Friday, November 26, 2004

Barbie Beauty Styler

One dining room table, two computers working away on this quiet post-Thanksgiving morning at the Hobbled Runner household. Dad surfs the web, checking his favorite blogs, while M screams and rants at the uncooperative Barbie Beauty Styler game. Time-out as Dad pours another cup of coffee and goes over to assist M choose a "new friend" for Barbie. Tricky game!

Nice, quiet Thanksgiving with HR's Mom. Lots of leftovers! Anyone within reading distance, stop by for "the works".

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

You Know You're Old When . . .

. . . your director sends around an e-mail entitled, "Understanding Generation X Talent". We've been hiring a lot of younger attorneys lately. I don't even think many are Generation X'ers anymore. The youngest must be Generation Y, or Millenials - - or whatever they call the latest group.

Anyway, I'm embarassed reading the e-mail which is actually an advertisement for a "webinar". It includes "gems" like this.
Although stereotypes can be unfair, and each individual is unique, there is some truth to the saying, "We resemble our times more than we resemble our parents." This generation grew up having different shared experiences than the Baby Boomers or World War II Veterans who came before them. To cite just a few examples:

Many Generation X workers grew up as "latchkey" kids. Both parents worked, or they came from single- parent families. No one was waiting to serve them milk and cookies when they got home from school. They were forced to become independent.

For this generation, over 50% had parents who divorced. As their single parents dated, pseudo-moms and dads came and went. They have learned to be cautious about entering into relationships.

They watched their Boomer parents work long hours and then get laid off by the employers they had given so much of their lives to. They are cynical about the employer/employee relationship.

As children, they witnessed a president resigning from office in scandal, the fall of Jim Baker, and their parents (or their friends' parents) divorce. They are skeptical of authority and their elders' abilities to run things.
It's important for you to realize that these employees are members of a generation with it's own unique personality. They were shaped by different times, influenced by a different economy, molded by different heroes. Given their very unique experiences, it's no small wonder that managing and motivating this generation is a challenge.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Whoa - Honest Feedback!

Just got done delivering some honest feedback to a person who had unsuccessfully applied for a recent opening on my team. I'm embarrassed to say that in 6+ years of managing people, I can count the number of times I've given truly honest feedback to someone on one hand.

Don't get me wrong - I don't just make stuff up when giving feedback, but I tend to couch it in "corporate speak". I could have told this person she needed to work on her "communication" skills or be more of a "team player". Instead I told her of an incident that came to my attention where she was disrespectful to a colleague. This coupled with "the word on the street" about her generally crusty behavior, led me to not select her. She would be great with customers, but I fear her backbiting behavior on my team, which up until now has always worked very smoothly and cooperatively.

I’m inclined to select her when I have future opening. If I do that, the big battle will be with my manager who thinks I made the correct decision not selecting her. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but her customer skills and product knowledge would make her a good fit for my team.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Jesus on a Pole?

M and I were driving back from the bagel store yesterday when we noticed woman setting out Christmas decorations. Probably a good idea to hang the lights before the snow flies, but a quick peak into her living via the picture window revealed that most of the inside was already decorated too!

As she usually does, M started asking about why we don't put out more Christmas decorations. We usually only string some lights over the bushes near our front steps. This is kind of lame, but it works for me. This year I said, "Yes, maybe we should have more lights."

"Yeah, and some of those other decorations," she said, "Maybe Santa Claus or Jesus on a pole or something."

Friday, November 12, 2004

Vacation?

This is vacation? I was home with the kids on yesterday and today. Thursday was OK, off in the AM for "Eagles Nest" and a chance for the little guy to blow off steam. M had a friend come home with her after school. Whew! Somedays M needs time to decompress after school. Today was one of those days - - except she had a friend with her. Needless to say, there were a few tantrums before friend's Dad stopped by around 5:00 to pick her up.

Dude gave me grief at bedtime. The lastest stall tactic - Fluffy needs to run in his ball. Fluffy our hamster has a little plastic ball - with air holes - that you seal him in and he runs like a mad rodent all over the house. Usually lots of fun, but not at 10:30 p.m.

AM - M had been up sick durin the night - fever, aches, and "the knee" again. WHile Shana took M (heaving all the way!) to the DR, I took Dude to another friend's house. Kid has a much more rounded social life than his Dad. To kill time while he was playing pirate treasure hunt or whatever, I dropped $129 at Target. New watch, two pairs of pants, and two sweaters. Not bad.

Quiet afternoon at home with M dozing on couch and Dude playing with Matt-Medic upstairs in his room.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Good Morning

A beautiful morning - sunny and cool (well OK it's cold by California standards), but not bad for November in MN. Dad has two wonderful "stay at home" days ahead of him. Dude's pre-school is closed today for Veteran's Day, so Dad gladly used some of his vacation days to blog from home. Plans to go to Eagles Nest - - one of those indoor parks - - with his friend Quinn and Quinn's dad later this morning.

As of this writing (8:13) Dude still fast asleep. That's 11+ hours and counting. Maybe that will cure the crabbies. I hope.

M woke up with her "trick knee" - - won't bend and hurts - - again. We've learned through many trips to DR that this is most likely a reaction to a virus. Water on the knee, etc. We gave her some Motrin and sent her on her way - - we are such tough parents.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Rescue Heroes and Princesses

Crazy morning - the dude did NOT WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL. He finally came around after much screaming, yelling, crying, and finally cuddling with Dad.

On the drive to preschool he lays this on me: "Drew is my girlfriend." Drew is a cute little 4 year old at his school - - daugther and granddaugher of the owners.

What a surprise. It was common knowledge that she did NOT like Rescue Heroes. Instead, she was one of those girls smitten by horses and princesses. I reminded him of this saying, "But remember Drew doesn't like Rescue Heroes. You told me she says they are 'stupid'".

"No", he said, "She likes Rescue Heroes and Princesses."

Wow - - what a combination.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Can't Get Enough?

Some people just can't get enough. Efforts underway to unseat Senator Mark Dayton.

I personally need a little time to digest all this red state - blue state stuff.

Beatles Discovery Day

Along with July 7 (the anniversary of the day John and Paul met), November 9 should also be a day of Bealtes related celebration. November 9 should be remembered as Beatles Discovery Day. It was on this day in 1961 that Liverpool Music Store owner Brian Epstein first saw the Beatles at a noon-time performance at Liverpool's Cavern Club. Days earlier he a teen had walked into the record store requesting a copy of My Bonnie - which the Beatles had recorded in Germany with Tony Sheridan. He didn't have the record so he inquired around and found out where this band was playing and paid them a visit. John, Paul, George, and Pete (Best - remember this was pre-Ringo) impressed him with their musical abilities - or perhaps more by the way they wore leather. The "boys" often performed in leather pants and jackets, and Brian was known to like leather-clad boys. But whatever he saw in them, he knew what to do with them, and how to make them famous. Shortly after this meeting he became their manager, and the rest was history.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Perspective

Mark, our neighbor, has Hodgkins-Lymphoma (Refractory Hodgkins to be exact - it never went into remission - but it's back). Last night family and friends held a meeting at the fire station (he is a volunteer ff) to strategize how to help the family during the 6 - 8 weeks he and his wife will be living in Rochester for treatment. They have 4 kids under 7, a 7-year old boy, 5 year old girl, and twins, boy/girl age 3.

The meeting lasted 2+ hours and I think we (they) got it all worked out. Different folks taking kids different weeks, others staying with Mark on weekends so his wife can come home to be with kids, taking kids to Rochester for visits, coordinating school, pre-school, cub scouts, gymnastics, church functions, etc. Amazing - very humbling to see this kind of thing in action.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Blue State Blues?

Many folks in MN sad about the Kerry loss, but on the bright side the DFL really kicked some Repub-butt at the Legislature. The Repubs went from a 81 - 53 majority, to a 68 - 66 very slim hold on the House. Many powerful incumbants given the boot. Reasons?

The Minnesota Public Radio commentator - Prof. Chris Gilbert from Gustavus - thought that voters may have been taking their anger over several issues out on Republicans:

1. Indian Gaming* - he thinks there is no way this can be spun to anyone's political favor - and Pawlenty really blew it.
2. Lack of action at last session - Gilbert pointed out we haven't really had a budget plan since Ventura.
3. Anger over the negative campaign ads waged by Republicans.

Very interesting - - he kept coming back to the Gaming thing. Thinks it's a lose-lose proposition and Pawlenty handled it poorly.

*Gaming Thing - - referring to the Gov's plan to take a sizable portion of the revenue from the Indian gaming operations in exchange for a promise from the State not to pursue private (non-Indian) gaming. Hard to not spin that as blackmail. It conjurs up images of broken treaties. Not that it wouldn't be nice to have a share of some more of that money, but any chance to come to a reasonable compromise on the issue seems blown.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Back and Voting

Both Dude and Dad took a sick day yesterday - spent an hour (!!) at Dr, then off to Target for the reward - Rescue Heroes® ROBOTZ Billy Blazes™ & Firestomper™. The reward was for "submitting" to the throat culture. He didn't actually submit. Instead, he sat in my lap, my legs were twisted over his, my hands were prying open his mouth, and I used my what was left of my arms to squeeze his little arms together. Sheesh - after that I needed a Rescue Hero.

Out to vote early today - Dude was not too happy when he saw me pull into the parking lot at the polling place. Luckily we were in and out in less than 10 minutes. I'm always surprised by the huge number of candidates on the ballot for President. The Dude is proudly wearing Dad's "I Voted" sticker.