Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sweet Gracie

Gracie, our sweet peanut butter princess #ilovemydogs #sheltie #shetlandsheepdog #dogstagramSome folks call it "gotcha day" but around our house, we call the day that our dogs joined our family their "barkaversary."  6 years ago today, our sweet sheltie, Gracie, joined our family.  Sam had been with us since March that year and was suffering from separation anxiety whenever we went to work.  For those of you who doubt that dogs can have anxiety, I have photos of the destruction he caused because of it.

Once Gracie came on the scene, Sam never tore up another piece of furniture or carpeting.  The two of them were instantly best buddies.  We were really lucky it worked out that way.  In our case, two dogs were no more work than one, on some levels, two dogs are easier than just one.

She's such a sweet girl.  A wannabe momma doggie who herds us around and wants to take care of us when we're sick.  Today I was home sick with a nasty bug and she never left my side.  Nurse Gracie was on duty. 

Happy Barkaversary Gracie, we love you more than you love bacon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blissdom Canada is all about ME!!

Blissdom Canada 2014Again this year, I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to Blissdom Canada.  This was my fourth year attending and I really look forward to this weekend all year long.  With everything we’ve been coping with here at home with Mark’s surgery and chemo and general life stuff, it’s been a busy year.  While I was excited about going to Blissdom Canada again, I feel like this year it really crept up on me and I didn’t have much time to think about it or prepare for it.

The little bit of prep I did do this year involved hanging out on the Facebook page and reading some “how to prepare for a conference” blog posts which were being shared around.  One post in particular, by Joe Boughner (How You Can Get The Most Out Of A Blogging Conference ) gave me a light bulb moment and totally helped me figure out how to get the most out of my weekend.  In past years, I found myself rushing from session to session, head down, trying to get a “good” seat and then, once I arrived at the session, tweeting madly throughout the whole thing.  This approach left me tired and I felt like I was missing out on something.  Joe’s advice was to tweet if you wanted to (and what you wanted to) but he admitted that he had stopped doing that and allowed himself to be immersed in the sessions instead.  Lightbulb!! I realized that I was missing out on a lot of what was happening in the room by tweeting.  Instead, I took notes (with a pen and paper!) and allowed myself to really listen to the speakers rather than trying to transcribe what they were saying and post it in my twitter feed!  It was very freeing and I thank Joe for that!!

My Blissdom Canada Wrap-up:

  • Travel with a blogging buddy if you can.  This year, I caught a ride with Susan from Lil Ms Neat and we had the BEST time.  I met Susan the first year I attended Blissdom Canada (it was her first year too) and just love her.  The drive from Kingston to Mississauga just flew by.  We had a wonderful visit and got to see a lot of each other over the weekend.  Blissdom road trips are awesome!!  We have already made a date to travel together again next year.
  • My hat is off to any of you who picked up a microphone to ask a question in a session.  Wow.  How I admire you.  Those of you who participated in the Power Hour, incredible.  I am not able to speak in front a crowd of people.  I have tried in the past, many times.  I can almost do it if I’m sitting on a panel but if I stand up, I forget to breathe and the whole thing is just really horrible.  You are a brave lot, you stander uppers with microphone people!!
  • I am going to do a podcast.  Thank you podcast people for inspiring me.  My husband and I are working on something together.  It will take us a little bit of time to get it all sorted but we are going to work on it this fall/winter.  It will be a series of podcasts and I think it’ll be very interesting and I will probably bug Chris Read to listen it to for us before we post it.  I have listened to podcasts for a long time but never felt the urge to do one until now.  
  • Proud to say that I had a really lovely chat with everyone on the list I made during morning meditations with Optimom.  I so enjoyed that breathing exercise she led us in that I’m trying to work it into my day, every day.  I thank her so much for asking us to make the list because I know I may not have got up the nerve to talk to those folks without committing it to paper!
  • Heard a lot of talk about snot bubbles over the weekend but did not actually witness any of them.  There was certainly many opportunities for said bubbles to make an appearance but I didn’t see any.  Having said that, thank you, whoever decided to put boxes of tissue on the tables at the power hour.  My puffy swollen eyes and I appreciated them.
  • I totally ROCK my camera now! I learned more about my Nikon DSLR in 60 minutes with Anna Epp, the amazing Beach Mama, than I had in the 7 years I’ve been playing with it.  I will never use the auto setting again.  She was able to cover a lot of ground in our session and I have noticed the results in my photos.  I feel like I have a brand new camera.  Thanks Anna!!
I love learning and sharing with the amazing Blissdom Canada speakers and community leaders.  My favourite part of the conference is the time I spend talking, laughing and crying with folks I have met in previous years and with new people I met this year.  I really enjoyed spending time with new friends Tammy Bell, Patsy Copus & Siobhan Gillespie.  Blissdom Canada is the only thing I do every year that is only for ME.  Being part of a community of folks who I don’t have explain myself too means more to me than I can ever express.

Thank you so much Shannon, Jennifer, Neil, Melanie, Jacqueline, Lindsay, Dana and Tara (and all of the Blissdom Canada elves) for another amazing weekend.  Can’t wait to do it all over again next year!!

Thursday, October 02, 2014


Ordinarily, I don't have the wherewithal to compose a blog post while I'm still at Blissdom Canada but I wanted to share this as soon as possible.

I just returned from hearing Christine Bentley talk about the Art of the Pivot.  For folks in the GTA, she was a well known TV anchor for CTV.  More recently she has been on SiruisXM with her radio show What She Said.  The short story is, for many years she worked hard and succeeded in broadcast journalism.  When that part of her career ended, she needed to find something else she did, hence the move to radio (amongst other things).

Something she said at the end of her story struck me because I knew it to be true but had not heard it articulated in this way before.  Simply put, the myth that women are competitive with each other is for the most part a myth.  Her experience (and this has been mine in the digital world) is that women support each other.  Chris has found that women do not hoard their knowledge or their skills and that we share with other to help each other improve and succeed.  She's right, we do.

She called us a sisterhood and I loved that.  That is what this thing feels like, a sisterhood (and yes, it's still a sisterhood when some of our sisters are men). I love this awesome network of bloggers and tweeters and podcasters and am so excited about how the rest of the weekend will unfold.

Christine gave me goosebumps this afternoon and I thank her for that.  Looking forward to many more goosebump moments!!