Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tales from my Ukulele Jam Sessions

A few nights ago my Mom and I headed down to the Public Library in Ingersoll.  I know what you are thinking, Wow!  Sarah you are such a thrill seeker!

Indeed it was the Library, but we didn't go for books, we went for a monthly Ukulele Jam Night.  I have to admit, I've played other instruments before, but to be honest, it's been many years.

So, I walked in with my son’s Ukulele (which was very out of tune) in my purple jam bag.  I didn't want to buy a new instrument just yet...I thought we should give it a try before making that leap.  I really needed to try this out before committing to a new purchase and wanted to see if I would "fall in love" with the instrument first.

I have to say there is nothing more exhilarating than trying something new.  I know that ukulele isn’t like skydiving...but it did force me to get out of my box. At the end of the day, I just wanted to try something new.  I walked into this experience not knowing the names of the strings and by the end of the night; I knew enough to play 'Amazing Grace' and 'You Are My Sunshine'!

Sharing my Ukulele experience with you is not what this is all about. It is more about sharing the experience and importance of opening your mind to the possibility of something new.  It could be as simple as trying a new kind of tea or coffee after dinner.  We have all our "favorites", our comfortable space where everything is to known us. There is nothing wrong with having that comfort...but if you don't give into the idea of trying something new, you are will never know what great experience is waiting for you out there.  What do you have to lose - nothing really?  You will either re-confirm that you still love and prefer your old ways - or - discover that you tried and experienced something new...perhaps something better...something you never loved before.

Sometimes at IPB we have to take a second look at a process. As cliché as it may sound, sometimes you need to look ‘outside the box' to fix what is wrong inside the box. It is about opening our mind to the possibilities of new processes and new jobs.  Perhaps you need to look for different ways to save time and money.  It reminds me of an old saying, ‘there are many ways to skin the cat’.  This is an expression meaning there are many different ways of doing the same thing. Terrible expression, but oh so true!

It was about a month ago when I saw the ad in the local newspaper that the Ukulele Group was meeting at the Library on the last Wednesday of each month.  My mom called to remind me of our plans.  I could have so easily said, no, not tonight.  I have 3 kids and there is a level of guilt for heading out after dinner.  But not that night - I said yes, I opened my mind to the possibility of something new.

As I walked into the house afterwards, thinking about my new adventure - I felt like I was on top of the world.  What a feeling!  I had met new people, and accomplished a goal. 

I wonder what I will try next!  I challenge you to try something new!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

It's more than "just a box"...

This past weekend we made a trip to IKEA.  We were on the hunt for a new sofa and when we finally found the one we wanted and picked it up, the kids seemed really excited.  The sofa was packed in 3 massively large boxes…and with all its wonder the boxes were more exciting than the actual sofa themselves.  
Why is it that all children, no matter the age – show more fascination with the box than what is actually inside?  But it’s not "just a box" – is it?  It’s the imagination of what the box can become that fascinates my 3, 6 and 9 year old.  From building rocket ships, to boats and houses, my kids were on a roll this weekend - Painting, drawing and cutting out windows to make their creations even more real.

With all this excitement, I couldn’t help but remember back to my years as a kid when my Dad would bring home boxes.  The 3 of us (I and my 2 bothers) would spend our days making houses with them.  We spent hours playing in our box, decorating them and putting our own special touch on each of them.  These were more than just boxes to me; they were “real” – with cut out doors and windows.  We would even eat our lunches inside, Good Memories for all of us!

One of the gals in the office shared a story about how her 2 year old son loves to play with cardboad blocks.  As her son got older, he started to build more…and there never seemed to be enough blocks for him.  So she took old tissue boxes and painted them…Voila, New Big Blocks!

I started to think about the company…and all the boxes we have made along the way. Our boxes have provided a mode of transportation and protection for products entering the marketplace, useful information on how to use products and a way to establish brand power among competitors.

It’s a funny thing to tell people I make boxes…Some wouldn’t think twice about it.
But for me… it’s more than “just a box”…isn’t it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It’s all in what you make of it.

Our cottage is a little further up north than just a “quick drive up for a weekend”. When we go, we plan on being there for at least one week.  So, as school was ending for 2011/12 we were planning our first trip up north of the season.

People always ask me “why in the heck would someone want a cottage so far way”?  I ask myself the same thing at times – why not Muskoka, Tobermory or one of the great lakes?  But for me, all it takes is stepping out of the car when we get to the marina to remind me why I love it so much.  The air actually feels cleaner; in fact I don’t take any allergy medicines while I am up there!  The quietness of it all, the tranquility that it brings me is beyond words.  I can’t describe it – You just have to take my word for it.

We don’t have any phones at the cottage, and cell phone coverage is spotty at times, we don’t get the newspaper or mail delivered to our doorstep and there is no Internet.  We do allow ourselves the luxury of satellite TV (for the odd rainy day and screaming child of course!)

This past winter we took the whole family to Mexico.  It was lovely.  Nice to get out of the cold and feel the sun on our bodies, we played by the pool and beach.  But with 3 kids to watch, listening to the beat of the music on the loud pool side speaker, and people trying to sell me stuff on the beach and chatting with the waitress who stops by to deliver drinks every 15 minutes…I can’t honestly say that it is the most relaxing get-a- away.  It was fun and we had blast, but relax – we did not.

I asked my daughter what kind of vacation she liked better.  Mexico or the cottage.  I was hoping she would say cottage, but nope, Mexico it was!  I asked her why?  Her reply was exactly what a six year old should say: “There is always something going on, it’s exciting and they speak a different language!”

As I sit on the dock and think about what she said - I can’t help but wonder what everyone’s perception of a good vacation is…is it relaxing or a fun vacation…maybe it’s an age thing J  But I guess when you think of it - any vacation can be fun (and relaxing).  It is all in what you make of it.  So instead of giving into the “boredom” of the cottage - I added a zest of fun for all of us…got out the music, danced around, made crafts with the kids and enjoyed the fun life that the cottage has to offer us.  We had a day full of happy vacationers…and after all the excitement died down, I found myself relaxing, sitting on my dock listening to the water lap on the boat with a smile on my face reading some Hollywood tabloid magazine.

You see, it’s all in what you make of it - you can have your cake and eat it too!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Germany and Back Again

When I travel for work I usually wait until the last minute to leave the house.  Initially, I am very excited about my trip…What new opportunities await me? Will I learn something new on this trip, who will I meet this time? But when it comes to leaving my family – I prolong the inevitable. 

In May I had the opportunity to travel to Germany for a once every 4-year tradeshow.  This show exhibits the latest and greatest in technology for the printing industry.  I have heard about this for many years.  Thought about going many times.  But it was never the right time.  So 2012 was the year for me!  I saw my opportunity and grabbed it!  I was DRUPA bound!

For those who have never been, the show is called Drupa; it is always held in Dusseldorf Germany.  The city is located right along the Rhine River, the waterfront and the old part of the city is the highlight of the town.  We were within walking distance of everything.  This part of this city was devoted to the show.  The city streets were lined with ‘Drupa’ flags, and logos…it was a true “Drupa” experience from the moment we stepped off the plane and were greeted by the Drupa Welcoming Committee.

With a rare opportunity like this to travel overseas, my husband came along with me.  A first for us!  In all my years of working at IPB, we have never been able to co-ordinate getting away like this (work travel).  He has never seen all there is to offer out there in the printing world!  Boy was he excited.  My husband, Suni is a mechanical person, far more mechanical than myself.  I rely on him to help me to understand how some machinery works.  So for him to see all of this first hand (other than what we have in our shop) was a real experience for him.

We landed Saturday and wanted to get started right away (yes this show runs for 3 weeks straight, including weekends!), but jet lag was getting the best of us!  We took a quick nap, and off we went!  Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the show.  We managed to see it all!  Now this show was so huge, and I mean huge.  There were over 17 very large buildings to go through.  Actually, huge doesn’t even begin to describe it!  It took me 3 days to see everything and after all of that walking, my feet were done in…even with my comfy shoes! 

Bobst was showcasing their latest and greatest in diecutting and gluing technologies.  Numerous board companies were there, all the printing presses looked very impressive.  But what I noticed the most was the amount of digital presses marketed towards our packaging industry. This is something that we have been looking at as an enhancement to our line up of machinery.  So I wasn’t unfamiliar with a lot of their names.  It was more shocking for me to see the strength of their presence at the show and the scale of their booths!

What I found the most impressive and ‘out of the box’ concept, was a company unveiling their laser cutting die cutting machine.  It was quite impressive, and although it is still in the formative stages and machines are not available for sale for another year or two…they had a packed house (or booth I should say). Providing a live demo every 2 hours, I among many others waited patiently for the “show” and I have to admit that watching the machines cut boxes with a laser certainly had a coolness factor to it.

When we were not at show; we spent our time exploring the city.  We walked along the river each night – lots of people out and about and we love to people watch!  Old Dusseldorf is filled with tiny restaurants.  Indian, Spanish, Italian, Beer houses, and pubs…It really felt like a multi-cultural melting pot.  We ate amazing dinners each night outside along the streets, sat in cafes and just sat back and watched the world go by. 

When I travel to different conferences I always try to bring home what I call ‘take aways’.  Something I have learned or something new I/we can implement at IPB.  There were so many great things that I saw and heard about.  Stay tuned for what will be coming to IPB soon!

Click to watch the most beautiful highlights of Drupa 2012 below - See you at Drupa 2016!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Tales of a Modern Day Hockey Mom!

I don’t make it to every game and if there is a Starbucks somewhere nearby (within a mile), I will go out of my way to pick one up before the game…and….I don’t bring a blow horn to cheer the team on.

I’m a wife and mother of 3, and while one child is on the ice playing hockey… my remaining 2 kids are hanging out with me – rink rats!  We always travel with some sort of bag full of goodies…from crafts to dinky cars to miscellaneous toys - we never leave our home emptied handed…and always carry a bag full of editable goodies - snacks!

The arena is always cold, and the benches even colder.  Most people bring blankets to sit on and try to keep warm – and I was one of them.  But this was the year I would change things up, it was my year to buy a new winter coat. I opted for a longer one, one that would keep me warm, or at least parts of me, warmer.  Problem solved, for me!  But….here we are…headed out the door and I still carry that darn blanket to each game. 

Most games and practices are scheduled on the weekends – which work out perfectly for us!  But once in a while, a game and/or practice will sneak up on us during the week. It was on such Thursday night that my evening was a blur.  The kids had already arrived home and enjoying a break after school.  After a busy day at the office - I came flying home to get everything going…Just to put things into perspective, we needed to be dressed and on the ice at 6pm, in an arena 45 mins away.  I knew we needed extra time before hand to get Eddie laced up and ready for the game.   

But there one was thing we needed to do before we could take off - Eat!  Yes, Dinner! We stopped along the way to grab what should have been “fast food”….only to find ourselves waiting for 20 minutes before we actually got to sit down and eat.  

It was at this point I accepted defeat and stopped looking my watch.  I knew we were going to be late, just how late was the question.  I decided that whatever happens – happens.  My kids are still young, and dinner time never goes as planned …2 bathroom breaks, a runny nose, and pop spill. 

By the time we were done, it was 5:50…We had 10 minutes to get to a place that was realistically 30 minutes away, and still needed to dress for the game.  I knew right then and there that this wasn’t happening.  I gave my son a big hug, explained what had happened.  He was pretty cool with it - As cool as he could be and had told me that I had already been forgiven. 

Our trip wasn’t a complete bust – We stopped at the Starbucks across the street – and all had a special treat on our way home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It Happens at Interphex....Are You In?

Click on image to regsiter
INTERPHEX brings together key pharmaceutical and biotech professionals with suppliers to create innovative solutions at the industry's largest event, and this year IPB will be there.

We're heading to New York to promote our unique Bobst in-line Braille embossing system for generating on-package information for the visually impaired. The acquisition of the Bobst Expertfold a year ago has revolutionized how we do Braille. IPB now provides reliable, cost-effective Braille dot definition over the entire length of the run complete with 100% accuracy guaranteed by the Valco Melton Captor T Braille and bar code verification system. We've received glowing feedback from many of our pharmaceutical clients who are impressed with the high quality Braille we produce, and we can't wait to share our innovative Braille solutions at Interphex.
Heading to Interphex? Look for us at booth # 3580 and check out our Interphex Exhibitor Profile

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Technology is a Wonderful Thing

Technology is great. I use it every day! I feel like I am missing my right hand if I don’t have my cell phone with me. I can’t remember the last time I bought a cd, I only download them now.

Our entire company runs on the latest technology. The latest piece of equipment we purchased only runs with a computer attached…and that very same piece of equipment is also connected to the internet, so the maker of the software can make updates and work out the bugs while it is running in our facility – all of this technology and troubleshooting done remotely somewhere online!

We have become dependent on technology…If our computer system goes down; we are all standing around, completely lost – just  wondering what we should be doing with our time.

There is alot to be said about technology, but I don’t forget my roots. There is nothing better than picking up a book, and reading it…yes, actually turning the pages and reading a book - If not to myself, then to my children. And why is it when I start to write, I pick up a pen and paper. There is just something comfortable to me about writing with a pen on soft paper. Hard to describe, yes, but totally irreplaceable.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What do you say?...

I was standing in my kitchen making dinner as I do every night and my son who is eight years old walked up to me.  He comes in for a hug and tells me how much he loves me.  This is very typical for him – he is a very sweet child (when he isn’t bugging his younger siblings)…and then he dropped a bomb of a question…the one I have been dreading for some time.

He asked me what sax was.  I was confused and asked him to clarify.  He gave me a strange look, and then I asked him to spell out the word.  It came very clear that he wasn’t asking me about a saxophone.  He spelled it out S-E-X. 

Now, just to be clear – reaction and body language was “cool and calm” but in my head I am screaming OMG…OMG…how am I supposed to deal with this – and where is Suni (my husband) – hoping he could help out with such a question.

But instead I very calmly say “Ah sex, well, that is when a Mommy and a Daddy make a baby.”  I wonder if this will satisfy his curiosity.  His response “oh” - and he has a funny look on his face and I can see there might be a few more questions lurking behind.

So I ask, “Do you have any other questions?”  He says that he does.  I say “go ahead and ask away”, trying my hardest to be very cool.  He asks; “What is 1 million plus 3?”