Monday, August 30, 2010


After my near miss encounter with the jaywalker the other day, I came down with a cold.  Karma?  I think not.  Rather the trip to the mall for school clothes, surrounded by hoards of people.  I need to start carrying that anti-bacterial stuff with me...

Anyway, I was laid low all week and weekend.  I watched  a great deal of some TV and felt very sorry for myself and ate pasta for the first time is many months.  I recovered enough to enjoy the first hour or so of the Emmy Awards last night and today I am up and in business casual dress for yet another job interview.  Business casual means I am not wearing pantyhose as another job seeking blogger mentioned the other day (hear anything Jen?) 

I am not sure why I applied for this job - I certainly never thought I would get a call.  Maybe that should be my new strategy?  It is a part-time position on the weekend in an Animal Emergency Center.  I like that it is 20 hours a week in 2 days, I like that it is on the weekend so I could still work with my sister during the week.  I know I could be calm and cool dealing with the situations I would encounter (both the people and the animal ones) and all in all I just thought - well, it is not ideal, but I could make some money.

It isn't like we do much of anything on the weekend.  On the other hand, if I am never available, we certainly never will do anything much!  I am a bit concerned about spoiling it for doing things with Ally - again, few and far between...

I have not discussed it with my husband because I suspect he will not understand or approve my thinking and at this point - why bother since I have yet to be offered a job.  So I am going in to see how it goes.  Nothing gained, nothing lost.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


My husband asked me to drive him somewhere this morning.  I was going down Main Street (pictured at the left) which is line with little shops, restaurants and businesses.  Quaint, tree lines, stop signs and cross walks at every corner.  As I was about one third of the way down a block I noticed that a long time business appeared to have closed, my eyes were drawn to the right.  The I saw something in front of me just as my husband said "Geez Susan!" and I braked for a woman who was walking across the middle of the street.

The adult woman had a very angry, put out look on her face and was looking at me and talking - obviously she had some choice words which I could not hear over my husband saying "You didn't see her?  You really freaked her out!"

I replied that she should be freaked out since she was jay walking and shouldn't assume anything. 

Let me say.  This is small town California.  We wait for the light to change before we use the cross walk.  For someone to cross in the middle of the street is not the norm.  Also, I really wasn't near hitting her - she didn't even appear to have picked up her pace.

Please discuss.  Should I be chastised for my wandering attention?  Am I wrong to feel in the right?

Monday, August 23, 2010


When my kids started school back in the early '90's, back to school shopping used to mean a binder and pencils,a couple of glue sticks, some markers.  As the years went on the lists got more involved, there were more requests for reams of paper, pens, books. There were more and more fees, not just for sports but for science labs, computer use.  They stopped running buses and needed parents to volunteer to help in the lunch room and playground..

Fund raising events for special items like a new PA system and big screen for the multipurpose room  evolved into paying the salary for a music teacher.  By then the sports cost a lot of money and many of the coaches were no longer on staff, but volunteer parents.  Now that my youngest is a Senior in High School - well, it has all gone to hell, hasn't it?  Now we are not only paying  more and more fees, there are fewer and fewer programs available.  I have sent Kleenex to teachers but now some schools are asking parents to sent in cleaning supplies and even toilet paper!!

This brings up two interesting things I have read today, first:

Nan at All the Good Names Were Taken wrote a very thought provoking post about the way that things have changed around in 150 years from the US being the brains and the Chinese the brawn to build the railroads - to the current plan for the Chinese to be the brains behind the high speed rail here in California and the locals to be the laborers.  She quotes from an essay by Robert Borosage in a July issue of Progressive Populist on the funding crises in public education, with class sizes rocketing, hours of instruction being cut, and teachers being furloughed:

"This surely is how great nations decline. Like Rome and Britain before us, Washington now chooses to police the world, even as it cuts back the education of the nation's most vulnerable children. We fight two wars on the other side of the world, spend more defending South Korea from North Korea than the South Koreans do, increase military spending already nearly as great as the rest of the world combined while saying we can't afford vital investments at home.

In April, an iconic article in the New York Times recorded the cost of this folly. The Times reported from Beijing that the Chinese were preparing to bid to build the bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The director of high-speed rail in China, Zheng Jian, noted that 'We are the most advanced in many fields, and we are willing to share with the US.'

High-speed rail requires financing, very sophisticated technology and advanced engineering - and China is ready to provide the cash, the technology and the high end engineers and skilled technicians. They would hire Americans to assemble the parts and lay the track."
And then an article on Salon about what they call the creeping of  backdoor privatization. 
Privatization meant transferring responsibility for entire programs or functions to the private sector. But with the drastic budget cuts that states have been forced to make, responsibility for public services and programs is literally being forced into private hands one roll of toilet paper at a time. We've entered the era of backdoor privatization...What is new, though, is the extent to which families are being asked to contribute basic items. This may be too much to ask of parents who are struggling to pay their own bills -- especially since they’ve already paid taxes that are supposed to support the public school system.
 And of course we know it isn't only the schools.  It is our police and fire departments.  Some cities are turning off the street lights, reducing services for seniors, closing parks and cutting bus services.  At what point will Americans wake up and realize that their tax dollars are not always "wasted" by politicians?  That a return of the tax on the wealthiest will benefit us all (because the tax cuts sure didn't.) 
And look around folks - who is really paying the price of these reduced services?  The wealthiest send their kids to private schools.  Do you think their kids are toting a bag of toilet paper to school with them? They can afford private transportation, security, medicine and whatever they need. 
The best-case scenario is that the impact of these cuts will help people understand just what their tax dollars are paying for and spur greater consciousness about the relationship between public spending and public goods.
I am terribly afraid that we may be looking at the worst case scenario because we do not, and our politicians do not, have the will to speak the truth and make the hard and unpopular choices.

Friday, August 20, 2010


1.)  It may not have made a big splash on the national news, but there was a stay placed on the Proposition 8 same sex marriage ruling in CA by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  This means there will be no marriages performed for the time being.  The court will hear the arguments in early December.

If you are interested in supporting same sex marriage throughout the country, the Courage Campaign has a petition which you can sign here.
2.)  I spent and hour on the phone (I am not exaggerating) with Comcast trying to figure out why I could not log in to the e-mails they occasionally send offering credit for free movies.  They never did fix it.  I got switched to a recording about downloading Norton and the guy never called back and I was just exhausted from the whole thing and gave up.
Then The DVR started acting up, so I hoped for the best and called again. This guy couldn't seem to make a connection with our DVR and promised to credit us for the month and told me to take it in and switch it out for a new one.  He also upgraded us *free* to add 3 premium channels, HBO, Starz and Showtime.  
I can't believe how much TV has been watched in the week since!  You would think we were shut-ins.  I was excited because I could watch the mini-series they have made of Pillars of the Earth (a book I loved!) but Ally and Tom have been glued to the set!
Ok, I admit I also watched the new season opener of Weeds instead of having to wait for the DVD and I enjoyed the new series called The Big C with Laura Linney.
3.)  Speaking of TV.  There is apparently a new show in the fall lineup featuring the beloved Betty White.  Someone had the brains to hire her but not the brains to know not to airbrush her face for the publicity photos!  This is really getting ridiculous - no one looks real anymore.  Or should I say no women look real any more.
4.)  Sad but true fact for many women of this country, not just actresses...

Actress Kristin Bauer from True Blood was asked "Is there a lot of pressure to stay thin?"

"The other day I realized as long as I'm in this business, I'm going to be hungry."

5.)  I am taking Ally shopping today for some back to school clothes.  I never understood why this was necessary in CA since the weather stays summer like until October or so here but I did notice at registration the other day that many of the girls were already walking around in their winter boots and scarves ignoring the fact that shorts and sandals were more weather appropriate.

As a life long California girl happy in cotton and  flip flops pretty much year round, I just don't get it.  But I know not to say so in front of my 16 year old while she is shopping...Peace.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


  It would be very helpful to the debate if the media would stop referring to the proposed Islamic Community Center in New York as a mosque.  IT IS NOT A MOSQUE.  Calling it a mosque was the idea of the fear and hate mongers on the right.  It is a community center with basketball courts, swimming pool, a culinary school, meeting rooms and a room for prayer because Muslims pray several times a day.  It is not within sight of "ground zero" and has nothing to do with it except that they are planning to have a memorial in the center for the lives lost there. 

Terrorists took down the Twin Towers, and the Murrah Building.  We don't need to label them by the religions they allegedly lived by, but by the acts they perpetrated.  Terror is directed at everyone, spares no one.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It may be unseemly for a 56 year old woman with a daughter dressed up to go out looking like this:

                                                                   Ally and Annie

to beg want to tag along.   But she and her friend are going to see:

And I do love Lady Gaga so much that I would be willing to look like an idiot attending her concert at my advanced age in my white slacks and yellow and white striped shirt with matching yellow flats.  No glitter.  No funny hats or wild make-up. 

I do know the words to most of the songs, though.  And I would dance. 

Maybe Ally will bring me a tee shirt?

P.S.  No tee shirt ($60.00 Yikes!!) - but she said the show was fabulous!

Monday, August 16, 2010


When I was in the sixth grade I had pictures of Sonny & Cher cut out of the newspaper and taped to my desk lamp.  In particular I remember I had this one:
That was in the era of their hit son "Bang, Bang."  I don't recall seeing anyone else wearing those animal fur vests, although there were some variations of them with embroidery around during the sixties and seventies when everyone was wearing dress-up costumes from thrift stores and army surplus stores.  I could never manage to make that stuff look right on me.  In high school I rocked the  preppy look, though. 

I don't recall wearing bright yellow, but I did wear knee socks and flats with mini skits and ribbed turtlenecks and tees.  By college we were wearing maxi skirts, too.  I had a burgundy maxi-coat which cost most of my clothing allowance.

Anyway, I loved fashion,  I made lots of my own clothes so I could afford to follow the trends.  After I had kids and became an at home mom, I sort of fell out of being fashionable.  It is a cliche,  the "mom clothes."  At first you need things that you can wash and wear because of all the getting spit-up on.  You need to be able to move around easily, too.  So the leggings and big tops that were in style in the late 80's were perfect for a new mom.  From there it is a blur.  I tried to infuse fashion at times, but as age and weight added up, it got harder.

I still enjoy following fashion, but I don't like the extent it is now worshiped.  The heights to which fashion has been elevated is so far above what the average person can manage that it is more like fantasy.  I watch Project Runway and admire the talent, but don't understand the snobbish attitudes.  I watch the Rachel Zoe Project and it is so over the top I can't take it for anything but campy entertainment.  In case you don't know about Rachel Zoe, she is a "Stylist."  She helps movies stars  pick out their clothes and accessories for photo shoots, red carpet events and the like.  She is a tiny little super skinny woman who frequently wears fur vests.  I think she does it to make her look more substantial. 

Last I heard she was supposed to be selling them on one of the home shopping networks - so I guess I should not have been surprised when I saw that one of the Fall 2010 trends is...the fur vest.

So, the adage is that you can only wear the fashion the first time it comes around in your lifetime.  I never did wear the Sonny & Cher fur vest, or the hippy embroidered vest, and  I am not tempted to wear the 2010 version, either.  I hope my daughters won't be wearing it...and they should skip the knee socks, too.  Just in case they try to bring those back.  What were we thinking?

Friday, August 13, 2010


The last few weeks I have been wandering around  living in a maze-like existence.  It seems like whatever I start I run into a dead end.  Or I start off and get lost.  I set off with a map and then turn it around and around and still can't read it. 

Frustration abounds.

Maybe next week I will find my way...

Monday, August 9, 2010


 I  had a job I really liked.  I allowed myself to be chased away from it by a manipulative co-worker and a weak boss.  Over  time since that happened I have been through a roller coaster of anger, self doubt and deep depression.   So when I read news about employees who  take a gun onto work when they are going to be laid off, there is a part of me (my reptile brain?) that can relate to the frustration and anger - the lashing out.

On the other hand, there is this guy.  A Jet Blue steward who, after being hit on the head by a passenger taking his luggage down from the overhead bin and not receiving an apology,  cussed out all the passengers over the PA.  Then he grabbed a couple of beers,  inflated the emergency chute at the back of the plane and jumped.  He ran across the tarmac and through the airport and was arrested at his home in Queens a while later.

Now that was an exit!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I saw this map about six months or so ago.  This is an updated version.  Now that I have taken steps to become self-employed (although I have promised my husband not to give up on a job with benefits at some point) I can look at it without feeling such total personal despair. 

The great news for our family is that our recent college grad, Maggie, was offered a full time job with benefits - one that she is very excited about and wanted very much.  So Hurrah!

The economic news is telling us that it is going to be a long time, if ever, before the job market really rebounds.  So much industry has left the country or become mechanised.  Tax cuts have proven not to create jobs - at least not in the US.

In a way I feel really sorry for those people who are still employed and doing the work of  2 or more people with less to show for it.  Difficult times in and out of the work force.  I hope my sister and I can beat the odds of small businesses - survive and thrive!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples.Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

...Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8.

The ruling has been made, the decision based on equal protection appears to be well supported and constitutionally sound (according to experts.)  It is, as I believe it should be, based on the fact that marriage is and has been a civil matter.  Religion comes into it only when the couple wants to add that element to their celebration.  I did not have a religious ceremony.  I had a civil ceremony.  

And I further agree that  "Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States.
The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."

"Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."

 Thank you Judge Walker!

Monday, August 2, 2010


I am a big reader.  I am not saying I am a reader of great taste and sophistication, just that I read a lot and all the time.  This past month or so I have been reading strangely.  I have been ordering books from Quality Paperback Book Club (QPB) at a great rate, I have been taking books out from the library and purchasing books from the local used book store.  I have also borrowed a few books from my sister and even bought a hardcover book (The Irresistible Henry House) which was our July book club selection.

The new thing is that when I have read about a book which interested me, on a blog or website, I have gone to my local library and put in a reservation on a returning copy.  I really haven't done this before.  So while I was reading David Guterson's "The Other", the copy of Anne Tyler's "Noah's Compass" came into the library.  So I put aside the first book, read the second , then picked up the first book again and finished it.  Then I started reading the other book I picked up from the library which was a book of wonderful short stories by Elizabeth Berg called "The Day I Ate Anything I Wanted".  I read it in a day! 

Then I zipped through "That Old Cape Magic" by Richard Russo.  It was good but not as good as "Empire Falls."  My sister loaned me "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese which I liked as soon as I started reading it, but 4 chapters in and I got the notice that "Mr. Peanut" by Adam Ross had come into the library.  I had read on a number of sites that it is the big summer beach read on the East Coast - so I am giving it a go.  I am not usually a reader of murder mysteries.

So I am interrupting "Stone" for "Peanut."  Then, I went to Costco, and found  Barbara Kingsolver's new book "The Lacuna" is out in paperback and I snatched it up!  So I have that to look forward to, in addition to "Homer and Langley" by EL Doctrow.

Oh!  And I am a big fan of Larry McMurtry.  I read the third of the books about Duane, he was Jacy's boyfriend in "The Last Picture Show."  Anyway, there have been 3 more books following him through his life in his small Texas Town, and "Rhino Ranch" was the final book.  Now I want to go back and re-read all of them...when I have time.

Read anything good lately?