No matter your growing goals, there’s a smart garden system to fit your space.
— Read on www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/best-indoor-garden/
Step up your cycling game without leaving the house.
— Read on www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/the-best-indoor-bike-trainers-for-2021-tacx-wahoo-saris-and-more-compared/
Yesterday’s e-bike disconvery…the smallest I have seen. It was bought at Costco by a very dilligent shopper who checked availability very frequenlty. It folds down very compactly. Jetson brand.
Every morning when I get up see the sky and clouds, I can’t wait to get outside for a walk. I love the panoramas, after living in the city all my adult life. Here is a selection of photos from my walks on Hornby Island (1-12) and Courtenay. Everyday the landscape is different. People on the west coast say “if you don’t like the weather, wait for an hour and it will change”.
All my photos except two were taken with my Iphone 7 or 6. Two were taken on my new Canon Powershot SX 70. Can you tell the difference? I can’t. It’s the last three.
Thanks to https://secondwindleisure.com/photography/sunday-stills-photo-challenge.. join her to do your own #sundaystills post.
Zoom Room Meeting protocols:
This is the third part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.
The Zoom Room experience has been fun and interesting. I think we and others broke new group during COVID19. I have made a list of some of issues that may came up and how your group might tackle them. Option 1 is to set up some meeting protocols at the beginning. Option 2 is to deal with protocols as you go along. Initially too many protocols can be overwhelming, but they can help to set some expectations about behaviour and help build stability during a time of rapid social change and unpredictability.
- Structured vs unstructured meetings: Members will have different experience with speaking out in a group or in a video format. Some people will not want to show their face and just use audio. Some people like having a set time and sequence to speak and others like a more random conversation like at a cocktail party. Try out both modes and see what the group like. The unstructured mode can generate spontaneous discussions, but quiet people may need a prompt from the group leader.
- Focus Be clear about the intent of the Zoom meeting, but this can morph over time.
- Security: lots of people are anxious about the possibility of being hacked. Some general discussion might be helpful about how to protect privacy on Zoom.
- Behaviour: There seems to be some unwritten code of conduct on Zoom. Some of these codes of conduct are about swearing, disrespect, grandstanding, interjections, people talking over each other etc. A group leader needs to attend to these behaviours so they don’t sabotage the meeting.
- Privacy/confidentiality – I have found that bonding occurs in most Zoom meetings. This includes my ESL students as well as friends and acquaintances. I have found conversations are quite deep and that people are open about self disclosure. As a result there is an assumed level of privacy, which is not often explicitly discussed in the meetings.– Decide if you mind having family, guests or others in the Zoom room. Sometimes girl talk is private! Sharing the meeting content with people outside the meeting may come up as an issue. Find a level that is acceptable to most people. If you are a blogger and want to blog about your experiences with the group, get a pre-approval from individuals if you want to refer to their blog or post pictures. One Zoomer says ” What is said in Zoom stays in Zoom”.
- Time out– Feel free to take time out or leave when you need to. Give the group the heads up.
- New members/visitors/guest speakers– There may be subtle groups norms in your group. Its a bit like clique in high school. One group may want to keep the same members and others may welcome new members. In this moment of COVID 19, being open to new members may be the more altruistic approach but it may be challenging for new members to get up to speed. Getting some agreement about these issues early on is wise.
- Zoom fatigue:-
Many people who are working at home may be too Zoomed out to participate. This might lend itself to a once a month drop-in Zoom meeting with a guest speaker that doesn’t require a high cognitive demand.
constant vs rotating. Once members have learned the Zoom process, they can take on some responsibility for organizing meetings and being the discussion leader. Having the same facilitator is easy but rotating facilitators builds Zoom confidence and polishes up social skills in a time of isolation. Give people a few weeks to get comfortable with the format.
- Leadership skills: Having a group leader which experience with organizing and chairing meetings can be an asset. Having a chair who understands meeting dynamics is helpful too.
This is the second part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.
This section is a list of topics my Zoom group has used. They were all interesting and sometimes controversial topics which added to the fun factor for me. The first 30 min of the meeting was a brief update from each person about highs and lows of the week and the group found this a very valuable part of the meeting.
“Zoom calls done right, with the right people and the right trust in place is an astounding opportunity to gain better understanding of others and most notably, better understanding of self” https://retirementreflections.com.
- Did you have a desire to pursue another career, yet life moved you forward in this direction? What other career path would you have chosen knowing what you know now? Why?
- What is the most useless talent you have?
- What talent don’t you have that you wish you did?
- Share something that has inspired you this past week. e.g.
- personal anecdote
good news story
piece of art
- personal anecdote
- Recall a time that you have been politically active in a political party as a volunteer, campaign manager, candidate, or in some other capacity. Or alternatively, have you ever been an activist (e.g., participated in a march, letter writing campaign, blockade, etc.)? What motivated you to become active in a political party or a political activist? If you have never been politically active or an activist, why not?
- We are now in the ninth month of Covid-related restrictions. Please share one, or several, positive impacts this experience has had on your life and/or relationships. When this is over, how will 2020 not only be a year of loss and limitations, but also one that – because of the virus – we have personally learned something, done something, or experienced something we might not have otherwise?
Baking-Do you like to bake, or are you a big believer in getting sweet treats from the bakery instead? Does Christmas inspire you to bake? Do you have an old family recipe that you turn to again and again? Has COVID inspired a new interest in baking? Do you have a recipe or baking disaster you want to share?
Select an old photo of yourself that you really like – preferably one that is at least 10 years old. Tell us the story of that photo – who were you? What was happening in your life?
- Have you ever done a “gratitude practice,” and if yes, what was it and how did it work for you? Plus, what are the THREE most important things you are grateful for right now?
- A colleague once told me that he didn’t believe in retirement – that it only happened when we passed away. Up until that point, we are merely ‘writing’ new chapters in our life. In that spirit, describe this current chapter you are living in right now. Where are you in this chapter – a new beginning, a middle, or an end? What 2-3 phrases best describe you in this chapter?
- I have been fortunate to have had mentors. In school, work and in life. Do you have a mentor you would like to share with us? How did they mentor you? How did they change your life? It can be more than one person from the past or the present.
- What do you fear about getting older?
- If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- Do you have a favourite childhood Christmas memory? A Christmas tradition you carry forward? A new tradition? If you do not celebrate Christmas, do you enjoy the holiday season in other ways?
- What long term change, or new habit, can you see in your life as a result of this extraordinary COVID period?
- What are your coping strategies during Quarantine/ LockDown/ COVID19
- Best Apps for your phone
- If you could be any animal, what would you be?
- What are some of your favourite books?
- What is your Enneagram type?
With thanks to some of the Blogging Zoomers for their contributions. https://retirementreflections.com
This is the first part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.
COVID 19 has brought many challenges to everyone, including loss of social contacts and social support. I have found Zoom (and Facetime) to be vital in keeping me connected to people around the world. I had a wide variety of Zoom experiences including teaching students in China online, a Zoom social group (ZSG), playing games with family, and several large business and social meetings. I have found some people are interested in setting up a Zoom meeting with friends and family, but they express anxiety at the prospect of doing so. I am writing this blog to take some of the mystery out of Zoom. The members of the ZSG have expressed a lot of positive comments to me about the value of the Zoom group over COVID19 and I hope that other people will share the Zoom group experience in their own way.
This blog is as of Jan 2021 but things change almost weekly so be patient and ask someone for help. My instructions are for a PC and not a MAC or IPAD or IPhone. You can Zoom on mobile devices, but the functions and settings are fewer.
For MAC users, there is a website with details about Zoom.
Zoom is free for 2 people and free for 40 min blocks for more than 2 people. Currently the paid subscription is $ 20 CDN mo.
Setting up the Zoom app.
If you are the group leader
- Decide on who you want to join the meeting and create a group in your email contact program. You will use this again and again. Send out an email to find out if people are interested. Some people will not be interested. Give people a couple of options for time. If you have multiple time zones, specify which time zone you are using.
Get familiar with the Zoom program. Download to your PC or Mac and open the program. Set up an account for yourself.
Schedule a meeting. Click on the Schedule a meeting Icon and open the screen and fill in the relevant information.
Send invitation to members. On the Zoom Home screen click on the 3 small dots and then click on Copy invitation.
Then open your email application and post the invitation.
Add the members from your contact list in the TO: line. Add any information about the meeting, topics or personal messages and send.
Have a practice meeting is you are a beginner.
Leader – open Zoom and click on Start for the meeting you have scheduled.
Members- click on the invitation in your email, follow the instructions on the screen, wait to be let into the meeting.
Once you are in the meeting, go through introductions and topics for the meeting. You might have some ideas about the order of speaking, time for speaking, how to interject etc. You might discuss with members. Usually the first meeting is just getting used to Zoom.
Once of the most frequently used functions is showing pictures. For PC users there is an icon if you move the mouse over the bottom of the Zoom screen called Share Screen. Before you use the Share Screen you should save your pictures to a short cut on your desktop or task bar before the meeting so they are easy to find.
Click on the photo you want to share or use Control/click to choose more than one.
To exit, Click on the Stop Share command at the top of the page.
If you do not have a strong WIFI speed, it is strongly recommended you use an Ethernet cable to your computer instead of the wireless network. A short one will cost about $ 25 US but usually one comes with your computer. Connect it from the port on your computer to your wifi Modem. A WIFI speed test is free online. A WIFI speed of 15 is adequate. A wifi speed of 5 or less may interfere with ZOOM transmission.
What not to do
- If there is more than one household member on the call, it is better for each to have their own screen/device and mute if the other is speaking.
- I don’t think social meetings of over 10 people work well.
- Differentiate between a party with family and a discussion/support group. Some meetings are more fun or work better than others. Some can be chaotic, others didactic. Choose your meetings wisely.
Whatever you’re interested in reading, we curated the best retirement blogs for you that’s created and run by retirees, for retirees.
— Read on 4retirees.com/the-33-best-retirement-blogs-on-the-planet/
This has been a challenging year for us all. I have been fortunate to end up in Courtenay on Vancouver Island where there have been few cases of COVID19. In past years I have spend Christmas in Hornby Island, Puerta Vallarta, Costa Rica, Phoenix, Ottawa, Algeria and London England. As I went down memory lane in my photos, I enjoyed the memories each picture brought. I am enjoying watching Rick Steves on PBS and trying to see if I recognize any of the places he visits. This year’s pictures don’t have people in them for the obvious reasons. I will be doing a Zoom Christmas as others will be.
My favourite things to keep my busy have been walking, reading, Netflix, and my instant pot. I have discovered cooking as other have and have tested a few recipes I would like to share.
Slow cooker Spanish Stew
Jamie Oliver’s Pesto Recipe. Use fresh basil from Thriftys. I found a new pasta called pappardelle in a specialty deli which is like fettuccini which was not in stock at Quality Foods. Odd?
My Netflix favourites have been Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad and several series about politics: Designated Survivor (US), The Crown (UK). Borgen(Denmark) and Marseille ( France). These all captured my attention for many evenings over the past months. My favourite books of the year have been Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I’d read them all again.
Another activity that has kept me engaged has been a weekly zoom meeting with 7 other bloggers from across Canada and the US. We have met every weeks since March. We had an in person meetup with 4 of the bloggers on Hornby Island during the summer. It is a fascinating way to get to know people in a more intimate level than in person. I thank the bloggers for their fun and support over the year.
I thought I would share some pictures of the area and my new COVID pastime with my new camera. It’s been amazingly mild here and there are some great beaches for beachcombing and birding.
I wish a happy and safe 2021 to all my readers.
Nothing speaks better to our technology challenges than a word cloud like this. Do we all need to do a reset on our defaults? Just when we got a …