School Daze – Milhizer 2015

This year’s annual Christmas reckoning comes to you yearbook style. It was a year where Gus entered boldly into teenhood and Nate demonstrated some latent talents. My year of teaching high school English flew by, and Eric job-hopped to a great new position he’ll start right after the first of the year.

Looking back there were many accomplishments: I survived my first year of teaching and went back for a second. It’s pretty cool to spend my days talking about poetry and have someone say, “I never liked to read before” or “I love poetry!” I was honored to have been a small part of 150 kids’ lives. This year I’ve added an AP class, and I’m enjoying the challenge. I’m not sure they are, but they can address that in their own holiday letter.

Eric started a new job last August, and it served as a great learning experience leading to his new job as head of marketing for a web hosting company. He’s thrilled to be in a new industry and in a turnaround situation that is poised to do very well with a little marketing help. Eric is teaching himself Swift programming for an educational app he is developing. At the rate he’s going, it’s sure to be a hot holiday must-have come Christmas 2019.

Gus (8th grade) played his first public piano concert and wedding, spent another summer at Interlochen Arts Camp, and blew away the ACT as a 7th grader. He is still in the hip hop company and will test for his 2nd degree black belt after the holidays. He continues to be a respectful, happy-go-lucky kid, and we’re just waiting for the surly teenager to emerge.

Nate (3rd grade) started out the year with a broken big toe. Monopoly accident. Long story. Last spring, he decided to try baseball, and 2 seasons in is the lead pitcher and has several hits and runs to his credit. In his last game of the season, he pitched a no hitter. He traded in the piano for the guitar, and his only complaint is that playing the guitar makes him too popular and thus gives him “some issues with the ladies.”

As always, a major feature of our year was travel. We spent spring break in Costa Rica and took a summer trip to the northeast, hitting Boston, Maine, and Montreal. While Gus was at Interlochen, Nate and I spent a month in Northern Michigan, where we enjoyed all things cherry-enhanced.

The upcoming year promises to be as eventful. Spring break will take us to Colombia. It will be our first time back since adopting Nate. We’ll be in Northern Michigan again for a month this summer, and who knows where else in June. This year will bring Nate braces and Gus to high school. It will provide both Eric and myself career challenges and rewards (hopefully Eric’s will be more economically advantageous than mine, but mine make for awfully entertaining stories).

We wish you a happy, healthy 2016. Roll film…

-The Milhizers

Milhizers in Europe 2013

Follow us on our journey to 3 of my all-time favorite cities. I had the great experience of living and studying in Munich my junior year of college. I have not been back to these cities in 20 years. So, it seemed like the perfect opportunity when the boys complained they were not invited to our trip to Turkey 2 years ago. It was dubbed the Mozart/Castle/Beer Tour. Something for everyone! Here’s how the trip rated for each of its intrepid travelers:

Barbara: Still amazing cities. Even better on a post-college travel budget. Can still rock the German and the chocolate croissant.

Eric: Beer. Pretzels. Milka Bars. He’s in.

Gus: Museums, concerts, subways! Already knows 30 useful phrases in Czech and is deciding where to be an exchange student first.

Nate: Walked those little legs everywhere with little complaint.  Thumbs up.

Snootpourri: Part 1

I’ve got several bones to pick but no uniting theme other than, it’s what I’m thinking about this week and what some of you requested.

First, I need to address an old request to innumerate the most annoying consulting terms. I have to admit I have been avoiding this one. It seems a little like eating my young given this is how I make my living. If I divulge my secret that what we say is rarely meaningful or comprehensible, that might impact me negatively. And revenues from snootycall, delightful though it is, won’t pay the bills.

As a sacrifice to entertainment, friends, here goes…

1. Sniff test

If I don’t know what it is, I’m sure not sticking my nose in it to find out.

2. Paradigm shift 

Holy hyperbole! Font changes are not paradigm shifts. The Zombie Apocalypse is a paradigm shift. Wait for it.

3. Copacetic

Unless you find yourself on a spiritual journey and weaving hemp sandals, just don’t.

4. Metrics, bi-yatch!

Ok, I’ve never said that, but I’ve often thought it.

5. Strawman

I don’t even know what that means, but sometimes I’ll use it clearly out of context just to see if anyone else does.

6. (Insert Any Adjective) Leadership

There is always a new book touting a super-secret, previously undiscovered, completely revolutionary (!) way to be a jackass and get people to do your bidding. A better approach would be Don’t-be-a-Jackass Leadership. It’s not new, super-secret, or revolutionary, but it is rare and inconvenient, I know.

7. Verbifying nouns, e.g., “bonused” as in The managers were bonused on their performance. Sounds unpleasant.

8. Nounification of verbs like leverage and Impact, as in A sure way to impact your billable hours is to leverage vocabulary to baffle your client.

9. File under over-used: Core Values. I’ve never seen a company without 4 out of the 5 same values in various forms. Just once I’d like to see Fancy Pants on the list.

Ok, fellow PeopleResults, Accenture, and consultant snoots, I know you have my back on this one. Bring us home with your favorite nuggets.