Feeling Bummed

My dancing daughters are heading out to their last dance competition of the season. Last one I missed as I was traveling with work so was really looking forward to our weekend away and getting to see them dance again.

Plans changed quickly this morning when Noah woke up really early not feeling well. We were going to push through though as we figured he was mostly tired from lack of sleep. After breakfast though he was sick all over so that confirmed it. We’re going to have a father – son weekend, though not a fun one. 

I realized that I never wrote about our last one a few weeks ago when we went to see the Globe-trotters. It was an awesome show and we were able to hang out for the whole day. 

At the end Noah was getting some autographs on his basketball and we caught a couple pictures. Ace was our last person to see and he was excited to have her sign his ball. He then turned around so I could take a picture and I could see his face change. She thought he wanted his shirt signed and signed the back in sharpie! He was not super pleased about it. He was scared we were going to be mad about it because writing on our clothing isn’t a normal thing for us 🙂 I convinced him that it was cool but it wasn’t until Jen told him it was cool that he was really at ease.

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Jupiter in Lisbon

Jupiter in Lisbon

Our team at work, team Jupiter, recently got together in Lisbon Portugal for almost a week to socialize and work together. This is our first meetup as a team and since the last company wide Grand Meetup our team has grown by four people so this was our first time meeting in real life for a good portion of us!

We have such an awesome and diverse team it was such an opportunity to get together and build better bonds with everyone. We have two team Brazil, two Spanish team members, one from Spain and one from Bolivia. Two Americans but one has been living in the UK for some time. Three people living in Canada, though I’m the only native Canadian. There is also another from the UK but they weren’t able to join us on the meetup. Our team is evenly divided with five women and five men. Four of us have children. Though I don’t contribute to this I believe I counted about 17 different languages known on our team.

The main purpose of the trip is of course to work. We did a series of skill building workshops which members prepared and put on, the main focus was around feedback and giving and receiving it. We have some good followup work as well which we can do async now that we are back to our respective homes.

When we first booked our meetup we had a fair amount of extra space in the deal we received for our accommodations so I helped convince another team to join us as well. Independently another team booked their meetup in Lisbon which overlapped ours by a few days. This allowed us to interact with a couple other teams as well and do a bit of work together.

In the evenings especially, and one day which we set aside, we were able to explore Lisbon and take in some fun activities. Just walking around the city was an experience itself. Such neat buildings many with beautiful tile work, the roads and walk ways done with stone. The city is pretty hilly so we were up and down hills and stairs on our walks. There were trolley cars in some areas which would take you up and down. There was live music being played in many areas by street performers. One day we had a parade right outside our co-working place which we took a few minutes to go and see. On a walk home one evening in the square right in between our accommodations and co-working place there was a group swing dancing. So many little cool moments.

One afternoon we last minute signed up for an escape the room as a whole team. The concept was that we were to follow the clues and solve the puzzles to show we were worthy to join the Illuminati. We were pleased when we finished the room the host came out with a stop watch showing us that we had beat the record in the time it took us to solve it. What great team work!

One of the highlights for me was a pastry cooking class we did together on the morning of our activity day we set aside. One of Lisbon’s famous treats are Pastel de Nata which are a delicious custard pastry. Since I’ve been home I’ve made them twice to rave reviews. There were a couple others treats as well but these were my favourite by far.

We made our way to São Jorge Castle as well. Many of the team ended up here at different times. When I went there were five of us together. We timed it to go up just before sunset so we could have some light but also watch the sun set  from the great view the castle provides. Walking around the castle grounds was impressive, but it was when we made it up on the castle walls where I had to stop and take a few minutes to take in the the whole situation. So thankful!

At home I missed a dance competition where Ella and Caile did awesome. Ella was offered an invitation and scholarship to do a dance tour and experience in either Barcelona or Paris. Unfortunately even with the scholarship it isn’t meant to be. It’s fairly expensive and we wouldn’t feel comfortable sending her on her own so at least one of us would have to go with her. Though it sounds like an amazing opportunity. Maybe another year she’ll get a similar chance and we’ll be in a different position to do it.

All out in the open

All out in the open

Yesterday our home moved into a new era. One where none of the kids believe in things like the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, and the Tooth Fairy. Just a couple weeks ago Jen and I had been talking saying that it likely wouldn’t be very much longer before Noah was questioning about these things.

As it turns out our 7 year old came down stairs yesterday morning and was talking with Jen. He said you know who comes tomorrow night, the Easter Bunny. He then followed up immediately with, but he isn’t real right Mom? He quickly moved on to other things though and Jen waited until I was around and started the conversation back up with him.

He wasn’t shocked and took it in stride, as if he had always known. “Yeah it didn’t make much sense, I mean the doors are all locked, how would a bunny get in here?” This is the same for Santa too right? It’s just you and Dad.” “Who eats the things we leave out for them?” Later on Jen told me he took a turn with his new discovery telling her that he wanted his teeth back and that he knew she had them.

When I questioned him back about it asking if Jen and I were really that nice to do all the things the Easter Bunny, Santa, and the Tooth Fairy do he very casually said yeah, and reiterated that nothing else really made sense. He’s our youngest kid to ask and that didn’t surprise me a whole lot. He likes to know how things work and there are quite few holes in the stories.

Short Break

Short Break

Today I had a few errands to run. On the way home I decided to grab a coffee and take a short break. It is a beautiful spring day so I pulled off the highway and spent a few minutes drinking my coffee with one of the best views around. 

There’s a little park in Grand Pre which looks over the National Historic site and out to Blomidon. 

I think TAN should give me some free coffee or swag for such good product placement 😆☕️

First Day of Spring

First Day of Spring

The first day of spring was technically a couple weeks ago, but today was the day Mother Nature seemed to get on board as well. It made a great day the sun was out and it was just about 20℃.

The drive to pick up the kids from school was enjoyable, it made good break from work and I could go with the windows down, wearing a t-shirt and sunglasses. Had the 90’s alternative radio station on. It was far from my favourite song but it still brought me back to teenage summertime driving around with friends.

Later on after dinner Noah had karate and was graded to his second yellow stripes on his way to a yellow belt. He was very proud and excited. Master Jim Maloney was visiting tonight as well which made it even more special.

It was still nice enough out at dusk for Jen and I to go for a walk while I was still in a t-shirt! We also got to see an owl in a tree right above us in a tree. Just after we were past it took off soaring away. The phone didn’t take the best picture but it was still fun to see.

Avoidance

This morning Jen called our  youngest Noah out to talk to him for a bit before school. The school library says he has a book out which is overdue but none of us can remember the name of the book and we aren’t able to find the book here in the house. She asked him when he goes to the library today to ask the Librarian if she is able to write the name of the book down so we have a better idea what we are looking for.

Noah wasn’t thrilled with this and was getting visibly upset and coming up with reasons why he couldn’t do this. She’ll get mad at me, I won’t have time, and I might forget. He would just prefer not to deal with the situation or let someone else deal with it for him.

In situations like this Jen and I sometimes compare the kids to us. Who do they get this trait from? Before she could say anything I said to her, this is from me!

When I was really young we moved around a lot. New schools, new houses, lots of change. One morning when I was about five years old at a relatively new school I was dropped off late by my Mother. If I recall properly we were coming from a friends home, maybe in between moves to our own place. It was snowing out a bit and I was embarrassed about being late, I also didn’t want to deal with the conflict and having the teacher  or principal be upset. So instead of going into the school I decided to try following the car tire tracks in the little bit of snow that was on the roads back home.

Luckily after some time wandering around a nice family noticed this lost little boy walking past their house a few times and stopped to talk to me. They picked me up and took me to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) station who in turn took me to school.

Recently I’ve been listening to an audio book on project management called Project Management For You by Cesar Abeid who happens to be a co-worker of mine as well. He has a section in the book about conflicts and how to deal with them. One of the options is avoidance. When listening to that section it really struck home with me, as that is the way I would most prefer to deal with conflict in most situations, not only in project management.

 

In his book Cesar talks about avoidance being an OK method to use in relation to conflict if the stakes are low. In my example above trying to find my way home by myself made the stakes high. I should most certainly not have used this technique at that time and just dealt with the conflict head on.

In my son’s Noah’s example above the stakes are low. If we left it alone we may find the book and get it returned. However we’ve tried that and so far the book hasn’t shown up so now it is time to deal with it.

When it comes to my professional life, and even home life, I have to push myself out of my comfort zone lots of times to deal with conflict. If there is a tough conversation I need to have with a team member I would much prefer to put it off and see if it will resolve itself. In most cases though the best plan is to address it head on and get it dealt with. It’s my job to help everyone excel at that career, so if I don’t address something which could be detrimental to their career, I’m doing a disservice to them, the rest of the team, and the company itself. The stakes are high in a situation like this so it does no good to avoid the conflict.

Enjoying Snow

Most everyone who knows me knows that I’m not a huge fan of snow. Especially after this past week where we had two separate storms back to back with close to 3 feet of it falling. I’m over it. Shoveling the snow out of the driveway was an excellent workout but I’d much rather just go to the gym.

If all that snow wasn’t bad enough while we were out shoveling during the first storm Jen slipped and fell landing on the handle of the shovel right across her chest. It gave her some bruised ribs and lungs and has left her in a lot of pain and limiting a lot that she can do.

Yesterday I was making fun of my friend when he told me he was shoveling a path through his backyard. “Are you sure you don’t have better things to do than shoveling your yard?” But tonight we started off a long weekend with friends and family the right way by taking advantage of his hard work. The reason he was shoveling his yard was to find his fire pit! He dug it out and then created a circle bench out of snow around the pit. The temperature was nice, we made s’mores, had some hot chocolate, and of course great company.

Finally now that my back is feeling better from moving the snow out of the driveway, into piles above my head, I’m able to enjoy the snow. A little. I’d still prefer doing it on a summer night 🙂

Vegas Trip & Bruno Mars

Recently a bunch of the team leads in the Happiness division at Automattic got together in Las Vegas to learn together and work to ensure we are all working together. It was a very productive trip. I came back with things I can do right away and be better at my job, and feeling jazzed at the bonds I started or strengthened with my co-workers.

I ❤these folks #happleadsinvegas

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We stayed in the downtown area which is away from The Strip that everyone thinks of, we spent most of the time working and then quiet evenings at dinner together or socializing in one of the hotel rooms. One night though we did go down to the strip for a dinner though to experience the famous Vegas Buffets.

Ever since I caught Bruno Mars on Carpool Karaoke I’ve had one of this songs stuck in my head 24K Magic which has the music video set in Vegas on the Strip.

The night we went to the buffet we went to the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, there was about ten of us but everything was pretty impressive. We walked through to the buffet and there was a lineup to pay and enter. Once we paid they pulled our group out of the line and started us towards the entrance. I was feeling all Bruno Mars, like yeah they know who we are, Automatticians getting the VIP treatment and skipping the line.

Instead they moved us into our own little area that was like a sad little holding pen. Not a lot of 24K Magic going on there.

Our group was sequestered in a special holding pen at Caesar's Palace. It's like they know us.

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