Doing all the things I want to do

In the past few months, I’ve been blogging less. However, I’ve not been writing less. And I certainly haven’t been thinking less.

I’ve been furiously scribbling at every opportunity I get, with ideas wrestling around my brain at three in the morning like they’re having a round of Rock’em Sock’em keeping me awake. (Or maybe I’m just hearing the cats battling outside the bedroom door)

So what have I been writing about if it’s not been bloggable? Well, it isn’t like the diary I wrote when I was 14, filled with embarrassing teenager stories I wouldn’t want anyone to read. Nothing like that. Pretty much every word is an idea of something I’d like to achieve in the next few years.

My life has changed so unspeakably much since I moved to the UK on that warm December (well, warm to my Canadian then-standards. Like a good Britanicised girl, I’d now say that it’s rather nippy and complain about the chill) where I’d only completed half of my University degree before skipping over to the UK for a bit of culture. (A degree which I proudly went home to complete in the couple of years that followed, I might add, however difficult a long-distance relationship it made for)

Not to sound overly self-promoting – something certainly frowned upon in the country of humour by self-deprecation – but I’m really rather proud of what I’ve managed since then.

Try doing the same. Look back a year, two years, five or ten. Think of what you’ve achieved since then. Hopefully, it’ll give you the perspective to see how much you’ve grown, changed, evolved. And hopefully for the better.

In a few days or weeks, I’ll hopefully post a reasonably thorough list of what I want to succeed at. I’d probably need more than a lifetime to complete everything on it but, having been surrounded by some very inspirational figures recently, I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with aiming high. Not to set myself for failure, but to give me something to strive for and something to get up for in the morning.

It’ll probably bore you to death, but blogging it allows me to put these ideas somewhere public, and give me something to refer to further down the line when I wonder if I’ve ticked any of them off the list.

What goals would you set yourself as things you’d like to achieve? Not lame new years eve resolutions you drop by mid-January, but real stuff you want to kick ass at or tell your grandchildren about one day.

Themeword: Exploration

In early January, Chris Messina and many others kicked off the new year with “theme words”, ideas that should help them focus their efforts.

themeword explorationI thought I’d share the #themeword I picked a month ago and have been following since. It’s “exploration”, in every sense of the word.

Exploration in the travel sense. I want to see more of Europe. I’ve been in the UK for some years now but haven’t had a varied holiday track records, going mainly to Canada to see the family and Menorca for a touch of sun. I want to see the Italian countryside, check out the Scandinavian winter to compare to the Canadian one, see more of France, especially the South. I unquestionably want to fly out to New Zealand to see my sister during her stay there, and I want to give some parts of the US another go, even though I’m not so fond of Maricans.

Exploration of business opportunities. Last night, while invoicing a few older pepsmedia clients who have ongoing hosting contracts with us, I realised how far I’d come in confidence, knowledge and general business sense since we started. Every year, every month, I can see that we’re producing better projects, making clients happier and feeling more in control of our business. It’s hard work, but it’s genuinely enjoyable and rewarding. I look forward to another year of growth and new ideas, pushing myself further than before.

Exploration of skills and abilities that are currently nascent or unused. I know too well that it’s easy to sit within your existing comfort zone and use exclusively the skills you already master. It allows you to look good, always in control, but it doesn’t take much to fall into a much-dreaded routine. As my inspirational and downright wonderful grandfather always showed me, you stay young by continuing to learn. There’s a world of possibilities out there, and I don’t see a reason to stop now.

Exploration of my friendships and relationships. There are so many great people in my life with whom I don’t spend enough time, I want to take advantage of our soon-to-be new house’s dining room and back garden to have as many dinner parties, bbqs and social get-togethers as possible, enjoying life and good company.

While exploring – and my life in general – seems to be about more, more, more, faster, faster, faster, I also want to think in terms of less and slower. Taking me-time to breathe and think and focus myself. Eating better, at the dining table and without the tv on. Having evenings where both Andrew and I can relax without worrying about work to be done.

So far, it’s looking like it’ll be a good year… What’s your themeword?

Seven years of blogging

I was about to leave a comment on Robert Scoble’s blog when he posted that he was celebrating seven years of blogging, and looking back at what had happened in that time. Having blogged for about the same length of time, I’m also amazed at how much things have changed. Thought I’d write my own entry.

In 2000, I was graduating from High School, starting Uni in Communication. I think that at that stage, I was hoping to be a news researcher for the CBC, or work in media somewhere. I had a severe addiction to the Internet – as confirmed by my parents, who could never receive a phone call due to my hogging of their phone line for dial-up access.

Having created my first website in 1994 during a “Discover the internet” summer course, over the years, writing online came in different incarnations, most too vague in memory and now lost in the ether somewhere on the web.

In the spirit of year-end retrospect life reviews, here’s what’s happened in the past 7 years or so…

In those years, I survived…

  1. Started University in Comm, with no career clearly defined in my mind.
  2. Met a Brit who stole my heart.
  3. Took a year off Uni to go live in England. Loved it and vowed to return.
  4. Finished University, graduating with flying colours and a conviction that I’d work in that wild world of the web, working in marketing, PR, communication or something along those lines.
  5. Moved to the UK permanently, bought a house.
  6. Got married.
  7. Learned to drive and bought my first car.
  8. A dozen jobs of varying level of responsibility, in creating teaching resources, youth care research, publishing (x5 jobs in editorial and marketing), marketing & biz dev in the hotel industry, email marketing, blogging & community evangelism in mobile tech, and thrown somewhere in there, I started my own web dev/marketing agency. Damn, not bad unh?
  9. Joined far too many social networks too.
  10. Tried a dozen GTD apps (yet I’m still as disorganised as I ever was)
  11. Saw my little sister Jo get engaged to her high school sweetheart, to be married a few days from now.
  12. Bought a new house and organised an imminent house move (didn’t know about that one yet, did ya? More on that later!)

There’s probably a lot more stuff I could add, but in this early morning jetlagged haze, I’m realising quite how nice the thought of croissants and jam, sitting at the dining table with my parents for the first time in a year and a half sounds.

I’ll have a drink (of eggnog or coffee) to the next seven years, at the end of which I’ll still be blogging – or publishing my thoughts online in one shape or form, whatever the terminology is then!

8 Random things about me

After a few quiet no-blogging days, I thought it was time for a light-hearted post, while I’m sitting in this hotel lobby in Helsinki. I’ve been tagged by Whatleydude, a fellow mobile industry colleague and iPhone addict.

But first – here are the rules:

  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Right well… here goes nothing…

  1. I’m addicted to trying new, weird and wonderful food. Put one of my favourite meals side-by-side with something I’ve never tried, and odds are I’ll go for the unfamiliar dish. Give me weird new types of sushi, dishes with names I can’t pronounce and I’ll go with them. Unless I need comfort food or I’m PMS’ing, then only familiar food will do. I guess this isn’t news to anyone who’s ever been out to a restaurant with me!
  2. I studied vocal music for 5 years at De La Salle High School in Ottawa. In fact, I played the toreador in our school production of Carmen (yeah, the opera). We were pretty much an all-girls class so we found ourselves playing both female and male roles. Being an alto (or, as I like to think, a lazy mezzosoprano), I got male roles too often for my liking. My dad was a music teacher, so doing music in high school was a natural decision. This also makes me a total Broadway/musicals addict.
  3. The only running thread between all the jobs I’ve had since ~2001 is that I’ve geekified every single one of them far beyond the original job description. They say you mold the job by your personality, abilities and interests. So I guess that makes me a geek.
  4. French is my first language and at the core of my upbringing and childhood culture. Yet I’ve never had a French-speaking boyfriend as a teenager, and married a Brit.
  5. I was born to be a bartender. I absolutely love making cocktails, either to someone else’s recipe or making up my own. I don’t understand how anyone can think it’s complicated/difficult to shake a few ingredients that go well together with ice and pour them in a martini glass!
  6. I’m not a big fan of TV. In fact, I would happily live without. But I do love the Apple TV and would replace traditional with more fun, relevant video podcasts, free from traditional advertising. I don’t mind Diggnation being sponsored by beer people half as much as I mind loud, aggressive ad breaks.
  7. I don’t hold a grudge. I’ve never had something so serious that I haven’t resolved it or agreed to discuss it before bedtime, whether business or personal. My grandfather told me never to go to sleep on an argument, and I think he’s right. The damage can be undone if it’s talked through early on, but go to bed on it and you might do permanent damage.
  8. I didn’t travel by plane until I was 18, at which point I went to Vancouver with a high school choir. Until that point, all holidays were land-based trips with the family. Since then, I’ve been flying for all sorts of work and holiday reasons.

Now I need to tag people. Well, let’s go for a few friends and a few work people.

I've been tagged: Five things

Only four sleeps left until Christmas. Motivation to do anything is rather low. Distractions are welcome. And then I get tagged by Matt! Well, how could I resist?

Five things you (probably) didn’t know about me:

  1. I once went straight from an all-night rave to singing in an early Sunday morning classical concert at the National Gallery in Ottawa. I only just had time to shower and change from oversized jeans and sparkly stuff into white blouse and black pencil skirt. I promptly fell asleep the moment we went off stage.
  2. I met my British husband online, on to be precise *cringe*
  3. I may be Canadian, but I know nothing of English-language Canadian music. I bet my British musicophile colleagues could name more Canadian bands than I can.
  4. As a child, I was a very evil older sister. I’d regularly throw things to the floor and ask one of my three younger sisters to pick them up, just to establish my authority!
  5. I still own, and wear, cartoon underpants sometimes. My favourite ones have a lion and pink paws on them (and you probably didn’t want to know that!)
  6. I can’t count very well…

I’m now tagging Lisa, Mat, Liz, and two writers from the same blog, Steph and Annabel.

A Meme – It's been a long time

A blogger’s guilty pleasure, filling in a meme. I’ve got an immense backlog of things I want to post, as many personal ones as great marketing finds and business ideas. But it’s like having the choice between a double spiced rum and coke or a glass of water, I’ll choose the one that pickles my brain and leave the healthy stuff for later.

I found this meme on Keris Stainton‘s blog, she’s another Shiny Media writer who I’ve yet to meet (Hi Keris!).

So here goes nuffin’…
Read More

Do you

If you don’t, I’m not in the mood to explain what it is, so visit the site and figure it out.

But if you do…

I love and I loathe

This used to be on the About Me page, but I’ve decided to move it and make room for other stuff on there. Just like I can’t bring myself to throw out anything that could potentially be useful when doing a Spring cleaning, I can’t bring myself to delete posts altogether, so I’ve moved it here.

I love…

  • People who just ooze good mood for no apparent reason and seem to brighten the room
  • Strong coffee – just one a day, thanks, otherwise I’m up in the curtains
  • Shiny new gadgets
  • Blogging – I’ve got a big gob, I need to tell everyone about everything. By blogging it, at least it’s up to the reader to get to the end of the story. When you’re listening to me, you’re a bit stuck because I’m unlikely to shut up anytime soon…
  • Clever marketing and ad campaigns – They don’t always take big bucks, they just take some clever thinking.
  • People who challenge my ideas – I used to feel intimidated by them, but now I love a good devil’s advocate to make me look at all aspects of an idea.
  • My amazing family – Being this far from home can be tough, especially when your family is as cool and completely wacky as mine is. They don’t seem to hold it against me that I’ve decided to settle down on the wrong side of the Pond, but I’m sorry anyways.

I loathe…

  • People who smell funky at 9am – didn’t it cross your mind that you should have a shower before leaving for work?
  • The feeling you get after eating McDonalds or Burger King for the first time in a couple of years, a bit like a brick in your stomach
  • Driving – Ok, maybe not “loathe” anymore, but it still creeps the living hell out of me to be in a moving heap of metal at 100mph. The creepiest part is that people trust ME to be in control of it. I don’t mind the 100mph when some other people I trust are driving!
  • My shitty memory – How am I supposed to remember all those logins and passwords?
  • Ironically, adverts. I get excited about good marketing and advertising campaigns, but I still detest adverts on TV. Especially the ones for loans or claims against your employer. That’s why I watch and listen to the BBC most of the time!
  • People who aren’t careful with their stuff – You know, you lend that brand new DVD to a friend and it comes back with the box tatty and the disc scratched? And they don’t explain or apologise, because to them, it’s “normal wear and tear”, because they’re not particular with their own belongings.

Seven things

It was Lisa‘s idea… so I thought I’d improve on it and add another category to make it a 7×7.

I could post something wittier tonight, but it’s simply not possible. The mental power gets used at work these days, which leaves me feeling like a braindead drooling idiot in the evening. Or maybe that’s the drinking. Well, either way, here goes nuttin’.

7 things to do before I die:

  • Visit Japan and eat real sushi
  • Live or at least travel for an extended period of time in the South of France
  • Be my own boss and run my own business for a while (and sell it and get rich…)
  • Be in an amateur musical production again (hopefully not TOO amateur…)
  • Learn to drive (soon)
  • Record and write about my life enough to leave something behind for the future generations
  • Know that I’ve achieved the things I’ve always wanted to do and just be happy with life

7 things I cannot do:

  • Read a livejournal blog
  • Watch an MTV-related channel without muting it more often than not
  • Pretend I want babies any time soon
  • Make roast potatoes as good as Andrew’s
  • Remember ANYTHING. My memory is absolutely horrible.
  • Wear high heels and a dressy skirt for more than a few hours, I need my jeans
  • Program anything in any language. I’d like to be able to but it’s not currently part of my skillset…

7 things that attracted me to blogging:

  • Being able to motormouth and talk complete codshit without anyone telling me to shut up (or if they do, I can delete their comments, hah!)
  • The idea of recording life snippets to look back on years later
  • Keeping a diary without ever having to handwrite or worry about losing my diary
  • The idea of an online presence – Had some sort of personal online space since 1994, not about to give it up! How many 13 year old girls had their own website on 94?
  • Being able to show-off that my hubby’s a designer and made me a unique and very cool design
  • Knowing that by writing my own, I’ll end up reading some fascinating, interesting or lousy blogs, but at least I’ll keep up with what’s happening in that sphere of technology.
  • Being able to tell ONCE what is happening in my life and directing friends and family, especially the ones across the Pond, to ze blog.

7 things I say the most:

  • Did I really say/do that? I truly don’t remember saying/doing that! (Andrew will vouch for my complete and utter lack of a memory of what I do)
  • Pepperrell, that’s P-E-Double P-E-Double R-E-Double L, yes, double everything.
  • Andrew, you get up, it’s your turn to go shower first this morning…
  • OMG, I’m SO blogging that!
  • American? I’ve known you this long and you think I’m American? You’re SO blacklisted!
  • I’m going to jump off a bridge… Where’s the nearest one to the office, guys? (at which point they all gladly point me in the right direction… Are they trying to get rid of me or something?)
  • Ooooh, I HAVE to have that gadget!

7 books I love:

  • Three Quarters of the Orange, by Joanne Harris
  • Any Jamie Oliver cookbooks, for their simplicity, beautiful pictures and for being so inspiring to try new things
  • However mainstream the next two may be… Harry Potter collection, particularly the dark dark Triwizard Tournament one.
  • DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, for being unusual and interesting
  • 1984, because I only read it recently, having skipped Grade 10 English class when they read it.
  • Bridget Jones books (not so keen on the movies), because she’s so unpretentious and genuinely trying to figure stuff out, like the rest of us.
  • I don’t read enough books!

7 Movies I love:

  • Lucky if I can find 7 movies, I’m not a big TV/Movies person… But definitely Hackers is up there as part of my collection of classics
  • Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain is THE movie to remind me not to take life too too seriously
  • L’Auberge espagnole, because it makes me dream of travelling again
  • There, I’m already struggling to think of more movies…
  • Because I can’t think of any more movies…
  • I’ll fill up this space and say…
  • La Course Destination Monde, while not a movie, was full of short movies that changed my views of the world and my life wouldn’t have turned out the way it has if it hadn’t been for it.

7 things you hold true at this very moment:

  • I need a bare minimum of 7 hours of sleep to function properly, which is an improvement to my previous unbelievable grumpiness if I didn’t get a full 8 hours
  • Dooce is one of the coolest bloggers of all time
  • Wearing high heels is an art which I haven’t quite mastered at this point in time
  • For the first time, I feel I’m learning new stuff in my job, unlike previous jobs where I felt my brain melting. This is exactly the feeling of constant learning and growth I’ve been looking to find since I left University
  • Working on Mac in the office is much less frustrating than working on Windoze
  • Blogging is fun, but sometimes it’s hard work
  • This was fun to fill in, but probably will make very little sense as a whole once I hit Publish.

Tadah! That’s it! Good night!

Just go!

Something m-c said (in two different posts) has been making me think…

Wanting to be perfect, people just end up doing nothing. There is a balance one must find.

But whatever it is that i feel like doing,
for sure there will always be someone else to do it better than i do.

When I was a teen, there isn’t a doubt, that is what kept me from doing a lot of things I wanted to do. The fear that those who can do better would point and laugh was enough to make me give up before I’d even started.

Things have changed, I’ve grown and I don’t feel like this quite as strongly. It’s still there and sometimes when I get halfway up the little mountain that is the goal I want to reach, I look at what I’ve achieved so far, get a bit of vertigo and want to run back down the hill to safety.

There are millions of people on the planet, there will always be someone who can do things better than me. I can’t let that stop me or I’ll never do anything. Like my driving instructor says, “Mistakes are an important part of the learning process… and those bastards* who are honking at us have all stalled their cars before too… No one’s perfect.”

* Ok, maybe he doesn’t say it in those words…