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.

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.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Couple of Quotes

You guys know I love quotes.  I've written about some of them before -- you can search this blog to read a few.

And since I love quotes, I'm sure that you do too. 

NOTE:  Not sure why that follows, but you are living in my world now, people.  Or at least you live in the recesses of my brain.

And since it's a special week, I'm giving you a gift of my love -- not just one quote, but two!

I learned this quote just a few months ago while I was doing my online course with Brene Brown through Oprah.  It is by Howard Thurman.

Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

I love the Thurman quote so much I painted a picture in my journal and wrote it over the top.  I use it as my cell phone wallpaper too.  Here it is.

NOTE:  You didn't know that I was an artist, did you?  Neither did I until I took Brene's course.  I will add that my talented friend Camille Warmington has nothing to worry about -- I'm keeping my day job.

My second favorite quote (and I tell people this one all the time) was on a sign in my friend Jane Browning's kitchen.  Before Jane passed away, we played bridge at her home every Saturday, so I got to see it a lot and it always cracked me up.

Money can't buy happiness, but it sure keeps the kids in touch.

Ain't that the truth?  Have a great day, friends!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Coldplay is Changing my Life.

When I was young I loved music.

If that seems like a sad sentence to you, it does to me too.  I think that the older I get the more that other things take up my time.  It is easier to sit in an easy chair and watch TV at night than to crank up the tunes and dance around or sing out loud.

NOTE:  Even now I still sing in the car, but lots of times I find myself tuning into talk radio or talking on the phone, so the singing time is short.

When I was young, so much time was spent with friends sitting around and listening and talking.  And at a very young age I remember playing music in my room for hours and singing along (The Partridge Family was one of my favorites). 

But now a song really has to move me to get me listening.

Most recently, that song has been A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay.

I began my love affair with the song when I was watching The Voice.  Chris Martin was the special coach for all the teams and (of course) I fell in love with him.  Coldplay's new album was about to come out, so they kept showing a clip of the song (from a Target commercial, I think), and then NBC even had an hour-long special featuring the band.  I was hooked from the start.

It reminds me of the "wall of sound" stuff made famous by The Beach Boys, but it also has the driving beat that makes your heart race.  And if you haven't seen them do it live, watch it here right now:

I cannot get enough of it.  I especially love watching Chris dance.  He is a bit of a goofy dancer, but he seems not to care.  Like a child.

NOTE:  I saw myself dancing on video once (from my friend Cathy's wedding) and didn't dance in public for about 15 years.

Children have no inhibitions, so even as babies if music is played, they start to move.  Such joy!

Some of the kids we serve at Community Partners of Dallas have had their joy taken from them.  An abusive parent has stolen it. 

I choose to dance.  I choose to be young.

I'm pledging to you right now that I'm going to play some music tonight and dance around.  Will you join me?

I'll save a dance for you.  Chris gets the last one though...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 18

I actually planned to write this Four Faves last week, but decided to write about finding my lost friends instead.

Update:  I found one of them on FaceBook and wrote her, but no word back yet.  Fingers crossed!

So these favorites were actually the things I loved last week (as opposed to Right Now!), but I definitely still love them.  If you missed Part 17, visit it here:

Now, on to the good stuff:

1.  Savory Saltine Seasoning for crackers makes something mundane into something absolutely addictive.  You buy this stuff (I buy mine on Smile.Amazon and choose Community Partners of Dallas as my charity, natch.  You should too.), put it in a big ass zip lock, add canola oil, mix, then add a whole box of saltines, shake around and let the stuff soak in, then deliciousness arrives at your house like a freight train, people.

2.  I love burning candles and this tool is a must -- a wick cutter.  I got this one from Circle E Candles in Fredericksburg many years ago and I love it.  Before I had this I would go get part of a paper towel and pinch the wick off with my fingers before lighting it, but this thing is so much better.  The disk shape next to the blades catch the black wick and then you just take it to the trash and you're done.

3.  I wish that I could have taken a photo of this lasagna before my mom and I devoured it, but I was too late.  The photo speaks for itself.  Buy it at Jimmy's -- fresh, delicious, OMG goodness.  Jimmy's Food Store is at 4901 Bryan Street and if you haven't ever been there, you are in for a treat.  I call it the Italian Kuby's and they have everything you need to prepare your own Italian food, or just make it look like you did.  They have great wine dinners too and the deli sandwiches are some of the best in town.

4.  The final favorite for this installment is our volunteers at CPD.  As you may know, we are in the middle of our Back-to-School Drive and truly, we could not put together 2,600 backpacks filled with supplies and uniforms without volunteers.  For the past several weeks (and for many weeks to come) volunteers will be the reason the caseworkers of Child Protective Services get these vital tools for their kiddos.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart if you have been part of the workforce over here!

Until next time -- Paige

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Finding Lost Love

I've been thinking about friends a lot lately.

Maybe it's because I have a birthday coming up next month (fifty-threemendous) or maybe I'm just sick of my friends...

NOTE:  Just kidding about being sick of my friends.  I'm not sick of my friends at all.  I love them and they love me.

NOTE to NOTE:  At least I'm pretty sure that they love me.  They take my calls, at least.

I think the real reason is that I keep thinking about what it would be like to be a child who is abused and neglected.  A child who is saved from a dire situation, but then is taken from the only home she knows (albeit an unsafe one) and placed into foster care.  Typically that child will not only leave her parents and family, but will also leave her friends and perhaps even her siblings.

NOTE:  Normally when children are removed by CPS from a home, all children are removed.  Many times a family of more than one or two kids cannot be placed together in the same foster home.

The child will have to go to a new school and make new friends.  He may never see his old friends again. 

When I was at Miraval recently with my friends

NOTE:  Click here to read about my most recent trip

I did a workshop where they asked us to make a pie chart of how we actually spend most of our time.  My pie was heavily weighted to work (Listen to that, CPD board members!) and television (natch).  Family had a big part of the pie, but the smallest piece of my pie (that was important, anyway) was friends.  We then were asked to draw a pie of how we wanted our pie to look and of course I enlarged my friend pie quite a bit.  Great, huh?

But what have I actually done about it?

Not much.

Here is a photo of Joe and me with some really old friends -- some that we haven't broken bread with in years.

I had them all over to dinner not long ago and I put a big clock in the center of my dining room table (along with flowers and candles, too -- my Momma raised me right, people).  Time passes.  That night was a ball of fun, but I'm greedy.  I want more.

I could just cry thinking about all of the friends I've lost.  Maybe some through controversy and fights, but most just from letting them slip away.

I'm sure you have some too.  Some that just became inconvenient.  Your circumstances changed and your lives didn't gel as much.  Or maybe you got to know them just enough to know that you didn't want them much anymore.

Here I have let friends leave my life without a word of protest, but the pitiful kids Community Partners of Dallas serves have lost everyone they knew and loved in an instant -- and most of them do it kicking and crying and screaming.  I let mine go without a fight.

I'm making a pledge to you now that I'm going to look up and find some of the people that I've let slip away.  I'll report back to you.  They may not all be thrilled to hear from me, but at least I will have tried.

Our kids don't even get the chance.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Miserables

You probably already know that I love the theatre (notice how I spelled theatre if you have any questions) and luckily I have enough money to see lots of shows.  I budget so I can enjoy season subscriptions to lots of local companies, as well as getting myself to NYC at least once a year.  And the best part is that I have friends who enjoy doing this with me, so we have girls night out a couple of times a month for dinner, then a show.  Heaven!

NOTE:  My regular theatre buddies are Jill, Maria, Helen, and Christie. I also go with my mom and now with my niece Katie back in town, I'm ready for even more.  Watertower or Lyric Stage anyone?

Currently, I have subscriptions to AT&T Broadway at the Winspear, Theater Three, Dallas Summer Musicals, and the Dallas Theater Center.  I love them all, but I think my most consistent favorite is the Dallas Theater Center (DTC). 

DTC just makes me think.  Last night we saw their production of Les Miserables and I loved it.  It is one of my favorite shows ever and it was really fun to see what a local company would do with my favorite show.  They set it in modern day instead of the Marie Antoinette days of old, so instead of shooting bayonettes, they shot handguns.  The hilarious innkeeper and his wife stole iphones and samsonite luggage from unsuspecting patrons in suits and jogging outfits.  Super fun.

If you don't know much about the story, the young male hero (Marius) ends up fighting a battle for the people during the French Revolution in Paris.  In DTC's present day production the battle seemed to be over more current topics such as the homeless, veterans affairs -- many different topics with no particular focus.  I am not a student of the French Revolution (and even though it is my favorite musical, I've never even read Hugo's book <chagrin>), so maybe the battle had no focus then either -- but I had always thought it was about the treatment of the poor by Marie and her cronies.

So last night while I'm watching this updated version of the show at DTC and see all of the unfocused contemporary moral problems that supposedly started the students and Marius fighting the police in the streets, I just kept thinking that winning a war without a focus would be hard.  To really get people behind something, you need a single enemy -- or at least a single cause to get them riled up.

Now, if the DTC show had been put on just a few weeks later in the year, they could have really said something and focused Marius and the boys on a revolution relating to the surge of young migrants from Central America crossing the border into Texas.

That's a fight for the miserables (apparently) soon to be among us.