ReferralKey.com has somehow overtaken my inbox this week. I’ve had a dozen of these
While ReferralKey seems like a good idea, there are parts of it that just don’t work. Claire Diaz Ortiz has written a great post about Referral Key and suggests that she knows some ways to fix it. Essentially Referral Key allows people to pay you for referring them business.
Do you see what I just did there? I just referred you to a specialist in the field. I didn’t do that for Claire, I did that for you. The fatal flaw in Referral Key is that the payment is to the wrong person.
When someone calls or emails me needing a referral for a specialist in a certain field I almost never answer them immediately. The only time I answer immediately is if I am the expert or my brother is. Every other referral takes at least a few hours of thought. Here are just a few of the questions I’m asking myself before I refer you a friend:
Are they the most talented person I know in that field?
Would I want to work with this person I’m about to refer?
Would I want to work with the company that’s searching for someone?
Would they work well together?
What is my referrals work style and/or work ethic?
Do I care enough for the person who is asking to risk a relationship on them?
Most often I can come up with at least two names, but sometimes I can’t or won’t. Referrals are not something I give lightly and I would not be happy if you referred me a friend because they bought you an Omaha Steak.
I know few things. I suspect many things but I know these for a fact.
Comic Books:Comic books are wonderful for teaching kids to read. Kids learn things faster and better when they’re interested. There are two common ways for kids to learn to read, phonics and whole word. With phonics readers learn to sound words out. Readers learn the rules of English (there are many) and they pronounce words phonetically. With phonics readers may break the word into pieces. With whole word reading the entire word is learned at once. This is the more common way that readers learn in the US.
I don’t believe that one way is better than another, but I do believe that for certain types of learners one way of learning to read will be better than another.
Comic books are perfect for either type of reader. Words like POW and KABAM are fabulous and rewarding for phonics, and sight readers (whole word readers) will enjoy that most words on the page are five letters or less. More importantly they can skip the words they don’t understand and just look at the picture for the story. Because reading is supposed to be fun. Reading at home doesn’t have to challenge them, and not every word needs to be looked up in a dictionary. If they can’t read “beautiful” they can look at a picture and guess that it might say beautiful, for a new reader, this is enough.
Further, kids tend to read comics over and over again, eventually they’ll figure out the missing words, and their meaning without frustration.
Flashcards: You can teach math any way you want. You can teach theory, you can have a spiral curriculum or a flipped classroom. You can have the kids use grids, beads, computers or their fingers, but you still need flashcards. I know that memorization has gone out of style, and that everyone wants kids to have a sense of math. The reality is that they need to know 1 to 12 addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They don’t need to understand why, that will come later, but they need to memorize these equations. Flashcards can be fun, there are plenty of games to play and a lot of screaming (the good kind) to be had.
Buy some flashcards for the summer and drill the kids. Keep it fun.
Baking: Measuring ingredients will make fractions relevant. It’s the only way I know to show a child that 1/4 is smaller than 1/2 even though 4 is bigger than 2. There’s a lot of reading too, but when chocolate cake converges with math life is good.
I love cars. It’s not a secret. I love small cars, big cars, loud trucks and hybrids. I love German cars, Japanese Cars, British Cars and I have a soft spot for Detroit. Recently I was asked what my favorite car was and I gasped, “It’s like asking me to pick a favorite child. I would say that the Acura TL feels a lot like the one that got away.”
I don’t think that loving one car makes me less able to love another.
I’m sad to say that I do not love the Nissan Leaf. This weekend I brought the Jaguar in for service and I drove out to Pasadena. Pasadena is not particularly close to my house and Rusnak isn’t the dealer that I bought the car from, but their service is so superior to the local dealerships that I bring the car in on Saturdays for oil changes and maintenance and I plan to do stuff in and around Pasadena to make the drive worthwhile. If I go to Rusnak on a weekday they have an Enterprise Rent a Car on site that will give you a Jaguar to drive, if you’re there on a Saturday you’ve got to go to Enterprise in South Pasadena.
The shuttle driver took me to South Pass and we chatted about cars. “The XJ is a boat, it’s for athletes and the elderly.” We both agreed. “The Ford Fusion hybrid is an incredible ride, but the lease rates make it too expensive.” More agreement. A classic Corvette passed us on the road and he told me about the muscle cars he once owned. I felt sad that I’d never owned a muscle car, but agreed that the sound of eight cylinders is sweet.
As we pulled up to Enterprise I noticed that there was a Nissan Leaf. “Oh my gawd,” I practically jumped out of the minivan, “it’s a LEAF. I’m renting that car I don’t care how much it costs.” I waved goodbye to my shuttle driver and practically ran to the rental counter.
“I’d like the Leaf please.” I said plunking down my paperwork from Rusnak that said I was entitled to a $33 a day rental.
“It’s $69 a day.” The clerk was apologetic.
“Oh, that’s okay. I just want to drive that car.” I flung my AMEX at him before he could change his mind.
We went through this whole song and dance where they explained to me that the car only has a 100 mile range, they showed me the mobile charger and they told me it would be okay to return it to Rusnak but asked me please to be sure it had enough charge left to get it back to their location.
“So you can add ‘Don’t be an asshole’ to the bottom of the contract if you want. I’ll sign that.” And he smiled and muttered something about adding a line about not being a jerk. If I was a more appropriate woman I’d have been embarassed.
I hopped in the car, adjusted the mirrors and headed home. My house is 20 miles from Enterprise Rent a Car. The Leaf doesn’t have gears that shift in the manner that a combustion engine would. There’s feeling of added acceleration when you’re in a lower gear and there’s no glide when when you take your foot off the accelerator. You know those ride on cars that the kids have, where you sit in the big Cadillac and press the pedal? It drives a lot like that, only faster and smoother. The car is all torque, and it doesn’t accelerate much when you go downhill, you still have to accelerate with the pedal. This is NOT a bad thing, it’s simply a profoundly different way to drive.
The Leaf has space, the interior is fabulous, we’ve seen quite a few cars with a similar shape and as much as they aren’t sexy or streamlined they are Oh My Gawd This Is Sunshiney spacious inside. It’s a wonderful feeling to have so much headroom, to have stadium seating for the kids in the back and to have a trunk big enough for another two people to sit in it. It’s still a small car though, and parking it is a dream.
I drove the car home without incident. After 20 miles I enjoyed myself. All that torque was a lot of fun on an uncrowded freeway and I liked that it accelerated as quickly at 60 mph as it did at 10. The visibility is fabulous and the car, in many ways, is a joy to drive. The dashboard is intuitive and ergonomic. I enjoyed every part of it.
Until I looked at the battery life on the dashboard.
I almost had a full fledged panic attack when I realized I had to drive downtown, home and then to Pasadena and I had to get it done in 50 miles. Although I had the mobile charger it was going to take 23 hours to charge the battery half way. So I gripped the wheel and white knuckled it through the rest of my afternoon hoping against hope that I’d get everywhere I needed to go in 50 miles or less.
It’s a real bummer that the Leaf didn’t add a generator like the Volt did. I enjoy the spaciousness of the Leaf and it would suit my family’s needs better than the Volt because it seats five not four, but I can’t forsee a the Leaf being a part of my days with such a short battery life and no way to get out of a jam quickly. The pleasure of driving an electric car was quickly eclipsed by the panic of driving an electric car and being stranded for at least a dozen hours.
I love the concept of an electric car, but unless you have a windmill in your garden you’re still plugging into coal power.
I’m waiting for Leaf 2.0 because I want to add this to the list of cars I love.
Twenty years ago while I was a student in Colorado I heard that a local sculptor was was looking for nude models. He was an established bronze artist looking for women who wouldn’t mind being cast in plaster for $100 an hour. In a town where a two bedroom apartment rented out at $425 a month this was an incredible opportunity. I called him, gave him my measurements and was delighted when he gave me instructions and hired me for a few hours.
The sculptor was David Dirrim, and his workspace was a huge warehouse in the wrong part of town (as warehouses tend to be). I showed up and was surprised by David, he looked more like a welder than an artist. The artists I knew were thin but fit men who wore mismatched socks and crumpled shirts. Dave was tall and strong and, perhaps because of the locale, looked decidedly blue collar.
I was to pose with a twist in my torso so Dave had built a place for me to stand where I could grip a bar above my head. I’d be covered in plaster for as long as it took for it to dry, the room was warm so hopefully the plaster would dry quickly.
I felt less naked in that artist’s warehouse than I did in a bikini on the beach. We found the perfect position for the bronze, marked where my hands and feet needed to be and he proceeded to cover the front of me in plaster from chin to knee. Standing still, breathing shallowly and holding a pose was more difficult than I’d imagined. Although there was ample heat I felt a chill go through me just before the plaster hardened and began to separate from my body. We breathe through our skin more than we could ever imagine.
I rested a few moments while he made sure that the cast would work, took some sips of water and prepared for the back. Dave explained to me that our spines release a lot of heat and that sometimes people don’t feel well with their entire back covered. He asked me to let him know if I thought I might pass out. I assured him I would let him know if I felt weak.
The plaster on my back felt heavier and hotter than the plaster on my front. It went on wet and cold and almost immediately began to warm but not harden. Dave stood behind me and we talked about the process, about his work and about standing absolutely still even when my arms tingled and shook. I felt cold again and then a wave of nausea, I opened my mouth to speak so I could tell Dave that I was worried about fainting and I could hear the words in my head but they didn’t leave my lips.
Strong arms were holding me ever so gently and peeling the cast from my shoulders. I slipped to the ground and lost consciousness but there wasn’t a single crack in the plaster. Both Dave and I were pleased.
Many months later Dave called to let me know he’d cast me in bronze and if I wanted to see it I should feel free to stop by the studio. I remember walking in the doors that day and looking at my bronze. I was bigger and smaller than I’d thought I was. I touched the torso and wondered aloud if it was really me. He explained that it was and I felt strange. I had no real sense of my own size and I didn’t realize that I was beautiful. I knew I was sexy in the way that every young woman is, but I didn’t know that my body was actually beautiful.
I felt like a thief for taking Dave’s money. He’d given me what a thousand hours of therapy could offer no one. He allowed me to see myself as the world sees me. Kindly.
This weekend as I lay in bed with my stomach gurgling as food poisoning stole my day I thought of just one thing. Get on the scale so you can see how much weight you lose. Which is not okay. The reality is that 20 years and a full lifetime later I’m close to the same size. True my breasts require a sturdier bra and there is a small but definite crease on my bottom that hadn’t been there before. It’s unlikely that my stomach will ever be as flat as a board, but it wasn’t flat when I was 22. It was firm, but not flat, because that’s simply not the body I was meant to have. I wasn’t fat, in the absence of illness or pregnancy I’ve never been truly fat. I’ve just been a woman.
I’m searching for that bronze. Five of them were made and sold in the Southwest and I’m determined to find one and own it.
Jane Devin has written a book. It is without a doubt the best book I’ve read in at least a year. I’ve not read the ending so I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it’s one of my top five, but assuming that Jane nailed the ending it will be.
You see, I can’t finish the book slowly enough, let me explain.
Several weeks ago Jane sent me a zip file with her book in it. Because I don’t pay very close attention I started reading it, got a hundred pages in on day one, and sent her an email saying, “My gawd, you really do punish the protagonist.”
Jane replied to me, “It’s a memoir.”
I gasped, because I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading, but I couldn’t not believe it. I’m totally engrossed in the story and Elephant Girl has made me believe in the goodness of people while making me wonder if evil fills vacuums.
The writing is mesmerizing and the path is glorious filled with small victories and larger defeats, but somehow makes me feel alive and empowered. One of my favorite books of all time is The Color of Water, and Elephant Girl reminds me of this so much both in that it’s hopeful without being silly and because of that I’m unwilling to finish the book.
When I read James McBride’s memoir (and tribute to his mother) I stopped reading about thirty pages from the end and started reading a page a day. This way I was able to make the book last longer. I’m 30 pages from the end of Elephant Girl and I absolutely refuse to finish it in a timely manner. I’ll be reading a page a day for the next month. I’m not ready to put it down.
So Jane, this is my apology to you. I’m sorry that I can’t hurry and give you feedback about your book. Thus far it is magnificent and I love it about a thousand times more than I could ever love your blog. I found one typo, but the execution is flawless. Offering you writing tips would be as outrageous as tidying up a Picasso.
If you watch Momversation the chances are pretty good that you’ve seen me talking (like a good Jewish Mother) with my hands quite a bit. If you care about jewelery you’ve probably also noticed that I wear two pieces of jewelry: my wedding set and a wrap around leather bracelet that the folks at Dillon Rogers gave me quite a few years ago.
I love my bracelet and I know y’all do too because I get unsolicited compliments on it all the time. Dillon Rogers has a new line out where your child’s signature is featured, it’s really easy to create:
1. Have your child write their name with a new sharpie on a piece of paper.
2. Shoot picture of signature with mobile phone (more advanced users can scan signature)
3. Email or text photo to Dillon Rogers
One winner will get their choice of a signature necklace or bracelet (I’m a bracelet girl myself).
Enter using the widget below and spread the word
The fine print: this giveaway is open until June 7, 2011 7pm Pacific time for U.S. residents only. Entrants must have a valid address, and no P.O. Boxes will be accepted.
Last night I was watching TV with Mr G when a Thank You Mom commercial came on. Since we live in the house that TV built we love a commercial, and I said to Mr G, that! That commercial is my campaign. I’m that mom.
He looked at me, a little puzzled and said, “What do you mean you’re that mom?”
“Honey, I’m totally that mom. And that is MY CAMPAIGN because I’m using my blog to talk about the Moms and the Special Olympics and P&G and OhMyGawdHoneyIsn’tItTheBestSetOfCommercialsEver?”
And then he sort of looked at the ceiling. I guess he’s still looking for leaks.
So I added, “I mean, besides the ones that you make.” And then we were happy.
Please don’t forget that whenever you like, share or comment on a Thank You Mom page on Facebook another dollar is donated to support Team USA’s travel to Athens.
This is such a great discussion, and frankly I could use everyone’s help. The girls are all wearing bras and when I roam the aisles at department stores I am unable to find a small sized bra that isn’t padded in some way. Fortunately Abercrombie has the good sense to stop marketing their girl’s bikini tops as “push up“.
Those “molded cups” that’s padding, and it’s insanity to call it anything else. Those bras make the girls look larger and can’t possibly be comfortable. There’s also this ludicrous argument that the thicker bras keep girl’s nipples from showing. Young women don’t have that issue the way adult women do. I won’t go into complete details because this post comes dangerously close to being a pedo heaven, but they don’t.
In any event, Shannon, Janice and I talk about putting our daughters in bikinis. Janice and I don’t see eye to eye at all.
Like Jane, Alexander is signed up for sleep away summer camp. It was a bit of a stretch to find a camp for him because none of his school friends are going to camp and the few friends we knew that we headed off to camp are going to the east coast. We settled on one that’s a short week, four and a half days, and as I wrote out the check my heart sank and my stomach was tied up in knots.
I’ve fought against every maternal instinct I have, and I’m letting my son leave home. I’m even encouraging it. I’m all relaxed about the camp issue and talking with the other moms like it’s no big deal. Inside my head the Mom Voice is screaming this is a VERY BIG DEAL.
This morning I went to wake Alexander up for for school and he rolled over towards me, didn’t open his eyes, put his arms out to hug me and said, “I love you Mom.”
I bent over, hugging my son, and smelled the sweetness of his shoulder. I’ve decided that the Mom Voice wins and that from this moment on I’ll be on a campagin to emotionally cripple that boy so that he can live with me forever.