From Barenaked to Baseball?

Ahh, Friday.  What a great day of the week.  This Friday is even better than last Friday because last Friday I woke up and thought it was Saturday.  Leave it to a wishful semi-conscious state to ruin a perfectly good Friday.

With Friday comes the question – “What are you doing this weekend?”  I often ask one of my colleagues this and she always says “Damn it Meaghan, every time you ask me it’s a weekend where I have nothing planned!”  Little does she know planless weekends are often my favourite kind.

Earlier this week I heard on the radio that The Barenaked Ladies are playing a show in Oshawa on Saturday.  Tickets were still available, and they had certain sections available for just $25! Awesome I thought! What a fun concert to go to,  a bit random, but still fun.  I thought about just booking two tickets but decided I better check with The Boy – maybe he’s got some elaborate surprise planned for me, and I’ll have ruined it with concert tickets.

So I asked him.  Granted, I asked him while he was in a semi-conscious state on the couch, and wouldn’t likely have gotten excited over much but his underenthusiasm was a bit disappointing.  “Yeah…. maybe…. I dunno.”  This is typically his response when he is mentally scanning to see if he will have a better option come up, which could easily include some kind of sporting event on television that he would be missing.  Underwhelmed.  I get it.  You’ll go if I REALLY want to go, but it’s not how you want to spend your Saturday night.  Fine.

Last night we were at my parents, and my mom asked, “What are you doing this weekend?”  I answered, not a lot – The Boy is working afterall.  The Boy piped up with his plans for the weekend (I didn’t know he had any)  “Well, we might go to a baseball game.” Oh really?! We might?  This is the first I’ve heard of said game.  I summarized these thoughts with a thumbs down.

So now it’s Friday, we’re hanging out with friends tonight – and we’ll see what Saturday brings – likely neither Barenaked or Baseball.  I just think it’s funny that we both thought of great weekend plans… if only the other was interested.

Have a great weekend!

Picture from here

Advertisements

Multitasking with Podcasts

While I work in a non-profit, much of my job does not involve one-on-one client interaction, but rather a lot of desk and computer time.  To this end, I am one with my iPod.  I listen to it throughout most of the day, usually with some Glee or a random mix of old and new.  Other days I find myself in a country mood, or listening to some Dave Matthews or songs about love.  Playlist after playlist I typically go for days listening to the same one, before I get bored and pick a different one for a few days. 

Yesterday I forgot to take my iPod home with me, and experienced some mild separation anxiety, but more importantly came to work this morning to find that I only had 20% battery life because I hadn’t turned it off overnight.  On top of this while trying to choose a playlist I mistakenly pressed the more button and found myself looking at the Podcasts I had downloaded ages ago and have never listened to. 

I thought – well if I only have a morning’s worth of battery why not try listening to a podcast rather than music.  Hey, maybe I’ll even learn something. 

Turns out I have a new love of Podcasts! They are awesome! I know this probably isn’t news to a lot of people but it’s news to me, and it’s my blog – so there!

 I’ve  listened to the odd one when I was a subway commuter – and by odd one I obviously mean one, one time, long ago.  But now my commute is about 10 minutes so I don’t think of it.  But as I learned today it turns out I can actually attend to more than one thing at a time.  Who knew?  So this morning while working away I learned How to get ahead as an Introvert, Why the world revolves around me, The art of marketing yourself, and The effects of loneliness.  The last I didn’t get much out of because I don’t think of myself as a lonely person so I tuned out a lot of it, but the others I could actually carry on a conversation about what I learned – and it was only on in the background.  Huh!

I was listening to Alan Kearns of Career Joy, a Canadian Career Counsellor.  His podcasts are weekly with interviews mostly with authors or scholars whose books may or may not be job search related – although most of them have something to do with self-understanding which can only help on the job search front.

I’m heading home to broaden my podcast library.  If you have any suggestions about podcasts you listen to send them along – I’ve found a new obsession.

Picture from here

Choose your own Adventure

Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books?  I was never very good at them, I would always read both options and then choose which one I liked better. Then if at some point I didn’t like how things were going, I’d try to work backwards to when I did like how things were going and start again.  I like to know all my options, and I like to work backwards and forwards through a problem – this really hasn’t changed.

But yesterday after I was sent to a video on You Tube from ahandmadestory, I found myself in a Choose Your Own Adventure situation… and it was bizarre.

I started with this Embrace Life video – it’s a public service video asking you wear your seat belt.

Then I was prompted to choose my next video – I ended up one that promised “Best Wedding Dance Ever”

I disagree that it is the “best ever” but it is funny at the end when he goes to hug her, and she turns and hugs her bridesmaid – so he awkwardly chooses someone else to hug.

Then I ended up with another choice to make… I was intrigued by Miley Cyrus Poll Dancing… but it turned out to be some teen boy’s home video comments on the alleged incident at the Teen Choice Awards… so I found the real video.

Then I sat back and thought how strange this all was. How did I start with a video on the importance of wearing your seat belt and end up with Miley Cyrus Poll Dancing? I no longer like this adventure.

So I gave it up and searched for Glee clips and learned that Quinn (aka Dianna Argon) and Rachael (aka Lea Michele) live together for real – T.V. enemies, real life besties? You Tube – you teach me weird things.

Ask and you Shall Receive

Today I “committed” to boosting my blog’s popularity and expand my readership beyond, my Mom, the Boy, his Mom, and my sister, with the ultimate goal to be featured on Freshly Pressed.

What did I find tonight while logged on to write my post for tomorrow… an article from the WordPress newsletter – How to get Published on Freshly Pressed! Kismet is what I think they call that.

The low down, it’s all about the tags, keeping posts clean, inspiring or funny, provide images – preferably your own, but if not referenced to the source, and spell-checked.

Well, now that I know what I need to do – I’m one step closer.

Thanks also to Weldon from welldoneweldon (Tip 4 – thank your readers who comment, and mention them in future posts) for the tip of commenting on other blogs and engaging in the online community as a means to promote your own blog.  It’s a good tip – we’ll call it #5 and reminded me of another one I read (Tip 6) ask other bloggers with similar themes to add you to their blogroll – and you will do the same.

I’ll be on Oprah in no time!

If you build it… they will come

So I’ve become slightly obsessed with my blog stats –  it is my mission to be one of the featured bloggers on WordPress.  This can be in any form, fastest growing blog, freshly pressed, on the home page – it doesn’t matter to me, just something.

I thought I was on a role, reaching a high of 41 hits in a day and then I learned that oh, 25% of those are coming from my sister, who hadn’t subscribed but just regularly checked in, and my friend over at ahandmadestory – same deal.  Now they have subscribed and WordPress alerts them by email when I post – no need to check regularly, my stats are taking a hit.

So this morning, I asked myself – how do blogs gain popularity?  So I googled, “how to make your blog popular.”   Have I mentioned my love of Google – honestly what did we do before – talk to people? Boo.

Google gave me a couple of options, I obviously chose the first – 50 Ways to Make Your Blog Popular, and the second – How to Make Your Blog Popular  Blog often, even when you don’t have anything to say is the general synopsis.  Start a contest or a controversy, were a couple of the 50 Ways, as was buy ad space, or create a blogging get-together of your local followers (I only have 4 subscribers – so that’s going to be a bit of a dud party).

So I’m keeping some of them in mind – Celebrate your birthday on your blog.  Well, I have a birthday coming up – so maybe I can start here.

It’s still 10 days away but I did get my work birthday card yesterday, so I guess it’s been kicked off.  28 will be my last birthday in my childhood home… so that’s deserves a special celebration lasting a full 2 weeks at least, right? 

What do you think? (Tip – engage your followers by asking them questions) Should I recreate my first birthday in my house – with a chocolate cake face in a high chair in the backyard?  I vote yes, to the chocolate cake, perhaps no to the high chair.  I could recreate all of the birthdays I remember there – maybe paint murals on the back fence again or get a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake in the shape of a rainbow, with thick multicoloured icing? I think those were both from when I turned either 5 or 6. Or maybe a sleepover with the girls, Ace of Base and Joey Lawrence playing in the background (13)?

And how can I create a celebration on my blog – tell all of you to wish me a happy birthday here only? That’s kind of sad… although I would get a lot of comments!  It seems a little self-centred, although the whole point of a blog is that you think your life is interesting enough that people will want to read all about it.

Okay,

1. If you build it they will come,

2. Engage your audience by asking them questions

3. Celebrate your birthday. 

That’s three of the 50.  Maybe this will help, or maybe I need to exercise a little patience – I’ve only been blogging here since the beginning of April after all.

 pictures from here and here

This is why I don’t read SERIES!

Dear Suzanne Collins,

Could you be a doll and hurry up and finish already – I really don’t think I’m going to make it until August!  Thanks, that’d be great.

Sincerely,

Meaghan

So my dear sister is a middle school English teacher, and she prides herself on her ability to find unique and engaging books for her kids.  If you have a young teenager, find her and she’ll surly give you about 100 books that they will enjoy.  She is determined to foster a love of reading and learning in all of her students.  It’s very admirable and everything – but this time it seems to be causing me some serious distress.

Over the winter when The Boy was going through books like water she brought us The Hunger Games.  It is a trilogy, and the first two books have been published, the third is set to be released this summer, August 24th to be more specific.  The Boy read them in about 4 days, he had little else to do at the time and because they are written for a younger audience, they can be quickly consumed.  Since my booklist was already full, I let them sit on my shelf for a couple months before picking up the first – at The Boy’s suggestion a little over a week ago.

Well, I’m just going to say it – The Hunger Games’ Katniss and Peeta are putting up a serious fight to dethrown Harry Potter’s Ron and Hermione (oh and Harry of course) as best series ever.  These books are AWESOME. There is just one problem… August 24, 2010 – that’s how long I have to wait to find out how it ends, I’m really not sure I’m going to make it!

I can’t even tell you too much about them – I don’t want to ruin anything for a potential reader, but here are the basics.  We destroyed North America, mayhem ensued and the result was 1 Capitol and 13 surrounding districts.  There was a rebellion and District 13 was destroyed to show the other Districts the ultimate power of the Capitol.  Just in case anyone happens to forget that the Capitol runs the show, it hosts the annual Hunger Games.  During the Hunger Games one boy and one girl (between the ages of 12-18) are chosen at random to fight in a controlled arena (like a national park) to the death.  It’s Survivor, but for realsies.  There is one victor – the rest of the children are either killed by their peers or by the elements in the arena.  Wait it gets better, the whole thing is filmed and aired on television as mandatory “entertainment” in all of the districts and in the Capitol.  And that’s all I can tell you.

Oh and this, read these books! They are SO awesome.

I’ve hand my nose burried in them for a week – unable to do anything else.  I’ve been dreaming about them for the last three nights, at times waking up in a cold sweat and scared that something has happened to my fictional characters.  I’ve got theories about how it is going to end, about the President, and about the districts. And I don’t know how I am going to stand not knowing what happens next for another 119 days!

THIS IS WHY I DON’T READ SERIES!

Pictures from here and here

So it’s not hopeless??

Mom sent me an article today.  The first line was really encouraging “Hey, new grads, I’ve got some great news: We were just kidding – you’re NOT about to graduate into the worst global recession ever!”  See what I mean, encouraging!

The article from the Globe and Mail, Get a job, new grads.  Here’s how… stresses the importance of networking, not with your parents contacts, but making connections on your own.  Scary.  A year ago I was unemployed and had no idea how I was EVER going to find a job.  I did of course, I’ve been here nearly a year but as a twenty something I certainly haven’t landed in my “forever” job, and as is suggested by this article I never will.  I will have to constantly be networking and looking for my next career move. But how do I do that – no one taught me that at school.

Recently a friend suggested volunteering at a conference as a way to meet people in your field.  It doesn’t cost much  (general expenses, hotel if needed, etc. but not compared to the cost of actually attending)  and as a volunteer it is often your job to talk to people at the conference.  Great! So I googled and registered as a volunteer for the Canadian International Conference on Education, it’s not really in my field since I think a lot of it will focus on K-12, but the keynote is on e-learning so I thought it was worth a shot.  Unfortunately, there was some sort of volcano that erupted (?) so it has been postponed – a little inconsiderate of my networking plans but I guess “these things happen.”

The problem I’m finding is now that I have a better idea of what I want to do and where I want to do it, I have to revise my job search strategies of a year ago from, I’ll take anything, to I know what I want – now why can’t I find it.

Hmm… a real pickle.

Keep plugging away at it I guess is the answer, and share what I want to do with as many people as possible.

So to that end:

 I’m looking for something in the Private or Government sector, developing adult learning, employee training or otherwise, classroom or online courses for said business.  I have some experience working with/creating e-learning courses, but I’d like to work under someone that can mentor those skills instead of trying to figure it all out on my own.  Ideally I’d like to be in Toronto – but I’m flexible. I have my Masters of Education, some of which is in Adult Education.  I’d be willing and able to increase my formal study in Adult Ed, or in Online Learning but I can’t do that from my current position.

So spread the news to anyone you can think of.  In return you can post what you’re looking for and I’ll keep you in mind with whoever I can think of – us twenty somethings have to stick together!  I’ll also send you a thank you note, but just to be clear I would have done that on my own – even if the article didn’t tell me to.

Happy Career Searching Weekend!

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/meaghanweldon

Picture from here

Whatever you do… don’t look down

Making my lunch this morning, go to the pantry to get oil and vinegar for some 4 second salad dressing.  I think to myself – “should I check the trap?”  The back of my mind says – “NO! Don’t do it,” but the rational part of my mind says “Like there will be ANOTHER one so soon – no way, don’t be such a baby.”  So I look down.

Mistake – trust your instincts.

We’re now at 3 mice in 2 days. That’s an infestation of vermin if I’ve ever seen one.

Clearly I closed the door wrote the boy a note and left the house.  This is getting ridiculous.

Snap!

The much anticipated episode aired last night, that’s right fellow Gleeks – MADONNA! I was not disappointed, not only was it awesome but I have already downloaded the full Glee – The Power of Madonna album.  Woke up a little late this morning so it’s not on my iPod yet – but it will be and then watch out world I’ll be dancing in the Industrial Park Streets.

My Glee experience was a little tainted however, by a noise that had the power to ruin the whole episode for me. SNAP!

Boy – “did you hear that”

Me – having heard something but unable to identify what it was, and so fully prepared to ignore it and assume everything is fine, “What?”

Boy – “I think we caught another one”

Me – “A mouse? Gross!” – curling into a tighter ball on the couch in an effort to protect myself from said trapped mouse. “Go and check it”

Boy – “NO! I’m not checking it until it’s had some time to die.” – turns out he equally hates the mice, he’s just slightly less of a baby about it.

Glee returns.

Commercial:

Boy – Puts on shoes (?) to go over to the pantry to check on said noise.

Me – “Is there something there?”

Boy – “We’re going to need more traps” (neither of us want to touch anything so we just throw out the trap with the mouse.)

Me – “Gross”

Boy – “Email our landlord.”

So I did, and Steve will be over to handle our situation some time today – hurray.

Now the bigger question is why are they back?  Well, as it turns out this may be my fault.  The item that they got into and ate was a bag of dog treats that we have for when Denver pays us a visit.  Apparently I may have forgotten to seal it shut, and the mice may have had a field day and eaten the ENTIRE bag.  Snausages, not just for puppies apparently.

So the Boy deserves an extra thank you I guess, since not only did he dispose of the first mouse (the second  he left to fully die over night – torturous I know but they’re vermin and I have no sympathy – call PETA, I’m sorry they’re gross) but rumour has it, their presence is sort of, kind of my fault.

Live and learn I guess.  Notes for our puppy – get a sealed puppy container.

As for ruining Glee – I think it did for the Boy, but for me the episode was jam packed with TOO much singing to be overshadowed by one little mouse!

Photos from here and here

An Unwanted Guest

Well, this is not how I thought tonight’s post was going to go – but I have to give credit when it’s due, so here it goes.

Dear Boy,

I love you.

Love Meaghan

XOXO

I was planning a rant on the balance of housework between the sexes.  I was fully expecting it to generate a discussion in my comments about how boys will be boys and I should just get used to it, women just tend to do more.

A brief recap…

Last night we went to my parents to do laundry, and the Boy got there first so he “started” this means he put a TON of clothes in the washer put in the soap and turned it on.  I arrived, and shortly afterward the washer was finished boy to me “the laundry is finished.”  Me (in my head) “are your legs broken?” The night progressed with dinner, more laundry, making lunches, more laundry, cleaning up dinner, more laundry and eventually a conversation between us about the difference between physical labour and social work, and how despite popular belief they are both tiring.  This just in… I’m tired too at the end of the work day.

This led to another discussion about “helping,” that is the Boy saying “I helped” and me saying “helping is not starting one load, and flipping the steak on the barbecue.”  Finally, the Boy getting upset because as he saw it I was saying “he does nothing” – (*Not true, and I made sure to not utter the words “you do nothing” he does a lot – just not yesterday)

So that’s the recap – I was all prepared to rant about this conversation not just skim over the highlights for the amusement of my loyal followers (my mom, my sister, and the Boy mostly) but then we got an unwanted house guest and everything changed.

Throughout the winter we’ve heard the scritch scratch of Jerry – our mouse.  He went away for a while but he’s been back lately.  When we first started hearing him we were sure to put anything open into plastic and went down to our neighbourhood Canadian Tire and chose our method of capture. I left this decision in the Boy’s capable hands.  I told him, this is a blue job, I am not dealing with the disposal of any mice – dead or alive.  We went the whole winter, we didn’t catch anything.  Today, I was putting the groceries away, and there he was Jerry – dead.

Not only did the boy dispose of him, clean up and set a new trap, he also took that opportunity to take out the rest of the garbage, put our laundry away and, after washing his hands I can only hope, made us dinner – including a veggie burger just for me.  Awesome.

Now I can’t claim that my rant the night before had an effect on tonight’s proceedings, I have full confidence that he would have dealt with Jerry regardless.  But I was genuinely happy that he took care of everything tonight.  It reminded me that I do have a good one (not that I was questioning) and we do have a pretty good balance.  However, seeing him do everything tonight did restore my confidence that he probably won’t claim to be “babysitting” in the distant future, when I leave him alone with our children – the Daddy equivalent to “helping!”

Dishes aren’t done – I guess that’s my side of the balance tonight. Boo.

pictures from  here and here