Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Take that MBTA!

Dear Secretary Aloisi,

I have long stopped trusting the MBTA, a quasi-governmental agency, to act in the public interests. Apparent exclusive reliance on fare increases and service cuts as the strategy for "saving" public transportation - rather than examining administrative efficiencies, salary decreases, and other cost-savings measures on serves to reinforce my belief that the MBTA is irrevocably corrupt. At this stage in the game, regardless of the decision made by the agency, I am not likely to EVER use public transportation again - on the principle of not wanting to spend my money on corruption. Futhermore, I am very willing to share my opinions with others in the interest of influencing them to boycott the T. If the MBTA were to dramatically increase transparency in its efforts to staunch the financial bleeding then I might be inclined to be more forgiving of an agency struggling to make it work. Thank you for your attention in this matter.


Have something to say to Secretary Aloisi of the MBTA? Write your own letter by clicking on http://www.masspirg .org/action/ transportation- agenda/public- process?id4= ES

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dad's Day = Sad Day

I'm feeling the loss of my father today, this Father's Day 2009. He isn't dead. Instead he is lost to that affliction unfortunately known to too many children - Deadbeat Dad Syndrome.

My dad and my mom separated when I was fairly young. Their divorce, as I recall, came some five or six years later. My siblings and I visited dad irregularly during the period between separation and divorce, and then, as I remember, for about five years after their divorce. Then nothing. My mom tried to sue him for the $15/week he owed for child support (that's $3/week per kid). I was told later that he moved around every six months to avoid lawsuits. He avoided his kids to avoid being sued for $15/week. Fast forward eight years, to 1993, when daddy decided he was ready to be in touch with each of his five birth children again and he wrote us all letters saying how sorry he was for everything he didn't do for us.

I didn't reply to my letter. At the age of 23 I didn't know what to say.

What I'd say now goes something like this,

"When I was a child I felt so special when I was with you. I was the most important little girl in the world when you held my hand. Nothing else mattered but me.

I don't remember how you and mom explained the divorce. I DO know that I felt like it was something I did that led you to leave. So the explanation could have been better. Or your efforts to help me hang on to that feeling of being special after the divorce could have been better.

What happened? I assumed that you stopped loving us -stopped loving me - because I didn't understand how does someone could let their fears become so overwhelming that they cannot express love to their children? That they cannot honor their inherent worth and dignity? How can someone be so self-absorbed as not to realize the impact of their actions on those special little people in their lives?"

My oldest sister, H, has heard from Daddy. She knows where he lives (Arizona? New Mexico?). He is married for the fourth time, to a Latvian woman he met on the Internet. He still works under the table to avoid having his wages garnished for back child support - even now more than 35 years after the separation. I look for him on the Web - googling his name, checking for him on Facebook. I'm curious about this person I once loved. And there is a little girl inside of me who still misses him terribly.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cat hair in my coffee

We have new kittens. Two of them. Two adorable, solid, furry balls of energy.

We also have a dishwasher. One efficient, powerful and effective dishwasher.

The kittens love to hop into the dishwasher when it is open to scavenge for goodies. They lick dirty flatware, investigate detritus left on plates, and have been seen hopping into the lower basket to get a closer look at caked on baked on residue on 9x13 Pyrex. Not knowing the difference between a dishwasher filled with dirty dishes and one that has done its dishwasher duty, they investigate while we both load and unload the machine.

The effects of the kitten police work came home to roost this morning when I lifted my 20 ounce mug of fresh espresso to my lips for a gulp of wake up elixir and noticed a white cat hair affixed to the handle. A solid white cat hair resting firmly on my clean mug pulled from the cupboard. My clean rooster mug pulled from the cupboard and placed only on the kitchen counter, a place currently unknown to the kittens as it is much too high for them to leap onto. (Oh I hope it stays that way forever.)

(Deep sigh followed by a little chuckle.)

I've heard the coffee described as strong to "grow hair on your chest." I can now proudly say that I drink coffee strong enough to grow cat hair on my chest. I better call my waxer.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birthday week: a chronology

Day One - Sunday, May 31: BBQ and chocolate cake. Surprise rainbow. (Hooray rainbows!)

Days Two and Three - Monday and Tuesday, June 1 and 2: Off the sugar free diet. Phish Food Light at Night.

Day Four - Wednesday, June 3: Work late the day BEFORE my birthday. Get home at 10:30 PM. Decide to go to work late on birthday. Stay up until midnight, hoping to get presents as promised at the stroke of midnight. Snoring - or is it human purring? - instead.

Day Five - Thursday, June 4 BIRTHDAY!: Up at the luxuriously late hour of 7:00 AM (often at the office by 6:45). Greeted by sweetness and presents (magazines and books and pjs and organic treats - which could have risked J's rep if ANYONE knew he went to the natural food store). Contact lens aggravation. Glasses instead and then out for big breakfast. Birthday cake at breakfast (our waitress was also celebrating her birthday). Off to work. Love from mom underground en route. Work? Unfocused, and a little aimless. M&Ms as snacks. Forgot lunch. Niceness from dillard57 and the great Alice Comack before All-America City, followed by celebratory fist pumping from Rick. Drive home. Love from Sister E. Greeted at home by with love from J, GORGEOUS flowers from D and BA, tens of Facebook greetings from close and far away friend, and fuzzy sweetness from Brisket and Ducky. Dinner with the "in-laws" - cheese, wine, scallops and CUPCAKES. Earrings, an apron and unconditional love. Home again home again, seriously hopped up on sugar.

Day Six - Friday, June 5: Still hopped up on sugar (oh my belly hurts) and determined to solider through with margaritas and delicious homemade cake at the C-A household later.

Day Seven - Saturday, June 6: Girly girl day with a haircut, pedicure, and dinner with J at The Capital Grill and the inaugural outing of my first ever "little black dress."

Birthday Week Round-Up - the morning of Day Six:
22 Facebook wall messages
8 presents
4 cards
4 cakes
1 pint of ice cream
1 bouquet of flowers

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nuclear Equity

As I listen to the latest public radio discussions about nuclear non-proliferation talks with North Korea I find myself with a sneaking suspicion about the motives of the nuclear powers.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the justice or equity of a nuclear power telling emerging nuclear power they can't have this authority because it is too dangerous. It plays to my heart and mind like a rich person telling a poor person they don't really want lots of money - because it is a lot of responsibility and it is scary and they (the poor person) aren't really equipped to deal with that. What makes the U.S. or any other nuclear power any better equipped to handle nuclear power than another nation? Our leaders aren't necessarily smarter (you can make that argument from either side of the aisle depending who is in The White House). Is it because our leaders are democratically elected and therefore more accountable? If we have nuclear holocaust the last thing I'll be worrying about is government accountability. Because I'm pretty sure I'll be dead or hanging on by the skin of my, well, skin. I know there is a nuclear non-proliferation treaty signed in 1970 (seriously) that was really driven (I think) by the zealotry of the Cold War. Not because nuclear power and weaponry is inherently bad. But because the U.S. and the then Soviet Union were out of control.

My instinct is that we don't want India or Iran or Pakistan or North Korea to have nuclear power because then they'd be as powerful as we are.

Before my liberal friends pop in righteously, I want to be clear that I'm not pro-nuke. Instead I'm anti-hypocrisy (or pro-integrity if you will). IF the U.S. were both advocating for developing nuclear powers to back off AND working towards our nation's own nuclear disarmament I wouldn't be writing this blog post. No moral dilemma and no sneaking suspicion about the power motive being the dominant motive behind our rhetoric on the world stage.

The well is dry

It strikes me that there is no such thing as a "typical" year in my chosen profession, education management. Last year circumstances of tragic proportions at the office kept everyone off track by more than six months. Finally back on our feet by September, I was hoping this year would be a "normal" year, when I could meet my goals, work on a handful of fun projects, and generally be a better colleague and community partner. And then a month later the bottom fell out of the market. The last six months - like the year before - has been a series of one enormous distraction after another as the senior team in my office (which includes me) struggles to keep the organizational ship moving forward in the face of enormous financial adversity. I have submitted more than $9 million in grant requests in the last three months alone in an effort to stem the tide of layoffs and operational derailment. All while maintaining my best calm, anxiety-free demeanor.

I am exhausted.