Thursday, July 28, 2016

Please, thank you and those simple words

There are times that I think that some of the younger generation thinks that they are very entitled and that the simple words like please, thank you and the like are missing from their vocabulary.

I have had the opportunity to work with two different younger people and have had two entirely different experiences with them. It can be an interesting time when you can sit back after the experiences and compare what the two young people were like. Now, to give you a bit of background about these experiences, I had one individual who was a female university student and the other individual was a male college student. Yes, both of them were going to post secondary school when I had the dealings with them so they were very similar in one way but different in other ways.

The female university student was someone that I felt would be very appreciative of having the help in the various challenges that she was facing. The communication was quite simple as she would ask for some help and I would try and give her the guidance that she was asking for. This is where the problems started and I should have been able to walk away from helping once I saw some behaviour that I didn’t agree with. The female student, of course I think, really appreciated the help that was given to her but the words “thank you” were something that wasn’t said by her. Maybe she figured I would know that she appreciated the help but not hearing the words “thank you” got to me. Of course, this same student when faced with a number of assignments at a given time got extremely moody and was difficult to talk with. I tried a number of times to show that the challenges she was facing in university was just a sampling of what she was going to face in the real world once she graduated.

The male college student again was also someone that I felt would be very appreciative of having the help in the various challenges that he was facing. The communication again was quite simple as he asked for some help and I was able to provide it. Now, here is the big difference between the two individuals as the male student repeatedly said “thank you” for the help that was given to him. I know the words “thank you” aren’t huge but it does show that the person appreciates the time that was given to them and the knowledge that was passed onto them. The male student was even in a bit of a panic trying to get an assignment completed when he asked for the help but did remember that the words “thanks and thank you” do help. It didn’t matter when I was speaking with the male student, I always heard “thanks” when I was giving him even the slightest bit of help.

I have seen it more and more that some of the younger generation feels that they are entitled to everything and things are just handed to them. The younger generation should have to earn what they get like we did. In schools now, students aren’t failed like they were so that shows the students that they don’t have to do the work to advance anymore. These two students are just a couple of examples that I have seen as I have seen tons of examples. Some employees in stores don’t use the words “thank you” either and of course if they demonstrate that they feel they are entitled to the job and aren’t willing to work then that is a store that I won’t shop at very often.

Making sure that the words “please”, “thank you” and the like are used in communication can make a big difference in how you are treated. These words don’t have to be over used but hearing them sometimes in a number of interactions can make a big difference as to how you will be treated in the future.

Monday, July 25, 2016

It's my life

It's my life
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said
I did it my way
I just wanna live while I'm alive
It's my life
by Bon Jovi

The song “It’s My Life” is something that I listen to and understand some of what it is saying. I spent quite a bit of time trying to make everyone else happy and not thinking about myself. Now I am looking at life a lot differently and I am doing things to make myself happy. A couple of years ago I took a big step in that I started writing more and also decided to try my hand at designing cross-stitch patterns.

I am now doing things that make me happy and that I have wanted to do. It feels so good when I can sit and say that I am able to smile more because I am living my life my way. I am determined to make myself happy while I also do work for others. Being part of a small business also gives me the opportunity to do a number of different things and that is wonderful. Of course, there will always be some times when I may not be 100% happy doing something but at least now I am in control of the main parts of my life.

Being able to live your life in a way that makes you happy is very important. If you are just trying to make everyone else happy you aren’t doing some of what is important. Before you can make others happy you need to ensure that you are happy with what you are doing. A job is important but you need to enjoy doing it. Even with your personal life you need to have parts of that where you can say that you are happy and are enjoying what you are doing.

It’s my life and I am living while I’m alive and that makes me smile. It has been an interesting journey as I decided that it was time to start doing more of the things that I enjoy doing. I now smile more and can spend my time knowing that I am happy with the various jobs that I am doing. I am not letting what other people say gets me down as much either and that makes it easier.

It’s my life and it is now or never. I am taking some chances with my writing and if things don’t work out, I know that I will at least be able to say that no matter what, I tried. I am living my life my way and I can now smile knowing I am doing it the right way.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fire routes -- right and wrong

"No parking" in a fire route even on private property can mean that you will get a ticket if you leave your vehicle. In Ontario the "Highway Traffic Act" doesn’t apply on private property but most cities have bylaws with regards to parking regulations. Parking rules are governed by various City bylaws and not the Highway Traffic Act.

Municipal parking rules apply in mall parking lots, but in Ontario, the Highway Traffic Act (the provincial rules of the road) doesn't – so you can get a parking ticket in the lot at Sobey’s, but not a speeding ticket.

In Toronto, for example, there's a bylaw against blocking a fire lane. The bylaw applies on city streets and on private property, such as the parking lot. If you park your vehicle in a fire route you will be looking at a ticket of $250. This is a fixed cost so no matter where you park in a fire route either on a city street or on private property the ticket will be the same price.

It is amazing how many times in malls you will see a car left unattended by the side of the curb with their flashers going. It doesn’t matter if you have your flashers going or not if you are parked/stopped in a fire route you can be ticketed. We also have seen cars left running with their flashers going in front of apartment buildings in driveways as people run up to their unit to pick up something they forgot. If you forgot something it is better to park in a legal spot and run up then leave your vehicle illegally stopped in a fire route. If there is an emergency and emergency vehicles are required to attend the scene you may have more problems than you originally thought.

First: Your vehicle may be blocked in for the duration of the time the emergency vehicles are on scene.

Second: You may have damage to your vehicle if is is banged by the emergency vehicles if they need to get into the area where your vehicle is located.

Third: Your vehicle just might not be there when you back back. Your vehicle may be moved, if you are lucky, or towed depending on where it is located.

Fourth: You may have a ticket in the amount of $250 for having your vehicle stopped or parked in the fire route.

Fifth: All of the above.

Fire routes are there for the safety of everyone. These spots are not for you to park because you figure that you are just going to be a minute. A minute in some cases may mean a life of someone else. Would you want it to be someone that you love that is impacted because your vehicle prevented the emergency responders from doing their job.

No parking in fire routes means just that. If you need to stop, even for a minute or two, find another location to put your vehicle.

Monday, July 18, 2016

140 characters

Yes, can you explain something in just 140 characters including all spaces and punctuation and actually get what you are trying to say out. (140 characters)
This is one of the biggest conversations that seems to happen with people when they get onto Twitter. Is it easy to express yourself in that few characters and such? I think it really depends on what you are trying to say. I have noticed that now when people have more to say than can fit in one tweet you all of a sudden start seeing 1of3 or 1of4. Now when you have to do that many tweets to get your message across maybe it’s time to rethink what you are saying and also who your audience is.

What twitter has done is actually help people to get their thoughts out quickly and clearly. When you only have a certain number of characters it means that you are going to be very focused on what you are saying. I like the idea of only 140 characters because it is quite easy to read these and if I need to read more a lot of people are putting tiny url’s in the tweet so that you can go and find out more information. Twitter should be the means of getting the quick thoughts out and announcements and then more information can be found on a website.

Besides people doing multiple tweets to communicate their entire thought you get the multiple abbreviations. Some of the abbreviations are easy to figure out and then there are the ones that make you think.

Here are some confusing things:
  • N/B on S/B shoulder (this took a bit of thinking and close reading to understand that someone was walking northbound on the southbound shoulder of the highway)
  • FGX – Frederick G Gardiner Expressway – most people know it as “The Gardiner Expressway” or simply “The Gardiner”

For me Twitter is a means of finding out quick bits of information. If I need more information I can go to website and especially the news sites for the information that I am looking for. Twitter for me, is basically something that I use to find out about issues with the traffic and transit around the city. For me, it is also a great way keeping up-to-date on the latest news happens. I may look like I follow a lot of people but a lot of who I follow are media and security/police related.

140 characters doesn’t seem like a lot of characters when you first start thinking about it but you say alot in that number of characters. (138 characters)

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Lately there seems to be more and more phone calls from telemarketers wanting to sell something. The big issue with this is our phone numbers are on the do not call list but the telemarketers seem to get around that or ignore it.

The ones that have been recently calling are ones wanting to do duct cleaning. Ok, I do have fun with this one because they have called on both our home phone and on our business phone. The person doing the calling starts off saying that they will clean all the ducts in our home for one low price. When they called the home phone they asked how many floors were in our home and I immediately said 20 floors (the number of floors in our apartment building). The guy then asked me again how many floors and I said 20 floors. He continued to try and let me know that in my house he would clean all the ducts and I had to remind him I said 20 floors and it was an apartment building he was calling. Now, the time they called the business phone number the speech was a little different. The question I was asked after he did a bit of his speech was home many bedrooms I had on the top floor of our house, my reply was “zero as you have called a business”. I did answer the business line with the company name so I guess he didn’t listen to what I said when I answered the phone. The guy after my zero reply asked me how many bedrooms I had in the house and I once again said “zero” and asked why he was calling a business offering home duct cleaning. After a bit he did hang up as I think he got it that there wasn’t going to be a sale. These duct calls have come through with a phone number showing up and I am one of those that does a search on the phone number and I found out that it was a home phone for a person in Sudbury.

A lot of the telemarketing calls that are being made especially from the scams are being done by masking the actual phone number. A lot of the calls that we are getting are from phone numbers that start with the first three digits of our phone number which let’s us know that the person calling isn’t really the person making the call. We have found this out as we have received calls from different numbers asking us why we called them and we never did and we have explained that our own phone number has probably been used to mask a scam.

The other calls that have really got me is when I receive a phone on our business number and they are offering me home services. The latest one was an offering of Internet, Cable and Home Phone at a good deal. That’s fine and I attempted to let the person calling know that they had called a business and we weren’t interested. The person calling continued to try and sell me this service and with this is when I got really frustrated with him. I ended up yelling at him that he had called a business and we weren’t interested. He tried to continue and I told him to “shut up and listen to me”, and I again repeated that he had called a business and we weren’t interested. Of course, his silence lasted long enough for me to say that and he then started with the sales pitch again. At this point I hung up because he wasn’t listening to what I had to say.

I understand that in some cases the telemarketers are given a script that they need to follow but they also need to listen to the person they are calling. It is frustrating when the callers don’t listen to me but then there are times when I decide that if they don’t want to listen to my real answers I will have fun with the answers and keep them on the line longer. I don’t often keep them on the line because I have work to do but there are times that I figure if you have bothered me I am going to get you back.

A Do Not Call List is exactly what that is. Telemarketers need to understand people are on the list and that they need to respect it. The masking of the phone numbers just means that more people are getting frustrated and that doesn’t help the people that are truly using marketing to raise funds for charities.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Crafting for charity

I have been able to use some of my crafting skills to help a few different organizations in the past and have enjoyed most of the experiences.

Here is some of what I have done:
  • Lapghans for veterans
  • Toques for children started kindergarten
  • Preemie hats and booties
  • Knit items for children for a low income community Christmas campaign
  • Baby hats for a hospital
  • Baby afghans for a hospital

Of course each different organization has their different needs and wants. It has been interesting over the last 20 years how the demands have changed. In some cases the demands keep growing and then in other areas the demand seems to disappear. I am looking at some of the items that I did in the past and still think there is a need but there is no outlet for these items.

A toque in progress
Toques for children starting kindergarten was a program in my neighbourhood and I enjoyed doing this at first. The idea was that I would help them by making hats and mittens or even just hats for children that were in the community who may not have that winter hat. It was a lot of fun because I found a pattern that I enjoyed working on and I could make hats easily. The project then became something that I didn’t enjoy when I would get a phone call asking for 30 hats within two weeks. Of course I normally had a few hats finished between the times I dropped them off but trying to get 30 hats done in 14 days or less was a challenge. The other thing about this program was after making hats, and having friends also make hats, we didn’t see any of the hats within the community. Our neighbourhood isn’t very large in size but it is large in population but you think we would have seem a few of the hats. I continued with this program for a while as I wanted to help the children in the community but after getting calls a couple of times for a large number of hats within a short period I decided it was time to find something else that I enjoyed doing.

Small sweater for a little boy
The knit items for the Christmas campaign was interesting to work on because we could make anything from baby hats to kids sweaters because all of those items were needed. This meant that there was a group of us that worked on this project and we could make what we wanted and there wasn’t a demand for a specific item most of the time. Again this program changed when there was a staffing change where the campaign was managed and they started to want specific items but didn’t provide the list until near the time when the items were needed. Of course, most of us had been working throughout the year to make things we enjoyed making and the charity didn’t want what was available. I then decided it was time to stop helping them as well as it was difficult to meet their needs as well.
Lapghan for veterans

Lapghans for veterans was a project that I took on myself and I did it for a few years. I was working on making some smaller afghans around 36” x 46” which could be used in a wheelchair. This was a project that I really enjoyed because it meant that I was helping some veterans that had helped Canada in the past. I loved this project but my interests changed and I wasn’t able to manage to keep up with the making of lapghans. I may go back to this in the future but it will be a different method of making the lapghans. I was making granny squares for these afghans and it was the joining them together that got something that I wasn’t interested in doing.

Preemie hats and booties was a project that I did through Guardian Drugs as they collected the hats and booties and they were given to various hospitals. Preemies when they were born had a hat and booties to help keep them warm and I loved this program as these items were quick to make. The program disappeared when Guardian Drug was bought out so the outlet was no longer available.

Baby hats ready to go to hospital
The two items that I am still doing are baby hats and baby afghans for a hospital. I have found a hospital that wants and needs both of these and they have given me the freedom with the hats and afghans. I asked them what colours they wanted and they replied “any colour you want to make”. I asked what size hats and afghans and they again replied “whatever you want to make”. Having this freedom of colour and size makes it so much more interesting to work on. I have been having fun with this for around 4 years now and this year will be the first time that I will be taking a bunch of afghans to them. Hats have been delivered thanks to a friend a few times a year to the hospital and I know that they really appreciate what they get and when they get them. With this project I am going to try and find out what there needs are so that maybe I will be able to better help meet their needs in the future.

Baby afghan ready for hospital
Crafting for charity can be very rewarding when you are doing something that you enjoy doing. I enjoy spending some of my evenings crafting and now I have an outlet for some of my projects. My interests may change again and I will then have to figure out another charity what could use what I do. Until then I am going to continue to make the hats and afghans for the hospital and enjoy that as I know people that have received a hat appreciated it.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Picture requests

I was helping out at a charity event and was told that a community newspaper would like between 1 and 5 pictures to go with an article that was going to be written.

For me, getting between 1 and 5 good pictures during a four hour event wouldn’t be much of a problem or at least I didn’t think it was going to be a challenge. The guidelines were basically people having fun at the event so that is what I based the picture selection decision on after the event. Well after the event we decided to look through all the pictures (350 of them) and pick out what we thought would be the pictures that best illustrated what the event was about. It ended up we came up with 7 pictures that we figured would work. Of course, there were a lot of pictures that I liked but figured that they wouldn’t be what the paper wanted.

Now, this is where it gets interesting for us. We put a page together so that the pictures could be shared at full resolution, because trying to email them around would mean resizing them and losing the quality we figured the newspaper would want. The pictures were then sent via a link to the web page to the lady that was writing the article, as she was the one talking with the newspaper. All of this was required by the newspaper within 48 hours of the event, so we were working under a rather tight deadline which we did meet.

The good news was meeting the deadline until two days after sending off the pictures. The newspaper gets back to us and let’s us know that they wanted pictures of people facing the camera, so that the people in the pictures would recognize themselves in the paper when they saw it. Of course, this does make some sense but it would have been great to know this prior to the event so that I could have made sure I took pictures like that to meet their requests. Well, thank goodness we took lots of pictures because we were able to go back through them again and found a few more pictures that we are hoping that the newspaper will like. What was really frustrating was not having the information about what the newspaper wanted prior to the event and then hoping that we had something to fit their requests.

What I learned from this is if someone wants pictures for a newspaper they need to ensure that types of pictures they are looking for is outlined. Being able to adjust how some of the pictures were taken would have been easy before the event but you can’t move people around after the pictures have been taken and the event is over.

I do love taking pictures are events so now to see which pictures end up being used by the paper. If none of them are used I will be extremely upset but I did learn something. Take lots of pictures and try and always ensure you have people facing the camera just in case you need that type of picture.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Knowing when to slow down

I think everyone has times when they realize that they have just been going too fast and need to slow down a little bit otherwise they are going to run out of energy.

It seems like there are so many things that are demanding our time and energy that we forget that we also need to slow down sometimes to relax and recharge that personal battery. Mobile devices mean that we are always or almost always connected and within reach of others. The demands seem to be never ending and that can make it a challenge sometimes to actually relax.

I am finding that even on weekends now that vendors are sending out emails to get our attention. Vendor emails should only be sent out during the week but that is another blog entry on it’s own. The number of emails that you can see on the weekend even from friends and family can keep you very busy. Social media on it’s own can also make a big difference on how you interact and there are times you just need to disconnect from that as well.

Slowing down can mean just sitting and ignoring the demands on the mobile device or even turning it off for a while. Slowing down can also mean picking up a good book and sitting and reading that for a while even when there are other things that are demanding your time. Making sure that you know how to slow down and what works for you is important. Slowing down is something that is very important otherwise you will end up burning yourself out and not be good to anyone.

So many people say that they can just keep working and they don’t need to take time to themselves but they end up being ordered to take the time when it could be the worst time for them to do it. Slowing down a bit at a time and at time when your schedule sort of allows for it is important. No, it may not be the ideal time to sit and read a book or sit and watch the world go by for a couple of hours but sometimes it is what is needed. Making sure that you taken even an hour a day to just enjoy doing something for yourself is very important. Work is always going to be there so it means that sometimes it is just going to have to wait a little bit to ensure you have the energy to do it.

Know when you need to slow down and realize that not everyone is going to be happy but it is important to look after yourself. Slowing down just for a little while can make sure a big difference on how you handle things so remember that. If you can slow down a little bit at a time it is better than having a doctor tell you that you must slow down and you have no choice.