Where the Sidewalk Ends

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Although titled the same, this post does not have anything to do with the popular book written by Shel Silverstein. Instead, it is about the actual sidewalks of the area. Or, rather, where they are supposed to be.

If you live in the Midwest part of the United States then you already are aware of how much snow there was to deal with during this winter. The fact that there were two snow days (in a row) at the university that is usually the last to close states quite a bit. What I want to know, though, is there really an excuse to not clear the sidewalks?

The picture above was taken in the past couple of days. It hasn’t snowed that much in March, so it would have been a great chance to finish clearing any sidewalks that any place in the area was behind for shoveling. Yet, I walked through more snowy paths than I can even say. Some, I couldn’t even tell where the sidewalk was supposed to be and had to walk in the street. I’ve been noticing many pedestrians using the streets, too, because the sidewalk doesn’t exist! Drivers in the area complained when the roads were hard to get through. Great! Once those were done, why weren’t the sidewalks finished, too? Who is responsible? I can’t quite figure that out. I know it can be tough, too. I lived on a corner lot with a long driveway for three winters. The pedestrians and the postal carriers deserve to have a path to walk! It may have been tough to do, and I was glad when neighbors helped. Bottom line was that I did it.

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And then there are the bus stops. Do you see the mountain to stand on around the sign? Considering that many who use the bus system may be using a cane, using a walker, in a wheel chair, blind, or bringing young children, why is a site like this the norm more than the exception? This picture was also taken in the last couple of days when the temperature was up into the 40′s. It might look like a sidewalk exists. Actually, it was a muddy lake. I had no choice about wearing boots because even though the streets were clear, the rest was a sloppy mess.

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What are other areas like? What can we do to bring attention to the public and fix this before someone dies from using the street as a pedestrian and gets hit by a car? What are your thoughts and experiences?

Thanks for reading! (and commenting/liking)

Stacy

Sunshine Personality

Neighborhood Cat

When it comes to cats, although they each portray their own personality, they also do many things the same. The cat in the picture belongs to the neighborhood, as far as I can tell. While it bathed in the sun under my porch, MY cat had the same idea somewhere in the house.

Me

The question is, what makes that personality, whether a cat or a human, shine through? At least as humans it seems we are bound and determined to “do things right.” Sometimes that means listening to lots of advice. That advice can be contradictory, too. So, where do you draw the line? How do you choose what fits your own personality so that is true to you and shines through?

Whisker Kitty

Cats, especially when left alone, do exactly what they want to do, when and how they want to do it. At least, I know mine does. He totally has his own personality.

Stacy & WK

The reason I’m even contemplating all of this has to do with speaking about Hacker Gals. It is something that was created based on my own insights, experiences, and passion for a problem I want to help solve as much as I can, at least locally. Advice on how to “pitch” has taken me in circles and I am hoping to break that trend. At first, it was a challenge to explain. Now, I know exactly what I want to say, and I sound rehearsed. It is not because I am presenting to a group that I get nervous, as many have questioned. My time in Toastmasters fixed that issue several years ago. I believe the nervousness is inward, and may be related to the fact that I want to do it the right way, with “it” being the business of creating and spreading the word about Hacker Gals. The best piece of advice has been to relax and let my personality show through, yet the “how” still escapes me. Maybe I’ll curl up in the sun on a bean bag chair and present from there.

Have you found yourself in this type of dilemma? What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading! (and commenting/liking)

Seeing Red

Bubbi

When it comes to “Hallmark” holidays, I pretty much could care less. I didn’t always have that attitude. In fact, it is not from formerly being married where I miss holidays such as Valentine’s Day. It is actually my grandmother (Bubbi) who made me smile most on any of these types of days. I believe when Hallmark created the different holidays, they had my grandmother in mind as much as couples and children. For as long as I can remember, my grandmother would take any opportunity available to send out a card, sentimental or otherwise, to family and friends special to her. She didn’t need a holiday created to do it, either. My grandmother had a whole stockpile of cards, which was her trait in general (you could go grocery shopping in her pantry and she would not notice the difference because there was THAT much). That stockpile would usually include the current holiday of candy in the dishes on her end tables. Bottom line, today, on Valentine’s Day, if I think about anyone, it is my grandmother.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading (and commenting/liking)!

Chocolate Convictions

Confections with Convictions Cover

If the term “muddler” were to have a picture with it in the dictionary, Dale Anderson, owner of  Confections with Convictions, would probably be a top choice. Dale was the December 2013 speaker at the WMU Entrepreneurship Forum series at the Haworth College of Business. He started out the talk by mentioning that he didn’t know why he was asked to speak, and he continuously used the term “muddler” to describe himself.

Brochure - Inside

I have attended most of the lectures in this particular monthly series since it  began in October 2012, and I always learn something new. The idea is to share the path of local entrepreneur business owners. Many of them would declare something similar to Dale – they didn’t understand what made them special, and/or they considered themselves something other than a business person. For example, Dr. Robert Gadwood, President at Kalexsyn, considered himself a scientist who happened to be in business. His presentation can be viewed here.

Brochure -back

What struck a different chord about Dale’s talk is the emotions and heart that went into each part. You cannot help but tear up along with him during parts of his story, which can be viewed here. In a nutshell, while “muddling” through life post high school starting in 1974, he went from being a builder, to returning to school, to eventually deciding to be a counselor, to learning how to make chocolates and opening a shop specifically so he could help employ those with felonies or other convictions on their records. It is worth the 57 minute video and listening to it directly from Dale.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading! (and commenting/liking)

Stacy

Conversations

Business Bash Spring 2014

I wish I could say that more of my conversations in general, or, even since the one I wrote about in Making Life More Bearable regarding Startup Grind,  were common occurrences. The fact is, I need them. I don’t want them everyday or even always want them in person, and sometimes they are completely unplanned because it is someone else’s topic.

Freight Train

For example, I posted this picture of the freight train on Facebook. It was taken through my living room window and I thought it was pretty with the snow. My friends had all sorts of comments. One thought it was “magical” and looked like days from long ago. Another asked if the trains ever woke me up (they haven’t) while a third person commented on the potential noise in the summer. I cannot imagine it being that bad, especially after living on a high traffic street for the last few years. Of course, that still was trumped by my friend who had to point out that if there was a chemical spill, it would be much worse than the traffic noise I was used to. Ok…I cannot argue with that one. I asked him later how often that really happens and he told me it was rare. Yay!

Tree Branches with Sun

The next day or so, I took this picture, from the same window, of the trees with the branches glistening in the sun. My landlady, who is also one of my friends, couldn’t figure out which window I was at even after living there a long time. However, she also tended to look down and take pictures of the flowers which is not a possibility at all right now (plus, they were dug up before I moved in).

Probably the next best conversation was on email. It was pretty in-depth and I was much appreciative of it. But, what about the rest of the time?

Peggy

Sometimes, I actually don’t want MORE conversations because I’d rather think about (or re-read) what was discussed. Otherwise, it can feel overwhelming because I want to take action on many things and cannot choose where to start. Writing this out as a blog post helps me think about things and at least be able to refocus and decide what to do next.

And, if the conversation is going to be about the weather (this happens a lot in Michigan) or other generic topics, it probably won’t last long since they don’t hold my interest.

What are the conversations you like best? What other comments do you have?

Thanks for reading (and liking/commenting)!

Stacy

Making Life More Bear-Able

Cherry Pancakes

This is one of those times that I could probably be awake all night and not be tired. It does not have anything to do with caffeine or anything similar. It’s all about the buzz and the energy and the conversations earlier tonight that lead to all sorts of thoughts and ideas and (lucky for you?) this blog post. It’s actually difficult to choose where to even start.

Rhino

These two guys, Nick and Dan, I met at Startup Grind. They were there because the featured guest was Kevin Romeo, and not only do they work with him at Rhino Media, they were recording the event. We were discussing all sorts of topics, including the fact that my undergrad was in communications and journalism so videos and writing were what I did. In fact, while I was still in school, my favorite times was when I was a part of Western Student Television (WSTV), which was started by a guy ahead of me in the same program. After graduating, I continued with internships and volunteering through public access stations. My favorite project of all time was a mini-documentary titled “Making Life More Bear-able.” The project was about teddy bears, and how they are used by police officers in situations that involve children, and the organizations who donate the bears.

Startup Grind

Talking to those guys, and also to Conor, who is still in high school, made me realize WHY I come back to writing and photography – they are what I have loved to do for as long as I can remember, and the more I do it, the more I get asked to. Which actually leads me to a slightly different subject…

Do Club

At a recent Startup Zoo meetup, the idea was brought up by a friend of mine, Eric, to create a “Do Club” and be able to start and finish (or just finish something already started) a project. He then was given the floor at the next meetup to elaborate on how he was developing the “Do Club.” Basically, he wants people to try new to them and specific projects – so, for example, someone might say they want to learn the 1000 most common words in Polish, instead of just stating “I want to learn a new language.” He is asking for a time period and a tangible item at the end. What does this have to do with the beginning of the post?

Startup Grind

Well…besides that I am working on projects for Hacker Gals, doing new to me things (like possible crocheting) seems just as important to returning to what has worked before. Sometimes, I am not sure why I stopped “doing” those things that have been my favorites, other than I was surrounded by a different minded community of people. The current community makes me happier and want to keep on “doing” and thinking and creating (and, sometimes, skip sleeping).

What do you think?

Thanks for reading (and commenting/liking)!

January Sweets

Red Velvet Cupcak

I blog because there are so many things to talk about that if all I did was journal I wouldn’t be able to share. It’d be like reading a good business book and not having a discussion to go with it. Lucky (?) for you that even though I slowed down again since the start of the semester, this won’t be one long multiple topic post. Instead, you’ll have more to look forward to (if you enjoy this one).

Book about gerbils

What my young friend was pointing to in this book was a description of his gerbils. He has two of them and was happily letting everyone know as they entered the house so they would go with him to his room and visit. Even more special, though, was the reason he was all dressed up. It was his mom’s wedding day and his responsibility to give her away (he eventually asked what that meant during the month before). What I liked was the genuineness of it all. How could you look at the photograph below and not believe in love?

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I felt that at another wedding about a year and a half ago. That one was bigger and was a longer day of photographing where the one yesterday was smaller and simpler. The bottom line is that they both felt “real.” When I know so many who are or have ended relationships, it’s nice to meet people in ones that have lasted and seem like it really will “as long as you both shall live.”

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Does it sound like a song? Whether it is original, such as with the Chili Pepper Songwriting Club, or a karaoke birthday serenade (below), relationships are a definite song topic. In fact, one of my friends said he wanted to date Taylor Swift just so she would break up with him and he would be famous in a song. Lol.

Birthday Karaoke Serenade

The other relationships that I am always hopeful will stand the test of time are the parent and child, whether the child is a teenager or adult.Cheers to all of it and the hopefulness it brings!

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What do you think?

Thanks for reading! (and commenting/liking)

Stacy

Shameless Plug

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When I was in the Kalamazoo Jaycees, attending the monthly General Membership Meetings (GMMs) meant everyone would introduce themselves and answer whatever the question of the night was. Sometimes, people would add or somehow insert something about a current project. When that happened, others would yell out “shameless plug!” Even though I won’t necessarily hear your yell, this post is a definite “Shameless plug.”

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Just over a year ago, I started the Kalamazoo Business Book Club (KBBC). It was something I had wanted to do for quite awhile. If you want to learn more about the origin of the idea, please click here.

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My favorite parts of facilitating a book club are the discussions and the variety of people who attend. Some of them already were reading and others are reading even more. We meet once a month, and if you are in the area, I invite you to join the meetup group.

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As great as the group is, I always want to discuss things more often, plus, there are people who cannot attend for various reasons. Therefore, to be able to have discussions worldwide, I created a KBBC blog by the Business Book Lady. You can also follow at KzooBookLady on Twitter.

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The posts are a combination of what the book club is currently reading and other books that I may read. Since there is already content from last year to write about, the book club book posts are divided up as “KBBC Choices” by year, and the other category is “Book Lady Choices.”

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If you have any business book suggestions or comments, please note them with this post or at the Business Book Lady site.

Thanks for reading (and commenting/liking)!

Stacy (a.k.a. “The Book Lady”

Pictures were taken at The Michigan News Agency.

The Social

Stacy

If it seems like I’ve been writing a lot more than usual, you would be correct. I probably haven’t been any busier. I’m just sharing more of my busy-ness cause it has been things I’ve been excited about. I want to note, though, that I realize not everyone has had a great start to 2014. I hope you are taking it one day at a time, either way, since (as we are constantly reminded in Yoga class) all that matters is the current moment. The past cannot change and the future is not set…onwards!

Looking at a monitor of monitors

Last night (Thursday), I had the chance to attend the GR Makers weekly social. Due to the holidays, I didn’t think they would have one at all and was really glad they added one on a different day.

Josh

Josh

As pointed out in Syntax Error, they have a short meeting and have people come to the front of the room and talk about “What’s going on.”

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Stacy at GR Makers Social

Stacy talking

Stacy talking about Hacker Gals

Although I did not put my name up on the white board, Josh volunteered me to speak. Lol. I’m glad I did, and I am also glad that Josh, Gary and Casey reminded me of things to add and that Katy (a Hacker Gal!) came with me to the event.

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They said the crowd was actually small tonight. If this was small, then I cannot wait to meet more people and share with more friends from Kalamazoo and, of course, work on another project. In case you are wondering, I put my 2013 wall calendar in an album. The pages were perforated to fit a 12×12 album. Please comment if you would actually like to see the finished project.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading! (and commenting/liking)

The First Day

Window View of a snowy day

Window View

Whether you are in the Midwest or not, if it looks cold outside in this picture, you would be correct. It snowed most of the day and the high was in the teens. The windchill made it feel below zero at times. This didn’t stop people from participating in Kalamazoo’s 31st annual One One Run, though.

Starting line for the run

Starting line

Several of my friends and I joined the crowd of people who decided to brave the weather and move by walking or running in the annual event. Participants have a choice of running or walking, and going around the course once for 2.2 miles, or twice for 4.4. The first time  I tried this, in 2012, I walked. This time, I wanted to run. It is much warmer! Plus, the runners start first, and although I have run the distance of one lap before, I ended up switching off between running and walking. The course was snowy and the wind whipped pretty good at one point off the lake.

Cheryl and Stacy

Cheryl and Stacy

One of the greatest challenges with this weather is figuring out how to layer well. When I saw a friend there and asked to take a picture, I had to debate whether or not to remove any of those layers. Cheryl commented that we get to see faces. We were in a tent at this moment, and decided that it was not worth less layers for a picture. The range of layers and outfits was interesting to see, including some people wearing shorts. I kept pretty warm other than my nose. It probably took 10 minutes before I felt comfortable overall, and by the end, I was definitely at a good temperature and ready for the treats in the tent!

My group at the run

We did it!

Five of us arrived together. Three chose to walk and Dave, the male of the group, ran two course laps. This was the third time Dave and Margaret (in front with glasses) participated. I was with them in 2012, too. Despite the weather and some of the doubts, we all had fun and enjoyed going. It is an untimed race and we are all listed as #1. Plus, as I heard someone on the course say, “You are first place in your name category.”

What are you doing to get moving in 2014?

Thanks for reading! (and commenting/liking)

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