Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cash, check, or charge

We've already talked about the fact that I went through a bad bout of depression earlier this year. We also talked about the fact that one of the ways I decided to bring myself back was through volunteering. One of the organizations I'm volunteering for now is Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region

Why Girls Inc.? Their mission is to "inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold." I see that as being right in line with my own personal passion; empowering young (and older) women with a healthy self-esteem. I also have a passion for tolerance, compassion, and equality - and I believe tolerance of others begins with learning to accept yourself.  

So - I signed up to work at the after school program for the Schenectady Girls Inc. center in the fall. I also joined the Cornerstone Group - a group of individuals who plan and execute activities in support of Girls Inc. fundraising goals.

Our mission for summer 2012? To host our own mini-event, raising money for Girls Inc. Now I've never hosted a fundraising event before, and I'm not terribly comfortable asking people for money. But...July is my birth month. It occurred to me that if I threw myself a birthday party, some people might show up with gifts. So, why not throw the party, and ask those people to donate, in lieu of a gift?

So that's what I'm doing.

But, even if we're not so close that you'll be coming to the house to watch me blow out my candles - don't let that stop you! I have always said that I accept cash, check, or charge as gifts - and this year, that's absolutely true!

To make donating (aka gift-giving) easy for my friends and family, particularly those who can't do so in person, I've created a fundraising page at You can visit my page here, or click that nifty widget over to the right (--->). Donations at the site are secure, and go directly to Girls Inc.

I have to start by thanking Stella & Dot, Madison Handbags, Mr. Subb, PartyLite, Thirty One Gifts, and Ambiance Florals & Events for helping to get things started.

So, if you're passionate about kids, or women's causes, or youth services, or education, or community activism...or you're looking for a way to get on my good side....feel free to click and give. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sorta-wordless Wednesday

Not really wordless...but they're someone else's words, that I just find absolutely inspirational. Seems we could all use these reminders now and then.

A good friend pointed out that I accidentally scheduled my sorta-wordless post for Tuesday.

So, not only is it sorta-wordless - it's also Sorta-Wednesday! Bonus!

You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." 
It isn't always easy to bloom. Sometimes, life plants us in a place where we face all kinds of obstacles. But I've come to believe that with a little determination, we can bloom anywhere, and become exactly what we're meant to be.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I'd rather

I stole this from Baking Suit, who borrowed from here.

Because while I love fun posts like these, I'm terrible at thinking them up. So I'd rather borrow ideas from elsewhere, then give credit where it's due.

Right now, I’d rather:

* Not be at work
** Have sushi for lunch, instead of leftovers
*** My shoes were slightly more comfortable

Tomorrow, I’d rather:

* Sleep in
** It not rain
*** Be going to see the Yankees play the Mets

In general, I’d rather:

* Life was slightly easier
** I liked vegetables more than I do
*** People were more honest

Thursday, June 7, 2012

When to ask for help

At the beginning of the summer, I was going to buy a new lawnmower. I wanted something self-propelled, that would make quick and easy work of my lawn.

The purchase wasn't in my budget, so I put it off, figuring I'd make do with the reel mower I already own. At that point, I had someone who said he'd be happy to help me get my gas mower started. That help would mean quicker and easier work, and me saving money. Score!  

But sometimes life forces you to pivot and change plans quickly. That help no longer available, I resorted to using the reel mower. See, no help with the gas mower also means there's no help to assemble or maintain a new mower. The idea of lugging the huge thing all over my yard, and having to figure out how to change the oil or fill it with gas wasn't appealing to me at all.

X has offered his help more than once. Thing is - it's not his house anymore. Even though we're friends, and I know he'd help anyway he can, I can't expect him to drop everything and come running anytime something needs fixin'. The only person who is responsible for the house at this point is me.

I totally believe that part of being successful and happy when you're single is knowing when to ask for help. No one can handle everything on her own, and if you try to live up to that standard, you'll fail miserably.

That doesn't mean you cop-out on yourself. There's probably plenty you can handle, that you maybe don't even realize. You should always be willing to try something new - and solo. If you succeed, the ego-boost is immeasurable.

But I already know I can't assemble a power tool that weighs a 100 pounds (or whatever), or change its oil, or fill it with gas. Or, more accurately - I probably could, but I'm not interested in trying to learn.

So, I did what any single gal should do when she's faced with a seemingly-daunting task. I asked myself, "What would Dad do?" A lot of daughters would probably find Dad in her backyard on Saturday, mowing the lawn himself.

But I was raised by a single guy. He's not very domestic, and doesn't really do home maintenance. In fact, he lives in an apartment, and I bet it's been close to 40 years since he even had think about yard work.

But that doesn't mean that my Dad can't fix a problem (or inspire me to do the same).

So, on Wednesday, while I was safely tucked away in my air-conditioned office, moving papers and taking a nice long lunch, a lawn service came to my house. My lawn will be cared for each week, while I'm at work, and I'll be invoiced monthly. At the end of the summer, I will have paid about the same for this lawn service as I would have spent on that new lawn mower.

And it won't cost me my own time. 

Which proves a couple of things. First - being single is something anyone can manage. The trick is knowing what you can (and want to) handle yourself, who you can trust enough to ask for help, and when you just need to throw a little money at a problem and make it go away.

Second - it proves that no matter what, the one guy a single gal can always rely on is her Dad.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Powerful words

Did you hear this story about Gwyneth Paltrow tweeting the n-word?

She says she used the phrase because it's the lyric to a song. Fair enough - but I sorta think that still crosses a line.

Words are powerful. Sometimes, we give them too much power, and we need to try and negate that power. But that's a slow process, and it starts by teaching kids lessons - privately.

An international film star (Oscar-winning, at that) can't take to her very-public twitter account with a word that is possibly one of the most heated, racially-charged insults ever - and not expect to ruffle a few feathers.

After all - not all her followers know her friends said she could "take it back."

There are some things you just don't say.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fat is not an insult

There really isn't anything like a four-year-old telling you, "You're fat." I swear I've never seen her mom's head swivel so fast, or a more angry look on her face. I didn't even have time to be upset, because all I could do was turn to the four-year-old and say, "Ooooo, you're in troublllllle...." Maturity - 1, Sue - 0

There's never a wrong time to teach kids that saying or doing mean things is not acceptable. But you know what I wonder?

Who decided "fat" was a mean thing to say?

No - seriously. I get that she may have thought she was making fun of me, and Mom had to correct her. Kids have to be taught there's a right and wrong time and place to say things, and also that there are some things you just shouldn't point out. This little girl doesn't have a mean bone in her body, and I know she felt bad that she may have hurt my feelings. I'm very sure she learned that lesson.

But if she thought that "fat" was a way to make fun of me - she had to have learned that from somewhere. Who decides which characteristics are negative, and which are positive? More importantly, who is passing on those decisions to the kids? She's observing something that is true. Maybe "fat" isn't the nicest way to phrase it - but I'm definitely not thin. And she's four - it's not like she's learned words like curvy, or plus-sized.

Really, it's not much different than if she says, "Your hair is brown and Mommy's is yellow." It's just an observation - and it's true.

Maybe sometimes, there needs to be a lesson about what words mean, and how much power they have. Maybe the idea is not to just teach kids not to say something - but why they shouldn't say something. Or maybe sometimes, the lesson should be that someone's differences aren't necessarily her flaws.

If the idea is to teach little girls not to insult each other by using the word "fat" - maybe the way to do that is to teach them that "fat" is not an insult.