Friday, October 31, 2008

Networking 101: Welcome to the dog park

This is a piece I wrote for the KSV intern newsletter, The Know, on starting to network.

It’s all about who you know, right? That’s what “they” say, and they seem to have a point – the more people you know, the more likely you are to hear about potential job openings, new clients, and exciting opportunities. How do you get started though? It can be intimidating!

It’s hard to get used to, but forming and using personal connections are important steps to building a reputation and getting your name out there. At the beginning, attending networking events felt forced or uncomfortable. I realized I much preferred a more natural, real world approach – meeting people through shared interests! For me, the logical connector is DOGS! Every dog parent likes talking about his or her dog, so it’s an easy way to start a conversation. In my first few days at KSV, I was able to make a personal connection with 4 different coworkers just by being genuinely interested in their dogs.

As well as an ice breaker technique for getting to know your fellow KSVers, you never know who you’re going to meet at the dog park or in the dog-friendly shops on Church Street. And as far as personal interaction, it doesn’t get much more low-stress than watching your dog have fun! It’s easy enough to strike up a conversation about your dogs, and then venture to other topics. “Oh yes, Rufus comes to the office with me every day, it’s wonderful! Where do I work? KSV – we’re a full service ad agency. What do you do?”

Poof, you’re networking.

The way I was finally able to be comfortable with the big scary concept of networking was to take it for what it is, at its core – building personal connections that will benefit both of you down the road. For me, dogs are my foot in the door. But everyone has his or her own best fit. Maybe you love hiking and camping around Vermont, you’re a total green thumb, or a budding wine aficionado. Give it some thought, what’s yours?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yummy nomz!

It's always an ego boost when someone loves your baking, even if it is a dog! And there's no little dog I'd rather bake for than Roger.

Roger's Favorite Cookies
-2 cups whole wheat flour
-1 cup oats
-1/4 cup peanut butter
-1 cup warm water

Combine all ingredients, it works best to mix it with your hands! Roll out and use cookie cutters, or just slice into bars. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (flip over after 20min for best results).

Depending on how thin you rolled them, they're either crunchy or a little soft. Crunchier cookies last longer, so especially for bigger batches let em cook a bit longer. Store in an air-tight container, or freeze extras for longer storage.

(If this picture had been a little wider, you'd see a little gray dog sitting very patiently, waiting for his cookies to be ready.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photo Shoot #1

The Little Sir and I had a photo shoot!

Clearly, we are a very glamorous pair.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tis the voting season

This past week, I hosted the Burlington feminist meet-up group Women for Change. In keeping with the voting season and inspired by an email from That Girl, we watched Iron Jawed Angels. Everyone brought delicious food, and after the movie we talked for several hours about all kinds of things! The commercializing of girlhood, the packaging and sale of sexuality, polyamorous relationships, "post-feminism," the different extremes of women's liberation and how it's affected by or expressed through outward appearance, and the disintegrating state of women's rights in our country.

I'm so happy to be part of this developing community of women here in Burlington. Lately I've been missing the group bond I found in Ithaca College Feminists, the strong, smart, passionate women of the executive board, and the energy of the group as a whole.

The HBO-made historical drama about the fight for women's suffrage stars Hilary Swank, co-starring Frances O'Connor, Julia Ormond, and Anjelica Huston. I'm not any good at summarizing or reviewing movies, so I've pasted the synopsis from the HBO page:
IRON JAWED ANGELS recounts for a contemporary audience a key chapter in U.S. history: in this case, the struggle of suffragists who fought for the passage of the 19th Amendment. Focusing on the two defiant women, Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns (Frances O'Connor), the film shows how these activists broke from the mainstream women's-rights movement and created a more radical wing, daring to push the boundaries of political protest to secure women's voting rights in 1920. Breathing life into the relationships between Paul, Burns and others, the movie makes the women feel like complete characters instead of one-dimensional figures from a distant past.

Although the protagonists have different personalities and backgrounds - Alice is a Quaker and Lucy an Irish Brooklynite - they are united in their fierce devotion to women's suffrage. In a country dominated by chauvinism, this is no easy fight, as the women and their volunteers clash with older, conservative activists, particularly Carrie Chapman Catt (Angelica Huston). They also battle public opinion in a tumultuous time of war, not to mention the most powerful men in the country, including President Woodrow Wilson (Bob Gunton). Along the way, sacrifices are made: Alice gives up a chance for love, and colleague Inez Mulholland (Julia Ormond) gives up her life.

The women are thrown in jail, with an ensuing hunger strike making headline news. The women's resistance to being force-fed earns them the nickname "The Iron Jawed Angels." However, it is truly their wills that are made of iron, and their courage inspires a nation and changes it forever.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

World Domination!

He's just a little dog, but he's got big dreams - and big plans.

World Domination Coloring Page courtesy of Cartoon Drum

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wanted: Housemate

I mean, I would think Roger and I make a pretty attractive package, as far as housemates go. Why is it so tough to find a match? Perhaps I'm too picky...
Available Nov 1 - $625/month

The Deal: Room to rent in my 2br condo. Off-street parking, dishwasher, laundry. Heat included. Two blocks from the waterfront, just a few blocks from the bottom of Church St. Room can be furnished or not.

Me: Mid 20s professional woman, no smoking/drugs, occasional drinker. 2yr old male dog (catahoula/lab mix). Clean but not a neat freak. Skier, craftster, feminist.

I might be open to a friendly dog/cat, but my dog would have to make that decision.

Drop me a line if you're interested.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

gone to the birds

Check out my current crafty project in progress! I'm sewing these bird softies to make a mobile either for my bedroom or the living room. A second one is in the works as a baby shower gift for little number seven. It's a free pattern downloaded from the Spool Sewing blog, there's also a flickr group, Spool Bird Softies.

This is the first one I did, so of course it came out the best.

Then came this one, who looks like he has a stuffy nose or something, because the fabric was too thick to turn out nicely.

This one looks okay, I like the way the back came out.

More to come later this fall!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The ladies love him - and he loves us back

(Just in case you think I've been spending too much time doting on Rogerdog lately)

I would like to direct your attention to the newly-launched Feminists for Obama site, a project of the Feminist Majority. It features a run-down of the issues, and a side by side comparison of the candidates' platforms. The Feminist Majority fully supports the election of Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. They are strong supporters of women’s rights including the right to equal pay for equal work, programs to reduce violence against women, a woman’s right to choose legal and safe abortion. They believe in access to affordable birth control, work/family balance, and the end of the Iraq war.

From Eleanor Smeal, President of Feminist Majority -

“Obama/Biden are running on the strongest platform for women’s rights of any major party in U.S. history. But it’s not just platforms. Voting records show the stark difference between the Obama and McCain tickets.

Women simply cannot afford a President McCain. He would stack the Supreme Court and federal judiciary against women’s reproductive and economic rights for future generations; stubbornly pursue a policy of endless war no matter the cost in human lives and dollars; and continue Bush failed economics and political policies.”

Take a spin through the site, and share it with anyone you know who might be unsure what to do on November 4th.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Recommended Reading: Her Dog Has A Blog

From Mutt Gal's blogroll, I found Her Dog Has A Blog!

Maintained by Buzz's Food Lady, it's filled with great photographs and stories about Buzz and all his dogfriends. She offers proof that Buzz is, in fact a supermodel, and even put together a video of his silly puppy antics in celebration of his birthday! The entry that got me hooked was Don't buy a dog!, where the food lady works to explain puppy mills to Buzz:

Lady: Well, Buzzy, imagine if each of your toys was a dog. Now imagine that not only do we have 100 dogs in our house that need to be killed because we don’t have room for them or food to feed them, but also picture that there are 100 extra dogs at Billy’s house. And Milly’s house. And at every house in our city. That would be 9,000,000 dogs.

Buzz: Whoa. Do they deserve it?

Lady: No, Buzz. Those dogs are very nice dogs. Most of them are even better behaved than you.

Buzz: I’m perfect.

Lady: You chase cars. And try to take down joggers. And snap at bicyclists.

Buzz: I would like to revise my earlier statement. I’m mostly perfect.

When Roger's a little older, I'll use her conversation as a guideline to have the talk with him!

I love this method of story-telling, through pictures interspersed with the narrative, it's inspiring me to get more shots of Roger in action. She must have a remote clicker for her camera...maybe I can bribe a friend to come play photog for a day?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Beautiful dog/blog!

Roger and I just found an exciting new dog/blog friend pair!!

Roger is pup pals on Dogster with a pretty little Catahoula mix, Charlotte. (They even have the same colored spots!) In her Dogster profile, Charlotte links to her mom's blog, so I decided to check it out. It's delightful!

On She Wears Socks with Sandals, Mutt Gal posts beautiful photos of her outings and adventures with Char, along with her other dog Wilbur. They look like such a fun pack!! Roger would love to chase her around. I only wish they were closer to us than Washington state!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Localvore SCORE!!

Last night I attended the housewarming party for my friends Cliff, Becca, and Zach! They're renting a beautiful house in Grand Isle with a long sweeping front lawn and private beach access. The living room has a cathedral ceiling, and Cliff's room has its own deck.

The party was a strictly fancy-pants event - fancy wine, fancy food, fancy clothes, and fancy guests! Johan, Joshua, and Adam were up from NH, Dougie and Steph from southern VT, as well as local favorites Gwen and Billy. There was even fancy music a little later in the evening, provided by the house string quintet.

This was a particularly exciting event for me, because I hosted Becca, Cliff, and puppy Apollo in my second bedroom for the week before their lease started, and I knew how anxious they had been to move in. I happily brought a housewarming gift, as well - I re-potted one of my aloe plants for Cliff after he had admired it during his stay.

Upon arrival at the party, Cliff and Becca proudly presented me with a present of my own - a beautiful bottle of Sunshine Vodka!! The week they were with me was the first of September, so I was taking my Eat Local Challenge. We went out for drinks on their last night with me, and I opted for water due to the lack of local spirits available. Locally produced in Stowe, VT by Green Mountain Distillers, here's what their website has to say about Sunshine Vodka:

Vermont’s premiere organic spirit is quadruple distilled from 100% certified organic grain and pure Vermont spring water. Sunshine production begins with the highest quality grain supplied by our family, farmer owned co-op. All grain is Certified Organic and GMO free by Oregon Tilth. Sunshine Vodka is created using small batch fermentation and proprietary distillation processes that result in a spirit of the very highest quality. Our small staff selects the grain, distills the spirit and markets the finished product nationwide. This close integration of field to process to product gives Green Mountain Distillers an unparalleled level of integrity.

Hooray for localvorism, wonderful friends, and another fun night in my green party dress!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Come, sit, play - it's a PAWTY!!

Come one come all, join us at Waterfront Dog Park on Saturday, 18-October 1-3pm to help us celebrate Roger's 2nd birthday - and a full 6 months as my sidekick! Round up your whole pack! Just let us know you're coming so we can plan accordingly - there will be autumn-licious treats for dogs and pawrents alike. No need to run out to the shops, your presence is present enough. You don't even need to bring a dog if you don't have one!

If I may be serious for a moment, a big thank you goes to Carmen for her wonderful design work and enthusiasm for the project. If not for her, you'd probably be looking at an Excel document with fancy highlighting instead of the masterpiece currently before you.