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Wetsuit and Other Essays: The Launch!

And now…for the cover:

I can not thank Pamela Sinclair of ItGirlDesigns enough for her amazing ability to take a few sentences and turn them into a work of art. She was so wonderful to work with that I have started to believe it was simply destiny stepping in to help me find her. I went through a tremendous amount of RFPs and on the very last day, when I had decided that there would be no book because I couldn’t find an artist who could understood what I was trying to accomplish, along came Pamela. Destiny. Whatever the reason, I love this woman’s work so please, go check her out!

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Ruined Than Changed…#Sunday Quotes

Sunday afternoons in Yonkers used to be ‘What We’re Cooking Sundays’ but the girl-child is gone away for her summer job in the woods. She was home for a few hours on Friday night to wash her laundry, flush some toilets (her camp is in the woods and those woods do not come with built in plumbing) and to watch ‘Orange is the New Black’ with the three girls who came home with her for the night.

With A, her three friends, me, Britney the Wonder Cat and Chloe the Super Bunny, there were seven women in the house at once. I’d say it was too loud, or too many people or too something, but the truth is that I love it. When I was a kid, the last thing on my mind was having children. I thought I’d be a spy, traveling all over the world doing good – I thought all spies were good – it was the 80s, what did I know. I thought I’d live in Australia and raise koalas. Then I imagined I’d move to Japan and be a sushi chef. Once, I thought I’d build beautiful places like the Taj Majal or fight fires like Smokey the Bear. I am nothing if not a product of being born in 1972.

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Showing Up is Not All of Life…HRC #BookReview

If you’re a lover of books, and burdened with the ability to read way too fast, what do you bring on a 17 hour flight from New York City to Ethiopia?

If you’re a political junkie and lover of all things electorate, you pack “HRC” by Jonathan Allen, which documents the time between Hillary’s defeat during the 2008 Democratic primary and selection, and ultimately her political rebirth as Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

I remember reading “Game Change” a couple of years ago and thinking that to have been on the very inside of either the Obama or Clinton campaign would have been both inspirational and disheartening. In order to achieve as much as Hillary Clinton has, it must have been heart-breaking for her to lose in the primary to a young unknown senator from Illinois.

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Ignoring the Shortcuts…

(Originally written on July 5th, before there was wifi service)…

I’m at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. What a trip. We’ve had everything you could ask for and more. Lost luggage. Found luggage. Cancelled flights. Customs inspections. Roadside accidents. This trip has taught a lot of us so much. Never again will we travel without phones on the network of the country we’re in, we’ll never take out too much case from an ATM because banks don’t like to buy back their own money. And we all admit we need more than a week.

There it is: Building something takes time. As far as Seeds staff go, I’m pretty new. Two and a half years. In that time I’ve visited Ethiopia twice and have two more trips I’d like to make next year. One for a world economic summit and one to close the deal on our school land lease. I’m hoping to make that one with our founder.

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On Shooting Stars and Commitment…

It’s just about 99km from Addis Ababa to Adama. On the road to Adama you see so much. Caravans of oxen being herded along the shoulder of the highway. Small converted motorcycle buggies called tuk tuks traveling along at semi precarious speeds, children walking along the road waving at cars and large buses taking people to and from the capital city for jobs, schools or just because that’s where they need to be.

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Love, Ethiopia

All you need is love…

Being in Ethiopia reminds me of something, and until this afternoon, I was trying to figure out what. Then, after realizing our new garden project is shaped in the form of a heart and having another stone heart pointed out to me when we arrived at our guest lodge, I understood what I had forgotten.

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Ethiopia, Day 1- A Forgotten Love

My writing partner, Huguenot O. Smith asked me if being back in Ethiopia was as wonderful as I remembered and I wasn’t sure.

I’d just flown 24 hours across oceans and time zones and was pretty exhausted when I landed and wasn’t sure if maybe I was too tired to answer. This morning I had my answer: it’s better.

In the U.S. we have very few customs of respect towards others that we follow regularly. I’m from a family of old southerners so I grew up calling all adults by their appropriate prefix and first name. Ms. Ethel Mae, Grandma Leola, Uncle Marco. I never knew adults could be called by their first names until I became a teenager. We rush around, especially in New York, and we try to accomplish so much in so little time and sometimes we do it with a smile, but more often it’s with scowls and grimaces. I hear the world doesn’t always work like that but it’s rare that I get to see it.

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New York to Addis Ababa in 24 Hours

24 hours.

That’s how long it’s taken me to get from New York to Addis Ababa with a short layover in Istanbul. And by layover I mean a mad dash through the terminals to find my gate because we arrived at the airport late from New York.

The thing I love most about traveling is how different people are, yet how similar. We’re either nice, or not. We’re friendly or not, we’re helpful or not. And it has little to do with our geography and everything to do with our personal stories.

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On Education…60 Years Later…

On Education. 60 Years Later…

Because honestly, separate but equal doesn’t exist.

I live in the southern part of Westchester County, New York. Westchester County is interesting in that it feels like everyone knows everyone else, but we’re all spread out over 450 square miles. We’re heading towards a million residents and our income varies widely from the poorest in the nation to the wealthiest.

Our school districts show that disparity pretty clearly. My local school district, Yonkers, is made up of over 24,000 students in 40 schools across the city. Our annual operating budget is just over $513 million, and our student to teacher ratio is listed at 16.62 to 1. That number feels like a big lie, but who am I to tell the city that it doesn’t know how to do math. I’m only a parent. And I’m a parent living in a city where segregation not only exists – it is documented by an ongoing court order.

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What We’re Cooking Sundays…The Women’s History Month Edition

Plus a little Bundt to get the good times a’rollin.

Yes, tonight was supposed to be the night of grilled tilapia and risotto but A talked me into burgers for lunch. Ok, I actually asked if she wanted burgers and she did. So there wasn’t much talking, just a lot of nodding in agreement.

She spent the weekend at her old campus for their annual “State Patty’s Day” drinkapalooza. I spent mine at home in bed with the flu, except for the five hours I spent traveling to and from Brooklyn yesterday. The call to find Catbird NYC and pick up my new rings was unbelievable. I love a boro that warns you that you’d better believe the hype about it. Word.

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The Price of Ignoring the World…

The longest week, almost ever, is over.

It was a great week, just long, culminating in an 18 hour work day filled with events, meeting, amazing programs and dinner. First world problem, right? Having a great day at work, surrounded by people you love and respect.

The whole world isn’t made up of people who care about the needs of others. That was one of the first sad truths I learned as a kid. It’s made up of wonderful people, but interspersed with all of that wonderful are people who are filled with hate – filled with fear. Their entire lives are made up of moments when they could easily do the right thing, but choose to do the most horrific, most life-altering things. They are filled with opportunities to be a good citizen, a father, mother, friend, and neighbor. Instead, they commit violence against anyone who is different – anyone not willing to hide who they are – anyone unafraid to be in a minority.

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