Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hodgepodge in July!

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

Shockingly, I think I'm pretty good at all of these!  

Probably the hardest is living to work just because I'm single and don't have another option.  I do sometimes find myself envying women who are married and/or seem to be able to quit working and stay home or make a new life choice.  Not that I would ever want to quit my job at Community Partners of Dallas -- it's a great one.  It's more the fact that quitting would be impossible for me.

I'm best at facing fear.  My mom taught me that.  

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

Dinner tonight at Mi Cocina.  Mambo Taxi, baby!

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

I sang and danced a little at lunch yesterday -- they were playing a great song at the restaurant as we were taken to our table.  Not that my dancing is fantastic, BTW.  I only started dancing again recently.  I quit about 25 years ago when I saw myself dancing in Cathy & Tom's wedding video.  Frighting.

Started again because I'm over 50 and no longer care what anyone thinks -- much...

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

Maybe I should say dancing?

I would love to be able to play tennis pretty well.  I took lessons for awhile about 15 years ago, but quit.  It's really hot here in Big D and the public courts are not air conditioned.  Yes, that is the reason, plus the fact that I sucked.

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

No swimming.
Yes ice cream.
Yes blockbuster.
Yes corn on cob.
No gardening.
No ballgames unless you count tennis on TV -- the French Open and Wimbledon.
No fruit picking.
No road trips unless you count a drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and back.  I don't.
Yes books.

Camping -- please.  You are killing me.  NO.

All the yeses I plan to do again, as well as watch the US Open.

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

What did you have last night for dinner?

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

I promise it's not a political statement, but I cannot get enough of I Don't Like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats  

I have also been hitting The Four Tops classic Bernadette pretty hard too.  I mean, just listen to his voice singing about her -- he wants that girl, doesn't he?  The angst is real, people!  The hilarious 60's models are fab in this You Tube video too:

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am very grateful to God for so many blessings.  This blog is one of them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thoughts on Joe Paterno, Gerald Sandusky, and Bill Cosby

You may already know that I like quotes.  I usually start the morning with a quote from my box of 365 quotes and I love it.  Every once in awhile I even do a blog post with a famous quote or two.  I usually post the good ones on Instagram to share too, so if you want to follow me there, I'm xxoopaige

Info about my 365 quote box here:

Anyway, I do love my quote box, but a couple of days ago, I threw one into the recycling.  It wasn't the quote that made me do it -- it was the "quotee" -- Joe Paterno.

Frankly, I don't even remember what the quote was -- it was fine and uplifting, but I just thought I didn't want to ever think about those boys and the Sandusky crap again.  And Joe Paterno makes me think of that crap.

Most of you probably didn't read the 162 page report and the accompanying 150-ish page appendices when they came out.  I did.

People do abuse children.  That is the sad and horrific truth.  And most of the time those who abuse children are family members.  Sometimes, like with Gerald Sandusky, it is a friend.  Child abuse of any kind is a crime that is sometimes difficult to see.  A predator -- whether family, friend, or stranger -- can get away with it.  But the Pennsylvania State University employees who looked the other way, suspected what was going on, even had a "hmmm, that's weird" feeling sicken me too.
So, sorry, Joe Paterno, no quotes from you stay in my little box.

Bill Cosby and his cover-ups of rape crimes make me mad too.

I really loved The Cosby Show.  I often laughed out loud at Cliff Huxtable -- one of my favorite lines was when Theo (his teen-aged son) was talking about being rich and Dr. Huxtable said something like "Son, WE are not rich.  Your mother and I are rich."  Truth!
This all got me thinking about how quickly it can all be over -- fame, respect, your place in history, etc.  No more dinner invites for the Cosby's, I bet.  His place on the speaker circuit is gone.  Any deals he had in the works are kaput.

Cosby made his bed (so to speak) himself.  Paterno just didn't turn in his friend.

Neither one will be quoted by me again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hodgepodge in Versailles

It's Wednesday, so it's Hodgepodge time!  Many thanks to Joyce at This Side of the Pond for hosting the Q&A each week.  I've always wanted to be Oprah and ask the questions, but I must admit that I like answering them too.  If you are a blogger and want to participate in the fun, hit the logo below and read about the process.

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

I live in Dallas, so you better believe I have AC!  I have never lived without AC (except at Camp Longhorn), but I did own a duplex for a few years that had window units, and my condo in DC only had window units.  I actually liked my window units and they cooled off a room super-fast. It is hot as hell here every time you leave the office and get in your car, though.  I even have air conditioned seats and it still burns my butt.

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

The main thing now is our capital campaign at Community Partners of Dallas.  Where will the building be?  How long will it take to raise the money?  Who will give us the large gifts?  The small gifts?  The first gift?  The final gifts?  Will I lose weight or gain it?

Never mind, I know that last answer.

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

It is Ina Garten's Mocha Icebox Cake.  Amazing.  I'm making it this weekend (again).  Here's the link:

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

I am a terrible loser.  When I play a game, I always want to win.  I can't remember the most recent time I won, but I'm sure that it was the last time I was "floating on air".  Or maybe at Versailles a few months ago.  I could be very happy living there.

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

I've spent a lot of time this spring and summer at airports.

One thing I know for sure:  It is much better to travel with a friend who has access to the Admirals Club.

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

I may have been to the Alps, as my friend Priscilla and I spent a couple of months traveling all over Europe when we had graduated from college.  It was so long ago and we were super cool, so I have no records of the trip and not a lot of photos at my disposal.  I would certainly ride the gondola up and look out -- that's about my speed these days.

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

My favorite (and I still say it all the time) is -- Noun here (that/he/she/it) is SO gross.

Another was Scots are fine in '79 -- our high school team name was the Scots.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

If you travel at all, I totally recommend the Global Entry/Frequent Traveler/TSA Pre-Check deal.  It is well worth the money and such a blessing to not have to remove your shoes or jacket.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Best and the Not-So-Great

I actually love almost all food, including food from other countries.  My favorite is Asian -- all types -- big fan of Japanese, Chinese, Thai.  Yum.

BTW, my favorite spots in town for this genre are Shinsei, The Mint, Sushi Kyoto, PakPao Thai, and Royal China.  Maria keeps saying I need to try Saucy Thai, but so far, no go.

Anyway, I recently spent a few days in Santa Fe and had many great meals while there --lots of green and red chili sauces, of course -- and all were great, except for one -- the Asian meal we had at 10,000 Waves' restaurant.

The massage was the best one I've ever had there -- the masseuse could tell my jaw was tight and she put on a rubber glove and actually massaged my jaw from inside and out.  Dentists need to start doing this -- I might go more than twice a year if they did!

But the lunch after was just ok -- except for the edamame, and it was the best I've ever had.  We questioned the server about it and they use a spice called Togarashi.  The server described it as kind of an Asian 5 spice.  They also used sesame oil, garlic, etc., so this was not your run-of-the-mill edamame steamed with salt, but I'm telling you it was amazing.  Jill and I bought a bag of Togarashi, split it and I made my own version the other night.  Delish.

So, my question is, how can a business give me the best ever something as well as the not too great or bad something?

I hope we do better at Community Partners of Dallas.  I'm sure that we aren't the absolute best at everything we do, but I sure hope we are the best at most things.

Our Volunteer Program is one of those things we do best.

When you take the time out of your busy schedule to volunteer your time here, we make sure that you are welcomed, appreciated, and that your time was spent wisely -- even if all you were doing was counting and sorting thousands of pencils.  We need you!

Now as a little extra thank you, here is my edamame recipe.  Enjoy!

Paige's Spiced Edamame

1 C frozen edamame beans (You could use pods too, but might need more dressing -- definitely add more sesame oil)

1 T vegetable oil
1 T sesame oil
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1 t finely chopped pickled ginger (this would be better with fresh, but I had left over from take out Sushi Kyoto)
1 t togarashi
1 t toasted sesame seeds
Salt & Pepper -- I also added soy sauce because I love it.  Delish!

Cook edamame to package directions.  Mix dressing ingredients together in a bowl.  Add edamame to dressing and mix.  Good to let it sit in fridge overnight, but fine immediately too.

This is a photo of the art in the bathroom at the restaurant.  I love it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An Embarrassing Hodgepodge

1.July 15th is National Give Something Away Day.  What can you give away? Will you?

I recently went through all of my shoes and gave away about 40 pairs to my niece, co-workers, and to the Genesis Women's Shelter Thrift Store.  I know that I have other stuff to "pass along" but I doubt I'll be giving away anything other than a smile and a witty remark today.  Witty remarks tend to occur during our capital campaign leadership team meetings!

2. Do you have a mantra? Please share with the class if you feel comfortable doing so.

When I think of a mantra it makes me think of one to use during meditation.  Mine is always "Thank you, God".

Now if you mean just a quote or saying to live by, one of my favorites is "Money can't buy happiness, but it sure keeps the kids in touch."  My friend Jane had this posted in her kitchen.  Jane died a few years ago and I miss her a lot.  She was a no-BS Texas woman.

3. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? How many times a week do you shop? Do you make a list or pray for inspiration in the produce aisle?

I do the shopping and must have a list.  I usually go on Saturday to Tom Thumb (Safeway to those of you who aren't locals) and go to Whole Foods on Sunday.  My mom and I usually go together and have fun pointing out new finds/sharing a box of peaches or a watermelon.  Sometimes she will even tell the check-out person to put my groceries on her credit card!  #winning

4. Is there a TV show you're embarrassed to say you watch? You're going to tell us what it is, right?

Nothing embarrasses me.  I watch all TV all the time.

Some shows I watch that some people think I should be embarrassed to watch are:  Total Divas, Real Housewives (all of them), Dance Moms, and at this time of the year, Big Brother.  I even sometimes watch the live feed of Big Brother on Showtime After Dark.  Now, I'm really sleepy then, but it's total trash.  On another note, Big Brother host Julie Chen (otherwise known as the Chen-Bot by Andy Cohen) looks absolutely amaze-balls this summer.

My mother and Joe would want me to point out that I also read, have a good job and a bachelor's degree from a 4-year accredited university.  Bite me.

5. A recent article listed fifteen words we should eliminate from our (written) vocabulary in order to sound smarter-

that, went, honestly, absolutely, very, really, amazing, always, never, literally, just, maybe, stuff, things, and irregardless

Of the fifteen, which word is your most overused?

I never say irregardless.  It's not a word.  I totally say the rest of them and use them all the time.  I'm actually surprised that totally wasn't on the list.  Of the listed words I probably say very the most, with amazing as a close second.

6. So apparently dying your hair gray (in your youth!) is a thing right now. It's called 'The Granny Hair' trend. Your thoughts? 

My mother has always said that our family members tend to look better as they get older, so I'm looking forward to going gray.  It seems to take a long time in our family.  I have very little gray and have never colored my hair -- of course it is hard to tell on redheads.  My brother has very dark brown hair and barely has any gray.  Not sure what mom is trying to tell us about looking better, but apparently we have some more years to go until we are at our most beautiful.  #winning?

As for young people dying their hair gray for fun, I say do what you want, kids, just be prepared to suffer the consequences of your choices and don't complain about why you are having trouble finding a decent job.

7. A while back Buzz Feed asked members to share the most beautiful sentence they've read in a piece of literature. A hard thing to narrow down, at least for me, but let's try. What's one of the most beautiful sentences you've ever read in a piece of literature?

This is not the most beautiful sentence, but I do love this book:

"Yet we always envy others, comparing our shadows to their sunlit sides." -- Margaret George from The Autobiography of Henry VIII

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The block I live on is a fantastic block -- we have about 45 houses on our block and we get together more often than most.  We have a Christmas progressive dinner, a ladies book club, a block party, etc.  I feel really blessed to have lived there for many years.  Unfortunately, the ring-leader, organizer-extraordinaire, friendliest-mom, call-me-if-you-need-anything neighbor and her family sold their house and are moving to be closer to their sons' schools.  This is going to be a huge loss for the block.  It's really amazing just how much one person can do to make everyone else's lives more enriching.  I truly envy the neighbors on the block where Julie is moving.  They are in for a real gift.

We will miss her.

Is My Charitable Giving Normal?

As usual, I wasn't sure what I was going to write about this morning, but I got to work and started thinking about charitable giving and why people do it.

Why do we give?

I'm sure that people have different reasons for personal giving,  At the very least, it makes us feel good to give.

But I think that the main reason is that we are Americans.

For Americans, giving is part of our culture -- more than in any other country in the world.  I do believe that many Americans were indoctrinated by our families and teachers (or at least I was) to believe that we are so lucky and blessed to live in this country and that, in turn, it is our duty to help others.  The old "for whom much is given, much is required" deal.  I believe it and if you are lucky enough to live here and have enough time to read this blog post on a smart phone, tablet, or computer, I bet you believe it too.

How do we give?

The June 29th edition of Giving USA was able to answer this question (and a bunch of the stats) for me.

In 2014, Americans donated an estimated $358.38 BILLION to charity.  This is the highest total in the report's 60 year history.  The closest year was 2007 when giving was an inflation-adjusted total of $355.17 billion.

So great news, right?

Yes, it is great news, but there are some changes in giving to be noted.  Let's break it down...

Who is giving?
  • Individuals gave 72%
  • Corporations gave 5%
  • Foundations & Bequests gave 23%
I don't even have to do any research to know that these numbers are about the same -- the percentages have been similar since I started working in the non-profit field more than 18 years ago.  We see close to these same percentages here at Community Partners of Dallas as well.

To what do we give?

Here is the list of the types of organizations that Americans like to support in order from the most funding to the least:
  1. Religion
  2. Education
  3. Human Services
  4. Health
  5. Arts, Culture, and Humanities
  6. Environment and Animals
  7. Public Society Benefit
  8. Foundations
  9. International Affairs
This is the part that is changing.

International Affairs is down, but that may be because we didn't have a huge international disaster last year that moved people to give.  But also Americans like to give in our own communities.  I certainly do -- send those funds on over to CPD, people!

Human Services is going up -- YAY, as this is the category for Community Partners of Dallas -- keep this trend going for our kiddos, please!

The Religion category is also changing.  Even though Religion experienced a new high in 2014, it continues a "dramatic 30-year downward slide as a share of total giving" -- it dropped from 53% of all donations in 1987 to just 32% of the total in 2014.

Of course we know that this makes sense.  Boomers started the trend away from organized religion and their children are following suit.

It makes sense, but personally, I think this is sad.  The best times I ever had while growing up were at church.  Most of my best junior high and high school girlfriends went to church together and we learned so much about right and wrong in church.  Today, my church is still a place for fun and friends, but it is mostly a place of inspiration and faith.  And yes, I do give financially to my church, as well as volunteer.

Funny.  Do you know who I quoted at the beginning of this article -- the old quote "to whom much is given, much is required"?  You might think it was George Washington, John Kennedy, or Martin Luther King.

It's from the bible.  Luke 12:48.

How do you give and why?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Watery Hodgepodge

1. When did you last 'swim against the tide'? Explain.

I can't even think of a recent example of this. I feel like I'm a pretty easy going person and I tend to have friends who agree with me.  Maybe I need to diversify!

2. What's the last self-help or self-improvement book you read?

I read The Happiness Project a few years ago, but my most recent one was doing Brene Brown's course on Imperfection through It was great and every week we did an artistic project -- and I am NOT artistic -- but I had so much fun.  Of course I promised myself I would continue the art journal, but I haven't.  My art table is waiting though. 

3"Tolerance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of tolerance are apathy and weakness." (Sir James Goldsmith) 

Agree or disagree? Discuss. With civility please, because I think we have a good thing going in our very diverse (in geography, age, religion, political persuasion, ethnicity, marital status, upbringing, and cooking abilities) neighborhood here on This Side of the Pond.

The Goldsmith quote is certainly true. 

 4. What is one of your most vivid memories of the kitchen from your childhood?

My grandmother and our wonderful housekeeper cooking and laughing. Chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, collards, and more.  They had the most fun ever. 

5. How did/do your own children's summers compare with your summers as a child? If you're not a parent, answer as it relates to what you've observed about the current generation of children vs. your own childhood.

Every minute of the summer is scheduled now -- a different day camp each week. When I was a kid, we went to camp for a month or so, but the rest of the summer was free. I think that it was better when parents couldn't find kids via phone and text. We left the house and knew to be home by supper.

6. Tell us what body of water you would most like to be on or near today, and why?

Any ocean -- most of my beach life has been spent in Padre or Destin -- the Texan's Riviera(s).

7.  Share a favorite song about water, or a favorite song with the word water in it's title, or a favorite song to listen to as you sit beside the water.

There is a song by The Talking Heads with water in it. I used to love the The Talking Heads. The one I'm thinking of is Once in a Lifetime.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

There is such fun to being with old friends. They know you and love you no matter what. There is a shorthand that comes from years and years of shared experiences and it can't be replicated. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Three Cs for Raising Good Children

You may be thinking that I shouldn't be giving advice on raising/rearing children.  You may be correct, as I have No Kids!

True, but I work with a lot of people who not only have kids of their own, but also work with children all day long -- the great caseworkers of Dallas County Child Protective Services!  If you are not lucky enough to know a CPS caseworker, let me tell you that you are missing out.

As with all large offices -- Dallas County has about 600 employees -- there are caseworkers who are cute, fashionable, silly, gorgeous, smart, handsome, serious, hilarious -- just every kind of person you might imagine.

But all of them are dedicated to helping kids.  And when their day goes awry, it can be difficult, extremely difficult work.

Recently one of the women who does this work day in and day out came into the office here at Community Partners of Dallas and we were talking about one of her cases.  A mom was staying in a motel with her 5 BOYS -- stair-stepped up to about age 8 -- and they had just been evicted from the motel because the mom had let the children draw on the furniture and walls with markers.

Mom told Candace (the caseworker) that she didn't know what to do with the 5 little hellions. Candace gave her (and gives all of her clients) this lecture:

You've got to remember the 3 Cs...  You have to Care enough to give your children Consequences with Consistency.

Candace says this is the best way to love your children and make them into good adults.

I agree.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An Independence Day Hodgepodge

1. On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her Independence. What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks-yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

My house has been flag city since the weekend.

My favorite memories were when I lived in DC and my friend Tim was always able to get us reserved seats for the A Capital Fourth show that takes place in front of the capitol every year and is televised on PBS.  I still either watch it live or tape it every year.  The fireworks are fantastic and it really makes you proud to be an American.  Really, everything about Washington, D.C., makes me proud.  It is such a wonderful, beautiful city.  I've cried all over that town.  

This year, Joe and I are going to enjoy some music -- at the Dallas Wind Symphony concert.  My mom and I always have a hot dog or two with chili and cheese with potato chips and I usually make Vincent's coleslaw to go with it.  I also love watching the Will Smith movie Independence Day or just something on The History Channel.  Fireworks -- YAY!

2. What's something you recently got for free?

The aforementioned concert tickets.  Thanks, Jill!

3.  The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why? 

I haven't been to Rushmore, but would totally love to go.  My favorite is the Lincoln Memorial in DC.

4. When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they've perpetrated against those who do not share their beliefs or support their cause?

I watch The Today Show almost every day, so I pretty much get my news from it.  I also read The Dallas Morning News, but usually not the international/real news.  Mostly read it for the style/entertainment section and local/metro.  

As for Isis, I wish we could all just get along.

5. We're talking plain ice cream...vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.

I almost always have vanilla in my freezer, but that is because I won't eat it in a single sitting.  Chocolate is my favorite of the three.  I have some chocolate Haagen Daz waiting for me right now.

6. Share a song you love containing the word 'stars' in the lyrics or title?

Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars" is amaze-balls.  Check out this video -- if this doesn't get you moving, nothing will.  And yes, Chris Martin is my boyfriend.  Back off Gwyneth.

7. Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic.

J -- just the beginning of hot
U -- undeniably romantic
N -- never to be seen again in 2015
E -- exceptional time for reading

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I feel so lucky to have been born in America.  I'm also extremely grateful to have such a wonderful family and ancestors who came to this country before it was America.  God bless it.