Today’s post is brought to you by the letter Q

When I hear people talking about how much they hate networking events, my brain immediately thinks “Qué”? (which is Spanish for WHAT? and with my limited knowledge of the language, that’s about all I got).  But since the post mentions that today is brought to you by the letter “Q”, I figured I better make my opening quirky.  (raises eyebrows up and down like…get it?) 

Well, technically this post is not brought to you by the letter “Q” as much as it is about networking at events and how I grew to enjoy it.  Now a networking event doesn’t always mean the traditional “let’s exchange business cards” type of event, here are some others and see how many you recognize as “networking events” – a business meeting, company party, neighborhood block party, cookout, church event, fundraising gala, wedding…. So with these events in mind, here are several tools I learned over the years which have helped me tremendously.  I can’t claim to be the originator of these tips, but I have applied them and they have worked in most cases.   I hope they help alleviate some of the queasiness you feel before your next networking activity.

Quest – make it your quest to make the obviously uncomfortable person in the room feel more comfortable.  You know who I’m talking about, that person standing alone, awkwardly clutching their drink and fumbling with their phone.  The one who looks like they wish a cloak of invisibility would envelop their body right in the middle of the room?   Go talk to them, make it your quest to find out something about this person.   By doing this, you will not only quell your own fears, but you’ll be helping to quash another person’s as well.   (honestly, I didn’t think I’d find this many “Q” words before I started this blog but I’m enjoying it now, so roll with it)

Questions – You may be thinking, that’s interesting advice, but what do I do in order to make another person feel better about their networking situation?  Well, I’m glad you asked, because it brings us to our next “Q” word.  Ask them some very targeted questions, but don’t ask them so they end up thinking you’re creepy, just open-ended questions to start a conversation.  If you get to the 5th question and you are both still just kind of staring at each other, my apologies to the both of you. 

  1. What’s your name?  This is a fundamental question asked by all children who want to make friends.   Don’t worry if you forget their name as soon as they say it, here’s a tip; at the end of the conversation just ask their name again and make a remark like “I really want to be sure I got your name correct, was it Todd”?  or “forgive my forgetfulness – please tell me your name again, so when we meet another time I’ll remember”
  2. Where do you live?  Remember the creepy reference from above, this question is where this comes into play.  I prefer to phrase this question as “Do you live locally, Todd”? (less creepy).   If yes – tell them what you like about the town/place they live.  If no – ask from where, and some general questions about why they enjoyed living there.
  3. What did you like about your last vacation?  Totally open ended, and even if they haven’t taken a vacation in years or stayed home and read the latest Quidditch techniques; this question is still relevant.
  4. What do you do at your job, work, career?  If they don’t work, an alternative question is How do you like to spend your time?
  5. What do you enjoy doing with your family? This is a great way to phrase the question because it doesn’t matter what kind of family situation, this topic can produce a quality discussion.

Quick Summary of yourself – I would recommend before going to your next networking activity that you do a quick summary of your answers to the questions noted above.  Have some thoughts ready so when the conversation continues, you can also talk about your experiences. 

Well this post was a lengthy one, I hope it quenched your thirst for knowledge on how to hate your next networking activity less.  Good luck!

If my traffic app was a guest on the Maury Povich show

It would surely be in the hot seat awaiting results from the lie detector test.   Maury would say “Traffic App, you showed that it would take 50 minutes to go from point A to B, but the lie detector test showed THAT WAS A LIE”

Nope, wasn’t me

In a previous post I may have mentioned that traffic often involves me having a full-blown tornado twisting Tasmanian devil temper tantrum in my car. In a recent episode I managed to distract myself by creating names for the stages of traffic heading into the city in the morning.  Let’s proceed:

No worm for you, or space between cars for that matter

5:00 am – This stage I’ll call the “Oh, so THIS is how we’ll start our day? Just GREAT” – these people on the road are also known as No Worm for You Early Birds.  They *think* they’re going to beat the traffic only to find themselves sitting in unbelievable traffic, yes at 5 in the morning.  The stage has now been set for the remainder of the day.  I’ve been there, thinking I’m so slick getting ahead of the traffic only to sit in the winter months, in the dark, and wonder is it 5am? or 5pm? or middle of the night? Who knows?!?  Where are my sunglasses since the glare from the red break lights is so blinding?

7:00 – 9:00 am “Total Hard Core” – this is the only time frame of traffic I’ll accept. The orchestration that takes place between vehicles can be magical.  Everyone working in harmony (almost) darting in an out of lanes, flipping fingers, honking horns, shaking fists, gnashing teeth.  It’s like a pure symphony of madness! 

10:00 am mid-morning “But…but…I don’t understand” this traffic is created by the “appointment people” who need to be in the city for a only a few hours, and don’t want to spend their entire day using public transportation.

You dirty bug-eating earth- dwelling savage! Get out of my way!

After 11:00 am “For the love of Pete! How is there still traffic”?  This is where I’ll form the most wildly creative sayings and words and string them all together; in fact most sentences don’t even make sense. (kind of like this blog) For example: “Good gravy!!!! A turtle hauling a pile of pickles could move faster than you!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING”??? 

Any time after 11:45 am is “The Brain Twist” Because, you know, driving 25 mph on a major highway is completely reasonable.  This is when I wish I could twist the top of my skull open to at least let my brain crawl out of my head into the backseat of the car, let it buckle up, and meditate for the rest of the ride. Seriously who am I kidding, there’s always traffic, ALWAYS!!!

Fewer words; more wit

An annoyance to Type A people

Pretty sure the chicken that laid this egg is passive-aggressive

Be gone caffeine, the effects of opening the bag from the bottom

This note is has become totally illegible

Items in my house mock me

Every time I open my medicine cabinet

Some images stay with me forever

Go home Octopus, you’re drunk

Play with Your Food

Facade of Normalcy

I heard someone use this phrase the other day and I liked it so much I wrote it down. It got me thinking about my own “normalcy” and the truth of the matter is that I although I can manage most things successfully in my life, in some other cases, not so much.  So let’s pry back the curtain:

  • Traffic turns me into a regular Tasmanian devil, all within the confines of my vehicle of course.  I can go from happily driving down the road with a smile on my face and as soon as I see the red break lights ahead, with all my might I wish I could summon a black hole to swallow up all the cars in front of me.  A black hole or Godzilla, it doesn’t matter, just get the cars out of my way!
Mmm delicious cars Dino, go eat em’
  • The grass is greener in my neighbor’s yard and this makes me green with envy (yes that pun was intended).  My front yard is south-facing and the sun bears down on it from morning until late afternoon.  By the end of June, I’m left with what resembles the Sahara, sans beauty. I sip my coffee and I stare out my window towards the neighbor’s yard with admiration.  Last year though I took action, and I painted my grass green with an eco-friendly paint I bought online – now the grass really is greener…in my own yard!
Don’t be jelly
  • Turns out my dogs hate oatmeal, and blueberries for that matter. For the first time in over 11 years I ran out of dry dog food.  I have always had a back-up bag to ensure pup tummies are kept full.  But this old lady went to the cupboard and it was bare, so I had to improvise.  Oatmeal and blueberries seemed like a good idea.  Both dogs investigated each other’s bowls in disbelief of “the crap” that was contained inside, and much to their surprise they both had the exact same crap.  Finally the little dog melodramatically tried her blue-gruel and proceeded to spit blueberries out of her mouth one by one, I then faced the facts – blueberry-oatmeal meal would remain uneaten.  

Well I share these fun life-hack facts with you to showcase that everyone needs to put a little work into their “facade of normalcy” (insert smiley face here <–)

My Exile

Today is the “Big Game”, the big football game-a-reeno, the type of ball that is brown and pointy on both ends, not the round one with black spots.  I’m from the area with the most hated team in the NFL today.  There are only 6 states rooting for this team.  During the football season I like to post random questions on Facebook like “what time is the game so I can go shop”, or “is there a big game today”?  My friends either LOL or roll their eyes.

Pointy Ball

Usually I go shopping during football games because that means I’m typically the only person in the store twirling around in the aisle like Julie Andrews in the mountain top scene from The Sound of Music.  Not today though, places are closing early to let the employees celebrate with their friends and family.  Forget about going to the grocery store, that place will give me the hives today.  So instead I sit here and write this blog and wonder what exact day I will finally be exiled from New England. 
P.S. there will be a future post similar to this, but about baseball…

It’s Groundhog Day so wear your brown

When I was in elementary school we had this teacher who got creative and told all of the kids in her class to wear brown for Groundhog Day. So I did, and I continued to wear brown on Groundhog Day from that day forward. This was the new normal and I thought it was written in stone.

Throw a top-hat on this little fella and he’s dressed for the day!
Great Groundhog outfit!


Imagine my surprise however, when I turned into an adult and started to talk about wearing brown on this day to my co-workers and friends and they all gave me a strange look like “you brown wearing weirdo, wear whatever you want that day”… My beliefs were crushed, but no matter, I still wear brown on this day.