Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jury Duty, Baby!


Well, I'm downtown at jury duty this morning. Seems like most people I know are usually bummed about serving. Not me. 

I like serving on a jury and have done so 2 times, maybe 3. I love America and I think the right to a trial by jury is one of the most important parts of our government. 

NOTE:  I even served on the Grand Jury for 3 months, M, W, F -- foreman, suckers!

The part that isn't so fun is getting up, heading downtown, then participating in the process of what my mom calls "hurry up and wait" -- the time spent sitting in the jury room waiting to be called. 

The jury room is an unusual place. I think I end up getting called for duty about every other year or so, so that means I've sat in this room (or another one if at a different courthouse -- Crowley today) in my adult life about 20 times. I like to sit in the back of the room and study the people. It really is a pretty good representation of our population -- but I think a bit more Caucasian than Dallas County is in reality. 

But today is different for me. First, a friend and neighbor of mine just walked in -- hi, Carolyn -- and I don't want to be picked. 

This is just not a week I can serve and the last time I was on a jury it took a week.  I cannot return tomorrow, as Community Partners of Dallas has me busy as a bee this time of year.  

So, here are the tips I've heard to not be chosen for jury duty:

1.  I'm ready to raise my hand high during voir dire and tell them and what I really think. 
2.  I'm wearing a red top and gold jewelry. 

NOTE:  Do not ask me about the attire -- just following direction from others!

I imagine that if the case is about child abuse or domestic violence, I'll certainly be let go. But, no telling what the case will be. I'll let you know what happens -- and I promise that I will serve the next time I'm called. And I'll wear blue. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I just did something I never wanted to do.

First, let me start this post by stating the obvious.

I am not a prude.

Hey, I'm a 53-year-old grown ass woman who has had a fantastic, fun life. 
  • I've travelled all over the world.
  • I'm well read.
  • I listen to Howard Stern.
And the most telling of all -- I was a theater major in college -- and you KNOW how those artsy people were in college...

So, I'll say it again, with conviction -- I am not a prude.


But, last night I saw The Rocky Horror Show at The Dallas Theater Center, and I'm grossed out.  The show is well acted, has great costumes, and a fun set, but it went too far.  Simulated sex (even fully clothed) is funny once, maybe twice, but this production just went too far. 

My friends and I danced The Time Warp and bought the $10 prop bags so we could make it rain with water pistols and throw rolls of toilet paper on stage.  The music was good and some of the actors can really sing.  Liz Mikel was her usual glorious self in a dual role. There was a lot to love about the show.

I'm not sure why this production -- really it is only the second act that was so revolting -- has sickened me. 

Maybe it's that I'm becoming an old lady who remembers the good old days when we left our doors open and walked 20 miles in the snow to school...  But I think it may be that I know that there are real children in the world who are watching and living in porn and smut.  Children who live lives of quiet desperation being sexually abused -- who would give anything to just have something good in their lives. 

I guess I just don't want to see overt sexuality and hear people laugh about it ever again.  I'm shocked and I want the Theater Center to tone it down.  But what I really want is a better world for kids.

P.S.  About the title of this post -- I just called DTC and left a message for someone to call me so I can give them some feedback about the show.  Again, I'm not a prude.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What I think about the NFL right now.

Hi, gang -- I've taken a week off to think.
First, let me be honest.  I don't really watch football. I've always thought it was more fun to watch with other people and frankly -- as a single 50-something -- if I'm going to be with other people, I want to do something more fun -- like talk to them.

But because of all the NFL player relationship revelations over the past weeks, I've spent a lot of time thinking about it.  Of course, I'm shocked and appalled that grown men are wielding their considerable strength against people they should love and protect.  And it sickens me to watch it, to see the photos, to hear more and more of it coming out.

Adrian Peterson says that he is not a child abuser, but the photos of his son with switch marks covering his legs tell a different story.  You can see them here:  http://dailysnark.com/pictures-adrian-petersons-sons-beating-wounds-emerge/  And supposedly Peterson has a history of child abuse with a previous case.

This is totally unacceptable.

Heroes need to be heroes.  Good men everywhere need to condemn this activity. Good companies need to quit advertising.

My dilemma has been about the role of a boss in this stuff. Obviously, if one of my employees  admitted to abusing a child, I'd fire their ass.  It is part of our mission, thus I cannot have an employee doing exactly what we are trying to eradicate. But, is a hitting a child with a switch or hitting your girlfriend in an elevator (with no legal conviction, yet) affecting that person's job performance?

I put this question to a room full of smart, smart people yesterday -- the board members of Community Partners of Dallas.  And their answer?  A resounding YES.  The men and women in our board room talked about character, heroism, morality.  We talked about advertisers leaving the NFL and about politics.  About rushing to judgement and about women standing up and leaving football because they are not going to support an organization that makes these men into role models. And about how pro-business conservatives need to feel the same way because what is more pro-business than letting employers fire who they want.

And don't get me started on why the NFL is a non-profit organization.  It's time for that nonsense to end too.

It's not an issue that seems to be going away anytime soon. I'm glad we're all talking about it because evil cannot live in the light.

Let's bring in the sun and stop it for good.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

6 People I Like

I agreed to give a speech next week about a topic with which I'm not familiar (don't ask), so even though I've known about this speech for more than a year, I'm on a deadline to write it NOW.

So, a quick list of people I like, in no particular order:
  1. Mo'Ne Davis
  2. Jenna Bush Hager
  3. The Kardashians (and Lord Disick)
  4. Mike Rawlings
  5. Brene Brown
And YOU.

Thanks for reading and prayers for the speechwriting, please -- Paige

P.S.  Gotta add Joan Rivers.  RIP.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm letting my breath out.

This is the time of year where all of us at Community Partners of Dallas breathe a sigh of relief.

And no, it's not because our bi-annual board retreat was held last night (although that is a load off my mind as well).  The board retreat was great!

NOTE:  Who knew one of our board member's first job was making pinatas and another made cold calls to people to sell burial plots?  Love our board!

We are relieved that kids are back in school, because for most abused and neglected kids being in school is safer than being at home.

When kids are in school a teacher is watching over them.  She sees that Nathan is limping a little.  That Jessica's clothes are dirty.  That Cruz is spending a lot of time acting out sexually.

And that teacher, nurse, counselor, principal will call in a report to CPS.  That's why I'm letting my breath out.

NOTE:  You can call in a report of child abuse in Texas 24 hours a day to 1-800-252-5400.  You are required by law to do so -- even if you just suspect it.

Thank you to the hundreds of you who donated to our Back-to-School Drive at CPD -- because of you, more than 2,600 children in Dallas County received the supplies and uniforms to go back to school and feel safe.  We're still receiving supplies -- I see the Wisteria Catalog truck pulling up now -- so keep dropping off supplies at The Container Store until August 31st and at our offices at 1215 Skiles Street in September. 

We'll keep receiving them as long as you'll keep giving.  The kids are relying on it.

And I like breathing easier too.
 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Al Turns 60 Today

It's my friend Al Roker's birthday today and he's turned the big 6-0.

I love Al.  I've been watching The Today Show for 25 years or so and Al has always been my favorite.  I love him fat, thin, weather-man-ing, shooting the breeze-ing, in a suit or in a Halloween costume.

Here's our pic with Tamron Hall:



NOTE:  I will never be lured away from CPD by one of the tech giants due to my photo shopping skills.  Giada De Laurentiis had to move over to let me be in the shot.  Sorry, kid.

Anyway, whether or not you watch The Today Show, I know that you will like Al's list of "Six Lessons for Six Decades" from this morning.

Family comes first“The thing that's got to be most important to you has got to be your family. And whatever you do, that's got to be your guiding principle. (It’s important) they know that I love them, that they matter the most to me, above all else, and that, even if I'm not there, they are still present and I am still present.”

Health matters“When it comes to your health, you — and especially guys — I think we put that on the back burner. You wouldn’t reschedule your kids’ pediatrician appointment; why would you cheat yourself on that workout?”

Find a rewarding hobby“I think you need to have something that relaxes you and takes you away from what you normally do. I like providing meals for my family. ... To physically make something and put it on a plate and here you go, is nice.”

Learn to laugh at yourself “If you can’t laugh at yourself, trust me, there are plenty of people who will. I don’t think anyone is ever going to look and say, ‘Hey look, Denzel Washington! Did he shave his head?’ That’s not going to happen. And I’m comfortable with that. I think that's a much better place to be than saying, ‘Aren’t I fantastic?’”

You don’t have to retire “My dad retired at 55. And the reason he retired was he wasn't enjoying what he was doing anymore. I love what I do.”

Never stop learning“If you’re not learning and you’re not learning new things, you're dead. We're built to continue to learn, and if you continue to use that muscle that is the brain, it only gets better.”

Keep working Al -- you're an inspiration!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Do You Believe This?

I was on vacation last week.

What a blessing it was to be able to get away for a few days and visit Napa Valley, California, with my friend Jill and -- thanks to Jill -- we were there to attend a fantastic charity weekend --The 16th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration.

The V Foundation was started to raise funds for cancer research and it does so in the memory of Jimmy Valvano.  One of his most famous quotes was "Don't give up, don't ever give up."



If you are like me (and you probably are if you are reading my blog), you may not have heard of Jimmy V.  Jimmy was the head basketball coach at North Carolina State University and his team won the NCAA finals against very long odds in 1983.  He was an inspirational leader and died from cancer just 5 weeks after he gave this 11 minute speech when he won the Arthur Ashe award at the ESPYs.  Do yourself a favor and watch it now.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuoVM9nm42E

His advice to do three things every day is revelatory:
  1. Laugh
  2. Think
  3. Cry
I really believe that this world would be a different place if each one of us did these things every day.  So much of our lives is spent in motion -- just working to get to the next day -- not stopping to think or feel life.  Just this morning, I woke up and thought about all the things I have to do today and said to myself, well this time tomorrow this day will be over -- whew.

Now, is that a good way to start the day?  I can do better.  So can you.

And if you need help with your three things today, watch the speech again.