Monthly Archives: November 2011

sharing the love

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this isn’t my post, but it’s so good that i want to sing it from the rooftops.

since i’ve known laura, she has been a ray of sunshine in my world. she is joyful and dedicated and an inspiration to all. she and i started the year with the shared desire to become more consistently expressive of affection and appreciation towards the special people in our lives. she is guilty of sending adorable little care packages and surprise have a lovely day texts. she has certainly taken the role as leader in our initiative, but she keeps me in line by reminding me regularly (and when i get all caught up in the other stuff) about the importance of sharing the love. but, it isn’t just about motivating me…

laura is an enthusiastic coach for the world and she wants to share all of her excitement and gratitude with everyone. as the larabar concocted world communication month comes to a close, you’ll find a one! day! only! contest happening over at scribbles and sass, the little corner of the internet my dear friend calls home. please head over there and sample her passion, get your name entered for her draw, but most importantly, reach out to someone and let them know you’re thinking about them. that’s a prize in itself!

click here
gratitude and luck

warm and fuzzy’s a good feeling, isn’t it??

*.*.*

update!

it only just dawned on me that i ought to share the details of my own endeavour to spread the love this morning. as you can see if you read in the comments, i chose to message a friend i haven’t really spoken to in a while. she and i fell out earlier in the year over something silly and trivial. earlier this week, a message from her popped up on gmail chat and we broke a little ice and declared our intention to get on with our friendship and catch up soon. the message i sent her this morning told her how happy i was that she’d contacted me, that i am thrilled to get together again and that i’d missed her in my life. i truly am so excited to get caught up with her as soon as we can work it out. in the meantime, she let me know a little about what’s been keeping her busy…

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things in threes

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“babe, i’m gonna have to mail in my blog post tonight. there are only two days left and i can’t quit now.” i guess all the guys with those furry messes up top their lips are probably thinking the same thing.

*.*.*

i woke up this morning feeling glum and groggy. i did the only conceivable thing: i put on a nice dress and some great shoes. i wanted to have at least one thing to brighten my day and a fabulous outfit will always do that, am i right?

*.*.*

so, to the title: things in threes. are the things that happen in threes only bad? i think that’s how the saying goes. in that case, i’m simply not adhering to that (if it is so.) my three things were just alike. and good. and a wee bit inspiring.

thing one

the blonde in my life‘s blog post for the day: the old guy, the icon, and me. into a story of a couple of dates and a movie, laura wove the lessons she extracted from watching the film my week with marilyn. two lines from the post that struck me:

It was the way she treated men, it’s the way she found her confidence, it’s the way she saw herself in others.
She couldn’t find the confidence in herself.

i’ve never really been a marilyn fan, mostly for exactly the reasons above. i adore strength and it’s what i admire in a person. while she certainly had power in a sense, she lacked the kind of confidence i look up to.

laura’s post, however, prompted me to make a statement that i very rarely make aloud and am only learning to feel comfortable with. i am really, really good at some things. i’m learning that.

i think part of my problem has always been my absolute disgust with arrogance. i struggle to find a more repulsive trait in people. what i’ve always been afraid of is appearing overconfident so i back off on any and all self-promotion. over the past year, experiences have taught me that i am pretty darn competent, that i am hard-working and that when i really want something, i can and will make it happen. all that deserves some props and i really need to start givin’ ’em.

thing two

my yogi tea horoscope.

have wisdom in your actions and faith in your merits.

i felt like it was speaking to me and immediately thought of the comment i’d left for laur. reinforcement from the universe, perhaps?

thing three

remember my mala? well, it broke tonight. the string just gave way and beads bounced all over the floor of the restaurant where i dined with my department. the help of one co-worker and the flashlight he had strung to his keychain and i think we recovered all the pieces. after a few deep breaths, i did the first thing i thought of: i tweeted tiny devotions, what now??

a refresher: a mala was chosen for the stone that is its centrepiece. “rose quartz is the stone of love, the heart chakra and infinite peace. the stone of love, if purchased for yourself, represents self love.”

my @ messages were still empty when i got home and checked my email. those resourceful little elves had not only read my tweet, but they’d already dug up my invoice and sent instructions on fixing the situation. what struck me was the very first line of the message.

A mala breaking represents karma breaking or a breakthrough.

so began the analysis via iphone…

so, add them up. three things all pointing to the exact same result. having faith in myself and confidence in my abilities. i’m not going to say that the dress was in any way responsible, but it (and all the compliments) certainly helped drive the lesson home.

 

what’s the deal with comments?

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evey, my nablopomo partner in crime, got me started thinking about this after she posted her thoughts on comments, comments, comments the other day.

now, obviously, blogs are not run by people who cringe at the thought of writing (at least i’d hate to read one that was!) the gift of the experience is in the creation itself; the writing is the full reward. however…as a blogger, there is little to measure your success. comments provide direct feedback measuring how accurately you can express what you intend and how well you can engage your audience.

me & eves
(go falcons!)

as ms. evey mentioned, we’ve been talking about blogging, she and i. you see, back in the day, we were pretty active bloggers and we kept our pages up to date. as a result of our effort, we had two things a blogger covets:

  1. traffic
  2. interaction

not only did our blogs get a lot of visitors, but our visitors stayed long enough to offer their two cents in a conversation. this thing happens when you get a bunch of regulars meeting and convening around the content you are posting: a community is built. friends get to know other friends, other blogs are brought into the mix and soon everybody knows everybody.

since we began posting daily again, it’s been a slow climb back to the heights where we once soared. (okay, okay. soaring is a little dramatic. whatevs.) discussion is minimal and it’s not easy to build that. coming from a place where a your own virtual neighbourhood existed in your very own comments section, it’s easy to forget how much work went in to fostering that. it feels like it should just be there.

they call it the blogosphere for a reason (and i say they because i hate that word.) it’s called that because it’s all interrelated and influential. everyone knows someone else, knows someone else and so on for ever and ever.

i told evey about my belief that what you get out of blogging is directly related to what you put into it. want comments? then give ’em!

she took this to heart and examined it, namely asking her readers why they don’t comment when she can see that they *are*reading based on site views. when i reviewed her feedback, i felt familiar with almost everything her readers were saying.

  • i read blog posts from my phone = too drawn out a process to type the message, log in, etc.
  • i read blogs during lunch at work = too time consuming
  • (this was mine) i wonder if i have anything to contribute = sometimes the subject is out of my league or my interest and i just can’t come up with anything worthwhile to add
i think kristen nailed it from all angles:
maybe things have changed. sigh. i may need to get on board with that opinion since every post brings at least a few comments via email, text, twitter, conversation throughout the day. you guys are reading and i know it! so, what gives? why so quiet, my pretties?

 

tourist in my own town

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thankfully, in just a few hours, people will go back to not caring about cfl football. in the meantime, there were likely a few people visiting this fair city for the first time in honour of the championship game. well, this weekend provided the kind of setting that has earned vancouver its reputation: non-stop rain.

nathalie, my bsa (business systems analyst – until last year, i had no idea what that meant either) is from an area northeast of montreal. she has spent about six weeks of the last six months in new westminster. last weekend, we were halfway through what will likely be the last trip she makes for this phase of the project. this woman has become invaluable to me. without her, i shudder to think of how my already long days would look. if i’m spending an average of thirteen hours a day in the office with her help, i might have died without her. not only does she save my life on a daily basis, we also get along really well. you know in that criticize and ridicule others on the project kind of way. a perfect match. 😀

so, yeah. she’s been here a lot lately. what she hasn’t been is getting to know the city. at all. kevin and i decided to step in and rectify that. fortunately and unlike this weekend, vancouver put on its weekend best and stepped it up weather-wise. for any time of year, it was gorgeous. for november, remarkable.

first stop: richmond olympic oval

i’d totally missed this stop on the olympic tour. i don’t remember watching any speedskating and i visit richmond so rarely that it isn’t a surprise i’d never made it. thankfully, this was kevin suggestion and i’m soooo glad he made it. perfect timing connected us with a guide who went above and beyond in familiarizing us with the venue.

bc place as seen from olympic village

me & nath & a massive bird
again, olympic village

the olympic cauldron with the mountains as a backdrop
(if only we’d waited a week…it was lit for the grey cup game today)

after we left the convention centre, we took a driving tour through stanley park
this photo was taken from prospect point

the north shore from brockton point

brockton lighthouse with lion’s gate bridge behind

want to know more about stanley park? download this pdf guide and map.

that wasn’t the end fo the tour. we also hit parts of north vancouver, however, the setting sun hampered our photo taking ability for the remainder of the evening.

i love having out-of-towners around. it’s such a great exercise to show them around town; so rewarding to remember how blessed we really are to live here. never been to vancouver? come visit!

how cs should be done (courtesy of apple)

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you see, this is why i think about what i’m saying sometimes. after the death of my iphone on thursday night, i had fleeting thoughts of staying dark for a while. i touched on them in my post yesterday, but i didn’t really tell you the most significant thought i had in my mind: what if i challenged myself to live without a phone for a week? ha! i did think about it. honestly. thing is, apple makes it so freaking easy to deal with a lemon that it’s almost impossible to not get it done.

after posting about the deceased iphone 4, i had a lot of people coming to me and saying that they’d experienced the same thing or that they knew someone who had. consensus was to make contact with the company and it would all be taken care of  lickety split. in hindsight, it kind of was. since i was still in denial, i continued to resist until a friend gave me step by step instructions and the push to just get it done already. here’s how it went.

  1. went online and booked an appointment for later in the day (i had other obligations so mine was a few hours off, but they had openings immediately, if i’d been able to take any of them)
  2. showed up early at genius bar because skytrain was more efficient than anticipated
  3. checked in
  4. surfed on macbook provided for people waiting to be tended
  5. was accommodated in my premature arrival and saw someone almost fifteen minutes before my appointment
  6. had iphone assessed and received news that the thing was virtually soaking wet inside
  7. was given new iphone as replacement
the end.

turns out that my iphone had a lot of liquid inside of it. the “genius” i dealt with opened ‘er up and showed me that not only the first sensor (at the place where the usb cable connects to make a charge) was triggered, but all the others inside were, too. at first, things looked grim. it sounded as though it was going to cost me a little something to get a replacement. as we talked further and i assured him that nothing had ever been spilled on the device nor had it ever been immersed in any liquid, things got a little better. after checking my warranty, he told me that he’s just give me a new one. sure, in this case, new means refurbished, but it’s all the same difference to me. it works and that’s really my only expectation.

our diagnostic discussion concluded that the water inside the phone was likely condensation. how that ball got rolling, i have no idea and it does concern me a little about this new one, but time will tell if it will suffer the same fate. since i don’t know what i did wrong, i don’t know what to change about my practice now. i guess i’ll just keep rolling with it.

apple, though. wow. the system of making an appointment and of being served promptly and efficiently made the experience of returning a product as close to pleasant as possible. it is a model of customer service that i wish more companies would follow.

and now that barkley jacobs has been laid to rest, it’s time to name my new sidekick. suggestions?

going dark

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i’ve never been in love with my iphone and sometimes i haven’t even been in like with it. i find it unstable and a little slow. the phone itself is a crapshoot. sometimes it’ll make a call, other times it doesn’t feel like it. i can make these generalizations because i’m now on my second and they have both been the same fickle story. surely, given the minimal expectations and uses i have for the thing, there’s no way i’m just using an iphone wrong.

yesterday, as i walked into my apartment, i sent a text to a friend. when i got in the door, i put the iphone down on the table and that was the last breath of life it showed. dead. i’ve read the online instructions, i’ve tried everything listed in tutorials. if i can get any of its attention, it begs me to connect it to itunes. when i connect it to itunes, it is either 1. not detected or 2. asking for a restore. the reluctant restore looks good at first, then delivers me nothing by an unknown error message.

i go through (albeit short) phases of thinking about living without a smartphone. i find it annoying that i’ve become so dependent on being connected that i sometimes i get rattled that i can’t check my email while grocery shopping or riding the train. (i also get a little obsessive about twitter and plants vs. zombies.)

i’ve had a few of these thoughts since the death of the phone. on top of all of kevin’s medical stuff and my own maintenance (yay for the naturopath this afternoon, but some of the data that i have been keeping for her was on that damn p.o.s. as well) and taking care of two of us and being smack dab in the middle of implementation and… i’d just really love to not have something else to worry about as well. i’m a little bit in denial.

i really have mixed feelings as i come to terms with how much i rely on that little electronic thingamajig. yes, i don’t really need to be viewing some high school acquaintance’s ultrasound pics while waiting for my meal to be served, but my reality is that it is often the only time i have a chance to catch up on anything personal. with two new side projects to work on and very long days in the office, even my personal email is no longer being tended. without my phone to help with that in my downtime, i’m afraid to think about how far behind i will fall. also, as kevin put it, “what is something happens to me?” in this case, me could mean him or me. what if?

i can’t decide which route to take. i’m, quite obviously, not rushing out to get a replacement. at the same time, part of me misses it already. no texts. no instant messages from evey… and i really hate that i just knew i should have gotten a droid.

could there ever be too much gratitude?

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even though this thanksgiving day does not rightfully belong to me, i’m such a fan of cataloging all that i have to be thankful for, i’m going to borrow it from my southern neighbours for just a little while. around the time of canadian thanksgiving, i was thinking a lot about what i am thankful for, but living it kept me too occupied to write about it. so. i think we all know where this is going.

  • health – i’ve always been a healthy kid and i’ve never overlooked that. my mom deeply ingrained in us healthy attitudes toward foods and they’ve stuck throughout my life. i’m hardy and resist a lot of ailments, very rarely getting down and out with a cold, cough, flu or anything more or less severe. when the occasion strikes, i’m able to recover easily and without incident. our experience and exposure over the last week has served as a great reminder of just what a gift that really is.
  • happiness – this is one thing i am pretty darn good at. as i get older, i get even better. i’ve practiced finding the silver lining enough that it’s become habit now and i rarely dwell on negativity. instead, my first thoughts are the good that comes from every little thing that happens. optimism ~ it’s how my world is structured. even in the most challenging of experiences, i can bounce back with a takeaway or two. let me tell you, it’s much more satisfying that way.
  • love – be it romantic or familial, i am surrounded by it. i have wonderful parents still living in the same house i grew up in. i have amazing friends all over the world. i have a fulfilling and true relationship with a beautiful man. love abounds and i am entirely open to experience it and to give back.
photo found here

what more does a girl need, am i right? it’s the basics. i believe it’s a good practice to check in with gratitude every so often. i started this exercise in the morning today, contemplating all that i have to appreciate in my life. i find that once i start, the list just keeps growing: a job i love, expanding professional opportunities, creative curiousity, the ability to laugh in the face of adversity and on and on. it’s like a snowball, the more it rolls, the bigger it gets. i’m thinking about started a gratitude journal, a way to remind myself of all the things i have to be thankful for on a daily basis. while it was something i came up with on my own, it wasn’t entirely original, i guess. i found it echoed in the reading i did on the neuroscience of gratitude. if you’re interested, i’d suggest you google that. there’s plenty out there. as a sneak peek and from the same link:

In one study on gratitude, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.

there’s plenty more where that came from. check it out.

so, how do you practice gratitude? do you save it all for this time of year? or do you make a point of being thankful at other times too?