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Archive for May, 2013

Book Hunting

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

I PROMISE this post has nothing to do with death.  Jeez, looking back I’m getting a little nihilistic.  Must. Stop.

Instead, I will talk about one of the loves of my life – ready?

Let’s talk books!

So, I have a pretty specific method for hunting for books I want to read.  Yes, I pay attention to what my friends read.  Sometimes, I get sucked into the hype in mainstream media too.  But more importantly, I go on the hunt myself.  I just had to do this tonight in order to prepare for an upcoming 12-hour-one-way-car-trip. (Books on CD, anyone?)

Here’s how I do it – if you have another method, I’m all ears!

1. Go over to B&N or Amazon.

2. Search books -> new releases and -> in your favorite categories (mine happen to be business books).

3. Hunt down cool new titles.

4. Open up another tab on my browser, go to the library, and plug in my library card.

5.  Start putting those interesting titles on reserve!

6.  If the book isn’t in the catalog yet – request it, then you’re first on the hold list.  Boom.

That’s it.  Simple, but gets the job done.  And I usually can stay on top of the genre that I write about this way (mainly business books…)

You’re allowed to utilize my system provided you don’t go to my library.

Just kidding.

Sort of! ; )

Rose Ebola & Your Fragrant Amazingness

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

So, my mom’s yellow rosebush has been looking…funky.  It has tons of thorns, it’s kind of stubby, and it has red fronds at the end of some of the leaves.  Odd, considering last summer it had the most amazing, fragrant yellow roses all over it.

I’ve determined through the power of the internet that unfortunately, my mom’s yellow rosebush has rose ebola.  (OK.  It’s not really called ebola for roses, it’s called rose rosette.  But–ebola sounds like it’s a little more urgent and permanent, as I believe this virus is, to a rosebush.)  It is an incurable virus, and the plant will in fact die within 1-2 years.  Furthermore, the rose doctor experts out there suggest digging up the infected rosebush and preferably burning it, so it doesn’t infect other plants.  The virus has been around since the 1940s at least here in the Midwest–allegedly–according to the said internet.

I think mom’s in a bit of denial, she’s taking the ‘let’s wait and see’ approach.  For me, rose ebola is a reminder of only one thing, that I just stated at this very blog about valuable points from commencement speeches that I heard this year, which is this.  We are all going to die.  Maybe and hopefully not from ebola, or rose rosette (if you happen to be a rosebush)–but life itself is a terminal disease.

What are you doing to leave your fragrant amazingness behind?  What did you do TODAY about that fragrant amazingness?  And if you didn’t do anything about your fragrant amazing legacy today – what are you waiting for?

The House is on Fire: What to do About Higher Education

Friday, May 24th, 2013

What I’m about to say I think every parent should pay attention to – and although I’m not a parent myself, I do work in higher education, and therefore I follow what is happening within it.

This article was over at LinkedIn yesterday, and I reposted it and said – “Yup – the house is on fire!”  But this really isn’t the first time I’ve pointed out that something is burning.  Ironically, one of my friends who also worked in higher ed liked the post.  She gets it too.

The article above is significant because it shortens the time for colleges and universities to figure out how to deal with ROI/cost effectiveness and generalized delivery of education to 5 years.  That is, by 2018, the writers of this article are predicting that higher ed will change, the question then becomes – who will change that fast (5 years in higher ed is really, really a short period of time), and who will die.  Said another way – how fast and how much attention a college should be paying attention to the disruption in higher ed on a scale from 1-10, 10 being “very concerned and better start making some radical change,” I’m currently at about 17.

If I was a parent (again, which I’m not) here’s what I’d be looking for in order to get my kid ahead of the curve:

1.  I’d be looking for high schools with specific college feeder programs and credit – college kids must, must, MUST have college course credits BEFORE they reach the ivy covered buildings – so dual credit programs are now a no-brainer for high school students.  Furthermore, I think colleges should creep backwards into high schools in order to give students the college experience earlier.  College taught me how to learn and think on my own, and kids need those critical thinking skills as early as possible.  I’ve seen students hit the halls with 20-22 hours of college credit as Freshman.  This is smart.

2.  Ask the colleges you’re visiting what they require for service learning – The best school in the nation for service learning, at least from what I’ve read and heard, is Tulane.  They weren’t always this way, but post-Katrina, their president had an awakening–that college is more than just classrooms and whiteboards.  Learning in the real world and giving back to society is also a key skill that should be part of the college experience.  If you ask the admissions counselors at the colleges you’re visiting about service learning, and they stare back at you with a blank look – run.  Seriously–do not send your child to that school.  Because, they’re going to miss out on a key part of the college experience.  Part of growing up is learning outside the classroom and giving back to the larger society, and if the school only offers inside classroom learning, you’re not going to get a good ROI, and you are robbing your child of an experience that other schools have mastered in delivering within their curriculum.

3.  Read Tony Wagner’s book, then ask the schools you’re visiting what they do in the curriculum that matches his 7 points for innovative learning.  Tony and Bob Compton (the guy that produced one of the scariest all time movies I’ve seen, Two Million Minutes) teamed up for this book, Creating Innovators, and it is spot on for the future ideal education in my mind.  I would highly suggest reading it, then start asking the colleges your child is interested in what they offer to match the outline Tony suggests in this book.

I won’t give all of them away – just one that I think is important – interdisciplinary, team-based problem solving (OK – that’s kind of two, but I’ll go ahead and merge them together for this post).  Ask the colleges of choice what they are doing about and how they offer interdisciplinary, team-based problem solving in their curriculum.  Again, if you get blank stares, forget them and move on to someone who can answer the question.  The colleges with blank stares aren’t getting that the real world works this way, and therefore, good colleges and universities will understand how the real world works and OFFER via classes and projects team based interdisciplinary learning, because that’s exactly how the real new world economy works.

There.  I feel better knowing that instead of just shouting that the house is on fire, I’m arming you, my fab 13, with some preventative measures (OK – fire hoses) that can keep back some of the blaze.

Social Media Hygiene

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Sniff sniff….what’s that smell?

Oh…it’s just my social media hygiene.

Do I offend?

Hope not.

I don’t know where I had this recent conversation anymore – maybe more than one place.  But I thought it might make an interesting post to share. That is–what is one’s own social media hygiene?

TMI?  Perhaps.  But, I’d be curious to hear how others handle and manage and wrestle with all this cyber stuff…here’s how I roll with it, relative to my day:

After I get up in the AM:  First, I check work email.  Then I check my primary personal email.  Then I roll over to Facebook to see if there are personal messages, and then hit my breakfast coffee clutch up at Twitter.  (Yes, believe it or not, I have a morning crew I tweet with…I don’t know any of them in real life, but they are now part of my morning.  We discuss important things, like coffee, tropical weather systems, and cronuts.)

Speaking of coffee, I get my first (very large) cup, and roll over to Flipboard on my iPad, where I try to get caught up on major business news.  I look at Fast Company, Forbes, and a few other pages pretty regularly.  I tweet interesting stuff relative to the brands I tweet for, or post interesting relevant articles on Faceplace pages if it is relevant to a book (like SWE, or Plan C) or brand I manage at Zuck’s shop.

Then I get my day on and go to work.

Lunchtime:  If I don’t meet up for lunch with a bud, I usually try to see what’s up at Faceplace and Twitter–but usually post something on the personal Twitter account.  I also post for social media channels at work, and try to find interesting bits to post for work.  I do like to check out what’s happening over at LinkedIn too – their content has gotten somewhat richer (although, I’m still personally miffed at them for not allowing us to embed our blogs in our profiles).

At work, moving around between meetings, not in my office:  Smartphone is with me to keep up with email between meetings (a must), and if I stumble upon something cool while moving from point A to point B on campus – I’ll snap it and post on instagram.  I’m getting better about hashtagging my stuff there too, since all the young people seem to dig this app the most these days.

After work, at home, in the evenings:  I watch the news.  Not because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, but because I kind of feel it is an obligation for all of us to stay tuned to the world around us – good and bad.  But, I generally pin on Pinterest while I’m watching the news – it dulls the pain…but I’m still informed.  I’ve even managed to utilize it for work as a bit of pinspiration. (Pardon the double pun–1. pinterest pun and 2. perspiration pun – hygiene, get it?  Of course you do.)

And last but certainly not least, this is when I tend to blog, and in general at other sites (although my blogging has been light of late).  Then, of course one must post the blog posts back on the channels – like T, F and G+.  I also tend to check in on Foursquare when out with friends, but I don’t always do that as well.  I’m a Foursquare slacker, I suppose.  I had highlight on my phone, but I took it off–it was a little…creepy…?  (I don’t know if creepy is the right word, but automatically knowing when people are nearby is a mixed bag in my book.)

There.  That’s how it goes for me on social media.  Is it right?

Who knows?  All I know is that social media – just like any other tool – can be used much like a light saber or the force: for good, or for evil.  I hope I’ve found my own little way to use it for good.  Most of all, social media is a great way to communicate–either with others, or even with yourself.

Hope that didn’t stink up the room too much.  I’ll go get some room spray now just in case…

 

 

 

Less Gold Watches, More Slices of Pie

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Now, I’ve joked here before, as you know, that passing the bar is like winning a pie eating contest – where the grand prize is more pie.  That’s NOT the pie I’ll be discussing here this evening.

(Although, I still do like pie.)

Anyway, I was chatting with a friend today about making the right political career moves, despite a colossal implosion of an organization she still works at.  She asked me, “Did I do the right thing?” after she shared the harrowing last 6 months of her less than ideal job situation.  First, she still has a job.  #Relief.  However, there are hints the higher ups have given her that it may not be for long. #Panic.  Generally, I don’t think I would have done anything differently than she did, but does that make it right or wrong?

Who knows?

We were talking generally about the new career and working world.  I tried to wrap up and explain that I think it’s less like gold watches anymore – i.e. 30 year-life-long-one-job-steady-paycheck-gigs.  Those days are gone.  Now, careers are more like pies.  That is, gigs are slices of pie…the full 360 degree pie being one’s total career.

There’s a slice of the full time day job, but there are other slices that one must occupy in order to develop a career more safely these days.  Philanthropy, passions, volunteerism, life-long learning (eh hem, not necessarily chasing more formal degrees), passive income (my own personal favorite), and yes, even part-time paid jobs are all the slices of one’s career “pie” here.  The new career “safe” is to have lots of different slices of pie going on, rather than the whole pie in one place (which ultimately can end up right in one’s face with a pink slip, pretty much instantly).  #BeenThere #DoneThat.

I told her that she may need to go out and find a different slice of pie, and challenged her to find passions and volunteer gigs that were also slices that could lead to bigger and better slices of that full time day job in order to creep into a new industry.  The bad news with this is that one has to build it from scratch, but the good news is that one gets to build it from scratch.

Ultimately, building from scratch can be tough. It is a h*ll of a lot harder than finding a SOLE day job and collecting a paycheck.  But, in the end, I think it can also be immensely more custom-designed and ultimately, more rewarding.

So – keep that gold watch.  I’ll be over digging around in the pie safe, looking for different flavors and slices…

What Do 195 Esquires, A Book, and A Psychic All Have In Common?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Answer: My day.

I fully realize I owe you, my fab 13, a whole lotta posts.  My apologies.  I’m going to try and make up for it at least with this post that has a lot in it.

First off, I took one of those human things called a “vacation” last week to Miami.  I soaked up some sun, exercised, read a few trashy novels, and had some fun.  Contrary to popular belief, that’s not apparently illegal, immoral or wrong. Woot.

Second, the repercussions of going on said vacation always come back to haunt us, don’t they?  I returned to 200+ emails for 3 days out of office, which I waded through for the past two days.

Coupled with that, today, 194 other bar passers and I officially became Esquires in the state of Indiana.  I showed up, took an oath, listened to some talks, and in good legal fashion, picked up a lot of paperwork.  Congrats!

But wait…that’s not all.  I also managed to deliver a few children’s books (He Huffed & Puffed) to a happy customer, who gave the students a rave review in under 30 minutes of my delivery.  Since apparently there’s not much out there on asthma in children’s literature, I’m pumped they are finding the book helpful, and so amazed by the 8 students who put the book together.

Last, I headed to my psychic.  (And I know what some of the non-fab 13 are thinking: some of you may think that’s the occult or sacrilegious – but hey, Jesus is my pal AND the God I believe in I’m certain wants me to be fully informed) – so now that an epic area of my life is closing (i.e. law school) and another one is opening (i.e. the unknown) I needed a brush up from the Universe on my status.  (Not to mention another 29th birthday coming up soon.)

Much like Facebook, I’ll leave it at “It’s complicated,” but suffice it to say that the psychic nailed it on the head in many ways for me, and I now have a little better picture on the rest of my year.

After that – who knows?

I’ve been watching a bunch of commencement speeches, ’tis the season, and I love to hear what other great minds can extol in 20 minutes or less to the fresh graduates so full of hope this time of year.   I’m afraid that the best advice thus far is, “You are going to die,” from John Green’s talk at Butler.  Watching the horror in Oklahoma only reminded me of this quote even more this week.

We are all going to die.  So–fab 13–what are you doing about it?  Not to get all nihilistic, but the clock is ticking…are you out there making your mark? Making a difference? Are you sworn in?

Ode To The Travel Size

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I’ve never been, nor will I probably ever be a “shopper.”  Maybe it was all those years working in retail during and after college that have ruined me when it comes to retail, but I’m definitely ruined.

Also, one of my least favorite purchases is “toiletries.”  Let’s face it – the namesake is pretty much res ipsa loquitur – right?

However, there’s one aisle in toiletry land that really gets me geeked.  What is it?  Of course!  The “Travel Size” Aisle, where I just was recently, preparing for…travel!

There are a few reasons why I dig the travel size aisle, and trial sizes in general:

1.  You’re actually GOING SOMEWHERE – which is why you’re in the aisle in the first place!

2.  You’re buying mini-sized versions of stuff you need for your life – which means you can generally use them up faster and get on with trialing something else in your life sooner rather than later.

3.  Like #2, you don’t really have to commit to much – just a trial.  Score one for the non-committal!

4.  Did I mention – you’re going somewhere…?

5.  My backpack (and my back) appreciate the space-saving sizes.

Guess you can tell what’s coming up for me soon – I am pumped.  However, thanks to the travel size aisle, my trip is going to be even better, because I can travel a little lighter, and somehow, a little brighter…!

Not.

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Right now, I’m perturbed.

I just signed my business personal property tax returns.  I don’t have a lot of business personal property – as I’m a one woman operation. BUT–thanks to the state of Indiana and local government, I have an entirely separate tax return due at a separate time from my other tax return (where I report all my other taxes, of course, except for this tax).

Not to mention that all that business personal property I already paid taxes on once – when I bought the stuff.

Ugh!

Rant aside, I’ll shift to attempting to solve this type of problem in my own little corner of the world right now – with you, my fab 13…because I hate to let you down.

On 6/27, I’ll be talking about how I write and publish books at the An Evening With… series by my good friend and author, Dr. Elaine Voci, at her shop.  What I thought was important to share with you (just in case on a whim you decide to show up to the event) was to give you a list of what I will NOT be talking about at this event, relative to writing and book publishing.  This way – you don’t get the surprise “Ugh!”:

What I will NOT be discussing on 6/27:

-Finding an agent for your book.  (Really – you need to be your OWN agent.)
-Asking someone else for permission to publish your book (see the next bullet…)
-Traditional publishing – where someone hands you a check to write a book before you write it (that doesn’t happen unless you’re a celebrity or JK Rowling, or both…)
-Fiction (sorry, I don’t write that genre…yet)
-Children’s books – OK, I will talk about this a little, but I’ve personally never written a children’s book – I’ve only helped guide other authors to do so.
-Vanity publishing – (anyone can print at Kinko’s…)

I’m sure this list will grow before June 27th.  But just so you know up front, I’m trying to manage expectations here…let’s reserve the “ugh!” moments for our government.

Note to Self – We Are All Artists Now: An Unauthorized Discussion Guide on The Icarus Deception

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

You, my fabulous 13, know how I roll by now.  While I do read a lot, I rarely put out discussion guides.  However, when a book is really worth reading and it changes me after I read it, I like to share the thoughts that move through my head as I read the book.

Thus, I’ve been listening to The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin in the Jeep this week.  Also, I ran out and bought a couple of hardcopies as well to share with my mentors/friends and co-reading conspirators.  Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to share 20 questions that went through my head as I read the first part of this book with you, because the book is that important.  It is below, and over at the slidewarehouse (AKA Slideshare–why do I love to rename sites?  Who knows. Maybe that’s part of my art….)

Read. This. Book!

 

Mac Crash = Body Crash?

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

I did my usual surfing of the internet for good stories this morning.  I saw something on a “smart pill bottle” that doubles as a smart phone over at one of the major business sites…but as I hear and see people still complaining about all the unknowns around PPACA, (yeah, there’s a reason, folks, the laws are still being drafted…) all I keep thinking about is…my mac.

So, last week, my mac was making a horrible clicking noise.  Not good.  Really not good, considering it was only a year or so old.  So, having previous computers crump on me, of course I bought AppleCare when I purchased the laptop, set up the auto backup to an external hard drive every day, and took it into the Genius Bar at Keystone at the Crossing when it was clicking last week, and said, “here, fix this…”.  So, the genius flipped out his iPad mini, and then proceeded to look up my MacBook Pro’s “chart” – when I bought it, what service plan was on it, etc.  Then, he took it and replaced the hard drive overnight.  (Luckily, I had everything backed up the day before.)

All I keep thinking is – why can’t we do this for healthcare?  Why can’t we just schedule a genius bar appt when we need one, and pay a flat fee to get in on service for our bodies, just like we can our macs?  Why can’t we just go in and speak to a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, PT, OT, or someone in a team to fix what’s broken, without a lot of fuss?  What if we could get a backup plan for our healthcare, like AppleCare that covers us for crashes and burns?  What if a Genius could just whip out our chart and history on a mini iPad and let us know that we’re covered?

Instead, it’s complicated.

If anyone gets the AppleCare thing figured out for healthcare, let me know.  I’ll be the first to sign up!