March 2018 Pop-Up Party with a Purpose! AFC-Toothbrush Drive!

Welcome to our first Pop-Up Party with a Purpose in 2018! A Single Problem will be supporting the Arlington Free Clinic-Dental Program with a Toothbrush Drive!

Join us for happy hour on Friday March 16th, between 4pm-7pm at Twisted Vines on Columbia Pike. Bring your toothbrush donations and enjoy happy hour specials! There is free parking in their lot.

****The person bringing the most donations wins a bottle of wine!****

Last year A Single Problem proudly supported numerous local organizations. If you have an organization you’d like us to consider please contact us!

See you next Friday!


It’s so ingrained. In me. In you. It’s so ingrained that we make a joke of it. Of COURSE there’s that one (if we’re lucky) high school teacher, Of COURSE there’s that one (if we’re lucky) college professor, Of COURSE there’s that one (if we’re lucky) law school professor, that “we” all know about. Of COURSE we laugh (haltingly) about it. Of COURSE we make fun of the “girl” not the “man”. Of COURSE it’s “just the way it is”, or “it’s just the way it’s ALWAYS been”. Of COURSE we swallow the bile with a smile. We breathe it in with oxygen. We breath it out like oxygen. It’s harder than you think to overcome it. BUT I WILL. I HAVE. YOU WILL TOO.

November/December Pop-Up Party with a Purpose!

A Single Problem is doing a gift card drive for Bridges to Independence for its November/December Pop-Up Party with a Purpose! Starting from today until December 13th I will be collecting Target Gift Cards and Metro SmarTrip Cards. Suggested value amount is $50, but any amounts will help.
Bridges to Independence leads individuals and families out of homelessness and into stable, independent futures. Those that come to Bridges have many obstacles ahead of them. They turn to Bridges for the support they need to build a better future. Since 1985 Bridges has offered a continuum of aid and support for all family members, helping them attain financial security and move forward into self-sufficiency. Bridges runs Sullivan House, Arlington County’s largest emergency shelter serving families experiencing homelessness. Through the organization’s rapid re-housing program, Bridges works to find people safe, affordable, and permanent housing as quickly as possible. Bridges’ supportive services include financial literacy training, employment counseling, and youth development programming. As homelessness is often episodic, their other priority is working closely with former participants to ensure they are able to remain securely housed and do not fall into homelessness again.
The Target gift cards are used by the families for Christmas presents as well as basic needs. The Metro SmarTrip cards are essential as many of Bridges’ clients do not have cars.
Please do what you can!

August 2017 Pop-Up Party with a Purpose-Planned Parenthood

A Single Problem’s August 2017 Pop-Up Party with a Purpose is supporting Planned Parenthood.  I know so many women, including myself, who rely or have relied on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, annual exams, access to birth control etc. Across the country women’s health care has been under attack. A particularly egregious example being found in the “repeal & replace” health care law proposed by Republicans in Congress in which pregnancy was proposed as a pre-existing condition so that women may be charged more for their health care. Planned Parenthood supports and offers healthcare to women in at risk communities. I fully support them and ask you to do the same. The fundraiser is open for the remainder of August. Please contribute and support women’s health.

So there is no confusion, the mission of Planned Parenthood is:

* to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings that preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual

* to advocate public policies that guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services

* to provide educational programs that enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality

* to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications

You can donate here.

Thank you!


Tomorrow there’ll be more of us.

It’s been a challenging summer. It seems we face a daily barrage of actions by those in power that were once, remarkably, unthinkable. Each day brings a new low, a new threat, a new “unthinkable” event. I find myself nursing a low level but steady burn of dread that flashes and peaks with the news cycle but never quite goes away. Post-inauguration chants and posts and tags of “This Is Not Normal” have faded to the astonishing realization that this is the new normal. And it’s exhausting. This past weekend the headlines came home and I experienced first hand, in the flesh, the full force of what I’d been “resisting”. The fear, anger and exhaustion of the day after the election returned to me with such a force it felt like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. Despite the comfort of friends I haven’t been able to shake it. I remind myself of all the good we’ve done, the swells of humanity that have risen to resist this hatred and insanity. But the anger and the exhaustion, the shame of what’s happening keeps hitting me in waves. I think back to what I wrote the day after the election and it scares me how current it remains.

“Nov. 9, 2016: Today I am profoundly weary. I am weary of demands for respect from those who would not return it. Weary of demands for my smile, my compliance, my silence. Weary of advocating for education and being met with willful ignorance. Weary of those who carelessly unleash dragons and wash their hands of the resulting carnage. Weary of those who seek revolution without thought to the chaos and bloodshed it causes. Weary of those who traffic in headlines and conspiracies instead of critical thinking. Weary of those who would “drain the swamp” yet send all but a single creature back. Weary of petulant children pretending to be adults who brook no compromise. Weary of the vilest aspects of human nature being cloaked in “Midwest Middle Class Values”. Weary of false equivalencies. Weary of swallowing bile and extending, as is expected, graciousness to those who would treat me “like a bitch”. Weary of being told to “calm down”, “think” before I vote, and to not vote “simply because the candidate is a woman” by those who lack a School House Rock level of understanding how the government works. Weary of those who would intentionally mislead their followers and those who accept unquestioningly. Weary of those who forsake their responsibility to inform and sink into “click-bait entertaining” instead. Weary of those who would sacrifice all that we held dear as a nation for a single issue. Weary of those whose definition of Patriotism is what they get rather than what they give. Weary of those who want to “move on and talk about something else”. Today I am profoundly weary.

Tomorrow, I RISE.”

Tomorrow, I RISE. Such simple words. Maya Angelou’s words, not mine. Powerful words. Words that inspired me to start A Single Problem. Words that inspired me to start pop-up parties with a purpose to support local charities. Words that inspired me to apply for a professional leadership development program that I start in two weeks. Words that I lost this weekend.

For a nerve-wracking two days the weariness and the anger and the lingering fear threatened to overtake me again. And then this evening, with a shock, I realized that the “fear” I felt wasn’t coming from me. It was coming from the other side. You see, while I may still get weary I AM stronger than I was those nine months ago. I watched the over-confident mediocre men that marched in Charlottesville chanting “we will not be replaced” and thought “YES. You will.” I listened to those who would define America by anti-American values and thought “I will NOT yield patriotism to you.” I heard those threatening and dismissive words and smiled back knowing, while I’m not particularly brave, I’m not afraid of you anymore. You have already lost, you just don’t know it yet. The world only spins forward.

Tomorrow, I RISE.

Tomorrow, there’ll be MORE OF US.







For June’s Pop-Up Party with a Purpose we did a “pop-up” food drive for Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). In a mere three hours we brought in 163 lbs of food! Well done Arlington (and out of state friends and family)! A big thank you to Kent and everyone at Marble and Rye for hosting, and everyone who dropped off food early if they couldn’t make it and all those who attended.

Facts About Hunger:

  • The number of people in the United States that are food insecure is over 33 million. Source
  • The number in Arlington is a little over 31,000.

What is food insecurity? Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs due to lack of financial resources (National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness).

You took a few hours out of your day and donated what amounts to over 135 meals to our neighbors in Arlington. Most of you are familiar with the story of a beachcomber who encounters a child on the beach surrounded by starfish. The child is tossing starfish one by one into the ocean. The beachcomber asks the child why he is bothering to toss starfish back since there are so many it won’t make a difference. The child replies, while tossing a starfish into the ocean, “well, it makes all the difference to this one.” That’s the philosophy of A Single Problem.

YOU made all the difference for the 135 recipients of the meals you donated.


Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot; Take thou what course thou wilt.

Julius Caesar was required reading in my sophomore year at Marshall High School. Some 30 years later, having seen countless film, operatic and live productions of a great many of Shakespeare’s plays it remains my favorite, though I love most of his plays and sonnets. One of the greatest characteristics of his plays is how adaptable they are to modern times – whatever time that may be.

Most recently, the venerable Public Theater in New York has staged a production of Julius Caesar.  The staging is reflective of modern politics in America. Yes, the actor playing Julius Caesar brings to mind the current President. As the actor playing Julius Caesar 5 years ago in the production by the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis “looked” like President Obama. It is not new to cast Shakespeare in modern political imagery. It is a long-accepted method of making Shakespeare “accessible” to modern audiences, and helping us to see ourselves in the story.

In my life I have seen everything from slick corporate CEOs to “period” kings to Nazis to “Jersey Shore” types speaking the Bard’s iambic pentameter. Images of our time can easily be superimposed on Shakespeare’s language, though it be 400+ years old, because many of the major challenges we face in human interaction and politics have remained largely unchanged. For all our ranting about how “bad” things are in politics right now it is helpful to remember that we are not the first generation to see politicians and their “flocks” threaten each other. We are not the first to experience false prophets and snake oil salesmen. Nor are we the first to watch non-politicians or celebrities cravenly seek naked power and profit through careless manipulation of the mob. For in chaos, always, there is profit.

Contemporaneous casting of Julius Caesar is nearly as old as the play itself. Yet in our 140 character world of social media this Julius Caesar has become controversial for “glamorizing” or “glorifying” the assassination of the President of the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sadly, “truth” has become relative and hard to find. The “truth” of Julius Caesar is that it does not glamorize or glorify the assassination of Caesar (and it is CAESAR who dies, not a character named Trump). Quite the opposite. While the conspirators (the Roman Senators who, each in turn, stab Caesar) believe they will be hailed as heroes of the Republic, the reality is by the end of the play they are dead. They have been killed as revenge for Caesar’s death. The play is actually anti-assassination and shows the horrific after effects of political violence. In short, the near complete collapse of society results from Caesar’s bloody end. And THAT is the point of the play, not the assassination. The assassination takes place at about the MID POINT of the play. It is not the culmination of events, it is the catalyst that shows how destructive violence as a political tool can be to society.

Sadly, critical thinking gets lost in 140 characters and sound bites. Rather than read the play, see the play (there’s even a 1953 film with Marlon Brando as Marc Antony!), or dare I say, recall their sophomore year reading of the play, protesters tweeted. They “rushed!” the stage and “shut down!” the production. The latter of which never actually happened. Yes, the production was interrupted briefly and promptly resumed once the paid (or hoping to win a $1,000 prize) protesters were removed. It’s a pity security couldn’t have held them in a location where they would have to see the remainder of the play. Thousands more having taken to email, twitter and phone lines (frequently to the wrong theaters) and threatened real violence, not the staged violence in Central Park. They have threatened rape, murder and wished for death by cancer on any and all associated with this production. Interestingly some theater companies are actually responding to these calls as they do with any criticisms – they are calling these people back. Even more astonishing in this world of 140 characters, rather than simply saying “hey it’s not us” they have engaged in conversation with those threatening violence and talked about the heart of the play. Not surprisingly, very few at the end of the call are still wishing death by cancer on the employees of the theater.

This kind of knee-jerk emotional reaction is not an affliction solely of the “right”. Liberals are just as capable of the same lack of critical thinking and emotional response. It’s easier to repost and retweet than read and think. I’m working on it myself. One of the challenges, of course, is if you say you love Shakespeare and defend the production you are accused of being a liberal or New York elitist. Ironically, the production is part of Free Shakespeare in the Park, the Public Theater’s longstanding effort to make Shakespeare available to everyone. Hopefully, Delta’s and Bank of America’s rather cowardly and knee-jerk overreaction won’t hurt The Public’s commitment to free Shakespeare. Nor did Shakespeare write plays for just “the elite”. Poor and rich alike attended plays in Shakespeare’s day as well as today. Again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

One of our greatest challenges today is to reclaim and encourage critical thinking and fight back against the denigration of education and all that goes with it. There are many who prefer us simply reacting and retweeting than actually thinking. After all, as Caesar says “Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights: Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.” To those seeking profit in chaos, a thinking citizenry is a handicap. An engaged citizenry is dangerous. They will sow chaos without thought as to the ramifications. Marc Antony, Caesar’s most loyal friend, whips the Romans into murderous frenzy following Caesar’s assassination and then shrugging off all leadership and responsibility for it says “Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot; take thou what course thou wilt.” We are all too familiar with the careless viral nature of this type of tactic. We must be vigilant to it and fight against it. We must think critically and often before speaking, tweeting, posting. We must ask ourselves, are we contributing to the discussion or simply setting mischief afoot?

We can be better. We must do better. After all, as Shakespeare says in another of his plays, As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, and All the men and women merely players.”


June 2017 Pop-Up Party with a Purpose – AFAC

On Friday June 30, 2017, from 4pm-7pm Marble and Rye will host our June Pop-Up Party with a Purpose in support of Arlington Food Assistance Center.

  • Low Sodium Canned Soups
  • Low Sodium Canned Tuna
  • Low Sodium Canned Beans
  • Low Sodium Canned Tomato
    (diced, tomato, and sauce)
  • Low Sugar Canned Fruit
  • Peanut Butter (in plastic jars)
  • Low Sugar Cereal
  • No Glass Please!
  • New or gently used reusable shopping bags

Bring your food donation to Marble and Rye June 30th from 4pm-7pm and join the Party!


Decisions are made by those who show up

Welcome! A Single Problem is an organization dedicated to empowering civic engagement and civics education in local communities. It was launched to address the critical lack of engagement by communities, through no fault of their own, in the decisions being made by governments, businesses and organizations that affect their daily lives. The array of issues facing these communities can seem overwhelming and most people feel defeated before they even start, which is why most never start. My hope is that this organization can become a resource for those in their local communities who want to help but don’t know where to start or what to do.

How A Single Problem starts is with our Pop-Up Parties with a Purpose. For nearly a decade I’ve used my annual Rat Pack Swinging Christmas Party as a food drive for local organizations. From the beginning the response has been extraordinary and I learned that most people want to help and if you make it easy and fun they will help.  Partying with a Purpose became the unofficial mantra. In February 2017 I launched the Pop-Up Parties with a Purpose to support local Arlington/Virginia organizations. We did a socks, underwear and bra drive for A-SPAN, a supplies drive for ASPIRE After School, toothpaste drive for the Arlington Free Clinic-Dental Clinic, and a fundraiser for the Foundation for the Conservation of Salamanders. We hope to continue monthly pop-ups and expand participation. If you have an organization you think could benefit from a pop-up party with a purpose let me know!

Support for these pop-ups started with a just a few friends and has already been a tremendous success. As A Single Problem grows we will include civics mentoring to teach community members how to more effectively advocate for their “single problem”. As American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events.  Remember, decisions are made by those who show up!