Some of these daily things I learn are not so much new lessons as things I observe that I would like to take forward.

Today didn’t feel productive at work. It didn’t start as well as I like, and never got back on the right foot. I need to develop some better ways to come back from those unsatisfying and un-energizing starts. When I encounter this kind of day my best response is to start identifying and ticking off small, doable bits of work, but today I wasn’t quite organized enough to pull even that off. So I need to work on that, to notice when I’m not focused and be deliberate about getting myself back at it. Tomorrow is another day to do it.

#tinychallenges

Today I learned that when the recipe says to press the gluten free pizza dough out very thin, it means it. This recipe tasted good but I made the pizza a little thick so it came out a bit doughy in the middle. I’ll try it again!

#tinychallenges

I’m playing a lot of Destiny lately, and today went adventuring on my first strike playlist. This is a shorthand for a set of hard missions the game sets up for a set of players. I have been reluctant to go on these missions because I’m sort of an asocial social gamer, but really enjoyed the games we played thorough, me and two other strangers. Getting over my initial anxiety about the multiplayer matchmaking was good for me and produced some fun times.

Also, I picked up a great bit of loot on the run, and learned that the so-called 1000-yard state special weapon really is all that.

#tinychallenges

It’s never too late to take your spouse out on a date. We had a nice time tonight at one of our favorite places in town, where they always make a pretty good Manhattan, and in an hour or so we can catch up with one another while our boy plays with the neighbors. Babysitting co-op is a pretty good idea, gang.

#tinychallenges

Today I read this study about emotional and mental health impacts of food allergies. It suggests that food allergies can result in depression and anxiety from youth through at least young adulthood. It’s one more difficult potential outcome of my son’s allergies that I will worry about.

Bonus Friday TIL: watching my son un-self-consciously poke his tongue out while drawing at the kitchen counter after school, is so so great.

#tinychallenges

Today I got confirmation that a small part of a plan I put together at work … Is going to work. This nicely advances a broader project in a concrete way and I’m pleased with that. As usual it took a bunch of conversations to get to this point and will require many more; I’m happy that it feels like a good collaboration right now.

#tinychallenges

I’m a hard person to travel with, I think, because once we’re on our way somewhere, it’s all destination for me: how quickly can we get there? That aphorism about how it’s not the destination but the journey? Mostly bogus.

Today I was conscientious about not rushing, and on the last day of our vacation we had a leisurely breakfast, a nice walk and an easy drive. So maybe I learned just a bit about relaxing today.

But dang I wish I was on vacation still.

Also, I learned that I can freehand a pretty adequate Hawkman mask for a five-year old superhero.

#tinychallenges

Today I learned about a nice and functional clipboard manager for iOS: Copied. I used it several times today, including in writing up this quick post. Among its best features: it has a share sheet extension, so using it is nearly as easy in iOS as the native copy function. Good stuff.

#tinychallenges

Learned a lot today about VACATION OWNERSHIP (in its substance as well as the deeply aspirational tools used to sell sell sell it), which learning was the price of our deeply discounted resort stay this week. Ninety minutes of my day? Sure. I’m still not ready to buy.

#tinychallenges

Tonight I drove to the town where I went to grad school, saw two dear friends and a Josh Ritter concert.

We made it home at 1am — home in this case being Phoenix, where we are spending a few vacation days — and I thought for a few minutes about what I learned today — okay, officially, yesterday, because I could barely see straight anymore at that point. This is what I wrote down for myself:

Endlessly supportive wife; I am a particular kind of music listener; I can still get lost in a performance; I am utterly transported by some. Few things meet my anticipation and excitement but today did.

What’s the thing I learned there? I don’t know, exactly. But something about the right experiences and futures being out there and I should overcome my reluctance to set my sights on them. Sure, a couple of days of vacation going well is different than a multi-yearlong project meeting a vision of success; but don’t they all start with starting? So I’m going to keep on trying to do that.

#tinychallenges

I’m on the road for a short bit of vacation, and had a thoroughly nice day that started with a great workout in my home town and ended with a late stroll back to the hotel with my wife after dinner in cool weather (but not the wintry cold and snowy weather at home!). A day like today it’s hard to pause and reflect much, even though I had good conversations and listened to some podcasts I enjoy and appreciate. I suppose today’s TIL is that it’s hard to make this time, but it’s valuable… Even if the outcome is just a realization that I’m working at it and some days come with more challenge than others.

#tinychallenges

Today I read up on the state of Bitcoin via this article by Mike Hearn. My PhD work was on alternative physical local currencies, so I’ve always been interested in Bitcoin as another kind of effort to build a medium of exchange. The apparently now-unsolvable technical issues underpinning Bitcoin, combined with failure of its community to address them when it could, is a pretty strong lesson in the organization of collective action. Money is hard, gang.

#tinychallenges

Today I saw just how proud and lit up my son’s face is when he comes back from the floor at his preschooler gymnastics class.

#tinychallenges

It’s tough to write here about things I learn at work; I’m intentionally oblique about my work so as to keep a clear distinction. But I spend a lot of time there, so many of the things I’m finding in this month of daily learning challenges naturally come at the office.

Today’s TIL: I reached out to actively pursue some relationship building, and it felt successful. I need to do that more.

#tinychallenges

It feels like I’m learning and thinking a lot about goodbyes lately. I spent a good chunk of yesterday in my headphones listening to David Bowie, sort of absorbing a lot of sound as well as the tributes and memories that were filling my Twitter stream.

Thing is, I’m not a big David Bowie fan. I like him and much of his music quite a lot, but I don’t know it or feel like I know him the way I know my favorite artists. But listening and reading through the day was sort of profound. I don’t think I had appreciated his impact.

I continued to process this all today, and listened to an impromptu episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour discussing him and the remarkable way he controlled his artistry, literally to his final hours. It’s striking and I will be learning from it for a long time.

#tinychallenges

Today I started learning the ins and outs of a new application at The Job. I’m part of the team driving the implemenation of this thing, and this is my first time digging in to the configuration enough to start getting a really good mental picture of how all its pieces work together.

#tinychallenges

Today we disassembled all the components of our TV and media center, moved a new cabinet into place, and then put everything back together.

There are a lot of cables. Also, that reassembly will always take twice as long as I estimate it will take.

#tinychallenges

There’s a bagel shop in town, Biff’s, whose walls are covered with framed photos of dogs — pets who have passed on. We’ve gone there for years, and my routine on most Saturdays is to work out in the morning and go for breakfast afterwards.

In October, our dog Uinta tripped and broke her leg. She was sixteen and a half years old, and I’ve had her since she was a puppy. She was very frail, and we made a hard decision to let her go rather than put her through a surgery and painful and confusing recovery. Last week I brought a framed picture of her to the bagel shop and offered it to the woman at the counter, after I had my breakfast.

Today her picture is up on the wall, surrounded by hundreds of other beloved and fondly remembered pets. Holding tears, I asked one of the owners for a moment to talk, thanked her for making a special place for these animals whose short lives sometimes inexplicably and surprisingly become a part of hearts. Then I went and cried in the car for a few minutes.

So today I learned a small bit of just how hard it is to really say goodbye.

#tinychallenges

Today’s #TIL is that on snow days I can get a surprising amount of work done by getting up at 5am to power through some things before everybody else’s day really gets started. Of course it throws off my exercise schedule, but it’s not too bad. I’m also hugely fortunate that on weeks like this (third day in a row of school closures…) I can be flexible without fear of losing my job and pay. That’s another repeat lesson, really, and reminds me to taker some deep breaths when the district closes schools again, anticipating six more inches of snow, and we get just a dusting. Ack.

Gotta shovel the roof a little, too.

#tinychallenges

Today I learned just a bit of the tremendous imagination bubbling in my son’s head. It’s wonderful to watch him play, listen to the stories he tells himself, and watch him draw pictures of what he imagines.

#tinychallenges

On snow days I can get a surprising amount of work done by getting up at 5am to power through some things before everybody else’s day really gets started. Of course it throws off my exercise schedule, but it’s not too bad. I’m also hugely fortunate that on weeks like this (third day in a row of school closures due to snow…) I can be flexible without fear of losing my job and pay. That’s another repeat lesson, really, and reminds me to take some deep breaths when the district closes schools again, anticipating six more inches of snow, and we get just a dusting.

#tinychallenges

Today I learned just how much a wool hat will shrink when put through the dryer. Pro tip: it’s a lot.

#tinychallenges

Here’s something I learn periodically, then forget and occasionally re-learn: I have a lot of allies at work, but I need to remember to engage them. As a pretty introverted person who is also very much a processor who needs time to think through things before leaping into action, I don’t always look for the help that I sometimes need. But invariably, when I do reach out, I not only get the feedback that I’m looking for, but am invigorated by the interaction. That’s something to remember, perhaps so I don’t have to keep learning it.

#tinychallenges

Today I learned that a five year-old who got used to staying up a little later and sleeping in during his winter vacation is hard to rouse early on the first day back to school. But, when the time comes, he’s ready for bed that night!

#tinychallenges

The grin on my son’s face, watching Star Wars (IV) for his first time, that first time X-Wings take off, is pure magic.

#tinychallenges