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What I Learned From Totally Bombing

It was bound to happen. I give monthlyish presentations, and most of the time, they go really well. I feel it. The group feels it. People come up to me afterwards and chat. It must be on a very small level what it’s like to be an actor or musician after a great performance. My own groupies! (ha, total joke people)

Yesterday, I gave a presentation for Bangor Fusion at their Noontime Networks. I spent hours on it, only to realize the day before that it was probably way too long for a less than hour long program. I took out 80-90% of what I had.

Driving over, I realized I made the assumption that there would be internet at the venue. So I stopped at a coffee shop to download my presentation from Prezi.com. I didn’t have time to see how this relatively new presentation software would run without the internet.

Then I get to the venue and there was no air conditioning. So I set up, met a few other early arrivers, and eventually my friend Mel introduced me and I got started.

I’m not sure what it was: nerves, heat, new software, blank faces staring back, hunger, intimidation from having so many peers in the audience (who already knew the stuff I was presenting) but I just started bombing. I forgot the outline I practiced. I forgot words. I said ‘uh’ a lot. I ended way early. It was a deer in the headlight situation but lasting 25 painful minutes. I saw a photographer taking photos and couldn’t even bear to smile.

And I couldn’t stop bombing. Normally, I step back and recover. And usually telling the crowd I’m nervous helps but this time, it only helped a little.

With the clarity of a night’s sleep, I am able to see that this was bound to happen at some point. Some time, things were not going to go well. Yesterday was that day.

Kind of like when you first start skiing and you know you are going to have that first fall at some point. Then you do fall.. and it’s never as bad as you think it is.

So to those of you who attended yesterday, I am so sorry. Please come to another presentation and give me another shot. And thank you for being gratious.

And to those of you who have bombed recently, I feel your pain. But all we can do is get back up on our skis again.

I am not sure when I will present next but I’ve bombed so now that I’ve gotten that fall out of the way, what’s the worst that can happen? :^)

Clearly, I’ve Been Having Way Too Much Fun This Summer

When you disappear from a blog for a few weeks, people wonder, what’s going on? Is everything ok?

To give you some perspective, I live in a town that is 80% closed in the winter. Some stores literally board up their windows, so sad.

But for three months, this town quadruples in size, you can hear people talking other languages, and the whole place feels almost cosmopolitan walking down the street. (I think I am a country girl who likes a bit of the city now and then so I particularly like this part.)

Gidget and our friends often sit in this park by the ocean, a whopping 5 minute walk from my house.

Gidget and our friends often sit in this park by the ocean, a whopping 5 minute walk from my house.

And with the incoming people are the things for them to go to: festivals, concerts, improv, regattas. Stuff going on, things I dream about in the winter! Flamingo Festival? Don’t mind if I do (happening this weekend). Fourth of July parade attended by 20,000 people? Sign me up.

And besides the people and events, there are also the uniquely summer activities that would happen whether you were in a tourist town or not. Swimming at the local swimming hole, the search for the perfect ice cream, having a cocktail on a patio, lingering over dinner outside with various friends and visitors.

If a friend invites you on a boat, you go. Especially if it's for a cruise along Sommes Sound.

If a friend invites you on a boat, you go. Especially if it’s for a cruise along Sommes Sound.

Yes, that is a bald eagle. Yes my camera is kind of crappy so I was pretty close!

Yes, that is a bald eagle. Yes my camera is kind of crappy so I was pretty close!

So rather than writing a ton of blog posts, I’ve just been enjoying the summer. I’ve been walking at night with my dog, eating pizza and watching the town band in the park, swimming every afternoon I can. I love blogging but I can do that any time!

And I hope you are enjoying your summer too.

I am taking in every possible moment I can and savoring it because in two months, when businesses start closing and the leaves fall and us year rounders settle in for a winter all stuck with each other (in a good way mostly), I want to remember my summer not in front of a computer but on a boat, on a hike, on an adventure.

What’s the most fun thing you’ve done so far this summer?

On Turning Thirty

Today, I am thirty years old.

When I was fifteen, I made a list of things I was going to have done by today. I can’t find this list anywhere but I remember making it and the few things I remember from it will probably give you an idea of what it was like:

1) Live in France and learn to speak fluent French.
2) Travel to all seven continents.
3) Write best selling novel.

I love how my fifteen year old self wrote these big accomplishments like how I’d write ‘do laundry’ or ‘deposit checks’. At least I had high standards for myself I suppose! Back then, I thought that 15 years was a long time and when I was twice as old, I would have the time to have done so much more in life. I wouldn’t have to go to school or live at home anymore so there was no more excuses to not hit the list hard once I turned 18. Ok, 22. (Going to college was non-negotiable in my house.)

I was really prepared to be disappointing teenage Nicole. The only thing I’ve done on the list is learn French. What kind of record is that? One out of 20ish items would be a failing score on most any test.

But I’ve decided I’m not disappointed. I’ve had a lot of fun these thirty years and done things my 15 year old self never even knew about. And rather than looking at this list like a static thing, really it should have been changing as I went along. You know, kind of like this scene in UP where the husband thought his wife was disappointed in what she hadn’t done but really wasn’t:

The mental scrapbook of my life is looking a little different than that list I made all those years ago but it’s still been a pretty great adventure so far.

A disclaimer to younger people reading, I really didn’t think I’d ever get to thirty either. Not in a morbid way but I still feel the same way I did ten years ago (for the most part anyway!). So if you think being thirty is lame, I assure you that you will get here and it’s less lame than you think. Like I have money where I can buy stuff and own a short dog. That’s pretty cool, right?

OK, time to go celebrate my birthday… and make a new list. :^)

Underwater Hockey 101

If you like being in the water but are bored to tears by the thought of doing laps, I’ve got the sport for you: underwater hockey. Here’s how I got into it recently.

I’ve had a lot of work the past two months so when I’m not working, I’ve really been trying to have my fun away from my computer. (For example, I’ve held two Too Cute Tuesdays, I just haven’t been typing them up!) But since multiple people have asked me about underwater hockey, I thought it deserved a written and illustrated explanation.

You push the puck at the bottom of the pool.... seems simple enough, right?

You push the puck at the bottom of the pool.... seems simple enough, right?

The idea is you use a puck (it seems like the puck you use in floor hockey, it is has a bit of heft and is rubberized) and use Y shaped sticks to push the puck on the bottom of the shallow end. A few tips:

1. Gear includes snorkel mask (snorkel optional) and flippers. If you wear regular goggles that just go over your eyes and someone hits you in the face, the suction could give you a black eye, like the girl of legend from Maine Martime Academy.

2. Wrap your dominant hand in duct tape or get a motorcycle glove if the bottom of the pool you use is not tiled and has some kind of rough texture so you don’t cut up your hand. (Also this explains the gleams of silver you see in the pictures!)

3. Goals can be made of weights and rope (so long as the rope floats upward of course) on each end of the width of a pool. Our pool is a standard 8 lane 25 yard pool.

Nice defensive move by Diver Ed, the founder of the Underwater Hockey League against me. Well played, my friend.

Nice defensive move by Diver Ed, the founder of the Underwater Hockey League against me. Well played, my friend.

4. Stay low. Trying to stab at the puck from above is nearly impossible. It’s all about pushing the puck on the sides and keeping yourself low.

5. While the puck is technically out of play if it hits the slant of the deep end, people will play on.

6. Memorize swimsuit colors and flippers of your team so you recognize them underwater. (If you’re a guy, try a bathing suit that isn’t black so I don’t pass to the wrong person on the other team who also has a black suit!)

7. Underwater cameras are cool and much cheaper if you get them on Ebay.

If you going to play an extremeish underwater sport, capture it on video so you can put it to music and share it with your friends.

If you going to play an extremeish underwater sport, capture it on video so you can put it to music and share it with your friends.

So there’s a video on Facebook on the off chance it’ll play for you: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1869060321675 We’re trying to get it online somewhere embeddable but for the moment, that’s where it is.

Interested in giving this a shot? This game is played pick up style. Come Thursdays, 7:45 pm to the MDI YMCA pool in Bar Harbor, Maine. The best thing to do though is get on the email list on Diver Ed’s website: http://divered.com/ in case a game is cancelled or anything.

And if you aren’t near Bar Harbor, starting a league is pretty simple. Just Google ‘underwater hockey’ and you’ll see lots of suppliers (different sticks for different positions, crazy!) or you can do it low tech like us with homemade wood sicks and rope goals. Either way, the hour will fly by and it’s a pretty fun way to get a workout.

Breaking Even: 2010 In Review

It’s been awhile since I’ve written my ‘this week in business’ series. A few large things that have happened in 2010 just to recap (some new stuff, some not so new stuff):

That’s certainly not close to everything but some of the more time intensive and interesting things for sure.

I also had a lot happen in my personal life:

  • I met a man who has put up with a year of 80 hour weeks with patience and kindness. Moreover he loves how much I care about my work.
  • I became an aunt. (Note to self: Get permission from my sister to put her baby’s photo on my website- she’s super cute!)
  • Sadie (my beagle mix) died and I adopted Gidget from Georgia.
  • I took my first vacation in two years and spent a total of three hours online that week.
  • I went with my family to Georgia (a working but fun vacation).
  • I found out my grandfather has cancer, which continues to worsen and has made me value the time I have with him.

As I’ve said already on social media today, I want to thank my family and friends for all their support this year, on the business front and other fronts as well.

2011 promises to be another exciting year and, while part of me is dreading turning 30 and what my Pepere will go through, part of me knows the alternative to moving forward is stagnating and no one wants that.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Hey I’m Back, And I Missed You So…

Was I exploring the Amazon rain forest or volunteering at a needy school somewhere? Nope, I’ve been here at this very desk most of the time… my mind, though, has been elsewhere.

Ever go through a period where it seems you can’t think of anything original or interesting to say? Most of the time, we can work through it. Back in my data entry days, this blog was a break where I got to be creative. Something completely different and apart from the rest of my to-do list. So it was kind of easy to think of stuff.

Now I’m creative for other people all day so being creative just for me, well, it looks like suspiciously like the other stuff on my to do list. It actually got to the point where I went days without thinking of something even short and clever enough to say on Twitter. I even didn’t call my mom for a couple weeks because I couldn’t think of anything interesting to talk about. What’s wrong with me?

It’s because I haven’t been writing creatively at all, online or off.  Who knew the blog helped my work in terms of keeping my mind ‘in shape’?

So anyway, I’m doing fine and thought I’d get back into this by just, you know, writing about whatever. Here are some things that have been going on with me:

  • My sister is having a baby in December (the first in our family) so we’ve been pretty excited about that. I went north to be with my family for her baby shower last weekend. I can still remember my sister being scared of the dark and having to tell her it was ok.  Now, she’s going to have her own daughter to reassure. Crazy!
  • My dog has really come out of her shell the last few weeks. She’s gotten really snuggly and happy. One of my friends over at the last Too Cute Tuesday said “Wow, that’s a totally different dog!” (Yes, we’ve still been having Too Cute Tuesday, I just haven’t felt like writing about it! Weird, huh?)
  • I’ve been making a real effort to get out of the house more in terms of getting 10,000 steps a day in. I physically feel a lot better. To get a baseline, I wore the pedometer on a typical day at home. 157 steps. Ugh, no wonder my pants didn’t fit well! I’m now up to 7,000 most days. Still shooting for 10,000 though!
  • I found a part time subcontractor, got BBB accreditation, began the incorporation process for my business, and made it so my business can accept credit cards. Still working on integrating the credit card payments with my website but hey, at least I’m taking steps in the right direction!
  • Since my ‘no reading work books in bed’ rule was enacted about two months ago, I have read three pleasure books  in an effort to keep myself well rounded (note: not well round, see above).
  • I love that my mom sent me a coffee grinder in a care package when I asked for one as a Christmas gift. It’s so much better than the pre-ground stuff I’ve been buying all these years!
  • I’ve been trying to eat raw one meal a day to be healthier. I might need to increase my repertoire beyond spring rolls though if I’m going to keep doing this.
  • I’m going on vacation in two weeks. I scheduled it a few months ago and it is literally the last week I could possibly do it. (My mom gave me her time share to use in 2010 and my sister is due in mid-December.) Leap and the net will appear indeed. I’m kind of nervous to step away but once in awhile, I think need to realize that the world does go on without me!

So that’s a little of what I’ve been up to lately. How are you?

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