Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Swimming success story

Yesterday was my first day in the pool. After 15 minutes, I was noodle-legged and out of breath. But happy - I easily swam through two cycles of 2 laps then 12 breaths rest. The next two cycles of the same were tougher, but I got it done. This is better than I expected. And today I feel my muscles, but I am not sore.

Two thumbs up for the summer workout! I will happily substitute this for running, as long as the weather stays in the 80's-100's.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thoughts on Conflict and Resolution

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a weeklong training workshop on conflict resolution, focusing on negotiation and mediation. One of the presenters is a professor at Sacramento State and also a mover and shaker in the field of mediation (both internationally and domestically). The other presenter is a lawyer who works primarily in arbitration, mediation, and negotiation. It was intense. Each day was packed with information, role plays, and debriefing. There was barely time for breaks and lunch. It took me until Thursday to finally speak up and negotiate (heh!) a more acceptable arrangement. But I'm glad to have gone through this experience.

Here are a few thoughts from the training:
  • What does conflict mean to you? Can conflict lead to positive outcomes?
  • Conflicts tend to fall into general categories, which often overlap. Conflicts can arise over data (information), values, relationship, behavior, or structure (institution or organization). However, while considering which category the conflict may fall under, one should also be aware of one's own perceptions about these categories and how that may affect the conflict.
  • In resolving conflicts, there are five general responses: avoidance, accommodation, competition, compromise, and collaboration. The focus of this workshop was collaboration.
  • During negotiation, people's true interests are rarely articulated. But if you can understand or empathize with where someone is coming from and what interests they are trying to address, you will be more successful in your negotiation.


I am struck yet again by how important it is to collaborate with each other, and to understand (even minimally) where each of us is coming from, and what is important to us. In every process, in every interaction: community and context are keys to how I function in this world.

Monday, June 28, 2010

You know it's summer in the Valley when...

  • It's 80 degrees. At 7:00 am.
  • The air conditioner doesn't seem to cycle off, and your thermostat is only set at 79.
  • The idea of cooking seems overwhelming.
  • Even if you cooked something, hot food doesn't seem appetizing.
  • You carry a water bottle with you. Everywhere. Even in the house.
  • You want to sit around in your chonies because even your shorts and tank top feel like too much.
  • Your steering wheel is too hot to handle.
  • You park far away from your destination if it means you can park in the shade.

Feel free to add your own "you know's."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When the going gets hot...

... the hot go swimming.

Now that daytime temperatures are more 90-ish than 70-ish, it's time to move from land to pool. Last year the pool on campus was closed for repair, but this year, it's there for the taking! I found a simple swim plan that starts from scratch. Next it's time for the gear: a swimsuit that can take the chlorine, goggles, and possibly a swim cap.

I am very excited about starting a new exercise routine!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm just sayin'.

(Totally unrelated to the training that I'm in this week.)

I just thought of an awesome retort, that I cannot use because a) it comes about 12 hours too late, and b) I am determined to take the high road and not snipe at someone important to those I love.

Dang. It's such a good one, too - the perfect blend of truth, cutting commentary, and clever insult.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In training

It may come as a surprise to some of you, but I do not enjoy conflict. I can handle myself just fine, and I can usually end up with a happy student/colleague/whomever, but I am a quivering mess before, during, and after the confrontation. Occasionally I even end up physically sick. Yet my boss is convinced I have great innate mediation skills and has sent me into battle a few times. So the last couple of years, my performance objectives for the year have included a request for some advanced training in conflict resolution and/or mediation skills.

This year my chance came up! So this week, from 8:30-5:00 every day, I am attending an intense and intensive workshop with 17 other diverse people. There's the school principal, the African nuns, the German journalist who flew in from Chad (Africa) two days ago, the community college staff, the lawyer, and lil old me, among others. We're covering definitions of conflict, types of conflict, negotiation, two days of mediation, and much much much more. I'll try to share some wisdom later this week.

Meanwhile, I've packed my purse with tums and am practicing my yoga breathing to keep the heart rate steady. Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The sky is falling!!

Have you heard? There are nasty solar storms ahead!!

Thanks, yahoo news. Because I really needed more things to worry about.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Political madness

The primaries are Tuesday and there has been mud-slinging on the airwaves for months. TH and I are so sick of political commercials that we have taken to finding excuses to leaving the room when they come on. On the plus side, this means more exercise. On the minus side, most of our excuses involve getting ice cream or other snacks.

Sadly, it seems that it is not enough to discuss positions on issues. No - if one is running for office, one must dig up dirt on one's opponent and spread it around as much as possible, then use polls to see if one must actually flip flop on issues in order to gain points. One must also spend money. Lots of money. Obscene amounts of money. By some accounts, candidate Meg Whitman has spent $90 million so far. $90 million is a lot of moolah. By contrast, when I worked for the state of California in an early intervention program, our total budget was $15 million. We served approximately 125 programs statewide, had a staff of 6 professionals and 15 consultants, and served hundreds of kids, thereby keeping many of them out of trouble and out of more costly programs and services.

Instead of buying elections, what this state really needs is for some of that $90 mill to help fill the gaps. Instead of spreading the bullshit, what the people of California really need is a politician who cares about them by putting the money where it will do the most good - back into community programs and services, education, and support. How far would $90 million go to helping kids in our state? Towards helping people find employment? Towards easing budget cuts to education? Towards easing budget cuts to animal shelters?

"The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is... the ultimate indignity to the democratic process." ~Adlai Stevenson, speech, Democratic National Convention, 18 August 1956

Thursday, June 3, 2010

National Doughnut Day

I plan to be high on doughnuts all day tomorrow, so I wanted to post this today. Be sure to celebrate!
National Doughnut Day is recognized on the first Friday in June. It was created in 1938 by the Salvation Army to recognize the women who served doughnuts to soliders during WW I.
ps. Yes, the proper spelling is D-O-U-G-H-N-U-T, not D-O-N-U-T.
pps. Yes, you can get vegan/vegetarian doughnuts. Check your local Whole Foods or google vegan/vegetarian bakeries in your area.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm just thinkin'.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
-- Buddha

Is the love you give yourself the same as the love you give to others? Think about it. How many times do you call yourself names, or put yourself down, or belittle your life - and would you do the same to your friend? How can you love yourself more?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm just sayin'.

I wish that advertisers would stop trying to cute-ify yucky stuff. For example - Mr. Mucous in the Mucinex commercials, and now an animated wart in some wart medicine commercial. Really, people. No matter how hard you try...some things are just gross.