Thursday, July 24, 2014

I love to skate

Got back on the ice this year and MAN, I did not realize how much I missed it!  As soon as I started to stroke around the rink -- instant sensory overload.  The smell brought me right back, and I'm not talking about changeroom/hockey bag stink.  The unique smell of an indoor rink flooded my memory of a lifetime spent skating.  And then the wind in my hair and at my ears, the sound of the ice cutting at my feet, the damp cold of the air.  So intoxicating.  And the social -- my girls, all of us ex-figure skaters, all of us with the same shared childhood experience of loving skating.  Amazing how easily it all came back too.  Sure, I'm not jumping and now I get dizzy when I spin.  But there is so much that is still automatic for me.  Muscle memory is truly remarkable. It just felt so natural to be on the ice again.  When I see 80 year olds old there doing their thing, I can't help but smile because I know that will be me too.  I love skating!

Monday, July 21, 2014

What Drains You

I cant remember where I found this handy check-list.  Lots of sources of energy-suckers.

Relationships
____ There are people in my life who continuously drain my energy.
____ I have unreturned phone calls, e-mails, or letters that need to be handled.
____ I have an unresolved conflict with a family member.
____ I lack quality friendships in my life.
____ I feel a void in my life created by the lack of a romantic partner.
____ There is someone I need to forgive.
____ There is a relationship I need to end.
____ There is a phone call I dread making, and it causes me stress and anxiety.
____ I’m currently involved in a relationship that compromises my values.
____ I miss being part of a loving and supportive community.
Environment
____ My car is in need of cleaning and/or repair.
____ My wardrobe needs updating and/or alterations.
____ I’d like to live in a different geographic location.
____ I have appliances that need repair or upgrading.
____ My home is not decorated in a way that nurtures me.
____ My closets and/or basement are cluttered and need to be cleaned.
____ Repairs need to be done around my home or apartment.
____ My home is cluttered and disorganized.
____ I miss having more beauty reflected in my environment.
____ I watch too much television.
Body, Mind, and Spirit
____ I eat food that’s not good for me.
____ Something about my physical appearance bothers me.
____ It’s been too long since I’ve been to the dentist.
____ I do not get the sleep I need to feel fully rested.
____ I’d like to exercise regularly but never seem to find the time.
____ I have a health concern for which I’ve avoided getting help.
____ I have emotional needs that consistently go unmet.
____ There are books that I’d love to read but never seem to find the time for.
____ I lack personal interests that are intellectually stimulating.
____ I lack a spiritual or religious practice in my life.
What’s Draining You? 2
Work
____ I no longer enjoy my job and have a hard time showing up each day.
____ My work is stressful and leaves me exhausted at the end of the day.
____ My office is disorganized, my desk is a mess, and I have trouble finding what I need.
____ I’m avoiding a confrontation or conflict at work.
____ I tolerate bad behavior from a boss or coworker.
____ I am not computer literate, and it gets in the way of my productivity.
____ I lack the proper office equipment that I need to do my job well.
____ My work does not allow me to express my creativity.
____ I know I need to delegate specific tasks but am unable to let go of control.
____ I feel overwhelmed with the amount of information that enters my life in the form of mail,
books, magazines, and e-mail.
Money
____ I have tax returns that are not filed or taxes that are not paid.
____ I pay my bills late.
____ I spend more than I earn.
____ I don’t have a plan for my financial future.
____ My credit rating is not what I’d like it to be.
____ I do not have a regular savings plan.
____ I do not have adequate insurance coverage.
____ My mortgage rate is too high, and I need to refinance.
____ I have debt that needs to be paid off.
____ My will is not up to date.

Findability

I had the pleasure of hearing Peter Morville speak at a conference on Resource Discovery yesterday and his message really started to challenge my thinking on the role of IM.

I've been a disciple of metadata for many years.... tweak the search engine. But dont forget about the Information Architecture (IA)

Here are my take-aways:

Search is a way to learn. What we seek changes based on what we find. In our quest to optimize search we have to be careful that we do not remove the learning opportunity that search provides.

Search is not the only answer. We need to provide facetted navigation to provide context ...

In order for search to be successful:

  • the best results HAVE to be first
  • people expect actionable results
  • auto-complete is a must
  • auto-suggest, because it helps people get un-stuck
  • predictability is a must, so that the next click is not a mystery
Some great examples of poor website IAs and ones that worked.  Very grateful to have seen him speak.

I Love Great Ideas

I love great ideas almost as much as I love my kids. Maybe it's because I consider myself to be more or an implementer than an ideas person or maybe it's because I rarely hear of fresh new ideas in my mundane life. Here's an inspiring idea that I just heard of:
Ottawa U held a charity event for the homeless where people could not only get free food and clothing, but get free access to services many of us take for granted such as getting a hair cut, your eyes checked, or your bike fixed. What a fantastic idea! Apparently it was a huge success -- people were overwhelmed by all the services they received and the students learned a lot about the people who also live in their community.

Know when to hold 'em ...


I watched an old episode of Sex in the City the other night and Carrie went back to Big AGAIN. Pathetic. A bright beautiful sexy woman who morphs into an intolerable, insecure basket case because of this ONE GUY. We've all been there. I remember throwing myself at the wrong guys when I was in my 20s. Even though I was searching for marital bliss, I always seemed to end up with someone who treated me like dirt. And I would keep going back for more. I was knowingly looking for situations that would end in pain. Is it because I didn't think I deserved the love and respect of someone great? Was my everyday life so boring that I needed the drama? Or was I just plain addicted to pain? All of the above.

Fast forward to my husband, nothing like the bad asses I dated. In fact he was TOO nice and when we first met, I didn't even want to give him a chance. Turns out my indifference attracted him more! Men do love bitches after all. I had gotten to a point that my broken heart could not sustain more abuse, so I decided to give him a chance... and the rest is history.

I'm definitely not the same woman I was in my 20s, but I can still feel her. When it hurts, I let myself feel it, but I don't get stuck. I know that karma will take care of it. I also try to change my situation so that I can avoid further pain. This requires some bravery -- as change is never easy. If I could time travel I'd like to go back to my 20s and give myself a hug. While I can't shield myself from pain completely, (that's just part of the dance of life), I can at least make sure my emotional boundaries are secure. I've got to protect my heart afterall.

Sibling Rivalry


Like most parents, the kids fighting really grates on our nerves. How can we have peace in our lives with this constant bickering. I'm tired of being their referee!

Here's a nice summary from the book Siblings Without Rivarly:

Level I - Normal Bickering
Ignore it!

Level II - Situation heating up, adult intervention might be helpful
1. Acknowledge their anger (e.g. "you two sound mad at eachother")
2. Reflect Each Child's Point of View (e.g. "So Johnny you want to play with the game because you found it first. And you Susie feel you are entitled to a turn too")
3. Describe the Problem with Respect (e.g. "That's a tough one -- two children and only one game")
4. Express confidence in the children's ability to find their own solution
(I'm sure you two can work out a solution that's fair to each of you")
5. Leave the room

Level III - Situation Possibly Dangerous
1. Inquire (e.g. "is this a play fight or a real fight?")
2. Reminding children that playfighting is by mutual consent -- if both aren't haven't fun, then it's got to stop
3. Respect your feelings (e.g. "you may be playing, but it's too rough for me. You need to find another activity")

Level IV - Situation Definitely Dangerous Adult Intervention Necessary
1. Describe what you see (e.g. "I see two very angry children who are about to hurt each other")
2. Separate the children ("It's not safe to be together. We must have a cooling-off period. Quick, you to your room and you to mine")

BLEH!! I'm so used to jumping in and screaming at them. How can I possibly stay calm enough to be empathetic? Apparently this works. I have friends who say this WORKS.