America IS becoming great. Women are finding their power and raising their voices more than ever before. Yes, we are becoming Stronger Together.Read More
Shorter, cooler days and crisp leaves underfoot… Yes, it's fall. And you know what that means. It's time to reorganize the closet! If not now, then when will you ever figure out which clothes and shoes still “work” and which ones need to be retired?Read More
Today is World Autism Day, and the second official day of Autism Awareness Month.
But for me, every day is Autism Awareness Day. I am an autism mom.
When my husband and I were expecting our one and only child, we were typical expectant parents. Among other important matters, we discussed and came to agreement on our views regarding parenting and discipline. We also giddily agreed to start saving for college after our first ultrasound.
One year after our perfect boy was born, we moved to a neighborhood in a good school district. We ended up finding a great house with a huge yard that (we hoped) would attract all of the kids in the neighborhood. But by preschool it was pretty clear that our son was not a typical kid. While there wasn’t a single telltale signal, he was just different.
And sadly, all of those kids in the neighborhood just weren’t drawn to our boy, or to our huge backyard.
When our son received his “Asperger Syndrome” diagnosis at the age of seven, we were very secretive about it. But over time, about a year later, we started sharing the details of his diagnosis with anyone who would listen. In our newfound awareness of autism, we wanted to help make others aware.
My awareness has evolved over the years, more than I ever thought possible:
1) I am aware of my good luck to have a great network of people who understand and appreciate our son for who he is.
2) I am now aware of why meltdowns occur in the least desirable moments, and am much more acutely aware of how to avoid such incidents in the first place.
3) I’m also aware of the fact that I no longer care about what strangers must think when our child melts down in public.
4) I am aware of the many hoops that we have had to navigate in order to get much-needed services for our son.
5) I am so very aware of the fact that we could not have navigated the search for services alone. As an autism mom, I have a network, and each of the individuals in this network has contributed at least one nugget of wisdom that has helped us along. These friends, fellow moms (and dads), and professionals continue to coax us along on this ever-evolving journey.
6) I'm aware that as difficult as it is to encourage our son to do normal kids stuff, it’s worth the effort. (Hence, the weeklong horse camp he’ll be participating in the week after school gets out. Thanks to our Multnomah County K-Plan, an aide will be accompanying our son on this adventure. Now, I just need to move a couple of mountains to secure an aide.)
7) I am aware of the futility of trying to do homework with my son. His tutor is so much better at it than I am.
8) I am quite aware of the fact that my son, while he strives to be normal, is anything but. Thank goodness.
9) I am aware of the truth that each and every one of us is different, and that those differences are worthy of celebrating.
10) I am aware that the love I feel for my son is so incredibly deep that my heart pangs in a way I had never experienced before motherhood.
11) I am aware of the need for Autism Awareness Month, because a little education and communication goes a long way toward building compassion and understanding.
Yes, I am aware.
If you’d like to be more aware of autism, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While I can’t claim to be an expert, I’m living it and am happy to share what I know.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Or, as some may say, Happy V Day! *
Turns out Valentine’s Day and V Day don’t mean the same thing. But they’re both celebrated - or acknowledged - every year on February 14.
On this day of love, allow me to impart the meaning of V Day for those of you who are not already in the know.
V Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. It was started by author, playwright and activist, Eve Ensler.
Do a quick google search of “violence against women” and one haunting statistic will repeatedly bare itself from a variety of sources: One in three women across the planet will be beaten or raped in her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION women and girls. #1billionrising
Another commonly cited statistic: Women are more likely to be physically and sexually assaulted or murdered by someone they know – often a family member or intimate partner.
According to the UN General Assembly, violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations. It is rooted in gendered social structures, rather than individual and random acts; it cuts across age, socio-economic, education and geographic boundaries; affects all societies; and is a major obstacle to ending gender inequality and discrimination globally.
As women, we must stand up, stand together and be strong. There are many, many ways to get involved in this important movement. Check out these two links for a starting point:
* Editor’s note: Be careful with your abbreviations because they do not always translate into what you think they mean.
It’s pretty cool that a lumber company brought Fox to its knees, huh? Who came out ahead?
In case you’re one who avoids the nation’s biggest sporting event of the year, also known as the longest run of high-budget paid media that you’ll witness in a single sitting, a fairly low-profile company called 84 Lumber ran a spot during last night’s Super Bowl that Fox deemed “too controversial” to run in its entirety. “The Entire Journey” depicted the plight of a mother and daughter leaving Mexico for a better life in America. See the full spot here.
Based in Pennsylvania, 84 Lumber is a mid-sized (approximately 5,000 employees) company that mode its foray into Super Bowl advertising last night, for the first time, with a story that had very little to do with lumber. It had everything to do with following one’s dream into the land of opportunity. I’d never heard of the company. But right after being sucked in by the emotion of the spot, and while waiting for Lady Gaga to take the stage, I went straight to the 84 Lumber site to see the spot's conclusion... along with millions of others who contributed to the site’s crash.
There is so much talk about 84 Lumber on the internet and airwaves that the spot has more than paid for itself. Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit that this is storytelling done right.
Paid – 84 Lumber paid millions for the air time and the production. It ran half of its 5 ½ minute promotional film in last night’s game. It was worth every cent.
Owned – Now that it’s back up and running, the company’s website has received millions of hits over the last 24 hours.
Earned – Multi-media coverage resulting from the now viral spot is priceless.
Managed – 84 Lumber’s social media team is wisely armed with key messages. When attacked for condoning illegal immigration, the company disputes that and responds that “The Entire Journey” highlights the type of people they’re looking for at 84 Lumber.
Indeed, it is important to note that 84 Lumber’s president, Maggy Hardy Magerko, voted for Trump. According to a story on Vox, she notes, “It’s not about the wall. It’s about the door in the wall. If people are willing to work hard and make this country better, that door should be open to them.”
The trick will be to pry that door open.
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Music lovers around the globe were knocked to their knees with last week’s tragic news of Prince’s untimely death. I was no exception.
Fittingly, I mourned Prince’s death – and celebrated his life – by listening and dancing to all of my Prince favorites a few times over. “Take Me With You” is currently on rotation in my mind.
Prince was a creative genius, always on the edge of something new.
But it’s funny, though, because each Facebook tribute I read harkened nostalgia for another time. Whether it was the time that someone saw him in concert, a period of time in a person’s life, or even a time of sexual awakening.
As for many others, Prince’s death propelled me to the past. And the past this sad news brought me to was a time when I was mostly just envisioning the future. Yes, Prince was the purple knight of my college soundtrack.
The death of Prince put me back in touch with my college roommates and to a time when I was in a huge rush to take my first step on the colossal corporate ladder.
In my reminiscing, oh how I longed to experience those days of college again, even if only for a few hours (albeit armed with some of my more important life lessons).
Then, the day after Prince died, my son turned 11… and I found myself longing for the days of my son’s infancy, his toddler strutting, his precious kindergarten bruised knees, and mostly, to the time when the sun rose and set with his mommy… me. As I watched my beautiful son blow out his birthday candles, I looked at my newly crowned tween and remembered that this time, too, is a time that I will long for one day. And that slapped me into the present.
I must enjoy this time now.
In his death, Prince somehow helped me understand the importance of experiencing the here and now.
And living each day as though it is my first.
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I do PR. For others, not for me. That I have a website at all is truly an amazing feat. An impossibility realized. As Dr. Asarnow, my writing professor at the University of Portland used to say, “just start writing and the words will follow.” That wisdom has gotten me through some of my tougher assignments over the years.
My website has proven to be the toughest assignment of all. And if I’m to follow my own advice, I’m going to keep it fresh, relevant and timely. And that means I must continue to add content.
But here’s the deal: I’ve been doing PR for a while, and for a lot of really interesting organizations. So, it is really something of a challenge to neatly package my work into visually compelling case studies and succinct blogs.
So about the case studies page… it’s sparse, but it’s a start! I promise to keep adding case studies, mostly new and hopefully all relevant.
And I’ll do my best to make my blog musings meaningful. Some of my posts will have to do with PR, some will have to do with client work, and some will more than likely have something to do with my family, pets included. But really, I reserve the right to write about whatever comes up for me.
In the meantime, I’m busy doing PR for others. I like it that way.