Monday, November 29, 2010

Cats, Thanksgiving, Seth Godin & My Husband Who is Apparently Going To Drop Dead

Well it's been a few weeks and here are the things I'm thinking about:

1) Do the rest of you cat owners out there ever think you're going to come home to a dead cat someday? Because, me, I think this.  Half the time there are papers overturned and things on the floor that shouldn't be when I get home. The other day the curtains were actually RIPPED down and the curtain rod bent.  While I was sitting at my desk, she jumped into the shredder bin.... I rescued her from the toy box the other day. Is my house unusually dangerous for a kitten? Do kittens randomly get themselves killed in household accidents when their owners are away?? Kittens are new territory to me. I also got my cat at work and things there are going along swimmingly. I would hate to have to tell them I killed their cat.

2) My Thanksgiving was lovely as was Bess and Adams. I'm fallingf behind again and I'm determined to make it this last sprint until the end of the year with them. I'll be sad to see them go.

3) Seth Godin rocks. I've just discovered Seth and loved Linchpin. I went to preview his book Tribes on my nook and there was no content in the free preview. So I emailed him to let him know because there is nothing more frustrating than downloading a free book preview and having nothing there. I've never bought any book where the preview was not there. Anyway, I thought Linchpin was such an awesome book that it was a shame that he was out there with a possibly frustrating situation to eBook customers. Anyway, he emailed me back. And then his published emailed too to tell me no one ever told them that before. They had no idea about the free preview being useless. The eBook price was also wrong on the B & N site.  Neat. Isn't the internet grand? Check out Seth Godin if you want to be the best at whatever it is you do. Go. Make. Something. Happen.

4) We're in the middle of updating my husband's life insurance policy and they are thinking of not insuring him because of his crazy high blood pressure. The crazy thing is he doesn't HAVE  crazy high blood pressure. He's literally in the best shape of his life and works hard to maintain that.

You know how they send out a nurse to take your vitals when you get new life insurance. Well this nurse took his blood pressure and it was like 157/100 (They sent me to the hospital when I was pregnant with a lower blood pressure than this) She told my husband she gets "high readings a lot" Well that wasn't real inspirng. Later my daughter held up her vetrinerian Barbie to me and told me that "this looks like the lady who came to see Daddy today." My husband confirmed that his nurse did, in fact, look like vetrinerian Barbie. Which left me to wonder if she frequently gets high readings because she looks like a Barbie, because she has a bad cuff or becauause she can't do her job. The next week, his nurse at school took his blood pressure 2x per day all week and she got his normal readings. Vet Barbie called back because she forgot to do something when she was there. He explained the situation to her and she took it again and it was like 150/100. At this point I don't even think she's a nurse. At the very least, I think she may be doing it wrong.

Over the weekend the insurance people canceled my daughter's child rider on his policy because as my financial advisor explained to me today "They don't like to have a rider on a policy where the person might need to "use" the policy. I think that was her nice way of saying DROP DEAD.... She was also calling to ask me about my husband's "dangerously high blood pressure." Don't worry all, he's seeing a Dr just to be sure, but it really is fine. He was  there a few weeks ago with a foot injury and it was fine then as well.

The other obvious answer to this is white coat syndrome which he has never had before. Which would lead me to believe it's veterinarian barbie syndrome. At which point I will want to kill him ( However, I won't as his life insurance situation is currently so tenuous.)

They are requesting a new nurse come out and take his vitals. It better be an ugly one.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nov 8th 1910

Nov 8, 1910

Inspection at the gym. In special work I was on all the apparatus. Refereed the BB game & about 20 of us did stunts in the plunge for the visitors ladies & gents. 

W. Rainy
R. 11:30

Adam's YMCA in Syracuse. I love seeing where he went!
I was going to use tonight to catch up on the past week but I really can't ignore this opportunity to tell you a little more about Adam.

First of all, he was on the apparatus!!! How impressive. I really wish I knew what apparatus he was referring to. And stunts! Boy, can't you picture Bess in the stands, and she's either very impressed, or slightly embarrassed by Adam throwing himself all over the gym.

Which brings me to the gym. The gym is the YMCA. He's been going there since the beginning of the diary and before. I found newspaper articles with his name in them from 1907-1909ish for being on the basketball team. He plays on his factory Basket Ball team (Monarch Typewriter) and as you know, if you've been reading about him for any length of time, he plays all kinds of sports and seems to really relish it.

Now the problem with only having a diary for one year is that it's hard to imagine what happens next. It might be easy to think that Adam worked in a factory for the rest of his life. It seems to support him fairly well and he doesn't complain a lot. And his dad and his brother also work in factories.

I'm here to tell you folks, that all of his leadership classes paid off because he does not remain a factory worker for the rest of his life!

By 1920, (because I read it in the census) he lives in Watertown NY with his family (more on that another time!!) and he works at the YMCA! (Seriously, is this NOT like me working at the museum?!?!?) by the time he dies at age 59 in 1943 (from his obit)  he is the Director of the YMCA in Watertown! When I first found this out I was so touched, I had a second of pause and thought how happy I was that this worked out for him.  Except for his discussions about what he's doing with friends and family, he talks about athletics the most. How lucky!

In the local Watertown papers I cam across a bunch of articles that included his name in BB scores or trips for kids camping and such. He coaches, he referees and he still plays sports after 1910. I love that he gets to live on of his passions!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 Sells Their Soul for $4.79

I don't like to be disappointed. There is nothing worse than finding out someone is not who you think they are.

By now you've probably heard about the fact that Amazon is selling a guide to pedophilia in their kindle store.

Don't believe me?

There  has been a lot of uproar from customers on the Amazon Facebook page as well as on the actual "review" of this book. I imagine they've also gotten a lot of nasty emails and phone calls.

Amazon's response to the uproar is:

"Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable," the company said in a written statement. "Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

The beauty of living in a country with protected free speech is that Amazon can sell this item and the author can author the item (and I'm sure he's LOVING all of this free publicity, including by yours truly) and no one can do a damn thing about it. And that's a good thing.

However, I happen to think that with privilege comes responsibility.

And Amazon is wrong. This is not a freedom of speech issue. I believe that Amazon should have the right to sell this book. I believe the author has the right to write this book.

But Amazon is a STORE. They are not a library.  They are not the government. They are simply a store.

Whose mission, I believe, is to serve customers and sell books. They aren't doing that very well today.

That they carry a how-to book on child rape makes them not the people I thought they were. I wonder how they look in the mirror at night? I wonder if they could look into they eyes of a sexual abuse victim and tell them how valuable it is for them to carry this book. On principal, mind you. 

It doesn't make much sense to stand on principal when you have no soul.

I reiterate, they are a store. They have choices. Not offering a product because it doesn't fit in with your corporate culture isn't censorship, its business. Good business has a soul. Good business does not engage in endangering children. Good business does not disgust it's customers on principal. Barnes and Nobles does not carry this book. Is anyone out there calling them dirty censors? No.  Although, I imagine they have a lot more business tonight at their online store than they usually have on a random Wednesday. And Amazon doesn't carry every book in the world which means, that yes, the do have some  kind of screening going on.

I imagine that most of Amazon's clients are not pedophiles and that most of them would be turned off by the material. What brick and mortor store carries items that most of their customers don't buy?  In fact, what good business carries items that most of their customers find offensive?  From a business standpoint how does that even make sense? 

The only statement you are making Amazon, is that you don't care what your ACTUAL customer's think.

I don't know about you but if I walked into a bookstore and there was a man crapping in front of me on the floor, I'd walk right out.

I'm not "boycotting" Amazon because I think they need to stop selling the book. That is their choice. I am simply no longer their customer because they are not the company I believed them to be. I don't support places who support pedophiles and allow them the opportunity to thrive. It's that simple. Nothing sinister or censorship about it. Hell, there are some brands of yogurt I won't buy for much lesser offenses. has a man crapping on their floor and it stinks.

This is not a freedom of speech issues, this a  free market issue and the market will respond. Just in time for holiday shopping too. 

Merry Christmas

*** Edited to add that I got an email from this morning. The book is no longer for sale on their site. I guess it WAS a free market issue rather than a freedom of speech issue. It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth since they only did it because it's close to holiday shopping season. Apparently their "principal" goes out the window when faced with financial loss.

Dear oh Deer

So along with my ax to grind with, I killed a deer tonight.

No kidding.

On my way home from work, while driving on the expressway, a deer ran out in front of my truck. I swerved to miss it. Luckily no one was in the other lane because I didn't look before I swerved. I hit the deer with the front  drivers side corner of my truck. The whole truck shook and the deer was tossed to the side. It was dark out and the cars seemed to be driving so fast and I had that whole anxiety thing where your arms get all heavy and it's hard to breathe after stress thing. And I didn't want to stop on the darn shoulder of the road.  I got to my parents house because I was picking up my girl and checked that I was ok and so was the truck.

After assessing that I WAS ok, my dad asked "Did you kill it" and I answered "I sure hope so." Because I hit it hard. So hard that I spent the rest of the trip praying that the deer died on contact. (Well that and crying)

The funny thing is, usually when I got to work, my husband leaves me the car in the morning and he takes the truck because I have considerably farther to drive and the car gets better gas mileage.  He took the car this morning. After he left today he called for a minute about something and I said "Hey, why did you take the car today" and he said "Oh...I don't know."

We have an older Chrysler 300 that has a really pointy nose. So pointy that it would have scooped that deer up like a spatula and deposited it on my windshield. On the drivers side.

I think that's why he took the car today.

I think my guardian angel was watching over me.

The deer's angel, however, was nowhere to be found.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Nov 7th, 2010

November 7, 2010

Making chicken stock from roasted chicken we had  for dinner. Waiting to see if my girl is going to throw up again as she did before bed tonight. Hoping flying chunks did not infect me as well.  Time change catching up to me. Tired. Going to bed to read.

W. Colder, Dry.
R. 9:55

Nov 2-7, 1910 & Bringing Back the Art of Calling....

Nov 2, 1910 

Rained all day. Bess went up home & I up to Dave's from work and got the clothes from the carnival & home to supper. I started some more copper lamps and Bess came home at 9:30. 

W. Rain
R. 10:30 

November 3, 1910

After supper Bess and I went to Aunt Carrie's & over home & I worked on a lamp. 

Snowy and Windy after supper. 

W. Colder. Snow. 
R. 11:30 

I've never known a man who made a lamp. I'm just sayin'.

November 4, 1910

Rode my wheel home in 4 inches of snow & slush. Stayed home at night & worked down cellar. 

W: Rain all day, slush
R. 10

November 5, 1910

Stayed home at night. Read.  Syr beat Vermont 3 to 0.

W. Snow Slushy
W. wet
R. 10

November 6,, 1910

Went to Sunday school and after dinner Bess & I went calling ----- Till not home & we went to Uncle Herb house & grandma & back home to supper & home at 11. 

W. Fair
R. 11:45

I was just having a discussion with someone about how no one just goes calling anymore. Even when I was young my parents would take us on a drive (which we pretty much hated, this is funny because I LOVE going on drives now!! Perhaps my parents should have given me a steaming cup of coffee back then....) Anyway,  we would sometimes stop at friend's homes and visit and play with their kids.  And sometimes people would stop at our house as well. I never heard my parents grumble if someone showed up unannounced and everyone whose homes we stopped at always seemed friendly and happy to see us. (Who knows, they may have been PO'd on the inside, but these were generally the same people who would stop over to our house randomly) 

Come to think of it, my parents and their friends still do this sometimes, although my parents probably call the person on their cell phone to alert them a few minutes from their house.

This is all the fault of Facebook.... Why do I need to come and see people when I can see that they are "Cleaning their kitchen" "Mad at the neighbors" or "Hungover from Bridgett's 50th" And people work so much that we when they are home, they are doing laundry or cleaning the bathroom and are not driving around. Or if they are driving around (as we were today) they think everyone else is busy...

I don't like it.

I think we ought to bring back the tradition of calling on each other. Be aware friends, next weekend I'm going to just start randomly showing up at your houses and expect to chat for a while. And I'd like coffee (or tea) I won't stay long. About an hour. You don't need to provide a meal, you just need to be happy to see me. I won't check Facebook first so we have something to talk about and just to keep it real, I'm not going to call first or on the way.

Friday, November 5, 2010

When Life Gives You Quince. Part 2

 So where were we?
Quince Jelly
Oh yes, no job in sight, no museum experience and an an overwhelming desire to work there....

I tried going through the normal channels that one would use when trying to get a job somewhere.

And I didn't get far. 

About that time, the idea of doing a blog for them popped into my mind. Being such a fan of the museum, a blog writer and blog reader, I knew I would love to read a blog about them. They did have a Facebook page but it was not updated very often.

I flew my idea past a few people over there.

It didn't go far. 

Finally, I took a chance and created a dummy blog and figured out what their president/ceo's email address was and contacted him directly telling him I was interested in doing this for them. He emailed me back in 20 minutes with a invitation to come in and meet him.

I fixed up my dummy blog a little more, came up with an outline of what I thought I could do for them and set out to meet him. I brought a resume and wore a suit. I acted like it was a job interview. I met him and told him why they should have a blog, that I would love to do a blog for them and that I would do it for free as a volunteer. However,I also told him that my goal was to get a job there eventually. That I viewed this blog as an opportunity for us to get to know each other better. I pointed out that I was a good manager and that he probably needed a project manager for.... Something.... I wasn't pushy but I was proactive.

He had me back to give a presentation to a larger audiance. I created a nice presentation and again, went to the meeting like I was interviewing for a job.Once I got the ok for the blog, I worked at it like it was a job.

During this time I met a lot of people, and best of all, someone showed me all around the village so that I had things to write about. Like my own personal guided tour!  In that time I kept in contact with the CEO, looked for blog material, talked with him about the direction of the blog/Facebook and kept reminding him that although I have no museum experience, that I'm a good manager. I was honest about my skills, what I would like to do, what I would not like to do and frankly, what I can't do.

My husband, supported this decision to work for them for free. Some others in my life were a little skeptical that this was a "career path" at all.

I officially started the blog on May 1st. 6 weeks later, my now boss, the CEO, offered me a job as a "Special Project Manager" working for him. Special actually means that my job could/would entail a lot of different projects but that he couldn't tell me exactly what I would be working on 6 months from now. This is fine with me and is EXACTLY the kind of job that I like and thrive in. To be able to work in a museum I love, learning about many of it's different parts, and utilizing my strengths is a dream job for me. I have more goals that I would like to achieve in the future but this is where I am at right now and I'm having a great time.

So how do you get your dream job?

1) Decide you want to work somewhere you are passionate about. This was easy for me. It may not be so easy for you. But what do you love? You may be a computer programmer but what else do you love? Comic books? Cooking? Crafts? Nascar?-I bet all of those places need a programmer some time. I don't know what it IS for you, but I bet you can think of things that you have skill sets for that you could utliize in a new way.

My friend Deanna works for a human services organization as the Intake Coordinator and Assistant to the Vice President. She could do the "tasks" of her job at any number of places, but her job satisfaction comes from the subject matter of her tasks. My friend Stephanie is an awesome writer-She could write novels or she could write textbooks-She writes novels because that is what she loves. My friend Mari started a business, coaching businesses. She could have started a business teaching people Microsoft word, but her passion lies in elsewhere. I really think people's job dissatisfaction comes more from the subject matter of their jobs, than the actual tasks that surround said job.

2) Volunteer. This was key in the whole equation. First of all, it's a place I'm passionate about so it wasn't hard for me to offer to spend some time out there as a volunteer. I wouldn't suggest you volunteer at a place you don't feel passionate about just to get a job because what would be the point of that? I mean you're looking for your dream job here people.

NO ONE is going to turn away free labor-Not in this economy. Besides, if you don't like it it there you learn that BEFORE you go hog wild and quit your day job-You can walk away knowing you tried it out and it wasn't for you. If you don't have experience in the field you want to work in, volunteering is a pretty good way to get some. And finally on the thought of volunteering, if you offer free labor you may get to be a little choosy about what you would like to do. There is nothing wrong with working your way up from emptying the wastepaper baskets, but you may be able to avoid some of that if you do the work for free.
3) Think about how you are different. Think about what you can offer them that they don't already have. Be a little creative. I'll tell you, the first line on my real-life resume is that the last project I managed was a $15 million dollar infrastructure redesign/implementation. That did not get me a job. What got me a job was that I was already writing a little blog of my own that sparked my imagination to create one for them. Sure, my project management experience made me credible as a manager of sorts once I knew some people but that resume line did NOTHING to get me in the door before they knew me.  I had sent them THAT resume on MORE than one occasion. It was ignored. In this instance my blogging was worth way more than my prior work experience to get myself in the door.

4) Work for something besides money. This is a lesson I am learning as I go. I'll be completely honest here, up until now, I have usually worked just for money. Money is important and I'm not going to tell you it isn't. I've been lucky and have always liked my jobs well enough. But I choose the jobs based on their ability to pay me well and keep on paying me well and hopefully pay me even more in the future, not from a greater sense of purpose or love of subject or anything like that. That is not wrong.  This job pays me less than my last job. But the ability to work somewhere I really love has given me a sense of peace about work that I've never had before. It's just different. I used to envy my husband because his job as a teacher paid him in more than just cash. I wanted that. Now I have that too. Don't get me wrong, I still think you can make a good living doing something you love but consider your happiness as well as the salary when you look for that dream job.  I recently spoke with a high earner whose job is a nightmare. She told me in no uncertain terms that you can't put a price on happiness. And yes, there are times that one just needs a job-There is nothing wrong with that, you don't need to be all self actualized when you need to pay the bills. But it is a nice, lucky situation when you can be.

I've only been at this for  6 months now and I have a lot to learn about this museum and museums in general. It's been fun getting back into the world of work and I feel very lucky to have this experience and work in this place.

Check out my museum blog here

You can like us on Facebook here.

The museum is closed for the season (with the exception of special events that are planned) Today on lunch, I needed to deliver a book to someone so I put on my coat, heated up some chai tea, and had the village to myself as I walked all over!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Life is a Bowl Of Quince

For me anyway.

Part One because this is a LONG story

I got these quince at work. They were in a crate labeled "Free". ( I got a free cat there too)  I'm making jelly out of them (the quince, not the cat)  tomorrow on my day off. At a party there 2 weeks ago I got some handmade cheese and saw a movie about the underground railroad that was filmed where I work. And someone called me about a month ago so that I could come take a picture of pioneers plucking a dead goose. I've also seen an historic clothing collection, met a minor 70s TV star and entered an agricurtural fair and I'm not even a farmer. I also write press releases, purchase commercials & work on the website and this summer, held, in my hands, a letter written by Laura Ingalls Wilder......

The other day I was talking to someone about a conference we are hosting in March and I asked if I could take one of the workshops....

The one to make a pewter spoon.

The person I was talking to said yes and mentioned (in case I wasn't aware.)

"You know, you make the mold too, You get to keep it"
"The mold?" (eyebrows raised)
"What? In case I might want to make a pewter spoon at home?"
"You might."

Hmmm....These people ARE my peeps! I really like that there are others more excited than I to make a pewter spoon. I like that there are people besides me who want to make a pewter spoon.

So how did I get this job with dead geese, pewter spoons and old fashioned fruit?

I made it up.

Right about now you are thinking "Well who would want this job anyway?"  Right??? And the answer to that is, no one I know, except, actually, me...

This is a job that plays to my strengths and incorporates my interests because I helped create it. I'm not telling this to you to brag, I want you to know how I did this because it worked for me. And I've never gotten a job in this manner before. And I really LIKE this job. And I think this would probably work for you too if you wanted a job in a place where it was not obvious that you were particularly qualified to work.

First of all, let's back up.

I'm the official blogger and Special Project Manger for The Genesee Country Village & Museum. (yes, it even says "Special" on my business card, I think it's because they really like me ;-) ...At my other place of employment I was just called "Project Manager" nothing special about me there folks....)

Basically, as an adult I've always wanted to work in this place. I adore this place. On my lunch I usually just walk around like a visitor.

The problem was, when I started looking for a job they were not hiring. There was no position that existed called (Special) project manager and I have no prior museum experience.

Yeah I might not hire me either.....

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 and find out how I got this non-existent job.

In the mean time head on over to the museum website and take a look at the video I put in the Facebook feed today. (You can see it on Facebook too) but I particularly love how it looks from the museum home page.

October 30-Nov 1, 1910

October 30, 1910

Bess & K to church & I to S.S. over house to dinner. Bess & I took Ethel & Dot out for a walk to Reservoir & over the hill to Roberaue. After supper Aunt Carrie Glady & her cousin came over. 

W. Sunshine but cold. 
R. 10:45

Apparently the Rev didn't ever go through with his plan to wear bells on his robe. Bess and K are still at church together.

October 31, 1910

Stayed home and worked in the cellar & read a while. 

W. Warmer. Fine
R. 10

It is Monday. I still can not figure out how he just randomly stays home on a work day...

November 1, 1910

Mr & Mrs Witham up to supper & Bess & I to social gathering of the Young Men and Girls Bible study classes at church. We had a fine time. 

W. Warmer, windy
R. 1:30 
Clara slept over our house.

Really? Men and Girls?? I know it is the time period of course. I just can not imagine how the women felt about being called girls. One of the reasons I can not imagine it is because I'm not sure they minded. And I don't know if I should be offended on Bess's behalf is she isn't. Sometimes the filter of the 21st century blinds us to the fact people were in fact, different, than they are today.

I sometimes have to remind myself that Bess can not even vote at this point. In fact, voting must be on my mind because it is actually election day in 1910 and Adam doesn't even mention it.

With all of the political talk around this joint I'm kind of welcoming his silence on the matter.