NY Technical Writer Running for Team for Kids

New York NY Technical Writer After the Marathon!I had a blast last November running in the New York marathon. I exceeded my fund-raising goal for Harlem United, with the help of many generous friends, clients, family members, and colleagues. Together we raised over $3,000! And I ran in memory of David Bowie, which added another special element to the day and made the crowd interaction along the race course even more fun.

Bowie in blue suitI had such a great time that I am running in New York Road Runners’ 9 + 1. That’s 9 races and one volunteer shift in 2017 to qualify for the New York Marathon 2018. I’ll be running a crazy 5 races in June! This will include one in a mini-skirt, a retro run in old-school track clothes, a pride run, a dash through the Bronx, and a special race in Queens where I’ll be raising funds for Team for Kids.

I am thrilled for this chance to support kids to learn the love of running. Something that will last their whole lives and lead to life-long health and fitness. If you’d like to make a donation of $5 or more to Team for Kids, please visit my fund-raising page.

BTW, I just ran in the Central Park Classic 10K last weekend, and the oldest runner, an 82-year old New Yorker named George Hirsch, ran faster than me! So you see, it really is possible to run for a lifetime, for those of us who are lucky.

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New York Technical Writer running in New York Marathon to raise funds for Harlem United

Vancouver technical writer racing in the Scotiabank half marathon, 2008
New York technical writer racing in the Scotiabank half marathon, 2008

I have exciting news. As many of you know, I love running, especially on the awe-inspiring trails in Vancouver. To me, running provides a great balance to working as a technical writer at my computer. Much as I love working on projects for my clients, it can take a physical toll to spend too many hours at my desk, so I try to balance it out by running four times a week.

Now I have a great motivation to hit the trail at the end of the work day! I will be running in the New York Marathon on November 6, 2016 to raise money for Harlem United. My goal is to raise $3,000 for this fantastic organization that helps Harlem community members by providing access to health care, resources, and education about AIDS and HIV. They provide quality HIV prevention, housing, and care services in a safe and nurturing environment to unite Harlem’s diverse communities and address the needs of all people living with and threatened by HIV/AIDS.

I’m asking all my friends, family, clients, and colleagues to help support the amazing work that Harlem United does, and cheer me on in my dream of running the New York Marathon.

If you can help, please visit my donor page. You can sponsor me by:

  • Mile ($26 for the 26.2 miles of the marathon)
  • Kilometre ($42 for the 42 kilometres of the race)
  • Meal ($100 to buy a group lunch for LGBT youth at risk for contracting HIV)
  • Or pick your own amount!

Here is an inspirational video on YouTube about the impact Harlem United has made in helping people who had no hope.

I’ve been wanting to run in the New York Marathon for 20 years, since I first began running in 1996. It’s the largest marathon in the world (yikes!) and goes through all five boroughs of New York City. This will be my first full marathon, though I’ve run ten half marathons. I’m thrilled to finally run this race and to raise money for Harlem United.

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New York Technical Writer mounts Shadow Play art exhibit

Fellow technical writer Jon Steeves standing in front of Shadow Play, 7'x 9', ink on canvas
Fellow technical writer Jon Steeves standing in front of Shadow Play, 7’x 9′, ink on canvas

It might seem like a bit of a leap, from left-brain technical writing to right-brain visual art. But somehow I made the leap across the corpus callosum, and I had my first art exhibit in August, at the Havana Art Gallery on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. The exhibit ran from August 6 to 19, with the opening night reception on August 9. It was a smashing fun night, and I took the art to the next level in this 5-minute video I made of the event.

I used Camtasia Studio, with footage and photos recorded on my iPhone 5S. The remix of Gary Numan’s “You Are in My Vision” was something Miguel Wisintainer created, and I love the way the lyrics go with the people’s morphing faces. A true celebration of the love and caring I felt as my friends and family came to look at my artwork and see how it impacted them. Can you guess how many technical writers are in the video? Drop me a line and you will win a prize if you guess right!

To see close-ups of the artwork, check out my BC Wilderness Visions blog.

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New York Technical Writer teaches the ultimate 15-minute yoga class

The most refreshing 15 minutes of the week! Yoga in a meeting room

For the past 8 months, during a very fun and satisfying technical writing contract, I offered a free 15-minute yoga class at lunch time. The participants were my colleagues at the Vancouver-based credit union Coast Capital Savings. This was an adaptation of the 60-minute class I developed for the Society for Technical Communication, following the same principles of being accessible to people of every fitness level, with poses suitable for all of us while wearing office attire, and not requiring any special equipment.

Weather permitting, we did the class in the parking lot, and later on a grassy lawn across the street. When the weather was cool or wet, we did the class in a large meeting room, with lots of windows and light coming in on two sides. When indoors, I encouraged people to kick off their shoes. Outdoors, people often felt more comfortable keeping their shoes on. Sometimes the women did this class in their high heels! How’s that for adaptability!

Over this period of time I perfected a series of poses to loosen all the tension from the neck, shoulders, and upper back. It is mostly standing poses, though when indoors I like to include Cat.

Karen’s 15-minute yoga for the office class
  • Horse (Qigong) – loosens shoulder joints
  • Bear (Qigong) – loosens joints from ankles to shoulders, and softens neck
  • Carnival (Kundalini) – loosens upper back
  • Little wings (Kundalini) – pulverizes remaining tension in upper back
  • Mountain with side bends (Hatha) – uses breath to loosen ribs, open sides
  • Tree (Hatha) – brings balance and resilient strength
  • Cat – a final stretch to open space in the spine and chest

I guarantee that you will feel lighter, looser, rejuvenated, and refreshed after doing these poses! Many times I was amazed at how the tension and pain in my shoulder (which I injured some years ago while working long technical writing days at the computer) vanished from doing this class. The participants—my software developer, subject matter expert, business analyst, user acceptance, business improvement engineer, training, change manager, tester, and quality assurance team mates—also reported feeling benefits such as improved mood and reduced physical tension. But more than the physical results, the benefits of sharing this special time with my colleagues was the most uplifting aspect of this class. I think we all had fun, and that this somewhat unconventional office activity brought us closer together! Namaste.

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New York Technical Writer celebrates making a difference

Yoga for the officeOn Tuesday, January 19, 2010, I taught a class called Yoga for the Office for the Vancouver chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, a professional organization for technical writers. This is the second time I have taught this course to technical writers, and I developed it to help counter-act the strain on our bodies from working at a computer. Of course this type of yoga is helpful for anyone who works at a computer, not just technical writers! I was inspired to teach this course when I developed the strategic plan for the chapter in May of 2008. As I pondered what I could bring to the chapter in my role as president, the vision that emerged was Making a Difference.

I finished a degree in ecopsychology at Naropa University in 2007, and since then I have been discovering different ways to use what I have learned to serve my people… which includes family, colleagues, and my professional organization, as well as other communities. In the busy city of Vancouver, I think we all belong to multiple communities. And to the community of the planet as a whole.

I believe that many people are concerned about the challenges we are facing as a planet, such as climate change, pollution, social injustice, and economic difficulties. I also believe that people want to make a difference, and do many things in their lives that are making a difference already. So I decided it would be empowering and lively to celebrate the ways we make a difference. This theme still excites me, and it carried me through the challenges I occasionally faced as chapter president for the 2008-2009 term. I believe it has infused our chapter membership of technical writers with enthusiasm about being a part of our STC community.

It has been very inspiring for me to hear of the many different ways our members serve their people: bringing food to people living with HIV or AIDS and their families, street-level outreach for the homeless, dog therapy for palliative care patients, helping friends and family members with child care, and many, many other wonderful contributions. It is not surprising that technical writers are so passionate about service when one considers that we have all chosen a type of work that is service-oriented, helping our clients, companies, and the end users of our documentation to solve their problems. One of the ways that I enjoy contributing is through teaching yoga to people who otherwise might not have an opportunity to experience it.

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