December 3, 2009
1:43 pm cst
Since I was staying in town this Thanksgiving,
I decided to participate in my least favorite hobby (shopping) during the busiest retail day. So at the crack of dawn, I jumped
out of bed (OK, maybe it was closer to 11 a.m. and there wasn’t much jumping on my part) we gals headed to The Mall.
My husband had unused gift cards from his birthday for a local department store and he asked me to get him some clothes if
I found good buys.
sales, here I came! With buy-one-get-one shirts and pants in hand, I heaved the bundle of clothes (NOTHING for me, I must
add) by the register, feeling pleased and smug with my incredible savings. I then handed over the gift cards – only
to hear the clerk say sweetly: “Oh, you can’t use gift cards on sale items. Let me just ring these back up for
you at the regular rate.”
a gosh-darn minute! I opted for the sale price over using the gift cards, but I left the store scratching my head…aren’t
gift cards like cash? And why would the store care what we buy with the gift cards, sale or not, as long as we buy from them?
The point is to make the shopping experience easy and fun so that I return again and again. Unfortunately for this store,
no more gift cards from them and a lot less purchases as well.
December 2, 2009
For some of you reading this (if indeed, anyone actually does read my blog), this revelation might not seem that profound.
However, last night I experienced an epiphany with, of all things, Facebook.
2:49 pm cst
After finally getting Garrett to
bed, I and my nifty laptop relaxed to watch the second half of the FHSU vs K-State Basketball game. The Tigers were tied
at half-time, and I had logged my amazement and satisfaction for all of my virtual friends to see. (I know, you are thinking
'big deal.') First one friend commented that she, too, was watching the game. Then another gave me the "thumbs up."
One friend from Oklahoma was listening to the game via the Internet while others were watching or just curious about the Tigers'
fate. Before long, I was "talking" with friends from all over the Midwest; friends I haven't connected with
for a long time; all of us rooting for the Tigers.
Until last night, I considered Facebook a neat hobby
or a cool bulletin board I could post the latest picture of my son. Yet here I was, sitting by myself in my black-and-gold
sweat-suit, sharing memories, talking smack-talk against the "kitty-cats" and cheering on my alma mater with fellow
alumni and friends. I finally get it! That power of reaching out, connecting with so many at one time in such a simple
and easy manner - all while in the comfort of my own home. I finally was able to utilize Facebook in a manner far different
than any other communication tool I have used and I'm hooked!
December 1, 2009
Networking without a net
10:17 pm cst
When introducing my family to new friends, I usually joke how I'm the shy one compared to my outgoing siblings and
Dad (Mom usually knows when to keep quiet unlike us!) Of course, most people who know me even a little bit, know that
calling myself shy may be a "slight" exaggeration. Most people expect me to say hello first, or to strike up conversation
with a stranger. But even an extroverted personality like me can still have moments of shyness, insecurity or avoiding
the spotlight altogether. So this leaves me to wonder how others, whether shy or outgoing, react to socializing with others?
Since most people are comfortable visiting with people they know, I decided to research further on the professional interaction
known as networking.
In my experience, a title or position of power doesn't necessarily equip a person to network
effectively. And just being labeled "outgoing" doesn't make someone an expert either. So, I volunteered to research,
prepare and present a PowerPoint for a peer marketing group, to better understand the power behind successful networking.
One sales book I read recommended specific steps to make the most out the networking experience. Another recommendation
shared you should spend approximately 10 minutes with one person before moving to the next. And never should you remain with
a coworker at a function - instead, spend your time working the crowd or collecting business cards from those you've never
met. (I don't always agree with this "rule" simply because I have connected far more effectively with coworkers
at functions outside the office than I would have been able to at the drinking fountain.) As with all good advice, there is
a time, place, community norm, and overall event culture that dictates much of what will happen. For instance, networking
in a small town like Hays demands different approaches than metropolitan areas.
To sum up, you know what I have
found so far in my research? There is no magic formula, just like there is no magic weight loss pill. (Although, I haven't
given up hope on that pill...) Regardless of the relationship being developed or nurtured, it boils down to respect and fun.
Respecting another leads you to shared interest, natural curiosity, empathy, compassion and genuine care for that person.
Adding fun makes the interaction more enjoyable (duh!) as well as more memorable, thus creating the desire to meet again.
And if you end up liking the other person you network with, well, that makes it all the better.
November 30, 2009
Do you live your passion?
For those that don't know my husband, he works in the radio industry. Specifically, he is the "Voice of the Fort Hays
State University Tigers" which means he calls the play-by-play radio broadcasts for FHSU athletics. From Labor Day until
Memorial Weekend, he spends most weekends and many evenings calling football, volleyball, men's/women's basketball, baseball,
or softball games, depending on the season. Nonetheless, he is a busy guy, travelling out of town or state often, getting
up early to prepare for his morning show and staying up late at night for games or travelling. He doesn't work a typical 8-hour
work day, and while in season, he can easily put in a 70-80 hour week.
10:37 pm cst
Despite the long hours, he doesn't complain
and in fact, becomes energized with the constant ongoings. He can ride an after-game-high for hours, which usually helps him
with his late-night drive back home to sleep in his own bed versus a hotel one. It isn't unusual for us to "share him"
with FHSU during holiday breaks. The Friday after Thanksgiving he enjoyed breakfast with the family before heading to Colorado
for a basketball tournament; New Year's Day he travels again to another destination. Tonight, he kissed his sleeping
son good night, which he will do again the next two nights in a row.
I'm proud of his professional successes, and
I like it when people connect my last name with that of the "local celebrity." I also appreciate all he balances
with his career and our family lives. But I'm also envious - envious of how he lives his passion every day. Don't get me wrong,
I truly enjoy my job. It's just I still feel like I'm trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. (And following
my childhood dream of being a detective like Nancy Drew just doesn't seem reasonable now...) My favorite story of my husband
as a child was shared by his aunt: while babysitting him when he was only 4 years old, she had put him to bed only to hear
him talking an hour later. She realized that while some kids count sheep, Gerard "called" imaginary games
to help him sleep. As a youngster, Gerard has always known what he wanted to do, and I admire him for making his dreams a
Interesting side bar - one evening a year or so ago, I went to tell my then-four son to finally go
to sleep. You'll never guess what he was doing...
November 29, 2009
The learning lessons from games
9:52 pm cst
A few days off from blogging, while sharing and creating happy memories with family, and I'm ready to get back into the
routine of things. Routines such as getting back to work, eating healthy and yes, starting to walk on my treadmill again.
But what a wonderful time just to relax, visit and play games. I grew up in a home that measured holiday fun by the number
of games and cards that we played. I'm happy to measure this holiday a success.
Our grandma taught my twin
brother and I how to play Spades at a young age, and playing games with family is my favorite past time. Isn't
it interesting what you can learn from a festive round of cards or rolling dice? This weekend as my five-year-old played Yahtzee,
he amazed me with hs math skills! He loved strategizing, shaking the dice and adding up his score (after his every
turn, of course!) In fact, I got to know my niece (who lives in Wyoming) a bit better over the board-game Scattegories, and
later saw my husband enjoy a good gloat after the "best come back of all time" in cards.
One lesson that
I have learned over the years is how powerful a positive attitude can impact the direction of a game. Anyone who
has played Pitch knows that a dry run in luck can last for an evening. At the point I find myself in my own pity
party, I force myself to win the bid - whether I have a "good" hand or not. So many times, announcing
"I'm winning the next hand" can turn the tides. Regardless of whether I win, I certainly enjoy the experience
more and isn't that the point?