Life, the Universe, and Everything*
Musings from Linda / LUE-42 Enterprises      Issue #102, August 2019
     Crash! Boom! Bang! The sound of prairie thunderstorms throughout July? Yes, AND the sound of my computer crashing. Nearly two weeks without my main system meant I got to do manual labour related to my work -- cleaning files, shredding, sorting through storage, and reading back issues of Association Magazine and Governance Quarterly. It all needs to be done, right? When my shiny new system arrived, my files were right where I left them. But 40 Gigs of emails and 2400 contacts were gone. AND my back ups failed! After some begging, the techs found some email addresses with no names attached, but it's a start. As for my sophisticated email folder system (and the contents), the techs recommended in the strongest possible terms that I "enjoy my fresh start." So that's what I'm doing, although "enjoy" is a stretch. 
     Of course, my computer warned me it was sick, but I rolled the dice every day and eventually I lost. I did the same with my car, and believe my AMA membership just paid for itself. It's good to evaluate your association memberships from time to time. In my association audit, I did find one that is on the bubble in terms of value. I'll give it until the end of 2019 and re-evaluate. It's a good idea for us to remember that our members are doing this, too. 
     July saw plenty of activity around my Fringe show (rehearsals, rewrites, amassing props/ costumes, and fundraising). I continued my quest for good health and I've been catching up with friends for coffee, lunch, dinner, and calls/Skype sessions. I had a blast at quote-along Princess Bride, enjoyed a play reading ( Like and Subscribe), and marveled at a play ( The Bad Seed). I also attended Taste of Edmonton and KDays long enough to eat a pickle dog and sample Alberta beers.  
     I was a tourist in my own province when my Twisted Sisters and I ventured to Stettler and took Alberta Prairie Steam Train to Big Valley and back. We did the works -- food, entertainment, history lessons, and a train robbery/gun fight. Then we spent the night at a beautiful B&B in Ferintosh. Twenty-four jam-packed hours of delight.

     July marked the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk. If you were around in 1968 then you remember where we were. I was with my cousins on a local TV show called Popcorn Playhouse. It was Tracey's birthday and I had rehearsed exactly what I would say to Klondike Eric (the host). I also had a riddle for Muskeg the Moose in case I was selected. BUT right before Klondike Eric got to me, we were pre-empted for the moonwalk. Can you believe it? My big TV break gets eliminated because some guy walked on the moon?! Like a few things in my life, it's nothing that thousands of dollars and years of therapy won't fix.
     In the category of guilty pleasures, I binge-watched five seasons of Letterkenny. This show and its regional (Ontario) brand of Canadian humour are definitely not for everyone. Indeed, I suspect most of you could live a full and happy life without it. But for me, well, it was a magic elixir and the best part of a pretty great month. At least it took away the sting of Apollo 11...
Klondike Eric and Muskeg
A video
Not me, but just like me

" All endeavors, heroic or monstrous, scientific or philosophical, rise from the electrochemical functioning of the mind, that takes place relentlessly in the little specks of protoplasm inside the head. These specks of jelly inside the brain, known as the neurons, determine our identity, personality and everything that we are." 
Question: How Can We Improve Board Conversations?
ANSWER: Ask, listen, gauge, appreciate. 

          Healthy dialogue is essential to good board functioning. What makes dialogue healthy and useful to the board? How do we, as a polite people, gain understanding or get our views heard? 
          Jon Hockman's "Conversations that Count" (Associations Now 2017) summarizes the key practices in Nancy Axelrod's Culture of Inquiry that are so essential to board effectiveness.  
Ask Powerful Questions
You need a "shared board goal for a relentless pursuit of the information." To get there, "build questions that are simple and clear and that provoke thought, surface unconscious assumptions, and open new possibilities." Examples:
- How does this proposal align with our mission?
- Who specifically are the people that you claim are saying things?
- Is the pushback about this issue or something else?
- Of the reasons given why this won't work, which are based on fact and which are opinions?
- Does your silence mean you agree?
Listen for Understanding
You need to listen to what is being said (and not said). Spend more time listening than speaking. Here are some listening tips:
- Listen to the other person, THEN develop your response.
- Assume the conversation is important.
- Pay attention to the non-verbal as much as the words.
- Suspend your own opinions/believes/ideas while others speak.
Gauge What and When to Probe
Not all leadership decisions require the same amount of conversation/debate. We need to save time for the most important conversations. Consider these questions:
- Is this a mission-critical matter?
- Have the critical questions been asked and answered?
- Is this the most important conversation we will have this meeting?
- Am I speaking for my benefit (i.e., to be right, show off, etc.) or for the organization's?
Appreciate Conversation Versus Conflict
We need to get get comfortable with tension and debate. To have a robust conversation, and therefore a good decision, we need different views/experiences/perspectives and to avoid Groupthink:
- The Board Chair needs to show that each board member can air objections and doubts.
- Board leaders should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group.
- Invite outside experts into meetings.
- Assign a board member to be devil's advocate at each meeting.
          Of course, all this takes practice. Many of us are good at asking, less good at listening, rather poor at gauging if it's the most important question of the day, and horrible at disagreeing fairly and respectively. Hopefully by bringing this back to "top of mind" we can start a habit of having better conversations for the good of our organizations.



9 (UN)
12 (UN)
Honey Bee
Bad Poetry
19 (UN)
Eat a Peach
23 (UN)
Slave Abolition
Strange Music
Banana Split
29 (UN)
No Nukes
Read Memoir
August is also Water Quality Month, Inventors Month, and Romance Awareness Month.
August 02
August 17 
August 18
Want to feel Healthier and Happier? Volunteer!
I just found a 2017 article I cut out from our community league newsletter. I don't know the author, but I fully support the sentiment!
  1. Volunteering connects you to others, meeting interesting people and making new friends.
  2. Volunteering is good for your mind and body, as helping your community and others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.
  3. Volunteering can advance your career, as you learn and develop new skills.
  4. Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life; it can provide a renewed sense of achievement and purpose. 

The article also suggests volunteering as a family because "children watch everything you do. By giving back to the community you show them first hand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help people and animals and enact change." They add that volunteering is a way to get to know organizations in the community and find resources and activities for yourself and your family.

These are terrific reasons. If the volunteer opportunity allows you to connect, learn, contribute, and have some fun then it's probably a good fit.

Shout Out to s ome people who made my life better in July:
Ginny Arnott-Wood, David Cheoros, Elsie & Doug Elford, Mandy Foster, Liz Garratt, Brian Hahn, Dianne Johnstone, Lynn MacAskill, Jeff Mawson, Chris McRae, Sherrill McGilvray, Margaret Nickel, Ernie Paustian, Louise Reinich, Wanda Stephens, Dave Sutherland, E thel Thorne, Theresa Tsoukalas, Jason/Elana/Reece/ Payton West, Jenny Wood Narine, Jill Wood

"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed."  - Maya Angelou
Links We Like
90 Second Productivity Tip (Vital Smarts)
Senate Report on Canada's Charities (Non-Profit Quarterly)
Left-Handed Drivers=Danger? (HowStuffWorks)
Christopher Walken Dancing (I never get tired of it)
I Attended My Own Funeral (Article on this trend)
" We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."
Joseph Campbell

"Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact."  William S. Burroughs

"You can trust a human being with grief. That's what I tell the wardens. I tell them, 'Just walk fearlessly in the house of mourning, for grief is just love squaring up to its oldest enemy. And after all these mortal human years, love is up to the challenge.' "  Kate Braestrup T he House of Mourning

"She drank good ale, good punch, and wine, and liv'd to the age of ninety-nine." 
From an English Gravestone
Reader Comments
In my computer melt down I lost all your kind comments, but I remember them warming my heart at the time. Thank you!  /lmwe

This Poem/Reading       


Think a new thought; accept a new responsibility; memorize a new poem.
Try a new recipe; plan a new adventure; entertain a new idea.
Learn a new language; blaze a new trail; enjoy a new experience.
Make a new friend; read a new book; see a new movie.
Climb a new hill; scale a new mountain; launch a new career.
Find a new purpose; fill a new  need; light a new lamp.
Exercise a new strength; grasp a new truth; practice a new awareness.
Add a new dimension; encourage a new growth,; affirm a new beginning. 
Discover a new answer; envision a new image; conceive a new system.
Dream a new dream; chart a new course; build a new life.
Open a new door; explore a new possibility; capture a new vision.
Start a new chapter; seek a new challenge; express a new confidence.
Write a new plan; turn a new page; follow a new direction.
Watch a new program; be a new person; radiate a new enthusiasm.

-- William Arthur Ward

   A new play by Linda Wood Edwards at the Edmonton Fringe!

   Directed by David Cheoros
   Starring  Francie Goodwin-Davies, James Hamilton, Janelle Jorde,
   Andy Northrup, Kevin Tokarsky

   Fri Aug 16 @ 10:30pm      Sat Aug 17 @ 12:00Noon      Sun Aug 18 @ 7:45pm    
   Tue Aug 20 @ 7:00pm      Wed Aug 21 @ 10:15pm        Thu Aug 22 @ 1:45pm
   Fri Aug 23 @ 5:15pm        Sat Aug 24 @ 8:00pm
   Venue #13 Old Strathcona Public Library; 8331 - 104 Street
  Tickets available Aug 07 at Noon;  780.409.1910 or
  If you'd like to help, please email Linda. Thanks!
Feedback on our new mobile format was very positive, so it looks like this will stick for a while. Thank you for letting me know. Oh, and h i there, August! Let's make the most of it.
 LUE-42 Enterprises

* with fond acknowledge to Douglas Adams and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
LUE-42 Enterprises