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Power up your email

April 30th, 2014 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Work - (Comments Off on Power up your email)

I work with a lot of different people who communicate in many different ways, and I talk with them mostly through email, though some prefer face to face meetings or phone calls, which I try to figure and adjust to. Still, email is undeniably the main place for communication and communicating professionally is something people working through email need to focus on.

A few tips for professional emailing:

1) Create an email address for professional correspondence. Don’t have babygirl35 as the user name on your resume.

2) Check and double check your spelling. Re-read what you write. Save something as a draft and double check it again after a short time if you’re not sure.

3) Always BCC multiple contacts. Always, unless there is a specific reason not to.

4) Avoid reply all if you don’t have to communicate with everyone about something. People are overrun with emails and they don’t need extra.

5) In professional communications, especially with people you don’t know well, avoid emoticons and excessive use of exclamation points. These are these you might do out of habit, but it can look unprofessional to a client or a superior.

If email is the way you’re introducing yourself, reaching out to new people and potential clients, you need your text to reflect your personality but also demonstrate that you are a professional.

Email is a big part of selling your business, make sure your message is received as intended.

 

Exercise I can do. I’ve exercised before, and I enjoy a good sweat when I’m working hard. I can push myself there.

The real problem here is diet.

I have been entering what I eat into My Fitness Pal, I have cut out the bad and cut down on snacking. What has become blatantly clear is that I have no idea how to feed myself.

Seriously. I’m really bad at it.

I have an idea of what healthy eating is, I have an idea of what an appropriate portion is, but the balance between the amount of calories I’m taking in and when I’m taking them in is all off. Three meals a day doesn’t cut it. I’m always over the allotted sugar and carbs and fat.

I have a certain amount of time to think about meals and food and a certain amount of time to get things prepped and eat. Breakfast is particularly difficult. You’re supposed to have a good breakfast, you’re supposed to get protein in there, but the fact is that I have never been a breakfast person. I don’t like eating first thing in the morning and I certainly don’t like eating heavy things that early. Around 10 am I’m ready for a meal.

It just really sucks. It makes me feel like I suck.

When I know I’m going to be hungry still during the day and I know that I have eaten too many calories it pushes me to exercise, but I’m very nervous about getting into the habit of exercises just so I can eat and eating just to exercise. I’m also worried that if it continues being hard that I’ll get tired give up, which would be a wrong move.

Do I really need to plan out every meal and snack, measure them out and never divert?

Last year at Blissdom Sleep Country Canada was giving out gifts to attendees. I pick a snuggly teddy bear and Joe took the other gift, a neck pillow.

I had no idea that teddy bear would become our daughter’s nightly sleeping companion. She named it Amy Teddy (yeah, I know) and cuddles it every night. Even if she come into our bed to sleep Amy Teddy comes too.

And now I will always carry this regret that we didn’t get two. Because something is going to happen to this bear, and she’s going to be so very, very upset.

I had a piggy that I slept with every night and my mother still remembers the time he got lost. I was devastated, I swore up and down I would never be able to sleep without him. A friend offered a replacement, a pig that had been identical before I had taken my scissors to my own piggy. It was no good.

Until finally Mom found my piggy where I had stashed him before I forgot.

Now I hear about parents who have two of a most-loved toy and switch them out occasionally so they both have that super-cuddly used feeling about them. Those parents are very smart. Amy Teddy is very dirty and increasingly well loved.

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I fear the day that Amy teddy gets left behind somewhere.

I’ve talk to a few women about their journeys to being healthy and read a lot of those success stories and it seems like they always start with a moment when they realized they needed to turn things around.

Today I went to the doctor to talk to her about my health. I’ve been sick basically since Christmas – flu, colds, sinus infection, pink eye – feeling tired and crappy a lot of the time. I went to get some advice on nutrition and maybe on fitness, trying to head in the right direction.

Really I sat there telling her all the things I know I’ve done wrong, the excuses I make for myself, the things I’m afraid of while she listened and told me what should be common sense. It is going to be hard, there’s no way around it. I am going to struggle, I am going to have to push myself physically and mentally. I am going to face tests.

The appointment started in an unexpected way though. Knowing I was there for a nutrition/health check up they weighed me before I saw the doctor.

I had an idea of what I weighed, but the doctor’s scale is different. The doctor’s scale told me that I weigh 245 lbs.

I was totally taken aback. That was twenty pounds more than what I’d been seeing at home. On my home scale I hit 230 and I thought there could be no way. I never thought I would hit 250 lbs. Never. I am not that out of control. I’m not sedentary. I’ve been trying.

I was totally devastated.

Now, 12 hours later, I have to wonder if this is the point. That point that I tell people about in the future when I’m back on track, when I’m at a healthy weight and I feel fit.

There are things I have to do now. I threw out the Easter chocolate I had, I got a healthy dinner ready, I got on the treadmill and pushed myself tonight. I talked to my mother and my husband about the changes I need to make.

I have a gym membership, I have a support system, I have motivation.

And I’m terrified. I’m scared of failing. I’m scared of not being able to figure it out. I’m scared of hurting myself.

I’m so tired of over-thinking instead of just doing what I have to do. Because I have to. I’ve got a little girl who’s going place and she’s not slowing down.

What’s the best thing you do for yourself?

April 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Health | Personal - (Comments Off on What’s the best thing you do for yourself?)

This question popped into my head late at night. I was tired, achy, frustrated at being tired. Frustrated at another day when I didn’t get to the gym or get on the treadmill even though I walked and got fresh air today and should probably just let myself off the hook.

What's mellower than a river otter? Maybe a sea otter

What’s mellower than a river otter? Maybe a sea otter

There are good things I know I should be doing for myself – sleeping regularly; coming up with a regular schedule that allows me to get to the gym, spend time with my kid and work on deadline; planning meals and remembering to take things out of the freezer.

One thing I could definitely do better for myself is giving myself credit when I do good things. I’ve been eating in the mornings – not a full breakfast but an apple is better than an empty stomach. I did walk today, and I had a fun morning with my kid. I’ve been knitting more lately, and reading a lot which is something I missed doing. Reading more also means I’m watching less television. The other day it was cold and rainy, so we went for manicures, me and the kid and Grandma. And then we went shopping.

I’ve been writing things out, because just the feel of pen on paper is good for me.

I’ve been focussing on my business and where that’s going for me. I’ve been asking for things, because Erica Ehm taught me at last year’s Blissdom that they might say yes.

There are improvements to make, and I must keep that in mind. I much make the hard choices because in the end it will make things easier. There are a lot of changes to be made, I can’t pretend that everything is rosy – that’s never been my strong suit. But I can give myself credit. I can remind myself that I succeed sometimes. I can ask questions that will take me closer to where I need to be.

And I will take all advice that’s coming:

What’s the best thing you do for yourself?

 

In the world of parenting I am often looking for answers. Luckily in the world of parenting, particularly in this age of technology the answer to ‘someone has been through this crap before me’ is usually ‘oh! Me! That sounds just like my kid.’

Right now we are dealing with sleep patterns.

This kid has a lot of energy. Sometimes she just can’t stop herself moving around. She’s always ready for the next thing, no matter how obvious it is that she needs sleep.

She stopped napping around age one, which the family doctor basically told me was impossible. “She should be falling asleep in her lunch.”

Well, I didn’t know what to say to that because she wasn’t. And it wasn’t just me, she didn’t nap at day care either. In fact once she did fall asleep and our daycare provider told us she kept going in to check on the kid because it was so weird.

She’s long had trouble falling asleep at night. I was somewhat taken aback because when she was a baby and even as a young toddler there weren’t real issues.

But as she got older she started showing signs of being a lot like me.

I don’t settle well at night. I have trouble shutting things down, closing my book, turning my brain off. Even when I was worming 7 to 3 it took months for me to realize I had to go to bed earlier. Even knowing how lack of sleep effects me I still talk myself into it.

So here I have a four year old who can’t settle. Can’t stop thinking of questions she wants answered. Can’t stop thinking about things that she’s done or is going to do.

It used to be that we could put her to bed at 6 and she’d be out before 7. Now if we do bedtime at 6 or 7 she’s awake past 9, sometimes past 10, and even past 11:30.

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It’s crazy, right?

So I’m looking for the parent who’s been there before and has a perfect and easy solution. Or maybe even a moderately difficult one.

I scream

April 19th, 2014 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting - (Comments Off on I scream)

I remember when I was a kid, not quite sure how old, when my grandfather got out an old ice cream maker to show us how it worked. He poured in all the ingredients, put in the ice and the salt, and started cranking. I think we each got a turn. and then there was more cranking to be done. And more…

For a young kid it was interminable. Why wait this long when we could go to a store?

Now as a grown up, trying to keep some track of what goes into my daughter’s food, and also wants her to see how things are made, I understand. Making ice cream is a really cool thing to see.

When I was out and saw an ice cream maker attachment for my mixer I scooped it up (pun intended) and after freezer the bowl my husband set about making the ice cream.

Raspberry

Raspberry

 

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I would love to bring my 93-year-old grandfather over here to see ice cream get made in this bowl in 20 minutes with no manual labour.

He could come over for an hour and we could make ice cream, freeze it up a bit, and then make him a milkshake.

Progress!

Giggles

April 18th, 2014 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Canadiana | Personal - (Comments Off on Giggles)

So the NHL season is over here in Ottawa. The Senators didn’t make the playoff (oof) and now we have nothing to cheer for. Now we’re talking about next year (and also trying to win our playoffs pools), and what changes we might see in the team. There’s a lot of talk that Jason Spezza will get moved out of Ottawa, traded away for the benefit of team and player.

When there is talk of Spezza leaving the Senators I get actually, physically emotional. I can’t seem to help it. I lived in Belleville when Spezza got traded there. He was the first sports story I ever got to cover as a reporter.

12 years ago, Yardman Arena

12 years ago, Yardman Arena

When I got my Sens jersey a few years ago there was no question that Spezza’s would be the name on the back. I had seen him up close in junior and I knew what he was capable of. I know a lot of fans have had complaints about him, but I always cheered.

Still, when he was made captain at the beginning of this season I knew it was a mistake. Joe and I argue about this – I think it should have been Phillips, he thinks it should have been left empty for the season. Still, we agree that Spezza was a wrong choice. It was too much to ask of him, to step into Alfie’s shoes, it was too much for the team.

Now it is generally agreed that Spezza will be playing somewhere else next year, and I understand all the reasons for him and for the team, but I get teary every single time it has come up in conversation.

I miss the days of the franchise player. We had one in Alfredsson and then he was gone, now Spezza.

 

Science!

April 17th, 2014 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting - (Comments Off on Science!)

I am very interested in science. I loved learning chemistry and biology and especially physics when I was in school. Sadly, I did not have a great memory for scientific things and thus did not test well in the subject. Still, I am interested and I want my kid to love science and the way it makes you look at the world.

She doesn’t have godparents, but she does have a science-parent. Our friend Dan has a degree in biochemistry and has agreed to help keep up her interests. It shouldn’t be a problem as this child has no end of questions as to how things work and how things are made. Curiosity is the key word.

When we were invited to head to the Museum of Science and Technology for a play date I thought it was a great idea, and when I told the kid that we were going to the science museum she literally started jumping up and down and asking me about experiments.

Experiments are cool.

Lever

Lever

Physics!

Physics!

It is possible that during the demonstration with the liquid nitrogen I got more excited than she did.

 

When we got married almost seven years ago your best man said that you’d told him what you wanted in life – a family, a dog, being able to sit back in your home and watch the hockey game with a beer.

So here we are.

A family, our own home, a dog (who’s a bit weird), a kid (who’s a bit weird). We do good. Most of the time.

We’re symbiotic, me and you. Opposite in the right ways. We get tested, we push through.

And you and her? Too much the same sometimes.

Seriously

Seriously

We grow together. All of us.

We have things to work on. We both know it, and we do work. We flow in and out together. It’s been an impossible nine years we’ve been together. Totally improbable. 

I mean, when we met you have blue hair and wore torn cords and band shirts. I did not introduce myself thinking – in 10 years I’ll be married to this man, we’ll own a home, have a child and he’ll be a director somewhere.

"That's him, that's the man who will be the father I always wanted for my children!"

“That’s him, that’s the man who will be the father I always wanted for my children!”

Did not cross my mind.

And then it all just happened. We were dating, engaged, married, parents.

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I remember it felt like forever between getting engaged and having the wedding. Waiting for her took forever. Now, looking back, it’s impossible that it’s been almost a decade. It makes no sense.

I told you not to marry me. I’m glad you didn’t listen.

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