Entries Tagged 'Random thoughts' ↓
April 25th, 2013 — Random thoughts
Tsk tsk KEA NZ … I’m all for supporting my home country of New Zealand in finding out where those of us living overseas are and what we’re doing with our lives after our great start in New Zealand so will happily fill out an online census-type survey like the one from KEA (Kiwi Expats Abroad) that landed in my inbox a couple days ago. But I think there’s a very relevant check box missing on this form …
… I don’t really consider myself young any more, however the only ‘older couple’ check box assumes you have kids. I know I don’t like being put in society’s boxes but I’m so proud of us being a country that supports gay marriage, how about being one that supports ‘older couple no kids’. It’s not a taboo subject – there’s not always something wrong that we can’t discuss – sometimes it’s a choice.
April 22nd, 2013 — Random thoughts
My blog has basically been on hiatus for 4 months. Obvious. I had a major catch-up on work over the quiet Christmas/New Year holiday period which meant that my head cleared a little and my mind wandered to think about things I normally push aside, usually when I’m ass-up scrubbing out the bath and can’t write it down, but never-the-less, I’m thinking! During that time I thought about this blog. What it’s for, what did I want it to be for, what it could be for, or is it time to let it go? There are millions of blogs out there, something for everyone, so if I’m not getting what I want out of mine then maybe there needs to be some changes. I’m not sure I like it how it is so stopped writing until I figured a few things out. Some points in no particular order.
- I’ve been blogging for almost 9 years.
- I already had orangethings.com as a site dedicated to photos of orange things, I wanted to write about orange things to go with the photos. In fact my first 2 posts were about something orange I saw.
- Twitter didn’t exist back then so for my own amusement it was a place to put little things that popped into my head … like the time I saw potatoes in the gutter on the way to work, or invented a new phrase ‘scone horrors’ after getting that post-scone dry mouth feeling on Sunday after Sunday after Sunday at Nikau or received good or bad service somewhere.
- I never wanted anyone to see my blog when I first started it. I definitely started it for ME. A place to keep an almost-journal, nothing particularly private but somewhere to write anything I wanted that I wouldn’t be judged for. I was really nervous when it first went live and I got The Mister to hide it. It stayed that way, undiscovered by search engines and no comments allowed for 3 years.
- I had a terrible time at work around the time I started blogging – hard to describe but in the simplest terms it was a period of being bullied by someone in authority – to the point I was sick to my stomach, a nervous wreck, paranoid about everything, not eating much … the doctor gave me pills and a ticket to see a shrink and it’s one of the few times I’ve let my guard down and let my parents see in. I couldn’t blog about that although I so desperately needed an outlet. I wrote it somewhere else and that’s since been destroyed, perhaps out of embarrassment or perhaps some ridiculous need to protect the people involved. Looking back I wish I’d kept it, published it, if others are in the same situation they need to see they’re not a freak and don’t need to feel trapped.
- When we lived in New York briefly a couple years back I started writing coffee reviews – as an anchor for exploring the city I was on a mission to find coffee like the great stuff we had in Wellington. Armed with a list of independent roasters and cafes we explored many and I really enjoyed writing about them. Then I got a buzz out of people recommending me as someone who knew about coffee in New York, then other places, and I often get tweets from people I don’t know asking where to get good coffee.
- I still want my blog for me. But I’m conflicted. I want to write whatever I observe or feel like ranting about, and often fantasize about my observations being commented on or tweeted. But too many people I know read my blog. I’m worried about being judged, being naiive, or sharing too much personal information. How can I be noticed and private at the same time?
- I realized (again) that I don’t really have any interests or hobbies. I never know whether I’m sad about this or don’t care. People ask me what I do for fun, or outside of work. Hmmm, nothing worth writing about. But wait, I do. Coffee, knitting, travel. I can hear in my head voices telling me it’s not good to just be about work. That I should make more friends and get a hobby.
- I never have time to blog, I have a very VERY full -time job. I think I’m a good writer when I put my mind to it but lately it’s slipped into a perfunctory travel diary to keep the family updated. I don’t want it to be a diary (although I do like reading back, to remember what we were doing at certain points in time).
- My job is very public and the connection between my public profile and my personal profile has been made. Not on the levels of those with fame but certainly blogging as an outlet for work purposes is off the table and even airing personal stuff is probably inappropriate.
- Thinking about the blogs I like to read, they’re real accounts of people’s lives and what they’re doing in their jobs but often a glimpse of a life that’s fairytale-ish – perhaps they’re really successful or leading in something and have the kind of life that I think I’d love to have.
- I went to a blogging workshop in Portland recently which was a nice escape and a chance to hear from 3 women who’ve been blogging for a while and meet a whole lot of others who blog. There was nothing earth-shattering that I didn’t already know. It was interesting to get comments about my blog from the professionals – that it’s not very personal, it’s factual and accurate (SO interesting, seems I am hiding who I am from strangers because I feel like it is all about me!). The message is to write as an outlet, think about what you want your blog to be, what you want it to be about and write.
There’s something somewhere I read about there being millions of voices and millions of blogs out there, lots of them about the same thing, but that your own blog is the only one in your own voice. So maybe that’s it, doesn’t matter what you write about whether light-hearted, personal, factual, recipes, reviews, rants or dreams, stop worrying about it being unique or offending readers, just write from you.
January 10th, 2013 — Random thoughts
Having a couple of Christmases away from my home country of New Zealand has meant a break from tradition and doing our own thing. I was talking to someone from New Zealand recently, trying to answer the ‘how’s it going in San Francisco?’ question and he was surprised when I said we weren’t homesick. I know we’ve left parents, family, friends and colleagues behind in New Zealand but we don’t have heartache and pining for anything – that’s not supposed to sound cruel or selfish, it’s just the way it is. Perhaps I’m at the exact right point in my life to have a break from everything ‘normal’ and everything society expects of me and what I expect of myself that this is somewhat of a fresh start and I’m trying not to constantly compare it to what I’ve always done.
Mother emailed me recently and reported that the Orange Niece had said that Christmas just wasn’t the same without us, and I looked at the family photos of Christmas and summer activities that are so familiar to me. I didn’t feel sad that we weren’t there. I actually really liked the traditions that The Mister and I have started for our own family. Christmas cannot easily be escaped in the States; shops, streets, TV, homes, work places are full of decorations, holiday flavors (oh yeah the Staryucks peppermint candy sprinkle magic mocha holiday ‘coffee’), holiday activities, work parties, cards, trees, music, cooking, holiday orders, gifts – it’s on steroids and we love to bask in all of that but it’s a kind of surreal winter wonderland (even though there’s no snow here) rather than something that makes us homesick for sand and sun burn in the bed on summer nights.
It’s not the time of year here where the office shuts down and everyone goes on holiday but for me, especially this year, it was a liberating time to catch up on some work I was way behind which in turn helped with the sleepless nights and allowed me enjoy some guilt-free couch time and time wandering around in the Christmas wonderland with no strings attached. We had 2 3-day weekends in a row and it was heaven! I don’t know yet if we have a new tradition set in stone and just because it’s just the 2 of us cooking on Christmas Eve and dining with champagne, and going to the movies and having a coffee afternoon tea party and a heat-up dinner on the couch on Christmas Day and just basking in just-the-two of us doesn’t mean it’s any less of a tradition than dinner sets and extended family and too many gifts for the sake of it and church and games and turkey comas and drunken New Year’s Eve parties in tiny dresses.
I did feel a pang of sadness when I realized I didn’t feel in the mood to do Christmas baking, for years and years I’ve made my own Christmas cake or fruit mince for pies because I love having Christmas baking in the house when people come over … then I realized it had actually been years since anyone actually came over … and right on time a box with a lump of Mother’s 2012 Christmas cake arrived, perhaps that can join the tradition. It was a great holiday season and I’m happy to just let Christmas be whatever it is.
October 27th, 2012 — Random thoughts
After the unexpected shock of having to pay tax on our income to the Tax Controller of California this year … even though we only earned here for 6 months the tax we’re supposed to have paid takes into account our worldwide income for the year so that’s tax on what we earned last year in New Zealand before moving here … I got a refund check in the mail. $1.52. Huh? Accompanying the check was all this parephenalia about reducing paper – so why send a check for $1.52? The preparation, postage and time taken to organize the check (mind you it looked automated) then the banking and processing of it at this end, let alone the bank reconciliation the State will have to do on the checks they’ve issued, will cost way more than $1.52. Perhaps there should be some initiative to allow a donation to a State charity for amounts owed or owing under a couple of dollars. I’m sure there are staunch people who need back every cent the damn Government has taken from them as a matter of principle, but perhaps a choice where the amount is miniscule and probably due to a number transcription on the 45 page tax return is a good option!
September 17th, 2012 — Random thoughts
Everyone knows I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Why? Because they’re practical. Sure, I don’t have kids or pets or a crazy physical job, spend a lot of time outdoors or rush anywhere. But I have a life, albeit ordinary, that doesn’t have room for accommodating clothes that get in the way. In my t-shirt I can go about my life and do normal things like unpack the dishwasher, make coffee, load and unload the washer, swiffer the floor, clean my teeth, lug a shoulder bag with a laptop in it, button my jacket, carry shopping, fossick around in the storage box under my desk looking for batteries for my wireless mouse without worrying about buttons catching or coming undone, billowy sleeves catching on door handles, necklaces, frills, folds, drapes, ties or flounces getting dripped on or dragged across an unfriendly surface, catching on zippers or blowing into my face, or one hand being unavailable because it’s busy holding something shut or down or out of the road, or drycleaning!
Do fashion designers think about women’s lives when they’re designing clothes? I know it’s an art form and I don’t know enough about fashion to truly appreciate the skill or reason something looks or falls or drapes or the message it sends and some non-t-shirt things do look awfully pretty but not many of us stand still like the ladies in magazines or walk sedately down an indoor catwalk. Whoever designs and makes this stuff needs to try the clothes on and do a few normal girl things in them.
Take this new shirt, not a t-shirt that I got recently. Pretty huh?
But I don’t stand there like that, pouting. And it seems that is was what was intended for this shirt. The damn buttons pop open the minute you try to do anything with your arms! This shirt, worn by a woman on an ordinary day, one with a fairly sedate life should be able to stand up to her moving her arms to open a door, do something with her hair, bend up and down to deal with a bag or go to the loo or put on a jacket without the buttons popping open! Seriously! Even my generous chest is not putting the buttons under any undue strain so that’s not it. And it’s not that the shirt is unfit for the purpose intended. I didn’t buy it at a store called ‘Catwalk Dreams’ or ‘For Standing In Only’, I bought it at Banana Republic, surely an everyday woman’s store if ever there was one? This shirt was obviously designed to be worn by a board that stands there! Good grief – let’s actually TRY out our products people!
Don’t get me started on shoes.
September 5th, 2012 — Random thoughts
Every day we look out at the lovely Bay Bridge but also at the orangey brick building that once housed Hills Bros Coffee. Haven’t tried the coffee myself, not sure I’d like it, but I do like the building
Then last week got this photo from Father! They were visiting a friend who brought this tin out of the cupboard when they asked for coffee – apparently a friend of hers 40 years ago visiting San Francisco brought her back ‘some decent coffee from San Francisco’ and she’s been using the tin all these years!
July 29th, 2012 — Random thoughts
Sometimes I find I have a few hours to myself and I always think of how productive I can be – there’s always a load of work to catch up on, a list of other non-work-related family jobs/paperwork to get done or a blog post (!) or practical Susie Homemaker stuff like baking or ironing. Then there’s all the stuff I could unexpectedly do with my time – phone call to a friend, a few hours at the shops, a walk, a movie. I’m no good just being at home not doing anything.
So I park up on the couch with my computer to work, that’s the one thing I always have to do which has got me to this place that if I don’t do it, I feel guilty. If I turn on the TV for company I always get so sucked in. I often just sit and stare at it. Doesn’t matter what’s on. Is this why so many people can spend so many hours a day watching rubbish? Or in my case watching stuff I seen before? I try to rationalize it with the reason that my brain and eyes are always taken up with work, that after months and months of constant work, a few hours in front of the TV is a huge rest. But then I feel guilty I’ve just watched TV for 2 hours and not done any work!
July 20th, 2012 — Random thoughts
I don’t really think of myself as a go with the flow type of person – too highly strung and definitely need to be in control, second guessing every situation so I’m not surprised. Recently I was watching a trailer at the movies when the voice-over guy said ‘there’s a moment when you know everything will change’ and that got me to thinking if I have any of those moments in my life. Moments I haven’t necessarily had control over. That bring about some kind of change. I think they’re different for everyone.
So I’m trying to think of moments I’ve had when I knew everything would change, or even moments that define me, it’s actually quite hard. I remember lots of things big and small but those that bring change and have a profound effect on who I am and what I do?
- That moment I caught sight of my mother when I was in my early teens, crying to a family friend about how her life had turned out, I think then I realized that parents don’t necessarily have an easy time of it, that they’re human too.
- When I was being fitted for a bra in my 20′s and the sales assistant asked me if I was still feeding. If I didn’t already have self esteem issues, I now have them for life.
- When my cat got run over.
- When I opened the door one March evening and Craig was standing there in a suit, holding an orange rose, I knew he was my one true love.
- When I saw and felt my best friend take her last breath.
- When I learned and experienced that physical sickness can be brought on by stress – in my case a boss who played me.
- When I signed papers at the bank to take out a loan to put money in with 5 others to start Xero.
- When the night ended on my 40th birthday – I was with the one I love in the place I loved. I felt great that day, that things would be different – that I’d grown up and didn’t need to question and prove myself and be everything to everyone any more, that I’d made it. Nothing changed.
May 12th, 2012 — Random thoughts, Work
This might be a strange exercise to do in this format but after going to a Community Management workshop recently and hearing a stat that Community Managers usually burn-out after 18 months, I realized that I’ve been doing this for 3 years and either coping remarkably well or have burnt out and just don’t know it. Although I thought burning out meant you couldn’t function much any more or spent a considerable amount of time in the corner or under your desk crying or eating way too many Advils. I thought about some of the things discussed at the workshop and how some traits of the job which turn out to be common to Community Managers all over the world define us and some mechanisms for coping.
12 steps to avoid Community Manager burnout
- admit you are doing it all on your own, that you have been for too long, and that this might not be the best thing for your company. Dedication to your job doesn’t have to equal no sharing and unhealthy, unsociable, stressful behavior
- try to do one thing at a time, like dealing with emails in turn, oldest to newest, people will phone you if it’s urgent
- see the funnel, be the funnel … realize that it’s OK to not know all the answers to all the questions, your job is a funnel or more likely one of those Willy Wonka contraptions for collecting and getting information from one place to another and connecting people or questions with the right people or answers
- create a system for keeping up with who you’ve asked for more information from
- believe, really believe, that asking for help or an assistant is not admitting failure, and ask for it
- look at your book or your husband as the last thing you see before you go to sleep at night, not your iPad
- identify something you can do for yourself – actually doing it probably occurs in the next 12 steps! But identifying it is half the battle.
- walk to work or walk to get your coffee, fresh air is your friend
- make a connection or friends with another Community Manager
- call your mother
- accept that just because you don’t get praise very often that you’re still doing a good job, your peers just honestly can’t see all the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep a community busy and happy
- book at least one day’s vacation, even if that’s a weekend day.
April 20th, 2012 — Random thoughts
Saw this article in SF Gate recently – You know you’re a real San Franciscan when … and that made me think of a few things myself.
You know you’re real a San Franciscan when you …
- Have a back door channel for what’s going on in the city via the Bay Bridge twitter account and are on a first name basis with him
- Can walk up 5th Street and avoid an encounter with a homeless and/or crazy person
- Can cross the road without being tooted at
- Don’t walk up Powell Street unless you have to, like if that Walgreens is actually closest
- Don’t ride on the open-sided street cars that have camera laden tourists hanging off the side of them
- Know where the nearest Post Office is
- Know where to buy envelopes and posting material, because you can’t get them from the Post Office
- Don’t stare at same sex couples holding hands
- Don’t take pictures and gasp and point when you see someone with a Twitter, Facebook or Square logo on their laptop sleeve, backpack or t-shirt
- Ignore naked people in the street
- Have a Clipper Card
- Use Luxor or Uber cabs and have an app for that
- Know what holiday ’420′ is in celebration of
- Go to the Ferry Building over Pier 39 or Fisherman’s Wharf
- Know the sweet spot for avoiding long lines at the Ferry Building at various times of the year
I’m sure there are more that I’ll realize as time goes on – perhaps I’ll keep this as an open list.