Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Prolate Spheroid

By Julie Rahm
I love the game of football. I particularly enjoy the playoffs. During the playoffs, the level of tenacity and competitiveness increase dramatically. Teams either win or go home. Losers watch next week’s game on television. Win a playoff game and your season continues.

Granted, football is an acquired taste. I learned to enjoy the game at a young age. Then, the Dallas Cowboy training camp was down the street from my childhood home in Thousand Oaks, California. During the summer, I wandered down the street to watch literally hundreds of practices. The practices were open. We were able to get up close to the players. We kids brought them water and helped carry their equipment. I remember asking Coach Landry why Randy White was running extra laps around the track. He answered, “Randy didn’t have a good practice today.” I think the punishment laps were effective because Randy White was the sixth Cowboy elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame. And, in Super Bowl Twelve, Randy White shared Most Valuable Player honors with defensive end Ed White. It was the first time two defensive linemen had shared the award. I remember that Randy White was not as friendly as safety Charlie Waters. I was a favorite of Charlie Waters, who said I reminded him of his daughter. Evidently, Charlie Waters missed his daughter while at training camp. I often carried Ed “Too Tall” Jones’ shoulder pads. One of my most cherished pictures is of me, waist high, to Ed “Too Tall”. So, with the Cowboy training camp experience firmly entrenched in my childhood, it was natural for me to attend the University of Nebraska, a school with a great football tradition.

While my personal connection with football is interesting, my real message this week is that football matters. In our culture, football plays a major role. Forbes Magazine estimates the worth of the Dallas Cowboys at $1,850,000.00. That is one billion, eight hundred and fifty million! Their revenue is over $400 million a year and earnings top $120 million. The least expensive team in the league is the Jacksonville Jaguars at $725 million. Twenty-seven-million fans play Fantasy Football. If you don’t have at least a rudimentary understanding of football, you will have minor difficulties relating to others in the community. For starters, intentional grounding is not something you do to your kids!

So enjoy the Super Bowl this weekend. Then, follow my blogs at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Provenance

By Julie Rahm

My husband, John, has just finished my annual punishment. This punishment comes once a year and lasts for about two days. This punishment spectacle is a TV broadcast on the Speed Channel. Exactly! You have guessed correctly. For two days, we watch the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. The Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction is held once a year in Scottsdale, Arizona. Actually, there are other auctions in Palm Beach, Las Vegas and Orange County. Fortunately, John views these other auctions as junior varsity events and doesn’t watch them. The big painful one is held in Scottsdale. I hate the watching the auction. Unlike my husband, I am not a muscle-car aficionado. I had my formative years in the eighties not the seventies. I also think the lust for cars comes with the Y chromosome. Regardless of my outcries for compassion, we faithfully watch the auction every year. I persevere through the two day event by diverting my attention and watching the hair on my legs grow. I do not understand the fascination with cars much less the prices paid for these old relics. John would like an old Corvette, purchase price around two hundred thousand dollars, so we can drive it in the Croakerfest Parade! There must be an old high school wrestling injury to John’s head. Amazingly, all the other men I know think this purchase a worthwhile idea!


However, this television car auction from hell has taught me one valuable lesson. I’ve learned that more provenance equals more value. Provenance comes from the French word provenir. Provenir refers to the chronology of ownership. Documented evidence of provenance for a car can help establish it is not a reproduction, been altered or stolen. For a car, establishing provenance is essentially a matter of documentation. People also have provenance. Birth certificates and certificates of baptism provide provenance for individuals. But, personal provenance is more than birth documentation. Personal provenance includes a sense of family lineage. I have clients who are adrift in life. Part of their challenge is their lack of family history. The lost have no ties to the past and are therefore adrift in the present. Look to your family past to understand who you are. My family history lies in the Nebraska corn fields. Hence, my work ethic and values are no surprise. John’s history comes from the anthracite coal mines in Pennsylvania. Mental and physical toughness are a part of his family culture. So, my message this week is to encourage development of your own provenance. If you don’t know, find out from where, and who, you came. In order to understand who and where you are, you must understand your multi-generational family history. Knowing thyself should begin with a lesson in your family history. Like a car at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, the more provenance you carry in your psyche, the more valuable you will become to yourself and others. For more insights I invite you to follow my blogs at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ingredients

By Julie Rahm
"The secret is there is no secret ingredient!"
Po the Kung Fu Panda, who blinds people
with his sheer awesomeness

Despite the rumors, I am an outstanding cook. My mother made that certain. I did all the household cooking before my husband, John retired from Marine Corps. Now, John spends a good deal of time at home and contributes to the cooking. His contributions have not been easy. The Marine Corps did not prepare John for battle in the kitchen. But, he is a quick learner and his cooking skills have improved dramatically. However, there are so many kitchen lessons we take for granted. For instance, olives are not vegetables. Olives are fruit. Hence, olive oil is not necessarily a good substitute for vegetable oil. Along the same lines, baking soda is not a suitable substitute for baking powder! Chili pepper is not a good substitute for black pepper. Even worse was John’s Picante Sauce for Spaghetti Sauce swap. Granted, the logic holds. Both are red, made with tomatoes and come in jars. But, the Mexican Spaghetti had too much culinary clash for me. It was the spiciest spaghetti I ever tasted!

I empathize. It is difficult to know what you do not know. The Marine Corps trained John to improvise, adapt and overcome. While useful in armed conflict, this strategy should not be a standing order in the kitchen. Also, John doesn’t like to ask questions. He was a single seat fighter pilot and, as the only one in the jet, was trained to face challenges on his own. At the risk of sounding sexist, men generally won’t ask for directions while driving the car or cooking in the kitchen. However, I’m convinced anyone can cook. Recipes are easy to follow. Problems arise when the required ingredients are not in the kitchen pantry. Substitution is fraught with culinary risk. Often, I hear John complain about our lack of proper ingredients for a particular recipe. I am thankful we are not our kitchen pantry. You see, even though our kitchen pantry might lack certain culinary ingredients, we have all the requisite personal ingredients to live a happy and fulfilling life. Unlike your kitchen cabinet, you have all the ingredients to complete your life’s recipe. There is nothing missing from you. You are as intended and as required.

I often hear people lament, “If only I was smarter, I’d be richer.” Or, “If only I went to college, I’d be happier.” Or, “If only I was taller, I’d be better.” Rubbish. You are the complete package right now. You do not need the extra ingredients to live the life you want. All the ingredients for your success reside within you. Step into the kitchen of life and start cooking! Don’t worry about what you think should be in your personal pantry. Fortune favors the brave. Call up your instinctive courage. If you dream it, you can do it! All the ingredients are there in you.

For help using your personal ingredients and cooking up the life you desire, visit my website at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com or email me at Julie@AmericasMindsetMechanic.com.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dredging

By Julie Rahm


It is the “dead of winter” in Pamlico County. The fish have left the creeks to winter in warmer waters. In their absence, the authorities issue dredging permits. Dredges fascinate me. These floating machines pump millions of gallons of spoil from our creeks, rivers and inlets. The dredges that work the inlets are massive. They have huge spinning augers that grind the bottom. The auger is moved back and forth across the bottom until the prescribed depth is obtained. Located directly behind the auger is the pump inlet that sucks in the lose bottom. The dredge then pumps this spoil to a nearby spoil site. These multi-chambered spoil sites are carefully engineered to capture the muck and let the clean water drain back into creek, river or inlet. I have witnessed some very nasty water get pumped into a spoil site and run tap water clean back into the creek! The dredges that work these creeks and marinas are not the huge monsters that roam the inlets. They are smaller versions. But, they still perform some remarkable feats. Spoil can get pumped over a mile to its final resting place. Some dredges look like floating junk yards while others shine like a new car. Dredgers charge for the number of cubic yards they remove. All well-managed marinas have dredging funds in order to maintain their depths. Dredging must be anticipated because it is super expensive.

Interestingly, I have friends who participate in a different form of dredging business. These friends continually dredge up the past. They dredge up their own past to the detriment of others. And, they dredge up the past of others in an attempt to gain a better position in their relationships. Most often, people’s pasts should lie on the bottom. There is very little to be gained by dredging up the dirt. Rarely are relationships made better by reliving the past. The relationship I have with my husband, John will not be improved by rehashing his relationship with his first wife. And, vice versa, I’m sure John doesn’t want to hear the sordid details about my first marriage. We should learn from our previous experiences and even share the lessons learned. Incidentally, that’s what I’m doing here! But, the hurtful details should be kept firmly on the bottom. Don’t be a dredger.

Those who persist in dredging through their relationships don’t realize they are burying their relationship in the dirt they are pumping. Once the relationship spoil site is full, the relationship will end. Dredging channels is expensive. Likewise, the injury caused by dredging up the past can also be expensive. Damaged relationships are expensive and difficult to repair. And, relationships can be even more expensive, both financially and personally, if they end.

So, the past is gone. Commit to the moment and look to the future. Don’t dredge harmful channels through relationships. Relationships are difficult enough without introducing a hurtful past.

Visit my website and get a mindset tune-up at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. Check out my latest book at http://www.militarykidsspeak.com/.
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