Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What's for lunch?

This is always a popular topic around the office.  I am always interested in what I am going to eat next, although I must admit that I am a creature of habit for breakfast.  Lately I have been having a homemade berry smoothie made with Greek Yogurt every morning – this is only on weekdays – on weekends I have steel cut oatmeal with all the fixin’s.  Got the smoothie recipe from Katie Mears’ blog (She used to work at CPD with us, but her husband made her move to Houston.  I’m still bitter.) – here’s the link, but know that I only make a half making of this:
Anyway, I make my Katie smoothie about 8:10 am, pour it in a cup and start driving to the office.  Usually finish it about 9:30.  The food that goes into my mouth during the remainder of the day is up in the air.  I keep Wint O Green Lifesaver mints on my desk (Joanna does too – development people need mints, people!), so almost every time someone walks into my office, I take a break and open a mint.
I start thinking about lunch at about 11:00 am and usually get a read on what other people are doing (mostly Ann and Joanna are my partners in crime) and who (if anyone) needs to go get something from somewhere.
So many choices, so little time.
We have lots of great places near our office in The Meadows Foundation's Wilson Historic District:  Two Sisters, Taco Joint, and everything in the Uptown and McKinney Avenue areas too.
So many choices, so little time.
Side Note:  We also keep candy at our office at all times for the CPS Caseworkers, but a piece or two usually make it into my mouth each afternoon…
For dinner I normally cook something or just snack, and of course sometimes I go out with family or friends.  I never want for a meal.  Never.
But so many people in this great city of delicious food do want.  And many of them are children.  This morning CPD provided grocery money for 2 children (a girl age 9 and a boy age 7) who were removed from their home this week by CPS and placed with a relative.  When the police were called for a domestic disturbance at their apartment, the children and their dog were found in a filthy place with marijuana blunts on the table in reach of the kids.  Both the children and the dog were emaciated and had been searching in the trash can for food.  The kids told the police that they hadn’t eaten anything that day.  Their father was subsequently arrested for domestic violence and the children became terrified when they thought they were going to be left alone with their mother.  The mother later told CPS that she had sold their food stamps for drug money.
It makes me cry to think of all of the abundance that I enjoy and of the pitiful circumstances of these children, right here in our own community.  But because of all the generous people who support our agency, CPD is able to provide emergency food, clothing and more for these kids.
So many choices, so little time.  Thanks for choosing Community Partners of Dallas.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Urology Test

I went to the doctor this morning for a test.  I will NEVER take that test again.  None of my friends will ever take that test if I can help it – I texted them all after it was over and told them how bad it was.  I’m not going into detail, but it was at the urologist’s office.  Worst, most humiliating thing ever.  Never, never take that test.  It is all that I can think about right now.
We all do things that we don’t want to do sometimes.  Take a urology test (Never again – I mean it!); go to the dentist; eat something you don’t like at a dinner party; go to a movie that you didn’t want to see with a friend; etc.  Sometimes you just have to buck up and do that thing that you have been dreading and just move on.
But how do you move on when you are Fernanda?  Fernanda is a 7 year-old-girl here in Dallas who has an open case with CPS and whom we are helping at Community Partners of Dallas.  Fernanda and her younger sister were physically abused by their mother for years, recently resulting in the death of Fernanda’s baby sister. 
Can Fernanda ever get over her abuse?
Can Fernanda ever get over the murder of her sister?
Can Fernanda ever get over the fact that her mother will never be in her life?
I hope that she can, but the chances are slim.
I’ll finally quit thinking about that awful urology test.  I’m lucky.  Is Fernanda?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Today Show and Blasts from the Past

I always watch The Today Show while I am getting dressed in the morning.  I have been watching for 22 years and I really do feel connected to the people on that show.  And it is not because CPD is a recepient of their foundation's Holiday Toy Drive, but I do love them for that, of course.  I feel connected to them because I see them every morning and they give me information that I can use -- although not nearly enough MAVS info.  I have to rely on our local NBC gang for that.

Meredith Vieira said good-bye to The Today Show this morning.  She's only been there 5-ish years, but she had a great run and I know that she will be missed.  I am happy to have Ann Curry take her spot, though.

Anyway, Meredith's departure got me thinking of the jobs that I have left and what I remember most about them.  You would think that it would be the work itself -- the actual work of the day.  I do remember some of that:  at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra I remember designing the invitations for the big donor events, the tag lines, even doing flower arrangements for small donor dinners.  When I lived in Washington, D.C. and worked for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, I remember signing correspondence with the auto-pen, going on a trip or two, and even visiting the White House for the staff Christmas party.

But what I remember most about those jobs were the people with whom I worked, especially my bosses.  I have had some really great bosses in my time (a couple of crappy ones too, but that is for another blog post).  Noreen Burns and Graham Gillette both supervised me at different times in Washington -- one under William Bennett and the other under Bob Martinez.  Both Graham and Noreen promoted me and really were the first bosses I ever had who saw my potential and encouraged me.  Their doors were always open and they pushed me to take on more responsibility.  The first time I got to do a press event with First Lady Barbara Bush was because Graham said I was good enough to take his place.  I'll never forget the day that Noreen sent me in to Bennett's office in her stead to go over schedule for the day with Bennett and his senior staff.  My boss at the DSO was Joyce Cleary and she was the kindest person I have ever known.  She helped me to organize my work with task lists (I still use them, Joyce!) and really pushed me to learn new things and started me in development -- something I never thought I could do -- you know the "Oh, I could NEVER ask people for money" -- well, I did and actually liked it.

So, I guess the takeaway this morning is to thank your bosses, co-workers, and past employers.  You wouldn't be the person you are today without them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

9 People's Favorite Thing

I heard a song lyric the other day (Yes, still listening to the Sirius Broadway Channel!) that I can’t quit thinking about.  It was from [Title of Show] (And yes, that is the actual name of the show – they produced it a couple of years ago at Theater Three and I missed it.) and here is the line (or at least a reasonable facsimile of the line):
I’d rather be 9 people's favorite thing than 100 people’s 9th favorite thing.
Do you agree?  It is funny because we are taught to believe that in business, in social media; hell, even in life, more is more.  Isn’t 100 people knowing who you are great?  And even if you are only their 9th favorite, 9th is still pretty high on a list, isn’t it?
But when I think about Community Partners of Dallas, I think being 9 people’s absolute favorite is better – and that (in essence) is how we have been able to grow into a nice little local charity. 
According to there are 5,285 non-profits in Dallas.  That means a lot of non-profits doing a lot of great things are trying to get you to notice them, CPD included. 
I know that you are probably like me.  It seems as though I get something in the snail mail every day from some group asking me to support their cause, buy a ticket to their event, or put my cast-offs out on my porch.  I know that many of you get mailings from CPD (if you don’t and you want some, just give us a callJ) and you respond (or not) depending on many factors – does the event sound fun, are your friends chairing it, do you have the ability to give $ at this time, is your Sunday School class looking for a way to volunteer, etc.  I get it, really, I do.  We all make choices on where and how we give and CPD cannot be everything to everyone.
But, I do think CPD shines in many ways:
  • We will help 16,000 children this year – children who are innocent victims of child abuse and neglect.  If you want to help these kids, we are a great way to do it and we are an agency where $10 really makes a difference.  $10 can buy a lot of toothbrushes, or pencils, or diapers. 
  • If you help us with funding, you will be thanked appropriately.  If you volunteer with us, you’ll be greeted with a smile and told why your volunteer service is important.
  • We’re going to tell you our stories and let you know that we appreciate you.
So, if you are one of our 9, thank you.  We want to stay there!  We know that you are a big part of our success.  You have told your friends about us, they’ve told their friends, and so on.  It’s the BEST marketing around.
And if we are your 9th, thank you.  We’ll keep working to move up on your list.  We’d love to know how, so please don’t hesitate to call me.  214-624-7557.