Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Santa Ana Winds---in Minnesota?

All of us have probably heard of the Santa Ana winds. They come around late winter and blow east from the hot dessert into the Santa Ana California valley. Temps go up and it is a sign that spring and summer are close.

Minnesota has been getting a similar phenomena this week with the Iowa Winds. Okay, that is made up, but the winds from the south (Iowa) are warm and all of a sudden it is 74 degrees on March Minnesota.

So today's question is: Are you a half full or half empty kind of person?

The winds and temperature changes are one way to answer this question. Stay with me here!

So if you are a half full kind of person you look at things from the positive lens. You say 'at least it is half full'. You are the partly sunny kind of person. Always looking at how any event can take on a positive twist.

If you are a half empty kind of person you look at things from a not so positive lens. You are the partly cloudy kind of person and see the clouds as a negative to the other part, aka the sun.

The winds and temperature changes have put me in a real bind as usually I am a half full kind of gal, but I find myself thinking 74 degrees in March is not a good thing. Maybe it is because I analyze things to much or maybe because it has been 130 years since we have seen a snowless March, or maybe because I haven't changed over my clothes to spring clothes yet. Whatever the reason, I feel like a half empty kind of gal lately.

This may not seem like such a huge disaster for many, but it goes completely against my value system, so in short it is a huge disaster for me. I am vowing today to change back to the half full kind of here are my changes.

1. It sure is great that we are getting a break from the cold weather before the end of May.
2. It sure has been nice to get a few of my summer clothes out and pressed so early in the year.
3. It sure is nice to see people out walking their dogs again with the nice weather.
4. It sure is nice that we can enjoy the Iowa Winds more this year.

When I lived in California they had a saying that "anything can happen when the Santa Ana Winds blow". If you have ever seen the movie "The Holiday" they use that line. It is true. Anything can happen and it is how we react to the event that makes the difference.

Are you half full or half empty today?

Monday, March 29, 2010

March Madness!

I am not a big basketball fan, but I do enjoy hearing all the excitement around March Madness NCAA Tournament. Seems like everyone is cheering for someone, even if they have never watched a game or not.

Duke is always a favorite for me. Why, I have no idea. I like the color blue and their logo is kind of fun, so why not. Yep, I do my picks off of color and logos, doesn't everyone?

Okay, so maybe I am a unique person when it comes to picking my favorites of anything. I like the color blue, I like a positive attitude, I like a strong personalities and I like strong logo's. Duke has it all, so I pick Duke.

I do the same in my personal life. If someone were to look at my collection of friends the same would hold true - I like color--any color, I like positive attitudes, I like strong personalities and I like people with strong person logo's (values). These qualities in others make me a better person.

So as we go through March Madness take stock in what you like and make sure you surround yourself with that. You will be better because of it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mantos y palmas

Translated: Blankets and Palms!

Good morning world and welcome to Palm Sunday! For the Christian readers today is an important day in religion as Palm Sunday is the beginning of Passion Week which ends with Easter - Christ is Risen - next Sunday. If you are Christian, you know a lot about Palm Sunday; as well as Passion week. Palm Sunday for us represents the day Jesus enters, on the donkey, into Jerusalem as he prepares for God's Plan.

One of my favorite songs from Palm Sunday is Mantos y Palmas - Filled with Excitement. It was a song we sung in Los Angeles as the Methodist Church on Palm Sunday. I don't remember all the lyrics but it starts out with "Filled with excitement on this happy throng, spread cloaks and branches on the street" and one of the other lines is "from every corner a thousand voices sing, praises to Christ who comes in the name of God, with one great shout of acclamation brings, triumph songs rejoice".

Thousands of corners, filled with excitement, praises, and coming in the name of God - whoa, what a day.

Prepare with excitement everyone!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's been a long day

Do you ever have a day that seems to last forever? Today is one of those days for me.

It is early afternoon and it seems like I have been up for 10 hours already. Must be a good Saturday. Maybe it would be better if I could motivate myself to do anything.

I got up this morning ready to go, poured myself a cup of coffee and went out to the garage to put the ice auger away. I cleaned up the dog droppings and had pancakes for breakfast before heading to the gym to play a game of racquetball. Got home, washed four loads of laundry and have them all put away, took a shower, swept the kitty litter up and washed the dishes. Even had time for a short nap and still it is only 3pm!

Some weekends it feels like go by so fast that you wonder what in the world happen, but for some reason today is lasting a long time. Don't get me wrong here, I am not complaining, but it reminded me why I like to have a 'to-do' list. Little projects I have been putting off that need to be done when I get the time. Today would be a great day for a little projects to-do list, but nothing! For one Saturday in a long time, I have nothing to do.

I hope you are having a "Nothing to do" Saturday as well. Relax! You deserve it and it is a good thing!

Friday, March 26, 2010

And now there are only 4 Kitties in the house

We had to put Dooky down last night. We wanted to see if the Vet had any suggestions to bring the 17 year old back to a healthy kitty, but besides starting water therapy for the kidney failure there wasn't anything more to do. water therapy - like human dialysis - would have prolonged Dooky's life for a few weeks or so, but would not cure her. We were going to bring her home and have the Vet come here tonight, but as we left the Clinic Dooky was very limp in Suzan's arms so we turned the car around and just said our goodbyes.

So, more about Dooky. Her nicknames were "Vent Kitty" as she always was laying on or in front of a heat vent. "The Enforcer" as no matter what happen she felt the need to enforce the rules and most of the time it was the dog that got the whack on the nose. If I stepped on a cats tail, Dooky would find the dog (most of the time not even close to the incident) and whack her on the nose. Elevator Kitty - She loved being held high and slowly lowered to the ground, of course you had to hum a little elevator song with this. My father even did this a few times and I thought it was so cute. One final nickname was Mama as she was always carrying around a baby mouse or toy around in her mouth and meowing galore. It was fun to say "go get baby" and about 10 minutes later she would cry and cry with a baby toy in her mouth. She was also the cat who wanted to be in the middle of any warmth so if two cats were sleeping together she would be moving in and taking the middle as in the picture above.

It will be much quieter in the house without little Dooky. She weight just a bit over 4 pounds in the end and has been through more nasty events in her life before us than any animal deserves, but you always knew when she was hungry or wanted attention and she had a purr machine that was amazingly loud most days. She was blind, didn't seem to hear well, and was missing toes from being a 'fight' kitty prior to Suzan adopting her. She has had a wonderful life under Suzan's care and she will be missed greatly.

We will miss her with all the other cats around as we tried to feed her as much as possible and of course the other cats wanted in!

So March 25th is Dooky day! Here's to you Dooky Doo.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

One final Olympic Moment - I Believe

Here are the lyrics to the Olympic Theme Song and the link to see the video.

We must believe in ourselves and the future of this world. Thanks Steven for sharing this with me and with us all.

There comes a moment, when my heart must stand alone
On this lonely path Ive chosen,like a house that's not a home
sometimes when I feel Ive had enough and I feel like giving up
you willed me to be all I can be now nothing can stop me
I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
I believe together well find
I believe in the power of you and I

This is the moment we have dreamed of all our lives
Well be the change we wish from others
Well stand tall for what its right
And in my hearts therell be no doubt
The arms of the world will come reaching out
And embrace me to be all I can be
Now nothing can stop me
I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
I believe together well fly
I believe in the power of you and I

I believe the time is right now
Stand tall and make the world proud
I believe together well fly
I believe in the power..
I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
(Of you and I)
I believe together well fly
I believe in the power of you and I
I believe the time is right now
(Oh you and I)
Stand tall and make the world proud
I believe together well fly (Together well fly)
I believe in the power of you and I
(I believe in the power of you and I)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Brother Writes about the Paralympics

Was a great weekend and someone asked me when I was up in Vancouver what I liked better, the Winter Olympics or the Winter Paralympics. I guess I found that to be a very unusual question, as they were similar in so many ways, but so different.

To me the Olympics were an event I have always wanted to experience as a spectator, especially speed skating to see first hand the speed and grace in which they are able to maneuver around that rink. Seeing Apolo Ohno win a bronze and the 7th medal of his career and JR Celski skate were definitely highlights and very memorable moments I will never forget. Both of these speed skaters were highly profiled and medal contenders in a high competitive field. The city of Vancouver during the Winter Olympics was in its glory, all decked out with national flags, closed off streets, people partying 24/7, crowds where ever you went and an energizing spirit that is hard to describe.
When I got to Vancouver this weekend for the Paralympics, the mood seemed different, gone were all of the temporary Olympic exhibits. Where there was an ice bar now stood 8 full grown trees that were just planted. Movie sets were back up and film crews were out. Workers were busy taking down miles of fencing and cement barriers put up around all of the venues; streets were all open to traffic; there were no crowds, but plenty of trash along the streets; homeless people had returned to areas of the city they call home, it was a like any other city with just a few Olympic and Paralympic banners still hanging from street posts and signs in the shop windows advertising all Olympic souvenirs 50%-75% off.

It all seemed like such a fa├žade and made me think more about what the Paralympics mean than what the Olympics meant.

I had tickets for wheelchair curling on Saturday morning at 10:00am. On Thursday afternoon, I got a call at work from the Vancouver ticket office letting me know where I could pick up my tickets on Saturday morning, as they were closing their ticket office in the Yaletown area as things were winding down.

I have to say, CoSports has been the most wonderful ticketing service I have ever dealt with and they wanted to make sure I received my tickets in time for my events both at the Olympics and Paralympics and even offered to courier them to me. Instead I went to the Sheraton Hotel in Vancouver on Saturday morning at 9:00 to the 27th floor after being escorted up by the concierge and greeted by two of the nicest volunteers. They didn’t even ask my name but said “You must be Steve!” The said “You are going to have such a great time and so glad you were able to make it up from Seattle”. Give us just a few minutes and we will get you your tickets. In the meantime they printed me out directions to the venue which was just a few light rail stops away.

I had my ticket in hand and off I went.

At the Sky Train station there were no lines and no waiting and I arrived at the Curling Venue in about 15 minutes. When attending the Olympic Games it was recommended to arrive at least 2 hours early to pass through security, so I wasn’t sure if I had enough time, as it was already about 9:30. I get up to the entrance and they scan my ticket and to my surprise there was no security and the venue lobby looked like any other sporting venue with vendors selling drinks, food and souvenirs. I went ahead and found my seat, at one end of the rink in the 6th row and the place was packed and you could feel the excitement.

I was so excited just to be here I had no idea who was even playing! I felt bad that I didn’t even know the names of any of the athletes competing…all I knew I was that this was a semi-final wheelchair curling event.

At 10:00 it all started as 5 bagpipes led a procession down the middle rink followed by the athletes from the US, Korea, Sweden and Canada in their wheelchairs grinning from ear to ear, waving wildly to the crowd and the crowd rose to their feet with a thunderous roar of applause; stomping of feet drowning out the bagpipes; and tears from people in the crowd – what an emotional and overwhelming moment that was to see these athletes in their glory amidst the most supportive crowd I have been part of.

This was special, this was the Paralympics and this is what made it stand out from the Olympics. It wasn’t about what the city looked like, or the crowds, etc. it didn’t matter, it was about these unique and talented athletes and what they were about to prove to themselves and the people watching – win or lose. During the three hours of curling, the crowd cheered for all teams equally on each and every rock throw, but more so the home team. Wheelchair curlers do not have the sweepers to help the rock curl as it approaches the house, so they have to aim and push the rock with an extension rod using their arms and upper body strength, as they lock the breaks on their chair, while another teammates locks their chair holding on to the throwers chair to prevent any movement.

Simply amazing.

Canada won over Sweden and Korea overtook the US and later in the day Canada went on to take the Gold, Korea the Silver and Sweden the Bronze.

As the athletes left the ice waving to the supportive crowd, the crowd again was on their feet with a standing ovation waving wildly and cheering them on.

What an overwhelming experience that was.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't Kill Your Trees!

Well I am home again today with this nasty cold thing. When I lay down I feel better, but my back is beginning to feel the effects of stationary positions over a three day period. Not good.

One of the good things about being home was having a Landscape Designer come over last night to talk about the yard and what we could do to improve the look and flow of it. We love curb appeal and thought we were doing some pretty good things, and on the most part we were, but I wanted to share with you all some helpful hints that we learned last night in the 30 minutes of her time.

1. Don't raise a bed around trees and fill it with dirt or other material. It chokes them! I never knew this and now we have 2 trees in our front yard that may not live much longer because we raised a flower bed around them for planting flowers, not knowing it would eventually suffocate the tree. Trees need to be at ground level and not built up around.

2. If you mulch around trees, 3-4 inches will do, but again remove from around trees so you don't choke them as well. You want it to look like a well around the tree.

3. If you think landscaping fabric is the answer it isn't. Grass will grow anyway as it is an 'airborne' seed. Meaning the seeds go airborne and where ever they land they will grow even on top of the landscape fabric.

4. If you must use landscape fabric make sure again it is not around the trunk of trees as the water does NOT seep through and the tree does not get the nutrients they need.

5. Cherry Trees need full sun so plant in the sunniest part of your yard.

6. There are different flowers for different areas and types of yard. If you have a wet spot in your yard there are plants to plant there, full sun has other ones...okay, I knew this, but now I really now this.

7. Finally use curves to break up the squareness of your yard. Boxes in boxes are not as appealing as curves.

So now you know. Don't kill your trees, pick out the right kind of plants for the yard and consulting an expert results in amazing understanding!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Women's History Month - March

I can't let March go by without a post on Women's History Month. 2010 is the 30th anniversary of this celebration and the mission this year is to write women back into history.

Did you know that when Women's History Month began in the 80's, fewer then 3% of all books cited a female writer, adventurer, professional, or researcher. Yes, 3%! Now, it is recorded that over 40 million citations in books and work that include areas where women were never talked about; science, math, and art.

I didn't always have an appreciation for this until I started my research for my Masters Degree when I reviewed the historical impact women in the outdoors had. It was very hard to find books written about or by women. That was the late 90's. I stumbled upon a few books, but most women were only mentioned not the object of the book.

This has changed a lot in the past 20 years because of the progress made by our generation of women. Many notable names can be thrown out here, but I would miss so many it would not be good to start.

As we celebrate Women's History Month it would be nice if each of us think about the women in our lives that have made a difference in this world. This does not mean just winning a goal metal or finding a cure for a disease, or being an astronaut, but women who have made a difference for you.

I think of quite a few.

One is an art teacher from Concordia College that to this day still hand draws her Christmas cards and sends one to my brother. She doesn't have to, but she does and it makes a lifetime memory for him.

I think of my mother who even though she is so stubborn and most of the time a little over the top, she inspires me to be more and certainly is a big reason I am where I am. Never quit, never give up and never settle. That is my Mother.

I think of my friends and the amazing things they do: ride motorcycles, care for animals more than I could ever imagine, train systems, write books, raise kids, work in distribution centers, and work with kids with AIDS. Amazing and remarkable women.

Be part of history and thank a female that you know for what they do. Big or small is not the point - being and doing is what makes History!

Happy WHM! For more information visit:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Let the Sun Shine In

Even though I have a terrible cold and my ears have yet to pop from the flights this week, I am enjoying the day. As the weather lady said today is a "wall to wall" sunshine day, and yes it is.

This may not mean a lot to people who live in parts of the country that have wall to wall sunshine most if not all days, but in Minnesota a day like today is something special.

It seems like everyone is out washing cars, walking dogs, teaching the kids to ride a bike again, feeding the birds, sweeping out the old dust in the garage; a little sunshine and the people of Minnesota come alive.

It is a day that you wait for all winter and never expect until April, but here it is mid-March and the world is alive.

Let the sun shine in, clean the house, open the windows, feed the birds, breathe in deep and feel alive. It is a wall to wall sunshine day!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A journey of destinations

Good Morning everyone.
It has been a great week again. My team and I are in AZ presenting to my work leadership about how our team of talented individuals can support them. Yesterday was a destination. We accomplished what we came to do and that is shed light on what my team does day in and day out. We shared who we are and with the help of 5 of my team members that are here with me, started building relationships and trust...again a destination.

Today we have another 4 hours of presenting another destination to them, one that will help them lead their teams and hopefully make a lot of people more comfortable in their work as well as knowing they have support...a destination.

My point is that life is a journey and every day we do something for someone or ourselves, we complete one leg of the journey; we arrive at a destination.

This past week I was mapping out a motorcycle ride using a GPS mapping software and it occurred to me that I was mapping destinations, not a journey. Every event, every day is a point in time not the end.

I started to think about how many of us see an event as just that an event, rather than a destination in our journey. So what is our journey?

Well that is really for you to decide for yourself, but it is your final arrival station. For some you may think of this as death is the final chapter, but for me it is just another destination.

The journey for me is how you get to the final destination. My journey can end at anytime as I call my journey living. Living in the moment and every day to make meaningful and lasting impressions of a destination. It is turning every day and every moment into a lifetime memory. That is the journey.

My blog posts are daily destinations into a lifetime memory. I will never forget how or why I wrote every day. Doing a presentation and mixing in some humor is a destination and I love the arrival.

Look for your opportunities today and everyday to arrive at a destination. Your life is the journey, but the destinations along the way is what will make it a lifetime memory.

Enjoy your journey of destinations!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Listening for People's Greatness

It was an eight hour event flying from Minneapolis to Phoenix today so I had some time to start reading a new book on coaching. I like reading books on coaching, not so much as training tools, but as a reminder of why I believe in the power on enabling others to be more.

One of the lines in the first chapter that I read was “Coaches have the ability of listening for people’s greatness”. Whoa, what a line, listening for people’s greatness. It is there in everyday conversations if we just listen.

I think listening for people’s greatness is an ability of all people, not just those who are coaches. Maybe we don’t think of it this way as to many times we get bogged down in our own conversations going on in our head or the politics of an office, or maybe social stigmas that do not embrace greatness; but people’s greatness is there if we just stop to listen for it.

This week I am once again partaking in a leadership meeting to move areas of work forward. As I was preparing for this, I really was able to see and allow people’s greatness to work. It isn’t me alone anymore! I have support teams and people who get it. I have folks around me that are supportive as well as visionary. I have listened the past few weeks to their personal greatness and I am in awe.

Take the time today to listen for a person’s greatness. It may be at home with your partner, your kids, or a friend. Find the one thing that makes them great. We all have it, so listen for it. If you are at work, look for it. It should not be hard to find as most people bring their best talent into the work arena. Find the greatness in another person. Who knows, you may end up finding your greatness in the process.

Listen for people’s greatness!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Little Green In all of us

Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone!
I am not Irish, but I think there is a little green in me anyway. Why not? It never hurts to have a little luck. Mine is probably the Luck of the Norwegians, but I will take whatever I can get.

I think the Irish have a great thing going here. Green beer, cabbage and corn beef, parades galore, and even getting cities to color the waterways green---very impressive.

I think every heritage should have a day of celebration. Let's see what would that look like?

Well Norwegian Independence Day is May 17th and in some towns this is celebrated, but I don't remember seeing a River turning Red and Blue in Ballard, WA and usually it is only Norwegians lining the streets for the 4 block parade.

Germans - I don't think there is a German Day. Maybe we are all to stubborn for "such foolishness".

Mexican - Now they know how to celebrate. Cinco De Mayo all the way. Party all week and everyone gets into this day of independence for the Mexican people. Not an official USA holiday, but you wouldn't know that by everything you can experience. Go Mexico!

The Asian Populations - Lots of celebrating there. Chinese New Years, Independence Day's, lots of great reasons to celebrate.

The list goes on and on. Some celebrations more visible than others, but still we celebrate.

You may not be Irish today, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate who you are. Take this day to do a jig; you'll feel better, or eat some cabbage; you'll well 'feel' better. Celebrate others and celebrate you!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Rising Rivers

Spring time in Minnesota usually means a lot of things; budding trees, snow melt, robins return, birds galore, Christmas Decorations finally put away, lake ice melting and gym memberships increase.

One other spring time event in Minnesota is flooding. This year is like every other year, rivers rise, ice jams occur, towns sandbag, water recedes, sandbags removed, and summer is here.

In my coaching business I use spring as the analogy for life preparation. It falls in line with Minnesota flooding.

During spring we all start coming out of the house hibernation. Our activity rises and more people start getting out the bikes, walking, and heading to the golf domes to practice their swing. We get prepared for the season of summer by preparing ourselves for the activities to come.

Spring is the time we also usually run into a lot of personal ice jams. Taxes are due, yearly budgets are done, you take off the oversize sweaters to notice a little more of you now than before winter - personal ice jams.

We all begin to sandbag together - people get together to plan vacations or motorcycle trips. We begin to see our friends and neighbors again and come together for a common cause - spring.

After a few weeks our personal ice jams release and we start to see the rest of the year in whole. You pay your taxes, your budgets get done, and you clean out the closet and make that commitment to your health once again.

After a few more weeks you completely remove the sandbags. Neighbors are grilling, the lawn furniture comes out, you rake the yard, and you prepare your toys for the next season.

There you have it - Summer is here, the grass starts getting green, garden is beginning to be planted, the boat is in the water, you are walking the dog and the dust is finally gone from the bike. You have made it through the personal flood season!

Flood season is part of life. It comes and goes and some years are worse than others, but eventually you make it through and leave the past behind and look forward to the summer.

As we all go through spring together take notice of your personal flood stage. Are you prepared? Is your river going to overflow? Do you have a plan in place to get you through this stage?

Be prepared, know it is normal and plan for the outcome. Your Personal rising river will appreciate the effort.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March!

We all remember this saying from William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, but what does it mean and why March 15th?

The Ides of any month (yes each month has an Ides) is the description of the phase when the moon is full. Today, March 15th, is a full moon day so there are 12 Ides in a year, 4 fall on the 15th of the month and the other 8 months are on the 13th. So full moon is an Ides of that month.

The Roman Calendar has three such references:
•Kalends (1st day of the month)
•Nones (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months)
•Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months)

So, the word Ides is just a date that signifies the middle of the month. So, why beware. Well this comes from the assassination of Julius Caesar that occurred on the Ides of March, March 15th. It was a day of division or betrayal for Mr. Caesar.

So, beware the Ides of March maybe should be date where we become mindful of the middle of every month. Take a look at what you have happening and make sure it aligns with your values. Great reminder, beware and aware of what is happening around you and the next time you see the 13th or 15th of each month, take a look at what is happening around you. Do you like what you see or should you "beware of the Ides"?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jesus was working out at LA Fitness This Morning!

Okay, maybe it wasn't him--but it looked like what I imagine Jesus would have looked like. Others may see a different image, that is okay, but today a man with long hair and a long beard was running on the treadmill and I said "Look Jesus is working out".

It was suppose to be a funny, but than I started asking myself the question what if?

What if Jesus was living here on earth, would he:

1. Eat at McDonald's?
2. Would he work out at a gym?
3. Would he volunteer at the foodshelf?
4. Would he own a computer?
5. Would he be on Facebook?
6. Would he we a CEO or a Carpenter still?
7. Would he live in the city or in a rural town?
8. What kind of car would he drive?
9. Would he even drive a car or just take the bus?
10. Would he have a dog and walk it every day?
11. Would he be your friend?
12. Would he take me fishing, or go with me fishing?

What would Jesus do if he was living here on earth today?

Things that make you think, right.

So what if Jesus was your best friend? What would you do or not do differently?

Something that really makes you think!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Daylight Savings Time

Spring Ahead - what a nice thing to do. It's like winning without effort tonight!

I am more of a fall back person in so many ways, but spring ahead is a good thing today.

Cons of Springing ahead:

1. It means I have to wake up in the dark again - I like waking up to the sun coming up at 6:30am, not 7:30am
2. It means that I lose an hour of sleep. Trust me I need my beauty sleep so tomorrow may be challenging.
3. The idea of springing ahead may mean you try and put the past behind you...I caution us to face the past head on and MOVE ahead. Remember the past are those little potholes that just get bigger and bigger if we don't repave.
4. I have to change all the clocks in the house.

Pros of Springing ahead:

1. It means I get to come home in the light and it will be lighter for longer so maybe the dog and I can see where the yard poop is prior to stepping in it.
2. It means that spring is really coming and Ugly Minnesota will soon be beautiful again.
3. It gives me a fresh start, a renewed hope for a new season.
4. It reminds me to change the batteries in the smoke detectors (okay, ours are hard wired, so it reminds anyone with battery detectors).
5. It means my birthday and fishing opener are less than 2 months away, both very good things!

So Pros and Cons of Spring Forward for Daylight Savings Time! Not bad. Renew, hope, believe, and day light! All great things.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Daffodil Days!

The one thing I love about the coming spring is the excitement over the flowers. There seems to be a rejuvenating power that tulips, Lily's (not my favorite flower at all) and daffodil's have.

March is the time you start to see the Daffodil's start appearing. For us in Minnesota this doesn't mean outside, but in our offices and malls. It's Daffodil Days!

Daffodil Days is a fund raising event for the American Cancer Society. For your donation you get a bunch of daffodils and a vase, but what you give is much more important, as the money raised gives hope - hope to cancer survivors and patients.

Hope - now isn't that what spring is all about? Hope for better days ahead, hope for miracles, hope for caring, hope for compassion. Spring is the time when the rains wash away all the 'ugly' from the earth and provides hope.

As you start your day today, hope for something big. Hope that something wonderful happens to you, your family, or a complete stranger. Hope is a driving force that can move mountains if you believe that there is a better tomorrow.

Happy Daffodil Days!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Second Olympics Starts This Week!

Yes, the second. Many of you have heard and maybe even seen the Paralympics, but I wanted to bring light to it in this blog as a true example of positive living. Now the Olympics are amazing enough with athletes flying through the air and sled around an ice course on their backs and shooting a rifle after racing on skis, it really is crazy and I admire all of them. The personal dedication they each must have to train for 15 years for a 2 minute event is absolutely awe inspiring, but take that one step further. Now take these same events and not be able to use a part of your body – legs, arms, eyes or be in a wheelchair. Talk about dedication!

The Paralympics have been around since 1948 with a vision of one man, Ludwig Guttmann, who organized a competition for WW2 Vets. Since that first game, the number of participants has grown to well over 3000 coming from over 140 countries. Training is hard and as you can imagine, the equipment challenges are incredible.

It really just blows my mind that you see people ski down the mountains going 90 miles an hour on skis and now you get to see custom chairs on skis doing the same feat. Every event has been customized to meet the needs of the game; be it curling, hockey or shooting. It truly is incredible.
Now I hope that my brother will share his experience with us in a blog post as he was able to go to the “able” Olympics a few weeks ago and is thinking of heading up again this weekend for the “amazing” Paralympics.

When you think you can’t take a look at this link - and think again.

These folks are my hero’s this week!

I also know I have a few Canadian Readers, so I want to personally say thank you for hosting these events! You did your country proud!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The 2 Weeks of Winter/Spring

Well Minnesota is now entering the Two week period that I like to call "Ugly Minnesota". Yep, usually I love everything about Minnesota, but these two weeks before Spring can be ugly. Not real positive or purposeful yet, but I am getting there - trust me.

So why Ugly? Well, it is raining now and that melts the wonderful snow, both good and bad. The melting is good, but all the dirt and sand used on the roads all winter does not melt, rather makes it look like all the highways and neighborhoods have dirt bunkers securing access. This to shall pass as the dirt becomes new soil for the frozen grass, but for two weeks it is rather ugly.

You also notice how disrespectful people can be during this time of year. As the snow melts you see how much garbage people have thrown out of cars like no one would ever notice. Now this isn't just a plastic bag here or there, it is garbage - car fenders, cardboard boxes, plastic shopping bags and more cans and bottles than you can count. Ugly - MN's and travelers behaviors show up as Ugly.

The other ugly is attitudes. It seems like Minnesotans, including me, get a little ugly in attitude. Maybe it is because for 4 months we have been spending most of the time inside, or shoveling snow, or trying to enjoy -20 degrees, but attitudes come out ugly. I am no different. I know I have an ugly attitude right now.

See anything positive or purposeful in the above? I do!

First, this is 2 weeks out of 52 so 96% of my year I get to see and live in what I consider God's Country. 96% of the time! Whoa, that is pretty cool.

Second, these 2 weeks reminds me that I have a lot of personal dirt piling up and it is time to wash it away. Habits, thoughts, and feelings are the dirt - wash them away. This time of the year reminds me to get rid of the ugly in my life.

The third point is my trash - personal and professional. No one else should have to clean up my trash, so as I start throwing things out of my personal and professional life and get rid of it, I remind myself to get rid of it properly. Do not make my personal trash someone Else's issue.

This is a big one for me to remember. Last night I threw my trash at someone while playing Racquetball. I felt fat, slow, not into playing, and peeved that I was tired and I threw all the personal trash at my Racquetball partner. It wasn't fun nor was it acceptable. Throw your trash in an appropriate place that is NOT around for someone else to clean up.

So there...positive and purposeful reminders that when life throws you Ugly - make an analogy of how it relates to life and deal with it. Ugly Minnesota, Ugly Janice - both have and will continue to grow and become beautiful again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Checking in on Resolutions

Well it has been 2 and a half months since we started this journey together and hopefully you have learned more about me, yourself, your values, and your priorities. I wanted to take time today to do a quick check in and see how I am doing as well as hopefully get you all to think about how you are doing as well.
If you remember back to the beginning I talked about New Year’s Resolutions and how they can’t be just one day of work. It’s time to check back in with how you and I are doing. Remember the statistic that only 12% of men and 10% of women would keep their resolution for over 60 days? Well, it is 60 days, how are you doing?
One of my resolutions was to achieve a balance of health. I had small goals of getting into shape and losing the weight. I had joined a gym and got a personal training and I started to watch what I was eating. The gym and PT have continued, but I find I still struggle with the food. The struggle is I love to eat and love to eat not so great choices of food. If it has a lot of cheese or is full of pasta; sign me up. Veggies and fruits; not so much.
Today when I was revisiting my goals I decided to do more with the tracking of what I ate so I joined the online version of Weight Watchers. I have done WW before so know the basics, but just needed to get in touch with my eating habits and for me writing and recording what I eat is a big eye opener.
I know that I am a carb lover, which ultimately means I will need to limit but not cut them out. Carbs make me feel good while I am eating them, but they are not so good on the eating healthy plan for me. I also know that veggies are hard for me. I like salads and in general like veggies, but do not like the process of making or cutting up veggies. I am a lazy veggie eater. I am sure there is a support group for LVE’s out there somewhere, but for now I need to ASK for some help from those I eat with to cut up the lettuce or boil the broccoli, yes it is that tough for me to do.
I also know that I love to snack at night. Give me some chocolate or pudding or anything salty and I am all over it. So, healthy eating means healthy selections so the fridge now has 4 dozen or so tangerines and a bag of grapefruit, that should keep me busy and a snack at night can now be healthy.
What was your 1 or 2 resolutions? How are you doing? Check in with yourself and be part of the 10% !

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day! Yes IWD is today, March 8th. I would not have known about this had it not been for the calendar I got at Christmas, but I am glad I know about it now.

This day has been celebrated by women around the world since 1908 as a day to focus on the celebration of women, women's issues, and women's achievements. You can follow this link to learn more:

I don't know if there is an International Men's Day, but if not we will work on that, but I think it is important to remember that there are women around the world who continue to struggle with abuse, homelessness, and other unimaginable suffering. In the other camp there are women who have achieved great success in economics, politics, social activities, and a host of other areas.

As a women I don't fit into either of these camps, rather in the middle. That makes this day no less important, but reminds me to share my knowledge, skills, abilities and love with someone who may not be as fortunate as me.

So today, March 8th, I celebrate all the women who are out there and make a commitment to be a better role model, mentor, activist, and friend.

Happy IWD!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

For the love of Animals!

Yesterday the Pet Expo was happening in Minneapolis. Now, usually I am not into Expo's as it is a lot of people looking for free stuff and it gets a little crazy for me, but what could be better than a Pet Expo!

Okay, it was crazy, there were tons of free stuff and I came home with my share of new food samples and treats for the furry kids, but that wasn't what was the best part of the expo.

One of the best parts was watching Fly Ball for the first time every. I have seen it on TV a few times but never live. Fly Ball is where a team of dogs run one at a time over obstacles to get a ball at the end, check out to see some of the worlds best canine athletes. It was amazing and fun to watch. It made me want a dog that actually liked to run and play catch, something mine does not do.

Other activities that you could watch were the Dog Distance Jump where the owner throws a toy out into a pool of water while the dog flies through the air. Amazing - although the best part was the new pups who were trying it for the first time and wanted their ball but didn't want to get wet. There was Pet Dancing and Skill Training seminars. Some of these dogs are absolutely incredible.

Another part of the expo that I loved was all the animals. I petted a Boa Snake and some little white snake just to say I did and respect the owners love for them, I gave money to the Small Dog Rescue, even though I am not a small dog person, I bought samples and treats for the Furry Kids at home, and I learned about Therapy Dogs, Rescue Shelters, and a host of other agencies dedicated to helping pets of all kinds; dogs, cats, snakes, birds, rabbits, and rats.

The best part for me was actually seeing dogs up for adoption. Hard yes, but wonderful YES. It reminded me that I have a lot of love for sad eye dogs and I could have easily taken four of the 50 home yesterday as they leaned against me, looked at me with those sad eyes, and just wanted to be loved. I didn't bring any of them home as my current puppy doesn't have many years left and she deserves her space. She is also very set in her ways, so it would not be fair to any other animal to come in and not be able to be themselves right away.

So the morale of the story is if you have room in your home and time in your live, there are many furry friends out there waiting for someone just like you. If it is a cat, dog, bird, or snake - share the love. If you have kids, teach them to respect animals. The number of abused animals out there is staggering and I think we can solve some of this if we just teach respect to the next generation of owners.

Open your heart, open your home, volunteer your time, or open your wallet. There are so many ways to help both human and animal causes so remember to be open to helping, there are many other there that deserve a better life, so let's all do our part.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Week of Work

It was an awesome week of work. Yes, awesome. It was stressful, fast pace, highly critical, highly visible, full of challenges, opportunities, meetings, and rewards. This is my definition of awesome!

It started at 7am on Monday morning and did not end until 5pm Friday night. I am tired yet energized for the progress I and my team has made this week. I kept my Gremlin under control and, as I was reminded by one of my followers, ate the elephant one bite at a time.

There were two thoughts of the week that I wanted to share with you all.

The first is when you have an amazing amount of work to do, ask for help. This does not make you weak, rather makes you a leader. If you are willing to give up the "kudos" and take team members with you through the process you relax, they learn, and people begin to see leadership and teamwork at its best. This week was all about this thought. I could have done everything myself and been more than tired this week, but my choice was to ask for help and begin to have others experience my world of work.

I saw new people jump at the opportunity and tenure staff excited about a new opportunity. I saw how teamwork and leadership can make others successful. I saw learning and I saw hard work. The best part is that I wasn't the only one that saw this.

My last meeting on Friday was with the leader of my area and his comment was "you did a great job LEADING this week and you got a lot of great press for your efforts and skills". How can a week end any better.

My second thought is when you are faced with a job, think big and remember the details. I learned a lot this week about that statement. At times I was only thinking big and long term and forget that others may be starting with the details. It does no good to think big if the people you are communicating and working for are stuck in the details. Remember the details and remember that part of leadership is figuring out what someone wants - big or details. This is a learning that I know will continue as I move forward.

So that was my week of work, awesome, yes awesome. Purposeful work created a positive attitude and advanced leadership. Awesome, yes truly awesome.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

H. R. Pufnstuf

Yep, that’s me. I can’t get the song out of my head.

Last night I dreamt that I was H.R. Pufnstuf – Remember him? Davy Jones was little Jimmy and with H.R. and Freddy the flute they would always be fighting the evil Whichiepoo? Jimmy would run to H. R. whenever something was going wrong and H. R. would know exactly what to do to save the day. Remember the theme song? “HR Pufnstuf, where you go when things get rough.”

Maybe it was because yesterday some one said I am like the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island and they felt like Gilligan always tagging a long trying not to make a mistake. It got me thinking about these old shows and why we watched the ones we loved?

For me there were a few that I just loved. H.R. Pufnstuf, Green Acres, Jonny Quest, Hogan’s Heroes, Gilligan’s Island and Where in the world is Carmen San Diego. I started to think why these shows were my favorite. It hit me that who I am today has a lot to do with why I loved these shows and figured out it was because I could relate to one of the characters.

Gilligan’s Island – I would have been the professor as I can make something out of nothing. Yep, give me some duct tape, 2 coconuts, and some bamboo and I am sure I can come up with a way to get off an island or solve a communications problem.

H. R. Pufnstuf – I am Pufnstuf. If there is a problem, people seem to come find me and say “Help, we need to fix this”.

Green Acres – I am the wife Lisa Douglas…yep…this I know is where I got my great love for pancakes and sense of humors.

Hogan’s Heroes – I am Captain Hogan; yes I know sometimes I act like Schultz, but I am Hogan. If there is a way to work out a problem and make others think I can do that.

Johnie Quest – I am that Roger “Race” Bannon, the special agent guy who always made sure others were safe.

Carmen Sandiego – Well of course I am Carmen always looking for the bad guys, arresting them, but never being caught.

So many great characters from the past and now being mostly grown up I see why I turned out the way I am. I related to these type of strong, saving, confident, fixing people for the past 40 some years!

Who do you relate too? What shows do you remember loving and why? It will amaze you to see how those shows have shaped some of who you are.

I have listed a few others from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s that maybe will jog your memory.

The Andy Griffith Show, The Lucy Show, Mr. Ed, Leave it to Beaver, Dragnet, Get Smart, Petticoat Junction, The Jackie Gleason Show, Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, Family Affair, The Virginian, Big Valley, Daniel Boone, Rat Patrol, Alf, Fat Albert, Star Trek, Diver Dan, Tennessee Tuxedo, Sea Hunt, Popeye, Treasure Hunt, Winky Dink, Green Hornet, Little Rascals, Scoopy Doo, the list goes on.

What characters are you now?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I love a point!

Okay, maybe not as much as I seem to have gotten into lately, but I do love pressure. It excites me and makes me want to do so much more, but there is a problem. Pressure and my analness completely collide when I am asked to produce at a lower standard than I know I able.

When I am faced with deadlines and big projects to do; taxes, work, cleaning the house, getting my hair curly (yes a perm is a big project for me) I love the ride. I love feeling totally out of control, but knowing inside I am in complete control. I love 'pulling it off'. Seriously, for me there is nothing better than someone giving me a deadline or task that is nearly impossible.

What I have to do with this love is to understand that being in control and anal isn't always a good working model to complete things. Sometimes it is okay being 80% or even 50% right or in control. Yes, I said it and I know I will hear about this from some of you that know me and work with me. 50-80% correct and control is okay!

The caveat is that it is "once in a while", not always, but when the times come that you need to just be 50-80% correct, it is okay.

This is important for me to remember not only at work and with life tasks, but it reminds me about why I was so disappointed in myself and last summer. Fishing season opens up in a month or so. Last year I went fishing 2 or 3 times because I figured if it wasn't a 10 hour day on the water it wasn't worth it! I set the pressure and control expectation to be all or nothing and I paid the price on not doing something I absolutely love!

So this week has been about understanding that I can give 50-80% correct answers and completion of tasks and remember that it doesn't mean I am a slacker or out of control! I know this summer I can enjoy a 4 hour fishing trip rather than have to wait until I have a 10 hour window of opportunity to have fun.

I love Pressure, I love control, and I am anal. They can all live peaceful together in me as long as I pay attention to each and the impact these have on me.

Go forth and produce 50% and be okay with it! Trust me, sometime your 50% is more than anyone else could have ever given at that point in time!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Love Padlocks

I have some very good friends who are spending some time in Denmark and are able to visit some very historical places while there. A week or so ago they went to Koln Germany. Of course the history of Europe and the surrounding countries is absolutely incredible, but there was one picture from their journey that caught my eye. It was a picture of a steel chain fence on the Rhine River walk area with hundreds of padlocks on them. I wrote on their blog the question of what in the world is with all the padlocks? Do people use them to lock up their bikes during the day or what?

I didn’t hear a response right away so I did a little Google Search. Other Countries sure have a way to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Here is what I found out.

The Padlocks are “Love Padlocks” and are a custom from the 1980’s to symbolize the love two people have for each other. Couples go to one of these bridges with their padlocks (some engraved with names, initials, or such), they lock the padlock on the fence and throw the key into the river or valley to signify their eternal love for each other that no one can ever open or break apart.

These bridges have popped up all over the place like China, Japan, Paris, Italy, Germany, Rome, Greece and many other countries and cities. What a cool idea. It has become a tourist attraction and people stop and read the loving messages inscribed on them.

It made me start to think, dangerous I know. What if when you commit to someone you bought a padlock and placed it on your door entry way so that every day you leave your home and every day you entered your home you would be reminded of the commitment you have made to another person.

Take it one step further. What if you had a lock for the commitment to yourself! Yes, love is great and being committed to another person is great, but how about showing yourself that same commitment? What if you put an inscribed padlock in your bathroom, office, car, or some other place that is constantly visible to you to remind you of your commitment to your values, goals, and purpose? Maybe we can start a trend; just maybe we can start a movement of loving each other as well as ourselves!

How strong is your padlock? How strong is your commitment to another person as well as to yourself? Pretty cool concept. Ordinary moving to extraordinary!

For more information on this and to see all the countries that currently have a location of padlocks see:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Take a Mental Picture

One of the things I think is very valuable taking mental picture's when faced with a task, decision, or direction. No, this isn't hard or involve a lot of figures or thinking, it's a picture, a snapshot of the outcome.

You know when you see the most beautiful bird, sunrise, tree, person and you are armed with your camera ready to capture that moment? You usually do not just wait for the right shot, usually you are taking a mental journey of what the right shot would be.

If you are taking a picture of the brightest red cardinal you have ever seen you have thoughts going through your head about what the perfect picture would be--I hope he turns his head just a little more, maybe if he could come to the closest pine tree it would be better, he is on the limb with snow so his color will really stand out. You take a mental journey through what would be the perfect picture.

Let's try another one. How about a sunset. You see it setting and if you are like me probably take 20-30 pictures while it is setting, but all the time you are thinking--I wonder if that sail boat will make it into the picture in time, I like the wave break so I need to get that in there as well, I hope I have enough battery power to get this shot, maybe if I get this palm tree in there it will look better--the journey is amazing as you plan the perfect shot. Right?

We all do this, with or without a camera. We all take mental pictures of what 'perfect' means. It is part of goal setting, it is part of life. One area that we may not do as well as picture the perfect shot though. Rather we do the "I wish" or "I hope" something does something.

I do this all the time - I hope I can catch some fish today, I hope that I don't have so many meetings today, I wish I could find time and money to go on a vacation, I wish I could lose this weight, I hope I don't screw it up; every day we all put ourselves in the wish and hope world.

What if we changed those statements? What if we put some energy into the perfect mental picture of that area? If you cannot picture yourself being successful, most likely you will not be successful - but be careful what success looks like.

Let me change my wishes and hopes around to successful mental pictures.
I see myself catching fish when I go fishing.
I will block off time each day to work and will not accept meetings during those times.
I will go to the bank and open up a vacation savings account and have $50 a month go into that account for a vacation next winter.
I see myself as a size 14 where I can go clothes shopping and I can try on clothes that fit.
I see myself this summer feeling better about myself.
I see myself being successful at my career by giving my talents every day.

If you want to be successful at something, don't spend time on wishing and hoping. Rather spend time on creating that mental picture of what success looks like for you. Once you have that picture, your mind will take over on how to make that perfect shot!