Grab Bag!

As I compose this blog, our nation is transfixed by the crisis occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalist domestic terrorists were protesting; lives were lost, people were injured, and divisions among people in our nation seem (to me) to have only widened.

Wiser and more prominent voices have addressed these events better than I could (but I still have something to say at the end of this post).

In the meantime, I have had several experiences this week — opportunities to pay some social media love forward and opportunities to benefit from people’s generosity (such as the thread Berrak created in LinkedIn for those of us looking for jobs) — and want to share those with you. I call it the “grab bag.”

Online Connections

A vendor who deserves some attention

My sweet and incredible friend Rachel asked us to follow her brother-in-law, Jordan (a/k/a watwoodshop), on Instagram. He makes beautiful cutting boards like this one. According to his Instagram profile, they are $40 and you order by DMing him on Instagram.

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: Follow Jordan’s WatWoodShop on Instagram by clicking here.

A REALLY cute dog who needs followers

I have helped promote Melissa Lamson’s work for the past few years through my responsibilities with Weaving Influence. We were talking the other day about her irresistibly adorable French bulldog, Rocky (bluefrenchierocky), and how Rocky needs more followers on Instagram (okay, to be specific, she wants Rocky to have more followers on Instagram. It’s almost as though she speaks for him!). Here he is:

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: Follow Rocky on Instagram by clicking here.

A fun local Twitter account that issued a challenge

I am admittedly more of a wine person than a beer person BUT I am a sucker for people who love with they do and enjoy making our community a more fun place. As soon as TLHBeerSociety reached 300 followers and challenged the Twitterverse to help get them to 400, I was in!

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: Follow TLH Beer Society on Twitter by clicking here.

An opportunity to commit an act of kindness and help the You Matter Marathon

The You Matter Marathon, where participants share a “you matter” card each day in November, is entering its second year (here’s a look back at last year). The You Matter Marathon has big plans to distribute a million “you matter” cards in November 2017.

The YMM is one of the causes being featured by the Kind Foundation this month. If it earn the most “votes” (votes are generated by people doing acts of kindness), it will be rewarded with $10,000! (printing and postage add up when the goal is a million cards.)

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: Do an act of kindness and help the You Matter Marathon earn a vote; click here for details.

An opportunity to support a worthy candidate for political office

My incredible friend Nicolette is running for Orange County Commission District 4. It’s a non-partisan seat. She’s running (in my opinion) for all the right reasons, but a campaign for public office is neither low-stress nor low-budget.

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: If you live in Nicolette’s district (Orange County District 4), vote for her (or at least vote). Whether or not you live in the district, use this link to donate if you are so inclined. (AND, if you are local to me in Tallahassee, support the Women Can Run event — I know they would appreciate scholarship donations too.)

I know some MidLifers Who Need Millennials and Vice Versa

I am excited to be participating in the Bridging the Gap campaign this fall; the campaign pairs Midlife women with Millennial women in an effort to “bring the ‘over the hill’ wall down.” Each partner will do a blog post featuring the other. I have a feeling lots of new friendships will be forged!

Online Connections

Here’s what to do: I am in preliminary discussions with two millennial bloggers to be my partner, but I am not positive either will pan out. If you are a millennial blogger (you have to have a blog and a public Instagram account) interested in participating, let me know! (Even if I have a partner already, I am happy to try to introduce you to a midlife blogger in search of a partner.)

My Personal Requests

Although I always say I blog to flex my writing muscle, I’d be lying if I said comments don’t matter! I was so fascinated by the story of Moss H. Kendrix, who I blogged about recently, and would love to get a few more eyes on it (and comments!). Here’s the link.

I am also still searching for additional part-time work (from 1:00 until (?) every day). It might be virtual, it might be somewhere in Tallahasssee. It might be writing/editing, it might be something completely different (I love providing stellar customer service). If you have any leads, send them my way! (And thank you to those who already have.) Here’s a link with more info.

What’s In It For You?

My main hope is that some deserving people (and dogs!) get followed, some worthy causes supported. To up the ante on that, I’ll treat one of you to coffee at Starbucks (via a $5 gift code)! Honor system — you don’t have to tell me who/what you supported, just that you did. You can also earn an entry by leaving a comment with your recommendation for who/what my readers and I should follow/support.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to Charlottesville, Unfortunately

I do believe that there are voices more wise and prominent than mine, as I said in this post’s introduction, BUT here’s what I want to say:

White privilege and racism are real and alive in our country today. I’ve written about white privilege here and how my views about how #BlackLivesMatter evolved here.

As I said on my Facebook wall earlier (slightly modified here), the actions we can take in response to racism are myriad. Some of them DO involve public statements, speeches, blogs, and overtures. Others involve much more tiny, yet influential, choices: speaking up when you’re in a conversation and someone says something that denigrates another race/gender/status, giving $5 or 5 minutes to a cause (such as Being Black at School or Equality Florida) that helps support the very difficult work of overcoming racism (and yes, dismantling the inequities that white privilege has created).

Let’s not leave our fellow human beings holding the bag on this.

Online Connections

Here’s To New Dreams!

I’m keeping it brief tonight.

Tenley starts the Disney College Program tomorrow.

Disney College Program

Disney College Program

And me? I’m desperately trying to get the attention of an Instagram account for GRASS.

Disney College Program

To be fair, however, it’s not just ANY grass. It’s HubGrass (the very same grass Tenley is sitting on in the top picture). You can check in to The Hub on FourSquare, follow it on Twitter at @therealhubgrass, or like it on Instagram at @hubgrass.

Can you remember the excitement of a new beginning like Tenley’s? (If not, have you ever messaged vegetation via Instagram?) I’d love to hear about either one!

Multiple Myeloma: Saying Thanks and Hanging On

March 15, 2015, was a chilly day to walk 13.1 miles as part of the United Airlines NYC Half. At about 12.5 miles, Mary Jane managed to convince me to take off my red sweatshirt so my purple Team in Training singlet (and race number) would show in the finish line pictures. I had been trying for about a mile to reposition my number from the sweatshirt to my singlet in order to make the change, but my fingers were frozen and uncooperative.

She took things under control and did the pinning duties for me (being at a different angle seemed to be part of the equation of solving this conundrum) and we were able to cross in a unified line of purple!

Half Marathon Thank You

Team SOAR at the finish.

The road to this finish line began in November 2014, when I decided that what I wanted for my 50th birthday was for my family to send me to New York City in March 2015 to be part of Team SOAR. This would mean raising $2,500 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). (For more on how, where, and why, click here, here, here, and here.)

The road to March 15 was paved with efforts on several fronts:

Training

A March 15 half-marathon, which I knew I would be walking or doing at a very manageable pace, fit in very well with my training plan. I kept up my training via my team, KR Endurance, which essentially boiled down to two weekday runs per week as planned out in a build/recovery model by my coach Kristie Cranford, a longer run on weekends, cross-training and/or yoga the other three days, and a rest day. (The only bump in the road was the cardiac oddness that happened throughout but I persevered!) I enjoyed representing Team in Training in several races as I prepared, including the Swamp Forest Trail Race in January and the Run for the Cookies in February with my awesome friends Suzanne and Laura.

Half Marathon Thank You

Fundraising

There are so many causes out there deserving of our time, money, and support. I wish I could give to them all. In choosing to fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I chose a cause that is personal to  me, because it affects a close friend, as well as acquaintances and people I will never know. Refusing to choose because there are too many options is a not a choice that sits well with me. Therefore, I will pray every deserving cause receives adequate support and I will give every ounce of time, money, and support I can to this one.

I do not find it easy to fundraise. I don’t like being told “no.” Fundraising is not something I consider my strength. However, I do admit to liking the challenge and this is one of those areas in life where I will become a better, stronger person for having ventured outside of my comfort zone. Here is how my fundraising for this event came together:

The Tequila Social

On Saturday, February 7, 2015, Madison Social hosted a Tequila Social for the cause. It was such a fun time and they paid such close attention to small details that enabled every attendee to have a good time. Madison Social donated a generous portion of each ticket sold to LLS, as well as an additional donation.  I am so thankful to this local business with a big heart for its community. They deserve your patronage and enthusiasm. Thank you, Madison Social.

(I also want to thank the Tally Connection for hosting a giveaway of two tickets to The Tequila Social, and for making a donation for every comment that was made on their giveaway post.)

Half Marathon Thank You

The placemats explaining the three tequilas.

Benefit Workout at Badass Fitness

Shannon Colavecchio, owner of Badass Fitness, hosted a “couples workout” and donated the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A fun time was had by all (not that we necessarily would have said that mid-shockwave)!

Half Marathon Thank You

Superbowl Squares

I did a Superbowl Squares event which culminated (of course!) on Superbowl Sunday. A couple of the winners donated at least a portion of their proceeds back to me! How nice was that?

Frequent Asking

I did a lot of asking/reminding/pleading via my blog and my other social media outlets. Thank you to those of you who stuck with this “One Note Paula” throughout that time.

When I was talking with Mary Jane on the way to Central Park for the start of the half marathon the morning of March 15, we were discussing our team goal of $100,000, and the fundraising process, especially how to approach corporate donors. Since her diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma a few years ago, and her subsequent choice to be involved in Team in Training (and her rapid ascendancy to mentor/superstar which surprises no one), she has, she said, learned the following:

“I ask everyone.”

Pretty good advice, I’d say.

Charity Miles

I was already a Charity Miles user prior to committing to this event, but between my November decision to do the United Airlines NYC Half and the event itself, I did almost all of my miles for LLS. Twenty-five cents from every walked/run mile went to LLS. It didn’t go to my Team SOAR fund specifically, but it went to the greater goal of research, support, and advocacy. I also hope it raised awareness every time I posted my Charity Miles for LLS to social media.

Half Marathon Thank You

Special Thank-Yous

An analysis of the donations made to LLS as part of my fundraising lists 54 entries. Fifty-four individuals/businesses who gave in order to help me achieve my goal. I appreciate Kellie, my first donor, whose sister had been diagnosed with lymphoma. I thank Jon, whose donation came in while I was out on a training run, after which I came home to an email informing me I had reached my goal. And I thank EVERYONE IN BETWEEN! All of you have a special place in my heart!

Half Marathon Thank You

My fellow Idiots Running Club (IRC) members deserve a shout-out. The number of “Idiots” among the 54 donors is disproportionately high and that’s fine with me!

Speaking of Idiots (as in IRC), Amie of JunieBalloonie went to great lengths to make my effort bloom! Her custom-designed flowers are beautiful, and her creations for Team SOAR, LLS, and Team in Training, from which a portion of proceeds goes back to the cause, were no exception! (To inquire about purchasing a TNT or LLS flower, click here.)

Half Marathon Thank You

I also appreciate Greg Angel and Shannon Colavecchio, who gave me some excellent late-in-the game PR advice when I was making a final push to get the word out about The Tequila Social.

WTXL also helped out tremendously by having me on their noon show the day before The Tequila Social!

Half Marathon Thank You

Max Tsaparis, Me, Kellie Bartoli

Being a Florida-based runner on a Long Island-based team, I had the opportunity to work with two chapters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Thank you to the Long Island Chapter and the Northern and Central Florida Chapter for your help!

I have been impressed all along with the coaching and mentoring received from Team in Training. In addition to the pre-race communication (emails and encouragement), numerous coaches checked in with Mary Jane and me throughout the race. They gave specific advice about technique, helped us find the best restroom (yay!), and kept us talking as the miles clicked by.

My family also deserves a “thank you.” Each of them sacrificed in different ways, including my husband and son who did the duties of eldercare for my father-in-law with one-third of the team missing, and my daughter who loves going to New York with me but couldn’t make this trip.

Remembering The Reason Why

In the midst of all the running, walking, fundraising, Facebooking, Tweeting, Google+ing, Instagramming, and blogging, I never want to lose sight of the actual individuals behind the efforts. So many people told me their personal stories over the course of this few months. I thank you all for informing me and helping me understand the impact of blood cancers on your lives.

Half Marathon Thank You

Lynne is a survivor who came to The Tequila Social and quickly became a friend.

And of course Mary Jane, who was one of the first people to befriend me when I started working at Fordham University in 1989 and has remained such a treasured friend.

Half Marathon Thank You

What is Next?

When I started this process, I viewed it as a “one and done.” I saw it as an endeavor that would allow me to support Mary Jane, combine an athletic cause with an altruistic one (as I love to do), and go to New York City (which I really, really, REALLY love to do!).

I have come to internalize in a way I did not prior to this event, though, that blood cancers are not a “one and done” for the people living with them, or for their families and  friends.There are people out there “hanging on for a cure,” like Mary Jane…

Half Marathon Thank You

….and I intend to “hang on” with them.

What This Means Exactly

While I have not decided exactly what this means, I know:

1) Team SOAR set a goal for itself of raising $100,000. We accomplished an awesome $64,643.03 and were the second-place fundraisers of the NYC Half Marathon LLS Teams. The team fundraising page will be open for a few more weeks. Feel free to get us closer to $100K!

2) I will be doing the Light the Night Walk here in Tallahassee on November 12, 2015. In the interest of not diluting Team SOAR’s work, I will hold off on posting my fundraising link (but never fear — it will come!!!).

3) I will target a “big” event in 2016 for Team in Training/LLS. I don’t know if I will be fortunate enough to go to New York again, but I will find a way to “hang on” along with Mary Jane and others.

The intent of all these words is to say, in as sincere and heart-felt a way as possible:

THANK YOU

Half Marathon Thank You

#RunChatHunt – I Need A Gnome!

Besides the great prizes*, why should you do a running scavenger hunt? The RunChat scavenger hunt, sponsored by Energy Bits, is a prompt to look a little differently (and more thoroughly) at the world around us as we run. That was certainly the case for me with the original hunt as well as the 2013 Holiday Hunt.

Here’s the list for this hunt (ends July 5, 2014). You earn one entry an image from each of the ten categories (must be tweeted with the hashtag #runchathunt):

Trail path (or evidence of running on a trail). Here’s mine:

The Plantation at St. George Island

The Plantation at St. George Island

Funny road/store/church sign. Mine isn’t that funny, I know, but it puts my mind on “beach mode” which makes me happy so we’ll go with it!

Parrotdise? Yeah, I'll run for that!

Parrotdise? Yeah, I’ll run for that!

Dog (yours or someone else running with one). I encountered this guy when the hunt had first started:

Canine Company on an early run...

Canine Company on an early run…

Someone fishing. This is actually not the one I originally submitted to RunChat but I love this pic of my brother-in-law fishing so here it is!

2014-06-20 18.42.32

St. George Island, June 2014

Sunrise or sunset. Here’s mine!

Sunrises make these morning runs worth the effort.

Sunrises make these morning runs worth the effort.

Farm equipment. I’m sure a lot of people found farm equipment, but I wonder if anyone else got a farm equipment mailbox. Thank you, North Florida!

runchathunt farm equipment

Road kill.

I think I may be on the RunChat “exclude” list after lobbying so hard for this one. But honestly, aren’t we runners candid with each other about every part of running, from bloody nipples to other issues that would normally be private? Thanks RunChat (and voters!) for including this. I’m done.

(In case you’re squeamish, I am not showing the image directly. If you have a tough constitution, here’s the link to the image.)

A great local dive bar. Another souvenir of our week at St. George Island:

A perfect place to hydrate after a run!

A perfect place to hydrate after a run!

Pay phone. Definitely the next-to-hardest thing to find! I finally located one:

1-800-FOR-ARUN

1-800-FOR-ARUN

Gnome.

Ah, the elusive gnome. I have a friend who owns a gnome so I may have to schedule a run on her side of town but I keep hoping to find one by chance. If you’re in Tallahassee and have any suggestions, send ’em my way!

I probably won’t be lucky enough to find one this entertaining but check it out:

Source: Artistic-garden.com

Source: Artistic-garden.com

You can also get an entry by submitting a Vine or Instagram video incorporating two of the #RunChatHunt items. I shot one yesterday but I’m not happy with it so tick tock I have to get on it!

Lastly, you can get an entry for a blog post (like this!).

The contest lasts through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 5, 2014. That’s plenty of time to hunt down a pay phone, take in a sunrise, or track down some farm equipment. Might as well … you’ll be running anyhow, right?

runchat logo

*Prizes include an Energy Bits prize pack, Altra shoes, Hylands Leg Cramps Products, a HeadSweats gift card, a 4-pack of KT Tape, a pair of socks or sleeves from Pro Compression, and a Road ID gift card.

 

From Magic Mike To The Bottom of The Barrel: My 2012 Favorites (A Mama Kat Prompt)

After a long drought, I just may make it to two weeks in a row with Mama Kat prompts. She made it easy (and irresistible) this week via a template: 2012 Favorites (inspired by MomSmack)!

Here goes.

Favorite 2012 Movie:  The thing is, as much as I love movies, I don’t make it to them very often.  To start things off on an unpredictable roll, let’s go with the one that was the most funMagic Mike!

magic mike

Favorite Album: Gosh, I haven’t bought an album, on vinyl or digital, so I’ll have to pass on that one!

Favorite Song:  The last (and cooldown) song on my running playlist is “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Something about this song reminds me of my daughter. It’s the line, “How old is your soul?” I love it.

Favorite Tweeter. There is one person I look for every day on Twitter. I know that what I will find will entertain, encourage, or do a little of both. So unless you’re a Lara Spencer fan, just trust me on this and follow @washingtina. She rocks.

Favorite Blog. How, oh how in a world chock full of incredible bloggers do I answer this one? I think I’ll reward Diary of a Mom for all of those super-early wakeups that she does in order to write for us (I know she’ll say she does it for herself too but……) about parenting, life, autism, and being true to yourself.

Favorite TV Show. Holy heck I am feeling shallow here with the Magic Mike intro and the reveal of my favorite tv show. I love My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. I love it most at 2 a.m. when I’m supposed to be sleeping and I am drifting off to the sound of him rescuing some poor inept bride from her bargain gown and putting her into the perfect couture gown; when he’s blowing off the industrial hall venue and migrating everyone to an opulent seaside setting. I love it when he makes that bride’s dream “his” for the duration and truly invests himself in the process.

Favorite Instagramer. This is a challenge because I just got on Instagram. That said, one instagramer I followed on Facebook before I had it as an app is “tifthegirl.” I met Tiffany when her husband was studying film at Florida State, and her picture-a-day for a year project that was posted to Facebook never failed to capture my attention.

Favorite Moment. Crossing the finish line of the Boston 13.1 race in September as part of the Autism Speaks team.

AS finish

Favorite conference. I went to an interesting conference in Baltimore in June related to Health Care Quality. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that one of the highlights was my extracurricular non-conference activity of getting together super early with my friend and PRS Fit teammate Ann Brennan. What a treat!

PaulaAnn

Favorite viral video. Here’s the thing. I am a huge fan of Bottom of the Barrel Comedy on Youtube and they’ve done plenty of viral videos (I met many BOTB members when they were FSU Film students). But a lot of them may not be appropriate for a mom audience. For that reason I am embedding one that is technically not from 2012 but is the best I can do for a PG13 audience. Little Chef has had over 343,000 views:

So there you have it. Magic Mike, Wedding Overkill, Kids Running Amok in Kitchens. Maybe it’s a good thing my word for 2013 is direction.

Mama’s Losin’ It