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Archive for August, 2013

More On…Girlpower

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Quiz time!

What do the following women share in common?

Condoleezza Rice
Judy Blume
Barbara Bush
Diane Feinstein
Geraldine Ferraro
Jane Goodall
Janet Guthrie
Bernadine Healy
Georgia O’Keeffe
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
Rosa Parks
Emily Post
Sally Ride
Grace Slick
Christine Todd Whitman

What did you guess? Political party? Nope. Clearly you could do a quick google search and determine that.  What else?

Here’s what they share in common (besides awesomeness, in general): They all attended a girls’ school!

That kind of surprises me, but then again it doesn’t.  I’m reading Where Girls Come First by Ilana DeBare, to learn where Girls’ schools came from, and more importantly, where they are going.

For some reason on this book, I leaped to the end of it, because I’m curious to know where girls’ schools are headed. (It’s the futurist in me, I suppose.)  The strongest thing I’ve read thus far for the BENEFIT of all girls’ schools is that they are “countercultural.”  From the book, the following quote from page 325:

“Girls’ schools and women’s colleges turn the world on its head.  In this one very small place and time, women are the center.  This is a world where the pronoun of default is she, not he.  It’s a world where the president is a woman, the editor is a woman, the team captain is a woman.  It’s a world where female friendships are valued and important.  This is all profoundly different from everyday life in the rest of America.  Shana Penn, who graduated from Western High School in Baltimore in 1973, described it as “like going to another country.””

After reading this in part, I’m happy and sad all at once.  Happy that, thank the LORD we still have girls’ schools, so they can truly experience this alternative universe where women can rule and see possibilities for themselves!  On the other hand, sad, because why can’t the real world be like this?  Why is the real world nowhere near this alternative universe created by a handful of educational institutions?

I never had the pleasure of attending an all girls’ school–with the exception of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. (And yes, I’ve also attended some women only leadership and philanthropy programs, but they really weren’t curriculum or formally based.)

Here’s the thing that I’m going to challenge myself with, and one I invite you to consider as well: how can we show girls this alternative universe, where they CAN be the presidents, and the editors in chief, and the captains?  After all, you can’t be what you can’t see…so how can we show more women and girls what they CAN BE???

This, I ponder…


Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

I spent all day…hacking.  I’m spending my life…hacking.  Aren’t we all?

Today, I embarked on a journey, all the way through Indiana, parts of Ohio and over to Kentucky, to get an interview as the final step for a Global Entry Pass.  For those of you who don’t travel on planes much outside the U.S., suffice it to say that it definitely regains some time lost at Customs when re-entering the U.S.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of standing in a Customs line for a couple of hours after a 8-13 hour flight, trust me when I say that the absolute LAST thing one wants to do is burn another 2+ hours in Customs after a long trip.

I’m pumped. I’m getting my life back – total hack.

Then, since I was over in the Cincy area anyway (yes, I had to go 2 hours to get my Global Entry interview, since IND can’t seem to get an office for DHS–grumble grumble), I made the most of it by heading to IKEA.  Then of course came home and found IKEA hacks over at Pinterest.

Some of my friends have been posting on Facebook life hacks lately, like this, this and another friend sent me a travel app hack list today.

Last, you already know that I’ve been hacking my way through low(er) cost ways to create video with audio.

Now, if we could just get a magic 8 ball hack, (oh, wait, there is one) or a future hack (there’s kind of one here), or something that would give us a hint we’re all on the right track in life with the bigger picture, we’d hit the hack payload.  It would be hacktacular.  Hackrific.

I’ll cease now.

The 10 Commandments of Thy Sabbatical

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

I’ve been thinking about these for a week or so now, and I’m going to try and abide by them–as the real point of a sabbatical is to push the reset button, take a break, and work on things you can’t get done during a normal work week.

1. Thou shalt read every day. Easy. The library card is almost maxed out right now.

2. Thou shalt write every day.  Are you kidding me?  This is almost too easy!

3. Thou shalt exercise every day, preferably twice a day.  This is one of my biggest goals this fall – to get myself back into shape.  After gaining 10 20 30 lbs more weight than I should have during the last 5 years (due thanks in part to law school, studying for the bar, and the work grind) it’s time to get my dupa back into a healthy zone.  I’m trying to walk once for an hour in the morning, and then after the evening national news at night.

4. Thou shalt not sit in front of the TV.  While I do try to watch the evening national news (out of obligation as a concerned citizen, certainly not for its entertainment value), I’m trying not to watch very much television.  Besides, there are too many other cool things to do – like 1 & 2!

5. Thou shalt go see friends thou hasn’t seen in a while.  Uhm, embarrassingly, I haven’t seen some of my favorite people since 2007/early 2008, before I began law school.  I’m fixing that this fall.

6. Thou shalt give up refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  Carbs are my detriment.  Of all the commandments, this one makes me saddest thus far.  But I do feel better giving up so much sugar.

7. Thou shalt give up bubbly white red all wine.  OK. Scratch 6 as the saddest and replace with #7.  But wine has a lot o’ sugar in it.  Of course, this one will probably go out the window when I visit the EU later this fall, but for now, I’m giving it. Up. Sadly.

8. Thou shalt try something new, preferably every day.  Routines are the enemy in sabbaticaland.  Right now, I think I’ve already shared that I’m working on my own first children’s book.  Today I’ll start storyboarding (I have no idea what I’m doing with this.)  I’m also working on some things to develop books differently.  I’m trying to shake things up and try some new ideas and actions on that frankly I didn’t have time for in the past.

9. Thou shalt be open to newness.  All bets are off this fall, in general.  I’m open to what the universe fetches and brings my way.

10. Thou shalt hit it hard in January 2014 at work.  Definitely.

Last, I will say that I’m so, so so very lucky to have the opportunity to take a sabbatical.  Not everyone gets to, but candidly, I think everyone should.  There are for-profits and non-for-profits out there that do offer sabbaticals.  I think we should seize those opportunities.  It makes us better.

How to Make a Screencapture Movie Using a Mac, Quicktime, iMovie and a Headset

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

As part of the ongoing endeavor to try to learn more about video, I recorded the link below. (I can’t figure out how to embed it from YouTube directly into this post, Lord help me!)  I used the following method (and for all of you technical rock stars out there, feel free to ignore this post, but I’m putting it down so I can remember for future use).  I use a MacBook Pro, my iPhone headset, and PowerPoint for visuals to record off my screen (NO CAMERA needed!):

1. Get your PPT or Prezi for visuals ready to rock on your mac.
2. Open up Quicktime.
3. Click on “New Screen Recording” from the “file” tab.
4. It will give you a little toolbar, hit record.
5. Do your recording business, and make the PPT or Prezi full screen.  I just used my iPhone headset for audio.  BUT–I sound a little slow in the video, because the feedback was egregiously bad.
6. After you are done, hit “stop recording” on the upper tool bar.
7. Save the file.
8. Then import the .mov file into iMovie.
9. Cut off the lousy looking beginning and ending.
10. Export the video to .m4v file.  I don’t think my file size was great, as it cut off the top and bottom of my slides.  Boo.
11. Then throw it up on Youtube. (Or, maybe YouTube cut off the top and bottom of the slides?)
12. Embed the video on your site (presuming, of course, that you can figure this out. I couldn’t.  But maybe my channel setting is off…?)

Technology is awesome. When it works.  It’s making me dizzy. And while this video isn’t perfect, I’m trying…!

10 Things Cats Have Taught Me About Life

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

So, I’m reading like a good stormtrooper this first week of my sabbatical.  And between the stats I read and watching what’s happening, I thought I’d create this post as yet another of the 5.6 trillion experiments I’m running in this thing called life.

Anyway, I was reading a book about slideshare and another about iPad, and stumbled upon Haiku Deck.  After also seeing that women are skewed heavily on Pinterest, and the #1 subject matter that seems to get re-pinned the most on Pinterest is cats, I took a few photos from my Instagram stream and created this Haiku Deck to put here, and a few other places around the internet to see if I could do it and fumble my way through more technology.  Not to mention, that I have learned a lot from the cats in my life.  While I tried to embed it directly, I couldn’t resize the screen embedded, so here’s the link.


10 Things Cats Have Taught Me About Life by Erin L. Albert from Erin Albert

Less is More

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

First off, thanks for the blog birthday love!  I am humbled that my 5 year old is still growing like a weed!  Thanks!!!!

Second, I was thinking about…Coco Chanel.  She said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”  I actually take her advice on this – except for my pearls (I can’t seem to edit those these days).

Third, I’ve been taking a gander at Armon Neel and Bill Hogan’s new book, Are Your Prescriptions Killing You?  with a prologue of “The Pharmacist Who Says No to Drugs.”  I read a section where Dr. Neel was counseling a patient on Spironolactone – an excellent example of the possibility of editing.  Read this book, if you’re concerned about polypharmacy.  Heck, I am.  Even I hate taking drugs!  Sometimes, less is more here too.

Fourth, the children’s book I’m working on: I stopped and took a pause last night to think about how stupidly simple the concept is – and I’m still shocked there is really nothing out there addressing what I’m going to write about. Here’s hoping K.I.S.S. pays off !

I guess my point with this post is to not forget the power of editing. Sometimes, less really is more.  Sometimes, Occam’s razor really IS the best solution.  And if you are solving some riddle of your own some day soon, and you pause just as I did about whether or not your solution is too simple, I’m giving you permission to just keep on plowing ahead.  Ship that solution. Don’t worry about how simple or less it really is…it might just turn out to be more.

Mai Tai Free

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

One of my friends calls me today and asks if I’ve got my feet up, sipping Mai Tais and if there’s a cabana man fanning me.

Uhm, no.

In fact, today, I interacted with one of my graphic design fab peeps to request a new cover for my next adult title. AND – I’m busting into something new.  I just met with an illustrator on….wait for it….my first ever children’s book!  Last but certainly not least, we moved forward on a possible conference for Indiana today too – around something I am personally passionate about.  Stay tuned on that.  Other than that, guess what I’ve been doing all day?

Yup – writing!

Although I was warned that time definitely does speed up on sabbaticals, it really has flown.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to get all my cool ideas out into the universe fast enough.  I’m concerned.

I know I should probably slow my roll, but I can’t.  I don’t want to run out of time.  We’re all running out of time!

If you’re sipping that Mai Tai, have a sip for me.  I’m going back to work!

p.s. – Happy birthday to this blog!  It’s now 5.  I guess it would have to go to kindergarten now if it was a person…?

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Monday, August 19th, 2013

I’m feeling very deja post title, but that’s OK – it’s still true.

So, I’ve also been holding out on you a little, my fab 13 – what’s so big about August 19th, you may ask?

Well, two large items, actually.

1. Tomorrow marks 5 years of this little blog being up and running.  While I’m thrilled that you joined me for this very wild ride, I’m still in shock that it’s actually been 5 years since I started this tiny corner of the internet.  Thanks for playing with me!

2. Much like my pal, Lady Gaga, I’m releasing a new era today.  She’s got a new album coming, and I’ve got a new period of my life coming.  Yes, as of today, I’m officially on a sabbatical from my alma mater and now day job at Butler University.  I won’t be back until 2014, which sounds really far away, but actually is only 135 days away (including today – and yes, I counted).  This is epic, because I’ve never really had a break from “work” (I mean, as an entrepreneur, I’m always working on something in my head, but reporting to an actual place and time is kind of new for me).

As I promised, this year I had no written goals–and now, with being sabbaticalized, I’m even further off the grid.  There is no grid.  There’s no map, plan or course of action, either.  But, I have a few generalities that I’ll share with you for the next 135 days of my life, so you can hold me accountable.  Ready?

Stuff I’m going to do on my sabbatical during the next 135 days of my life:

1. Go see some friends – that, embarrassingly, I haven’t seen since before law schools started. (I hope they are still my friends!)
2. Travel – I’ve got dates set for Germany, Switzerland, Austria, New York City, Philly, and NC, just to name a few…
3. Write some stuff – I’ve got 4 books that I have been ruminating on – some are going to involve others, and a couple are just in my head (that oh so scary place!) But my last book was released technically in 2013, so I expect 2014 publications to be epic AND a little different than, “sit down and write, then find a publisher, repeat.”  After 6 original titles, it’s time to break out and do something a little different – both on the old books, and the new.
4. Sweat – I need to sweat every day of these 135 remaining days of this year.  It’s time to make exercise a priority.
5. Convene – I’m working with a group of amazing gurus in social media to plot and plan a conference for Indiana before the year is out – but that’s something I’ve not done before (the topic, not the actual planning of an event…) This one will be edutaining.

I think that’s enough. For now, anyway.  I’ve got a couple of other ideas, but they are still cooking.

By putting these on paper, I guess I do have some written goals now.  Huh.



Thursday, August 15th, 2013

2013DossierToday at work, I turned in my dossier.  For those of you that don’t know what a colossal, epic item that is to have checked off your to-do list, it is a portfolio of your work life of “best hits” pretty much for 6-7 years of your life when you’re teaching in higher ed.  It’s all the awesome stuff you did in the realms of teaching, scholarship/research, and service.

Not only is it tough to put together (it took me months of scanning, typing and organizing–I even bought my own scanner, the Fujitsu Scansnap, to rip through this project specifically with boxes of stuff to scan–which I highly recommend), but it also pretty much can make or break whether a professor gets tenure and/or is promoted.  (For me, it’s only for promotion – I’m non tenure track.) Writing books are way easier than creating a dossier. The bar application was a complete breeze compared to the dossier process too.

So, you may be thinking, ‘What’s with the Lego picture, Albert’?  Well, I always try to think of packaging that presents or represents my philosophy when it comes to presenting one’s self–I think I’ve stated that several times here at the old blog, at least for book covers.  The package counts.  I think this also applies to one’s professional portfolio or dossier too.  Lego was my vessel of choice.  Why did I choose Lego?  Well, for several reasons:

1. First off, they’re fun – who didn’t play with Lego bricks when you were a kid?  Besides, would you rather get a 300 page 20 pound binder to review, or a Lego brick containing a memory stick that you can place on your desk or slip into your bag to review?  Besides, they also come in super fun colors, and you can build all kinds of cool stuff with them, which leads me to my second point…

2. Lego blocks are building blocks, i.e. a symbol of construction – In higher ed, we’re kind of in the construction business too.  We are charged with building minds.  We don’t really have Lego blocks, but we have young minds to construct into thinking like professionals (at least in my college).  So, we’re building stuff…

3.  The word “Lego” is cool too – the word “Lego” is actually a hybrid of two Danish words, “leg” and “godt”, which if you translate into English means “play well.”  In learning, there’s nothing wrong with having a little play involved, and I think great educators not only teach, but “edutain,” so I thought containing my dossier inside something that means “play well” would be a symbol of edutainment.

Part of the dossier process requires a professor to include her teaching philosophy too, which I included as “five bricks” of my fundamental teaching philosophy.  I won’t bore you with those right now, but suffice it to say that those 5 bricks are really the basis for any type of learning I try to wrestle with and teach both inside and outside the classroom.

I’m going to go back to my last post as a friendly reminder to all of us…if you have to do something that everyone else has to do, why not try to make it a little fun, or one-of-a-kind?  I think that’s the best part of all here.  Not only does one get the opportunity to show his or her best hits at work, but also, one can wrap those hits in a cool package that represents his or her work–around a symbol of awesomeness.  Maybe consider this the next time you have to put together your dossier, portfolio, or even a project or presentation at work…?

I’m off to celebrate another large pile off of my desk! Yay!


Don’t Just…

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

As I was driving home tonight, I saw a sign for another farmers’ market I forgot to report at the other blog.  After scolding myself for not writing about it, I wondered why I forgot about it.  Well, because just like all the other farmers’ markets, it’s on Saturday.

How many farmers’ markets are NOT on Saturday in my zip code?  None near me that I’m aware of.

At work today, we were talking about pharmacy.  And college.  Why?  Well, because there are thousands of colleges all over the world, and hundreds of pharmacy programs. Let’s pick on pharmacy for a minute.  How many pharmacy schools have PharmD programs?  Well, pretty much all of them.  How many pharmacy schools offer something else BESIDES or IN ADDITION to a PharmD that is ONE OF A KIND?

Hmm…I’m struggling to come up with something.  (And hint, dual degree programs that already exist? They don’t count.)

How many pharmacists do we have in the U.S.?  Tens of thousands.  How many pharmacists out there can bring something ONE OF A KIND to their customers?


Friends, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to revisit the purple cow.  The special sauce.  The stuff that makes YOU one of a kind.  Furthermore, it’s time to revisit the amazing things, places, and experiences in your life that are ONE OF A KIND.

Don’t just live in a community with a ton of farmers’ markets on Saturday. Dare to start a farmers’ market in your community that meets on Friday nights–that has beer, that has music, that has FUN AND a market!

Don’t just be a pharmacist.  Be a pharmacist that is the best d*mn pharmacist in the entire state at…lactation (for example–or insert any other thing here, like special adherence packaging, or diabetes, or cooking for wellness).  Let’s get back to the lactation example – as a pharmacist, I want you to get every pregnant family in your pharmacy and share your one of a kind amazingness!  I want all the other pharmacists to refer those pregnant families to YOU, because YOU are the rock star of lactation!

Don’t just be a pharmacy school.  Be a pharmacy school that grants a one of a kind pharmacy degree–maybe a PharmED – where you could get a simultaneous degree in engineering design and pharmacy?!?

(OK, I hear you snickering out there at the “ED” bit – probably not my best example.  I’ve been told my acronyms could use some work.)

Hopefully, however, you get my point.  We all need to bring our A games to our lives moving forward.  Don’t just be another ____, be another ___ that also does ______ awesomely–and in a one-of-a-kind style.

Fill in the blanks with your purple cows, and plug the cracks in with the special sauce, peeps!

That is all.