Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fun and Fundraising

Last night, we attended a fundraiser to benefit a trade school in Uganda.  A retired priest friend of ours (who we got to know when we were part of a group that took an Alaska cruise two summers ago) became a friend of a Ugandan priest when he came to Duquesne University for graduate study.  The Ugandan priest started a trade school which is in need of funds to support its mission of training people in marketable skills like carpentry, construction, etc.  So, Father Jim got a caterer, entertainment and a church hall courtesy of another priest friend of ours who was on the same Alaska cruise.  They both promoted the event through various networks, including church bulletins, Facebook, emails and personal appeals.  About fifty people came, including our neighbors and Priscilla and Tom, and it was fun.  There were basket of cheer and 50-50 raffles, lots of laughter and good conversation.  Father Jim was pleased with the turnout and the results. 
At one point near the end of the evening, my neighbor leaned over to me and started to talk about how hard it can be to know just how to support all the various worthy charities and causes that are out there.  My neighbor was also a friend of Anne Mullaney and we were talking about how committed Anne was to seeing a school built in Haiti.  She pointed out how wasteful it seems when we make a memorial contribution for someone to a charity we do not typically support and it sets off a seemingly unending chain of further solicitation that surely costs more than the original gift and is unlikely to result in any further contribution on our part.
A funny story about direct mail fundraising: JB made a contribution to an Indian School in South Dakota which has some involvement with the Jesuits.   This has resulted in many follow-up mail solicitations.  My husband was telling a Jesuit acquaintance about these solicitations, that seemed to always involve a broken truck, a roof in need of replacement or the building in need of repair.  The Jesuit wryly commented that perhaps they should fire the Development Director and hire a maintenance person! 
Karen asked whether it is better to give small amounts to a wide range of worthy causes or just say no to the vast majority of solicitations and pick a few 'favorite charities' which would receive more sizable contributions?
We never finished the conversation and I don't know the answer.  What does concern me is the extent to which any contribution I make ever actually makes it to the cause it is intended to benefit.   I am close enough to some charitable organizations to see just how much money it takes to raise money; and that there are costs associated with special events particularly that often erode much of what is raised.
But I do feel good about last night.  I know the money is going directly to the cause for which it was raised.  There were no professional fundraisers or event planners involved.  Just one person committed to doing something to help a friend.   

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grief, Yoga and Irish Wakes

After the last two funerals I have been to for someone significant to me, I did the only constructive thing I could thing of to do -- go to a yoga class.  Yesterday I learned what the term 'Irish Wake' means.  I left after five hours and it was still going strong.  It was everything I would have imagined -- beer, stories, laughter, tears, kids, old people, lots of good food, flowers and something unexpected, what appeared to be a professional photographer. The Mass was SRO, the eulogy superbly crafted and delivered -- what a send off.
Since I don't drink beer (yes, I was a friend of Anne Mullaney's and have never had a beer in my life), I started to eat -- lots.  One of the life experiences Anne and I shared was Weight Watchers and I imagine her making some witty yet pointed comment about how many points were in all that stuff I consumed while others were drinking beer.  I recall a few conversations with Anne about yoga, including a particular one about 'legs up the wall' pose and also about our on again, off again relationship with Weight Watchers points. 
Anne's obituary requested memorial contributions to two of her favorite charities (and yes, that school Anne wanted to build in Haiti will be built); many people and organizations sent flowers also.  How many people get flowers from Guinness at their funerals? 
The photograph above is one of the most beautiful arrangements I have ever seen (free plug for Toadflax in Shadyside). 
Anyway, back to yoga.  The evening of my mom's funeral in 2009, I went to a yoga class because I had nothing else to do.  The Irish have it all over the Italians in that respect since they apparently surround the family with activity and love in a marathon-like experience, making the need to find something to do the evening of the funeral a non-issue. 
In 2009, I wrote a reflection on that yoga class that I will add to this post later if I can find it. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Easter Traditions

"I am the resurrection and the life".   Aren't those seven words what Easter's all about?  Not bonnets and buffets.  I did manage to eat, mind and move this Easter Sunday.  JB and I went to Mass at St. Mary's in Sharpsburg. (JB is the name I've decided to use when referring to my husband in this blog -- i.e. my Javier Bardem.)  The Church was beautifully decorated and full; the Mass was joyful.  After Mass, I took a quick 30-minute walk around the neighborhood with my neighbor. Then we went with friends Priscilla and Tom to the Westmoreland Museum of Art.  Priscilla was interested in a special landscape exhibit.  WMOA is lovely and small; it has a collection of local landscapes in addition to the special one Priscilla wanted to see. The painting pictured above by William Coventry Wall (1811-1886) is part of their permanent collection and is titled 'View Along the Allegheny Near Aspinwall, PA, 1867'.  The post next to the painting reads, "Painted from the outskirts of Sharpsburg, the view looks upriver toward what is today the town of Aspinwall.  Shown is a stretch of the Allegheny River with Six Mile Island as it looked in the 1860s.  Today the Highland Park Bridge and adjacent highway would obstruct much of this view."  Then we ate (at a buffet), but not too much.  I missed my kids since they are both in the middle of a college term and did not come home.  But having a holiday not be totally food centered was a welcome change. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Brian O'Neill on Anne Mullaney

Brian O'Neill knew Anne Mullaney for, as he put it, "as long as she owned a bar."  He emceed the tribute to her by Neighbors in the Strip that he mentions in this Post-Gazette news obituary.  You can catch a glimpse of how special she was through his excellent writing.  And if you want to buy a copy of his book, The Paris of Appalachia, they sell it from behind the bar at Mullaney's Harp and Fiddle. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Annie, we hardly knew ye

My friend and colleague Anne Mullaney died today.  I will write more about her later and will post her obituary.  It will help you to understand, if you were not fortunate enough to know her, what you missed.   The significance of her death on Good Friday is hard to overstate.  The following notice appeared on her Carebridge site earlier today:  "Rest In Peace, Anne Mullaney, April 22, 2011.  Anne passed peacefully early this morning, with her beloved and steadfast Maurice and family by her side. Details of services, and memorial gifts in lieu of flowers, will follow as soon as those plans are made.  It is fitting that we take this journey in Holy Week.  Anne always took a day-long retreat each year on Good Friday.  We join with her this Good Friday in contemplation, prayer, and in the mystery of Christ's suffering for us. ( ..we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us...We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5)"  To describe Anne as a lawyer, bar owner (Mullaney's Harp and Fiddle), board member, community leader, wife, friend, sister and aunt doesn't begin to convey the essence of the amazing woman she was.  If you have time this holiday weekend, visit and read the messages sent before and after her death.    
There must be some reason why someone so vital has been taken from us, especially today.  Some of the messages speak to this timing.
The other thought that has been running through my mind all day is that there is going to be one gigantic Irish wake sometime next week in the Strip District. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"I'm a dancer, I'm not a football player...I'm a dancer, I'm not a football player..

That phrase was reported by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette to be the self-talk of Hines Ward "to get in the right frame of mind to compete on Dancing With the Stars".  People at work are always talking about DWTS; until last night, I had never seen it. That man can dance! 
There has been a lot of local coverage about Hines Ward's participation, because well, this is Steeler nation and in the off season, we yearn for any newsworthy tidbits about players and the team.  Hines was in town last week on Steeler-related business and it was also reported that he was practicing his routine at the Steelers South Side facility so he did not miss a beat on his preparation schedule. He apparently charts out his dance steps on paper so he can study just like he would a football playbook.
This is the mind and work ethic of a champion.
Some people think that the concept of self-talk is "meaningless psychobabble"; you know who you are.  Well, if it's good enough for world champion, MVP, DWTS phenom Hines Ward, it's good enough for me!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Our Lady of Weight Loss,

aka Janice Taylor, is one of my motivators. She's in the blogosphere and you can link to 'Our Lady of Weight Loss' from the links on the right side of my blog. I don't link a lot or with just anybody. I met Janice Taylor last November at the Diabetes Expo, where she spoke, greeted people and signed books.  I bought a copy of OLWL that she signed for me.  She's very funny; the book is an easy read.  Have you ever heard the expression, it's not what someone says, it's how they make you feel?  There is a personal warmth about her and a genuineness that can only come from someone who has been there.  Something in her 'before' picture reminded me of me.  And her 'after' picture and actual presence look worlds away from where she started.  That's what I want. 
One of my favorite things in the book is a form letter that you can send to your office mates about the work environment.  There is a lot of food drama and frenzy in most office settings that is challenging for some of us.  Her letter gave me the courage and the words to ask a colleague to move her candy dish (and no one will get hurt!) which she keeps within easy reaching distance of my hand as I walk the corridor to the outside door of our office suite dozens of times a day.  That's a lot of times to resist temptation.  
One of her signature expressions (and the title of another of her books) is, 'All is Forgiven, Move On'.   That helps me too.  That whole self-compassion, don't beat yourself up too much approach is working much better for me than the whole guilt thing. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Calling Dr. Walmart, Dr. Walmart

I'm feeling a bit under the weather so I went to Walmart today.  Under normal circumstances, Walmart is a place I avoid.  Too many people, too much cheap stuff from China, too much stuff in general.  I prefer more relaxed shopping in places that are smaller and frankly more upscale (think Whole Foods and Anthropologie).    And I sort of like to go to a grocery store, pharmacy, flower shop, card store, etc., separately, not together in a full-court press, energy sapping marathon shopping experience. 

However, the hospital where I work opened two urgent care clinics at local Walmart stores over the past year.  One of my work colleagues went last week and told me what a wonderful experience it was. So on my way home from work, I stopped in.   

It was an impressive, customer friendly experience.  It was as close to an old-fashioned family doctor visit as anything I have experienced since childhood.  Remember when doctors had 'office hours'?  It meant that you went, sat in a waiting room and on a first-come, first-served basis, were seen by the one doctor in the practice and had your problem addressed.  I remember my dad taking me to Dr. Visoke's office in McKeesport, sitting in a nearly-full waiting room and taking our turn. 

Well this wasn't a doctor at the Walmart clinic, it was a nurse practitioner.  His exam was thorough, he was kind and attentive, the visit was unrushed because there was only one other patient there before me, and it was no-hassle.  Don't get me wrong, I love my PCP.  But all the 'stuff' that accompanies a doctor's office visit and a doctor's office, is simplified with the urgent care clinic concept.  Just stop in; make the co-pay (in this case a mere $20), see the practitioner, and be on your way. 

Wow, Walmart. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sisters, Haves and Have-Nots, Part II

There is something compelling about people and organizations that are mission-driven.  Last Sunday, we attended a mass at the special needs school my nephew attends.  It is operated by a Roman Catholic religious community, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (ACSJ).  The mass was in memory of my mom and it is customary that family members bring up the offertory gifts during memorial masses.  But on the program, the gift-bearers were listed as 'Guests."  Two lovely twenty-something women carried them up. 
During the mass I noted three things about the sisters in attendance -- they wore habits, not the pre-Vatican II floor length with big hat habits, but the more subdued veil and black knee-length dress type.  There was also a sister in a white veil, an indication that she is a sister in formation.   And the median age of the group, which is many religious communities is in the '80s, was probably in the 60s, so they were relative youngsters. 
After mass, one of the sisters explained to me that the 'guests' were checking out the community.  "They shop around these days, you know", she said.  I remarked to her that it was wonderful that they had young women interested in their community and their ministry.  And the conversation quickly morphed into one of those fleeting, yet significant exchanges with someone I will likely not ever see again, but will never forget.  She told me how difficult it was in the days just after Vatican II, when there was so much upheaval in religious life.  It was particularly hard, she said, for people who wanted more flexibility and change than the community was offering.  But, she said we know what we stand for; and for those who decided to stay, they knew why they were staying; and what they were staying to do.
It seems to me that communities and people with a strong sense of mission always do better in the mundane and in time of challenge and crisis.  In researching the history of the ACSJs and their founder, Mother Clelia Merloni (photo above), I found this quote from her: "Love your work, perform it with joy.  Do not allow yourself to become discouraged by difficulties, lack of success or daily hum-drum duties.  Be convinced that this is your mission and you will make God better loved."
I also discovered that she is up for sainthood, and that their community, founded in 1894, now has 1,500 sisters on five continents. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Earthquakes, the Big Ones

Now that both my parents are gone, there is an opportunity to gain perspective on their lives and legacies.  My mother's family forms the basis of most of my memories, because I was born and raised in proximity to them.  But it is my father's family history that fascinates me, because it is more mysterious and unusual, at least by today's standards. 
With the tragedies playing out in Japan right now, precipitated by an earthquake that has killed in the neighborhood of 10,000 people, my thoughts have turned to the earthquake that forever shifted the course of my family's history. 
On January 13, 1915, an earthquake with its epicenter in Avezzano, Italy killed an estimated 30,000 people.  Wrap your arms around that for a minute.  This was before CNN, the Red Cross, the ability to text dollars to help, cell phones, airplanes and all the modern means that get mobilized in a time of horrific crisis today.  Two of my father's brothers were killed when their house in Corfinio collapsed.  My father was in the next town over about 3 km away, Raiano, and escaped harm.  The exact reasons why he was in the next town over had to do with the fact that he was not raised by his natural mother but by a stepmother, or really a wet nurse, because in those days there was no grocery store where one could buy infant formula.  You had to find a source.  But it is still not clear to me exactly why he was sent there in the first place.  I also know that my father's father died sometime in 1915 of a ruptured appendix, but I always thought it was after the earthquake, not before, so the mystery deepens.   
However, my grandmother's heart was broken; she lost two children and a husband in the same year.  That was also a time before things like the Italian version of 'social security', so what's a widow to do?   There appears to have been a network of Italian immigrants who communicated these types of circumstances and 'placed' widows like my grandmother with widowers.   And somehow my grandmother ended up coming to McKeesport, Pennsylvania to become the new wife of a man she had never met before, because his first wife had died. 
I have always been fascinated by things Italian, but recall my mother and father both telling me that my grandmother had no such fascination.  She did not yearn for the homeland.  "She never wanted to see Italy again", my mom said. 
So, when I think I am having a bad day, I would do well to think of her hardships and see if mine in any way remotely match up to what she had to deal with.    The photo with this post is not a family one, but one that I found in the public domain that records the devastation of the earthquake.  The Gran Sasso d'Abruzzo, the mountain in the background, is one I recognize from a trip I took with my dad to his hometown in 1980. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Name is Rosanne and ...

no, this is not the introduction portion of a 12 step meeting in the blogosphere.  Or maybe it is?  I have known for a long time that certain aspects of my eating behaviors look an awful lot like what I understand an addiction to be.  One of the best explanations of an addiction that I have ever heard is that an addict engages in behavior that they clearly know intellectually is detrimental, but continues to do so.  This past week, a work colleague and my sister-in-law both sent me media coverage of a study just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, "Neural Correlates of Food Addiction."

The reporting source from my sister-in-law's forward is MedPage where Kristina Fiore reports in brief and elegant simplicity: 
  • "Women with addictive-like eating behaviors appear to have neural activity on function magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) similar to that of substance abusers.
  • Whether eating food or craving it, food lovers appear to have neural activity similar to that of substance abusers." 
She goes on to point out the small-print disclaimers, including the small sample size and the exclusion of men from the study. 

I do not need an expensive imaging test to reveal what I already know about myself and my own behavior.   But there is an element of comfort in knowing that making bad food choices is not totally a matter of 'mind over matter'. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mantras and Self-Talk

Since I am 'minding' this week, a cognitive behavioral technique (and one also taught in yoga and meditation) is the use of a phrase that you tell yourself over and over again. You come up with the word or phrase based on what resonates with you or you can use a 'canned' one suggested by others for this purpose. 
One of my favorite phrases I use during the final segment of a yoga practice is "Be still and know that I am God".
Lately, I have begun to speak a phrase to myself during the day as a way of focusing.  At CR, Dr. Murray told me that for me, sugar is poison.  Forget those so-called experts who say that diabetics can eat sweets in moderation.  Those three words, sugar is poison, have become the go-to phrase I say to myself when the situation around me demands a choice on my part.  Last night, I attended a community event with work colleagues.  It was a true "special event"  and I ran into some old friends and acquaintances and we laughed and talked and got caught up on each other's lives; and met some interesting new people. 
And, oh the food!  It was dinnertime and the buffet spread was beautiful and included good choices; at the end of the line there were the desserts that usually call my name until I respond.  But, I told myself over and over again, "sugar is poison, sugar is poison".  And last night it worked. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What Gets Measured

It was axiomatic in my work done years ago with TQM (Total Quality Management) that "what gets measured gets managed".  This quote is attributed to Peter Drucker, management guru extraordinaire and was used as part of the MBO movement (management by objectives, remember that?)  In TQM, we collected data as the basis for measurement.  There was a lot of education done about how to display data using various types of charts and graphs so that it told a story.  I was once required to attend a multi-day training program on statistical process control.  It was like torture.  A determining factor in why I went to law school as opposed to getting an MBA was so I would not have to take statistics.  But although I cannot remember the details of the class, some key principles have stuck with me for more than a decade.  Once you have 20 - 25 data points you can plot them on a control chart and calculate upper and lower control limits.  Fluctuation of points within the upper and lower limits results from variations inherent in the process.  If the process is stable, you can easily see it because continued collection of data points yields no changes to the picture that the chart tells.  However, processes can become "out of control" and when they do, you can see it because the story changes.  One way to tell that a process is changing is having six consecutive points, increasing or decreasing.   
When first diagnosed, Dr. Natalie gave me a prescription for a meter to track blood sugar, but was not overly directive about using it right away.   And I was fine with that.  Who wants to stick themselves and draw blood on a regular basis?  
Since the numbers she was looking at through lab work were trending in the wrong direction, I decided to measure so I could manage.  One of my favorite iPhone apps is Dlife because it takes blood sugar readings and puts them into a control chart.  So I have been able to see the trend since returning from CR and know that it showed a shift in the process that could only have come from a 'special cause'.    WOW. 
The picture above was taken during a tour of Churchill's War Rooms, underground in London.  If Churchill could manage WWII using charts and graphs, I can certainly manage this crappy disease using them too. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The News Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

Rainy Days and Sundays

Remember that Carpenters song with the line 'Rainy days and Mondays always get me down'?  Rainy days and Sunday nights sometimes get me down; Monday morning work looms large and the television set with the nearby couch beckons, especially if there is Sunday night football or a hockey game.  (What is the low-carb substitute name for couch potato?  Maybe couch turnip?)  There is not usually much planned activity; Sunday nights are problematic in the eating and moving department. 
Last night, my husband and I (for whom I am planning to invent a fake name just like Elizabeth Gilbert did for her SO, but that's another post) went to Heinz Chapel for sung prayer by the Pittsburgh Compline Choir.  It's a pretty well kept secret that I learned of only last year when a work colleague invited me to a benefit concert given by the choir, even though it has been doing this for 22 years now during the academic year.   Heinz Chapel is a beautiful venue; and even on a sunny day, seems dark inside.  Compline is the final prayer of the day and in sung form; it is calming and moving. 
When we got home I checked out the choir's website and found an article written by Charlie Stewart for the Holiday 2010 issue of Shady Ave magazine.  Some excerpts that I hope might move local readers of EMM to stop in some Sunday night at 8:30: 
"Feel a sense of calm take hold of you as you enter Heinz Memorial Chapel in Oakland to hear the Pittsburgh Compline Choir.  Close your eyes and listen to the quiet.  Take a deep breath and exhale your worries  As the chanting rises from the chancel, let the goose bumps flow down your spine, while you are transported to a long-ago century.  When the organ prelude begins, a meditative rest takes hold as you imagine leaves shimmering in the breeze, a crescent moon, hugging a friend, a father pushing his daugher on a swing -- or nothing.  The service heightens your senses -- the smell of incense, the sight of flickering candles, and the resonance of the choir's voices in the high, vaulted ceilings of the chapel.  Let the experience waft over you.  Pray for someone you love, and let God know you will try to be a better person.  That's what Compline is all about."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kevin Elko, Mike McCarthy and Motivating Me

My friends all know that I am a pretty serious Pittsburgh Steeler fan.  The photo on my Facebook page is me with colleague/friend Marcie at the AFC Championship game last January all wrapped up in the freezing weather.  My husband thought I was certifiably crazy to endure the elements.  But it was a great game.  However, as much a fan as I am, it was tough to be too upset at the Steelers subsequent Super Bowl loss for several reasons not important to the point of this post.  The most important reason I did not go into mourning is that I was so happy for Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.  Mike and I went to the same small, poor and long-shuttered Catholic high school in Homestead, Bishop Boyle.  Bishop Boyle only existed for about 25 years.  It was a victim of the domino effect of the steel industry collapse.   In the hierarchy of prestigious local Catholic high schools, Bishop Boyle was at the bottom.  The building was a converted and old elementary school, our girls gym was in the Salvation Army building next door -- you get the picture. 
But I don't know Mike and Mike doesn't know me -- we are about ten years apart in age and Mike traveled to school from Greenfield, the other side of the Homestead Grays bridge.  
After the Super Bowl was over, I learned that Mike selected someone I do know from the Pittsburgh area to give the pre-game speech to his players, Dr. Kevin Elko.    
Kevin and I worked together at a place that does not appear on the blue-chip version of his resume, the one that lists his involvement with championship teams and says how many big rings he has (assuming Mike McCarthy gives him one, I think he has as many Super Bowl rings as Ben Roethlisberger)If you google 'Dr. Kevin Elko', hundreds of references to his success appear -- and not just to his work as a motivational speaker.  He has a real and impressive record of achievement in selecting and building championship teams.  After all, talk itself is cheap.  Actually, in Kevin's case, talk is not cheap.  One of the sites I looked at yesterday pegs his per speech fee at $35,000-$50,000.   Suffice it to say, I knew Kevin when you could go to one of his 'talks' for free.  He was in graduate school at the time.  Even then, it was apparent that he had an incredible gift.  He speaks with a soft West-Virginia drawl and his presentations were thought provoking, funny and actionable.  We stay in touch although in recent years, not as much.  I still remember picking up the phone one day and Kevin being on the other end saying, "Guess what, Rosanne, I just met Nelson Mandela!".  We travel in very different circles now, but he is still a friend.   Yesterday, I was looking at Kevin's website (which is on the list of sites I follow) and decided to download the white paper called 'Five Questions That Will Change Your Life' .  You can get access to it by signing up for his newsletter.  I'm not going to give you the five questions, only the following quote:  "The only way to consistently do anything is to be mindful of it.  Mindful means to be conscious, to think about, to set out early in our day and intend to do something".  I spent a fair amount of time in London thinking about what to name this blog -- and a lot of the time in trying to change behavior has to date focused on the 'eat' and 'move' part of the title.  This week I am going to 'mind.' 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sisters, Haves and Have-Nots

This is a famous family picture of my mom and her sisters that was probably taken in the late 1940s.  They all bought the same blouse, dressed up and had this photograph taken which was presented to Nonna for Mothers Day.  I have to admit that growing up I was jealous of my mom's relationship with her sisters.  I have no sisters (brothers will be another post).   My mom seemed to have a bond with her sisters, two in particular, that filled most of her needs for socialization and friendship.  Among my family and cousins, there are only four girls in four different families, so none of us have sisters.  My jealousy persists when I think about the next generation (see the March post, 'Amy, the Next Generation').  Amy and her sister are training together (from different states) for the Pittsburgh marathon, my twin nieces are in graduate school together and have another sister, one of my brothers has two daughters and there are other sister pairs among the group.  Because of the void that I felt when observing that sisterhood of my mother and aunts growing up, I am probably closer to my female cousins and to my friends.    Those relationships are precious to me, and there is a "broad" support group that is there for me and I hope that I am there for them.  A couple of them have diabetes too.  It helps to be able to share the experiences of being a diabetic, or as I think of it, a member of the club that no one particularly wants to be in.   At Canyon Ranch, I resisted meeting with their CDE (certified diabetes educator),  After all, we have those at the hospital where I work.  But worth the price of the consult was a list of resources she gave me including a particular endorsement of the site  There is something comforting about the support of women in the club, even virtual support.  So, it's been added to the list of sites I follow.  Someday I hope to connect in person with this group at one of their conferences.  Meanwhile, tell one of your female friends today how much you value their support and friendship.  I intend to.