You Say Tomato, I Say…

you say tomatoIt doesn’t matter what I say, but what does matter is our differences. Inherently, people are different. We have different experiences, different morals, different priorities, different loves and different fears.

Recently I have run into a few people and situations where differences lead to dislike and I don’t think it needs to. I love hearing other people’s stories and opinions and if I disagree, that doesn’t mean I don’t like you – it actually usually makes me more interested. I want to know why people think the things they do.

My favorite college professor spent many a lecture talking about ‘multiple truths’. You and I can go through the exact same situation but when asked about it, we may have a different story. That is because we brought to that situation different histories, stories and emotions. It doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong.

So I say you should own your opinions and your stories and not have shame in them. As I said in the beginning, I don’t know what this blog is for. I don’t have a goal or a purpose except to explore life as I am going through it. If that helps or entertains along the way, then I am glad I did it.

If it sparks conversation, controversy or makes you think about something differently then great! I will admit that is hard for me. I carry a fear of offending people, I have a need for people to like me but especially lately… I have felt a freedom owning my stories and opinions and hearing other people’s too.

In other/the same news… I just bought this poster for my new office and I can’t wait to get it, frame it and stare at it often. It is simple, yet beautiful. I like it!

Tomato photo credit: eyeweed

Can Three Legged Dogs Swim?

throw the ballPopular question when people hear about our journey with Brody is if he can still swim. Good news is, yes he can and we have video proof for your entertainment!

Now Brody wasn’t a very GOOD swimmer to start. He lifts his front paws up out of the water, we think it is because he is trying to keep his head dry. Of course, since he lifts his legs out of the water, they make a huge splash as they enter the water and he ends up getting more wet.

So don’t judge on form because that has always been a little off.

I cannot thank enough the wonderful people at Portland Veterinary Specialists and Portland Animal Emergency Clinic for making all of this chapter possible. Brody is happier than I have ever seen him and having an awesome summer. Leaps and bounds from where we were just 2 months ago.

Setting Goals and Reaching Them

You Actually Already Know What To Do, Most of the Time

Setting GoalsI just got around to reading this take charge post from Chris Brogan, You Know What To Do. I just wanted to add onto it and apply some thoughts on setting goals and reaching them.

Chris is right, you almost always already know what you have to do – you just may not want to do it because it will be hard, you might fail or you just aren’t ready. The hardest decisions are the one’s where there is no right or wrong but you need to make a choice and just go with it. Most of our decisions though, we should already have an idea of what we need to do to get there.

Need to lose weight? You know you need to watch what you eat, change your diet, eat less and exercise more. You know it. It may seem easier to hide behind a fad diet, read another weightloss book and look for more answers online but in the end, you already know what you need to do.

Stuck in a dead end relationship? Romantic or friendship? You know this other person is draining your energy or perhaps they just aren’t right for you right now but having those conversations is hard, hurting someone’s feelings is hard and having your feelings hurt is hard but you probably know what you need to do.

Want a better job? Want to buy a house? You know what you need to do. Complaining about it or throwing a pity party won’t get you to where you want to be. It actually just wastes your energy that you could be using to make your life better.

Setting Goals and Reaching Them

reaching your goalsA few weeks ago I read Jillian Michaels’ book, Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life (affiliate link). You may know Jillian as the hard ass trainer from the Biggest Loser but she also is a pretty smart lady who has a lot of advice of getting what you want out of life, she also is a pretty business savvy little lady.

I think the biggest thing I learned from the book was about setting goals and charting your way to reaching them. She said you need to know what you want before you try to achieve it, that makes a lot of sense. She also says that once you have that goal, almost every other decision you make in your life, you should weight it against getting you closer to your goal.

The easy example here is weight loss. If you want to lose weight and you are faced with a lunch decision, you don’t choose what you want to eat right now, or the savory taste you crave – you choose the item on the menu that will help you reach your goal. Faced with some stairs or an elevator? Choose the one that will help you reach your eventual goal.

From a non-weightloss standpoint, thinking like this can help you achieve other life goals as well. Want to save up for a better house? When you are facing a decision about a purchase or a trip – compare it against your goal (getting that house). Will one choice over the other help you on your path?

So if you feel stuck on your way to a goal… it may be time for a gut check. Are you really doing all you can to help you reach that goal? Or you going to sit, wait, whine and wait for something to happen to you?

“Life is about preparation meeting opportunity” – Jillian Michaels

Talk About Your Goal or Keep it to Yourself?

So we have goals, we know what to do to get there but now what? Should you tell your friends, family and tweet about it? There are two schools of thought on this one.

Many will tell you that you should tell people about your goals. The thought is this will make you more accountable. You won’t want to let down your family and friends who are counting on you and cheering you on.

I watched a quick TED talk today that was shared by Lucretia Pruitt that says you should keep your goals to yourself. In this video Derek Sivers says by letting people know about our goals we actually set off sensors in our brains that make us feel like we are working towards that goal, even though we didn’t do anything but talk about it. I thought that was really interesting! Check it out right below.

I talk about goals all the time – with clients, staff, friends and my husband. I always am setting goals – big and small. I do a serious life check in on birthdays, holidays and at major milestones. I also set daily and weekly goals. I know for me, I always want to feel like I am moving forward. Setting goals and checking them off are how I do that.

I have tons of goals I haven’t reached yet, usually I have an idea of what it is I need to do… but I don’t feel like I am there yet. Setting goals is important and so is figuring out how and when you are going to reach them!

Good luck with reaching your goals and I will let you know when I reach some of mine!

Photo credits: angietorres and Scott Ableman

Brody Update and Things We Try to Forget

Three Legged Dogs CAN SwimSo some new people have been making it to this blog and some regulars have reached out to me and asked for updates on Mr. Brody man.

If you are reading that line and are completely lost already, Brody is my 11 year old Rottweiler/Doberman pup that I have had since he was 5 weeks old. We found out the hard way (there is probably not an easy way), that he has Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, and we amputated one of his hind legs.

Brody is doing great (we think). He is so damn happy all the time. He went through his first round of chemo, which is three separate chemo sessions, like a champ. He loves going to see the ladies at Portland Veterinary Specialists. He has never been a big fan of the vet before but he charges through the door each time full of excitement. Everyone has been so kind and patient with us.

Randomly, one of his vet tech’s from when he was a young lad in Durham, NH, is actually now at this vet and she remembered him right away. They are buds!

Now with the three sessions over, we wait a few more weeks and go back and run some tests to see what, if anything, the chemo has done.

Chemo for Dogs

Chemo for Brody didn’t slow him down one bit. He ate and was active almost every day. The day OF each chemo sessions he sleeps a lot but that is because they give him knock out meds and it is just a big exciting day – getting doted on by 5 women.

I am sure there are super scientific reasons to why chemo effects dogs differently than people but there is also something to be said for a dog’s spirit. They don’t have that sadness, fear and trauma from events like losing a leg or going through chemo. They just do what they do and they want you to love them and more patting, hugs and love seem to help too.

The Things We Try to Forget

I will admit I have been bad about Brody updates. I can tell you I have been busy (I am writing this from DC), I can say there isn’t too much to report but I know the real reason and it is that I am trying to forget. I am a happily ever after person, I am a Disney fan (I even worked for that damn mouse) – I like happy endings and I have a really hard time digesting sad things.

Brody HidingThis process is hard, sad, scary, expensive and all I want to do is make my baby better (yes, he is my baby) and I can’t. So I am living in each day, each wag of his nub, each walk and each kiss on the face as I leave the house in the morning. I don’t want to think about what this part of the journey is about. I am avoiding it.

Is avoiding your problems healthy? Probably not but it seems to be the only way I can deal. I couldn’t function when this all first happen. I didn’t want to see even my closest friends because I didn’t want to talk about it.

I was angry I had to keep up with ‘life’ when all I wanted to do was spend the extra time, I literally just bought, to hang out with my main man. So for me to be a functional part of this society, I have to push it out. That whole missing a leg this is a pretty good reminder but I am making it work for me.

I will try to be better about updates. In the past few weeks we went camping in Brownfield for two nights, found out 3 legged dogs can swim just fine at Sebago Lake, visited the doggie grandparents on Peaks Island for the Fourth, had lots of fun walks in our neighborhood and even met a two legged dog (one-upper much?). For the next two weeks we sit tight and we will make some more big decisions after our next visit with the vet.

Thanks for all of your love and support. It all gets passed on to the Brody man. This would be worse without the love we have felt from friends, family and even people we don’t know. Thank you!

Conference Necessities

The product links in this post are affiliate links. That means, in short, if you click on them and buy something, I might make a fraction of a penny. I am telling you because I am legally bound too, not to urge you to buy anything. I love and use all of these products.

Bear Conference NecessitiesI am leaving for Washington DC tomorrow for a conference for work. I kinda forgot too. I go to my fair share of conferences each year. This one snuck up on me, but that is fine. Things have been busy and my mind has been on other things.

The thing about conferences is after 10 or so, you sort of have the routine down. I have a good idea of the things I have to pack and what I need. I thought I would share some of my conference necessities, no matter the conference, these are the things that help me get through a long week or so of networking and learning.

Top 12 Conference Items

  1. Hand sanitizer (health needs) – Conferences are for meeting people, hunderds or thousands of people. After a lot of conferences, everyone is sick. New people from all over the country have all kinds of nice germs that you can’t fight off because you are out of whack, overtired and constantly exposed. A small, pen sized hand sanitizer, like Purell Spray Pen should do the trick. Just a little spray here and there can help and you don’t feel like a weirdo lugging around a jug of Purell.
  2. Airborne (health needs) – Just like above, meeting people and flying when your system is weekend is dangerous. I don’t even know if Airborne works but it makes me think it works so I take it. It also has vitamins and healthy stuff in it, so it doesn’t hurt to take it.
  3. Filtered Water Bottle (health needs) – I recently purchased a Brita Bottle with Filter and I love it! You can fill it from water from any tap and it filters in the bottle. Ice cubes also fit in there perfectly. Being a Mainer, I am spoiled with delicious water. Now I can tuck this is my bag and fill it whenever, wherever! We all know water is so good for you and for keeping you healthy. Why chance it by hoping they have water in the sessions and make sure you have a back up plan.
  4. Running shoes (health needs) – One of the reasons I picked up running is that you don’t need a lot of equipment. When you are away at a conference is a GREAT time to squeeze in a run (or a walk). Like the previous two examples, your body is run down at a conference but just getting up and about and sweating out some bad juju can really help you fight things off, feel energized and get you on track. You are also away with less of the distractions of home. I also like exploring a new city or area on a run. Obviously you need to be safe and know where you are going, but some of my favorite SXSW experiences were running around Lady Bird Lake. I got to see more of Austin than almost all of the hundreds of thousands of attendees. So bring your sneaks, lace ’em up and get out there (safely).
  5. Sheer Band-aids (health needs) – No matter how comfy you think your shoes are, there are few that can stand up to the work load you put on them at a conference. Drop a few Sheer Band Aids in your carry on and cover up any soft spots or cuts before they get out of control.
  6. Ballet Flats (fashion needs) – Conferences mean a lot of standing and walking. Most of my day to day pretty shoes can’t handle the stress of a conference. Heels are suicide, flip flops are unprofessional and end up hurting your feet too and sneakers just look funny. A good, comfy pair of ballet flats may be your best friend at a conference. The Gap has rarely done me wrong with their ballet flats. They are pretty durable and don’t cost a fortune.
  7. Fitted suit style jacket (fashion needs) – Conferences mean leaving your hotel room at 7am and not sure if you will be back before midnight. You might have an impromptu meeting, client dinner, drinks with a friend, been added to a panel at the last minute – not to mention constantly going from warm to overly air conditioned rooms. Having a nice fitted jacket that you can easily take on and off and not look unprofessional is key.
  8. Kindle (entertainment needs) – I read a lot and I read even more when I am traveling. My carry-on usually has my laptop, running shoes, camera and 4-5 books – that gets pretty heavy. I just got a Kindle 3G for my birthday and I am SO EXCITED to bring it with me and drop about 10 pounds from my carry on. I usually have the book I am currently trying to finish, one business book and then two or three ‘for me’ books that I bring. Sometimes you want to read smart things and sometimes you want to read brain rotting things (like almost anything with a pink cover). Now I can take as many books as I want with me and it won’t ever weigh more than 8.7 ounces!
  9. Angry Birds (entertainment needs) – Find a few minutes of downtime? Have to stand in line to pick up your packet? Want to look busy so that the guy across from you won’t talk to you? Two words for you – Angry Birds. I will be very busy throwing birds at pigs in houses trying to get my eggs back. If I save the eggs on the regular version there is still Seasons and Rio to save too. They need me!
  10. Mini power strip (sessions needs) – Being a plugged in gal, I use a lot of power when I am on the move. Adam got me this great mini power strip that tucks right in a pocket in my bag. It has three spots to plug things in. I could even share with a friend, if I felt like it.
  11. Big girl camera (new places needs) – Adam got me an awesome big girl camera (Canon Digital Rebel) for my 30th birthday (it was a gift for ‘us’). I love going to new cities and if it takes a conference to get me there, I am going to find time to go exploring. When I go exploring I love having a nice camera that I can bring with me to capture the things as I see them.
  12. A good, positive attitude (all around need) – Traveling is tough, being on your feet and constantly ‘on’ is tough, being away from your family and your own bed is tough. If you don’t have a good attitude about it, you will suffer and your chances of getting sick seem to go through the roof (not a doctor, just an observation). You have to have a good, positive attitude or your time will really stink. Load up your iPod with happy songs, make yourself go home early and get enough sleep, have a good breakfast – keep yourself as normal as you can and be happy you have this opportunity!

Those are some of my top conference needs! Hope some of this helps someone else! If I forgot something just let me know and wish me and Jenika luck in DC.

Have I told you neither of us have been to DC before? This should be interesting!

The Smiley Face Scale

Smiley FacesBIG conversation over the weekend on the smiley face scale. You know, which smiley faces (emoticons) mean what and what are the levels of their smiling.

We tiered the big 3 from lowest to highest:

🙂 [colon, close parentheses] – is your typical smiley. It means, I am smiling while I say this. It means, you can’t get mad at me for what I just texted because I ended it with a smiley face.

😉 [semi-colon, close parentheses] – is your winkey face. It says you are being silly, maybe sarcastic but you are too scared to not add the smiley for fear of coming off like an asshole.

😛 [colon, capital P] – is the ‘I’m so silly smiley’. It says ‘I am so crazy I just stuck my tongue out at you while I typed this’. It is a little over the top and Adam isn’t a big fan.

Of course there are thousands of variations of smiley faces but those are the biggest ones. Anything more than that in a text and you should be sure to lay the ground rules with the person you are texting or you could get yourself into some trouble.

Added bonus: I just learned this emoticon the other week
Conan O’Brien smiley face.
You are welcome!

Photo credit: South Carolina’s Northern Kingdom

Look Out World – Top 40 Under Forty! So Famous!

Famous ParkingOh 2011, you scoundrel. You sure know how to keep an emotional roller coaster going. This has already been a year of some mighty lows and profound highs. When one things goes down, another goes up.

I am now proud to tell you that I have been named one of Maine’s Top 40 Under Forty (you can read all about the announcement and event here). I will admit, I wish it was Top 33 Under Thirty-three, since there is no way I am approaching 40, but I will take it.

I do work very hard and it is really nice to have it be recognized. So thank you! Thanks for the support and thanks to the amazing people who recommended me.

I already had my really hard interview. The questions were tough! Really deep and reflective questions about where you want to be in 10 years and things like that. My brain hurt after. I have to go get my picture taken tomorrow. That will be exciting since I LOVE pictures.

One person will be featured each day. I don’t have any idea when my profile will run but I am pretty sure my mother and mother-in-law will let me know as soon as it hits the doorstep! When that happens, I will post it on Facebook and probably update this post so you can point and laugh at me.

Thanks again everyone for your support!

Photo credit: vistavision