Archive for August, 2011

A New Start for a New School Year
August 29, 2011

It is that time of year when children young and old get ready to go back to school. I love all the back to school sales and supplies. My office manager has forbidden me to buy any more sharpies, (they come in such great colors), or post it notes for a year (ditto)! All the notebooks and pens seem like a new beginning, a new start of the academic year. Most parents are ready to see their kids off to school and resume a regular schedule. Most teachers welcome the new school year as well. So what happens when the school year commences?

Many schools send a list of supplies that a child should have to start school.  College kids get their book list. The complaining and the whining from parents of the costs can be deafening. The costs dominate conversations for weeks. 

The airports lines through security quiet down after school starts. Cross town traffic in rush hour picks up as parents drop kids off and kids drive themselves to school. Parks around college campuses are busting out with kids on blankets and playing Frisbee.

At work, parents are calmer. They know where their kids are, whether at School, College or not living/visiting with them. Work related projects that had been on the back burner since June are now tackled with a new resolve. The daily routine is once again instituted.

It all sounds idealistic right? There can be a few bumps as we settle down to the new resumed schedule. What if that project from June is still boring or over your head? What if you miss your kids more than you would like to admit? What if you made some unrealistic goals for yourself, on the condition it will become attainable once school stats? What if you forget to check your expectations and delusions at the start of the year?  Parents can become fierce and ruthless if they think they can help their kid get ahead.  Any age of child or any parent! It can happen. Parents want the best for their kids and want to think the best of their kids. We all think our kids are wonderful and brilliant but sooner or later we remember no one, not even our own kid is perfect.

Sometimes there is a delusionary cloud above some parents forever and their kids in their eyes are truly really absolutely positively with-out a doubt 100% gifted, fantastic, wonderful, kind, a natural and brilliant.  

So who is going to burst that bubble? Not me! I suggest a compromise between the whining about costs, the delusionary talk of greatness and the to- do list, a more benign conversation about new beginnings.

Do you catch that fresh start of the school year new attitude for your work or your life?

 

 

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Our Fabulous Summer Intern went Back to College :(
August 23, 2011

This summer we had an intern working for our company. This was her last week as she heads back for her senior year of College. We are all very sad to see her leave. She has been a great asset to our company. She is a communications and business major and wanted to work with an entrepreneurial company. She is very focused on her life and career goals, hard working and lighthearted, smart and fun, yes the perfect intern!

At our first interview we discussed our expectations were of each other. We both did not see her primary role as filing, running errands, or grunt work. Certainly with-in the course of the day there would be some of the mundane, but we both agreed that was not the point of her internship. I was so thrilled that our goals matched that I hired her on the spot.  I was a bit concerned that I acted too quickly, rebounding from my disastrous interviewing process and lack of interested applicants last year. My concerns were put to rest after her first day n the job!

I had to explain to this 21 year old the dynamics of menopause and side effects. Once she grasped the concept of who my customers are and what they are experiencing after asking some very insightful questions, a trait she intuitively possesses, she was up and running and quickly showing how she was able to help with our set tasks and goals.

As CEO of my company I manage many people. The two types of people that are the hardest to manage are the ones who do nothing you say and make excuses and the ones who do just exactly what you say. Luckily our intern, Terra, did not fit into either group. She gave me progress reports of her work. She gave opinions and suggestions with back-up data and proof. She re-worked projects that I rejected with-out having to have her ego massaged. In short, she worked not with the bar lowered as a 21 year old college kid, but as a great employee of the company.

Some of the changes and suggestions Terra worked on all summer are already in use and others will be in use before Christmas. We all wish Terra a great senior year in College, and good luck in her future. We will miss her a great deal!

Have you hired an intern? Were you ever an intern? How was the experience?

A Dozen Tips for Traveling Light
August 17, 2011

Everyone wants to travel light, in one carry-on bag, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem possible. At one point in my career I was gone 40 weeks a year. I was a road warrior and learned how to travel light and efficient and somewhat fashionably.

The questions start with outerwear; warm coat, rain coat, jacket or sweater? Then there is the question about the number of shoes one should bring. Pants, shirts, skirts, or dresses depending on the season and where you are going and what you are doing.  What if you are traveling to various climate zones? What about your electronics and beauty supplies? A basic rule is keep to one color scheme, and if you are like me, and coffee somehow misses your mouth, go with darker tones. Overdress rather than wear trendy casual or you may find yourself sticking out like a fashion don’t.

Here are some suggestions to get your travel plans packed up:

  1. You can shop for clothing or shoes wherever you are for whatever you did not bring
  2. I f you are bringing new shoes, wear them prior to leaving to make sure they are not going to give you any problems
  3. Pack a pashima. It can dress up an out-fit or keep you warm or wrap around your waist for a cover-up, or over a blazer or jacket for extra style and warmth
  4. Bring layers like T-shirts that you can wear as a first layer or alone
  5. Pack a few pieces of underwear and socks, you can always wash-out
  6. Bring just a  few favorite pieces of jewelry that can add quick style
  7. A sleepwear item that packs easily and affords modesty, like pajamas from Haralee.Com
  8. Small size beauty and personal products that you use every day
  9. A light-weight reusable bag for shopping, the beach etc.
  10. Battery chargers, cords, and headsets for phone and other electronics including your camera
  11. Empty zip lock plastic bags
  12. Copies of plane tickets, reservations and important phone numbers found on your mobile phone (in case that gets lost or goes dead or is unusable)

If you have a light weight half empty bag, tip #1 is a fun activity for bargains or local interest items. If you find some things you are dying to buy but know it cannot fit into your bag, mail it to yourself.  A large shipping box from the Post Office is often much less expensive than checking your bag, or paying for an over- weight bag.

Any other tips to add?

 

 

 

 

I Heard It in the Berry Field
August 9, 2011

You have heard the song, “Heard it on the Grapevine”, right? Well I am here to tell you I have heard it all in the Berry Field! I have a blueberry patch that I worry about year round. This year all my worrying did not prevent some frost or disease when the blueberries were blossoming. What this means is that I am not getting any blueberries from 3 of my mature bushes. I have been almost inconsolable. To get me out of my funk and to stop worrying about the remaining bushes, I went to my local u-pick blueberry farm.

This blueberry farm has u-pick, about a dozen varieties and commercial bushes too. They have acres of blueberries. The bushes are between 5 and 6 feet tall, very leafy and lush. If you are picking your blueberry bush you cannot see people a row or two over from you but you can hear them. The bushes give a sense of seclusion. So what do people talk about when they think no one is listening?

Women friends talk about their kids, their partners, other friends and flat out gossip because they think no one else can hear. Some tidbits overheard are just down-right juicy.  I will pick parallel to these women just to hear the end of the story. It is disappointing when they leave or when all I can hear are conversations in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese or Russian, none of which I can understand!

Mothers talk with their kids, and if they are little it is all about manage control so they can get a few pounds of berries picked. Most of these conversations consist of, “Good Job “, “How many do you have now”, “You are such a good helper” etc. I heard a Mother try to explain blueberry nutritional benefits to a toddler in the “Why” phase.

Teenagers usually make the picking a competition. They also sooner or later start throwing berries and farting. This would be teenage boys. Teenage girls will talk with their Moms a bit and they will talk with each other. Couples with-out kids talk about their week or upcoming events. I now know bits of trivia, and interesting gossip of people I don’t know that I never would have heard if I wasn’t in the berry field.

Did you ever think someone may be overhearing your conversation? Would it make a difference if it was a stranger you could not see? If you knew would you tone it down or spice it up?

 

Wedding Registry Regrets
August 1, 2011

Every year with wedding season I look forward to wedding invitations and of course the blessed event. Mostly I look forward to the gifts on the bridal/wedding registry. I love to look over the items the bride and groom have chosen to start their lives together. I envy, yes I covet their registry. Regretfully when I married I did not register. It was the late 1970’s and weddings were no big deals and registries were out of fashion, subsequently I was out of luck!

When I say weddings were not a big deal, I mean among my friends. One of my friends made her own wedding dress out of blue gingham! When it was done she didn’t like it and had 3 days to put together a wedding dress which turned out to be a blouse and skirt. Another friend got married at sunrise in a field populated by cows. It was stinky, cold and many of the guests were hung over or had not gone to sleep or never made it to the event. Indeed it was a different time.

When looking over registries if I see china and a service of 12 as “would love”, I think this couple means to take over entertaining for the holidays. If I see a canoe or a kayak or bike, I think why not? The marriage may not last but maybe someone will have some fun memories. If I see dish towels and pot holders I think the couple as practical or they already have everything because this is not their first rodeo.

My never registered friends and I think that it would be nice to have a bridal shower every 10 years or so. New towels, sheets, everyday dishes, serving pieces, etc. would be nice. I found a bowl set in my camping supplies that I repurposed to everyday use since I don’t see a new wedding registry in my future.

I have filled out several surveys that ask the question “What would you say to your younger self?” I always say I would register for gifts for my wedding. This may sound shallow and really the question is pleading for advice and wisdom from the more mature person. Hey, I know my younger self would have appreciated the gifts, nice quality dishes, china, pots and pans, flatware, and small appliances, I know the older me certainly would!

Any blue gingham dresses in the back of your closet? Any wedding registry regrets?