Monday, November 26, 2018

On Traditions and Flexibility

So I might be doing a little "light" cyber Monday shopping, trying to fill some holes in my Christmas shopping list. On the side I am texting a volunteer battle buddy (it's a thing, I just made it up) to see if we can chat soon, am remembering I better reconfirm with the dog walker, and am wondering if my son has long johns for a sure-to-be-cold weekend camp out. My poor son, our morning drive to school included me telling him the days he needs to find himself a ride home from after school rehearsals. He's amazing though, and rolls with it.

My next two weeks will be pretty busy, including some fun travel, but it's a pretty full schedule, even for me. I know that things will get dropped, and good intentions will go awry. Of course, like most of you, you want it all to go right, right? Same goes for all the holiday stuff - traditions you love (the traditional post date on my Christmas cards is February) and things you have to do (hello, social obligations like work parties :-)) and things you want to do (baking with all the butter) (or is that just me?). As usual, a fave woman seems to post just what I want to hear :-)


Shout out to all the moms who buy a new Christmas ornament for every kid that matches something from that year and who just ordered three per kid for the last three years you forgot. Ben, my freshman, will hang for the first time his "new" ornament that says "7th Grade Rocks." . Listen, I mean to be precious about Christmas traditions but there are just a lot of people who live here. . Related: attempting to be heroes, Brandon and I planned a whole ski trip with our family before Christmas, checked the college kids' schedules to make sure they were free, and booked it all: the flights, the house, the equipment, the lift tickets. Told our kids and awaited our raucous applause at which point Remy said: . "THAT IS OUR WHOLE LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL." . The others: . "THAT IS FINALS WEEK!" "I WON'T BE EXEMPT ANYMORE!" "I CAN'T HAVE ANY MORE ABSENCES!" "YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE US FAIL!" . So this Christmas season is going great. Thanks for asking. Parenting is easy. EXCUSE US for not checking all five of your school schedules. We are not calendar experts.
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Friday, November 23, 2018

The Down Side of Choosing Early

I was reaching out recently to one of my besties, trying to find contact info for someone I'd like to invite to speak at an event. In talking about how to find this super successful leader, we nerded out a bit on leadership, and early identification of individuals for future primo leadership opportunities. It was an Air Force specific discussion, but I have seen similar tendencies in all aspects of life...early identification of student athletes, gifted and talented programs, the huge strata of jobs (both paying and volunteer) and where they rack and stack in an organization.

But what happens when one of those bright and shiny types is identified early, pushed into awesome opportunities, and then messes up? It's often forgiven, right? They are young - often younger than their peers - it's a teachable moment. But where you draw the line between a lesson learned and a legitimate indication of problematic behavior?  As humans I think this is a super tough judgement call to make. I should know, as I am generally regarded as "softie" when it comes to discipline (just ask my kids and any Airman I have ever had to formally discipline).

The problem is that by not making those tough calls, we end up with leaders and super stars that "suddenly" do something so egregious that there is no choice but to punish. Remember the Stanford swimmer? Ever read about a CEO or Wing Commander that is discovered to be willingly and knowingly breaking laws? "They are good people," their supporters shout. "They have never done anything like this before." Really? Is it something that was overlooked all along or did being told that they are so awesome so often lead to "above the law" behavior?

Kind of dark thoughts during a time of thankfulness and forgiveness, I know. But I am thankful and grateful for the 99.9% of bright and shiny humans that are doing the right thing all the time, even when not in the spotlight. And I am thankful for great people around me that have helped me make the right decisions, even when it's hard or impacts someone I care for. So, so, so thankful!

(For those that know me personally, please don't think my kids or anyone I work with are the inspiration for this story - everyone is being their usual awesome selves :-))

Monday, November 19, 2018

Books You Must Read

If you are lucky to be heading out on holiday travel, or if you have some down time coming up, I highly recommend these two books, The Wedding Date and The Proposal. You might pass over them if you are not a fan of romances/chick lit, but don't in this case. Fun, lively, set in the real world of diverse characters, I loved them both. Jasmine Guillory's next book is coming out next JULY and I have already pre-ordered it. 

For all those away from home this Thanksgiving, far or near, or working so that others may celebrate - thank you! I appreciate SO MUCH your support of Gals in Blue!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Never Forget

I never saw anything about the dust up caused by comments by SNL comedian Pete Davidson about veteran and congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw. But I did see a lot of comments on my feeds about Crenshaw's invitation to SNL to receive an apology the following week and his response. Wow! It's worth watching the entire thing:

Crenshaw wrote a great op-ed in the Washington Post about it, and I am now a huge fan:

How, then, do we live together in this world of differing ideas? For starters, let’s agree that the ideas are fair game. If you think my idea is awful, you should say as much. But there is a difference between attacking an idea and attacking the person behind that idea. Labeling someone as an “-ist” who believes in an “-ism” because of the person’s policy preference is just a shortcut to playground-style name-calling, cloaked in political terminology. It’s also generally a good indication that the attacker doesn’t have a solid argument and needs a way to end debate before it has even begun.

Amen brother! Here are a couple more vet-related things you should check out:

The Moth Radio Hour podcast this week entitled, Hope and Glory. There are four stories, including Jill Morgenthaler (pictured here), who was in the first class of Army ROTC cadets to train at Fort Bragg. There is also a story from Dylan Park, a soldier stationed at Kirkuk, where I deployed to also.

Please read this tremendous article from the Atlantic, The Inconvenience of Being a Woman Veteran. I have always felt "not serious enough" while I was in the military and "too serious" among my civilian friends. This article hits it right on the head why that is (yay! it's not just me :-))

Lastly, and speaking of Kirkuk, one of my Group Commanders there is now Chief of the Air Force Reserve. This article outlines his Three Effective Ways to Lead. I cannot say enough great things about Lt Gen Scobee - he was the best boss, period.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Go Vote!

Election day is a mere week away - are you prepared? Here are a couple resources to help!

If you are away from home (living overseas or serving in the military), do not use that as an excuse! This page on Absentee Voting has everything you need to know. All the forms are downloadable.

Each home state has different rules, so go to this page and you can find the link to your state.

If you can vote in person and don't now where to go, check out this page.

Lastly, if you feel bewildered by the current political scene and the barrage of news stories, go to this link, put in your address, and it will tell you exactly what you are voting for in your district.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Couple Quick Shout Outs


...or is it shouts out? Ha! Here are 3 things making me happy this week (a la Pop Culture Happy Hour).

1. I know you know that voting is important, at anytime, but even more so now. But if you are in the military, you might not live any where near your voting district. Or maybe you do live in your voting district but you don't have a lot of bandwidth to study up on the candidates and issues. Or maybe you just moved to a new community.  No worries, try out the Ballot Cheat Sheet. Put in your address and it will create your personalized ballot. I tried it out with my address and it was spot on.

2. This song. It's my own personal YOLO anthem, and I can't get enough of it. "I'd rather be making memories, than reminiscing of the past, you see..."

3. Have you ever listened to The Moth either on your local NPR station or via podcast? It's pretty awesome, but last night I got to see one of their live shows. So So So good. If you get a chance to any over their live events do it.

Monday, October 15, 2018

What Did They Just Say?

I was at (another) recent conference, and had a lovely conversation with a group of women I admire. They described an event the previous evening. A woman was being honored for her career-long positive impact. Two men were chosen by her to speak for the evening, and the three had been life long friends. Like families vacationing together close.

The speakers made jokes and comments throughout the night about her family and her good looks. The honoree and many in the room laughed right along, because these were old jokes and stories that were repeated often. Not for a million years were they intended to belittle the honoree, nor did she take it that way.

My friend at the event was equally enjoying herself, but then realized several others in the room (younger, no connection to the speaker) were finding the banter best case odd, worst case offensive to women.

She wondered, had they gotten so used to this banter they had a tin ear to how it could be perceived? What do you do when you hear something in jest that could be offensive, even when not taken out of context, but isn't offensive to the "transmitter" or the "receiver"?

Definitely food for thought.

PS - You can buy the umbrella pictured above HERE