An Aversion to Oscar

Such hype there is every year when the Academy Awards Ceremony is shown on television.  There are tons of promotions about the movies and great speculation about who will win what.  My memory dims but I think I may have watched a complete Academy Awards Ceremony 30 years ago.  Maybe.  Some of the issue is I can’t stay awake that late but mostly I can’t stand watching the whole spectacle.  

I may sit still for the opening ceremonies but it doesn’t take long before I make myself scarce.  The whole thing drives me nuts.  The pre-show, the red carpet, the endless talking heads but mostly it’s the acceptance speeches.  It sounds like this to me:  I’d like to thank my chauffeur and the lawn maintenance person and the person who cleans the pool and the person who let me merge into traffic last Tuesday.  ARRRRGGGGHHH.  I can’t stand it.  I usually retreat to another room to read a book.

Anyone else feel this way?

Paying for Parking

This radio program (attached below) about parking will make you think the next time you are looking for a spot to park your car.  It’s quite the eye opener. 

I have had some experience related to parking spaces.  At a previous job, I thought that it made sense to try to change a hierarchal method of allocating parking spaces.  Up to that point free parking was provided to those who worked in certain positions or had been there a long time while others had to fend for themselves.  Why not change to a system where the cost of parking would be spread equally across all those who used parking.  Factor in the “free” spaces and make it equitable. As leader of the group I made the pitch for change.  It made a lot of sense and it was fair to all.  I thought. We held a confidential vote.  When the smoke cleared nothing changed and I decided to never try to touch parking space allotment again.  People who make decisions and carry out allocation of office spaces and parking spots deserve being put forward for awards of bravery.

Paying for Parking

Do you have stories of parking and parking spaces?

Organizational Change, The De-cluttering Kind

There’s a great deal written on Organizational Change, Organizational Design and Change Management in the corporate world. You can hear experts opine on the subject on all types of media.  If you have ever been part of an organization where there was planning of, putting into action and living with outcome of organizational change, you may know it works best if you understand there will be pain.   And then there is hope things will be better on the other side.  It’s like cleaning your basement (or your closet, or kitchen cupboards or on and on).  At least it is for me.  

One of my New Years Resolutions was to de-clutter, organize, recycle and reduce things around our home.   In some small way, preparing and doing this resembles the Transtheoritical Model of Decision Making.  What I take it to mean in this is case is thinking about it, planning and pondering organizing at home, enlisting the support of others under this roof and tackling one bit at a time.  

Perhaps you are organized.  I have one dear friend who tells how they clean and purge throughout their home every spring.  They are my heroes.  We are not of the same ilk, however the Transtheoretical Model holds hope that once through this stage we will able to forever change.  

We are far from finished however based one case study of one (us), here are some “truths” about trying to become more organized:

  1. It takes a long time.  Longer than you expect.
  2. There are many decisions to make.  Having some options of where things might go (recycle, donate, sell, keep but organize) before you start helps.  For example in our city you can post items you want to give away on Ottawa Freecycle.  Another great service is the local Shred It company that, on certain days, will shred smaller amounts (compared to business needs) of personal shredding for a donation to the Regional Cancer Foundation.
  3. She or he who leads the reorganization will not always be in favour (just like in the corporate world). 
  4. It takes perseverance and leads to you talking to yourself.  Out loud.  A mantra helps.  Mine is “keeping chipping away” and I mix it up with “You’re doing a good job, Barb.  Keep at it”.  
  5. Tears of exasperation, cursing and throwing up your hands in despair is not helpful.  I’ve tested them all.  
  6. You know it’s time to ease up when you find family members looking for alternate accommodation.
  7. There must be a physics theory that parallels the experience of organizing and reducing the stuff we accumulate in our society that owns so much.  Perhaps it is a subset of the Theory of Chaos.  It plays out in this way:
  • Stuff is sitting in its disorganized state.
  • You start to sort through stuff.
  • Things get worse, much worse than before
  • You question your sanity.
  • Things get better.
  • You vow to keep organized, to do it routinely, from now on.

Do you have experience and advice on becoming more organized?  Perhaps we could join forces and start a support group.

Checking Out a Human Book

My friend and I made a trip to the Ottawa Public Library recently.  We wanted to take part in the Human Library Project.  This is from the Human Library website: “The Human Library is an innovative method designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding. The main characteristics of the project are to be found in its simplicity and positive approach.”

This year the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio worked with the Human Library.Org to host Human Library Days in 15 cities across Canada.  My friend and I  drove a fair distance to check out specific “books” based on our interest.   You can’t reserve a book before you get there and you can only check out one book at a time and then you must go back to registration to see if there are other times available with other books.  The system is designed on a first come, first served basis and to allow more people a chance to check out a book.  There are some “rules” for the discussion with your book as well.  

My Human Book was Theresa Dupuis. She gave me permission to write about our discussion.  She was listed under: blind octogenarian.  Here’s a bit of the discussion with her beforehand.  http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/Ottawa/Audio/ID/2327013464/

The time we had together (20 minutes) flew by.  I asked her where she got her zest for life.  She talked about the difficult things that have happened in her lifetime (including losing her sight) and her determination to move on.  She didn’t gloss over the hurt or sense of loss but she talked about the need to work with the cards you are dealt.  Theresa talked about her family and her upbringing as one likely source of her resolve.  She was a delight.  

Theresa brought some of the technology she uses in everyday life.  A book reader (she belongs to a book club) and a talking calculator.  She brought the trophy she received as Skier of the Year, this after she lost her sight.  And finally a sculpture of a mother and child that she proudly had on display.  

I asked Theresa how she learned of the various supports and assistances that are available to people who are sight impaired.  She said she did the research on her own.  Theresa used to work for a Member of Parliament in the Government of Canada and was well versed in how to find out how things worked.  She brought those skills to bear in dealing with her blindness.  

Looking back, I think she was filed under the wrong category.  Theresa should have been listed under “vibrant woman who lives without the sense of sight”.   I learned a great deal in the short time we had together.   I usually never check out a book more than once.  My view is there are so many books in the world, why spend time reading any one of them more than once.  When it comes to Human Books though, it’s time for me to change my tune.

From time to time we meet people who have a very special zest for life.   You watch them and wonder what it is that makes them tick.  Have you met someone like that? What was it that drew you to them?