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Archive for December, 2009

Yup, it’s that time again – time to wash away the old and bring in the new. It’s time to reflect on the past year – all the ups and all the downs – and think about our hopes and dreams for the coming year. This act of self reflection is typically represented in the setting of New Year’s Resolutions. I once heard a quote that went something like this: “I make my resolutions by the day, not the year.” I’ve always thought that was a good motto to live by, but when it comes to the end of the year, I still scribble down some resolutions and gear up for the next 365 days.

In coining my resolutions, I’ve noticed a common theme that has developed over the years – my resolutions are pretty much the same year after year. I’m pretty sure I have this whole “resolution” thing wrong, because aren’t you are actually supposed to accomplish the resolution so it’s not needed on next year’s list??? For some reason, I have such a hard time keeping even the simplest of resolutions – take a multi-vitamin every day, drink more water, workout more, etc. I’m good for about a month, and then it’s all downhill once February hits. Ever notice how the gym is packed every day in January, starts to thin out in February, and then clear out in March??? Well, there’s a reason for that – very few people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions. According to research led by John Norcross, psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, only about 19 percent of people who make resolutions actually stick to them for two years – that is less than one in five of us

Sue Shellenbarger, writer for the Wall Street Journal, set out to determine why some people are able to keep resolutions and others are not – what the winners do differently that makes them success stories. She details three success stories in her article, A Cheat Sheet for Keeping Resolutions, and discovers that there are several rules to the art of resolution maintenance. Her article explains each tactic in full and outlines examples, but I’ve provided you a “cheat sheet” to her “cheat sheet.”

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Get a little help from your friends – Enlist like-minded friends to join you in your resolution (such as “exercising three times per week”) and hold each other accountable
  • Change your environment – Alter your surroundings to support your new behavior and chart/record your resolution progress
  • Announce your intentions – Committing to the public makes it more difficult to shirk on your resolutions
  • Figure out your attachment to bad habits – Figure out what your bad behaviors do for you and find healthier substitutes – for example, if you overeat to ease stress, start practicing deep breathing or meditation
  • Expect setbacks – Brush off inevitable setbacks and get quickly back on track; don’t criticize or blame yourself for slip-ups

Have a great New Year’s Eve everyone! Good luck with your resolutions! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Let’s not kid ourselves…I’m a cat person – always have been, always will be. For some reason, my interest in these furry felines has made for numerous jokes (many that I often make at my own expense) and a growing collection of cat-related memorabilia that people have given me over the years (cat push-pins, magnets, calendars, stuffed animals, books, and the list goes on and on). I love animals in general, but I just LOVE cats and have had three (two currently – shout-out to Odie and Rudy!) in my past 26 years. So when I came across a story about a missing cat that hobbled his way back to his home on two badly broken legs, it both broke my heart and inspired me.

One year-old Giggle Blizzard was on a routine play-date with his siblings in Spring Hill, FLA when he got separated from them and was hit by a car, unbeknown to his owner, Tracie Steger. That evening, when Steger called for her cats, all returned home – except for Blizzard. Steger searched all over the neighborhood and put a posting on CraigsList, but all leads to Blizzard’s whereabouts proved inconclusive. Eleven days later, on Thanksgiving evening, Steger found one more thing to be thankful for – Blizzard returned.ย  Steger had been spending time with family and friends when she heard meowing coming from outside. Much to her surprise, and extreme excitement, Blizzard was at the door. According to Steger, “he was meowing and he pulled himself into the house. He put his two front legs forward and his back legs kind of zig-zagged and skittled forward to catch up.” Poor little Blizzard’s hind legs were badly broken, but Orthopedic veterinary surgeon, Dr. Michael Kern, was able to save them. Now, Blizzard is catching up on some much-deserved R and R until he gets his casts removed in a month’s time.

Giggle Blizzard’s happy ending reminds me of an inspirational quote that we should all keep with us when we are ready to throw in the towel:

“When the world says, ‘Give up,’
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown

We can all learn a thing or twoย  about persistence and perseverance from Blizzard and his willingness to never give up on his journey back home – even with two broken legs and very little food and water. Whatever your journey may be, keep at it – remember, you may not be there yet, but you are closer than you were yesterday.

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***I want to begin this post by apologizing for my week plus hiatus from blogging. I had been relishing my week-long vacation in Virginia, amidst nearly 18 inches of snow, and I let my blogging duties fly out the window! I am generally behind a computer more than 40 hours/week, so I delighted in lots of time with friends, family, pets, and the remote control and did not check my email, Facebook, blog, etc. once – it was a most joyous retreat from my daily life, and I enjoyed every minute of it (except the part where my family’s Christmas trip to NYC got canceled because of the snow and my mom came down with a horrible case of pneumonia, ๐Ÿ˜ฆ but it all worked out in the end ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

Nonetheless, I am back in Atlanta, back at work, and back to my routine (um okay, not the “workout” part of the routine quite yet, but the rest of it…). I work in interactive advertising, and agencies are usually pretty dead the week after Christmas. In fact, many of my friends who are also in the “biz” have this week off from work, because client’s end-of-year ad budgets have been depleted and accounts are at a standstill before the rigmarole starts back up in the new year. I took my time off of work prior to Christmas, so I am back in the daily grind, sipping my diet coke and soaking in the sounds of silence as the office has taken on a bit of a “ghost town” vibe with the majority of my coworkers on vacation.

In between HTML tutorials and email check-ins, I have been perusing Time.com’s The Top 10 Everything of 2009 lists, reminiscing about all the events the past year has jumbled into its 365 days. TIME has compiled 50 “top 10” lists in 4 main categories – News, Politics, and Science; Arts and Entertainment; Business, Tech, and Sports; and Pop Culture. I’m especially fond of the Top 10 T-shirt-Worthy Slogans (Who can forget “Imma let you finish…”???), the Top 10 Buzzwords (“sexting,” “public option,” “beer summit” anyone???), and the Top 10 Political Gaffes (Does President Obama’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, falling asleep during a high-profile meeting at the White House ring a bell???) lists. Anyways, if you a few free minutes in your day, take some “time” to check out TIME‘s (pun somehow slipped in the post.. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) perspective on the past year as we bid farewell to 2009, and the first decade of the new millennium, this Thursday evening.

I guess Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser, didn't get enough sleep the night before his meeting at the White House...

No one can forget Kanye West's "little" outburst at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards...

I've been involved in quite a few "Beer Summits" of my own but mine and my friend's toasts have never made the national news...

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Stanley Dudek gets the award for “Outstanding Citizen of the Week.” I have instituted this award, so, unfortunately, he doesn’t receive an actual prize; but if I was personally acquainted with Stanley, I would bake him a fresh banana bread (my goody of the week) – he deserves it. Stanley, 75 years young, was rummaging through a collection of items that belonged to his mother who had died 10 years prior when he came upon an old book entitled Facts I Ought To Know About The Government Of My Country by William H. Bartlett. As it turned out, the book didn’t actually belong to Stanley’s mother; it belonged to the New Bedford Public Library in Massachusetts and was, oh, about 36, 000 days overdue. Yes, the book was due back to the local library on May 10, 1910. Stanley felt that returning the book to the library was the right thing to do and he offered to pay the $361.35 fine (which the library ended up waiving).

Stanley’s gesture reminds us that it is never too late to do the right thing. No matter how big or small, it’s never too late to wrong a right, address a grievance, or admit fault. As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Stanley Dudek – I salute your integrity.

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Boy do I know what it’s like to have a “case of the Mondays.” After enjoying a fabulous, but always-too-short weekend, the last place you want to be on a Monday morning is behind a computer staring at 27 new “urgent” emails in your inbox. You would rather be basking in the sunlight by the pool on a summer day with a margarita in hand, basking in the heat by the fireplace on a cold winter’s night with a margarita in hand, basking in the warmth of your bed on a rainy morning with a margarita in hand (are you sensing a pattern here?).

Anyway, work is a reality for most, and although many of us actually do like our jobs, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and to end up losing sight of what makes you love your job in the first place. So, check out these sixteen quick-and-easy tips for feeling happier at work and be on your way to always having a “case of the Fridays.” ๐Ÿ™‚

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Meet Moses, the “divine” bovine that has stirred up all kinds of talk in the small town of Sterling, Connecticut. Notice anything unique about him???

No, it’s not that his ears are different sizes. Guess again.

What? Are you kidding me? His eyes aren’t any further apart than most other calves. Look a little closer this time…maybe this angle will help:

Yup – you finally got it! Moses proudly displays a white cross on his head signifying that he may, in fact, be a cow sent from Heaven! Moses, the son of Fuzzy and Ferdinand, who have reputations on Brad Davis’ and Megan Johnson’s Buttercup Farm as being exceptionally friendly animals, may quite possibly be the first divine cow on the planet. Davis’ 70 year-old father, Andrew Gallup Davis, says he’s never seen a pattern like the one on Moses on any of the thousand of calves he’s encountered in his lifetime. “It’s not one you look at and you try to make something out of it,” he said. It’s pronounced.” Brad Davis believes the unique marking on the baby calf may be a message from God but he isn’t quite sure what the message may be. Nonetheless, both Davis and Johnson ensuredย  Moses’ followers that that the calf will live a long, happy life and will not be eaten. I concur. This is one cow that actually may be too “divine” to eat (Yes, pun very much intended).

So what are your thoughts? Do you think Moses, with his special birthmark, is a sign from God? Whatever your sentiments are on this cute, little creature, I think Moses is here to remind us that we can find inspiration in the smallest of places. We just have to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to all the inspiration that surrounds us, waiting to be discovered. So…put yourself out there, and get a “MOO”ve on finding your next bit of inspiration! (Yes, once again, the insertion of this pun was definitely on purpose… ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

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I can’t help but smile as I think of little Betsy – my sweet-as-pie, bundle-of-joy teddy bear that I’ve had for as long as I can remember. As a child, she made me feel safe when I was afraid of the dark, she caught my tears when life wasn’t “fair,” and she kept me company at tea parties, sleepovers, and on long, stuffy car rides to the beach (Betsy was much more entertaining than the”Kennedy Assassination” tapes my father had on repeat…).

Over the years, Betsy has gotten increasingly torn and tattered (she lost an eye in a “bowling accident” back in elementary school…), and she now sits atop a shelf at my mother’s house (I take that back – my mother just recently moved so Betsy is probably in a box at the storage unit).ย  I need to pay Betsy a visit and thank her for her constant companionship throughout the years (especially since she has loved me so unconditionally even though she can only see out of one eye because of her momma’s lack of caution in using her as a bowling ball!).

All children deserve to feel safe, loved, and happy. When they feel like the whole world is against them and life just isn’t going their way, they should always have a teddy bear to hug and love that will love them back. It’s such a simple concept but means so much to a child; I can attest to this because of my sweet Betsy and the way she always made me feel. Don’t you think all children have earned the right to a special teddy bear to call their own? I mean, the phrase “someone needs a big bear hug” wasn’t coined for nothing! Well, luckily, I am not the only person who has this sentiment; eighth-grader Jason O’Neill feels the same way and is doing something about it. Way to go Jason!

Jason started his own company, Pencil Bugs, when he was only nine years-old (seriously? I was still playing “teacher” and watching Saturday Night Nick at nine years-old…) Anyway, every year Jason donates money to charity, but this year, he wanted to give back to others with more than just money. He decided to provide less fortunate children something special – teddy bears – for Christmas. With a December 1st deadline and a goal of delivering 250 teddy bears to children at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA, Jason set out on an extensive fund-raising campaign encouraging children from across the country to donate. While only a young teenager, Jason is clearly wise beyond his years when he so poignantly states “that every little bit helps. Those kids that just donate five or 10 dollars out of their own money, that helps and that will change somebody’s life.”

Well, Jason didn’t reach his goal…HE SURPASSED IT! With the combination of his own donation and donations from generous people all over the country, Jason was able to buy more than 1,700 teddy bears! Because of Jason’s selflessness and genuine concern for others, sick children will receive at least one new friend on Christmas morning – their very own teddy bear. Jason will deliver not only teddy bears to these children on Christmas morning, but thousands of smiles as well. Great job Jason – you are an inspiration to all of us – to kids from one to ninety-two… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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