Archives for the month of: June, 2014
Treman State Park

Treman State Park

Ugh, early morning flights are a bummer, but there weren’t a lot of choices of flights to Ithaca from Northwest Arkansas. My first connection was through O’Hare. I felt like the old t.v. commercial in which OJ Simpson is running though the airport. My flight came in at the end of the G terminal, and I had to get over to the middle of E with a close connection time. Yikes! The second connection was in Philadelphia and from there to Ithaca.¬† All three flights were uneventful except for the last leg. Actually it wasn’t the flight, but the terminal that was memorable. I had to take a shuttle, in Philly, from the main terminal to a remote terminal. If you have done it, you know what a hassle it is getting on the shuttle bus and all that jazz. What was most notable though, was that just inside the remote terminal there was a guy playing VERY loud, hmm, acid jazz?, new age?, soft jazz. It was jarring–not the music itself, but the volume. Wow. I felt like a grouchy old lady, “These kids and their loud music!” One thing is for sure. It certainly motivated me to quickly get to my gate.

View From Cornell's Clock Tower

View From Cornell’s Clock Tower

By now you might be wondering why I was traveling to Ithaca. The reason for the trip was a very special invitation from The Labor Law Group, to attend the Group’s Conference as an invited guest. Because of the stature of the members of the Labor Law Group, and of its work, it was an honor to be invited to participate. You can read more about the Group here. Kinda buried the lead, huh? More on The Labor Law Group and the conference in the next post.

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View from McKenzie-Childs Pottery Workshop

In addition to the Conference, I was excited to see my most excellent friend Betsy(Elizabeth) Lamb, known to me affectionately as “Betsy Bug.” I’ve called her that for so long, I can’t even remember why. Betsy is a horticulture Professor at Cornell. Her specialty is ornamentals. We met during orientation, my first year at Arkansas. Betsy was an orientation group leader. We hit it off immediately and have been fast friends ever since. Betsy is the type of good friend with whom I laugh lots; and no matter how much time passes between our visits, we pick up right where we left off. We have lots of wacky stories over the course of our friendship, but it would take much too long to share them all. ūüôā

Newfield Covered Bridge

Newfield’s Covered Bridge

Ok, so back to the travelogue: When I arrived in Ithaca, I went immediately to the rental car desk. My plan was to explore the area a bit before connecting with Betsy, once she got off of work. Since I’d never been to Ithaca or the Finger Lakes Region,¬† I thought it would be a good idea to see as much as I could during the trip, which brings us back to the rental car. I rented a compact to be economical, but when I told the agent why I wanted the car, he gave me an upgrade, at a special price, for safety and comfort. (I’m certain that was his sole motivation for encouraging me to upgrade.)¬† I have to say though, I really came to appreciate the sturdiness and stability of the car during my forays, especially when it was pouring rain.

Newfield Covered Bridge

I’d arrived in Ithaca at 3:00, and I had until around 6:00 p.m. to explore. So I set off for adventure! The first place I went was to (yep) Ithaca Harley Davidson, which is located down NY 13 in Cayuta, to get a t-shirt with a silk screen the local scenery. The folks at Ithaca H-D were very nice, even when my card was declined for fraud. We got it all straightened out (hafta remember to call when traveling), and they gave me a super cool riding map that listed area attractions, and they pointed me in the right direction to see a few sights before I had to meet Betsy Bug. If you’re in the area, stop in and see the good folks at Ithaca H-D!

Treman State Park

My first stop after leaving the dealership and heading back north on 13, was to see a covered bridge in Newfield. It wasn’t on the map, but there was highway marker for it so I turned off to see what it was all about. That’s one of the luxuries of having time to meander (which by the way is also how I like to approaching riding Bea the Blessed Harley). The bridge was charming and covered the west branch of the Cayuga Inlet. There’s a quaint little park there too, perfect for contemplation.

Treman State Park Swimming Area

My next stop was at Robert H. Treman State Park to see the waterfalls. There are 12 falls in all, including the 115 foot Lucifer Falls.¬† The fall closest to the entrance was lovely, and lots of folks were swimming in and under it. My pictures give you a feel for it, but I’m not sure they truly captured the beauty of the setting. I tried to find the Lucifer Falls and the Old Mill, which were further in. However, after driving up the road for what felt like quite a ways, I was concerned about time so I headed back towards Ithaca. On the way back, I was able to squeeze in a visit to the Buttermilk Falls, which was also quite lovely, and fortunately not far at all from Cornell’s campus.

Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Falls

My last sight before meeting Betsy was Cornell Law School. I couldn’t visit the campus without a peek at the law school. Former Dean Stewart Schwab, by the way, is also a Labor and Employment Law academic and was one of the Reporters on the Restatement of Employment Law, which is the context in which I’d previously met him. Sadly, the building was locked and the folks watching me try the door looked askance at such a scruffy individual, so I had to leave my self guided tour of the building for another day.

Cornell Law School

Cornell Law School

Betsy arrived shortly and we met her friends, Brian Eshenaur and Margaret Kelly for dinner at Sangham Indian restaurant. Margaret and Brian were delightful dining companions, funny and interesting and I liked them both right away. We had a great meal, replete with rambling, lively conversation that could not have been a warmer welcome to Ithaca. As far as the meal, I’ve blogged before about my love of Indian cuisine, so I won’t belabor it again. Just know that the food was scrumptious, and yes I had samosas, saag and a Kingfisher. After dinner, Betsy, Brian and I headed to Purity, THE local ice cream establishment, for dessert. From there, it was time to say goodnight and to head to Betsy’s lovely home for a good night’s rest after a very full day. Before turning in though, we looked over my maps,¬† (My sweet friend Jeanne Marie gave me a NY highway map and AAA guide to NY for my trip, plus I had the riding map) and plotted my next day’s adventures.

Crocs

It was rainy on Wednesday, but not chilly when I left for a day of sightseeing. Betsy was kind enough to lend me her croc-like shoes which were perfect for the wet weather. I headed into Ithaca to find route 89 north. I got turned around in town and once I found 89, decided it was best to make a pit stop while still in town. As I pulled into what turned out to be the aquatic center parking lot, two school buses pulled in and unloaded what appeared to be several classes of first, maybe 2nd graders. A teacher saw me get out of the car, assumed I was a parent, and handed me a box of materials to carry inside for one of the other teachers. I did as I was told. Guess it’s OK to be viewed as someone who looks responsible enough to be a parent and who might have a 1st grader (or maybe she thought I was grandma…).

Back on the road. 89 tracks Cayuga Lake, and alternates between views of the lake, farm land and wooded areas. There are many wineries along the way , but those weren’t my priority. My first stop was to be Taughannock Falls State Park, which was breathtaking even in the rain.

Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls State Park

The next stop was Seneca Falls, NY. It rained off and on during the drive up, but with the pleasant scenery and my upgraded car, it was a piece of cake. Here’s a little bit about the history of Seneca Falls, taken from the city’s website:

In the mid-1800’s, “Seneca Falls gained a reputation for social and religious reform. Abolition of Slavery and the Underground Railroad, the Temperance movement and women’s rights were among issues supported by local residents.On July 19 and 20, 1848 the first Convention on Women’s Rights was held at the Wesleyan Chapel on Fall Street in Seneca Falls. Organized by Jane Hunt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Ann M’Clintock and others, it was the birth of the Women’s Rights Movement.”

Seneca Falls Visitor Center & National Women's Hall of Fame

Seneca Falls Visitor Center & National Women’s Hall of Fame

After a quick trip to the Visitor Center, to get my bearings, I popped into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.¬† The Hall’s mission is “Showcasing great women…Inspiring All.” The docent, Irene, explained that the Hall is breaking ground on a new, expanded location that it hopes will open in a year or so.

The Women’s Rights National Historical Park is also located in Seneca Falls and is right down the street from the Hall of Fame. The Park “preserves the sites associated with the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention.” The exhibits were quite well done. My favorites were anything work related, and fortunately there were several of those exhibits.

Seneca Falls Women's Rights National Historical Park

Seneca Falls Women’s Rights National Historical Park

Although I didn’t go through them, Seneca Falls is home to several other museums including the Museum of Waterways and Industry and the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum. I headed west on NY 5 & 20 towards Geneva, to see Seneca Lake, and a bit more of the Finger Lakes area. On the way, I passed through Waterloo, New York, the birthplace of Memorial Day, and home of the National Memorial Day Museum. Keeping an eye on the clock, I opted not to stop but did note the attractive patriotic bunting throughout the city.

Memorial Day

I had an additional, unusual motivation for wanting to get a feel for the area. One of my favorite fictional heroines Jane Whitfield, is a Seneca woman who helps people who need to disappear. Though I haven’t read the books in a while, I recall vividly the images Thomas Perry painted of upstate NY, and it was fun to see it for myself. I drove through Geneva for a bit, not stopping, and headed north on route 14 over to 318 and then down 90 which is on the opposite side of Lake Cayuta from route 89. It was another lovely drive, and from 90 I could see a lot more of the lake.

Grounds of Mackenzie-Childs

Grounds of Mackenzie-Childs

My last stop of the day before checking into the Statler Hotel for the Labor Law Group Conference, was to visit the MacKenzie-Childs Pottery Collective. Here’s how it is described on the website:

“We are located on a 65-acre former dairy farm overlooking Cayuga Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The grounds–open to the public–house our production studio, a Second-Empire farmhouse that is open for tours, and a retail shop filled with MacKenzie-Childs tableware, home furnishings, and gifts from around the world. The picturesque farm is also home to a small herd of Scottish Highland cattle, dozens of birds roosting in the Gothic Revival-style Chicken Palace, a duck pond, a former Cornell horse barn, a 1930’s greenhouse, spectacular and ever-changing gardens, and plenty of hay fields.”

Mackenzie2

I didn’t stay long, but took a few pictures of the beautiful grounds and some of the pottery. It was raining again and time to get back to Ithaca to check in, and to prepare for the opening dinner of the conference. I’d squeezed a lot into a short time, and very much enjoyed having the ability to enjoy a brief exploration of a very beautiful area.

MacKenzie-Childs

MacKenzie-Childs

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Riding with the Divas

One of the things that has received lots of press coverage recently is the debate about whether women can achieve work-life balance. You can read of few of the many articles here, here, here and here. For a number of reasons I have come to think about this as well. I must tell you though, that my consideration of work-life balance came to the forefront of my thinking in a most circuitous route.

circuitous

In a completely different context, I lamented to a church group, the fact that I missed the type of service I used to perform “in the old days.” It seemed to me that somehow a big gap developed between the things I cared about, and interacted with on a policy level, and the day to day work on the ground. Let me be clearer. As a junior faculty member, I used to work every other week at CEO, an assistance organization run by a collective of churches. There, I would bag groceries, and restock the shelves. It was tremendously rewarding to be in the back room, anonymously working away. Similarly, as the Northwest Arkansas Worker Justice Center was being created there were days of set up for events and photocopying. The rowdiest volunteering I did, though it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be that way, was with my friend Nettie working the Habitat for Humanity booth at Christmas time, in the mall. We always took a boom box (that tells you how long ago it was) loaded with soulful carols and sang, as we solicited donations and encouraged folks to buy “the gifts that keep giving” from our booth. We were invited back each year to work the booth because of our “fundraising prowess.” [OK, so about now gentle reader, you’re asking yourself, “Where the heck is this going?” Just hang with me a bit longer and it will come together.]

candid-panel

The point is, more recently, my service had come to feel formal and distant; giving speeches, donating money, serving on boards, being recognized. By the way, a big part of this discomfort was feeling as though the social distance¬† between me and groups folks I care about had increased. How much of it is ego driven, and how much is making a real difference in the lives of people? Just about this time (and this is how God works) Pastor posted on the topic of “The Struggle Against Poverty as an Object of Consumption.”

So these are the things I’d been thinking about while also asking, “How can one know what her best/greatest/most valuable¬† contribution is?” In the meantime, through conversations in the church group I mentioned-actually we’re called a huddle– my Eureka moment occurred. The problem was not in the ways I found to serve, the problem was a general the lack of balance. It wasn’t only the how of serving, but also the who of it. At no time in my ruminations had I intentionally factored in the time for, and importance of friends and family or even my own health and downtime.

Family

Family Fun

Over time, and with more sharing and reflection, I’ve come to the realization that the issue is deeper than balance, it is integration. Coincidentally, I came across a helpful piece in Forbes by Kathy Caprino entitled, 10 Commitments of People Achieving Successful Work-Life Integration. I commend it to you, if you have been working through these issues. I especially like the 10 commitments she suggest we make to ourselves. They really framed the issues well for me.

On the Fayetteville Square with Tim Snively

On the Fayetteville Square with Tim Snively

Since working towards better integration I’ve spent more time with my nephews, volunteered to register voters on the Fayetteville square, helped serve and clean up after a community meal sponsored by our church,¬† and met friends for a manicure and pedicure, and to share a bottle of bubbly. I have also been a lot more focused during the time I spend with Mom, truly listening and being responsive to her, even when I’m not sure what the topic is. I’m working to be more intentionally present during our visits. I realize this is a journey of many steps, but I’m grateful for wise counsel and the time to be reflective about all this. The journey is for certain, marathon and not a sprint, but at least if feels as though I am making progress.

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Quiet Family Time

I wanted to share some exciting news with you regarding another outstanding first this year. On May 14th, Diane Humetewa was confirmed unanimously by the Senate to become the first Native American woman, Article III Federal Judge. Humetewa is a citizen of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona.Image

Humetewa’s path to the federal bench includes a B.A. from Arizona State University in 1987, and her J.D. in 1993 from the Sandra Day O‚ÄôConnor College of Law. She previously worked as a U.S. attorney the George W. Bush administration, as well as an appellate court judge from the Hopi Tribe. Currently, she serves as special advisor to the President of Arizona State University, Michael Crow. You can read about her many previous accomplishments here.

Humetewa’s confirmation, is an important step forward for diversity in the Federal Courts, and progress we can all celebrate and appreciate.

To quote Justice at Stake, “In order to function effectively, every American must have the utmost confidence in their courts. However, a judiciary that does not reflect the population it serves undermines that confidence in creating a perceived or actual bias in judicial decision making. An ideal bench is representative of the larger community, including women, persons of color, members of the LGBT community, persons with disabilities and other underrepresented groups.”


Spine of a Bible

 

Pastor’s sermon at church this past Sunday was based on the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:16-20. He focused specifically on these words, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” After sharing the basis for his message, Pastor told us some of the names and titles he’s been called which included nerd, dad, son and Pastor Dude (my favorite).¬† He invited us all to also to think about the many names we’ve be called, and then pointed out that at baptism we received the names reflected in the text for the day.

names

 

There are many names for God, including Counselor, Good Shepherd and Prince of Peace amongst others. The important thing about names Pastor explained, is that they tell you and others who and whose you are. Often names have a purpose and provide direction. Such is the case in the text, because Jesus says, “Go and make disciples of all nations and name them.” There is purpose because when you are given God’s name you are made one with the community of believers. Pastor encouraged us, as those who have been named, to go out and bless others with the name and to draw them into the unity, community and love that is God. He reminded us that “There is profound power in names. What you call people shapes, molds and impacts them. The most important name each of us have is God’s.”

 

difficult

The sermon got me thinking about how the names we call each other really do have an effect. They can serve as motivation, either to live up to, or prove others wrong about the labels they’ve put on us. I also thought about the importance society gives to 1st Amendment rights and the ability to speak freely. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with that principle, but for me the conflict is that I know words can wound. In my professional life I have been called among other things mediocre, a disaster,¬† and incompetent.¬† Though hurtful, that name calling motivated me to be objectively excellent, so that there could be no doubt about my capabilities or the fact that I belonged in the academy just as much as the speakers.¬† Folks from blue collar backgrounds¬† have unique challenges in navigating the academy, and women of color have additional difficulties. By the way, knowing that I am named by God, I lean upon my faith community and my belief that “If he brought you to it, he’ll bring you through it,” to weather the tempests of my professional life.¬† Anyway, I say all this to say that I found Pastor’s sermon helpful and profound on many different levels. It certainly has applicability in both my spiritual and professional life.

I hope that you, gentle reader, will remember that words have power, and think carefully about what you call/name others. Let love be your guide.

Love (Two red hearts)

 

 

 

With Ron Harrison

With Ron Harrison of Ft. Smith, Arkansas

Annualmtg CLE

This past week, in Hot Springs,¬† at the Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting,¬† I was the last speaker on the last day of the conference. Knowing that I had an uphill battle for the attention of my audience, I picked a hodgepodge of employment law topics that I thought might be interesting to a broad audience. Actually, my first thought was that no one would be there, but in fact the room was fairly full. Ah, the power of the mandatory CLE requirement.¬† I’ve linked the paper here: Things You May Not Know About Employment Law as well as a Prezi (dynamic presentation software) which covers topics not in the paper, and that frankly I couldn’t get to in the hour allotted for the session. I hope you find them both helpful Here’s a link to the Prezi Presentation. One of the topics the paper (briefly) addresses is the use of social medial to screen applicants¬† and employees. Arkansas has a statute, which covers employers’ use and access of employees’ social medial accounts.¬† It’s entitled, “Employer Access of Employees’ Social Media,” ACA ¬ß11-2-124. The day before my presentation, the Arkansas Department of Labor released new regs on the statute. You can access them here.

By the way, the Arkansas Bar Annual meeting is one of my very favorite events, because I get to catch up, and spend time with so many neat lawyers and their families.

With Asia Diggs of Memphis Tennessee