Tag Archives: holidays

In honor of Valentine’s Day… Fantasy BINGO

14 Feb

On this V-Day – wishing you love and happiness no matter who you are or what relationship status you may have!

As a single who spent 1/2 my life married, it is interesting to watch the explosive growth of dating and matchmaking websites (Match.com, eHarmony.com, POF, golfmates.com, and a myriad of specialized sites!)  USA Today cites that 49% of adults in the US today are unmarried, and the Florida statistics say that over 75% of marriages here end in divorce!  Is love dead or have we become too narcissistic and self-centered as a society?

Matchmaking experts recommend that single (or even married) people write down their list of desired and undesirable traits in a partner, should the right person happen to come along.   I thought about this and realized that a creative and light-hearted way to do this would be on a  B I N G O card – something familiar to North Americans.  For me, I do not expect anyone (let alone in Florida!) to measure up to my stringent BINGO card (I should have done this years ago!) – but it was fun to fantasize.

What would you put on your BINGO card?

p.s., This photo depicts an attractive male who approached me on Sunday. (No he didn’t score a BINGO!) Life in Florida is always a pleasant surprise.

The Royal We (me, myself, and I) wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day no matter what your status.

The Road to Hell is still paved with Good Intentions…

7 Feb

Have you heard the idiom:  “The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions”?  I grew up with it and today can digest it.  So often I see it in action:  good intentions without supporting actions really do not do any good.  Literally taken, people with good intentions (without action or whose actions contradict their words) do not make noble souls.

Our politicians and candidates are proof positive of people who are not accountable for their words. How often does an elected official (or TV ad-supported politician wannabe) feature advertising where they “say” what they will do if elected, then fail to deliver on their words? In this election year, we are bound to see a bounty of good intentions spouted daily.

True leaders follow-through on what they say!

While my father used to quote the subject line as a biblical truism, I forgot about it until this week when John Chappelear wrote a similar phrase in his Positive Thoughts blog:

“It’s Action not Intention… I judge myself by my thoughts but others judge me by my actions…”

If you reflect on this for a moment, what does it really mean?  If  judge ourselves by our intentions (our words), while others judge us by our actions, we had better be sure that our actions follow-up what we say!  We can have the best thoughts (and follow them up with words) that tell the world we intend to be kind, supportive, generous, virtuous, etc. — but if our actions are contradictory, our words mean nothing.  Actions speak louder than words!

Before we can judge others on their actions or lack thereof – or chide someone that his/her actions are contrary to what s/he says, we ought to take a look at our own behaviors.  Do I walk the talk?  Do I do what I say I will do?  Do my actions and behavior speak the same truth as I purport to think or say?  This can be an eye-opening experience, especially if you ask a trusted friend or confidante if this is true of you.  It may come as a surprise if your words say one thing as you do another!

This Valentine’s Day as you think about love, and life, (and if you are single like me the Hallmark commercial significance of Valentine’s Day), you may want to think about whether the expressions of love (through candy, flowers or food/meals) is consistent with how your beloved treats you all year.

If you are lucky enough to have a heavenly relationship with someone you love – AND their actions match their words of love, count your blessings!  Too often, this is not the case.  People generally say what they think is expected or that they think we want to hear, and their fall flat on the floor without action.

If everyone did their part to follow through with actions that match their (good) intentions, our world would be a better place, and there would be move love and truth for all.  AND, we could trust our friends, family, and even politicians to follow through with their intentions. Can you imagine a world like that?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Have a good week,

Carol

Year-end resolutions… a fresh start

16 Dec

So many people talk about New Year’s resolutions that it makes for good commentary by mid-January (or by Jan 31 if it involves a month-long fitness program!) as most people break them.

I got to thinking about this and came up with:  Why not do something different this year?  (Along the lines of the Einstein quote:  Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.)  Why not set up healthy, end-of-year resolutions by December 15 and use them to propel your year forward?

By starting with a year-end resolution today – on January 1 either my resolutions will be ½ way to becoming a new habit (it takes a minimum of 31 days for something to become a habit!) or if I strike out, then I can still start the new year on a positive note.  Either way, my end-of-year resolutions will set me up for new year success!

And instead of an unreasonable number of resolutions – I’m going to go with numbers used in baseball:  3 resolutions (like 3 possible chances to hit a home run) and 4 possible restarts (for when life throws me curve balls I don’t expect!) And, I’m going to keep score and go public (I’m confident in my own ideas these days that I don’t care if anyone disagrees with me).

So here are my end-of-year resolutions:

1.      Prioritize the Royal We (me, myself and I) before anyone else.

I’ll be the first to admit that I used to share my energy, my time, and my talents freely with others – often to my detriment.  Whenever someone called me with their problems (often in the middle of the night), emailed me (for free advice) or asked me for help (usually impacting my schedule), I was there for them without as much as a second thought (and that’s the problem).  Typically, I ended up with the short end of the stick when it came to money, energy, or time for me, and I didn’t realize that I did it to myself.

Not that I will change the amount or the energy that I give to  others – but, I will take a moment (BEFORE responding) to  consider my Royal We priorities and how my response could affect them.  If there is no detrimental result on the Royal We to being there for the other person, I will continue to be my giving, cheerful, responsive self.  But if there is a downside (i.e., I will be short of time, money or energy by giving it away, or I will deprive myself of sleep without good reason), then I will respond with a gentle but firm – NO, and have confidence that the other person WILL survive.  (I will admit that this rule will never apply when it comes to a plea from my children.)

If you were raised to believe that you have to love yourself first before you can share anything valuable with others, I applaud your knowledge and understand that you are probably aghast when you hear me declare this.  Many of the rest of us were taught as children to put a higher priority on the needs of others (above our own).  While this works well for youngsters (share your toys, don’t be greedy, be generous with the other kids), it doesn’t bode well for adults. As a result, we end up with a sense of self-regret or self-loathing because we make promises to serve others before taking care of ourselves. And we cannot expect or anticipate that anyone else should take care of our needs – it simply isn’t the way of the world and it never was.

Therefore, my commitment going forward is to the Royal We (me, myself, and I) BEFORE giving my time, talents, or energy to others.  I deserve this me first treatment from myself!

2.      Listen to my intuition and ignore the noise outside.

If you’ve read my blog posts over the past 2 years, you’ll know that for many years I abandoned my intuition in favor of listening and cooperating with others who told me they knew (better than I could) what was best for me.  I now realize that controlling people (and almost everyone) behaves solely to help themselves (including trying to control others).  In so doing, I ignored and overrode my intuition to avoid conflict, and I tolerated toxic relationships for far too long.  No more!

This resolution is an ongoing process and not an easy one because it means severing and ending toxic relationships, setting up healthy boundaries to keep my esteem intact, and saying “Stop right there” when someone spews verbal diarrhea (or abuse) in my direction.  (You are right if you say that I should never have tolerated this, but live and learn.)

Since I’ve stopped tolerating abusive behavior from others, I’ve realized that I’ve always been whole, complete, and perfect in the universe after all.  My intuition and sense of self has rebounded, and I know that it’s the right thing to do!

3.      Create expectations only of myself.

Another realization is that I can only ever influence or control my behavior and not that of anyone else in the world.  This is major for me because in the past (and sometimes in the present), I unfairly expected that the Golden Rule also applied to others (not true!)  If I choose to treat others well there is no connection with how others will behave or treat me – there is no correlation!

Again, I was raised in the belief that everyone followed the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would like to be treated yourself) but the world is not holistic.   It WAS disappointing to discover that we cannot take anything personally (ignorant people are ignorant to many people, kind people are kind to many people, etc.)

While it is my choice to follow any given philosophy (the golden rule, give and take, be kind to others) – I can only ever affect my behavior.  To have expectations of anyone else sets me up for disappointment and failure.  People act in their own best interests and follow their own set of rules for life, and now that I know it’s got nothing to do with me, how can I take anything personally? (Thank you to don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements for this illumination).

This resolution won’t be easy because it means overcoming a lifetime of training and reinforcement that set up the false belief that I have something to do with what others do or say.  It is simply not true – people will say and do what they want regardless (and in spite of) what I do. (This can be a big relief!)

I’ve already started to live these resolutions today and the results are promising!  Assumptions about w I’d like others to respond withered before my very eyes in several conversations, and I don’t feel any disappointment (or happiness) in what they said or did.  People simply are who they are – I’ve got nothing to do with that, nor should I.

What do you think?  Are year-end resolutions a possibility for you? Do you share my outlook or resolutions?

Wishing you success, prosperity and many happy memories today and as we approach the new year.

Regards,
Carol

Share

NYC, the country…

22 Jun

NYCMy daughter lives in NYC (New York City) and loves it!

I never fully understood the allure of New York until this weekend, and I’m growing fonder of the place by the visit.  NYC is like no other place on earth and I think I know why.

Can you think of anyplace else where:

  • Everyone of every age seems to travel by subway or walk or bike?
  • There are so many unique fashion trends that no one stands out as different or strange?
  • Every neighborhood has its own flavor and celebrates traditions in the street (I experienced solstice (midsummer) today –Brooklyn style– with rock bands playing at corner restaurants on a Monday afternoon) – and world cup soccer is celebrated even if the U.S. is not playing a match?
  • People are universally accepted and (equally) ignored no matter what their race, creed or religion?
  • There are great restaurants and entertainment venues everywhere within walking distance or a short subway ride?
  • The city and boroughs stay open late (and you can get dinner past 10 pm!) – and are filled day and night?
  • Space is at a premium yet the hot summer heat doesn’t seem to create hostility?
  • Summer is celebrated nightly with rooftop parties and gatherings?

It’s so refreshing to find parks within the concrete jungle, European style street corner restaurants, delis and cafes spilling outside, people walking everywhere, cultural diversity being celebrated, and generally happy people all about.  As my daughter says, NYC is like its own country and she’s one of its proudest citizens.  Who knows, maybe someday, I’ll be one too!

Have a good week!

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

Copyright Carol Dekkers 2010…

The freedom to DISassociate is a basic American Right…

18 Mar

Most of us were raised with good morals and values including be nice to others, share, don’t kick sand in another’s face, and if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything.  I find that these are good childhood teachings but our current society seems to be more and more devoid of such practices.

In my travels to conferences and public events throughout the world, I have the opportunity to observe human behavior at its best (at charity events where people are truly devoted to making a difference) and its worst (crowded airports on a snow day) and everything in between.  While it seems that the overall societal level of frustration in the U.S. has increased since the recession set foot, the majority of people I meet are kind, considerate human beings.  Every once in a while I encounter someone who is just plain “nasty” and it always gives me pause because they are so different from most people I meet.  Last night was one of those times.

Every year on my friend’s birthday eve, we go out to to a local neighborhood pub to celebrate her birthday and St. Patrick’s Day, and we are always amazed at the variety of “characters” and how the economy doesn’t seem to have affected St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. We were lucky to get seats at the bar and were enjoying the atmosphere and high energy of bar patrons who came up close behind us to jostle for position and attention of the bartenders to order their concoctions.  It was an interesting vantage point for observing patrons who seemed to be invisible despite their courtesy and patience – some simply couldn’t attract the attention of the servers (they weren’t scantily clad) and became increasingly frustrated as others who arrived later were served first. We ended up having “informal jobs” of flagging down passing bartenders when people in our vicinity started to lament the length they waited to be served.  Patrons were appreciative when we assisted them and were relieved to finally get a drink.

Things were going swimmingly until a “mean” (I’ll explain) bartender yelled “don’t point” and then “don’t call my attention” – loudly scolding three separate people at the bar for trying to aid stranded patrons whose pleadings for service fell on deaf ears. I can understand frustration (the pub WAS crowded) and the stress of working (but there were another 6 bartenders on shift behind the bar) — but the behavior was so sudden and disrespectful that it attracted the attention of everyone within earshot including other servers – who stopped to pause – before continuing on.  Everyone around us was stunned!  Had any of the other bartenders reacted or if they had with anyone else at the bar, it could be considered to be a single mean moment… but as we sat there in shock and silence we realized this same server had done this exact behavior last St. Patrick’s day!

I remember reading a Dec 2009 column from RealSimple.com called “10 Truths I wish I’d known sooner” by Amy Bloom. #7 on her list came to mind “Mean doesn’t Go Away”. In the article, Amy states:  Mean people suck

“7 Mean doesn’t go away. Some people get better looking with age; some don’t. Some people soften; some toughen up.  Mean streaks tend not to disappear. A person who demeans and belittles you and speaks of you with contempt to others is probably going to be that way for years. The first time it happens, take note. The second time, take your coat and go.”

That’s exactly what we did – took our coats and went – since it is a pub we want to revisit again, we will register complaints with the management.  Over the past several weeks I’ve come to realize that a basic freedom is the Freedom to Associate Freely, which we readily embrace – but we don’t often practice the freedom to also DISassociate freely.  Whether it is in our homes, our neighborhoods, at work, or in public – as adults and Americans we have the choice and the freedom to DISassociate! With over 7 billion people in the world, we need to know that there are many good people with whom we can CHOOSE to associate.

I spent far too many years defending and justifying mean behavior because I simply didn’t recognize it and didn’t exercise my right to DISassociate, but I’m learning. Disassociation from mean people is an important part of our own health and welfare – yet somehow we fail to practice this freedom.  What do YOU think?

Wishing you a productive and happy week and weekend!

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

dekkers@qualityplustech.com
http://www.caroldekkers.com
http://www.qualityplustech.com

Read Carol Dekkers’ other blog (Musings about Software Development) at http://musingsaboutsoftwaredevelopment.wordpress.com

Copyright 2010 Carol Dekkers – All Rights Reserved ———————

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

25 Nov

Thanksgiving… According to Wikipedia:  

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. It is a holiday celebrated primarily in Canada and the United States. While perhaps religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.

As 38.4 million Americans (including me) prepare to travel more than 50 miles from home this holiday weekend, I realized just how profound an effect this day has on our country and our lives.  Regardless of the year, television depicts  Thanksgiving as a traditional, large gathering of family members cheerily assembled around a plentiful harvest feast. This year, however, many people will be in a less than celebratory mood brought on by economic strife abetted by plentiful news reports of how much worse things are going to get before they get better. Our nation is spiralling into a depressive state with the negativity and focus on what’s missing from our lives (jobs, cashflow, unified government, thriving businesses, world peace, etc.).

In a one-person effort to change this trend today – I present to you my list of things I’m thankful for today and this year (please add your own by posting a comment).  While most of us are incapable of reviving the economy, creating millions of  jobs, or feeding all our nation’s hungry, we each can make a difference in our own lives -focusing on what is going right in our lives – and sharing it with others.  No matter your age, your circumstances, your wealth, or status — remember that we only ever have today, this moment, the “now”, the present, and something to celebrate right here.

My thanks list 2009
by Carol Dekkers  

Florida sunsets
The ability to smile when it rains on the beach
 My own bed
Two grown children who are healthy and independent
Coffee (made from clean water)
Unpolluted skies
Frostfree Novembers
The ability to take a walk whenever and wherever
Friends to laugh with
Optimism
Laughter of children
Friends to cry with
Human goodness
Freedom of association
Elections
The ability to choose what I watch on TV (maybe too much choice!)
Music
Clean air to breathe
Golf courses
Dolphins
Wine tastings with friends
Wide open spaces
Alone time
Microbrews
Family members
Humorous jokes
Nature and boardwalks
The ability to travel
Friends with differing perspectives
A beautiful day

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Have a good week!

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

dekkers@qualityplustech.com
http://www.caroldekkers.com
http://www.qualityplustech.com

Read Carol Dekkers’ other blog (Musings about Software Development) at http://musingsaboutsoftwaredevelopment.wordpress.com

Copyright 2009 Carol Dekkers – All Rights Reserved ———————

%d bloggers like this: