Caturday Quickies: The Very Inspiring Blog Award

Vikki Thompson nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blog Award!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

It’s so nice to be recognized by your peers!

So without further ado, here are my seven deadlies:

  1. I’m a scorpio.
  2. I was born on Hallowe’en.  Yes, you can say it … I’m a witch 🙂
  3. I received my Master of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing in 1999 from the University of Windsor.  Certain of my professors are probably cringing right now!
  4. I play the lottery in the vain hope of winning one day and being able to retire early.  I did say it was a vain hope, didn’t I?
  5. I used to play MMO’s (massively multi-player online role-playing games, for those of you not in the know).  In reverse order: Champions, WOW, Free Realms, Atlantica, City of Heroes/Villains, EverQuest, Asheron’s Call, Ultima Online.  Never hard core.
  6. Similarly, I used to play pen and paper RPG’s, but though the experience may have fed my creativity, I would never write a book based on any of my gaming sessions.
  7. I listen to music when I write, from Kate Bush to Lacuna Coil, Crosby, stills, Nash, and Young to 3 Doors Down.  Occasionally, I pull out the Eddas, Berlioz, or the Carmina Burana 😉

And my seven virtuous nominees:

I know some of you have been nominated before, so you don’t have to go through the process if you don’t want to.  Just want you wonder ladies to know how your online efforts inspire me 🙂

Tomorrow:  A life sentence with mortal punctuation continues with … the friends wars!

Caturday Quickies

Caturday Quickies: Pupdate

Since the last time I blogged about my dear Nuala, we’ve had two veterinary appointments.  The first was on February 14, a month after the surgery.  I ferried Nu out to the Valley for her appointment with Dr. Hoscheit.

At that time, I was informed that Nu was doing well and that I could begin to walk her again.  Ten minutes, twice a day to start, graduating to twenty minutes, twice a day, then thirty, then a return to full activity.

Well, since she started having her difficulties, I’d cut Nu’s activity to a single twenty minute walk in the morning.  So I figured I’d just return to that activity and that we’d gradually reintroduce her to the stairs at my mom’s place, and hopping up of the bed and couch again.

We also started adding glucosamine to her food.  It’s stinky (green-lipped mussel extract) and she loves it.  Isn’t it funny/sad/wonderful how our pets can disappoint us so, just by being themselves?

I’ve always thought it odd that while dogs have these amazing olfactory powers, that it makes the smelly stuff more attractive (barf, poo, dead animals, unidentifiable fungus, other disgusting stuff).

It’s a dog rule, I guess.  Stinky = yum!  And I love Nu, even if she occasionally has poo-mouth.  I just don’t let her kiss me 😛

This past week, Phil and I took our pup to her regular vet, Dr. Wilkinson.  Dr. Hoscheit retired from his practice at the end of February.  We were lucky to get Nhappypupu in before he left.

So post-operative blood work was ordered, the sample taken, and we decided to take Nu off the Metacam to see how she would manage.  She has a lot of arthritis in her knee.  A lot.  So we’re going to wait and see.

So basically, life is kind of back to normal at the Marttila-Minaker household.

We’re happy to have our girl back to her usual antics.


Caturday Quickies

Caturday Quickies: Susan McMaster Workshop

Susan McMaster

Susan McMaster (Photo credit: pesbo)

When I originally indicated that I was going to change my blogging schedule to weekends only, one of my online writing friends commented on how wonderful the idea was of a ‘flurry of posts’ on the weekend.

I’ve been posting fairly consistently on the weekends since, but I realized that I have a few things to catch up on.  So this weekend, though the weather is sunny and cold here in the Sudz, I’m creating my own mini storm of blog posts.

Who is Susan McMaster?

Susan McMaster is a past-president of the League of Canadian Poets, poet, and spoken word artist.  She’s given a workshop in the north before, and this time, I decided to partake.

The Sudbury Writers’ Guild had enough funds in its coffers to pay Susan’s fee for the afternoon workshop and to secure space at the newly rebuilt south end branch of the Sudbury Public Library.

The theme of the workshop was Writing through the Emotions.

Susan gave a brief introduction and offered up a couple of samples of her work and the work of other poets to illustrate.  Breath and space seemed to be the key elements to evoking emotion in poetry, and so, when Susan gave us our writing assignment, I was expecting something a little different.

For the first part, we weren’t to write a single word.  Instead, we were to map out what we were going to write in terms of beats.  Long, flowing sentences would be represented by lines and short, curt sentences and breaths by carets.

Though I think several of us (fiction writers, in particular) struggled with the concept, we all dove in with enthusiasm and gave it our best.

Afterward, we had the opportunity to read from either our work of the afternoon, or something that we had brought with us.

Though only two and a half hours, the workshop was interesting and gave me a different way to look at my writing that I hadn’t considered before.

Caturday Quickies: Business Writing Made Frozen, er Easy

The road to certification

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Timmins to deliver the second of three sessions of Business Writing Made Easy.

BWME Nov 19-22 001The first delivery was back in November and in the much warmer Toronto.  At that time, I was observed by the person who designed the course and who was, at the time, one of the leads in the trainers certification program.

Then, my hope was to certify in Timmins.  My observer told me, point blank, that I wouldn’t pass.  We then made plans for another delivery of BWME.  Timmins would be a practice run, to let me become more familiar with the material and more practiced in my participant-centered training delivery methods and techniques.

My mentor was unable to continue coaching with me and my observer volunteered to take over.  An opportunity arose for me to co-facilitate Introduction to Participant-Centered Training Delivery in January, further cementing my skills.  My co-facilitator, a recently certified trainer herself, said that I was ready.

In February, however, things began to devolve.  My observer-turned-mentor was assigned a project and could not continue to coach me.  No one would be able to take over.  In a final meeting, we whizzed through the remaining material we had to cover.  I was again told that I was ready for assessment.

My own workload did not lessen and as I started to prepare for my delivery in Timmins, I realized that I was within the six-week deadline to arrange my observation.

Frantically, I contacted the certification program lead.  I had to complete an assignment on the 18 trainer competencies, showing how I’d been working to develop each one, and complete a pre-evaluation interview to ensure that I was, in fact, ready.  She felt confident that I was.

While I worked on Joining Instructions, pre-course assignments, and prep for the delivery, I waited on pins and needles to find out if assessors could be located for my certification run.  Just before I left for Timmins, I was informed that I had one more assignment to complete.  I did, and was propmtly introduced to my certification team.

The drive up to Timmins was lovely.  It was a bright, brisk, winter day and we made excellent time.  We set up the room and started organizing the activities.

That night, the weather grew stormy.  10 cm of snow, followed by another 20 or so the next day.  Then the deep freeze descended and for the rest of the week was less than pleasant.

The training went well, thankfully.  There were a few rocky places, but there always are.  No training ever goes perfectly.  I firmly subscribe to the good enough theory of life, the universe, and everything.  I wonder if good enough = 42 😉

The weather improved for our journey back to Sudbury on Friday.

Sunrise over downtown Timmins, Ontario, Canada

Sunrise over downtown Timmins, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week, I strove to catch up on my regular work and still conserve some time to prep for next week’s delivery.  The certification program lead emailed me to once again offer a few words of support, and here I am, with a skimpy weekend between me, a six and a half hour journey, hasty room and activity set up, and a full 8 hours of solo assessment of my facilitation skills.

My main goal?  To remain mindful in the moment.  Yes, training is a Zen kind of thing.

Will let you know how the certification attempt goes, but I won’t know anything for a while after.  The earliest I can have my debrief is April 4 (!)  While the report should be released within a couple of weeks, I’m not certain if they’ll give me a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ before the debrief can happen.

The nerves come and go in waves.

Keep me in your thoughts trainer types.