wednesday words of wisdom

I learned this mantra working in communications at a huge mining corporation. Turns out, some Fortune 500 companies are just a bit behind on their diversity initiatives.

Being a young female in a completely male-dominated field = not fun.

Getting to wear a hard hat and steel-toed boots to work = I can dig it.

Learning not to shout obscenities when a male coworker calls you sweetheart = character builder.

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eggplant zucchini parmesan

I love pasta. But it has carbs. And apparently these so-called carbs are bad for us? I scoff.

To make this carb-less wonder, I sliced an eggplant and a zucchini and tossed them in olive oil, then dunked them into a mixture of cornstarch, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. I cooked them on a greased cookie sheet for 18 minutes at 425, then layered a casserole dish with marinara sauce, veggies and cheese (lather, rinse and repeat)…then baked it for 10 minutes at 400.

lego man

It’s headlines this this that make the news worth reading:

Massive Lego Man Washes Up on Florida Beach

Oh, yes.

A larger-than-life Lego man bearing the cryptic phrase “no real than you are” has washed ashore on the Florida coast. Beachcombers in Siesta Key, Florida, found the roughly 8-foot-tall Lego man just before dawn Tuesday.

According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the local sheriff was called to the scene of the Lego-man-beaching and removed the fiberglass sculpture, just before noon.

Authorities said they’d hold the 100-pound piece for 30 days to see if anyone claimed ownership. If no one does, the giant sculpture will go to the man that found him, Jeff Hindman.

“I’ll put it on eBay,” Hindman told the newspaper.

Never a dull moment for the sheriff of Sarasota.

This is kind of the creepiest thing ever.

Image

shutterbug

Ever pretend to be a professional photographer?

Me neither. Until today.

The challenge? Family portraits.

Katie dear – you’re an amazing friend and inspiration. I love your family. Thanks for trusting Lisa and me to attempt this, it was fun 😉

don’t be someone you hate

My Peter Bregman obsession only grows. Is it inappropriate to have a celebrity crush on a strategic consultant?

His most recent blog is titled How to Avoid Becoming a Person You Hate. He talks about the negative consequences of isolating others for certain criteria, while excusing the same traits in others, for insignificant reasons.

When empathy plays favorites, we should all be scared.

It makes us feel better to separate ourselves from people whose behavior we don’t like. It makes us feel moral, safe, and beyond reproach. But separating the other people as evil means we are more likely to lash out at them and, before we know it, become cruel ourselves.

I am not saying that we should excuse violence or poor behavior. There must be consequences to people who act destructively. But psychologically separating ourselves from them makes us dangerous.

Preach it, B-man.

The next paragraph is fascinating. It hits on something I’ve thought about and debated many times. Is it illogical to maintain distrust and ill will toward others for things they had no control over, but clearly connect to?

[…] I was still filled with emotion from the last conversation when Günther, a German man, started yelling in German, and slamming a tennis racket onto a large foam block, one of the tools that Ann uses in her workshop to get energy moving.

Every time the racket slammed down, I flinched. His accent, the yelling, and the slamming brought me back to my family’s memories of the Holocaust. My mother and her family were in hiding in France during the war, and her newborn sister, Ariel, was killed by a doctor who gave her milk that was too thick. He said he did it because she was Jewish.

I imagined Günther in a Nazi uniform, cold eyes peering out behind a low-hanging army cap, emblazoned with a swastika. I was flooded with rage, sadness, and fear. My whole body was shaking. I pictured baby Ariel, dead, wrapped in a blanket, as I picked up the racket.

I slammed the racket on the cube with all my strength. “Stop it,” I screamed, completely swept up in the moment. “Stop screaming. Stop the hatred. Stop the violence.”

In that moment, I could have killed Günther.

But Günther isn’t a Nazi. He’s a software developer with a German accent.

In other words, I didn’t want to kill Günther for something he had done. I wanted to kill him for something he represented. For his accent.

In that moment — and I feel chills down my spine as I write this — Günther wasn’t the Nazi. I was.

I’ll be transparent about the fact that I’ve made this exact type of displaced judgement. I’m Jewish and grew up with baby boomer parents and grandfathers who were both veterans. I was exposed to indirect scorn of all things German, and never questioned it – it seemed like a terrible place capable of terrible things. So despite Bregman’s realization of misdirected anger, I still relate to his reaction. But then there’s this point:

In different circumstances — perhaps raised by a parent who taught us differently — who’s to say what choices we might make? Any one of us is capable of just about anything. And unless we acknowledge that, we are at greater risk of becoming the person we fear the most. We’re more likely to lash out against others to defend our view of ourselves.

Uh, yeah. Chew that one over a few times. Depending on when and where you’re born, and who your parents happen to be, you could have ended up your own worst enemy. It makes the entire notion of our loyalty to our religion, home country, political affiliation, etc, seem a lot more subjective.

This is not just about world leadership and violence; it’s about mundane leadership and everyday relationships, as well. Any time we think or say, in disbelief, “Can you believe what that person did? What kind of person does that? I just can’t understand her!” we are separating ourselves from other people, making them essentially bad and us essentially good.

When we do that, we are, at worst, dangerous, and, at best, weak leaders.

a conversation guide

Remember when you were in eight grade and waiting for a boy you liked to call you, and you you were so nervous that you made a list of things to talk about, “just in case?” No?

Maybe that was just me.

According to the world’s manners expert, Miss Emily Post…

“IDEAL conversation should be a matter of equal give and take, but too often it is all “take.” The voluble talker—or chatterer—rides his own hobby straight through the hours without giving anyone else, who might also like to say something, a chance to do other than exhaustedly await the turn that never comes. Once in a while—a very long while—one meets a brilliant person whose talk is a delight; or still more rarely a wit who manipulates every ordinary topic with the agility of a sleight-of-hand performer, to the ever increasing rapture of his listeners.”

That makes my head hurt.

I’m fortunate to have a wonderful group of girlfriends with no shortage of things to discuss. We’ve successfully maintained our ‘book club’ cover in order to get together monthly to drink wine. Recent conversations have been especially entertaining, and really spanned the spectrum of topics:

  1. The traumatic deaths of childhood pets. Cats in sofa beds, need I say more?
  2. Creepy vs. cute maternity pictures. Why would Yoda be involved in the shoot…
  3. Why foot cramps turn you into an evil clawed beast.
  4. The science of baking. How, no really how, do the same ingredients turn into so many different things?
  5. Which is more important to carry at all times, Smart Water or tactical pepper spray? And does the risk of pepper spraying yourself in the face outweigh the intended benefits?
  6. What does the Victoria’s Secret PINK line really mean? Regardless, it’s offensive.
  7. What are the best ways to avoid being killed while jogging or biking?
  8. The shame in tripping and falling flat on your face. We’ve all done it. And still do it. And sometimes we cry when it happens.