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This blog is written by a handful of great ladies. To see a complete list (or to read one author's posts) visit our Authors Page and select the author you are interested in. You will then be given a list of their posts. Enjoy!

Our DAMN Tweets!

jodycakesRT @UnderbellyHOU: It's a whole, beautiful new day. For you to eat lunch in! See you here for a Goat Dumpling/Fireman's #4 combo benefiting HFD?
15 months ago
culturalbaggage@jodycakes Lots of people have listened to Led Zeppelin IV while baking.
15 months ago
jodycakesToday's baking soundtrack - Led Zeppelin IV - it's time to rock and roll this week...
15 months ago
jodycakesRT @FelipeRiccio: Restaurants, groups look to honor city’s firefighters http://t.co/W5ie052wzF
15 months ago
CathyWMDADear Mouse in my kitchen.. This kitchen is not big enough for the 2 of us and well I am not going anywhere.. #getoutwhileucan
15 months ago
CathyWMDAThis just keeps getting better...argh BREAKING: IRS Caught on Tape Telling Nonprofit: "Keep Your Faith to Yourself" http://t.co/jL7bfTqZNs”
15 months ago
CathyWMDAAfter 4 glorious days of #winetasting in the #WillametteValley a #detox is definitely in order ;)
15 months ago

If I ran the zoo …

… this is what I’d do.

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Listen here Mr. Potential President … whoever you may be …

When the ladies of WMDA met a few weeks ago we shot a couple of videos. One was for the 100 Day Challenge and then we asked each other to share our thoughts on the presidential race.

With the debates coming up this week, we thought it was a great time to share this with you guys.


WMDA Ladies talk about Political Positions from Kristy Nuttall on Vimeo.

So Here are the DAMN Questions:

Where do YOU stand right now?

What are your thoughts/feelings about this race so far?

If both candidates could read this post, what would you say to them before their first debate?

Lindaloohoo – you’ll love this one – haha. I came across this funny link to generate what your name would be if you were one of Sarah Palin’s Kids – pretty funny – mine would be Ripper Shook Palin – WTF?

p.s. Sorry about the water fountain in the background … we’ll know better next time we tape something – haha.

Peace Out

Sunday, September 21, is the annual International Day of Peace established by the United Nations to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.

As I started thinking about Peace Day, I remembered in church we sang the song,  “Let Peace Begin with Me” and I recalled all the sayings I have heard about peace needing to begin within and in the home.  As an adult prone to an overactive busy mind, it seems like a major personal challenge.  If I can’t be at peace in my own mind, in my own skin, if peace is supposed to begin with me–we are in a load of trouble here folks!  When I get grumpy and non-peaceful with people and how they drive, how they talk on their cellphones, or how they are dirty and leave restrooms a mess–what hope is there for true peace in the world?

Buddhist monk Maha Ghosananda who survived the Khmer Rouge Pol Pot regime in Cambodia said, “When you make peace with yourself, you make peace with the world.”

So Sunday on Peace Day, I’m going to focus on having a peaceful day and moving through the day with patience.  It is the least I can do, if I want peace in the world.   Yes, that sound a little like the beauty contestant that says what she wants more than anything else is “World Peace.”  But just for one day, what is wrong with being a little corny?

Want to join me?

WMDA Question: Would you take these, or be tempted to grind them up and feed them to someone you know?

Read this article on WIRED about a new drug that is supposed to make people nicer, and then navigate back here to let us know what you think.

Gandhi Pills? Psychiatrist Argues for Moral Performance Enhancers

I have very mixed feelings about the drugs we feed ourselves and our loved ones, but have also seen them help.  I guess I am a believer in natural remedies and not drugging people, but when the rubber hits the road, I am willing to compromise this when its useful for me.  Not sure I like what that says about me, but there you have it.

Having said that, I might be just a teensy bit tempted to feed these to some people I know and seeing what happens…….

Karen

Lost in the ‘net

I have to admit I’ve lost my bearings on the ‘net.  As a business owner and speaker, I want to connect with people but I also need to make sure that whatever I spend my time on has a good return on investment and a purpose for my business or for my life.  Each day someone sends me a link and asks me to join them on some new page. MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Ryze and the list goes on.  Determining which site is worth my time and how much I’m going to “work it”  sometimes makes me simply want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. 

I have made some decisions.  For me, MySpace is primarily to keep in touch with musician friends’ gigs and friends who like to go to concerts.  (For all you thinking MySpace is like Kix–just for kids.  I’ve found it is one of the best places to find and track independent musicians.) But I must admit I’ve had endless round of laughter over some of the messages from men when they’ve tried to pick me up on MySpace.  One guy wrote, “I don’t mean to be a perfit (sic–think he meant pervert-LOL!) but that is one beautiful eye!”  The rest of his message was sweet but English was not his language!  It took me a half hour to figure out what he was trying to say!  What we had was a failure to communicate.  (You’ll understand the one beautiful eye comment more if you see the picture I have posted on myspace  www.myspace.com/hypnolady. You’ll also get to hear my friend Stephanie Bettman’s song The Letting Go as my profile song.  I love this song and Steph is an amazing woman!)  Another guy on MySpace told me to check out his profile and see if I liked what he liked.  He had a whole posting of the things he “liked.”  And we weren’t talking food, gals!  We run a clean site so I’ll leave it at that!  Okay I know I’m looking for a guy but as the song says ”somewhere out there . . .”, I still believe that’s true–just  not these guys.

So I don’t take MySpace too seriously.  It isn’t really my space it is just a place that takes messages for me–sort of like a post office box.   It really isn’t home.  I’m not worried about updating that page for business. It isn’t a business site.  

However, I do need a plan for working the business sites.  Hey I need a marketing plan!  Can you imagine that?  The journalism/advertising major is admitting she needs a plan–what a concept!  I’ll add that to my “to do” list.  (Shuffles legal pad containing all the things “to do”  and adds the marketing plan to the list–priority “A” with about 20 other priority “A” items.  If it all gets an “A” it sort of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?)  I have to figure out what sites I want to use and what time I am willing to devote.  Right now I’m on LinkedIn and Facebook.  I just started my Facebook page so I have work to do there.  And I’ve really enjoyed the little conversations I’ve had as I’ve added people and they respond back.  Cool to catch up with people that I haven’t talked to in a while.

Then there are websites for the businesses that need to get updated.  I am working on my hypnotherapy and speaking site (CarolWoodliff.com) and it is coming along nicely but still needs me to supply copy for some pages yet to built and for me to get some of the media interviews etc. that I’ve done up.  Oh and let’s not forget the product page & shopping cart. 

Last but certainly not least are my loves–the blogs.  Writing posts on my two blogs (this one and livewellstressless.info ) and then reading others blogs and commenting.  This is fun; but lordy, I can lose a whole work day surfing and reading!  I think I need a timer at my desk and I’ll set it for my reading time and when it goes off I’ll have to move on to other things. 

I’m seriously thinking it is time to hire help. Maybe I should start with a visit to my therapist to get my head clear and then move on to an administrative assistant.  I don’t think I can keep all these “balls”  in the air.  Not even sure I want to.  Who said, having your own business would give you more time?  Liars! 

Okay I’ve exhausted my whining and rant for the night.  Time for a nice glass of wine to go with the whine!  I’m thinking a Pinot Grigio tonight!

Any business owners out there who want to offer up their strategies for not getting lost in the ‘net, I’d love to hear them.  Sympathy is always welcome.  Just don’t tell me you run a business and all that entails, including all this internet stuff,  cook all the wonderful food from scratch, exercise everday, sleep a sound 8 hours every night, have an active family life and do all this without help.  If you do, I might just have to send you internet spit balls.  (I’m not even sure what an internet spit ball is–but when I figure it out–I’ll let you know.  It will be gruesome!)

xoxox

Carol

What the F*!? If they want to shock, rockers need a new word and other observations.

After last night, I just need to write a bit about the overuse of this particular special word, and some other observations. We run a pretty clean site here, so I’ll try my best to talk about it without being offensive.

Last night I went to the Key Club with Carol to see Marty Casey play. Marty is an amazing performer who Carol first saw on Rock Star INXS, and has been following for quite some time (see his band Lovehammers’ site or this one for LA Guns). At this point, Marty has become the lead singer for LA Guns, a much more heavy metal band that has been around forever (Tracii Guns was originally part of Guns and Roses with Axel Rose). My hubby and oldest son (the college age one) went with us, and we also met Carol’s friend Julie, who photographs bands. It was a really fun evening, even if the music isn’t my first choice. LA guns was great – Marty is mesmerizing and Tracii is a killer guitarist. See below for a video of them. The other bands we saw were Stolen Hearts, Dogs Devine, Bang Tango, and saving the best for last, Faster Pussycat.

I gotta say, when you hear the f-word in almost every song from some of these bands, and in every sentence they speak – perhaps multiple times, it totally loses any value it had as a shocking differentiator. We heard songs like “Shut the F*@! Up”, and the totally different and original “Shut Up and F*@!” . A typical welcome speech was “Hey LA! Are you having a F*!?ing great time? F*$! yea, we are too! So let’s get this F*&?ing party started. Here’s a song about when you feel like you just want to say ‘F*&! you’ to someone. It’s called ‘F*%! You, I’m Fine’. It’s F*#!ing great!” At this point, I think they need a new word. Not sure what that might be, but I’m sure someone creative could come up with something new and truly shocking. (Just don’t do it on our site! :-) )

Interestingly, despite what you might think, the music was pretty positive, as was the crowd. There were even some surprisingly pretty lyrics like “I want to wrap my wings around your heart” (Bang Tango). It was also great fun watching the people who follow these bands. We had a table upstairs (pretty good food, too), and the people next to us had to be relatives of someone in one of the bands, as they had to be at least in their 60′s. I’m sure some people might have thought I was one of those relatives too :-) . Then there were the people who really love metal and glam, and who come out completely dressed for it. Since I have not been in that scene since the 80′s (and never really was even then), it looked to me so like they walked through a timewarp. I missed the memo on wearing black, I didn’t tease my hair enough, and hubby noticed he forgot to hang his doo-rag handkerchief off of his back pocket. Oh well. At least Kyle had his studded belt on.

Then there’s that small world thing. Here we are going to this random concert with a friend who likes Marty Casey and I find that my receptionist at the spa (MUCH younger than me) knows all these bands. She and her friend got tickets to go after hearing about it from ME. (I felt slightly hip for about five minutes after that.) Then, when Julie and I went to the bathroom, we met Karen, Kelly and Melissa, three college students Julie got to know at another Marty performance. Wierdly, the three of them go to college at SLO with my son, who spent the rest of the night hanging with them (much better for him!). The highlight for them was Marty coming into the crowd and singing with their little group for a while. I love how you can drop into a totally foreign milieu and find people connected to you from other parts of your life. Even in a town of several million people.

Last observation. I gotta give the last band, Faster Pussycat, props for working on a way to be more shocking than simply using that tired old F-word all the time. Pretty much every song they do is about F-ing in some way or place, and most use VERY colorful language. They seem to be working on a subject matter niche. As they were the headliners, I guess it is working for them. So, maybe we don’t need to help out with that new replacement word after all.

Rock On.

Karen

Give me a 10 whether I deserve it or not

Recently I had my car in for service and today I received a message from the dealer calling to make sure I was happy with the service.  This was a very nice customer service touch until they got to the last part of the message.  “You may be contacted by Hyundai and the only grade acceptable for us is excellent–10′s on all questions. We hope you’ll give us that grade.”  Not we hope we met your expectations in a way that will allow you to give us that grade.  It was almost like emotional black mail–if we don’t get all 10′s it is your fault not ours. 

Now here is the thing,  I did have an excellent service experience.  My car was ready when promised and washed for me when I picked it up.  I will give them all 10′s if called because it was excellent service.  Still I’m annoyed at the way the message was worded.  Someone seriously needs to revise the calling script. (I know it is a script because I’ve gotten similar calls each time I take my car in.)

Isn’t this like going to the teacher and saying–listen I just want to get this straight between you and me–the only grade I find acceptable is an “A.”  Seems rather silly without, can you tell me what I could do to make sure that I get that A?  Doesn’t it?

It makes you feel not like they want to take care of you but that they will be in trouble with big brother parent company if they don’t get a perfect score.  No one is perfect all the time, I’d hate to have a job my employment success was determined in never getting less than that perfect score.

Just one of those things that happens in corporate America where someone gets an idea of how to improve customer service but as it is relayed to the troops somewhere along the line it doesn’t translate into true customer service–just another “script” that someone is following.    

 This reminds me of another conversation I had several months ago at the law firm where I work part time a couple of nights a week.  I work 5p-mid and there is no paralegal in the office after I leave till 5:30 a.m. in the morning. There are other options for getting work done as the firm has offices worldwide so often work can be picked up in another office after the evening crew leaves till that morning person gets in.  But a supervisor looked me in the face and told me I wasn’t allowed to tell the attorneys that I was leaving and there was no one in the office after me–even if they asked.  I asked, “Why?”  The supervisor told me it wasn’t good customer service.  “Oh and it is good customer service to lie to the attorney and say yeah there is someone in the office when there isn’t?”  She said we want to finesse it so they don’t feel abandoned.   I have been working in law firms for 25 years and know all about finessing things.  I said, “You mean we tell them that if they need help we will get them hooked up with New York or another office that has staff?”  She says, “No don’t tell them they are going to have to go to another office.”  I say, “Well the thing is there is no one here and I won’t pretend like there is.”   (I have worked at this firm for 19 years.  I won’t lie to people I’ve worked with and honestly I don’t care about telling this woman that what she is asking is stupid.  I used to manage this sort of work  flow.  I’m not being arrogant.  I just know that it isn’t customer service to raise people’s expectations and tell them help is available when it isn’t.  My business is growing and I’m definitely a short-timer there.)  The supervisor looked frustrated and confused as I refused to carry out her orders.  Because after all she was the supervisor and I was supposed to blindly do what she said whether it made sense or not.  Unfortunately for her I’m not built that way.  I knew there would be no repercussions to me as what she was asking was really stupid and I have a good reputation there all around.  I spoke up for the other staffers that don’t have the connections I have. 

So is it just me that sees the absurdity in all this?  Do you have examples of “customer service” ideas gone bad?  If so, I’d love to hear them.

xoxox

Carol

There’s one in every crowd

I try to be a caring adult.  I do.  I really do but sometimes I find my caring side in conflict with the side of me that just hates “stupid people”.   For example, in a meeting or classroom situation when “that person” shows up.  You know the person I am talking about there is almost always one of them.  The person who derails the meeting or class with questions or insights that are so far off track and such a waste of time that the group internally groans when that person starts to speak.  My heart is saying, “Be kind,” but another part inside is saying “Shut up!” 

For example, I was at a luncheon of business owner friends the other week and one of the men in the group–”Pete,” was talking about a challenge he had in his life.  It was personal and obviously it took some courage for him to discuss it.  Not more than two minutes into his sharing time, in steps “Susie” pontificating on his problem and offering solutions that were so far off base that she couldn’t have been listening to what he was talking about.  I have to give Pete credit when he said to her “I hear what you are saying,” and then went back to explaining the situation a little more.  Susie jumped in again. I looked to some of my companions around the table to see if it was just me that was annoyed and several others were rolling their eyes or grimacing.  I found myself getting more and more uncomfortable as Pete tried to talk and Susie kept jumping in.

You see this isn’t the first time “Susie” has come to these meetings and tried to hijack the conversation and turn it to what she thought was important at the expense of other people in the group.  In fact, not much gets said without her trying to steal the spotlight or give insights that just don’t jive with what the person is saying.  It is like she lives on another planet.

In another part of the luncheon, “Susie” complained that she couldn’t get some of the people in her BNI group to have coffee with her and learn about her business and my first thought was, “No kidding! It is so obvious why they wouldn’t want to spend more time with you.  You really don’t know how to have a conversation. You can’t pick up on social cues that people are sending you that enough is enough.”  Notice she said she wanted to get together so they could learn about her business not so she could learn about theirs.  This pretty much sums up this woman’s M.O.

As a group we actually have a choice of including her in future meetings.  This isn’t a classroom situation where it is another student who has paid the same amount to take the class as you and is asking the same stupid question over and over again. This is a voluntary get together as friends.  We can tell her she is no longer welcome.  We can change the date of the meeting and not tell her. 

So here is the challenge: As caring adult, do you tell “Susie” she is annoying as all hell?  Do you dis-invite her?  Do you just resign yourself to groaning every time she speaks? Do you have a chat with her about her behavior, “Susie when you ______, we feel _______” ? 

I really am not sure she would hear the feedback, but do you give it because it is honest and would give her the opportunity to grow? Or do you just do what the people in the BNI group are doing and avoid her?  Is it more caring to call someone on their behavior or try to have patience and love for the person because they are where they are and as my grandmother would say, “God bless ‘em”?

Where do we draw boundaries and where do we let live?  Isn’t this one of the biggest challenges of trying to be a caring adult?  I know it is for me.  I have the spiritual side saying “do not judge” and the practical side saying, “I don’t have time for this!” in a debate about what the right thing to do is.  Fortunately this isn’t just my call, I have the other members of the group to help me make the decision.  And for that I’m thankful!

More Olympic Prep

I found this great entry on boston.com with some awesome photos of the preparations going on in Beijing right now. I mean some of these are phenomenal. I feel somewhat sad when I read/see some of these types of posts documenting the changes for the Olympics because you know that the majority of what they’ve accomplished is for show and what’s worse is that it’s at their citizen’s expense. I still feel that the images are incredible though … take a few minutes to check them out.

Like this one where the policemen are actually removing this sign that says Sex Shop on it because it’s unsightly – haha:

This one is cool too – it’s a shot from the behind the driver of the new bullet train that started running August 1st – it goes 394.3 kph – I don’t do conversions … but I’m guessing it’s super fast if it’s setting a speed record:

You can see more of these HERE

Attack Tortoise Defending Its Turf

I don’t know why I’m stuck in animal posting. One day I may find a recipe to post (Don’t hold your breath!) or a funny story about me. But right now that so isn’t happening. So it is just me and my “collection of animal stories!” Literally I’m creating a zoo of posts! First the scary spider, then the birds and now this amazing video of this tortoise that just doesn’t want cats in its yard. (Or is it a persistant suitor and the cats aren’t having anything to do with it?) Pretty amazing! I didn’t know tortoises could move this fast!

Creatures that Crawl in the Night

The other night I came home late at night and found this creature had been hard at work while I was gone.  I only have a little point and shoot digital but the shots came out pretty  good considering it was 1 a.m. with only the little flash.

Scary Spider 1

To see a view of how big it was in relation to the jasmine bush leaves view here:

Spider with bush

Can you see its alien face?

Spider 3

He (or she) had built an amazing web across the path to the front door.  Fortunately, I was able to go in the back door and not have to deal with this that night.  The next morning the spider and web were gone.  I think my landlord must have come along the walkway early in the morning.  Or is it a creature that only comes out at night and takes its web with it when it goes?  It kind of creeps me out know he’s out there just waiting to create a new web or crawl somewhere like into the house. 

Add to dating list–must be brave for me around bugs so I don’t have to be!

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