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|Nikki Riley Designs||
While I may live in a small, rural community, I don't often consider the impacts of living in Truckee versus a large city. As the Truckee Representative for the Nevada County First Five Commission, I assist in the allocation of funds and support for services that serve those 0-5 years of age as well as their parents, caregivers and educators. Our funding depends on how many people live in Nevada County and while we are considered a "small county," we are not small enough to qualify for the "small county augmentation." Meaning that we would receive additional funding to support our work despite a lower number of babies born in our area. Living in a rural county has many benefits. We enjoy a larger area of undeveloped open space, including forest wilderness, wild and scenic rivers and majestic mountains. But on the flip side, our access to resources and services is greatly diminished. We pay a premium to live in rural counties, despite being pretty close to main highways and transportation routes. Representation is another area where those who live in rural counties are given short shrift. Our state and federal representatives don't spend much time checking in and concerning themselves with our issues. Our lack of people and dollars doesn't make for a very powerful lobby. I was given a bit of hope today with a visit from the Executive Director for First Five California. Camille Maben came to our meeting today to see the Nevada County Commission in action, share a bit about herself and avail herself to questions and suggestions. Her openness and vast experience in education was impressive. She has a great perspective on collaboration and working across the proverbial aisle to get things done. She understands the challenges that face rural counties and she has made it clear she is an advocate for our work. Very cool.
I'm getting far more enjoyment from my little chicks than I could have imagined. They don't do a whole lot more than peck at things, scratch around, crap all over the place, eat, drink and sleep. But they are cute little fluff balls. It's nice to just sit and stare at them and try to imagine what they are thinking. One of the more ambitious chicks started to fly around today which really threw me for a loop. The chicks are only a week old for goodness sakes! They shouldn't be flying around landing on their feed jar. That's it. It's an easy escape from there into the house. I'm having a good time thinking of all the chicken analogies there are out there: You're a chicken ( yep, they are really scared little critters) Chicken Shit (as in "that's chicken shit" Definitely not a compliment, as chicken shit is nasty and there is a lot of it.)
* I couldn't get online the other night at the "Bug" to complete my blog so I'm sharing it tonight. Enjoy.
5-17-13 Midpines-Yosemite Bug Hostel
Another jam packed day of activist training. We focused on how to use strategy to empower your organization to get what you want. Well thought-out analysis and decision-making to utilize one's assets to best achieve your goals. After a bit of role play we applied our knowledge to our own real-world campaigns, laying out a framework with which to build a strategic approach to find success, in whatever field that may be.....Clean Air, Immigration Rights, Conservation and/or Land Use. I am such a fan of knowing what you are getting yourself into before you dive in and this training laid out exactly how to do it. There was much back and forth about how we are currently doing things and how we can rework and rethink what we are doing to be more effective. So cool.
Both of the facilitators, Judy & Kate are clearly working on groundbreaking issues. Judy had extensive experience working with organizations to help them find their voice, get heard and be taken seriously. Tenant's rights, health care, social justice, you name it, Judy probably had worked in that field to represent their cause. It's no surprise as these woman came from Chicago, the hotbed of "Community Activism." Many times during the training I was brought back to my days growing up in Santa Cruz or my time spent in Berkeley going to school. Truckee is not quite the same place as Santa Cruz or Berkeley but you can be sure that Alexis and I plan to apply our knowledge to all of our campaigns this year for Mountain Area Preservation and you can bet we are going to be more effective than ever!
I'm in a bit of a state of flux as I venture back into the world of art and design and away from the environmental conservation activist realm. It's intense to go from a very regimented schedule of discussions, role play and evaluation back to your day to day reality of motherhood, wife, house cleaner and mother hen. Deep sigh.....ok now it's time to go design some mirrors for Truckee Thursdays starting June 13. Maybe I'll do an homage to something I gleaned this past week.....
It's funny how sometimes a thought looming in your subconscious surfaces to the conscious realm yet you aren't quite sure where it is coming from or why it is happening. I made a posting a few days ago about leadership and my perception of how it is lacking at a national, societal level. Today I sat in awe of leaders who have made it their life's work to educate others on strategies and tactics to empower organizations, whether socially minded or environmental or both. There's an energy that fills the space as someone speaks from the heart and explains their commitment to the environment, social justice, righting wrongs and serving the underserved. I felt like I was in my element, surrounded by others who are dedicating their lives to making this world a better place. This conference, put on by the Sierra Nevada Alliance is all about strategy and how to focus your energy in the right direction to make the most impact. The most profound piece of advice we received today was, "just because you are right doesn't mean you will win." This has always been my shtick, we can't lose because we are right. Well I was wrong! As is true with most things in life, it's all about POWER. Who holds the power, how do you gain power, and how do you influence those who have the power to implement the change you are seeking. Deep. Heavy. Lots of work. We spent almost 10 hours combining role play with powerpoint sessions and a fair amount of questions and answers. I forgot how much I enjoy these times where I dedicate myself to learning new things, learning how to work with others and becoming more effective with my energy. There is so much we share in common with others despite our perceived differences. Our after dinner storytelling brought groups of 5 together to highlight the influences that brought us to where we are today. Immigration, social work, women's rights, environmental conservation and political aspirations. Inspired conversation with a new generation of leaders.
Alexis and I made our way down 395 passing RVs and taking in the scenery along one of the most beautiful stretches of road there ever was. After a hearty lunch at the world famous Mobile Station AKA Whoa Nellie Deli, barely slipping in before the throngs of bus loaded tourists infiltrated the scene. We drove up Hwy 120 to Tioga Pass, amazed at the lack of snow in May. Tuolumne Meadows welcomed us with a vast blue sky and a few tourists and we decided to venture off the road and hike up to Cathedral Lakes. While we didn't make it all the way to the lakes, we had a great hike with vibrant conversation through a beautiful forest, trekking across large patches of snow. A brief stop at Olmstead Point provided the renowned views of Half Dome and Clouds Rest as well as an overly friendly Marmot who had clearly been assimilated to humans and their propensity for sharing snack foods. Down, down down we drove through many tunnels and along the Merced River to arrive at the Yosemite Bug, a super cool hostel with great food ( under spiced curry....) beer, wine, dessert and wi-fi. And so it begins, our attempt to bring awareness and support to our non-profit, Mountain Area Preservation through a grassroots effort organized by the Sierra Nevada Alliance. More to come...
I've struggled for some time about what I perceive to be a lack of leadership for the American people. I feel there are musicians who have a following and are outspoken about their views on society and how we should treat the environment and each other. But while the inspired speech may energize a crowd, often that energy dissipates after the show. It seems like world-renowned leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.and Robert Kennedy, who were true advocates for social change are a thing of the past. Perhaps the American people grew tired of seeing their leaders assassinated for their beliefs and the leadership trend began to turn inward, rather than outward. I believe this was the beginning of a lack of trust and confidence in leadership at the national level. Young men and women sent to die in far away lands without a clear explanation behind these decisions. Today our so-called leaders of the 21st Century appear so entrenched in partisan politics and extremism that little is done to advance the causes that truly impact the people who need them the most. It amazes me that people are paid a substantial wage with great benefits to get little to nothing done. What a model to follow....
Yesterday, the actress and humanitarian, Angelina Jolie went public with the news that she had undergone a double mastectomy, not because she was diagnosed with cancer, but because she had tested positive for the gene that is found in those pre-disposed to get breast cancer. She stated that she made this decision due to the loss of her mother in her 50s as well as her 6 children. Her choice to share this information will impact the lives of so many people and hopefully provide support and guidance for those in need. I commend and admire her decision to be outspoken and public about her very private and painful choice. I was also recently inspired and touched by the actions of the gentleman, Charles Ramsey in Cleveland who decided not to ignore the distressed calls for help from one of the women abducted and kept for 10 years against her will. This man chose to step up and respond to the cries for help and assisted in three woman and a little girl being rescued after years of torturous mental and physical abuse.
Perhaps this is the future of leadership in America. Individuals who take the steps necessary to provide a reference for others. Sharing information that is difficult but ultimately will serve the greater good. Stepping out of one's comfort zone to help those in need. Little by little each of these demonstrations of good will and humanity may inspire others to follow suit.
I've always thought the quote, "if the people lead, the leaders will follow," was profound. This may be the path to leadership in the 21st Century.
I spent yesterday in Nevada City and on the Yuba River with my mom, dad, Brendan and boys. It was a beautiful day, sunny and hot with lots of families enjoying the river at Bridgeport celebrating their moms. Funny how we create rituals throughout our lives. I'm pictured here at left with my mom and brother in Big Sur, 39 years ago. I'm sure we had a fabulous picnic prepared by my mom and spent all day sitting in the water having fun. I love the water, always have and love that my boys love the water too. It's soothing and freeing and provides respite from so much. I give thanks today for all I have and all those in my life who love and support me. Can't wait to go jump in the river!
I apologize for not getting an entry in yesterday. In the midst of a sickness taking over the family and the rush to get a incomplete set of architectural drawings ready, I retreated to bed without logging on to muse from Glenshire. Today was up there with some of the best days ever. I am designing a house in its entirety for the first time ever and as I see it developing I am overcome with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude. This is such an awesome opportunity which in some ways feels dreamlike and I hope I don't wake up until the home is built and I get to walk through it. I walked the site today with my client, her dad and a potential builder and felt so connected to this special place which holds historic relevance......another entry another day......I believe this house will meld naturally with the site and respect its place.
Talk amongst yourselves....
On another note...Brendan and I have a new favorite station on Pandora.....
Foster the People
wow. consistently good music, song after song
Here's something to try....tell someone you love them. Make it a person that wouldn't expect it. A friend, a child, a relative. If there's anything this world needs it's more love. Right now.
I sit with a queasy stomach and feel light-headed. Woke up this morning in a delirium at 12:30 am to my son telling me about his vomiting escapades downstairs. I stumbled down to his room where projectile vomit covered his wall and the carpet and the entire bathroom. Wow. How does that happen? Poor guy I thought. Poor mom I thought. Lucky me. Nothing like stripping down a bed and disinfecting two rooms when you are bleary eyed. And so the laundry marathon begins....Dylan spent the day at home with me while I worked. Worked is a loose term as I tended to his needs and did round two on the bathroom. Boy that rug has never gotten so much attention. Somehow despite a fairly large target such as the toilet bowl there was difficulty in getting his not yet digested scrambled eggs into their intended resting place. Again I bent over and applied the handy disinfectant wipes and added another load to my already taxed washing machine. As the day went on I started to feel yucky and retired to my room for a couple hours. My lovely husband tended to the boys while I tried to kick what seems to be an illness hovering over my being.
And so here's my counterpoint list to yesterday.
The things that take my smile away:
In order to maintain the momentum of my new found commitment to blogging I'm going to make this an easy entry day.
I'm listing some of the things that make me smile.
In no particular order......
I love to eat and love to cook and love to see a community that is working to feed its people.....all for now.