Kiwanis Awkwardness… (a rant of sorts and a whole lot of suggestions)

Oftentimes, Kiwanians ask me why more CKI alumni don't join Kiwanis after being in CKI. And I have a myriad of answers for them:
– they may not be settled yet in a city or in a career and don't feel they have the time or ability to contribute properly to a traditional club
– they don't want to be the only person asked
– they don't want to be the only 'young' person
– they don't want to be the only woman
– they may not feel like they can afford a dinner meeting AND dues because they have not been convinced of the benefits of joining yet
– the club that is asking them to join may not be healthy
– they may be burnt out from their experiences as a CKI member or executive or board member or officer or chair etc.
– no one bothers to ask them
– there is no Kiwanis club in the place they have moved to, and as a newcomer to the community they don't feel like they are the right person to build one
– the club that they're hoping to join doesn't seem to have a role for them
– they may want to be more or less involved
– the club may meet or do projects at an inconvenient time
– the club may be a cheque writing club rather than a service project-doing club
– they may be too busy trying to start a family/raise a family/working etc.
– the club is too set in its ways
– another organization might be a better fit for the time being.

That said, I usually only mention one or two of these reasons (befitting the situation, the club, the people in question etc.), and usually I explain a few of my favorite responses:
– be passionate about Kiwanis so people know that that's an important part of your life
– ask multiple former CKI members to join at once
– invite one person to join with his/her friends
– reevaluate your club and improve aspects that need improving
– be flexible
– give new members things to do (but NOT TOO MUCH!)
– give a former CKI member the chance to be A MEMBER (and not an exec etc.) if they want, to adjust to the different experience
– allow new members to shadow or be partnered up with more established Kiwanians to find out how they fulfill their roles in the club
– be involved with CKI during their time as CKI members, so they know who you are!
– do not be creepy
– focus not only on former CKI members but on professionals from all strata in society
– be friendly and active!

But what gets me, is when (and this has happened on several occasions over the last 11 years I've been involved in the Kiwanis family, though fortunately not frequently) I am honestly creeped out or disturbed or uncomfortable because of certain actions of current Kiwanians. And more than anything, ONE SUCH experience has the potential to keep a former CKI member away for a long long time. So watch out if you see any of your fellow Kiwanis members doing ANY of the following:
– making the club feel like an ol' boys club (no women allowed, no young people allowed, cigars and/or alcohol, inappropriate behaviour, only talking about people and things that the new members would have no familiarity with, no diversity [cultural, racial or otherwise] encouraged — these aspects can all contribute, and I've seen them) — please stop this if you notice this happening. Thank goodness it does not happen often anymore.
– making current CKI members uncomfortable (just as one shouldn't try to date a high school student if one is in a position of authority, one shouldn't cross interpersonal barriers or at least not make the first step with a CKI member [yes there have been marriages/relationships etc. with folks who have met through the Kiwanis family but please please please don't make yourself into the creepy Kiwanian at a CKI event!] — if you see this happening, do take action and TALK to the Kiwanian(s) in question!
– making fellow Kiwanians feel uncomfortable. I know you might be lonely, I know that you might long for friendship, and I know that you might not mean anything at all awkward by it, but arranging to meet up with a single younger Kiwanian in a situation that may otherwise seem like a date (if the ages or even mutual interests were even somewhat similar… when one party is more than twice the age of the other this doesn't tend to help) and treating it as if it is a date (even if you don't mean it that way) is/can be SUPER awkward. If I wasn't more dedicated to Kiwanis, a situation like this one could have scared me away. Be careful what image you're portraying!

If you want to be social my suggestions are:
– organize fun social events in GROUPS of Kiwanians or Kiwanis family members (and while the whole club need not be invited, or attend, encouraging a larger group to get to know each other is a good plan)
– do these social events in public locations
– make your club active! Encourage Kiwanians who might be lonely or less close knit with the group to get involved in projects! Find out what makes them passionate, be it a current club project or fundraiser or some other cause completely that you may not have ever heard about!
– let Kiwanians have some ability to suggest anonymously ideas and projects and social activities that they would like to partake in
– Have events or activities where spouses, significant others, CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, friends etc. are welcome and encouraged to attend! Kiwanis should be a family thing, and with the busy lives of 20-50 year olds these days the opportunity to bring their babes, toddlers, teens, children, friends etc. to some events does make some folks more likely to attend!
– Have events where CKI and other Kiwanis family branches are invited, or better yet, co-host said events with other Kiwanis family branches or even other Kiwanis clubs — if your Kiwanis club is struggling, interacting with other Kiwanis clubs can help!
– Finally, be friendly at your meetings and events, and encourage doing fun things together. I don't want Kiwanians to feel lonely. I don't want to feel awkward either. I want to be friends but APPROPRIATELY! I want to be a Kiwanian for my whole life! I'm passionate about the organization but sometimes things need to change. And while I'm perfectly fine with reminiscing about how things once were, that's not where we are now, today. Let's make Kiwanis into the fun experience it ought to be! Let's have those events we all want to be at, whether they're outdoor garden parties, movie nights, card or board game events, BBQs, fundraisers, trivia nights, fun casinos or anything else besides!

CKI has three tenants: Service, Leadership and fellowship. I'd like to remind the Kiwanians out there that we want the fellowship to be fun! Inappropriate or awkward is not the way it ought to be.

So, one of the hazards of working…

… in an entry level part-time job, even if it's only for a few shifts a week, is that in the Alberta economy, folks often aren't terribly reliable at said entry level part-time job (in other news, we're hiring! If you need a job my workplace is definitely having a job fair on Saturday looking for people to work in the Deli, Produce and Cashier positions).

I'm sure there are a ton of reasons on any given day why people would be absent. And I don't blame any individual for the fact that yesterday was exhausting: we were legitimately busy. Even if all those who weren't there had been present, we would have been run off our feet with customers. I honestly felt like I got a workout at self-scan and at the regular tills as well!

And this is generally a good thing, though I'm thinking the stress hormones aren't necessarily the bestest thing in universe or anything. Still, I did have a good and busy time at work yesterday! The day passed quickly… and I even remembered to use the coupon I brought to work and bring home some treats afterward (not that my house needs more treats! I definitely need to buy real groceries again next week, after all!).

Pizza, pizza, and more pizza!

So last night's board game pizza party was a rousing success! We had 5 pizzas and 2 DQ dessert pizzas make their appearance (though only small amounts remain thanks to people bringing essentially the right amounts of food!). Everyone, including those with dietary restrictions/limitations/requirements (whatever) seemed to get enough food, so that made me happy.

And we played three games. First we played a couple rounds of very competitive Bandu (it's one of my favorite games for good reason!), and then a round of Partini (which included some better hummers than usual, but as usual that category (humdinger) seems to be by far the most difficult.

Finally we played one VERY LONG (but oh so funny!) round of Things! And oh my gawsh the running jokes were amusing! So many Tom Cruise, Santa Claus, Twatvomit (or twat vomit, or Google twat vomit or Google Twatvomit, uh…) references among others… this game is so awesome for a groups! When I first started playing years ago it always devolved into 'your mom' jokes… now the reoccurring theme seems to be Tom Cruise as of late (and sex but that's to be expected!).

In otherwords, I'm glad to have good friends for regular board gaming opportunities. I'm endeavoring to have a good number of multiplayer games too to make these game nights more entertaining!

The next one's theme is Asian food and will be on the 9th of September.

I'm totally nerdy and I like it!

So yesterday, thanks to The Flog, I downloaded Pocket Planes for my iPod and have been playing that whenever the internet is taking a while to load a particular site or something.

Today I'm wearing my TARDIS skirt! And I'm hosting a board games pizza party! And I got my redditgifts AwesomeSocks gift that I thought would never come! 🙂 Three pairs of SUPER geeky socks AND a NKOTB card (?) from back in the day.

I'm going to make pizza later today. And probably do SOME cleaning. But I'm really looking forward to board games!

(Re-)learning how to nap well…

So I've gotten into the habit over the years of burning the candle at both ends so to speak, and well, my body does not handle this as well as it once did (darn aging/etc.!). So lately, given that my 'free'ish time has been in the mid afternoon, usually accompanied by things to do and whatnot, but often I'm so very tired at this point that I'm having short naps (whether intentional or not). Laury has given me some good tips that are helping prevent me from being more groggy upon waking than I was when I went to sleep to begin with or otherwise worsen my sleep deficit, but it's still a struggle. I've never been good at napping (was I good at napping as a child? I doubt it somehow, but maybe my parents might know/remember), but I do think that my sleep deficit these days is being helped by the short siestas I've been occasionally indulging in when able. Honestly what with timezones, being incredibly busy and doing so much, I've often not been able to sleep properly and this is only helping.

Not that it's a perfect solution: my naps are often interrupted by phone calls from work or other folks, and there are other issues as well… but I think it's a step forward for my personal health and happiness when I'm not getting enough nighttime shut-eye in particular. 🙂

Actually being at the Fringe this year was great!

I went on three separate occasions, which was pretty cool: I almost overdid it the first day but all in all it was a good time. It reminded me of how much I love live theatre (the Citadel season does not begin until September after all), and really, the nature of the Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival means that seeing a diverse variety of shows is quite to be expected, both in quality and theme!

Tuesday I came to the grounds early to get a cheap ticket for Plight. Plight was a superhero rock musical, and while I was perhaps not 100% a fan of all the lyrics, I thought the acting, singing, and fight choreography was top-notch! It was really worth attending this show — plus Jay said hi and was pretty enthused about my attending.

Later that evening (after perhaps a bit much sun, but also some redditgifts shopping, hangin' with Graham, festival food, a Kiwanis meeting and spending time with Dan and Eric) we returned to the Fringe to watch some mediocre buskers and I attended One Man Macbeth with Dan and Graham. This 30 minute play was a hoot! I must have giggled a dozen or more times in that half-hour alone! And the show wasn't just humorous: it had its serious moments too! But I loved the physicality of the acting, the use of toys, and much much more — plus the accents worked remarkably well. The trip home by bus was rather wet (with Dan and Graham) because the storm and power outage happened en route.

On Wednesday after work, Laury and I went for sushi before attending #yegprov. This was my first #yegprov but it was quite awesome! I totally had a blast — improv is quite fun! Plus, sitting in the front row means that they'll often take my suggestions (and the twitter aspect means that some are taken from the internet too!).

Thursday I returned one last time to the Fringe after Chicken for Lunch with Dave, running errands on campus, visiting Brandon at Wizards (and buying an awesome Graphic Novel which I just finished reading this afternoon — it made me cry! Baby's in Black, about the Beatles in Hamburg (and really Stu and Astrid)), and a pleasant walk through the Fringe grounds meeting up with Jamie and Graham, I waited in line for Sexed when the sky opened up with painful hail. We hid under the telephone awning thing at the Telephone museum until they let us hide inside before the show. For the rest of the day I had a large red mark on the back of my leg where a particularly painful bit of hail hit.

Sexed was a really neat show, sort of a mix between GOOD sex-ed, something like the Vagina Monologues, and short scenes from a play. It was really wide ranging about female attitudes toward sex (etc.) and covered both positive topics and negative ones. I liked the use of the bed and the fact that the information was accurate! This was with Maria (thanks for choosing it!) and Beth.

Beth and I walked through the storm to the Apocalypse Kow show where I finally got their second CD. It was awesome! I rather rather love this a cappella group and totally loved sitting front row for the type of concert where it ISN'T painfully loud, instead it is wonderfully pleasant! Maria (different Maria) and Glenn and I went to Remedy for dinner (as the rain had stopped) and we attended #yegprov again (if the weather had been better I would have considered returning to the main Fringe grounds to see something else, but heck, #yegprov is AWESOME, the cast is different every time, and they used my suggestion of a duck throughout many scenes (partially as it was initially forgotten)! I had a blast!

So really, this was a good amount of Fringing for me. I'd love to do more (my record was 12 shows in a year) but this was really quite satisfying.

Dreaming of the Fringe?

So last night I dreamed of attending bizarre Fringe plays in churches, abandoned building and fields with Laury (who was happy to see the play we saw together, phew!) and JD (who was being enormously picky and strange about theatre…)… and at some point this morphed into being in the plays themselves. This was an odd Fringe dream because although there were ticket box offices there were no kiosks selling things, no Fringe food vendors, no built up stages (the outdoor performances were conducted in completely empty fields), and the abandoned buildings in which plays were performed were disintegrating (much like a house I once painted) as the performances took place.

I woke up convinced that I had to make my way to the Fringe grounds today. Conveniently this will allow me to pick up tickets for tomorrow and allow me to hopefully obtain some cheap tix for at least one discounted performance today.

Also it'll put me in the area I need to be in to run a few small errands… mostly to find items for a RedditGifts secret santa exchange but there are a few other things too!

On playing Civilization V

So I don't often play video games these days on my PC (mostly as they tend to eat large chunks of time), and usually stick to relatively casual gaming on my iPod Touch. The exception to this seems to be when I decide to play Civ. And this weekend, I apparently did just that. It was a relatively good outlet for frustration, and well resulted in my first ever Cultural victory (note that I often aim for cultural victories but until now had yet to reach one, often getting scientific or diplomatic victory long beforehand). This felt pretty great but for two things
1. I much prefer playing Civ multiplayer, rather than playing against the Computer AI.
2. Near the end I just wanted to change strategies and win the war I was waging with an opponent (who was trying to kill my cities, darn him!).

I almost never play very offensively in Civ (though I imagine this might change given the right circumstances) and rarely play with as few cities as I just did (3). This made me feel pretty good! Next time I play Civ it will be with friends, hopefully. Maybe one day I'll finish the game with Eric and Dan? Or play with Laury or Tim or…?

Fringe thoughts…

Seeing as I put all of NO planning into going to the Fringe until today… and promptly realized that the 3 shows that I've actually heard of and seem like shows I'd want to attend aren't going to be all on one evening (which would have bean the easiest solution) but instead I'm going to have to make my way down to the Fringe on several occasions if I actually want to see all three (not sure if it'll happen though)… I figured I post to see if I can organize perhaps attending to see some of these with folks?

I already have plans for an enjoyable evening at the Fringe including #yegprov on Wednesday night. I really would like to see Apocalypse Kow on another night (not Friday or Wednesday), and I'd rather like to see Plight as well… and I'm sure there's other shows that are worth watching if I had company to see them with… Regardless, it would be nice to see some of the friends I haven't seen in a while if anyone's interested!

Four people still have six of my books (on what is apparently a long long term loan)

And, I really don't mind them having them if they're reading them or getting good use out of them. But if they are not (and if they're not somehow lost — and if they're somehow lost I'd love to know about it properly *sighs*) it would be nice to have them back. I like sharing books with folks (and I've loaned out many books with more prompt return times over the years!), but it would be nice to know (perhaps wishful thinking) the status of the following books I've lent out over the YEARS:
Flash Forward by Robert J. Sawyer (Kim has had this for, uh… nearly a decade? at least 8 years)
White Light by Rudy Rucker (Kim [see above])
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (Grant has had this since uh… early 2009 perhaps? I think it's permanently lost though 🙁 )
What Right? and What's Wrong? comic collections (Graham and Jamie have had these two books since 2010 I think?)
The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter by Linda Cobb (Benita has had this since 2011 I think)

I keep good records of who has my books and when they're returned I make sure to record this fact, and have also reorganized my bookshelves within the last calendar year so they're definitely not on my shelves. Again, I'm fine with them being borrowed, but it would be nice to know their status! 🙂