Monday, April 20, 2009

Prison Books Program

On Thursday, April 16 a few of us met in Quincy, MA to volunteer with the Prison Books Program. Prisoners are not allowed to receive any books from family or friends, so they are reliant on volunteer groups approved by the prison system to send them books. It was so rewarding to read prisoners' letters asking for books (on all kinds of topics) and browsing through the "bookstore" to fulfill their requests. Oh, and the bonus of the evening was going inside the crypt of the church to see the tombs of John & Abigail Adams as well as John Quincy & Louisa Adams.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Upcoming Event: In Defense of Wonderland

We are so happy to announce that children’s and young adult fantasy author Julie Berry will lecture on fantasy, creativity, and humility on Friday, May 15, 7 p.m. at The School of Philosophy at the Orchard House at 399 Lexington Rd., Concord, MA.

Using contemporary and touchstone fantasy titles, Julie will discuss the spiritual, philosophical, political, and psychological weight of children’s fantasy literature, and how the genre has evolved in recent years. She’ll also discuss her own entry into fantasy land, discussing the process of carving out creative space in her overcrowded schedule to write, and what she learned along the way about creativity, craft, and humility.

Julie Berry holds an M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of the Fine Arts in Montpelier. Her critical studies emphasized narrative innovations in contemporary children’s fantasy, and her award-winning creative thesis, The Amaranth Enchantment, was released in March 2009 by Bloomsbury. Named a Junior Library Guild selection, the teen novel has been called “a lively, quick, stylish, engaging first novel” by Kirkus Reviews, with “intriguing characters, fine plotting, and a richly worked narrative,” according to Booklist. Publisher’s Weekly, in a starred review, says, “Berry's enticing debut novel teems with romance, danger and suspense.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reflections on Mothering Part 2!

For those who missed Macy Robison's wonderful performance "Reflections on Mothering" in February, well it's your lucky day! She is performing it again on May 8 in Weston, MA. I am so looking forward to this performance--and as an added bonus our own Whitney Johnson (former piano performance major turned amazing finance guru) will be accompanying Macy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reflections on Mothering


Margaret Busse reported that Macy Robison's cabaret-style performance of "Children Will Listen: Reflections on Mothering" was a "truly amazing night."  Margaret continues, "She treated us with about 12 songs that pertained in some or another aspects of motherhood.  As she sang, she related her intimate feelings about her experiences with her own mother, her mother’s sudden death, her relationship with her stepmother, her first marriage where she craved to be a mother but the marriage ended in failure, and then being married again, where she was a stepmother to grown children, and finally, bearing her own son about two years ago.  It was a very powerful experience for all involved—it seemed everyone shed tears at one point or another!"  

For those who missed the performance or those who would like to hear it again, Macy's husband Neal kindly videotaped the evening and has made it available to us on YouTube.  The first video shows the songs "When I Grow Up" and "Simple Little Dreams", and it's located at:

The second video is "Something ExtraOrdinary" and can be found at:

Also, for those who missed our Fusion evening with Macy, word has it that she will be performing again on May 8th.  Please leave a comment below for more information.

Thank you Macy, for a wonderful evening!  And many thanks to Neal for documenting her performance for us to enjoy!

KIVA Update


We're excited to announce our second microfinance loan through and so thankful that many of you were able to contribute to Eng Uy's entrepreneurial success!  The $450.00 we loaned made up 90% of the funds she needed for her business.  According to Kiva's website, 

"Mrs. Eng Uy is a villager in Smao Lich Village in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. She is a farmer who owns a small piece of land to cultivate rice on to earn her living. Aside from this plantation, she and her husband, Mr. Sim Chea, are incense stick makers.

Since this business is going well, they want to sell door-to-door, so Mrs. Eng Uy decided to ask for a loan to add to her savings to buy a motorbike to transport her products door-to-door. Mrs. Eng Uy is 25 years old and the mother of two children who are too young to work or study because they are two and four years old. Her husband is also in the photo."

Be sure to take a peek at the links above for updates on Eng Uy's progress!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where is Home?

“Where is home? Maintaining one’s identity while culturally assimilating to a new country”

Friday, November 21st, 7pm

Kimberly Carlisle’s home at 19 Broad Street in Belmont

Each year millions of people immigrate from all over the world to America in hopes of fulfilling their dreams. Immigration spurs a great deal of debate because of its economic, cultural, religious and political ramifications. In our discussion, we will focus on how families adopt to their new home while retaining their identity and cultural heritage. How do parents impart their traditions to their children who want to embrace the norms of their new home and “fit in”?  Are different immigration populations viewed and treated differently? How has globalization affected our views of immigrants? How have things changed from the generations that came over 40 to 50 years to today?


The Presenter:

Rushmie A. Kalke


Rushmie is a Principal of State Street Global Advisors and a Senior Financial Writer in the U.S. Institutional Marketing group.  Her responsibilities include developing thought leadership, sales/marketing materials, and marketing campaigns across multiple investment strategies.


Prior to joining SSgA in 2008, Rushmie served as Senior Account Executive and Senior Writer of Solomon McCown & Company, a strategic communications firm.  She is a former reporter with a background in covering business and economic issues, and has written for various publications including the Worcester Telegram & GazetteThe Boston GlobeThe Eagle-Tribune and Boston Magazine. Rushmie also worked for Lee Munder Capital Group, a Boston-based investment management firm, where she wrote sales materials and helped manage the RFP process.


She holds a Masters of Science in Business/Economics Journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Life Was So Simple Until Now

We had a great meeting on Friday night at Lisa's home.   Many thanks to Becky and Alyson for their engaging, delicious and truly eye-opening presentation on knowing the food we eat.  Who knew that 20% of the "meat" in chicken nuggets is actually chicken skin? Or that extra-lean beef probably indicates meat taken from old/sick animals?  I've been meaning to read such books as Fast Food Nation,  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and The Omnivore's Dilemma for quite a while, but now I'm on my way to the library!  Becky and Alyson strongly encouraged us to make informed decisions about the food we eat--there is so much behind the scenes that we as consumers don't know.   They also explained that moving toward sustainable eating is a gradual process and advocated starting with small, simple changes that do not feel too overwhelming.

Here are a few of the tips they offered:
  • Buy organic produce--especially the "Dirty Dozen":  peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, grapes, pears, spinach & potatoes
  • Buy organic whole milk dairy products
  • Find a CSA (fresh, locally grown produce coop) at
  • Limit sugar intake to 40g per day: avoid refined sugar and flour whenever possible.  
  • Use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil or  butter instead of vegetable oil, margarine or other highly processed butter/oil products
  •  Replace processed foods with whole grains: you need 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day
Here are 12 Food Additives to Avoid:  I went home and checked my fridge and cupboards and couldn't believe how many of these additives I found!  See this slideshow for all the details.
  • Sodium Nitrate: Sure enough, there in the Oscar Meyer turkey hotdogs that my kids love.
  • BHA and BHT: Oh my, this was in my Orbit sugarless gum and the packaging in our MiniWheats.
  • Propyl Gallate: Didn't see this one in my cupboards, but apparently found in meat, chicken base in soups and gum.
  • MSG: Wow.  This was in my Campbell's soup, chicken bullion cubes and noodle mix.
  • Trans-fats:  I have been avoiding these, but found some in the cake mix I bought for my husband's birthday.
  • Aspartame: There it was in my Orbit sugarless gum--yikes!
  • Acesulfame: Sure enough, Orbit sugarless gum is the culprit again.
  • Food Coloring: Found this in the cake mix, sugarless gum and the Listerine (of all places!)
  • Olestra
  • Potassium Bromate
  • White Sugar: There it is, 5 lb. package in my pantry.  Not to mention all that is in every other product out there.  
  • Sodium Chloride
Be sure to see Alyson's great blog for great healthy/organic recipes, reviews of organic products and musings on living a more sustainable lifestyle.