Monday, April 4, 2016

Why Busyness Doesn't Impress Your Boss

There is a tendency in America to flaunt a strong, near martyr level work ethic. This has created a culture of busyness that actually negatively impacts productivity, breeds contempt of work, and destroys work life balance. Bosses prefer - everyone for that matter - prefers to work with well-rounded, capable and kind people.

Here are a few examples of busy behavior that can have a negative impact on your work, your reputation and your wellbeing.

1. You send or respond to communication after work hours. This demonstrates a lack of respect for other people's time (including your own.) In all likelihood it won't be read until the morning, so send it then.

2. You don't say no. It is a good thing to be a person that is willing to take on new challenges, it is another to collect projects for volume. Saying no when you should protects the projects you already have and shows that you can manage yourself.

3. You don't sleep. This is bad for everyone, but mostly you. Choosing work over sleep can have a long lasting impact on your overall health.

4. You are always stressed. This doesn't make you look important, it makes you look incompetent.

5. You don't delegate. No man is an island and there are no great managers that don't delegate. This is management in practice - give others opportunities, monitor their progress and provide feedback and praise as necessary.

6. You're boring. Or to be more direct, get a life! Working hard is something you can do without sacrificing your hobbies, health and relationships.

7. You're "too in the weeds". Take a note from Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it."

Take a moment to reflect on your work style and level of "busyness". Make changes today to get more out of life and improve your performance. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Annual Quiz: Kentucky Derby Horse or Indie Band?

And here they are for 2014:

Wildcat! Wildcat!
Cash Cash
Uncle Sigh
General A Rod

A - Derby Horse
B - Band


Friday, May 4, 2012

Annual Derby Horse or Indie Rock Band Quiz:

1) Done Talking
2) Big Gigantic
3) Twin Shadow
4) Avich
5) Liaison
6) Delta Spirit
7) Went the Day Well
8) Childish Gambino
9) Sabercat
10) Tame Impala

Answers: H = Horse I = Indie Band
1) H 2) I 3) I 4) I 5) H 6) I 7) H 8) I 9) H 10) I

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why I pH

My Facebook and Twitter accounts have been completely pH only lately. There's GOOD reason for it! See after 10 years of being a nomadic theater company, we finally were able to sign our first lease. We finally can put pH on the door - this is no small thing. We, the "pHamily" have worked SO VERY HARD to see this day - but we must continue to ask for your support. The new space is an empty shell - ready to host a zajillion infinity laughs and good times - but not yet ready to open - we need lights, soundboard, chairs, toilet paper...everything. 
So, what I thought I needed to do was share my personal pH story. So here it is. If it speaks to you at all, please consider dropping us a few bucks. We are fighting hard to keep our dream alive - every little bit helps. The link to donate is:

As a woman in my mid-thirties I am often asked if I have children,
and if not, do I plan to have some? I hardly know how to respond these days. At the heart of it, the answer is, I already have a child, her name is pH. She is beautiful,  smart, caring, creative, special, complicated, tenacious and loves me unconditionally. She provides unfaltering support, structure, protection, opportunity, and purpose in my life. I have made sacrifices for her - like quitting a very lucrative high profile job to work from home so that I might spend more time with her. I have made compromises and sacrifices n my personal relationships in order to do right by my "child". I make these choices without regret, and have been paid back in spades with more love, more friendship, more artistic growth and more confidence than I ever would have realized otherwise.  If I ever do have children, pH would heartily embrace them and accept them into the beautiful patchwork of special individuals that make up our pHamily.

Some personal highlights of my pH time: (Black Swan at Zombie Pub Crawl, feeling pHamily vibes NYE '10, hosting pHucked as Kim Kardashian and Andy Rooney.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

PSA: These are PANTS. These are NOT.

Attention Ladies & Gentleman, but particularly ladies, this is a public service announcement for you.

It has come to many people's attention that some of you are not aware of the difference between pants and well, just about anything else. Here are a few handy dandy visuals to test yourself if you're not sure about what pants are, or how to wear them.

These are pants:

These are not:

However this is a song about both of these things (TAKE NOTE: Everyone in this video is wearing PANTS.)

These are pants:

These are not:

These are pants:

These are not:

Are you starting to get it?

I know it can be confusing, but let's move on to some more advanced challenges.

Which of these ladies is wearing pants?

Did you guess one? Well you shouldn't have. NONE of these are PANTS.

Print for reference.

The more you know, the less you show.

That is all.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Revisiting the Christmas Wish List

My friends are beginning to post their kids' funny and cute Christmas lists on Facebook and Twitter and it reminded me of the great pride and care I employed to craft the perfect Christmas list as a child. See Christmas was done REALLY. BIG. at my house. Birthdays were casual affairs with a couple of nice, moderately priced gifts...but Christmas? Well that was a different story. On Christmas morning there would be beautifully wrapped packages in every corner of the living room - too many for just under the tree. Each family member was assigned their own gift wrap pattern - a stroke of genius by my uber organized and "fair" mother.

I was never disappointed - I received so many wonderful, thoughtful, and fun presents over the years I don't have even one Christmas memory that isn't joyful.

This was partly due to the obvious generosity of Santa (my parents). And now that I'm an adult, I realize that is attributed to their very careful planning and saving.

And partly due to the very calculated and inclusive lists I created, very soon after the last roasted pumpkin seeds from Halloween were eaten.

The intent behind every list was to come off humble, yet be clear in your requests and also provide a variety of options for "Santa". For most items I would have an "A" (the one I wanted) paired with a "B" (a similar item at lower cost, or perhaps slightly different). This allowed Santa to select gifts based on budget and availability, it also drove home the amount of desire to have such items.

I also think I liked doing this because it built in a layer of surprise and anticipation that I probably wouldn't have had if I had just said, I want a "Preemie Girl Cabbage Patch Kid". Instead that was "A", followed by "B" which was "ANY CABBAGE PATCH KID, preemie, white, black, boy or girl" since that was a very difficult item to attain Christmas 1983.

Secondly, it was very effective to present great acts of obedience alongside the most highly coveted items. (An early lesson in presenting budgets and performance evaluations to determine project funds or raises.) For example: Made bed every day this year: Peaches 'N Cream Barbie.

Finally - our lists were never limited. By doing this our parents taught us to understand the value of things, and also to understand that as children, we sometimes needed to pace some of our dreams and build towards those loftier presents. Wish for a trip to Europe? Get a globe and a book about France. Wish for your own ballet bar and mirror? Get new dance clothes and a Center Stage Barbie that spins on her own pedestal.

I was so fortunate to have parents that truly sacrificed, scrimped, bargain shopped, and saved to give us these kind of Christmases. But even then...there are a handful of items I never got.

I have come to understand the reasoning behind why some requests were never granted, Barbie Dream House? Too expensive (or so I thought...keep reading). Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine? Too messy. Easy Bake Oven? Sister had one, why get another.

However as I flip through the pages of the Sears catalog, nostalgically dog-earring pages as I go, I realize that I can now buy myself these treasures that for whatever reason Santa didn't bring. Did they create some void of playtime fun I can now correct?

Here's my list of all time wished for, but never received toys and gifts. I will purchase some of these items (marked *) to determine if they still deserve the wistful regret I still give them. In upcoming blogs I'll report on their enjoyment and nostalgic value. After they have served their purpose, I will be donating them to little ones in need.

*Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine (How messy is it after all?)$17.99

Barbie Malibu Dream House *REVELATION* My sister and I teamed up to ask for this one...and instead got the Barbie Townhouse - which we thought was not as good, come to find out TODAY that the TOWNHOUSE is actually a lot more expensive. I guess that goofy elevator on a string was really more of a manufacturing feat than we gave it credit for - we did really enjoy that present. Today the Malibu Dream House is $129.00, the Townhouse a whopping $169.00! (Since I guess I already did get the better of the two of these...I think I'll skip buying myself the Dream House, and instead buy something for my own house.)

Power Wheels Pink Jeep. Obviously, I no longer would fit in one of these, so I believe I'll skip this one too - and put that money into some repairs on the "grown-up" Jeep I already own. I think Mom & Dad had safety in mind as much as the high price tag. Goes for $299 these days.

Trampoline - Another safety first denial (and cost + neighbor safety concerns.) That and I think my dad liked to keep the yard uncluttered to practice pitching golf balls. I live in a condo in a city and have no yard. I do still love jumping on a trampoline though.

*Easy Bake Oven - classic light bulb style - which I hear is going to be discontinued - I guess it's not safe? Still, it keeps Mommy's oven clean - so I think I'll give this one a go. This classic model retails for $24.99, the "Ultimate" retails for $49.99. I can't tell the difference, and want the old school version. I will also of course be picking out some packets of flavorless dry cake mix and pasty frosting to use - wonder if they've improved that at all?

*Barbie Head - I had a couple of these and asked for a new one every year. This was my parents lesson in taking care of things. I thought I was just perfecting doll haircuts. I would still enjoy an afternoon styling one of these. Although it doesn't come with makeup anymore, it's just all about the hair. Guess they figured that's what it was always about anyway. Now that makeup is not included, I'm disappointed. Of course that blue eyeshadow never went on all that great anyway. This retails for $34.99.

Happy List-Making Everyone and here's to a road down nostalgia lane!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stuff I Miss - Or TigerMom Free Summers

It was my third request to the neighbors children and "manny" playing immediately outside of my door when I (in a very stern voice - one that sounded exactly like my mother's) opened the door and said, "Fellas, Mr.Taylor is trying to sleep, and I am trying to work. Please keep it down, I would really appreciate it."

A wave of nausea washed over me as I closed the door.

1) Who the fuck is Mr. Taylor?, and
2) Fellas?

It is becoming more and more clear that the proximity to my youth is slipping further and further behind me. I couldn't imagine hanging around inside on a beautiful day when I was the age of those boys (4 and 9 or close to that). I spent every waking minute squirting my sunbathing sister with the hose, watching ants carry things, playing ghost in the graveyard, building blanket forts, swimming, playing badminton and challenging unsuspecting neighbors to games of old-fashioned, horrifically dangerous, lawn darts.

I realize things are different now. Kids (who for sure know more than we did, but who are perhaps not any smarter) participate in different kinds of activities all throughout the summer to stimulate their minds a la Tiger Mommy protocol. Back then, you had from dawn til dusk to entertain yourself however you liked. I also didn't live in a city, I grew up in a "town", but have doubts life would have been much different. There were still creepy guys in vans, but I knew not to talk to anyone in a van - unless it was the Bookmobile driver. Anyway I started thinking about all of the things I did when I was young - and how many of them aren't around anymore. From games that we played, to snacks we loved to clothes we wore. Here's my list of things that I just can't find anywhere...and for anyone who grew up with me, it's a way to remember these things and never forget them.

Old Fashioned Dangerous Lawn Darts.
(Or, why you don't have to tell someone my age something twice. )


Magic Middles Cookies


The Smell of this (couldn't find a picture of the old elixir style bottle though):

A favorite snack:

And all of the fun in the sun that I had with this lady:

-and no - that's not a painted on swimsuit...those are tan lines - which you could make even more obvious by placing Malibu Barbie under a lamp or leave her out in the yard while you go to the park, then the pool, then to the Bookmobile.

Somehow this kept me afloat in the deep end:

At least long enough to yell for my Mom to "watch me! watch me! watch me!".

Now I just blog.