Blog moved to .
Please join us there!
You will be redirected in 30 seconds.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

What is success?

What is success? According to the dictionary, success is a state of prosperity or fame. Success is very relative. Consider the homeless person.
Certainly attaining a one-room suite with an efficiency kitchen and money to buy food would make this person feel very successful. Success is also
defined as the favorable outcome of an attempt or endeavor.
Should we be able to attain a status such as Bill Gates, that would certainly define success wouldn't it? You may feel that it would, but not
necessarily to everyone. Every rose has its thorn. Bill Gates is wildly successful in his endeavors; however, a status of that nature certainly
would require a lot of upkeep. He must stay on top of his game to stay there. Even Donald Trump can end up in bankruptcy. Do you really need to
reach a Donald Trump or Bill Gates status to be successful and happy?
Success means different things to different people. There are persons that would only consider themselves successful if they were to attain a
multi-millionaire status. However, I don't believe that this is the case with the average person.
I believe that success to the average person has another definition. The definition of success to the average person is FREEDOM. Freedom from being a slave to the 9 to 5 doldrums in a job they hate....Freedom from worry over bills......Freedom to spend quality time with their families and
loved ones. One would not have to be a multi-millionaire to achieve this level of success. It depends on what makes YOU happy. Would you be
happy in a two bedroom home that is paid for, driving a car that is dependable and paid for, while having the cash to meet expenses and have the
time to do the things you and your family enjoy, whether it be golfing, sporting events, travel to the beach, or entertaining your friends at home? Or could you only feel succesful with a ten bedroom home, a new car every year, the newest fashions to wear, dining at the finest restaurants?
Both are levels of success to someone. Which is it for you? Obviously the first level of success can be fairly easily obtained, and would
definitely be less stressful allowing more time to be spent enjoying your success. Although the second is a very lavish lifestyle, it certainly
would require more effort to get there, and more effort to maintain it. We've all heard about the lottery winners who become bankrupt in a
few short years because they didn't attend to their finances.
Success is usually thought to be referring to a financial situation. As you can ascertain from the above examples, that is not always
necessarily true. Success is very personal. What would it take to make you truly happy? It depends on your priorities. Is time with family
and friends without stress most important to you? Or is an outward show of wealth more important to you, even if it means less freedom?
We have all seen the cartoons of the "successful" businessman living on the antiacids to try and control his ulcers. Is he truly successful?
Maybe yes, but at a price. Consider this situation: the businessman (or breadearner) of the family is very successful in a financial sense.
He has a fine home, is transported to his destinations by his personal driver, a loving wife, two beautiful children. The American Dream, right?
Then look deeper. He spends everyday from 7am until 9pm at the office, or with clients. The wife has to have a life too, so she lives her
own separate life attending luncheons, shopping, etc. while the nanny raises the children and the housekeeper feeds them. The nanny teaches the baby to walk, to say its first word.
Really think about success. Success equals happiness right? Is this family successful? Anyone with children knows the joy of a toddler
taking its first step or saying its first word. I do understand that not all persons are interested in raising a family. They claim to be perfectly happy
remaing single and childless. That is why I say success if relative to the individual.
Think about your own personal situation. We instantly think that success means the mansion on the hill with a limo driver and a housekeeper.
However, I don't believe that it takes that much to make the average person happy and successful.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Customer Service: Can I Help You?

Mind if I rant a little?

Most of the time I really enjoy my work. But some days it just gets me down. It's not the long hours or the stress of the usual things that can go wrong in any business.

I've been in the mail order business, selling natural baby products - cloth diapers, etc. for 22+ years. And most of my dealings with my customers has been wonderful and so gratifying! It is great to know I am helping the environment and tons of moms and babies!

It's the constant questions and demands. I honestly love to help and often go out of my way to help wherever I can. Everyone who has ever dealt with me knows that.

But some days, I start to feel like the Know-It-All Answer Lady - on any subject in the world! Sadly, the following are all real questions! And yes, I did answer each and every one, kindly and carefully, to the best of my ability....

The following is what people have actually written and called me to ask... and what I wished I could have answered!

(None of these questions came from anyone I knew!)

Question - What is the current exchange rate? (Not buying from me - he was buying software from someone else and was angry when I said I hadn't checked that day.)

What I wish I could have answered - Well, sir, it seems that the Canadian dollar has made a drastic turn-around today, and it is now paying out $1.22 on every US dollar!

Question - My wife and I are going on holiday. Where do you suggest we go?

What I wish I could have answered - Have you considered Timbuktu? I heard it is beautiful this time of year!

Question - I love (some Canadian chocolate). Could you go and buy a box of it and send it to me? I will send you a cheque when it arrives here.

What I wish I could have answered - Certainly! Don't bother sending a cheque, just know that we love our customers enough to do these little things for them!

Question - We are building a new house - would slate floors be safe for our 9 month old baby girl?

What I wish I could have answered - Yes, of course it will be fine! I am sure that after she splits her head open a few times, she will learn not to fall down.

Question - We want to buy (something I don't carry, like a brand of stroller). Would you search the Net for us and find one for the best price?

What I wish I could have answered - Certainly! It's been a slow day here anyway, and I was wondering what to do with my spare time.

Question - My husband is a teacher. it's the end of May and he doesn't get paid again till September. Could you send me 36 diapers and an assortment of covers now, and I promise to send you payment in Sept?

What I wish I could have answered - Of course! And can you tell all your friends that we are giving away merchandise?

Question - My husband and I only make $60,000 a year with one child, and we are having a terrible time making ends meet. Could you send us free diapers? Name brand, top-of-the-line only please!

What I wish I could have answered - Oh, you poor thing!? Have you applied for WIC yet?

Question - I am writing a paper for school. Will you write out all the reasons why, costs and concerns, etc. on using cloth diapers. I need the paper in by tomorrow morning and don't have time to do the research myself.

What I wish I could have answered - Would you like that single or double spaced?

Question - Do you believe in using cloth diapers? Would you use them on your own child?

What I wish I could have answered - Excuse me??? I sell cloth diapers! Of course I believe in them and use them on my own babies!

Question - My child has (some uncommon medical problem). Could you research the situation and get back to me with articles, references and medical practitioners who can help?

What I wish I could have answered - Finally - something to do besides sit and answer this phone all day long!

Question - My friend doesn't have Internet access. Will you print off your entire site and mail it to her? (I currently have nearly 1,100 pages!)

What I wish I could have answered - Would you like me to send that by Same-Day Courier, or deliver it personally?

Question - My 12 year old son wants to buy (some software program). Could you let me know who carries it?

What I wish I could have answered - I'm sure our company must sell it, it would probably be in with the diapers somewhere?

Question - I can't figure out how to wash these diapers. Will you come to my house and do it for me?

What I wish I could have answered - Certainly! I will jump into my private jet and get right over there!

Question - We're having a baby! Can you send us a free sample of each one of your products (I have hundreds of products!) and we will let you know if we are interested in making a purchase.

What I wish I could have answered - Of course! And don't bother making a purchase - just let us know if there is anything else you need after we send you all your diapering supplies!

Question - I am calling (long distance!) to tell you I found your product for $0.50 cheaper. Why are you ripping people off that way???

What I wish I could have answered - And exactly how much did you spend to call me long distance to tell me that??

Question - We bought our diapers at (some other company, I don't carry the product). Could you tell us more about this particular diaper, how to wash them, etc?

What I wish I could have answered - Why don't you call the company you bought them from? Why call me???

Question - Can you tell us where we can buy all of your products cheaper? An itemized list will be fine.

What I wish I could have answered - Would you prefer that alphabetically, or arranged by price?

Question - We bought your diapers a year ago, used them and they no longer fit (or we have decided we don't really like them). Can we return them for a full refund, and will you pay the shipping to send them back?

What I wish I could have answered: - Of course we will! And don't bother washing them either before you ship them back. We like old, poopy diapers. It gives us something to do in our off-hours!

Question - We bought our diapers from somewhere else. Can we return them to you for a refund?

What I wish I could have answered - Sure - it gives us a jump on the competition if we take back their products. And this is our double your refund week, if you return a product from one of our competitors!

Question - I have a Canadian friend in Surrey, BC. Could you call her and tell her I am coming to visit?

What I wish I could have answered: - Do you think she would mind if I call her collect? Things have been a bit tight lately, with all the merchandise we've had to give away, free boxes of chocolate we've shipped to the US and refunds we've had to make for competitor's product and year-old used returns.

Question - Why don't you carry disposable diapers???

What I wish I could have answered - Umm... Because we are a cloth diaper company and you can buy disposable diapers anywhere?

Question - We live in Small Town, USA, and can't find a Diaper Service. Will you make arrangements to set one up for us?

What I wish I could have answered - Certainly - right away! What time would you like your diapers picked up?

Question - I live in Hawaii - why can't you get an order to me by 9 AM tomorrow? (from Canada!)

What I wish I could have answered - My private jet is broken down - sorry...

Question - Send me a complete list of all your suppliers - with phone, email and fax numbers please - as I am starting a competing business.

What I wish I could have answered - I actually get a call like this at least once a week! Do people really call up Sears and ask for a list of their suppliers?

Question - Go through your list of diaper companies on the World-wide Diapering Resource listings and send me all the contact info for the manufacturers only. I looked at your site, but don't have time to do it myself.

What I wish I could have answered - It's not enough that I gave in and provided a list of all the diaper companies for easy access to new business starting out??? Do you want me to run your business for you too!?

Question - I've taken some of your (copyrighted!) ideas off your web page and put them on mine. Can I use your pictures too? I don't have time to take my own.

What I wish I could have answered - Why did she even bother to ask permission for using the pictures - after admitting that she had stolen my ideas and was using them as her own???

And my all-time favourite...

Question - I like to wear diapers and use them. Could you call me long distance so we can discuss my fetish at length?

What I wish I could have answered - Eeeeewwwww!?!?!

I hope I don't offend anyone with this bit of humour, but it is wearying and time-consuming to constantly have to answer all these questions. I have to laugh about it...

But I still love my job!!
~*~ Catherine, owner of , all your baby needs, naturally!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Typo Caligraphy

Watch typography become illustration. Incredible to watch, and the soundtracks are perfect. Don't miss this.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Why Don't You Just Adopt?"

A common question asked of those struggling with infertility. But not everyone is eligible to adopt - due to lifestyle, health problems, age.

Who Can Adopt?

China's latest restrictions on who can adopt:
1. No one on antidepressants
2. No one making under 80K a year
3. No one obese
4. No one older than 50
5. No single parents

A baby is not guaranteed, my step-brother and his wife went through 3 failed adoptions before they received their son. After many miscarriages, stillbirths, failed IVFs, moving on to adoption can be more than a couple, or single parent, can handle emotionally.

Adoption can be beyond a person's financial means. Adoption often costs MORE than IVF.

Some really want to raise a child from infancy, and there are not many newborns available. Here in Ontario, it can mean a wait of 5-8 years! There can be the fear that the birth parents will want the baby back. There can be concern about the kind of prenatal care the mother received. Did she drink or smoke?

There can be a great deal of grief at giving up your dream of how your family would become, before people are ready to move on to adoption. It's not just, well that didn't work, let's adopt!

Adoption is incredibly difficult and extremely invasive. Some can't deal with the invasion of their life, their home, their morals, their beliefs - to prove themselves fit parents when others can get pregnant easily, without thought, and without "permission".

"And it's not like you just pop back to being just like the fertile couple once you bring your child home. There are life long issues with adoption. Adoption is hard and it is not the right choice for everyone. How a couple chooses to build their family is a very personal decision. When the traditional option for family building is ripped away from you and all the other options are riddled with scarring difficulties, you quickly realize that you had no idea what infertility was like and that it is not as simple as "Why don't you just adopt."

From: You Can Get Pregnant in Your 40's
Sharing articles I find, discussing options you might consider & suggesting what might help. Each person is different, what works for one might really mess up another. So what you do with this info is entirely up to you! A Zen thought: A true expert is not the one with the most knowledge, but one who causes the most others to have knowledge. Questions, subject ideas to research & suggestions welcome!

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 06, 2007

You Can’t Manage Time

Trying to manage time is like trying to hold water in your hand. It can’t be done. I don’t know who coined the term “time management” but it is misleading. You cannot control time.
What you can control is your actions. You control how you spend your time. You are in complete control of what you do and when you do it.

Good time management begins with examining your personal efficiency. Ask your self the question: What do you do each day and how can it be done with less effort and in less time?
Let’s look at three of the time-related choices you make each and every day and see if there are opportunities to improve them. I call these three areas “foundational activities” because they are building blocks of your day. If you get off to a bad (slow or inefficient) start in one of these areas, it will have an impact on the rest of your day.


How much time do you spend asleep? Each person has individual needs when it comes to sleep. I know that I personally can function with as little as four hours each night but I am at my best when I get between six and eight hours of good quality sleep. Generally, it is difficult to reset your body to need less sleep. You can do it, but it takes time and it can really wreak havoc on your system so I don’t advise it. Instead you should surrender to the need for quality sleep time.

Accept that you need X hours each night (in my case I shoot for seven hours). Adjust the time you go to bed to make certain that you have the proper number of hours from the time your head hits the pillow to the time you need to get up. Don’t cheat yourself on sleep time. Manage your actions properly.

Daily Routine

How much time do you spend doing necessary repetitive things each day? Can you make them more efficient? Let me give you an example: Each morning I have one cup of coffee at home as I read the news. It takes about ten minutes for the coffee to brew. Instead of waiting for the coffee maker to finish and then starting my routine (I can’t function, let alone read, until I have had a couple of sips of coffee) I set the coffee pot to a timer so the coffee is waiting for me when I get up.

How long does it take you to get dressed and ready for work each day? Is there any wasted effort in this process? Each of us has our own ritual that we follow as we prepare for work. Generally, if you are organized you can save yourself a significant amount of time doing what I call “search and match”. Search and match is the time it takes to match shirt and tie, pants and jacket or make-up with your “look” for the day. Organize your closet. Put suits in one section and shirts in another. Separate your make-up by color. Put matching items together (Note: I’m not an expert on make-up but my wife has a huge tackle box that is segmented and easily accessible and she gets ready quickly so I know this system works).


How long does it take you to get to work? Can you take a quicker route? Does it make a difference if you leave at a different time? In New York City I take the subway to work. If I get on the train before 7:30AM I have no problems and it generally takes me about twenty minutes to commute to my office. If I get to the subway station after 7:30 I usually need to let a couple of trains pass before I can even fit into one of the subway cars. Once I get on the train (after 7:30) it takes an extra five to ten minutes to get to my stop because people are pushing and shoving at each station and it takes a couple of minutes for the conductor to get the door closed at each station. Generally, leaving my house after 7:30AM will cost me an additional twenty to thirty minutes on my morning commute. That’s a big difference.

Does it make a difference when you leave your house to get to work? Is there more traffic at a certain time? Can you adjust your schedule?

I’m willing to bet that if you look at some of the things you do each and every day you can find at least a few minutes of extra time. What is even more valuable than the time that you find is the habit of looking for new and more efficient ways of getting things done. If you constantly examine your activities you will find ways to become more efficient. Controlling your activities– and how much time you spend on them – is the essence of time management.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Politics in Missouri

I've been deeply involved in a local campaign for state house rep, trying to unseat the incumbent whose only successful legislation has been to name the chanterelle "Missouri's Official State Mushroom."

By all that is holy, how can that be? I've walked in the woods mushroom hunting since I was a kid, looking for this magical sight:

photo via pfly on flickr

Furthermore, I've lived in Missouri my entire life, majored in horticulture at one point, and still, I wouldn't know a chanterelle if it sliced itself up under a flashing neon grocery sign and sang "Blue Suede Shoes." But I've hiked for hours, with a cranky toddler, a migraine and a stone bruise, for a plate of morels.

I am not alone. From The Missourian:
… three mushroom-hunting legislators on the Tourism Committee questioned the proposal, which was expected to be noncontroversial. “To make this the state mushroom when everyone in this room has heard of the morel would be a travesty,” said Rep. J.C. Kuessner, D-Eminence. “I just can’t believe that we’d do something like that to our public citizens of the state of Missouri.”

It was a travesty, and I, too, can't believe what's been done to the public citizens of the state of Missouri. With life and times as they are, the travesty is that anyone had time for any of this nonsense.

Important things are at stake. Be sure to vote Tuesday.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Defeat the Snarky Smirkers

Life makes some people cynical. Looking for the worst? You'll find it.

Some would have you believe their negativity and cynicism are actually hard-won wisdom, a kind of advanced degree in critical thinking. But in fact, cynicism and negativity do not add up to wisdom; rather, they add up to negative patterns of thought that can be habit-forming and destructive.

It takes minimal cleverness and maybe seven facial muscles to produce a smirk sufficiently smirkly to paralyze creativity. We've all had ideas, work, art, children, partners, etc., all victims of murder by smirk. It's an awful feeling. Even a non-lethal injection of scorn has the power to shut down many people once and for all.

Someone recently told me a significant percentage would rather be hit by a bus than speak in public. Imagine willing to risk such physical damage just to forgo public speaking, a very rewarding skill to develop with all sorts of fringe benefits. The fear of being publicly scorned is so deeply ingrained that we might not even figure out the core fear.

The smirk murderer gets a cheap (and fleeting) sense of superiority from their generous disdain. "Look how clever I am to have seen this thing for the drek that it is." Negativity is not a philosophy, it doesn't uplift anyone, it teaches nothing constructive, and it hurts people in more ways than we'll ever know.

One thing is for sure, a life spent avoiding the risk of falling prety to smirk murderers can become a kind of prison. Expecting the worst can attract it.

The reverse is true, too. When you face the world with honest expectations of basic human goodness, people respond in kind. There's a kindness and guilelessness people with optimistic expectations exude. People, young, old and in between, all respond to someone who's actively ready to believe the very best of them.

I've been running an experiment. I generally do expect goodness from people, but I've been making a concerted effort to make that more obvious.

I get a lot more smiles. I have chats with interesting sptrangers all over the city. It lifts us both up to a nicer place where we can begin to conceive of brotherly love.

Plus, I'm happier. Life feels less fearful, my relationships deepen, and my prospects become more abundant. Once in a while, I actually notice that I've had a long spell of being pleased, grateful and content.

Have I ever been fooled by expecting the best? You bet. I've got a couple of BeeEffDee stories on that subject. Have I been cheated? Once or twice. Has it been worth it? Absolutely.

Crossposted at: cambium creative's blog.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?