Blog Archives

At the Club

It can be complicated to be a female and have male friends. I wrote before about being friends with men and that many declare they have a significant other. When I wrote about this, my point was that stating the attachment was supposed to let ME know that they were not available, whether fending off or being pro-active. Sometimes, though, that didn’t stop THEM from trying.

Here’s the flip side – men respecting their significant other by not even considering women for social event invites unless their significant others are present (wives/girlfriends in this case). I understand this. Really. It’s a form of protection and a way to show that you want to do the right thing. If it’s a guys’ night out – that’s cool. Women do their version for girls’ night out. Purely social.

The Connection

Where do you tend to meet people?

There’s proximity, such as neighbors, or other parents at the same school or parents of your kids’ friends.

There’s work – I mean, you probably spend a lot of long hours with these people. When you get along at all, your relationship might move to social outside of work.

Then there are community organizations – they may be a religious community, such as a church. Or they may focus on leadership, a particular cause, or social activities.

What If

Let’s say the organization is in the last category – community – and it is not something your entire family would be a part of, such as a church. This organization is something specifically you have chosen that family members may be a part of occasionally. Let’s also state that the organization tends to appeal more to men, yet all are welcome. You spend a lot of time with people from this organization, and similar to people at work, adding a social element away from the organization with some individuals is a likable idea. You also are a married man who won’t mix socially with women unless your wife is present. Your wife is busy with the kids, not interested (or maybe not invited so she doesn’t know) in going out with anyone from this group, so only the guys are asked. You chit chat, and you also talk about business related to the organization cause it’s on your mind. No harm, right?

The Setback that keeps going and going and going.

I’d like to think that there are people to see socially, and when that rule is involved, either your significant other is invited, or the rule is updated. The need for support and to talk about business is something for more than specific groups (or genders). Yes, not every conversation is for everyone, and a guys only or girls only night out is fine. Yet, how are deals getting made sometimes? Socially – over dinner, drinks, golf, etc. The point is there might be others who would fit the social extension and who would also have something to contribute for “business” discussions and instead get left behind because they don’t fit with whatever the grouping is (“one of the guys,” etc).

I’ve observed similar behavior where it’s not only about who’s being social. Person A and person B have a different relationship now at the organization, and do not believe others need to be involved. Person A and person B dismiss what person C says because the relationship is strictly (maybe even barely) “professional.” In other words, when person C offers information, person A ignores or forgets until it is brought up by person B. When person B offers that same information, it’s golden. It comes across and is received as brand new information, even though person C had previously shared the same information. The point, then, is that the relationships matter, and the relationship may have the chance to exist because of gender. This really isn’t a new idea. It is another way to explain it.

We are all people before adding any other labels.  Shouldn’t that matter more than the labels?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading!



The Squeaky Wheels

One of the fun parts about social media is reading the adventures my friends have, especially related to their children. What I find interesting is the similarity in stories as the children hit certain ages or stages in life. For example, one of my friends posts about the challenges of his two-year-old daughter while she is going through potty training.  Slightly behind these posts, one of my other friends has the same topic about twins (boy and girl) and how he has twice the fun, since one twin’s actions follows the other. As far as which one starts the chain, take your pick. It varies.

What I see after following both these friends and others is that the situations are normal and how they are handled is what may set the stage for future behavior. For example, “terrible twos” are known for tantrums. Every time the tantrum works it encourages the chance that a tantrum will happen again. We expect the little kids to have them until they learn that the tantrums will not work. What about when it is adults? I hate it, hate it, hate it when the only way I end up getting attention is because I raise my voice and keep going in the direction towards a tantrum, even if it is not a full fledged one. It works. I know better (and totally HATE that), and end up in that mode sometimes anyways.

I also note when I observe it is happening in a situation I am a part of and I HATE it just as much. If I can do something to stop the full out show, I will. I’m referring to work or organization environments, not the general public. The thing is, just like I don’t get attention sometimes with a normal discussion and feel like I have to escalate the tone, I understand what seems like the need for this behavior.

Is it still considered a tantrum when it is an adult? In a discussion one day, the response from the other person went something like this: “The way the world works is that the squeaky wheel gets the attention.” In a sense, we are all a two-year-old trying to get attention. Considering how often I have an upset stomach as a result, I wish it could be as easy as using wd-40 to make the squeaks stay away when they are not necessary. Maybe the question is “how do we respect and listen to each other?”

What do you think? Do you have a story or suggestion to share?




Making Space and Giving Gifts

The topic of downsizing and purging is going to continuously come up here. On that thought, I mentioned to one of my friends that I wanted to donate excess scrapbooking supplies specifically where it would be used, not sold. As a former Creative Memories Consultant, I could try selling to other CMCs, and I have. A group of border makers that I had were “hot items” at the time I decided to sell, and the page coordinator even assisted me. Those were relatively small, and I could mail them in a manila envelope for about three dollars. Although I took time to post more items for sale, they were ignored or I discovered that I would need a lot of bigger boxes, and it would take more time than it was worth it to me. What seemed to move was when a “wanted” item was posted, and you had to pay attention and be first to comment or possibly be the closest in proximity. I tried a garage sale, too, and that didn’t go far, so I stored everything the best that I could.

20160814_190118-1.jpgIt turned out that the friend I mentioned the wish to has a sister who crafts all the time. She has rheumatoid arthritis, and to keep her fingers moving, she makes cards, journals, and much more. My friend connected me to his sister, and we chatted on the phone. I not only believed them both about the supplies going to good use, I was excited. By going through what I have (and there may be more that I haven’t found yet) I already made more space in my apartment, with the pile of items placed by the door. On top of that. we all win – it made my friend feel good to connect us, it made his sister feel good to have more supplies than she could ever afford, and it made me feel good to give it away and make space. My friend’s sister is not going away, though. We are now friends, and she offered that anytime I want to spend a day crafting to let her know. This is HUGE. I haven’t had the space to do much in the last couple of years. Also, since the end of my consultant days, I haven’t had many friends who have time and want to craft together. In summary, new friend, more space at home, new chances to craft and I will have access to tools that I gave away. Can you feel the excitement?

20160814_115410.jpgMy next big “picture” project related to downsizing has to do with magnetic albums. I have around 15 books that are 100 pages each, or about a year’s worth of time. These albums are sitting on a shelf up high in the kitchen. Not only are these albums bad for pictures, that’s too many to convert. On top of that, the layout never stays the same. I photographed the pages of the books I previously took apart, and have come up with a new idea – short videos. With a video, I can do a narration and it’ll be like a home movie, then I can dump them faster and preserve what I can. Stay tuned!



Sand, Wind, Sun and Rain

20160721_121224.jpgI’m not really sure what it is about this summer that has been different. It’s been really weird – at least socially. I mentioned this before, since it has been a thing I have noticed all year. The summer has seemed extra long, though. What I have been excited about is yoga on the beach. I went a couple of times in July, with different instructors. One of them I have known longer than the other and she is also the first yoga instructor I ever went to, around four or five years ago. We ended up being the only two in the car and had a nice chat, plus a great class and lunch with the other ladies. On top of that, the rain held off until we were paying our lunch bills. Perfect timing!

The last time I went to yoga on the beach I rode with two instructors. It was another great day for yoga, with the lake in front of us, and the lighthouse to the right. After class, I asked if there was time to walk to the lighthouse on the pier. It turned out that both instructors wanted to join in on the walk. The trek across the beach towards the pier was normal – dodging kids and frisbees and smooshing any sand castles. Once on the pier, though, it was like a bonus class utilizing the architecture that was there. Although I did participate, I watched more than anything. Sometimes, my participation was a suggestion. If I thought I could do the pose, then I did try. It still felt uplifting just to be a part of what started as a request to walk to the pier. By the time we returned to our original “classroom,” the sky had become more overcast. We ended up leaving after we heard thunder a couple of times. Credit to the guy by the concession stand near the bathrooms who turned out to be more accurate than the weather forecast. His friend was creating sidewalk art that he claimed would be washed away within an hour. I hope she took fb_img_1469133408219.jpgsome pictures before that happened!

Yoga on the beach has been a great summer activity (thank you, if any of my instructors are reading this!). What I have really missed is seeing friends who I am used to hanging out with throughout the month, again, probably because it is summer. I was really glad when one of them decided to celebrate his birthday at a baseball game and it ended up being a group of 12. It was fun to celebrate with the birthday friend AND see people who I knew, too. The forecast and the skies threatened rain. Luckily, that didn’t happen last night.

I loved waking up to the sound of the rain today and hoped that it would stay all day. The rain is such a relief from the humidity. That didn’t happen, and I felt stir crazy in my apartment. Since the bus runs on Saturday, I decided to go to the grocery store for a few things. As I was getting ready, one of my friends messaged me. I thought she was at home. It turned out that she was at the same store I was heading to, and she also rides the bus! We found each other in person for a minute, did our shopping, then met again on our way out to ride the bus back together. Funny thing – she doesn’t usually go to that particular store location, and we both ended up there. We chatted for a little bit after we both made it home, then I decided to be productive. Well…here’s proof of my attempt at productivity. Yes, it is a Saturday night. I don’t mind that writing (and listening to music) and possibly reading are how I will end the evening, as far as I know. What’s up with you?




The Bicycle Ride and Dancing it Out

It hasn’t happened in a long time where I have lost my motivation. I’m pretty much self-driven with a lot of things, including exercise, at least in the realms that I like. Lately, I haven’t wanted to run, and even thou20160704_172648-1.jpggh I am on a summer unlimited pass, I haven’t been to yoga since the middle of last week. Whether or not this seems weird to you, it definitely seems weird to me.

My homework this weekend was fitting for these thoughts. I started an online Holistic Living class. Since it is summer, that also means double time, and that technically I am already two weeks in with the four lessons. One of the topics discussed the continuum of balance that we are on which goes between chaos and stagnation. Those on the chaos end feel overwhelmed and those on the stagnate end get bored. Or, maybe unmotivated? What helps me with staying motivated are the social interactions and the support that comes from it, which has been minimal lately. Maybe we’re all at extremes, trying to come back towards the middle, and missing each other in the process. Or, maybe my circle of friends is such that I’m not part of the closest circle, and have to really assert myself or be willing to be by myself. Luckily, the air temperature has been cool enough that my apartment is comfortable without a fan on or extra windows open. I was happy enough to be doing my homework and I was able to take a dinner break out with a friend on Saturday. All good, right?

The other part I have noticed is that I don’t know what pictures I want in the frames on my wall. A few years ago, it was a no-brainer since there were several groups of friends who were special to me. Some people I saw regularly, others were from groups I used to see all the time, including classmates from high school. The classmate pictures were from interim reunion pictures. Those pages are now in an album. I’m not sure if the replacements will be people or scenes. Right now, I have blank frames.

On the flip side, Zumba is one class that I have been returning to lately at the gym. The instructor I like keeps us moving and plays more than the traditional Latin songs. There is usually one or two I can sing to because I have heard them on the radio, such as Cheap Thrills by Sia’. One of my favorites!

My Zumba instructor also talks about our energy helping to give her energy, and that sometimes you have to “Dance it out.” Dancing had been something else that I had not been motivated to do much until I was in Chicago. Shortly after that trip, I returned to Zumba and more dancing. I have loved dancing in that class and was super excited the first day back. Sometimes it is a challenge to keep up, yet I was able to the entire time, and have returned a couple of more times. What fun!

capture_2016-07-04-18-25-14-1.png.pngAfter being in my apartment for the majority of the weekend, I decided that I needed to get out once I finished my homework. Since it is a holiday, my choices were limited by what was open. Transportation was limited to walking or biking. I decided to bike ride, and I made it a challenge, too. Other than a hill that I chose to walk my bike up, I bicycled to a coffee shop more than 2.5 miles away. It’s pretty quiet, as expected. Still, it is a place to be interactive. Plus, I can treat myself to food and a tea. Changing perspectives always seems to be a good thing. Sometimes an inversion is a good choice. Tonight, the bike ride was a great choice!



The Untitled Chapter

fb_img_1465527530766.jpgI just finished an excellent book called “The Linchpin” by Seth Godin. It would’ve fit well with the Business Book Lady and Kalamazoo Business Book Club discussions. My favorite point, the main point of the book, is that we all have art to give. Art, according to Godin, is “any original idea that can be a gift.” Godin also notes that there is labor involved: “Not the labor of lifting a brush or typing a sentence, but the emotional labor of doing something difficult, taking a risk and extending yourself.”

As I was reading the book, I was thinking about Godin’s concept of art. The art couldn’t be outside the box, either, because there is no guaranteed support or even the chance to complete (what Godin called “shipping.”) Instead, the creativity of the art is on the edge, where it is still recognizable, with a twist. I believe Hacker Gals would’ve fit since the goal was to have part maker space design, and part women’s organization, among other ideas. Those were all recognizable. Putting them together the way I did was the twist.

My life seems to be one of those twists, too, kind of like my favorite flavor of soft serve ice cream – mixing vanilla and chocolate. I’m coming up on a really good part, too. It’s like when you know your experience will change because you turned 16 to drive, except that is all you know. I’m getting to the part of school I’ve been wanting to do the most for the last couple of years. I couldn’t do these things now if I hadn’t taken the path I did, my “driver’s training.” The training is not easy, and definitely comes with obstacles. First of all, appealing to be able to receive financial aid.

Funny thing about liking school enough to earn degrees – they all add up to a lot of credit hours. Too many credit hours earned can be just as bad as too many credit hours attempted and not earned. The requirement for both is to appeal and provide documentation to prove your plan. I had to do it last school year, too. All I get out of the process is feeling like a human pinball being bounced around the machine. The biggest problem of being a part of the machine is that the departments don’t talk to one another. No one knows the entire process or what each step requires. I started this year with what I learned from last year, and made an appointment with financial aid. My paperwork was ok as written, except I needed to submit a graduation audit for my documentation. An audit required talking to an adviser in the college of my degree, and walk-ins weren’t available the day I was already on campus. When I talked to someone a week later and submitted paperwork to the registrar’s office, the auditor emailed me later that one part was missing. Meanwhile, financial aid had made it sound like the audit had to be completed before the appeal could be approved, which I told the auditor.  A couple of days later, the missing paperwork was submitted, the auditor stated proof of the submission was all I needed for financial aid, and financial aid is reviewing my paperwork. Whew!

Another transition has been a change socially. It’s been weird not having friends to talk to as regularly. Maybe this is part of the “art” since it is something I have been doing even before reading “Linchpin” – reaching out to friends to support them, even when they do not ask. It has been special cause it has led to being able to see people who I haven’t seen much in the last year. I hope it has helped in return, too. Plus, today I received unexpected messages to join a couple of friends for dinner. That was super cool, even when I arrived after they were close to finishing. I wasn’t hungry and ordered food to go, which also worked well.

Connections have also been important to me. A former high school classmate reached out recently on Facebook. It was someone who I actually talked to in high school and at a reunion or two in-between because I remember having a conversation about writing. It turns out that is still what he does. I sent a message to have a short chat, and we discussed writing. I have to say that even though I haven’t read Science Fiction (or any fiction) lately, thinking about all I have learned or experienced lately I am inspired to take some of it and create stories. Maybe that’ll work out better than the songwriting attempts, or even help them.

My friends tonight asked what I was up to today, noting that it had been “7 hours” since I had been on Facebook. Even though I use messenger, I’m really not on Facebook that often and appreciate the separation of the apps. What a loaded question about my day. I was excited to say that I watched parts of the Startup Grind Europe conference which began about 3am here (9am in London). I also participated in the world record attempt for the largest live stream audience by watching the interview with Eric Schmidt of Alphabet. After dinner, I had to be home for an online work meeting, and now here I am writing this.

20160614_113957_pano.jpgOh, and I love the layout of my space! I worked on it Tuesday morning before my friend came to visit. Knowing that I was going to show it off  was a great motivator!

An ice cream twist explanation of the day seems much simpler, don’t you think?



California, Friends, and Spring Break

img_20160305_102533.jpgHello, World. It has been a while since I have written here, although not because I haven’t tried. I am excited to finally write today and catch up! I usually don’t need the break until the end of the semester. It’s Spring break, though, which is helpful for catching up and great timing.

Speaking of “catching up,” I had a chance to celebrate a birthday with a friend the other night that was also a farewell party. My friend is not moving too far, yet that distance across the state can seem long. The overlap of friends who gathered was quite fun and one mutual friend noted that “nights like these are good for the soul.” I totally agree! Even though I don’t hang out much at bars anymore, I stayed with the group until closing because besides spending time with the friend leaving, I made new friends and the conversations were fantastic! The comment of “good for the soul” is an understatement and I hope that there will be more conversations and that some of the people who I previously knew and hadn’t seen recently will show up more often.

The social support of friends really do help our personal world go around. The night of the birthday party was also Art Hop. I started at the yoga studio because there was a celebration for the 6am challengers, besides that it was an Art Hop stop. A group of friends, including one who later went to the birthday party, stopped through on their route, plus I saw a few friends at the studio, including my landlord and his girlfriend. I also had a chance to chat with several people involved in the yoga challenge – one of the instructors, the studio’s owner (and husband), and others who were in the classes with me. Names were drawn for prizes and I’m really excited to have won a month of unlimited yoga. Yay!

img_20160305_104856.jpgAs I wrote about in the previous post, “French Toast, Flying, and Karaoke,” I was recently in California for Startup Grind. I feel lucky to not only have made new friends, but also to have been able to visit with others in the area or see people who I already knew before I was there. The experience was in several parts, though, and I have tried to put it together that way, as far as pictures AND how I have been thinking about it. I will probably also watch more or watch again many of the conference videos, and may make some of that another post. As far as friends who I already knew, though, first there was the Kalamazoo connection. I am the only one who is still in Kalamazoo while the other two have ties only, and we all were at Startup Grind for the conference. Two of us were also a part of the directors’ retreat. Next year, it might even be all three of us who are there for everything, which would be an awesome thing since we wouldn’t be so divided in activities. Any time I had a chance to chat was special and (throughout the conference) also seemed to be too short. I wanted more.

wp-1457234336341.jpgMuch of the retreat was about getting to know each other better. I am definitely excited that I have made new friends (NOT just contacts) all around the country and the world. I have been wanting to travel and plan on getting  a passport (my first ever) this year and starting to do what I have wanted to do most of my life. I already have been visiting with friends when I travel in the country, and that includes California. This particular trip only covered the San Francisco area, and was my second time visiting in a year. I had a chance to spend time with one of my friends and explore Berkeley, including the campus. Even though she had grown up in the San Francisco area, she had never really had a reason to go there, which made it new for both of us. It was fun to chat and walk around in the spring weather and sunshine! The students on the campus were definitely taking advantage of the temperature and I wanted to stay and do the same! After walking around a little bit, we enjoyed having lunch in the city before returning back to our “home” areas.

img_20160305_110128.jpgMy last day in California was spent with the same friend who I was with at the beginning of the trip. One of my favorite parts was going to the grocery store and putting together a meal. With some coaching, I helped cook it, too, and might even be able to repeat part of it on my own. He made it fun and I was learning  and contributing as we went.

The final full day we were out for all of it, with the highlights being Pier 39, Alcatraz, and China Town. On Pier 39, note the seals hanging out, and the Magic shop. I posted the picture of the shop to a friend’s Facebook timeline because he IS a magician. He said he was first inspired because of a place in San Francisco on Pier 39. Could it be the same place? It might be! I was definitely in the same area.

img_20160305_105659.jpgPeople kept telling me how much I would LOVE Alcatraz. It was definitely as fun as it was a bit spooky. We were walking the same areas as inmates and guards and even had demonstrations of how the cell doors worked. Seeing the cells and hearing the stories gave me some chills, especially the desperation that motivated the men to create an escape plan. Wow, was that elaborate! Plus, there were other buildings for guards with or without families, creating a small community where it was a bad sign if you felt you had to lock your door at night. I agree, though, that it was worth at least going once. Some, such as my friend, were “repeat offenders” and had been on the tour at least once before.

After Alcatraz, we decided to visit China Town for a chance to eat and chill while absorbing the culture of the area. We passed a Zoltar (remember the movie “Big”?) when we were walking, and I wished I had asked to stop. I even had a dollar in my pocket and could have tried it, although I don’t know what my wish would have been. By the time we were walking back to the car, the machine had probably been wheeled in for the night. At the very least, we didn’t see it.

img_20160306_201921.jpgBesides eating at one of the restaurants, the condition of going to China Town was to get a Mai Tai, just as a chef or food critic would when visiting the area. It was also the chance to sit and people watch. Even though I didn’t get a picture of both, the “Lucky Buddha” could have rivaled “Mrs. Butterworth” (Mrs. B) in the pose and judgment look. We were sitting at the bar near the door and could see people in and out. We even had a conversation with the bouncer about Flint (MI) and water after he looked at my I.D.

The most interesting view was just before we left when we were still in the parking garage. We had walked to the side that faced four corners. It was amazing, as my friend pointed out, how much activity there was, between the late night coffee shop, the people walking, the bus going by, and  the buildings that we could see all lit up. I was glad to leave and also sad to leave. The list for next time has already started.

I could write so much more, since this doesn’t even really touch on the conference or retreat, other than the Kalamazoo connection. Stay tuned! and thanks for reading!



The Business of “Busy-ness”

When it comes down to it, we’re all “busy.” Sometimes it might even be a fake “busy,” like at a job, so when supervisors or others come by, they believe we are doing something. What does “being busy” really mean, though? I have stopped myself from using that as an answer all the time because it feels like an excuse. In other words, if I am “busy,” then I don’t have time for what YOU are asking me to do (or even time to listen) because I have other priorities. In fact, when I have a chance to pay attention, if at all, THEN I will respond IF, (and only if) something you sent recently has my interest.

20160111_163053.jpgAlthough I do understand that there have to be priorities, I do have a hard time with this type of attitude. To me, what it is also stating is “YOU, as a person, are not important. I will wish you well and good luck if you are ill or something, but I am not willing to connect beyond the surface. Connecting emotionally takes time and energy, and I am just too busy for that, or for you.”

I’m not saying that people should be like my late grandmother and worry because I am not calling everyday. On the other hand, understanding what is going on in people’s lives seems to me a reason to take turns checking in. Not asking for anything – just saying “hey,” and keeping it short. For example, I’ve been emailing a new contact, and we were communicating several times a day for a week or so relating to upcoming events and learning about each other since we are essentially working together. I stopped sending emails and knew it would be a good idea to check in. In this case, I didn’t expect it the other way around especially because he had said he was waiting for “the call” from his wife and the birth of their third child. I did check-in, and it was good timing. The baby was born early in January and he was just getting back to work and learning, with the rest of the family, how to adjust to less sleep and more humans in the house. He was also appreciative that I checked in, and even felt bad he hadn’t told me about the arrival of the baby. I told him that it was ok cause I didn’t see my role as someone who needed to know immediately and in fact, that is why I thought it important that I be the one who checked in. It was a good conversation, and it was short.

20160115_135001_hdr.jpgFor Hacker Gals, I’ve tried to do the same thing. I don’t want to message people just to see if they can come to an event. I feel like they are important to me as people I know and (from my perspective) as friends. What do you do, though, when that doesn’t seem to be the case? Where is the line between being persistent and begging? I do not want to beg anyone to be my friend. This isn’t first grade, and I am fine with that. I was happy to connect recently with one of my friends and when we met we had brunch together. It is much easier to talk about a lot of things in person than to have to type them out, which made the long conversation fun because we both have passions we care about, with some points that overlap. Texting is good in-between. It is even better to use to set up when to meet in person.

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the check-ins and communications lately. Someone who I just started talking to in the last couple of months apologized for not communicating more and provided a brief list of highlights. The acknowledgment was nice. I am important enough that it was ok to take five minutes and send an email. Thankfully, we have lunch plans set in a week and can catch up more thoroughly again.

Another friend who I  haven’t known very long. either, also apologized recently. She provided highlights and we had a short text conversation. We have tentative plans to meet at a local coffee shop. I invited her because I know when I get through my “busy” week (if you really want highlights, comment below) I want something to look forward to, and what would help me most is knowing I have time to work on whatever project I want. Does it sound like Hacker Gals? It’s not a formal event, and many times I sit by myself anyways. I am happy for the company, though, so if it works out, then great! If it doesn’t work out, I will still be able to work on what I want, which was the point.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! Please “like” or even “check-in” with a comment below.



When I have felt blocked or stuck, what has worked for me is to let what is not working, sit, and find something that is fun and stress relieving. In my case, that usually means some combination of writing and/or a picture project. Tonight, I am doing both!

The frames on my wall in my current apartment have been blank, except for one, because I knew I wanted to upgrade my wall art, as mentioned in this post. A couple of weeks ago, I uploaded photos to have them ready for printing.  Although I printed more than what I would need for the three frames, I wanted to make sure that I had at least the preferred categories of pictures. The themes I decided to use were:

  1. wpid-20150621_222011.jpgBook Club – I facilitated the Kalamazoo Business Book Club (KBBC) for 26 months, and read nearly a book a month for the club. During the second year, I started the Business Book Lady blog, and I also made sure to take more people pictures (eventually) instead of just pictures of the book. The discussions were always great and it really was as fun as it looks in the photos. We also found our final home at an awesome location in Downtown Kalamazoo – The Michigan News Agency. The owner, Dean, was as excited to have us as we were to be there. It was fun to see her and the others once a month (at least) on a Monday night.
  2. 5k Runs -Running is something that I have slowly been developing during the last several years. It began when I realized that all it took was practice, which I wrote about here. When I enter races, most of the time I know wpid-20150621_233239.jpgfriends who are participating, too. One of my friends, not pictured, came to several of the events to cheer and take pictures, including the picture where the ground looks frosted and I am wearing a pink jacket. It was more challenging for my friend to stay warm while waiting than it was for me running. The Color Run (2014) was meant as a fun event, although some did run as if it were being timed. I went all out and enjoyed the chance to be messy and colorful. The One One Run is a group favorite. Although it is not timed, since it takes place on January 1st (at 1pm), it is much warmer (and faster!) to try to run instead of walk. The picture of me in the crowd was in the local online news! Also, sometimes I see friends I don’t expect, such as at the Kalamazoo Klassic, and the friend finishes the race with me. At the Borgess Run, one of my friends did not want to leave the grounds until we had the chance to meet up. She had participated in the 10k and I was in the 5k run.
  3. Startup Grind – I had thought about including a frame of startup events and decided since that had an entire book, the wall wpid-20150622_001330.jpgframe only needed Startup Grind, including the Kalamazoo chapter. The story had changed since creating the “Startup World” album, as far as this topic. I was part of the community until August 2014, when I became a part of the team. It is definitely different to plan and promote an event versus only attending, and I have been lucky enough to experience both sides. The top two pictures and the bottom right corner are all from the same January 2014 event where the night could have been endless. (Yes, the mingling was THAT much fun, besides the fireside chat that night.) The rest are team photographs. The group shot is when I was in California and had the opportunity to visit the Palo Alto headquarters. Since I already had contact with several of the team, it was natural to meet them in person. The day before, I had been able to hike with a mentor I had met through Startup Grind. The other three pictures all have to do with the Kalamazoo team. The Chapter Director is sitting with me and the banner. For a short while there were three of us, and we gathered for a meeting at a coffee shop, which I wrote about here. The picture of me with my bicycle was to celebrate being added to the team, AND be in at least one picture, since as a photographer I was not in any others.

wpid-20150622_001934.jpgMostly, the idea is that when I look at the pictures, they make me happy. I might change out the fourth one because it is about my Dad, which makes it a little bit sad. The page had originally been a part of a different display, which I didn’t keep. Since I  still wanted to preserve the page and have it out, I fit it to the 12 x 12 frame. The other three, though, are current and make me smile when I look at them and think about the different stories. Working on the pages has made it a productive, fun night, and has definitely been a stress reliever. What is your method to break out of a cycle of being stuck?


Thanks for reading! (and commenting/liking)


Why the Bus Reminds Me of the Bar


Maybe it seems a weird comparison – the bus and the bar. However, after making a new “friend” on a recent bus trip while totally minding my own business, that’s exactly what I thought about, since it would happen at the bar, too. I’ve been using the bus for most of my transportation during the last six or seven weeks, and here are some other reasons why I believe there is a similarity:

wpid-20140405_224843.jpgMost people take the same bus at the same time and either know others on the bus because of that, or they know people from the community. In these cases, it is a big network of friends, including the driver. At least half of the bus is in on the conversation, such as when I explained what the Color Run was on the way to it.


When it comes to the bar, people tend to go to the same ones on the same days and general times week after week. By doing this, they become familar and make friends with others who also follow the pattern. It is weird, then, when “Norm” isn’t sitting on his favorite stool.


One time I was riding the bus and I watched as a guy got on for free, claiming that all he had in his pocket was a $20 bill. The bus drivers do not give any change and he was allowed on anyways, for free. This guy happened to sit directly in front of me, and when he turned around I could smell the alcohol. If you can imagine Joey’s line from “Friends” coming from a middle aged drunk guy, “How YOU doing,” and not think of a bar, then you might as well stop reading here. Luckily, something else caught his attention because he turned towards the front to speak to someone else, relieving me of having to say much.

Line Dance Ladies

And last, if not least, are the potential fights. The one I saw developing was between two females. Not what I really wanted to witness, although it was sadly funny. The instigator clearly wanted to get a reaction out of somebody. She was sitting in a seat near all the paper schedules and would grab some and throw them to the ground, and kept doing that long enough for another passenger to start yelling at her. As soon as there was yelling, the bus driver was involved, defending the person being yelled at, as in, the same one throwing papers to the ground. That didn’t sit right and basically continued the argument, eventually leading to the litterer getting off at the next stop, the yeller picking up the mess and getting off the bus shortly after.  She was upset because another passenger was being loud. When she complained to the bus driver, the response was that “talking is allowed on the bus.”


I guess that makes the drivers the bartenders. They are still my heroes for their daily endurance, amusing or otherwise. I am thankful that the bus is an option. So much for getting away from the bar scene, though.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading! (and commenting/liking)