Category Archives: Foundations

Why it’s my fault that Donald Trump won

Let me be very clear about this.  I voted for Hillary Clinton.  Donald Trump is the antithesis of everything I believe about leadership.  I am a strong believer in servant leadership.  A servant leader puts the needs of others first, is inclusive, and inspires his constituents.  He doesn’t lead by fear or power or revenge.  He doesn’t cheat people or play zero sum games.  And he doesn’t bully or talk poorly of others.

But all of that aside, how can I say that it’s my fault?  Well I didn’t talk about this before the election.

I’m at a conference for work right now and this week happens to be my chance to network with other engineers from different sites, including our sites in Great Britain.  And it was really surprising to them that we weren’t all talking about the election on Monday.  “Oh no,” I remember thinking, “We can’t really discuss politics here.  Politics and religion are off limits, especially with those you have just met. And definitely not at work.”

Why is that?  And should it really be that way?

I think the why has a little bit to do with politeness and genuinely good intentions.  I really believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and they are welcome to disagree with me.  In fact, that should get us to a better answer.  When we are forced to discuss and make compromises and work together, we should arrive at solutions to problems that are stronger and open our eyes to another perspective.

But in today’s world of social media and 140 character comebacks I don’t see a lot of discourse going on.  Twitter is not the medium for a productive conversation.  Nor is text messaging or a Facebook comment.  These platforms weren’t designed for that kind of exchange of information. And what ends up happening is that we retreat to our corners of the universe.  We un-friend people who post something that is offensive or we do what I’ve done and avoid Facebook altogether for the past several months because I just don’t want to see all the negativity.  And in either instance we have missed the opportunity to have a real conversation with another human being.  Did I call my family member when I saw them post something pro-Trump that I really disagreed with to express that I had qualms with the implications or to find out why they felt so strongly in the other direction?  No, I did not.

Not to say that this is an easy thing to do.  Politics and religion are big important subjects and it is natural to be passionate about these things.  It’s much easier to only talk to those who agree with me about them and to write everyone else off as wrong.  But isn’t this why our legislature is broken right now?  When the main objective becomes keeping the other side down we don’t make much progress.

I think we have forgotten how to really have positive discourse.  Sure we can do it at work, but when it comes to something like where the country is heading, forget it.  On the news we only see soundbites and on social media the most clever or snarkiest is sure to get the most likes.  And we don’t really listen.

So here is my challenge to you this week: have a 10 minute conversation face to face with somebody from the other side.  And don’t talk through each other.  10 minutes isn’t enough to solve everything but it is short enough to stay calm.  Focus on understanding why they believe what they do and if there is anything, anything at all, that you can agree on.  I’m going to do this too.  It’s a start.  And hopefully, 4 years from now I won’t be kicking myself for not speaking up.




Fall Update

Oh my goodness I can’t believe we are already halfway through October! The past few months have been a complete whirlwind, but I just couldn’t stand to let another month go by without a single blog post. So here I am, baby asleep in my lap, writing a quick update on my phone using WordPress’s handy mobile app. (Apparently Maddy and I are on the same wavelength because I just heard from her that she was thinking of another post. So you can look forward to another guest post soon too.) I have so much to tell you, and I really hope I will have time for a more regular writing schedule in the very near future. But for today, here’s my little update on our forced family fun from the past few months.


Will and I both graduate in December 🎉🎉 We are very excited to have jobs lined up that start in January and we are in the process of arranging our move to our new home. Baby M is doing great and growing like crazy. She started school this fall. Just one day a week, but it has been good for her I think. I am glad that when she starts 3 day a week school after we move she will have already had the fall here to ease her into it. I am already having guilt about going to work even though I know it is absolutely the right choice for our family. Luckily Baby M’s current babysitter is coming with us for the first 6 months to be her nanny while we get to know the area and meet people so I am confident that she will be in great hands and with someone I trust. Will and I are both looking forward to having real jobs with no homework so that our family time outside of work hours can truly be family time and not trading off  who gets to play with Little M while the other studies.

Baby M’s first day of school!

We finally figured out how to cook and be parents, but cooking, parenting AND graduating were just not going to happen all at once so we are looking forward to getting back in the kitchen in January.  We did go paleo for a couple of weeks in August and really liked it. And I even invented a pretty yummy paleo recipe involving spaghetti squash and wild boar, so when we do get to cooking again you can expect some original recipes along with the recipe roundup posts.

Paleo jalapeño burgers
Fur babies

Our poor puppies have gone from being the center of our universe to the bottom of the totem pole around here in the last year. We still love them and treat them as part of the family of course. And Baby M loves them and they love her (especially now that she is big enough to drop food on the floor). But they have both put on a little weight and spend a little more time by themselves these days and have a little less room than they ever have. We are really looking forward to our move for multiple reasons, but especially to give them more time and space.

Baby M and Volta bonding over a rice cookie

I am happy to report that I have lost 50 lbs since January! I still have about 10 lbs to go to get back to prepregancy weight but it is so nice to be able to fit in my clothes again. Hopefully I can hold it together now that the holidays are coming up 😂 My advice to any new moms out there is be kind to yourself. Be healthy and don’t beat yourself up if you are still wearing maternity clothes 3 months postpartum. There is a middle ground between never losing the weight and the crazy 12 weeks to prepregancy body.

As for my other new year’s resolutions, I am still working on my meditation practice and I do actually have a stack of thank you notes that I need to mail. Maybe next year my resolution needs to include the follow through of mailing in addition to writing the thank you note 😳.

What a difference 8 months makes…
Feng Shui

We are about to put the house we own on the market and we have already been house hunting in Texas. If I wasn’t so busy studying I think HGTV would be my favorite thing right now.  I won’t turn it on for myself, but I do enjoy it when I come home and Baby M has fallen asleep and the babysitter is watching house hunters or property brothers or flip or flop 😂


Nothing major to report here.  We have 8 weeks of class left and 1 week of finals. Thank goodness for Baby M because she is the most fun Will and I could ever imagine and even though it is hard work being a parent and being in school, she makes it all worth it.  I will leave you with a little fun we have had this week.  Thanks for checking in.

Love, M

Blogging101 – A post for my dream reader

Who is my dream reader?  Well, you are.  I’m afraid that is terribly cliche, but it is true.  For whatever reason, you have taken the time to visit my little corner of the internet and allowed me to share a part of myself with you.  I hope that in doing so you’ve come away with something for you – a smile from one of my dog pics, a new recipe to try out with someone you love, an idea, a new connection, or even just a feeling that you can relate to someone out there.  I really do appreciate you dropping by.

So here’s another little piece of me for you.  I love this song.  I hope it makes you smile.

P.S.  If I said I posted a song by JT, do you think Justin Timberlake?  I swear I am not that old, but my husband makes me feel ancient sometimes…

Blogging101 – My first Assignment for Blogging U.

Hello my lovely readers!  Have I mentioned how much I appreciate you recently?  Well let me take a minute to say thank you for being here.  I really do appreciate it.  I am just starting my fourth week as a blogger, but I am really liking it.  It is a fun way to connect – both with people to whom I am already close but don’t get to see everyday and with people who I have never met but come form all sorts of interesting places and backgrounds.

Today I am starting a 30-day Blogging101 course that is a part of WordPress’s Blogging U.  I will have daily assignments, but not all of them will be to publish posts.  The assignments that are published posts will be tagged Blogging101 and I will post them in my Foundations category. Continue reading Blogging101 – My first Assignment for Blogging U.

New Year’s Resolutions 2015

I have to be honest and admit that I am publishing this post reluctantly. This is for two main reasons. First, because I feel a little self-conscious about it. I was the kid who couldn’t keep a diary for very long because when I would go back and read the entries I was embarrassed by them. And no one but me was even reading them! So here I am twenty-some-odd years later writing a post that I am afraid will make me feel silly in a few weeks. Second, because my life is about to change in a big way. Tomorrow marks 37 weeks for our pregnancy. I know that when my daughter arrives my life will change forever, and so I am a little hesitant to make resolutions when I have no idea how or if they will fit into my new life.

However, I think there is something sacred about reflection and setting an intention. So, I am going to risk sharing a few resolutions for 2015 with you. Hopefully, this will keep me as accountable as is reasonable, and might give someone else out there an idea for setting his or her own intention. Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions 2015