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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.