Thursday, February 21, 2008

Leisurely thoughts

Tucking into bed last night, after arriving home from a most relaxing holiday with Nicholas and his family, I picked up from my bedside table Patricia Lovett-Reid's latest book, Get Real: 26 Canadian Women share The Secret to AUTHENTIC SUCCESS. (I happen to have an autographed copy from when I volunteered at the Woman's Post Courage to Lead Seminar last week, where Patricia, a senior VP of TD Waterhouse and host of MoneyTalk, was the guest speaker.)

I was thisclose to buying her book, so that volunteer opportunity saved me $24.95 and earned me the chance to slip Patricia a CD of my Financial Independence Workbook while she was signing my copy. She gave away three copies that night, one to me when, responding to her question of, "Who would like a copy?" I jumped up and down and waving my hand, squealed "Ooh, me! Oh, me!" Sometimes making a fool of yourself pays off.

She said she'd email me her comments on my Workbook, so finger's crossed that happens soon. If it doesn't, I'll be sure to email her.

But back to my cozy bedtime read.

Not 30 pages in did I come across a fact that made me sit up and pay attention.

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, women making more than $100,000 per year spend 19.6% percent of their time on passive leisure, compared to 33.5% for women making less than $20,000. (Leisure activities were defined as socializing or watching television.)

Do I take too many holidays? Does my lust for leisure activities hold me back? Keep me poor? Shall I throw the TV remot out the window? Something to ponder, that's for sure...

Monday, February 11, 2008

No Comment

In the last three months, Travelling Broad revived 1,161 'hits' to its homepage. That's about a dozen visitors a day, although today it was 21. Of these 1,161 visits, only 19 comments were generated, leaving me to ponder the impact of my blog.

In the past, comments were frequent. I loved them as fodder of further discussion and as proof that my site was being enjoyed. I can't help but wonder - is it something I've done?

However, a perusal of other blogs out there alleviated my concerns somewhat. There seems to be a general decline of commentators on all our blogs. The blog's content or quality didn't seem to impact the number of comments, or lack thereof.

Is it an issue of you'll scratch my back if I scratch yours? Is Facebook somehow to blame?

What would it take to rouse the passions of our readers to share with us their incredibly valuable thoughts and opinions?

Any comments?

The Hidden Costs

This is circulating around the office today, sparking little waves of comments...

Fat people cheaper to treat, study says

The article starts with: Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn't save money, researchers reported Monday.

One comment:

"It reminds me of when a fringe pro-tobacco group claimed that smoking was good because it would save the government spending as much on social security benefits when smokers died early."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Happy (belated) Chinese New Years!

We intended to send out Christmas cards, we really did. Then, as the business of the season caught up with us, we though New Years would be a more realistic date. So, ahem, er - here's our Happy Chinese New Years wishes to everyone!

We went with the campy family look, repleat with homespun sweaters and our best 12-year-old impressions. Jeremy pitched in with a coxcomb cowlick; Nicholas with an 80s 'fro, and me with my Mary Jane locks. Mind you, only the sweaters were planed...

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Passing through the 7-11 last night. I picked up a Zero chocolate bar, lured in by its circa 1980s sparkly wrapper and the word "cool" scrawled across the label. While attempting to savour the four little squares, I had a few short moments to contemplate what it would be like at that Hershey's brainstorming session:

Zero - what does that make you think of?
  • Zero degrees
  • Zero calories
  • Zero guilt
  • Zero nutrition
  • Zero flavour
Doing a quick online search, I discover that it's not even a chocolate bar - it's a "candy" bar. It also provides the nutrition facts per square, so at first glace - "Oh, 80 calories isn't bad at all!" really means, for the mathly-deficient, a quick punch on the ol' calculator, says that it's 320 calories - comparable to a MacDonald Cheeseburger. But it's too late: you've ate it by then!! If only you did the math before you laid down your pocket change for this heart-attack in a shiny wrapper.

And to think it's made in Belgium.

(I'm feeling I may have been a little bit harsh on this innocent chocolate bar, especially since its enjoyed a loyal fan base since 1931, but I encourage you to take a good, hard look at your favourite chocolate "candy" and wonder a few, oh, for example: how does the marketing of this chocolate bar compare to the marketing of say... a cigarette brand. Do I really enjoy its flavour or just eating it coz I've always ate it. Is it the thing causing my afternoon crash, or my headaches, or my weight gain? You know... unsavoury thoughts like that.)


I might have been a little pre-emptive with the whole spring thing...
This is what it looked like outside, before the day-long snowfall yesterday.

But how are we supposed to know? On Monday it was nearly +9 degrees.

Monday, February 04, 2008

It's all small talk to me.

Interesting commentary from Arch Lustberg:

The lack of animation that has snuck into “small talk” now dominates the world of spoken communication. And our role models offer little or no help. Pay attention to the way the politician or the CEO delivers a speech. The way the correspondent reads the news on television. The way the “expert” analyzes in the public forum. Or worst of all, the way the movie star delivers lines. If you pay attention, you’ll notice how little color, enthusiasm, or vividness are communicated. It all sounds exactly like “small talk.” A keyboard kind of dullness has taken over the whole world of communication. It’s not unusual that when a TV reporter says, “Three thousand people are missing in the flood,” the words come out exactly as though they were, “I had a rotten cup of coffee on my way to work.” Monotony reigns supreme.

WHAT?!?! Is THIS really true?!!?!??? Perhaps our media needs to look to the 14-year-olds of today for inspiration. There's, like huge, massive, thiiiiiiiisbig inspiration from that group of communication experts.

Merit Marks

The OED defines Merit as having any admirable quality or attribute; "work of great merit"

So I had to roll my eyes when I came across this little ditty from a highly ingenious, forward-thinking and creative company based in the UK.

Merit Marks

If you do something nice (empty the dishwasher, comment on Jenny's new haircut) you get merit marks. The person with the most merit marks gets a great prize at the end of the year.

This style of thinking - rewarding 'good' behaviour with 'Merit Marks' is indicative of a failing school system, bent on demanding outwardly 'nice' behaviour through offering rewards for behaviour that should simply be expected, and encouraged, naturally. In reality, Merit Marks runs the risk of breeding contentment, competition and worse of all... insincerity amongst employees.

Besides, there are many other ways to foster a community of positive, relaxed and productive employees than watching over them, ready to drop a "Jolly good, Smith! I see you've emptied the dishwasher. Here's a lolly pop."

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I found this while downloading old documents from my hotmail account. With just a wee bit of regret, today I said good-bye to over 10-years of hotmailling... is no more.

November, 2005

It’s early November when Jeremy and I head off on another cycling adventure through southern France. This time, it’s a short 3-day cycle to the Cirque de Gavine.

I’ve been steadily cycling uphill (or, rather: up mountain) for two hours when I experience the psychedelic effect of cycling under so much exertion: the beginnings of a cycling bonk. I’m no longer grinding up through the Pyrenees range between France and Spain, but rather, floating through an old crushed-velvet picture. The landscape pops out like a giant 3-D miniature, all carefully crafted and delicately placed, but certainly not real. The colours appear florescent, tinted with autumn’s black brush. The art teacher in me wrestles with the cyclist and it isn’t for another half an hour that I realize I’ve been looping this thought, repeating with awed realization, that I am cycling through a black, fluorescently crushed-velvet painting. After that, I pull over to give my over-stimulated brain a break .

Brain aside, it’s my body that takes the biggest beating that day. We covered roughly 60 kilometres from our journey’s start in Lourdes to the only hotel open at Gavine. 60-km is nothing miraculous or particulary tough. That is, unless it's the '8 hrs of climing up a mountain' 60-km kind. In altitude we gained nearly a kilometre. Picture taking a straight stretch of road and yank one end so it dangles from the clouds. Then imagine cycling up that for a whole kilometre. Of course, in reality, it's not straight-up, it's a much more gradual accent, so move the cloud in your imagination 60 km away and you get the idea: a giant ramp.

Of course, it’s not really like that or else I might as well stayed home and cycle at the gym. The rewards, besides the physical exercise of cycling, are the breath-taking view of the Cirque at the top, the delightful little village to explore, and the ability to experience something I've never experienced before.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Power Within

Ohmigwad - I would do anything in my power to see this man speak, to take his 3-day challenge, to unleash the power within.

My mom must have picked up his book, Awaken the Giant Within, the first year it came out, for I have the vivid memory of seeing its alluring red cover on our bookshelf for most of my formative years. He was my first brush with the self-help genre, and is still my favourite. I'll listen to him on my iPod whenever I'm feeling bleh and his loud, goofy voice delivering these incredibly empowering messages gets me out of my funk every time.

His course is (ridiculously) priced, but I will find a way to get myself there - just you see.

(I'm taking donations now, please see my paypal site below.)

Just kidding! ...but not really. If you'd like to send me there, I would like, die, of gratitude.

Hmmm... not so springy out there

>>> Media Relations 02/01/2008 1:27 PM >>>

News Release February 1, 2008

City of Toronto closures and cancellations due to winter storm

Due to the current weather conditions all City offices, including City Hall and civic centres, will close at 2 p.m. today.


Man, it is white out there! Can't wait to see how the meteorologists will dramatize this on the news tonight.