Saturday, May 30, 2009

Building a front porch, before it's too late

This past week I was at my first NWF retreat where an amazing group of leaders from within the organization gathered to evaluate and take a hard look at community building and the act of making connections via conversation.  I was thrilled to attend and being only my 4th week on the job it was an honor being included.  I'm guessing my reputation and background played into getting the invite. 

The concept of a World Cafe was the forum we worked from and at first I was skeptical but seeing how we were given markers and were allowed to write and draw on the table I got excited.  It's why I'm a fan of Macaroni Grill, I get to doodle and draw little starships and Pandas on the table.  The conversations and ideas that got captured exceeded expectations and I learned more in that one day then the past month.

One of the more interesting concepts we focused on was how community and converstation has changed over the decades.

Our homes is a perfect example of that change.  My house does NOT have a front porch. In fact most in my community do not.  Think about it, the front porch played a major part in how families talked.  How "back in the day" everybody would gather on their front porch and converse with not just themselves but their neighbors. 
Over time this simple home structure has disappeared, over time it became the back deck which facilitated the seperation from our neighbors which further lessened conversing with them.  Because of air conditioning we've gone indoors in the "great / family room" or for many of us we're hunkered down in separate corners of the house to where the computer happens to be.

Maybe I need to change gears, break the AC and build a front porch!   Wonder if that dead tree in my back yard will fall on the deck?  Hello, is this State Farm home insurance . . .

Posted via email from Michael's posterous

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's wrong with this face?

This weekend I had to submit my bio and picture for the chapter which I'm contributing for the Person to Person Fundraising project -

the good news is I actually have some text written, like 8 pages and 2788 words.  I used "the" and "and" a lot . . . . dots too.  Unfortunately they don't like any of the pics I submitted, which is a problem as I don't know if I have any serious head shots that don't include a bottle of wine or a glass in my hand . . . kidding ( no, he's not ). 

I bring it up because I like busting one of my co-contributors and fellow work mate / queen of the Baudcast and voice of NWF's social networking endeavors : Danielle Brigida ( who's name I can now spell ).  We have a standing coffee meeting every other week which I look forward to and is one of the reasons I drive 3 hours a day!  We typically trade geeky stuff back and forth.  Today we were on the topic of "tribes" as a prep for a retreat we both are attending this week.  I was telling her about Seth Godin's book Tribes and how I thought it played nicely into the session.  She hadn't seen or read it.

As luck would have it we were sitting outside a book store where I promptly got up and bought it for her - happy early birthday / house warming / Kwanzaa Danielle I have no idea what that has to do with anything except it happened and I felt good doing that! 

But then of course as I stated on my Facebook status yesterday: I'm thinking that no one wants to read every moment of my life . . . Oh I should twitter that

Now where's my digital camera?

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

new this, new that - when isn't it new?

I'm reminded when ever I see this Red Cross T shirt that life is indeed good, also - I need to schedule an apt, I'm way over due to give blood.  I actually had the good fortune to sit next to the CIO for the American Red Cross this past week at the annual CIO for Non Profits Summit, lovely chap - talk about a big operation! 

There is always change and always something new coming around the corner. A friend of mine gave this audio book from Ariane De Bonvoisin about dealing with change in the first 30 days, it's interesting.  Many of the concepts I knew a bit about but hearing them and trying to recognize my own hesitations when dealing with change or something new has been . . . well, illuminating.

The only way I'm even finding time to listen is while commuting, well that's an understatement as commuting infers movement and far too many days, there is NO moving on the top side of the Capital Beltway. 

2 hours and 30 minutes to go 42 miles at the end of a long day is criminal, but then again it's new and a change - something I just need to adjust to, embrace and get over.  Unless someone loans me a helicopter or comes up with a Transporter device - where is Scotty when you need him?

No complaints, after all it could be worst . . . . it could be raining.


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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Totally off the hook . . .

I just thought this was a moment to share, hope I can do this story justice and at the same time protect the innocent - names have been changed and all that Dragnet stuff.

Last night I went to a birthday party for a dear friend, I'll call her "Annmarie" - she's someone who could be categorized as a "work spouse" but in this case an "ex-work spouse" since she and I roughly at the same time left our former place of employment where we had connected and became friends.  In any event it was a fun gathering of about 30 or so people along with a good showing of folks we had worked with while still at our former place of employment.  One in particular is the sweetest guys you would ever want as a friend - I'll call him "Guy" - who's specialty is always showing up with this awesome sausage loaf bread, a "Guy" family tradition!

Well being a birthday gathering, the topic of age had come up.  "Annmarie" had been careful to hide her birth year for quite sometime until our other close and dear friend ( I'll call her Red ) well "Red" spilled the beans on Facebook, of all things about "Annmarie's" birthyear being 1971 which fed into the table talk happening with the group - still with me?

So not quite 40 yet and honestly would think "Annmarie" was in her late 20's maybe early 30 as she has done a good job at the looking young thing.  Anyways, "Guy" all of a sudden got all antsy and started whispering to some our mutual friend, I'll call her "Joni" and then bee lined it to the where the birthday cards had been piled - he then sheepishly tried to take away and hide his card, we all knew at this point someone was in trouble - in typical "friend pack" mentality we ganged up on him and he reluctantly and apologetically opened the "Happy 40th" birthday card.  He was 2 years early - not something you do to a woman before it's time  . . . the horror!  He was of course forgiven and we laughed our collective asses off.

It was all in good fun and we razzed the hell out of "Guy" who confessed he wasn't sure when he picked it out but assumed because "Annmarie's" husband had just turned 40 this past summer he assumed she was 40 as well.  At this point I chimed in and I'm paraphrasing . . . "Guy, if you weren't sure then why the frak didn't you just buy a generic card?" his reply: "I  don't know" - he was totally off the hook and we loved every minute of it!

Good times, good friends, good stories - makes life good!

Posted via email from Michael's posterous