Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Electronic Hand Towel Dispensers

What's wrong with the manual hand towel dispensers?

* Same amount of waste
* No electricity required
* They don't break

Friday, December 5, 2008

Business Process Management

Pam Slim has a great post describing the benefits and how to of Business Process Management or Reengineering as it's still called sometimes.

It's unfortunate that most companies seem to wait until the plaster falls. Imagine how strong our economy would be if companies got serious about their processes before the roof started to leak...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hi from Destiny

I have a six year old niece.

She sent a message to me today via a coworker who's son goes to the same school. She said to say hi and to have a good day.

Is it amazing that a six year old understands the power of making a connection? Or have we (as adults) just forgotten how?

A blog is about making a connection. If it wasn't, it would be a diary.

I absolutely want to make a connection... I want to share my ideas, to learn from others, and then to grow those ideas.

So, in the spirit of my very wise six year old niece... Hi. I hope you have a good day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I often hear: if you don't know the answer to something, you should ask. So, who better to ask then the people you are there for, right?

Last week I was invited to participate in 2 different surveys. One from my employer and one from a web community.

The employer survey went like this:
  1. An enterprise email from the Behavior Improvement Team (sic) promising it will only take 20 minutes and is anonymous.
  2. 29 questions, of which 25 are required.
  3. When you put the first 5 questions together, you can figure out who the responder is.
  4. A follow-up enterprise email stating that it really is anonymous.
The web community survey went as follows:

Q1: How likely are you to attend and event in Milwaukee?
A: 1 (unlikely) to 10 (very likely)

Q2: What is the reason for your answer?
A: a text box where I can enter my reason how ever I choose.

So what's the point of highlighting these two surveys?

The web community survey made me feel as if a real person was reading the responses. Then this real person would actually use these responses to determine if the event was good as stated, or needed to be modified. Also whether Milwaukee is a good choice of location. Two thoughtful answers from one question for less than 2 minutes of interruption from it's constituents.

My employer's survey, felt more like bait and switch. True, employee satisfaction is meatier than a one-time event, but... (1) a Behavior Improvement Team feels like something you would encounter in a Corrections Facility, (2) multiple promises of anonymity makes me feel they don't mean it, (3) previous similar activities resulted in no action.

Wouldn't it have been better for the employer to actually observe their constituents, make changes accordingly, and lead with action not words? This builds trust. Then they could use the survey tool for one topic such as "Do you know how you fit into the company mission?"

I don't think organizations want to intentionally irritate or insult their constituents.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Sometimes my husband and I just start laughing. Laughing for no reason. Once we get started, it gains a life of it's own. When it's over we feel great. Energized and Happy.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First Frost

Today, I scraped ice off my car windows.

It's the first time this season.

Winter is coming!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This weekend a campaign canvasser came to visit.

She was not the first from this campaign, nor will she be the last. I politely told her that I had made a decision, would not share it with her and that I intended to vote on actual election day.

After she left I began to wonder why there is so much focus on the Presidential election. Why not more attention for the 4 of 5 congressional seats that are up for election? What about the several judges, district attorney and bonds we are also voting for this year? Why is it that we only seem to care about the President?

Of course, if my canvasser had been paying attention, she would have noticed the yard sign we put up in support of her candidate less than 2 hours before she came by.

Friday, October 10, 2008


In one of my earlier posts, I label myself as an Alpaca Breeder. Here's proof. Introducing:

Alpacamundo's Augustus - white male, born 8/22/08

Alpacamundo's Daisy - brown female, born 9/13/08

Thursday, October 9, 2008


It's hard to be optimistic when it seems as if the world is falling apart.
  • Financial Systems
  • Outsourcing
  • Disease and Illness

But really, the world is an amazing and wonderful place.

  • Babies being born
  • People helping people
  • The sun coming up every single day.

I love our planet and I love my life. I have no idea what tomorrow (or even today) will bring, but I do know it will be an adventure.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hair Donation

When my sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer recently I decided to donate my hair. My hair is a trademark, but this was a no-brainer. I absolutely wanted to donate it. I wondered if there was a way that my hair could be made into a wig for her.

The agencies I found have very specific criteria for length, color, health and chemical treatments. Very few make wigs for adults and I did not find any that make custom wigs. I'm sure they're out there, I just did not find them.

So, no problem on the length and my hair is very healthy. The problem comes when we get to color and chemical treatments. I'm close to the minimum 5% grey. Therefore I color my hair, which makes my potential donation unacceptable to most agencies.

Then I found Matter of Trust, an organization that accepts hair donations of any condition. They turn the hair and animal fiber into mats that are used to clean up oil spills, like the Cosco Busan Spill in the San Francisco Bay last November.

I am excited about this discovery and I feel very good about being able to make a donation that will go to a good cause. As for my sister-in-law, she found a couple of very good synthetic wigs.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Great Customer Service

Some companies are so easy to use.

I have a short list I start with because they consistently do a few simple things:

1. They acknowledge my order
2. They tell me when they plan to ship it
3. They tell they did ship it
4. It arrives when they said it would

And for two of my favorites:

5. A real person contacts me after it arrived to say Thank You and ensure it did indeed arrive as expected

Truly great customer service is a treat.

A huge Thank You to Southwest Airlines, DermStore, Wild Fibers Magazine and Light Livestock Equipment.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Great Day

I spent the day doing what I love; working with alpacas. I sheared baby fleece off several young crias (nursing alpacas) as well as the leg fleece of a local herdsire (breeding male alpaca).

After the shearing was done and we were cleaning up, I heard the ranch owner yell, "nose and toes."

I thought, "What in the world is she talking about? She must be talking to someone else."

Then I heard her yell "Kathryn! We're having a baby!"

I immediately abandoned my partially cleaned up mess and ran outside to see an alpaca in the process of being born. This was the first birth I have been privileged enough to witness.

She is beautiful and as far as I know still un-named.

Today was a great day.

Friday, October 3, 2008


While contemplating my new blog today, I tried to figure out what to put in the "about me" section. I have to be able to market myself, right? Here’s some labels I came up with. No wonder I feel so scattered most of the time.

Alpaca Breeder
Aspiring Ranch Owner and Operator
Business Owner
Aspiring Author
Marathon Groupie
Really Good Cooker of Food
Recovering Engineer
Business Process Designer
Product Developer
Aspiring Yogini
Team Member
Seth Godin Groupie
Most of all: Loving Wife to my Perfect Soul-Mate

But, I still don't know what to put in the "about me" section.

First Time

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog. Actually, I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while. Mostly, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get all of the thoughts that live in my head into an organized cohesive group that would work as a consistent brand.

Then today, while in conversation with a friiiend, something struck a chord. It doesn’t have to be cohesive. It just has to be honest. It just has to be me.

So here it is. Kathryn's Brain: the (mostly random) thoughts, ideas and musings of Kathryn Ray. I hope you like it.