Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A Snowless Late December in Minnesota -

We can hardly believe it & this is still Minnesota we live in. When this was our view... we thought the snow was here to stay:
 Munchkin was excited to bundle up & get the sled out for the first time this season with my poor hubby on "Giddy Up Horsie" duty.


Despite all those people dreaming of a White Christmas in the Twin Cities, we enjoyed a brownish-green one just as much.

On the 26th of December the temp reached 52 degrees - a record not seen since the 51 degree day back in 1936. And even though Tuesday wasn't quite as warm as Monday, my neighbor was out cleaning up his yard of fallen leaves on the riding lawn mover.  It was really too good to be true.
A year from now we may have the complete opposite going on so I thought it's time to blog about it... or we'll forget it really happened this way.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: Twas The Night Before Christmas...Once Again or Last year's Christmas view: A Christmas Eve Tradition

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas The Night Before Christmas...Once Again

I decided to take today off from work.  One day before Christmas Eve & I'm trying to decompress to prepare for the day ahead. I stayed up late the last two nights getting a jump on the gift wrapping.

This fiery Winter sunrise was the scene I woke up to...


...then I ventured out early in the day to get a few groceries for the long holiday weekend. We have no snow. Even though we got a little dusting today, it didn't last long - the sun came out & melted it all. This is the first year in my 40+ years that I ever remember having absolutely no chance of a White Christmas.

I made the easiest holiday snack possible - Rolo Pretzel Turtles.  They take no time at all & taste so good.  For those of you that know that I hate peanut butter & nuts in general in my food - this is different.  I actually love Turtles.  I love pecans in Turtles. Don't ask me why this one combination is different - I'm not sure it just is : ).


Munchkin & I wrapped gifts for my Mother-in-law, and godparents - five gifts in all. This was the first year that he wanted to help do the wrapping.  I let him be in charge of the tape. Earlier in the week at preschool, Munchkin had wrapped a present for us, that we will open Christmas morning. He proclaimed himself an elf & expert in tearing tape & taping the paper.  Lucky for me he did really well.  I was impressed. 

As we wrapped Munchkin starting telling me the words from "Twas The Night Before Christmas". When he'd get to the part where the reindeer names are - kept repeating the order until he got them right. Can you still name them? I admit I had to read them out of the book!

My hubby has a tradition of shopping every year on the day before Christmas Eve. After he quietly brought in his haul, while Munchkin was napping, hubby wrapped everything & put the gifts right under the tree. I was surprised - he didn't care to hide that those gifts were from Mommy & Daddy.


Me on the other hand carefully separates the things for opening on Christmas eve & wraps them all in white tissue paper. I then take the remaining gifts & wrap some in one pattern of paper (more from Santa). The other pattern of paper designates gifts from Mom & Dad. The little remaining things go unwrapped into the stockings.

In the morning Munchkin & I will bake cookies to be sure Santa's belly will be full. The reindeer will get carrots. We will go to Christmas Eve Mass & then spend some quality crazy bonding time with the in-laws. The tradition is that Santa visits the family while we are all together & all the nieces & nephews open Santa gifts at the same time. The older kids deliver them around the house to the younger ones.

I'm thrilled to be creating a series of  memory making events that hopefully will stick with my son as he grows & matures.  Hopefully those are some of the most important memories he have. 

To everyone who occasionally stops by to visit NightLight Journeys, I say thank you.  Embrace the true meaning behind the holidays. Remember why we are really celebrating.  Be thoughtful & kind to your neighbor, be generous with your time & money, It's our responsibility to do what we can to help those who are less fortunate.  

As I finish writing, it's now officially Christmas Eve... so Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stream Of Consciousness Sunday: Holiday Home Stretch

What a challenging work week.  I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could decompress. Don't get me wrong I feel very fortunate to have a job, but this one can really break you down sometimes. Time to focus on the week ahead - It's week 22 of my Stream of Consciousness Sunday posts.

How can this year be 2 weeks from being over...already?!  I took inventory of everything I've purchased for Christmas. (Pretty good shape!) I placed a rush delivery order for holiday cards which arrived Wednesday & I knocked them out in a couple of days, mailing the last batch today. Better late than never.

It dawned on me that I hadn't purchased gifts for Munchkin's preschool teachers & the director of the daycare, which I do every year.  I made a run to one of my favorite go-to stores @Homegoods earlier today & in 30 minutes had everything I needed as well as a couple more things for my Mother-In-Law as well as Sister-In-Laws & Brother-In-Laws.  

I am the resident gift buyer of the family... for my hubby's family. It always helps to do a good portion of the shopping in advance throughout the year.  I can not deal with the frenzy of last minute shoppers - Drives me bananas!


We were also a couple weeks late with getting a Christmas Tree, but we finally got it today.  I spent the better part of the rest of the day decorating it... and it's done, but now I'm worn out again.  No wonder it's almost 1:00am & I'm still trucking along!(I won't tell you how many times I was distracted by Pinterest though!) 

How are you doing with your own Holiday-Do Lists?


 
This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra
§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday - Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Last week ended on a bit of a sour note at the office & it set the tone for my weekend which was unbelievably busy.  I've been trying to stress less about the things in my life I can not control & sometimes life gets the best of me.

So I stressed most of the day Sunday after a nail biter of a Vikings vs. Detroit NFL football game which the Vikings could have won...if only...but didn't.  I wrote a Stream of Consciousness Sunday post about the next day's event - taking Munchkin to his Kindergarten Assessment, which people have told me is no big deal, however - I know my child. I know him very well.

It really was a big deal...for him.  Of course I'm wondering if I was subconsciously sending off my panic signals all the while I was trying to be the cool, calm, collected & reassuring Mom.  The appointment turned out just as I had imagined it would... with an unsuccessful attempt. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. We had to leave & reschedule to try again another day. It just wasn't the right day or time for him & he was not in the mood to cooperate - no tears or tantrums - it just wasn't meant to be that day.

I consulted with a couple of  friends - one who I met via twitter, who calms my soul & knows my pain since she has a child with a very similar temperament & who is close to Munchkin's age.  The other is a long time co-worker/friend & I often serve as he sounding board & sometime I need her to do the same for me.

I went from such a high after teacher's conferences last week with Munchkin's teacher singing his praises & letting us know that Munchkin is more than ready for Kindergarten & how moved she was by some of his work which she saved to show us.


She urged us to frame it & the keep it to watch how this complex drawing shows the seeds of writing sentences, to which my hubby & I looked at each other thinking... really?! She also explained to us that Munchkin had thought up an entire story to go along with this picture, so she was writing furiously as he told it that day, trying to capture it.

When Munchkin asked to do some "homework" after dinner tonight it was like looking into our future & knowing that the hiccup we experienced earlier in the week will pass & will resolve itself with a little time.

In fact the very same day, Munchkin's teacher said how he had explained to her that "he knew he hadn't done it right, that he hadn't been cooperative & that he didn't do what Mom asked him to." She explained to me that he was just "so excited to go to Kindergarten" and said "how much he loved going to the appointment." I was floored to say the least. But, I had an awakening after hearing those words.


I know Munchkin will be fine & will pass his Kindergarten Assessment with flying colors the next time.  One day, very soon, I will look back & say "where did my preschooler disappear to? We now have a school-aged child." And I know he will thrive.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday - Another Big Milestone

Ok. For Real...this is the latest I've ever attempted to write a #SOCSunday post. It's week 21 of my participating and I should be doing some work but once again I really don't want to do it!  Weekends are supposed to be all about family time, catching up on the housework & a little rest and relaxation.

Well, I succeeded in fitting in the first two things but had very little of the last one.  But isn't that usually the case?  Spent some time talking to some moms at Munchkin's little buddy's birthday party this weekend about deciding what school your child should go to.  Public vs Private, in district or open enrollment, language immersion, hoping & praying to get a full day slot... so many choices, so many logistics - so frightening.

Yes, I know all parent go through this, most many times over but it's still a bit overwhelming to think about planning the academic future of your child - step by step.  You want them to have the best opportunity to excel and you want the experience to be a positive one & that burden rests in your hands.

I spent some time digging through piles of "needs to be filed" "stuff" in the office tonight looking for the latest Immunization record which I needed to bring along to Munchkin's Kindergarten assessment.  It was in the 3rd place I looked - not bad considering the state my office is in right now - it's not pretty.

Anyway, people have told me not to worry, the assessment itself is no big deal, but I'm a bit nervous... Praying Munchkin wakes up cooperative & not cranky!   Here goes another big milestone in our lives. Wish me luck!


 
This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra
§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday - Through the Eyes of My Child

Can you believe it! Seems like I was just sitting here thinking about the hectic week I had ahead of me & here I am again - looking at the start of another busy work week. It's Week 20 of my Stream of Consciousness Sunday posts. Every day that goes by I'm continually amazed at the little man our son is becoming. 

He is so aware of everything around him & soaks it all in like crazy.  The other day I picked him up from preschool/daycare & he said "Mom, I get a little bored at school sometimes." I told him that's why he will get to go to Kindergarten next Fall so he has an opportunity to learn so many new things. He then said "you mean like how to tie my shoes?" I said "no, it's Mommy's job to teach you that, but most importantly you need to learn how to read."

He's been obsessed with dinosaurs lately - he talks about them all the time & usually when he gets something stuck in his head, you hear about it over & over.  So it was with "the Star in the Apple." He's been talking about there being a star in the center of an apple for weeks.  I had never heard of it so I didn't pay much attention when he'd mention it... that was until tonight.  

I cut 1/2 of an apple for him to eat before bedtime as I've done so many times before & right after I did, Munchkin said "Mom, you didn't do it right - now we can't see the star. You can't cut in from the top down, you need to cut it across the middle to see the star." 

I apologized & sent him away to munch his apple & then once he was out of sight I took a fresh apple out of the fridge. I followed his instructions & was surprised to find just what he had described - a virtual star in the center of the apple.


In 43 years I had never seen this before & it was because I wanted to experience something through the eyes of my child that I took a minute to find it. And I'm really glad that I did.  Have you ever done anything that you had not thought to do before, all because your child suggested it to you? I'm curious. Please share if you'd like in the comments.

 
This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra
§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Santa List (Naughty or Nice?)

 

Here's my munchkin making his "Santa List"...inspired by Arthur Christmas. Here he was "pretend writing" and naming off everything on his list as he went along.
 
The next day, however, he got a little more serious & asked me how to spell everything he wanted to write & this is what we got: 


It's a must see flick for the little ones. I actually liked it much better than Cars 2. We went with a couple of friends this past weekend & the moms had a great time watching our kid's reactions. Be forewarned one of the previews is the Justin Beiber video which is a part of the sound track.  My kid didn't know who it was, but the 5 year old girl sitting to my left told me immediately who he was ;  )

I told him Saturday evening that I was going to download an app that senses whether you are naughty or nice & sends a message to Santa & Munchkin freaked out "No, Mom!" Hee Hee! Naughty Mom! :  )

Happy Christmas Shopping!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday - Disaster Avoided

Not only was it Thanksgiving this past week which we hosted at our home, the next morning we had a mini disaster & the washer started smoking mid cycle of washing a load.  The dryer was already on the blink, so it was time to bury them both & have a proper funeral. 

I've been querying people on Twitter trying to figure out what to buy.  Since there were a couple of Thanksgiving weekend sales going on, we didn't end up getting the Whirlpool Duets, which were not on sale, but something pretty comparable: A Maytag Front Load Washer Dryer Set. No pedestals... because they won't fit in our laundry room.  Momma is going to be quite happy as long as they work the way they're intended to once they finally arrive:

Photo from the Maytag website
Ok, watching the clock starting now...

It's Week 19 of my Stream of Consciousness Sunday posts. I made an unexpected trip to my old stomping grounds - a laundromat near the campus where I attended college.  My hubby laughed at me for going so far out of the way to wash & dry a water logged load of clothes, but it was a familiar spot & I felt more comfortable being there for as long as it took. 

The old guy working the counter spotted me right away & asked if I needed help.  He saw how little I had in my basket & pointed me to the smallest washers they had which cost $2.25 per load.  He also told me I couldn't just run a rinse cycle - it had to go the entire cycle.  For some reason I don't remember a timer on the machines or the fact that they lock till the timer goes off. but I guess it's a nice safeguard so that no one can just waltz over & rip off your clothes out of the washer.

Brought me back to memories from college when I'd go there all the time with my girlfriends who worked there part time.  There was a man there once who would wander around looking in ladies baskets for underwear & then he'd go into the bathroom & put it on under his clothes.  I can laugh about it because the guy was caught red handed once.  Strange things that can happen when you are stuck in a laundromat no doubt.

I'm bummed that I'll be without a washer/dryer till the ones we ordered are in stock, but it also makes me appreciative of all the things our family does have - so much we don't have to worry about that others don't have, so as we all know, it's important not to take anything for granted. So much so that I wouldn't mind if I had to make another trip to that laundromat.  It really wouldn't kill me. :  )

 
This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra
§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday - Pre-Holidays Freak Out

This past week was full of ups & downs.  The first up: I had the opportunity to finally meet one of my virtual mentors, Olivier Blanchard aka @thebrandbuilder (in real life). He made a rare Twin Cities appearance to speak about the role of a Community Manager in an organization at a MIMA (Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association) event, so I took the morning off from work to attend. He's a down to earth "what you see is what you get" kind of guy, an awesome communicator, a blogger, business owner, family man & also a published author. If you haven't picked up a copy of his book: Social Media ROI - you really should add it to your business reading list. I have it on my phone as well as on paperback.  For more info on Olivier's book, click on the link to part 1 of my book review at the bottom of this post. One of these days I'll get around to writing the part 2.
 

Up number two was volunteering for the Greater Mpls. Crisis Nursery, which I've been doing for five years now with other ladies & gents from my church.  We cook lunch for the kids who are staying at this facility once a month & we all take turns rotating in 4 times a year.  I make a mean quesadilla & the staff always remembers me and asks how things are going for me & my family.  The kids are so sweet, you never leave without plenty of smiles & hugs from them.

The downs...Found out my hubby was going Deer Hunting (again), so I am solo Mom this weekend. Work is also ramping up - right at the wrong time when I need to be thinking about when to take the rest of my vacation & I just don't know how I'm going to make that work given everything on my need to accomplish list.  So, now that I've got that off my chest, I'm getting ready to time myself... It's now 10:11 pm.

After a brief hiatus last week due to a last minute Saturday post, it's Week 18 of my Stream of Consciousness Sunday posts. I'm starting to feel the "pre-holidays freak out."  It's only a few days away Thanksgiving. As I alluded to above, work is a B-word, so I have no idea how I'm going to do all the cleaning & prep work I normally to to prepare for the big family group we normally host for dinner.  I have a feeling I may be ordering food to be delivered & working from home on Wednesday... that might make it manageable.

It's also way too close to Christmas & I'm not nearly as far along with my holiday shopping.  Munchkin is still dog-earing toy catalogs in hopes that Santa will back his sleigh up to our house & dump the mother load of toys down our chimney. I'm going to do my best to pare it down this year & give him a few bigger ticket items instead of a million small & medium things to open. It's tough because his 5th birthday is only a few months away.  

I know somehow everything will get done. Then I'll look back & say why was I so worried?!  But until everyone has walked out of the door after Thanksgiving, the house is clean and put back together, & I can sit with my feet up, over the next few days it will all seem so overwhelming.

What are you guys freaking out about lately...do you stress about hosting gatherings during the holidays?

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. (Well sort of this week.) It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra
§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Guilty Pleasures - Spa Time

It's Veteran's Day, one of the few days that we have as a corporate holiday & I took it.  I spent the morning running errands & then headed to a spa to get a couple of services done after having to cancel last weekend's spa birthday party (for a friend) appointments due to a sick Munchkin. I had a gift certificate that a friend had given me a couple of birthday's back, so I was excited to use it for something other than running in to buy product.

Going to a spa in the middle of a strip mall doesn't have quite the same relaxing effect as it used to when we used to go to a Spa up North in the middle of winter for a couple of days with a large group of girlfriends, but I'll take it. I had a very nice pedicure. Every time I do, I say I need to find a way to do it more often, but it just doesn't happen. Having someone else do all the work while you sit back in the massage chair is almost healing - it shouldn't be legal. Here's proof... I have the world's ugliest feet & toes, so it's just a peek, but they look really lovely now. (I know, I'm crazy.)


I also got a 60 minute facial -  don't ask me what type - I have no clue, I don't even know everything that she did to me except I remember the hot steam & the feeling of the warm towel being wrapped around my face between steps. I requested extractions where they remove all the crud that clogs your pores & goodness gracious I never knew how much that hurts! Do people honestly subject themselves to that on a regular basis?! Thought I was going to cry & excuse me if a tear or two rolled down my cheek. I even caught myself holding my breath.

Contrary to my fears my face was not a bloody mess when she was done - it looked pretty darn good.  Not exactly ten years younger but definitely clear & hydrated. I can guarantee my hubby & Munchkin won't notice anything is different with my face, but my son will ooh & ah over my pretty toes, so it will make all the guilt that I feel for going at all go away for a while.

When was the last time you treated yourself to a special service (besides for your hair)? Did you feel guilty at all?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: A Hunting Widow's World

It's Deer Hunting Opener weekend in Minnesota and once again I am a hunting widow. Nothing about my weekend is turning out how I planned it. Friday night Munchkin started coughing & whining a little.  I was hoping it was nothing major, however he came into our bedroom wanting to be cuddled & he felt a bit warmer than normal.  I started him on Tylenol equivalent to keep a fever from blowing up & making him miserable.

He slept through the night, but woke up Saturday clingy & cranky & I knew something was getting him - some type of bug. It was supposed to be my day to have Mom watch Munchkin so I could go hang out with a few girlfriends, celebrate one of their birthdays & perhaps have a glass of wine. I called & canceled my spa appointments. I was up several times Saturday night as the Acetaminophen would wear off & Munchkin's fever would creep up & the barking cough returned. Poor me...right? Not really.

It's Week 17 of my Stream of Consciousness Sunday posts. There's so many things I could dwell on but Twitter constantly keeps me in the loop about so many realities I wouldn't normally have time to take in. I have so much to be grateful about compared to others. I just want to take my time today to say anything I possibly might have to rant about doesn't compare to the hardships that so many others face every day being homeless.  

We were fortunate - I found work again after 18 months of unemployment, but so many are stuck with little hope to find their way back up out of the darkness they live every day.  It is entire families, single men & single women - teens alone & mothers with children - no one has been immune in the wake of this economy. And the numbers affected continue to grow.

If you don't do anything else this week take time to follow a homeless person on twitter or a blogger who is homeless.  There are a lot of them. Take a minute to understand what their day is like compared to yours & to learn the challenges that exist when there aren't enough resources to give everyone that needs it a hand up. Most are not looking for a hand out - they want a way out -a job - a way to become self sufficient again - a regular meal each day - a way to sleep indoors out of the elements, where they are safe from random acts of violence, drugs and the illnesses that result with sleeping outside.

It's something that I obsess about at times - wondering what I can do to make an impact - however small it might be - but more importantly how to find the resources to make a bigger impact someday.


This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. (Well sort of this week.) It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra
§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stream Of Consciousness Sunday ~ Time To Just Breathe

It's Week 16 of my Stream of Consciousness Sunday posts. Where in the heck did this year go! Can you believe it's almost Halloween?! The 2nd Spiderman costume I bought for Munchkin is now almost too short.  Thanks goodness for red socks & tennis shoes - no one but me will know. He's got two more times to wear it officially & then who cares.  I don't want to buy him a third Spiderman costume, but something tells me he'll figure out it's almost too small again & I'll have to buy him a third. There will be tears about it - from both of us.

I'm so grateful to have 2 days off from work, even if it's to spend money on my vehicle, which needed a lot of TLC in order to be ready for the winter.  I'm grateful that I found tires where I could get 0% financing for 6 months, plus a nice mail-in rebate.  Tires are one of those purchases you know you have to make, but it puts a big knot in your stomach knowing what else you could have spent that money on.

I did get my hair done on Friday... and I even let her trim it.  My girl literally put her hand on my forehead & asked if I was feeling alright. ( I always say "let's do it next time.")  She went scissor happy though, evening it out & adding in a few layers again but I'm okay with it.  I always leave feeling like it's too short - perpetually trying to grow my hair into long layers but it never seems to grow past my shoulders. Oh well it feels good & healthy again.

I'm getting nervous for Kindergarten planning.  I've started requesting info from schools & for the most part it's the logistics of it all as a working Mom that worry me so much.  I know everyone figures it out - but it's so much more difficult for working moms.  Before & after care, bus rides, shifting schedules - more expenses - more responsibility with homework.  The list goes on - but this is totally what I signed up for.

So much on my mind about my career, things we need at home, planning for the holidays & birthday parties coming up, the one thing I have to remember to do is take time to just breath.  Somehow it will all start to make sense - the best options will come to the surface making the choices ahead clearer. Doesn't it always?

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. (Well sort of this week.) It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…


Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.

§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.

§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.

§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.

§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra

§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:Thoughtful Thursday ~ Double Standard?! or You Can't Stop Time if you want a peek of Munchkin in his Halloween gear.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday ~ Gratitude

It's Week 15 of my Stream of Consciousness Sunday posts. I'll get my little rant out of the way first: Both at work & on Twitter - what is the deal?! People seem to be getting sick left & right.  Everyone was rushing to get flu shots at the office, then I got into a long discussion with some twitter friends on why they thought everyone should get a shot (including me) even though I don't think I've ever had influenza & I don't get the shots. I'm knocking on wood right now we've all been extremely healthy & none of us want to get sick! (Ok, I'm done ;  )

"Wall of Gratitude" is my object of inspiration for the week. If you tweet you may have seen a few Friday night tweets with the hashtag .  It's a fun concept - a live class held simultaneously on the web & on Oprah's OWN network. So many people are looking for a way to get out of habits & thought patterns that are holding them back in life in one way or another.  Every week Oprah & Iyanla Vanzant address how to begin to change the way you process things or react to things & thus improving the way you live your life.

Some amazing quotes also come out of the show, i.e.:

"When you don't show up as who you are people fall in love with who you are not."
"Love doesn't hold you hostage to yesterday."
"You're responsible for the energy you broadcast."

Oprah's Life Class gives you homework in preparation for each show which airs in the evenings & then they post all the answers online for everyone to see & reflect on... something like this:
Today's question: Where are you waiting for someone else to create what you long for? Respond here:

The concept of a "wall of gratitude" had many of us who tuned in Friday night brainstorming about how to incorporate this into our lives. Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only time of year we reflect on the things we are grateful for in life. 

How often do you allow yourselves to stop & reflect on gratitude? I'd love it if you shared your own experiences with acknowledging gratitude.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. (Well sort of this week.) It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.

§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.

§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.

§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.

§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra

§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:You Can't Stop Time or The Evolution of My Social Networking Consciousness 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday ~ Double Standard?!

Have you heard?  

The POTUS is running a contest - an "Art Works Poster Contest".  "Obama for America is seeking poster submissions from artists across the country illustrating why we support President Obama's plan to create jobs now, and why we'll re-elect him to continue fighting for jobs for the next four years.

Who determines who will win & the prize? " We'll pick the 12 best submissions received by November 4th, 2011, then put the finalists to a vote. Three winners will receive a framed print of their poster signed by President Obama and a limited edition of their poster will be sold in the campaign store."

I have to give a shout out to Ken Peters, aka @ for tweeting about this story on Wednesday.  


It raised questions in my mind as to why it would be considered offensive to ask designers to volunteer their time & talents to come up with a winning poster to sell the jobs bill message, given this brave new world of crowdsourcing we live in today.  Is it purely the context of an unpaid assignment when the point of the agenda is to put together a plan to get people back to work that gets some people so hot & bothered? Or is it that President Obama's Labor Department has voiced concern over unpaid internships?

Crowdsourcing can be defined as "the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers." 

This isn't the first time we've seen politicians make use of crowdsourcing as a tool to more easily connect with their constituents & supporters. Microsoft developed tools, TownHall and Campaign Ready over a year ago for that very purpose & targeted politicians to utilize it.

We all know Guy Kawasaki utilized crowdSPRING to solicit design help in finding & deciding on a cover choice for "Enchantment". There were 760 entries all competing for a single $1,000 award. Even Guy has taken a few lumps from some that disagreed with the outcome of the contest. 

One blog post I found looks to cry on our shoulder over not winning the contest. Another post puts a positive spin on it - telling readers why it's not such a bad idea to participate in design contests such as these. It flies in the face of the contrasting ideas presented in the Rolling Stone post.

Doritos is once again using crowdsourcing to find a Superbowl Ad for the next superbowl. Their project is called "DORITOS® Crash the Super Bowl Ad Contest ("Contest")" The difference with Doritos is that people are competing for a healthy prize package - not just an autographed poster. Just like the POTUS contest, the rules do say that all submissions are the intellectual property of the Sponsor and their agents:

"By entering this Contest and uploading your Submission, you irrevocably grant to Sponsor and their agents the unconditional and perpetual right to post, display, publish, use, adapt, edit and/or modify such Submission in any way, in any and all media, for any purpose, without limitation, and without consideration to you. Finalists agree to irrevocably assign and transfer to the Sponsor any and all rights, title and interest in Submission, including, without limitation, all copyrights and waive all moral rights in Submission. All Contest Entrants further agree to release and indemnify and hold harmless the NFL Entities (as defined below), Sponsor and the Contest Parties from any and all claims that any commercial, advertising, presentation, Web content or any other material subsequently produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of Sponsor infringe on the rights of Entrant’s work as contained in any Submission."

Is that any more or less fair than relinquishing rights of the jobs poster designs, essentially as a donation to the cause of promoting a jobs bill?

I found a more extensive list of major brands who have engaged in similar sponsored competitions, including Electrolux, JetBlue, L'Oreal, Peugeot & Virgin just to name a few.

In the midst of the 2012 Presidential Campaigns, everyone rejoices in every misstep these candidates make & the POTUS is no exception.  We've poked fun of  & judged them all for every statement and platform agenda item which is not supported by one party or another or 100% by verifiable facts.

The question is do we hold an even higher standard for President Obama? What are your thoughts... it this contest a great idea or just a hypocritical thorn in the Obama campaign's side?

10/24/2011 Update:  Ken Peters, aka @ posted this link where the AIGA wrote a letter asking the Obama Campaign to reconsider it's "Art Works Poster Contest". Check out their reasons why.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:  Will You Wait & See or Are You Riding The Google+  Bandwagon?! or  How Relevant Are You? ...In the 21st Century Workplace