Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Social Media Can Expand Your Universe

In just a few short months, my Universe has grown. I am now a contributing blogger on the Central Ohio Network and hang out with the likes of some really awesome bloggers and social networkers that I met on Twitter. Go check out the site and subscribe to stay updated on information about networking, social media and other events in Central Ohio.

If you'd like to dive into this wonderful wild crazy internet social networking thing and don't know where to start, may I suggest a few places? PodCamp Ohio is this Saturday,June 28, ITT has graciously offered their site to host the event. I am one of the organizers and plan to be there all day. No experience is necessary to attend and the event is free. We will even serve lunch. You can meet other bloggers, podcasters and social media types. I think of it as an immersion school of sorts.

Next up is Startup Weedend. Want to be a part of creating a startup business in one weekend? Then Columbus Startup Weekend Might be for you. This promises to be an excellent event and I am planning on learning a great deal from this. TechColumbus will be our host. There is a small fee to attend but it's worth the $40. Where else can you go to learn and participate in a creative experience like this for $40? Oh, and the Central Ohio Network folks will be there too!

Speaking of TechColumbus, I was there last night for the monthly meeting of the Columbus Social Media Cafe. Here is another terrific group of people who are connecting in Columbus to do cool things. We've been talking about our mission and vision and what direction we will be moving in. Using the Open Space concept, everyone has an opportunity to contribute and be a part of the conversation. Go visit their website to get a rundown of last night's meeting and conversation. If you are planning on attending one of these events, drop me a line in the comments section and let me know who you are so I can be sure to say hello. Watch the Central Ohio Network site for updates on any of these events. Take care!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Mama Kitty Taught Me

I lost my old Mama Kitty this week. How could such a little critter have such a big impact on my life? She was always small and in the end she weighed four scant pounds, but in life, her spirit was huge.

She was already full grown and had birthed several litters by the time I showed up in her life at the shelter where I used to work in 1994. Skittish and cautious, she was accustomed to life on the streets. Relying on people food and milk set out for her by the men in the shelter and what ever mice she happened to catch, I thought her size was due to lack of proper food.

Mama Taught Me Patience

When Mama had her last litter, she delivered three kittens. Only one survived. It drove me nuts that she was having one litter after another and contributing to the over population of feral cats roaming inner city streets. I became determined to get this cat off the streets and out of the kitten making business. But how? She wouldn’t let anyone come near her. Armed with cans of tuna fish, I began putting out small plates of it whenever she was near by. Eventually, she got used to seeing me and I could move the plate closer to me and sit near her while she ate. Finally, she allowed me to pet her. This made it possible to scoop her into a pet carrier and whisk her off to the vets where amazingly, she was given a clean bill of health. No fleas, worms, ear mites, nothing. After a round of vaccinations and an appointment to be spade, I took her home where she chose to hide in my closet.

Mama Taught Me Consistency Leads To Trust

Mama didn’t trust her new surroundings and so preferred to hide in the closet most of the time. Eventually, at night she would come out and hop onto the corner of the bed while I slept and curl up, only to jump down and run off to the closet again. She gradually over came her fears and began spending time out in the open and allowing me to pet her. Finally, she became accustomed to her new digs and took over the rule of the roost.

Mama Taught Me Stick Up For Myself When My Needs Weren’t Getting Met

Mama came to believe that she deserved to be loved and petted. She endeared herself to many a visitor to my home. I would have to warn them that if they began to pet her and stopped before she was ready, she would swat them and swat them she did. She wouldn’t use her claws but boy could she give you a good smack! Hard enough to make sound. She would also meow very loudly in order to get your attention if he food or water dish was empty. Many times I would pick up the dish to go fill it and she would chase behind me, swatting the backs of my feet and meowing as if to scold me for neglecting my duties.

Mama Taught Me That Sometimes Love Means You Have To Do The Hard Stuff

In her final weeks, Mama became weaker. I spent a lot of time with her just lying on my lap. Taking advantage of what little time we had left. She became thinner and weaker and each morning that I woke up to find that I had one more day with her was a gift. On her last day, I was sure that she would go on her own with in just a few hours but that was not to be. By early afternoon, it became clear that I was going to have to make the painful and difficult decision to call the vet and assist her on her journey. Those decisions are always tough. You spend time anguishing about whether or not it’s time, if it’s the right thing to do. Mama just seemed to hang on even though she couldn’t stand up. She didn’t seem to know where she was any more and was barely conscious.

My vet was very understanding and allowed me all the time I needed. That final ride was tough. I’ve had to take this ride before and it never gets easier, ever. I found my self reflecting on the parade of pets that have come through my life and how Mama was joining the ranks of the ones who are missed. I have a friend who was also considerably attached to Mama Kitty and he drove me to the vet’s office and then to drop her off to be cremated.

I hate it when it hits you that gone is gone. The realization always comes as a sharp pain. The day after Mama died, I heard a robin singing loudly outside. I went to the window and looked out. There it was on the neighbor’s fence looking up into the window I was looking out of and singing. I decided it was a singing telegram from Mama, a message that she had arrived safely at her destination and was happy in her new home. I will miss her for a long time but I believe I will see her again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Start Engaging Others

So my good friend Rocky VanBrimmer is stepping out of his role as a Realtor and into a whole new world of On Line Consulting and Training. I highly recommend that you check out his site and sign up for future trainings if you are interested in learning how to use social networking and social media to boost your business or increase your internet presence.

I'm looking forward to learning new tricks from Rocky.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Catching Up

I have been neglecting you lately haven't I? For someone who isn't currently employed, it sure seems like I have a lot going on lately. I am doing a little bit of floor refinishing work for a friend. That's helped me keep my head just above water lately.

The quarter is over at school and the finals are done. So I can focus on finding real work. Hopefully I will be able to do more writing here. I went down to the Arts Festival Friday afternoon and just wandering through the different booths helped to get my creative juices flowing a bit more. I spent some real quality time with my thoughts while I was there. It's interesting to wander from booth to booth and just take it all in. One minute you are enjoying the serene colors of a landscape painting, imagining your self there floating in a boat. Then turn the corner into another booth and Pow! Your eyes meet with a cacophony of abstract paintings in exuberant primary colors. If you are like me, if art, music sound and color illicit emotional responses then you'll understand me when I say it's kind of like playing crack the whip with your mind or a cosmic whack to your creative self. I'm glad I went.

On the home front, I am preparing for two partings. I have a very old small and mighty calico cat who has quite a story behind her. She has been ill as of late. I borrowed some money from a friend so that I could take her to the vets this past week. The news so far is not good. She has an abdominal mass, and possible kidney failure among other issues. She's really too old to be able to with stand any real intervention to try and lengthen her life. I am trying to make the best of the time I have left with her. I will be writing more about her in a later post as I really want to honor this magnificent companion.

The second parting is my grand father on my father's side. He is my last surviving grand parent. In 2004 he was treated for T-Cell Lymphoma and recovered quite well until recently. His symptoms returned and the doctors have told him that his body isn't going to be able to with stand another round of the aggressive chemo that he was given before. So Hospice has been contacted and we are all trying to spend as much time with him as we possibly can. Grandpa is in his 90s and I lost count a long time ago of how many grand kids and great grand kids there are. We will probably wear the poor man out with our visits and some one is going to need to install a revolving door on his house.

Speaking of Grandpa's house, that place has some pretty special memories for me and I have been struck with how every thing will change when he is gone. I have spent every single Christmas Day for the past 50 years in that house. When I was a kid, my grand parents had the basement remodeled to resemble the old Kahiki restaurant here in Columbus. The remodel was complete with a water fall that has something in the water to turn it a glowing lavender color under the black lights. My cousins and I spent hours down there on Christmas Day. As an adult, most of my time was spent upstairs but our own kids got a chance to have their fun in the basement as well. It just won't seem like Christmas with out a brief trip to Hawaii just down a flight of stairs. I will miss that. His house is intertwined with him and my grand mother in my memory. I will be writing more about my grand father in the days to come as well.

So that's about it. What's new with you?