Uncomfortable and not very good can be very good

Photo Feb 19, 9 25 05 AM_preview (2)

“Dude, Suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.” – Jake the Dog, Adventure Time

The unintentional hiatus of this blog isn’t from a lack of working. I’ve been working my tail off, including projects completely outside of my comfort zone or skill level.

This includes launching an employee communications podcast at work (as co-host and audio editor, of which I have zero experience at both), another poetry class that required a heavy amount of reading my work in public (awkwardly) and a whole lot of life.

Not all of these learning experiences were enjoyable. An Adobe Animate class was endless drudgery.

You can’t win them all.

I’ve loved being able to work on projects and poems and in areas where I have no idea what I’m doing. There is freedom in being terrible at something, but also seeing the growth over time.

I grow more comfortable with each podcast episode, more unafraid to write a bad poem, more willing to say yes to what scares me.

My poetry class ends in two weeks. In the meantime I am editing and plan to submit a few poems to publications. Hearing a no or hearing nothing at all is the worst that could happen, and then I’ll share them here on the blog. And I will keep making up stuff.

I’m might start getting sorta good at it.

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A Juice Box Arrival

IMG_1787This has been the kind of weird and wonderful year where so much has happened that you absolutely have to talk about it yet it all kept happening so fast you never had a moment to soak it in, consider it and present a rational thought about it.

There was Memphis, Tokyo, almost moving to Mississippi, buying our first house, school, work, family, photography, pregnancy… and most definitely, our favorite, a sweet little baby arrived in the middle of it all.

Big sister calls her “juice box” because she drools so much. For our baby’s sake, I hope that doesn’t stick like how my sister’s nickname stuck. She’s almost 30 and I still call her Louie.

Amidst the madness, I’m not great at enjoying moments. I’m typically more concerned with “let’s get everyone through this” than I am with “let’s stop and appreciate this.”

A Sunday or two ago, I was able to bless our baby in church. It was the first time in a while I had a chance to stop, consider and appreciate the moment and all the little moments that built to it.

A beautiful, sweet and oddly attentive baby girl. Her crazy big sister who makes us laugh every day. The Star Wars-obsessed big brother who keeps everyone in line. And my warrior of a wife who has the worst deliveries but best babies, and holds us all together with bottomless love and a willingness to spend everyday at Disneyland.

It’s not all sunshine and daisies, of course, but I’d rather not whine about what went wrong.

There was a lot of great stuff in 2017, and my four weirdos are my favorite.

Now let’s cap it off with baby’s first Christmas in the first home of our own.

100 Years of the TAPCO Power Plant

TAPCO Celebration w Tim Coons from APS Employee Communications on Vimeo.

Tim Coons is an APS retiree who has become an unofficial historian for the town of Clarkdale, Arizona and specifically the TAPCO Power Plant that was built there 100 years ago. To celebrate the anniversary of the plant, which has long been decommissioned, he gathered friends and community members for a presentation and exhibit about the plant.

I was able to attend and snag a few details from Tim and his motivation behind keeping the power plant’s story alive.

Sitting in an airport after IABC World Conference

Like any good corporate communicator, I’m sitting in the airport pondering the last four days of learning by the fire hose method, and I’m gonna blog about it.

I attended my first IABC World Conference after about five years of coworker recommendations. You quickly realize the international bit in International Association of Business Communicators is not an exaggeration. If lovely foreign accents is your thing, this was the place to be. 

The following are a few notes About my experience, mostly because I don’t want to forget this when I get back to the office. 

  • Listen
  • Authentic, even vulnerable
  • Genuine
  • Clarity
  • Relatable
  • Cut the crap
  • Jargon is lazy, acronyms are even worse
  • Complex is not a problem, confusion is the problem
  • Social is a behavior, not a tool
  • It’s okay to entertain and make people smile (we often miss this mark in corporate communications)

The ongoing sentiment feels to me we are starved for genuine human connection – especially in cubicle land. We want someone to listen, we want to share real stories and we want a connection that’s deeper than the typical CEO blog.
I can totally get down with that. I also understand how that’s a tough sell in cubicle city. 

The toughest pill to swallow is knowing we still have to justify our existence to the business. The goal, in my mind, is to be so good at what you do it’s undeniable – and have the bravery to push for what’s good. 

I know this stuff. I wasn’t surprised or heard anything I didn’t already know during the conference sessions. However, I can see how a kick in the pants can boost my bravery to keep pushing for what so know is good and needed.

Monument Valley

The-izz

Thousands of Instagrammers can’t be wrong.

They have the patience of Buddhist monks in waiting for the right moment for a selfie unencumbered by the horde of competing selfie takers staked our for a moment of hashtag travel bliss in front of what amounts to three very large rocks.

But that sunrise and sunset…

Curmudgeon grumbling aside, it was a blast to run away with my son for two days to one of the few sites I had yet to see despite living in Arizona for almost 30 years and half of that being less than a three-hour-drive away.

We gawked and camped and tried not to let the wind blow us away overnight. Yet we did not selfie.

Daughters

“All these little girls are going to take over the world,” said my grandpa on the news he would be having another great-granddaughter. 

“I hope so,” I said. “If I can help it.”

Happy Birthday at Hogwarts

Happy Birthday Izzy from Zane Ewton on Vimeo.

We don’t always throw big birthday parties for our kids, but when we do, we try to make it fun. It usually ends up being stressful for weeks leading up to the party and there are several moments I want to say, “Eff this! Let’s go get pizza instead.”

It’s nice to turn our attention to something silly though and fuss about little details after a few months of fussing about quite real and important things.

We also have great kids who are sweet, considerate and work quite hard to be good kids. Also, we like having fun too.

Zoo Day

Zoo Day from Zane Ewton on Vimeo.

It’s certainly been a crazy few months around the world, but it’s also been a crazy few months at home. Then sometimes you get a day where you can sneak off and get four people into the Out of Africa Wildlife Park for just $15 because admission is free if it’s your birthday month. And we have three birthdays in January.

Watch the animals, forget your troubles, eat some bad Mexican food at a sketchy roadside restaurant and call it a good day.