Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Sit and watch children and see how simple things can be.

Sit and watch a child see birds eating near them. A child can be so happy seeing birds eating bread close to where they are standing. Watching the face of that child is always so much fun when they see the birds approaching and grabbing the food.

A child can make eating a meal a different experience. A child can make simple noodles seem so interesting. The challenge of picking up the slippery noodle can be fun to watch.

Rain. Look at the face of children when it rains. Rain can be so much fun for children, be it splashing in the puddles or catching rain drops on their tongues. It is fun to just watch.

Laughter. Listen to a child laugh and so often it will make you smile or laugh as well. A child can see something simple which makes them laugh. Take a minute to see something through their eyes and you will see things so differently.

Spend a bit of time looking at the world from a child's view. You may be so surprised at how simple things can be so much fun. A child sees things without a bias and sometimes that is what we adults need to do.

A child helps us see things differently. It doesn't matter our age, we all need that time to stop and be a child for even a few minutes. Take the time to be a child for a few minutes, you may be surprised how good you feel.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas. 
May all your wishes come true and you get everything you want.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Simple Gestures

How often can someone doing something small make such a big difference?

When you are out and about spend a bit of time watching for the simple gestures people do. A simple gesture can be a nod or smile as you pass someone on the street. You don't have to know the person but an acknowledgment can make a difference. The person may feel better just by you doing that.

Saying to someone “have a good day” can make them smile. It might even help you feel better as well. There is no cost involved in these simple jesters. By doing something like this can make people around you feel better.

Sit and watch other people and see what they do. Knowing that the simple gestures can make such a difference is nice. When you are walking around, see how others acknowledge you. A smile or a nod can make you feel better as well. Evening hearing the word “thanks” when you hold open a door can make a difference to your mood. Doing the simple guestures can really make a difference on how people feel and interact with others.

Being able to do the simple guestures can really make you feel better. People around you will be happy with the impact that these simple jesters have made. Remember simple gestures are what make people happy and they will do the same to others therefore making things better for everyone.

Now, before the end of today remember to do at least one simple gestures and see how you feel and see if you have made someone smile as well.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Wheelchair accessible

How wheelchair accessible is the location really?

This is something that so many people don't seem to understand. Being accessible means that someone in a wheelchair can actually get around themselves without issues. Now, here are some issues that I have seen and people with walkers or in wheelchairs would have issues.

  1. Washroom doors without the auto assist button. How does someone pull open a door when they can't get up beside the door. The other issue is how can they pull the door open and deal with their walker or chair themselves
  2. Cubicles not large enough. Some washrooms are not accessible due to the size of their cubicles. Someone with a walker or in a wheelchair cannot fit into the cubicle which is not fair.
  3. Hand-dryers. Some of the new hand dryers in public washrooms are made where you put your hands down into them to activate the dryer. How does a wheelchair get close enough to use these. These dryers are quite often the only dryers available.
  4. Apartment building parking garages. Some garages have no means of someone with a disability to open doors to get either into or out of the parking garage. This is an issue even for existing tenants as they may require some sort of physical aid and have a challenge getting to or from their own vehicle alone.
  5. Unclear entrances. There are situations where entrances with the ramp or the auto assist button are not easy to locate.

For locations to be accessible they need to be welcoming to individuals. Some physical challenges can be temporary while others are permanent. If a location is accessible think of how it may help the able bodied individuals as well.

  • Auto assist button – helps open doors when you are holding something (like a child).
  • Large cubicles – parents with strollers are able to use these and have the stroller in with them.
  • Parking garages – makes the opening of doors easier when you are moving things between your car and apartment again using the auto assist button to open doors after using your access fob.

Of course making some wheelchair accessible areas also makes it easier for able bodied individual to use at well. The locations I am really looking at are the ones that say they are accessible but really aren't. The requirements always seem to be changing with regards to being accessible.

If you are somewhere and see someone that might need some assist, see how you can help. One day you may be in the position of needing some help due to a physical challenge.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hiding from the world

Having the opportunity to hide from the daily routine can make such a difference.

There are times when you have lots to do that you need a break from the everyday routine. It can be as simple as just putting your mobile device to silent mood for a bit of time. Another way to have a break is take a bit of time to do something different. Changing your routine even a little bit can make such a difference. A simple thing like going somewhere different for a coffee can help.

A mobile device can help you escape but it might be something you need to hide from as well. With the world today we never really seem to be disconnected from email or work. The ability to check in with work at any time can come in handy. The downside of always being connected means people expect you to be available at all times. To take breaks away from all the demands is very important.

Knowing how to take the time to hide from the world is very important. The idea of hiding from the world even for small bits of time is important. Everyone needs the break every once in a while.

How you hide is up to you but remember you need to take that time. The world is still going to keep going without you. People may have to wait a few extra minutes for that reply but the break is needed. Hiding from the world is good for all of us.

My escape is now over but I enjoyed a cup of tea and avoided checking emails for half an hour. The world kept going and no one really missed me while I took a hit of time to hide.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Time Zones

How often have your received a meeting request and am not certain of the actual time of the meeting?

I have received emails for meetings and the time is "2 pm -5 GMT" and of course I look at it and have to try and figure out what time. Considering I live in Toronto, that meeting request is for 9 am on the same day as stated in the request. The other problem that happens is when someone in British Columbia asked if you can meet at 2 pm. The first thing I do when I get this request is immediately ask if it is 2 pm Toronto time or 2 pm BC time. It is amazing how many people figure that when they say a time you should automatically understand what time they are talking about.

The meeting requests that can get really interesting is when you are dealing with multiple time zones for the same meeting. It can happen that you are adding time to calculate the time in one area and then subtracting time to figure out the times in other areas. I have had meetings with people in Halifax, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver and those meetings are always fun to schedule. The meeting request ends up looking something like this:
Toronto 6 pm
Halifax 7 pm
Edmonton 4 pm
Vancouver 3 pm

I have found that by clearly stating each of the times in the meeting request makes it a little easier for everyone. Of course there can still be mix ups especially when the person scheduling the meeting does a wrong calculation of the times in the other time zones.

It can cause a major problem when the wrong time is started and then everyone sees that one time and that is the one they use for their own area calculation. This means that if the Halifax time was incorrectly started it could result in everyone being an hour off for the meeting. I know this can happen as it has happened to a meeting that I have been part of.

Time zones are always an interesting challenge when scheduling meetings. When you are working with Canada we have 5 time zones and one is only half an hour different. We also have the challenge of figuring out what time it is in Saskatchewan because they don't change their clocks in the spring and fall.

Making sure that you are aware of the other time zones is very important when scheduling meetings or calling other areas of the country. You don't want to call someone in the middle of the night just because you are up and working.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dining out

It is interesting to watch the interaction of customers with restaurant staff.

Recently we were away on a Saturday evening and were going into a restaurant for dinner. We had made reservations and I am very glad that we did because the restaurant was full at 6 pm and there was a waiting list. When we approached the hostess there was a family looking for a table. The mother was with her two teenage boys and she was looking for a table. The manager nicely explained that there would be an approximately 15 minute wait for a table but she was more than welcome to sit in the waiting area until a table became available. The manager also explained that they could eat in the bar/lounge area of the restaurant if a table came available but couldn't sit at the bar as her boys were under 19 years of age. The mother didn't like having to wait for a table and her comment was “Get me a table as quickly as you can”. The manager nicely said “we will do our best” and that is all they can do when the entire restaurant is full.

During this same restaurant business there were people that wanted quick service and others (like us) that just understood that the servers were very busy and we may have to wait a coupe of minutes for attention. It is always interesting when you are out and you watch the interaction of customers with restaurant staff. Some people treat the server as a lower class but most people are very friendly and understanding when the server takes a couple of minutes to do something.

Eating out is something that we do as a treat now and most of the time we don't eat out on a Saturday night as it is just too busy out. We were eating out on a Saturday evening this time as we were away on vacation. Of course, being in Niagara Falls on a weekend is always busy especially when there are events going on. The only time Niagara Falls isn't extremely busy on a Saturday is in January and February when it is cold out and not many people want to be walking around.

When you go to a restaurant for a meal understand you are not the only customer looking for a seat or wanting service. If you are in a hurry, you need to ensure you are flexible with where you are going to have your meal. When we are in a hurry and are eating out we normally go to a fast food restaurant so that we don't have to worry about wait times.

If you are eating out on a Saturday evening remember there are going to be a lot of other people doing the same thing. If you want a seat, at a specific restaurant, at a specific time I would suggest that you make reservations so that you get that table. It is always interesting to see how busy some place is and how they try to ensure everyone is happy with their experience. To make the experience work both the customer and the server need to work together.

Eating out is always interesting and if you want to have some fun, just watch how other people interact with the servers. Also, remember that when you are eating out others are watching your interaction as well.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Working without internet

How many times have you discovered that the internet isn't working when you want it?

I think all of us have run into the problem of the internet not working at some point and it is normally when you are wanting to look something up or send out an email. There are times when the internet has been working fine and then all of a sudden it stops working. This can be extremely frustrating when you are trying to do something.

We have all become very dependent on the internet to do our daily tasks. It doesn't matter if it doing our work or doing things around home, the internet is part of our daily life. It is amazing to think of how often we check our mobile devices to see if we have an emails or what was posted on Twitter or Facebook.

I have noticed that when the internet isn't working that is the time that you seem to think of everything that you should look up. It is also the time when you think of that email that you should have sent a while ago so need to do it right then. I think when we can't do something quickly and are aware of that, is when our brain thinks of all of the tasks that have been forgotten for a while.

The internet has now become such a key part of our lives. Some people keep all their documents in the cloud so if the internet doesn't work they cannot access their documents. There are times that I would like to have files accessible no matter where I am but then I think of the issues with that. Yes, the internet can be available most of the time but not every device has internet access no matter where you are. There are times when you are travelling and internet isn't available so you can't get those files even if you really need them.

For me, there are times that I actually unplug from the internet and it is amazing how much work you can get done without being able to check emails or just check Facebook or Twitter for a minute. The minute you plan on spending on Facebook or Twitter quite often ends up to be a lot longer because once you start checking things there are a lot of other things that you think of. Facebook and Twitter are probably the biggest problems because you go to check one thing and that leads to another and another and all of a sudden you have lost a minimum of 30 minutes and don't know where it really went.

Yes, the internet has made communication so much easier but it also has given us a lot of different ways to lose track of time. Next time the internet isn't working think of some of the good points. You may get more work done because you don't have those other distractions.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


People say that writing comes easy but I don't agree with that.

Writing is something that most people have to work on to see results. For me writing isn't something that just happens each day. I have had to work on making sure that I can get words down a bit at a time. There are days when the blank page stays blank for a while as I cannot find the words to go onto it.

Of course like most people that write there are days when writing just happens and I am very thankful for those days. I don't get upset when the writing isn't as good as I would like because I know that there will be another day when everything just works.

If you were to talk to an author you would probably hear that they have challenges writing some times as well. For authors, we only see the finished piece of work not all the words that have been written and rewritten until the correct words end up in the story. Being able to express your thoughts even if it is to yourself helps get the writing to a higher standard a bit at a time.

Writing for me has become something that I do most days. I don't write a blog everyday because there are days when I can't express myself like that but at least I write something down to keep up my writing. I also have days when I can write a couple of blogs without an effort but those days are rare.

The only way to write is to actually sit down and put words onto paper. No one has to see what you write as the rough draft other than yourself. Being able to at least get thoughts down on paper or screen is a start and then you can go from there.

Writing isn't easy and you should never be jealous of what you see someone else write. Everyone writes differently but remember you can only say you write if you really write.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Buffet restaurants

Have you noticed how much food is really wasted at buffet restaurants?

What is amazing when you go to a buffet restaurant is seeing how much food some people put onto their plates when they are selecting their food. Of course everything does look good but the idea is you can go back more than once to select food.

The idea at the buffet is to select a few items (not heaping plates full) and go back to your table and eat what you selected. If you just wanted a taste of a lot of different things than the amount on your plate should be a taste size not a full serving of everything you want to taste. In a lot of cases the first trip to the buffet table is to see what is available and maybe get a few small portions of food so that you can decided what you really want to have when you go back to get more.

What I have noticed is that when some people go up to the buffet table they have a heaping plate and just pick a few mouthfuls off of that plate before leaving the remaining food on the plate and go and get some different food. If you are unsure of what you really want then just take small portions until you know. The people that leave the first heaping plate of food then normally come back with another heaping plate of food only to do the same thing again. Most of the food that they are put on their plates never gets eaten and it is just wasted.

You wonder why buffets are so expensive, well someone has to pay for all the food that is wasted by being put on plates and just thrown out. It would be really nice if people did a little bit of thinking when they are doing their selection instead of grabbing lots of everything. The basic idea of a buffet is to be able to have a selection of foods and be able to go back and get more if you need more food. Of course there are people who have heaping plates of food and can actually eat everything they selected. Those are the people that really enjoy the buffet experience and will get the best value for the price.

Next time you are at a buffet restaurant look at the plates of the people around you. How many eat almost everything if not everything they have selected and how many leave most of their choices on the plate only to be thrown out. It is amazing to see how much food is really wasted at buffet restaurants and the people that normally complain about the price of the meal are the ones that are leaving piles of food on their plates each trip to the buffet table.

So, next time when you are at a buffet table remember, you can go back and get more food after you have finished what you selected. It is best to take smaller portions until you are sure what you really like especially if you are trying something you are unsure about. Pace yourself because if you eat too much too fast you are just going to be uncomfortable and really not enjoy yourself.

A buffet is great for when you are unsure of what you really want as you can have lots of small bits of a lot of different foods.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Coffee Shop Escapes

Have you noticed how busy some coffee shops are during the week?

It is very interesting to see how busy some coffee shops are during a week day now. A coffee shop can be a place to have a meeting, do work while on the road or just to escape the office for a while. In a lot of cases a coffee shop gives you a break from the normal routine.

We use a coffee shop sometimes as a place to work but also as an escape from our own office. There are times when the change of scenery can really help regain a focus. A coffee shop can also be a place where we can discuss some of the projects we are working on without other distractions.

It is amazing how much work you can accomplish when in a different location. For us a coffee shop is a chance to unplug from the internet and focus on some other work. Yes, when we are in a coffee shop we are not on the “free” wifi that most provide. The “free” wifi can also be a dangerous connection as you never really know who could be on the connection doing bad things.

The coffee shop environment is such a great spot to be able to focus on something. There are times when an hour sitting in a coffee shop results in more work getting accomplished than even two hours in the office.

The coffee shops have now become the spot where even University and College students can do their homework. I know this as I have done some of my College assignments sitting in a coffee shop. The ability to focus on a single task is wonderful.

A coffee shop has now become a remote office for so many people. You can have your meetings or work along, it's up to you. A coffee shop can also be a place where writers go to write. How you use a coffee shop is up to you and don't be surprised at all that people will be working around you.

It's now time for me to finish up my coffee and get back to the office.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Being a pedestrian

There are dos and don't when being a pedestrian and that is something I think people forget sometimes when they are busy.

One of the biggest things I see people forgetting is that when they are going to cross a road is to look to make sure that drivers have seen them. I have noticed at intersections people just starting to cross without even checking to make sure that the cars have stopped around them. Cars that are turning right sometimes think they can beat the light and that is when problems happen.

Mobile devices have also caused problems for pedestrians because they become so involved in whatever they are doing on their mobile devices that they don't look to see what traffic is doing. One day we were out and noticed a lady almost cross a busy road on a red like because she was looking down at her device and not at the intersection. For me, if I need to check something on my mobile device while walking I will move over to the side of the sidewalk and normally stop. I will not check my device while crossing a road because I need my attention on the other pedestrians and the vehicles around me.

In our area the one thing that I see is how people look for traffic before they cross the road. People have a habit of starting to cross the road before looking for traffic and they are only looking at the traffic going in one direction. Yes, it is normally the traffic farthest from where they are so they don't see the vehicles that are going to come into contact with them first. The other thing around our area is people figure they can cross anywhere on the street and cars will just stop for them to let them finish crossing. I am really amazed that there aren't more accidents involved pedestrians in our area.

Weather is another factor that I have been causes major issues with vehicles and pedestrians. Pedestrians in bad weather figure that they have the right to stay dry so don't look for vehicles in intersections. Umbrellas play a big part of that because some people hold their umbrellas so low that they can't even see anything around them.

If you have ever driven or walked in downtown Toronto during rush hour you will understand this point. People are in such a rush to either get to or from work to their trains that they forget about anyone else. There have been instances where people are being pushed out of the way so that one person can get their train. These people think that they are the only individuals wanting to get where they are going. At intersections I have seen streams of people walk against the light so that they can to where they are going not thinking about the fine that they could get for doing this. Also cars seem to be very impatient during rush hour because they also want to get to where they are going. Can't people just slow down just a little bit and thing of others. If you have to run to or from your train everyday maybe you need to look at your schedule and adjust it.

Pedestrians do have their rights but vehicles also have their rights as well. Remember when you dealing with the road and vehicles, the vehicles are a lot bigger than you are and cause a lot more damage to you than you can to them. Take a second when you are at an intersection to make sure that the cars see you and if that thing on your mobile device is so important take a break from walking and finish dealing with it.

Pedestrians are all of us so let's take those couple of seconds to think about our surroundings before we do something that could result in the end of our life.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Balance of work and home

Now a days a lot of us deal with the various pressures of work and home life and the balance between the two of them. For me it is a challenge because home is where quite a bit of my work is actually done so that sometimes makes the balancing of the too a little harder.

What can be a challenge when having an office at home is making sure that you find the time to walk away from that environment and remember that there are other things to do. Of course, the home office is where all the bills are paid for both work and home and even the email is mostly done in that area as well. What I have found works is normally around dinner time I will turn off the computer saying that the rest of the evening is going to be away from it and I will do other things. Now yes, I may walk away from the computer but my mobile device is always close by so that I can even deal with emails away from the computer. I just find that being able to walk away from the computer helps me make sure I have a balance.

There are times when the pressure of work does impact home and vice verse. There are the appointments that have to be done during the day that impact what I can do for work so that is one of the things. Another thing that impacts home life is when there is something that needs to get done and am working against a deadline. The deadline may mean that I work some evenings trying to focus on the task as I don't normally get as many business emails after work hours. The other impact to the home life is some meetings have to be held in the evenings so that everyone can attend especially for one client that I work with. This is partly because of dealing with the various time zones in Canada.

Making sure that you can try and balance both work and home is something that can be difficult. I know that for us the weekends are when we try to do quite a bit of the home stuff but there are times weekends are for work. If this is the case we are fortunate that we can actually sometimes take some time during the week to get the home stuff done as well.

Just make sure that you do take the time for yourself no matter how you do it. In the world today it is harder to totally walk away from work but you have to try. We have actually found a method that works for us and in some ways helps us work better. When we are feeling that stressed and overwhelmed feeling instead of getting more stressed we will go to the gym for an hour and workout. The gym is a great place to actually put a lot of the things you are dealing with in the back of your mind and let them sit there for a while. Quite a few times after getting back from the gym that task that was a challenge before is a lot easier as the solution seems to come a lot quicker.

So whatever you do remember that there should be a balance between work and home. Give yourself a little bit of time to ensure you are being you and not just the work person.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Recently I had the opportunity to do a one day contract and it was a very different experience. The work I did was interesting in some ways but it also was a very long day but that isn't want bothered me. The interesting thing about the day was how some of the other people that were also working handled it.

Now what the job involved wasn't very difficult so that is nice but it was the working with the various people that made the day a challenge in some ways. When we all signed up to work we were told it was going to be a very long day and parts of it could be very slow and other parts of it would be extremely busy. We were also told that after a given time we may be able to leave quickly or we might have to stay for a while and help with various tasks. I went into the day knowing that I wasn't sure what time I would be leaving but I would try my best to see how quickly I could complete the various tasks so that I could leave.

One of the people that I was working with found out that she really wasn't cut out for the position that she was doing and she made sure that a bunch of us heard about it. She got frustrated with people and was very vocal about it which didn't help some of us. She also figured that at the given time she was going to be able to leave without doing any of the clean up that we were told was going to be part of our jobs. I ended up having to work with her on some of the clean up and she tried everything to get out of doing anything because she wanted to go home. My attitude was if we can get the things done we would be heading home quickly.

For me it was a different type of work and yes the day was long but at least once all the clean up was done I was quickly thanks and told I was able to leave. Now, the girl that had done all the complaining and didn't want to help clean up ended up having to stay longer than me. The supervisor found a task that someone had to do and I think because of all her complaining and not working she got the task.

The job that I did was work for Election Canada on Election Day and yes it was a different experience. If you went in with the right attitude it wasn't bad and I am glad that I did it.

I hope the girl found out that if you do your job that you said you would do and didn't complain that things would be a lot easier. A smile goes a long way to making a job a little pleasant and not letting all the little things get you down.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remembering loved ones

Sitting and thinking of loved ones is something that most people do at some point. Remembering those that are no longer with us is something that is important. A person may not be physically here any longer but they are here in a different way.

A person is in our hearts and in our memories and that is what is very important. As I write this I am thinking about my own father who is no longer with us but he is still in my heart. My father died when I was just a child so I don't have memories of doing things with him but I have memories of hearing people talk about him. My father is someone I would have loved to get to know but I just didn't have a chance to do that. I keep a picture of him with me and I know that he is watching over me.

One thing that is very wonderful now is looking at my nephew and seeing my father in him. Both my nephew and I look like my father and I am very proud of that. Yes, growing up I didn't like being recognized as my father's daughter because I didn't get to know him. Now, I am very proud that I look like him and I always say that when someone asks who I take after. Seeing that my nephew looks like my father makes me happy because there is a person living that looks like those pictures I have seen of my father as a young adult.

We all have people that we remember and they don't have to be blood relations to be that loved one we think about. For me, I have people that I remember because of how they touched my life and helped me become who I am now. It's important to sometimes to just sit and think about these people because it helps you see who you became and why.

Some of my favourite memories include people that are no longer here with us. Remembering a smile, a kind word or a hug helps get us through those touch times. A person leaves their little footprint on each of us and each of us will remember the same person differently.

Take time to create memories with people that are important to you because the memories will last.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I think everyone has a calendar for some of the things that they do or would like to do. For us a schedule or calendar is extremely important to make sure that things are done when they are required to be completed. As a business owner there are deadlines that must be met for the government otherwise there are penalties that have to be paid.

A calendar for me is something that I check most mornings to make sure that there isn't anything that I will be missing that day. Also my calendar let's me see what is coming up in the next little while so that I know the time I have available to accomplish my work. If you had of seen my October calendar you would have noticed that there were a lot of things written on it and some of those were conferences. What I noticed is that in the spring there are a limited number of events that we normally go to and they are spread out. Now, October seems to be the month when a lot of the conferences and events are so that calendar is always extremely busy. This October there were even days when there were two conferences but luckily they were both close together and neither required a whole day attendance.

A calendar is a great communication device because it lets you see what is coming up but also what has happened in the past. For me, there are two calendars that I use most of the time and one is the one on my mobile device which has some of the events on it and then there is the paper calendar that is near my desk. The second calendar is the one where a lot of the other events and items get written on so that I can see what is happening in the future. I use my paper calendar to review the future events because it is a lot quicker to see the week ahead or even the month overview without having to click on the various days to see what the dot means.

The calendar is also a means of making sure that we both know what is coming up because in some cases, if we didn't write something down, we may miss that specific event. So yes, a calendar can be for a few key things or for a lot of what is going on. For me, the calendar lets me make sure that I am able to find the balance between work and personal life without missing things.

Our calendar isn't as full now with conferences, which is nice, so work is going to be accomplished. It is now time for me to go back and check the calendar to see what I should be working on.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Gym -- 12 weeks in

It is hard to believe but I have been going to the gym now for 12 weeks and am loving it. Of course my muscles sometimes don't like the after effects of the workout but I am feeling very good about going.

I continue to try some of the different equipment that is at the gym and now I think I have only a couple more pieces to try that are not in the free weight area. It has been interesting seeing how some of the equipment that I had such a hard time using at the beginning is getting easier and easier to use now.

The one machine that is used twice most times is the one for the abdominal muscles. I have been able to increase the weight that I have been doing on this machine so I know that it is making me stronger as doors are so much easier to open now.  Most of the weights that I started with have increased on all the machines and that is wonderful because I know I am getting stronger in general. I have found that I can do sit ups now that I wasn't able to do in the past and I enjoy doing the most of the time. For me to make sit ups work I have had to hold a 4 kg exercise ball while doing them but at least it means I can do them now. The only times I have had a problem doing them is after really working those same muscles on different equipment or while watching my husband try and do them beside me as he was having real problems doing them.

No, the weight hasn't been going down quickly but things have been getting easier for me to do. My briefcase doesn't feel as heavy as it did when I started going to the gym and I haven't taken things out of it. I think I may have even increased what I am carrying as I normally have a textbook wit me when I go to the office now. Our clothes are fitting differently as well which is a big thing and that shows we are doing the right things. We think the increase in muscle mass is currently getting in the way of weight dropping off faster.

This past week we decided that besides going to the gym we were going to try and do some walking that we haven't done before. The walk we decided to do was the walk home from the office instead of taking transit. The 6 km route isn't bad and it is something that we figured we were in shape now to do it. We accomplished this in just over an hour so not bad considering there were traffic lights and such that we had to deal with. This walk was accomplished after doing another 2.2 km walk earlier in the day so yes we pushed ourselves that day but felt good afterwards.

The gym is a place that I am still enjoying going and I am looking forward to seeing people that I haven't seen for a while and hoping that they notice a difference in me. While the weight isn't where I would like it to be yet but at least just being able to feel better in myself if a huge step.

The treadmill is still a piece of equipment that I love using and I am normally on it between 20 and 30 minutes most trips to the gym. I haven't tried a 5 km walk in a few weeks so I think it is time for me to try that again and see how fast I can now complete it. I can see that it should be under the hour mark now but not sure how much under the hour.

One goal that I have set for myself is for next spring/summer and that is to complete a 5 km event. Being able to complete that event in a good time would be very rewarding. If I could possibly run a little bit of it that would even be better but that will have to wait as I need to make sure I don't re-injure a knee that sometimes reminds me to slow a bit.

As I write this, I am sitting and feeling a few muscles that I used yesterday but I know that the pain isn't bad and it is worth it in the long run. I am getting stronger and fitter and that is what I wanted to do. 12 weeks of going to the gym have made a big difference in how I am feeling and I hope that this continues.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Entering transit vehicles

Lately I have noticed that a lot of people are not looking before they start to enter a transit vehicle. A door on a bus or train is used for both entering and exiting a vehicle. It is amazing to just sit and watch people at the door. It is interesting the number of people that as soon as the door open immediately start to get on the vehicle without looking to see if there is anyone exiting the vehicle using the same door.

While watching this on transit I have seen individuals push onto a vehicle by the person trying to exit the vehicle. It would only take a few seconds to let the person off the vehicle first and then get on. I do understand that some people wait to the very last minute to get to the door when exiting but I am talking about the people that are standing at or very near the door before the vehicle stops.

If this situation happened on the rare occasion it wouldn't be something that I noticed but this happens on almost every trip I take on public transit. During my trip into the office today I noticed this happen three times and that almost got me laughing on the bus. It is sometimes funny to see the almost accidents between the two individuals in the door way because the person entering just sees a door open and not the person standing in the doorway.

It really only takes a second to look up to make sure that the doorway is clear before you try and enter a vehicle. It does avoid the accident or even the frustration of getting banged when exiting a vehicle. In some cases people are too busy looking at their mobile device and in other cases they just don't look.

When going to enter a transit vehicle take that second to look up and make sure you aren't going to run into someone else. Yes, just looking up away from your mobile device could make your day just that little bit better and avoid that accident.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Changing seasons

Looking out my window I am seeing that the seasons are changing. I have had the opportunity to enjoy some nice fall colours from my office window and that has been great. Now the leaves are falling and the trees are starting to look bare and dull.

Seeing all the different fall colours is nice when you can just look at them and dream. I know that there have been times this fall that I have just looked at the colours and remembered growing up. I have always loved the fall colours and walking in the leaves and kicking them around. I think a lot of kids love playing in the fallen leaves and I was one of them. Being able to help rake the leaves was always fun because after you made a pile you could either jump in them or for me it was running through them kicking the leaves all over the place again.

I am not a person that enjoys winter but I do enjoy all the oranges and reds that the leaves turn in the fall. If I could skip winter I would be a lot happier because the other three seasons I enjoy so I guess having one that I don't like isn't so bad.

The clocks changing is another indication of the changing seasons and we are going to be facing that this weekend. It will be getting darker earlier in the evenings starting Sunday but at least it is a little brighter in the mornings for a little while.

Fall is slowing fading here and next it will be winter. At least sitting here right now I can enjoy the last little bits of the colours that I can see. Seasons change and everyone has a season that they enjoy the most and mine would be spring when everything comes alive again. So, yes I love the fall colours and the leaves on the ground but spring is for me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Asking IT for support

So many people forget that there is one very important role of themselves when they are asking IT for support. The role of the end user is to explain the problem that they are having and in some cases being the hands and eyes for the IT person.

We ran into a situation a while ago with an end user that would run into a problem and as soon as she had notified us about it, would basically run away. The person didn't want to help solve the problem and in a lot of cases the words we got were “it doesn't work so fix it”. Now the problem with that type of explanation is we have no clue what they were doing or even what the problem really is.

If as an end user you are experiencing an issue, be it with some software or something else with regards to your computer, it's important to communicate effectively with the IT person. It doesn't work makes it very hard to figure out if the actual issue is a computer problem or if the end user is doing something incorrectly. If there is an error message that is popping up, make sure that you tell IT what you were doing when the message popped up because that might help figure out what the problem really is.

In our situation the person just wouldn't be the hands and eyes for us as they had access to the computer and we were not in the same location. It was “it didn't work” and that was it which means that as an IT individual you get frustrated because there really isn't a way to figure out what the problem is without having to go on-site and deal with the computer yourself. If you are asking for help from someone in IT make sure that the problem is clearly explained and you are going to be available to answer the questions that are going to arise.

IT does the best that they can do and of course most IT individuals are not mind readers so we can't know what you were doing when the problem occurred. If remote access isn't part of what has been asked of us, remember, we can't see the screen that you are referring to so some communication is going to be very important. Making sure that as an end user that you can help IT when you say “It doesn't work” will mean that it will probably get fixed a lot faster than if you just throw you hands up and run away.

Asking an IT person for help can sometimes be frustrated because yes you are going to lose a bit of work time but you asked for the help so you need to remember that. IT individuals don't know how every piece of software works even if they have installed it. The IT person is responsible for installing the software and the end user is the one that needs to know all the little bits that make the software work for them.

In our case we did go to site and get the problem resolved which was wonderful. Having the hands and eyes might have made it quicker but that we don't know. Also before you scream that something isn't working do a bit of checking yourself as you might solve the problem without ever calling the IT person.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Yes, this is a topic that I experienced while dealing with a sports injury and it really bothered me. Part of it people not looking at what is around them but the other part is how I was specifically treated while in a store.

I recently sprained my ankle and was told to help it heal quicker that I should use crutches for a few days to help me get around. Now, crutches are something that you see a lot of especially as a result of some sort of sports injury so they aren't something new. Well, we decided that even with me being on crutches it would be good to get out and get some walking in so we headed off to a mall so that I could do the walking without dealing with the weather as well.

It is interesting watching people walking around a mall because so many people don't seem to look ahead to see what is in front of them. There were instances that people were pretty close to walking into me before they even noticed I was there. Of course, the crutches mean that I can't move out of the way as quickly as I normally would so I had to stop a few times to avoid being walked into. This wasn't too bad an issue it was what happened in a store that really got to me.

During the mall walk I said that I wanted to go into one store to look for a top that I have seen in a different location but not my size. I walked into the store and the sales person was there greeting customers as they came in but I didn't get a greeting but the person behind me did. Now that was the start of the visit into the store. I was looking for a specific top and was trying to see where it would be located in the store. A couple of other sales people walked by me without even acknowledging me or asking if I could use any assistance. I finally got into one area of the store to see if I could find the top only to be asked by a sales person to move so that they could hang up something close to where I was standing. The sales person got rather upset when I said that she would have to walk around a display to get to the area because it wasn't so easy for me to move quickly on the crutches (I don't think she even thought about that issue). Again, I wasn't asked if I was looking for something or just browsing. The final issue was when I was trying to head out of the store and I had ended up close to the fitting rooms and as I was making my way through one small area another sales lady headed toward me heading to the fitting room. She didn't say anything because I think she saw on my face that I was extremely frustrated. So, to sum it up I walked the entire store without anyone asking if I needed assistance or even acknowledging me as a customer other than to tell me to get out of a sales person's way.

I cannot believe that in the world today someone can be treated like that in a store. I have been a frequent shopper in this chain but now that I have been treated like this I am going to rethink of where I do my shopping.

Well Cleo, you have shown me a few ways that you don't respect or care out some of your customers. If you greet people are the door make sure you greet everyone not just people you think may shop in your store. Every customer that comes into your store should be treated with respect as you never know if they are going to buy one thing or an entire wardrobe.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Getting organized

There are so many ways that someone can get organized and it will depend on what they mean when they say it. For me getting organized could be organizing my thoughts, to-do-list, craft items, work stuff or even things around home.

Yes, getting organized can take on so many different meanings depending on what the person is really talking about when they say it. I have said it a couple of times and those were the times I am trying to organize all the thoughts that were bouncing around in my head. Yes, I was trying to organize the thoughts and get them down onto paper so that I could actually do something with the ideas.

Getting organized no matter what part of your life you are talking about is a good thing. Sometimes it is simply just sitting back and looking at things a little differently than you have been doing. Of course, getting organized around the house is normally a lot bigger task than some of the others but at least you feel better when you do any of them. For me, organizing my to-do-list helps me remain focused and ensure that I can get the things done that I need to get accomplished on a timely basis. Recently I moved my to-do-list from a long list to smaller project based lists and it is helping me a lot more. It did take some time to get everything into the smaller projects but now it means that when I want to focus on something I can see all the tasks that I need to do for that project.

Being organized no matter what you are talking about can really make you feel better about your surroundings. It will also help you be more productive in general because you will know where things are and be able to find things quickly.

Getting organized may take you a bit of time but at least the end results are rewarding. You may change how you organize things a few times along the way but when you find something that works for you that is great. Your organization might not be good for someone else but you have to have it so it works for you.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Small businesses

So may people are now working either independently or for a small business. What has been happening is more and more of the larger businesses have been down sizing meaning that the workers have had to find new jobs.

What is amazing is some people's attitudes about the small business owner or employee. No, we don't have all the free time in the world to do things that we want to do and not get paid for what we are doing. Our job is how we make a living and in a lot of cases we were aren't working for a client we aren't getting paid. Of course, being a business owner we can sometimes set our hours but in a lot of cases these hours can be extremely long.

When you work for a small business or even own a small business there are a few things that you really need to take into considering and that is your own personal time. As a business owner when things are slow we try and grab a day to ourselves because we don't know what we will get the next one. It can be a challenge to take a vacation or even a weekend away depending on what type of business you work in. For those in IT there are always the challenges of who is going to help the client when you are away and will they be able to handle the situation. We are lucky and have some other independent IT owners that can assist us when we are away.

Small businesses are now making up more and more of the entire work force now a days because of the shift in how things are done. For those that work for big business remember that there are a lot more small businesses than large businesses and one day you may be a small business owner or employee.

When talking to a business owner remember, yes, it can be nice to run your own business or be part of a small business but the hours can be long. When you have work that needs to be done you work until it is done and you normally don't have set hours. We have experience a few people that think because we have a small business we have lots of free time and can do what we want whenever we want. In reality we do have free time but it isn't always when we want it. Sometimes one of us has the time to relax where the other is extremely busy.

Small businesses are something that has happened in the past few years and I think it will continue to be like this. More and more businesses would rather hire someone to do a specific task and then not have them as part of their payroll. Running a small business can be very enjoyable and I have to admit that I am enjoying that role. I am very thankful that I have a good business partner that I can work with.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Managing multiple tasks and/or roles

Now a days so many of us are doing multiple jobs or at least multiple tasks on an almost daily basis.

As a consultant most days I am managing the various tasks for the different clients as well as the tasks that I also have for our own business. There are a few things that I have found that work really well for me and that have been helping me keep everything in some sort of order or at least helping me manage everything.

Here are things that I have found that have helped me keep things organized or at least better organized.
  1. Coloured binders
    Coloured binders – these binders are based on a colour that I have selected for the various clients as well as for the our own company.
  2. Coloured file folders – the file folders for each client matches the binder colour so that when everything is on my desk I can find what I am looking for based on the colour of the folder.
  3. Multiple email address – having different email addresses for the various functions does help ensure that I can keep myself on track when I get busy. On my mobile device,  I have some email accounts that notify me when I get an email while other accounts don't, which are lower urgency that I will look at when I have time.
  4. Calendar – having a calendar where I can put all the different appointments does help. Sometimes some of the appointments are simply just reminders of things that I need to get accomplished.
  5. To do list – a detailed to-do-list is another thing that helps ensure that I can keep on top of all the different deadlines that I need to remember and deal with.
  6. Trusty notebook
    Notebook/journal – one notebook where I can make notes as ideas and thoughts come to me for the various tasks/projects really helps. It means that all the ideas are in one place instead of all over like they were in the past.

These are the things that help me manage all the different things that I am working on. Not everything will work for everyone but this is what I have found works for me.

Managing various projects and tasks sometimes does feel like I am just bouncing between everything but making sure that at the end of the day I can figure out what I did and what still needs to get done is always helpful. My to-do-list and notebook are always with me because that way I can ensure that I know where things stand and what else needs to be accomplished.
Find what works best for you and know that it can even change over time.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Watching videos in public places

How often have you heard someone listening to something in a public place without the use of headphones?

I have noticed lately that more and more people are using their mobile devices to watch videos of some sort. What they aren't considering if the noise that everyone else has to deal with if they aren't using headphones. If you want to watch a video or play a game on your mobile device that requires sound please use some headphones.

One place I have seen a lot of video watching is in fast food areas and people are sharing one device so that at least two of them can see the video at once. Sure it's nice that you want to share the experience with the other person but not everyone around you wants to hear the sounds coming from your device. If you want to share the experience how about both of you using one of the eye pieces from your headphones.

The other place that I have noticed this happening with the videos and games is on public transit. Sure, it is a great way to pass the time during the commute but again not everyone else wants to hear what you are watching. Actually on public transit, at least in Toronto, there is a policy about if you are listening to a device you should be using headphones. Now again if you are using the headphones the volume should be such that only you can hear the sounds coming from the device and not everyone around you.

Videos and chats are get ways of communicating but please remember not everyone around you has the same taste. Chats through mobile devices again should be done using headphones with microphones so that not everyone hears everything that is being said.

If you want to watch your videos in public places please respect others in the same area. We all want some of that space and don't want to hear just want you would like to hear. Also, in a lot of cases the experience we get is a bunch of muffled noises so we get no enjoyment out of it and even if we could hear it, it may not be our taste. So, next time you watch to watch that video or chat with friends through a mobile device using the camera feature please remember that out of respect to others use your headphones.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Gift cards

I think all of us have received gift cards as some point. Now have the cards been to a place you shop at or someplace the other individual likes and figured you would?

Gift cards can be very handy when you know the person and you can get them a card to a store or mall that they shop at. Receiving a gift card for a store that you have never shopped at is a little different. If I don't know the person well enough and am not sure where they shop I would rather give them a general gift card or even the cash.

Gift cards can even come in handy when you are traveling because it means that you don't have to carry as much cash around. The best gift cards are the cards that can be reloaded or topped up and you can use the same card over and over again. I have even seen cards now that are re-loadable as well as a rewards card all in one. This makes it really nice because then it serves two purposes instead of having two different cards.

A gift card can be very good for individuals that are getting older and you aren't sure what they want or need. I know that for my parents we have been giving them gift cards sometimes and they are normally for the stores that they frequent or at least to places we know they will use the card at.

For me, when I receive a gift card I try and use it soon so that I can let the person that gave it to me know what I used it on. The cards that I think are the best are to book stores or the general gift cards that you can now get. I have never received either one of these but I know my husband uses his book store cards as he is a big reader.

Next time when you are thinking about buying someone a gift card remember, when in doubt just get them a general gift card, that way they can use it anywhere or at least a lot of places.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Scents in the workplace

Have you ever walked into someone's office and all you could smell was their perfume or cologne? Well for some of us this can cause some real problems.

For some people the simple smell of a perfume or cologne can cause some major health issues that can last for quite a while. The reaction would be a slight tickle in the throat to something as made as major asthma attacks. The reaction can also last from a couple of minutes to several hours depending on the severity of the allergy/sensitivity.

There are a lot of places where scents are not allowed and I am one of those that totally supports this type of policy. I know that hospitals and clinics have started requesting individuals visiting these locations to avoid using perfume or cologne prior the to the visit. I am one of those individuals that has a hard time dealing with different perfume, colognes and even some candle scents. Normally I can deal with it if I can get out of the area quick enough but other times that just a quick smell of something can result in a hoarse voice and congestion for several hours.

When you have a condition that effects your breathing it makes it hard to focus once a reaction has started. For me, I just have to slow down for a while, use my inhaler and take it easy until the reaction eases. I do know that my asthma is triggered by these scents so I always have to be careful when out in malls, especially close to Mother's day, Valentine's day and Christmas. These occasions seem to be the times where stores really want to promote giving perfume as a gift to someone.

It is rather difficult to totally avoid all the different scents around us, but at least I can avoid most of them. So if you enjoy wearing cologne please remember that there are some of us that will suffer because of what you are wearing.

Remember, a scent is not limited to perfume or cologne as the scent can also be in candles, hairsprays, lotions, soaps, air fresheners, etc. If possible, please remember that you may enjoy the scent but someone else in the area may be having some issues because of it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Managing others

There are a number of ways to manage others and some are good and others don't work. Of course, it does depend on the individuals involved.

When managing others one of the biggest things is to figure out how to keep the individual busy but don't hover over them and keep checking up on them. People like to know that you trust them to get the work done. Also, make it clear to the person that if they run into problems or have any questions that are you there to assist them. One of the biggest things is as a manager you need to ensure that your staff is busy but you also have to ensure that you are getting your own work done.

One of the worst things you can do when managing someone is continually checking up on them to make sure they are getting stuff done. Of course, there is always the challenge of not checking up enough on an individual so that they feel they can do whatever they want. At first, you will always have to be around to assist the new individual but once you see that they can do the various tasks you need to step back a bit and let them do it.

Managing others is always a trick because until you know what the person can and cannot do you will need to manage one way and then later change how you manage. Staff want to know that you trust them and they in turn will trust you and will come to you when they have problems.

For the manager there is always the risk of someone above you not liking your management style. Everyone has their own ways to manage and that needs to be understood. You can't tell someone to stop hovering over staff one day and then tell them they aren't doing a good job at managing the same people the next day. If you see something that can be improved in a way someone manages you can make suggestions but that's it. Managing others is always a challenge but trust is one of the biggest things that you need to establish.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Juggling various projects

So many of us deal with the same projects on and off and that is the juggling of various projects at the same time.

Of course, with work there always seems to be too many things that need to be accomplished and just not enough time to get everything done. The juggling of the projects can simply be the various emails that appear that need to be dealt with or it can be various projects that are all needing our attention at the same time.

I do juggle a number of work projects all the time and there are instances where I don't feel like I am getting anywhere with any of them. When this happens I know that the best thing I can do is sit back and look at them and figure out some of the small tasks that need to be completed and get them out of the way. By simply getting some of the small tasks done it gets me wanting to see more of the projects moved along and it gets a lot easier to deal with.

Now, the other juggling that I do is with my own time because as a crafter there are always a lot of different projects being worked on at once. There are some crafter's that can only have one project on the go at once but that sure isn't me. I currently don't even want to count all the projects that I have on the go because it would be quite a few. My crafting projects are all at different stages because then I can work on them when I have different amounts of times to allocate to the.

The juggling of all the various projects does take some time and it can also add some unnecessary stress to our lives when things get a little hard to deal with. Perhaps my to-do-list can sometimes look rather long and that is because I break down a lot of my projects into a lot of detail. The detail is how I can juggle everything and at least see a bit of progress on the projects. I also set the milestones that I want to achieve to ensure that I can try and keep the focus that I need to get everything done.

As a project manager being able to see the various little things that can get done does help me juggle all the tasks for all the projects. The juggle will continue but at least I am finding methods that can help me continue to get things moved a little further ahead.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gym membership - 5 weeks in

If you had asked me a year ago if I would have been going to a gym on a regular basis I probably would have said no to you. Now I can say I am enjoying going to a gym and am happy about it.

Five weeks ago we had a gym open within walking distance from our home and that was one of the big selling points to us. Neither one of us wanted to have to drive or take transit to get to the gym and we also didn't want the personal trainers or all the classes that a lot of gyms offer. What we wanted was a gym where we could work out and basically be our own bosses for our exercises and that is what we found. The other nice selling point was something that was reasonable priced and that is also what we got.

We have been going to the gym now for five weeks and I am loving it. The routine is to try and get to the gym between two and three times a week if our schedule allows us to do that. Being able to walk to it also means that one of us can go even when the other one can't go for any reason. Our gym bag is now always sitting close to the front door ready to go so that when we decide to go there isn't the having to prepare the gym bag as it is ready.

For us the purpose of the gym is to get fit and be happy however building big muscles has never been high on the list of things we want to accomplish. The gym offers us the flexibility to do what we want and for how long we want without someone watching over us and saying we should do so many of each certain exercise each time we are at the gym. We have been enjoying going and our routine at the gym differs each time we are there.

The routine that I started with was walking a 5km walk on the treadmill with some other small exercises thrown in before and after that walk. Now my routine is more like 20 minutes on the treadmill at a higher speed and then more time on all the other equipment that I want to work on that trip to the gym. Of course, there is one machine that always get used and that is the one for working on the abdominal muscles. I am now normally using that machine twice each trip to the gym as it is my starting machine and ending of the trip.

The things that have really changed for me is my comfort about myself being at a gym and how I can actually do things. 5 weeks ago me completing the 5 km walk in under 60 minutes was a major milestone and if I could walk it at 3.1 miles an hour that was wonderful. Now I spend 20 minutes on the treadmill normally at around 3.4 miles an hour with sprints at 4.5 miles an hour so that is a big difference for me. I am now looking forward to getting the sprints longer and the amount of walking in the 20 minutes down but I that is going to take some time before I am running the entire 20 minutes.

One of the biggest things that happened was this past week. A friend of mine saw me for the first time since we joined the gym and she noticed a change in me. Of course, I haven't been really working on a lot of areas yet but she did notice that there is a change in my appearance/shape and that made me extremely happy. For me knowing that I have been making some changes in my life and I have been feeling some differences in how clothes fit makes me very happy.

The gym is something that I am really enjoying and now I am very determined to keep at it as we are also getting rid of some weight in this process. The weight isn't leaving quickly but I can say that in the last 5 weeks both of us have gotten rid of 3 pounds each so that is great. I am feeling stronger already and I can also walk at a faster pace normally now.

A gym is helping me change me in some good ways and I wonder what I will be like when I reach the three months of going.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Friendly work environment

A friendly work environment makes it so much easier to do things than some place where you aren't allowed to smile or even laugh just a little bit.

I have heard that “this place isn't summer camp” said when a couple of people have decided to laugh just a little bit. The laughing isn't something that is done all the time but it is something that helps relieve the stress that we all deal with now a days especially at work. Of course a work environment shouldn't be a place where there is always a bunch of people laughing all the time but there are times when just a bit of laughter makes things so much better.

It is amazing how different people handle stress and everything that is going on around us. I have been told that I am too enthusiastic about my work. I enjoy my work and when I am doing something, yes, I will put all my energy into it and show an interest. Something, me just showing being happy is also a means of dealing with challenges that I don't want others to see that I am handling.

A friendly work environment really does make work so much easier to do even when you are really stressed about something. I know that work needs to get done and that is why people go into an office but there also needs to be a chance to smile and be happy about things even for a little while.

So if you are dealing with a location that doesn't allow you to smile or even laugh a bit, that isn't a good spot for you if you want to be happy. I continue to show my enthusiasm on the various projects that I am working on as it makes me feel better and the smiles can be contagious. I am now going to go and put that smile on my face and if people around me don't like it that's their problem.

Do you have a friendly work environment or one that makes you feel depressed?