Wednesday, February 27, 2013


You might be showing your age if you remember the bicentennial in 1976.  (I may or may not have a plaster of Paris Christmas ornament made in Brownies from that very year.)  You may be well beyond the age of being carded if you actually sang the title of this blog.  And I’ll award you 1000 cool points if you remembered that the Bay City Rollers sang that classic tune,  S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night  

But, back in the day of the bicentennial, I wasn’t really interested in Saturday nights…we had to come inside to take a bath when the streetlights came on…but Saturday mornings were the best.  That was back in a different era when kids didn’t want to sleep in on that weekend day because it was, as we dubbed it, “Cartoon Day”.  Yes, we only had three main channels…6, 8, and 13.  And, yes, cartoons were basically only on Saturday mornings unless you got up extra early before school and could catch Cowboy Bob’s Coral or Popeye and Janie.  Any kid learning to print on primary writing paper with the pink dotted lines watched cartoons on Saturday mornings. Now there are entire networks devoted solely to cartoon programming.  You can virtually watch them any time of the day or night.  Saturdays will never be the same again.

That’s probably what many people will be saying come August when they make a trek to the post office to mail a stack of bills or send that special birthday present and see a closed sign hanging on the door of their local post office. I have to say, I feel a bit responsible for this.  I Facebook (is that a verb?), tweet, email, blog, pay my bills, and even donate online.  In fact, 10% of the donations at the Community Foundation are made online in our Donor Marketplace.  Just a few mouse clicks on our website and you can donate to any one of our 300 funds.  Click, Click, Click and you’re a philanthropist.  But, it didn’t used to be that way. In fact, I just had a conversation about this over coffee last week with one of our more mature donors.  He’s almost 90 and was telling me the story of how he met his wife.  She recently passed away and those fond memories still bring a smile to his face and the sweetest giggle your ears could ever hear.  Both of us remembered exchanging love letters with our future spouses during the dating years.  There’s just something about getting a letter, seeing the familiar handwriting, and finding an unexpected scented envelope in your mailbox that can just make one giddy.  We both wrote those letters.  We both received those letters.  We both saved those letters.  Maybe the written word isn’t dead yet, but it won’t be delivered by the mailman on the weekends anymore.  Saturdays will never be the same again.

And neither will the Colts.  This past season we missed Jeff Saturday’s beautiful Colt-blue eyes t as he spent one year as a Green Bay Packer.  But, there’s no doubt his heart belongs to Indianapolis...his fans and his Colts.  Apparently you can take the boy out of Indy, but you can’t take the Indy out of the boy.  Jeff bled blue for 13 seasons, 5 Pro Bowls and 1 Super Bowl ring in our hometown.  One might ask how you could you possibly top that.  Well, you plan to come back to the Colts by signing a one-day contract.  Then you announce your official retirement…from the Colts.  So, Saturday will retire as a Colt sometime in the next few months.  And, Sundays will never be the same again.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Johnny Dangerously

One of the first dates I had with my husband, long before he was my husband, was in 1984.  He took me to the Raintree Plaza where we saw the movie Johnny Dangerously.  It wasn't good.  It even starred Joe Piscapo and still wasn't good.  But, my husband’s cute, so I didn’t really mind.  The odd thing is that nearly 30 years later I remember a classic line from that failed flick:  “once.”  Several times throughout the film, Piscapo’s character, Danny Vermin, would utter phrases like this to Michael Keaton’s character, Johnny Dangerously:

“You shouldn't grab me, Johnny.  My mother grabbed me once.  once.” Or, “You shouldn't hang me on the hook, Johnny.  My father hung me on the hook once.  once.”

I went on a blind date once. once.  I had heard the horror stories of blind dates gone bad, but a friend of mine…well, you know the rest.  So, I agreed to a date.  He picked me up, had a nice car, and seemed like a decent guy.  He was an architecture major and had invited me to go to Indy to see his sketches.  Yeah, I know, I know…this sounds like a sitcom, but it really happened.  Off to Indy to the top of a skyscraper we went to see the blueprints he had designed as an intern for this reputable architecture firm.

Who knew?  He genuinely did want to show me his sketches and, as far as I knew, he was pretty talented.  It looked like all of those all-nighters spent in the Arc-y Building at Ball State really paid off for this guy.  I gotta tell you, I was impressed.  But, when we headed out to grab a bite to eat, something happened.  Something terrible happened. 

He locked the door to his office, we headed down the elevator, and left out of the same back door in which we entered.  Only this time, we were surrounded by police.  Not just one police officer, but the kind of ‘surrounded’ that you witness when you watch Die Hard or Die Hard 2 or Die Hard with a Vengeance or Live Free or Die Hard or probably even A Good Day to Die Hard…we won’t know for sure about that one until it opens this Thursday…Valentine’s Day.  (Way to be romantic, Hollywood!)

All of the sudden, officers were screaming “Come out with your hands up!” and guns were pointed, locked, and loaded.  At this point I didn’t know what my friend had gotten me into.  Was I out with a serial killer, an escaped convict, or possibly The Blind Date Bandit?  After the police patted us down to ensure we were weaponless, I learned that Mr. Architect didn’t realize that his high rise building had silent alarms set on the weekends.  Apparently, as an intern, he had never visited on the weekend, nor did he have any idea about the alarms.  After he showed the police both his office keys and company ID card, we were released.  We didn’t go to dinner. 

I haven’t been on another blind date since.  But, I just learned about one blind date that could change my mind.  The Marion Public Library has a new program called Blind Date with a Book.  As a special emphasis in February, the month of Valentine love, the MPL is offering the chance to select a book knowing very little information about it.  Perhaps you’ll find a mystery with a great love story or an autobiography of a great leader.  You won’t find out the real title until you check out this blind date.  Isn't that just the coolest idea ever?

I told one of our donors about this idea last week.  She loved it, too.  And like many others, she had no idea that the Marion Public Library had a charitable fund at the Community Foundation.  She knows now because I was bragging.

Libraries are a keystone of every community and, I think, a lot like moms.  They always have answers, they can find anything for you, and they’re always there when you need them; yet sometimes we take them for granted.  We just assume they’ll always be there.  But, library funds have been drastically cut throughout the years.  They function on a bare-bones budget and make it look easy.  I assure you, it isn’t.  So, visit your local library.  Make a donation to one of their funds.  Thank a librarian.  Heck, go on a blind date with a book…once.  

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Neener-neeners, Lovecats, and Valentines

Remember your first broken heart?  I do…vividly.  I was 7-years-old and in Mrs. Leckron’s first grade classroom at Westview Elementary.   I folded and traced just like she had taught us, but as I cut the penciled line, I ended up with a perfectly symmetrical broken heart.  After a few ‘neener-neeners’ from my fellow classmates, I tried again.  This time with determination. This time with feeling.  This time with the fold on the correct side of my cut.  Success…my very first paper heart.  It was like time stood still and for a moment, all was right with the world. I can’t say for sure how many Valentines I sent out that year, but I know every one of them was adorned with a perfectly symmetrical red heart.

But, something happens along the way.   There are just things we did as kids that we stop doing as adults…and I’m not sure why.  When did we stop climbing, jumping in puddles, and always (yes, always) telling the truth?  Kids daydream, let go of grudges, and test their limits…a lot.  Yet, at some point we started laughing, reading, and sleeping less.  Playing games, being creative, and playing outside are still part of our lives, but now mostly memories.

What are some things you think we should never have stopped doing? In 2004 when Yahoo’s Chief Solutions Officer, Tim Sanders, came to Grant County to speak at our first Synergy conference he reminded me of one…being a lovecat.  Tim’s first book Love is the Killer App had just been published and, thus, the term lovecat was born. 

A lovecat is someone who seeks to make a difference as their way of being successful.

To do this, they share their knowledge, their network of friends and colleagues, and their compassion with everyone they meet.  In a world where the economy is cliff-worthy and getting a great job is competitive sport, being a lovecat can truly help you to stand out.  Anyone can do things right; that’s skill. It takes a lovecat to do the right things; that’s character.  And, character trumps skill every day of the week and twice on Tuesdays.  But, theory is so…theoretical.  And, practice makes habits.  So, let’s build a lovecat habit with an action strategy I always use when I learn something new:  The 3-2-1

In February, vow to share some of your knowledge with 3 people.  Teach someone to use Excel, explain the Hedgehog Concept, demonstrate how to calculate your BMI, or share a recipe.  Ask yourself what you know that others would benefit from learning….then share it. 

Then, share your network.  You must know 2 people that need to know each other, but don’t…yet.  That’s where you come in.  Introduce 2 friends and/or colleagues to each other.  They might share an interest that should be cultivated, maybe one has great ideas and the other has financing, or maybe they would complement each other in a way that would bring great synergy to your community.  Schedule a lunch.  Introduce them.  Then sit back and see what happens. 

Finally, 1.  One thing to do immediately.  What could you do that would show your compassion for someone else?  Don’t let the word scare you.  Com simply means “with” and passion means “love”.  What can you do to show someone love?  Fill their gas tank, do the dishes, bring them coffee, donate to their favorite cause in their honor…really anything. Just do it.  Immediately.

To show a little compassion to all of our 2012 donors, the Community Foundation went back to something we did as kids, but just don’t do much anymore…sending Valentines.   We sent out nearly 1000 Valentines and each one of them was embellished with a perfectly symmetrical heart…as it should be.

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