Tuesday, September 19, 2017

If you want my help ask, don't assume

So many times you hear someone mention something that they would like to do and you are not sure if they are asking for help or not. If you want my help ask for it and don’t assume I am available to help or if I will offer to help.

I have run across times especially as a volunteer that you hear “oh, I figured you would be available to help”. I can only be available to help if I am asked to help and you give me some lead time about an event so that I can see if I am going to be available or not. I think this is one of the biggest frustrations for me and that is making the assumption that I am going to be available to do something just because you need the help. The other issue is when someone thinks just because I volunteer to help that it is automatic that my husband is going to be there as well. There have been times when one of us has the time to help with something and the other one is busy.

There are times that you listen to someone talk about something and it sounds like they are basically asking for help and when you offer you hear, “oh, no I don’t need the help you are too busy.” This is something else that people need to understand that if I am offering to help you, I am willing to help and just need to figure out things. Sure there may be times when we are just too busy to help with something but then we wouldn’t be offering to help but would be saying “I would have loved to help but given our schedule right now it isn’t possible.”

The other fun one is when someone is talking and sounding like they need the help and when you offer you hear, “oh no I am planning on doing this myself.” This is one that makes me laugh because the person has made it sound like they need the help and when you offer they want to do it themselves. At least I have offered to help so the person can’t complain that no one offered to help.

I have heard people complain that no one was willing to help them and it either was they never asked for help or when it was offered they didn’t want it. Now if you are going to say that no one was willing to help please make sure that you have asked for the help and not just assumed that people would be there to help out on your schedule.

It can be interesting when you know something is going to be happening and you figure that your help is needed but you aren’t asked until the last minute. We deal with this sometimes and it can be frustrating because you knew you needed the help at the beginning of your planning so even if you don’t have a plan totally figured out at least start asking people if they are going to be available around a given date to help. Just getting the date when something is and then hoping that people are going to be able to jump and help doesn’t always work. Also it can be a challenge to get people to help even with the notice but at least you have a better chance of getting the help.

So remember, if you need my help ask for it and don't’ assume I am going to be available to help. Volunteers are volunteers for a reason and one of those is because they only have a limited amount of time to give to a cause so respect that and ask for the help ahead of when you will need it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11th

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

I think for a lot of people September 11th is a day that we are going to remember for a very long time no matter what. For me, I will always remember September 11th and the next few days with some very mixed feelings. September 11th was the day that the World Trade Centre in New York was hit by two planes. September 14th was National Day of morning in Canada so yes a lot of emotions that happened during that time. September 14th also have another meaning for me and that is because September 14th, 2001 was my wedding day.

September 11th will always be in my memory as I day that I was sitting in my office and was listening to the radio and trying to make sure that all the things that I needed to do for the wedding had been doing. Little did I know that within an hour of arriving at work that day was going to be changed and the excitement about the wedding was going to be changed to sadness and worry. The sadness and worry were for all the people whose life had been changed that day. There were all the people that lost their lives and then there were all the people that last loved ones and also the first responders that had to deal with the overall impact of what had just happened.

As we were in an office it meant that we were trying to function and continue on with our day but then we walked into a boardroom and turned on CNN to see what was really happening. Hearing that a plane had hit a building you always figure it must have been a small plane and never would have thought it was a jet until you see it. The morning to me is still something that I will remember because we sat as a rather large group just staring at a television and we watched and saw the two World Trade Centre towers disappear from view. Seeing the towers go down is something that I remember so clearly because the vision and the reaction of the media was total shock.

The impact of that day has an impact not just in New York but around the world as people realized it could happen any where. Planes that were heading to the United States got either cancelled or if they were in the air they were diverted to Canada or turned around and landed where they had left. Also planes that were even flying within Canada were cancelled for security reasons so that meant that life for a lot of people were changed.

Working in downtown Toronto also meant that all the office towers were going to be evacuated in case there were something planned for here. The office towers were cleaned in a very orderly fashion with the tallest towers being the first ones to get notified and then the smaller towers got told to evacuate after that. I was in one of the lower towers so we were told that the building was closed and everyone was asked to leave around noon so it was time to head home and realize things had changed all over the world.

Life in Toronto got back to normal the next day but it was a new normal for a lot of people because they saw things a little different then they did before. I tired to get back to normal and continued on with work that needed to get done before I left to get married. Now the one question that we had and that wasn’t going to be answered for a few days and that was were we leaving on our honeymoon that weekend. Sure it may found a little bad to say that but the world was trying to get back to normal as quickly as possible even with all the news stations still covering New York City and Washington.

The good news is we got married on the 14th of September and left on our honeymoon on the 16th. Sure life changed on the 11th of September in a lot of ways and it did impact our day but we decided that we had to try and forget all the sadness and enjoy our day. Our small wedding stayed small and our honeymoon was a little different but at least life got back to the new normal for us even with the thoughts of New York and all those that had lost loved ones in the back of our mind.

Everyone has a memory of where they were on September 11th, 2001 and for some it was just another day and for others their life changed forever. Whatever that day means to you that’s ok because we all deal with the impact of that day a little different.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Allergies and how I deal with them

Allergies to me are something that I have been dealing with for a long time. When it comes to my allergies I find that I have learned to deal with them differently depending where I am and also who I am with. When I am talking about allergies I am referring to my severe allergies and not just the seasonal allergies that are easy to deal with in a lot of cases. The severe food allergies can be a challenge at the best of time and you just have to learn now to deal with them.

At home
Dealing with the allergies are home is probably one of the safest spots for me but again it isn’t an easy spot when it comes to grocery shopping and buying the ready made meals. Grocery shopping is a longer process for us than a lot of other people because besides looking at some of the health content (salt, sugar, etc) we are having to read the labels on everything that we buy each time we go grocery shopping. It does mean that a quick trip into the grocery store really doesn’t happen unless it is to pick up things like meat, vegetables and eggs. The ready made meals are the things that are a challenge because some of those don’t come with ingredients on them and some do so that is another thing that we deal with is the constant checking of those meals.

At other people’s homes
In a lot of cases we don’t go to visit friends that don’t understand my allergies because it can be a risk for me. We have friends that each time they invite us over will ask for a confirmation of the allergens so that they can ensure they are getting things right. If we are somewhere and I am not certain about a food I will just pass on it to be safe. We have found that a lot of our friends will even confirm once we arrive to make sure that things are going to be safe. There has been a couples of times where I have had to miss eating something because they have purchased an ingredient in error and that doesn’t bother me so I just don’t have that item. I would rather someone let me know there has been a mix-up and then we continue on.

Restaurants
Restaurants have always been a challenge and that is one of the reasons why we don’t eat out very often. We have found a few places that we visit for special occasions but normally we find it is just as easy (and cheaper) to make the similar meal at home where we can verify all the ingredients. There are times when we have to eat in a restaurant and that is when I will ask the questions that I need to ask to ensure my food is safe or I will have something simple like a salad.

Conferences
Conferences are like restaurants in some ways but can also be a bigger challenge. Most conferences have a preset meal and you aren’t sure what you are getting. Some conferences provide a boxed lunch so that will be a sandwich of some sort, a salad and then some type of dessert. These can all be a risk and it means that I just have to be extremely careful and watch what I eat and as I always say go with my gut feeling. If my feeling is something isn’t going to be safe I just avoid it and always ensure that I have munchies with me to make up for the meal or food that I haven’t eaten.

Overall
In a lot of cases it is just a matter of communicating my allergies and then hoping the person receiving the message and the person preparing the meal understand. Allergies can be a challenge for the person that lives with them and all of their family and friends. Understanding the impact of a severe allergy can make a big difference and your safety is the most important thing to consider.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Why so many WIP's?

Before I try and answer that question I first need to explain what a WIP is. It is work in progress and it is used by a lot of crafters to explain that they have things that they are working on.

Now to try and answer that question because I get that question asked of me quite often especially when I start talking to someone and they ask me what I worked on during a given week. For me a week of evening crafting can mean a week of a different project being worked on each night. Yes, I have more than 7 WIP’s on the go at one time and they are things that are on the currently being worked on projects.

For me I like having a few projects on the go because it means that depending on my mood and even where I am I can choice a project that can fit that need. I cross-stitch, sew, knit and crochet besides a bunch of other crafts so yes there are normally things on the go in each of these categories.

Cross-stitch WIPS’s now I have a few of these projects currently on the go and a lot of them meet a different need when it comes to my cross-stitch time. I have projects that I can work on that are basic fill in large areas with one colour and these projects are get when I am sitting outside or with a group of people and don’t want to have to focus on counting stitching but just stitch. I have projects that have lots of different colours in a small area and that needs the focus of making sure that the stitch goes into the correct spot and these are projects that I normally go with good lighting and alone. I also have projects that are simple one colour projects and these are projects that I can take with me when we travel or when I am out among people and can do some stitching and talking.

Crocheting and knitting projects call into the same categories as the cross-stitch because there are things that you can do when you are around people. There are projects that need focus and concentration so that means they are the projects that are done when you can spend the time thinking them through. Smaller knitting and crocheting projects also work great when you are a passenger in a vehicle and can work on them while keeping the driver company as well as getting something accomplished.

Sewing projects have there own categories because there are things that need to be done in front of the sewing machine and then the other stuff can be done in different spots. Sure these are the projects are more done at home and when there is more time to focus on getting something done.

Sure WIP’s can be a wonderful thing to have on the go but it is also the managing of the number of WIP’s that are getting the attention that needs the attention. For some people they can only have one project in each category on the go at once and then there are people need the variety in each category. I am one of those that needs the variety in each category so if you ask me what I am currently working on beware as I won’t just have one thing on the go.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Helping others doesn't rely on a language

Recently I ran into a situation that I figured out how to help someone when there was a language barrier.

We were sitting in a coffee shop and I heard a man ask how to get to the Casino that was close by. Well when the man said Casino I realized that he didn’t speak English very well and maybe didn’t speak much English at all. The guy behind the counter figured out where he wanted to go and gave him some quick directions which would help if you understood English and knew how all the street names were spelled.

The man asking for directions turned away from the counter and looked at his device and I understood that he was still very confused and wasn’t going to be able to get to the Casino with the directions that he was just given. As we have a tablet for work I quickly pulled it out and looked up the directions to the Casino using an app that we have on the tablet. I found the map and then we decided it would be a good idea for me to go and show the man how to get there. Of course, I still didn’t realize that English wasn’t a language he was comfortable with.

I walked over with the tablet and asked if they were going to the “CASINO” making sure I said Casino slowly. I showed them the map that I had on the tablet screen and that is when they got very excited because they figured out I was there to help them find the directions they needed. What I quickly discovered was the man had the same app as we had so that was going to make things a little easier. Through a lot of simple words and hand jesters I was able to show him how to get to the Casino. He then marked the Casino on the app which then provided him with the same directions that I was showing him. He was very happy to know that they were going to be able to get there without a problem now.

It was wonderful to be able to help someone even when language was going to be a challenge. Being able to show the directions on a device and then use the hand jesters the family was off to the Casino and we felt good. Sure it was something simple to show them how to get where they were going but it was seeing that they appreciated it so much was nice. All of the family said thank you to us for our help and then they were off.

Language doesn’t have to be a barrier when you are giving or receiving directions. Having another method to communicate can make a big difference. Sure, the man’s app had Chinese words for the various commands but we were able to see the street names in English and then he knew where he was going.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back to school sales

For us in Canada the Back to School sales seem to start so early but there are a lot of reasons for that.

One of the biggest reasons for our back to school sales starting so early is the various times that different places do go back to school. I know that in Canada most of the schools start again around the Labour Day weekend. Now for some kids in some states in the United States school starts in early to mid August. Of course, they also finish their school year in May and not the end of June like some of the schools here in Canada.

The reason that the sales seem to start early for us is that the sales are company bases and not location based. I understand that sometimes here it seems that the kids are just starting their summer holidays and all the school supplies start coming out. I have also heard that some parents even here like the idea of having the sales early because it means that they can spread out the expenses of going back to school and everything doesn’t hit at the end of August.

When we have been out shopping in the last month it is amazing how many people have been picking up the school supplies. Sure it may seem early in some ways but if you pick up the supplies when the stores first get them and put them on special you will get the items that you want in the colour that you also want. I know that not everyone cares about the colours of their binders or such but a lot of students want things a certain way and I know I was one of those students. A binder colour meant something and I wanted enough different colours so that I had a binder for each subject and all of them were different colours.

Back to School sales can seem to indicate the end of summer but it also indicates that for some school starts are different times and we have to accept that the sales may seem to be early for us. I know that even without kids I enjoy the back to school sales because it is a chance to stock up on the highlighters and pens that we use.

Summer is very short no matter how you look at it. It is a chance to have a vacation for some and for others it is the time to sit at work and deal with all the other vacations that are going on. Back to school is just one time and remember if you are complaining about the sales that are happening for school remember that the Halloween and Christmas stuff will be in the store soon as well.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Festivals in a city

During the summer there seems to be a festival or some sort of event every weekend so there are always things to do.

When you live in a big city like Toronto it doesn’t take you long to find some festival that is happening on any given weekend in the summer. Now the long weekends is where there are lots and lots of different events and you then have to decide what you are going to do and also if you aren’t going to the events how you are getting around the city. I was looking at some of the events that are happening this weekend and of course found some that result in road closures and others that don’t.

For us in Toronto the biggest event that happens on the August long weekend is the Caribana Parade that closes Lakeshore Boulevard for a stretch. It is a major festival with a huge parade that starts at 8:30 am on the Saturday and runs until around 6 pm in the afternoon. Now this is just one of the activities that happens during the Caribana Festival that happens in the city. This festival started on the 9th of July and has been going on in various parks around the city since then and will wrap up August 6th with a couple more big events. Yes it is a big event that the city has and something that brings lots and lots of visitors into the city so things specially in the downtown area are a little busier.

Of course, there are smaller festivals also happening this same weekend in other areas of the city. We have things like the Toronto Food Truck Festival happening as well as a bunch of other things like a Ribfest and other cultural events so the city is full of various activities so there is always something to do on the weekend.

Some people complain that there are too many events on weekends in the city but what they don’t think about is all the tourists that some of these events bring into the city. The tourists are what helps the city through all the shopping, hotels and meals that these people do. When you are in the downtown core during the summer it is always interesting to see how many people have shopping bags full of stuff compared to how many people have lots of shopping bags during the rest of the year. Yes, there may be road closures that we all deal with in the summer but then we have to think about all the businesses that survive because of the business they do in the summer months thanks to the tourists.

Festivals in the city are something that everyone should try and do during the summer. You may get to see some new things that you weren’t aware of before. You may also see how many different areas of the city there really is.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Vacations

So many people take vacations during the summer while other people will take their vacations either in the winter or once the kids have gone back to school.

For people with families the summer vacation is the easiest one to plan because that is when the kids are out of school. Sure, parents do take the kids out of school sometimes but that is normally because of a special vacation and not just the getting away vacation. The people that take their vacations in the winter are ones that like to travel south to the warmer weather and they have the time and flexibility to do that. The one that take their vacations after the kids have gone back to school are normally people that don’t have kids and don’t travel south.

We are ones that enjoy taking a vacation once the kids have gone back to school. There are some advantages of this besides the lack of kids in the hotels. Another advantage is that the hotels are a little cheaper and also you can get to see more things without having to line up as much. Sure there are still lots of people on vacation through September and into October but it isn’t like the number of people on vacation in July and August. The other thing about the July and August vacations is that it is when some plants have a shutdown so that they can do maintenance on the equipment.

For the last few years we have been taking our vacation over the august long weekend and it is a lot busier at the hotel and even on the highways. This year we are changing it up and are going to take some time once the kids are back at school. We haven’t decided when we are going away but we know that it will be nice to have some time away from home and maybe see a different area of the province. Of course for us it means figuring out what we haven’t seen and then plan our vacation around that.

Vacations are nice when you can get away from the normal routine and see places that you haven’t seen before or you haven’t seen in a while. Some people are even doing the staycation and that is where you stay home and do the day trips around to different areas or even become a tourist in your own city. These can be a nice change as well because it is nice to see the city you live in from a different perspective. We have done that type of holiday and it is fun when you can take the various tours that the city has and just see things that you sometimes just pass by and don’t really see.

Vacations are a time to spend together with your family or friends and also time to try and recharge some of those buckets that have been kind of emptied with all the work and other obligations. Vacations are times to get out of the normal routine and do something. It doesn’t when you take a vacation it just feels great to be taking one and it is also nice to get home after one.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A new project

All of us have a bunch of projects that we are working on at once. In some cases there are times when one project is the main focus and it gets all or as much attention as you can give it.

When a new project comes along there needs to be the juggling to see how this new project is going to fit in or is it the one that is going to get top priority for a little while as you figure out what you really want to achieve out of the project. If you are lucky someone is going to tell you the goal of the project and the go live date and you just have to work on making it come to life and achieve the goals.

Now what happens when a project is figured out and it is a project that you are in charge of and also you are the one that is setting the dates and the overall goal of the project. This is something that I am currently dealing with and there are of course the different questions that need to be answered and things that have to be moved forward.

The project is something that I had sort of thought about for a while but again didn’t think it was something that I was going to make a go of until this past weekend. I am now working on a project that needs a lot of questions answered and also a bunch of other steps along the way. For me it also meant that the brain decided that it was going to try and juggle everything and just start to overwhelm me with questions and ideas.

One of the first things that I started to do was try and keep everything in my head and not write anything down which was a major problem. Sure this project doesn’t have a drop dead date but there is a date that I have in mind that I want to have the project basically ready for. Now to see if that is going to happen. After feeling like I was going to throw my hands up, I figured out the major problem I was having and that was having all of the questions in my head and also a bunch of steps also in my head. Thankfully I have a partner that is willing to sit and list to me and we decided to write down all of the questions and steps and it didn’t matter in which order they came out. The things that were in my head just needed to be put onto paper and then things might seem a little easier to manage. The list quickly grew into a page of point form notes but I felt better about things.

Sure the project is still very new and I still have a lot of questions that need to be answered but at least now I have a foundation and some place to put more of the questions and all of the answers and decisions that I am making. A new project, of course, is going to have a lot of unknowns with it but at least finding a means of making the unknown known is helping.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Benefits of loyalty cards or membershps

Recently I discovered one of the benefits of having a loyal card for a grocery store. I have also heard from others that they have experienced the same benefit and it does make me happy hearing that this is now happening.

What I am talking about it getting an email about a specific food or item that is being recalled that you have purchased. Sure in some ways it may feel like the store is being nosy and checking to see what you purchase but then there is the benefit of it being in their system.

I have loyalty cards from a number of the stores that we frequent because I figured if I can get some sort of bonus that makes shopping there a little nicer. Most times I will get my card scanned by the cashier to see if I have earned any points during that visit and also to see what the point total is for that specific store. What I didn’t realize is some of the benefits that scanning the card even when I am only purchasing one or two items. The benefit that I received recently was an email from a store letting me know about a food recall on a product that I had recently purchased. At first I wasn’t too sure about this but then I realized that yes it can be a real benefit to receive this type of email.

The message I received was:
Please be advised that a public safety notice has been issued on select units of xxxxx.
You are receiving this notice because your records indicate you purchased this product.
Click here for full details about this recall.”

I was very happy to receive this recall because it meant that I could double check the recall to ensure that the item I had purchased was either in the recall or it wasn’t in the recall. In my case the item wasn’t in the recall as it was just a specific date. For me I had heard about the recall the evening before I received this email because I also get all the food recalls from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency due to having the various food allergies that I have. Not everyone gets the food recalls from the agency so at least when the store lets you know you can check what you purchased.

I didn’t know that I would receive this type of email as a benefit from using my loyalty card but now that I have it lets me know how important it is for me to have that card scanned each time I do some shopping at the grocery stores.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Window coverings

window coverings
Well recently I was sitting on our balcony and looked over to the apartment beside us and noticed the various types of window coverings that are used in the different apartment units.  I understand that no everything wants drapes or sheers or things like that on their windows but it is interesting to see what people have done.

In this picture that I took there are basically three different types of window coverings.  One of them that is the normal drapes or curtains and then the other two types of things that to me shouldn't be used on the windows.  My basic concern is how are you sticking the material onto the window in the first place and how easy or hard is it to remove late.

On the bottom left of the picture where is what looks like foil over all of the window.  Sure it might help keep the heat out but considering you can now purchase blackout curtains at a reasonable price that would probably work as well and you would even get some air into the room as well. I understand that it may help to keep the room cool but it sure doesn't look nice from the outside of the building.  I know that with the new windows that they have just put in our building that you aren't allowed to put foil on the windows.

The top right of the picture is another method that to me really doesn't seem to be very useful and it looks like they have stuck sales flyers up to cover all of the window.  Again making it extremely hard to get air into the room as it is on all of the windows. The newspaper would be a good idea if you were painting the room and didn't want to get paint on the window but this paper has been up for weeks so it isn't that the unit is just being painted.

Sure everyone has a different view of window coverings and that works for them and what doesn't.  I think what gets to me is when there are the newspaper coverings because those are the ones that I really can't figure out.  I don't think it would keep a lot of the light out but maybe I am wrong. I also understand that no everyone can afford to purchase new curtains or drapes for their home but maybe just going into a thrift store may help them out.  A lot of the thrift stores have tons and tons of curtains and even if they are too big for the window it would probably look a little nicer than the sales flyers.

Window coverings are yes the choice of the people living in the unit so that is why it can be very interesting to just look at the various window treatments you see when you pass by some apartment or condominium buildings.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Being polite does payoff

There are times when just asking a question politely can make a big difference in how things are handled.

Recently there was an issue with the school bells ringing even after the school year had ended. I was trying to figure out why there were ringing when there was no students in the school and won’t be until September. As this is a large school there are a number of recesses which means a number of bells ringing in the morning and afternoon.

What I decided to do was to look up the website for the school board and ask if they could let me know why the bells were ringing. I simply asked if they could explain why the bells would ring in the summer when there were no students in the school. I got a reply early the next morning with a reply of “we have turned off the bells for the summer and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

Yes, I got the results that I was really looking for and am happy with it. It now means that I can relax and have the windows open and not hear the bells ringing all day long. I think a lot of people will be surprised when they realize that the bells aren’t ringing everyday.

This proves that when you have an issue and would like to understand it simply asking the question politely can really make a difference. I could have written an email just complaining about the continuous bells and it probably wouldn’t have got me the results that I wanted. I just asked for an explanation about the bells because I wasn’t sure if there was a reason for them ringing all the time.
Just asking a simple question and politely can really help you and get you the results that you really wanted. Now I am going to enjoy working even sitting outside without the continual sound of school bells. In the fall the sound will return but at least then I will be inside more often and won’t notice it as much.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Listening to customers

Knowing the important of listening to customers can make a big difference in how you are seen by the customers.

Recently we were attending a conference and there were quite a few issues with regards to registration and the app that the conference was using to plan your agenda. I was fortunate to be able to express some of my frustration with the registration progress to someone from within the company. What I didn’t expect was the outcome of that conversation.

The outcome after the conference was an email from a vice president wanting to talk to me to discuss some of the issues that I had. Now the organization that I am talking about is not a small one location company but a multi-national company which a lot of locations world wide as well as lots of clients, which we are one of them. The email was a touch base and a question to actually talk to me so that they could hear about my issues without anyone else translating them. I had no problem accepting this request and am happy that I did accept it.

The conversation took place and I am happy that he was willing to listen to my issues and help explain why some of them actually happened. I was also provided with some follow up on one of the major issues and am happy that it was handled as quickly as it was. Now the rest of the issues that I talked to him about are things that can be improved moving forward and I hope that they are. The end of this conversation was a promise by him to follow up with me again once he has some more information. I appreciated the time he took to listen and the promise of following up with how some of the issues will be addressed moving forward.

Now what I have promised to do is if needed is to test both the registration and the app for next year to ensure that some of the issues that I pointed out have been resolved and the system is working better. I am glad that this organization did want to list to an end user / customer because I will now favourable recommend them as a software provided and know that they really do listen.

Listening to the customers can really make a difference on how you as an organization will be seen. Not everyone that is unhappy will provide the feedback but when they do make sure you take the time to listen and inquiry about the issue because if one person has had the problem and is complaining about it, how many have had the same issue and are just frustrated and maybe left.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tourist in my own city

Toronto sign
City Hall with Toronto sign
There are times when it can be a lot of fun to just be a tourist in your own city.  We had a little bit of an opportunity this week to spend a bit of time downtown and of course I had to walk around City Hall so that I could take a few pictures of what I saw.

Part of the reason I wanted to see City Hall was because they had just finished redoing the Toronto sign that sits in Nathan Phillips Square.  As it is Canada's 150th birthday they added the Maple Leaf beside the word Toronto so I wanted a couple of pictures of that.  It was pretty busy down around City Hall but with all the various conferences and tourists in the city it is not surprising.

Old City Hall
The weather actually cooperated which was nice as we have been getting a lot of rain in June so having a day where we could walk around outside without an umbrella was also nice.  I think that might have explained also why it was so busy as it was one of the nice days this week where you could be outside.

Old City Hall Clock
We didn't spend a lot of time walking around as we were heading back from a conference and also had some work that needed to be done.  I decided that besides having a picture of the new City Hall I also needed to ensure that I had a couple of pictures of Old City Hall as well.  Old City Hall is right across the road from City Hall so it meant that I didn't have to go anywhere else to get these additional pictures.

It is always fun when you can be a tourist in your own city even if it's only for an hour or so. I hope to be able to spend some more time as a tourist in my own city this summer.  I think just being able to do it at various times is wonderful.  We hadn't planned on going to City Hall to take pictures so the pictures that I was able to capture were actually taken using my smart phone.  Sure I might have been able to capture more detail with my camera but it was nice getting the pictures that I did.

Being a tourist in your own city can be a lot of fun and even those shorts trip can be worth it.  Next time you have a free hour look at what you can see in your own city and enjoy it.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Frustration with forms


I recently received an email about receiving an e-book that I could easily download. It sounds simple enough and so I decided to fill out the form that I needed to before getting the download. Now the form was pretty simple as it included my name, city and then State. Well I figured that I would be able to at least find the provinces on the list because a lot of companies realize that there are places in Canada that would want this information. I was surprised when I couldn’t find either Canada or any of the provinces but you needed to provide a state to continue with the download. So I decided that considering I had to pick a state I decided I would pick Alaska as it would really confuse the data. I could have picked New York or a state close to Ontario but I decided to make it obvious that I wasn’t happy with the selection that I had.

I did receive the e-book so will now read it and I will probably get a call from the company in the not too distance future asking how they can help me. My answer is going to be that they can help me by making sure the form includes provinces especially since they do have a Canadian presence as I have seen them at various IT shows. I understand that a lot of people joke around that there is nothing north of the 49th parallel and here is an example of why sometimes Canadian’s get upset about how we are treated.

There are a lot of businesses that have their main head quarters down the States but when you providing a service to Canada please ensure that you at least let me either select Canada or a province on your form. When I have to select a state I will pick one that is very obvious and I know that the next time I have to pick a state it will be Hawaii.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Blog posts and ideas from them

I know that I have been writing blog posts for quite a while and now I am thinking what I am going to do with some of the blog posts that I have written.

I haven’t been writing a lot of posts lately and part of that is because I have been trying to think of what to write and I have also been looking back at some of my older posts. I have come up with an idea for some of my posts but that is going to involve quite a bit of work. I have decided that some of my blogs could be combined into one larger document or at least I could collect all the blogs on one topic into something that is easily shared. Of course, to do this it means going back through lots of posts and figuring out how to combine the different posts and see what happens from there.

I am going to continue to work on writing the posts because I can normally find things to write about. I have been looking around me lately and haven’t had a lot of new topics so that has made it a little harder to actually write about something. I hope that over the next couple of weeks that I will be able to start getting back to the overall writing that I have been doing and have more ideas.

Writing a blog post can sometimes be a challenge because coming up with a different idea or topic can sometimes take a while. I am happy with all the posts that I have been able to write and know that it will continue.

A collection of various posts is going to be a lot of fun to work on and it will also mean that the posts may be edited a little bit as I start to pull them together into the various topics. I may even get some more post ideas just by going through some of the topics that I have written about in the past.

Writing for me is something that I really enjoy doing and I just need to get back to the actual writing instead of just looking at the page and not having ideas that I can write about.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Women in IT

When I go to the various IT events there is one thing that I notice a lack of and that is women in IT.

I’m not saying that there aren’t any women in IT but there seems to be so few compared to the number of men. I go to events where there are around 50 men at a meeting and there is sometimes 3 – 4 women in the group. It is something that I notice a lot and something that I really see as a problem. I have been told that I don’t understand the material or asked if I am just a tag along but I always say that I am there because I am in IT.

A recent experience
I did have an interesting experience recently and it did show that there are still people that have a problem with a women doing what they see as a man’s job especially in IT. A client asked our business if we could assist in moving computers for them. Yes, it was they hired the two staff to do the work so that was one man and one women. The person hiring us knew exactly who he was hiring and was happy that he could get me to assist with something in the office.

We arrive to help move both the desk top computers and the monitors for the various staff members and in this company there are a lot of men. I didn’t care because my role was to move the computers and that was what I was going to do. Sure, I had the cart to help me the computers the distance between the different desks but that was all. The first couple of moves went extremely well and the men seemed to be happy that I was there to move his computer. Now the third man that I had to help was a little different story. He wasn’t as prepared as most of them for the move so that was the first issue that I had to deal with but I understood and dealt with that.

When I went up to him to let him know that it was his turn for the computer move he didn’t seem to be too happy that it was time but he didn’t say anything about that. I did let him know that if he wanted to dust off the desk he was going to be going to he might want to do it then because I was going to be moving the computer quickly. He went off to clean the new desk so at least I could spend the time disconnecting his computer without an issue. I loaded the cart with just his computer stuff and off I went to set it up.

The new desk was at the opposite end of the office so that was fine and as I started to set up the computer he noticed a box under the desk and asked me what was in it. As I am not staff I didn’t have a clue and let him know that he might want to ask the person that had been sitting there about the box. He disappeared for a few minutes which gave me the time to set up the rest of the computer and ensure that it was going to boot up correctly. I did this and finally let him know that if he could log in I would appreciate it and then I was done with his computer and the move of it.

Well I figured I was finished having to deal with him but it didn’t end there because about an hour later he comes over and questions me about the mouse that I gave him. The mouse that I gave him was the one from his desk but he felt that I had exchanged his mouse for a dirty mouse. I walked over with him to check to ensure it was the mouse that I had moved and sure enough it was as we were only moving one user at a time so it was difficult to mix up any of the computer equipment. I told him that yes it was the mouse that had been on his desk and just explained to him again that we were only moving one desk at a time so it wasn’t possible to get the mice mixed up.

Other notes
I know that there are quite a few women in some IT roles but I think one of the issues is that they are not in some of the higher profile jobs which makes them less visible. I go to some security meetings and there are some women that are extremely knowledgeable and make a point of showing up to meetings.

I hope that soon it will be a lot easier to be a women in IT and not be looked down upon by other members of the same profession. Sure a women may not be able to move some of the equipment that a man can move but with way things are changing the equipment is getting lighter and move of the jobs involve a virtual machine and not a physical machine. Not every women that is in IT is a support person for the men. Women are in IT because of their passion and interest in the work but men have to understand that sure for years it was a male dominated profession but times are changing. A women that is in a role has already had to prove themselves and really doesn’t need to be challenged by other individuals just because they don’t feel she belongs in the role.

I will continue to prove that yes women do belong in IT and we aren’t all just there in the sales or marketing roles. We are there as a key part of a business and need to be seen as that and are no longer the one’s standing in the background.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Vacation Pictures

Columbia Icefields
Have you noticed how many people post their vacation pictures on social media while they are on vacation?

Recently I have been looking through my social media account and noticed that a lot of people have been posting pictures of where they currently are. Sure some of them are at home and doing things but a lot of them are on a vacation and they are posting what they are doing. Yes, I think it is nice to see a little bit about a vacation but then there are the negative aspects of posting pictures when you are on vacation.

1. Through social media you are letting all of your friends know that you are on vacation. That could be nice but then when one of your friends posts a like or a comment then their friends see that you are on vacation as well.

2. Are you sure that your social media page is only seen by your friends and not by everyone else that is on the same social media. Considering how often the different privacy policies change I wouldn’t want to be posting what I am currently doing.

3. Not everyone can go away on vacation due to work or personal responsibilities. If you are on a lot of vacations you could be just making those people feel even worse about their situation so that isn’t good either.

Now here are some good aspects of posting pictures.

1. You get to see different parts of the world by seeing where people are.

As you are see I don’t have a lot of good aspects of posting pictures while you are on vacation. I agree that it is nice to see some vacation pictures but if you are going to do that do it once you are back from your vacation. Another idea would be to put the pictures into an album on your social media page and then people can look at the pictures how they want to look at them. The other thing is if you are going to post daily pictures again put them in albums so that you don’t fill put everyone’s feed with multiple individual pictures.

It was nice today when I was thinking about writing this post to see a e-newsletter that my husband received from an insurance company. The newsletter was saying basically what I was going to be writing and that is if you are going on vacation wait until you are home to post those vacation pictures. Don’t let the world know that you are on vacation and where you are. By posting all these pictures on an ongoing basis you are telling everyone that your home is empty and you don’t be home for a while.

I love seeing the pictures of where people have gone on vacation but knowing when they are at each airport, hotel, tourist spot and even some meals is a little too much information for me. Remember when you are posting pictures please keep them to a minimum and also put them in albums and then I will look at them when I have the time and don’t have to see each picture as a separate post in my feed.

Note: The picture attached to this blog was taken on a vacation a number of years ago.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Blogging

I decided to look and see when I actually started writing this blog and it was May 27, 2011 so yes it has been 6 years of me writing. Sure I don’t haven’t been writing as regularly as I have lately but it is interesting to see how many different blogs that I have written. Before posting this one I have written 392 blogs for this blog alone.

What is interesting is seeing that I have 428 blog posts on another blog and that one was started on November 27, 2007 so that one is coming up to 10 years of having that blog. This blog is my fun and crafting blog and it doesn’t get as many posts as it now gets about a post a week and there were times that I was lucky to get a couple of posts a month on that blog.

Blogging for me is a great way to write out some of my thoughts and also a means of me showing some of the things that I do. My personal blog is where I show my different craft projects that I have been working on and that part of what I do whereas this blog is more my thoughts about life in general. I have found people amazed that I have two different blogs. I actually had someone ask me about this blog after they read my personal blog because of the difference between the two blogs.

A lot of people have moved from blogging to videos but I find that I can work on my blog a bit at a time and actually enjoy doing it this way. Sure some people enjoy being in front of a camera but for me being able to write down my thoughts and feelings is what is important to me. Sure not everything is written down in either of my blogs but there are things I want to show others and my blogs are how I do it.

I have seen people say how often they are going to post as soon as they start a blog without having an idea if that is even going to be achievable. For me I keep my idea of how often I will post realistic and if I can surpass that idea each month I am happy with that. Sure I have been able to write 2 blogs most weeks lately but if I get extremely busy I won’t be writing that much but will still try and maintain the 4 blog posts a month.

Blogging is something that I enjoy doing and I will continue to do it my way and know that there will be people that don’t like it and others that love it. My blog is something that I do because I enjoy doing it and it doesn’t seem like work to me at all.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Project Total Keeps Growing

If you are anything like me, you will probably have a lot of different projects that need your attention and then start to feel overwhelmed when you realize how many things you actually have on the go.

When I say projects I mean both the things for work and also things for yourself. Being someone that is a co-owner of a business there are always tons of projects that need my attention for work so it is just a matter of trying to keep them organized and yes written down. I have been bad lately at writing them down so now it is to get back to writing everything done and then seeing how I can get the things done.

Now the personal list is probably just about as bad as the work list because I haven’t been tracking what I should be working on and what really needs my attention. Maybe just spending some time working on all the lists is something that would be very important. A list of projects can help you feel a little better even if there are the personal projects.

Projects can be something very small which can be accomplished quickly or it can be something that will take days, or even months to finish but tracking them is important. Some people can try and track all their projects in their head but I have found that those are the people that don’t have a lot of different projects on the go. For someone that has a creative mind it can be a challenge to track all the concrete projects and then all the projects that are just little bits of ideas. Sure some of the little bits of ideas may never get any further than the little idea but without a method of tracking these ideas you may lose a good idea that can help solve an issue or even help with another project.

For a lot of people just looking at the lists of projects can be very overwhelming and it is something that you have to manage. For me I keep the project lists separate based on who they are for. Client projects are separate from our own business projects and then the personal projects can also be divided up so that when I am working on a specific item I only see those projects and not everything else..

Over the last little while I have been seeing the project total continue to grow and now I need to figure out what can be accomplished quickly and then get them off the lists. Sure a list of all the projects no matter how big or small they are can help you ensure you don’t forget to do something so now to get back to even updating that list. Some people say that keeping a list takes time to do but then trying to remember everything in your head can also be a challenge and it takes time. The time you spend trying to remember what you should be working on is time away from actually getting the work done.

Well it is now time for me to get back to working on those lists and see what I can get marked off today. Sure the list may grow along the way as well but at least I will remember all the different things I need to do.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Traffic in the city

Living in a big city has it’s advantages and then there are the disadvantages and I think traffic is one of the disadvantages.

For anyone that has to commute to work on a daily basis they really understand how traffic can impact them. It doesn’t matter if you take public transit or you drive to work you are doing to deal with traffic at some point on your commute. It can be as simple as a little bit of congestion on a side street or a main street or the bumper to bumper traffic that you will encounter on one of the highways.

In the big cities sure we have rush hour but now rush hour seems to be getting longer and longer because of the number of people that are commuting to work longer distances. There are times that I wonder when rush hour isn’t in Toronto. In some cases it seems that rush hour even occurs on the weekends especially on the highways. It doesn’t matter when you are on a highway there seems to be a lot of traffic.

For people that don’t know Toronto we have a major highway that at some points is between 12 and 16 lanes wide. Yes, the Highway 401 is that highway here in Toronto that is extremely wide and is one of the main routes along the top of the city for us. It is busy no matter when you are on it and that is because it is the main route from Montreal, Quebec to Windsor, Ontario. It is used by transport trucks as a means of getting across Ontario.

Now traffic isn’t just busy on the highways it can be busy on any of the main streets. Traffic can be impacts by a number of things and more common are accidents and construction. Another thing that impacts traffic is power outages, especially those that impact the traffic signals. When the traffic signals go out it can be a challenge to get around the city and especially through intersections. Some people understand how no traffic signals means an all way stop and then there are the people that figure they have the right of way no matter what. If a traffic signal is out sure you might want to just keep driving but there are other directions that are also trying to get where they are going. In some cases when a street is three lanes in all directions it can be a challenge to get across. It is nice when you can see that directions start taking turns and all the lanes in one direction go at once, one car at a time. Sure, it can mean it is a slower process to get through the intersection in some ways but it is the safest way to do it.

Traffic in a big city can be a disadvantage but when you have a good highway and road system it can work pretty well. Sure, there are going to be times when traffic is extremely heavy but you just have to plan for it and ensure that you give yourself the extra time to get where you are going.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Organzing

I think everyone goes through a time where they look at all the stuff they have and then think do I really need all of this stuff.

Recently we have been doing through just that thought process as we have been preparing for the new windows at home. Sure there are things that you will keep some for sentimental reasons and then there are the things that you are going to keep because they are used. There are then the things that you keep because you aren’t sure if you are going to need them or not. Of course, this is the group of things that are going to be sitting and not used for a long time but you kept them because of some other reason.

During this clean up we have been going through a lot of things and what is nice is finding new homes for some of the stuff. When I say new homes I am meaning places outside of our home and we continue to do this even now that the windows have been done. For us, we didn’t get a chance to go through everything before the windows so we are now working on doing through the rest of the stuff as we continue to put it into spots.

There are a lot of ways you can find new homes for your stuff that you no longer want and we have used some of them. Here are some of the different ways you can find new homes for your stuff.
  • Consignment stores – this are good for some things but you will have to remember that the store is going to take a percentage of the final purchase price and if it doesn’t sell you are going to be getting the items back.
  • Thrift stores – a thrift store is a great place to give your gently used items and this is great for clothes and smaller kitchen items.
  • Habitat for Humanity – here is where you can give your gently used furniture and appliances. You can either drop it off at a depot or you can also arrange to have it picked up.
  • Used books stores – depending on your books you may find a store that will take them for a small amount of money or a credit to the store.
  • Environment day events – this is a great way to be able to get rid of stuff in one location because there are different types of areas to give items to. The list at least in Toronto are, electronics (this is where you ca dispose of old electronic devices, computers, etc); hazardous waste (old paint, lights, etc); thrift store (they will take all the items that a thrift store can sell so a good spot for clothing, books, etc); and craft supplies (this is a stop where they will accept craft supplies that schools can use for arts and crafts).
  • Recycle bins – good spot for all the paper that you have around and not longer need but not for sensitive or personal information.
  • Shredding locations – a spot to get rid of all the personal papers that you have accumulated and need to dispose of. This can be done at home if you only have a little bit and you also have a shredder available or a fire place.
  • Garbage – this is for all that other stuff that isn’t good enough to be given away to anyone or is broken.

We have used a lot of these items and are looking into some of the other ways as we continue to find things that need to have a new home. I am thinking that over the next few months we are going to be continuing to clean up the place and continue to find the different methods of disposing of some of the things that we no longer want.

Organizing every once in a while is a good thing because it gives you a chance to go through all of your things and really think about if you still want them or not. If you have things that you no longer want but are still usable, check out where you can donate them because it is a way to help other people out as well.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Our crazy weather

Living in Canada you get use to having weather that changes very quickly and you also learn how to deal with the differences.

This last week we had some crazy weather that in some ways was really nice and in other ways it was too quick. For two days in the past week we had temperatures of around 30C and the normal for the middle of May is around 18C so yes it was a big change. It wasn’t as if we had days of the 20C’s before this so it was a big shock. Sure a lot of people enjoyed the two days of wonderful weather but of course these days happened in the middle of the week and not on the weekend when more people could have taken advantage of the nice weather. Of course, now that the weekend is coming up the temperatures are back to around 16C and a chance of rain.

Besides these temperatures we have been having we have also had a lot of rain and that is something that has caused a lot of damage not just in Ontario but in Quebec as well. The lake levels are higher than they have been for years and people have lots their homes because of the floods that have occurred due to this weather.

For us in Toronto, Centre Island which is both an amusement park and home to some families has been impacted. The ferry service that normally goes to the amusement park section of the island has been suspended due to quite a bit of the walking trails being floods as well as some of the beaches. The school that is normally on the island has relocated to the main land for the rest of the school year because of the flooding as well. The residents that live on the island have had to put sand bags around to try and keep the water out. The only ferry service that is available to the island is for residence and staff to ensure that everything is ok on the rest of the island. The walking trails, beaches and amusement section of Centre Island is now closed and it may open in July if the water goes down enough and the ground has a chance to dry some.

Yes the weather does play a major role in what happens around us. We may live away from the water but we are still impacted due to all the rivers and streams that are in the city. For everyone we are all looking that the water levels and wondering how much higher the lake is going to rise because they say it could continue to raise into mid June.

Other cities and towns have been impacted as well as us. Montreal and the Ottawa region are just two of the areas that have also had to deal with the floods and they are also like us and wondering when the water level will start to go down. Hopefully this is the end of the crazy rainy weather and things will start to get back to normal but until then we just have to be careful when near any body of water because the banks have been damaged and they are no longer stable.

Everyone in the various parts of Canada are looking at the weather and wondering what is next. Some people are still having snow and others are dealing with the rain so now to see what the rest of this year is like for us. Like everyone else we deal with the crazy weather and understand that tomorrow things could change again.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Window Replacement

Windows before replacement
We recently had to deal with the windows and balcony doors being replaced in our apartment unit. There are some really nice improvements with windows and I am going to say that I do like these new windows as they keep a lot of the sounds from outside out. The windows that were in the unit were put in when the building was built and that was almost 50 years ago so there were not windows that would keep the cold out.

The window replacement was part of another renovation that has been going on at the same time and that is adding insulation on the outside of the entire building. As you can guess this isn’t a quick project when you think of every unit needing new windows and all the outside of the building needing bits of brick work and then the insulation being added. The windows were replaced in the building in stages and there were actually four stages and we were in the last stage. I can’t complain because this also gave us some time to do a lot of sorting out of stuff in our unit.

One of the biggest issues with replacing windows is you need to ensure that the weather is going to cooperate as well. Some people had their window replacement delayed because it was too cold out so that means a day or more of waiting for the windows. Other people were delayed because it was either too windy or it was raining out again delays. When it came to our area I was hoping that the weather was going to cooperate because it is a huge impact to have our home/office offline for a day.

Well the time came to actually replace the windows in our unit so here is a bit about that actual experience.

New windows
The work that is involved to prepare your apartment for getting the windows is a lot of work.  A lot of the instructions you get (4 days) before they replace your windows are common sense.  We have been working on getting ready for this window replacement for a while as the overall project has been going on in the entire building for over a year now.  So we finally heard that our windows were going to be replaced on a date (weather permitting).   Over the last couple of weeks we have moved a lot of the furniture around in the unit as we needed to ensure that everything was between 3 - 4 feet from all the windows and balcony doors.  The day before the window replacement involved putting drop sheets over everything to help prevent the dust from going everywhere.  Another reason for the drop sheets was to prevent things from blowing around as they take all the windows out at once and then put all the new windows in. 

We returned to the unit after being out for the entire day (you are not allowed to stay in the unit during the window replacement) and found that the people doing the work left the unit fairly clean. Sure there is dust that we are dealing with but the drop sheets really helped contain the dust. Also the people doing the work did an amazing job cleaning up after they were finished and we didn’t find too many pieces of glass or concrete so were happy.

After the windows were done the following work day you have the painter come in and do some of the touch up of the paint. That was something that wasn’t bad because he pained the ceiling and the window sill and the walls right beside the windows for about six inches. This was done and finally the work on getting the unit back to how you want it could start.

The end result is some really nice windows but of course now we need to put all the furniture back where it was.  We are going to be taking our time doing that because we are also going to continue to clean up and organize things. The actual returning of furniture is taking some time because we are also looking to see if the rooms can be better arranged now.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ad Astra - Part 2

The rest of the weekend is now about to start and will see how it goes.

Saturday evening
Book Launch – Brave New Girls
So it was off to attend another book launch and this one was for a collection fo sci-fi stories featuring brainy young heroines. The actual book isn’t going to be out until August but three of the authors were doing reading from their stories that are part of the book.

Masquerade
Now the Masquerade is sort of a competition for amateurs and this year the show was only about half an hour which worked out really well considering as you can guess there were other things to attend in the evening. I do like attending as I like to see some of the costumes even if I don’t know who the person is suppose to be or anything like that. Seeing the amount of work some people put into their costumes is amazing.

Book Launch – Matthew Bin
One more book launch was on our schedule and again this was Saturday evening. The books sounds really amazing so we picked up a copy of it and now to see when we have the time to actually read it along with everything else that we have to read.

Remainder of the evening
So the remainder of the evening was off to another party which was the GenreCon party and then head back to the room to get some sleep and recharge for Sunday which is the last day of the convention.

Sunday
Of course, by Sunday the energy level is starting to wear out and that is for most of the attendees as we are trying to do a lot of things all weekend long and don’t have a lot of time to relax and recover between the various events.

Project Management for Writers
This panel was to show writers have to move forward on their writing projects. The panelists all used different methods to track their projects and how they were getting things done so it was nice to hear what they all had to say. The two things that I really got out of this session were:
  • Time management is also brain management and needs to be managed
  • Stop starting and start finishing

Brandon Sanderson – Reading
Once again it was time to get into this panel early to ensure that we could get a seat and that is what we did. The session that was before our panel wasn’t as full so it meant that we could get a good seat and once it was over we moved up right to the front of the room and really enjoyed the reading.

Brandon again did the q&a’s and another reading. Now this reading was really interesting because he told us very little about where the book was part of or anything about it. The reading was great and what he did tell us was the book was very new as it was written on the plane on the way to Toronto from Salt Lake City. It was amazing to hear a reading from a book that was just being written.

Robert Sawyer – Reading
Now this was my final panel of the weekend and again it was a reading by an author that I enjoy reading. Robert Sawyer also did a q&a section and then did a reading from a book that he is currently writing. What is interesting is finding out that this book may never actually come out so we may be the few people that actually got to hear anything about it. Robert Sawyer also apologized about now being at the book signing when he was suppose to be there and once again it was due to the wrong time being on his badge for the signing.

Final notes and observations
The overall convention was a lot of fun and I have to admit that we were both very tired by the time we headed for home. It is always great to see all the friends that we have made and only see at this convention. We see other friends that we see during the year as well so it is a nice mix of friends.

The hotel is great because they deal with a lot of people running around in costumes and also parties that go well into the evening. Now to see how next year’s convention is because it is going to be held in July instead of the normal April or May.

We picked up a couple of other books that were available at the convention but we did keep the number of books down this year which was something for us. Normally the two of us come out of the convention with a pile of books and then realize that we may not have a chance to read them. I did buy one book on Sunday and part of the reasoning with this book was I could get it signed by Brandon Sanderson as soon as I bought it without having to deal with a line up. Now I have a book that is over 1,200 pages so will see when I get to read it.

Conventions can be extremely exhausting like this one is but it is also a lot of fun and I hope that it continues and next year the problems with the panelists schedule won’t happen.