Category Archives: Just thinking

Happy Birthday Cathy!

Tomorrow I will sit by your grave and miss your physical presence; yet, you’ll be there, because you are everywhere. I cling to the comfort of knowing we are all one. It’s not just your memory that keeps me going but the understanding that I don’t ever have to say goodbye — for there is no separation. You know the truth, the beautiful, loving truth that we all will one day.

I lament that I can’t call you and tell you my shit and hear your little giggle and supportive sighs. In consolation, I become silent and still and feel you within me.

The heather plant I’ve been nurturing all spring and summer is ready and I will be leaving it with you as a birthday present. Like our entwined spirit,  it’s an evergreen and spreads with reckless abandon. Perhaps it will make its way to Dad.

Love is the only reality, it survives everything.  The rest is a dream we participate in.

Oh, and I think there will be cake, there’s always cake. This year it will be moist with our tears.

I love you so much.

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Withdrawal

Waking up this morning, I realized today is the 10th anniversary of my Dad’s passing. Anyone who has lost a parent understands that these anniversaries get easier with time, but you’re always a bit tender, waiting for the other foot to fall or something significant to happen so you can say, “and it happened 10 years to the day”.  So far, so good.   Ten years ago today I also found out I was pregnant, I think I wrote about that before, so you can go have a look if you’re obliged to do so.

Summer was full of parties and other activities and although the kids skipped the organized sports, they still had fun and made new friends. I embraced the relaxed evenings to just be with the kids and not rush to a field to be eaten by flies and feign enthusiasm.

I take great pride in the fact that I don’t watch a lot of TV, but this summer a new flat screen came to me complete with chips, chocolate and beer. I finally figured out the VOD thing, but my cable bill has sky-rocketed from ordering half-watched movies and my body shape was becoming pre-french fry round.

The solution was a recumbent bike. It sits in my living room and I now exercise while watching tv, which for the past few weeks has been a complete jonesing on True Blood. I’m up-to-date now and feeling the withdrawal.

Yesterday I ordered the Merlotte’s uniform from the HBO website, received a 20% discount as a Facebook fan and a free Men of True Blood calendar. Now I have something to look forward to, since I’m not sure when my bf will be coming home again and that’s always a downer. It would be wrong to have two boyfriends, right? It’s ok to have one in your head though so I pick Alexander Skarsgard. Well, probably not Alexander himself, since I know absolutely nothing about the man, but Vampire Eric is just tall and misunderstood enough to catch my heart or neck, or inner thigh.

I can’t wait for Hallowe’en.


Fashionable moments

Rarely will I talk about my work on my blog…ok, I rambled on a few weeks ago, but I don’t usually talk about what I do. Today is different because we launched a micro-site that features fashion collections inspired by the women of the G8 summit, which is taking place in Canada somewhere this week. The politics don’t fascinate me but the talent of our Nova Scotia fashion designers is inspiring.  I have seen these items in person and gently touched them. The Michique handbags are equally stunning on the inside.

If you already own a Michique handbag,  LouLouBell accessories, Donna Hiebert jewellery or glass and beads from the Glass Harp Gallery, consider yourself lucky. The rest of us now have something to wish for.

Here is what I helped to craft to showcase the Nova Scotia Fashion Industry. I hope you enjoy checking out the collections:  NSFashion.ca


With Gratitude and Glamour

I’ve recently started following an amazing blog: C-Level Strategies and Awakenings by Lisa Petrilli.  I don’t know Lisa personally, but from her posts and responses to her comments, I can tell she is genuine and her leadership is sound. I believe blogging is an act of kindness. Bloggers (like all writers) share their thoughts, ideas and stories in the hope they will resonate with someone else and change them a little bit.  A precious gift, offered without expectation of reward. When I read Lisa’s posts, I feel as though I have received a gift. If you haven’t yet joined the thousands following her, you owe it to yourself to take a peek.

When I started this blog, my intention was only to develop my ability to release my soul through words. My loosely crafted strategy for this blog included capturing moments in time without a direct theme or focus and  not talking about my work or boring anyone with techno-babble about how I make a living. It works for me because I have no delusions of grandeur nor am I trying to promote myself in any way. It’s simply been a healing therapy for me to write. I do see though, that for blogs to be most effective, followed and shared, they need a theme, a position, a target, promotion and nurturing. As a marketer, I understand that. As a busy mom, I don’t need the pressure and as an INFP as defined by Myers Briggs, I need to be able to move from one topic to another in eclectic release.

Admittedly, I haven’t been nurturing this blog, but I have been writing over at Social Moments which I started as a way to capture my thoughts about social media as I live through this new phenomenon. I use the ideas I capture there when I speak to people about using social media as a business tool and marketing tactic.  If you have an interest in that, please drop by and be sure to let me know you were there and what you think; I would really appreciate it.

Oh, and I had some Glamour shots taken tonight at my neighbour’s house. Almost chickened out but really got into it after 3 or 4 glasses of punch. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Until next time, be well and happy.


Have I helped you…yet?

You could call this my journey to social media.

I started my career as a marketing administrator in the mid-80s. My company bought something called a PC, an XT to be exact, and on it was one program:  Ventura Desktop Publishing. So, I studied and became a graphic designer and eventually lead a team of designers who were producing about a quarter million in print collateral in house.  Our agency of record didn’t like me. They never said so, but I just got that feeling, you know.

In the early 90s, I designed my first website. A pet project with a colleague who hosted it on his personal webspace. The URL looked something like:

http:/www.emailhostingcompany.com/
users/~username/personal_data/
folder/personal/companytestsite/
home/therewerenotinyurlsthen?/
index.htm

It got noticed by our parent company and everyone cooed over the fact that we were on the information highway, the world  wide web. Our IT department decided this might take off and took it over.  I went back to designing print collateral.

After a few years, the web was fully entrenched in our business and I began working with it to develop user interfaces. I trained as a Lotus Notes Domino Developer (our website was a Notes site) and queried my way through the development of databases and business tools, always with an eye for the user and how they would interact with the finished product.

We moved away from Notes and my html skills became important again to tweak the code and make the page look just right.

It was then that understanding both the technical side and the business side of a project became useful.  So, I became an e-marketing analyst and worked to develop even more online tools and experiences.

Along came e-mail marketing and boom we were actually talking directly to people; albeit, en mass, with a personalized salutation.

My company was acquired.

I worked on my own as a writer, web designer, developer and e-marketing consultant and loved it. Working from home is what I miss the most about that experience.

I heard the word blog and wanted one. A la “Just a Moment”.

In my next role I was an on-line marketing officer in an academic setting. I had over 10,000 static html pages to manage, great niche content, zero usability and a site that received over 4 million visits a year…with a 70% bounce rate. Imagine what could happen if those pages were actually linked back to the home page. I ran my stats, developed a strategy, made my case and sold management on the obvious conclusion that the web was our best bet at attracting new visitors to our physical installations and re-energizing the brand.

My plan in place, I hired a rockin’ co-op student to help with the development and design of a few key stand-alone sites and got the ball rolling on the deployment of a content management system to bring a family of sites together under one roof. Then, I left for a better opportunity and the promise of more resources to do all the things I knew I wanted to do on the web.

I returned to the business world and my first task was to restructure the website to enhance its usability. I then demonstrated the power of the web to meet our communication and marketing needs and sold my peers on the idea that the web would take us there. Good stats always change minds.

For a year I managed the marketing department. I figured out that it was more enjoyable to help someone else do well than to actually do it myself. Leading others was where I wanted to be.  I returned to my previous role with the leadership skills and confidence to make us even more reliant on the web as a key business tool.

I created a monster, but a good monster.

With a full pocket of ideas and the right knowledge and skills to execute a project, I was relied upon to fulfill webdreams.

Then, we Tweeted.

And, then we Facebooked.

We Youtubed.

We LinkedIn.

We Google adworded, alerted and analyzed.

We internally blogged.

We built landing pages and measured.

We Radian6ed.

Yep, a full suite of social media tools established and churning out connections and brand building ROI. It got lots of attention. Everyone wanted to do it and I was the key to their knowledge. But, they were scared, a little bit, so I built a strategy, guided them and lead them to the best places with the most return and helped them set up profiles with the right keywords and structure tweets that would get noticed and ran social media monitoring reports that made them shiver with excitement.

But what brings the most personal joy?  Making connections.  Scouring and searching for niches and verticals we can tap to generate leads, offering advice and building web presences that work.  Demonstrating our brand, getting noticed and networking behind the safety of my computer screen with no heels or lipstick.

Helping people is what I do, and I do it well. I’m a fountain of knowledge, experience, ingenuity and resourcefulness. Throw a twoonie in and make a wish.

So what’s next? Well, have I helped you…yet?

____________________________________

Find me on:
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter
Helium
Foursquare (but I’m not active there yet)

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People I follow to learn all this stuff:

Seth Godin
Gerry McGovern
Mashable
Marketing Profs
Marketing Magazine
Malcolm Gladwell
ISL.ca
Kula Partners
CIO Leaders
IABC
Smartbrief
My Tweeps
LinkedIn Groups
Youtube
Google
Facebook
Wordpress
Anyone who’s talking Social Media
Companies that are doing it right


Golden

Watching the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, I imagined the level of detail involved in pulling off an event of that magnitude and I sat in awe of the Olympic committee and the thousands of volunteers. I had an opportunity to tour the Olympic sites in June of last year when they were still under construction and refit and to see it transform to showcase our Country in a such an amazing way, shook me with pride.

Today, the Canadian men’s hockey team won gold for Canada; the ultimate prize and I’ll admit, I cried. I cried for all the young players watching who will dream of being Olympians, I cried because Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal, I cried because our country showed the world that we do indeed own the podium. Growing up, Canada had a handful of medal winners and Olympic champions and we remain proud of each and every one. But is has never been anything like the showing we had over the past two weeks. Could it have ended any more perfect? I think not. My children will have even more to be proud of.

Thank you Vancouver, thank you British Columbia and thank you to all our Olympians for placing pride in the hearts of every Canadian.

Oh, and that interview with Stephen Harper…he actually said, “ain’t”. Is it just me or was that a breath of fresh air, just sayin’.


Alerts

Today, for work, I set up a couple Google Alerts for Sidney Crosby and Team Canada to track where the story is spreading and who is saying what about Canada’s 2010 Olympic Hockey team. Sidney being from Nova Scotia is of particular interest because, well…we love him and all he stands for:  hard work, dedication and the right attitude.

Korey participated in the Sidney Crosby 3 x 3 Timbit tournament this summer when Sidney brought the cup home to Cole Harbour, NS.  Korey was the TASA team’s goalie. $100 in street hockey gear later, he was decked to protect and they had so much fun. It was an honour to be part of the celebration.

This Christmas I found Sidney’s book, “My Day with the Cup” and it includes a picture of Korey’s team. What Korey remembers most is Sidney tugging on his shirt to get him in the picture. Opposite the gallery of team photos is an action shot and in the background is their Grandad, Justin and me. It’s a keepsake, dear to our hearts.

Watching Korey’s Novice team play tonight, I overheard one of the parents say how bad their son felt when he scored on his own net. And, Korey today was one “lazy goal” (as he called it) away from a double shut-out. This got me wondering if Sidney ever scored on his own net when he was in minor hockey and what advice he would shell out to these hungry young stars.

Best of luck to you Sidney as you represent Canada in your first Olympic games. We’ll be watching and waiting for you to bring home the prize. The last one was silver, let’s make this one gold.


PS:  My Blackberry has been dinging all night from the string of alerts. It’s big news for Canada and for Nova Scotia. I’m wondering now if I’m going to alert myself.


I’m not saying this to be mean…

Justin and Korey met up with Santa at my work on Christmas Eve. When we got home Justin said, “I’m not saying this to be mean to Santa or anything, but he’s not as fat as the Santas in the pictures.”

This got me to thinking that if you preclude your statements with the above disclaimer, you can pretty much say anything you want, so here goes:

I’m not saying this to be mean or anything, but:

  • Why do companies have website contact forms if they never check them?
  • Why did my bank charge me a $10 inactive fee for a Visa that was never activated and has been in the landfill for over a year?
  • If pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies really cared about their customers, they’d charge less for drugs and machines.
  • If organic producers really cared about their customers, organic stuff would be less expensive. Update:  If the government really cared about our health, they would subsidize organic food producers.
  • Why does the media hardly ever get ALL the facts correct, but we still believe their story?
  • Why do people care that some dried up singer or actor had a drug addiction they overcame and then buy their stupid books so they have money to spend on said drugs again?
  • I don’t think telling the world about your past drug and alcohol problems helps anyone. Especially kids who can point and say, “she did it and she’s ok now, so I’m going to try it.” Keep it to yourself, who cares? Unless you’ve died from it, kids won’t get the right message. Write a book after your dead and I’ll buy it.
  • Why do dogs throw up on freshly shampoo-ed carpet?
  • Why do people continue to talk about themselves on Twitter. Unless you are particularly funny, I could care less what you are doing at this moment. If you can’t find something meaningful to share in 140 characters or less, don’t share anything at all.

Here ends my jaded rant. I can go back to normal now.

Epilogue:  The boys and I watched the movie “Up” last night. Korey jumped and squirmed around on the bed during the action scenes at the end▬ trying to help Russell and Carl get back into the blimp. Justin said, “That was supposed to be funny, but it was sad because when the wife died it reminded me of Nanny.”  They both cried. We all cried.


You know it’s December

Easy Care Carpet cleaners are at my house today for the annual removal of our DNA. My favourite part is the cherry deodorizer…yummy smelling. I’ve been using this company for the past 5 years and they are responsive, quick, professional and do a great job on my 20-year-old carpets. 

I’ve talked before about the December ritual:  clean carpets, clean Mandy. I’m thinking Mandy and I will head to town tomorrow to get her carpet cleaned. She’s lookin’ pretty great these days and enjoying her mid-day walks with my friend Shannon who runs a dog walking service called Tuesdays With Macy (or on Facebook).  I can’t believe the difference in her. If anyone is stumped over what to get their favourite canine kid this Christmas, this is one gift that keeps on giving. There will be a lot less of her to leave behind at Metro Dog Wash.

One more doggy plug, The Hound in Tantallon clipped Mandy’s nails. She usually requires a large animal vet or sedation to have that done, but Shannon said she jumped right up on the table and just stood there like a princess. One other really handy service Shannon offers, taking your dog to their vet or grooming appointment.

By the way, does anyone know how to turn off this stupid “Smart Shopper” thing that keeps popping up on Explorer?  It’s annoying. Like, it’s December, I know I have to shop. If I need referrals, I check my friends’ blogs.


Ok…now what do I do?

Korey’s been saying lately that during lunch and recess he walks around by himself because he can’t find anyone to play with. Obviously this concerns me. My observation is that he’s always been good at making friends.  Of course, at home, he can be a bit too “leadership driven” and fortunately, Justin is pretty compliant so far. But, that’s at home.

I’ve been trying to determine if he’s making drama waves, being bullied, or just not into what the other kids are doing. I don’t think he likes the rough sports because he’s not into the pushing and shoving. He’s a goalie, remember. Pretty solo life there between the pipes and lots of admiration at the end of the game. He was awarded the Herd Hat last week for the hardest working player. He was so excited about that and the 6″ bologna sub.

My heart breaks, but I don’t want to over-react. So, I tell him what I just recently learned. Which is that people can’t make you feel anything. How you feel is your choice.

Like when I get frustrated. It’s not that they are doing things TO make me frustrated. They are just doing things AND I’m feeling frustrated. Helps keep my reaction in perspective.

I just don’t know what to do and I can’t remember everything about grade three except that I’m sure it was a bit lonely. At 8, almost 9, the world does start to lose its shine a bit and the acceptance of others seems to matter more.

As I type this, every moment of feeling left out and not fitting in flashes back to me. Wow! I think I’ll go re-tuck him in with an extra kiss and squeeze.