Social Social Me

social-socialMy wonderful friend, Rob Gould, is doing a really nice blog for the Portland Press Herald called Social Social. In it he is talking about social media and interviewing a few characters on their experiences with it.

I was his most recent victim: Social Social – Sketchy chat rooms, pregnancy privacy and Sesame Street.

Articles about yourself are funny. Receiving any type of attention for being yourself is funny.

I can’t believe I said half the things I did but talking to Rob was easy. I was comfortable and very honest.

The last few years have been crazy with losing Brody, having a baby, getting Otto and keeping up with work, Social Media Breakfasts and SARSSM. All I am doing is the best I can do.

I thought since I mentioned my crush on Sesame Street in Rob’s article, I would share this fun video with It seems fitting for a day like today.


If what I am is what’s in me
Then I’ll stay strong – that’s who I’ll be
and I will always be the best
“me” that I can be.

There’s only one me, I admit have a dream I’ll follow it
It’s up to me to try.

Oh! I’m a keep my head up high
Keep on reaching high
Never gonna quit
I’ll be getting stronger.

And nothing’s gonna bring me down (no!)
Never gonna stop, gotta go.
Because I know
I’ll keep getting stronger.

And what I am is thoughtful
what I am is musical
what I am is smart
and what I am is brave
what I am is helpful
what I am is special
There’s nothing I can’t achieve.
Because in myself I believe in oh…

Gonna keep our heads up high
Keep on reaching high
Never gonna quit
Just keep getting stronger.

And nothing’s gonna bring us down (no!)
Never give it up, gotta go.
Because I know
I’ll keep getting stronger.

What I am is super
what I am is proud
what I am is friendly
what I am is grouchy
what you are is magical
what you are is special

There’s nothing I can’t achieve.
Because in myself I believe in oh…

Gonna hold my head up high
Keep on reaching high
Never gonna stop
I’ll be getting stronger.

Nothing’s gonna bring me down (no!)
Never give it up gotta go, oh… yeah…
I’ll keep getting strong–er.

Oh phew! It is a Cat

monopoly-ironUgh this contest to toss out a Monopoly token and replace it with something new has been very stressful for me. I don’t understand why it is necessary to change a classic but hey, Uncle Pennybags (Monopoly man’s name) never asked me.

So the Facebook contest is over and the good old iron is out and is being replaced by a cat. The new replacement options were a robot, a helicopter, a diamond ring, a guitar and a cat. I guess the cat is the best option but it is still sad to see an icon go. I wonder if Monopoly boards with the iron will go up in price?

The iron wasn’t a go-to of mine – I am more of a thimble, shoe or dog person but it is still sad to see the old iron go. People identify with ‘their’ Monopoly piece(s). People who choose the iron are often women and very practical in their game playing approach. iVillage said:

You move toward victory in a totally organized, even-handed way. You’ll never have three houses on one property of a color and a hotel on another two—oh no, it’s all or nothing.

There are organized, strategic women all over the world today mourning their beloved iron. I guess there are probably cat lovers all around the world though that are celebrating.

Lounging with LannaLee – Amanda Pants Style

Oooh I hate attention and interviews and deep thought provoking questions… so when the lovely LannaLee asked to interview me for her weekly podcast, Lounging with Lannalee, I panicked.

I listened to some other people’s interviews with her and they were real, live, interesting people. I am just me. Rob Gould has his colorful past and many adventures in the PR world, Rich Brooks has his cool confidence and a big upcoming event. What the heck would I talk about? I just have my dogs, my job, my med school husband, a human growing inside me and a love for living in Maine… So that is what we talked about – work-life, dogs, Maine etc.

You may have a listen, if you have nothing better to do. If you want to hear from people more interesting than me, you can find more Lounging with LannaLee podcasts on her website.

Nerdiness to a New Level – WMTW Tech Trends Report

Some things I stink at:

  • Managing money – always think I can move this here and that there… and it never works
  • Accepting compliments – Nice person: Pretty shirt – Me: ‘Eh it was only $5 and there is a rip in the side
  • Cars/Engines – too many words and parts and stuff
  • Those damn metal brain teaser things – why do people think those small torture devices are fun?!
  • Self promotion – Please don’t look at me… look at them!
  • Being on film or having my picture taken – I go from normal person to stiff, sweaty fembot with awkward facial expressions in less than a millisecond

There are obviously a few more I could add (I’m sure my husband could lend a few ideas too) but you get the point. So with this list of unskills, I may have failed to mention that I have been working with WMTW 8 (local ABC channel) on a weekly Tech Trends report with Erin Ovalle. They air at about 7:15am on Saturday mornings.

If you miss them on-air, some of them are also online for your viewing and snickering pleasure.

Here are the ones that I can currently find online:

Working with Erin has been great. I look forward to getting better at these (I hate not being good at things) and I am really excited to share with people some of the cool things local businesses are doing with technology. I am a lucky girl and like with running or overcoming obstacles, I know that trying something new and uncomfortable will only make me stronger.

If you have ideas for topics Erin and I should cover or a local business using technology in a neat way that we should feature, please let me know!

Puppies are Hard Work!

Otto, Say Hello to the Nice People.

Otto on the rocky beach

Well we have had our new pup, Otto, for a month now so I thought it was about time he was officially introduced. Otto O’Brien is a handsome Hungarian Vizsla that we got from Widdershins Farm in Dover-Foxcroft.

Puppies are the best! They warm your heart, have cute puppy breath, love to snuggle and are absolutely hilarious. My mother always said puppies HAVE to be that cute so that you don’t kill them… she (as usual) is right. Adam and I consider ourselves very good dog owners but a puppy is not a dog. It is a puppy, a baby, a blank slate.

Some things a puppy does not know:

  • Where to go pee… he just knows he has to pee. So he did. Right there. Aren’t you proud of me?!?
  • That the world will not always catch him. Otto will sleep anywhere when he is tired; back of a sofa, under a chair, half off a porch. Someone will always catch him or move him to a safe place right?
  • That the whole world does not revolve around him. If someone doesn’t stop to say how cute he is or to pat him on the street, Otto is VERY confused. ‘Did they not see me?’
  • Bed time vs. play time – it is all Otto time all the time… isn’t it?
  • Not all dogs and cats want to play with him. Coming from a farm with his brothers and sisters and a very understanding cat… Otto doesn’t understand that not everyone wants to play. A snarling pit bull with a muzzle? He probably just needs an Otto hug!
  • The difference between a toy and not a toy. We are fortunate he isn’t in the destroying things phase (yet), toys are just proud things to prance around with. It is all very cute until ‘WAIT! That is my flip flop!’
  • Probably the hardest of them all… a puppy does not know the word ‘NO’. Cute little, sharp puppy teeth clamped onto the tablecloth, a chair, your nose? Saying ‘no’ may warrant a stop and look your way but as of now it does not mean ‘oh they don’t want me to do this’. This is a tough one.

Glad Otto is here

After losing Brody 4 months before, I really was not sure if I was ready for a puppy. Now that Otto is here, I am so thankful he is here when he is here. Adam has a break from school and his time has been invaluable. We were just talking about it yesterday and this time with Otto now is going to make our lives so much better for many years to come. Puppies take a LOT of time. I can’t imagine doing this alone or without Adam’s time off from school. Puppies also bring a lot of joy and fun to our house that I think we were missing after a pretty rough year. This was definitely the right time.

Puppy School is good for puppies and for puppy parents!

I also wanted to take a minute to talk about one of the greatest businesses that we have gotten to know because of little Otto. Brody and Chili were/are wonderful dogs but they were/are spoiled rotten, raised with college kids and ski bums and both (especially Brody) have/had some socialization hiccups (Chili is not a fan of dogs who have had their hair done or that you can put in your purse). With Otto, at this stage in our lives, we wanted him to be as socialized and trained as possible. So we went to the World Wide Web and started doing some homework. We came across the puppy nursery school Dances with Dogs in South Portland. After a little more digging, we found out some of our favorite people and dogs also had gone there or were currently going there.

Julie of Dances with Dogs with OttoOtto goes to Dances with Dogs once a week. Not only do you get the basics of a puppy day care (a tired puppy when you pick him up) but it is a school environment. Julie (right with Otto), the owner/pack-leader, and her husband Mike not only wear out the little buggers physically but they are teaching them and getting their little brains worn out too!

Dances with Dogs is wonderful and being the professional online nerd I am, I have to tell you how well all of Julie’s hard work is executed. Julie uses the internet to show us (the puppy moms and dads) what she does while our pups are with her. Each day your puppy is with Julie, you get an online Puppy Report. they are detailed, funny and sometimes read like a Days of our Lives script (puppy romances, aggression, protecting precious items etc.). You hear how your pup is doing, what they are working on, what they like, things you need to work on at home and so much more. The school’s website is also full of resources and articles for puppy moms and dads.

Julie uses Facebook to keep everyone up to date on what is going on with the school and their pups. She has a Facebook Group and uses her personal page to talk about news, events they have coming up and to share photos of the puppies. She has such a captive audience there. I haven’t seen a post from her yet that doesn’t have at least a dozen people interacting with it.

One of my other favorite parts of Dances with Dogs is Julie is a photographer. She set up a photography site and posts pictures of the puppies and the school regularly. Come on… who doesn’t want to look at puppy pictures all day?!?! On Otto’s first day she had 5 pages of photos of him, which I obviously shared with everyone I know. Genius! Keeping puppy parents in the loop AND marketing herself because all those photos are just going to be passed along!

We are so happy we found Dances with Dogs. It is so great for Otto AND for us. Puppies are a lot of work and you can use all the help you can get! So far this has been an amazing adventure and we are so happy to have little Otto around. I am sure you will be hearing a lot more about him in the future too.

Backing Up

floppy discI hate it when something bad happens and it was 100% preventable. The other day I went to add an event to my iPhone calendar and I was surprised the whole day was clear of obligations. Then I was surprised that the whole next day was open too… so was the next and the next and the next. That was bad.

I am a very busy person, many would say too busy due to my inability to say ‘no’. I can handle being busy. I am meticulous about keeping my calendar and sticking to it. So the morning I realized the whole calendar had just erased into thin air, was a bad morning.

I read all the forums, I asked for help online, I went to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store, I tried restoring it from a previous update but it was gone.

Most people that I asked for help said the magic words ‘well didn’t you back it up?!?’. If it was backed up, I assure you I would not have been as panicked. Those words were not very helpful.

So if you are like me and too busy to back up your devices, I am telling you to back them up because the time and information lost on the other end is really not worth it. I now have an event in my calendar every month to remind me to back everything up.

How to protect your information on your iPhone

  • Sync your calendar to Outlook or your Google Calendar.
  • Store your information on iCloud.
  • My photos mean so much for me. I don’t know what I would do if I lost them. Put a copy of your photos in another location, like your computer.

If you find yourself here because you too have lost your information and did not back it up… the only solace I found was from my old friend Carrie Bradshaw.

“No one talks about backing up. You’ve never used that expression before, but apparently everybody’s secretly running home at night and backing up their work!”

Photo credit: flattop341

Fooducate to Eat a Bit Better

FooducateLast week I attended the Small Business Workplace Wellness Conference and I really enjoyed it. I usually enjoy any conference not in my industry (I crave information) but this was a really nicely done, small event. So, not only am I going to torture myself with living a better lifestyle but I have tools to torture my colleagues as well (insert evil laugh).

One of my first orders of business when I left the conference was I bought a whiteboard, hung it up above of company snacks that are always readily available and I graded each item. I graded them using this really cool app Fooducate. I wrote about Fooducate for Guiding Stars this April too.

With Fooducate, you simply use your wicked smart phone and scan the bar code on almost any item of food and it grades it for you (A – F). You can also search for a food by name if you don’t have a bar code. Not only do you get a grade for your item but you also get healthier alternatives to that item and the reasoning behind why your items is getting the grade it is.

Cool ‘eh?

I even like their tagline: Fooducate – eat a bit better.
Their logo is pretty cute too.
Did I mention the app is free?

I really do use this app. I like it. As we know, eating better isn’t about freakish diets, it is about small changes you can make just to eat a bit better. You want to make a change in your diet that you can maintain.

So I wanted to tell you about the app too. Also, pretty much all the snacks at work got a C- to a D. I have my work cut out for me!

Search for Any Image on the Web and a Story About a Home Wrecker

Yes, I know this blog is all over the place – but that was the warning I gave you with the very first post. Some things just aren’t a good fit for other places that I write, so I am going to put them here.

How cool is this?!

Henri Matisse Purple Robe and AnemonesHave you checked out Google’s Search by Image yet? Well if not, chalk this up to something cool and I will let you figure out how you can use this.

Now you can search for information on any photo on the web or that you have on your computer. All you have to do is go to Google’s Search by Image and you can either drag and drop your image into the search bar or click on the camera icon and upload the image you want to search.

The results may be all over the place as Google learns how to ‘read’ and identify photos but they can also be pretty cool.

Need a video to how you how this works better? Watch it here

How I finally got to use it

I have known this for a few months, but I had yet to try it until this weekend. As you may know, my office recently moved into the Casco Bay Technology Hub. With the move, we got a new neighbor who has shared in my pangs of having to decorate a new office.

Our new office neighbor brought in print that she liked but she was afraid to hang it because she heard a rumor that the woman who was the focus of the painting was a ‘woman of the night‘. She didn’t want clients or art snobs to point out the painting of a prostitute she had above her conference table.

So what I did was took a picture of the print, uploaded it to Google’s Image Search and voilà! With my quick search, I found a calendar of paintings by Henri Matisse. A little more searching and I found the name of the painting – Purple Robe and Anemones. With the name of the painting, I was able to search for the model – Lydia Delectorskaya!

So was she a whore?

LydiaNo, but Henri’s wife thought she was. Lydia was a model who became Henri’s artist assistant. After years of service she started modeling for him, she even lived with the artist and his family. After awhile, Mrs. Matisse, had about enough and was convinced something was going on with Henri and Lydia so she kicked the model/assistant out.

Even after Lydia was out of the house, Henri’s wife was not convinced of his fidelity and she left him. Eventually Lydia moved back in with old Henri and was his caretaker in his final days. So she may not have been a prostitute, but she was a home wrecker.

Thanks Google Image Search!

The Future of My Library of Crappy Books

wall of booksI read books. I alternate one business book and then one ‘for me’ book. I dream of having a library, one of those ones where you need a ladder to reach all of the books in my collection. I want the library to cover all of the walls in the room. It will look very sophisticated – from afar.

When you get closer to my collection of books, you will notice that they are all very crappy books. You see, I love buying books, I love reading them but then if I LIKE it – I love to pass it along to a friend, family member or the woman next to me one a plane because I think they will enjoy it. I usually don’t get a lot of those back but I don’t mind. I hope that they in turn maybe lent it to someone else that they think will enjoy the book.

So as I giveaway all of the books I liked, what I am left with in my slowly growing library are all my crappy books that were just ok, that too many other people have, that I for some reason had multiple copies of etc.

In walks the Kindle

Now we add a new player to my crappy library dream – my Kindle. I love it. I can have dozens of books on me at all times. I can switch between them or read them in order. I can buy new books on the go. The books are cheaper. My carry-on luggage is so much lighter!

I dream of JeannieI just read two books that I wished I could share with someone. Last night, I finished The Help. I really enjoyed it and wanted to pass it along to a friend but I can’t because it lives inside my Kindle – like Jeannie in her bottle from I Dream of Jeannie.

I guess I could lend someone my Kindle, but that is weird and my next 4 books I want to read are already queued up in there. Other than that my options are to just tell people about it and delete it from my device. I have been able to handle that for the last 8 or 9 books I have read. Just today I started to worry about the larger implications of this – my crappy library!

How am I going to fill my crappy library if all my books (crappy and good) are stuck inside my Kindle like I Dream of Jeannie? Do I build the four walls of shelves that I would put my books in and instead just place my single Kindle and tell people – there were thousands of books read on that thing?

I am a nerd for a living but in this instance, the technology is interfering with a dream I have always had. A whole physical room or space is being threatened by a convenient, pretty, practical, little invention that I love dearly. What is a dreamer and reader to do?

Photo credit: Mr. T in DC