Photography: Flowers

When I’m not taking photos of my family, clouds or fall leaves, you can find me taking photos of flowers. When you get really close, there’s detail and form and colors that are mind-boggling. Nature is so very crazy clever and cool. For anyone wondering, I took these with either an iPhone 4 or 5, no filters or special lenses. These are some of my favorites.

Enjoy.

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Guest Post: How iMessage Ruined My Morning

by Angel the Dog

Zzzzzz, zzzzzzzzz, zzzzzzzzz … ooooh here comes She-Owner. Wow it’s early. Could this mean, does it mean, oh boy boy, yes it does mean – WE ARE GOING OUT FOR A WALK!!!!!

Oh, we’re getting into the car? That’s cool,  we must be off to romp around the doggy park. It’s kinda dark out but hey, I got a nose so it’s all good with me.

Oh, we’re not heading that way. Oh I see, we’re going down the street. She-Owner must be meeting with She-Friend and we’ll walk around her neighborhood. Oooooh, maybe there will be bunnies!!

OK, so we’re parked outside She-Friend’s big square box. C’mon, let me out the trunk! Let me out. Let’s go, let’s go. A dog’s gotta walk, run, pee.

What the what is going on? Why are we still sitting here? Where is She-Friend? Why is She-Owner looking perplexedly at her phone-thingy? (Note to self; must bury that some time.)

OK, this is strange. And disappointing. She-Owner has started the car and, what the what, we’re going home? Boo, boo. boo. No fair.

Now she’s mumbling something to He-Owner about iMessage not working and her texts to She-Friend not getting through.

Whoever that iMessage is, I’m going to find you and chew you. You spoiled my morning walk.

Oh hey, breakfast!

On Sheryl Sandberg, Daughters, iPads & a More Equal Future

I have always disliked computer and video games, but a recent comment by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, blew my mind.

Computer and video games are anti-social, violent, moronic, brain-sucking time-wasters, in my humble opinion. I have always limited which games my kids get to play on the computer, iPad or iPhone, and how long they play them. I find the way they become so absorbed in these games to be scary and disarming. I particularly dislike the maniacal, ugly creatures they become when you tell them “time’s up.” I am the anti-computer game Mom. Sorry kids.

But maybe I’m wrong.

Sandberg, author of the much-discussed book “Lean In,” was talking at a breakfast organized by the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA). With passion, grace and chutzpah, she discussed what’s holding women back in the workplace, how female entrepreneurs often get shot down by VCs who fear them having children, how women shouldn’t be criticized for being bossy. But, for me, the defining moment came when she was taking questions from the audience and a woman from RunKeeper stood up and introduced herself as a software engineer.

Sheryl applauded her, and went on to state that, to achieve greater equality in the years to come, we absolutely need more women software engineers and computer scientists.

“Give your daughters iPads,” she urged. “Encourage them to play computer games. Gaming is a gateway to coding.”

Businesses, governments, entertainment, education, communication, financial and healthcare systems all fundamentally depend on software engineers. Software engineers are, in essence, coding our future.

Today, the average software engineer in the US earns $90,000 a year, which is substantially greater than the average teacher, nurse, accountant, HR manager or sales associate. Software engineers are in huge demand. According to a Forbes article: “The BLS [US Bureau of Labor Statistics] expects a 30% increase in the number of software developers by 2020.”

So maybe I should be rethinking this whole computer gaming thing? For girls, says Sandberg, computer games are the best entry point to an interest in science and technology. And consequently, the route to a well-paid, much sought-after career where they can earn not only as much as the guys, but also reconfigure the potential for women at the companies and organizations that are redefining the future.

But how do we get from Angry Birds, Bejewelled and Where’s My Perry to there? How do we encourage our daughters to become more interested in computers, coding and science? Someone asked me my opinion on Twitter as we were digesting Sandberg’s words in real-time. How he could encourage his daughter? I scratched my head, thinking about my almost six year-old and her fascination with all things Transformers.

“Talk to her about how the things she loves to play with are designed and made,” I suggested, making it up as I was going. “From toys and computers, games, TV and movies, to iPads. Discuss how these things have changed substantially since when we were kids, and talk about the people who made it happen. Have her imagine what amazing things could be built in the future—even by her.”

It’s a pretty steep order, especially if your daughter doesn’t seem to have a natural skill or interest. A New York Times feature published this week examined this very topic, stating:

“Researchers say many factors contribute to girls’ reluctance to pursue computing as early as elementary school, including discouraging parents, inadequate resources for teachers and a lack of exposure. Studies have shown that girls imagine computer scientists as men working alone in a basement and can’t relate.”

It seems to me that computing and software coding could do with some major re-branding to make them appealing, even fashionable. How cool to be the person that designs and develops the devices, games and apps that most of us cannot live with out? How cool to be the animator behind the next, great superhero(ine) movie? Heck, kids, we wouldn’t be able to even text each other without coding! It’s that cool! And, while we are at it, why are there not more female Transformers?

So the next time my daughter asks to play on my iPad, chances are I’m going to say yes.

(Got an hour to spare? Then watch the video from NEVCA’s breakfast with Sheryl Sandberg here.)

My Resolutions Report Card

Since I committed to putting my resolutions in writing for the first time, I feel compelled to report back after the first month. Here goes:

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