Thursday, April 28, 2005

Executive Committee Member, TTE

You heard right! I was elected to serve on the Executive Committee by a vote of 24% of building owners. My openent, a write-in candidate, received 8% of the owner votes. What about the other 68% of the building? They couldn't be bothered to vote. That just shows you what we're dealing with here. We had our first Condo Board meeting this evening as well. I am now chairing the Rules and Regulation commitee as well as the Community Outreach committee. Hopefully, I will be able to get some people to join these committees. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Achieving a Balance between Work and Life (that is the question!)

For a while now I've been grappling with ways of balancing work responsibilities with other life activities and how this can possibly be achieved. It's become a particular area of interest for me.

Now, as sort of a side project at work, I have the opportunity to look further into the area of work/life balance and how the issue can be addressed within my organization. I want to share some of my thinking on this to date…

To start with, I think of “work/life balance” as achieving a healthy balance between the work world and outside responsibilities (caring for family, paying bills) and commitments (e.g. education, personal growth, volunteering, exercise). I do also see work/life balance extending to one's physical work environment (Is there a place to take a break and have a lunch away from one's desk without having to dine at a restaurant? Interaction with others? Access to sunlight and fresh air?)

Often,there is an imbalance in corporate policies toward prioritizing work and home life. Companies are often all too happy to make it easy for staff to work evenings and weekends. They can be very generous in understanding that sometimes the work cannot be completed within the workday and they allow for that. On the flip side, however, these companies don’t always recognize that sometimes people’s personal responsibilities and commitments cannot be addressed entirely outside of workday hours.

In my opinion, 40 hours a week is too much for people to spend working! But, if that is your lifestyle, how do you achieve a balance? That’s the question.

Anyway, I’ve collected quite a folder of notes and clippings on work/life balance issues. I’ve also discovered a few web sites devoted to this issue. There is http://www.familiesandwork.org/ to help people with "finding a balance between work and family." The Center for work-life policy http://www.centerforwork-lifepolicy.org/ has some interesting stuff; they have a good article on “Off-ramps and On-ramps” concerning career trajectories for women.

Getting off-track a little, there is also the whole area of “worksite health promotion” which advocates structuring the work environment to promote opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating. This can be extended even further to thinking about our entire constructed (social and physical) environment leading us to think about “The Built Environment” (a subject near and dear to my heart) and programs like “Active Living by Design.” Those issues, however, will have to wait for another post.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Me and My Dad in Rockledge, Florida


Here's a picture that was taken in my Grandmother's driveway just before we left for the airport. Grandma is doing OK in the rehab facility. Her goal is to be able to walk again and move back into her house. Maybe I'll add some stories and/or updates from my visit to this post in a little while...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Blogging from Florida (Panera Bread Wi-Fi, Melbourne)

My Dad called me Wednesday afternoon, April 14, to let me know that my grandmother had had a stroke and was back in the hospital. Prognosis was not good. I needed to get down to Florida ASAP to be with my Dad and Grandmother. I was able to use frequent flier miles to hop on a plane and arrive in Florida within 24 hours of when my Dad called. Anyway, that is where I am.

When I arrived in Rockledge on Thursday, my Dad informed me that my grandmother was not doing well and hospice seemed like the likely next step. My grandmother did not look very well AT ALL. She was having difficulty breathing and was aspirating. We worried that she wouldn't make it through the night.

On Friday I spent the day showing my grandmother digital photos on my laptop and helping her work through crossword puzzles in her crossword puzzle book (her favorite way of passing time). She loved the Cherry Blossom photos from my outing last weekend. Whenever anyone called or came into the room she said, "Tiffiny has pictures from of the cherry blossomos in Washington and they are so beautiful." She was so pleased! Now, I wish we had taken more photos! We didn't take them thinking there would be anyone to see them. Unfortunately, we missed the doctor when he came by on Friday. On the weekend there was another doctor on call so we still did not see her regular doctor.

Now, it's Monday, my Dad's two brothers have both arrived and things are looking better for the near term. The Dr. says she is doing so much better that she should be moved to rehab instead of hospice. That's a big difference! After that, there could be a nursing home. It's hard to know what the next few weeks will look like...

Tomorrow, I return to DC.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

APHA to Host All Future Annual Meetings in Smoke-free Cities. Yippee!

I have had this in my blog inbox and have been meaning to post on this for a while... when selecting sites and negotiating contracts for annual meetings the American Public Health Association (APHA) reports that it WILL HOLD ALL ITS FUTURE MEETINGS IN SMOKE-FREE CITIES.

Yeah!! This is great news. The APHA conference is HUGE, one of the largest. The notice I received goes on to say that "our next challenge is to ensure that Washington, D.C., becomes smoke-free before APHA returns there in 2007." This is the icing on the cake! Fabulous! Finally, someone outside DC is willing to stand-up for the health and well-being of DC residents (who have no voting representation in Congress and who a judge recently ruled have no right to vote on issues that could impact tax revenues--in other words, smoke-free workplaces). As the measure continues, "whereas, secondhand tobacco smoke is a class A carcinogen (i.e., unsafe at any level of exposure) responsible for the deaths of approximately 53,000 nonsmokers annually in the United States."

DC is a town that relies on tourism as its primary industy. It is a hot spot for conventions and the city just invested in a brand spanking new Washington Convention Center (quite lovely) to attract conferences. I'm hopeful that this will have an impact! This should send a clear signal, as intended, that "there are economic consequences for failing to pass comprehensive smoke-free ordinances."

That's not all, in mid-March DC Councilmembers introduced two smoke-free workplaces bills. We've gotten the ball rolling again! Go to www.smokefreedc.org to see the latest and contact DC councilmembers to let them know you support these bills.

Stay tuned for additional smoke-free updates on the Tiffiny Blog.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Cherry Blossom Photo you've been waiting for


Today DC achieved the perfect allignment of weather and cherry blossom peakage. It is very rare that the cherry blossoms peak during the National Cherry Blossom Festival and that that peak day occurs on a day with perfect weather and on a weekend day (when most people are off). Well, that happened today! Serge and I went on a long walk today down to the Mall and the Tidal Basin and then up to Capitol Hill and Eastern Market. (I was quite proud of myself for finally remembering to apply sunscrean to my face before heading out. Unfortunately, however, I missed my neck!) We snapped quite a few lovely "blog worthy" photos. I chose to post this one because you can see the tidal basin enjoyed by many folks on paddle boat. If you look closely (click on photo to enlarge) you can also see the cherry blossom trees on the other side; there are cherry blossom trees all around the tidal basin. For those who may not be totally in the know, "The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual commemoration of the gift in 1912 of 3,000 cherry trees by Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to Washington as a memorial of national friendship between the United States and Japan and a celebration of the continued close relationship between the people of the two countries."(taken from here). Uh oh, I just found a site on the Internet with an even fuller view of the tidal basin. Maybe I should have chosen a different photo after all...

Ironing Breakthrough


I've made a purchase that will revolutionize my day-to-day clothing management processes - an ironing board and iron! This is my first time ever purchasing either one of these items. My previous set-up included a 'table-top' ironing board and inherited iron. Well, the iron fell off a shelf one day a couple years ago and has been leaking ever since. Ironing a simple cotton top or cotton pair of pants took FORE-EVER. I swore last fall that I would buy a new iron in time for spring. Now, with the T-Fal Easy Glide 1749 ($29.99) ironing is a breaze. I wanted an ironing board that would be light-weight and not take up much space (because I don't have much). I found that this simple $15 ironing board fits my needs perfectly. In addition, I was delighted to find this polka dot ironing board cover (Liz Claiborn) at Linens N Things. It has a retro look (ironing is so retro anyway) and matches my apartment decor perfectly. Everything came together just in time for me to rotate my closets and bring out the spring/summer wardrobe.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Spring has Sprung in DC!

A little late this year by my clock, but Spring has finally sprung! I always enjoy the effect that setting the clocks ahead in April has on things. It's like jumpstarting the season! Suddenly, we have daylight after work. Today we had temperatures in the lower 70s. A beautiful day. DC at its finest! Of course this time each year (Cherry Blossoms, the annual kite festival) always has a special significance for me because it is the anniversay of my 1997 visit to DC. I planned a trip here as part of an East Coast jaunt--I had almost no exposure to DC and thought it would be a convenient opportunity to visit my aunt--I left thinking "this is a place I could move to." The rest is history. With weather like this, who could blame me? Tomorrow it's supposed to be upper 70s. One of these days I will have to post some pictures...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Running for Executive Committee

So, I submitted my name and a blurb and I'm now running for condo board (aka "Executive Committee Member") in my building. I was inspired to run by 1) Howard Dean who talks about how important it is for people to get involved and run for office at all levels and 2) my exposure to "community involvement processes" through work where I have done a lot of reading and conducted several site visits on the subject. I see a lot of potential to apply what I've learned on my condo board. I wouldn't be running if I didn't think it was something that I HAD to do. Generally, I think the condo board meetings in my building can be kind of a drag. My objective is to create more opportunities for resident participation and communication. I've always felt that this was lacking and I think it is of the utmost importance. I've finally realized that the only way I this will change is if I get on the board and make it a priority! So, we'll see what happens.