Weekend Update

Life seems to be moving at a fast pace lately, hard to keep track of what’s happening fast enough to write it down!

The theme for this weekend was watching others succeed, which is pretty awesome. Saturday was Halim’s Christmas gift; making a knife at a forge. Our friend Theo/Ted/Eikbrandr agreed to teach our nephew Halim how to forge a knife from barstock. Halim was like a kid in a candy store. 🙂 Good bonding time with hubby and Halim too.

Afterward we were STARVING and got Burgers 2 Beer 🙂 Mmmm, burger.

Sunday was niece Jennifer’s play, she was one of the hotbox dancers in Guys & Dolls at the Heights Jewish Community Center. She was one of the oldest actors at 13! Those kids were talented, super adorable, if perhaps not skilled, hee. Husband added “Guys & Dolls” to our netflix queue so he can see it in its original form.

Afterward we rushed off for a movie date with Kristen and Halim to see Black Panther at last. Really great movie, if you’ve not seen it, do. Good actors, good plot, great costumes, nice special effects, thoroughly enjoyable.  Afterward we got yet more burgers (they were delicious, I’m not complaining.. we shan’t discuss my weight this morning though, heh.)

So it was a good, social weekend, but no progress on personal projects or exercise.

Monday morning Glory-cat was not acting right, she didn’t eat her food from Sunday night and was sitting on the chair. I pet her and she slinked down into the corner. Hubby presented her with fresh food… she licked it and then went back to her corner. Uh oh. I called the vet, and called off of work.  We took her in to the vet, they had us leave her there for observation while they ran blood work so we got our grocery shopping done and then I had my allergist appointment. I called for the results when we got home, they asked to hold Glory over-night as the blood work was worrisome.

Since writing the above… I got a call from the vet. Glory passed during the night. 😦  Heartbroken.


Woman of Power Conference

Last fall I attended the Leadership Lab for Women in STEM, and a month or so ago I got an email from the University Administration saying that they had reserved a table at the Woman of Power Conference and some of us would be able to go; I replied right away that I was interested and so… yesterday, off I went!

Very grateful to have the opportunity! I was nervous about parking downtown and rush hour traffic… also I was still recovering from a bad night sleep on Sunday so not in the most receptive mood. Fortunately the automotive gods smiled upon me! Traffic was busy, but steady and right when I turned off of the Freeway on East 9th I saw the Willard Park Garage, $8 all day earlybird special. BAM! In I went, found a spot! Easy walking distance to the hotel. Hardest part of the morning commute was finding the entrance into the hotel, heh, I approached from the back, apparently, and had to circle the building until I found the way in.

Debbie Fatica was there, which was great, very good to see some of my friends from the Leadership Lab there. There were some really great speakers. Key Bank was well represented by their executives; Barb Smith SVP gave a great speech in the morning and the Keynote was given by Trina Evans, Chief of Staff and Director Corporate Center, KeyCorp. She was really inspirational! A lot of good humor and good advice, the sort of woman you dream of having for a boss!

I enjoyed the talk by Ebony Yeboah-Amankwah from FirstEnergy, she really called us all to task. It doesn’t matter how many times you say you have a commitment to advancing women and minorities if there are no results. She extolled us to not be afraid to say diversity was a factor in a hiring decision. It is a legitimate thing to look for that helps your business, own it. My thought was that yeah, they’re going to assume it was a factor anyway, why not own it and be honest. Yes, we did pick this candidate because, outside their other qualifications, they enhanced our diversity. Enhancing our diversity is a proven tactic to enhance our business. Studies show diverse populations are more productive and more creative. Why wouldn’t we want that??

In the “Getting it Done” Panel discussion, I really liked Jackie Dalton’s statements. My notes are a bit fuzzy at this point, I was taking notes on the pages in the program for note taking… alas they went with a glossy full color print so the paper wasn’t taking pen so well. I did switch to a regular notebook for the rest (Glad I brought one!)  “We set internal expectations that may not exist externally” and “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough!” In other words; you are going to fail, embrace it. Failure is a part of the process.

In the first break-out session I chose the “Be Bold” track, and I boldly sat in the front row, hee. It was good I did get a spot right away, the room filled up fast and was SRO!  I liked all three speakers, though perhaps especially Katherine Brandt who spoke about “Leading in a Male Dominated Industry” could have easily listened to her for another hour. One quote I liked from her at the beginning of the session was “There are good things that come from playing with the boys” She had a lot of frank and straightforward advice.  “Gender is not a characteristic of effective leadership” She talked about the attributes of an effective leader and how to develop trust, and talked about the challenges honestly.  One of her specific tips was to sit down and listen to your staff. She said it was a very powerful tool. When she took on a new leadership role she met with all of the staff and asked them individually about their position and their job satisfaction. And for the ones who were less than satisfied, she followed up. Just listening and demonstrating that you care is a powerful tool of leadership.

Diane Fusco talked about “Finding your voice” she mentioned the phrases not to use, I think I’m going to make a list for myself. Things like “Just” “actually” “sorry, but” “I could be wrong, but” “does that make sense?”

and Kathleen Buse finished the track talking about “Believing and Achieving” which focused on self-efficacy; a repeat of a lot of what I got in the STEM Leadership Lab, but it was a great refresher and such important information! She listed four ways to develop self-efficacy, two internal: tracking your accomplishments and taking time to renew yourself, and two external: Positive words and Role models.  She was right, I do have a need to hear positive feedback… probably more than my male coworkers. I should communicate that to my supervisor.

One quote from the question and answer session I’m taking to heart “Don’t get stopped by one person”  They’re just one person. Find another way around.

Lunch was lovely, though I regretted choosing a chair with my back to the stage (I have this thing about not sitting with my back to the door) so I had to turn around away from my food to hear, heh. The food was lovely though, and I devoured it quickly to spend more time listening to the fascinating Trina Evans.

In the afternoon session I chose the “Be the Change” track which started with Roxanne Kaufman Elliott talking about “How to build a rapport with senior managers” Good stuff, but generally not something I was in need of. I think I’m pretty good at building a rapport with people already. For me the secret is just remembering they are also humans like you 😉 Then Ramona Hood talked about “Mastering Tough Conversations” which was the bit I was particularly interested in. She gave some clear tips on setting the groundwork and preparing to have a successful conversation. Listen, be open. “Be able to be curious” Acknowledge their point of view and find something you can connect with in what they say.  Keep things neutral, instead of saying “You spoke over me in the meeting” say “I felt that my opinion wasn’t being respected in the meeting when you kept talking” keep the focus on you, not them, so they don’t get defensive.  Finally Jeff Barlow presented “Fine Tune Your Voice with Resources and Protection,” he did start with a joke about how it was the first convention he’d ever been at where there was no line for the bathroom at all. We laughed, mad props to him for engaging a room full of women so well and winning our trust as he talked about avenues to get help when things don’t go well. It was a bit dry, HR procedural type talk, but important information.

It was hard to choose the two breakout sessions I would attend and what four I would miss. Other tracks included Win-Win Negotiating, Carry as You Climb, How to be a Mentor, Intentional Career Development, etc.

The closing keynote was by John Skory, President of The Illuminating Company, and it was excellent. He admitted the faults in his company’s demographics and emphasized the importance of moving forward and what they were doing to improve it. He also talked about strategy and that all the well crafted mission statements or vision statements in the world are meaningless if you don’t have action. He called it alignment, that everyone in the organization understands how they contribute to the strategy. It needs to be visible, you need to be agile, accountable and collaborate. The vision should start with the leader, but then the strategy comes from below and the tactical plan should be made by the people who do the work, and they can only make that plan if they understand the vision. Keep everyone informed and involved. He emphasized cadence and pace as more important than a tidy document with well branded templates. He also talked glowingly of the women he’d mentored in the company and the fact that women will not apply for a position if they have 8 out of 10 skills required, while a man may apply if they have 2 or 3 out of ten.  I asked him about how to ferret out women candidates for mentorship, promotion and training when women are notoriously bad about asking for such things. He said they don’t wait for them to ask. “We track for high performing women and minorities and we ask them, not the other way around.” which was good to hear. Sounds like he’s got his head screwed on right, as it were.

Outside of the speeches and sessions I had some great conversations, one with a young professional named Victoria about creating common ground with male superiors and coworkers. As she said “The guys can all talk to him about football… I’m the only one he can talk to about gardening, that gives me an advantage.” We also talked about problems with communication and non-verbal communication and simulation and VR. Was a great talk. 🙂

At the end of the day the sun was shining, and crowds dispersed… I kind of wanted to walk around downtown and enjoy the sunshine and architecture, but fear of rush hour traffic took me back to my car and on the road home. I did indeed beat the traffic and got home safe and sound. Also tired and feeling hopeful.




Life · Uncategorized

Weekend Update

Saturday I wasted a lot of time wallowing… it happens. I’d failed on some of my personal goals (little things like, call the mechanic and schedule an oil change that I can still do, you know?) but I was bummed out and it made it hard to get anything done.

I did manage to shake it off by afternoon. I did get some good work done on my latest research rabbit hole.

Sunday was better, got some sewing done and we went out and bought a mattress for the spare bed so that it is a damn sight more comfortable. I also got some office supplies at Office Max. I am inordinately fond of post its and binder clips.

So in all, a very quiet weekend. Hubby got a lot of housework done (which fills me with feelings of guilt as I should’ve helped him more.)

Hoping to get sewing done tonight, wish me luck!

Gratitude · Life

2017 in review

I went back through my blog and looked for highlights for the year; 2017 was actually pretty awesome for me, horrible politics aside. If you’re curious here’s the list:

2017 in review

Finished my “Joker” Elizabethan outfit 🙂
Got to speak at Azriel’s elevation to the Defense
Got to beg a boon to elevate my apprentice Oliver to the Laurel ❤
Repaired my fairy wings for Give Kids a Smile day, and I got to be the Tooth Fairy once more 🙂
I made two new linen undertunics
I started six pink pussy hoods, finished 3 so far 🙂
I did three issues of The Forum (newsletter of the Cleftlands) go me!
I went to the Laurel Retreat in February
Birthday min-break with sister to Geneva on the Lake
I hosted a Cotehardie Party where I helped four people draft patterns for cotehardies 🙂
I knit a shawl
Met Cassie for dinner, was so great to catch up! We must do it again.
The scribal display at SCA March Dessert Revel was awesome
I moved my blog to WordPress
I went to the Dental School Formal and wore my bridesmaid dress from Malinee’s wedding (1997!) It was tight but I’m still calling it an accomplishment. 🙂
I took my Dad to the Louvre. Major bucket list item scratched off, there!
Bought a new jacket for the trip and it worked very well.
I made a miniature for Dulcia
Went to the Marixa picnic, bought kimono 🙂
Finally finished Isobail’s evergreen scroll
Finished the little Bayeux tapestry embroidery kit Azemars gave me (the archer!) 🙂
I fixed the clapper bell on the birdbath
Was the tooth fairy for Alumni and Development’s ‘All In’ promotion
Took photos at Commencement
Made a photo book of our vacation
I changed banks. Hard to do, so worth it!
Marie and I published a Fat Mermaid comic 🙂 (8 pages)
I got the Award of Saint Alfred, my first ever Baronial Award 🙂
Saw Wonder Woman with friends
Made two award scrolls for NOWM
Survived axiUm Go Live (it went pretty well, actually.)
Husband and I both got the Dragon’s Heart at NOWM
Saw Jo Lavano at Uptown with Frankie
We got Air Conditioning!
I recieved the Dorothy Caplain Staff Excellence Award at work, wow.
My apprentice Isobail is now Baroness of Red Spears
I went to Memphis as a contractor, worked hard, ate well, would like to visit the city again sometime as a tourist
We pulled out that carpet in the attic
I knit ‘swircles’ for a Knitting in Early Modern Europe study
I hosted a jewelry trunk show/tea for JenBo and Heidi
Ran a MiddleWiki update contest
Llrydwyl died 😦
I spun gold thread on the drop spindle
Hubby had his cateract surgery
Big MiddleWiki update thanks to Baroness Verena
Ran archery at Standard Bearers and competed in the rapier tournament and did fairly well I think
I got the High Purity Dragon in Dragon City
Got a new work lappy
Bought a new recurve bow
Mapleside Demo
Went to the Leadership Lab for Women in STEM (AWESOME!)
Shot with the CWRU Archery club
Husband became Kingdom Arts Champion 🙂 ❤
I got to beg the boon for my friend Edyth’s elevation to the Laurel, as her Laurel was otherwise indesposed. very honored!
My team won the archery shoot at Brendoken Fest, my first ever archery prize!
Went to the Dental School’s 125th Anniversary gala
Did Inktober
I had an epiphany about Personal Vision
Dug up galdiola bulbs
Bought high heels and a purse
Kristen and Halim’s Wedding
I won an archery competition at Red Dragon!!!
Made a 1780s polonaise gown
Cleveland Public Library mini Maker demo
Went to Rochester NY for a mini-break, spent time with Boy Apprentice 🙂
Bought myself a bottle of scotch for the first time ever.
Won the gallery prize at the November rapier tournament
Ran an enamelling day
Colleen Nagy said nice things about me
Danced at the Nursing School party
Helped Will and Seadna move
Saw an allergist!


New Year’s Resolutions

I imagine a huge percentage of blog entries this week are going to be about resolutions. I think it is well and good to make resolutions, and you don’t have to just do them on New Year’s day, either.

My advice on New Year’s Resolutions; making a good goal is an art. Pick something you can do and build on. Set something small and achievable because then you can do it and you’ll feel better about it. My most successful ever resolution was when I resolved to floss daily. I totally did it and now it’s a routine. Easy to do, small add to my daily habits and (according to research) big win for my overall health. So pick something small. Don’t resolve to loose 10 pounds, instead resolve to walk 10 more steps a day. Don’t resolve to give up sweets or soda, resolve to have a small glass instead of a whole can of pop with dinner. And once you achieve that, it’s easier to improve on it with the next resolution.

You walk to Mordor one step at a time, after all.

Now for myself, last year I resolved to improve my daily step count and daily average minutes of exercise, and to make an appointment with an allergist. Success on both fronts! I put off the allergist thing longer than I should have. My regular annual physical was post-poned. It was to be in May, but I ended up doing it in November. oops. But I did ask for a referral to an allergist and got one. With a reasonable month and a half procrastination I called and got an appointment right away last week! Woot. I have now officially been tested and have shots to get. Not surprisingly I am allergic to dust mites, leaf mold, ragweed and a host of other pollen.  I am looking forward to a spring of less sneezing. 🙂

For the steps/activity: I am very proud. Over 10,000 steps per day average! woot!

  • 2014: 8,220.37, 25 minutes
  • 2015: 8, 684.31, 28 minutes
  • 2016: 9,218.81, 30 minutes
  • 2017: 10,989.99, 34 minutes

So new resolution for 2018 # 1 is to again improve those numbers. I hope to fence more and start up yoga again regularly for my back and that will help with the daily exercise minute total for sure. (This year sadly that was mostly walking.) Also I need to move the exercise equipment in the basement and dust it off so it’s accessible.

Second resolution, already in the works, is to enter the annual Research ShowCase here at work. I anxiously await their call for abstracts! If I’m not selected, well, at least I shall apply and call that a win. Must go brush up my abstract. I’ve re-written it several times already, heh.

I’ve had several things in mind after my navel-gazing 360 review last fall. Things I need to work on (these are not resolutions, just things to work on going forward):

  • Bringing conflict out into the open (being more direct), do not avoid conflict.
  • Set up some Skype or other video-chat time with my remote apprentices to improve communications. Would like to plan a ‘family gathering’ this year.
  • Negotiation – pay attention for when negotiation is possible and practice using it. You get zero percent of the things you don’t ask for.
  • Saying No (always hard to do)
  • Forgiving myself for not being perfect. You have to be bad at things before you are good at them and it’s OK to be bad at stuff, young lady!

Resolution number three is to change my work environment, either by changing the team I have today or by moving to a new team. Belonging is important to me, and I don’t really feel a part of the team today. I’ve already started touching base with my team-mates each day and I think it’s improving the atmosphere somewhat. We’ll see if I can turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse or not, meanwhile going to reach out to the higher ups and let them know I’m available for new opportunities, ya know?

Good plan, Bridget Jones. 😉 But now I’ve told it to the world so maybe I’ll keep on track, eh? That’s another part of resolutions, accountability. If you never tell anyone it’s easy to sweep under the rug.  Love to you all for keeping me honest and accountable. *mwah!*




Weekend Update

Saturday was the birthday of my parental unit. This year we decided to take him to the art museum for the Jazz Age exhibit. It was fun. University Circle was busy though with the WinterFest happening also that weekend. Missed a rendezvous avec notre pere after the exhibit due to traffic so I went over to see him on Sunday too so he could open his presents and get a sandwich at the local brewpub.

So low key weekend, which was good since I was ill on Friday (the thrill of the rapier tourney on Wednesday apparently lowered my immune system or something.)  We did however get the Christmas village set up so we are now at 99% decked halls. Also I helped the hubby test embroidery patterns for the new A&S Champion cape he’s making. I think it’s going to look absolutely smashing. 🙂

Not much to see here, move along.


Turkey Day Break

Had one of the best Thanksgiving Breaks ever, I think. Lovely, relaxed dinner with the parental unit who as always did a fabulous job on the cooking. He’s finally perfected his candied yams as well, they were divine this year! ❤ I love my Dad and his Turkey-cooking prowess! We also watched Star Trek so bonus! 🙂

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent largely on putting up our extensive collection of Holiday Decor. There were a few grumpy moments when the husband was pushing for us to get it done and I was “I want a break!” stomping feet and pouting, heh. We ate out every night like bad kids, watched movies and shopped as well. We got a new storage shelf for the pantry closet, and it’s sad how much that makes me happy! A tidy pantry is a joy forever.

Bought a birthday present for the Parental Unit, as usual I was surprised by how fast his birthday follows Thanksgiving. It’s like a tradition of its own assuming there’s an extra week between!

I got sewing done, and we cat sat for my friends Arron and Steve’s adorable cat. We went for several long walks in the crisp autumn air.

We got almost all of the decor up and I can now state proudly that I am living in Christmas Cottage once more! All that remains is the ceramic village and a few smaller items that we may or may not set out.