Monday, January 24, 2011

Lady Luck

Yesterday my husband was pacing around the house in his personalized SEEFRIED New York Jets jersey. " I can't decide where to watch the game"...he shared; "either here, or at a bar or at Ron's..." he pondered out loud. I asked what he was basing his decision on, figuring it was either access to game food (our house is in strict diet mode this month), a bigger and better flat screen, or the company of fellow fans.  But he looked at me incredulously, and replied "well, it's all about the luck!".

This made me guffaw out loud.  You see, Phil is the kind of guy who smiles to himself and slightly shakes his head when he hears me talk about birth signs, past lives, karma, or The Secret.  But here he was, completely convinced that his being in the right place at game time would ensure that the Jets players would all be in the right place at scoring time!

It was a sad camper who trudged through the door a few hours later.  But I have to give him credit.  Though he was bereft, he rallied and joined the rest of us on a last minute bowling excursion to commemorate our son's final night before leaving for a semester in Florence.

When we arrived at the bowling alley, we found out where everyone in Denver goes on Sunday nights in the winter!  Though Phil was hoping for two lanes together, it was too crowded. So he headed off to buy himself a condolence beer, while the gal behind the counter handed us our shoes and apologized. I replied "no worries, he's just depressed because the Jets lost, and he's in mourning".

Suddenly after assigning us to alley 21 (which already had a large group huddled around it's connecting alley 22), she moved us to a new location with two connecting alleys all to ourselves!  Before leaving us to admire each other shoes, she gently inquired if we were schooled in bowler courtesy. (Emily Post, here's new territory for you...)

Anyway she whispered that the people next to us were League Bowlers and that they were pretty picky about bowling etiquette.  So...we should be sure not to set foot up on the alley if someone in their alley was preparing to bowl.  Hmmm.  Seemed easy enough.  Then she put her hand on my shoulder, leaned in and said " I know that's the least of your worries today, but I just don't want them to cause any trouble for you at a time like this."

I was a little surprised by her pure empathy with Phil.  I mean, it IS too bad about the Jets, but I thought Phil and Rex Ryan were the only ones who actually thought it was the end of the world. But I thought to myself, "ah,  another sentimental New Yorker"...

Then her eyes welled up a little, and she continued, "I lost my own parents last year, and I know how hard it is..." and then I realized that this poor woman thought Phil was mourning a person!  The sound of pins being toppled must have muffled my reference to the Jets, and she had just heard "lost" and "mourning" We were getting the death in the family treatment under unintentionally false pretenses!

Well, I felt kind of bad, but not bad enough to clear up the confusion, or give up our new lanes!  So we went ahead with our game...and when she showed up again twenty minutes later, we all tried to look slightly dejected which was easier for the gutter ball throwers, and the Jets fan than for those of us rolling our best game ever.  Apparently the League bowlers had noticed our eleven year-old nearing the lane return machine when one of their players was preparing to bowl. Now this seemed kind of silly to all of us.  I mean, almost as silly as someone mourning over a football game...but seems that Lady Luck really had been smiling down on Phil, because after giving him a convenient scapegoat for his bad mood... he ended up bowling close to 200!  That showed those guys.  And we're thinking we may just start our own darn league...bowling anyone?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Theresa Spahn For Mayor!

You never know who you'll meet.

The week before Christmas I reluctantly agreed to attend a networking event in Cherry Creek North. Networking is one of those things that entrepreneurs like me are supposed to do.  I'm not sure if we're supposed to like it, but we're definitely supposed to do it.

Between it being a fundraiser for Warren Village, an organization that embodies the very best in creating potential and possibilities for struggling low-income families, and the promise from my business coach, Kim Kirmsee Toth, that we could go together, I dug deep for my social courage and ventured over to Elways.  Once there, Kim and I sidled up to a couple of friendly-looking gals who were trying to flag down the guy with the tray.  We chatted and laughed and listened to pitches by the sponsoring organization, Cherry Creek Business Women's Network, as well as reps from Warren Village.  It was one of the few times that I've been grateful for name tags. I met Maggie Bolden of  Palace Construction, a unique community-minded construction company; then I turned to Theresa Spahn, the other member of our foursome.  Responding to the standard "What do you do?", she pulled a card out of her purse and laughingly replied, "actually, I'm running for Mayor."

Needless to say, I thought she was joshing. But as I looked from the card, back to her face, I saw she was for real, and over the course of the next 20 minutes, I learned about her incredible background and begin to think she might make an excellent Mayor.  Making a mental  note to follow up on her website,  the holidays descended upon me, and her card languished on my desk for the next couple of weeks.  When I received a call from her campaign manager just after the New Year, I couldn't help but be flattered that she had liked ME enough to want to follow up, too!

We met over coffee January 5th, and the more we talked, the more convinced I became that Theresa's  experience, expertise, and exceptional people skills give her the kind of credentials and credibility that the office of the Mayor demands.

She is passionate about the impact of small businesses, education, and core services, and is committed to addressing key issues including inefficiencies in government systems, kids on the margin, and law enforcement.  She believes in hiring the good, and firing the bad; taking things one step at a time, and talking facts first.  Theresa has a track record of being a strong leader who has forged good relationships on both sides...she has a rare ability to bring everyone's view to the table.

A third generation Denver native, she worked her way through Metro State, and D.U.'s Sturm College of Law, served as Deputy District Attorney in both Adams and Mesa Counties where she worked arm-in-arm with law enforcement to develop a community consortium as well as a specialized prosecution unit for crimes against children. As a Magistrate Judge, Theresa helped implement sweeping reforms to improve local Court services for children and families.
In 2001, Theresa was chosen to develop the Office of the Child's Representative (OCR) to address the insidious issue of abused and neglected children being betrayed and overlooked by the legal system that was supposed to help them.

Faced with the challenge of creating a system for protecting children and a sustainable agency in the midst of an economic downturn, Theresa did what she does best - she rolled up her sleeves and got to work. By using the same successful business strategies that for-profit companies use, Theresa developed a nationally recognized state agency model for providing representation to children, while managing the agency's $18.5 million budget efficiently and effectively.

The reputation for leadership that she developed over nine years of running OCR caught the eye of former Colorado Supreme Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis, founder of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) at the University of Denver. Recognizing her exceptional ability to develop innovative programs and bring people together, Kourlis selected Theresa to work hand-in-hand with former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to develop and launch the O'Connor Judicial Selection Initiative. Together they created a national policy reform initiative to promote fair and impartial courts and increase judicial independence and impartiality, bringing together people from business and labor organizations, Republicans and Democrats, and other diverse interest groups to effect positive policy changes in the administration of justice.

This most recent undertaking has proved again the magnitude of Theresa's leadership and management abilities.  What a wealth of experience and savvy she brings to the mayoral campaign. 

Beyond all of these amazing attributes, the things I like best about Theresa are her determination, her can-do attitude, and her willingness to think outside the box.  Theresa is a Denver native, a business professional, a tireless advocate and  champion for the people and the businesses that are Denver. 
In a few hours she will be formally announcing her candidacy over at Patsy's in her old Northwest Denver neighborhood.  I am excited to be going and urge you to join me!  I guarantee, you're going to like what you hear from this outstanding candidate.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Things that make me Flush.

There are few things that upset me more than those automatic public restroom commodes that decide for you when you should be finished your business. 

It's bad enough to encounter a wet seat, where some germophobe has generously deposited her own personal germs, but after the indignity of wet thighs, having the startle and splash effect of a know-it-all-toilet is over the top. Though there are times when any potty will do...

Airports seem to be big on these contraptions, along with the FREEZING cold water from the automatic spigots, which often spews its millisecond spray while your hand is still hovering to the right, optimistically hoping for a squirt of soap.

Although I have morphed into a somewhat more savvy social media and tech type over the past two years, I remain vehemently opposed to many "technology advances" that, in their mysterious overzealousness, merely complicate things that use to be simple. Kind of like writing a to-do list after everything has been done.

Take for instance, the new parking kiosks at Denver's airport ( I know, I know, stop complaining about the airport; I did, if you missed my rant and follow-up last fall). While I appreciate the sight of a real person to take my ticket when exiting the lot, what I don't get is why the real person is apparently just there to tell us to put the ticket in the slot (good luck finding the arrow indicating which part goes in first since you don't have your reading glasses on because you're driving...) and then to put the credit card in the slot(again, forcing us to carefully read the fine print next to the slots). After that's all said and done, in a moment of apparent benevolence, she/he grabs the receipt and hands it to me!  Huh?? The only action that would have been easy to do myself is the the one that's done for me!

This must be what they mean by government waste.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Highs & Lows

Today is a good day, and yesterday was too.  Monday, however, found me in the depths.  The house was trashed, the inbox full, the children needy, whiny, or rude, my husband seemingly the elliptical untouched, the weather freezing, and the laundry piled high.

Fact is, those things were all the same when I woke up yesterday morning.  So why was it that yesterday was a good day?  Is it really bio-rhythms?  I wish I understood how that "black cloud" least I've learned (and try to remember) that it does go away!  

Do you get it too?  What are your strategies for slogging through a day or two or three of mood? Turning to chocolate, coffee, alcohol, bed, or such definitely doesn't help...but of course, it's hard not to.  Walking is always good for me-but when it's freezing, I can't budge.  Maybe the old breathing trick is the answer?  What you do when you're blue?