Thursday, April 27, 2017

Breaking a routine

We all have routines that we follow and it can be a daily routine or a weekly routine.

Being able to break the routine sometimes can make such a difference in things moving forward. The break can be as simple as doing something a little different one day just to give yourself a bit of a break. For us, there are days that we can go to a coffee shop for a change and then there are days that we decide it is time to go and watch a movie and go late in the afternoon.

Having the ability to change a routine can make such a difference as how you handle things moving forward. There are times when you can see that the routine is just getting that and it can start to bring you down especially if the routine is something that gets rather boring after a while.

For us we can sometimes schedule a break in our routine and those are the ones that we seem to enjoy the most because they are simple to deal with and they don’t impact others. This year we have done a couple of movie matinees and they are normally late in the afternoon once we know that the clients aren’t going to be in an emergency situation during the business day. Sure it could happen that an emergency call happens while we are in the theatre but we go into silent mode during the movie and quickly check email once the movie is over. Yes, there is a chance we may miss a call during that time but so far we have been lucky and there aren’t been any emergencies during the movies.

When we break our routine and take a week day as a day off we normally make sure that the computer is with us for those calls that may need our attention. We also try and ensure that we aren’t doing something that can’t be changed as for us the clients are how we stay employed so we need to make sure that we can deal with the issues when they arise.

Breaking a routine really isn’t hard and even for individuals that work in an office they can change their routine simply by doing something a little different either at lunch or right after work. If you normally head straight home after work how about meeting for a drink or dinner somewhere other than at home for a change. A little change can make a big difference to our you deal with things and that is what you are trying to do. You need a change and making sure you have those in your schedule every now and again is important. So how about instead of heading straight home from the office tonight you invite your partner to meet you somewhere for a coffee or a drink and see how that feels, you might be surprised.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dealing with a shellfish allergy

Of course I think everyone has an issue when they are dealing with a food allergy and here is just another one of the issues that we encounter.

When you tell someone you have a shellfish allergy they immediately think of lobsters and crab and things that have a hard physical shell on them. Well, when someone says they are allergic to shellfish they could also be allergic to shrimp, scallops, clams, oysters and yes calamari along with a lot of other items. See all of this items are considered in the same family so it makes it difficult to find a restaurant that serves finfish but not at least one of the foods listed as a shellfish.

One thing that has to be noted is that someone with a shellfish allergy may to avoid the area where shellfish is being steamed because the protein can become airborne which can also cause an anaphylactic reaction. I know this as I once had a reaction when I was in a restaurant and they served shrimp fajitas and I had a reaction but to the amount of sizzling that was coming from the platter.

I found a really good article with regards to shellfish allergies and here is the link for it.

There have been times that I would love to go out and have fish and chips at a restaurant but that is such a challenge as most fish and chip stores serve at least one item that is considered a shellfish. We continue to try and find a restaurant that I can go and have fish and chips but right now there still isn’t one that I have found in the GTA that I can eat at. We have had lots of friends recommend different restaurants and then as I do the investigation about the restaurant I discover that they normally have some sort of shellfish on their menu.

A shellfish allergy can be a challenge at the best of times but when you know what good fish and chips taste like as you are adult onset anaphylactic it can make things even worse. I didn’t have the shellfish allergy all my life so there are days when I would love to have something that I can’t eat but I know that I can’t if I don’t want the reaction. Until I find a restaurant where I can have fish and chips safely again I will just have to avoid having them. So, when someone says they have a shellfish allergy it may seem that only a couple of foods are eliminated but really there are a lot of foods that get eliminated.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Juggling the demands

There are times that we all look at the list of things that need our attention and wonder how we are going to find the time to get everything done. Having a list of all the different things is always a good idea because then at least you can figure out what needs to get done and how urgent each of the items are.

Running a consulting business means that things on the list can change their urgency very quickly and you need to be flexible most of the time. It can be a challenge some days when you have your schedule figured out and something happens that impacts how you are going to be accomplishing things. The changes can be based on a client needing some assistance or it can be something like a power outage that can effect your schedule. The client is something that you can deal with quickly because those you know will happen at various times and that is part of being in business. The juggling the issue of the power outage can have a bigger impact at different points. The power outage means that the stuff that you were planning on working on won’t be done especially if you are needing to either connect to a client site or use the internet.

During the power outage you have a couple of decisions that you are going to have to make and they are look at your list and see what else you can be doing while waiting for the power to come back on or you can leave your office area and find a location where there is power so that you can continue to work. In a lost of cases if you are using a laptop you can continue to work if you have the battery charged. For us, we try and ensure that our computer has a charged battery so that we can work during a power outage. In a lot of ways if you can continue to work in your office and deal with the power outage it is probably a better idea. Sure, you aren’t going to be doing the work that you had planned on doing but other things can still get done. Even if you don’t have things that you can do on the computer there will be other things that you can probably do such as that filing that you haven’t done for a while.

Juggling the demands of work can be a challenge but being flexible and able to handle the different issues is very important. Sure the list of things that need to be done may not get done as quickly as you had hoped but knowing that you can change what you were working on is very important. Next time you are dealing with some sort of outage be it a power outage or internet outage look at that list and see what else can be done and you might be surprised at what you can get done.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Being excluded

There are times when being excluded can have a negative impact on a person and that isn’t good.

If you are having events where only certain individuals are to be included here are a few tips to ensure that others don’t feel like they are being excluded for maybe the wrong reasons.
  1. Don’t talk about the event like it was something that everyone was invited to attend.
  2. When asked about the event be honest if everyone can attend or if it just for a specific group of individuals.
  3. If you don’t want specific individuals to know about the event don’t talk about the events in front of other individuals.
  4. Don’t give reasons why you think an individual may not attend if you don’t know the answer. Don’t use that they don’t drive or they live too far away as reasons for not inviting them.

These are just some of the tips that I would suggest that you remember when you are talking about various get togethers. Sure it might be difficult for everyone to make it to each of the get togethers but at least give the individuals the opportunity to say yes or not and don’t exclude them for reasons you think why they may not attend. Just making sure that everyone feels that they are welcome is very important because when this doesn’t happen you will start to find out who true friends are.

I understand that for me there are challenges of making some events especially ones that are during the week and either during the day or in the evenings. I have had to be very selective of the events during the week that I attend but on weekends that is a different story. Most weekends it wouldn’t be difficult for me to get to various areas in the city or even to areas just outside the city. I think a lot of people are in my similar situation and that doing things in the evenings can be a challenge because of work and family life.

So next time when you are planning an event and you don’t think the person will attend, why not ask them anyway. They may be able to attend and if not they will give you the reason that they can’t that time. Also remember if they can’t attend once that might be due to a previous commitment so try a couple more times and see what happens. Don’t exclude someone just because you think they won’t attend as you might be very surprised. Another point to remember is that if you don’t want an individual at the event don’t keep talking about the events around them because that just shows how inconsiderate you really are.

Friday, April 14, 2017

When the silly things happen

There are times when things happen and all you can do is laugh.

Over the last little while my husband and I have found times to just stand and laugh when sometime happens which wasn’t expected. A lot of these laughs are due to little situations that happened and yes you could get upset about them happening but then it is just easier to laugh it off and see the funny side of the problem.

The situations I am talking about are getting yourself blocked into an area after saying that you are going to be very careful while cleaning up to not block yourself in. Sure enough you are working on the cleaning up and not thinking about the path that you are going to need to get out of an area until you realize that you have blocked yourself in and will need help to clean the spot that you just blocked. I think we have all done things like this and we will do it again even when you try your best not to do it.

Other situations are the simple little things that happen when you are both in the kitchen and trying to get things done but the lid lands in bowl instead of on the counter or the peanut butter jar lands on the toast that you have just put the peanut butter on. Sure a lot of the situations happen and they aren’t expected and you could get upset about what happened but in a lot of ways it is better to just see the humour in the situation and move on. In a lot of cases the reason you laugh is because of the other person’s reaction which is normally that of surprise of what has just happened.

I don’t know how many times either my husband or I have done something and the reaction is why the other person starts to laugh. Of course, the laughter ends up causing both of us to laugh because after the reaction you then also see the silly part of the situation and laugh along with the person that has witnessed the issue happen.

Having the ability to laugh at the times that happen around you is important. Sure you don’t laugh when something happens and someone is injured or when the outcome isn’t that nice. Being able to laugh at the little situations helps everyone as laughter is good medication and I think we need to be able to laugh a little bit more.

Monday, April 10, 2017

CAPM versus Project+

In Project Management there are two different types of certifications you can get when you are looking into which direction to go if you are not looking at currently going for your PMP.

You can go through PMI and as someone new to project management you could get your CAPM which is short for Certified Associate in Project Management. This requires you to have 23 hours of education or 1,500 hours of experience and a secondary degree before you can even apply to write the exam. The exam is 3 hours and there are 150 questions that you will be required to answer. This exam is based on the PMBOK and it is one that you will need to be able to memorize 47 processes along with all the inputs, outputs and tools and techniques as part of your studying. If you get your CAPM certification and want to maintain this level without going towards your PMP you are going to be required to retake the exam every five years.

Project+ you are going to have to learn a lot of the same information but in a different way as this one is more covering project management in general and not as focused on just the PMBOK as the source of the material. You are still going to need some experience in actual project management or some education but these are not mandatory like the education or work experience are for applying to write your CAPM exam. The Project+ exam is also 95 questions with an exam length of 90 minutes. Once you have passed the Project+ exam you do not have to retake the exam at any time.

Cost of exam
$225 US if PMI member
$300 US if not PMI member
$294 US
Length of exam
3 hours
90 minutes
# of questions
Every 5 years
Info as of Apr 6/17

Yes there are going to be differences between the two exams and what you are going to get out of it. I have had my CAPM and now have my Project+ and there is one difference that I have seen at least for myself. During the time I had my CAPM I used the initials after my name as that was allowed and if people noticed them I would normally get asked what they stood for and then get the OH! When I explained it. The Project+ doesn’t come with initials that you can use but you can use a logo that started you are CompTIA Project+ Certified.

At least for me I have found that since I passed the Project+ exam people have understood what I have said when I mention it. When I have said I was going to resit the CAPM exam as it was up for renewal it would get the blank look or in some cases just a look like ok, whatever that is. I know that this experience is going to vary based on people and also the industry that you are in. I am in IT so yes I have found that CompTIA is known in the small to medium businesses a little more than PMI. I am not saying that either exam is better than the other exam but I have found for me I think passing the Project+ exam is going to help me a little more at least in the areas where I focus.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The sounds of birds

I think we all love the sounds of birds at some point but after you have heard them for hours and hours they start to get to you. The reason I am complaining about the sound of the birds is because some birds have found a spot for a nest in the moulding beside my office window.

The moulding that they have found wasn’t capped off due to a renovation that is ongoing on the outside of the building. The moulding will be capped once all the windows have been replaced and I am now looking forward to that happening. At first the sound of the birds was nice when they first were around and I could see them on the window ledge for a couple of seconds. It is interesting some times looking out the window and there is a bird looking back at me. Now that I am listening to them from morning to night I have to admit that I am getting extremely frustrated with the birds.

It has been interesting watching them fly back and forth and I guess that is because there have been some babies also in the nest. The sound varies during the day and part of that is when they are around a little more and sometimes I am not sure how many birds are in this area because the sound does get pretty loud. You can make noise right at the window and that doesn’t seem to change the birds that are around so will see what happens when they do the actual windows and close off this area. My only hope is that the birds have gotten old enough to leave the nest before this happens and I think that might be what happens.

Until the young ones have left the nest I am going to be listening to the sound of the birds for a while longer. Hopefully I will be able to deal with the sound because after a couple of days when you are trying to focus on things the chirping starts to get to you. A bird can be nice to hear for a few minutes at a time but after a while the sound will get to you and just walking away helps me deal with it.

A nest should be in a tree not in a moulding of a building but a lot of birds do that because they feel safer because they can’t be seen by other birds and especially the hawks that are around. So until the windows are replaced and the moulding it capped I will be listening to the sound of a bunch of birds as I sit at my desk and try and work.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Husband Quiz for Cross Stitch

Over the weekend I discovered that there was a husband quiz with regards to the various items that people that cross-stitch use. I asked my husband these questions and yes I knew he would do well and he did. I have added some links to some of the words to give a better explanation than I wrote.

Now here is the list of questions and I will explain what each of them are.

Floss – this is the thread that we use to do our cross-stitching with.

Flosstube – a youtube channel for people that cross-stitch

ORTs – old running threads or the little bits of threads that are left over after you have done your piece of thread and normally throw out. I actually put my orts into a jar and it is fun looking at it throughout the year to remind me of some of the projects that I have worked on.

Needleminder – a magnet normally with something on the front of it to make it look nice where you can put your needle when you are not using it while stitching.

Stash – the items that you have in your collection are considering your stash.

SAL – a stitch along is a project that is either released in sections or a bunch of people working on the same project at the same time.

Haul – the items that you have picked up during a shopping trip or an order that you receive in the mail is considered a haul.

Skein – a length of thread or yarn that is loosely coiled.

Kreinik – this are metallic threads that are used also for various stitches when you cross stitch.

WIP – as a stitch I have a lot of these currently. These are Work in Progress so yes some stitchers have more than one project on the go at a time.

Frogging – This is another name for unpicking your stitches when you discover an error and need to take some of the stitches out. It is called frogging because you are ripping, ripping.

UFO – stitchers also normally have some of these and they are unfinished objects. Normally these are projects that have been put aside for a while because of either being tired of the project or you no longer find the project interesting.

FFO – When I asked my husband this one I got an answer that made me laugh and he said “Finally Finished Object” but what the quiz was calling it was a fully finished object so yes I think both of them are correct.

Q-snap – This is one type of frame that stitches use to hold their fabric to keep it tight when they are stitching. There are also scroll frames, hoops and just in hand.

Grime Guard – A grime guard is some fabric that goes over the edges of your q-snap or scroll frame to keep the dirt off the project while you are stitching.

HAED – Now this is something that not a lot of guys are going to know unless you stitch one specific type of project and this is Heaven and Earth Designs. A lot of these designs are rather large and involve a lot of colours.

Stitchy spot – This one was extremely easy because it where you normally do your stitching and for me it is sitting on the chesterfield.

HPI – This one even had me thinking for a couple of minutes because I always consider it as count for my fabric instead of holes per inch.

Aida – a type of fabric that stitchers use for their projects. This normally comes in 11, 14, 16, 18 and 22 count.

Evenweave – a type of fabric similar to linen fabric also used for projects and can come in 25, 28, 32, 36 and 40 count or holes per inch. I like using 28 count for a lot of my projects.

Biscornu – A biscornu is a small, 8-sided, stuffed ornamental pincushion. It usually made out of Aida cloth or linen. Embroidery and/or cross-stitch are used to decorate the top and bottom of the cushion. A button is typically secured in the center of the cushion to give a small depression on the top. This is the official definition of a biscornu but as my husband called it a handmade voodoo doll where you can stick pins or needles in it.

Railroading – For cross-stitching specifically, to “railroad” your stitches means to place your needle between your two strands of thread before pulling it through the fabric. This forces the stitches to lie flatter on the fabric, rather than bunch up one on top of the other. I’ve found it also keeps the thread from tangling as easily because it also forces the thread to straighten as it is being pulled through the fabric.

Parking – this is a technique where you don’t end your thread as often and you pull up the thread to the front of your work in a spot where you are not currently working. For some people it is just off to the side and to others it is in the whole that you are going to be using this thread next time to start stitching with this colour.

So these are the difficult words that were part of the quiz and it was a lot of fun both asking my husband the answers and also watching the various videos that I found on this. Hopefully if you are a stitcher or know someone that is you now have some new words to add to your vocabulary.