Gen Z is here! (No, they’re not.)

28 Jul

Some friends asked me to comment on this article, Get ready for Generation Z. So I did.

****

I’m a Strauss and Howe purist. Generations are 20 years in length, plus or minus a couple/few years, there is no Gen Z (just as there is no Gen Y); the nomenclature is all wrong because it speaks to one generation coming after another in a sequence. Generations come after each other, of course, but cyclically, not sequentially.

Btw, the Homelanders (the generation born after Millennials) are only about 8-9-10 years old at the top end, not 16ish as stated in the article.. These pics and examples of kids in this article are mid- and late-wave Millennials, that’s all. You can call ‘em what you want — call them GenZed if you want — but that doesn’t make them a new generation.

The Homelanders aren’t “smarter,” per se … of course not, but they will become “the credentialed experts” as they rise up the age ladder. Just as GenXers/nomads (the shadow gen to the Artists/Homelanders/Silent gen) rail against “the credentialed expert” — noticed the power of social media to create DIY experts and rock stars? yeah, that’s GenX energy to destroy the cultural hold of “credentialed experts” made powerful by the Silent Gen and to circumnavigate the power hold of Boomers (read: “I was here first, therefore, it’s mine”) — the next round of artists (the Homelanders) will bring back to front and center the importance and value of the credentialed expert. This will begin to rise gently in importance in their young adult years (starting around 2024) and will become solid and unshakable in the midlife years (starting around 2044).

30 Jun
more carrot burning man campHey loves, Many/most/all? of you know I go to Burning Man and am involved in a camp called More Carrot. Burning Man is much more (indescribably more) than just a big party in the desert. It’s a place of community, principles and values withwhich I deeply resonate. I’m asking for your support in our annual fundraising campaign. 
We keep our camp numbers small (30ish) and each camp member contributes $400 to our operating costs plus their own ticket and other costs (about $2500-$3000 each), and we do this so that the participation, community and intimacy is greater, but our costs and investments are more than our camp contributions provide. Please consider even a small donation to our camp and this amazing growing/developing/expanding space and experience that is Burning Man and More Carrot.
Thanks for your support!
Actions you can take to help –
  • Share our campaign link in your network
  • Donate to our campaign today, even $10 helps
  • Gift a box of fresh produce to a burner you love ($100 and $15o)
And at no cost, help us get more followers and reach a larger network –
Burning Man More Carrot

Please support my Burning Man camp with your donation today!

Two local parties, an opporunity to be highlighted and a HoCo voter-focused website

19 Jun

Hi there! I’ve got –

  1. two local parties coming up,
  2. an opportunity to get highlighted and
  3. a HoCo voter-focused website I’d like your help in sharing with others.
Nerium Firm party at 39-Minute Workout

One party is mine alone and it’s this weekend. It’s a Nerium Firm party at 39-Minute Workout in Ellicott City, and it combines two things I love: the Nerium product/plant/business/opportunity and kettlebell training (who knew!). I know that for most of you Nerium isn’t for you. I get that. I’d still love your support to be there and/or to send referrals my way. Everyone’s got skin … and Nerium’s products work! Saturday’s party deets here.

HoCoBlogs party at Secolari Artisan Oil and Vinegar

The other party is a HoCoBlogs party at Secolari Artisan Oil and Vinegar in the new section of the Columbia Mall. I love this store: it sells three of my favorite things: quality olive oil, superb vinegar and artisinal salt. Honey, too! The staff are super friendly and the store is locally owned by a Clarksville couple. Imagine that: a locally owned store in the Columbia Mall. Kind of makes me feel nostalgic for the ’70s and early ’80s. Love to see you there. It’s free to attend and there will be nibbles and tastings. Please share this party invite with local foodies.

Getting highlighted

On the new party/event tool I’m using (EventJoy), there is an opportunity to highlight people by posting a short bio, a headshot and links to key social media sites. I need people to highlight. (You need to be at the party to be highlighted; that’s the one catch.) Post your info here on this form if you’re interested. You can see my last party’s invite and how people were highlighted. Just scroll over the photos; see the bio and social media links?  Even if you can’t make the Secolari party, I can include you on a future party announcement. I’d love to help you find and deepen more local connections.

#HoCoElections 

As you probably know, I’ve been championing social media as an integral element of healthy communities for over seven years now, and much of this energy has found its form in HoCoBlogs.com, a site with, as of today, 444 local blogs listed on it. For the primaries, my tech partner, Robin Abello, and I have hired a developer to create a #HoCoElections site in which we include the key social media sites (blogs, Facebook and Twitter) from local candidates. The elections site is found here, and it will be updated after the primaries then after the general elections. I’d very much appreciate your sharing this site with other people in Howard County, either on Facebook, an email you send, Twitter or perhaps simply telling a neighbor about it. As much of the local conversation and elected positions are dominated by older people, and as Columbia and Howard County face a very-real danger in not being appealing to a younger, dynamic generation, I believe it’s even more important that politicians use social media and that voters of any age can tune into their streams of communication and become more involved and engaged in our community.

Well, that’s it for now.

Hugs from the east side!

Jessie

#HoCoBlogs

HoCoElections page offers voters insight and perspective via candidates’ social streams

12 Jun

Check out the new HoCoBlogs’ Election 2014 page.

Click the hashtags for race-specific Twitter streams.

And definitely follow and use #HoCoPolitics!

***

With the primary elections around the corner and early voting starting now, many voters may find themselves shrugging their shoulders, essentially saying, “Eh, I really don’t know who to vote for. All the candidates sound so alike. What if I vote for the wrong person? … I guess I’ll leave the voting to those who are more involved and know better.”

Does this sound like you? It sure is how I was for years; nay, decades. I still find it challenging to differentiate one candidate from another when all I have to go on is their printed election material, which almost always make a candidate look good, reasonable and worthy of my vote.

Sample page from the new site for HoCoElections.

So how do you get to know the candidates? How do you get a sense for who someone is? How do you gain insight, perspective and confidence to vote for the person who seems like the best candidate to you?

One way and one angle to gain this perspective is through the candidates’ social media activity in the form of blogs, Facebook updates, tweets and more. In social media, there is usually less vetting of content, more in-the-moment-ness and more opportunity to see into someone’s personality than exists with highly edited and strategic printed campaign mailers.

At HoCoBlogs, we’ve pulled together local candidates’ social media activity in a new website: HoCoBlogs’ Election 2014, which you can find atwww.hocoblogs.com/elections2014. Come visit (again and again, we hope) and get to know your candidates. Perhaps, and hopefully, you’ll feel more confident to cast your vote and participate in local elections this year.

***

PS – Yes, we are aware that many a tweak still needs to be made. We wanted to get this site mostly done before the primaries, and we’ll update it after the primaries to reflect the elections. Feel free to send updates and new or corrected info to jessie@hocoblogs.com.

Columbia Association Needs Bob Fontaine

24 Apr

Here is a Letter to the Editor I wrote which was printed in the April 24, 2014, issue of the Columbia Flier.

To those of you living in Harper’s Choice, if you’ve already decided for whom you’re voting in the village elections come Saturday, great; it’s good to have convictions. But my sense is that most people don’t have strong convictions about the CA board and can’t tell much of a difference between one candidate and the other.  On paper, pretty much every candidate sounds good, wouldn’t you agree? But in person, how people act, function, collaborate and solve problems — well, that’s a very different story.

I have known CA board candidate Bob Fontaine for a number of years. He is, hands down, in my opinion, the best candidate for the position and will bring professionalism, experience and capacity that his opponent simply can’t match.

While I’ve been guilty myself, many times, for choosing not to vote because I really didn’t know which candidate was better or why, I urge any of you living in Harpers Choice to take the 30 minutes or so to get to the polls, to vote and to help CA become a more professionally managed organization.

Bob Fontaine is the type of leader the CA board needs, now more than ever.

Jessie Newburn

Oakland Mills

***

PS – Ditto for Harry Schwarz in Hickory Ridge, and Suzanne Waller in Town Center.

#HoCoPolitics

How to get Nerium Day Cream for Free … for the rest of your life; no risk but one small catch

28 Mar

Hello loves,

Yes, it’s true. You can get the age-defying NeriumAD Day Cream for free for the rest of your life. Here’s the information, the how and the one small catch.

Here’s what you need to do
  1. Become a Preferred Customer (a $45 savings over the retail price) who is signed up for auto-delivery (a monthly shipment) and receiving the day cream and night treatment combo pack.
  2. Stay on the auto-delivery for three consecutive months. Then your fourth bottle of Nerium Day Cream and every other bottle thereafter, for the rest of your life, is free as long as you stay on the auto delivery.
The company’s no-risk guarantee

Nerium International offers all customers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can return the product for any reason and get your product purchase price returned to you as long as the package is post-marked within 30 days of your purchase.

My no-risk guarantee

If you want to try Nerium and sign up for the free day cream for life, I will call you 25 days after you purchase the product to see if you’re happy with it. If for any reason you want to return it, either I will get your bottle from you and return it for you, or I will use one of my own used bottles and return it on your behalf for your refund.

The catch

This offer, open since October 2013, ends soon. You must act by March 31, 2014.

Click here to get your Nerium Day Cream FREE for the rest of your life

Pick the middle option ($12o + S&H and tax … about $137, all told).

I love this product!

I love this product and heartily recommend it! While there are many amazing before-and-after photos, in my own experience, I’ve had improvements with texture (in days) and tone (in a few weeks); and reduction with discoloration, fine lines and wrinkles (visible within a couple months).

eyes crows feet wrinkles and bags under the eyes nerium

Nerium works on tightening loose skin. Here is an example of improved skin and texture with bags under the eyes and wrinkles.

 

back of the hands , skin, discoloratin and wrinkles

Smart! This woman applied Nerium to one hand to test her own results. See for yourself!

 

nerium works on cystic acne and Atrophic scars

Nerium works on many skin conditions; here is some atrophic scar improvement.

Nerium AD Safety Information: answering questions about Nerium skin cream’s toxicity

17 Mar

I am a Nerium Independent Brand Partner and sometimes when people hear the word “nerium,” they have an understandable, “Whhaaaa….??? Nerium oleander is poisonous!” reaction. Yes, the plant has toxic components. But the nerium extract, obtained by a patented process that renders it non-toxic, is not. A week or so ago, I saw in a company email this wrap-up of links and information about NeriumAD’s skin cream safety and the science behind it. Reposted here, verbatim.

NeriumAD Safety Information
Nerium age-defying treamtment - safety concerns

Nerium age-defying treatment and day cream.

At Nerium, we’re exceedingly proud of the wealth of painstaking research that’s gone into our product development. Leading researchers, pharmacologists, toxicologists, and physicians heartily tout the safety of NeriumAD. We want you to be able to use their knowledge and research to refute negative, uneducated opinions.

Dennis Knocke, CEO of Nerium SkinCare, wrote this memo, which summarizes the educated views on the safety of NeriumAD. To see the experts quoted in this memo, please watch this video. If you have someone questioning the research behind NeriumAD, Dr. Robert Newman describes it here. In addition to these esteemed scientists, doctors and researchers, we’d like to share with you how leading estheticians feel about NeriumAD!

We are committed and dedicated to offering skincare solutions that are based on proven science and actual customer success.

***

For more information, to try Nerium skin cream free for five days, or just to say “hello,” here’s my contact info –

Jessie Newburn
Columbia, Md.
jessienewb.nerium.com
jessienewb.arealbreakthrough.com
facebook.com/jessie.newburn
443-794-7521
Email

An at-home before-and-after photo from a Nerium customer.

An at-home before-and-after photo from a Nerium customer.

Comb-overs, faces covered in a mess of gray hair, embracing baldness and wearing hats: men, hair and generations

13 Mar

I like bald-headed men. Then again, I’m of the generation where men have embraced baldness rather than fighting it. Here’s my take on how how men approach their hair, through the lens of generations.

Silent Gen, b 1925-1942. Born too young to be GI Heroes and too late to be peace-love-n-rock-n-roll Boomers, Silent Gen men  hit midlife in an era of increasing desire for personal expression in what we now call the Consciousness Revolution. As a generation, they helped loosen the grips on responsibility and adulthood; they were the swingers of the ’70s. And they were the ones  who embraced the comb-over and toupe. They’been known for their bad, DIY home hair-coloring job, trying to be a generation younger and not succeeding. No need to say any more about this. Close your eyes and try not to remember.

Boomers, b 1943-1960. One of the core experiences of the Prophet generation (today’s Boomers) is that they first fight a new phase of life and deny the personal implications, then they embrace it, call it Good. They perceive of themselves as forever young (no one else does) until they finally embrace elderhood and become what are historically and cyclically known as “Gray Champions.” But during their mid-life and early elderhood years, you can spot Boomer men by their facial hair (beards and moustaches that cover their faces). Often accompanied by glasses and a cheap haircut. The antithesis of style. It’s as though they picked a look that worked for them at 27 and haven’t updated their style since then. May they grow their beards longer, wear white robes, grab a cane and do as their generation does in elderhood: provide the moral compass for society in an era of Crises. (Note to Boomer men: You all look alike! Well, those of you with moustaches, beards and glasses do.)

GenXers, b 1961-1981. GenX men remember all too well those Rogaine and Hair Club for Men commercials. Come GenXers into midlife and look at the cultural shift toward baldness. Bald guys are hot. Even men in their early 30s often shave their heads. It’s a look. It’s a statement. Being bald  — which for most men is really an act of embracing hair loss and “the inevitable” by shaving off their thinning hair — is taking a step forward, rather than fighting accumulated years. It’s an “I am what I am” thing. Embracing assets that are abundant — moustaches and beards —  expresses a GenX value to work with existing resources.

Millennials, b 1982 – 2004. At the top end, they are 32 in 2014 and hair loss is not big on their radar; the youngest in their generational span are but ten years old. My prediction: hats. That’s how they will deal with their hair loss. Formal, informal, but definitely stylish, quality, hats harking back to the 1930s. (Just go back 80-ish years to see the trends; it’s all a cycle!) Hats and more focus on things that shape a man’s face with refinement (vs the GenXers’ embracing of the beards reminiscent of the ’70s and a nostalgia for their childhood years). You can already see the change in the flamboyant moustaches, that GenX and Millennial men are sporting. Millennial men in midlife, I’d think, will wear monocles, have well-slicked hair, groom for pencil moustaches and, in general, embrace anything that is anti-grunge, leaning instead toward a conservative, preppy and ready-for-success look, which they are already doing.

This is, of course, one woman’s opinion, unedited. Not proofread.

The Fat Drug — and an open letter to Millennials for when you’re in midlife

11 Mar

From the NY Times, “The Fat Drug.” “How humankind unwittingly joined an experiment on antibiotics and weight gain.” / and / “In the meantime, we are faced with the legacy of these drugs — the possibility that they have affected our size and shape, and made us different people.”

*****

The Fat Drug.

The Fat Drug.

Dear #Millennials, please remember antiobiotics (these good-ideas-gone-horribly-wrong) when you’re in mid-life (42-62 years old). You probably don’t know this but it’s your generational archetype (Heroes) that ushered in Vaccines For All (wheee!!!) and  promises of “antiobiotics are good”  to the masses the last time your archetype was in midlife. That would be, for your reference,  the GI generation, born 1901-1924. And in some ways, they weren’t wrong.

But see, the thing for your generation to understand about itself is your Achilles’ heel: your hubris. Your generation is upbeat, trusting of institutions, increasingly powerful as it ages, and focused on a few grand solutions rather than scattered countless gambles (that’s the GenX role) or moralistic, values-driven contemplation (Boomers’ role).

But, in your collaboration and agreement, in your assumption that because you all find X or Y or Z the Thing To Do, what you forget to do is assess, to look at repercussions, to look at the effect and the effect of the effect. That’s what your junior generation (the Homelanders) will do for you in their young adulthood to your mid-life years. Heed them. And more so, remember in your feelings of glory and power, that the things that seem so grand today will — like clockwork — become the profound problems that create the crisis situation for society and the next round of Millennial-like kids and young adults 80 years hence.

You’ll do great work; that is certain. Just remember to listen when your elder cautious GenXers and your younger sensitive Homelanders say, “um, maybe this could be tweaked just a bit.” And heed. For truly, your generation’s weak point is your hubris, a problem which becomes increasingly pronounced — not too surprisingly — the more older and powerful you become.

A spring fast, cleanse and detox

9 Mar

Some friends and I have decided to do a spring cleanse and detox. This is not my first rodeo, as They say, but it is theirs. I’ve done quite a few cleanses over the years, and that would perhaps seem normal, healthy and wise were I a European blogging to a mostly European audience. But I’m not European and my assumption is most of my readers will be /are American. I am not an SME, a certified whatever or a deep studier on the subject. I’m offering here my perspective and feelings.

So, first things first. There are many ways to cleanse and detox, many products, many approaches and many reasons. My friends and I going to do the Blessed Herbs product cleanse, with some of us doing the five-day fast, cleanse and detox (I’ve gone as long as 10 days with this sytem) and others choosing a lighter approach where they’ll be eating for five days and using the cleanse and detox products.

This post is aimed at the fast-and-cleanse group and I’m providing some tips that I can offer from my experience, namely:

  1. Get your products and go shopping.
  2. Find good juices.
  3. Find savory drinks.
  4. Find satisfying water alternatives.
  5. The hunger will pass.
  6. Cheat with coconut oil.
  7. Open to whatever needs to be cleansed.
  8. Make it a meal!
  9. Do your best and don’t fret the rest.
Get your products and go shopping.

You’ll need a bottle of the Digestive Stimulant (DS) and two 14-packet packs of the Toxin Absorber (TA). I prefer the ginger flavor as I feel it mixes better with other juices. Start taking the DS and TA, one per day, a couple-few days before you start your full cleanse. You can skip the kit, save yourself some money and just buy the two items. You’ll need a shaker jar to shake-shake-shake the TA. You’ll also need juice and other items, so check out my shopping list at the end of this post.

Find good juices.

In a perfect world, you’ll buy organic fruits and produce, juice them in your world-class juicer (I have one, a Champion) and drink healthful, nutrient-rich juices. Right. Been there. Done that. You might as well take vacation days for all the time and effort it takes to prep, juice, clean-up and then repeat the process for a total of five times a day. You do need juice (imo) to mix with the TA; I prefer sweeter juice rather than vegetable-y juice as the TA gets thick quickly and it’s just easier to drink a sweeter drink quickly.

When mixing the TA, put half  juice and half water in the jar, add the packet; shake; have your glass ready to pour it into; drink quickly; do not delay. Juice has loads of sugar in it, so going forward, I’ll be cutting down the amount of juice I consume when cleansing and detoxing. If you purchase juice (recommended, though I used to be a purist and made all my own juice) get healthier alternatives where you can and stretch your juice with flavored teas.

Find savory drinks.

I find having something savory and tasty makes all the difference. I feel more satisfied and less denied when I have savory drinks. For me, this has included home-made beef broth, miso soup (a bit of a cheat as miso is a solid) and any sort of soup broth. I’ve recently purchased some Numi savory tea for my upcoming cleanse and feel this will be a big help to have something that feels/smells more substantial than “just” cold fruit or vegetable juice.

Find satisfying water alternatives.

Regardless of how many experts say “drink lots of water,” I do not believe this nor do I find it sound advice as it does not, in my understanding, match pre-industrialized human history and behavior. I personally think the “drink more water” mantra promulgated is really an unconcious battle against the crazy amount of cheap, low-grade, poor-nutrient, industrialized salt added to tens of thousands of food products. And it is my opinion that rather than dealing with the issue of crappy food, crappy salt quality and poor eating choices, our Society has collectively decided to declare that drinking more water is good , unconsciously attempting to lower the salt quantity in our bodies (by adding more water and diluting it) rather than dealing with the true problem in food and salt quality. But I digresss…

Personally, I do not find drinking water satisfying except in small amounts at key times, and yet to cleanse and detox with the Toxin Absorber packets, you’ll need more liquid moving through you. I need satisfying alternatives to water. For me, this is mainly tea; thankfully, in the realm of tea, there are so many choices. I’ve been experimenting with various flavors, quality levels and types of tea. Explore. Also, drinks such as unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, honey and water are nice, or the Numi savory teas, or barley water can be good. I’ll be doubling up on my homebrew kombucha before my cleanse so that I have something tasty to drink. Ginger and/or tumeric rhizomes, chopped up and placed in really hot (not quite boiling) water with good quality honey can be a nice drink too. Options abound.

And while this may seem sacrilege to purists, alcohol is liquid. Have a good quality beer, a really nice glass of wine or cocktail made with top shelf liquor. In other words, enjoy your liquids. The fast, the pills, the TA packets are enough of a challenge; there’s no need to suffer.

The hunger will pass.

There are times when you will be hungry. No doubt. The Blessed Herbs Toxin Absorber can provide a surprising sense of fullness.  There may be times when you feel lethargic and spacey; other times when you have such a surprising amount of energy (because your body isn’t expending so much energy to digest food).

Cheat with coconut oil.

For this upcoming fast, I’m going to “cheat” with coconut oil. Most any other fast — even ones that allow eating during the fast and cleanse — will have admonitions about avoiding processed food, animal protein and fat. But we need fat for vitamin absorption, to feel satisfied and yada yada. I’m not a SME here. Google it. Coconut oil is king among fats. Or at least royalty. I’ve recently discovered that a teaspoon of coconut oil added to hot tea is quite enjoyable, especially a fruity-tasting tea. I steep the tea, then add the coconut oil; wait for the temp to drop just a bit and then drink it. I will definitely be having this drink a lot on my next cleanse and fast. Plus coconut oil helps with expelling parasites … which some people have. It happens.

Open to whatever needs to be cleansed.

With every cleanse I’ve done, something else has been going on. Sometimes I’ve gone through my wardrobe and reviewed what I wanted to keep or pass on to a thrift store; other times I’ve gone through years of old paper and/or computer files; one time I helped a friend thoroughly clean the scrub growth encroaching into her yard and we cleaned and prepped her yard for spring. It doesn’t matter what it is, but it does matter, imo, that you’re aware that the physical cleanse and detox is the anchor, but your whole life — or a part of it — may also need a cleanse and detox. Be open to it. And fear not the sudden wave of saddness or some deep emotion that appears “out of nowhere.”

Make it a meal.

There will come a time when you’re facing your fourth Toxin Absorber packet  of the day is just not a pleasant thought. So make “a meal” of it. First, when possible, try to take your packets and pills with another person. Celebrate that you’re doing a cleanse. Acknowledge what you’re up to. When cleansing and detoxing, I often pull out of the back corners of cupboards any abandoned or forgotten bottles of tinctures, vitamins or supplements. I keep them on the kitchen counter and make a bit of ceremony and effect out of the process. If I’m already swallowing one pill (the Digestive Stimulant) why not also swallow a handful more of pills, use up the bottles around my house and get some more nutrients and curative elements in me?

Do your best and don’t fret the rest.

The fast, cleanse and detox outlined by Blessed Herbs is an “optimal” plan. Do your best. Enjoy the ride. Have the experience. And enjoy the benefits.

My shopping list for a cleanse

  • Blessed Herbs cleanse products (Digestive Stimulant and Toxin Absorber)
  • Somewhat healthy juices, various flavors
  • Teas (good quality)
  • Numi savory tea
  • Good quality broth (or ingredients to make your own broth)
  • Coconut oil
  • Miso soup – bonito flakes, miso and kombu
Optional Liver Cleanse.

There is an amazing liver-cleanse drink — garlic+olive oil+lemon/citrus+sweet juice drink+ginger liver-cleanse — that you may find is a tasty and satisfying (it helps with hunger, too). Each day the amount of garlic and olive oil increases one notch, starting with one clove of garlic and one tablespoon of olive oil; day two, same drink but two cloves of garlic and two tablespoons of olive oil. Here’s how I make it –

  • Peel a clove of garlic.
  • Peel a 1/2 inch of ginger.
  • Juice (not puree or blend) a lemon and lime (seeds removed, rinds included, trust me).
  • Juice several apples with some grapes (or buy unpasturized apple juice), or juice a couple/few oranges and grapefruits.
  • Place all of these ingredients plus a tablespoon of olive oil in a blender, blend on high until emulsified; drink.

Liver Cleanse Shopping List

  • Garlic
  • Really good quality olive oil
  • Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit (for the optional add-on liver cleanse)
  • Ginger
  • Apples and grapes, or unpasteruized apple cider, or lots of oranges and/or grapefruits

This whole text is yet to be proofread.

Dennis.

29 Jan

I wrote this post the day after Dennis Lane’s death. I didn’t publish it then, posting something shorter instead. His birthday is today, and his life is one I will always celebrate and cherish.

***

Dennis.

I first met Dennis in 1991. It was then that I’d started my first business, Do The Write Thing, and I had not a clue of how to get clients other than by advertising. But I’d heard of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and someone suggested I attend some of their networking meetings, so I went. I was scared, intimidated, clueless how to show up for the events and — at the time — significantly younger than easily 90% of the Chamber event attendees.

Dennis Lane, Blogger, Commercial Real Estate Agent

Dennis Lane

But there I met Dennis, and there I met a jovial, welcoming, kind and warm gentleman who always made me feel welcome and included. And as it was, I went to many such events in those early years, saw Dennis once or twice a month and developed a friendship that included some more in-depth conversations  over drinks at — yeah, you guessed it — Clyde’s.

Our lives continued to cross paths — at the Columbia Business Exchange, being involved in the then-called Columbia Business Monthly newspaper and running into each other at community event after community event. While I have my own version of bubbly-ness and extroversion, I often need to first get grounded to a place and event before I can connect with others. Dennis has for many years and many events been one of my grounding points, making me feel welcome and included.

Over the years, I’d see him at coffee shops with a frequency higher than “just random” and we’d often catch up for a few minutes while standing in line together. I’d see him when I was out and about running errands, and we’d stop and talk for a while. Sometimes we’d go out for an impromptu drink after finding each other at an event. Whatever the case and whatever the place, he always seemed to have time for a conversation.

When I came back to my hometown, Columbia, after being out of the country for a while, there was this relatively new thing called blogging. I was quietly experimenting on my own and I started to find some local bloggers. One day, I commented on a post by Wordbones (who at that time had not revealed his identity as a blogger, but I was 99% sure it was  Dennis). My comment was a snarky one, and I posted anonymously.

I emailed him shortly after to say I was back in town and to see if we could get together for lunch. He asked me then, “Hey, did you comment on my blog about (xyz)?” “Yes,” I told him. To which he responded, “I thought that was you! It sounded like you.” And at that exact moment in time, I made a decision. A big one. I decided that I would never post anonymously and that I would take a stand for people owning their own perspectives online, in particular and with passion, when commenting on blogs in a local community.

Ian, Me, Dennis and Bill at a Columbia Foundation party several years back.

Ian, Me, Dennis and Bill at a Columbia Foundation party several years back.

When I decided to create HoCoBlogs.com with Robin Abello, back in 2007, Dennis’s blog, Tales of Two Cities, was one of the most regularly updated, locally focused blogs around. Ian Kennedy’s HayDuke was the other, and there were smatterings of other bloggers, though Dennis held then and continued to hold the spot as the most long-term, consistent local blogger. I couldn’t have — and wouldn’t have — started HoCoBlogs without Dennis as an anchor blogger. We started with about a dozen or so bloggers. Today HoCoBlogs has over 350 Howard County bloggers in its database. Not all active each day or even each month, but all local. And much of what has happened with HoCoBlogs is because Dennis was part of the DNA and seminal energy of our local blogging community forming. He provided, with his writing, his perspective and his personality, a center of gravity.

A short while later, the small posse of bloggers had gotten into a fight of sorts. A he-said, she-said fight where He and She were Democrats and Republicans. It got nasty. So nasty that the bloggers took their conversations off the public blogs’ and into private emails with the intent, I presume, that no one else would see the mud slinging that was going on. After a week or so of this, Dennis said in a stentorian voice, “Enough! We are a community. We’re neighbors. We know each other. It’s time we get together and have a drink together. I’m buying the first round!”

To which, I piped in and said, “And I’m happy to organize it,” and, thus, the HoCoBlogs parties wer born. (We called them blogtail parties at the time._ Nine of us came to the first such gathering and — yes, you guessed it — we met at Clyde’s. Nine became 12. Twelve became 15. Fifteen got stagnant for a while. And one day, after a dreadfully boring party where we all sort of stared at each other in too small of a space for way too long, the parties almost ended. But the blogging community was growing, with Dennis and Tales of Two Cities as a steady — the steadiest — voice in our community. And the parties found their groove and grew.

dennis lane at the library

I found this photo on Dennis’s Facebook page and I love it! Here’s Dennis popping his head in for a photo opp (photo bomb?) at the library’s Choose Civility Symposium

One of the more simple yet of-impact statements Dennis said to me a few years back was this: “I want to make sure that writers get paid.” I remember how deeply this sunk into me when he said it, and it motivated me. I think Dennis always dreamed of a life where he could write professionally, perhaps not full time, but enough so that he could earn a living and provide for his family. He had his profession, his connections, his career and his industry; but if I had to guess, I’d say he’d trade all that in a sec if he could have made his living writing.

We — individuals and the community — benefited from his dream because he did love to write, and he loved his community. As others have quoted in their memories of Dennis, his blog profile says, “I live here. I work here. I love this place.” In some ways, Dennis didn’t compromise. He didn’t give up his dream of writing because he couldn’t earn a living at it. He did it anyway. And he wrote a newspaper column. And he did a biweekly podcast. He found his way to be in the world as a business man, community member, board member, friend, advisor, colleague … and he found his voice and a way to express himself while being deeply integrated in the institutions and organizations of our community. He spoke his mind without being mean, and when he didn’t like someone, he was clear about it … and such people made me pause if they didn’t pass the Dennis-o-meter of Good People-ness.

When it was time to vote, I read his blog posts, his perspectives and his thoughts, trusting his voice more than I did the local newspaper recommendations. Day in and day out, I read his posts. I came to know him even more, in the way that many people who read his blog did… we followed the community through his eyes and felt the ups and downs of his own life.

And then, yesterday, Friday, May 10th, he died. That’s what I heard first, that Dennis was dead. (Sad!) Then in the tweets and Facebook updates and news updates, I heard he had been killed. (Shock!) Then I read a tweet that used the M word, “murder.” (Tragedy!) I’m not going to process my feelings here in this blog because I don’t even know what to say.

I can tell you my experience though. There was a gathering. A spontaneous gathering of others in shock. Yes — you guessed it — they went to Clyde’s. Out of town for the earlier part of the day, when I walked in, I was greeted by an open half circle of people facing the door. On each person’s face and in their hearts was the shock, the sadness, the grief. Usually at bars, groups of people face in to each other. They put their backs to the outside and form an enclosing. With this gathering, it was more like a basket, an opening, a welcoming into the circle of people united in their love of community and their love for one of our greatest citizens. In this group, I felt welcomed and included.

And time after time, story after story, I heard the same common denominator, the same thread. People who didn’t even know they registered on Dennis’s awareness beyond a hello were often surprised to discover that he knew of their dreams, read their blogs, knew if they had or hadn’t been blogging lately. They told tales of his encouragement and how he motivated them to start blogging, or to pick it up again. And in these stories there was a note that rang true: to a person, each of them felt from Dennis welcomed and included.

There’s a happy hour in celebration of Dennis’s life tonight. Clyde’s, 5 p.m. I’m sure that when you show up there, you’ll be both welcomed and included.

#HoCoBlogs

Dennis Birthday Photo plus happy hour

Now, with 50% fewer blog posts

21 Jan

It’s been a long time coming: this purge of posts. I’ve cleaned, sorted, reorganized, tweaked and deleted posts before, but this purge was significant. I deleted over 200 posts. And I know I’ve deleted that many and more over the years. What was my filter for the mass purge? Just like going through one’s closet to see what clothes to keep, I had to ask myself what still “fit.” Did it still represent me? Had it been around too long?

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 7.19.42 PMOne filter was de-localizing my blog. I started out as a local blogger in Howard County with many a post about this event, or that org; this community issue or that community-related observation. Most of those are gone. Many of them deleted years prior when I decided to be a personal blogger rather than a community blogger. Now, my local focus occurs mostly over on HoCoBlogs’ blog, and I have much more freedom to get hyper-local and specific there.

Then there is the once cutting-edge-now-almost-silly swath of posts on social tools. One of my posts was “Facebook is heating up” and it was written in mid-2007 with the intent of encouraging people of a certain age, businesses and local government to get involved in Facebook. In the post I made the claim that Facebook wasn’t just for kids and that was, instead, a powerful tool for community engagement for companies, organizations and governments. To which you may be saying, “Yeah, of course. Everyone saw that coming.” But not in 2007. And so, easily, a hundred or so posts in that category are gone. They weren’t wrong, but they seem rather antiquated now.

Then there are the rants. I left many of them in, these rants of mine, as blog posts, by nature, are often rants. I also deleted quite a few. I observed what I observed, felt what I felt, said what I said, and now it’s done.

I’ve appreciated blogging these many years, particularly as an unlike-any-other way to express my feelings, my thinking, my observations and my vision. And in this expression, to have it organized, collected, shared and available for others to see … and for me to review over time. It’s quite something that someone who doesn’t blog can’t quite grasp, I imagine.

I’m glad for the change, the cleanse, the purifying. It’s been a long time coming.

How generational archetypes perceive allies and enemies

29 Dec

For GenXers (born 1961-1981), there is an intense need to know personally one’s enemies and allies. The archetype in which GenXers fall is that of Nomad. Think about being nomadic. You need to know your people, your tribes and which other groups your tribe considers friendly and not-friendly. GenXers are more tribal than other generations. Think of all the branded/logo-focused clothing and the rise of that phenomenon during GenXers’ ascent into young adulthood. Tribes, bay-beee, tribes. Also, Nomads’ lasting contributions to society are in the realms of liberty, survival and honor. GenXers in general don’t trust or want much alignment with others, preferring the edges to the center, but when they do connect, it’s tribal. Look for the indications. You’ll see them.

GIs - the Hero generation. What "total war" will today's Millennials fight?

GIs – the Hero generation. What “total war” will today’s Millennials fight?

For Boomers (born 1943-1960), their enemy is found in opposition to their values. Opinions change. Values don’t. Boomers, whose archetype is the Prophet, orient toward their inner spiritual world of values, vision and religion, and it is here where they have the greatest impact on society. Think Red State-Blue State stagnation, and the values wars that started in the Vietnam War era (and have neither been forgotten nor forgiven). Notice how it’s more important for many Boomers to defend values than to move conversations (personal, business, government, community) forward.

For Millennials (born 1982-2004ish), their enemy is The Total Enemy. Millennials are a peer-oriented generation … throughout their entire lives. Generally upbeat, can-do and aligned to the heart-space of their generation’s core, most Millennials are very aligned with Boomers’ moral direction and guided by GenXers’ exquisite capacity to marshal resources and make the impossible possible. But their enemy — and they fight this in their young adult years — is The Total Enemy, and as such, don’t be surprised if in the next 12 years or so, we experience another Total War in which the enemy needs to be utterly and completely vanquished. Millennials’ archetype is the Hero, and as such, they “need” to fight the battle that is the War of the Worlds battle that can be won by their foot soldiers, led by GenXers generals and created by Boomers’ moral compass. This is cyclical path of their Hero archetype, and their cultural contributions are community, affluence and technology.

For the Homeland Gen (born 2005ish – 2025ish) and the Silent Gen (born 1925-1942), their enemy is The Insensitive Majority. Growing up behind the peer-oriented, Common Man, dissent-quelling Millennials/GI Generation/Hero archetype; they grow up to loathe The Insensitive Majority. But being the Artist archetype, they express this loathing through song, art, stories and the culturally current-to-the-times version of “civil rights.” They advocate for the minority voice, the unheard, the under-represented. This archetypes’ cultural contributions are due process, plurality and subject matter expertise.

More information on generational archetypes is found in any of the William Strauss and Neil Howe books, videos, etc.

Image

Culture and acculturation

3 Oct

Culture and acculturation

Burning Man MOOP map, 2006 – 2013

Burning Man is the world’s largest Leave No Trace (LNT) event. Each year, after the attendees depart and go back home, a crew of people scan the entire 5-/6-square mile space, a person’s-length apart from the next, and they pick up all leftover trash … including sequins, feathers and plywood “shards.” It’s amazing. At the end of this process, a MOOP (Matter out of Place) map is created, providing feedback to all who attended. The color coding is pretty obvious given our cultural references for what these colors mean: green, yellow, red; go, caution, stop; good, meh, no way!

It’s not just trash that’s noted and marked (and cleaned up!). Any gray water dumps are a big no-no. Divots from rebar stakes count as negative marks in a Leave No Trace environment. And small dunes and places where the surface is uneven also count against the Cherished Green Star. This year, much of what I did at the close of the event was to walk around a large area where my home village had camped, and, metal rake in hand, I smoothed out uneven playa dust. For hours. And I did so lovingly and out of choice to do my best to restore the land to how I/we had found it.

I find this collection of maps and progression fascinating and uplifting, as the increased mass of green areas shows that the values and culture around LNT is spreading, being adopted and being cherished by the community promulgating the values and principles. Seems it’s possible, indeed, for great change to occur when people care about a place.

 

Free Food — grape leaves for the taking

4 Jun

I’m a big fan of wild foraging, wild edibles and — especially through the eyes of my mostly suburban existence — free food in my yard and along the pathways where I walk. Wild edible foods provide some  of the most sustainable, biodynamic, healthy, seasonal and inexpensive and enriching ways to supplement my diet. I don’t “forage” all the time or with any particular consistency, but I do turn up my attention in the spring.

Wild grape leaves foraging wild edibles columbia md

Wild grape leaves

Right now, one of the foods that is easily available is wild grape leaves. They are distinct and very easy to spot. I find them along bike/pedestrian paths all throughout Columbia. The grape plant leaves crave the full sun so the leaves are easy to access. Younger, shinier, fresh-looking leaves are the ones to get. While many people make stuffed grape leaves, I just don’t have the patience to make some time-consuming foods. What I do is find a recipe for stuffed grape leaves (dolmas) and then finely chop the grape leaves and saute them in the dish I’m cooking. So instead of the leaf being a wrap, it’s an ingredient.

Free.

Seasonal.

Sustainable.

Local.

Biodyamic.

Healthy.

http://pinterest.com/jessienewburn/howard-county-maryland-wild-edibles/

Thousands of pounds of food … wasted?

17 May

Were people to truly understand that tens if not hundreds or thousands of pounds of food were being wasted each year in communities across the nation, there would probably be some sort of outcry. Indignation at least. Perhaps a call to action, a call to reform.

wild edibles in Howard County, MD - violets

Violets, both the flowers and leaves, are in your yard, delicate and delicious, nutritious and free.

I can tell you this food waste is true, though I doubt such indignation and calls to reform will happen for it is in the eyes of the beholder to see this food and call it such. And such perspective requires a shift in thinking and perspective. Given my own challenges with change and watching/experiencing others deal with paradigm shifts, I’d gander my claims will seem extreme. For now, that is.

I offer that tens/hundreds of pounds of food are, indeed, being wasted each year simply for the lack of willingness to expand our individual and collective thinking to include wild edibles as food. Particularly now, particularly in the months of spring, the bounty of food that is edible in most people’s lawns, in open fields and along pathways, at the edges of woods, and along highways and roads is robust and plentiful.

In each generational season, attitudes toward pretty much everything make a huge shift. Each “cultural season” is approx 20 years long and the cultural attitude of the times matches what one would associate with a season in nature. We’re in Winter now. A time of making do with what one has. A time of conserving resources. A time of being creative with what’s available and on hand because the nights are long, the days are cold and and it may yet be some time before the ground thaws let alone the plants set fruit and vegetables. And so we make do in Winter. That’s the cultural undertone. We find ways to DIY. (Anyone else notice the profound spike in DIY energy, craft and maker orientation, people’s pride in “I made it myself,” a surge in the desire to can vegetables, homestead, live off the land, garden, make do … ?) That’s the energy of Winter, and it’s appropriate to the season.

So how have I opened my own eyes to see resources where perhaps I hadn’t seen them before? In my own yard and community –

  • violet flowers and leaves are exquisite, delicate and nutritious,
  • redbud flowers are pretty and tasty; they’re kind of nutty flavored,
  • dandelion flowers made in to tea are seasonally appropriate to what our bodies need in spring after a long winter,
  • chicory makes for a great salad leaf, and
  • tender wild grape leaves can be harvested and cooked in many dishes.

These are just a few examples of what is available, free, healthy, local and seasonal. While it may seem extreme today and while many people may say, “I’m not going to eat any weeds!” I offer that local wild edibles is the next big trend in food. And the beauty of it all? You needn’t go to an upscale “health food” store and spend $87 on one bag of groceries to eat this way. The food is all available, around and, literally, there for the taking.

I want to learn more about wild edibles, and I’m interested in connecting with others who are knowledgable and/or curious. I’ve created a Pinterest board of wild edibles in Howard County, Md., and I’m open to having others pin relevant wild edibles.

Bon Appétit

RIP, Dennis

12 May
Dennis Lane, Blogger, Commercial Real Estate Agent

Dennis Lane

I know of no guidebook that prepares one for the death of a friend. In my shock, my disbelief and my grief, I grope in my mind to find words to pay homage to a long-time friend. What I have written about him is long, as though somehow the retelling of my stories and experiences with him will breathe life into his lifeless body. But that is not to be. Perhaps I’ll post what I wrote. Another time. Another day. For now, I am in shock, barely able to comprehend what has happened.

Others have, in their own grief, shock and sadness, poured their feelings, their appreciation for his life and their prayers for him and his family into words. I watched this stream, picked from it, gathered it. Assembled it in a way that would capture the feelings, perhaps giving my own life a window into the immensity of the sadness and loss of a friend, a pillar of the community, a part of my life.

Bless your soul, Dennis. May you rest in peace. Bless your family and all those connected to your life and your death. I know not of how such things work in the after life, but I pray, I beseech you to help those of us still here on Earth to find greater connection to each other and this place you so loved.

God bless, Dennis. God bless!

hocoblogs@@@

The day that road salt and stormwater quality are connected

25 Mar

I pine for this day. The day that road salt and stormwater quality are connected in the minds’ of our county’s leaders and those of our citizens.

For now, I live in a world where — at least in the U.S. and in particular, the area by the Chesapeake Bay (once one of the healthiest estuaries in the world) — where governments are at the nascent stages of addressing stormwater run-off and water quality. (Get to know a bit about T-M-D-L, if you’re curious.)

storm water damage road salt snow snow howard county maryland

On Mar 25, when it’s expected to rain later in the day, this couple-few-inch-high pile of road salt was dropped by a salt truck on a cul-de-sac with but 14 houses on it.

Where I live at this time, in Howard County, Md., the county is in the early stages of implementing storm water fees to pay for state-/fed/whatev-mandated storm water and TMDL fixes. This is a not-small problem. Nor is it a not-small-dollars project. It’s big. I went to a stormwater preso at which the HoCoGov’s new stormwater chief and others spoke; the chief said the county was looking at possible stormwater-related expenses over the next decade or so of upwards of $800 million. Say he was off by a hundred mil or two. It’s still a lot of money.

To this stormwater fee and other (probably more extreme) measures in coming years, I say, Amen.

What I don’t get is the apparent disconnect in thinking between how much we salt our roads in recent years and the impact on stormwater. Road salt impacts water quality and plant life (think: health of our ponds, man-made lakes and streams). Road salt impacts bacteria and soil quality, which impacts plants, which impacts their ability to hold soil in heavy rains and to absorb water into the soil … which impacts stormwater run-off. I’d be curious to know how many tons of road salt have been applied this year. In the last five years? In the last decade? That salt went somewhere into our community’s soil, streams and bodies of water. It may dissolve, but it doesn’t “disappear.”

Yes, there are times when we need to salt the roads. Of course. But nearly every time it snows? What has happened to our sense of safety and security that the roads need to be salted so much? Both the volume of road salt and the frequency of salting seems to have increased per inch of snow on the ground. I seem to have noticed in recent years a quicker reflex to salt roads, more salt being used and more disheartening piles of salt dropped by (probably idling) salt trucks. This could be mere perception on my part and factually inaccurate. I don’t know. 

Rain? Temps in the high 30s. Yet our roads are salted. We're going to have to pay for the environmental cost of "generous salting."

Rain? Temps in the high 30s. Yet our roads are salted. We’re going to have to pay for the environmental cost of “generous salting.”

Today, there’s a beautiful snow outside, it’s already melting on the roads, and there are predictions for rain this afternoon. Yet on the cul-de-sac where I live — where a mere 14 houses exist — a salt truck came by. And left this beauty (see the photo). A whopping pile of salt that has one place to go: down the hill, into the soil, into the streams, then our stormwater management ponds and into our lakes. 

Green or Blue?

LEED buildings are great. Solar power is cool. LED light bulbs save money and energy in the long run. And libraries with more natural light are all awesome. Pieces of the puzzle of a “more green” community. But how about being a bit more and  blue (water) focused). Road salt, how we use it, how quick we are to use it and the quality of the equipment that applies it are also a part of the equation of being a green community. 

They deal with it just fine in Mass.

I just came from a few weeks’ stay in Concord, Mass., earlier this month where it snowed eight inches in one day and it stayed cold that day, the next and the next. Melting wasn’t much on the agenda. The town doesn’t salt roads there. They plow and sometimes use gravel. I know and trust that there are many factors involved and decision-making matrices re when to plow, salt, not plow, not salt. And I get that as a citizen I don’t understand what that looks like from a front-row seat.

Without systems thinking, today’s solutions are often tomorrow’s problems

What I do know, is that as a citizen, I’m concerned that today’s “solutions” seem to be co-creating tomorrow’s costly problems, particularly vis-a-vis road salt, soil health, stormwater run-off and that funny abbreviation that fed and state agencies are now taking quite seriously: TMDL.

Seed-saving libraries, my sis and NBC Nightly News

22 Mar
nbc nightly news seed saving rebecca newburn

My sis, on NBC Nightly News, talking about the seed-saving lending library program she created.

My sister, Rebecca Newburn (Becky to those who know her from Thunder Hill Elementary and Oakland Mills Middle and High Schools) has championed seed-saving for years. She’s partnered with her local library to create a seed-saving program. She’s learned through trial and error, by attending many workshops, reading, sharing, connecting and networking. And, the Taurus that she is (think fixed Earth energy), she loves to create foundational information. Her work has paid off, with speaking gigs, dozens of libraries across the nation modeling the program she founded, an article in one of the Martha Stewart mags and now this, a highlight on NBC Nightly News!

My heart swells with love to see her recognized and honored for the wonderful woman and gift to the world she is.

I couldn’t get the vid to embed, but you can watch the segment here – http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/51296978/#51296978

Columbia, CA, village elections and local leadership

22 Mar

columbia association monthly newsletter, village electionsI have many an opinion about the make-up of the Columbia Association’s board of directors, village leadership and developing local leaders. But that’s another post for another day. For now, I’m going to chronicle what CA did in 2012 to promote and support local leadership. Perhaps this will serve as a guide and path for others to follow. Hope springs eternal.

In 2012, CA –

Created a website focused on local leadership opportunities in the villages and CA;

Ran a full back-page ad in the Columbia Flier encouraging people to vote and get involved in local leadership opportunities;

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 10.37.53 PMRan ads in The Business Monthly and other pubs encouraging people to get involved as candidates, volunteers and/or voters;

Ran Facebook ads to the same effect;

Ran a significant campaign across all of its online communication channels — multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts, the monthly TV show shown on Comcast, YouTube videos and Comcast PSAs;

Shared the election-focused PSA with the villages and encouraged them to promote the video, the leadership-focused website and other relevant content;

Ran a year-long “Why I Serve” series of articles in the CA Monthly (that continues to this day, I do believe), in which people serving on village boards, CA committees and the Columbia Council were highlighted;

Embarked on an extensive campaign to increase the press releases, ads, announcements and community outreach to announce various committee and leadership opportunities that don’t require a campaign or election, knowing that many people move up the leadership ladder after starting out in volunteer committees;

Ran several pre-election articles in the CA Monthly (delivered inside the Flier to every residence and business in Columbia) about the elections, getting involved, dates for filing for candidacies and voting locations; followed by post-election articles about the new CA board;

Encouraged village managers to list their board and CCR positions in the Howard County Board Connect site.

columbia association, why i serve, tom coaleShared the leadership-focused communications plan with the village managers and encouraged them to use CA’s materials and “path” as a guide;

Added a two-page spread on leadership opportunities to the CA at a Glance annual mailing.

And held numerous free, well-publicized Lunch & Learn sessions about social media, communications and citizen engagement to which all the village managers, their staff, their volunteers and their boards were invited.

The tools, the ads, the plans, the strategies, the systems and the knowledge for how to rock communications about the village elections, getting involved in local leadership and voting have all been layered into CA and shared with the villages. I’m sure this list can be improved upon in coming years. As I said, hope springs eternal.

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