Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Riddance 2008

So here we are on New Years eve, just a few hours before midnight and all I can think is Good Riddance to 2008! Worst year ever! I am actually happier than I have been all year because this year will be over soon. I am looking forward to 2009 and all that it has to offer.

I will admit that some good things happened this year. I started this blog, I became very active in social media and my community. I found a lot of new friends on line that want to create the same kind of world that I want to live in. I have learned a great deal from all of those new wonderful contacts that has helped me to grow and become smarter and add to my personal skill set. Those are all good things.

Barack Obama was elected president. A man who wants and expects our help and input in order to put our country back on track. I am looking forward to his inauguration.

The things I will be happy to leave behind are the mess our economy is in and all of the criminal money grabbers that put our country in this mess. Many of you know I am looking for work. A long drawn out process further complicated by the sheer numbers of others who are looking for work out there.

My grandfathers passing this year was especially painful at Christmas. I have always spent time with my aunts, uncles and cousins in my grandfathers house on Christmas day. This year Christmas was just one particularly hard day that just needed to be muscled through. I have to give some credit for my Dad who did surprise my siblings and I by bringing out a box of ornaments my grandmother had made years ago and allowed each of us to pick two of them for own trees. Those ornaments are a big part of Christmas at grandpa's that all of us in the family hold dear.

The week before my grandfather passed, I had to say good bye to a much beloved very old calico kitty named Mama. A very special kitty indeed.

Next year will be the year when consumers take power. You mark my words! We are on line and we can organize so fast it will make your head spin. Consider this fair warning to all those huge companies out there, if you want our money you will need to listen to us. We want real customer service in exchange for our dollars. We want you to treat your employees the way you expect your employers to treat your customers. You need our money, these are our terms. No more monkey business.

Yep, I'm feeling much more hopeful about the new year. Good bye 2008, bring it on 2009!

Hope your New Year is good too!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ice Storms

Just a quick note to say I'm thinking of all the people who have been hit by serious ice storms and are now with out power. I feel for you. We had the same problem in 2004 and I was with out power for days, including through Christmas. Not fun!

It's really cold outside here today and I have errands to run. I've been postponing the inevitable by staying inside and learning a few new tricks on the computer like using MyBlogLog to track site statistics. Enough playing around, out we go!
Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Monday, December 8, 2008

If You Have Small Children, Please Read This Post

This post is particularly aimed at my cousins who read my blog and have small children, but it is also for anyone who has small children in the house. That goes for all you grandparents out there! I want you to gather up every electronic gadget that uses batteries in the house right now. Every remote, calculator, or what ever. Go ahead and do that, I'll wait until you get back.

Ready? Now turn over those gadgets to show you the battery access door. Is there a screw to hold the door shut? If not, get some duct tape and seal it up tight. I know it's ugly, but you'll thank me for this one day.

I came across a blog last week called Hazel Is In The Eye Of The Beholder. It's a blog about a beautiful baby named Hazel. For the past several weeks though, it has been a blog about a parents worst nightmare. In short, before Thanksgiving, little Hazel had gotten ahold of one of those little "button" batteries from a DVD remote and swallowed it. The battery lodged in her esophagus and remained there undetected for some time. Hazel's symptoms were similar to a rather nasty virus in the beginning so doctors had no reason to do a chest x-ray until Hazel was nearly at deaths door.

Miraculously, Hazel is recovering and her parents are just now learning how close they came to loosing their precious baby. The surprise is how many children accidentally ingest these small batteries and the the damage they can do is pretty scary. Even the AAA batteries are a hazard. With all the electronic gadgets out there, the danger is increasing exponentially. Many manufacturers of these gadgets are now working to make their products a little safer and that is why you are seeing more screws holding battery doors shut, but I would bet that you have one or two items in your home that don't have any safety on the battery doors. Especially older ones you really don't use any more. Hence the duct tape.

Those talking greeting cards are also a hazard! They have batteries in them as well. I know they are cute, but they can be dangerous to a small curious child so please put those out of reach while you're at it. If you need more information about what to do if your child swallows one of these, the National Capital Poison Center has information for you.

Drop me a line in the comments section and tell me that you have checked your gadgets and put up those talking greeting cards. I'd appreciate knowing your little ones are safe. Thanks!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cable TV and Me

I don't have cable. In fact I haven't had cable since sometime around 1979 when the boys were small and I was a stay at home mom. Cable didn't offer much then except all day reruns of Gilligan's Island, Andy Griffith and My Three Sons. There were cartoon channels and I could at least rely on them to keep the boys occupied for a few minutes so I could have a break. Sesame Street had top billing in our house though.

Since that time, I've pretty much dismissed cable as a drain on the finances and a means to turn the general public's minds to jello. Cable companies have spent a craptacular amount of money to try and entice me into subscribing over the years and I must admit that there have been times when I've been tempted to join the thousands of others and become a cable TV subscriber. In the end, finances have always won out over cable TV.

Lately though, I've been wishing I had it. Being unemployed has lead to moments of shear boredom and a desire to find some sort of diversion. Local TV programing leaves a lot to be desired in the way of intelligent, thoughtful or informative programs. Have you seen that new daytime show called The Doctors yet? It's supposed to be informative and sometimes it is but for crying out loud, all most everyday they have a segment on plastic surgery, liposuction or some other such thing. The last thing I need is to be spoon fed more crap about all the things I should be doing to keep my self looking like I'm 30. Honestly, do we really need to have some crap injected under the skin on our hands to make them younger too? What are we turning into? I don't understand why we continue with glamorizing or even normalizing these procedures right on the heels of talking about research studies that show young girls are struggling with negative body image and low self esteem because of this crap on TV.

Even the local news leaves me wanting. I want national and world news at my finger tips, right here, right now. So I've relied on my internet connection, which leaves a lot to desire in some ways. I can get the news and information I want but live streaming video really sucks between my cheap Gateway laptop and my DSL connection.

I've been thinking a lot about how people want what they can't have and being unemployed has created a lot of wants lately. I think this desire for cable is directly related to not having a job and the weather turning cold. Forcing me to stay inside more. If I were employed, I wouldn't have so much time on my hands needing to be filled with something else. If it were still warm, I could find plenty of things to do for free outside. I could go back to choosing not to have cable because I'm just to busy to enjoy it.

Last night, I actually looked at pricing for local cable offerings. Not really a smart thing to do when you know you aren't in any position to take advantage of a good deal even if you found one. I don't recommend it. So today, I'm going to focus on something else, what I do have. I have my health, my loving family, a whole host of new friends on line between Twitter and blogging. I have a roof over my head and pets that think I am a goddess. My brain still functions, I think.
I have a computer, an internet connection and the ability to continue to connect with others on line and the luxury of looking for a job on line, from my home any time of the day or night.

Please somebody, find my resume buried in that stack of 200 plus that you have and hire me! You would be performing a public service. If I don't find a job soon, I might just stoop to prank calling my mother for grins and giggles because I don't have cable to occupy me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Miscelany

I recently downloaded all the pictures from my digital camera. I had kept them on the camera thinking I would get to them eventually and yesterday was that day.

I'd like to share a few with you here, just because I feel like it.


These first 2 pictures are from Thanksgiving at the home of my son Vincent and his wife Teresa. My son sets a beautiful table and I just had to capture a picture of it. I like the simplicity of black, white and clear. It created a beautiful picture to behold.




You may be interested to know that the plates were stocked over time from flea markets and thrift stores. Originally sold as "open stock" here in the US, the pattern was discontinued years ago. A friend of mine and I scoured various places here in Columbus to help create this collection for the kids.

The silver, I found at an antique mall in South Charleston, Ohio as a wedding gift for them. Nice to see they are putting it to good use.

I had a great time with Vincent that day. One of the things we enjoy doing together is cooking and creating a lovely dinner like this will always be a special memory for me. I find that not having any great expectations for these types of gatherings enhances my enjoyment of the day, the food and the company. During dinner I remember thinking that this one one of the better Thanksgivings.


This next picture is from the Grounds of the Franklin Park Conservatory. I liked the mix of colors in this planting.











This is a picture of a flower on a fast growing vine that showed up on the bushes in front of my house this past summer.

I am told that it is called a passion flower and depending on which web site you find is considered an expensive flowering vine used in landscaping or a fast growing wildly invasive noxious weed. I can attest to the speed with which it grows and spreads.

It is a mystery to me as to where it came from or how it got here. There aren't any of these vines in my neighborhood. I can only assume a bird, squirrel or rabbit dropped the seeds after having ingested them. I have decided to keep the seed pods from the vines and cultivate the vines along my back fence next summer.


Here is a picture I took at the Cleveland Air Show over Labor Day weekend. I like planes.

I like the lines of planes, the shear ingenuity that goes into creating this huge piece of machinery that flies.


















Finally, this picture is of the biggest spider I have ever seen outside of a zoo display. I tried to get photos of the web structure this big galoot created over night on my front lawn but my camera just isn't that great for those sort of pictures.

This guy was roughly the size of a half dollar when you include the leg span. The web was anchored to the front of my house, the gutter above and the rail fence that runs along the walkway to my front door. I think he/she was planning on catching a few small birds or even a human or two. :)

So that's all I have for you today. Hope you all are doing well. Stay happy and don't stop looking for the interesting things on ordinary days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Geckofabulous

I've been in the mood for funny lately and feel like sharing it with you. So here to tickle your funny bone, the dancing lizard:



Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just For My Dad

This post is just for my dad cuz he's such a dork. You can listen in too if you'd like...




You've been Rick Rolled!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Motrin Moms Update

Katja Presnal has an excellent update on her blog Ladybug Landings with a letter from Susie Spence, president of the nonprofit organization Babywearing International inc. Go read it. Good stuff.

I also found a wonderful post from Julie Roads, on her Blog Writing Roads how she would have written the Motrin ad. Her proposed ad copy is very well written casts an even broader net to fathers and grandparents is informative, sensitive and inclusive. Bravo!

I just want to also add that I have been a little dismayed with some of the backlash I have seen directed at the women who have participated in blogging about the Motrin ads. There have been some rather negative remarks on twitter and on the comment sections of other blog posts suggesting these women have too much time on their hands and resorting to the classless snark of hormones, PMS, and boredom. Not surprisingly most of the remarks have come from men, but sadly they have also come from women. It saddens me that when a group of women speak out to say they find something offensive, a group of people will make disparaging remarks about it. The general theme being to shut up. They fail to see why the very women the Motrin ad was designed to target were offended should have a voice in saying so.

For years advertising has cast women, especially moms, in a negative light. Moms feel judgment from all sides for every decision and choice that they make regarding how they care for their children. Those decisions aren't made lightly and thanks to the internet, not only are they able to research information that will assist them in making informed decisions, but they are also able to find other women who struggle as they do to find the right answers. They are a powerful group in terms of the amount of money they control and spend and in light of today's economy, companies are going to have to learn to show them some real respect in order to be able to profit from them. From what I've read, it seems that there are still a few (mostly) men out there that just simply don't like that idea.

To the men that did understand the issue and created thoughtful intelligent responses I simply say thank you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More on Motrin's Bad-vertising Campaign

Here is a video of some of the response to Motrin's baby wearing ad. This is a great compilation of Twitter posts along with pictures of moms wearing their babies. Funny, none of the mom's look like they're in pain to me....




Oh, to all you baby wearing moms, those are some darn cute kids!

Update:

Links to a few other blogs that reference this:


Motrin Giving Mom's A Headache


Motrin, Whose Feeling The Pain Now?

When Motrin Creates A Marketing Mom Miss...


Mom's Speak Out Against Motrin Ad


A Dad & Pharma Rep Perspective On The Motrin Ad

Oh, and by the way, on the Motrin site, the Childrens Motrin Ad is completely off the mark as well. In that one, we are all crazy moms with crazy kids.

Yet Another Update:Yet Another Update: As of this evening, the Motrin site has been taken down, but some one has it saved on You Tube.

A couple of the mommy bloggers who responded to the add on the Motrin site received a letter from the VP of the marketing for the campaign. You can read it at Crunchy Domestic Goddess.

Would You Like Some Insult With Your Pain Reliever?

A whole army of passionate moms in the blogosphere are ticked off and rightly so. I don't know who came up with this idea for Motrin but it's a bad one. You can see the ad online here.The ad is targeted to women who "wear" their babies. You know, those baby slings that hug the baby close to mom or dad. Research has shown that babies who are carried this way cry less. The slings also help to position the baby so as to prevent strain on backs and arms. I would also hazard a guess that they are safer too.

In the ad, a woman is talking about the pain she experiences by "wearing her baby" but, she is willing to tolerate the pain because it totally makes her "totally look like an official mom." So the ad folks at Motrin think that baby slings are a fashion accessory? Did anyone really ask moms to weigh in on this one? Apparently not judging by what I'm seeing on twitter. I would love to be a fly on the wall at Johnson & Johnson HQ on Monday morning to hear how they're going to get out of this one.

I think I need to go take an Advil now...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning of My Dreams Has Finally Come

It has finally come. The Morning of my dreams. Yesterday, history was made but today is what I have been waiting for. For years I have longed to wake up to a new day and a different future. Not for me but for my sons. Since they were small, I have worked to ensure that my sons be critical thinkers. To look beyond the rhetoric of campaign ads and to choose wisely.

I dreamed of a morning when our nation has an opportunity to heal the scars of racism. To move forward from hate and division. A future that includes possibilities for a cleaner environment, a partnership with the world for peace and a symbol of hope for the disenfranchised.

That morning is here and my sons were a part of making that happen. My sons had a voice in this election. My sons have a better hope for their own futures. My neighbors children have a better future ahead of them.

We had to work hard to get here, but the real work is just beginning. I look forward to the task in front of us. The results of this election prove that America is ready to take a giant leap forward. Change is going to happen at a speed that will make your head explode. But for today, this day, I will spend in quiet reflection and gratitude to all who worked so hard to make it happen.

Update
One more thought: My proudest moment as a mother: Both of my sons voted for Barack!

Oh! and I am adding this because I want to remember it:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Out and VOTE! Then Get Out THE Vote!

The day is finally upon us! I voted over two weeks ago and it only took a half hour from start to finish. I voted early because I wanted to be available on Election Day to help ensure that others get to cast their ballot as well.

If you didn't vote early, please get out and vote today. When you are done, make sure your friends get out to vote too! You can still volunteer to help by contacting your local Obama Campaign offices today. They are coordinating a city-wide effort to get people to the polls and encouraging people in long lines to stay until they cast their ballot.

I will be volunteering for this effort by working as a Line Manager. We will be available to give out sample ballots, point you to the voter protection workers if you have questions and trying to keep you entertained while you wait.

I will be posting updates on twitter during the day and plan on remaining at my assigned location until the last voter is done.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One More Day!

Only one more day of nasty attack ads and lies. Instead of getting on my soap box, today I will entertain you with this:




And This:




And finally, This:



See you at the polls! Go vote!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Back Up Your Buddies On Election Day!

I received an email today from MomsRising.org that is such a great idea, I had to share it with you here.

It's called Back Up Your Buddies On Election Day. The email points out what all busy families know, that there is always the possiblility that some last minute emergency will arise from a sick kid to a flat tire that could interfere with our ability to get to the polls and vote on election day.

MomsRising asks that you email your friends and let them know that you are willing to make yourself available to them on election day to help deal with the unexpected in order to allow them time to get to the polls to cast their ballot. You can send the email from their site by going here.

This election is too important, too historical for any of us to miss. I have already voted so come election day, if my friends or family need me as a back up, I am available. I also forwarded the email to a few of my friends and hope that you will consider doing the same.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things I have Noticed Lately

As we get closer to election day and the polls continue to show that Barack Obama has a healthy enough lead to win, I have noticed some subtle changes in my neighborhood. I live in an area that is racially mixed with low and moderate income households. We are renters and homeowners here and most of the local jobs are low paying fast food or cashier jobs.

They are the kind of jobs that can wear down your spirit and over the past four years I have seen a look in the eyes of the people I interact with in these places. But something has changed lately. The people in my neighborhood hold their heads a little higher, their backs are a littler straighter. There is a spark in their eyes and I see it becuse they are making eye contact again and smiling.

I think it's Barack Obama, I think it is the possibility that change, real change is with in reach and I think it is pride. We are proud of Barack. We are proud that he has managed to stay a strong and steady voice in these last months of the campaign while his opponent has launched a nasty campaign of hate and rumors. Barack has lead the way for how our behavior should be during these final days. A shining example of what is good and right with America.

Keep the faith my friends and keep working as hard as you can for Barack to win. This election isn't over yet and when it finally is, we will look to Barack to lead the way for how we are going to really get busy and put things right again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Keith Olberman Is My Hero

He says everything I have been thinking and then some. So I will let him speak here:


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

National Action Day!

It's National Action Day and bloggers who committed to participate agreed that on this day, they would blog about poverty from their own personal perspective. Here is mine:

I have a background in social services working in homeless shelters, supportive housing programs and community organizations. But today, I want to talk to you about a particular period in my life. That time was when I was a single parent living in a HUD subsidized complex with my two young sons. My child support payments amounted to a whopping $75.00 per week and just barely covered my childcare expenses while I worked in a minimum wage job. At the time, minimum wage was $3.25 per hour.

There were times when money was especially tight. Times when I wasn't receiving child support at all in the days prior to child support enforcement meant that you had to pay to hire your own attorney to take your ex to court for non-payment.

I am extremely grateful to my parents who were there to help me during those difficult times. They ensured that we had enough food, the utilities stayed on and we had clothes on our backs. We were living in what is called situational poverty. Meaning poverty brought about by a particular situation and resolvable with time and the right opportunities.

In the complex I lived in and in the work I later did, I had plenty of opportunity to come in contact with people who have been raised in generational poverty. Poverty that persists through more than one generation and I can tell you this, all of the people I have worked with have had hopes and dreams and desires of their own to over come their circumstances and better their lives.

They key is access to services that truly work to help someone move ahead AND people who are willing to be mentors. Mentors are people like you and me who are willing to assist someone in succeeding. To teach them about how to handle situations differently, to overcome the tyranny of the moment and plan for the next day, the next paycheck, the next step on the next goal. I was assisted by my parents but I have to admit that there were others who believed in me as well. People who saw something in me that was worth their time. That told me I could do it. They are men and women whom I will never forget and will be grateful to always. I repay their kindness to me by turning around and giving it to someone else. From them I learned to lead by example, teach what you can, share what you know and let your faith do the guiding.

Is there someone you know who could benefit from your support? Do you want to help and don't know how? Ask them what they need, you don't have to fix it, just listen and see if there is some small step some piece of information you can give them. It may seem small to you but I promise you, it is huge to them and they will repay you by giving back to others.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Homeless Guy Says It Better Than Me

Kevin Barbieux is The Homeless Guy who writes about life in homelessness and advocates for the homeless on his blog. Yesterday, Kevin wrote a post On Homelessness that is a must read for all advocates for the homeless, staff of homeless shelters and especially those who do not understand homelessness. Please read it, that's all I ask.

Tomorrow is National Blog Action Day and this year the topic is Poverty. I have committed to post a blog here and will also post on the Central Ohio Network Blog. If you have a blog, please consider participating.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Truth Fights Back

I found this site on the web while doing my morning web surf for news. With all of the hateful lies and smears that are flying around about Barack Obama, it's nice to find a web site dedicated to tracking those lies and telling the truth. These folks are worthy of your support.

Truth Fights Back

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sarah Palin, Please Shut Up!

Dear Sarah Palin,

You do not represent me as a woman so please shut up. Frankly, I think you are an embarrassment to women in general. I am fed up with your remarks denigrating Barack Obama and claiming that he is paling around with terrorists. You are spreading lies and hate and feeding on others fears. That is not how classy intelligent women behave, so I am guessing you aren't one.

As a woman and a mother, I believe our role is to nurture our children, to teach them right from wrong. To raise them to stand up when an injustice is being done and to find compassion for ALL human beings. It is our responsibility to teach our children that others deserve a second chance. You continue to refer to William Ayers as a terrorist even though he has redeemed himself and become a highly respected university professor. I call that hateful. Launching a smear campaign against your opponent because you can't come up with anything intelligent of your own to say is not behaving like an upstanding, patriotic christian. Through all this what I have learned about you is that you are cruel, calculating and you will work to win at any cost.

Our young people need real examples of positive leadership, human compassion and the ability to participate in the democratic process with out resorting to ugliness. You should be ashamed of yourself for the mean smear tactics that you are currently employing. This is not what we want our children to learn. In particular our daughters do not need to learn this. You should be setting a better example for them.

Irregardless of your difference of opinion with Barack Obama, he deserves to be treated with respect for all of his accomplishments and his ability to not judge another person by their past acts but by the lessons they have learned and what they have to offer to the community now. You could learn a lot from Barack Obama and I suggest you shut up and listen, because for now, you do not speak for me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Now That's A Sweet Tweet!


So Many of you know I am on Twitter and many Twitteraties know that Whole Foods is on Twitter as well. The cool thing about having company representation on Twitter is that we get an opportunity to interact and give feed back. Whole Foods has been doing this great little activity that they call Tweet Of The Day (TOTD). The person behind the whole foods Twitter account selects their favorite tweet that mentions whole foods and the person who sent the teet gets a $25.00 gift card. So today guess what.... I was today's TOTD! I received a direct message from whole foods telling me that I will recieve a $25.00 gift card so I can buy all the honey buns I want. Now that is one Sweet Tweet. Thanks Whole Foods. You Rock!

Where Have You Been All My Life?

I have just found one of the funniest Bloggers I have ever read. This woman has me laughing so hard I can barely get through her posts! You've just got to go read this stuff for your self. Allow me to introduce you to The Bloggess. Where has this woman been all my life?

Caution, there are a few bad words so if you are easily offended, it might be better for you to just stay here in your safe little cubby. I also follow her on Twitter, where she is just as funny but in 140 charectors or less.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Natural Landscaping

I read an article yesterday on the WOSU News site about two home owners in Upper Arlington who have chosen to use natural landscaping instead of the typical manicured lawn. I like the idea of using native plants and trees on your property to create color shade and interest. The added plus is that there is less mowing to do, if at all.

My property is in need of a lot of love and this is certainly the kind of love I would like to give it. I'm all for less time spent mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. The added benefit is that you will attract an interesting variety of birds and butterflies. I would love to have a conversation with these two home owners about their process for planning and acquiring trees and plants. I could use some pointers.

Have you put any native plants in your yard or garden? If so, let me know in the comments section. I'd like to hear about it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Giggleseeds from Startup Weekend

Giggleseeds is one of the companies to come out of this past Startup Weekend in Columbus. Their first application is called itoot and was created for the iphone. I don't own an iphone, but if I could afford it I would buy one just to download this and support their new company. itoot is incredibly funny in a sophmoric fashion but hey, these guys are going to make money doing it. I salute them being able to get the company together, creat an application and even create a commercial all in 52 hours. Enjoy!

What I Did Over The Weekend

I participated in the first ever Startup Weekend Columbus! I wrote a post about my thoughts and experience over on the Central Ohio Network site. You can go over there to read what I had to say. If you don't know what Columbus Startup Weekend is, go here to read about it.

Looking ahead, to next week, Columbus Social Media Cafe is meeting at the Main Library downtown and is open to anyone interested in social media in Columbus. We are looking at ways we can use social media to foster better communication among groups, improve our community and enhance public awareness and participation in all things Columbus. Hope to see you there!

On a personal note, I've applied to a couple jobs in the social services arena. Please keep your fingers crossed. If you know of any openings, feel free to drop me a note and let me know. Thanks!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sex Offenders: Where Is The Other Half Of The Conversation?

Lately in the local news I see that reporting about sex offenders in your neighborhood has reared it's ugly head. Now before you go off on me please know that I am not advocating for complete amnesty for convicted sex offenders so don't get all worked up before you read further.

Why I said that is because the reports that I see in the media are completely one sided and seem to only work to get people worked up about it. Most news reports only focus on where sex offenders live and who does not want them there. What I have yet to see is a report on where they are supposed to live. Many who have a previous conviction for a sex offense come through the homeless shelter system and stay longer than most because of the difficulty in finding housing. If they can't stay in the shelter because of capacity limits, then they are forced onto the streets. Which is exactly where we don't want them.

Add to that, anyone with a prior sex offense is often seen as a pedophile or repeat offender although many are not. There are many degrees of sex offenses and the general public is not informed on what they are. So who really is dangerous and who is not? I'd like to see the media educate the public on that rather than creating and participating in stereo typing and further polarizing the community.

I also want to know what the research is regarding a convicted sex offenders likelihood of offending again. Is there any research on treatments that have had success? How are sex offenders being rehabilitated and what can be done to ensure the best possible outcome?

If our community is to be truly made safe for all, then we need to be having the discussion of how to make it safe with out getting whipped up into a frenzy where we wind up keeping people in prison for life so as not to deal with the hard task of finding a solution. Prisons cost more than community based treatment and are not an effective answer for anything. As long as all convicted sex offenders are portrayed in the media as the most dangerous pedophiles, the public will view them that way and more housing and job opportunities will disappear, causing them to break the law by not having a registered address and the cycle of revolving through the prison system will continue.

If our local media wants to be considered first rate, I think it needs to do a better job of balancing these types of stories. Report the problem then seek out who is working on the solution, other wise, you are just contributing to making the community more polarized. It's not just the issue of sex offenders that are portrayed in such a one sided manor, it includes people with drug, alcohol and other convictions as well. I've seen the media go on what I see as witch hunts to expose people with criminal records to the public. I just don't see the media going out of it's way to show how the community is or is not addressing the issue of effective treatment and finding long term, positive solutions.

There I've said it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Grandpa's Funeral, What I Want To Remember

Funerals are largely sad events. It's not fun to get together as a family under the circumstances of having lost a loved one, but there are some things that I want to remember. They are probably only important or special to me so you are excused from reading the rest of this post if you so desire.

I want to remember that all of my cousins were there. It's been a long time since we were all together in the same room, there are so many of us. Grandpa had 15 surviving grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. It's difficult to get that many people together at any one time and the fact that we were all there for Grandpa says a lot about what he meant to us all.

I want to remember how the three photo albums drew us in time and again. They were on the tables at the funeral home and again after the funeral they were available during the meal. There were pictures of my Grandpa, his parents and siblings in their youth. Pictures of my dad and uncles all through their lives. My cousins and I chuckling over our own childhood school pictures and sharing with our nieces and nephews funny stories about their parents. I even learned some new things about my own parents. After the meal, we got together and took pictures of what I like to call The Wehrle Tribe. We are a huge over whelming bunch.

I want to remember introducing my own children to their great, great aunt Kitty. She is such a sweet woman and I wanted them to know her. I wanted my sons to see that I adore her and hoped that they would pick up on why.

I want to remember that my Grandpa had a strong and deep faith. He was well known at St Patrick's Church as he had been a lifelong member. I learned that he was present the night the church burned in 1935.

I want to remember the members of the Navy that came to the cemetery to honor my Grandpa as we laid him to rest. I didn't get a chance to thank them personally before they left, but I want them to know it meant a lot to me personally. Watching my father receiving the flag that was draped over my Grandpa's casket was touching and bitter sweet for me. Hearing the words of the officer that presented the flag to my dad truly made me cry.

I want to remember my youngest brother Matt's admiration for Grandpa. I think out of all of the grand kids, my brother admired him most and Grandpa lived a life worth admiring and emulating. It broke my heart to see him grieving so deeply. I hope he comes to understand that Grandpa lives on in his love.

I want to remember discovering the stained glass window in St Patrick's church that had the words in the bottom "In Memory Of The Wehrle Family" I never knew that window existed. It is a beautiful picture of the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her hair. Words can not express how seeing that filled me with such a sense of belonging, of who I am and where I come from. It galvanized in me more than anything else that our family has an established history. That we exist in the world outside of the connection of geneology.

Finally, I want to remember my Grandpa's love for my grandmother who passed over 20 years ago. The reminders of how crazy they were about eachother was evident everywhere you looked. The pictures of them together, her smiling at him, so many reminders of that great love. It's so rare anymore, but between the two of them it was evident. We all knew it. My cousins, aunts and uncles all spoke of how those two loved and adored eachother. After the service at the cemetery, I left with my sons and daughters in law. We had headed north and got caught in traffic and realized it would be better to turn around and go south. Going south meant passing by the cemetery again and I could see from the road that they were placing my Grandpa's casket into the above ground vault beside my grandmother. My first thought was they are finally beside each other again. I am a romantic at heart and it was this that made me cry in ernest. In my mind, I imagine their happy reunion. Goodbye Grandpa, may you and Grandma rest in peace together.

Lawrence F. Wehrle
August 6, 1912 - June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Social Media Can Expand Your Universe


In just a few short months, my Universe has grown. I am now a contributing blogger on the Central Ohio Network and hang out with the likes of some really awesome bloggers and social networkers that I met on Twitter. Go check out the site and subscribe to stay updated on information about networking, social media and other events in Central Ohio.

If you'd like to dive into this wonderful wild crazy internet social networking thing and don't know where to start, may I suggest a few places? PodCamp Ohio is this Saturday,June 28, ITT has graciously offered their site to host the event. I am one of the organizers and plan to be there all day. No experience is necessary to attend and the event is free. We will even serve lunch. You can meet other bloggers, podcasters and social media types. I think of it as an immersion school of sorts.

Next up is Startup Weedend. Want to be a part of creating a startup business in one weekend? Then Columbus Startup Weekend Might be for you. This promises to be an excellent event and I am planning on learning a great deal from this. TechColumbus will be our host. There is a small fee to attend but it's worth the $40. Where else can you go to learn and participate in a creative experience like this for $40? Oh, and the Central Ohio Network folks will be there too!

Speaking of TechColumbus, I was there last night for the monthly meeting of the Columbus Social Media Cafe. Here is another terrific group of people who are connecting in Columbus to do cool things. We've been talking about our mission and vision and what direction we will be moving in. Using the Open Space concept, everyone has an opportunity to contribute and be a part of the conversation. Go visit their website to get a rundown of last night's meeting and conversation. If you are planning on attending one of these events, drop me a line in the comments section and let me know who you are so I can be sure to say hello. Watch the Central Ohio Network site for updates on any of these events. Take care!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Mama Kitty Taught Me



I lost my old Mama Kitty this week. How could such a little critter have such a big impact on my life? She was always small and in the end she weighed four scant pounds, but in life, her spirit was huge.

She was already full grown and had birthed several litters by the time I showed up in her life at the shelter where I used to work in 1994. Skittish and cautious, she was accustomed to life on the streets. Relying on people food and milk set out for her by the men in the shelter and what ever mice she happened to catch, I thought her size was due to lack of proper food.

Mama Taught Me Patience

When Mama had her last litter, she delivered three kittens. Only one survived. It drove me nuts that she was having one litter after another and contributing to the over population of feral cats roaming inner city streets. I became determined to get this cat off the streets and out of the kitten making business. But how? She wouldn’t let anyone come near her. Armed with cans of tuna fish, I began putting out small plates of it whenever she was near by. Eventually, she got used to seeing me and I could move the plate closer to me and sit near her while she ate. Finally, she allowed me to pet her. This made it possible to scoop her into a pet carrier and whisk her off to the vets where amazingly, she was given a clean bill of health. No fleas, worms, ear mites, nothing. After a round of vaccinations and an appointment to be spade, I took her home where she chose to hide in my closet.

Mama Taught Me Consistency Leads To Trust

Mama didn’t trust her new surroundings and so preferred to hide in the closet most of the time. Eventually, at night she would come out and hop onto the corner of the bed while I slept and curl up, only to jump down and run off to the closet again. She gradually over came her fears and began spending time out in the open and allowing me to pet her. Finally, she became accustomed to her new digs and took over the rule of the roost.

Mama Taught Me Stick Up For Myself When My Needs Weren’t Getting Met

Mama came to believe that she deserved to be loved and petted. She endeared herself to many a visitor to my home. I would have to warn them that if they began to pet her and stopped before she was ready, she would swat them and swat them she did. She wouldn’t use her claws but boy could she give you a good smack! Hard enough to make sound. She would also meow very loudly in order to get your attention if he food or water dish was empty. Many times I would pick up the dish to go fill it and she would chase behind me, swatting the backs of my feet and meowing as if to scold me for neglecting my duties.

Mama Taught Me That Sometimes Love Means You Have To Do The Hard Stuff

In her final weeks, Mama became weaker. I spent a lot of time with her just lying on my lap. Taking advantage of what little time we had left. She became thinner and weaker and each morning that I woke up to find that I had one more day with her was a gift. On her last day, I was sure that she would go on her own with in just a few hours but that was not to be. By early afternoon, it became clear that I was going to have to make the painful and difficult decision to call the vet and assist her on her journey. Those decisions are always tough. You spend time anguishing about whether or not it’s time, if it’s the right thing to do. Mama just seemed to hang on even though she couldn’t stand up. She didn’t seem to know where she was any more and was barely conscious.

My vet was very understanding and allowed me all the time I needed. That final ride was tough. I’ve had to take this ride before and it never gets easier, ever. I found my self reflecting on the parade of pets that have come through my life and how Mama was joining the ranks of the ones who are missed. I have a friend who was also considerably attached to Mama Kitty and he drove me to the vet’s office and then to drop her off to be cremated.

I hate it when it hits you that gone is gone. The realization always comes as a sharp pain. The day after Mama died, I heard a robin singing loudly outside. I went to the window and looked out. There it was on the neighbor’s fence looking up into the window I was looking out of and singing. I decided it was a singing telegram from Mama, a message that she had arrived safely at her destination and was happy in her new home. I will miss her for a long time but I believe I will see her again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Start Engaging Others

So my good friend Rocky VanBrimmer is stepping out of his role as a Realtor and into a whole new world of On Line Consulting and Training. I highly recommend that you check out his site and sign up for future trainings if you are interested in learning how to use social networking and social media to boost your business or increase your internet presence.

I'm looking forward to learning new tricks from Rocky.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Catching Up

I have been neglecting you lately haven't I? For someone who isn't currently employed, it sure seems like I have a lot going on lately. I am doing a little bit of floor refinishing work for a friend. That's helped me keep my head just above water lately.

The quarter is over at school and the finals are done. So I can focus on finding real work. Hopefully I will be able to do more writing here. I went down to the Arts Festival Friday afternoon and just wandering through the different booths helped to get my creative juices flowing a bit more. I spent some real quality time with my thoughts while I was there. It's interesting to wander from booth to booth and just take it all in. One minute you are enjoying the serene colors of a landscape painting, imagining your self there floating in a boat. Then turn the corner into another booth and Pow! Your eyes meet with a cacophony of abstract paintings in exuberant primary colors. If you are like me, if art, music sound and color illicit emotional responses then you'll understand me when I say it's kind of like playing crack the whip with your mind or a cosmic whack to your creative self. I'm glad I went.

On the home front, I am preparing for two partings. I have a very old small and mighty calico cat who has quite a story behind her. She has been ill as of late. I borrowed some money from a friend so that I could take her to the vets this past week. The news so far is not good. She has an abdominal mass, and possible kidney failure among other issues. She's really too old to be able to with stand any real intervention to try and lengthen her life. I am trying to make the best of the time I have left with her. I will be writing more about her in a later post as I really want to honor this magnificent companion.

The second parting is my grand father on my father's side. He is my last surviving grand parent. In 2004 he was treated for T-Cell Lymphoma and recovered quite well until recently. His symptoms returned and the doctors have told him that his body isn't going to be able to with stand another round of the aggressive chemo that he was given before. So Hospice has been contacted and we are all trying to spend as much time with him as we possibly can. Grandpa is in his 90s and I lost count a long time ago of how many grand kids and great grand kids there are. We will probably wear the poor man out with our visits and some one is going to need to install a revolving door on his house.

Speaking of Grandpa's house, that place has some pretty special memories for me and I have been struck with how every thing will change when he is gone. I have spent every single Christmas Day for the past 50 years in that house. When I was a kid, my grand parents had the basement remodeled to resemble the old Kahiki restaurant here in Columbus. The remodel was complete with a water fall that has something in the water to turn it a glowing lavender color under the black lights. My cousins and I spent hours down there on Christmas Day. As an adult, most of my time was spent upstairs but our own kids got a chance to have their fun in the basement as well. It just won't seem like Christmas with out a brief trip to Hawaii just down a flight of stairs. I will miss that. His house is intertwined with him and my grand mother in my memory. I will be writing more about my grand father in the days to come as well.

So that's about it. What's new with you?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Remember Local Social Services When Times Are Tough.

When disaster strikes, Americans show their compassion and generosity whether her in the US or in far flung places. I am always humbled by the number of people who mobilize around a cause. The recent earth quakes in China and the Cyclones in Myanmar are just two of the most recent. Hurricane Katrina and 911 were US disasters that spurred Americans into action. But this generosity comes at a cost. Many people will forgo their regular contributions to local charities and take that money to donate it to an immediate need.

In have worked for local non-profits for some time now and I can tell you that these disasters have had a direct negative impact on them. Local charities depend on grants and donations in order to survive. So many people responded generously to Hurricane Katrina relief and found that they could not then turn around and make their annual donation to a local nonprofit. The timing was the worst possible scenario. So close to the Christmas Holiday season when nonprofits can depend on end of year donations that never came. The end result? Social service agencies had to lay off workers, close programs and cut back to bare bones minimums in order to provide something to the city's neediest.

Now with the economy being so bad, I am wondering how they are fairing. (I was one of the laid off so I don't know what's happening directly) It must be pretty bad when the news is reporting an increase in the number of families relying on food pantries and soup kitchens to make ends meet.

So imagine what I am thinking this morning when I read a report written by Tom Borgerding at WOSU news that Holy Family has lost $90,000 worth of that precious food because metal thieves have stolen the compressors to their walk in refrigeration units. It's bad enough that we have all these competing needs and there just isn't enough expendable income to go around and ensure our local social services stay afloat. But seriously!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

An Open Letter to Liz

Dear Liz,

We didn’t abandon you sweetie. It was you that abandoned us. I didn’t even know that you had done so until your ex-husband called to tell me that you were in a motor cycle accident in another state, that you were in critical condition and not expected to live.

I was stunned to silence that drugs and alcohol would have taken you down that road. I know I shouldn’t be surprised anymore when I hear of these things happening but I still am.

So now you are calling to say that your family and friends have abandoned you. We are here, we just can’t watch anymore. I can’t watch you continue in this downward spiral. It’s too devastating. The worst part is that you know exactly where this will lead you.

When your ex first phoned me about your accident, I called all the wonderful women who know you. All of those women you met when you went camping with me. They loved you and accepted you and we all are your sisters. I can’t begin to tell you how many women lit candles and prayed to their God or Goddess for the best possible outcome for you. We prayed that if you would live, you would get well, get healthy, get clean, get sober and come back to us. If we couldn’t have you back, we prayed that you go quickly and not have to suffer any pain. We prayed that you would find peace.

So now here you are, you are alive and yet, you are only half alive because drugs and alcohol are stealing the other half. You are miserable and you want it to change but on your terms. You want to be able to have it all fixed and still keep using. It doesn’t work that way sweetie. We want you back, but only if you are willing to come all the way back. Only if you will get help and really do the deal of recovery because watching you now is just to hard.

I miss you Liz, I miss your energy, your loving spirit, the wonderful talks that we had. The shared passion of owning parrots, of caring for wildlife of being mothers of working for social justice and a better life for all. Remember when it was you and I who talked about how we wanted to make a difference in the lives of others who were trying to get clean and sober? We can still do that, but you have your own battle to fight first. Get well and then come home to us. We love you.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hail Mary's and Josephine

Growing up Catholic creates certain opportunities for rebelliousness that might have other wise been missed. In the neighborhood where I grew up, there was an elderly woman named Josephine who lived across the street from my family. Josephine was an Italian immigrant that, in pure Catholic fashion, had a huge brood of children and spent most of her life caring for them.

She lived with her son and grandson and spent her days in the summer sitting on the porch watching the rest of the neighborhood. Josephine couldn’t read or write and by the time I met her, she had lost all her teeth. She preferred being barefoot on her porch which was one of the things that I liked about her. As a young girl, I didn’t mind spending time sitting with her on her porch but as I grew older and gained more freedom to leave my block, I spent less time on her porch swing.

There were times when Josephine could be down right annoying though. With six kids in our family, during the summer when we became bored, we would drive our mother to distraction. Once she had finally had enough, she would chase after us spatula in hand, ready to give one of us a swat on the back side. My mother would never spank us in public and knowing that, we would run out the front door and into the yard. Josephine, sitting on the porch would spy us running and my mother on our porch demanding we return to the house, would stand up and yell “Beat the hell outta those kids Sheila, the little brats!” To which we would yell back at her to mind her-own business.

Once in my early teens, there where times when I would leave the house on my way to be with friends, Josephine would yell for me to come and sit on her porch with her. When I told her no, that I was going somewhere, Josephine would angrily reply, “Go on then Little Miss Independent, I don’t want a snotty little girl like you over here any way.” She always called me Little Miss Independent like is was the worst thing in the world for a young girl to be. So Josephine poured gasoline on the fire of my rebelliousness.

Occasionally, on Saturday’s, my mother would agree to drive Josephine to church so she could go to confession. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to ensure her children’s salvation, she would also drag along any of her kids who happened to be old enough to go to confession and weren’t lucky enough to be away from the house at the time. One of those Saturday’s, my older brother and I weren’t so lucky.

On the way home from the church, Josephine reached over tapping my mother on the arm, and asked conspiratorially “What’d you get?’” then with out waiting for an answer, she continued “I’ve got to say seventy five Our Fathers and a hundred Hail Mary’s. I’m going to die before I say all those.” My mother glanced up into the rearview mirror at my brother and I and said “Kids, if you two say twenty five Our Fathers and forty Hail Mary’s then Josephine will only have twenty five Our Fathers and Twenty Hail Mary’s.” She didn’t wait for a reply but I can tell you that I sat in that back seat, crossed my arms over my chest and glared at the back of Josephine’s head. If she thinks I’m going to say prayers for her, she’s go another think coming. Josephine could some times infuriate me. So could my mother. I think I eventually said those prayers over the years. I think of Josephine and that day every time I hear one of those prayers being said at weddings, christenings and even in the movies. I just think to myself, this is for you Josephine, from Little Miss Independent.




Thursday, May 1, 2008

WOSU Public Media, DTV and help for Seniors

This is a really special project that I hope everyone will consider participating in.


WOSU Public Media has teamed up with Lifecare Alliance and Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA) to provide converter boxes to low-income seniors in central Ohio. Many seniors live on a fixed income and can't afford cable TV and rely on local news for information. Lifecare Alliance provides Meals on Wheels to seniors and COAAA provides resources and services to seniors in the central Ohio Community.


You can help provide a converter box for a senior by going to the dtv2009.gov web site and requesting coupons for the converter boxes. When you get to the on-line form, check under TV service that *All or some of the TV's in my house subscribe to one or more pay services.*

This collaborative has special permission to do the project.


When you receive the coupons (it may take up to two months, so time is of the essence) you can drop them off at WOSU Public Media at 2400 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210.



WOSU will purchase the converter boxes and provide them to Lifecare Alliance and COAAA. Their volunteers will distribute the converters and install them. The volunteers will receive training on how to install the boxes and are best suited to this job because they already have a relationship with the people they serve.


How cool is that? Please feel free to share a link to this page and encourage your friends to participate. Leave me a comment if you plan on participating in this important project.



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Friends


I had dinner at the home of my friend and fellow blogger Erin the other night. We have known each other for over twenty years now. Finding and reading Erin's blog, The Why Behind, was the thing that pushed me to begin my own blog. We had a nice simple meal of pasta and salad, eaten in the shade of her backyard patio. Erin has started a vegetable garden and some of her plants are starting to sprout up. She has a wonderful relaxing space that will make a great refuse from the heat this summer. The conversation we had lasted for hours and moved easily from work, marriage, divorce, relationships, kids, wants, desires, and anything else. Before I knew it, it was almost 11pm.

We hadn't kept up with each other to well over the years and I find myself sorry for my part in that. Erin is the kind of friend that you can be real with. The kind of person who will allow you to be open about your heart and mind, your fears and disappointments. Those friends are rare. During this time of unemployment, I have often found myself feeling isolated from others. Our individual priorities taking us in different directions. So how do we maintain relationships with friends and loved ones when life throws us curve balls that send us scattering into the weeds to seek them out and toss them back?

I think about the paths that each of us chooses to follow, sometimes not knowing that in taking that path, we may lose touch with friends we cherish. I realize that I probably haven't been that good of a friend to some people as I am guilty of allowing other things to get in the way. I have been graced with the opportunity of renewing this friendship with Erin and I hope that I remember this moment, this lesson, that if I want friends in my life, I need to make sure that I am a friend and pay attention to what needs to happen to maintain it. To nurture it the way Erin will be nurturing her garden this summer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Bitter Clinging: It's All I Have

That's right I'm bitter and I'm clinging. I'm clinging to my Faith and my traditions because that's just about all I have left! In the Democratic Debate tonight in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton said that she doesn't think people are clinging to their faith or their traditions when they feel that Washington isn't listening to them.

Well Hillary, YOU aren't listening to me. I've been unemployed since October, my unemployment has run out and I'm clinging to my faith and my traditions because those are the two things that can't be taken away.

Granted when your husband was in office, I did better, but not as well as I think I should have. Working for non-profit agencies that serve the most under-served populations, (homeless, drug addicted and mentally ill) it was Bill Clinton that ensured there was more money available to do the work. But the problems remained, they weren't solved.

Now under this administration, there is even less money available at a time when the need is greatest, shelters are being asked to serve more homeless on less money. The end result is warehousing people. I could be doing something about that. I could be contributing, if there was money available to hire program workers like me. Instead,I've been laid off twice in the past three years. I'm just like those other people that Barack Obama speaks of. I'm sitting at the kitchen table wondering how I'm going to pay the bills at the end of the month.

Under your proposals, I'm looking at working even more years before retirement and not being able to make enough money to really put enough money away for that time. I'll still worried about the car breaking down, I'll still worry about my future, I'll still be stuck at the bottom of the income ladder.

If you were talking to people like ME Hillary, then you would know that we are bitter, we are clinging to our faith and our traditions. But most of all, We are clinging to the HOPE that Barack Obama becomes our president so that we can get back to work and then get to work on fixing the problems here at home.


Digg!

A Little Shameless Self Promotion

I need a job! There, I said it. I've been back in school part time at OSU and am taking classes in the morning. So I've been looking for work in the afternoons and evening. I'm not to proud. This unemployment gig is getting annoying and the last thing I want to do is wallow in self pity about it.

If you know of someone who is hiring in Columbus, let me know.

Do you know some one who could use a part time office assistant? Even temporarily? Send them a link to my page. Data entry? I'm your gal. Need some one at your sales counter? Me!

If you don't know of anyone, then how about just saying a little prayer for me? That usually works.

Thanks!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sometimes It takes Another's Perspective

A couple of months ago, I was helping my youngest son, Vincent, replace a door handle on his wife's car. As usual we get to just talking about things and the conversation turned to when he and his brother were small and we were broke all the time. For a short time after my divorce, I drove a 68 Firebird. Now before you get all excited, the car was a regular blues mobile. Every time I turned around, it was giving me the blues.

I knew nothing about cars at the time outside of it starts, it stops, it rolls down the road with all four wheels turning in the same general direction. I sold that car to a young man who I am sure turned it into a sweet ride. Then got myself a Pinto. Yep, that's what I said. When it started having problems, I was living on the west side of town away from family and friends who could readily help me out. The throttle kept sticking shut on it and was sometimes hard to start. I solved that problem by keeping a long machine screw with a wing nut threaded onto it in my glove box. When I couldn't get the car to start, I'd take off the air cleaner and prop that wing nut under the butterfly in the throttle and crank the car.

During the fix it project with my son, he told me that he used to think I was a wizard because I did that. As a boy, he thought I could fix anything. I was stunned. Until that moment, I had preferred to not dwell on those times. I remember thinking myself a failure as a mother for not being able to give my boys a better life. Whenever I drove out to the west side for years after that time, my stomach would knot up with the reminders of hard times.

My sons don't see it that way. They have a different perspective on it. When I hear them telling stories of their childhood, it's the funny stories they tell. They don't dwell on hard times, if they think of them as hard times at all. My son revealing that he thought I was a wizard, gives me something to feel proud off. Suddenly, I don't feel so much like a failure anymore. Now that's magic!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Legalizing Drugs: Discussion In Class

We had a discussion in my psychology class today about legalizing drugs. I like sitting back and listening to open discussions where young people are free to speak their mind. It helps me take the pulse of young people.

I was quite impressed with some of the comments that were made and a little dismayed by others. I get dismayed by sweeping generalizations and remarks containing phrases like "alcoholic bums." Not all alcoholics are bums and just who are bums anyway? Some see alcoholism or drug addiction as a choice. It's not that easy. I subscribe to a biopsychosocial model for alcoholism and drug addiction. Meaning there are biological, psychological factors and social factors that all play into alcoholism and drug addiction. What contributes to addiction in one person may be quite different for others. Treating addiction requires treating each person on an individual basis and addressing their personal issues that contributed to their addiction.

Here are some of my thoughts on how the conversation needs to go. Each drug should be carefully considered on an individual basis. Marijuana is a far cry from methamphetamine so decisions about legalizing either should be considered separately. Marijuana has been shown to have clinical uses and we need to quit futzing around about not only legalizing it but putting it to use for many who are suffering ill effects of chemotherapy and can obtain relief with marijuana.

We need to take a new look at the laws regarding possession of certain drugs and offer something better than prison in response. Prisons are costing us a lot of money and really aren't providing any benefit to society with regards to men and women whose crime is possession. It's costing us to much money, tying up our courts and law enforcement officers who have better things to do.

As for other drugs, I would prefer that there be some real services and treatment in place if we are to have any discussion about legalizing other drugs. It would behoove us to investigate how other countries regulate drug use once it is legalized. If it were to become legal, money from the sale of drugs should go directly for harm reduction programs, treatment programs and real education on the effects of drug use and abuse.

In addition, if we are to look at legalizing drugs, it needs to go hand in hand with improving the quality of life for our citizens. The social issues around drug abuse and addiction are the real problem. Poverty, poor education, affordable housing, improved social services, address these and drug addiction with all it's secondary woes will drop automatically. Quality drug and alcohol treatment will dry up a drug market easier and more cheaply than criminalization and prison time.

That's my two cents worth.

Kudos to Dr. Mike Torello for allowing the discussion with out judgment. Kudos to the class members who contributed to the discussion and added more background information. I wish I knew your names so I could acknowledge you.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Reflections on traditions

When my sons were younger, we had a few birthday traditions. Lasagna for dinner and carrot cake with cream cheese icing for dessert. I don't quite remember how they became traditions, but they did. Funny how I had forgotten them since both of my sons moved away from home. Funnier still, they remember them. At my recent birthday party, the food included three large pans of lasagna and three birthday cakes (baked by Vincent) of course they were carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

I was thinking about family traditions last night. How they give us a sense of history and belonging. Not just the birthday ones but others as well. When I was still married, my ex would have to travel sometimes. On his first night away from home, my sons and I would head off to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. It started just because I wanted a break from cooking and after a few of these nights, my boys would come up to me and say "Tradition dictates we eat Mexican tonight." It was cute.

We had other traditions as well. April 15th was a favorite. We wouldn't mail our taxes until the deadline. At the time, the main post office downtown set staff outside to collect envelopes from last minute filers as they drove by. Not wanting to be left out of a group ritual, we went to be among our fellow procrastinators. Before leaving for the post office, we would leave a message on the answering machine that went something like this:

You have reach the head quarters for procrastinators anonymous, we can't take your call right now because it's April 15th and you guessed it, we're taken the trip to the post office. Leave a message and we'll get back to you when we get around to it.

Then, of course we would go eat Mexican. The message would stay on the answering machine for about a month just to play into the procrastinator thing a little longer.

I love all these memories but my favorite comes from when my sons were really young and I was so broke it wasn't funny. I had a 78 Ford Pinto that ran mostly on prayers. I couldn't afford to spend a lot of money on weekend entertainment for the boys so the Pinto was our means of fun. On sunny weekends, I'd gas up the car and we would take off to play a game we called Get Lost. I would drive out to the country somewhere and let the boys tell me where to turn. We would drive for hours enjoying the scenery. Then, When it was time to head home, I had to figure out where we were and get us back. It was an interesting challenge that has served me well over the years. Every time I lose my way, I think of that game. Spending time with my kids just talking about anything, singing along to the radio, those are my fond memories of tradition. What are yours?

My son Vincent and his wife Theresa

My son Jay and his wife Laura

Me with my two sons at my 50th Birthday party

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Mahalo Fun

Now were building a page for Paypal Mafis on Mahalo.

Streaming live video: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/jason-calacanis

Paypal Mafia Page: http://www.mahalo.com/Paypal_Mafia

Come Play with us!

User created ad free searchingon Mahalo

Just participated on Ustream live with Jason from Mahalo.com to built a page for Home Entertainment systems. You should create an account and follow Jason to participate in future adventures. Go to Mahalo.com

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Please Be Patient

Please be patient with me. I'm still learning how to do this gig. Then I'll be able to update a little more regularly.

So here is a little of what's been going on lately...

Celebrated my 50th Birthday

Started spring quarter classes

Still looking for a job

Visited my eldest son and his wife for Easter dinner.

Hope all is well with you dear reader.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Blizzards come and Blizzards Go

So the great Blizzard of 2008 has come and gone. Today the sun is shining and after having spent a good three hours shoveling the driveway, I have finally made it through to the road and was able to get out and run some errands. I have pictures of yesterdays storm and my monument to the storm in the form of snow piles on either side of my driveway.

I am currently having a few problems up loading them. If I get it figured out, you will see them here.



My lovely mountains of snow on both sides of the driveway.


The view down the street.


The view out the back door. Guess I won't be grilling for a day or two.


Hey! Where's my car? This was before the snow had stopped. By the time it was over, there was 20 inches on the car and nearly hip deep drifts around the back.