Thursday, December 29, 2016

Where has the year gone

As I sit here and write this, I am wondering where the year has gone. It seems to have passed by very quickly and now to see what next year has in store.

There were 366 days in the year this year but there have been times when I sat back and I wondered what we accomplished this year. There are a lot of things that have happened and things that have been accomplished along the way.

One of my big accomplishments for this year was my writing. I have been able to see a huge change in my writing and the number of words that I have been writing on a daily basis. I am no longer afraid of the blank page and I now actually enjoy starting my day working on a journal entry. At the beginning of the year I was happy with I was able to write 2,000 words a day. In January I had a word average of 1,946 words a day and now I have word averages of around 2,250 words a day. Sure that doesn’t look like much of a big change but it does mean around 8,000 words more written each month.

I still have things that I didn’t accomplish this year and they will be added to the list of things for next year but at least I know I have another 365 days to get them all done. I am looking forward to going back and looking at the goals that I get at the beginning of January for myself and seeing how I did. I will do that review at the very beginning of 2017 and I will also set some more goals for myself for 2017 while I am at it.

Through this year I have also been able to take some courses and am now working on using the knowledge that I have gained this year to change some of my functions with work. Being the co-owner of the business means that having these additional skills means that we have some new offerings that we can provide clients.

Yes, the year seems to have gone by quickly but when you can sit back and see some of the accomplished that were achieved through the year it does feel like there really was quite a bit accomplished throughout the year.

As the year comes to an end it is time to sit back and see what was accomplished and what wasn’t accomplished. Sure there will be some disappointments of not accomplishing everything that was on the original plan for this year but new things were added and new accomplishment achieved. Sit back and look at your year and think about what was accomplished and know that over the last year things have changed and there your goals have also changed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Living with allergies

Living with allergies, especially food allergies can be a challenge and something that you have to learn to deal with. Of course, there are going to be times when you feel like there is nothing different about you from anyone else and then there are the times that you feel like why did it happen to me.

I have gone through both of these feelings and a lot of other feelings while dealing with being told that I had severe and life threatening food allergies. When I was growing up you really didn’t hear a lot about people with food allergies so being told I had food allergies was a shock. I was an adult when I was first diagnosed with food allergies and of course it was to food that I had been eating all my life. For me I was first diagnosed with one food allergy and have since found out that there have been more foods added to the list and I also worry if something else will be added to the list.

Having severe allergies to food and medicine can make doing things a challenge and something that you have to deal with on a daily basis. The simple going out can be a challenge and something that you learn to face and deal with. Yes, I know that there are still times that I just want to hide at home and not deal with the allergies but I also want to ensure that people understand that I am really no different than anyone else. Sure, there are foods that I cannot eat or be around but I can still live a normal life. I have also learned that I can be someone that isn’t afraid to say that I have food allergies and have done a few presentations about living with allergies.

Being adult onset means that there are a few differences than someone that was diagnosed as a child. I think the biggest challenge that I have faced is learning to not eat something that I was able to eat in the past. I have had to explain to people that I could eat a food before and now I have to avoid it. There have been times that I have wanted to try one of the foods that I have been told I am allergic to in case I have out grown it but I know better.

Living with food allergies is a challenge but understanding how to deal with them can make a big difference. If you have a strong support system as well it can help make facing the challenges a little easier. Being able to educate others about allergies and some of the challenges is something that I would like to do more of because I know that showing people that I am no different than they are would make me very happy.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Season

So many people see December as a festival month while other people find this time of year a challenge to face and get through.

When you look at what the holiday season means to so many people it is the time of celebration and spend time with friends and family. There are so people that don’t have family at all or if they do they don’t have family close to where they live. In some cases family can be half way around the world and the work schedule means that traveling to visit isn’t going to happen or finances can also mean that traveling can be a challenge.

Another challenge that people can be facing is being alone during this time of year. Being alone can be due to work or friends being busy with large gatherings and not thinking of the single friends they have. It is very important to remember that everyone needs a bit of time to be with friends or family and something just a quick call can make a big difference in someone’s life. Trying to ensure that you can spend a bit of time with single friends can also help let them know you value their friendship. It may mean not going to all the larger gatherings and making the choice to ensure that some of your other friends also get to celebrate with you.

For some people December can be a big challenge and that is when you need to ensure that you check in with all of your friends. Making sure that everyone knows that you value their friendship is very important at this time of year. The other thing that you must remember is not everyone is going to want to celebrate and may just want to sit and have a cup of coffee and a chat so you need to try and make time for some of those events as well.

The worst thing you can do is to try and force someone to spend time with others. I have heard that “We must spend time with those that we love”, and this is coming from a friend. We do spend time with those that we love and we also have to ensure that we take some time to spend the time just together. Knowing how to invite friends to events and understanding when they can’t attend everything is something everyone needs to remember. The holiday season is a crazy and demanding time so having to figure out your own schedule and what is important to you has to be something others understand.

Making sure that you understand what other people think about the holiday season is important as well as ensuring that you do things that you enjoy. Your time is precious and making sure you can meet all demands of your time while also dealing with the other challenges is very important. The holiday season is something that is different for everyone and that is one thing that people need to understand.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Personal information

Next time you are at an ATM watch what people do with the receipt they get from the machine. How many people just kind of put it into the garbage which is at the machine? What people don't think about is the information that is on that piece of paper. The information that is on it are, most of the access card number, the transaction that you did and also the balance in that account. By just leaving that piece of paper around you are giving people access to some information about you.

The other thing people do is simply throw their credit card and/or bank statements in the garbage or into a recycle bin quite often in public locations. Without shredding the personal information that is on them you could end up with identity theft. The information that you are simply throwing out is the information that is required for someone to either attempt or to steal your identity.

It is always interesting to listen to people complain and not understand that they provided the thief with the information they were looking for. Another thing people do is while out, in public, they give out their credit card information over the phone. All it takes is for someone to make note of the credit card information and use it. Some online systems match the address and name of the person with the credit card information and some don't. Image the purchases that could be made with just a credit card and expiry date. I have even heard people give the three digit code off the back of their card while out in public. Purchases that require credit card information should not be done out where others can hear you. Most people don't care and aren't really listen but all it takes is that one person to hear the information and that's it.

Personal information is called that because that is what it is. The information that can identify you or be used to make systems think it is use doing the transaction or activity. The use of personal information should be done in locations that have limited access so that you aren't giving away a lot of private information out in public.

Protecting your personal information is very important and is something that needs to be considered all the time. Always make sure that when you are doing something or discarding something you aren't given someone else access to your information.

If you are one of those that does all your credit card purchases over the phone out in public maybe it’s time to rethink what you are doing. In some cases you have given out a lot of personal information within ear shot of a lot of other people. You may have given out your name, address, phone number, and credit card number with expiry date and csv code. You have now given a lot of people enough information that they could actually steal your identification so at least make some really good purchases on your credit card before you realize what has happened.

Personal information such as bank statements and credit card bills should be destroyed before you put them into the recycle or garbage. We have a shredder at home and anything with personal information on it gets shredded and then that bag is put out for recycling. It would be very hard to find the information that is needed this way and that is why we do it. Credit card purchases are made at home if over the phone and if on the computer again it is at a location that we know the internet that we are using and it wouldn’t be a fast food restaurant’s free wifi.

Keep your personal information personal and that will help you stay safe and not have to try and figure out if you really did make that purchase or not on your credit card.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

License plates

License plates can add some fun to any trip out in the car for even grown ups. Having different things that makes even some of the shorter days go by quicker can be fun. It also means that everyone in the car is involved in the trip and it gives the driver someone else that is paying attention to the road as well. These are the games that we do in the car when we are out and about and we don’t have to go very far at all to work on any of these.

Personalized plates:

The different personalized license plates can be a lot of fun to try and figure out.

Popysgirl is one that we saw and of course my comment was someone else had my license plate. No I don’t have a personalized license plate but that could of been the one I selected. It is always fun to make the figuring out of the license plate into a game.

The personalized plate can sometimes be a challenge to actually figure out. We have seen some and even with the two us trying to figure it out we have no luck. Of course, the plate means something to the owner of the car. There are items that the plate represents a business or occupation or a sport.

The personalized license plates can help pass the time on a long drive. The solving of some plates can be very quick and then others can take a but of time. No matter if you solve them or not it is fun to try.

Newest plate:

Another game that we have been playing with regards to license plates is looking for the newest plate that we can see when we are out each time. This actually means that we need to track the highest one that we had seen before and then see if we can better it each time we are out. There have been times that we have bettered the license twice in one trip which is great and then there are the times that we don’t see a higher plate for a few trips out. We are currently doing this with the combination of CA as the start of the license plates here in Ontario. Now to see when we find the CAZ? because I have a feeling it is going to be before the end of the year as on a recent trip we saw a CAY? As the start of the licence plate. Yes in Ontario we currently have four letters as the start of our license plates followed by three numbers.

States and Provinces:

Now this is something that I have been doing for years but mostly when on a vacation. This is trying to find as many different provinces and states that you can find while on a trip. This year we decided to have a bit more fun with it and printed off a list of all the states and provinces and kept track of all the different ones that we saw through the summer. Having the pre-printed list makes it so much quicker to find out if you have seen a plate or not. This can make any road trip go a little faster for everyone in the car because you are trying to identify the different plates passing you along the road or even in parking lots.

By the time the summer was over, we did from June 21st through September 21st, we had all but three of the provinces and territories for Canada found. The summer is actually the best time to try this because there are so many more people travelling or at least that is what we figured.

After we finished up our summer list we decided that we were going to keep another list through fall through Spring and see which provinces and states that we see through the other three seasons. So here it is the end of November and we are down to needed to see three of the provinces and territories for Canada again. It is fun because all through the summer we never saw a license plate from Newfoundland and Labrador and we have seen multiple ones already through the fall.

We are going to keep this list going until June 21st and will see how many different states and provinces we see and then will compare it to the one over the summer.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Duct Cleaning -- just another scam

Recently we have been getting a lot of phone calls with regards to having the ducts cleaned in our house. Now to explain things we live in an apartment building so this means that instead of just saying that I am not interested I have decided that it is more fun to keep these scammers on the phone for a few minutes and bug them. So here are some of the questions and replies that have been given.

1. Hello mam we have a special on some duct cleaning in your area. Can you please tell me now many bedrooms are on the top floor of your house
Response: There are 20 bedrooms on the top floor.
Scammers: Excuse me mam I asked how many bedrooms on the top floor of your house.
Response: There are 20 bedrooms.
At this point either one of two things normally happens. They re-ask the question for a third time or they just hang up.

2. Hello mam we have a special offer for you as we are currently on your street and would like to offer some duct cleaning for your home.
Response: Oh, so you are cleaning the ducts in the apartments around me.
Scammer: No mam we are on your street and cleaning the ducts in the houses around you.
Response: So you are cleaning the ducks in the apartment buildings around you.
Scammer: No mam, the houses on your street.
Response: That is extremely difficult as there are only apartment buildings on my street.
Scammer: No mam, the houses on your street.
Response: thanks but I am not interesting and I don’t think the apartment owner wants anyone doing work on only one unit.

This is where they hang up but at least I have kept them on the phone for a couple of minutes.

Now here is the latest one and it was a lady that called this time. Normally I have had a man call.

3. Hello mam we have a special on some duct cleaning in your area. Can you please tell me the square footage of your home.
Response : 350,000 square feet.
Scammer: Excuse me mam I asked how many square feet your home is.
Response: 350,000 square feet.
Scammer: Oh, so how many bedrooms are upstairs.
Response: 20 bedrooms (this is where I could have said 200 as there are ten floors above our unit)
Scammer: Oh, excuse me is this a castle?
Response: Well isn’t every home your castle?

This is once again there they hung up but it was a fun conversation this time.

So now I am waiting to receive another one of these calls and I will be ready with some other questions for them.
1. What is the name of the company as I only deal with reputable companies.
  • I am figuring that I will probably get a response like we are reputable.
2. What is the name of the company as I would like to know the name of the company before I do business with it as it only comes up “unknown caller” on my caller id.
  • Will see what response I get for this one.

Yes scammers are trying everything to get information from people so it means that you just have to learn how to play their games. I figured that there are times that I am just going to keep them on the phone for a couple of minutes because then it means that there are a couple less people that they can call. We all receive these types of phone calls even when we are on the do not call lists or have unlisted phone numbers. It doesn’t matter what you do to try and avoid getting them other than not having a phone at all.

A fun result from one of this type of scam was one of those MicroSoft scammers. My husband was actually able to keep the person on the phone for over half an hour asking the scammer a bunch of questions. Yes, my husband was having fun trying to see how far he could go and keep the scammer on the phone. Well the call ended up getting disconnected so we figured the fun was over until the scammer called back and apologized for getting cut off and then told my husband that he was a very smart and knowledgeable person and then said good bye.

Knowing that you are going to get this type of call no matter what helps. No I don’t always keep the person on the phone as it will depend on what I am doing but if I have those couple of minutes I will see how much info I can get without giving any valid info to them. So, no I don’t need my ducts cleaned and sorry “MicroSoft” or “the Internet” but I know better and will not let you get information from me.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Schedules - are they flexible or not?

How many times have you received a phone call and someone has said are you free at a specific time? We all get these calls and especially when you are working that is something that you can get quite often.

What people have to understand is that not everyone has the same schedule. I know that there are times when we will work Monday through Friday and try and keep some normal hours and then there are the times that we may have Wednesday to ourselves but work one or both of the weekend days. For us, our schedule is based on the needs of the clients and when some of the various tasks can be done. There are times when a task can only be done in the evening or on a weekend so we will work around that.

Now schedules do fall into a lot of different categories and you need to understand some of them.
  • Hard schedule – These are things that must be done at a given time on a specific day.
  • Flexible schedule – When something needs to get done but not at a given time or on a specific day but needs to be accomplished.
  • Semi-flexible schedule – This is when things need to get done on a specific day but not at a specific time

Schedules can mean some different to different people and that is what you need to understand. There are times when a specific day will work for a meeting and then another time that same day won’t work. Schedules are sometimes that you need to understand and be willing to be flexible especially when you are trying to plan something involving others. When it comes to schedules you have to remember that you don’t know the other demands on someone else or their schedule. Also don’t demand that others fit into your schedule but try and work together to see how things can work out.

Schedules are always something that can change depending on the other demands on your life. Understanding that others have demands on their time will help in being flexible when someone else may have to reschedule a specific meeting or if they need to be a little more demanding of your time at a specific time.

For me, I have a more semi-flexible to flexible schedule and that is because there are demands that can come up and they need to be done immediately. When there are client issues that mean a business is greatly impacted that will mean that my schedule will change to assist them. There are times when I look at my calendar and laugh because there are a lot of things scheduled for a specific time during a specific day but I know that what I am telling myself is that a specific task needs to be done during that day. Making sure that you identify on your schedule the items that can be moved during a specific day or moved to another day if needed is important.

Schedules will change from time to time and that is something that needs to be realized by others. A schedule in a lot of ways is just an outline of what needs to be done and when. I have learned that being flexible and understanding other individuals and their schedules has made it a lot easier to accept changes to my own schedule.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Gimmy the keys and get out of the way

For me this should be give me some time and get out of the way. I always say that I would love two or three days to myself where I could do what I wanted without all the different distractions that I deal with most of the time. Just being able to lose myself and do the things that I would like to do would be wonderful.

Getting out of my way would be making sure that there was food available but something that I didn't have to prepare. I would love it if the food would just appear at the different times of the day without me having to make any decisions. I would also like to make sure that there were a variety of things to drink as well to make sure that I had something always available.

For me to have this time it would mean that there would have to be some planning because I would need to make sure that I had all the projects that I wanted to work on available and easily accessible to me during this time. I would also want to ensure that I had some of my writing material available so that I could write when I wanted to without having to answer to anyone. The other major requirement would be a comfy spot where I could do all the things that I wanted to do.

I have had a chance to have a day like this but haven't had more than that and it is something that I would love to have soon. I know that it would involve the planning as there is also work that needs to be considered but at least having that chance would be wonderful. I am hoping that this weekend I will have one of these days because I think it would really help me more forward on a lot of the things that I want to accomplish.

Before this weekend what I need to do is figure out what I would work on craftwise and then make sure it is all ready to go before the weekend is upon us. I know that having the project at least figured out helps me know that I can spend some of my time doing the things that I enjoy.

Gimmy the keys and get out of the way would be wonderful because I need to learn that I have to take the time to myself and not let others get in my way. I am sometimes the one that gets in my way so this time I am going to be determined to make sure that I have some time to do the things that I want to do this weekend and I will not be giving it up.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Writing a book would mean...

For me having the chance to write a book would be wonderful. It probably wouldn't be fiction or anything like that but at least it would be something. I have always wanted to have the opportunity to write a book but, of course life if general just gets in the way, so it means that I haven't had that opportunity yet.

Growing up I loved writing stories and wish I had kept them because they would have helped me come up with some ideas for some short stories because they were always a lot of fun. I remember writing stories about myself and two friends from high school and all the things we could have gotten ourselves into. I have been working on a few short stories lately and now to see if I can actually get them moved forward from just the start of them. I need the time where I can hide from the world and work on getting these stories finished and then will see what happens.

Now I would love to have the opportunity of writing a book based on some of my blogs. My blogs would need a lot of work to make them worth a book but that is something that I would love to be able to do. I always think about what it would be like to have a book released based on some of my thoughts and it makes me happy. Also I have been told that I should think about putting some of my ideas into more detail and see what happens.

A book would show a lot of people that put me down while I was growing up that I have made something of myself. Yes, I was a girl that had problems reading when I was younger but now I enjoy the writing and reading that I am now able to do. I also have some interesting challenges when we are at different presentations because I seem to be able to spot spelling errors quickly that people miss.

Writing a book would mean a lot of time working on it but considering I have a lot of ideas already partly written it wouldn't be as hard as having to come up with a bunch of new ideas. Maybe one day I will have a book of my blog entries so that is what I am going to have to work towards. Writing a book is a dream that I have and hopefully one day this dream will really come true.