Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Be safe and if you are traveling watch out for the other drivers as well.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm special not odd

Quite a few years ago I wrote an article called “I'm Special Not Odd” and it was about dealing with allergies and specifically food allergies that I have. The title was from a conversation with a parent about her son and his allergies when she said he was odd. To me having food allergies isn't odd, because so many people have them and I said to her, that he wasn't odd, he was special.

You see, for me dealing with my food allergies has been a challenge because I was 35 when I was first handed an auto-injector (Epi-Pen) and was told it was something that I was going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. What I didn't realize was that the first food allergy wasn't going to be the only food allergy that I was going to end up with. Now I go out and eat and if it is a new restaurant it becomes the challenge of asking all the various questions to make sure that I am going to be safe eating. My allergies are shellfish, pineapple, raspberries and cottonseed so of course not a lot of the common allergies that people seem to understand. OK, the shellfish is one of the top 10 food allergies but the rest aren't so they are harder to deal with when eating out.

Pineapple was something that I loved to eat growing up and now I have to totally avoid it. I have discovered that pineapple is used in quite a few barbeque sauces as a sweetener. Now I didn't think of that until eating some ribs and wondering why my mouth was getting very itching. After asking we discovered that the restaurant had changed their brand of barbeque sauce and their new one had pineapple in it. Yes I learned the hard way where pineapple could be found.

Raspberries are something that I also loved growing up and we even had raspberries bushes out the backyard which I loved. The bushes were actually planted so that I could go out during the summer and have berries ready to eat. Well, now I can look at all those raspberry bushes that people have and know that I just have to avoid them for the rest of my life.

Shellfish was something that I found out the hard way and it was by eating wings at a restaurant and the kitchen had used the same tongs to pick up my wings as they had used for some shrimp. Yes cross-contamination was how I discovered the shellfish allergy. We traveled down the east coast quite a few times while I was growing up and one of my favourite foods was scallops when we were visiting my aunt and uncle. Now, I can look at all the shellfish and seafood and avoid it because I don't want to have the allergic reaction.

Cottonseed was the challenging one to find because it hasn't been very well identified in a lot of food. I have finally found out that it is in some oils and even some steak seasonings so a challenge to find. I have had to find that one the hard way sometimes but at least now I have figured out where it is used most of the time and just avoid those foods. No seasoning on steaks when eating out and only eat fried foods if it is a known oil and no shellfish is fried in it. Well, since starting to write this blog I found out that even some peanut butter has cottonseed oil in it.  Now the search starts again for me to find food I can eat.

So see, I am special and not odd really. I just have some challenges that other people don't have but I have learned how to deal with them. I know that there are still chances of developing other food allergies but I just have to watch what I eat and ask a lot of questions when we are out at a restaurant.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Observing others


It is so much fun sitting and watching the people around you. Some people seem to have the appearance that they are very important and must let everyone know that they are around. Other people will sit very quietly and you will barely notice that they are around. I enjoy just looking around and seeing the different type of people that you can see and in some cases the people that you can hear. 

There are people that still very still and then there are the people that seem to never sit still and are either crossing and uncrossing their legs or they constantly are swinging one of their legs. It is interesting just sitting and watching the movement of others. What makes it very frustrating is when you are sitting in a row of seats with a person that is constantly moving and they are bouncing your seat as well. The bouncing of the seats is something that can really get to me when I am trying to read or write because it makes it very difficult.

Another movement which is fun to walk is how people walk. There are those that seem to walk with a purpose and those that seem to be trying to disappear into the background. I know that when I do a lot of my walking I walk with a purpose so that I can show some confidence. In some cases if you walk like you want to disappear you can be taken advantage off. Walking with a purpose simply means just walking with your head up and looking around and where you are heading, and not looking at your feet.

Being able to observe others around you can even help you figure out what type of person you are out in public. Being aware of your surroundings can really help you keep out of trouble because those people don’t like it if you could identify them.

I had a situation where I knew that if I traveled at a certain time I wouldn’t be someone that was confident of my surroundings so I decided I was best to avoid that situation. Knowing how to avoid situations and even get away from these situations can assist you.

Look around next time you are out in public and see what type of people you see. Also look at yourself and see what you see about yourself and you might be surprised.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Acronyms

Have you noticed that in the world today there are so many acronyms and you almost need a dictionary just to keep track of all of them. Could you imagine the size of the dictionary that would be required for the acronyms. Even with the various ones I see through IT it would be rather large.

When it comes to acronyms the challenge is that the same two or three letters can be used for a bunch of different things. We ran into a situation a while ago with one simple acronym meaning something that we didn't expect in the IT world. Now the one I am talking about is DC. No I am not talking about the District of Columbia in the states but three different meanings in IT that I know of.
  • DC = direct current, domain controller and data centre

That is only one of the many different acronyms that I have found that in IT there can be more than one meaning depending on who you are talking to. What gets me is when people throw in the various acronyms thinking that the person they are talking to understands the term they are meaning. We have been in many different conversations and of course I had a different meaning of the acronym then the person saying it meant.

When you are writing and using the acronyms especially in a document or email, it is very important to define the term and show the acronym, after the term, at the beginning of your document. This ensures that everyone has the same meaning that you are intending them to be thinking of. In the case of DC it was used in an entire document without it being defined and it took us the longest time to realize they were talking about Data Centre as we had never head DC used that way before.

If you are going to use acronyms please make sure that the people that are getting the message will know what abbreviation you are using. Even if you are in the same industry remember that the meaning that you are using may not be the one that the receive is thinking of.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Organizing your work area

Clean desk top

Have you looked around lately and noticed that the area on your desk and around it was getting a little out of control? Well, I did and decided that it was time to do something about that.

Of course my desk is used for a number of things both for the home office for myself but also for the personal stuff so a lot of stuff ends up on the desk and around the desk. I have to admit that just sitting and looking at the desk was getting very frustrating.

Over the last week I have had a project and that was to find the top of my desk because I had room for my computer and that was about it. I use a laptop so that meant I didn't have a lot of clean space on the entire desk area which wasn't good.

I was looking at different websites to see how they would recommend setting about cleaning up an office area and organizing it and I came to the conclusion that the best person to decide how to set up an area is the person that is going to be using it. Yes I probably took little bits of the different ideas but after a lot of work I came up with what was going to work for me and now I have a clean desk and am going to start tackling all the other areas around the desk.

Now you see that I do have a lot of different things on my desk besides a second monitor and a scanner. Those are other reasons why I never really have a lot of room on my desk but at least now I have room for my coffee cup and some other things that I can use while I am working on a project.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Juggling many projects

I think all of us have days where we sit and wonder what we really accomplished at the end of the day. There are also days that we can sit back and feel very good because we have had lots of accomplished during the day.

One challenge that I know I face some days is not being able to stay focused on one project. Yes it is the juggling the different things that I should be doing and doing a bit of everything instead of completing one task at a time. I think we all have days like that when just bouncing around between tasks seem to work better than staying focused. In the long run you end up getting all the tasks done but it is a slower way of doing them.

I know that I have my to-do-list that I keep and that is one way that I can try and start focused. My to-do-list is something that I try and keep up-to-date but there are times that even that doesn't get completed very quickly. The to-do-list can even sometimes get out of control because of the number of things that really should be on it.

One thing I have found that works when I am juggling many projects is to break down the projects into smaller tasks. Of course a lot of the tasks aren't very big but at least you can see that you are getting something done instead of feeling like you are getting nothing accomplished. The juggling of the multiple projects doesn't help in a lot of ways because each time you jump between projects you are spending time rethinking each of the tasks because of just working on one until it is done.

Now what I am going to attempt to do over the next couple of days is to focus on one project at a time and see if I am able to get things accomplished. The juggling will continue as I await for answers from other people but if a project is under my total control I am going to try and get one done at a time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Public Transit

Have you ever taking some time to really look around when you are on public transit and to observe other people and what they are doing? It can be interesting to just sit or stand and watch other people around you and see what they are doing. Here are some things that I have seen on the public transit.

1. Bags don't pay for a seat – so many people decide that the bag or bags that they are carrying deserve a seat and they put their stuff on the seat beside them. The bags didn't pay a fare so why are they taking a seat from someone that has paid a fare. I know that if the vehicle is crowded and I see a seat occupied by stuff I ask the person to move the stuff so that I can sit in the seat.

2. Take up too much aisle space – I understand that we all need to carry stuff on public transit but try and keep it as close to you as possible. The aisle is for moving around so the stuff needs to be either on your lap or tucked in very close to you.

3. You paid for one seat, please take one seat – So many people when they sit down seem to spread out between a couple of seats. What I am talking about is how many people make sure it is very difficult for anyone to seat beside them in a seat. Either they spread their legs so that they are blocking part of the seat or they sit between the two seats so that no one can sit beside them.

4. Take your garbage with you – so many people will leave the newspaper that they have been reading and simply just drop them on a seat as they leave the vehicle. I have also seem people leave their empty beverage containers and other garbage. There are recycle and garbage bins that this stuff should be put into and not left to make a mess.

5. Priority seating – priority seating are for individuals that require them and not for the able bodies person. If someone gets on the vehicle that requires the seat and if you are seating it in and you are able bodies you need to move and let the other person sit down. I have seen people just look down and pretend to not see the person that really needs the seat. I love the drivers that make people move so that a person requiring the seat can get it.

6. Your music or conversation is for you not everyone else around you – so many people are listening to music on transit now. The only thing that really bothers me is when I can really hear the music when someone is using headphones. If I can clearly hear what they are listening too it means it is way too loud. The other people are the ones that watch videos on their mobile devices and don't use headphones which isn't right and it is against the transit rules. Conversations are the other thing that get me especially when young people want to carry on a conversation with someone at the other end of the vehicle, either move together or want until you are off the vehicle to carry on the conversation.

7. Door ways – doors ways are for entering and exiting the vehicle and not to be blocked just because you feel like standing there. I have seen so many people get on a vehicle and just stop just inside the door not thinking about anyone behind them. The other people are the ones that move in but then move back into the door ways and take up the door way and make it very difficult for others to enter or exit the vehicle.

As you can see I have had some interesting trips on public transit. I do take the time to watch the people around me because you can learn so much just by watching people. Please remember that when you are taking public transit to be considerate of the people around you as you never know who is watching.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Traffic Jams

It is interesting to watch other vehicles when you are stuck in a traffic jam. In some cases I think some people forget about the rules of the road and even driving etiquette.

Recently we were stuck in a line of traffic due to construction and also a highway closure in the area. A lot of people got into the lane they needed early on but there were also a lot of drivers that drove by the line and forced themselves into the lane at the very last minute. These people were just queue jumpers and it means people that had waiting patiently in the line got very frustrated. People wonder why there is road rage and this is an example of why it happens.

Another thing I have noticed when on a highway in heavy traffic is the number of cars that move from the regular lane into an on-ramp lane to get a little farther ahead. The on-ramp lane is only for the vehicles that are coming onto the highway. In this case I have even seen vehicles cross the solid line to get into the on-ramp lane.

Being considerate when you are stuck in a traffic jam makes it easier for everyone. If you drive like it's only you that matters. it won't help you or others around you. The bad driving can result in you or others ending up in an accident.

Just remember on-ramps are only for vehicles getting onto the highway, just as off-ramps are just for getting off.. Queue jumping isn't recommended as it is rude and dangerous, and you are causing other bad behaviour around you that may come back to haunt you.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vendor Relation Phone Calls

Vendor phone calls are something that can be a real pain at the best of times. Vendors call and all they have is either just a phone number or a phone number and a name. They know nothing about the business that they are calling and that is very frustrating. It is important that if you are going to be phoning potential clients that you know a little bit about who you are calling.

One time I received a call from a large vendor and they were rather upset that I had attended a specific conference that he insisted we were too small for and he couldn't understand that I go to these conferences to find out information for our clients. In a number of cases we are the trusted advisers for our clients and that means we need to know the various options that are out there for each of our clients.

I did receive one really nice call and I know that the individual that was calling has checked out our website because of the questions she was asking. She knew that our business was basically just the two of us and we supported clients that were larger than us. This meant that I felt like the person had taken the time to look into our business so yes I gave her the time and answered the questions that she needed answering.

Now what is really upsetting is when you receive a vendor relations phone call on a statutory holiday. This happened to us on Thanksgiving Day in Canada which was Columbus Day in the United States. The phone rang at 9:15am and it was a vendor wanting to ask questions about what we did, etc but after a couple of seconds and being informed that the call really wasn't welcome on a holiday the person then said they would send information via email instead. Now if you are a vendor and need to make this type of call remember to make sure that you aren't calling on a holiday or a weekend.

Vendors need to respect the companies and individuals that they are calling because we all do need a bit of down time. If you are going to be phoning a company make sure you know the size of the company before you start asking all the questions and listen to what the answers are and don't get upset when they don't meet your expectations. They don't meet your expectations because it is probably the wrong size business that you are calling.

Vendor relation phone calls can be a great way to make contact with a business but they can also be a great way to lose business.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Conferences and social media

I recently had an opportunity to participate from afar at a conference. No, I didn't actually travel to the conference but I was trying to use social media to see what was going on for those attending the conference. I found a number of things that were both good and bad about how the social media was used by the conference accounts. I am going to comment on Facebook and Twitter usage because that is what I was using to look at the conference.

Twitter – It was used just to re-post the same items that were being posted on Facebook. Twitter wasn't used to help people figure out what sessions were being hi-lighted until after the session was underway or in some cases finished. Maybe twitter could have been used to hi-light some of the times for Keynotes and such just prior to the sessions so it was a reminder to those attending. For someone attending trying to follow the Twitter feed it was next to useless. If you are going to be on Twitter, BE on Twitter don't just use it as a re-post location.

Facebook – this is the one where I am going to have the most to say because this is where I was seeing some of the things.

Need improvement:
  1.  A lot of the pictures were about the fun activities that were happening and not a lot of what the conference was about. The conference was an IT conference so I would have been making sure that the sessions and networking should have been a key part of what was being shown. I was extremely upset seeing all the partying and not much else, when our employee was losing 5 days of being billable to be at the conference. 
  2.  Posts to page – this was used in the side panel so it was very difficult to see what others were saying about the event. Possibly as a result not a lot of activity in the posts to page other than the goodies that could be won through various activities.
  3.  Use quotes from attendees to help show the value of the conference. What were some of the takeaways? What did you learn? Have someone who's focus is to try and gather comments from attendees about their experiences. 
  4.  Show people in the various sessions more to show that sessions and networking were the key part of the event.
  5.  Pictures – maybe show some of the layout for meals to show what was being offered to the attendees. Also try and get some of the booths with people around them instead of very empty booths. 
  6.  Collecting success stories – don't tell me you are collecting them and not summarizing any of them. Very high level would have helped get attention. This doesn't make me want to follow-up on this topic. If you weren't going o quickly followup within Facebook, don't bother mentioning it in Facebook.

A good start....
  1. Sessions – the first day of the conference was hi-lighted through pictures of the keynote and even pictures after some of the sessions but then it stopped and it then shifted to just the fun activities that were the extras. I was really happy about the posting on the first day as it gave me a feeling of what really was happening, at the keynote and during the day. This is very valuable to assist in marketing the event for upcoming years. Coordinate with scheduling to get pictures of high attendance sessions and pictures from front into audience at keynotes.
  2.  Highlighting some of the networking was great because it shows it is not just all work but sessions and networking should be the focus instead of the parties and other activities. This could have been done more to show groups together talking.
If a conference is going to use social media to help show what the event was like they should be ensuring that the key importance of the event is be front and centre. The free t-shirt give aways and things like that are extra and not what the conference is focused on. The conference had a clear mandate stated in the keynotes of Learn, Network and have some fun in that clear order of priority. The event's social media during the event showed a reversed priority.

Social media is a great means of communicating about an event and the value of the event. Why would I spend x dollars to attend or how would I convince my company to spend the money to send me and allow me the time out of the office? So many companies are cutting back on employees attending conferences because of the financial cost as well as the manpower costs. Social media could be used to show the wins that companies can get by incurring the costs at least hint at a positive ROI.

If social media was used better to show what benefits a conference can have it may assist in companies being willing to spend the funds. If an event is showing only all the fun and games it doesn't help sell it for the next time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Conference give aways -- SWAG

Have you noticed at conference how much stuff (SWAG) is given away and grabbed up quickly by some people. I am really wondering what is done with some of this swag that people grab without thinking about if they need or want it.

We have been at some conferences and it is amazing to watch people when they enter a vendor area. Some people will look around and see where the best free items are and immediately head for those vendors. Once they get there, they do not look up at the people are the booth but look at the table and grab what they see as nice but never talking to the people at the booth or even looking at them. In some cases these items may never be used by the person that took them but given away to someone else and in cases to someone that has no clue who the vendor is or what the vendor does.

I really want to know how many pens, canvas bags or even t-shirts do I need with various vendors names or logos on them? I know that vendors want to make sure you remember their name but enough is enough. If I really want to learn about you have some info that I can take away and look at. A pen doesn’t tell me what you do or how you can benefit me.

The other thing that gets me is now many vendors at shows have the prize that they give away at the end of the day. OK, now you expect me to spend the entire day at a show and in some cases I may not have the opportunity as I also need to meet the needs of my clients. The prize normally requires that you drop off your business card to enter the draw. So now what you have done is given all the various vendors your total contact information just because you have a small chance to win a prize. For the vendors it is a great way to get a lot of possible client info without doing anything. Now you are going to be getting a lot of phone calls and/or emails from all the vendors where you dropped off your business card.

OK, I will admit that there is one piece of vendor giveaway that I like and those are the journal books that some give away. Yes, I use these books and normally have at least one of these books with me at all times. The other thing I like that is sometimes given away are the small books from the “Dummies series”.

So when you are at conference next time just watch what some people are grabbing and how full their bags are and think about where some of that stuff will end up.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Children and School

Over the last little while I have noticed something in my neighbourhood that has concerned me and it is the number of school age children that are out and about in the neighbourhood during the school day. I was out in the neighbourhood around 2pm and noticed quite a few children that should have been in the public school at that time. What I did noticed that in some cases they looked like they had been out grocery shopping with their mother and it was their job to carry the groceries home from the store.

I know that when I was going to school the only time we ever started home was when we were sick and we had to be really sick to even think about staying home. I remember the farthest I ever went when I was missing a day of school was to the doctor's office and back home, there was no shopping done along the way.

I am not sure why parents are allowing the children to take the time out of school to help with shopping or such because the shopping could be done after the school day. The other thing I have noticed at least in our area is that when we go to the mall at any time of the day there are quite a few children with parents there instead of in school. What is interesting is the school is actually next door to the mall so if the child is well enough to be walking around the mall shopping they should be in their classroom.

I think if the parents are letting the children miss school it is teaching them a lot of bad habits. These are going to be the adults that don't want to show up for work on time or even to work at all if they just don't feel like going in. I know that we all want to miss work or school at some points but getting into the habit of going unless you are sick does make you a better person. It shows that you respect the system that you are in and are not taking things for granted. Our school system here is pretty good and I think that the parents should be doing more to encourage the children to attend classes and to be on time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Vendor emails

As an IT professional I have noticed something that I really need to write about. It has happened the last couple of weekends and it is frustrating. I have received vendor related emails on the weekend.

Why do vendors have to send out solicitation emails on a weekend. I thought a weekend was a time to relax and try to forget about work and not be bothered by vendors. The other thing about getting these emails are they are distracting. Yes, we have our mobile devices on during the weekend to receive emails from clients who are experiencing issues and need our assistance.

When these emails come in I end up marking them as read. No, I don't really even read the email because I just get frustrated that they have arrived on the weekend. In some cases I even delete them because of the mood I am in when I see them.

Now if you are a vendor and are trying to get my business you won't help yourself if I get emails from you on the weekend. I probably will never really focus on your email because of the timing of when it arrives. Ok, it will probably get onto my work account on Monday if I haven't deleted it but considering it is marked as read it means I won't really look at it again unless an issue comes up and I need to investigate something.

Remember if you really want to get an individuals attention on an IT issue send it during the week when they are in that state of mind. Sending emails to IT individual on a weekend means there is a good chance it will be totally ignored or even deleted. Please remember we all want some time off.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Community

I recently had an experience and it showed how quickly a community of people can be built even if only for one day.

My dad had to have cataract surgery and it meant an extremely early day for all of us. We were at the hospital by 6am which isn't normal for any of us. The first thing I noticed that as people arrived to register everyone started acknowledging everyone else. No one knew the next person in the registration waiting area but everyone was friendly. After we registered we said good bye to one couple and found out that they were also going to be in the same area of the hospital as we were going as the wife was also having cataract surgery.

Now this is where the community started to build was when everyone started to arrive in the Eye Centre. Of course sitting in this waiting room meant that everyone was doing to be going through the same procedure and the support person was going to have to be waiting around for their family member to be finished. Most people again acknowledged each other and in some cases some conversations were started.

Once I had my father checked in I was to leave the area but stay close so that I was there to pick him up when the procedure was finished. I of course had my mom and my husband waiting for me downstairs so I went and sat with them for the hour of waiting. Now this is where the community was great, as everyone was waiting they acknowledged the next person even through we didn't know each other. A smile, a wave or even a nod of the head meant we were there for the next person.

The couple that we spoke to at registration were the first one's that were finished and the lady actually came over to talk to be before she headed home. It felt very good seeing that our little community was a caring community. She wanted my mom to know it wasn't a bad surgery and she told me that she had a nice conversation with my dad while waiting for surgery. This couple had the same surgeon as my dad so we will probably see them a couple of times at the office for the check ups.

It wasn't long after this conversation that I got the phone call letting me know that it was time for me to go and pick up my dad. As I walked up I got the waves from others waiting as if to say good bye for now. There were also the smiles to say the waiting is over for you so my waiting must be over soon.

Yes the community may have only been established for a few hours but it really shows that people when facing the same issue can because friends. No we don't know each others names or anything else but we were there for a common reason and like most communities that is the reason for a community. That community is gone now but it did leave a nice foot print.

Remember when you are faced with a common issue a simple smile, wave or nod of a head can mean a lot to the next person.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Taking some time for yourself

Now taking some time for me has been a challenge as I am one of those people that always makes sure that I am keeping everyone else happy. What I was forgetting is that the only way to make others happy was to ensure that I am happy first.

I am not saying that you only think of yourself but what I am saying is you do need to make sure that you set aside some time to do the things you like doing or things for you. What I mean by this is the time to maybe have a manicure or have a haircut. No these aren't big expensive things but they are time for yourself and they can help in making you feel better about things.

Setting aside a bit of time for yourself can make a huge difference in how you deal with others around you. If you continually try and make everyone else happy and don't take time for yourself you will probably have problems just focusing on all the tasks that you have on your plate. The other thing that could happy is you would find yourself frustrated a lot easier than normal. Yes, so that half hour or an hour to yourself sometimes can really help you think clearer.

The other good point about taking that time for yourself is you will feel better in yourself as well. I know that just having a manicure can make such a difference in my mood. I don't get one very often but when I do I know I feel better about things after I have taken that time for me. Of course, you aren't going to be able to take that time right in the middle of some major work but sometimes at least knowing that you are going to do something for yourself makes that job a little easier.

So yes make sure you take some time for yourself because the people around you will also benefit from it. You will feel better about yourself and it will make the tasks ahead a little easier to deal with.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Strollers

Have you noticed that strollers seem to be getting bigger and bigger. I thought they would be staying a smaller size because of apartments, condos and homes being smaller now.

When I have noticed this is more on public transit when people are getting on and trying to turn to go down the mail aisle. The stroller is longer and wider than is really necessary because the wheels seem to stick out the sides so much now that they get in the way. The other thing I have noticed with the stroller size is that people love hanging things off the handles which also make the stroller wider. I understand that people need to use strollers on public transit but it would be nice to have some that don't take up the entire aisle. Strollers don't pay a fare but they are the thing that takes the place of three, four or even five people. The other thing people do is actually take the child out of the stroller and let the child sit in a seat which means that is another spot taken from a paying individual.

Now with strollers on transit the biggest frustration that I have is someone that gets on a bus with a fully loaded stroller and there is no child with them. The stroller is actually being used to move the groceries or sometimes laundry but these people still figure that should be given the same consideration as if they have a child in the stroller. I'm sorry but without a child in the stroller you are just taking up lots of space and aren't entitled to a seat just because you are holding a stroller. If I take a buggy on the bus I don't expect a seat so what is the difference.

Yes stroller are getting bigger and I think the people that are purchasing them need to consider where they are going to be using the stroller. A stroller of one size is great for a runner but that same stroller isn't good for someone commuting each day on public transit.

Please remember when you are using your stroller on transit, it is large and there are others also wanting to get on so try and take up as little room as possible.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Opening doors

Have you ever noticed how people handle doors that need to be opened or are open. I had a lot of fun lately watching people and how they handled going through various doors. Some of the doors were into apartment buildings and others were into restaurants and shopping malls.

The one door handling that I have to say is my pet peeve is someone pressing the button to open the door and then as soon as door starts to open they pull the door open quickly, if you don't need assistance opening the door why did you press the button and not just open the door in the first place. Now another thing with the automatic door open button are the people that hammer on the button thinking that the door will open quicker if they do that. The door won't open any faster because it is made to open slowly to ensure that the person needing the door opened doesn't get hit by the door. I have seen people press the button thinking one door will open and the door they are standing in the way of is the door that ends up opening. The other thing about these doors is if you see someone press the button to use the door don't barge through the open door and block the other persons way.

Now here is something that I really don't like and it is when I pull open a door, unless I step aside I'm not opening it for you to barge through it. I was opening the door so that I could go through it. I had this happen in an apartment building and I actually told off the individual that was trying to push between me and the door that I had just started to open. This person had stood waiting for someone to open the door thinking that the person was opening it for them.

The most interesting is when there are two doors and one of them is propped open and you will notice that most people will aim for that door even if it means that they have to get in other people's way. If there are two doors side by side please try and use the right hand door. Basically use the doors the same way you use the roads in Canada. The right side of the door way is for you so open the right door. Yes, this is a challenge for some of us that are left handed because the left door is a lot easier to open but I still open the right door.

Have you ever watched people enter doors where there are two separate doors, one to enter and one to exit and the exit door has a do not enter sign on it. Watch and see how many people will use that door as an entrance and wonder why they are getting walked into by people leaving the store. These are the people that get really upset when they get banged and figure that they have the right of way.

So here are my tips:
  • If you need to use the automatic door button, that is fine but don't hammer on it as it won't open any faster.
  • Only walk through a door if it has just been opened if the person doing the opening has stepped out of he way or motioned you to go through the door.
  • Use the right hand door if there are two doors.
  • Watch if there are separate enter and exit doors because you will probably either get banged or walked into if you use the wrong one.
  • Be considerate when going in and out of places.

Yes, doors can be a challenge when entering and exiting building but remember you aren't the only one using the door and you don't know who is watching.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sports teams in hotels

How often have you been in a hotel only to discover that there is a sports team also staying in the same hotel and even on the same floor that you are staying on. Well that does happen quite often considering all the hockey, baseball and soccer tournaments that are held through the year.

The sports team that I am meaning don't just mean the teens or younger it also means the adult sports teams that think just because they are away from home can miss behave. I had a hockey team once staying just across the hall from us and they were adults and figured that the language that they used was fine other than everyone else on the floor also got to hear what they were saying. These adults also figured that letting the door bang every time someone went in or out of the room was fine. This was the room where everyone gathered to drink so a lot of banging of doors. It ended up that security was called because of the language that was being used and the constant banging.

I have also been in a hotel where you wouldn't have guessed that there was a younger hockey team unless you saw them coming and going from the different hockey games. Those parents must be congratulated for how the team behaved because it was wonderful seeing how the parents and players interacted and behaved. That is a major exception to the rule because there was one team that when they were gathering to go out to play figured leaving all their hockey bags all over the lobby was OK because they needed breakfast. Of course the players didn't think about everyone else that was also coming down for breakfast when they put their bags down.

What I would really like to see is some guidelines that both the team and the hotel put in place for the larger groups of people that are staying at a hotel. I don't even care if these guidelines are given to wedding parties or conferences because all the larger groups need to realize that they aren't the only ones that are staying at the hotel.

If you are with a large group and staying at a hotel please remember that there are others also staying there and the other guests are paying for their rooms as well. A hotel isn't a home so respect it as you are a guest there and do you really want your group to be kicked out or banded from staying there again.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Finding a quiet place

In the world today it is so hard to find a quiet place. There are times where you think you might have found the place then something happens to change your mind.

A quiet place can be almost anywhere depending on what you are really looking for. It could be as simple as a room without music, sitting in a backyard, or by a lake without a lot of people around. I like any of these spots depending on what is available at the time.

Knowing that you can find a spot sometimes is very important. The ability to really appreciate the spot is also something you need to do. The time spent in that quiet spot may last for hours or for just a few minutes but it is having that time.

For me when I can have that time I normally curl up and write. A quiet place for me is somewhere that I can sit, think and write out my thoughts.

Knowing you can find the place is important. Understanding what you want in that place is also something you need to know. Your quiet place could be somewhere entirely different than mine.

Find your quiet place and enjoy it. I'm currently enjoying one of my quiet places right now.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Being Me

There are times when I can laugh when I hear someone talk about me. We have been among a group of people lately and one younger lady was trying to tell her friends who I was.

It is interesting when you can hear what someone else thinks of you and your skills because of course people see you differently than you see yourself. I have had some different experiences when listening to people talk about me and the various skills that I have. A lot of the times it is great to hear the different opinions on my skills levels. There was one time that the person was saying I was just showing off and really couldn't do what I said I could do. To solve that problem I then went on to show both of the people that I wasn't just talking about doing something I was able to do it without a problem. If you think that I can't do something that I have said that I can do ask me to show you and you will find out that I don't say I can do something if I can't.

I enjoy being who I am and just hearing what someone else things can be very interesting. Yes, you have to understand that not everyone is going to have a good opinion of you but that doesn't matter. As long as you aren't saying something that is totally untrue I don't care what you say as it is your opinion of who I am.

I am me and I am very happy with being the person that I have become. Of course there are still things that I am changing and improving so I will continue to be a unique individual and be me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Having an opinion

Recently I had to deal with an individual that had an opinion on topics (pig headed) and their stand was their opinion was right and it didn't matter what anyone else had to say.

Yes, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on a subject but they also need to have the ability to listen to other people and their opinion. I figured out how to deal with this individual and it is just to give up trying to say what my opinion is because it is just a waste of my time and energy.

In some cases it is very important to listen to someone else and what they have to say because you may find out that your opinion isn't right. I know that after I have listen to someone else's opinion on a subject I have sometimes changed my own opinion because of the points they have brought forward on the subject.

There are times when it is good to try and convey your opinion to others but then there are times when it is just easier to give up and forget the topic has even been brought up in a discussion. An opinion is something that everyone has on a lot of subjects and you should be able to state your opinion.

I know that I could have argued with the individual that I had to deal with but I figured that it really wasn't worth my time or energy. I have my opinion and I did say it and a lot of other people agreed with my points but this one individual I don't think would ever really admit that their opinion on something wasn't the correct opinion.

Yes please have your opinion on a subject but also listen to what other people are saying as they may have some really good points you haven't heard before

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Misplaced and expired license stickers

While sitting in traffic you may noticed the number of expired license plate stickers you see? I have noticed that, some people don't notice or care that they are driving a vehicle where the sticker on the plates have expired. As a driver it is your responsibility to ensure that your license plate is up to date. I was sitting in a traffic jam and the vehicle in front of us had a sticker for Jan14 and it was May 14 so that was a truly expired plate sticker.

The other thing you notice is that at least in Ontario your sticker for a personal vehicle is suppose to be in the upper right hand corner of the plate. I think I have seen stickers in every area of the plate which is a ticketable offense. It must be interesting when these vehicles are pulled over by police, how do you explain why the sticker isn't in the location it is suppose to be.

Back plates with no stickers and stickers on front plates of a car. In Ontario, the sticker is to be on the back plate. This makes me wonder if the license plates really belong to the vehicle they are currently on.

Another thing to notice is the condition of the back license plate on vehicles. Some plates look like they have seen really bad days but the front plate is in mint condition. It really makes you wonder if people are tampering with their license plates making them hard to read from behind. This is an issue when you are trying to report a vehicle for breaking the law or even for some of the toll highways to read the license plates.

The license plate is a means of identifying the vehicle so make sure it is in good condition.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dealing with difficult situations

As a consultant, I deal with informing clients about good and bad situations. The good situations are easy to deal with. It's the bad situations which are hard to tell clients.

In some cases it's about a piece of equipment that needs to be replaced and other times it could be a situation that has been discovered while trying to document something. It doesn't matter what type of situation it is, if it's going to cost the client some unexpected money or time it isn't something that I like telling them.

If you go into a client site and you are asked to find problems and give recommendations that is one thing but it's the finding of the unexpected problems which are the worst. In some cases it can be a quick fix and another time it can require a great deal of time or money and in some cases both time and money.

I recently had a situation that I had to let management know of a situation that wasn't going to be pleasant and it was extremely difficult for me. I knew that no matter how I worded the situation it was going to result in some unhappy people. As you can guess, I let them know the situation and sure enough some unhappy people. Yes, the client needed to know the issue and it was my job to disclose the situation once I discovered it, which I did. Once I told the client the issue I knew that I was going to have some upset staff as well as management and that is what I had. The good news is once the initial shock wore off they understood that I hadn't been out to find the problem, it just got discovered in me doing my normal work.

Situations like this are always difficult no matter if it's to a client, partner, child or someone you supervise. No one likes delivering the bad news but there are times when it has to be delivered.

Dealing with the difficult situations can assist someone in understanding what you do, your method of working, as well as finding out something that can be improved in their area. Deal with the situation in a professional manner and know that you are doing the right thing by letting them know. It's better to tell them of the situation than them find out about the situation another way and you getting questions about why you didn't tell them.

Know that you can deliver the news and it be received in the manner that you intended it is very important. Also having ideas to help solve the problem can really help instead of just delivering the bad news. The most important thing is know how you are going to deliver the news and make sure you can prove it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Customer service

Knowing how to deal with customers is very important especially when in the retail business. For us even being in the consulting business knowing how to deal with customers is very important.

Here are some things that have happened and these are situations that shouldn’t be happening:
  1. Things a cashier should never say “Customer service is open, I can’t handle all of you” and this was heard while standing in line at an express line at a grocery store. Does this person want a job for long? The lineup wasn’t long and most people had one or two items. The express line was for customers with 8 or less items.
  2. Trying to find a bakery department in a grocery store under renovation – walk through store looking for sign but cannot find one, go to where the bakery section was, ask and be told to go to the new section of the store. Finally locate some cakes under a large sign that says “Produce”. Ask where I can pick up a cake that was ordered, one guy goes to find someone in the back of bakery, comes back talks to another produce guy and then goes to the 3 meat department guys only to have 4 guys go out the back and page someone from bakery. Finally get someone from baker to find the cake. Yes this is what you can say is a confusing situation. When a store is under renovation, signs are very important if you want to keep your customers.
  3. Staff that don’t see all customers and only select who they want to serve and this isn’t something that should be done. All customers in a store should be treated the same as the next person no matter what. Also staff has walked into me and then said they didn’t see me and that is difficult considering I am over 5 foot tall. If you are in a store you should be treated with respect and also understand that you need to treat the staff with respect.
Customer service is very important because staff can impact if a customer will return to the store or business again and what if they speak favourable about the location or not. Word of mouth can really effect a business.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Writing as an escape

So many people ask me why I write and it’s simple. I write because I enjoy it and also for me I can help others when I write manuals and other work documentation.

I don’t just write for work I also write for enjoyment. I am someone that likes to keep busy and I find that writing is an escape from my normal routine. Yes I journal, blog and am trying to write some short stories.

I know professionally when I say that I enjoy writing I get some very funny looks especially from people in IT. See IT should involve documentation but so many people just don’t like putting into words what they do and how they do it. For me documenting procedures is something that I find easy to do because watching what people do and how they do it is easy. I will also look at how things can be improved and made easier.

Writing for me personally is a lot of fun because I can write about ideas that come to my head and am not limited to what a client wants or needs. The writing for me involves all the different things that I like doing as well as crazy ideas that come to me. The blogging is not limited to this blog as I find that as a crafter I like showing off what I do so that is something that I keep separate from this type of blogging that I do.

Writing in so many ways for me is an escape because when I am writing I can totally lose myself into what I am doing and the world around me disappears. Writing needs to be something that you enjoy doing if you are going to do it for a living. For me writing is enjoyable and that is why I can do it both personally and professionally.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 202

So what is the importance of day 202, well July 21st is the 202 day of 2014 for one thing.

The more important thing for me is that is the number of days I have written in 2014 so far.  Yes I have written each day in 2014 without missing any day so that is a major achievement for me.  I know that I don't blog each day but at least I do some writing in my journal everyday which is wonderful.

I am finding that writing has given me the opportunity to deal with issues a whole lot easier than before.  I was one of those people that let things bother me and then I would get really upset but now I am finding that by writing each day I am able to deal with the issues when they are smaller and they don't upset me as much anymore.

Ok, I may not always reach the 500 words each day but at least I am finding that by writing each day my writing is getting easier to do.  The blank page doesn't scare me like it did before because I know that I will be able to deal with it quickly.

My goal was to be able to write for 100 days without missing a day. I have more than doubled that goal so now to just take one day at a time and if something happens and I miss a day I will be disappointed but I know I will just start writing the next day and move forward. 

To those that don't think they could write each day, set a small goal of writing for one week each day and then keep extending that goal and you will be surprised as where you can go with it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fire Routes

Fire routes along the sides of buildings are there for a reason and that is for the safety of the people in the building. These routes are there so that emergency vehicles can access the building without vehicles being parked too close to the building.

Of course a lot of these routes are at the front doors of the buildings where people enter and exit vehicles as well as the building. What you are not supposed to do is park the vehicles in these routes and leave the vehicle.

In so many cases I have seen people park their vehicle in the way of others and get out of their vehicle and go into the building to get things. In one case the person actually got on the elevator and went up to a unit to get stuff because they had forgotten it upstairs. Now to mark it clear there are visitor parking spots that can be used for just that reason so stay in your own parking spot and get back to your unit to get the stuff you forgot.

The fire route is there for the safety of the residents as well as for the emergency responders. This area is especially important during a fire because where is debris going to fall if not right next to the building. Also this route is so that ambulances and such can get in and out quickly to deal with injured individuals. If you were injured, would you want to be delayed in getting to the hospital because someone was parked in the way?'

A fire route is there for a reason so when you are close to a building do the quick drop off or pickup of the person but remember that you need to stay with your vehicle. Also don’t argue with the fire department or police when they ask you to move your vehicle. You are the one that is in the way and they are just doing their job.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ice Cream Trucks

As I live in a high density area we have ice creams trucks that frequent our street. I understand that they need to draw attention to themselves but how many times do they need to play their music.
Now I am saying this as we have either three or four ice cream trucks on our street during the summer evenings. The trucks arrive early like around 3pm and the last one leaves somewhere after the sun has set. Now the trucks drive the street before they park and play their music and then when they part they play their music some more.

In one case during one evening a truck arrived in the neighbourhood at 8pm playing their music which is a 2 minute song. It was played twice during the drive and while parking the truck so that was acceptable. Now what got really bothersome was that this same truck played the 2 minute song twice every fifteen minutes until 8:30 when he gave up and left because business was slow. The interesting thing about this truck is he doesn’t arrive at a standard time so people don’t know if he is coming or not.

Yes, ice cream trucks need to play their music but I really think there should be a limit to the frequency and the volume that they music is played.

Now if you are an ice cream truck operator and you want people to frequent your truck remember the simple things:

  1. Don’t annoy people by playing your music too loud
  2. Don’t pay your music too frequently
  3. Be around at standard times

Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 Goals so far

Here it is half way through the year and time to see how I am really doing with my goals that I set on January 1st.

1. Blog four times each month – 5 out of 6 months wrote at least four blogs a month
2. Complete remaining 2 courses of Fundraising Certificate – finished one course and doing second course right now
3. Write a minimum of 15,000 words a month – writing more than 15,000 words each month so far without an issue so hopefully this will continue for the rest of the year.
4. Take time for myself on a regular basis – getting better at this
5. Get home office area organized – more organized but still needs work.

I am very happy with my progress so far this year with my goals. The blogging has been getting easier as well so that is great. Now to just keep it up for the rest of the year.

Writing in general has gotten easier as well and have been reaching the 15,000 words each month without much of a challenge. Decided to give myself the goal of 15,000 words excluding assignments to make sure my writing is not just school stuff.

Now to see what the rest of the year is like.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cashing of cheques

Why is it that people figure that as soon as they give you a cheque you are immediately going to run to the bank and deposit it?

Lately I have come upon an issue with people and cashing of cheques. This is both personally and professionally. It is amazing how many people figure that their cheque is a priority to you no matter what else is happening in your life.

On the personal side I received a cheque on a Wednesday evening (June 4th) and within a week I was reminded that I didn't cash the cheque yet. I understand that it means that the bank book doesn't balance for a couple of weeks but I don't go to the bank every week. I was then reminded again because I hadn't cashed the cheque by the 15th of the month. Well I finally got to the bank on June 20th so this cheque has now been deposited and should show up as cashed by the beginning of next week.

Now on the professional side we received a cheque on June 4th and on June 19th were asked if there was a problem because it hadn't cleared the bank yet. Of course there were other cheques that were being received during the month so was waiting for some of them to arrive before going to the bank to make the deposit. As a small business going to the bank means that something else that is billable isn't being done. There is a routine of handling the cheques on a monthly basis and I have to admit that unless the cheque is received near the end of the month they are cashed in that month.

Going to the bank even to a bank machine involves time and you are not always close to the bank that you deal with. I have seen some bank machines over the couple of weeks but they haven't been my bank so haven't used it to deposit the cheque. Now for the business banking there are times that the business counter is open and that is normally during the normal work day which is also the normal billable time for the business.

If you give someone a cheque be patient and let them cash it when they can. OK, if the cheque hasn't cleared within a month it is fine to ask about it but until that month is up let them deal with it without being reminded. A cheque either personal or professional is only one piece of paper that someone is dealing with.

I understand that your bank book may not balance for a couple of weeks but remember the longer I don't cash your cheque the longer the money is in your bank.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Locations to work

As a small business co-owner we find various locations where we can get some of our work done. Yes we have a small executive office and we go to client sites. We do need to have other locations where we can get work done.
Other locations where we can get work done is at home, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, conferences and even sitting outside. For us as long as we have our computers we are able to get work done. For me there are times I don’t even need my computer because when I am writing I can also write in my small paper notebook that I keep with me all the time.
Yes we have spots that are easier to work in but knowing that we can work in various locations makes it easier to adjust when something comes up. I know that since we got a small ultrabook that I have with me it means that I can even get some writing done in the car when we are out. No I do not drive and write, I am the passenger and I can write when I get ideas.
Sometimes we need the internet to send emails or research something but there are times when just getting the ideas down really does help when there is no internet available. OK, we both have our mobile devices so it means we can send emails and answer questions even when we are not connected to the internet.
I love having the ability to work in different locations because just the change of location can really assist me in my writing. It is now time for me to try and get a bit more writing done for work before we have to change locations again for today.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Commuting in the city

I live in a big city and a lot of the general conveniences are within a pretty close distance. Ok they are not within a minute walk but a lot of things can be easily accessible within a 15-30 minute walk.
In our neighbourhood there are three schools within a 20 minute walk and that 20 minute walk is for the middle and high school. Our public school for junior kindergarten to grade 5 is within a 5-10 minute walk from most of the apartment buildings.

In our neighbourhood we are also lucky to have a small mall available within a 10 minute walk with basic groceries, banking and pharmacy facilities. It is very amazing to see the number of people that will drive over to the mall instead of walking when they have to go to the bank or pick up something small. For me it is a nice break when I can simply walk over to the mall and take that necessary break that I sometimes need from work.

Now what is very interesting is the number of parents that will drive their public school children to school instead of walking with them to the school. I think in some cases it probably takes longer to walk to the car then it is to walk to the school. People are also wondering why children of today are lazy and that is an example of it. If children don’t get into the habit of walking sometimes they won’t walk when they are older.

When I was growing up it was expected that you walk to school as a family quite often only had one vehicle and that vehicle was for the parent that had to drive to get to work. When it was very cold out I would take transit to my high school as it was a longer walk but when the weather was nice I would do the walk normally home from school.

I am one of those that enjoys going for walks and gets very frustrate when I can’t get the walks in that I want. Our last winter was very hard on me because it was so cold and icy that going outside for walks was something you didn’t do very often. I know that I did walk over to the mall a couple of times just to get a bit of a walk in.

Having the ability to walk to some of the basic things is great because so often we need to commute for work. I am not one of those that has to commute 1.5 hours each way to work each day and I am very glad. Commuting in a city is something that we all do but knowing that you can walk to a few spots is nice.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Using Twitter

If your twitter account is for you as a professional remember it should be used for just that.

So often I see people that set up a professional twitter account and then end up using it more for their personal comments than for their profession. If you want to use twitter for your personal comments than that is the type of twitter account you should get up.

I know one store that set up a twitter account and it was supposed to be used to promote the store. Now it is being used to show pictures of the owners’ backyard, their trips and even what they are watching on TV.

The other thing people do is set up with twitter account so it feeds into their Facebook account so everyone that is a Facebook friend gets to see their twitter feed. Of course these people also can’t figure out why no one follows them on twitter, why should I when I already get to see what you are posting on twitter through Facebook.

A professional twitter account should be used for professional posts and then have another twitter account where you can post those other comments. Please don’t ask me why I don’t follow you on twitter when we are already friends and you are posting all your twitter feed onto your Facebook account. Also I don’t have to follow you to see what you are posting if you don’t make your posts private.

I don’t live in twitter so if you post sometime you expect me to see good luck because I will probably miss it anyway.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Solitude

What does solitude mean to you? Is it the quite of nature or is it just doing something different from the ordinary.

I know for me solitude can be sitting somewhere quiet and enjoying the surroundings. I love being able to sit on a patio and watch my surroundings while having a meal. The best patio is somewhere where there is water close by and you can watch the activity on the water. For some people it is a walk along a nature trail and being able to escape all of the sounds that we hear all the time now.

Have you ever sat on a dock and listened to the sounds of loons especially on a misty morning. The sound of loons can be such a calming sound even when it isn’t misty out. Just hearing them communicate can be very enjoyable and give you the chance to appreciate nature. Another sound that is very nice is a rippling brook as the water simply flows its way over the different rocks.
Sometimes it can be as simple as putting on my headphones and escaping all of the different sounds that are around me. Having a chance to escape from everything can really hope you regain a focus that you lose.

The most amazing time is when I can simply just lose myself into what I am doing and it really doesn’t matter what is going on around it. I can be sitting in a very busy environment but when I am happy doing my own thing I can lose myself into it and not really hear all the noises that are going on around me.

So solitude can really vary for the person and even a given situation. A simple little thing like being happy where you are and your company can help make the biggest different.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Patience

Have you ever watching people standing in a line for something?

It is actually fun to watch other people as they stand in line for something. Some people can stand so patiently waiting while others will continually look at their watch or phone checking the time. In some cases the more you check what time it is the longer the wait seems to be. I know that I don’t like standing in a long line but I really try to avoid checking the time too often so that I don’t get impatient.

The other people are those in the line that complain how long it is taking to get through the line-up. Sometimes people complain even when there is only one person in front of them because they figure that when they show up somewhere there shouldn’t be anyone else doing the same thing at the same time. In society today we seem to have to stand in more lines than before but we need to remember that most lines do more quickly.

Today I stood in a line for almost 45 minutes and it was fun watching others in line. Some of them didn’t seem to mind the wait while others looked very frustrated. We ended up in a conversation with a couple of people close to us in line. Maybe that made the wait not seem as long but knowing that we might have to wait before we even got there probably helped us.

Next time you are in a line waiting for something, watch the people around you and see how they are handling the wait, you might be entertained.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Volunteering

I have had the pleasure to be a volunteer for a number of years and for a number of different charities and non-profit organizations. Some of my volunteering has been donating some of my craft items to the organization so that they can either raffle the item off, give them to people who need them or in some cases even sell the items to help with programs for the children.

One thing I have seen is that different organizations treat their volunteers so differently. In some cases you hear nothing from the organization when you give them things that they have asked for and other one's either give you a call or an email or note to acknowledge what you have done.

I have also volunteered my time to some organizations and again have been some extreme differences between how one volunteer is treated and another volunteer. If an organization wants to keep their volunteers they need to ensure that they are treating all of their volunteers with respect and ensure that their effort is acknowledged. In one case that I can think of, three volunteers organized the same type of event and two heard the words thanks and the other one received a public thank you as well as a floral arrangement. No the volunteers don't know that they were treated differently but the organization sees how some leaders favour one volunteer over another volunteer.

The one situation that really got to me was the latest call that I got from an organization that I helped a couple of years ago. For this organization I donated a number of knit hats for children and then I spent 5 Friday afternoons for one hour teaching kids from grade 1-5 to knit. It was a great time as I got to help kids learn something new for them. A couple of weeks ago I received a call asking me if I would teach kids to knit during their summer camp. Each group goes for three weeks so I would have 3 – 1 hour sessions with each group, this sounded not too bad. Now the only thing that really got me was this was the entire summer and the organization would set the day and time that I would be teaching the knitting. I wouldn't have any input on the day or time and considering this was for the entire summer that doesn't work for me. When I said no they just didn't seem to understand that committing one hour a week during the day is difficult for someone that works.

So what I am really getting at is if you want someone to volunteer for your organization you have to be willing to accept their schedule as part of it. In my case if I had of been given some input on the number of times I taught the knitting and the day that worked best for me I might have considered it.

Volunteers are people that are willing to give an organization some of their personal time for free so remember you need to respect the volunteer and consider their schedule.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Having a hobby

For most people having a hobby is a means of spending a bit of time in the evenings or on the weekend doing something different than what they do for their job.
I am one of those people because I do enjoy my time away from the work life and can spend my evenings or bits of free time curled up crafting. I am a crafter who enjoys learning new techniques. My prime love is the needle crafts of knitting, crocheting, and cross-stitch. I can do a few other things and have tried quite a few of them.
I will make jewellery or draw when I have the time to focus on something like that. Both of these hobbies require a bit more time because you need to set stuff up before you can start doing anything. The jewellery making can be fun especially if you can leave supplies out for a few days and then pick up and work on things for a few minutes at a time.
The needle crafts that I do can normally be done without a lot of set-up time so those are the projects that are worked on when time is limited or I don’t have the energy to get other things out. I normally do have a few projects that are at various stages so that I can work on something when the time is there. My needle crafts especially the knitting and crocheting are my way of stitching my mind back together at the end of a very busy day. This is how I mediate and I know that I need that time after doing the various projects that I work on.
A hobby can be exercising, reading, watching tv or just spending times with others. Not everyone is the same or has the same hobbies and that is great. If everyone did the same hobbies, life would be boring.
A hobby should be something that you enjoy doing. A hobby shouldn’t feel like work because then it becomes a job and it is no longer fun.