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365 Challenge: Day 14 – German

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German: containing roots from Germany

It’s the 7th day of this week’s challenges, which means it’s time to choose a physical characteristic; and in keeping with the theme of discussing my nativity, ethnicity and heritage, you should know that I’m about 33% German, although my Ancestry DNA test seems to think I’m more around 10%. I think it’s just lying to me. Science can’t always be right, can it?

Based on the last names and documents I’ve located going back to about 1800 on most branches of my family tree, close to 50% of people seem to have emigrated from Germany or a pre-Germany state that was part of the German empire. I think of a few of them were probably from Eastern Europe or Scandinavia, so I sort of merge those with the 10% I saw from Ancestry DNA. That said, something is still not adding up based on known facts, DNA and available documentation. Therefore, I’ve settled on about 33%. Someone is lying about their home country, or someone may have had an affair and passed the child off as her German husband’s kid… I’m not sure, but I love a good scandal!

And I have one in my German side. A great-grandfather’s last name was as German as they come: Mück, possible Müeck originally. But when he emigrated to the US in the 1870s, it was translated on some documents as Miick. He married and had 3 daughters, but later suspected his wife was actually moonlighting as a prostitute. He claimed the younger 2 girls weren’t his and divorced the first wife. He managed famous boxers in NYC around this time, and suddenly one day, he disappears and changes his last name to Reynolds. He then marries another woman, an Irish one this time, and has 6 more children. But he’s no longer involved in boxing and has become a big-time beer brewer. I wish I knew the real story behind all of this, but there’s some scandal doing on there. Unfortunately, there are strong physical traces between him and subsequent male members of that branch, including me, so I know the German roots are real on that side!

As a fun sidebar, just like last time with the 4 Irish stereotypical traits, I found 9 German ones from a new site called “FluentU.” Let’s see how I compare:

  1. Direct
    1. Yes, for the most part. I often say what’s on my mind, but I always use a filter.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  2. Love rules, organization and structure
    1. I invented rules and now I can’t live without them. I’m crazy when it comes these things.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  3. Punctual
    1. Yes, and punctual to me actually means a few minutes early.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  4. Love soccer (football)
    1. Not a sports guy.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  5. Well-insured
    1. This one was odd… so I am going to say probably not, I tend to only buy what I need.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  6. Distant
    1. Unfortunately, yes… most people would say I can be a little cold and distant about things. I know how to remove my emotions when I need to.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  7. Love beer
    1. Eh… if it said wine, I’d agree. But I only drink beer from time to time and not very excited about it.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  8. Always making bread
    1. I love bread. I eat it all the time. But I rarely make it. Let’s split it evenly.
    2. Score: .5 out of 1
  9. Love sausage
    1. Not so much. I’m more a red-meat guy. Skirt Steak, Filet Mignon, Tartare, Beef Wellington…
    2. Score: 0 out of 1

And keeping with the statistics game from last time, my score would be: 4.5 out of 9, which is 50%. See… all the records I’ve found are correct. Take that, Science and DNA!

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365 Challenge: Day 10 – Pragmatic

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Pragmatic: dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations

To set the record straight, I consider myself pragmatic. But I’m an evolved pragmatician – yes, I think I coined a new word, just deal with it – who seeks not only to find the most practical way to get from point A to point B, but to avoid World War III along that path, as well.

People who handle things in a pragmatic manner are often accused of being inconsiderate of the softer side of an approach… now there’s a line for those volatile Irish worth fighting over (see post from Day 7 so you know I’m being funny here…)! But it’s true. There’s a fine balance to being practical and pragmatic versus incorporating a good, old-fashioned bit of thoughtful insight to ensure your actions don’t overlook the potential for a negative reaction from those affected by your direct manner. And a lot of disagreements or misunderstandings happen as a result of people thinking it’s easier and quicker to do one thing, rather than take the time to prevent any possible impacts on someone’s emotions.

Spouse A is on a business trip, has a long day at work and needs to get a bunch of overtime completed before they can end their day and let their mind relax. Spouse B is used to spending time with Spouse A during most evenings. Spouse A wants to work until they are completed and more free to catch up. Spouse B wants to spend some time on FaceTime or the phone when they get home from work, rather than wait until Spouse A is finished much later in the evening, because Spouse B is planning to go out to the movies and won’t be able to pick up the phone to chat later on. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Do you get the work done and then add in some fun? Or do you balance it along the way knowing the stop/start may result in you losing your momentum and having to work even longer than you planned?

Yeah, I know… your head is exploding, probably thinking: (a) he’s blowing this out of proportion, (b) not all spouses like to spend every evening together and would welcome the break, (c) do both at the same time… but think about it…

When I say I’m pragmatic, it’s because I take each situation, figure out the parameters, what I know and don’t know, then make an educated guess as to my decision on the best course of action. This is usually the most appropriate way of handling the situation, but in some % of those instances (no, I have no clue what it is), the information you don’t know might be the information that will change your path to enable you to make the more pragmatic choice. If you don’t know the other spouse isn’t available later, then your choice isn’t the best one.

Is pragmatic as “cut-and-dried” as the right way and the wrong way, or is it more a meandering path itself that changes based on the inputs you receive along the way? If you only have part of the information, you don’t have enough input to make a decision; so there’s inherent risk. Do you stop everything and wait until you have all the right information? No – that would not be pragmatic. It would hold progress back for what may or may not be influential data.

So what do you do?

I don’t know… what makes you think I do? JUST KIDDING.

Pragmatic is good for some things, but not for others. Choose when to be pragmatic. Be pragmatic about things and objects. Perhaps not about people. People require communication, inputs/outputs and time to think and react. Actions that minimally affect people are the core area to apply your practical nature.

Build a project plan. Write out the known facts. Prepare a quick overview of the risks. Have a back-up plan. Do those things when you are weighing options and making decisions.

But don’t be pragmatic about relationships. Apply multiple techniques to solving those questions and challenges. For example, it would be practical to move in together with the person you are dating to save money (of course, after you’ve known one another for a long enough period to ensure you think you’re compatible and will handle it). But what if your social/moral/religious values tell you it’s not acceptable to live with someone until marriage? What if you live hours from one another and this would impact your careers? Those decisions require input from tons of angles.

For me, being pragmatic is about some level of appropriate due diligence and analysis, making an informed decision and understanding the impacts and probable outcomes. Paint the room yellow or beige if you don’t know whether you’re having a boy or a girl. Ha! That’s a bad example because I’d be assuming blue is for a boy and pink is for a girl. How about you pick 5 colors that specialists all agree are good for a baby’s room, and then you put all 5 in a hat and whichever one you select, you choose as the paint color… No hurt feelings. It’s all colors that both parents (or just you if it’s only you) originally thought would work. And then you aren’t consciously applying a color based on gender or “normal” expectations. 😊

In my own case, RIGHT NOW, it would be pragmatic for me to go to bed because I am tired this evening and this post is meandering more than it should. But it would also be pragmatic for me to finish it because I am heading out on a 4-day vacation on Wednesday and need to write a few extra posts to cover the next several days so that I stay on track with the 365 Day Challenge. I intend to have flexible time while I’m out of town without a formal schedule, but this challenge is still important to me.

End result: Write the 4 additional daily drafts tonight. Review and edit them in the morning with fresh eyes. Then set them up to release each day while I’m away.

See… I know what I’m doing! ZZZzzzzzz…

Morning Follow Up:  I only wrote 2 of 4 last night. Went to sleep. Woke up. Edited a bit. Ready to post! Finish the rest today before I leave for the airport.