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BY Beatnik

12/01 Direct Link
My mother arrives tomorrow for the annual early December visit. It's a tradition. A few days with us, a few days in DC for meetings, then back to us and home to Seattle.

Should be a good trip. She is publishing the book of her dreams. For more than 20 years she has been wanting to publish it. No luck. When she was turning 60, I asked her what she had not accomplished in her life that she still wanted...she said to publish her book. So, my sister and I laid out, printed and "published" her book.
12/02 Direct Link
The next generation in my life has arrived. Front and center they are making their statements. They can navigate a television remote or smart phone with intuitive ease. Their genetic genome will be mapped by the time they are in their teens. They will have body parts made of metal and plastic without blinking an eye.

So, he's getting a knee replacement. Metal in the knee. No more walking through metal detectors. Will have to get the pat down. Won't like it. The guy prefers to be semi-anonymous. Does not like being the center of attention. Tough.
12/03 Direct Link
Long Term Goals

Create and sustain an ongoing successful early childhood education (ECE) platform in Maryland through Maryland Family Network’s efforts that provides equal access to all Maryland residents whileestablishing “Maryland Family Network” (MFN) as a recognizable brand.

This will require using some communications / outreach efforts in order to:

Raise Visibility: To raise awareness of the Maryland Family Network and its vision in Maryland, the surrounding region and nationally;

Increase Funding: To get the attention of potential funders, including foundations, corporations, wealthy individuals and educational institutions.

Basically, generate “buzz”.
12/04 Direct Link
He is dead. He is gone. Betty is heart broken. There are only two couples I've felt have had a love affair for life: Betty and George; and my parents. Now, only Betty and my mother are left.

So many women are left alone in their older years. Some are lucky to discover new love. Most not.

But, finding love after you've had the love of your life is almost impossible. Everyone else would be a disappointment. They would always be less than < George. Less than < John. The bar has been set and it is high.
12/05 Direct Link
Situation Analysis

Unique breadth: Maryland Family Network is the only organization in the State that addresses all of the issues surrounding ECE including parenting skills; child-care; childcare training; and “leveling the playing field”.

History: Two unique organizations addressing ECE issues from two different angles merged in 2009 to create a dynamic ECE advocacy team.

Public Policy and Communications: It is imperative that policy, fundraising and communications agree on basic communication strategies.New slogan: “We are working to make Maryland a great place to be a little kid" -- now communicate it to them all.
12/06 Direct Link
My former husband, the father of my children and I have had ups and downs. Lately I'd been feeling that he no longer cared about me.

So it was great to have a really lovely 60th birthday lunch together. I felt that there was peace within us and without us -- as I wrote him in my thank you card.

When he gave me a beautiful set of fresh water pearl Tiffany earrings I was completely surprised. It was a show of love that I had not expected. Three real pearls each side one for each decade.
12/07 Direct Link
Opportunities and Challenges

Although most people agree that ECE is important, most do not know of the severe gap that occurs for those children that don’t receive adequate early childhood parenting, nurturing and education. The gap is established by the time they enter first grade and grows wider as time goes on, as is evidenced by our high school drop out rates and incarcerations that put us in first place of the post-industrial nations.

Having an educated and civically involved population is in everyone’s self-interest and an end that justifies the means.
12/08 Direct Link
Core Messages

You have already developed your mission statement: “to ensure that young children and their families have the resources to learn and succeed” – this may be accurate but it’s vague and as an individual I’m not sure what I can do to engage.

However, your core message is: “Change the first five years and you change everything” – and that is direct and understandable.

Variations on that theme should run throughout your written materials.

New slogan: “We are working to make Maryland a great place to be a little kid.”
12/09 Direct Link
Strategies and Tactics

Recognizing that MFN’s resources are limited, most of these recommendations do not require significant additional funding. However, all of the recommendations could be greatly enhanced with additional resources.

In order to fully communicate your message you will need the following:

Collateral Materials

Develop the 10 critical talking points that encompass your work;

Develop a better website (already underway)

Include a search function;

Post partnerships and endorsements;
br>Post press releases and news articles or interviews; and

Post educational videos.
12/10 Direct Link
Develop a short electronic newsletter (already underway)

Forward to your board to disseminate further to their lists – thereby driving some additional grassroots traffic to your website where they can read additional information.Simple cards and paper materials (already underway)

This is particularly important for partnership recruitment and fundraising (current outreach events). Once you have their interest, then you can give them the more bulky packets that are comprehensive. Develop a Power Point presentation for funders.

Include photos of parents involved in workshops (perhaps a video) and case studies; and

Post on website.
12/11 Direct Link
Press Outreach

Distribute press materials and conduct targeted pitch calls around appropriate news pegs as they occur, as well as around specific events (already underway)

Announce workshops, new partnerships, board members, new contracts, funding and other successes through news releases and social media.

Develop articles and op-ed pieces that can be placed in community publications.

The community papers would be more that willing to feature stories around your work as long as you write them; and

Board members can write letters to the editor. Seize those op / ed opportunities!
12/12 Direct Link
Funder and Trade Publications

Identify publications that validate your work:

Many foundations and corporations have newsletters and websites that feature their awardees – a link can be added to MFN website; and

As the assessment process continues and new reports are published about your work, articles could be written for appropriate educational trade publications and journals.

Examples in Other States and Nationally

Research successes and failures in other states and compare your program to theirs (this establishes MFN as a leader – if not then you’ve got more work to do).
12/13 Direct Link
Audiences

Your key audiences are:Policymakers; Elected officials; Key Civic leaders / organizations; Business leaders; Philanthropic organizations (their chairs / board); Activist / Advocacy individuals and organizations; Child / Education Advocacy; Liberals; Parents; Moms and Dads; Grandparents; Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance; Junior League; AAUW; LWV; AARP; Various University & Private School Alumnae; Sororities; Faith-based organizations and communities

Media: Major publications; Community Newspapers; Patch(electronic). Radio (local and national); public radio -- Opportunity for ongoing exposure to liberal, educated audience – can discuss a variety of issues.

Television / partnership sponsors.

Social Media: Facebook; Twitter; Google Ads. Shake it up!
12/14 Direct Link
The book is finished! My mother's dream has been realized. Just a tweak here and there...then it's really done. Will be published in January and everyone is very excited about that!

She has worked hard to leave a mark on this earth.

Four generations are alive and well. Many children, many grandchildren and now two great-granchildren. Four grandchildrens' weddings within one year...from California to NY. The next generation will talk about the "Los Angeles branch of the family"...the "Denver branch"...the "New York branch". So many beautiful pockets of creativity and love.
12/15 Direct Link
The daily tragedy of life. The living must endure the loss. The 20 children, the several adults, the gunman and his mother. The loss, the loss, the tragedy.

Today we celebrate the life of George Merrill. Today we will share stories, I will take photos, today we will all cry. Jim Kapplin is dying. He is lying in bed unable to get up and is dying. Peter Werwath's mother died a few days ago. Ravi Shankar and Dave Brubeck are in good company.

Neither of us want to go today. We would rather be quiet here.
12/16 Direct Link
7-8PM Upon guest arrival

Cheese and Cured meats - and Crudités Station.

7:30 - 8:30PM Spinach Gnocchi with brown butter, ricotta salata -- Braised Short rib with horseradish cream (Crostini)-- Butter milked brined chicken with panko, tobacco honey -- Oysters with Mignonette (shell)Seared Rare Tuna with kimchi and chili aioli (wonton) -- Vietnamese pork meatball with siracha emulsion, Daikon slaw -- Grilled Merguez Sausage with Yogurt (Skewer)Cornmeal Fried Oysters with Bacon Buerre Blanc -- Crispy Shrimp Tempura with sweet chili sauce Corned duck with rye crisp, violet mustard -- Garlic and herb roasted sirloin with boursin, pickled onion.
12/17 Direct Link
As my father wrote: "Elementary physics defines energy as the product of force and displacement. According to Newton, force is mass multiplied by acceleration. At the same time the second integral of acceleration is displacement, and displacement takes place even if the initial state was rest. Therefore to change the state of motion, mechanical energy is needed. Thermal energy changes ice to water, water to steam. Therefore it follows that in order to change something, energy is needed.

So, we can say that energy causes change. Or, in other words, energy is needed for any kind of change."
12/18 Direct Link
My father wrote: "When I start my lectures about energy I usually ask the audience whether they know what is behind an electric wall outlet. The answers are varied: wires, generators, switches, electric transmission lines, etc. Having listened to all of them, I tell them my answer. Behind any outlet there are 50 slaves to serve every North American from cradle to grave, day and night. Next, I present a hand-driven generator to which a 25 Watt light bulb is connected. I ask two individuals to assist; one to drive the generator while the other reads the news aloud."
12/19 Direct Link
RobertReich "Judging from your comments, a few of you believe our biggest budget problem concerns federal spending, not tax revenues. The fact is, future spending is being driven almost entirely by rises in healthcare costs, which affect the entire economy (Medicare and Medicaid aren't the culprit; their administrative costs are low compared to private health plans) and the military. The President's proposed budget cuts everything other than the defense and Medicare and Medicaid to 1.7 percent of GDP, the lowest percent since Eisenhower was president; Paul Ryan's budget (the last Republican budget) cuts domestic discretionary spending almost as much."
12/20 Direct Link
If MFN is to become the leader in the State to demonstrate what needs to be done to close the gap and level the playing field, then many partners need to be brought on board. Once you have broadened your audience to include allies and partners, it would be beneficial to hold a summit that gathers constituencies together to establish mutually agreed upon goals. The GCYF may have been established to address this attempt to consolidate information and attention to children. But, instead of the outcome being another government agency or commission, it would be to solidify MFN’s leadership.
12/21 Direct Link
So funny. The world didn't come to an end, not yet anyway. But the era of NRA and TEA Party may be.

I am watching the NRA EVP talking about how we need to arm our schools. That we have so many monsters in our society that we cannot contain them. The fear mongering is unbelievable.

Just now, a protestor held up a sign "NRA Killing Our Kids" and as he was led out we could hear him clearly make statements as though he were microphoned. Very odd. It's almost like he was an NRA plant.
12/22 Direct Link
Arrival of the family is an emotional event. Everyone is on board and eager...we are all happy...we are all joyous...and then, snow!! Not to be expected according to long range weather forcasts, but then it happened. Ava even got to make a mini-snowman. But, the thrill of feeling the snow fall on her hands and her hair was a huge. I had so hoped for snow...and it came! Delightful development.

Fireworks erupt in our 27th floor window on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00pm.
12/23 Direct Link
Venturing to families with whom the kids grew up. A path down memory lane. Great adventures...introducing four year old Ava Dora and Kim as wife, not girlfriend.

Dennis liked me better with my gray hair and not the blond. Well, if I were married to him and wanted to attract him, then I'd keep it gray. But, I want to attract my husband, and he likes the blond, so I'm keeping it for now.

The Wallaces pulled out the stops with the girls playing hard with Ava and baby Oliver entertaining all the lady cuddlers.
12/24 Direct Link
What a great night! Couldn't be better. We took the living room apart and rearranged everything so it was one big open room and we opened presents, drank champagne and laughed and lived fabulously.

Anna has established a new tradition of chuck beef roast in onion soup and beer...one of her childhood favorites. It works well for Christmas Eve because it cooks and then can sit forever...don't need to worry about it. Potatoes can be roasted in an hour...we get everything ready in advance and we opted for accompaniment of Greek yogurt instead of salad.
12/25 Direct Link
For three consecutive years, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and the Baltimore Community Foundation have successfully partnered to create and administer two significant programs that help to advance the goals of the City of Baltimore’s Sustainability Plan. The Baltimore Energy Challenge (formerly known as Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge), and the City Schools Sustainability Challenge have been engaging residents and students to become leaders on sustainability issues for the last two years. The support of Constellation Energy has been crucial in making these programs and their impacts possible. The Baltimore Energy Challenge (BEC) helps city residents reduce their energy usage.
12/26 Direct Link
The Baltimore Energy Challenge (BEC) helps city residents reduce their energy usage and provides resources to communities to spread messages about energy conservation; the City Schools Sustainability Challenge (CSSC) helps schools achieve certification with the state-wide Maryland Green School Awards program and provides resources for student-led environmental leadership projects to schools. These programs, while separate in staffing, organization and main goals, are intrinsically connected and support each other in achieving their goals. Recent program year, we have seen the potential to dramatically expand our work in both programs and to begin to create change on a broader scale.
12/27 Direct Link
Whew!! Finally a day to relax. Bacon and eggs for breakfast with Ava, Chuck and me. Just the three of us. Then Chuck worked out while Ava and I spent an hour in the pool. Showered and returned...chilled all day. She still loves to listen to Christmas music in her room. She sings "Wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy Tom and Jerry" -- loves her Tom & Jerry shirt she got as well as the Mermaid Barbie who doubles as a surfer. You can stuff her legs into the slim mermaid tail or legs apart on the surf board.
12/28 Direct Link
In the 2011-2012 program year, BEC re-focused its model to support schools as organizing hubs, rather than community associations, in order to reach a broader range of participants and to reinforce what students are learning at school. Community members respect the work of students and are interested to hear what they have to say. Allowing students to be leaders on the topic of energy conservation has proven to be a rewarding and successful way to reach a broad population. Similarly, CSSC empowers students to choose the aspect of sustainability that most interests them and develop projects that work.
12/29 Direct Link
. In the 2011-2012 program year, CSSC created a Green Schools Assistant position and engaged with dozens of schools interested in Green School certification. In spring 2012, the number of city public schools with Green School certification increased from 14 to 17, a jump of more than twenty percent! With both programs, we are confident that our model is working and intend to continue to promote student leadership as a way to build lasting community and school commitments to change on the topics of energy and sustainability. Looking forward through 2015, BEC and CSSC will continue to align our missions.
12/30 Direct Link
The Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge officially launched in August of 2009 as a nine month pilot program organizing in 8 neighborhoods. Our organizing model utilized teams of neighborhood based volunteers called Energy Captains, to reach out to their neighbors and encourage them to take the BNEC Challenge and reduce energy usage in their home by concentrating on low-cost and no-cost measures. The average savings across the 8 neighborhoods was 6.6%. The highest percentage of savings was realized in Park Heights, where residents achieved an average savings as high as 12.8%. This concept has proven very successful.
12/31 Direct Link
Yes, I am partied out! Hard to imagine, but it's true. Will see a movie, have a good dinner at Ouzo Bay and watch the fireworks at Doug's condo.

Danced with Ruri...love her...need to cultivate more. Keep her in my sights.

Used turkey carcass from Christmas to make huge quantities of broth. Used left over veggies from appetizer trays at party to make broccoli soup...and cauliflower soup...blended and frozen. Ready to be defrosted, add cream and chopped parsley. Or Greek yogurt with no fat. Either way I have loads of good soup.