Why Screw Up Small, When You Can Go Big?
Today's facepalm is a doozy. While tweeting as @LoveHOWieDoit, trying to get the word out for the HOW Veterans Grant, the twitter account was suspended. Apparently, twitter doesn't like it when you send a whole bunch of tweets all at once. My foot really hurts (from me shooting myself there). Hopefully twitter will reinstate the account soon, and HOW will start helping get the word out, like they promised. Meanwhile…
If you've contributed to the grant, thank you! If you've not, please consider doing so. If you've never been to a HOW Design Conference (or any of the offshoots: CFC, IHMC, etc.), apply for the grant. The deadline to apply for the grant is May 10 (no extensions). As of today, your chances are really good that you'll be in the top ten.
Thanks for reading and helping spread the word,
Wednesday Coffee Confessions
I have a few confession to make about coffee. Starbucks coffee isn't very good. Even their blonde roast tastes burned to me. Maybe I just don't have an educated palette, but MAN do they have some seriously strong burned-bean tea. I think I actually drink coffee because I like creamer. But that's another story.
Another confession? I don't (and won't) speaks Starbucks. When I order, I ask for a "small coffee in a great big cup." The barista repeats back my order in Starbuck-ese. I say, "Sure, if that means a small coffee in a great big cup, then yes, that's what I want." I should not have to learn other names for small, medium, and large when they're quite adequate to describe the thing I want. Maybe it's the grey hair, maybe it's just common sense.
My final confession for today is that I order a "small coffee in a great big cup" for two reasons. One, so I can dilute it with milk and sweetener and cinnamon and anything else I can add to improve the flavor. And two, so I only have to pay a buck and a half for burned-bean tea, instead of $4.50. Call me cheap; I say frugal.
Thanks for hearing out my Wednesday confessions. And thanks for reading.
(photo by humusak2)
Family Sleuthing, Alabama-Style
Pardon my absence, I've been tracing some family roots with my awesome Aunt Shirley and wonderful Cousin Krissy in and around Cullman, Alabama. Of all the stereotypes I'd imagined of Alabama, the only one that turned out to be true was the southern hospitality. Seriously, people there are REALLY nice. Especially to strangers. And especially in Holly Pond, Alabama. We stopped at the local library/museum there to ask if anyone knew of any cemeteries that contained any Shultz, Watson, Mize, or Travis names. And, thanks to a local man at the library, we found them! Mayor Herman Nail personally thanked us for coming to Holly Pond and welcomed us back any time. And meant it!
I discovered that one of my great-grandmothers (I think) went by the endearing name of Granny Dick; that's her in the photo, on the right (the story of how a woman named Mary Alice came to be known as Dick escape me for now, but I know it involved a peddler). There are other awesome names in the family tree, like Edna (my grandpa's mother), Opal Hazel Gertrude, Eula Bell, Aunt Della (pronounced "Ain't Deller"), Pearl and Bazzel, and Dock Watson. My cousin Bette (who gets my vote for best accent ever) showed us around and organized the mini-family reunion, which turned out to be the highlight of Aunt Shirley's trip. At the family reunion, I met cousins I didn't even know I had, and had fun playing a game called Squiggle with distant Cousin Deqlyn—how's THAT for an awesome name—and her brothers Keigan and Kamdon.
Alabama is a beautiful state—currently in full bloom—with well-kept roads, good food (try Johnny's BBQ in Cullman, ask Chelsea to tell you what the day's desserts are), with helpful and kind people who have a range of rich accents. I'm proud to say my family comes from such a lovely place. I look forward to going back.
Thanks for reading,
A few years ago I had this little hair-brained idea; it came and went. Then it came again. And again. It started niggling me gently, then prodding me and, finally, screaming for attention. It goes like this:
What if…(all the best ideas start that way)…those of us who know how awesomely-mind-bowingly-amazing the HOW Design Conference is pool our money together to send someone to HOW on us? Not HOW-funded, but HOW veterans-funded. Peer to peer.
With all that screaming (from the little hair-brained idea), it was hard to concentrate, so I invited my amazingly-creative pal Stefan Mumaw to be my sounding board. For some unknown reason, he accepted, and he liked the idea (I guess the idea screaming didn't bother him). Between the two of us, we hashed-out the finer details of the plan. Then I contacted HOW. For some reason, they listened. And they loved the idea!
Thus was born the HOW Veterans Grant, a chance for HOW veterans to give back to their industry by sending a newbie to HOW.
Love HOWie do it!
Applicants who apply answer the question "Why should I go to HOW?" (emailed to HOWVeteransGrant@gmail.com by May 10, 2013). The person awarded the grant will be interviewed a few times throughout the conference, to get a newbie's perspective and record the sense of wonder and the enthusiasm. HOW will use the interviews to market next year's conference.
The Indiegogo account is all set up and already taking contributions. I love my HOWies! While the initial seed was my idea, it could not have even begun to sprout without the support of many people, including those at HOW. I don't want the kudos for this; I want the kudos go to those who contribute money to the grant. Let's see how big the wings on this little sprouted idea can get! Wouldn't it be awesome if enough money was collected so two people could go? Now THAT would be amazing!
If you haven't yet contributed to the HOW Veterans Grant, please do! If you've already contributed, thank you!!
If you've never been to a HOW Conference and wonder what all the fuss is about, please apply for the grant. Thank you in advance for all your support in bringing this particular hair-brained idea to life!
Thanks for reading!
Yes, But Am I Really THAT Busy?
On the heels of my mentor Peleg Top's story about where creative answers come from, is a blog article called "Busyness Is Not a Virtue." While seemingly unrelated, boy are they! Ok universe, I hear you. I have put my listening ears on. And since I believe that you sometimes teach best what you most need to learn, I'll share this one with you.
In his story, Peleg reflects on how, by taking three months off, he shut off the "noise" in his life—the email, the social media, even the clients.
"…how can we possibly hear what goes on inside of us if all we hear is noise from the outside?
But if you slow down enough to create a quiet space between your ears, you'll hear what you've been trying to tell yourself for so long. Peleg suggests gifting yourself time and space for this quiet space to occur by taking a 30-minute walk; stay curious, and without expectations. Something wondrous may happen.
"Suddenly, a path may open. Slowly, ideas may spark. You may see something new in the situation or get an idea about a different approach to the problem. It may not be THE solution but you might get an idea about where to go to get the right answer. And sometimes, of course, the answer will blossom before you like the most beautiful spring flower, waiting for you to notice."
"Busyness Is Not a Virtue" rings true with a similar note. How many times have I personally answered the "How are you?" question with "Busy!"??! Oh dang—guilty as charged (hanging my head in shame), but not consciously! I am reminded that no one wants to hear this. Ever. And lamenting how busy you are doesn't accomplish anything. Nothing.
I wish I knew who wrote this, because he/she nailed it on the head, and I'd say a great big thank you. Here are the answers you're really giving when you say "I'm busy":
The author goes on the mention one of the best books EVAR, The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer. (This book has been around for 50 years--yes, it's that good.)
While not consciously saying any of the above reasons, if that's what's coming across when I say "I'm busy," I am certainly going to change not only how I reply, but how "busy" I perceive myself to be. The article's author suggests doing an attention audit, tracking your computer time, and tracking how much you actually get done. The author quotes Laura Vanderkam:
Instead of saying "I don't have time" try saying "it's not a priority," and see how that feels. Often, that's a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don't want to. But other things are harder.
Once these priorities have been made clear with the new language, the author recommends you "change your definition of 'productivity' to encompass those things."
The author's advice to "Press pause," and "Do less and feel more joy," resonates with what Peleg said to create space. Both blog articles point out a whole lot of "me, me, me" going on. So many wise bits of advice here. Now to implement them! I think I'll go for a walk.
Thanks for reading!
Long Lost Twin?
Your friends tell you there's an actress who looks exactly like you. Ha, you think, that's likely—not. Thanks to the interwebs, these two girls, Samantha and Anaïs, found each other on opposite sides of the Atlantic, thousands of miles from where they started, in that exact scenario. Now they're raising money to make a film about it.
Can you imagine?! (I sincerely hope there's not a twin of mine lurking out there. I think the world could only take one of me at a time!)
Thanks for reading!
Book: Lost Cat. "Love is Better"
Again the lovely Brainpickings blog links to a home run—go Maria Popova!
This one is about a book by Caroline Paul, illustrated by her partner Wendy MacNaughton, called Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology.
Caroline's story begins with an accident that involved a shattered ankle, a new love, and two older tabby cats—one of which, after rejoicing in Caroline being home again, goes AWOL.
An Amazon reviewer, P. Mann, summed up the factual parts nicely, "Ultimately, 'Lost Cat' is four things: (1) A story of a woman devoted to her cats, (2) a piece of funny writing with lots of funny illustrations, (3) a serious investigation into a cat's meanderings around a neighborhood, and (4) a glimpse at some of the stranger parts of San Francisco, complete with pet detectives, pet psychics, and a 'scientist' who teaches people how to communicate with their pets. There is a small section of sadness in this story, so be ready for it, but mostly this is a humorous piece, a sort-of Dave Barry light."
Being a cat person myself—although currently catless after 18 years with the best of cats—I get her story. I understand the panic, dread, confusion, and anger you feel when your cat disappears. I bet my pal Julie gets it too.
But the best part of this book is this little pearl of wisdom:
“You can never know anyone as completely as you want.
Yep. That's the shizzle, right there. Seek love — harmony and trust and joy can't help but follow.
Thanks for reading,
Alien Mind Probe Protection
If all else fails, you can blame it on the aliens. In which case, create yourself a mind-probe-protection hat—the taller the better—and breathe through only one nostril (see photo). That usually does the trick for me. Good luck, and send pictures once you get your hat made.
Happy Friday and thanks for reading!
I had a hair-brained idea this week that wouldn't go away. So Thursday morning I asked a few people whose opinions I respect about my idea. They seem to like it, and agree with me that, carried to fruition, it would be fun and beneficial.
But since it's my hair-brained idea, I have to make it happen. Thankfully I'll have the help of my personal cheerleading squad, Stefan Mumaw.
I'm only going to give you a few clues and leave you guessing. That way it'll be a good surprise when the news comes out. It has to do with the HOW Design Conference. Care to take a guess what it is?
Thanks for reading,
Silly Ones Are the Best!
I have another photo like this one, but where we're all smiling and being calm. This one is WAY better!
So next time you have a group photo, consider being outrageously silly—it'll make you laugh when you see the photo years later.
Thanks for reading,
Good juju-spreader, speaker, graphic designer. I'd love to hear from you!