Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Where to Begin...

I always seem to put the important things off and do the easy ones first because I feel like I need to put a lot of time into the important ones and make them say something very “profound”.  I do that with emails a lot.  Put off the ones from good friends but answer the not so important ones with ease.

Same goes with this blog.  I have grand plans for it but was waiting for things to be “perfect” before I started.  I’m starting to see that if I wait for that “perfectness” I’ll never start and this blog will forever be “coming soon”.

This path month I've had a lot of time to think about things and have thankfully had the time to start reading a book that I picked up at the library for $1.00 called First Things First by Stephen R. Covey.

I've taken a couple of his classes before at my previous job and have always liked what they had to say.  I've wanted to read this (and other) books but just haven’t had the time (at least that’s what I tell myself).  In Chapter 2 of this book he asked a very good question that really made me think.  It goes:
What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your personal life? 
What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your professional or work life? 
If you know these things would make such a significant difference, why are you not doing them right now?
 It's a simple question with simple answers and made me think, "why am I not doing this now?"  I have a few things that I know would improve my life in a number of ways.

1. Go to bed at a reasonable time.  For as long as I can remember, even as far back as fifth or sixth grade I've kept a pretty bad sleep schedule.  Staying up way too late, and waking up with the only thought in my head being that I can't wait to get the day over with so I can go back to sleep.

2. Do not eat right before bed.  Lately I've found that by working out I can eat a lot more than I normally could and not gain weight.  And since I'm a former fat person (lost 100 lbs at one point in my life) I love to eat and eat a lot.  Unfortunately I like to do this while I stay up late...this means not only do I go to bed late and wake up early, but on top of it I have a stomach ache which makes it that much harder to have that positive attitude needed to start the day off right.

3. Watching too much TV.  Try as I might, I can definitely get addicted to TV.  I know it's not good for me but it can give me a cheap laugh and take my mind off things at the end of a long day.  With articles like this and this, I should know that television is not my friend and that I'm letting it take my time away from being productive.  Here's an interesting excerpt from the articles above:
As Steve Watson explains in his article, The Idiot Box: How TV Is Turning Us All Into Zombies, studies have confirmed that watching television or even having it on in the background actually impairs brain development in children – damaging their ability to learn cognitive thinking and develop language as well as increasing their chances of developing ADHD and social problems. 
Television programs watched by children increase aggressive tendencies while decreasing attention spans, creating a zombie-like reactionary mindset that represents the antithesis of true knowledge and enlightenment. 
For adults, television has been proven to alter consciousness by reducing brain activity to below Delta frequency, ensuring that critical thinking is bypassed and whatever message being pushed is emotionally embraced with total disregard for any form of logic.
That's not to say that I think all television is bad, but some evenings I can easily watch 3 or 4 hours of it and by the end of the night my entire evening was spent staring into a light box...a real waste considering we're not on this earth indefinitely.

4. Meditate for even 15 minutes a day.  I know the value of meditation and numerous scientific studies have proven it as well.  it's free and easy...just sit, breathe, and think about nothing.  It's another one of those things I put off because I'm too busy (I'd rather be eating, staying up late, and watching TV...haha!).

Meditation Influences Emotional Processing Even When You're Not Meditating: Study
Brain Imaging Illuminates Neuro Basis of Meditation
Strongest Study Yet Shows Meditation Can Lower Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Wikipedia - Research on meditation
Researching Meditation with Dr. Ramesh Manocha
Meditation Appears to Produce Enduring Changes in Emotional Processing in the Brain
Why meditation helps you focus: Mindfulness improves brain wiring in just a month
In Sitting Still, a Bench Press for the Brain
Meditation Training Program Shows Brain Effects Even Outside a Meditative State
Mindfulness Meditation Linked With Positive Brain Changes, Study Suggests
Study Shows How Prayer, Meditation Affect Brain Activity (VIDEO)
Stanford studies monks' meditation, compassion
With all of those studies and articles, it's hard to make a case that meditation can do anything but good for you.


I think that if I can focus on these things over the next few months my mental health will improve, I'll have a more positive outlook on things, and be able to get things done that really interest me, like writing, listening to music, reading, and keeping up my relationships with others.

I hope this is my first post in a long line of posts over the next few months....The plan is for these habits to become my new way of life and I can be a happier person who takes the time to enjoy things in life.  I lie being able to sit down and write all this out without feeling guilty because I'm not doing some other thing that's more "urgent"...although that's a topic for another post...

Take care,


Saturday, 1 December 2012

What I want this blog to be and what I will write about.


My goal is to use this space as more of a journal for myself so that I can get thoughts out of my head and on "paper".  Since I can get overwhelmed with starting a new project since I want to do everything at once, I decided to make a list of topics that I'll write about in the future.

  1. Dogs
  2. Travelling
  3. Career goals
  4. Exercise
  5. Pictures
  6. Family
  7. Staying organized
  8. Budgeting
  9. Strategizing and planning
  10. Music
  11. Living overseas
  12. Overcoming past problems
  13. Writing
  14. 2012 in review and goals for 2013
  15. Writing
  16. Education
  17. And much, much more!



Thursday, 15 November 2012

http://www.shauncav.com/ is now live!!!

http://shauncav.com is now live.  I plan to start exercising my writing skills here.  Let's see how long it takes me to post again.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Currancy Converter

Here's a cool site I found which not only converts currancy for you, but also gives you little pocket guides to print out and take with you on travel.



Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Thoughts on house hunting while PCSing to Stuttgart, Germany

Below are some "lessons learned" when looking for a house overseas while going through a PCS as a government civilian....this post will be edited as I think of more stuff to put into it.  Hopefully other people can make use of some of it....if anything, it will help my Wife and I in the future.

Go see the housing office and get the information they have:

Houses available through the housing office:

Things to consider:

Going through housing will mean you won't have to pay a realtor fee which can be between 1.5 and 2.5 month's rent, which can add up to quite a bit...for example, a house that's €2,500 a month, will mean you will owe between €3,750 to €6,250 (or $5,260 to $8,767) at closing just for a realor fee, which you won't get back.  That is a lot of money...make sure the house is worth it...also remember what you could do with that money (trips back to the US, trips in the area where you live, emergency fund, buy a used car, charity, etc.).

Also be sure you can cover the security deposit required on any house.  You will get this money back at the termination of your contract provided that you don't damage the house, but it is still money that you'll need to have on hand and be able to be without for the duration of your stay.  These usually seem to be around 2 months rent.

Try and make the determination if you want to purchase a house or not before you PCS over.  That way you will have more time to plan.

Here is a helpfu link:

Apartment hunting via immobilienscout24.de - Germany:

** It is also very, very helpful to use Google Chrome to browse these sites as it has the Google translate function built directly into it, which can save you a lot of time. **

** Another note is if you choose to email realtors from the immobilienscout24.de website, make certain that you check you spam email box on a daily basis, because many times a reply from one of the realtors will get filtered into this box. **

I have a list of a few realtors that I used who seemed pretty good: 
jones-properties.de - http://www.jones-properties.de/
immopointeurope.de - http://www.immopointeurope.de/D-Mieten/rentals_-_mieten.html
Stuttgart Realtors - http://www.stuttgartrealtors.com/
Stuttgart Yard Sales - http://www.stuttgartyardsales.com/
immobilienscout24.de - http://www.immobilienscout24.de/
<get michael link>
<get colett link>

Helpful information to determine your location relative to bases and trains:

GPS addresses to help you locate a base:
Panzer - Panzer Str, 71032 Boeblingen
Kelley - Plieninger Str, 70567 Stuttgart-Moehringen
Patch - Kurmaecker Str, 70569 Stuttgart-Vaihingen
Robinson - Heidloch Str, 70376 Stuttgart-Burgholzhof

Helpful information on how to call various phone numbers:

Exchange rate calculator:

A good "ice breaker" when on the phone with the realtors is:
Guten Tag, sprechen Sie Englisch? (Good day, do you speak English?)

Numbers in Germany:
It is also helpful to know how to say numbers so that when you call and leave a message, you can leave your telephone number in English and German.

Thanks all for now...


Things I would pack in my unaccompanied baggage while going through PCS

This is the first thought I've had in months.

If I had to do it over again, here are some things I would pack next time.  Most of this I probably could have shipped, since we only shipped 350lbs worth of stuff and we were authorized 700lbs.
  1. real matress
  2. kitchen towels
  3. cleaning supplies
  4. vaccum
  5. mop
  6. clothes
  7. shoes
  8. bookshelf
  9. furnature (end tables)
  10. pictures
  11. posters
  12. hanging supplies
  13. something to hand clothes on
  14. tools
  15. Big mug
  16. Coffee mug
  17. monitor
  18. computer
  19. computer supplies
  20. bike
  21. bike pump
More to be added later...this is more just for my records for when I have to do this again....and for anyone else out there who is going through a PCS.


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Address and a quick update


Below is my address over here:

Shaun Cavanaugh
CMR 480 BOX 2007
APO AE 09128

Also, I've posted some new pics (Stuttgart Christmas Market) to Flickr and a video (my hotel room) to YouTube.



Today I worked out for the first time in a few weeks...I'm hoping that I get back into the swing of things this week.