Archive for the ‘Editorial Thoughts’ Category

Thank You for Being My Friend

Monday, November 25th, 2019

It’s Thanksgiving week, so what should my personal blog be about besides gratitude? I know this isn’t a unique topic. I’m sure almost everyone with a blog or social media outlet will opine about being thankful this week. However, I don’t write this blog for metrics; I write it as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. It just so happens that an event from last week made me reflect on gratitude.

Last Tuesday I received a text from a very dear friend, who’s really more like a sister, that her brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly. I immediately sent my condolences and offered to do whatever she and her husband needed. She said they were fine at the moment.

On Wednesday evening I received a text, asking if I could drive them to the airport on Thursday morning. I said I could do that and then asked which airport. She replied that it was Manchester, which is only fifteen minutes from their house.

Thursday morning, as we approached the airport, her husband commented, “Isn’t this better than Boston? You said yes before you knew where we were flying. That’s a good friend.”

I smiled and replied, “If it were Boston, I wouldn’t have minded.”

And I wouldn’t have because that’s what good friends do. They are there for each other, and certainly in this particular relationship we have been through thick and thin. I can remember vividly a day when I called my friend, sobbing. She took the day off from work, drove to my house, and spent the day with me. She wiped my tears, made me laugh, and helped me pull myself up by my bootstraps. She didn’t ask for thanks. She didn’t remind me what a big thing she did. She just did it.

So, when she texted me this past Wednesday, the reply wasn’t, “What airport?” It simply was, “Yes.” If she had said Boston, Providence, New York City, I would have driven them there.

I realize not every friendship is like this. Some of us just are very fortunate and work to have a relationship like this. So, very fittingly this week, I am grateful to have a friend this dear.

Thank you for being my friend.

Give Yourself a Push

Monday, November 11th, 2019

If you know me well, you know that working out is central to my being. Monday through Saturday you’ll find me at the gym in the morning. If travel or work interferes with this, it’s certain that I’ll do that workout in the evening or add one on Sunday morning. Working out keeps me centered, makes me feel good in general.

As I mentioned a while ago, I also try to attend yoga once a week. There’s a 5:30 pm class at my local YMCA, which fits nicely into my schedule. It’s a the end of the normal workday; we’re more than halfway through the workweek; I like the instructor who runs the class. Additionally, the Y is near my husband’s office, so he’ll workout, and we’ll meet after my class for dinner on the town.

However, there are those weeks where I debate whether I should attend, especially with the time change. Now, when I head to the Y it’s already dark outside. And cold. Why leave my cozy home office to go into the cold New Hampshire night?

Then there’s also the tricky part of yoga. Although I’m a fit person, I find yoga to be my most challenging workout. It’s not the stretching, bending, or attaining certain poses that troubles me. Nope, it’s the mental aspect. I try to focus on what my body feels or finding an inner zen, but for a majority of the class I am thinking about the never-ending checklists of life. When I realize that, I redirect my mind to the zen I’m seeking. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

So, between the cold, the dark, and the challenging mental part of yoga, I often think about texting my husband that I’m not going. Then I think about it- what good would it do me to stay home? I’m not going to get anything done. I’m going to be lazy.

With those thoughts in mind, I get myself ready for yoga class. Of course, this determination doesn’t create a miraculous yoga class. It’s not like I show up and suddenly the skies clear and I’m able to focus only on yoga. No, not at all. However, as class ends, I feel pretty darn good. I got a great stretch; I worked on my focus. I was productive.

The moral of this story is pretty simple: Sometimes it’s good to push yourself. The thing you dread/avoid could be that which makes you feel accomplished.

Passive vs. Active Voice

Monday, October 28th, 2019

When writing, active voice is considered better than passive voice. If you’re not sure of the difference, I’ll explain via these examples.

Passive voice: The cookies were made by Sue.
Active voice: Sue made the cookies.

Active voice is more powerful. It gives power to the person, animal, or thing taking the action, instead of the action happening to them. I always try to remember to use active voice when writing. However, it occurred to me the other day that I don’t use active voice often enough in my life.

In my last Editorially Yours column, I wrote about the time I spend studying for my WSET Level 3 course. I wrote about how I’d use the knowledge I gain. What I didn’t write was my initial thought: I don’t know where this wine learning will lead me.

As that thought crossed my mind, I stopped myself and pondered. Is this the best way to think about my future career? I knew the answer instantly. The best way to think about my future career is how I will direct it.

I understand there are many things in this life that I can’t control, but I definitely can help determine my career. I don’t say that in an idealistic, ivory tower way where I suddenly open a winery that is amazingly successful and receives kudos around the world. What I mean is that I can choose the direction in which I’d like to focus my career.

How do I want to use this knowledge? I don’t have an answer to that just yet, but I know for certain that I will make that decision. I won’t wait for something to come my way or for someone to make a suggestion. I’ll take the lead and find my way.

Bye bye, passive voice. Hello, active voice!

Study Wine, Study, Whine

Monday, October 14th, 2019

I’m slightly past the halfway point in my Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 3 certification course. It’s been quite an interesting journey so far. On so many levels.

First, there’s the studying part of the program. Before you start the course they explain quite clearly that there’s a lot of studying required to pass the exam. Because this is a certification I want to obtain, I am studying diligently. In the nine weeks since the course began, I think I’ve taken three days off from studying. Otherwise you’ll find me blocking an hour every day to read, make maps, create flashcards, and quiz myself.

Second, there’s the retention of the aforementioned information. There’s sooo much to learn. Just when I think that I have mastered a region, say Bordeaux, there’s another region added to the list. Every week is this roller coaster of knowledge. On any given day I might feel 80% secure in my retention of data. Then the next day I begin a new section, and I feel 20% secure, as I have so much to learn. That’s where the whine part happens. I don’t truly whine, but I may have been heard to say that I don’t know nearly enough. Perhaps even in a whiny-ish voice.

Third, there’s the long-term plan for me. I honestly don’t know how I’ll work this newfound wine knowledge into my career, but I definitely want to make it happen. Now isn’t the time to ponder that; there’s too much else to be doing (see the two paragraphs above). However, as I go through this course, I want to fully absorb all that I’m learning. I want this information to become part of my brain’s database. Thus, as I study I’m trying to make this wine knowledge part of my being and not just material learned for an exam.

Fourth, I am working on wine tasting. The instructors assure us that it isn’t the most difficult part of the exam, but I worry. On the positive side I do think I’ve improved; I know how to taste and search for floral notes, herbal aromas, and secondary and tertiary flavors. However, I still find it tricky to determine certain things, such as is that wine medium bodied? Medium+? Thus, I’ll keep practicing.

Fifth, people don’t necessarily understand what I’m doing. They all assume it’s fun, fun, fun! Yay, you get to drink wine! I mean, I did just mention that I need to keep practicing wine tasting. Unfortunately drinking wine and tasting wine are two totally different things. Plus, there’s more to this course than tasting/drinking wine. There are the multiple hours I spend studying, but that’s probably like most jobs. From the outside you see the fun stuff. It’s not until you’re in the thick of it that you see all of the effort required.

As I enter week ten of this course, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn something new, to fulfill a passion, to possibly expand my career. Earning a certification such as this isn’t meant to be an easy, check the box sort of thing. The work will be worth the end result.

Why Do I Defer?

Monday, September 30th, 2019

A month ago I met with two team members, Josh and Lee Ann, to discuss a startup event we were planning. The first half of the event would be meetings for investors and startups; the second half would be a reception and fireside chat. As it was our third year of organizing, the format was established, and the bulk of the work was finding people for all of the spots, which included the host for the fireside chat.

Josh suggested that the host should be a woman from the New Hampshire startup ecosystem, as the guest would be male. Equal representation always works for me, so I agreed with that sentiment. Josh then suggested that I should be the host.

What did I do then? In typical me fashion, I stammered and suggested another woman. Josh asked if I was sure, I nodded, and then Josh said he’d email her later to see if she wanted to host. We finished the rest of our planning, and we all headed our own ways.

As I walked home, I contemplated my decision. Why would I think that I couldn’t host this talk? Although I initially have a few butterflies when speaking publicly, I overcome them quite quickly and actually enjoy being in front of a crowd.

By the time I was at my home office, I was pretty unhappy with myself. After a few more minutes of contemplation, I emailed my colleagues and let them know that I had changed my mind, IF they hadn’t emailed the other suggested woman. I definitely wouldn’t take it from someone else. Delightfully, Josh emailed within minutes that he hadn’t asked anyone else, and he thought I’d be wonderful.

Fast forward to September 26th, the day of the event, Speed Venture Summit. When it was time for the fireside chat, there wasn’t a single butterfly or bit of nervousness to be found. I was calm, prepped, and excited to interview Will Herman. Will was the perfect guest, answering all of my questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.

After the chat was done and the event was ending, I am humbled to say that a number of people approached me to praise the interview I’d run. They thought my style and questions were well done and captivating. And to think, six weeks earlier I didn’t know if I should do this.

So, why was my instinct to defer? The simple answer is that my first thought is that I’m not good enough. I assume that there must be someone more talented who could do the job. I’m not very good with praise. My second thought is that I am afraid of seeming conceited and overly assured of my talents.

This is something that I’m aware of and try to override. Accepting this host role was a huge step for me. The next time an opportunity like this approaches, I’ll remember this event. Hopefully, the feedback from my hosting will be echoing in my ears, and I will remember that I am good enough.

Adding Another Title

Monday, September 16th, 2019

As I was thinking about this post, I debated whether I consider myself as having another hat or just another title. It’s somewhere in between, like I have a hat-le. I’ll explain.

There’s a local, weekly paper in central New Hampshire, The Hippo. It covers all things fun- local events, music, theater, food, and more. I have been reading this paper every week for years. It’s a nice way to find fun things for the weekend. Plus, they have puzzles, and I do love completing crossword and sudoku puzzles. (Yep, definitely am a geeky sort of person)

Of course, as a food person, I also read the food section in its entirety. I enjoy the chef interview, weekly food highlights, and recipe column. This summer I noticed that the weekly recipe disappeared. Since it was summer, I assumed that the writer was on vacation. After several weeks, I decided to send an email and check on the status of the recipe column. I also offered my services.

Imagine my surprise when I received a reply asking to schedule a phone call and discuss the possibility of me (ME!!) writing the recipe column. The call went well, and I am now the new recipe columnist at The Hippo. With that in mind, it does sound like a new hat, but there’s a slight twist.

Because I already create and write at my own blog, Think Tasty, I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to do this twice a week. Thus, an agreement was struck. I create one recipe each week. It publishes at The Hippo on week one and then publishes on Think Tasty on week two. The column that goes with each publication is original, but the recipe is the same. Which is why it feels more like a hat-le than a full hat or just a title.

Either way it’s kind of exciting to see my name in print, along with having a new column. If you live in New Hampshire, be sure to grab a copy of The Hippo and look for column, Try This At Home. If you’re not in the area, go online and read it there. Then do what the column title suggests, and give the recipe a try.