Thursday, January 25, 2007

A little video montage (and great music!) from the Maine Women's Fund. I work with such creative folks. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Whose job is it anyway?

I've been participating in a conversation at SSIR that begs the question -- who's responsibility is it to pay for social services? I've been dancing around this question for the last few years from my professional life to online conversations.

Last week I met with a leader in the homeless community -- who is dealing with the issue of homeless in Maine through the housing first model. This model was introduced to pop culture by Malcolm Gladwell, in his New Yorker article Million Dollar Murray. Interestingly enough the vast majority of people at a homeless shelter on a given night will only spend that one night at a shelter -- despite the fact that there are so many of them, they are not a costly group to serve. The major costs of homelessness are borne by 10% of the homeless population that are 'chronically homeless' -- they suffer from mental diseases, substance abuse, and a host of other health issues. They are expensive to treat because once a month they will end up in emergency care for hypothermia, cirrhosis, broken bones, etc. Emergency care is a very expensive way to care for these folks. Malcolm's Million Dollar Murray is one man who cost the city of Las Vegas over $1 million because of this care.

The Homeless first model prescribes dealing with these people on the front end to reduce the high end cost of dealing with them on the back end. A model has been established in Portland and seems to be working fairly well (an economic analysis is underway to determine if any efficiencies were really gained). A new model home is being developed to support the chronically female homeless who in addition to all the other problems are more vulnerable to violence and sexual assault.

Once this home is set up, it will take a $1 million/year to service the home. This is an economic burden for a nonprofit. Should the government pay the cost because the government would have paid the more expensive costs on the back end?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Today launches birthday week for ElitheChef. My funny fabulous friends here at the Maine Women's Fund were quick to catch on (to my not so subtle hints that I love to celebrate January 28th), and put together my birthday montage. Check it out, they have a sense of humor and know how to use it.

View this video montage created at One True Media
Happy Birthday Eli

PS -- The weather forecast called for sunshine today and, go figure, its been snowing since noon!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Only in Maine... I feel bad for the guy -- but the headline sparked a case of the giggles anyway. One other landmark transition event -- the temperature this morning was a high of 7 degrees, and with complete disregard for my DC clothes attitude of dress to impress, I layered on the long underwear beneath cold weather gear :)

Worm digger rescued after foot freezes in muck

3:41 PMWESTPORT ISLAND - Rescue crews had to battle the cold on Wednesday to save a man along the banks of Westport Island.

They said the man, a worm digger, became stuck when his boot filled with water then froze.

The man's co-workers called for help, and Westport volunteer firefighters responded. They said that when they arrived, the unidentified man was showing signs of hypothermia.

Volunteer firefighter Rusty Robertson said, "He was shivering uncontrollably, but he was answering questions appropriately. So he had his faculties, but he was definitely showing signs of being out in the weather."

The man was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. There is no word on his condition, but firefighters said they didn't believe he will lose his foot.

Reader comments

Josh of Carrabassett Valley, ME
Jan 18, 2007 3:14 PM
Nice Headline...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Today, I attended a panel discussion, at which the five largest foundations in Maine discussed growing philanthropic trends. I expected the conversation to focus on new philanthropic tools and mechanisms, growth rates, geographic representation, etc. Instead, the conversation was targeted at the recipients of philanthropic funds and ultimately their disfunction:

- There are too many nonprofits.
- They do not collaborate enough.
- They reinvent the wheel.
- The need to improve accountabiity and transparency.
- They need to stop head counting and start measuring actual change.

These are not unfamiliar points. I recognize them, and I even own having contributed to this conversation at some point in my life. But as I listened to the conversation, I felt uncomfortable with the tone -- nonprofits are the source of the innovation that we invest in. It is their passion and drive that constantly mend the tears of our social fabric. Yes, their proposals are the stuff of our files and email jams, but they are not the source of our problems.

As to there being too many of them. It does make life complicated for the consumer, i.e. the donor who sorts through message after message to find the one or two worthy of a donation. But in the end, isn't this quantity good for innovation, competition, volunteerism, and all the other stuff that social capital is made of?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Super Dog, alias George, is settling in just fine to her new digs. Perhaps in part to beginning to dress like a Mainer. George's new attire includes:

Wonder Boots. Obviously a wardrobe essential for any web footed female. The ice and snow builds up quickly, making my partner a snoe shoeing obstacle as she stops mid-trail to knaw out the painful crustations.

Blaze Orange Reflective Super Cape. Capable of warding off hunters and speeding cars alike.

Side kick. Bullwinkle the Moose, courtesty of DCisME, stands watch as Super Dog naps. and naps. and naps some more.

John Updike wrote that "people who live in Maine need things like Pasta Makers." The quote went through my mind when I bought the wonder boots and the cape. Perhaps he was making light of the banality of yuppie life (which most Mainer's don't live). I don't think people in Maine desire or need things like pasta makers the way they desire or need things like long underwear. A good hat. Gortex boots. And the same goes for my dog.
a foodie's hell

I did indeed return to Natasha's for lunch the following day. Had a great half sandwich/soup bowl. Returned home and finished up some deli salads and the Caribbean soup.

Then died.

6 hours in food poisening hell. And too all those who know me, I will admit that perhaps my immune system is a bit weakened by the ladened stress lately. However, it was food poisening indeed.

4 days later and I can sip gingerale and nibble on crackers.

A foodie's hell is not bad restaurants, it is having no interest in food at all.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

a foodie's paradise

A moment now, to put all this world changing stuff aside, and focus on another true delight of Maine: The Food.


This morning I finished off the blueberry buckwheat pancakes that Scott and I had gorged on all weekend. At the health food store (no, not Whole Food, my friends, this former addict hasn’t stepped foot in a Whole Foods since leaving the District… the run of the mill Hannafords and Royal River Health Food is serving me just fine), I was amazed to find straight from the patch frozen blueberries that, despite any formal packaging, I bought and tested anyway. Um umm good. I still can’t believe that I had never really liked blueberries until I tasted Megan’s Mom’s Maine blueberry pie… blueberries don’t get better than those from Maine as I’m beginning to realize that the ½ inch diameter blueberries from Whole Foods are nuclear-waste scary, not intriguing.


This afternoon I lunched at Natasha’s – Portland owned and operated by none other than… Natasha! Natasha herself was running around the comfy farm/chic restaurant in a black Asian tunic which she made herself ‘for comfort.’ Natasha also owns Mim’s – a little bistro in old Port which makes a fabulous Haddock Chowder (I’ve begun to realize that chowders (chowda-z) are everywhere and I need not order it every time I see it on the menu.) My favorite thing about both menus is this. There are 3-4 soups on the lunch menu – each creative and yummy. Roasted tomato with feta crème fraiche and chives. Clam chowder with fennel, bacon, and potatoes. Butternut squash with apple chunks. And.. there are 3-4 salad selections. Roasted pumpkin with duck prociutto on a bed of greens. Pot sticker salad with sesame, oranges, and greens. For $9, you can get a bowl of any of the soups and half of any of the salads. That’s the best part. Today, however, because I’ve got another lunch meeting at Natasha’s tomorrow, I went with the fish tacos. Another thing I love about Maine. I LOVE FISH TACOS. They are all over the west coast and I’ve had them even in the eBay cafeteria. They are equally represented in Portland and I’ve had them more times since moving here than all my West coast trips. Today’s selection were wrapped in thin crispy flat bread, with apple slaw, wasabi cream, and roasted habanera salsa. Oh dear heaven… so good!


And last but not least my random fine this evening. Days start early in Maine (to the extent that I’ve had a lunch meeting start as early as 11:45… back in the District, Dana would still be on her second breakfast at that time). Usually they end earlier too and I head home to Super Dog. Only this evening, a meeting ran late and I was hustling to get out of the office at 6:30 to make it home. With no food in the house, I swung by a take out place on my way home and found the crème de la crème of soups. Caribbean chicken and sweet potato. The broth was somehow addictive in its spicyness. The chicken was tender and soft. The tomatoes were chunky. I think it is the best soup I have ever had (a hard second to that French Onion soup I had at TGIF– unknowingly sick with Pneumonia and having spent the day outside to watch Clinton’s bitter cold inauguration – that soup tasted damn good.)


Finding something this good random locations is what defines a foodie’s paradise.