Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Justice - is it sexy enough?

Taken in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

I came across a very disturbing photo slide show on the NY Times website today. It gives a visual depiction of the AIDS devastation in rural Uganda. I lived in Kampala for 3 months back in 1999, doing research on the economic impact of HIV/AIDS on the healthcare system there. It's so unfortunate that in more than 10 years, not much has changed. Actually, it's gotten worse.

With support from private donors, foundations, and government, one would think that the spread has been contained and that preventative services have helped to decrease the millions of hapless children and adults affected.

It's so shameful that we, as a human race - capable of accomplishing so much - can't seem to figure this thing out. Or what's more frightening - is that the majority of us in developed countries don't care to.

I wish that social justice work could become sexy overnight. For me, I personally think it is. It requires passion, zeal, attitude, and intelligence - all very sexy to me! It requires one foot in the field and another in the office - checking out your mission and then ensuring its success (with donors, media, government, community partners, and a whole boat load of other folks). I've been in philanthropy for about 5 years now, and I've witnessed some troubling scenarios - but I've also been a part of some revolutionary solutions.

For all the sexy folks who might come across this post, just think about getting involved in social justice as a career - women's rights, the environment, education, health/medical initiatives, civic engagement for immigrants, equality, wherever your sexy is....just think about how you can re-invigorate the work that's going on. It's in offices, in the's research, it's film, it's's probably a lot more interesting than what you might be doing now. consider a change for yourself. consider a change for the world.

ciao for now,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Money, may I?

I don't like the idea that money/financial conditions determine how we spend our time. Of course you can do free things like....
  • visit the library....but you have to show government ID for a library card, which means you pay taxes, which means it's not quite free....
  • go for a walk...what barefoot and naked? That ain't free either.
  • just sit....outside? Then you'd get a fine for loitering. I give up!!!

So if we need money to live, I need more of it! Here's a (hopefully) profitable follow up to the Money I want you back! post....

Some new short term goals (and accomplishments!):

  1. The Polar Bear and I decided to eat out once a week. That makes it so much more special, plus we'll have more spending money for the road trip in a few weeks.
  2. Let's try a BYOB spot - most of the bill is in drinks anyway.....
  3. I got my refund from Expedia!!! It took FOREVER (actually, 2 weeks) and blood sweat and tears (well, just a series of phone calls at every hour of the day), but I got my refund for the cancelled flight (resulting from that silly ash cloud). Money's in the bank!!!
  4. Summer's here, so we're going to spend as much time outside doing as many free and active things as we can find. First big thing - the Tulip Festival!
  5. One day a week, my girls and I get together for a "Do-Tell Potluck Episode" once a week. 5-6 of us get together, bring a dish and a bottle of wine, and have us a feast! Splitting platters beats splitting bills!

And revisiting the ones from last week:

  1. I still need to turn in my receipt for work this week (to be reimbursed for food and travel on a recent work-related trip). The finance girl is out till May 19, so I've got to wait till then. That's what I get for dragging my feet.
  2. Just sent the H&R Block guy an e-mail about my refund (it's 2 weeks overdue, honey!)
  3. Made an appointment to consign my preloved clothes. The Polar Bear and I took some items to a drop off consignment shop and made an appointment for this coming Monday at another one. Gotta keep several pots brewing!
  4. REALLY spend less when I go to the grocery store tonight. I haven't been to the store this week yet. Will probably survive on the goods I got last week (tubs of spinach can last a long, long time!)
  5. Bring lunch every day this week. Grade A for last week! This week I need to do a lot better.

This one's not a goal - more of a confession. While galavanting across Europe (actually, I was pretty much stuck in one place), I missed a payment on my Dell account - uffa!!! So I called today to make an immediate payment and politely asked the representative to waive the $15 fee they charge to make the immediate payment. Money's in the bank (or, in this case, not as much was taken out :)

I'm on my way to being a financial grown-up. I'm so ready!!!

ciao for now!

My Stat Counter broke!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Not that I'm totally lost without numbers (quality over quantity, right?), but it's nice to know how many folks drop by the Wonderland.
Can anyone pass along recommendations of stat counter sites that I could visit? I'd love to find one where I don't have to set up an that just writes the HTML code for me to casually cut and paste. Any ideas?

It's Tulip Time!

It's that time of year again! Millions of tulip bulbs are planted throughout Ottawa to commemorate the ties of friendship between Canada and the Netherlands.
Some information from the Tulip Festival Website:

More than one million tulips bloom from Commissioners Park at Dow’s Lake along Queen Elizabeth Drive to Parliament Hill and across the Ottawa River in Mackenzie King Estates in Gatineau Park, Quebec. This has been a part of our Canadian heritage and bond with the Netherlands originating in the gift of tulips to the people of Canada by the Dutch Royal Family following the liberation of Europe in the Second World War. A shuttle service operates from the main tulip beds in Commissioners Park to the tulip beds and festive activities in Major's Hill Park.
There's lots of activities, concerts, and events going on til May 26. Check out the calendar here.
Will be posting more pics soon!
ciao for now!

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Lena

Lena Horne
Dancer, actress, vocalist, activist
1917 - 2010
She lived a full life, and I'm so grateful for her presence in our world.
Lena did real work for social change. She didn't just stick her name on a foundation and call it activism. She didn't just pose for photo ops. She was what I've always worked to be: a woman of substance.
May her spirit live forever on.

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