Saturday, March 31, 2012

10 Things I Wish I'd Known at Age 22

  1. What I did in college only got me the chance to compete in business. (I'm starting over!)
  2. Now that I've been recruited and hired, I must prove myself again (and again and again..).
  3. Polite, genteel manners are important.  Make others feel special.
  4. Know the basics - BMW - Bread (left) Meat (Middle) Water (and other beverages - Right)
  5. "Yes mam" and "No sir" are terms of respect for our parents and grandparents and their friends.  We risk making our older co-workers feel old when we address them formally.
  6. Dress for the position you want to command.
  7. Asking for advice is not seen as a weakness, but as a sign of interest.
  8. Volunteering benefits the community and extends my network.
  9. Hierarchy does not necessarily equate to intellect. A good idea can come from anyone.
  10. Everyone I know and meet is a potential friend, client, prospect or referral source.

Wish I'd Written It

This morning when I was running, an idea emerged.  I considered stopping to note it, but didn't.  Thought it was such a great idea that I would remember it.  I didn't, and have been trying late in the day to recall that flash of creativity.

Notepads, electronic devices, recorders, cameras are all ways to capture and bring to life our thoughts.  Sharing these ideas with our dear ones bring them to life. And, sometimes, our lack of an easy depository keeps the creativity flowing.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Forever Families

Our remarkable cat, Butterfinger, adopted us, as have all of our beloved felines.  However, Butterfinger demonstrated without question the bonds of forever families.  Butterfinger loved the freedom, flexibility and comfort of an inside/outside cat.  One of his favorite perches was sunning on the top of the Suburban. One carpool morning, unbeknown to anyone, Butterfinger was atop the Suburban.  And equally undetected (we now know), Butterfinger hopped off, 10 blocks from home across one of Houston's busiest streets, Westheimer. 

Seven months after his heart wrenching disappearance, Butterfinger appeared during an afternoon carpool drop-off.  Though many cats have similar appearance, we knew without doubt that we'd been reunited with Butterfinger when he not only came readily, happily to the children, but also streaked straight to his food bowl at home. 

Families may be separated by distance and differences, but as Butterfinger beautifully demonstrated, the love of forever families endures.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bite Marks on My Tongue

Age and experience provide so many opportunities to improve our relationships.  The bite marks on my tongue (from words unsaid) heal easily.  The mental anguish (mine and other's) from unintended angry words linger. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Boiled Chicken

I'm a most appreciative beneficiary of Edgar's culinary talents.  Every woman I know is jealous that he is our household chef. 

Since I realize how very fortunate I am to have a talented husband preparing lovely meals, I'm hesitant to react negatively to a new menu option.  Today, however, was challenging, when I thought he told me that we were having boiled chicken for dinner.  My stomach knotted, but fortunately, my mouth closed.  Only after hearing this announcement a second time, did I question the evening's menu.

Thankfully, we're about to enjoy a lovely broiled chicken dinner.

This experience reinforced for me how miscommunications can derail business opportunities, relationships, simple instructions, introductions, learning and more. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Size 2 or 22

Whether we're a size 2, a size 22 or any other size, fit matters.  Though I'm small, I tried on a top this weekend that was too tight. It immediately made me look like I was overweight. (Thankfully, I am not.)   I've realized that many of us sabotage our best impression by dressing in the size that we wish we were, though that was not my problem.

We all need to be conscious of putting our best selves forward  A big part of that is choosing clothes that complement our size, shape and coloration. 

I've learned that sometimes great bargains are available primarily because they are mis-sized, so I don't hesitate to try on things that are tagged bigger or smaller than I normally wear.  One of my recent favorite finds was a jacket that indicated that it was a size 14, rather than the 4 or 6 that I normally wear. This mis-sized find has generated numerous compliments. (And because I find it so amusing, have not cut the collar size tag from the garment.)

Whether we're a size 2, 22 or anything else, we must be realistic about what we can and can't wear.  But most importantly, we must put our best foot (regardless of size) forward.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Opinion

We are movie buffs.  And we've determined that some movie critics have none of the same criteria that we have in determining the likability of a movie.  Movie critics actually only represent one opinion.  When we're relying on another's opinion, we need to ascertain that they view things as we do.

When it's a movie, the stakes are low. However, if it's a surgeon, employer or university, the stakes are high.  We need to know that their assessment matches ours. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

No Etch a Sketch Moments

We have all heard about and most have experienced life-changing moments.  Birth, death, divorce, job loss and accidents come immediately to mind.  In the blink of an eye our lives are forever changed.

Day changing moments can also happen in the blink of an eye.  On the way to lunch today, a hurrying hotel guest tried to make a left turn across three lanes of traffic on Westheimer at the Loop (one of Houston's busiest areas).  Though he got eye contact permission from two of the westbound drivers, he failed to account for the farthest lane and hit the rear passenger panel of this unsuspecting driver.  Thankfully there were no injuries.   However, this momentary lapse in awareness caused hours of unanticipated delays and follow-up activities. 

There are no Etch a Sketch moments in real life. Once we start drawing, we have to finish the picture we start.  Do overs aren't part of the equation.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Invitation to Your Own Party

A little bit of information can be confusing. One of my friends and colleagues called recently with an invitation to join their table for a dinner dance club.  Due to a miscommunication, he thought he was asking us to be a guest couple.  Fortunately, with another question, I determined that he was referencing our dinner dance club and didn't realize we were members. 

Rarely will anyone be invited to their own party. 

However, this example highlights the need to discern complete information about invitations.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Make Everything Count

It's easy to become victim to our busy schedules with so many meetings commanding space on our calendars.  When we create priorities, expectations and contingencies, we accomplish more than when we allow our busy calendars to dictate our activities. 

Priorities - These are the events that we will attend.  (Everyone has unexpected emergencies, but these are the events we commit to sans an emergency.)  Because they are priority activities, we find a colleague to represent us if we can't be there.

Expectations - This category is tricky.  We are challenged to capture our own expectations and the expectations of those who count on us professionally and personally. We must consciously make time for these priorities that may not be event specific.

Contingencies - Leaving 5-10 minutes before your think you must to be on time for a meeting is one example of contingency planning.  Keeping place holders on your calendar for events you'd like to attend if your scheduled commitment changes is another.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Positive Four Letter Words

It's fun to think of the many positive four letter words that encourage, inspire and motivate us:
  • love
  • home
  • hope
  • will
  • give
  • help
  • live
  • care
  • free
  • play
  • most
  • dear
  • idea
  • your
  • plus
  • wows
  • best
  • soul
  • hold
  • joys
  • epic
  • good
  • well
  • pray
  • keep
  • baby
  • give
  • zest
  • join
  • pure
  • glad
  • kudo
  • true
  • hero
  • best
  • luck
  • mate
  • fine
  • tact
  • wish
  • pact
  • yeah
  • wish
  • edgy
  • kind
  • life
  • gems
  • have
  • know
  • look
  • edge
What four letter words encourage, inspire or motivate you?

Ripple Effects

One of my precious friends has opted to leave a toxic, but lucrative environment for a less financially rewarding, yet soul rewarding culture.  She's an amazing individual who will thrive in any organization.

Though she didn't intend to change her former company culture with her announcement, it appears that she has started the much needed corporate discussion. Her departure has prompted others to question what positive changes they must enact to retain talent of my friend's caliber.  The ripple effect of her announcement has prompted others to question if they are settling for the way things are rather than the way they should be.  Bluntly, one of her ripple colleagues questioned if she and her colleagues had been part of the culture for so long that they had become "abused wives". 

When we do what we know is right we never know how many others we may positively impact.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Many Unexpected Connections

Last week my undergraduate alumni office reached out with the opportunity for a face-to-face visit as they traveled to Houston.  Though our schedules are not compatible, it was great fun to find many unexpected immediate connections:
  • She discovered through my blog that we are both new runners
  • Her great aunt and my parents were long-time friends (her great aunt is now deceased)
  • The incoming Dean of the Business school is someone my company supported at one of his previous institutions
And when I shared the story with Mama this weekend, additional connections emerged:
  • Her great aunt's mother was my next door neighbor through grade school
  • Her great aunt's husband was my first dentist
  • Her great aunt's son is in the orthopedic practice with my Dad's surgeon
It's always fun to find the many ways that everything's connected.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rubber Band Balls

We now have a rubber band ball that is larger than a softball.  Edgar started it, and I've kept it going.  It's wonderful to have an automatic destination for the many rubber bands that arrive around the mail packets that our friendly mail carrier delivers.  And there's a quick place to turn when a rubber band is needed.

We usher at church every 9 weeks and encounter rubber-banded stacks of service bulletins each time we are on call.  Nine weeks ago, I started a rubber band ball with the discarded rubber bands that had accumulated in the drawer of the entry table.  Yesterday, when we were on duty again, I was pleased to find that my golf ball sized rubber band ball had not been discarded.  However its size had not increased, and from the dozen or so strays to be added, it was apparent that many rubber bands had been discarded. 

It will be fun to see if this simple little green experiment is any bouncier eight weeks from now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Toilet Paper Controversy

We dispense the toilet paper in our home so that it comes over the roll.  Out of curiosity I googled and got 22.1 million responses to the right way to put toilet tissue in the dispenser.  And surprisingly, as I typed "right way to", toilet paper was the third option in the list. Never knew what a controversial issue this is!  Various studies through the years have shown that 60-70% of respondents prefer the over method.  It was interesting that some celebrities who prefer each method have been known to change the installation in a friend's home when they found it installed in a way that they perceived was incorrect.

Though I prefer the over method, this was another reminder that there is often more than one right way to accomplish a task. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is overly full, incredibly interesting and quite rewarding.  And I was beginning to feel overwhelmed earlier this week. My to do list's 155 items were quickly supplemented with write-ins.  Not surprisingly, my stress level decreased once I captured and categorized the many things I need to do.  Before investing the time to plan, I felt like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle that had just been dumped on the table.  Now I've found the picture on the box, turned over all the pieces and started to assemble the border.  Progress comes in many forms.  My jigsaw puzzle of responsibilities is taking shape beautifully.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I'm reminded of the wonderful childhood classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, as I wonder when one becomes a real runner.  Experts tell us that good habits are established and bad habits are broken in three weeks.  Today was my 21st consecutive day of running.  Achieving that milestone prompted a trip to a running store to be fitted for running shoes to replace my cross trainers.  When I posed the question about real runners, my dear multi-marathon finisher friend told me tonight that I am a real runner.

Three weeks, new shoes and a marathoner's endorsement have given me the confidence to consider myself a real runner.

 In other areas, the love of a child, the support of a friend or the belief in ourselves also make us real. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trust Your Instincts

Recently, a dinner companion related how close she and her family were to losing their investments.  A broker she had dealt with for years joined the ill-fated Stanford firm and presented a very attractive opportunity.  She was encouraged to sign the papers before going on vacation and was assured that the broker would complete the paperwork. Thankfully, she wanted to study the documents before completing the transaction, because when she returned from vacation the Ponzi scheme was front page news.

This was a vivid reminder to trust our instincts rather than yield to the pressure of another person's timeline.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I've previously expressed my fascination with kaleidoscopes. The sky offers a readily available and often over-looked natural kaleidoscope.  Ever-changing clouds and lighting provide unique visual effects each time we pause to appreciate the artistry.