31.12.08

Day 113. The Keys One.

It is New Year's Eve. Every year since my grandparents passed, our family has come down to our condo in the Florida Keys. Its a special place for all of us...my mom has come down to the keys since she was little and then all throughout her time working as a nurse in Miami. My earliest memories as a child revolve around driving across the rickety old bridges to get down to Key West...a place noone knew of...

As time has passed, the Keys and Key West in particular have grown in popularity (almost too much for my liking) and are starting to show signs of a standard "port of call" or "tourist trap". Now we hold very tightly to the secret "local" places that we frequent and know on "our" key of Marathon. But, as I enjoy the heck out of this time here every year, it always makes me think of Henry Flagler. For although the history of the Florida Keys is VERY diverse and has threads of geology, horticulture, meteorology, military, political and criminal, to me, I will always remember the story I first heard from my grandfather as we drove down to Key West about how Mr. Flagler built the railroad all the way to Key West.  It was his work that almost literally "paved the way" for us to get down to our secret little part of paradise.  

So, as I enjoy one of my most favorite and special parts of the world...for more reasons than I can describe...I encourage you to read up on this special little place.  Its not like Florida, its not like the Carribbean, its the Conch Republic and it is wonderful in all its conchy, crazy, artistic goodness. Thank you, Mr. Flagler, to me, you will always be the person that made it possible for me to love this part of the world.

I wish you all the happiest of New Years...catch ya in 2009!

30.12.08

Day 112. The Lost One.

And so this is Christmas...and what have you done? With apologies to John Lennon, one thing I really like about this little annual trip I am on is that it gives me a break for my spirit. I get to actually reflect and figure out what the heck is going on in all things Alison. Over the past week or so, a tiny bit of ugliness has seeped into my life. A person severed a relationship and it caught me off guard, and wounded me rather deeply. Its been dealt with, and quite frankly, now it is over but I figured I'd be an idiot if I didn't reflect and really think about what I learned.

This person made a hurtful decision first, and explained later...and only at what I believe to be the prompting of one or two people. While I appreciate that an explanation came it came too late. I thought about why this was and what it boiled down to for me was that in a world where we hug people upon meeting them the first time, we use "love" for everything, and we call someone a friend with no basis I am starting to think we might be too casual with our relationships. Now don't get me wrong, if we remove the opportunity to meet new people we can never develop those lovely, deep strong relationships that are so meaningful, however, I am feeling right now that we can clutter our lives with so many "friends" that we forget to feed those friendships. Further, we have too many avenues to "abuse" the building of a friendship. While email, facebook, twitter whathaveyou can be cool ways to stay in touch (and lord knows they've ALL helped me in so many positive ways) they also allow us to assume a lot about a person while never really focusing on the connection that makes FRIENDSHIP possible. While you may know a lot about someone, if you aren't learning it FROM this person and interacting with them you may have, in fact, never known the person at all.

So, to this person who I have lost from my life, I am tremendously sad about this. But I have learned to have a renewed focus on feeding the friends I have in my life. Treat your friends as you would want to be treated. Want to know something? Ask. Upset about something? Tell. Caring about someone? Hug. Connect with the person - through thick and thin, and you will be stronger for it in the long run.

Week 18. Reflections.

So. my little project is getting a little attention out there, and trust me, I know its not "a big deal" but its huge anytime someone comments or someone mentions it in another blog or show or what have you...anyway, due to that and due to some comments and also some other stuff going on in my life I started to ask myself...why DO i put myself and this information out there.

Now I am not all "deep thoughts" and "introspective" about it. In fact, for those of you who don't know me well, I am rather private and do score off the charts introvert on those stupid personality test things. I dislike "sales", I dislike "marketing", and I can't stand being accused of falling prey to the monster "ego". So I thought and thought, and basically here's the thing...I like to share ideas, I like to learn things, I like to seek out information and be enlightened, challenged, uplifted, and motivated by it. Doing this in a blog has just helped add accountability to this project that formed in my mind.

Through the process I continue to find that I am encountering the joy of extending pieces of myself out in to the world to share with others...I'm still learning, and sometimes I feel like I (or maybe someone else!) has gone too far. But for the most part, I am enjoying the process. So, once again, I thank you for coming on this journey with me...

Day 110. The Airport One.

Sorry for the flurry of posts all of a sudden, as a quick disclaimer, my family is on our annual holiday to the Florida Keys, and if you know what the Keys are all about, you'll understand that things don't happen on a schedule down here...we now return you to your regular blog ;)

On Saturday, we flew to the Keys. This is always a fun but nerve wracking experience because we travel with next to nothing (since we have all our stuff down at our condo) and also we are traveling with a little dog who does need a little pill to accommodate time on the plane so its a race against the clock before that runs out! In the midst of all this, we are usually battling the unknown joy of winter weather which has sometimes left us traveling for days and/or sleeping overnight in airports...in the midst of all this normal craziness, I took a second to look around the Columbus airport.

Our little airport is rather nice...its still small enough that it has nice restaurants, is rather clean, has free wi-fi and is new enough that we aren't having to deal with bad 60's or 70's decor. As much as I am in airports, these things make a big difference...some aiports I cant stand for any one or more of these things being absent include pretty much any New York City airport, Atlanta and the older terminals of Dallas. But I digress. As we sat waiting for our plane, which was late and oversold, I could see most passengers at varying degrees of agitation. Then I noticed the woman who was responsible for cleaning the airport pushing her cart calmly through the crowds. She tidied up around the seats, waiting at the trash receptacles till people finished putting stuff in them, emptied them then proceeded on to her next cleaning task. 

Now people, THAT is thankless work. Not only are you dealing with messes that are often left by people at their least courteous state, but also you are doing a job that is often misjudged by people or looked down upon...and upon taking this kind of job, you KNOW that this is the case. But let me just ask you, how often do you notice when something is NOT clean? I do - all the time. And so, it was with a renewed thankfulness and appreciation that I watched this woman work. As I walked my little puppy over and over to hopefully remove some energy, I crossed paths with this woman and I stopped, and thanked her. You could tell noone has ever thanked her. But I consider this job important and so today I tip my hat to her and the other members of the cleaning staff at the airport.

26.12.08

Day 109. The Father One.

In the midst of my Christmas cheer, I have really tried to be thinking about the reason for the season...both religious and secular. Last night, I thought about my friend Joe. You see, Joe is the husband of my friend Heather who passed away this year. My mind turned to the fact that this is his first Christmas with their two sweet children without their wife and mother and friend.

I will not begin to even try to comprehend how hard this time must be for him. I don't think any of  us can know his heart and mind right now. 

I can only say that in the time I knew Joe and Heather, I can to believe that Joe is truly the best husband and MAN I have ever known. This man fulfilled his duties in every role of his life beyond expectations - as an employee, as a friend, as a husband, as a father. I do not know how he does it. Joe and Heather belonged together because they are both so incredible. [people use that word, incredible all the time, but here I do not use it lightly and in every way, it is 100% applicable here]

Theres a lot I could say here, but for this, I feel brevity is best. I will leave you with thoughts of Joe. A man experiencing perhaps the most difficult time anyone can face, yet I KNOW that he has given his children a beautiful Christmas and that somewhere, Heather knows her family is loved and doing OK. 

Day 108. Breaking the Rules..AGAIN.

I feel kinda like a cop out when I do this, but, yes, I am breaking the rules again.

I will keep this short and sweet, but tonight, Christmas night, I would simply like to acknowledge those who have been with me through these past years...there are too many to mention but I am so very thankful for the people who have brought me happiness, supported me through tough times, made me laugh and challenged me. Sometimes, all of these gifts have been in one person, sometimes not. Regardless, the people in my life have been brought there for a reason, and I am immeasurably thankful for them- no matter the reason.

I believe in Christmas...I believe in people...and I believe that we can be better with every day. THANK YOU for reading my blog, and THANK YOU for being in the world, being you. The world is better when we carry how we feel right now through the rest of the year...MERRY CHRISTMAS..for 364 more days...

24.12.08

Day 107. The Santa One.

Its Christmas Eve, people! To so many, that means visions of candy canes, snowmen, gingerbread men and of course, SANTA. I know that if you are reading this, you are familiar with at least part of the "online" world and whether it be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk or some other social site, we all know there are some people out there who are pretending to be "real people". I'm friends with Jim Tressel on Facebook.  Believe me people, I am 110% aware that it is CLEARLY not the real JT. But, when taken on by someone with a good spirit, respect and a sense of humor, these types of "personalities" can be quite fun. 

Which leads me to the fact that Santa Claus is on Twitter. There are a few people going by the different variations, but the first one I found is the one I like the best. I think its cool that "Santa" pops up throughout the year with a message of being good, good to each other and thankful. Today, as December 25th hit around the world, "Santa" has tweeted his journey around the world...these tweets are full of not only location, but also fun cultural facts, poignant statements about parts of the world, and sometimes humor. For example, according to Santa, just now, he is: "at North Pole - Broke a strap on the reins for the reindeer so it is back to the workshop or a quick replacement". I know that today there are lots of fun spins on this idea, the national weather service "Tracks" Santa and web sites show variations of this as well. But Santa on twitter is the one I know and, not having kids to remind me Christmas is coming, "Santa" always brings me a quick reminder (in 140 characters or less) that its a special time of year. I think I know who "Santa" is, but I dare not say - that might make me naughty. But what I will say is that "Santa" impresses the heck out of me with his attention to detail, his focus on fun, and his ability to translate the holiday in an innovative way.

There are so many ways we are all enjoying the holiday season...I hope that no matter how you spend it, you are feeling warmth of spirit, love, thankfulness and appreciation for that which is in your life. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

23.12.08

Day 106. The Amber One.

Here's an entry for you...I for one am always struggling with where I need to take my life next. There's so much out there and with every choice I can sometimes feel the weight of what that opens up and what that eliminates in the world. As I reach a point where I really feel like I need to make every moment count I think a lot about what I want in my life...what energies, what activities, what people (you get the idea). 

As a recent huge time suck in my life left, I've really enjoyed finding new and different ways to fill that time. This past year has really been about learning to fill that with creativity and what I can only call "my artistic side".  I find myself drawn to activities and people who are challenging this side of me...part of the fun of this has been finding these people and activities.

So - in what I consider to be the beautiful randomness of the world, through my friend Andrea I found a truly amazing man, Rob through whom I found his wife, Amber. Some random tweet or something pointed me towards Amber's blog...and I've been reading it for some time and this is one blog where I really feel like I know the real someone. I can't really explain this other than I cannot express the admiration I have for Amber's ability to "BE". Whenever my reader shows a new blog entry from her, I read it right away...I love it. She just finished a whole series of posts with holiday shopping tips that were, for once, practical, easy to find and things I actually would consider buying (and in fact, have bought quite a few of now - thanks Amber).

But today - the new post she had up made me stop and say, gosh darn it, let this woman know that she rocks...to me, this post just resonated with me so strongly and it truly exemplifies why I am just so impressed with Amber. Even though we've never met or really communicated, Amber's one of those people who, before I die, I've just got to meet. 

If nothing else, please read this post, its amazing. And, even if you don't I will leave you with the challenge it posts. As we near year end, I think its point is simple and profound (so with 110% credit and respect to Amber): "How do you get your imagination to a point that you do things like this as a matter of course?"

22.12.08

Day 105. The Sister One.

I am currently in the midst of "Chip 'n' Dale" with my godson, Max so I will keep this short because for some reason, I find a 22 month old entirely hilarious and engaging (and if I don't keep an eye on him he may fall off the bed).  My sister in law and her family (hubby +3 kids - aged 13, 11 and the aforementioned little one) are with us tonight - they live in Indiana, and as my inlaws live in Pennsylvania, a trip "out east" by my SIL always allows for at least a one night sleep over here. We don't get to spend as much time together as I would like, but every time I am with her, I am reminded just how cool she is.

My sister in law, "C', is one of those rare people that when you meet them you know, without effort, without nerves that there is a connection. I love it when that happens. No matter what our life paths and choices (which are often so similar and often so different) I feel that C is a kindred spirit to me. One of the most important things to know about her is that, as a mother, I adore her. When I met her it was at a critical point in my life - too many people I knew who were having kids became "Moms" - with a capital M. Their life completely ceased to exist and it became all about the baby in a way that got to be too much for me. C integrates her children into LIFE. She is an amazingly devoted and loving mom but she is also herself - and I have more admiration for her than I can ever say. I've always said that if I ever have kids, I want to be able to emulate her in so many ways - she may think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

I'm an only child and so this whole sibling thing is still unchartered territory for me but C is the closest I've gotten to a sister and honestly, I can't imagine anyone better...when I think of what an ideal sister would be - supportive, genuine, caring, real, loving, that's what she is. So for tonight, let's drop the "in law" and forget the holiday craziness and just say that once and for all, perhaps one of the best part of getting married was meeting my sister. :)

21.12.08

Week 17. Reflections.

For the past few weeks, I've found myself thinking that this is getting a bit hard, and I'm not even a third of the way through! I'm starting to overanalyze who to name and when (again, those of you who *really* know me are not shocked). Every now and then I feel like I am getting TOO serious and I want to bring in someone to lighten it up...and sometimes, I just don't have anyone to name...

So where this has me right now is thinking about the circles in which I interact. I'm starting to think its a personal challenge that when I feel like I am running out of people, its not because they are not out there, but its because I'm getting a bit too routine...so I've got to shake it up. Broaden my perspectives, broaden where I go, who I'm with.

This should be particularly interesting since in less than a week I go on my self imposed "recharging" vacation that is, for the most part, VERY isolating (and I like it that way). Every year my parents, me and now my husband go to the Florida Keys for some rather indulgent relaxation. It used to be we couldn't even get phone or internet there and there was something freeing in that. We liked being where no one could find us...where we couldn't be bothered. But, while the advent of connectivity now allows us to stay much longer (YAY!) its keeping me focused on this project (also, YAY!) and I'm really thinking its going to be a good challenge to find people to write about, since usually, on a good day, I see three of four people - and every day its the same people. 

So between the upcoming vacation and how I'm feeling about this project in general, perhaps I'll break out of my extreme introvert mode and continue to welcome new people into my crazy little world...

19.12.08

Day 104. The Aubergine One.

Tonight is our annual family Christmas dinner. Every year, in the midst of the craziness, we take a break and go to my very favorite place to eat in the whole wide world. Its a private dinner club, called Aubergine, that was founded by my favorite Chef, Hubert Siefert (with whom we went to Europe earlier this year). I love everything about it - I love that its private, I love the food, I love the chef, I love the drinks, I love the ambiance, and I love the service...Aubergine only employs one staff member. There have been a few over the years, but, the best ever is currently there and it is Ted.

Personal disclaimer first - I adore Ted. He's fun, he knows food and wine and quite frankly I just think he's a cool person to hang out with (i'm always trying to get him to sit down with us and have a drink ;D).  Ted also balances a crazy schedule while raising a young child with his wife.

But that aside, Ted really deserves some praise...under Chef's leadership, Ted basically runs the place. He does everything...manages, schedules, works on menus, caters, serves, cleans, provides sommelier services...everything. His work is top notch and I would appreciate him for just that, but more so he has to put up with some pretty particular personalities and, let's be honest, egos, when it comes to a fancy private dinner club. Ted always handles it with panache and class. Quite frankly, the way some of these people act - in particular towards Ted, I know I could NOT handle it.

So, as I sit here getting all excited for my favorite meal of the year, I know that Ted is part of what makes it so great, and I am in awe of his knowledge, his patience, his class and who he is. Merry Christmas Ted!

18.12.08

Day 103. The Responding One.

Well this day is a 180...I'm ticked but I challenged myself to turn this into a flippin' positive so here we go. Today, I would like to acknowledge J - someone who, no matter what is going on, always responds.  There are 101 different ways to communicate with people these days and I think sometime we get so consumed with what we put OUT that we forget the basic concept of communication - which is the feedback loop - aka "THE RESPONSE".

J and I have had a relationship full of ups and downs, and, quite frankly sometimes when I've called or emailed I have not approached this communication in the best state of mind, but no matter what is said or if contention is involved or not, J always ALWAYS responds. Even if the response, in and of itself, is annoying, I know that the message I put out there was received. And this is important. I respect J's ability to not play games, not be passive aggressive and not let subtext override professionalism.

This may sound silly - but I'm sure we can all think back to a time when we put something out there where the response was everything, whether to know it was received or to actually get information back.  In a silly way, this blog does that to me every day, I'm beyond nervous when those I write about actually read their entry (and sometimes I wonder if they even did ;) ).  So, with some stuff that recently happened - I'm relearning that closing the loop is everything - in business it provides peace of mind, information, a solution, income; in personal life it provides the foundation for deeper friendships, learning, feeling and growing. I will try and be better at "getting back to people"...I hope those I interact with will to...before I strangle them. HA!


17.12.08

Day 102. The Philosphical One.

Do you know the author Paulo Coehlo? At a very influential period in my life, a very special person gave me a copy of the Alchemist.  It seems now that most people have read this book...but when I got it, it was still relatively unheard of - at least in my circles. I have gone back to this book time and time again throughout my life, and I have also given this on a few, rare occasions to special friends. I've read some of Mr. Coehlo's other books and always was in awe of his passion, motivation and way of thinking.

A few months ago, one of the RSS readers I like, Netvibes launched a whole "public/ Social networking" side...the first person I saw available on there was Mr. Coehlo, so I friended him. Honestly, I thought it was a marketing or PR stunt - no way this was him. Then last month, I saw a friend of mine become part of Mr. Coehlo's Group on Facebook. "Cool!" I thought, but again, we all know how crazy Facebook can be with fake people, fans setting up groups, but I was intrigued and joined the group anyway. Well then, all of a sudden, I start getting updates. Actual, real updates that aren't like other prominent figures (i.e. "buy my book" "I'll be here on such and such date" "Donate today") these updates were interesting, thought provoking. Mr. Coehlo recently wrote on our opinions on good deeds, as well as weekly "thought associations". Tremendous.

So you can imagine my mild surprise when I see that, of course, Mr. Coehlo is now on Twitter. I followed him and then he actually followed me back! Craziness. His posts continue to be genuine, thought provoking and interactive.

And that is why I want to acknowledge Mr. Coehlo today. It goes without saying that his accomplishments are significant and well known, but I am most in awe right now not only of his continued journey to explore the world and the lives we lead but also of his willingness to explore the Web 2.0 world to connect with people. My own prejudice has an image of a writer, particularly one of Mr. Coehlo's ilk that is pursuing his journey of thought in a more traditional manner - perhaps in a study, via the written word on paper, or in one's own journals or online meditations. The fact that he is out there in social media connecting, interacting, pushing us, perhaps I am so bold as to suggest we push him as well, is just flat out impressive.

I have always had tremendous respect for Mr. Coehlo and his voyage into the Web 2.0 world just proves that he is downright amazing and cool!

16.12.08

Day 101. The Spider One.

A little known fact...I went to the University of Richmond. Let us discuss this...a sports fiend such as myself ends up at a small school known for, well, once a long time ago we made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA basketball tournament. Exactly. When I was at school there, you didn't even stay for an entire football game - if you went at all. Oh, and did I mention that the mascot is the Spider? Uh, yeah. (and I WAS the mascot, but this is a story for another time...)

ANYWAY - something you probably don't know, is that for the first time ever, the University of Richmond Spiders are headed to the Football Championship Series (division III) National Championship game this Friday against Montana. Having been a lifelong Ohio State fan, and now seeing how excruciatingly difficult it is to even be in contention for a National Championship of any kind let alone make it to the game the fact that UR is going is nothing short of a miracle. 

So today I recognize Coach Mike London, who himself is a UR Grad ('83) who has led his team to this accomplishment. I admit, I had to even look up who the heck the coach is...but knowing the climate for football at Richmond, and knowing the challenges that coaches of any sport face:  building quality young men and women with the competing forces of "popularity", call to professional sports, NCAA violations blah blah blah it is an impressive feat to bring a team pretty much noone has ever heard of to this place in the Championship.

I think its pretty cool that Coach London is a UR alum and bringing the school, the team, and the alumni to this unprecedented accomplishment. So kudos to you Coach, I know I'll be watching on Friday and win or lose, you are surely an impressive coach and you should be so proud of the accomplishments of your team and yourself this season.

Day 100. The Bunny One.

Its day 100!!! Can you believe it? I sorta can't! :) So on this big number day, there's someone extra special to me that I wanted to talk about. I have someone who I consider a dear friend...who I've never met. Her name is Sydnee and she lives in my very favorite part of the world (bay area California). I met Sydnee through Twitter, and to be honest, I don't even know how or why we started following each other, I just knew her tweets were entertaining and she sure had a cute avatar of a little bunny...(and you all know I have a thing for bunnies)

But there was one day, I was tweeting very quickly about something random (I'm sure having to do with hating that it was morning and that I needed coffee) and out of nowhere came this lovely little response from Rabbitroodle.  Since then, my favorite bunny and I chat through twitter, followed each other on our trips to Europe this past year (her hubby even helped me with my cell phone set up pre-trip), exchanged postcards and even commiserated about "twitter fighting" and found happiness in something as simple as a daily picture of a bunny.

Now I could wax philosophical about the power of social media and such, but not this time. For me, what really matters here is the person and the amazing gift this one has of reaching out to someone one doesn't even know. Sydnee does this and has established strong friendships that I see her nurture every day. I don't know that she even knows what a special gift it was to me to respond that first time...but it meant the world and made my day. Its taught me how to continue to try to be welcoming and open to new relationships with everyone I interact with. I consider Sydnee my good friend and I'm thrilled she took a little interest in me.

And - it must be said - a shared love of really good wine doesn't hurt our compatibility either! :)

12.12.08

Day 99. The Tree One.

Its December 12th today. Six years ago, my husband in classic form proposed to me in Union Square in San Francisco (which happens to be my favorite city...if I ever run away, that's where you'll find me). And, I can tell you, he got me GOOD. It is not easy to surprise me, and it is not easy to make me speechless, and he accomplished both that day.

I won't go into all the details here - some of you know the story, and while I am happy to share, its something I prefer to share in person and not on a blog - but I will tell you that he proposed in front of the big Christmas tree that is erected in Union Square each year right in front of the Macy's. When I was remembering this today, it struck me...look around, look at all the Christmas decorations that are going up in your community outside of those that are on people's homes. Tacky, classy, white lights, colored lights, blow up things, reindeer, whatever...they all contribute to the feel of the holiday season. And, someone had to put up all those decorations. I know how I feel about putting up decorations outside and its no fun...so someone, who goes unnoticed every year climbs up on a ladder, hangs from a truck, risks personal safety at times does it all just to spread a little holiday cheer. (Oh ok I'm sure they're getting paid to do it but let's go with the end result here, people).

So - whoever you are that puts up a single holiday decoration somewhere other than in your personal space, thank you. Its not the easiest or most natural thing to do. But you help make the holiday just a little more special...and sometimes, you help to make a lifelong memory like mine in San Fran.

Day 98. The Gingerbread One.

Its the "holiday season", and while I am hesitant to give a shout out to one of the big corporate monsters, this one is well deserved. Now first, let me say, I place the entire blame for this post on our friend Craig (who I've blogged about before who went to Germany with us). But here's the deal...have ya had a Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks? Well if you haven't, go get one. They rock. 

Craig introduced us to these back in 2001 and since then, Stephen and I wait anxiously for the syrup to come out at our local Starbucks...we nag our baristas until its in and then we keep nagging after the holidays for them to keep it out for us. We love it. Period. We call it Crack. I have had three today, alone. It makes me happy.

So, whoever wherever invented this stuff...god love ya. Its heaven in a bottle.

p.s. if you DO try one, I highly recommend requesting that they NOT put the little ginger sprinkles on top...its a new flavor experiment that sounds like a great idea. It is not.

11.12.08

Day 97. The Plowing One.

Winter is here. Yuck. We're finishing up our first week of snow and the ever lovely Ohio tradition of sleet/ freezing rain. So, today, its easy to acknowledge the man/woman who drive the salt trucks. I think its pretty self explanatory...but for kicks, let's remember that these people work insane hours, doing pretty hard work, you curse when they haven't hit a road yet and you curse when they have because the salt is getting on your car, and your clothes and your coat (ok, at least I, who loves my psuedo NYC all black winter gear, do). Its really a no-win situation. And then to boot, you NEVER see these people get any credit - all you see is the "spokesperson from the Department of Transportation" talking about how they are progressing.

So, today, as I dread going out on the roads I will take a moment and thank the salt truck driver - because as much as I hate all this weather and what it does to automobile transportation, I really REALLY appreciate all you do to keep us all safe.

10.12.08

Day 96. The Complaining One.

So I was at an office today and walked by the same desk quite a few times. Each time, the person behind the desk was complaining to her friend about the irrational request a customer had made today and how rude and insolent this customer was and why couldn't the customer understand why she, the employee, had responded the way she had. My first reaction was "quit complaining"...but then I thought about it a little more and realized I had a golden opportunity to highlight something I've been looking for for a while.

The more i thought about it, the more I started to believe that so many hurt feelings, misunderstandings and even full blown fights could be avoided if we could all take a moment to first consider where another person has been coming from before we react. I realize this is easier said than done, but seriously, think about how egotistical we are all being by thinking someone's actions are directly related to us as the target. Someone once said to me, "if everyone thought about you as much as you think they do, noone would ever get ANYTHING done". How true is this? Its too easy to take things personally, or as an affront to what we are doing, or what our job is, when often, there are 1,000,001 reasons why that person is acting a certain way that has nothing to do with us. Don't get me wrong, the fact that someone has said this to me proves that I am soooo guilty of this...but I think we can't try and remember enough to let someone else get at least a second's consideration that we wish they had given to us.

I've been trying to find the person who does this for a while and haven't found them - yet. So, today, I think of my friend at the desk...wish her peace and consideration from and to those she deals with.

8.12.08

Day 95. The Bowling One.

Did you know that if you go bowling after 11PM you get 'all you can bowl' for a really cheap price? Yeah, neither did I. But my friend did...so recently, this is what we did. We waited till everyone got off work and done with their errands and went bowling...at midnight.

Now I used to bowl a lot when I was little (I even had my own bowling ball...with my name on it! LOL) but it had been a looooong time since I had gone. My memories of a bowling alley were always fun, but full of older, crotchety people working there who, to a little girl, were actually a bit scary. So you can imagine my surprise when we showed up and the entire staff was young people. 

We spent about three hours there - bowling, having a few drinks and having a great time. And the staff was A-MA-ZING. They were always so fun, polite and service oriented. They played songs as we requested them, chatted with us while getting us a drink or shoes or whatever. I can't imagine that I would be as well behaved as them when a) working that late and b) dealing with a whole crazy crew of goofy people (which we were as were some of the other patrons)

So - to the people who had fun with their jobs and in the process made our night that much more fun, I say thanks. Sawmill Lanes is lucky to have you!

Week 15. Reflections.

Holy crap! So people are actually reading this silly thing!! :) Someone found their post before I had even sent them the link. Crazy enough, my first reaction was anxiety. Inherently I am fairly private so I keep forgetting I'm putting this out there for everyone...

But that's the point isn't it - so, to those of you who have been posted here, I feel like i shall apologize! I log on here every day for a few minutes to write about you guys and most times, I feel like I still haven't done you justice. We all know I am not a writer; So, just know, that if I've named you here it means I think you are really really cool and I like you, I really like you! :) 

6.12.08

Day 93. The Digital One.

Well according to Wikipedia, the person I am recognizing today is Steven J. Sasson. I can hear you saying "WHO?" Exactly. Steven is credited with inventing the digital camera. [Ever notice how we can use something revolutionary everyday and never know who made it happen?]

The digital camera is just plain cool. We all know this. I don't need to go on and on about it. But I love my camera, I love capturing moments, and I love that Steven was creative enough to come up with it. Last night, more "moments" were captured on my camera and it just made me realize how much I love this little piece of techno-goodness.

Plus, without Steven, we wouldn't have what has become signature girl behavior: the "snap and check". Watch any group of girls who pose for a photo, I would wager most, if not all, of the following steps are employed:

- squeal "Picture!" or "we need a pic" or something along these lines
- trap some poor bystander into taking the photo
- thrust the camera of every single person who will be in said photo to said photographer
- Pose
- Take Picture
- scurry to grab your camera and review contents of said photo and immediately review it.
- Watch the microcosm of democracy in action as inevitably one person will go "aww! That's cute!" one will say "I love it" and one will hate it and want it deleted immediately. Majority rules. [if the vote is to delete, process repeats]

The "snap and check" its sweeping the female nation and its all thanks to Steven Sasson. ;)

5.12.08

Day 92. The Blonde One.

Its weird when you realize you've known someone for more than half your life...in addition to starting to feel old, its just weird. Sometimes, its really nice too. Erin, who I have known since 8th grade (shudder) went to middle school, high school and college with me and was my college roommate 3 of our 4 years there. Whats funny is that your initial thought may be that we were "best buddies" who were always together and that's why all these life choices kept us together, well you'd be wrong. We were always two people who happened to find ourselves at many different points that were sometimes together sometimes apart.

Over the years, I've seen our relationship go through so many different stages. We've been close as close can be; a bridesmaid for the other; we've hated each other; there have been times when I thought we'd never speak again. But our friendship has now lasted 21 years! We're still not the closest of friends - and quite frankly the advent of technology has probably saved us: facebook, email, flickr all build pillars under our relationship when the other ones start to falter. We don't know the details of each other's daily lives - but we now draw from a deep pool of shared lives that are wound together - sometimes tightly and sometimes loosely.

As someone who is an only child, and prefers to keep a small, close group of friends versus a large network of acquaintances, Erin has really become a beacon of true friendship to me thru these many years. I consider our relationship an example of how to be a good friend - even if its a definition that doesn't always seem to fit a paradigm of friendship that is popular.

When we were freshmen in college, we each went home from our first semester together and said we'd each mention each other at the Thanksgiving table, and we did. Those thanks stay with me even today..."I am thankful for the short blonde one" and Erin is thankful for the "tall one who can reach things on the high shelves" ;)

4.12.08

Day 91. The Generally Speaking One.

OK, so someone blew my hand...this entry has been sitting in my queue for a while, but with life changing every day, I thought this was the right time to honor this person. Today, I think its important to recognize the person that is Cliff Ravenscraft.  I've been able to get to know many facets of Cliff - professional, personal, spiritual. That in itself is a gift. I can truly say that Cliff is an amazing example of a man, a friend, a husband and a father. In the little things I've seen Cliff do in his life I often have my faith in humanity restored.

But, in reflecting on Cliff, there was one special quality that I wanted to highlight, and that is his open-mindedness. Those of you who may also know Cliff may laugh upon first reading that, but hear me out. When I think of how Cliff lives his life, what always sticks is his ability to see that which does not exist. I see him explore new business ventures that aren't yet established, I see him figure out a new technology and make it pertinent and useful. I see him bend and mold his profession as he sees new angles, opportunities, challenges. I see him listen and consider conflicting points of view to his own and debate these things with respect, curiousity and interest. I see him continually explore the right environment for himself and his family whether that fits an established norm or not. Cliff is always open to the possibilities, more so than many many people that I know. And that, is being open-minded and not just conforming to what you (or someone else!) thinks you should do. 

It is important to also say that Cliff's open-mindedness is tempered by a strongly developed sense of spirituality and what is "right" and "wrong". He's not just going for the easy way...he's going for the best way - even if that path hasn't been forged yet. 

So to Cliff - who reminds me every day that the right answer will often be something that is new to everyone, including you, thanks for bringing your energy into the world.

2.12.08

Day 90. The Writing One.

I am hesitant to write this one, for I feel I am giving in to a bandwagon (tho slightly delayed at this point). I was catching up on one of my favorite tv shows today, "Boston Legal" which is credited to David E. Kelley. We all know David (at least in the US). He wrote Ally McBeal and then, if memory serves, he hasn't been without a show on air since then - in many different incarnations and with varying degrees of success.

David was the wunderkind of the 90s with all his promise and "witty" writing...but in watching this show tonight, i was reminded why he got popular in the first place. Boston Legal is funny, ironic, sarcastic and it makes you think. Every episode has something I agree with and something I vehemently disagree with; by the end of the show its possible that my position on each has changed. This is my favorite state - pondering and thinking about something that seems so obvious but learning more and really picking away at one's personal truth. 

While I know that David Kelley hasn't written every episode I still credit him for the tone, focus and idea of the show. At risk of devaluing my total obsession with everything that James Spader does (and since he is on this show and since it is true that I adore him I had to disclose this fact) I want to recognize David Kelley tonight. When Boston Legal ends, as it will this season, it will be the first time in many years that Mr. Kelley hasn't had a show on air, and while I admit that I haven't been an ardent fan of all of his work, I think he has a voice and perspective that truly contribute to the programming that's out there today. 

1.12.08

Day 89. The Glenville One.

In the land of Ohio, and Buckeye football, the word Glenville immediately makes you think of Heisman winners and candidates. Names like Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr, Ray Small...and many others. But there is a secret in Glenville - that every now and then gets a glimpse of attention. Its Ted Ginn SR. Ted Ginn, the dad has quietly helped mold young men that not only become football stars but men.

You heard about him a little bit when Troy won the heisman and then again when his son was the first round draft pick of the Dolphins, but, to his credit, he stays quiet, behind the scenes. I know a little bit about the professional football scene, and its too full of people who want to be "famous" and people who want a "hook up" or to ride on their brotha's coattails. Unfortunately, that often includes parents as well. Ted Ginn Sr. is having none of that. And, in fact, is trying to change the stereotype that young black male athletes are forced to carry around.

Ted Ginn Sr. was featured on CBS Sunday Morning this past weekend (and yes, please DO read the linked article), and I just think its cool that he focuses on the young man as a person - not as a commodity, not as a way to get something later, not as a way to gain attention. The road today for someone who is a talented young athlete is treacherous at best and Ted Ginn Sr is trying to make it just a little bit easier.

I'll leave you with the Ginn Academy Creed

Our mission is to become exemplary students who will reach our full potential and beyond
We will recognize our genius and realize our self-worth
We will stay patient and poised to seize every opportunity for success
We are guided by scholarship, leadership and service to all mankind
The Ginn Academy will cultivate us to become global leaders of the century

Week 14. Reflections.

I thought it was important, during this Thanksgiving week, to restate the purpose of this blog...not just for you lovely readers, but also for myself. So here's the deal...

Basically, first and foremost, compliments after the fact irritate me. Its when someone retires that we then say what a good job they did; its when someone has died that we talk about how wonderful their life was. While I recognize the importance of letting something "finish out" before opining on it...I just don't get why we can appreciate the steps along the way - while the thing itself is in motion.

I also am starting to get rather irked with the fact that it seems so many people feel its not cool to be supportive, or complimentary. Rather, they keep their guard up - appear strong, appear like they don't need anyone. Be competitive, win at all costs, don't help someone along the way and risk appearing weak or heaven forbid, not winning.

I think a compliment can go a long way. No matter what someone is doing, I want to truly believe that the effort should not go unnoticed. It takes all of us to make anything happen - big or small. And often, we just give all the glory to a figurehead or point person without seeing all the hard work that others have done.

And finally, I was born a perpetually optimistic person and I have found myself getting rather pessimistic and disappointed in people lately. And that needed to change.

For those reasons, this blog was created. To help myself and more importantly to start practicing what I preach and to compliment and acknowledge those who I see doing SOMEthing good - no matter how big or small. This is not an exercise in massaging anyone's ego (including mine) and this is not a popularity contest. This is an exercise in letting people know they are appreciated - whether they go above and beyond, or just do something really nice. And, quite frankly, seeking out people who otherwise may never hear just how rockin' they are.

So that's it - it was important for me to restate this - again, more so for myself than others.