Sunday, July 19, 2009

Principles of the 30km Speed Zone

I recently heard a tidbit on morals and ethics that intrigued me...that, as a society, as parents, we have the choice to raise our children so that different aspects are emphasized and focused on. Intelligence is highly important for many parents...they focus on giving their children every opportunity to learn, to excel, pushing them to become skilled at thinking.

But in the long run, high intelligence isn't going to take your child all that far when it relates to happiness. Happiness equates to moral values, principles, and honorable mention.

It's more important to raise children who can find their footing in principles and morals. Rather than raising a child to be a person who goes 30km in the school zone because they don't want to get a ticket for speeding, we should be raising children to become people who go 30km in the school zone because there might be children around.

Baby Einstein probably won't be as happy as Baby Morality when adulthood hits if he doesnt't strong morals to match. There is pure personal satisfaction that results when the decisions we make aren't self-serving...when our thoughts flow first to the care and consideration of others rather than into the realm of "what's in it for me" or "what is my punishment if i don't...".

I'm in no way saying that smart people aren't happy...only that it's time we learned the distinction between what's important and what's not.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stories Are For Mystery

Quote by Robert Hellenga, from his book "The Italian Lover":

"At the corner of every good story there's a mystery that can't be explained. If you could explain it, you wouldn't need a story. Stories are for the things you can't explain. If you stick to that, everything else will take care of itself. Don't be afraid to break all the rules, and don't be afraid to follow them either."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Thinkx, also known as the "Productive Thinking" model, is a step by step process used to produce creative ideas or to solve problems. I've always been interested in "thinking models", used some of them for a while, but never been disciplined enough to find out how effective they might be.

There are six steps to Thinkx, which was developed by Tim Hurson, a Canadian speaker and author.

Step One: What's Going On? I think i find step one to be the most difficult. There are five mini-steps that you need to follow:

  1. What's the itch? Come up with a list of opportunities or problems, then look for commonality and patterns to determine one main issue.
  2. What's the impact? Take a closer look at the issue and determine how it affects me.
  3. What's the information? Look at all angles of the opportunity or problem.
  4. Who's involved? Me...and?
  5. What's the vision? What would change if the problem were solved or the opportunity realized?
Step Two: What's the Success? This second step is all about seeing the future with everything resolved, much like the first step, only in more depth. Think of using a tool called D.R.I.V.E.
  • Do - what do i want the solved problem or the realized opportunity, to do.
  • Restrictions - what don't i want the solved problem or the realized opportunity, to do.
  • Investment - what resources can be invested.
  • Values - what values do i need to live by.
  • Essential outcomes - what are they.
Step Three: What's the Question? Another challenging part of Thinkx...turn the challenge into a question. Come up with as many questions as possible about the opportunity or problem. Combine and group these questions and come up with one question, or a few, that are the most stimulating.

Step Four: Generate Answers by Brainstorming. Come up with a list of possible solutions to the problem or to make the opportunity a reality. Choose one of these solutions for further development, or a combine several.

Step Five: Forge the Solution. Once again a tool is used for this step...P.O.W.E.R.
  • Positives - list what's good about the answer.
  • Objections - what's bad about the answer.
  • What else? - think of things the solution reminds me of.
  • Enhancements - how can i make what's good about the answer, even better.
  • Remedies - take the list of what's bad and find ways to make things better.
Step Six: Align Resources. Here i take the thoughtout solution to my problem or opportunity and put it into a plan of action. I need to make "to-do lists".
  • Give myself timelines and milestones.
  • Make lists of people i need to involve i this.
  • Make lists of issues that will need more work.
Think it might work?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Golden Lucca

We're so excited about visiting Lucca...the history, the art, the beauty....and of course Giurlani Forno Alimentari, the oldest bakery in Lucca, to taste the aniseed-flavoured Buccellato...because i'm all about pastry and coffee anytime, anywhere.

Enjoy the link to the following webpage....Golden Lucca

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gelati Monastery

Several years ago i longed to go to wander through Tbilisi, to see the Black Sea, to take a tour through ancient monasteries. The recent military conflict with Russia has put Gerogia on the travel advisory list...but some time in the future i still want to get there, just so i can see the Gelati Monastery. The monastery is located in Western Georgia near began in the late 10th century and was completed in 1106 when it was founded by King David the Builder.

I love its majestic the haunting aura it projects. Perhaps one day....

(photo borrowed from fotopedia)

Friday, July 10, 2009

In Admiration of the Anonymous Blog

I frequently think of the advantages and benefits of having an anonymous blog. You know, the blog no one knows you have.

I could be anyone i wanted. Perhaps with an exotic name, like Isabella.

I could write about my love life, or lack of love life...and no one would raise their eyebrows in shock or smile in sympathy.

I could complain profusely about my job, my employer, my underpaid i am, how overworked i am, how stressed i feel, how i long to hand in a resignation letter.

I could gossip about my friends... without speculation and wonder...they would never know if i was or wasn't writing about them.

Just think of the things i could write about. My life, yours, theirs.

And all i would be, would be just Isabella, just another anonymous blogger...there to entertain you for a little while.

But i don't have enough time in my day to keep this blog updated. I already suffer from mental deterioration on an almost daily basis. dear Isabella....another time, another place, another blog.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

End of Philanthropy

Before you read this, let me start by saying that a) there is probably more to this story than i've read, b) it could be the doctor has a legitimate point, and c) i am extremely biased about issues such as this. I already feel we live in a failing society, where every person seems to be out for themselves at the expense of everyone and anyone else.

The story goes like this: in 2006 a Montreal doctor by the name of Mr Henry Coopersmith (i refuse to use the salutation "Dr"), on his way to Paris for a short vacation with his wife, was asked to attend to a lady having an anxiety attack. He did....took a nap...and was woken up and requested to fill out the proper medical forms.

Sounds like something anyone would do, even if they weren't a doctor, right? Apparently Coopersmith thought much more highly of his practice of billing for service than providing that service with any philanthropic thought. He contacted Air Canada and requested that he be compensated for his medical service with two free executive class tickets, a total of about $3,058.00. Air Canada refused. Coopersmith sued.

The judge in small claims court awarded Coopersmith $1,000.00 for services go on the free tickets though, the judge deemed that request an exaggeration as Coopersmith still made it to Paris.

Now here comes the part where i could be considered a hard-nosed, biased, judgmental bitch. But i expect you to, if you're someone with medical knowledge, to step up to the plate in any situation where you might be needed. If we can't rely on our fellow man to assist us when circumstance requires it, what does that make us? Should you be paid for that service? Let me think about much do you already make as a physican? Are you NOT flying executive class to Paris while the rest of us are crammed back here in seats that have been modified to increase passenger count capacity?

The reality for me is....not all things we do for others are billable as "service". There has to come a time in everyone's life where they do for others simply because they can. As human beings we have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to assist, to aid, to make life that much better when we can.

I can understand a bottle of wine from Air Canada. A thank you letter. Three columns in all national and international papers extolling your virtues as a thoughtful, considerate, caring doctor. But money? Free airline tickets?

Nope. Mr. are damn lucky your case didn't go to trial and even more lucky that i wouldn't have been sitting on the jury.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Curse of the Squirrels

During last winter i decided that it would be a cute thing to feed peanuts to the local squirrels...four black ones and two adorable gray ones. So yes, it was cute. They would frolic all over the balcony, amusing me, agitating the cats. Oh, how adorable it was when they would peer through the balcony doors when there were no nuts set out for them. Often they battled it out with the blue jays, which is probably why they resorted to hiding the excess of nuts i treated them the dirt of old plant pots. Industrious, i thought...and though they made a huge mess of the balcony, i knew it would all end in the spring when i stopped spoiling them.

Now that summer is here, and i have new plants in new pots with new dirt, i want to sign those squirrels up for the Squirrel Family for Relocation Program. The little buggers insist in digging in the pots, tossing dirt up and out and everywhere...and there are NO NUTS!! Do they have memory loss? There hasn't been a peanut on the balcony for months now.

This mess is messing with my sense of order and my need for organization. I look out onto the balcony and i love the table and chairs i have there...the climbing clematis, the lilies, the geranium...and then i see the tossed up dirt.

I need to take some deep breaths and think how cute it still is that they come to visit. But....long-tailed idgets....there are NO PEANUTS!

Monday, July 6, 2009

An Aperitif Named Pirlo

When i research for my upcoming trip to Tuscany i inevitably read about the foods and drinks i'll soon get to indulge in once i get there. My recent discovery is Pirlo, an Italian aperitif.

Well, first of all, i'm not all that familiar with just what an aperitif is. Aha...

Aperitif = an alcoholic drink savored before a meal with the intent of stimulating the appetite. Not to be confused with a digestif, which is served after the meal.

The Pirlo is an aperitif that is a blend of white wine (usually Prosecco), Campari, and seltzer (soda water). Back to web surfing to satisfy curiosity about Prosecco and Campari.

Prosecco = a sparkling, dry Italian wine made from the prosecco grape, which is grown in the Veneto area of Italy. This wine is supposed to be (we'll see when we get to Italy) bubbly and lemon tasting, and is often used in the Bellini Cocktail.

Campari = created by Gaspare Campari in the 1860s with the intent of being used in Campari's bottled cocktails. Campari is equal parts alcohol, sugar, and distilled water...then infused with citrus, rhubarb, and herbs. Apparently the question, "What are these herbs?" can't be answered....herbs remain a secret ingredient. Seriously, i'm not making that part up.

So there you have it. The Pirlo.

Of course my dad most likely thinks of Andrea Pirlo instead of the aperitif. Andrea is an Italian fussball player who is good enough to have been to the FIFA World Cup.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Okanagan Summer

I ran home for three days, home to the safety of parental attention. It was a nice lazy...hazy...dozzy.

We took a drive out to Fintry Landing.....

....admired dandelion puffs....which failed to whisk us away on an adventure but still make me dream.....

....admired my parent's roses....

.....and finally captured a camera-shy hummingbird.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Procrastination = Chocolate

Constant themes for me, at least lately, have been procrastination and negativity. I'm a master at both. So perhaps i should be embracing these two wonderful traits and blending them together.

"The Wonderful Virtues of Negativity and Procrastination"

  • Procrastination enhances my negativity. High levels of negativity increase the level of my procrastination and depending on the degree allow me to accomplish minor tasks or, if there has been a lot of negativity enhancement, absolutely nothing at all.
  • Procrastination allows me to research websites on how to increase my productivity. Though i often makes notes on stimulating productivity, procrastination allows me to quickly ignore these notes, leading to an onrush of the finest negativity.
  • Negativity allows me to feel a) so utterly sorry for myself that any and all productivity is wiped out by procrastination, or b) like a martyr as i slog through tasks i have procrastinated and now must do or die.
  • Perhaps the best negativity/procrastination blend is the ability to feel so absolutely crappy about everything that only the finest chocolate will improve the situation.
So...really...procrastination and negativity are wonderful things if the end result is chocolate.

I was right all along to embrace these amazing traits in myself.