Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sitting... and not.

I've never been a fan of exercise.  nope.  not ever.  Growing up, the most exercise I got was walking to/from school (downhill on the way to, uphill on the way home) about a mile each way.  I might have ridden my bike to the McDonald's where I worked across the river (2 miles each way, maybe?).  But that's it.  I walked and biked around campus in college.

Then, when I grew up and entered the workforce, well, I started sitting.  and spreading.  Now as a court reporter and editor for same, I spend my entire waking life seated.  Even with the massage every three weeks, something had to give.  I'm always tight.  sore.  completely inflexible (meaning not flexible body-wise; I'm pretty easygoing mostly).  I have GOT to find something.

So I've been trying yoga.  I have done it in the past as an every-now-and-then, one-class thing.  And then I give up.  it's just too much.  That's my fault for not doing my research.  I've started researching now.  I have a one-month Groupon to use up at a Vinyasa studio where a friend teaches - Vinyasa being a pretty intense, high-energy workout.  I don't know how many classes I'll take after my Groupon is used up, but I've learned some things.

The feeling after yoga - even if you don't eat for two hours before, which they recommend - is great.  I wasn't hungry.  I wasn't tired.  I was all warm.  Even if a bit sore.  A yoga workout really can make you sweat (well, Vinyasa can, anyway).  And I have no balance.  Yet.

I think that my body needs to ease into yoga.  I found a Hatha style (more gentle) locally in Wake Forest, and also a private teacher in Raleigh; may try them.  Found some books at Amazon.  And an interesting exercise DVD called Callanetics (from the '80s).

After only two classes, I can feel the difference - my breathing is deeper; my muscles, while achy, are happy; and I actually am looking forward to learning more.

Everybody needs to get off their chair once in a while.  Hopefully learning the asanas will teach me more more balance, calmness, and get me to focus more on what I'm doing when I am seated in front of the computer.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Plover, the Open Source Steno Program: Introducing the Ploverpad!

Plover, the Open Source Steno Program: Introducing the Ploverpad!

I was blown away by the passion and excitement that Mirabai has for this idea. And I think it's brilliant! If we can get the concept of steno in the hands of our small people - at a very early age - then by the time they're ready to pick a career path to follow, they'll know about court reporting.

THIS solution - and THIS passion - is what will reinvigorate our profession.

Amazing. Just amazing.

The Power of One

This weekend I participated in what had to be one of the best court reporting conferences ever.  And I know of what I speak; I've either attended, planned, or spoken at at least two dozen conferences (or more) in the past decade. What I saw this weekend in Alexandria, VA, at the Greater Washington Shorthand Reporters Association (GWSRA) conference was mind blowing.

First, the location was pretty darn centralized; pretty easy to get to by car, train, or plane.  And many people did get there from far away - like California, Oregon, Texas, Florida.  And others from less far away - New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Carolina.

Second, the food was amazing.  You all know what to expect from convention food; right?  Rubber chicken, boring salad, and dry/overcooked appetizers.  Not so.  From the opening reception's wine and cheese (with upscale cheese, wine, and excellent extra munchies like candied walnuts and dates) to the incredible breakfast spread (asiago cheese bagel?) and the catered lunch, it was OUTSTANDING!  There wasn't a thing I put in my mouth that wasn't scrumptious.

The vendors were there, and were very well represented.  CAT vendors, agency representatives, local reporters with personal sales items (Silpada jewelry, anyone?!).  There was a silent auction and a raffle, which I hope raised a good bit of funding for the organization.  (I for one am happy to walk away with a raffle item!)

But best of all was the presentations.  High energy, every one.  Positive.  All about saving the profession.  About using technology.  About upping your game just that little bit extra.

The most amazing thing was that this whole convention was the brainchild of one person whose initials are MAP, and who had incredible help from her organization of volunteers.  To effectuate an event like this takes time, effort, love, blood, sweat, tears, and passion.  I believe that every single person who attended the session came away rejuvenated and refreshed and ready to take positive steps to improve not only themselves, but their chosen profession as well.

Kudos to you, my friend.  Job well done.  I'll see you next year.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Time to be Inspiring!

I was invited to speak at the Greater Washington Shorthand Reporters Association for their fall meeting.  To be included on the speaker list was humbling - the list of luminaries of the profession is daunting!  I'll try.

There was no real set topic for a good long while; eventually, it became "Staying Relevant" geared toward officials, but I think it is a good topic for all of us.

I don't profess to be any sort of expert; I can just share my experiences both from the courthouse and the freelance arena.  I've worked with realtime reporters and reporters who don't do realtime.  I can share observations of perceptions of reporters that I've gleaned from attorneys, judges, clerks, etc.  It's a scary thing out there, folks, when our destinies are not controlled by us.  The good news is that we CAN have a direct influence on the people who DO have control over our destinies.  We can educate them.  We can SHOW them the untapped potential that they have in their cases (discovery, impeachment, trial prep) if they utilize us to our full potential.

Of course, that means that WE have to be living up to our true potential and skill.  So I hope that I can inspire one or two folks to up their game or help their colleagues move to the next level.

See you in Alexandria!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Unlearning and Relearning

One of the things that I've had to do is accept that I'm not in charge of the transcript anymore.  I have to follow the templates my clients choose.  Not easy.

But I'm willing to do it because that's good customer service.  To that end, I traveled up to Massachusetts this past weekend to attend a seminar on punctuation.  Yes, you read correctly.  I said punctuation.  The program was six hours of remedial English.  But for someone who hasn't really been in an English grammar class since, oh, I don't know, 1983, it was needed.

Some things have changed since then.  Most alarmingly, the comma before "also" and "too" at the end of a sentence.  Trauma.  I'll live, but it was a humbling moment when she said something along the lines of "you're aging yourself if you use it" in your work.  Well, drat.

Then there was the Oxford comma.  Me, I'm a fan of the serial comma.  I believe that it's important, if you are talking about three things, that you can differentiate each and every one.  You know, Tom, Dick, and Harry.  Unless, of course, you think Dick and Harry are currently in a relationship.  Then the comma can go.  (who knows, they may be.)

But there are rules that I had to reacquaint myself with.  Some rules that only apply to court reporters because we have to take the SPOKEN word and put it to paper; we're not dealing with pristine English, oh, no.  People don't always speak well.  We have to make what they say make sense and read well to the person who sees that end product later on down the road.

We received a 500-page resource book this weekend.  I've not even scratched the surface of it.  I'm sure it will be sitting on my desk as my new best friend for a long time to come.  And I bet if I have the chance to take the seminar again, I will do so.  It'll take some time for me to unlearn some of the things I thought I knew.