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I am happy to share my thoughts, interests with you.
For all my other creative ideas please check the links to my other blogs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Answering Phone or Keep Talking to Person in Front of You?

We are in the middle of municipal elections and a candidate came to my door. We were having a great conversation when the candidate's phone rang. The person on the phone was asked to wait and my conversation came to an abrupt end. That made me decide that I was not going to give that person my vote.

With smartphones everywhere it seems to have become more important to answer the phone than keep on talking to the person you have a conversation with. The person on the phone does not know that you are talking to someone and can leave a message, but to drop everything because the phone is ringing just does not make sense.

This is not new. It has been going on long before we had cell phones. I remember getting very upset when I was shopping and the cashier answered the phone rather than ringing in my purchase. In hindsight, I should have just walked out. I always thought that a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. There I was standing with money in my hand being ignored while the caller probably was just going to ask a question, so no money for the store.

I am curious to know if I am so off in my way of thinking or if others think the same way? Please leave your comments.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Looking For Ways to Stay Creative?

Being creative on a regular basis isn't that easy as there is a rhythm to it like with everything else. Some days you are super creative and then there are others when it feels like you are stuck in molasses.

This morning I came across this helpful list with 29 tip to stay creative:

29 ways to stay creative
Have you tried any of these tips? Do you thinks that some of them don't or won't work? I would love to hear from you how you work on stay creative. Do you have any tips to share?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Summer Adventure of a Different Kind - Segway Gliding

This past week hubby and I had the most delightful summer adventure of a different kind, we went Segway Gliding. That's what it is called when you go for a drive on a Segway. A few years ago at a Health Show I had the opportunity to do 5 minutes of Segway gliding and I fell in love with it.
First stop at a small waterfall on the BLT trail
Then a few months ago I came across a local ad for Segway tours in Nova Scotia. I made a mental note and told myself that hubby and I would do this some time in August. Well, last Thursday was that day. It was early in the morning on hot summer's day.

We met up with Max from Segway NS at the BLT (Beechville - Lakeside - Timberlea Trail) at trail on what once was the rail bed.

What is a Segway Anyway?

Here is the info from Wikipedia:

The Segway PT is a two-wheeled self-balancing battery-powered electric vehicle invented by Dean Kamen. It is produced by Segway Inc. ofNew Hampshire, USA. The name Segway is a homophone of the word segue, meaning "smooth transition"; PT denotes "personal transporter".

 Computers and motors in the base of the device keep the Segway PT upright when powered on with balancing enabled. A user commands the Segway to go forward by shifting their weight forward on the platform, and backward by shifting their weight backward. The Segway notices, as it balances, the change in its center of mass, and first establishes and then maintains a corresponding speed, forward or backward.Gyroscopic sensors and fluid-based leveling sensors are used to detect the shift of weight. To turn, the user manipulates a control on the handlebar left or right.

Segway PTs are driven by electric motors and can go up to 12.5 miles per hour (20.1 km/h).

This info is from the page with a cool animated graphic of a person gliding on a Segway.

hubby practicing
The BLT trail runs by the Coca Cola plant and we got our basic introduction and training across the street in a parking lot. You step on the Segway that turns it on, then you find your balance. When you are perfectly centered you just stand still. If you are off center forward you will move forward, if the center of gravity is off towards the back you move backward. Now to stand still you just shift your center of gravity until you stand still. Then once you want to move forward you shift your center slightly forward or as I discovered you bend you knees a little and you move forward slowly. The more you shift your weight forward the faster you go. To slow down you just shift more upright again. To make a fast stop just stick you but out.

How on earth to you make turns? Well that is very easy. There is a center pole or "LeanSteer" that has handle bars across. To turn right shift the "LeanSteer" gently to the right. To make a tight turn push the  "LeanSteer" more towards the right. You can turn 360° almost on the spot. Coming from riding a bicycle I had the tendency to hold on really tight and that is not necessary as you only use the handles to change directions and have some place to hold on to because that's what we are used to.

wireless info key is uniquely programmed for the individual Segway
To begin with, Max set our Segways to "turtle mode", that meant the speed was restricted to about 10km/h  and the "LeanSteer" was less sensitive. Once we got the hang of it and on the trail we switched to regular mode.

The only thing we found with Segway gliding that took some time getting used to is when we switched surfaces at intersection and slight inclines. If there is a small grade upward you have to shift further forward than you think or you will stall in the middle of going up.

handsfree - I have found my center of balance
Once Max felt that we got the hang of gliding on a Segway off we went on the multipurpose trail. The Segway has a wireless info key on the center pole that indicates all kinds of information, I was primarily interested in the speed. At first 10km/h felt quite fast, but by the time we were on our return glide we averaged about 15 km/h. The maximum speed is around 19-20 km/h. If you try to go faster than that you can't as there is a speed limiter and the handle bar starts to push back.

Gliding at around 15 km/h on hot summer day was delightful as at that speed there is a refreshing breeze.

If you are looking for something different to do I highly suggest doing a Google search to see if you can go Segway gliding in your area. Sadly if you live in Australia you are out of luck as Segways are illegal and  not sold there.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Starling Crosses Street On CrosswWalk

Yesterday, as I was stopped at a red light at the busy intersection at the MacDonald bridge here in Dartmouth, NS I wished I had had the opportunity to take a picture of a single starling crossing the road with the green light, walking across in front of my stopped car on the crosswalk. The bird stayed within the lines and just kept on walking rather than flying.

I imagine that this bird has been observing people and the traffic and then decided to to the same.

Has anybody else observed this at the Wyse Road and MacDonald bridge intersection?

a whole flock of starlings in my backyard
photo source: Marlies Cohen

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Obstacles are Opportunities

How many times are we totally devastated when something we have wanted soooo much falls through. We wonder why oh why? That's when I came across this quote and learned to go with the flow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Living in the NOW

This week I came across a couple of quotes that reminded me that you can only make changes in the Now and to stop worrying so much about what happened and what could be.

The first one points out the futility of worrying so much:

The second one reminds you that holding on to things from the past, prevent you from moving forward. Events happened in the past, but they are not happening any longer, but if you hold on to them you are recreating them every time you think of them.

Take action today and enjoy everything you are doing and what the day brings to you.

June 27/2012 just came across this quote:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Native American Ten Commandments

While going through my Facebook stream this morning I came across this picture and just had to share it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Maven - Connector - Salesperson

I am in the middle of figuring out to describe myself and my business and have been working on it since the start of 2012. It is a slow process that seems to go in waves. March with Mercury retrograde was slow as molasses. With Mercury moving forward again on April 4 there is movement again and this morning I discovered this information  from a book called "The Tipping Point" by Malcom Gladwell from 2000 where he talks about people as Mavens, Connectors and Salespersons.

So who am I? Before I even knew about this information I have been calling myself a "creative maven" and after reading the 3 categories, I have to say that "yes, I am a Maven with a bit of Connector and Salesperson mixed in".


Mavens are "information specialists", or "people we rely upon to connect us with new information." They accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know how to share it with others. A prototypical Maven is "almost pathologically helpful" and "he can't help himself". "A Maven is someone who wants to solve other people's problems, generally by solving his own". Mavens start "word-of-mouth epidemics" due to their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate. "Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know". [1]

Mavens are the ones who tell Connectors about what’s hot. They always have the newest inside scoops on gadgets and specials. The upside of Mavens is that they amass a vast store of knowledge and are eager to share it with others. The downside is that Mavens can sometimes be a bit geeky and awkward around people.

Here are some questions that will help you decide whether you are a Maven:
  • Do you enjoy reading junkmail?
  • Do you seek out the specials in your local supermarket?
  • Do you tend to watch trends and know what’s ‘in’?
  • Do you study the market before buying a new gadget?
  • Do you tell your friends about special deals?
  • If you said ‘yes’ to four or five of these questions, you are a Maven.
Mavens want to educate, not to sell.

Maven's take delight in finding out the special deals that will save them money. And they are interested in new technology. They are the ones on the Internet who are the first to investigate new software, or a new laptop or mobile phone. And they don’t keep what they find to themselves. They publish articles about their findings or let their social media friends know what they think. [2]

The definition of Maven 
ma·ven also ma·vin  (mvn)
A person who has special knowledge or experience; an expert.


Connectors are the people who "link us up with the world ... people with a special gift for bringing the world together." They are "a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [... for] making friends and acquaintances".  These individuals have social networks of over one hundred people. (the book was written in 2000 before social media exploded). The social success of Connectors is due to "their ability to span many different worlds [... as] a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy." [1]

Connectors are people specialists

The following questions will help you decide whether you are a Connector:
  • Do you know a lot of people?
  • Do you like people?
  • Do you tend to remember peoples’ names?
  • Do you enjoy going to parties and meeting new people?
  • Do you collect acquaintances?
If you answered ‘yes’ to four or five of these questions, you are a Connector.

They also tend to associate with other Connectors. Because of their rich network of friends and acquaintances, Connector are trendsetters. The upside of a Connector is that he or she is able to create and maintain long-lasting friendships. The downside is that Connectors can be dazzled by their vast collection of acquaintances, without investing in real friendships.

Gladwell explains:
Connector are people who link us up with the world. People with a special gift for bringing the world together.

The power of Social Media on the Internet is the power of connectors.
Power-users of StumbleUpon or Digg are Connectors. They can make or break the success of a blogpost because they are people specialists who cultivate a network of online friends. [2]

Definition of Connector
Connectors are said by author Malcolm Gladwell to be people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. Connectors usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles.


Salespeople are "persuaders", charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them. Gladwell's examples include California businessman Tom Gau and news anchor Peter Jennings, and he cites several studies about the persuasive implications of non-verbal cues, including a headphone nod study (conducted by Gary Wells of the University of Alberta and Richard Petty of the University of Missouri) and William Condon's cultural microrhythms study. [1]

Salesmen are charismatic

They are able to build instant rapport with another person and gain their trust.  That Salesmen are able to build rapport implies that they can tune in to others. But there is also another dimension: others find it easy to tune into the emotions of Salesmen. Gladwell explains that some people are very good at expressing emotions and feelings, which means that they are much more ‘socially contagious’ than others.

Here are some questions that will help you find out if you are a salesman:
  • Do you find it difficult to sit still when hearing good dance music?
  • Do you have a loud laugh?
  • Do you touch friends when you talk with them?
  • Are you good at seduction?
  • Do you like being the center of attention?
If you answered ‘yes’ to four or five of these questions, you are a Salesman.

Salesmen make good politicians, spiritual teachers and pastors, and, well…salespeople. Salesmen are larger than life and can make others feel good with their high spirits. The downside of salesmen is that they can be dangerous if they use their charisma in order to manipulate others. [2]

[1] Wikipedia entry about the book "The Tipping Point"
[2] Info from article
Productive Flourishing article
Escape from Cubicle Nation article

Sunday, February 12, 2012

History about Swiss Mercenaries

Swiss Mercenaries
I was just looking through my quarterly magazine called 'Swiss Review" that arrives regularly like clockwork in my house and an article about the history of Swiss Mercenaries caught my attention.

In school we were taught that the Swiss soldiers had a reputation of being fierce. The Swiss guard at the Vatican started out like that a long time ago. As the center Cantons are primarily catholic it stands to reason that only catholic men can join the guard and many are from those central Cantons.

I am not sure for how long this article is going to be reachable through this link as I had to go searching for it, I am putting the content here:

Switzerland – a warfare service provider

Mercenaries do not have a good reputation. The Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi attempted for months to prevent his fall from power in October 2011 with foreign troops. The UN recently warned of a worrying rise in the number of mercenaries in Africa. The use of “external military forces” is outlawed in Switzerland but that has not always been the case. The Swiss were among the most sought-after mercenary forces for half a millennium. Well over a million Swiss mercenary soldiers fought on the battlefields of Europe. They were renowned for their brutality and boldness, which made them much coveted and feared in equal measure. They served almost every European power. At one stage, one in three of the French army’s infantry came from Switzerland. And in the 19th century, liberation movements were often confronted with Swiss troops serving royal dynasties in decline. Swiss mercenaries of old are a far cry from the idyllic image of the modern-day papal Swiss Guard as an historic relic.

Probably no other phenomenon had a stronger influence on pre-modern Switzerland than its mercenaries. Journalist Jost Auf der Maur points out that it is strange that there is little general awareness of this extraordinary historical phenomenon. Extensive research has been carried out into mercenaries in military history, but the cultural history and socio-political dimension has largely been overlooked. In his book “Söldner für Europa” (Mercenary soldiers for Europe), Auf der Maur highlights this black hole in Swiss history. He felt obliged to do so as many of his direct ancestors were officers in the pay of foreign powers. 

In one respect, it was a “dirty business”, one that established an aristocracy founded on the mercenary trade and wielding political power. The book’s illustrated annex impressively shows the financial gains of Swiss mercenary entrepreneurs, which were turned into architecture – stately homes built on blood in the truest sense of the word in many parts of Switzerland. Mercenary soldiers who avoided death on the battlefield often returned home in poverty, mutilated and suffering from alcoholism. Switzerland suffered huge population loss.

On the other hand, the long periods abroad resulted in a transfer of knowledge. Those who managed to return home in good health and perhaps even with some prosperity brought culture and knowledge from many foreign countries with them. Auf der Maur even claims that Switzerland would not have survived without its foreign mercenaries. The courts of Europe had become so dependent on Swiss troops that they refrained from attacking their supply line of soldiers. The Swiss were able to call their troops home whenever they needed them for themselves. A mechanism was practised here that gradually became an ever stronger commitment to neutrality.

Based on his family history, Jost Auf der Maur provides new, fascinating and sometimes disconcerting insights into a turbulent and underappreciated chapter in Swiss history.


Here is another article about Swiss Mercenaries

The "Swiss Review" keeps me abreast of what is happening in Switzerland and more often than not I learn something that I never knew or was even aware of. Why do I receive it? Every Swiss citizen registered with their local embassy is automatically subscribed. I guess, that is how Switzerland keeps track of its citizens living abroad.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sleep Tip from the Mentalist TV Show

I like watching the Mentalist TV show and yesterday I got finally around to watch my latest recorded show. To my delight and surprise Patrick Jane's character gave this tip to help you fall asleep:

If you have falling asleep you can count sheep or on your in-breath say or think 1 and then when you breath out say or think 2. On your next in-breath say or think 1 and when you breath out say or think 2. Keep on repeating this and you will be surprised that when you wake up it is morning.

Give it a try and then connect with me on Facebook and let me know what happened . . .

counting sheep

Friday, January 20, 2012

Found a Great Site: Practical Tips for Productive Living

Just recently I came across this treasure trove of a site. It is called Marc and Angel Hack Life - Practical tips for productive living. The put together lists of helpful information for a productive life.

Here are just a few of tips of the list: "101 Simple Truths We Often Forget"
  • 1.  The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing.  Growing happens when what you know changes how you live.
  • 11.  Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone will put things into perspective from an angle you can’t grasp now.
  • 20.  Having a plan, even a flawed one at first, is better than no plan at all.
  • 33. Being successful is a journey, not a destination.
  • 39.  Everyone you meet is better than you at something.  We all have different strengths.  What worked for someone else might not work for you.
  • 47.  Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  • 57.  Screaming at people always makes things worse.
  • 65.  Family isn’t always blood.  They’re the people in your life who want you in theirs – the ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.
  • 82. Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak, sometimes it means you are strong enough and smart enough to let go.
  • 99.  No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
Now don't you just want to know what the other Truths are? Follow this link and check out the post.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

What We Can Learn from a 108-Year Survivor of a Nazi Concentration Camp

Just came across this powerful 12 minute video about Alice Herz Summer a 108- year-old survivor of a Nazi Concentration Camp.  Her positive outlook is what helped her survive.

Alice Herz Summer Quotes from the Video

  • Complaining doesn't change things or people. 
  • Be grateful for everything in your life.
  • Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the bad and focus on the good. That's the way the life works. That is the essence of optimism.
  • Smile a lot.
  • Hatred eats the soul of the hater not the hated.
  • Everything is a present.

I once read this quote that totally agrees with what Alice says.

 "We live our lives looking forward,
but we make sense of our lives by looking backward."

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