A Kase of Gasoline and Massage Oil….

1 04 2010

Gasoline and massage oil… yeah – how’s that for a headline?  It was the Eau du Kasey Tuesday night… But I’ll get to those details in a minute…

First, a big thanks to the people who have been reading my blog despite the fact I haven’t posted anything in over a month… and what a month it has been!  Here’s a quick re-cap:

The same day as my last post (Fri 2/19/10) I followed up a job lead from a friend (Dan Young @danyoungdxy) and set my resume to MedCity News about a sales job.  The next day the MedCity News President and co-founder asked to join my LinkedIn network (uh, yeah!),  then Monday I got a call from them, Tuesday I had a 2+ hour interview and Thursday they asked for references.  Yes kids, the happy ending here is that after 11 looonng months of unemployment I got a job! *Happy Dance!*

MedCity News is an online publication (www.medcitynews.com) and an industry news service focused on the business side of healthcare.  Plus, we also create custom content for healthcare and other clients. We have been in business 15 months and continue to grow at an impressive rate of 20% per month.  I’m doing ad sales, sales of custom content and some social media.  It’s really a great fit and I’m very excited.  We are a start-up company and with that comes some non-traditional elements (I am split between two offices and my schedule can change on a dime) but that good, because I feel like a animal in a cage when I’m stuck in some silent cubical working the usual M-F 9-5….

So… what about the gasoline and massage oil…  yeah – that was my after work adventure Tuesday.  I had an after work massage which was a ‘gift’ from a social media associate (more details on that in my next blog); the massage was great, I was all relaxed and smelling of essential oils… and then got on the expressway and headed home.  I had to drive from Beachwood Place to my home in Westlake (for you non-Cleveland people, that’s about 35 miles).  I knew my gas tank “empty” light had just gone on, but knowing that my trusty Camry gets about 30mpg on the highway, I calculated that I could make it to my neighborhood & fill up at a gas station where the gas was $2.59/gal.  These days, I’ll save $.15 a gallon whenever I can…

I’m a former math geek so I was literally doing algebraic equations in my head the whole way home, trying to remember when I last filled my tank only half way, how many actual gallons did I put in, how much highway driving had I done and would I have enough gas to make it to the station (if a car is traveling west at 75mph and has 40 miles to go on 1.25 gallons of gas… etc.  Are you having flashbacks to ‘story problems’ from math class.  Yep, this is algebra in real life).  Please note: my car is a 1999 Camry, and it does not have any of the fancy dashboard tricks that do all that calculation for you today!

You know where this is going… I came up just short, and I mean just short…. I ran out of gas on the exit ramp of the stop with the gas station… So there I was in the berm, hazards flashing, looking at the gas station of desire across the street.   Oh well, could be worse; could be snowing, right?  So I didn’t panic – I was a Girl Scout – and I took the little red emergency fill tank from my trunk (thanks to my brother Scott for buying that for me as a gift a few years back) and bought my gallon of gas.  A kind soccer dad at the pump next to me offered to drive me back to my car (BTW, he was filling huge gallon containers of gas to take home as this lower price, so I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm) and off I went to get my car running again.  Here’s where it got messy…

Apparently these little red plastic rescue tanks don’t dispense the gas into one’s tank very smoothly and it ran all over the side of my car, on my hands and a little on my jeans.  ARGH!  I really HATE the smell of gasoline!  By the time I drove the car over to the gas station, my whole car reeked of gasoline – everything I had touched – door handle, steering wheel, gear shift, all gasoline scented… thought I was going to pass out.  I filled my 16 gallon tank up to 17.35 gallons and went inside to try & wash off the gas smell.

The bathroom inside the GetGo Gas (and food) station was actually very nice and I began to scrub my hands.  As the water got warmer, I started to smell something beside the gasoline… yep, the essential oils from the massage just an hour before were releasing with the hot water.  Suddenly the entire bathroom was filled with this sickly sweet smell and I felt like had been turned into a cheap hooker at a truck stop!  I ran quickly into the evening night, hoping to dissipate the smell in the fresh air….

There’s no great moral to this story – just that it happened, and it took a long, hot shower and half a dozen hand washings before I could get the bizarre gasoline/massage oil smell out from under my nails.  Now, if can only find a nice unscented hand lotion to calm my dried, cracking hands….

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A glimmer of sunshine….

18 02 2010

Hi to all – this post is woefully overdue…

The past month has been a toughie, but I woke up this morning to sunshine, and decided it was time to share again.

I started this blog almost two months ago to the date, on my birthday, Dec 19th.  As someone who has come to embrace, love, and live social media over the past 8 months, a blog seemed like the perfect evolution.

I didn’t have a theme when I started, but I did have some topics/stories which were just screaming to get out of me (still do).  The reoccurring theme which presented itself was facing fear and walking through it; whether my fear, or appreciation of others who were walking though theirs.  I  don’t know if I was a little psychic, or maybe just trying to coach myself to handle things to come, but the past month has been filled with fear for me.

There are all kinds of fears – real and imagined; fear of what is or what may happen; fear of failure, of rejection, of loss, and of course, the biggie – FEAR of the UNKNOWN.  How do I handle a situation I have never been in before?  I don’t have the answers.  I only have limited resources of people who have answers, who have been through this same thing.  Who can I trust?  And, if I reach out for help, will people sense my fear and take advantage of me?  Will they see me as weak?  Will I be defined by my fear?

My fear(s) are real and legitimate.   I have been unemployed for over 10 months now, and there are a lot of consequences that come when you’ve been without a job for that long.  It is the fear of not having some of the basics in life:  food, heat, water, shelter.  I am not alone in this situation, especially in Ohio.(BTW,  Forbes just listed Cleveland as the Most Miserable City.  Oh joy!) http://www.forbes.com/2010/02/11/americas-most-miserable-cities-business-beltway-miserable-cities.html?boxes=Homepagelighttop

For the past month I’ve focused my energies trudging through many fearful, pressing issues.   While I don’t have answers or solutions to everything, I have become more educated.  The giant Fear Beast is not nearly as scary when I turn a bright light on it and look at it clinically – its power lies in the dark, under my bed where it grows larger and more powerful in my mind.

I wrote an affirmation and put  it above my desk:  I am Resourceful, Courageous and SAFE.  I will get through this with grace, dignity and courtesy, to a positive, plentiful and philanthropic state.

Still working on it, but that’s why you’re supposed to say these affirmations everyday, right? (BTW, I can send you a nice copy you can print out for yourself if you’d like)

I am blessed to have many good friends who have been giving me their support and help.  One in particular is  Kelly.  She has been a real rock for me.  She’s not on twitter or Facebook, (or I’d tell you all to follow her);  she is a busy young married mom of 3 kids under age 5, yet she can always make time to talk to me with a smile and remind me that this too, shall pass.  Kelly also suggested as I go through these new experiences that I can help others, too…

This brings me to my question for the blogesphere…  Have you ever done any “splinter” blogs?  What are your thoughts on that?  Since I am actively job hunting, I must be respectful of the power of public cyber exposure, and I want to put my most positive foot forward.  Therefore, I am thinking of starting an anonymous blog about my current challenges with unemployment, finances and The System, and what I learned so far, with the hopes it might help others and provide them a forum to exchange ideas and vent.

There is a fine line to be walked in this hyper-connected world and I want to share, but I don’t want to over-share where it is not appropriate.  What do you think?

And, if you know of anyone who might be looking for creative person who understands business, and a businessperson who thinks creatively, I am in search of a position in PR, Marketing, B2B Sales, and/or Social Media (or some combination of these!).  Here’s my LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kaseycrabtree

Thanks, and I promise it won’t be another month between posts!





Story arc… or It’s a Wonderful Life

29 12 2009

This blogging thing requires more discipline than I thought…. I have lots of ideas in my head… some of them get down on paper, but from the paper to the laptop to the blog post can be a long walk.  Along that walk this week I kept thinking about the various story arcs that have existed and are still existing in my life.

There is a LOT of transition going on in my life now, and a lot of unknowns.  It can be scary – I’ve been out of work 9 months now, and the wolves are at the door.  Meanwhile, I am finding out more and more about myself in this time of transition, and sometimes it just makes me wonder how I fit into the world.  Where do I belong?  What is my contribution? What’s my “calling” in life?  These can be unsettling questions, which is why I was so happy I had the chance to watch one of my fav Christmas movies in the past week, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Hopefully you have seen the film.  Although it was released in 1946, and people have been watching it religiously since, I only really started watching it in the past 10 years.  I have to give credit to my ex-husband for turning me on to the film.  I think he may have gotten a completely different message from it, because for me, it has an amazing spiritual message of acceptance an affirmation.  Please watch it sometime; the story may be set at Christmas time but the message is timeless…. we just don’t know the power of what our good deeds may do over time.

In case you haven’t seen the film…

Lead character George Bailey’s life is not glamorous.  He has missed out on many of the things he thought he wanted to do with life (college, world travel, exploration) but all throughout his life, his actions have been based on what seemed like the next right thing to do, even if he may have seemingly “lost” an opportunity at the time.   His apparent reward is a wife who adores him, four loving kids and an old drafty house.   When a seemingly insurmountable business problem comes up, he thinks the world would have been better off without him, so he is ready to jump off a bridge.  It is then that “Clarence”, his guardian angel, jumps in the water before George does, knowing that George will jump in to try to save him instead.

The really amazing part is what happens after that:  George, still in his full pity party, comments that the world would be better off if he had never been born, and Clarence allows George to have that experience – to see what the world would be like if George had never been born.  Needless to say, there are all kinds of things – from the little to the big, George had done which in turn had a huge effect on others.  Because George saved his brother from drowning as a child, his brother grew up and became a war hero, saving numerous lives.  If George hadn’t saved his brother, his brother wouldn’t have been there to save these other people, and so on.

Every time I see the film it gives me faith that ALL we do; what ALL of us do; can be of significance. (Pretty existential stuff for 1946!)   What an empowering feeling!  It gets me out of my pity party.  It also reminds me that what I struggle with today, may very likely be the seeds of tomorrow’s success.  I may just be in the middle of my story arc.  Quite frankly, if I hadn’t been laid off, I never would have had the time to learn social media; and highly unlikely that I would have begun blogging.

I would like to invite you to come along with me through this current story arc, and hopefully the ones that follow.  So despite my challenges of this year, and the ones that lay ahead, I hope I can continue to look around me and enjoy the moment.  Because, after all, it may just be a Wonderful Life!





From Stranger to special BFF in 48 hours: A True Twitter Tale (and a look at my life of late!)

19 12 2009

This is a “reprint” of my first blog post which was published on the “Throwing Quarters” blog/podcast (http://www.throwingquarters.com/) Thanks to Adam for allowing me to use it here; I feel it gives you all a good idea of what is currently going on in my life.  A birthday blog post will be up later today!

 

From Stranger to special BFF in 48 hours: A True Twitter Tale

 That is how I would describe my relationship with Adam Gercak (AKA Throwing Quarters).  So when he asked for guest bloggers to help cover his posts over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, it seemed the logical thing to do; the next progression of our friendship. It is also an honor to have this, my first ever blogpost, featured in his blog. 

 But in order to appreciate where Adam and I are today, we need to look back and review how we got here.  Ours is truly a happy story of the ‘social’ aspect of social media; of some of the best results one could hope for from this new era of communication.  The coolest part: versions of this story could be happening to people everyday, maybe even to you!

 The Common Question (?)

 “So how have things been?”  “What’s new?” “Whatcha been up to?”

“How ARE you?”

 How many of us will be asked these ubiquitous questions over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend?  How many times will we answer with polite, generic responses: “Things are the same”, “nothing much”, “I’m good”. 

 I was recently asked these very questions by a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months.  I looked at her and I wasn’t sure where to begin. Instead of giving her one of the usual scripted responses, I was honest with her, telling her how I had been let go from my ‘day job’ on 4/3/09 – and I that am still job hunting.

 I saw her look of concern and sympathy, but before she could say anything, I told her it was all ok – even better than ok. Now she looked puzzled. 

 I explained I felt like Dorothy when she opened the door from her black and white world to the new world of Oz in Technicolor, or, maybe more appropriately, like Neo, when he swallowed the red pill and wakes up in ‘the real world’ and begins to understand the true nature of The Matrix.

 No, I wasn’t on drugs: rather, I had finally discovered the world of social media, and I couldn’t imagine how I had ever lived without it.  She looked skeptical and dismissive, possessing the same attitude I had toward social media only 6 months ago: Facebook and twitter are a playground for self-absorbed people with way too much time on their hands.

 Extolling the virtues and conveniences of twitter (especially once I had been shown Tweetdeck) fell on deaf ears with her, and the glazed look in her eyes made me realize I was losing her.  I offered to give her an example of the power of twitterverse….  Here it goes….

The common (or not-so-common?) occurrence

 My first day on twitter was Friday, 7/31/2009; just five short months ago. (I’m @KaseyCrabtree, BTW).  Two weeks later, Friday August 14, 2009, I experienced my first #FollowFriday using Tweetdeck.  It was so exciting – I felt like I had arrived! I think I had about 75-100 followers at that point and was excited to connect with new people. 

 @TeamNEO (an organization that promotes business growth and development in NE Ohio) had several #FollowFriday suggestions, many were business, but there was one in the list that was just a name – @acgercak.  I clicked on it and stumbled across one of Adam’s great Throwing Quarters blog entries discussing an “off day” vs. a “day off”.  The quick read was entertaining, candid, witty and well written. I was intrigued.

I tweeted him back complimenting his writing, and so began a dialog between us.  Based on some of his writing, I wondered if he worked in retail?  yes he did; I then shared how I had recently been let go from a high-end retail job myself.  As our short tweets continued back and forth, we both began to see a picture of each other and how many common interests we shared.  Moreover, he was working practically right across the street from my condo, AND we both regularly frequented the same Starbucks.  It was quite the series of coincidences!

 I can’t remember the exact sequences of events as he discovered I work part-time as a radio DJ (Adam also has some radio experience), and I then invited me to attend the taping of a ThrowingQuarters podcast on Sunday Aug 16th at The Barley House.  Sunday rolled around; I went to the show featuring singer/songwriter Adam Taylor (@AdamTaylorMusic) and then found myself sitting in on the recording of the podcast, interjecting questions.  It all seemed so effortless, so natural, so comfortable.  By the time the night had ended, many smiles had been exchanged and pictures taken.

 Adam seemed like a friend I had known for years, yet 48 hours prior, neither one of us had known of the other’s existence (Adam may have heard me on the radio).  Now, I couldn’t imagine not having this kindred spirit in my life.  I told him he was like my new BFF GF, but he wasn’t a girl, nor was he gay!  However, I felt like I could talk with him about almost anything, and I have!

 We are still good friends; I have come to know his wife Jenn, and I tease both of them about the fact that they may have named their new daughter Addison, but I already had a 3 yr old cat by the same name.  See??? Yet another coincidence. 

 Now remember, this wonderful friendship is ALL a DIRECT RESULT of having connected on twitter.

 So what did my friend think of this story? She was intrigued, but still concerned about my current status. I acknowledged that on paper, my situation might seem bleak:  I am divorced with no kids (I have 3 cats), I have been unemployed for over 6 months, plus I am deeply in debt and terribly behind on all my bills.

 I smiled and looked her straight in the eyes.  All these facts are true; these are all hurdles for me to overcome.  However, I have more hope and a stronger positive feeling toward the future than I have had in over 10 years!  I feel that our society is on the cusp of a new dimension of communication, almost as significant as the invention of the printing press. 

Yet more importantly, I feel like I have finally found “my people”.  A community of caring, positive, foreword-thinking people who embrace change and the future, with excitement and awe.  I have happily stepped into the new world of Social Media, and with every bone in my body; I believe it represents my future. 

To paraphrase a line from a favorite book, please join me; please join US, as we ‘tweet the road of happy destiny’.  See you all in the twitterverse!