You can’t get there from here.

So, I’m going to a retreat for work tomorrow. It’s at a board member’s house on Little Sebago Lake. Should be nice, though I hate going anywhere west in Maine due to the lack of an east-west highway in the state.

I mapped out the route from Brunswick. Here’s what it looks like:

It’s true what they say here in Maine. You just can’t get there from here.

Ugh.

Left-handed, right-brained and misunderstood

As I get older and move further along in my career in public communications, I am realizing more and more how very right-brained I am.

I’m a lefty, so I tend to do things a bit backwards. I also think differently. (Or so it seems to me.)

I get frustrated when I’m in a meeting and others aren’t on the same page as me. I find I’m often about 12 steps ahead of people, while they’re still processing an idea I’ve long since moved on from.

In the past, I just thought I had unique insight. Now, I realize my brain doesn’t process the same as the majority of the people around me.

My 22-month old, Biz, looks like he’s also going to be a lefty. He’s favored his left hand for eating and drawing (or “frawing”) since he learned how to hold a spoon. To gain more insight (that’s not my own) on the subject of how the right-brained person works, I found an article by Barbara Pytel on suite101.com. Here are some direct quotes from the article:

  • Right brains don’t like to listen to directions and don’t like to read them. They scan quickly and figure out what to do without reading details.

  • They don’t memorize well and need to visualize a picture so they can recall the facts.
  • Right brains don’t explain what they feel well and are misunderstood. They think of one thing, say another because their brain has already moved on to another thought.
  • Right brains don’t like to jump through the hoops to get something done. They also don’t like to follow rules which don’t make sense to them.
  • They see the whole person and are less likely to condemn a person because of a flaw.
  • Rights are trusting–too trusting. They easily have patents and ideas stolen from them, usually to a left. Lefts know how to use an idea. They just can’t come up with them on their own.
  • Rock and Roll music is preferred by rights. They are also easily distracted by music.
  • They often use their hands when they speak and may have difficulty speaking if they are not allowed to use their hands.
  • Right brains embrace new ideas. They are future thinkers and enjoy introducing controversial ideas.
  • They believe that everything is possible, tend to be very creative, and don’t see the pitfalls along the way.

    [Read more at Suite101: Right Brain Characteristics: Half of the population is right-brained.]

These all describe me very, very well.

Being a left-handed, right-brained person, I admittedly scanned through this article quickly, stopping on the points that truly resonated with me.

You might want to read the full article to gain your own insight.

How not to get my vote.

Election time is in full effect right now. While they may just be mid-term elections, there are some pretty important people and items to vote on next month.

I was visited by two local candidates running for office this past weekend. Both made impressions on me, and I was able to decide exactly who I would be voting for in this particular race.

Here’s how not to get my vote:

  • Tell me you didn’t respond to my email because you were getting ready for an outdoor fair and did nothing about my concern (he actually said this).
  • Make sure you swear at least once while talking about your opposition.
  • Minimize a domestic assault that occurred in my neighborhood.
  • Don’t over any solutions. And if you do, immediately dispute them.

That was the second person that came to my house.

The first person knocked on my door right as I was ushering my older son, G, out the door to go to soccer and my husband was taking our screaming 22 month old, Biz, upstairs for an overdue nap. The candidate smiled, handed me a flyer and gave me a quick introduction. She asked for my vote, noted the email on the flyer and told me to contact her with any questions I might have.

Short, sweet and to the point. She knew it was a bad time and moved on.

I take voting seriously. I don’t miss elections. As a citizen, I believe that it is my right to have my voice heard, whether it’s by attending a local town council meeting, contacting my legislators or casting a ballot. When I don’t have all the information about a candidate or issue, I seek it out.

I actually didn’t think I’d end up voting for the first candidate. Until I met the second one.

If you’re running for office, don’t think that you’ll get a vote just because you show up to someone’s house. And be careful about what you say. Someone might start complaining on Facebook or blogging about your ill chosen words.

Update (10/16/10): A couple days ago, another person came to my door. The person was representing another local candidate and left a flyer with my husband. Later that evening, I noticed a sign for the candidate displayed in front of my house. I immediately took it down.

If you want my endorsement, you need to ask for it.

The New Normal

I went to a Leadership Series discussion the other day with about 70 other women. It was hosted by a local nonprofit women’s organization, and the topic was “The New Normal.” Since I also work for a nonprofit organization that specializes in services for women, I thought it would be a good event to go to.

The subject of the discussion seemed a bit odd to me, mainly because of the word “normal.” It’s one of those words that makes me uncomfortable.

I mean, who determines what normal is anyway? And if there’s a new one, what happened to the old one?

Dictionary.com defines the word normal as “conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.” However, if you go by this definition, it’s completely subjective. In my world, for example, being gay is normal, though there are many (too many) people out there who would disagree.

The discussion was interesting. There was talk about the state of the economy, the influence that technology has had on our lives, even terrorism.

In a world where we broadcast our lives on blogs and Facebook, people are struggling to keep or find jobs, and we can’t travel without worrying about bed bugs or terrorist attacks, here’s what I think the “new normal” is:

  • Being true to yourself, no matter what
  • Being self-aware (and aware, in general)
  • Saying no (or yes), even if it feels scary or others look at you differently
  • Figuring out what is important in your life and going with it
  • Simplifying
  • Looking at the glass as being full, even if others tell you it’s running on empty
  • Leading by example
  • Giving back
  • Teaching our kids tolerance and empowering them to make a positive social impact in the future

What’s your normal?

When a song has meaning

I’ve been listening to the Paper Tongues on my iPod lately. (My boys had me play “Ride to California” at full volume three times tonight so they could dance around the living room before going to bed.) I really like their sound.

While I’ve listened to the song “Trinity” quite a few times, I felt like I really heard it today.

Have you ever had a song really speak to you?

Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in social services for the past 6 years. Maybe I’ve got a lot of fight in me. Maybe I just have a lot to say. Here’s what I connected with in the song:

I’m the kind of person whose strong and wants to react
So feel me when I fight for the cause of bringing hope back
Don’t ask me where I’m going cuz I could never prove that
But I do have something to say

If you haven’t heard of Paper Tongues, check them out now.

Potty Training Part Deux

I recently started the process of potty training with my youngest son, Biz, though I can’t say it was a conscious decision. He’s 21 months old and was giving the ladies at daycare a hard time on the changing table. (He’s particularly stubborn and squirmy.) They gave him the option of going on the potty instead of having his diaper changed, and he went for it.

Initially, I was thinking that he wasn’t ready for potty training. I’d go along with it for consistency-sake, but I didn’t think it would stick. So far, I’ve been wrong.

My oldest son, G, was fully potty trained by the time he was 2 1/2. We had no issues with him. Not even bed wetting at night. He was actually trained closer to 2, but he put off buying the underwear for a little while. When he was ready, he told me.

Back to Biz, I figured I couldn’t be that lucky twice. Especially with two boys. (That’s what all the potty training articles tell you anyway.) And though Biz could certainly go the other way if he decides to, I really feel like he’s going to be even quicker than G. He readily tells me when he needs to go, and he’s already gone potty in a public bathroom. (G took longer to do both these things consistently.) He’s one determined child and when he makes up his mind, that’s it. He also has a killer potty celebration dance.

There are a lot of articles out there that tell you when to start (or not start) potty training, what to do and how to do it. I’ve never listened to any of these. Frankly, most of them don’t seem to work for me or my family. (I’ve never been good with charts.)

And, I think that’s the key to successful potty training. Find what works for you. We bought a potty for G at around 18 months, when he started asking for us to change his diaper. We simply talked to him about how when he’s ready, he could go to the bathroom on the potty like a big boy. And, yes, we modeled for him by letting him watch us go to the bathroom. (I do find that it’s a lot better for the parent of the same sex to model for the child in the bathroom. There are some things you just don’t need to explain at that age.)

I’m sure other parents think I’m starting too early. My response to that is that it’s not my decision. It’s for Biz to decide. I didn’t do a thing for G to get him potty trained. I just provided him the tools (i.e., the potty) and the encouragement to do it himself. And when he didn’t want to do it, I didn’t make it an issue. I’m doing the same for Biz.

Here’s hoping for a new year without diapers.

Just add bacon

One of the many reasons I am not a vegetarian is because of my intense love for bacon. I can’t get enough of that yummy, salty flavor that is bacon. So in honor of International Bacon Day (Yes, it’s real. It’s on Wikipedia.), I thought I would share a couple bacon recipes I found.

Bacon Crisp (By: Paula Deen from FoodNetwork.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 sleeve buttery rectangular crackers (recommended: Waverly Wafers)
  • 1 pound sliced bacon cut in 1/2

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese on each cracker and wrap tightly with a strip of bacon. Place the wrapped crackers on a broiler rack on a baking sheet and put the baking sheets on the oven rack. Bake for 2 hours, or until the bacon is done. Do not turn. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature

Cook’s note: You can also bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes if you’re in a hurry!

Bacon Broccoli Salad (By: Alan Alspaugh from AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Directions : In a medium bowl, combine bacon, broccoli, raisins and sunflower seeds; set aside. Mix together mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar; pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Stir before serving.

And if you’re in the Brunswick, ME area, stop by Back Street Bistro and order the Ale Brine Bacon Wrapped Rib Chop of Pork. It’s too good for words.

When in doubt, just add bacon. Better yet, wrap it in bacon.

Have a good bacon recipe to share? Add it to the Comments section to the left.