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Report nutshell: Denver is a distant second.

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Denver vs. Seattle: A Super Bowl City Showdown

It’s decided. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are headed to the Super Bowl. And as the only two states to have legalized marijuana, the “super bong bowl” jokes are already starting. But that’s not the only thing these two cities have in common. To get an understanding of what it’s like to live in each city, Redfin crunched the numbers to see how alike in dignity (and real estate) these two foes really are. We also looked at homes for sale in each city that the quarterbacks, rookies, and super fans could afford.

imagesMortgage Calculator: Fixed vs. Adjustable Rate

What’s the best rate for you?

It can be difficult to decide between a fixed-rate mortgage and one with an adjustable rate. Factors such as loan duration, the index used by the lender, the number and timing of rate adjustments, and your assumption about the increase or decrease of future interest rates all have an impact. Use this calculator to help compare the total cost of each alternative.

Link to the handy-dandy calculator…

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Hey there!

Really?  Couldn’t have painted the fence!?

Admittedly, it was a safe pick for “Crazy House Friday”, though for today only we are calling it “Go Seahawks! Beat the Saints House Friday”. There is a certain ring to it…

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“I’m Russell Investments for 12th Man, and we’ll leave the light on for you.”

 

Evidently, there is a football game this Saturday. Since tomorrow is Blue Friday in support of that game, we want to do our part by offering you a handy “12th Man” check list…

Blue & Green Face Paint
Blue & Green Hair Color (for you and your pets)
Blue & Green Wrist, Forearm, Arm, Shoulder, Neck (for you and your pets)
Rehearse the the phrases “Go!” and Seahawk “Caw”
Holstered Blue & Green Food Coloring Dispensers for All Drinks and Meals
Blue & Green Hawk Wings Hung on Side Car Windows
Cancel Any Previously Made Plans

Guess who’s hoping for a power company gift card…

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Gold Creek Sno-ParkNeed a new snow sport for your ultimate winter adventure? Snowshoeing is as easy to learn as strapping on your ‘shoes – snowshoes, that is! Snowshoes spread your body weight over a wider surface, making it so you can walk on snow with sinking. Have cabin fever? Hiking doesn’t have to wait until the snow melts. Put on some ‘shoes and see Washington in a whole new, and snowy, perspective.  Read the whole story…

It’s also a cure for the holiday cynicism, seasonal stress disorder, rainy day road rage and other known afflictions…

The old adage states that it’s better to give than receive. That being the case, we thought we’d offer up a ways you can give the gift of your time by volunteering this holiday season.

Sing your heart out Bring some holiday cheer to adults with developmental disabilities or chronic illness by caroling at one of Full Life Care’s adult day health care centers. A little Christmas entertainment is perfect for those who may be feeling isolated this holiday season. Various dates, 11am & 3pm.

Make Christmas meals for the homeless Compass Housing Alliance is looking for help preparing warm Christmas dishes for the homeless population it serves. There’s also an option to make a holiday meal basket for a family (personalization encouraged). Dec 25.

Help distribute foodbank donations North Helpline collects food all year long, but—with an influx of holiday donations—even more volunteer assistance is required during December. Help give out food to the needy families, sort donations, and use your muscle unloading all the donation trucks. Wed & Sat, 9:30am-1:30pm; Thur 4pm-7pm.

Prepare Santa’s treats Share some holiday fun by hositng a cookie decorating party at a homeless shelter. Just set up a time and bring all the supplies, and you’ve got a delicious way to give back. Various times.

Put in 12 hours of work at Interlaken Park The Friends of Interlaken-Boren Park received a huge donation of wood chips from Matt’s Tree Service, and they’re itching to put them to use. The organization seeks volunteers to help clear invasive plants, plant native trees, and spread huge piles of fresh mulch over the course of three December Saturdays (weather permitting). They’ll provide a hot beverages to keep the workers warm. If you happen to have thermal gardening gloves, that’s a plus. Dec 14, 21, and 28, 9am-1pm.

Be a holiday donation helper with the YWCA The YWCA’s Adopt-a-Family program needs volunteers to greet donors, then check-in and transport their presents and other holiday donations. Festive holiday gear is encouraged, so it’s the closest you’ll get to being one of Santa’s elves.  Thru Dec 20, various time slots.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Blame Yourself…

8 Quick Home Upgrades You’ll Wish You Installed Sooner.  It doesn’t take a lot of money or time to make a big difference. Consider these simple home improvements, which you won’t believe you ever lived without.

 

 

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Looking for a resource for events during the holidays in Seattle? Hmmm…this seems like a solid resource: http://HolidaysInSeattle.com .

 It’s in the Balance…

 

The following is an excerpt from Daniel Goleman’s new book, “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.”

Here’s a question: If everything worked out perfectly in your life, what would you be doing in ten years? That query invites us to dream a little, to consider what really matters to us and how that might guide our lives. Pursuing this simple exercise encourages openness to new possibilities.

“Talking about your positive goals and dreams activates brain centers that open you up to new possibilities. But if you change the conversation to what you should do to fix yourself, it closes you down,” says Richard Boyatzis, a psychologist at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve (and a friend and colleague since we met in graduate school).

His research has explored these contrasting effects in coaching.

Boyatzis and colleagues scanned the brains of college students being interviewed. For some, the interview focused on positives like that question about what they’d love to be doing in ten years, and what they hoped to gain from their college years. The brain scans revealed that during the positively focused interviews there was greater activity in the brain’s reward circuitry and areas for good feeling and happy memories. Think of this as a neural signature of the openness we feel when we are inspired by a vision.

For others the focus was more negative: how demanding they found their schedule and their assignments, difficulties making friends and fears about their performance. As the students wrestled with the more negative questions their brain activated areas generated anxiety, mental conflict, sadness.

A focus on our strengths, Boyatzis argues, urges us toward a desired future, and stimulates openness to new ideas, people, and plans. In contrast, spotlighting our weaknesses elicits a defensive sense of obligation and guilt, closing us down to.

The positive lens keeps the joy in practice and learning – the reason even the most seasoned athletes and performers still enjoy rehearsing their moves. “You need the negative focus to survive, but a positive one to thrive,” says Boyatzis. “You need both, but in the right ratio.”

Boyatzis makes the case that this positivity bias applies as well to coaching – whether by a teacher, parent, boss, or an executive coach. A conversation that starts with a person’s dreams and hopes can lead to a learning “path” – a joyful series of activities leading to that vision. This conversation might extract some concrete goals from the general vision, then look at what it would take to accomplish those goals – and what capacities we might want to work on improving to get there.

That contrasts with a more common approach that focuses on a person’s weaknesses – whether bad grades or missing quarterly targets – and what to do to remedy them. The conversation focuses us on what’s wrong with us – our failings and what we have to do to “fix” ourselves – and all the feelings of guilt, fear and the like that go along. One of the worst versions of this approach: when parents punish a child for bad grades until he improves – the anxiety of being punished actually hampers the child’s prefrontal cortex while trying to concentrate and learn, creating further impediment to improvement.

In the courses he teaches at Case for MBA students and mid-career executives, Boyatzis has been applying dreams-first coaching for many years. To be sure, dreams alone are not enough: you have to practice the new behavior at every naturally occurring opportunity. In a given day that might mean anything from zero to a dozen chances to give the routine you’re trying to master a trial. Those moments add up.

One manager, an executive MBA student, wanted to build better relationships. “He had an engineering background,” Boyatzis told me. “Give him a task and all he saw was the task, not the people he worked with to get it done.”
So his learning plan became “spend time thinking about how the other person feels.” To get regular, low-risk opportunities for this practice outside his work and the habits he had there, he helped coach his son’s soccer team and tried to focus on the player’s feelings while he coached.

To get data on how well this works, Boyatzis does systematic ratings of those going through the course. Co-workers or others who know them well anonymously rate the students on dozen of specific behaviors that display one or another of the intelligence competencies typical of high-performers (for example: “Understands others by listening attentively.”). Then he tracks the students down years later, and has them rated again by those who now work with them.

“By now we’ve done 26 separate longitudinal studies, tracking people down wherever they work now,” Boyatzis tells me. “We’ve found that the improvements students make in their first round hold up as long as seven years later.”

From “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.” Copyright 2013 Daniel Goleman. Reprinted with permission from HarperCollns Publishers.