Jul 2015
24

Light For Light: #ElectrifyAfrica

I don’t remember much of 2011. I randomly caught a very serious ear infection during my annual trek to SXSW in March… and poof! There is really nothing left from that year. I spent most of that time in the hospital, in doctor’s offices and frankly – just laying in my bed sleeping. I have a big window in our room and every morning I would open my eyes and stare out at the pinks of Denver morning, fall back asleep… and most days – watch the deep oranges of sunset from almost that exact spot.

Pink Fuzz

Some days I made it outside to tinker with my poorly neglected garden. I distinctly remember just watching the sun, and light, and feeling very lucky.

It sounds dramatic when I talk about it, so I try to give the quick glossy version these days. But the truth is, I almost died, several times. The ear infection was so severe that I had regular checks to see if my skull had cracked. Two surgeries and one major hearing loss later, I am fine.

OrangeDust

But what if I hadn’t had access to medical care? Both here in Denver and in Austin, I had the best of everything. “No. I don’t want the 32 slice CT scan. I want the 128 slice. Yes. Do it.” My doctors had everything they needed at their fingertips.

But what if they had no… electricity?

At all.

Red Veins

One talk that struck a cord with me when I attended the ONE Aya Summit last year was how many parts of Africa have no electricity. None. Zero.

Hospitals are running on generators, at best. A shocking seven in 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 600 million people) do not have basic access to electricity. Even worse, 30% of health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, which serve an estimated 255 million people, are without electricity.

Berry Flavor

The Electrify Africa Act of 2015 would prioritize and coordinate U.S. government resources in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020 to:

  • Promote first-time access to electricity for at least 50 million people, particularly the poor.
  • Encourage the installation of at least an additional 20,000 megawatts of electrical power in both rural and urban areas using a broad mix of energy options.
  • Encourage in-country reforms to facilitate public-private partnerships and increase transparency in power production, distribution, and pricing.
  • Promote efficient institutional platforms that provide electrical service to rural and underserved areas.

Not only is this the right thing to do, this is the smart thing for us to do – for our planet *and* our budget. Africa has yet to harness the majority of its natural energy capacity, putting them in a position to do it right from the start. Also? The US Congressional Budget Office estimated that enactment of the legislation’s previous version would save $86 million from 2014-2017.


 How can you help?

Read up on the issue. Spread the word.

Sign this petition to let our leaders know you support #ElectrityAfrica.

 

Online Safety For Children
Jun 2015
10

Online Safety Tips for Kids (And Their Parents!)

.ME Top Level Domain Name

This post is part of a sponsored series from Domain.ME

This blog is a decade old. Seeing as my son is almost 13, he is has grown up online – at least in these archives. It has been an interesting learning experience for him, and us, as he’s grown.

I used his real name when I started because many other mom bloggers were making up cutesy names and I figured “Greeble” was goofy enough. That came back to bite us when his friends first learned how to Google each other and started reading stories about his diaper rash. Super quickly many posts got moved to “private” to protect his privacy. It even changed the whole tenor of the site: as he has grown up, there are less stories about him here because the stories are not mine to tell.

I have always been a bit of a stickler for following the COPPA age 13 standard for social networks. I recognize that every family finds their own way, but in addition to being a rule follower – having a public blog has taught me things about dealing with the online world. As Dex approaches this milestone, we have been prepping him, taking things slowly and learning about the every evolving landscape together. Continue reading…

Friendships
May 2015
31

Split

This is probably going to sound very self-pitying and whiny, but trust me, I am grateful for my life. It’s just that things have shifted so greatly over the last few years, it’s hard not to be reflective.

Given our work and hobbies, not to mention the kid, we’ve had friendships that cross into several different groups of people. Primarily, for me, that has meant mom bloggers, musicians, tech/social media peeps and PTA parents. Our connections within those groups swelled so much that they crossed over within each other and life was pretty frenetic. Almost every single night there was one, two, three or more possibilities for going out in any one, two or more of these areas. Foursquare was roaring because you could check in, and regularly find out a friend was not only nearby, but often times was in the same bar. If I went to see a local band, I could expect to know many people there.

Heck, we used to run into people, all the time, all over. Continue reading…

Fog
Apr 2015
02

Vacation Fog

We have been up at Keystone for almost a week now but it feels like a year. We really needed a vacation. While this has been a sponsored trip, we have just relaxed. You know that kind of relaxing? Where you *literally* cannot remember what day it is? I only know it is Thursday because on Tuesday my whole family SWORE it was Thursday and we all checked our devices to make sure.

Today is Thursday. I am almost positive.

Humans clearly created vacation to give their mind a rest. Even if we are doing non-restful things (like in the case of Bryan, who has been snowboarding his brains out), sometimes we just need to remove our brain from everyday life, do something different, think about other things. That way you appreciate where you are while vacationing, but also appreciate your regular life more too. Continue reading…

AT&T DriveMode App - It Can Wait
Feb 2015
10

AT&T’s “DriveMode” iPhone App Helps Stop Texting & Driving

It’s pretty clear that I love phones, and tech, and apps. I was excited when AT&T asked me to check out their new app for iPhone called DriveMode. With a tween who also uses a phone and will be driving soon (OK… soon being a relative term here, as in a few years from now)… it’s important for me to set a good example on my phone. The problem is – IT’S HARD! When so many notifications come in and life is moving so fast, sometimes I need a little help.

DriveMode kicks in once the car is going over 15mph and basically provides a shield while you are driving – silencing incoming notifications. You can also set the app to send a custom auto-reply for you to let people know you are driving. Depending on what screen you have open, a top banner will blink red saying “DriveMode” – which is a good reminder that it can wait till later to use your phone.

However, if you really need something, the app provides one button access to 5 emergency numbers, music and the navigation app of your choice. Or, if let’s say you are the passenger and want to access your phone – you can quickly turn the DriveMode app off with the big green slider.

Drive Mode App - It Can Wait AT&T Drive Mode App - It Can Wait
Continue reading…