Normal is Boring

Our lives contain more possibilities than I we are prepared for – both in terms of the the circumstances we are faced with and the opportunities for how we react. There is the “normal” way to take on life. But no one is actually normal – we are all weird, in our own way. In particular, if you consider how many things can go wrong for us in our lives (health, relationships, work) it is easy to see that we’ll all have to deal with our own challenges.

The goal of this site is to document how our family has chosen to face the challenges we’re faced with. My hypothesis is, if most people are doing things one way, it’s probably worth considering how things could be done differently.


Systems are more important than goals

I think I can boil down the goal of this blog to this quote:

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.

It’s attributed to a Greek philosopher named Archilochus. But it’s been interpreted in different ways. Recently, I heard it stated:

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

I’ve come to believe that developing a system that allows me to inch forward is more important than setting a lofty goal of where I see myself in 5 years. Staring at the scoreboard isn’t going to change it.

This site is focuses on what I’ve learned about developing and maintaining systems that can help us be healthier and happier.

Deadlines + Social Pressure

The only way to make meaningful difference in the world is to have a hard deadline to work toward. But a deadline on it’s own isn’t enough – you also need to feel bad about letting someone down if you miss the deadline.

Maybe with enough practice, we can get good enough to set our own deadlines internally and not have to bring other people into it. But most of us, myself included, aren’t there yet.

Higher highs and lower lows

You can have a safer more predictable existence or you can opt for more responsibility and risk. You don’t always get to choose. But, with the risk and come higher highs and lower lows.

This idea came from the Simon Sinek talk below. It really resonated with me because it describes my experience raising a child with special needs. We have had very low lows. But also higher highs when things go well.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

The Maker Movement

There is a lot of buzz around the maker movement these days. In particular, there are a growing number of programs for kids that focus on this movement. Being a maker is great, and I insist on having our toolbox in our main living space with lots of scrap wood around to make sure we can quickly fix/build things as needed.

But, that’s not what the maker movement is about. Rather it seems to be about using laser cutters and 3D printers. Yes, these are fun tools to play with and have their place. But most of the time, you just need a glue gun or a some wooden planks and screws to solve real problems.

Bed sores

Bed sores are a surprisingly common issue. It’s difficult to nail down how big an issue they are because they tend to be systematically under-reported. We suspect that somewhere between 15 and 25% of older adults in long term care homes have one. In particular, individuals who spend a lot of time in bed are at risk of developing pressure injuries when their skin and the underlying tissues stay compressed between a bony prominence and the mattress preventing blood flow. This lack of blood flow eventually leads to tissue damage that becomes a bed sore.

These injuries not only result in pain and suffering for patients but also complicate treatment, extend hospital stays, increase the risk of infection, and increase stress for caregivers.

Repositioning individuals regularly (every two hours) allows for tissues to return to their natural shape allowing blood to deliver oxygen to the area. This can be hard for caregivers to keep up – particularly through the night.

Daily back exercise

Back injuries are a surprisingly common problem. The key to preventing back pain and injury is to:

  • Strengthen the muscles that form a guy wire system around the spine (the core)
  • Reduce the amount of bending and twisting in the spine

Stuart McGill provides a series of exercises that can help:

  • Side plank
  • Bird dog
  • Modified crunch

He demonstrates the exercises here. This video also describes why many of the exercises that we are often told to do are actually not good for the spine and actually put our discs at risk. Our discs are made up of layers of collagen and hold in a jelly-like substance in the centre called the nucleus pulposus.

If we bend the spine back and forth this can result in the layers of collagen separating. We can then get a bulging or herniated disc when the nucleus pulposus starts to push its way through the layers of collagen. Back pain is often the result of this material pushing on a nerve root.