How To Add Pizzazz To Your Next Presentation

I love April Fools’ Day, and while I have pulled off some great pranks, I don’t always think of them in time. It’s kind of like when someone says something rude and you don’t think of a good comeback until hours later—usually in the middle of the night, when no one really cares anymore. This year I get to do two pranks, thanks to some quick brainstorming with the amazing graduate students I work with.

Laena, one of the graduate students in my office, has a presentation to give to her dissertation committee tomorrow. I made a joke about doing her presentation in a musical format, and the idea snowballed from there. I have created a playbill, with an attached headshot and bio, for her to present to her committee when she goes to her meeting.

I thought it would be amazing if she gave them the playbills and walked to the front of the room, where, without a word, she would tilt her head up, point to some random corner and say, “Cue music.” She would then proceed with her planned PowerPoint. It went well in rehearsal. Okay, there was no rehearsal, but I see a lot of potential in her.

Laena has given me permission to share the playbill and bio with you here. I have redacted her last name though, lest you all are so enamored with her photograph (that looks like it was taken back in the 1950s) that you start inundating her with modeling opportunities. I’m not saying she wouldn’t like that, I’m saying she would like it too much, and she still has to write her dissertation.

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As for the second prank, you will have to wait until tomorrow’s post.

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The Atlanta School 2015

My husband is teaching a metal casting workshop this summer at The Atlanta School in Atlanta, Idaho. You should check them out here.

The art and architecture school is at the base of the Greylock Mountains, not far from Boise, Idaho. They offer workshops and artist residencies throughout the summer months.

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Register for the foundry workshop.

Click here more information on their summer workshops

Listful Thinking’s great post: Everybody’s Got Something to Hide, Except for Me and My Monkey

After reading this, you can thank Stephanie at Listful Thinking for your new knowledge of Professional Detachment. Brilliant post—just what I needed.

Listful Thinking

Remember that time I was mad at every single person and object on the entire planet for no reason at all? I figured out what my problem was.

I had way too many monkeys.

Not, like, actual monkeys. I should back up.

Last week I asked my boss, Ike, if it was alright for me to stop going to a meeting that always leaves me with a feeling similar to the kind one might experience after repeatedly slamming one’s head into a brick wall.

A brick wall that won't listen to any of your ideas and gets really upset when you question it. A brick wall that won’t listen to any of your ideas and gets really upset when you question it.

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No Apology Necessary

I apologize for everything. I think a lot of women do. I apologize for legitimate things like stepping on someones toes (literally and figuratively), forgetting a birthday, and hurting someone’s feelings. I also apologize for needing a towel when I visit my mom, for my house being a bit messy when I get unexpected visitors, or when my guests have to walk upstairs to use the bathroom.

The first time I realized how much I apologized was about a decade ago when my mom, who was very annoyed by it, kept telling me, “No apology necessary.” She also said, “If you apologize one more time I really am going to be mad.” I think all this apologizing comes because I am a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy and comfortable when they are around me. I don’t want people to think poorly of me or my family, and I generally don’t want to feel like I am inconveniencing anyone.

I was at the orthopedist today for a check-in about a torn meniscus in my knee. Last night I realized I would have to pull my pant legs up at one point during the appointment and I hadn’t shaved my legs. We’re not talking Sasquatch hairy, but it was definitely noticeable and prickly. I was so tired, I just decided to not worry about it and apologize instead. So I am sitting on the table in the exam room and my doctor asks me to pull up my pant leg. I was all ready to start in with my excuses and apologies when it hit me—why should I have to apologize? It’s hair, not poison ivy. I choked back my ‘I’m so sorry I didn’t shave. Sorry,’ and instead said, “You’re going to have to deal with hair, I didn’t have time to shave.” That wasn’t exactly a non-apology either. It was just me trying to be tough and then explain myself. I shouldn’t have said a thing. I should have owned it, like a strong woman who doesn’t need to explain her hygiene routine to anyone.

It’s so hard to let people see you in a vulnerable state and not offer excuses. It’s hard to know that some people don’t like you, or are mad at you. It’s hard to be a mother who doesn’t apologize when your kid is just being a kid. It’s hard to feel like what you do is good enough. It’s hard to be a woman (I’m sure it’s hard to be a man too, but I am a woman, so I can’t really speak to the whole man emotions). Damn, but it’s just plain hard some days.

I am working on using ‘I’m sorry’ at appropriate times, so until then, please excuse me. I might finish each ‘I’m sorry’ with an ‘Or am I?’ Would that be too weird?

My Dog

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Ralph is my dog. He sports a scruffy beard, bad haircut, and a cowlick on his forehead. He won’t fetch, has bad breath, growls at everything, and sucks on the fir of his toy mammoth like a puppy at his mother’s teat.

Ralph is stubborn. He will find the smallest pillow in the house, drag it to the ground, and make it his bed. He refuses to acknowledge that some pillows are just too small for him. Instead, he will do absolutely anything to keep all of his parts on top of the pillow—even if it means hooking a back foot into his collar to keep it from slipping.

Ralph has deep, soulful eyes that he uses to get extra treats or make me feel like he knows when I’m sad. He gets excited when he sees me get ready for bed because he knows he will soon get to burrow under the covers and sleep behind my knees.

Ralph has a very short memory and must bark and growl at all of my friends, no matter how many times they come to visit. He forgets he just ate an entire bowl of food and begs for more if he thinks I am headed for the kitchen. Ralph snuggles by my side even if I’ve just yelled at him for being a d-bag.

Ralph is happy to see me when I get home, and sad when I leave. He licks the sheets at the bottom of the bed just in time for my bare feet to make contact with it at bed time. He groans with pleasure when I scratch under his collar, and growls with impatience when I try to trim the hair on his feet.

Ralph is not just a dog—he’s a friend and I am his human.

Bookstores Smell Like Happiness

I found the ideal book smell in a small used bookstore in West Seattle this past weekend. I was visiting friends and we walked into a small shop off California Ave. where the owner, who inserted herself into all our conversations, made the experience even more enjoyable. The front of the shop had the usual assortment of books, but around a sharp corner was a display of loose leaf teas, and around another, a display of spices. The scent of old books combined with dried sage and jasmine blossom tea, was heady. I purchased a few books, and was rewarded with a reading from the small volume of poetry in my stack. The owner was quite impressed with herself and waited for applause—which we happily supplied.

The bottom two photos are of the independent bookstore near my home- BookPeople of Moscow. It used to be a bit ramshackle, with stacks of books set precariously around the shop, and older gentlemen lounging on couches to read the morning papers. You could never find a thing you wanted, but somehow managed to find exactly what you needed. It has since changed owners, and they have done an amazing remodel—beautiful floors and shelving that are categorized just so—it is quite nice, but not quite the same. You can no longer find a corner where the books muffle the outside world. I often think orderliness is overrated.

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