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.