Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Reads of 2014

My friend Jill just sent me a link to a book list from The Aspen Institute blog that listed their fav reads of 2014 and since I'm always up for borrowing a good idea, here are mine:

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd -- this book had me riveted from page one.  I'm leading the discussion for the book club later this year and cannot wait to see what the rest of the Jld Sustainers thought about it!
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer -- traces the history and coming of age of six friends who meet at camp in the seventies. Just my kind of book -- and since it was a gift from my best friend Cathy, I loved it even more.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt -- finger lickin' good.  Pulitzer winner.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole -- if you've never read this one, do it in 2015. Joe gave it to me in high school and I've read it many times since. We all have a bit of Ignatius in us -- some more than others, of course. 
Queen of the Turtle Derby by Julia Reed -- I love everything of Julia's and read this when it came out in the 2000's and again last year since Julia was the speaker for Community Partners of Dallas' Chick Lit Luncheon in 2014.  Hilarious.  Hilarious.  Hilarious. 
Room by Emma Donoghue -- #CannotPutDownFiction -- this book is on my fav book list forever.  Creepy stuff.
One More Thing by B.J. Novak -- B.J. was a writer and actor on The Office and he is laugh out loud funny.  The new David Sedaris -- and I LOVE David Sedaris. 
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz -- advice for living a successful life.  I read this when it came out years and years ago and even kept copies of it to give to anyone who asked.  Not sure why I let the practice go, but I resolve to reread it annually. 

What are yours?

Happy new year, dear friends! <This is a borrowed greeting from one of my fav bloggers -- Katie at Preppy Empty Nester!  Giving the girl credit...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Gift! I Got You!

If you know what the title of this post means, then you've known me for a very long time.

Our family plays this game and has forever.  It is supposedly a throwback from long ago -- the basic idea is that if you are the first one to say to someone "Christmas gift!", then they are supposed to give you a gift.  I believe that it was originally played on Christmas Day only, but our family plays it for every holiday, including Christmas Eve, birthdays, Valentine's, Martin Luther King Day, etc.  We have never followed through with the gift giving part -- the first person to say it just gets the pleasure of winning and lording it over everyone.  

My personal favorite is when you can catch someone totally off guard and say "Oh, John?"  Him:  "What?"  "I just wanted to say Christmas Eve Gift!"  This is naturally followed by lots of disgust and drama, etc.  It's tons of fun to win.

I like to win.

The downside of this game is that on holidays we don't call one another because the other person will invariably answer the phone "Christmas Eve Gift" and then they got you.  In the pre-caller ID days, we would answer every call this way, so then explaining went along with the game, which is why lots of my friends play the game with us too.  Joe particularly likes to get my mom.  Let's be honest -- we all like to get mom.

Anyway, it is now 1:37 pm on Christmas Eve and I haven't had a single phone call and won't unless someone decides they are throwing in the towel -- and I'm waiting to pounce if they do.

I like to win.

I'm truly grateful that I have a family when so many in Dallas do not.  Lots of kids served by Community Partners of Dallas would be happy to let someone win the game every single time if it meant they could have a family to be with today and tomorrow and forever.

I think I'll give mom a call and give her a thrill since I know how she'll answer the phone.

But I'll get her tomorrow. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Cards and Why I Hate Them

Do you send Christmas or Holiday cards?

I started sending them when I was a kid and even on into my twenties, but then I quit doing it for a very long time.

NOTE:  I still have an example of one I sent as a kid -- it's pink and has a Bijorn Wiinbladt-looking angel on it. Purchased at Neiman Marcus, natch.

NOTE to NOTE:  Remember when Neiman Marcus put their name on everything they sold?  Even designer clothing got an additional NM tag sewn (later stickered) inside.  I loved that.  Wish they still did it.

I'm not sure why I quit sending them in my twenties and thirties. Of course, it was more difficult to send a card then since it cost more to have them personalized and of course there was no such thing as excel labels.  Plus, I guess my friends quit sending them too.  Let me make it clear that I never stopped loving Jesus and continued to shed many tears over Its a Wonderful Life and Charlie Brown. I just quit sending cards at Christmas.

Anyway, probably 10 years ago I started sending them again.  I think that it was because I loved seeing the photos of people's families on them and (being a theatre major) I have never minded putting out "publicity" about myself -- so I liked the idea of having an excuse to send out a picture of myself that I got to choose and "sentimize" myself.

NOTE:  Not sure that sentimize is a word.  If not, I need to sell it to Tyra Banks.

ANOTHER NOTE:  By the way, Joe hates this publicity-seeking side of me, but cry me a river, babe. I think I'm hilarious and I am unanimous in that.

NOTE to ANOTHER NOTE:  Mrs. Slocum reference -- I got a million of them!

So you're probably thinking "Get to the point -- why do you hate them?" and I don't blame you.  I hate Christmas cards because I have a terrible time throwing them away.  I keep them for years.

Need to know what your card looked like 5 years ago?  Come over to my house.  I have them in scrapbooks, hole-punched and tied with a ring, in a silver bowl in the living room, just everywhere.

The photo above is this year's display and this is early on, people -- I'll have to get out the ladder in a week in order to display them around the den.  You did this to me.

Also, the cards and how they come to me kinda piss me off because it makes me realize what a shallow person I am, yet they also make me feel guilty.  Don't understand this?  If people use labels instead of hand-addressing them, I judge them.  If they actually write something to me inside the card and hand address them,  I know they are judging me.  Ugh.

Hey, not sure why I'm telling you this, but I'm having lots of fun at home this morning receiving Community Partners of Dallas' Toy Drive wishes, so I guess since I'm having so much fun "working", I felt the need to confess something to you all.  

Merry Christmas, friends -- and keep those cards coming!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Headlines are not how this should end.


There are lots of stories that I don't want to think about.

You might find that funny since I work for an agency that serves abused and neglected children, but it's true.  So many children living through nightmares -- right here in our own community.  You may be shocked, but there are confirmed reports of abuse and neglect in every residential zip code in Dallas County -- and more than 20,000 reports of abuse will be received annually in Dallas County alone.

But no matter how horrific the horror, the degradation, the injuries, the children are just that -- children.  Most of them just want to be loved and cared for and treated like every other kid.  That's why our Toy Drive is so vitally important.

We have some wishes left over here at Community Partners of Dallas and it would really be great if they could be filled right now by you.  We'd love it if you would call us at 214-624-7557 or come by our office at 1215 Skiles Street (near Baylor Hospital in the Meadows Foundation's Wilson Historic District -- gotta keep showing the love to The Meadows Foundation!) and pick up a wish or two and make dreams come true for these kiddos.

Thanks -- the kids need you now.  Me too.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

Since it's Thanksgiving morning, I'm watching The Today Show and waiting for Matt and Al to host the Macy's parade.

Later, I'll be making a few dishes to take to my brother's for lunch (started cooking yesterday). Life is good and I'm grateful to be on earth.  Here's my list for 2014:

Obvious, but soooooo true -- my family.  My mom is my hero.  She spent hours with me overseeing a volunteer project this week, dispensing advice and hands-on help -- and her intellect is second to none.  If I'm smart at all, it's due to her influence.  Everyday, John and Lucy show us all how to love and be commited to others. Katie is not only smart, but has the most beautiful heart I know. Lina makes me laugh out loud and her generosity is contagious. 

My friends are the best and make me a better friend and human being.  I'm so glad that God gave me you (gotta throw in some Blake -- thankful for him too).

My co-workers, board members, volunteers, CPS caseworkers, and everyone at Community Partners of Dallas.  You guys make me want to get out of bed in the morning.

The funds to be able to live comfortably and well.  Money to travel, to have a beautiful home, to attend the theater, to buy a book, to eat out, and to cook.  

Trite, but true -- TV, my tempurpedic bed, my Escada and my jeans, my jewelry.

And finally, God's grace.

It's a good life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How To Write the Best Thank You Note -- My Tips for Success

What happened to the thank you note?

The most obvious answer is the Internet.  Yes, Al Gore's invention certainly has made a hand-written thank you note harder to come by than a silver dollar.

NOTE:  Don't write me (unless it's hand-written, of course).  I don't think Al invented the Internet -- I just still remember how funny it was when he said it.

Now, the younger people who work with me think I'm crazy -- especially about thank you notes after interviews.  I have been told by lots of business professionals (and not all in non-profits, by the way) that a thank you email is plenty of thanks after an interview.  They like the speed (I agree that the speediness part of an email is good) and I do understand that young people are just so comfortable with technology now because they have grown up with it.

NOTE:  One of my younger co-workers told me the other day that she so enjoys the Time Hop Application because she has been on FaceBook since she was a pre-teen, thus can see big changes in her photos, style, etc.  Even though Martha has aged a lot since 2004, I'm just a little older.  Funny how that works.

But to me, nothing beats a handwritten thank you note -- for any reason.  Yes, I want one after I interview someone for sure, but I also want one if I give you a gift, have you to my house for dinner, or just do you any kind of favor that you appreciate.  And when I say I want one for these reasons, I also pledge that you'll get one from me for same.  And since I do consider myself someone who writes thank you notes often, here are my best tips for success:
  1. Thank the person and explain why you liked the meeting, the gift, the favor.  A simple "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today." is a perfectly appropriate first sentence.  Add in something else like "I so enjoyed hearing about your road to success in the non-profit world and I know that I will end up using your advice to further my career path."  Or for a gift "Damn, I have never seen a more perfect gift for me -- you know that orange is my favorite color -- and I've never seen underwear in that exact shade before!"
  2. Try to write the note the same day of the meeting or favor, or the next day and then get the damn thing in the mail.  I find that if I wait then I forget about it.  I have been known to send a second note just because I think maybe I forgot.  If you make a hard and fast rule to get the note out lickety-split, then you can rest easy.
  3. My favorite card to write is a small note card.  I love a personalized one (I always get mine at Paper Affair), but I have lots of them without personalization and they are fine too.  I like to have my full name on my cards since sometimes I think people might not know exactly who is writing them.  I know that sounds funny but it's true. If my full name is there on the card I can still sign it just Paige and they know for sure it's me and not some other Paige.  You would be surprised at how many Paiges can be invited to a huge holiday or charity event in Dallas.  If I'm going to the trouble to write I want credit for it, people!
I received this note yesterday.  Obviously from a very special boy with very special parents...

To me a thank you note means more than a silver dollar.  LOTS more.

P.S.  I wanted to report back that I have received a whole bunch of dolls for the Community Partners of Dallas' Toy Drive.  Many thanks to those of you who have sent them!  Here's a pic:

And yes, I have already mailed their hand-written thank yous -- who do you think you're dealing with?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 19

I cannot believe that it's been this long since I've done a four faves post -- the most recent one was in July.  Check it out here and follow the links each time to see the rest if you are new to my blog.  I often find new favorites, but I pretty much never turn against an old one -- just like friends, I dance with the ones that "brung" me (or least the ones who flung me around the dance floor at Dick Chaplin).

Anyway, it's Halloween, so enjoy it and the faves today:
  1. I LOVE my personalized cups from Paper Affair -- and since they are on the Partners Card (a fundraiser for The Family Place -- a fantastic cause), you can get 20% off if you buy them this weekend using your Partners Card.  My set before this were orange and had a chevron pattern, but I've long been a fan of a polka dot too. 
  2. What a gift it is to drive up to my office building and see the wonderful Meadows Foundation staff planting pansy after pansy in our flower beds!  Community Partners of Dallas is truly blessed to have been given this building for the past 6 years.  Four more to go, so plan to hear from us soon about our future building to come #CapitalCampaignStarts2015  #Yikes!  #Win4TheKids! 
  3. My latest breakfast is the easiest thing ever and I love it!  Enjoy my receipe for Paige's Bit of Canadian Bacon with Parmesan:  First, put your skillet on medium heat and put just a tiny bit of butter in it.  Let the butter melt and then put 1 piece of Canadian bacon on top of the melted butter and let it cook a couple of minutes.  Turn and cook a couple of minutes more.  You should see a bit of grill marking, but doesn't matter -- you're just trying to heat it.  Turn it back over, turn off heat and sprinkle a pinch of shredded parm over the top and just let it sit on the stove another minute.  Remove and add black pepper.  Enjoy with a slice of apple on the side.  Probably only about 50 calories and keeps me filled until lunch.
  4. Holiday decorating is what separates us from the animals and I like to prove I'm human every single holiday of the year!  Halloween is second only to Christmas at my house.  Here's my dining table.  Love! 

What are your four faves?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's inside your vessel?

I've been awake since about 3 am. I just hate it.

The older I get the more that stress seems to affect me.  Currently,

  1. I cannot turn my head to the left due to some neck/back pain -- have had this 2 days and had the same thing last week for a couple of days
  2. My eyes are blurry -- so much so that I'm having trouble typing this
  3. My stomach is slightly upset

And now I'm going to be dog-tired all day.

My mother told me a long time ago that as people grow older all they talk about are their ailments, so I guess I'm just playing to type.  At least you might not have to hear about it at lunch today since I'm writing about it now!  You can thank me later.

But in the grand scheme of things I know that my stress is nothing. So many people have it worse -- and I feel for them. But the ones I feel for most are the children we serve at Community Partners of Dallas. Kids who are innocent victims of parental rage and heartache.

The other night I watched Iyanla Vansant on OWN and a mother told her adult son that she was so sorry that she used him as a "vessel for her rage" when he was a boy.

What a beautiful use for words -- forgive me for using you as a vessel for my rage.

So today, forgive me for using you as a vessel for my stress.

Thanks for listening -- and if you have a cure for any of my ailments, please let me know. The stress isn't going away anytime soon.

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:  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.

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.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tears with George

Independence Day always gets me thinking about the history of this great country and those great men and women who founded it, as well as those who continue the work to keep us free.

I was watching The Today Show when those planes hit the towers in NYC on 9-11. I watched in horror.  We were all afraid.

But President Bush's words gave us hope.

We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter and we will not fail.  Peace and freedom will prevail.
-- George W. Bush

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Am I Controlling?

I just returned from another fabulous trip to the Miraval Resort just outside of Tucson, Arizona.  I have been going annually for many years and typically go with a large group of friends -- both old and a few new -- and that is what makes the trip especially fun.

Miraval is all about mindfulness and living in the present moment.  Meditation, living with intention, etc.  Here is the wall hanging that is in each room -- just in case you need a reminder while changing for dinner.
Those of you who know me well know that I am all over this stuff -- it's SO Oprah -- and I really find the time I spend there worth every penny.

NOTE:  Miraval ain't cheap, people.  Plus, they have really cute work-out clothes in their gift shop.

NOTE TO NOTE:  You may wonder why I need cute work-out clothes...  So do I, but damn if I don't always get myself some.

I always go to classes while I'm there to help me  -- on my <gag> journey and one of their experts told me that I need to keep writing (for a creative outlet), so I guess you won't be rid of this blog too soon.  Thanks for reading.

Here are the girls from this year's trip.  Most of us are no makeup, so reader beware.
The other thing one of their experts told me is that I like to be in control.

NOTE:  Sue me.

Just that morning I had gone on the 2 hour hike and it almost killed me.  But the worst part was when we arrived at the "dry creek bed" that they had filled up with sand (BTW, I bet they trucked that sand in) and then told us that we should trudge (my word, not his) through the sand and then up the next hill or two in silence.  Lori and I rolled our eyes and took off.  Sand in my shoes and huffing and puffing up the trail, barely keeping from stumbling into cacti each step.  Finally I get to the top and the front people (who would push to go around us the whole time so Lori and I finally just walked together to hold them back -- controlling?) were standing there in silence.

NOTE:  No one was really going faster than anyone else -- they just wanted to look like they were going faster.  Bitches.

Anyway, here they all are standing around looking bored, so I made this announcement to all:

I would like to say, and I am unanimous in this, that I don't want to walk through anymore sand.

NOTE:  Ten points if you caught the Are You Being Served Mrs. Slocombe reference.


Of course, D'Andra and Angela were in total agreement with me and cracked up -- Lori too.  My friends know that I'm controlling.  I think they like me that way.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 17

Yep, it's that time again -- Four Faves.

I don't really keep count of what I ever write about on this blog, nor how often I do a favorites post, but it does seem to be monthly lately. 

I'm glad because I really, really love passing out advice, so I love writing about this stuff.  Sometimes I think I like to write one of these posts best because it is easier than one of my regular posts, but that's not really it.  Sometimes I think I like writing them when I'm not feeling quite my usual happy self, but that's not it either. 

I think I just enjoy talking about things I like.  I think we all do. 

Last year Joanna told the person who got me as their Secret Santa recipient at Community Partners of Dallas that I was easy because everyone already knows what I like (and don't like, but that's a different blog post altogether!).  My Secret Santa Lauren did a fantastic job, so there are some benefits to letting people know what you like, people. 

As an aside to the ladies -- tell your husband what you want him to get you as a gift.  He just wants you to be happy -- don't make him guess!

NOTE:  I know you think that he should know what you want if he loves you.  He doesn't.  See italicized line above.

NOTE TO NOTE:  Yes, I know I've never been married, so why take advice from me?  Because I'm right.

On to the Four Faves -- if you missed the last one, visit it here:
  1. I am the biggest fan of Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa.  Her cookbooks are the best and I have never made a single thing from any of them that I didn't like.  I usually don't have them all lined up like this because there is always one open near the stove!
  2. I didn't even know why I wanted a cuckoo clock, but I just always wanted one.  The other night I thought -- wonder if they have them on Amazon?  Of course they do and now this one is mine.  I love it and when I bought it I called my mom to tell her and she said we had one when I was about 3 years old.  So glad to have it and this one has a light sensor so at night you don't hear it.  LOVE!
  3. Summer always has me thinking about camp -- about to write the Hicks girls a note to Mystic in a minute -- so of course camp makes me think about s'mores, which makes me think about these tasty morsels of goodness -- LU Petit EcolierDark Chocolate European Biscuits.  Pick some up today and buy the dark chocolate.  I prefer milk chocolate normally in all other things, but these are best in dark.  Trust me.
  4. Ah, Netflix on my I-Pad.  What else can I say?  I love being able to walk around the house and watch it wherever I happen to light.  The simple joys of life.
What are your four faves?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bad Night

You may be wondering why this photo is leading off the blog this week.

Will someone please tell me why the smoke detector NEVER needs a new battery during the day?

Truly, I can only remember one time when that damn thing started chirping during the waking hours.  Last night was right back to the norm -- at 3:37 a.m. it chirped.


At first chirp I always assume it must be something else and roll over.  Then, about 10 minutes later (after you've gone back to sleep, of course), chirp.  Then for some reason, I ALWAYS think it is something downstairs.  Up, turn off the alarm, turn on the lights -- yikes -- go downstairs, check the fridge doors, the dishwasher, etc.; then back upstairs, turn on alarm, turn off lights, get in bed, then chirp.

Slow realization that it is the smoke detector, I know, but I'll be damned if I don't think that thing throws it's voice to befuddle me even more than I am already in the middle of the night.

So, repeat of the above, find battery -- at least I had a packet of them -- grab step stool, then up to replace battery, repeat steps again, but ain't no way I'm going back to sleep this time.

UGH.  Such a yucky night.

But Greg had a worse night than me last week.  The ten-year-old boy was being removed from his home for extreme neglect and while the caseworker was helping him to gather a few things to take with him, Greg's mother was shouting that she was glad they were taking him.  That she never wanted him anyway. That this was the best day of her life since this B_____ was taking him away to some awful foster home.

Greg was so upset when he arrived at the CPS office that he told his caseworker that he wanted to kill himself.

All I had to do was wake up early in a house full of love.

And find a battery.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I'm having fun tonight!

I don't have a plan of what to write about today for the blog.

I've had a busy day. 
  • The trainer came this morning, so I've worked out.
  • Came to CPD and prepared for a board meeting at lunch.
  • Met with Joanna about North Texas Giving Day since she went to a meeting about it this morning.
  • Worked with Martha on billing for a reimbursement grant.
But for the past 30 minutes or so, I've just been sitting here trying to think of something to write about.  I think part of the reason is that yesterday and today, I've spent a lot of time brainstorming about a closing event for the Community Partners of Dallas 25th anniversary year.  Luckily, I've had board members and staff members to do it with me, so it's been fun, but I think it's taken a toll on me.

Luckily, tonight I am doing something super-fun...

The wonderful, beautiful, best selling author, and friend to CPD Emily Giffin is having a signing of her new book to benefit our Back-to-School Drive.  The One & Only is her latest offering and it is my favorite of all of her books.  It takes place in Dallas and the fictional town of Walker, Texas, and is full of romance, football, and fun -- and what is more Texas than that?

Emily is the best and we are so blessed to have her good friend (and mine) Sandy hosting the event for us at her home.

Buy The One & Only and be sure that you note the charity she mentions by name in the book...

I bet you already know which one it is.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sometimes a Photo is Just a Photo


I'm on a stay-cation this week, but I'm sitting here at my desk at CPD because duty calls. 

NOTE:  I came in because one of our ongoing funders came in from out of town to hand me a check.  I'll come in every time for cash, people...

I think that people who are not bosses think that bosses don't work as hard as they do and in some respects, they are correct.  I quit schlepping boxes of event programs and centerpieces years ago.  I also don't have to open my mail anymore -- unless my wonderful assistant Martha is out, then I'll even sit in her desk and be the receptionist all day.

I love being the receptionist.  I love welcoming people.   I love answering the phone.  I love chatting up the CPS caseworkers who come by.  I love being a listening ear.

We recently had a great caseworker come in who really needed help.  The 15 year-old girl who was on her caseload had been sexually abused by her step-father when the girl was ages 9 to 12.  She told her mother it was going on and her mother didn't believe her.  The only reason the girl is not still enduring this horror is that both the step-father and the girl came down with the same sexually transmitted disease, so then they believed the child.  The step-father went to prison and the girl has been living in foster care and is available for adoption.

When you are available for adoption your picture goes on a website and potential adoptive parents can look at the photos and see if they are interested in you.  The girl's photo has been on the website for a couple of years, but nobody has chosen to adopt her.  The caseworker came to CPD because the girl said that maybe nobody wanted her because of her photo.  She asked her caseworker through tears if she could have a new outfit and a new photo, so maybe then someone would pick her for a forever home.

She got the new outfit and her caseworker reports that she had a smile as big as Texas when they had the photo shoot with the caseworker's cell phone.

Now, I'm just praying for a forever home.  It's good to be the receptionist and the boss.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Who Needs to Advertise?

I've been seeing a TV commercial lately for Non-24 -- a sleep disorder for blind people.  They call it a "chronic circadian rhythm disorder."  I never thought about it much, but it totally makes sense to me that if you are blind that your sleep could easily get messed up.

What's weird to me is that there are enough people with this problem that it is worth the cost of an ad on morning TV on a major network (I see it during The Today Show, natch).  When I see advertising like this that I KNOW is super-expensive, it ends up making me question why they are putting so much money into advertising to what is a comparatively small market of end users. 

NOTE:  A google search says A 30 second commercial during Sunday night football is $550,000.

Weirdly the naysayer/pessimist in me thinks things like this are SO unusual that I think they must have been forced to advertise by a class-action law suit or something.  But of course, it's their money to spend when its a for-profit company and if their shareholders and board members don't care, why am I sticking my nose in it?

There is another thing I'm questioning lately -- I've been receiving lots of mailings from non-profits that seem a little unusual too.  Monthly and bi-monthly cards telling me about their agencies and what they do. 

I believe that I am receiving them because of where I live -- the mailings seem to be going to a purchased list -- as I have no personal connection to these groups.

A mailing costs a lot of money and buying a list is also expensive. 

NOTE about ROI for non-profit mailings:  Just so you know, non-profit statistics say that mailing to a purchased list will result in less than a 1% return. 

So why are these charitable groups spending their donated funds this way?

I have no idea.
  • Maybe they had a donor who believes in advertising who gave them the money and designated it for this purpose.
  • Maybe their board thought it would help them get the word out and help fundraising down the road.
  • Maybe the charity is desperate -- for donors, for clients, for something we don't know about.
Now, I'm not saying that all mailings and advertising are bad -- I am the first one to scream with joy when one of our corporate donors let's us have the use of one of their billboards for free.  I also believe in mail -- we work hard at Community Partners of Dallas to make sure that everything we send you has meaning and purpose and (of course) looks cute and is appealing.

But we don't buy lists.

If you are kind enough to give us some of your hard-earned money, you can be sure that it will be spent helping the abused and neglected children of Dallas County, not on paying for a survey to (maybe) tell us if you know who we are, paying for a mailing list, nor for commericals nor billboards. 

We know who our friends are and we're not asking you without permission.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May is a Bitch

Well, I know that I'm two days late on the blog post this week, but lots going on at Community Partners of Dallas this month -- board meetings, staff trainings, and just the end of year #Let'sCramEverythingInToMayBecauseEveryoneVacationsInJune rush...

NOTE:  New hashtag -- use it in a sentence today!

I came across a quote in my meeting folder for Leader's Circle that was held this morning, thus a blog post is made!  I've written about my Leader's Circle group before (I think of it as my Executive Director Therapy Group), but I can never say enough good about the program. 

In fact, if you want to hear me talk about it, visit this link -- The Center for Non-Profit Management took some video of me talking about it when we put up The Container Store as corporation of the year at their awards and they won -- woo hoo!

Here's the link of me in all my glory:

Anyway, I had no idea what to write about, but this quote -- I love quotes -- is on a sticky inside my Leader's Circle folder that I've been using since 2007.  Here's the quote:

The world is divided into good and bad people.  The good ones slept better...  while the bad ones seem to enjoy the waking hours more. -- Woody Allen

Take that, month of May -- we'll sleep in June.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 16

Gosh, I'm really thinking a lot about food lately.  Now, you guys who know me know that this is NOT AT ALL unusual, but I'm REALLY thinking about it lately.

I don't know if it's that summer is coming and watermelon will be again a good part of my life, or maybe it has something to do with the 5 to 8 pounds I've gained lately (amount gained depends on the day, people), but no matter what, food is on my mind.  So for this month's Four Favs, I'm pretty much all food all the time.

NOTE:  In case you missed my most recent Four Favs post, visit it here:

Fav Number One:

Since I mentioned the weight gain (I attribute that to the Garrett's Popcorn I ordered for Spring Break), I decided to get healthier (and hopefully lose a few, but no progress yet -- probably something to do with number 2 and 3 below) and try something new for breakfast.  My friend and favorite food blogger Katie Mears (Her blog is mentioned something about loving green smoothies, but did not give a recipe yet, so I made one up on my own (with the help of the Internet, of course).  Here it is and I love it:
First, Take a handful of spinach and a small handful of kale and put in your blender with 3/4 cup of water.  Blend it on low for a minute just to breakdown the greens.

Next, add one small frozen banana (I buy fresh and cut into disks, then put in a small zip-lock and freeze), 4 pieces of frozen pineapple and 4 pieces of frozen mango.
Add a big dash of cinnamon, then blend on the smoothie setting.  Be sure you hold the top on because I've already endured one green smoothie explosion.  I usually do about half of another smoothie setting blend, then pour it into a glass.  Since I take mine to work, I like a disposable one, but if I'm out of them, I use a Tervis Tumbler, then bring it home that night and wash it.
After you pour it into your container, add one tablespoon of Chia Seeds and stir them in.  This is what fills you up until lunch.  The other thing that I love about this is that if I don't eat another stinkin' fruit or vegetable all day, I've had five of the things.
Okay -- now for the fattening stuff...
Fav Number Two:
My second fav is cookies from The Great One Cookie Company.  They are located over by Javier's (another of my fav places to eat) and everyone at our office is obsessed.  Ann likes lemon, Joanna likes chocolate cherry, Annie likes pecan chocolate chip, Lauren likes plain chocolate chip, and the rest just like it all.  These really are worth the effort and the calories.  You may be thinking, why doesn't Paige show us these fabulous specimens?  It's because if I open the box we will not have enough for the staff pooch party this afternoon.  What is a staff pooch party, you ask?  Don't ask.

Fav Number Three:
The Party Mix from City Cafe to Go is amaze-balls.  It is spicy and delicious, especially after you've had too much sweet stuff and need something salty.  It is not cheap, but I'm addicted.

Fav Number Four:
The fourth fav is unrelated to food.  It's reading.  I just read The Little Way of Ruthie Leming and while I didn't love it, it moved me to tears over and over again.  But really just the joy of reading anything is my fourth fav.  So glad that I have the ability and grew up around readers.  Reading brings so much joy to my life.
What are your four favs?