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How I Passed the LSW Exam on My First Try

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Y'all. Taking the LSW was a real challenge for me.  And I mean that literally sitting in that chair for three straight hours, staring at some Helvetica font while my stomach tried to scramble up into my throat, was hard .  I had studied as much as I could and felt decently prepared, but when that first question flashed on the screen and it was formatted a little differently than any of the practice tests I took and didn't have answers that seemed like the "best" option I was supposed to determine, I thought my ship was sunk. But I took a breath.  Answered the best I could.  And advanced to the next question.  Then the next and the next and the next.  To be honest, I never fully relaxed.  Typically in situations like this, I self-regulate quickly and my anxiety dissipates.  But not today.  Maybe somewhere around Question 95 I surrendered to the god of "it is what it is" but as the questions neared the final one -- 170 -- I started to feel almost nauseous.  At

You Don't Have to Be the Jackass Whisperer

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As you may know, I'm a fan of the podcast   Ghost of a Podcast .  This weekly show is hosted by the psychic/medium/astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo where she answers a listener question and then gets into the astrological forecast for the week ahead.  Sometimes I skip over the listener questions because her answers are so specific to this one person's chart and while that can be interesting, it's not always the sort of voyeurism I'm into on any given day. This week, though, the listener wrote about her own psychic abilities and how she'd followed them in pursuit of finding her own life partner.  Now, I'm not super-expert on this, but what I know about psychics and mediums is they often can't "read" themselves -- so I'm going to chock this up to the listener's own intense gut-instinct and intuition, which is what most psychic ability derives from.  Anyway, this listener said she asked the Universe to bring her a soulmate and it did -- but what sh

Ready, Set, Guard: The End of an Era in Cleveland Baseball

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Take a moment to listen to Cleveland baseball radio announcer Tom Hamilton ( here ). I had to miss yesterday's game because I was working, but I'd asked my baseball twitter friends to loop me into any great #HammyShade (as we call it), which a few of them did.  One of them encouraged me to find this final speech of the broadcast.  You can hear it in Hammy's voice when he talks about bringing kiddos to the ballpark -- and when he talks about Rajai Davis' soul-reviving game-tying home run in the bottom of the 8th in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs.  I will never, ever forget that moment.  Even thinking about it makes me tear up.  Even though Chicago ultimately won that game, that Rajai Davis moment proved what all Cleveland fans know: Goonies Never Say Die.  Down but not out, fighting for, earning , every single moment. You can see it in the faces of the fans how much this meant to them.  I remember pacing  in my Ball Square apartment in Somervi

We All Share This Life

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I want to share a moment of my life from yesterday afternoon.  I was out walking through Lakeview Cemetery (per usual) when I noticed an old man with a long white beard and an orange bandana tied around his head puttering by me very slowly on a found-it-in-the- way -back-of-the-garage motorcycle.  He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, making him stand out as a possible ex-Hell's Angel, someone who valued life on the road and nonconformity in a way someone from the 60's or 70's would.  If he'd been listening to music, it would have absolutely been The Grateful Dead or CCR or the Rolling Stones.  But all that I heard as he motored past me was the strain of his motorcycle to stay upright at the slow speed he was traveling.  I watched him putter up the hill by the Haserot Angel and disappear around the bend where he was temporarily erased from my mind.  After all, I see colorful characters in the cemetery all the time -- there was no real reason for him to stand out, not yet

Wave. Say Hello. Repeat.

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It's become a regular occurrence when I'm out walking through Lakeview Cemetery for folks to stop me and ask how to get to a famous gravesite.  "Excuse me," someone will say as they roll down their car window.  "Do you know where Rockefeller is?"  I pause and orient myself because, yes, I know where John D. Rockefeller's grave is -- I just need a moment to think on that in relation to wherever we might be in the 285 acres that is the cemetery grounds.  Then I give them directions and send them on their way.  And I chuckle -- because what made them think I'd know?   Over twenty years of customer service radiates from me.  Lakeview isn't the first place I've had strangers approach me for information that there's no reasonable reason I should have.  I've had old women come up to white-blonde-lady-me in a grocery store speaking only Spanish.  I've had people next to me in a coffee shop ask my opinion on Kindle versus Nook.  I've

Going Beyond the Blue Dot

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  For me, it kept coming back to a blue dot in the center of a blank space.  Dr. Mark Chupp showed this image to all of us who were participating in the Appreciative Inquiry for Social Change workshop, which he co-lead with Carolyn Colleen over three days last week. He asked us, “What do you see here?” “A blue dot,” someone said. “A black ring around a blue dot,” someone else said. “I see a 4,” someone chimed in, noting the slide number at the bottom of the screen. “Very observant,” Dr. Chupp said. But what were we missing? We were missing most of what the image before us showed: a blank, white space surrounding a relatively small blue dot with an even tinier black outline.  Instead of seeing the entire picture, our eyes were drawn to one focal point -- all of our attention and effort went there, with the only exception being a page number.  But what about the rest of it?  What could we see if we took it all in? Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a strengths-based method of posing that very

Letter to the MSASS Class of 2021

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Listen to this post here . To my fellow graduates, When I moved to Cleveland in the summer of 2019, I was leaving behind almost eighteen years of a life I built in Somerville, Massachusetts, just across the river from Boston.  When I first moved to The 'Ville in 2002, it was to attend Emerson College and earn an MFA in Creative Writing -- so the boomerang effect of returning to my Ohio roots to work on a second Master's Degree felt like poetry. I entered the Mandel School on my first day of class at least ten years older than many of my classmates.  I entered the Mandel School on my first day of class with over twenty years of professional, leadership, community-building experience.  I entered the Mandel School on my first day of class with the confidence of a woman who'd survived nearly two decades of life in Boston, a city not known for its friendly, opening arms (though they are there -- if you know how to access them).   I entered the Mandel School on my first day of cl