Monday, March 26, 2012

TWO JOBS

I told my new employer that since I go to work in the late afternoon during my notice period, I could come in for a few hours a day to get started.  Today was my first day. 

The good news is that I have my own office space, though the office machines and time clock are there for everyone to use.  Most of the employees and the owner are in and out all day so I will be on my own most of the time and can do things with a lot of autotomy.

The bad news is that the woman who had been running the office for many years was not organized or very clean.  There are file folders all over the place with no rhyme or reason.  When I found a W-4 to fill out it was from 2003. She password protected the computer programs and didn't leave a list of the passwords.  There are little scrawled notes about all kinds of things and I am hard pressed to know what is important and what is trash.  It is going to take a long while to get it straightened out.

I spent much of the 4 hours there today just cleaning the surfaces of everything, cleaning out the pack rat's desk and sorting  piles of papers.  Tomorrow I will start looking for files to put them in and try to make some sense of things.  The owner plans to move the furniture around to a better configuration and to paint for me. A nice fresh beginning!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

JUMP?

I have been going along thinking things were fine.  Then a couple of things happened and I recognised that I have been going through the motions for months now.  I like having my days to myself and working late afternoons/evenings when I am more prone to just hang out at home not doing much.

Except that I haven't been doing much with my days, either.  I have been really inconsistent about going to the gym, which was a big reason I liked the idea of having so much time. My sister has not been actively looking for staging jobs, which was the other reason for having my days free.  My house isn't especially clean, ironing is piled up.  My To Do list has nothing crossed off and some of those things have been on the list for months!

There have also been a couple of minor incidents at work which made me feel under valued and woke me up to the fact that I am really underemployed and it is beginning to take a toll on my psyche.

Which brings me to the job offer I got today.  A bit more money, fewer benefits. I would be a one woman show running the office.  Nothing taxing intellectually but the owner of the business is a character and the place needs a lot of work to get it organized.  He liked me, I liked him. About 12-15 minutes away from home, 8-5.  Tom is excited that I will be home evenings.  I won't miss wearing a uniform.

Still running the pluses and minuses in my mind, but it does seem time for a change and one has been offered up.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CHURCHES LEAVING BIG BANKS FOR LENT

A while back I wrote about the "Move Your Money Movement" which is a way that we can as individuals tell the big banks we don't like their policies and politics.   I have also been ranting of late about the attacks on women, education and policies by churches.  This week I found out that churches have been very active in moving their money from big banks.

Before Thanksgiving, churches moved $55 million away from Wall Street banks and pledged to move at least $100 million more. In late February, a San Francisco coalition moved $10 million from Wells Fargo. More churches are now joining the movement as a way to observe Lent. As congregations across the country observe the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter by sacrificing and repenting, religious leaders are asking big banks that have wrongfully foreclosed on homeowners and exacerbated the pain of the housing crisis to do the same, the New York Times reports:

Rev. Ryan Bell  is withdrawing the church’s money, several hundred thousand dollars, from its account with the Bank of America. By the April weekend when Christians mourn Jesus’ crucifixion and celebrate his resurrection, Mr. Bell said, he will have moved the assets to a local bank as a protest against Bank of America’s role in mass foreclosures and to issue a call for its repentance.

“To right the wrongs of the world is as much a part of the Lenten experience as to repent ourselves,” Mr. Bell, 40, the pastor of Hollywood Adventist Church near Los Angeles said in a phone interview this week. “During this season, when we individually are examining our lives, we think it’s appropriate for the institutions that affect us to examine theirs.”

I must give credit where it is due.  I am so happy to see so many churches being thoughtful about how they can positively impact and benefit society as a whole.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

PINTEREST PLANS

Since starting up my Pinterest addiction I have learned so many things.  Apparently there are 5983 ways to braid your hair. Women who aren't getting married are planning the details of their weddings. Some women spend a lot of time polishing their nails. There are a lot of very creative and talented people out their making food and crafts.  Owls are in.


I have also learned that I should have been posing my twins when they were babies to make them look adorable, rather than frog like.


My snacks were wanting in the creativity department.

Those forts made of sofa cushions and sheets weren't quite up to snuff.


And when it came to St Patrick's Day, I may have tinted the milk green, but I didn't do this:

  Or dress the kids up:



Or make one of these:


Now that I have all the great help from Pinterest, I am going to be a rocking grandma  (far away in the future!)



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

YES, I AM AN ADULT FAN OF THE HUNGER GAMES BOOKS

Lifted from Google images.
The timing wasn't right for me to read the Harry Potter books with my kids, I couldn't be convinced to read the Twilight series but I read all 3 of the Hunger Games books within a week.  They are that good.  I am planning to see the movie.  My excitement got my youngest daughter weirded out.

I looked into this phenomenon of adults reading young adult fiction and found that it adults are a really big part of the market.  Reasons cited are the crossover of many adult fiction writers to the genre (Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors but I have never read her YA fiction)  Other reasons cited are the stories themselves which are not so heavy with adult themes, the writing is good and according to historical writer Amanda Foremen  "A lot of adult literature is all art and no heart, But good Y.A. is like good television. There’s a freshness there; it’s engaging. Y.A. authors aren’t writing about middle-aged anomie or ­disappointed people.”


In The Hunger Games trilogy, the heroine isn't concerned with romance, though she is set up to have to choose between two guys who love her.  She is a strong but vulnerable, bossy, angry, naive, courageous girl made to grow up too fast. Fighting her own fears and disappointments in a corrupt world of the future.  Because she is so authentic, she draws people to her and becomes the reluctant  figurehead of a revolution.

She works hard to feed her family, is loyal to her friends, is defiant of a a corrupt government and manages to keep her clothes on, her integrity intact and to recover from the terrible events and betrayals she is put through.  She can be irritatingly indecisive, clueless about what is going on around her, angers easily and directs it without selfishly and when required to face self knowledge she is wont to hide in closets.  That is the hallmark of the YA focus of the book.  The younger set relates to her inner life struggles, the older readers see her core values and cheer her on.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

STILL BATTLING FOR RESPECT - INTL WOMEN'S DAY

An editorial from the Sunday NY Times stuck with me.  When States  Abuse Women by columnist Nickolas Kristof  draws the obvious comparison between non-consensual penetration and the new ultrasound requirements for abortions. A Texas doctor commented for the article:

 “It’s state-sanctioned abuse,” said Dr. Curtis Boyd, a Texas physician who provides abortions. “It borders on a definition of rape. Many states describe rape as putting any object into an orifice against a person’s will. Well, that’s what this is. A woman is coerced to do this, just as I’m coerced.”


“The state of Texas is waging war on women and their families,” Dr. Boyd added. “The new law is demeaning and disrespectful to the women of Texas, and insulting to the doctors and nurses who care for them.”


As women we are required throughout our lives to have our orifices probed and our breasts squeezed in the name of preventative health and child bearing.  I don't think any of us like it, some actually dread and avoid it.  And, as we  know, the majority of men can't even think about their "junk" being handled by a medical professional, much less having it be an annual event.

Which made me wonder what if anything doctors to do before prescribing Viagra? 

Researching this proved difficult.  There are so many pages of links to sites offering free samples, and cheap Viagra without prescriptions that I couldn't find any statistics or even conjecture on how many men just skip the doctor and go straight for the pills.  If they do go the legitimate way, a urologist performs a thorough exam including a digital rectal and penile anatomy exam.  My common sense tells me most men skip that part. 

Just another example of how it is still "a man's world."  It is harder and more expensive to get birth control, it is getting harder to exercise our legal right to abortion.  We still get paid less and find fewer executive spots, seats in congress and other positions of influence.   Religious  institutions are still run by men who have no interest in promoting or championing women, and, it appears, prefer to turn back the clock and make our lives even more restrictive.

I know a lot of people are counting on women to rise up and fight against all these attacks on our freedoms.  I am certainly talking to my daughters about it, my son, too.  But sometimes I feel so discouraged and beaten down.  Why is this happening still?  Again? 


WORDLESS WEDNESDAY



For Maggie!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NOT TO KEEP HARPING

I wanted to share a very  insightful quote from an article about the attack on women's rights by the right.  In her article on Salon, Sarah Posner writes:

 The Founders intended a secular government protecting the religious freedom of all, but over the past 40 years the Republican Party has evolved as the arm of a movement that insists the separation of church and state is a satanic, secularist purge of the pious. It doesn’t help when political reporters seem incapable of distinguishing Rick Santorum’s rant against church-state separation from a lament over loss of free expression.

On the Sunday Morning show on CBS last weekend, there was a comment that while organized, mandatory prayer in school was ended,  it didn't stop private, personal prayer from going on - especially on exam days!  So true and as it should be.

I agree with Posner that:

The current Republican excesses offer a golden opportunity for Democrats to expose them as not just opposed to women’s health, but to illustrate precisely why religion and policymaking are a toxic mix.

Instead of trying to make deals and compromises with the religious right, it is time to step away from the infusion of religion into our pubic policies, and go back to the ideals of the founding fathers who may have been Christians but knew from experience to keep their personal faith separate from their government.

Friday, March 2, 2012

FRIDAY FAST ONES

1.) Hearing about the death of Davy Jones this week brought up so many memories.  I was in 6th grade when The Monkees appeared on TV in a wacky show featuring their music.  All the girls picked out their favorites and made plans to meet and marry them.  Davy was the favorite but he was too short for me.  I liked Peter because he was so funny and Mike because he was tall and smart.  Isn't weird that I can still remember that?

2.)  Robert Reich is one of my heroes.  He is so smart and sensible and always seems to cut through to the meat of an issue.  He says that we shouldn't gloat too much about the wackadoos taking over the GOP because we are still a two party system and we will still see those people elected.

Yet even if they lose the presidency on Election Day they’re still likely to be in charge of at least one house of Congress as well as several state legislators and governorships. That’s a problem for the nation.


3.)  Finally saw The Descendents, George Clooney was amazing.  Have not seen The Artist, but I think George might have been robbed of his Oscar.  Netflix just delivered two more Oscar contenders:  Beginners and Midnight in Paris. 

4.)  Did you hear about the Republican, Tea Party member. Dallas-area doctor named Jacques Roy who was recently arrested and charged with bilking Medicare and Medicaid.  Dr. Roy is being charged with bilking the evil federal government for almost $375,000,000.  Wonder if his right wing friends still think President Obama's "mad power grab and Socialization of our private health care system" is worse than one man's own mad grab for over a third of a billion taxpayer dollars?

Maybe with "bigger government" allowing for more fraud investigation we could have caught this hypocrite sooner.

5.)  I keep wanting to write about Rush Limbaugh calling women who have sex "sluts."  Everyone keeps reacting to his language and typical twisted "logic" but I keep wondering - are those women having sex alone?  Are the men they are having sex with protecting them against an unwanted pregnancy?  Where are the men in these discussions? I mean besides calling women whores for having sex with them?  Oh, and telling them they are ruining the country with their out of wedlock babies or for having abortions?  The men are saying Viagra should be covered by insurance but wanting coverage for birth control makes us protitutes. 

Moms, wives, sisters, daughters - all of us are sluts, whores, protitutes.  What does that make them?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

CRIMINAL OR SOCIAL?

A few weeks ago I became aware of Pinterest.  I know, a bit behind the curve, but I have made up for it by spending hours pouring over pictures and recipes and laughing out loud at some of the stuff posted there.

The concept of Social Bookmarking was new to me.  You see stuff on the web and instead of saving that page to your computer favorites to refer to later, you bookmark it to one of these sites.  In the case of Pinterest, you pin it to one of many boards you can make, each titled as you like. You can also see what others have pinned to their boards and like it, comment on it or repin it to your own boards.

Pinterest has a variety of interests represented, but there are also social bookmarking sites out there for men (http://manteresting.com/) where the images are not pinned, but nailed - so manly.  Sites also focus on fashion, design, gadgets and porn.  Why am I not surprised, and no, I didn't look at that one.

So, another fun, time sucking thing to do online.  Because you realize after a bit that you want to add your own actual stuff to the boards, not just look and repin.  Doing that, my mind starts working as I am looking around for images to add.  Is this okay, legally and all?  For my little blogs read by a mere handful of folks and not monetized, I tend not to worry about using images from the web even though I know that legally I should be purchasing or getting permission to use them. 

The reality is that there is limited legal use allowed of the images owned by someone else and Pinterest knows that. When you sign up, if you read the fine print, they put the legal risk on the pinners/board owners to have permission to use the images.  In reality, I am not certain why someone who has allowed their images to be put on the web would be angry that they are embraced and being used on a social bookmarking site, but there may be a situation where that  happens.

The best way around this issue to to not use these sites. 

The second best way is to give full credit to the owner and publisher of the images, linking directly to the original source so that others are able to go back to that source and purchase from or otherwise benefit that source. 

That is how I plan to proceed as I spend hour upon hour looking at sumptuous images of dream homes, travel destinations and garden projects, fashion I could never wear and recipes I might give a try.