box was not quite knee high ;).  lol but it WAS bigger than the shin-high one which is usually scary enough.  Both physically and mentally I struggle with this one.  I've never been the kid who could jump high.  Or at all ;-P.  For those of you who've been around a while -- why do you think I was so excited to be able to run up the wall?  Cause that I've got a shot at!  A long shot, admittedly, but it's vaguely possible.  (lol for the curious - adult recess was So. Much. Fun.).   Anyways - jumping is not a skill I possess; I'd much rather climb.  And mentally it just seems like a horrible idea to try to defy physics.  I've had too many run-ins with physics before and I almost always lose.

However, today it was at the second station, which means I was warmed up and hadn't actually done any exercise yet.  So I had a better shot.  AND, not only was I not the only person in the gym today - but the other person was on her first day and requiring actual instruction.  So I got to play a little more on my own, which made me braver.  Which was all awesome till 4 stations later when the whole thing was donkey kicks?!?! :(  That emoticon is insufficient for my degree of :(.   I'm already sore; I don't imagine I'll be able to move much tomorrow.   Things I never needed to know -- I can do 120 donkey kicks in 3 minutes.   Nowhere near the gym record of 298, but oh well.

Okay - back to school with me.

Who's on first?

So I chatting on IM with a colleague, we’ll call him Steve, and went away to do some stuff. 

Re-IM’d an hour or so later with a follow-up question and got the response:

“Hello Steve, Do you have a minute?”


*sigh*   I’ve been called out on not starting conversations with 'Hello' before, but Steve and I get along really well, so I was somewhat surprised by this from him.  (I'm working on it -- I have a mental list of people to always say hi and/or waste time...   Uh I mean 'relationship build' about the weather before I can get to the point – but he’s not on it).


So I said something about, ‘okay point taken.  To be fair, I was continuing a previous conversation…’


So then the conversation was very confused for a minute.  Until I get: “oh my gosh - thought I was messaging Steve T”.   Lol so his “Hello Steve” (being far more polite than I, as you may have guessed from “gosh”) was actually directed at another Steve, not a rebuke for my lack of texting manners *g*


Amused me more than it should’ve ;)   But hey, it’s a spreadsheet day, I’ll take amusement where I can get it!

Also, Google just informed me that Spreadsheet Day is actually a thing?!?!  Apparently it's Oct 17.  A shame that's on a weekend this year; I most definitely will not be celebrating it.