Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

The only blog that you really want to read…or ignore.

Tag Archives: dreams

Kauai, Maui, Sunny March Weather in Seattle! Oh My!

IMG_5778Yesterday, we had some beautiful sunny March weather here in Seattle. I was actually out on my back deck enjoying the sunshine and working on my suntan. It must have been about 65-70 degrees out. Even after we “sprung” ahead into Daylight Savings Time, I got some stuff around the house accomplished. So spending a few minutes on the back deck with my wife and daughter was a treat that was well deserved.

We usually, have pretty gray weather around here in March but not lately. Last week, we went hiking in the sun.   I have been able to preserve my Hawaii tan for a lot longer than I thought I would. Yes, dear readers, I was gone for two weeks to Hawaii in February. I spent a week on Kauai with my daughter visiting my parents and then we flew to Maui and join my wife and my son for another week. Life is rough.

My last trip to Hawaii was two years ago and that was to Kauai. I haven’t been to Maui in 15 years. To be honest, both are wonderful places but I prefer Kauai. I admit I lean towards Kauai (since I went to school there and lived on Kauai as a teenager). My wife likes Maui because she use to live there. As I always say, Hawaii is a great place to visit but not as fun to live there.

Koi Fish Pond

Koi Fish Pond

What? How can I say that? How can I say Hawaii isn’t an awesome place to live? When you take a vacation, everything is awesome. I’m relaxed, I don’t worry about money, and I’m living in a nice condo resort with hot tubs, swimming pools, and sunny beaches. I picture myself relaxing and drinking every day of my life if I lived in Hawaii. Heck, every time I’m on vacation I think how wonderful it would be to live in Washington, NYC, Eastern Washington, etc. Where ever I am at, I can picture me enjoying living there. My family and I would be hanging out at the pool every day. In reality, you have to work or you would be retired. Ah, retirement. But you would be doing the same thing as you would be doing now. Just in a warmer, humid climate.

Now, I’m not turning down the opportunity to move to Kauai or Hawaii in general if someone offered me a job there. Both my wife and I know what it is like to live there.   But rest assured dear readers, I’m still a few years away from retirement, I haven’t won the lottery, and my online business hasn’t taken off where I can retire from school photography just yet.

Do you have a place you wish you could move to? What is holding you back from moving or even taking a vacation?Kaua'i -  The Garden Isle

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The Holidays are here…Are You Ready?

I have to admit, I don’t feel stressed out about the holiday season…yet. We have all the parties scheduled on the family calendar and my wife has figured out the gifts for the kids. I was even proactive and purchased my wife’s Christmas gift for her this past week (a week ahead of schedule). I have pretty much given up on guessing what she wanted about ten years ago. I ask her to create a list for me so I can avoid feeling like an idiot on Christmas morning. Honey, you don’t like the gun rack I got for you? Camo ain’t your favorite color for a nightgown?

Some wives would say “You should know me by now and know exactly what I want”. Really? Isn’t that a recipe for disaster? Would you trust your husband?  This is the same guy who burns water and can’t cook a hot dog correctly.  I know who I am: I’m a moron when it comes to gifts and presents. My wife is way too smart to leave her present up to chance. She knows I am clueless when it comes to gifts. Sure, you can buy your wife a new car, a diamond necklace, or maybe even plan a trip to Kauai and you would be safe. But can a husband really think what his wife wants? No, he can’t. Those gifts are fool proof. Who wouldn’t want those things?

Yes, I’m safe and sane when it comes to the gift department. Why try to disappoint my wife? She doesn’t deserve to be disappointed (seriously, being married to me is already a disappointment). Let her enjoy Christmas morning with a gift she really wants. The wish list makes life so much easier and safer. Of course, I must admit those fuzzy Hello Kitty bathroom slippers would look pretty good on her feet….

Enjoy your day!

Kevin Hellriegel

Merry Christmas!

Curriculum Night: How my Child will learn to Become a Mid-Level Management Suck Up

This evening I went to my daughter‘s “curriculum” night at her school. This just happens to be my last one for elementary school. Have you forgotten about curriculum night? Or maybe you are a bad parent and have never attended one before? Basically, the teacher tells you what your child will be learning over the course of the year. In the great State of Washington, goals have changed and the names of the goals have changed. We’ve had WASL goals, we’ve had Iowa tests, we’ve had critical thinking goals, MAPSAT, BS Goals, etc. The acronyms keep rolling out and the goals keep changing but it all comes down to this: we want our kids grow up with a decent brain inside their heads.

I’m all for progress and helping my child become a world thinker who is compassionate and uses critical thinking in their ever changing world of shifting paradigms while at the same time becoming a global citizen that needs to manage her own future. How about that? Is that a “mission statement” or what?

One of the new math concepts is for our students to work on the computer solving problems. Really? The teacher had a sample problem involving pizza and two kids. One kid was named Lucas. All I was thinking while she was showing us the math word problem was that Lucas was a fat pig who shouldn’t be eating 3/8 of the cheese pizza, 4/8 of the pepperoni, and ¼ of another one. That Lucas kid is going to be one fat ass kid with weight and self-esteem issues if he keeps pigging out. Poor Lucas.  Did Lucas think he found the best Seattle pizza?

Welcome back to School!

Welcome back to School!

My other concern was that it was fairly stupid to being solving this math problem on a computer. A good old pencil and paper would be a lot quicker and easier to use. How are they going to do the math on the fly if the computer isn’t there? Hmm? Are the children of today (and tomorrow) going to be able to do math without the use of a pull down menu? Could they mix art and math together and sketch out the problem on paper with a pencil and still figure it out?

Really, all I saw was that our schools were teaching our kids to rely on a computer to create a whole bunch of extra work to solve a simple math word problem. They can make pie graphs, charts, etc. That’s great but it is a simple problem. They don’t need to make a ten page report on it that is a waste of everyone’s time. Are we creating a society of mid-level managers that make reports for the heck of it and to justify their jobs?

“I have that twenty page report on why we shouldn’t eating Twinkles!” Conclusion: Uh, because they are bad for us? Or maybe we should eat them because it helps the fitness industry keep fitness instructors employed?

Over the years, I’ve learned that you need to watch less TV, get off the worthless texting and Instagram, Facebook, social media sites, and read more nonfiction (that was a big one tonight) and classic novels. I would also add you need to get out and experience life. Take the kids to museums, road trips, ferry boat rides, hikes, walks, boat rides, and feel the wind in your face.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the internet as much as you do. All the information at your fingertips, merely a click away…it’s wonderful.

Yet, I’m just as guilty as other parents and their children in letting social media run our lives. I have a hard time disconnecting from my iPhone. I have slowed down my use of social media. I have tried to make a deliberate effort not to check my phone when I’m doing activities with the family. I try to ignore that email buzz on my phone. It is hard. Sometimes I’m good and other times I’m not.

What are your thoughts about using only computers for school work these days? Will it work?

 

Back to School and a Ruined Labor Day Weekend

Here in Washington State, our school kids don’t go back to school until the last week of August or the first week of September. In fact, my kids went back to school on August 28. In comparison, the Seattle School District started yesterday September 3, 2014. This makes a heck of a lot more sense than starting August 28, going to school for two days, and then having Labor Day weekend off. It puts a bitter taste on the last week of August and Labor Day. You can’t milk summer out for a bit longer. Instead, you must think of getting your kids back in time for starting school on Thursday before Labor Day weekend.

It isn’t like anything is done the first two days of school when you have Labor Day weekend right there. Everyone knows that Thursday and Friday (before the Labor Day weekend) are “throwaway” days of education. You might as well let the kids watch TV because they sure aren’t paying attention to the teachers during those two days of school.

Labor Day Weekend wasn’t ruined for me. I always have fun. This year instead of heading to Anderson Island for the three day weekend, we went camping at Sun Lakes State Park. It was a good choice because we left the rain behind. Sun Lakes is located on the eastern side of Washington, roughly three hours away from our house. While western Washington might be experiencing rain and misery, the eastern side of the state will have sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. Well, maybe not unicorns and rainbows but you get the idea. The weather is nice. We don’t have lots of rain and huddle under blue tarps. In eastern Washington, we don’t do the “blue tarp” camping made famous on the west side of the state. In eastern Washington, you slap on the sun block (SPF 45) and a big hat

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What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?

What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?

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It's all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

It’s all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

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On the negative side, it was windy in the evenings and the state park was full. Truth be told, it was very windy and miserable in that respect. The first night was bad. The tent was flapping around, keeping both myself and my wife wide awake. You would drift off to sleep, and then a gust of wind would pop up and wake you up. The second night, the wind was just as bad but I wore my ear plugs and I enjoyed the evening a bit more.

Sun Lakes State Park has a few different lakes within the park boundaries. On Sunday, we hiked along the Deep Lake Trail which was about 2 to 2.5 miles round trip. It goes right along the lake and is an easy hike. There is an opportunity to do some cliff diving or jumping off the cliff edge but we didn’t do it this trip. Perhaps next time we can jump off some basalt rock cliffs into the water below, have a scary monster grab us and drag us under.

I did manage to get some swimming in Sun Lake itself with my daughter and her friend. The weather was a bit cloudy, the wind was blowing, and the water was a little colder than I would have preferred. However, it was probably going to be the last swim of summer so I toughed it out. I’m not a little baby (well, I really am but I try to act tough).

My son and I also did a twilight walk where he was almost hit by a bat. Lots of bats on the Park Lake Trail, however I can’t complain about the bats because they keep the bug population down. Go bats!

Overall, the camping trip was a good one. No flat tires, no lost sleeping bags. The drive home wasn’t too bad. I’d go again but probably opt for a RV campsite further and with less wind.

 

Thanks for reading and your comments are always welcome!

Did I hurt your feelings about Killing your Dreams?

Yesterday, I offered my dream killing services to my devoted readers (which consists of my mother and my imaginary stalker Cyndi).  It was met with overwhelming support and I have been killing your dreams all day long.  It is hard work, dashing your dreams and hopes on the rocky shores of reality but I have gladly accepted this task to help you better yourself.

You can thank me later for slapping your face hard with the stick of reality.

Am I saying you should give up on your dreams?

Yes, if your dreams are unrealistic.  Oh, wait!  What is Kevin’s definition of unrealistic?  My definition of unrealistic is simple.  You won’t win the Powerball Lottery (Sorry, someone in Florida just won the $590 million), you won’t be the next Bill Gates, and you probably won’t be curing cancer.  Seriously, if you were on track to be the next Bill Gates would you be reading my worthless advice blog?  Uh, probably not.

I will say that if you want to be successful you need to discontinue reading my worthless advice blog.  Sure, you’ll enjoy my sarcastic wit and my blog will bring endless joy it to your miserable life but it is still a distraction.  It will merely derail you from setting your goals, making a plan, executing your plan, and accomplishing something.

But then again, the lure of my worthless advice is just so enticing, isn’t it?  I’m pretty enjoyable, aren’t I?

See you did it again….you lost focus.

Let’s circle back to reality.  No, matter how much I try, not all my advice is worthless advice.  Here I am giving you hope after I have smashed your dreams and fantasies.  The truth is that it is OK to have your dreams and fantasies.  But if you are serious about something, you need to take action.  Put your fear aside and write that novel.  Even if it sucks, at least you did it, you tried, you took a risk and went outside your comfort zone.

Good luck on those dreams of yours.  I’m still available if you need someone to destroy your dreams.

As always, your comments and insights are always welcome.  Leave a comment and tell me how much you hate my quest to kill your dream.

Kevin the Dream Killer

If you have a dream, a fantasy, a misguided belief in yourself (or others), then welcome to the demise of those dreams.  Allow me to kill those dreams, those dreams that you hold so precious in your heart; the ones you keep only to yourself because you know others will laugh at you.

We all have them….a dream of becoming a famous writer, an actor, a movie star.  To own a big yacht, a private tropical island, and eat whatever we want.

The truth is that most of us won’t live our dreams….boo hoo.  Isn’t that sad?  What about all those self help gurus talking about “if you can visualize it, you can do it!”?

They lied to you.  I’m not here to lie to you….I’m merely here to kill your dreams.  Is it really a dream or a self damaging fantasy you cling to as an excuse for your own shortcomings?

Let’s be realistic, shall we?  You are at your present stage in your life because of the choices you made.  You might not have wanted to be working in your career path but you are.  You thought you would have written a great novel by now but you haven’t.  You wish you were a multimillionaire but you aren’t.  Are these things you can change?

Sure, you could change them…but you won’t.  Instead you’ll complain how you don’t have enough time in the day to get your work done, you need to do this or that, you weren’t lucky in life, your family was poor, your parents didn’t love you, and your cat moved to the neighbor’s house.

You don’t need me to kill your dreams.  You have already done it yourself.  You have chosen to visualize your life exactly where it is at.  It is your destiny.  I don’t have to kill your dreams; you’ve done it already.  But to be fair, I’d love to kill them.  I’d love to throw them under the bus of life and watch the wheels crush them.  I’d love to see the horror of the people on the sidewalk see your dreams being crushed under those huge uncaring bus tires.

Where would you be when your dreams are dying?  You are one of the many passengers on the bus going along on a bus ride you don’t like.  You are sitting there calmly, looking at your IPod, listening to some song (that has nothing to do with your future) and wondering to yourself, why the bus has stopped?

The bus has stopped because you allowed Kevin to kill your dreams!  But did I really kill them?  Or did I merely point out to you that your dreams are dead underneath the bus’ tires?

Am I the cause of your failures?  The cause of the death of your dreams?  Can you honestly blame a blogger in another part of the world for killing your dreams?

So send over your dreams and I’ll kill them for you.  You can then blame your life on all the worthless advice I’ve given you over the past several years.  You know you’ll feel better when you come to terms with the death of your dreams.  And one day you’ll thank Kevin the Dream Killer and all his worthless advice.

Small Town Dreams

Small Town Fantasy

A few days ago, I wrote about my road trip dream. Another dream I have is living in a small town. I have this idea that living in a small town would somehow be really cool. A place where everyone knows your name and everyone is friendly. I’d have a nice little gentleman’s ranch (or farm) and a huge garage/shop to do my projects in. My nearest neighbors are a good half a mile away (because I like my privacy).

I’d have a nice landscaped yard with a farmhouse. Maybe some chickens in the chicken coop producing a few eggs for my farm. A nice vegetable garden and some fruit trees so I can make my own fruit preserves.

In reality, it would probably be fairly dull and boring because I’m lazy. I don’t like to mow my lawn (that’s why I have kids), I hate weeding, and I can’t grow any vegetables. I haven’t a clue how to can a peach or make jam (but that is what the internet is for, right?). And I really don’t want to have the responsibility of chickens. That seems like work to me. My farm would be boring because I wouldn’t be doing anything.

This isn’t to say that my life in the suburbs isn’t currently boring. I’d just swap the boring life of the suburbs for the boring life of the rural countryside. Sure, you have your choice of grocery stores to visit and activities to do here in the suburbs. But is it that much different than living in a small town? You watch the same TV shows, you surf the same internet, and your car is using the same fuel. You might have more restaurant choices but do you really go out that much anyway? Do you try new restaurants now? Most likely, you eat the same food and meals when you first moved to your current home. Let’s face it, going out to Applebee’s isn’t that exciting.

However, I wouldn’t mind moving to a small town and accepting my introvert nature. A small town is more appealing to an introvert person like me. Hence my strong desire to move to a small town.

In my next blog entry, we’ll learn about my urban living dream.

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