Random Thoughts

Cuteness for Life

Everyone is cut out to be cute.  Men, women, gay, straight, young, old – doesn’t matter.  For some, it might take a little practice, but it’s totally possible for all of us.  And it’s much longer lasting, more versatile, and more universal than being hot.  When I’m 80 years old, I’m definitely not going to be hot.  I’ll have wrinkles and gray hair and skin that hangs in strange places.  But I surely plan to be as cute as humanly possible.   Cute also gets things done.  People don’t want to help mean, serious, grown-ups.  Being hot and sexy doesn’t always get you the help you actually want.  But pulling the cute card works universally.  If you step on someone’s toes – literally or figuratively – be cute.  If you are trying to convince the airline to get you on the next flight, be cute.   Here are some tips for bringing on the cute in your life:   Play like a kid.  Come on, let that inner kid out to play.  Being a grown up is boring, so take a break from it every once in a while.  Personally, I love stickers and doodles and heart-shaped hole punches.  I like passing notes to people during boring meetings, organizing the M&Ms on my plate by color, or stacking objects on top of each other until they fall down.  Loosen up, be silly. Talk in funny voices.  Stick your tongue out at people.  If you play, you can get other people to play, and the whole energy around you gets a lot more fun.   Be in your body.  Please believe me when I tell you that your body does not want to sit still for […]

Synchronicity

I love when life gives me moments that affirm I am on the right path. When the universe gives me a wink and a nod. When I was a senior in high school, I was fortunate enough to be in the position of deciding between two great schools: Brown and Columbia. I had also gotten into Cal-Berkeley but wisely decided, with the strong encouragement of my parents, that it was too far away even though the pull of the west coast was very strong – and still is. Both schools had pre-decision days for accepted students where you could stay over, meet students, attend class, and generally get a feel for the place. While at Brown, I met this guy with crazy paint splattered pants, long hair, and clear truthful eyes. We hit it off right away and spent the day tooling around campus, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and chatting. It turned out that he was from California, and told me that Brown was the “Berkeley of the east coast.” The next day, I left for Columbia for the same kind of orientation. I walked into the welcome session, and lo and behold, my fancy pants buddy. It turned out he was making the same choice as I was. He seemed like just the kind of person I’d want to meet at college – smart, creative, and interesting. Fast forward three months later, my parents and I packed up the car and were driving to Brown for freshman orientation. We stopped at a rest stop on the highway, and as I opened the sliding door of the minivan, someone was getting out of the car next to me. I couldn’t believe it – Mr. […]

Enlivening is Easy

Maybe it is the caffeine or the crispness in the air, but I felt particularly alive today. It occurred to me that making the world more alive is pretty darn easy. Here are four things you can do before you even get to work or school: 1. Leave a $1 tip with your cup of coffee. Barista jobs don’t pay very well and if you can afford $4 for a latte, you can spare the extra dollar. They need it more than you. 2. Speak up if someone’s tag is sticking out of their shirt. Or they have a crumb on their face. You will have just saved them that moment of wondering how long it had been there. And they will look sharp for the day. 3. Send a text message to someone you love. Brighten up their day. 4. Smile at strangers. Sure, some will look at you like you are crazy but some will smile back. It’s contagious. Like the Ebola virus.

Networking Tips for Introverts

I took my first Myers Briggs Type Indicator test when I was 7 (INTJ, in case you are wondering).  As someone with an extroverted job, many are surprised to learn I am in fact an introvert.  As an advancement and fundraising professional, I’ve had to learn how to make my introversion an asset, and wanted to share a few tips with introverts and extroverts alike.  Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I can’t network or hang out at social events, it just means I approach it differently.

Working Mom Must-Have List

So in addition to being an advocate against sexual violence, I’m also a working mom – and a new one at that – my son is only 9 months old.  I had no idea what it would be like to balance my challenging job and motherhood, and I certainly don’t have it all figured out.  But there are some things that have really helped, and I wanted to share them with all the other working moms out there – because, hey, we need all the good advice we can get!  (My list assumes you are nursing, so if you aren’t, there are probably a couple of things that don’t apply to you!) A hands-free pumping bra.  This was GAME-CHANGING for me.  Who has time to hold a pump to your boobs two or three times a day?  Personally, I need one hand to respond to emails and the other to talk on the phone.  This is the one I have, and I thought it was a lot of money at the time, but totally worth it. A travel mug that doesn’t leak.  This is for two reasons.  First, you are going to need a lot of caffeine.  Second, you don’t want to burn your baby while drinking your caffeine with leaking hot coffee or tea.  I love my Contigo mug because it actually locks and I can throw it in my bag – full of hot tea! Unlimited black tank tops and pants.  I get dressed in all black every morning, and then have a series of cute blazers, sweaters, and accessories that don’t go on until I’m walking out the door.  Spit up, no problem.  Milk spray while pumping, no problem. Clarks shoes.  I […]

The Low Road by Marge Piercy

Thank you, Cecile Richards, for an inspirational speech at Brown University’s 120 Years of Women Celebration and for sharing Marge Piercy’s words.  I left the weekend feeling moved, empowered, and just enough angry to recommit myself to fighting the injustices that still exist in our world.   Alone, you can fight,   you can refuse, you can   take what revenge you can   but they roll over you.   But two people fighting   back to back can cut through   a mob, a snake-dancing file   can break a cordon, an army   can meet an army.   Two people can keep each other   sane, can give support, conviction,   love, massage, hope, sex.   Three people are a delegation,   a committee, a wedge. With four   you can play bridge and start   an organization. With six   you can rent a whole house,   eat pie for dinner with no   seconds, and hold a fund raising party.   A dozen makes a demonstration.   A hundred fill a hall.   A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;   ten thousand, power and your own paper;   a hundred thousand, your own media;   ten million, your own country.   It goes on one at a time,   It starts when you care   to act, it starts when you do   it again after they said no,   it starts when you say We   and know who you mean, and each   day you mean one more.   We can fight sexual violence together, one at a time, until we have our own newsletter, media, and country.

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    Spring risotto Spring risotto

    Spring risotto


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Spring risotto

Feeling like a working mom rockstar. This may be my first home cooked meal in a weeknight since baby!

It’s just a job. So stop stressing about the rest of your life.

I just had coffee with one of the many amazing and soon to be college graduates in my life.  She suggested that I write down my snippets of apparent wisdom that I have picked up over the years.  Here they are in all their (hopefully) glory:   You are not going to change the world by yourself.  The challenges facing our country and communities are large, long lived, and complex.  The only way to solve them is to work together.  Social change is marathon not a sprint.   Nobody ever died regretting that they didn’t work enough.  People die regretting that they didn’t spend enough time with the people they love and doing the things they love to do.   Your first job doesn’t predict your destiny.  It doesn’t define you or the rest of your life.  I was a nanny and a bartender. Now I’m a vice president of a great non profit. My dad was a carpenter and then worked for a large company. Now he’s an author. This is just the very first paragraph of the very first chapter of what we hope is a very long book. So relax and stop thinking your first job has to be your dream job!   You ARE going to make mistakes. You might pick the wrong job. You might mess up on a project. You might get into conflicts with our colleagues or boss.   You might fail at balancing work with the rest of your life. PLEASE make some mistakes – its the only way to really learn.  I have never been asked about a school project grade on a job interview, but I HAVE been asked about my biggest failure. And getting […]

House: Thing or Experience?

I read an article in the NY Times this weekend about how spending money on experiences makes you happier than spending money on stuff.  Having just bought a new house with my husband, Marc, this article, of course, made me immediate question whether I should have taken the down payment money and gone on a trip around the world, or finally invested in those surfing lessons in Baja.  And then this weekend, we had some friends over for the first time at our new place, and it filled the house and my spirit with warmth.  To see people I love standing around the kitchen while eating, drinking, and connecting is exactly the kind of experience I seek here, there, and everywhere.  There were people meeting each other for the first time, babies exploring and dancing, and lots of echoing laughter.  As I think about the myriad of experiences I will have in this house – birthday celebrations, anniversaries, new connections with friends and neighbors, I realize that the investment isn't in just a thing, but in the experiences that will happen inside of it's space.  If my house can be a home, not just for me, but also for a community of people, I know it will bring me quite a bit of happiness in life. 

Funding for companies that cover up rape

Al Franken thought it would be a good idea to revoke funding from companies that prevent victims of sexual assault from pressing criminal charges, like KBR, who allegedly tried to stop an employee who was gang-raped in Iraq from pressing charges against her attackers.  The article on E-News Park Forest focused on the fact that 30 out of 40 Republicans voted against this.  Who really knows why these Senators voted against this amendment.  I'm going to assume that there was something else in this bill that these Republicans, who are good people with wives and sisters and daughters, were really voting against.  Either way, it's not OK by me that companies don't stand up for their employees when something like this happens on their watch.  I wonder what the company's rationale for this decision might be.