Sunday, February 28, 2010

Of grouse, deer and friends - a snowshoeing expedition

I couldn'ta said it better - my gal Kerry, who was the inspiration for our little excursion yesterday, posted a summary of the great time we had yesterday, trudging through the heavy snow in the green belt of Kanata, Ontario.

Hope we can get out a few more times before the snow is gone.

Have I mentioned that spontaneous weekend outings rock, and that friends who make you laugh rock even more?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quick hits - recommendation for three wines for a friend

Just got asked by a great friend of mine for my recommendations for wines under/around $10.  She didn't care if they were red or white, but just wanted them to be "yummy". What did I recommend?

Well, you would guess the first two, if you had read previous posts reviewing these wines.  The first was the Pedro do Monte from Portugal ($8.95). The second was La Casona from Spain ($9.95), but I thought I would mix it up for the third and throw in a white wine that hubby and I really like, the Birchwood Estates Niagara Gewurtz/Riesling blend at only $10.95.  We love this blend, especially for casual sipping, appetizers and spicy foods.  Yumminess.

Was flattered to be asked for my input, but kinda wish I was going whereever she going to be able to enjoy what she'll have on offer!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Number four was always my favourite number, but is it lucky?

So here we are once again.  Trying to get, and remain, pregnant.  So it goes.  Excited and glad to be on this road again, but if there was ever a use for the phrase "feel like I'm running on a treadmill", this would be it.  Why a treadmill?  Because I associate a treadmill with exercise that can easily become formulaic; because on a treadmill the scenery repeats itself; and because you keep getting on it, but going nowhere. It has been a real struggle to not let this situation infiltrate and impact my entire life, including my relationship.  I've been fairly successful I think, overall, at doing this.

But that's not to say that this is a sad story, folks. I have a LOT of hope.

There is no reason they have really found for why we have had three miscarriages, and we DON'T have trouble getting pregnant, so that's good, right?  Yes, it is.  I know just how lucky I am that this, at least, is not a problem.

Here's the issue, though.  It's kinda sad, really, that the joy one is supposed to feel when they become pregnant is never going to be what I feel again. For my own sanity, I HAVE to temper my excitement and proceed cautiously. Even if we DO manage to make it through the first trimestre...I dunno, but I imagine I won't be able to help but feel anxious, you know?

But looking at it from a positive angle, it is what it is, and if what that is, is a healthy baby in the end?  I can reserve my full joy for the outcome and for many, many years to come. 

And THAT is worth getting excited about.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Give the crowd a standing ovation!

I have to say this about that....there is no substitute for the power of many minds moving toward the same desired outcome.  Quite simply, it's called crowd-sourcing. If there is a single business out there that is not thinking about how to use the crowd to reach higher, strive further, get ahead, then, are wasting time and money. It can be a simple concept, or, as I have found trying to find simple articles on crowd-sourcing and their benefits, it can be quite complicated!

All it is, really, is the recognition that there is more than one person who loves the same things that you do and who, working in tandem, could help you get where you want to go faster.  If I was a new owner of any business, I would imediately be seeking out others in the same business to work together to solve problems, find solutions and expand that business. 

Or, expressed differently, I will ask a question:  Faced with a challenge at work, do you try solve the question alone or do you solicit help and input from others you know who have either an interest in these areas or experience in same?  That's a form of crowd-sourcing.  So is the most amazing up-to-date encyclopedia in the world, Wikipedia.

It simply doesn't make sense not to go out and get input.  Tap into people's interests and passions. Use them as a source of insight and inspiration. Build your community. 

And, ultimately, get ahead...faster.

Very soon I am going to set up just such a crowd-sourced task force.  I can't wait to see the amazing results to build strategies, answer questions, face challenges head on, and achieve incredible results from our efforts. It's energizing and it's fun.

You should try it sometime!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sombre ceremonies and social media hijinks

There was so much about last night's Olympic Opening Ceremonies that reflected Canada's best and worst qualities. I've been thinking about this since I began watching the pre-ceremony coverage and snarkily commenting on the weird coverage leading up to the big event. In the pre-show, there was a strange melange of Much Music hot tubs with tweens in bikinis and chicks doing body shots inside the pub to celebrate mixed with highly depressing discussions of the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, the cancer death of Jack Poole who was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to Vancouver, and a news magazine-style feature about Irishman John Furlong, whose life contained a hefty dose of strife and darkness.

The show intrigued me, because as we are often wont to do in this country, we seemed to focus a lot on how 'tough' things all were and seemed to feel it necessary to ensure that we simply didn't look with unchecked patriotism, enthusiasm and glee toward the spectacle that was about to be unleashed around the world, focusing on the greatest sporting event in the world that was about to launch right here in Canada, but instead strived to find balanced, meaningful content.  We appeared to want at all times to keep our expectations in check and point out how hard life can be and how there is always tragedy to go along with the good. And my feeling was that BECAUSE life is such a struggle, it was alternately time to PARTY and 'forget' our troubles! (See hot tub above).

*Side note - you will notice that I have deliberately not linked above to any of the coverage of the death of Nodar.  Every page and site I find has a video showing his death. I find this footage highly disturbing and inappropriate to show.  Especially in slow motion. What are your thoughts? I fear that we are really taking things too far when we have no issues showing death happening like this, over and over, for the world to see. I have the same issues with 9/11 and the footage they always show of desperate professionals throwing themselves out of the WTC towers before their collapse. Psychologically disturbing and truly not necessary.

And so how were the ceremonies? This is where things REALLY start to reflect our Canadian sensibilities, I think.

I won't 'review' the entire event, but let's just say that some of my twitter friends' comments may have said it best. Here are some snippets:
Via @wyshynski: "Ice cracked and giant bear was lost. And that's the story of Canada, son."
Via @stephintoronto: "So apparently we are a bunch of white people and aboriginals. I didn't know that."
Via @Chris_Eh_Young: "The opening ceremonies were great technically. I just think they could've been more upbeat."
Via @spin: "I can't tell if people are hating or liking the olympic ceremony right now."
Via @alancross: "And I have to ask: is the right headlight of Wayne's pick-up partially burned out?"
Via @acoyne: "They shoulda got the Canadarm people to do the hydraulics."
Via @dezignated: "The lighting of the torch has been prorogued so that we can work on our economy."
Via @lisavandeven: "Romeo Dallaire: "I've seen mass genocide in Rwanda now I'm trudging through fake snow with Donald Sutherland?"
Via @ericablonde: "What I learned about Canada on Twitter tonight: 1. Cynical 2. Patriotic 3. Hilarious.
and finally one of my comments:
Via @paminottawa: "Don't we have upbeat music in this country? We seem so sad, so serious, and we're not."

What do I mean to say here?  The ceremonies were visually stunning and very cool, but the joy seemed tempered, the flow was mired somewhat by careful political correctness and dare I say conservativism, and there seemed to be a lack of 'fun' or 'whimsy' or humour of any kind. 

So when I say that the ceremonies reflected the best and the worst of Canada, I guess I am saying that the event felt too carefully constructed and seemed to strive to find 'meaning' in what, inherently already has substantial meaning, and should perhaps have been more joyful.  Am I proud to be Canadian and did I think it was a lovely show? Yes. 

But this is how I saw things.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This post is what it says...a recipe for guacamole.  Random, I know, but I have been exhausted recently and was rather rocked by news of a health scare last weekend in the family that could have turned out much worse, and it's been occupying my thoughts a lot.  Thus...GUACAMOLE!

So much healthier than any other chip dip around, and easy to make.

Here's what you do:

Scoop out 2 ripe avocados into a bowl
chop up a handful of fresh cilantro
finely chop some red or spanish onion (optional)
add the juice of a full lime
add a sprinkle of coarse salt
add about 1/3 cup of jarred or fresh salsa (or chop up some fresh tomato)
finely chop up 1/2 or a full jalapeno pepper (also optional)

squash and mix

It's not rocket science, but it tastes amazing, and because I made some tonight, I thought I'd share!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Twitterspheric Pressure - Careful what you say about the new info-sharing world out there in tweetland!

By now, a lot of people I know have heard about and read this post. When you are as high profile as The New Yorker staff writer George Packer is, you KNOW you are going to inspire comment if you criticize arguably the most influential social media engagement tool in 2010.  We tweeps are a passionate bunch. Just look at some of the reactions to the article and you will see that we have a LOT to say in defence of our twittersphere!

My two cents:

1. Yes, I am an information addict. It's what I do. I'm a communicator and it is my job to learn, grow, study, intellectualize (where it makes sense) and communicate what I know.  If you don't learn, you don't have anything new to offer...What is it you do again, George?

2. I still consider myself relatively new to Twitter, and so at the moment, I haven't figured out my boundaries.  I do spend too much time here, but when necessary, I will find a more manageable rhythm and calm it all down a bit. After all, I need time to digest the information and then do something with that information to fit it into my current profession and deliverables.  I'm getting there, but's where our approaches differ - I'm not afraid to go swimming. I like to just dive in. I find it's a good approach to learning how to swim, but hey...maybe that doesn't work for you.

3. Related to this - I'm learning how to navigate these waters (a.k.a. filter).  Rather than bitch about how jumping into the stream is frightening and out of control - how about you offer some solutions to launch successfully onto this 'raging river' instead of making people feel they will all drown if they jump in.  I'm following quite a few people who are managing to sail brilliantly through these waters, and I am learning from them!

Love the spark that caused this fire.  I thank Mr. Packer for raising this topic. It makes for good reading. There's a lot I could say, but what do you have to say on the topic? I'm interested...