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Be Nice or Go Away

Years ago, before signs with inspirational phrases, proclamations and personal mantras were in vogue, I bought a sign that read, “Be Nice or Go Away.”  I looked at other signs in the shop and couldn’t decide what the right message was for our home. It’s not the most positive phrase but it’s pretty direct and I liked that about it, so I bought it. It has been hanging above a doorway in my home ever since.

It’s a simple concept, being nice to someone but it doesn’t seem to be that simple for people to do all of the time.

Image courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic

Image courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic

After the Super Bowl XLVII, people were relentless in their crucifixion of the Seattle Sea Hawks coach, Pete Carroll after the final call that cost them the game. I just don’t understand it. The guy got them to the Super Bowl! He is a smart man and had the play gone well, they wouldn’t have thought twice about the call. Calm down America! Get this upset about racial injustice, unemployment, poverty or the something that matters.

It’s not just happening in the media though, we see meanness and insensitivity toward servers at restaurants, sales clerks and even our kids’ teachers sometimes. We see it on social media, where the written word can really pack a punch and stone throwers can use hashtags and hide behind a ghost name. #hatersgonnahate people but pay attention to the word, “we”…we all can be mean.

In fact, sometimes we are actually the worst to those who are closest to us. They are the people, who we need on our side when the going gets tough. I know that despite my sign, many a mean word has been used and even shouted in my own home.

Note to self: Must Do Better!

How about our work family? We are supposed to be a team and yet I hear countless times about managers storming into offices with fingers pointed,

“Who authorized payment on this?” A simple rephrasing might keep Jim from constantly eyeing the Exit door.

“Hey Jim, Could you help me figure out what happened with this payment?”

image from recognizethisblog.com

Imagine Julie’s stress hormones coursing through her veins as she hears, her supervisor yell,

“Sally told me that your people didn’t follow closing procedures again!”

Maybe Julie wouldn’t have as many sick days if it went more like this,

“Hey Julie, do you have some time to look at our closing procedures with me?

By the way, it’s not just the people running the show who are guilty.  Employees can be thrown under the bus by their own coworker or backstabbed by a colleague in the next office. Meetings are held without all of the stakeholders present. People are cut out of a department without asking the manager how the work will get done.

According to chartcourse.com, “estimates show one out of every three people are dissatisfied with their current employment situation and could leave for better positions as the economic situation continues to improve. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Wall Street Journal website completed the Job Recovery Survey. The key findings revealed 64 percent of employees said they were extremely likely to begin or increase the intensity of their job search. An additional 19 percent said they were somewhat likely to increase their search.”

So, how do we fix these issues that rob our true human resources and hurt our bottom line?

There are many team-building activities that can be done to fix these problems. There are training programs on how to manage better. Personality profiles help explain our work style differences. An improved evaluation process that is actually implemented will do wonders with managers’ and employees’ expectations. Employee engagement initiatives help employees feel valued and work with the company’s best interests in mind. If you are constantly refereeing squabbles or too busy with exit interviews…seek help.

Images courtesy of imgarcade.com

Images courtesy of imgarcade.com

The tools are available and will be worth the investment in time and resources.A good HR director or consultant can use the right tools to help create a positive workplace where people will …Be Nice and Not Go Away

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These dogs playing poker paintings are a lot of work for me. I have to figure out how to make dogs do things that dogs don’t really do. I look at a lot of photos and sketch a lot, erase a lot and paint, change, and paint again. The truth is that I still doubt myself in the beginning. It was no different my 4th time.

Which brings me to Zelda and Otto, two adorable Weimaraners, who live in Chicago. My client ordered this painting to give as a gift to his college friends from Cornell. To personalize the painting, I added Zelda’s favorite treat, green beans and gave her a big glass of red wine. Otto has a beer and is a stinker, trying to cheat at the game. While my client and his friends were at Cornell, someone pulled a great stunt, by getting a pumpkin on top of the clock tower, so we got that into the painting. I love doing fun little personal jokes and insights into the dogs’ personalities.

Thanks to my clients who trust me, despite not really seeing a lot of these paintings, when they order. Special thanks to my first client, Julie, who trusted me without seeing any dogs playing poker paintings. This time, my doubt faded as usual and I ended up being really happy with the result. The best part is that my client loved it and his friends did too! My clients are all REAL dog lovers and I am too. I love hearing about their past and present dogs. And, my clients are super fun, interesting people. It’s been fun connecting with people in Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Maryland all about their dogs playing poker. What a strange world we live in but kind of cool too.

Where Does Time Go?

I love summer.  I love the heat, the food, going to a lake house, sitting on the patio, and feeling the sand between my toes and the sun on my skin.

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I know it’s bad and I use sun block but I love being outside and seeing my skin turn a bit brown.  I love sleeping in and I’m so grateful that I can.  But believe it or not, I love getting up to meet my friends for early morning tennis on our neighborhood courts. It’s been a great summer.

So we are winding down; school has started and little signs of Fall are starting to show themselves.

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The kids have gone back to school and it’s time for me to go back to work too. I’ll admit, I didn’t get much done this summer.  My project list is still long.  I was going to devote my summer to “my art.”  Somehow, laundry, dinner, the dishwasher, driving kids around…and yes, tennis, got in the way of “my list.”  But boy was it a fun summer. I did do one painting, a tiny portrait of Maverick, a golden retriever, who passed away.  His family wanted to enjoy his image in art.

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I also haven’t done any blogging in awhile but thought I’d post a couple of drafts I had written before.  I’m not sure how those bloggers make careers out of it, although I’m sure it does involve a lot of time invested. It’s fun for me but probably not going to be a career.  Keep me in your prayers as I look for a job.  I’ll keep doing my art but am looking for something fun and fulfilling.  Of course time will be an issue. Any new endeavor picks time from another pocket. There is always too little. Those summers that used to seem to go on and on are blips on our personal timelines.  As stores set up Halloween decorations, I hold onto the hope of more golf, more outdoor tennis and more sun on my skin.

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Disclaimer:  Thanks to my better half, for letting me sleep in, understanding my tennis bug and letting me have a great summer! You are the best!

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 Cheater, Cheater Ballpoint Pen Eater

Kenny and Julie are dog lovers.  They’ve taken sick dogs into their home and volunteered at the dog shelter.  Julie contacted me to see if I could paint something very custom and very unusual as a gift for Kenny.

Kenny had mentioned to Julie that one day he’d love to have a man cave and in this man cave, there would be a painting of their dogs playing poker.  So with that in mind, Julie found my pet painting website and asked if it could be done.

This was a fun challenge and they were such great clients.  Julie sent me photos of all the dogs with complete descriptions of their personalities.

The primary challenge was not having pictures of the dogs in the right positions.  My dogs modeled a bit and Google is great for getting photos for reference.

We agreed that I’d do a drawing for Kenny’s birthday, so he could put in special requests and have the painting done for Christmas.

Inspired by the famous series of paintings done by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, I set out to do Kenny’s dogs.

Olive

There’s Olive, on the left, who’s bossy and likes fruit.

Rugby (RIP) was Kenny’s boyhood dog.  I only had two pictures of him to reference.

Dora, the lab is their current dog.  George, the “old man” was only with them a short time but they loved him immediately.  He came to them sick and lived there until he died.

Milo

Milo, is a little dickens, always chewing pens and scrapping with the other dogs.  He ended up having to move into a friend’s home, where he gets into less trouble.

Kenny and Julie seemed thrilled with the painting and I look forward to seeing a picture of it hanging in the man cave!  I loved the challenge of this assignment and I’m willing to try other special requests.

Do you have a dog, who you want see doing yoga, playing the violin or maybe surfing?  I’m up for it.  Check out my website www.custompetpaintings.com and send me a note.

Trinity Free Clinic

 This is the Chapel in the Trinity Free Clinic which is on the Our Lady of Mount Carmel “campus.” Our parish serves those people in Hamilton County who cannot afford healthcare or dental care.  The same building houses a food pantry and other household items that are donated.  The entire center is called the Matthew 25 Community Outreach Center and thanks to countless donations and volunteer support, we have a beautiful new building to serve those in need.  For more information, check out the article in the Indy Star.

http://carmel-indiana.us/2011/07/16/hamilton-county-ministry-cuts-ribbon-on-its-matthew-25-center-today/

I did the lettering and painting in the children’s reading area.  Many people came together with their gifts and talents to create this building.  It was great to be a part of it.

 

Graduation Decor

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Not much in the way of blogging lately but I thought it was worth showing you my latest little craft.  My ADD brain was cleaning the house yesterday including the garage and I saw the empty door to the garage and decided to take an old racquet that was broken and make it into something new.
With my daughter’s graduation party coming up, her love and mine of tennis, and her school colors being purple and gold…this seemed fitting.
Too bad I don’t have a picture of my husband rolling his eyes as I finished my new wreathet.
I guess I should get started on the things that people will really notice like clearing off the dining room table  and actually having food in the house.
What’s the craziest or most inventive thing you’ve upcycled into something fabulous?

The Client

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Meet Vince.  He is a darling English Springer Spaniel and the apple of his parents’ eyes.  This painting was done from a picture taken at a photo shoot for our vet’s website http://www.hazeldellanimalhospital.com.
Vince is a beautiful dog who descends from a champion, James, aka Diamond Jim, who won at Westminster in 2007. 

I really enjoyed painting him. I love the pose of him in the photo but was told to take a little of the red out of his coat to more accurately capture his liver coloring.  I’m pretty happy with the result and I hope his parents are too…after all he is practically royalty.

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