Friday, July 31, 2009

The mushrooms have come back in force!

Returning from my run this morning, I took a moment to sit and capture these fungi in a photo. If the rain showers hold off long enough sometime this weekend, I'll be able to remove these and cut the grass.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

job search notes - SWSWSWSW

Christine Kane's weekly newsletter has some good advice this time around. I particularly like the SWSWSWSW.

What is that?

She writes: "Some will. Some won't. So what? Someone's waiting."

This can be especially true to the job search. You are out of work, it has been a long time looking. Folks have plenty of advice on what to do. YOU don't need to take and follow it all. Some will work for you. Some won't.

Acknowledge the advice. Thank them for the advice. You'll consider the advice. And then leave it at that. You don't need to commit to following the advice.

You need to be comfortable with what you are doing. Someone is waiting to find you to fulfill their needs. Have confidence in yourself that you will find that golden spot some day!

Here is Christine's full article this week. Do you find any good advice in it today?


The "Been-There-Done-That" Guide to Criticism

"Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember - the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you." - Zig Ziglar

Here's one thing I'm pretty sure of:

I'm pretty sure you don't want a "Guide to Criticism."

In fact, you'd probably prefer a guide called: "How to Avoid Criticism and Ensure that Everybody Loves You Unequivocally til the Day You Die."

Unfortunately, that guide would also be called: "How to Have a Totally Boring Life."

Face it. When you play a bigger game, or step into your power - you'll most likely make some people uncomfortable. Unfortunately, in the face of discomfort, most people don't look within to find the source of it. They choose, instead, to lash out, criticize, or get cynical. All of us - myself included - have played this game!

That's because very few of us are taught Personal Responsibility. We are taught, instead, to blame other people for our results, our thoughts, and our emotions. We are taught to react.

The true moment of liberation in anyone's life is when she takes Personal Responsibility for it. When she starts to ask, "What is it in me that created this, or attracted it? How can I learn from it or turn it around?"

Let's assume, however, that 90% of the world doesn't practice this level of empowerment. That means that, most likely, someone will criticize you at some point in your life. And I'm not talking about constructive advice. I mean the harsh stuff. The stuff that hurts - because that's exactly what it's designed to do!

So, how do you handle it?

Well, I wish I could be with you the moment it happens. Cuz I've "Been-There-Done-That" and gotten the t-shirt! Instead, I'll send you a virtual hug and give you 7 practices that have worked for me.

1 - Make a decision.

Marla came to my women's retreat because she was "sick of playing small." I asked her what Playing Big looks like. A determined look crossed her face, and she said, " finally stop caring about what other people think of me."

If this is you, then it's time to make a decision. Decide right now that you will no longer live your life contorting your soul in an attempt to prevent criticism or judgment. Start with that one decision.


Remember this: Some will. Some won't. So what? Someone's waiting.

An example:

After one of my big teleseminars, I received an email from someone who didn't like it. She sent a list of things that was wrong with it. (And me!)

I also received an email from a woman who was literally on her way to end her own life - and upon listening to that same teleseminar in her car, turned around and chose to start over again because of what I said.

This is classic SWSWSWSW. Apply it to your own gifts!

3 - Give yourself space to grieve.

Criticism is designed to hurt. And it often does. If you need some time to cry, then give yourself that gift. Call a friend who will listen.

Do yourself a favor, however, and set a limit. Give yourself til "Tuesday at 5pm." Or set the timer for 55 minutes. Then, choose to move on. Otherwise, it's easy to let it eat away at you indefinitely.

4 - Coach yourself.

A great technique that heals the effects of criticism is Brooke Castillo's Self-Coaching. In her book Self-Coaching 101, she provides fantastic techniques to heal any negative thought pattern. I've had great success using her work. You have to actually DO the work though. Get out your journal and write it all down!

5 - It's not about you.

Criticism is never about you. It's always about the person doing the criticizing. That might not help when you're hurting. But it's nice to be reminded!

6 - Protect yourself.

A university professor told me that there are student websites devoted solely to trashing teachers. Some of his colleagues check these sites everyday.

Don't do this! Don't seek out criticism. There are way too many places for victims and snarky people to congregate on the web.

Also, you can hire someone to filter your website email. My team filters all my email now, so that I can stayfocused on my writing, my clients and on the good stuff that comes in!

7 - Decide again.

In the face of criticism, the only option is to decide again. Decide to keep shining and living life fully engaged.

Studies have shown that the most common regret among older Americans is of not having taken more risks. Don't let this be you!

In the awesome words of Marianne Williamson:

"Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lowell Folk Festival - Genticorum

After the opening set of Irish music, we moved south to the island of Puerto Rico and now come back north to Canada for some traditional quebecois music by Genticorum,

Note the feet of Pascal in the center, they are moving creating a percussive tap while he plays his fiddle. And you think you have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time!

Alex plays two instruments, the guitar (shown above) and the flute shown here.

Pascal Gemme is the center piece of this group.

Yann Falquet completes this trio with good guitar playing and occasional Jew's Harp.

Lowell Folk Festival - Yomo Toro

Yomo Toro, is a cuatro player from Puerto Rico. At 76 years young, he still plays a mean guitar.

The lead singer was passionate about her singing.

The jíbaros were descendants of Spanish settlers who moved to the Puerto Rican highlands to cultivate small, family-based plantations. The central instrument in jíbaro music is the cuatro, now considered Puerto Rico’s national instrument (while its name, which translates as “four,” hearkens back to an earlier, four-stringed version of the instrument, the modern cuatro is equipped with five sets of double strings). In a typical jíbaro ensemble, the vocals and cuatro would be accompanied by a güiro (gourd rasp) and maracas, which provide a strong Afro-Caribbean flavor to the music.
A picture of the full group on stage at Boarding House Park in Lowell on Saturday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lowell Folk Festival - Niamh Ni Charra

Noami Arenberg, Brian O'Donovan, and Brad Paul all of WGBH, 89.7 FM introduced the groups as part of the live broadcast on Saturday.

The Lowell Folk Festival is one of the largest free festivals in the USA. So close to Franklin, only 45 minutes away, it is a good thing to do every year.

The festival operates from several concert and "dance stages". For the concert stage, the area is set up for sitting with some aisle space to dance in. For the dance stages, there is a full dance floor in front of the band to get into the music.

This year was typical in the diversity being showcased on the Boarding House Park Stage. The first group played traditional Irish music. Niamh Ni Charra, lead a group of fine musicians and a step dancer with some good hand-clapping foot stomping music.

The guitarist is intent.

The bodhran player is keeping with the music.

Niamh shows her wonderful smile in this moment with the concertina.

The set closes with the step dancer adding some percussion to the performance and ends up airborne a few times. I got lucky to catch one of those moments here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rapid Fire Learning - July 2009

Rapid Fire Learning is a monthly feature at the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog. Karen Swim gets us started this month.

Here is what I have learned in July:

1 - being 'off the net' in the woods is good
Off line, no internet, no email. Yes, I can do more than survive. I can live and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. The discussions with family and good friends.

2 - being 'on the net' in the woods is surprisingly nice
What can I say other than appropriate use brings the best of both worlds. Balance!

3 - fresh fruit makes for wonderful homemade sherbet
As part of this year's Baslock reunion (more to come on this), Doug prepared some strawberry sherbet that was wonderful Together we played with the recipe to make some blueberry sherbet, also quite wonderful. Then fresh picked raspberries made a decadent sherbet. Cream is the key to providing body to the sherbet, the lighter the cream, the less body. But it still tastes soo good!

4 - nature has many lessons for life, just begin by observing
whether it is a tree growing hugging a monstrous boulder, or a small fungi popping up from the floor of the woods, there are lessons abundant all around. What can you find? Check out my Flickr stream for additional photos.

5 - conversations succeed when both parties use the same frame of reference
The School Committee meeting on June 23 left me with doom and gloom. The budget deficit had yet to be resolved. The numbers were still not balancing and yet tipping in the wrong direction. How many teachers would end up going out the door? It seemed likely that a minimum of 40 would. How many more would go was the question that remained. I returned from travel to find that of the 60 school personnel notified only 12 would not be returning. How had this come about? The level funded budget from the Town didn't change. What did change was all the stimulus funds from either the Federal or State sources were added to the level funded Town budget. That made a big difference. To the tune of $1.1 million. Instead of ending up with a level funded budget, we ended up with a level funded plus budget. The point of view that the School Committee used was not clear to me. Hence, a new learning!

What did you learn in July?

Watch your language

My take away from the discussion around the Gates-Crowley affair, especially after President Obama stepped into the mess, is simply to watch your language.


Crude and offensive language is wrong, period. When someone gets upset and the vitriol starts to flow, it creates an escalating situation. If both parties become engaged, they are now riding a toboggan on a slippery slope.

How do I know this?

I have worked on several help desks. When a customer calls in with a problem and they have reached an anger point, the tendency is to match anger with anger. That doesn't lead to a successful conclusion.

What should you do?

What does work for the recipient (you on the help desk) is to calmly let the caller vent. Let their steam run its course. When they realize that you are not escalating with them, when you are calmly and patiently waiting, they will begin to listen to themselves, realize what they are doing and calm down.

As President Obama rightly said, cooler heads should have prevailed.

The bottom line

Cool heads will prevail. Cool heads can help prevent the escalation by watching their language. Vulgar language, however 'socially acceptable' it has become, is inappropriate period.

Find a way to use some words other than vulgar language. The English language is full of opportunities. Find a way to duck it!

Computer Recycling Event in Warwick, RI

If you have an old computer, monitor or keyboard that you'd like to recycle, you can drive down to Warwick, RI and watch the recyclers in action.

FreeGeekProvidence is holding this event at New England Institute of Technology today. The text of their email provides additional information:

Today we're having the Providence Bruins Mascot "Samboni" come in just for our recycling event, and HOT 106 will be giving away prizes and doing live cut in's all day. We'll have tee-shirts for sale and lots of recycling to do.

The Free for all Recycling Extravaganza is from 9-1 today at New England Tech. See for more info.

That's 95 (either direction) to exit 13, the airport connector, to the end to Post Road. Take a Right on Post Road (or head South) and it's half mile on the right.

You can see on our News Room, we have lots of media coverage and that's not including the TV spots either.

So even if you only have an old keyboard, or a half ton-truck of computer waste, or you just want to meet all the geeks responsible for all the great things going on at Free Geek, join us at New England Tech.

job search notes: good experience

I love the Google-like simplicity of the Isobar website. The accommodation to the users to select how much time they have (3, 6, or 8 minutes) to spend to watch the video overview that will focus on Isobar's philosophy, services and how they go about it is very well done.

A screen shot of their website:

Click through and review for yourself. Each length of the video is complete and compelling. The concept of "Creating Time" is integrated into the video and its presentation.

Can you implement something as simple and compelling as this for your website?

Disclosure: Yes, I found this as part of my job search effort and no, this is not an attempt to "brown nose" my way in. I believe the web site is a great example of a good experience.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How much rain?

How much rain? Barrells full!, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Lots of rain over night and this morning.

The barrel is full!

Deja Brew - Bottled

Brian's Crew started slowly but finished bottling tonight with a flourish. The bottle cap labels for the beers are in Bold next to each name.

Stunner S
A creamy British Pub style pale ale “stunning colour”.
Double Scotch Ale D
This Scotch is heavily hopped and high in alcohol.
Sam’s Damn Yummy SD
ACBBD – A sweeter version of Stunner
Dave's Red R
Possibly ACBBD. A version of Owen O'Leary's Irish Sunsetter
Light Irish Stout L
This recipe is lighter than the dry, intense stouts of Ireland.
Beaver Back Pale B
A BOP favorite, with sweet undertone, and a nice flavor & finish

ACBBD - stands for "Another Crappy Beer By Dave". Dave is one of the brew masters at Deja Brew.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

a chocolate chip pancake for breakfast

When the question was asked if she wanted pancakes for breakfast, the response was:

"Yes, a pancake, please."
Well, what else was there to do but to make "A" pancake. Fortunately, the pancake skills I had practiced during their childhood has not left me now that they are young ladies.

The personal touch is service is important.

What simple thing can you think of to do for your customers?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Deja Brew - bottling soon

While away recently, I missed the latest brewing night at Deja Brew. I will be able to make the bottling night to finish the work started on the following beers:

Stunner A creamy British Pub style pale ale “stunning colour”.
Double Scotch Ale This Scotch is heavily hopped and high in alcohol.
Sam’s Damn Yummy ACBBD – A sweeter version of Stunner
Dave's Red Possibly ACBBD. A version of Owen O'Leary's Irish Sunsetter
Light Irish Stout This recipe is lighter than the dry, intense stouts of Ireland.
Beaver Back Pale A BOP favorite, with sweet undertone, and a nice flavor & finish

ACBBD - stands for "Another Cool Beer By Dave". Dave is one of the brew masters at Deja Brew.

Pictures and prior posts on Deja Brew can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flowers around the yard

Sunday was just so nice a day, the flowers were in such blooming color, taking a few photos and putting together in a quick video slide show was too good to pass on.

I hope you enjoy!

Many thanks to my brother-in-law John Palardy for the design and planting of the flowers around the yard. Your work is appreciated especially on days like this.

Monday, July 20, 2009

From deep in the tunnel

From deep in the tunnel of this week's edition of TheMondayMorningMemo comes this gem of a jam session recorded in 1988 on the David Letterman Show.

How do you define good experience?
I suggest subscribing to TheMondayMorningMemo is one good way to find out!

Lowell Folk Festival

The free Lowell Folk Festival returns this summer, July 24 – 26, 2009 for the 23rd year. Planning began shortly after the 2008 Festival and the announcement of ten confirmed performers for this year’s Festival is a pleasant reminder of summer as we emerge from a challenging winter:
  • Alash, returning with Tuvan throat singing
  • The Brotherhood, practitioners of African American a cappella gospel
  • Eddie Forman Orchestra, providing a Festival bastion, polka.
  • Genticorum, “one of the most sought after proponents of Québécois musical culture”
  • Sierra Hull and Highway 111, a bright young star of bluegrass
  • Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys, bringing their enthusiastic zydeco to Lowell in July.
  • Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars, klezmer music and songs from New York
  • The Lucky Stars will keep audiences dancing with their western swing and honky tonk
  • Trudy Lynn delivering amazing R&B from her Houston roots
  • Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band, bringing traditional New Orleans jazz to the Festival.

These performers represent almost half of those who will be on the six stages throughout downtown Lowell this July.

Each year, thousands of music fans make their way downtown to the Lowell Folk Festival, the largest free festival in the country, to enjoy a wide variety of acoustic music. Over twenty local, regional and national acts will perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 24-26 offering continuous live music featuring folk, blues, Celtic, bluegrass, folk-rock, world, country, gospel, and Cajun rhythms on six stages. The six stages are all within walking distance from the corner of Merrimack Street and Central Street, allowing for many musical choices.

The Festival also features traditional crafts demonstrations, which in 2009 emphasize the skills of Massachusetts artists, many of whom are featured in the “Keepers of Tradition” book and exhibit at the National Heritage Museum. The Lowell Folk Festival will offer fun activities and arts and crafts for all age groups at various locations throughout the entire weekend.

Delicious ethnic foods sold by local not-for-profit organizations, continue to be a unique Lowell Folk Festival offering spanning from Portuguese to Thai, and from African American soul food to Middle Eastern cuisines.

The year’s festival will kicks off with a Parade through downtown Lowell at 6:45 PM on Friday, July 24.

The schedule for all Lowell Festival events, performing artist information and craft and food
information will be updated at the official website as it is confirmed: visit or call 978-970-5000for updates.

The Festival partners: the City of Lowell, Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors
Bureau, Lowell Festival Foundation, Lowell National Historical Park, and National Council for the Traditional Arts remind you to mark your calendar for July 24-26!


I will find a spot at Boarding House Park to enjoy the music according to the following schedule. If you are going to Lowell, let me know and we can arrange to meet on the lawn.

Saturday, July 25 Boarding House Park Niamh Ní Charra (Irish) 12:00 – 12:45 PM
Saturday, July 25 Boarding House Park Yomo Toro (Puerto Rican cuatro master) 1:00 – 1:45 PM
Saturday, July 25 Boarding House Park Genticorum (Quebecois) 2:00 – 2:45 PM
Saturday, July 25 Boarding House Park Sierra Hull & Highway 111 (bluegrass) 3:00 – 3:45 PM
Saturday, July 25 Boarding House Park Dr. Michael White & the Original Liberty Jazz Band (Traditional New Orleans jazz) 4:00 – 4:45 PM
Saturday, July 25 Boarding House Park Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys (zydeco) 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Sunday, July 19, 2009

a glorious day for a soccer game - Go Revs!

The Revs did win today, an impressive second half showing to take the victory 2-0 against Chivas USA. Goals by Dube (Joseph) and Ralston did the scoring in the second half. Shalrie Joseph made the big difference with his appearance to open the second half. The first half saw some chances go by the wayside.

For a team struggling with injuries, you would think that possession would be a focal point. The more time with the ball should lead to better chances. There are at least two changes I would suggest Steve Nicol make.

1 - Don't have Reis make a long goal kick, instead bring the ball on the ground through the backs to the wings or through the center, wherever the opportunity lies. The long kick ends up 60-80 percent of the time turning the possession over to the other team. Let's keep the ball and bring it up on the ground. Our strength is with the speed of the wingers, let's keep them in the play. We don't have the big strong forwards (except for the new guy Jankauskas) that can compete for and hold the ball successfully.

2 - Do away with the Barnes long throw in. For all the throws he has made, we have yet to score a goal and yet to have more than a half chance or two. It forces Barnes to make a long run, then hustle back which adds to the demands on him to play stellar defense. The players closer to the ball can take a shorter and quicker throw in. The quickness has more often lead to an advantage. The long throw allows the defense plenty of time to set up.

For any Revs followers, what do you think?

Double dose of attention

This month's theme over on the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog is communication as learners. I have posted a two entries there both leading to ask the question
“What are the ways you have found to catch someones attention?”
Please feel free to click through to read one or both of the postings here:
Feel free to comment on your answer to the question either here or there.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do you have "good vibrations"?

Friday, the end to another work week, let me share the Playing for Change musicians in this inspirational video performance of Don't Worry.


You can find out more about Playing for Change on their website here.

You can view their photos on Flickr here.

job search notes: finding ones place

RickettsGlen: fungi, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Another lesson from the natural world in Ricketts Glen State Park (PA) is here for the taking. These fungi have found a spot on the forest floor, amidst the cracked soil, under the canopy of trees. They will come forth and grow, and do their thing (whatever it is fungi do).

Have you found your place?

Have you prepared to find your place?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Check out quiet poet

While on the road, I have been writing more sherku over at quiet poet be sure to click through and read there. I will have some longer posts here later this week.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Northeastern dorm falling apart; Carolyn's okay

Carolyn woke to some excitement this morning. At first she thought there was an earthquake but nothing in the room was moved. A few minutes later, the knock on the door got them up to evacuate the building. Turns out the front facade had collapsed onto Huntington Ave. Fortunately no one was hurt. She remains displaced for the moment while they determine what the building status is.

Here is the NECN video of the front of the building and some of the examination:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"I'll read about you on your blog"

The musical is a great art form. I hope you enjoy this take off on the "West Side Story".

Mahalo to Rosa Say for sharing this link!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Twin Oaks Bridge

Twin Oaks Bridge on the Carriage Trail from the Red Lock Trailhead in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Twin Oaks Bridge on the Carriage Trail  Cuyahoga Valley Natl Pk

As we crossed the bridge, we will admit that a thoughts did venture back to the Twin Oaks Restaurant in Cranston, RI and the wonderful food available there.


Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Enjoyed a pleasant ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. We boarded at Peninsula, rode down to Arkon and then north to Rockside Station, the current northern-most point, before heading south again to Peninsula where we got off.

About to board the train for a scenic ride in Cuyahoga Valley Natl Pk

We drove up to the Red Lock Trailhead where we did the Carriage Trail, a good 5 mile walk.

These sites are all within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Empty parking lot at Oak Hill area

Folks are missing out on a glorious day for a good hike here at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (south of Cleveland, OH).

Product of the CCC

Product of the CCC, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The lodge at Ledges in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (south of Cleveland, OH) was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The work has shown to have a lasting quality. In our travels we have seen and used the facilities in a number of state and national parks.

job search notes: lesson from nature

The story of the preservation of nature's wonders in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is for another day.

This tree planted it's roots in a huge rock and continued to spread them and grown them as required to maintain its own life.

Do you have that desire and fortitude?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Full moon rising

The full moon rising above one ridge of Buffalo Valley in central Pennsylvania.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Food for something

This fungi is food for something that enjoys it.

A day after this photo was taken, the entire item was gone. Clean cut to ground level.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Ozone Fall - Rickets Glen

Rickets Glen has quite a collection of water falls. This one, if my notes are correct, is called "Ozone" with a drop of sixty feet.

RickettsGlen_90628 131

Dolores and the Bastian's are in the bottom left of the photo to give the water fall some sense of scale.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ricketts Glen water falls

Two meandering streams drop dozens of feet, suddenly here, and there, finally joining together to drop over three more water falls. The two sides of the triangle in Ricketts Glen State Park in central PA provide an up close view of 19 of nature's wonders.

RickettsGlen_90628 159

If you are ever in the area, this is well worth a side trip. A hike around the triangle covers about three miles and is not overly strenuous. Stopping to admire the vegetation and the water falls provides enough rest and sustenance to make the hike easily.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

iob search notes: time for reflection

Amidst the thunderous down pour of the water fall, plant life clings to life.

RickettsGlen_90628 210

This holiday week, take some time for reflection.