Top 12 Clues You’re In California

HollywoodI love visiting California, and have traveled there for business at least once a month since January.  I definitely thought it was time for a fun post.  That being said, I’m no expert on California, and I do not live there.  But, I have made at least a dozen other trips to both Northern and Southern CA in addition to my monthly work trips.  So, thought I’d share some observations I have made, and some big clues that you might be in California if…

(1) You fiphoto 3nd yourself in gridlock at any hour of the night on a highway, or freeway.

(2) At any given time, for any activity, there is a law or ordinance against it.

(3) You see beautiful tan people year-round, and it’s not all from tanning beds.

(4) You can find a Trader Joe’s just about anywhere. Yum, I love Trader Joe’s!

RodeoDrive(5) You can have boba in your soda, juice, milkshake, or smoothie whilst wearing $400 shoes.  Yeah, and don’t even think about wearing what you think is “okay” in Colorado if you want to fit in on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, or Santana Row!

(6) It only takes 90 minutes to drive 46 miles, and everyone will tell you, “that’s super quick compared to….”

(7) The foliage consists of palm trees, or tropical plants.  Ahh, Paradiphoto 1se!

(8) You just paid $630,000 for a 2500 sq. ft. home, and your commute to work is a mere 67 miles.  (see #6 above & remember, that’s nothing)

(9) One word: Smog!  Let’s not even talk about haze.  The mountains only greet me in Moreno Valley in January and February.

(10) It was 80 degrees yesterday, and you received tan lines at the beach.  Today, you are wearing a jacket and gloves on that same beach.  Chilly!  This rule applies to almost every place in CA, especially SF and the Bay area.  Also, random cloud cover seems to hover over the beach in the months you’d least expect it:  Newport BeachJune through August.

(11) A motorcyclist just rode between you  and the car next to you on the freeway (helmet required by law- see #2 above).  It scared you a bit.  Oh, and I should add: most car passing is done on the right.  Slow drivers just sit in the left lane.  Get used to it.  Also of note is that most of these bad drivers move to Colorado and do the same thing.

(12) Your pilot just informed you how they are going take off or land at John Wayne Airport (SNA).  They will also tell you why, and you have now heard this speech for the 20th time— refer to #2 above.  Yes, only in CA; noise ordinances in Newport Beach have caused your steep climb and random flight over the Pacific Coast when you are flying east.

In all honesty, I love it.  There is nothing like a cool California breeze to wake up to, and turning around and seeing the sunset over the Pacific at dusk.  Say what you will, I love visiting California.  It has mountains, beach, ocean, and beauty.

But alas, my heart already belongs to Colorado.

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Excelsior & Silver Linings Playbook

SilverLiningsPlaybook“Excelsior” is a Latin word meaning “ever upward”  and this movie was all about it.  What a great, charming, uplifting movie; one that you must see!  I now understand why it was an Oscar contender and winner of some awards.  The movie, Silver Linings Playbook, will capture your heart, and is a story about a guy and a gal finding Excelsior in their own way amid some challenges.  In light of Get Clued In’s recent makeover, and focusing on the positive, speaking my mind (albeit diplomatically), and accentuating the positive, this movie captured my heart at a time when I needed to see it the most.

It is a cute movie, not super long, and in the discount theaters.  So try to see it before it hits DVDs, but I guarantee you will love it!

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Whale Done!*

*Disclaimer: the tile of this post is copyrighted by the author Ken Blanchard. This post is a book review and the author of this post does not claim copyright or creative rights in the phrase “Whale Done!” 

copyright Ken Blanchard

copyright Ken Blanchard

My husband checked out a book at the library and I did not think much about it until he told me some of the concepts in it.  So, as an example, I would say “ugh, what are we going to do, our daughter is being very difficult.”  His reply, “well, we need accentuate the positive and redirect her energy. That is what I read in this book….”  Needless to say, after several more conversations about different scenarios like this, I felt I needed to read Whale Done!  This book is not just about positive relationships at work and home but daily life.  It can help improve just about all relationships.

This book by Ken Blanchard is a quick read and explores “the power of positive relationships.”  What does this mean?  What exactly is a positive relationship and how do you go about implementing it?  The key concepts of this book are to focus on the positive in all you do and in everyone you encounter.  This really struck a chord with me because that is my resolution for this year- being more positive, and trying to stay on a more positive track- at home, in my career (all the jobs I have), and with life in general.  This book is written based on the concept of management in line with the style of training the whales at Sea World.  It addresses the basic concepts those trainers employ, and applying them to human interaction. The biggest difference between whales and people: We have the advantage because we can talk to one another.  The basic concepts are the same: “Build trust, accentuate the positive, and when mistakes occur, redirect the energy.”  (Blanchard, p.19)

One of the concepts in the book is accentuating the positive and redirecting when someone is on the wrong track.  For example, every day at home if I yelled at my husband about the dishes, or making the kids’ lunches, or dinner, or picking up his clothes off his home, will he want to be home with me?  There is a good chance that he will want to come home late, stay at work late longer, or just not want to be at home at all.  Who could blame him?  I would not want constantly want to be berated after a long day at work either.  Anyway, it is about expressing positive things about each other, in front of the kids, and to one another.  Instead of saying “this is the wrong bread- you always buy the wrong bread,”  you might try, “wow, hon, thanks for getting the groceries again- you are so kind to do so but remember, this bread is too thick for me so I generally buy X brand.  I am not clear on which brand it is and I know I never told you so I will get it tomorrow and show you the labeling for next time.”  There are essentially four kinds of responses to almost all actions:  “No response, negative response, redirection, and positive response.” (Blanchard, p.30).  Sometimes, sharing in the responsibility on why someone did something “wrong” or incorrectly helps the situation.  Also, don’t accuse, put down, or blame the person.  This would also not be a good time to bring up past issues.  Focus on the thing that was done incorrectly and move on.  The no response one is interesting- it is just ignoring the action you wish to not be repeated and a response is not really warranted.  So, when the 6 year-old throws a fit, promptly moving her to her room without a word and ignoring her whining would be one example.

Some of the examples in the book are with teenage kids, but you can apply almost all the lessons to any age.  For younger kids, you want to catch them doing something right and recognize right away.  So, when they are being quiet and reading, doing puzzles, join in and hug them and say “wow, you guys are really doing great… can mommy play too?” My 4 year-old for example does not need much to know I am accentuating the positive.  When she puts her toys away, I give her a huge hug, high five and say “OH MY look at this great job – you put your toys away!  Wow!  High five and good job!” This and a hug will make them realize that they get attention for doing the right thing.  Now, conversely when she does not put her toys away, then what?  Well, perhaps the approach would be to redirect her to the time when she did it right, instead of yelling at her which is negative.  Constantly picking on the negative and only criticizing her when she is doing something wrong accentuates that behavior and after awhile, you are just a mouth piece and no one listens anymore.  Trust is lost and the relationship suffers.

Obviously with my daughter, I do need to talk with her and address the behaviors that I want corrected, so the better approach may be to say, “hey, let’s put these toys away together so we can find them when we want them again… yeah I will help you and show you where they go, so next time, you can do it all by yourself and earn a high five and a hug.”   This response also takes responsibility for showing her in case she did not know where to put the toys back.  All of these same principles apply at work too.

Here is an example.  My boss in one of my jobs this past weekend gave me my mid-term feedback, and it was super positive, and uplifting.  He followed the book without even knowing it by providing words of encouragement, words accentuating specific examples of all the things I am doing right in the job.  With that, he also gave me some things I needed to improve on but did it in a manner to say, “maybe we can both learn together because this is a new system.”  I got it.  The next day at the job, I learned that new system inside and out.   He had motivated me and energized me so much this past weekend, it spilled over into my life, and other job too.  And, he does it every weekend I work with him- he accentuates and points out positives right when he sees them instead of waiting for a feedback.  Until I read this book I did not even realize it.  I just know that despite it being work, and being away from family, this job energizes me.  As a result, I feel needed, and indispensable to the organization.  And it’s not just me, he does it for every person in our organization.  I am not even sure he has read this book but, wow!  What an attentive boss who catches his people doing things right and saying something about it.  Now, keep in mind that one method to accentuate the positive will not always work with everyone.  Each person speaks a different language, so Whale Done! talks about finding out what motivates each individual.  What motivates employee X to do better will not be the same factor that motivates employee Y.  One employee will react better to words of affirmation, while another may need monetary recognition, while another may need you to “show them” through your actions.  Also, remember to give people specific examples of what they are doing right so it does not appear you are just being manipulative.  So, say to your teenage daughter, “when you cleaned up your room and the loft without being asked to the other day… wow, thanks so much – you saved me time and really helped me out a lot- I REALLY appreciate that – why don’t I go ahead and take your chores for Friday so you can go out with your friends that evening.”

This book goes on to to state that the traditional work environment is one in which a boss generally says nothing when things are going right [ignores you] and only talks with you when something is wrong- i.e. criticizing you, or stating the negative.  How nice would it be to get feedback early and often – at the moment you are doing something RIGHT.   How nice would it be to hear from your boss on more than the occasions in which you are doing something he or she perceives to be “wrong.”  Anyway, this book calls that system the “GOTcha” system.  In this system, all people want to do is do their jobs and not be bothered because they are afraid every time their boss speaks to them they are doing something wrong.  Wow!  Tragic.  I am so lucky to not work (in any of my jobs) in an environment like that.  That would not be fun at all.

Is all this a bit touchy feely for you?  Well, yeah, this book was a bit of that too.  But, great especially as far as my personal life is concerned because it is so important to build a healthy relationship with your spouse, a partnership rooted in love and respect, rather than one rooted in fear, anger, and discord.  The chain reaction is that when kids see a healthy, positive relationship between the parents, they themselves feel more loved, respected, and model the same respect for others and each other.  Whether you want to apply this all aspects of your life or not, I think there is a lot of value in recognizing the positives all around you and in the people in your life.  Simple concepts of accentuating the positives, recognizing that progress is a moving target, and just recalling the principles from this book when you are about to fly off the deep end with your kids and spouse can really help your relationships.  That is what the power of positive relationships is all about.

Whale Done! is a quick, good read.  Along with The Fred Factor, Lincoln on Leadership, and other self-improvement motivational books, I definitely recommend this one for all facets of your life to create positive relationships.

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A New Decade & New Look for Get Clued In!

I finally did it, I finally made the change to a new look for my blog.  Starting a new decade ain’t all that bad but I also wanted a make-over for more than my life.  You may have read through some of my recent posts, like Are you a Fred? Fabulous 40 and From the Mouths of Kindergartners along with others, and noticed the common theme for me:  Being more positive, learning something from every situation, and just trying to be a better momma, wife, and person.

So, since the trend for my life is a fresh new outlook I also wanted my blog to have one too.  My goal for Get Clued In is still to post for fun because I love, love writing.  I plan to continue blogging about products, dining, movie reviews, book reviews, giveaways, and the like but I  really want to rejuvenate the blog that was known as Clueless in Colorado.  This was my previous blog identity (which was anonymous) and I had so many posts on self-improvement, lessons learned in life and love, and plenty of philosophical underpinnings.  I am still uncertain whether I like blogging without the anonymous shield to hide behind but we will see how all that goes.  I love having loyal readers and conversations with my friends and other bloggers about topics.  The comments on my posts  by those who are reading them are so very nice and engaging.   I do love politics and writing about my opinions which can be controversial at times but they are mine opinions and I may, from time to time, draw fire from those who disagree or misinterpret my intent.  But, I am okay with all of this and fully expect it – it is part of the territory of having a public blog and remaining open to improving.

I am excited for this new look, and so happy you are here to join me on the journey.*  As the new title above the cover photo reads, “day by day, experience by experience, growing, learning and hoping to…Get Clued In!”   So much more to experience, so much more to learn and hope for and a fresh new look to boot.

*My new header picture was taken by Brent Worth- I have written about her photography before.  Beautiful photos, beautiful edits.  Thanks, Brent!

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Fabulous 40 – here I come!

Fabulous 40This is my final post at Get Clued In before I hit the big 4-0 this weekend.  Wow, what a decade it’s been!  As I write this, I realize it has been almost 9 years since I began blogging and it has been quite the journey.  When I think about where I was in the year 2003 and what I was doing, I am amazed at how much has changed and yet, how much stayed the same.

My first post, when I began to blog says it all!  The post was written in October 2004, and called “Clueless? Why?”  I was literally known as “Clueless in Colorado,” and that was my identity until 2010.  I blogged anonymously back then and treated my writing as a journal- an outlet for me.  Inspired by the character of Carrie on “Sex & The City”, I wrote about my life as a single woman in her 30s living in Colorado, dating, building friendships, working and all the trials and tribulations of that, and just trying to have it all!  Back then, I had just hit the milestone age of 30, and embraced a new decade, a new journey in my life.  I had come to Colorado bright-eyed and determined to do well with my career and hoping to find love.  Mission Accomplished, with a few bumps along the way.  Check out my archives on the right side, from 2004 and 2005- what a fun ride and along the way, so much growing up.

I am now approaching 11 years living in Colorado and so much has changed in my life:  My career took a different direction and I am now working two jobs- both equally satisfying, both jobs that I like with bosses that are truly amazing.  My personal life though is where all my real rewarding changes have been.  After leaving my active duty career, I realized that the work I do does not define who I am.  A job is a job – it’s what I do, not who I am nor does it define me.  Each day, I still turn a new leaf and write this journey as I go – it has its ups and downs but I would not change it for the world!

Since starting to blog, I have met the love of my life here in Colorado -a decade ago this April.  We got married two years later, and we now have two beautiful daughters.  They are all the center of my universe and so daily, I strive to achieve balance in all I do- activities, jobs, and the most important job of being a mom of two and wife of one.

This Saturday, I reach a milestone, turn a new leaf:  Fabulous 40 awaits me and a new decade full of change, full of love, full of tears and laughter, full of amazement, and full of hope.  It is time to leave the 30s behind and embrace a new decade of many more firsts and milestones; a decade which will bring new and even more gratifying adventures.  But, for me, it’s not the destination, it’s not even the journey, but the people that I have met and will continue to meet along the way.  It’s about the people who accompany me in this journey, and those who influence me to be better – a better mother, a better wife, a better person.   I can’t wait …  see you on the other side!

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