Category Archives: general

success in 2009 – 3rd and final post

what was your biggest non-monetary success this year? i asked this question on twitter, LinkedIn and facebook. this is post #3 – the first instalment is here, and the second here. (the ones with the @ denote twitter names).

@dorylanenter: new friendships i made

joanna poppink:
transforming my front garden into a gorgeous, free chi flowing rock garden. i kept all the plants that were doing well. i covered bare spots with rivers of flowing mexican black smooth pebbles. the steep areas are now embedded with large black mexican stones. the plants grow better because the rocks hold the slope and retain moisture. the stone change color in different light and moisture conditions.

i use half the water i used before. my neighbors pause to look. children stop to look and ask questions. i get reports now of how people linger on a regular basis and feel better, even nourished and inspired by the garden.

it cost very little because i did it myself. unlike most gardens, it requires little tending. i loved doing it. and now, like most gardens, it keeps giving.

katana: i quit smoking.

airdrie miller: owning my first dog, lucy, is my biggest success of 2009. lucy is a four month old shihtzu poodle. she is my new best friend. i love her.

@patientanon becoming even closer 2 someone where the relationship had 2 already withstand unbelievable trials 2 stay together over years

sanjib: my biggest non-monetary success in 2009 was getting into plan B trying to anchor myself in canada as a new immigrant. i used to be a journalist back in my home country of india as well as in taiwan. but now I am working in both the fast-food as well as retail sectors to learn and equip myself with those extra skills necessary to be successful here in canada.

@crpitt i think just keeping it together when the mum had her leg amputated was a success, using the power of humour and doodling

corinna carlson: the renewed relationship with my parents… was time there when i thought that was it, we wouldn’t be speaking again, they almost got a divorce this year, we ‘rescued’ my mom from bali while i dealt with three embassies and foreign affairs to get her out of bali, and somehow we’ve worked it all out and are a real family again..

@blissfulgirl i beat cervical cancer. it doesn’t get much better than that 🙂

@DTSuites finally getting my composter in the garden working efficiently, taking several theta healing workshops which have pushed me more toward energy healing and awareness than before. new year’s resolutions are now all about my continuing shift in awareness, personal and lifestyle goals…back to basics

@kattlea my non monetary success – healing enough to start playing guitar (although that cost a lot of money)

hera (a recent canadian immigrant): my success – got along with the canadian working environment more and more, completed several projects including writing the reports.

karen: firstly, all my successes necessarily have to be non-monetary: i was let go of both my contract gigs, and now i’m an overworked graduate student working part-time and not pulling in rent! i’m not ready to write-off the year entirely

looking back, i think the most important success i can name is really coming to grips with how important knowing thine self enables being true to said self. acknowledging, accepting, relentlessly cataloguing, reminding, remembering… it never really dawned on me how quickly it can shift and how much i’m still thinking of myself as i was 10 years ago, until really just now. i think realizing that is a success in and of itself! everything flows from this first and foremost: what i want to do, what i’m good at, where i can provide the most value, how i go about asking to be paid for this awesome i do…and how best to communicate this to others and to ask for acceptance for who i know myself to be.

monica: i have to say speaking as one of the keynote speakers at a conference was quite a success. as usual, i was (very) concerned about doing a good job (i’m a little nutty like that), and was quite relieved that it went well. (here is the video)

craig (a piano player):   howard and i had a concert called “a nutcracker christmas” scheduled.  the day before the performance, howard came down with such a severely sore throat that he could not perform. almost all the planned repertoire was not useable without the clarinet part. with just 24 hours to go before the performance, it was not possible to find a replacement.

for a fleeting moment, my old being visited and i thought about canceling. include embarrassment, loss of income (the hall was rented) and frustration in all that.  but, i am strengthening the muscle of stepping over my fears, and i quickly (like in 5 minutes) decided the show was to go on.  the concert was just 2 seats short of being sold out. i was sticking my neck out.  45 minutes before the performance was to begin, i had all my christmas music spread out on the chapel floor and i was creating a program from scratch.  we had promised the nutcracker, so i chose three of numbers from that suite that would work as vehicles for improvising. i had not tried this before.  i chose 8 favourite carols that i could extemporize on.  i had 3 classical masterpieces i could play.  i walked into the music hall and calmly greeted all the guests as they arrived.  then i entertained them for 2 hours.  just about everyone went out of their way to say how delighted they were.

as recently as 5 years ago, i never, never improvised in public.  as recently as 3 years ago, i only improvised in situations where i was background music and know one really seemed to be listening.  i wrote down on my life rocks form when catherine wood was coaching me that i had the dream of being able to do a solo concert that was almost entirely improvised. and it happened …

@janaremy sent me something on twitter the moment i asked – and i just realized i lost her post.  i think it was this one – it’s entitled what’s your dream? and starts like this: ‘a few years ago i dreamed that someday i would start each day with paddling on the ocean. but i thought to myself how ridiculous that was given my physical limitations, the difficulty of actually getting to the beach on a daily basis, the expense of procuring a boat, etc. it seemed…impossible, implausible, impractical. undo-able.”

finally, creativity coach roger von oech sent me his personal highlights for the decade, which involves, among other things, swimming, a fascination with the greek philosopher herclitus, and putting something whacky on a communist grave in russia.

sooo … what was YOUR success?

success in 2009 – part 2

here’s part 2 of my social media friends’ nonmonetary successes in 2009: (the ones with the @ are people’s twitter accounts).   part 1 is here.

darren barefoot: i wrote half a book, which, it turns out, is a shocking amount of work.

hamish: two of my former clients (and now friends) successfully landed new jobs thanks in part to some extensive CV rewriting that i did for them – it was great to see the constructive criticism received well, taken on board and integrated into the finished product. it was then gratifying of them to keep me posted on how their job search progressed – net result, two great people in new jobs doing great things for their new employers!

vivien (@inspirationbit on twitter): my biggest success and the proudest achievement in 2009 was to teach my daughter how to read. so now, at the age of four she’s already fluently reading in english on her own, and we now started learning french with her 😉

jonathon narvey from writeimage: learning and understanding more about how organizations (business, non-profit, whatever) succeed. i’m very grateful to those who have shown me how to get it done. it seems as though some of the greatest lessons you can learn in this field come much easier when times are tough. and it’s not just important to understand these things to make a buck — it’s important to understand them so that you can truly enjoy and remain passionate about the work.

probably the most important lesson, which i had heard many times but perhaps never truly internalized until recently, was the importance of working with good people. you just can’t do it all yourself. when you’ve got good, talented people all working in an organized way towards a common goal, success is inevitable.

dan: teaching my kids things they ask about and hearing them say “c-o-o-o-l”

dave: my success really was regaining my independence. i was in a relationship for nearly 3 years, 2 of which we lived together. to escape some costs and administrative burden, i didn’t have a copy of our joint credit card and our chemistry wasn’t where it needed to be in order for me to be 50% of our relationship. i didn’t get lost in the relationship, but i got lost because of it. i didn’t realize this until a month or so after leaving – regaining my independence came out of nowhere to be my biggest success and i didn’t even see it coming.

@evanhadkins written lots of stuff, survived a new job with zero support, maintained healthy relationship despite working 6-6.5 days a week

@barkingunicorn learned to let go of money, possessions, home, people, worry.

@mollena i was awarded the title @mssfleather2009. i performed in the most difficult and wonderful show i’ve ever done. i’m still sober.

brenda blackburn: my biggest non-monetary success of 2009 was the live meeting startup and growth of the DVT support group of the lower mainland (held in burnaby, bc). “deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that usually occurs in the leg, most often on one side, although it can happen in other parts of the body. if the blood clot dislodges, it can travel to the lungs and cause a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism (PE) or lung clot. lung clots affect over 530,000 people a year and 300,000, or almost 1 out of 3, are fatal.” “national alliance for thrombosis & thrombophilia (NATT), USA. in this group of “survivors” and supporters we support, educate and advocate. as the first known live support DVT group in canada, (with no other provincial or national DVT patient organization existing to date), we are striving to make a difference at a grassroots level. we hold affiliations with vancouver general hospital, burnaby hospital, the north american thrombosis forum, peernetbc, and more.

want to tell us what your success was?

success in 2009!

what was your biggest non-monetary success this year? i asked this question on twitter, LinkedIn and facebook, and here are some responses: in fact, i got so many, i have to turn this into two posts.

i’ll start with raul who said: mental health camp, hands down. the reason i’m starting with this is selfish – it was my biggest success, too – not only the camp itself but also working so fabulously together with raul. 2010 watch out, we’re going to do it again!

who else?

baljit siekham: i wrote a letter to god in march. i asked him for help. i have been getting help from all sorts of unexpected places and people ever since. all i can say is – thank you

isabel: saying yes

karen: learning to become a manager

anne baird: my biggest non-monetary success in 2009 was in the creation and launch of my new ecard website, this involved a huge learning curve in learning how to adapt my regular greeting card inventory to a virtual ecard inventory, complete with applets and music, that i learned how to download and edit. all in all, it was a very challenging and satisfying project, which has blown the doors off my old goddess cards company. no longer shackled by printing expenses, storage of inventory, and maintaining and shipping of orders of real cards (though i continue to do that with my existing inventory), i am free to create an ever greater and wider variety of cards for the goddess community (all women!), and to respond to their needs and requests. now, all that i need to do in 2010 is to make this a monetary success! monetary success is simply a means of measuring response to my work, and to my messages of love and affirmation to women, and to those that they love. i am constantly learning ~ both from this new format, and from the women to whom i speak. i am so excited about 2010! i send my love to everyone out there…anne

al pasternak: providing foster care to chloe the dog. still learning lots.

paul w. gallant: becoming part of the person centered health PCH leadership action series. helping to stimulate change and improve the momentum of PCH along with others who are part of this north american group. voluntary and includes people from east to west canada and US.

david drucker : for me, the biggest non-monetary success was helping to organize and run uxcampvancouver, the first barcamp-style ‘unconference’ in the area for user experience professionals and enthusiasts. while i’ve attended many local events, it was particularly gratifying to see a whole day of stimulating presentations and lively discussion on december 6th, from a local community that i knew existed, but hadn’t up till now had an event dedicated to them. i’ve also been on teams for events like this (like a couple of years of barcamp), but this was the first time it was just 2 of us, and fortunately, karen parker was an excellent leader, and i learned a lot from her.

like most successful events in this town, i believe uxcamp will be an annual one. it feels great to be another contributor to the local calendar. because of this, i feel as if i’m now, truly, a member of the vancouver professional community.

while you’re waiting for the second instalment tomorrow, why not tell us what YOUR biggest nonmonetary success was?

bye bye B-line

a tugboat on the fraser river in richmond

a tugboat on the fraser river in richmond

for a while now, i have been working part-time for the mennonite central committee in richmond. i’d get on the 49 bus to granville street, and then take the 98 B-line down granville. granville is one of the older streets of vancouver, and that stretch down to the fraser river is lined by old trees, venerable mansions hidden somewhere between tall hedges, and further down, there’s a friendly little shopping neighbourhood. i’d always try to get a seat on the bus that faced west so that, when we had reached the end of granville and crossed the fraser river, i’d see the wide waters flowing along under the bridge, perhaps with a tug boat schlepping a load of logs; the expanse of the fields leading up to the airport; and the north shore mountains we were drawing away from as we headed closer and closer to the US border, just 30 km further south. then a loop to skirt one of the airport hotels and up over another, smaller bridge crossing another arm of the fraser river, dotted by boats of all stripes, and flowing pastorally off into the distance. two minutes later, the bus would plonk me down right by my place of work.

that bus ride was one of the many perks of working at MCC.


by september 7, i will be forced to trade beauty for efficiency.

the olympics are upon us. in february, we’ll be hosting the winter olympics and in preparation for that, we finally have canada line, a rapid transit system going to the airport. it takes you along cambie street, parallel to the 98 B-line, and so the B-line will be scrapped.

yes, taking the canada line will shorten my commute by about 10 minutes each way. in exchange, i will have to endure 10 minutes of ugliness. the train stations look like they’ve been built by architects who normally design prisons, the trains – admittedly very roomy – have the charm of 99-cent tuna cans, and when they finally exit the tunnel, they emerge into a drab, industrial tangle of concrete, rails and unidentifiable stuff-that’s-lying-about. (a far cry from the nostalgic, semi-abandoned, wild urban nature that used to surround the rickety old rapid train system in east berlin in the 60s, 70s and 80s that inspired one of my first short stories).

oh, and to top it all off, the first stop in richmond conveniently has an exit that goes right into a casino. i’m really, really not a prude when it comes to gambling but, people, IMHO, there’s something incredibly cheap and wrong about a public transit system feeding right into a place where people lose their homes and marriages on a regular basis. (people addicted to gambling, btw, supposedly commit more suicides than people with any other addiction).


i guess i’m what new yorker writer adam gopnik calls a “frivolous aesthete”. my life is going well, i am not pressed for tiny bits of time or money, so i can afford to value beauty more than 10 minutes here and there. it is in an environment of abundance like this, hypothesizes gopnik, that novelty and creativity thrive, contrary to the saying that necessity is the mother of invention.

how many poets have been inspired by a friendly journey along the old maple trees on granville street?

how many will write odes to the cambie street station?

image by stephen rees

i’m baaack!

after over a month of problems with my database, it looks like we’re 90% done with fixing it. there’s still a bunch of redirecting and domain transferring going on but i THINK the blog can be used now again – just in time for the blogathon!

can you send me some comments to let me know whether this works so far?  thanks!

my hawaiian twitter diary

a lanai in lahaina, maui (hawaii)for friends and family who want to get a bit of a sense of what hawaii was like, i’m reprinting here all my hawaii-related tweets. and – uh, you’ll have to read them bottom to top 🙂

back in vancouver. lots of jet lag. another bout of high level flight anxiety. lots of learning, e.g. compassion for others 5:29 pm jan 27

the longer we stay here, the better the mosquitoes like us. especially when we’re on the laptop. it attracts bugs? 7:25 pm jan 26

hubby is outside stalking geckos. 11:20 am jan 26

going to do a painting outside in the lanai. haven’t done art in ages. 11:13 am jan 26

off to bed. it sounds like the geckos applaud the idea. 2:45 am jan 26

then walking home to danielle’s place through a spectacular sunset 10:40 pm jan 25

lovely to hear how excited she is about her job, how much she loves sharing her love for art 10:29 pm jan 25

while she finished a sale, enjoyed leisurely leafing through volkov’s book » link to alexander volkov brown barn publishing 10:29 pm jan 25

she helped me soften my purist snob’s stance towards commercial art. 10:25 pm jan 25

had coffee with a lovely young woman who works at sargent’s gallery in lahaina 10:24 pm jan 25

okay, back out to the lanai [note the image here is one of danielle’s three lanais, or outdoor living spaces] where they are giggling and consuming adult beverages 12:09 am jan 25

in other news, i made it to second place in the poker tournament. never went all in so much as this time. 12:02 am jan 25

i guess i can’t hide anymore. need to join poker playing guests. introvert-me says “nooo!!!” poker playing-me says “let’s clean up!” 5:25 pm jan 24

also different from british columbia, where we still have a marginal but extant first nations culture, struggling but vibrant 5:15 pm jan 24

… almost touch the terror of the slaves he lived on the plantations and tried to run away. 5:14 pm jan 24

ther sense is strong and its essence is dullness. different from the intense outrage and grief i felt in louisiana where it seemed you could 5:13 pm jan 24

… almost completely erased. squatted upon. snatched away. i understand why some native hawaiians feel bitter. 5:12 pm jan 24

i have a strong sense of how colonialism/industrialism/tourism has totally taken over maui. strange feeling. like original culture/people 5:11 pm jan 24

okay, i’m off the tweet and on to the ocean breeze! catchyall latah 1:11 pm jan 24

also ended up in haiku and wrote some haiku! may post a blog entry on that … but first i must have some gin and tonic 8:24 pm jan 23rd from web

went to the lavender farm, with what must be one of the best views on earth » link to akl maui welcomes you! 8:22 pm jan 23rd from web

back from a fabulous day hanging out with the girls. went to iao valley » link to iao valley state park 8:19 pm jan 23rd from web

getting ready for a day out with the girls. it’s gonna be loud. still hoping i can get to haiku. yup, there’s a place here called haiku. 10:30 am jan 23rd from web

wow. my first experience of cold stone ice cream. and i’m not even an ice cream fan » link to cold stone creamery – the ultimate ice cream experience 10:33 pm jan 22nd from web

so i have a dilemma. turns out pink looks good on me. but – pink???? 7:49 pm jan 22nd from web

i love all the dresses and sarongs they have here. at the same time, this is probably the world’s most fashion-unconscious place 7:48 pm jan 22nd from web

now off to celebrate my daugher’s 12th birthday. 7:24 pm jan 22nd from web

i love lying on the nets betwen the rails of the katamaran!!! 7:23 pm jan 22nd from web

aquiamarine? apparently maui does not immunize against typos. 7:22 pm jan 22nd from web

snorkeling again today. water was aquiamarine. wow. just like on the bubble bath bottles. 7:21 pm jan 22nd from web

a little further up the road, very mediterranean-like, a winery. full of history. the wine was awful, unfortunately. 7:17 pm jan 22nd from web

very sweet guy from right around here » link to kula lodge & restaurant (kula maui) – upcountry maui lodging, dining & shopping helped. apparently oprah lives close. she smart. 7:16 pm jan 22nd from web

vulcano tour was great. » link to almost ran out of gas on the switchback road back! 7:15 pm jan 22nd from web

tomorrow we’ll go up the vulcano. 10:07 pm jan 20

feel lazy. sitting in an incredibly comfortable chair. a bit of lahaina history today, and a beautiful view of the ocean from the hills. 10:07 pm jan 20

okay, this extra extra tequila’ed pinarita is making me sleepy. off to bed. look at the huge buddha tomorrow » link to the great buddha at the lahaina jodo mission in historic lahaina, maui 12:37 am jan 20

hard to have a sales presentation given to you when you know every single step of the sales process. “ok, now we’ll ‘engage the client’ ..” 10:45 pm jan 19

btw went to a wyndham timeshare presentation today. i think the guy had a hangover. it was a bit hard to watch sometimes. 10:44 pm jan 19

michelle obama looks so – matronly tonight. not really dowdy but close. does she have to? 10:37 pm jan 19

watching the kids’ inauguration show with 2 dogs, 3 friends, and 1 each of loving hubby and pretty daughter 10:22 pm jan 19

now for some puzzle playing, sunset watching, and grilled pork eating. 7:17 pm jan 19

you look at the water horizon for a minute or so, you gonna see whales breaching or blowing 7:01 pm jan 19

in other news – woke myself up with yet another outdoor shower at dawn. sun is up now. morning walk with hubby is coming up. 10:03 am jan 19

excited about the MLK celebrations today. never been in the US for MLK day before. and tomorrow obama inauguration right in hawaii! 10:02 am jan 19

earlier, a walk with the dog to look at the stars over the ocean. venus so strong she cast a light like the moon would do. 11:07 pm jan 18

sitting outside on the lanai with the computer, lit by hundreds of lights strung into the palm trees. 11:06 pm jan 18

renting a car so that we can go up the vulcano. tomorrow: MLK celebration and snorkeling 11:04 pm jan 18

am i ever glad danielle lives in comfy old lahaina. just went to one of the tourist warehouses. not my thing. 6:43 pm jan 18

tan is coming along nicely. loooooong philosophical girlfriend talk with danielle, lounging on her bed, dog in lap. 3:15 pm jan 18

my friend has as much outdoor living space as indoor. woke up, had an outdoor shower. luau today or snorkel? 3:11 pm jan 18

update from paradise. it’s “cold” again (have to wear something long-sleeved morning and night) 3:10 pm jan 18

k. off to dinner now. mango chicken, coconut rice and key lime pie. 9:51 pm jan 17

but food friggin expensive! us$4.99//pd for red peppers??? 9:50 pm jan 17

this is really paradise here. incredible. sweetly swelling mountains, air full of chirpings and perfume 9:49 pm jan 17

update from lahaina: sand castles, a new dress, gin and tonic, palm trees everywhere … hula and lavender farm tomorrow? 9:47 pm jan 17

greetins from lahaina! after 1 1/2 fear-of-flying attacks, arrived here to wind and “cold” and rain. splashed around, wonderful! 1:12 pm jan 17

k, my next tweet will be from hawaii 9:59 pm jan 15

last last last last minute preparations for hawaii. i think the last time i was this excited was for my wedding 9:03 pm jan 15


well, people, you won’t see much of me for the next little while.  i’m off to hawaii, to see things like in this picture here.  if i feel like it, i’ll post something during my vacation – we’ll see.  i will give updates on twitter, though.  also, some people have offered guest posts, so maybe we’ll keep the same posting schedule anyway.  definitely will be back by january 31.  take good care, all of you!

waterfall in hawaii

image by eye of einstein