Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I want to note that, as of this morning's post, I successfully completed another NaBloPoMo. It being November 30 you probably figured that out on your own. But I wanted to mark it and I wanted an excuse to show you these two shots of one of my new park friends, Stella. This particular trick is called, "Be A Bear."

The Electronic Age

One of the cool yet funny things about the electronic age is that, if you have a long enough party, you might get thank you notes before the party has even concluded. I got two before the end of last Friday's festivities. I couldn't have been more surprised!

In one of those notes it was relayed that I'd gotten an enormous compliment from one of my young friends. On the trip home he insisted that I must me a mom. When confronted with the truth he responded that I was "just like a mom." Whether this is because we had a nice talk after something a little shocking happened or because I rationed his orange juice due to a cup that was too "tippy" in my estimation we may never know.

What we do know, though, is that's about the nicest thing anybody's said about me all week. Thanks, dude, I like you, too.

Yesterday Not So Far Away

In my quest to learn new stuff I finally got the Diptic app for my iPad (Thanks for the rec, Cindy!) and have been playing with it. Don't know if I'm doing it wrong or my photos just suck but it's not so clear. I was motivated, though, by the number of you who didn't know the "You must pay the rent" spiel.

Please follow along with this simple tutorial:

First, you fold a piece of paper back and forth until you have an accordion kind of a deal and pinch it in the middle.

Second, you hold it under your nose (top) and say in your most sinister, melodramatic villain voice, "You must pay the rent!"

Third, you hold the accordion bow to the side of your head like a hair decoration (middle) and say in your highest, most hilarious, melodramatic girly voice, "I can't pay the rent!"

Fourth, you repeat steps Two and Three until it is no longer funny to you. This may take some time.

Fifth, you hold the bow to your neck like a tie (bottom) and do your best Dudley Do-Right impression to say, "I'll pay the rent!"

Sixth, you go back to the middle photo and the girly voice for, "My hero!"

Seventh & last, you go right back to the top photo and the villainous voice for, "Curses, foiled again."

Ridiculous, of course, but a huge hit with certain audiences. I urge you to try it out at parties.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tell Him About It

The past couple of days I've been struggling with some minor disappointments. I've had to make some recalibrations, if you will. It's common and painful for someone like me who does things like agonize over where her furniture should go because she's never going to move it again. Period.

You know how I soothe the savage beast when I'm doing such things? I think of the happy shiny people who stand firm like good furniture. They move out of the way easily when you have to vacuum but they always slide right back into place where you need them to cover that stain on your soul...I mean, carpet. Which is all a nice way of saying I've been looking at photos of a lot of you lately.

You're pretty.

See that guy in the photo up there? The one who is in focus? It's his birthday today. If you want to make him happy you could listen to some of his music. If you want to make him ecstatic you could even buy some.

10 Not 20

Questions. Why not?

1. If you could add an 8th deadly sin what would it be? I think I choose obliviousness. It needs to be punishable by death.

2. How cool is my new computer at work? (I'll give you a hint: SUPER COOL!)

3. If someone has ever asked to marry you what was your answer and why? (Show your work.)

4. What is your favorite holiday meal item? Though I wouldn't point to it as my fave I did make sure I had enough ingredients to make another green bean casserole after the party because I knew I would want more.

5. If I told you I was eating cranberries and turning into Magenta Beauregard would you get the joke?

6. Have you already finished your holiday shopping?

7. What book(s) are you reading? I'm in the middle of the 2nd Game of Thrones but I also just got the heads up from the library to come pick up David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day.

8. Do kids these days still play that "You must pay the rent!" "I can't pay the rent" game?

9. What's one thing you wish for Christmakwanzafestikah this year? (It doesn't pay to be sappy here.)

10. Do you have any questions?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photo Challenge: PICK ONE

Thank you all for excusing my tardiness. Here, at long last, are the results for the PICK ONE photo challenge. As ever, please scroll down for the new prompt, click through to see the many other choices on our Flickr Pool, and give tons of love to our photogs.

If you have ever had the privilege of meeting herm007's boys you'll be instantly struck by how exactly this photo represents them. If you haven't met them, well, here you go!

Leave it to ChromePlatedGirl to go for the thinker/groaner of a joke. I love those jokes. PICK ONE, get it? GET IT?

I brag a lot about what awesome spectators the NYC Marathon has but check out lshykula's personal cheering section in CO. Doesn't get any better than that.

This young gentleman makes frequent appearances in fondofsnape's photostream and he's always good for a laugh. After the downer that was giving this prompt I couldn't help but cheer up the moment I saw him. Long live the belly laugh!

Is there a braver photographer in our midst than Elephant Soap? I don't think so. She tagged it as SHAME but I don't see it that way at all, there is no shame in this. Brilliant!

Some might think that the annual tradition I participate in of marching with Alita in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade is inappropriate for a kid of her age. I hope they can look at this shot and understand that this is a representation of a completely appropriate relationship between an adult and a child not her own. Weird, sure, but completely on the level.

I am finally unable to hide from the fact that the Christmakwanzafestikah holiday is upon us. Therefore I choose KICK OFF for our next prompt. You can let it be in conjunction with the holiday or not, it's up to you.

Please submit your entries to our Flickr Pool by 9am on Tuesday December 6 (NEXT TUESDAY!) for posting on Wednesday December 7 (NEXT WEDNESDAY, also Pearl Harbor Day). Any questions just toss them out at me and I'll do my best to help.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Phoning It In

There's a trend in theatre called "post-show letdown." It exists everywhere, though, in any kind of project work. Whatever you want to call it I have it. I've had company since Tuesday, a big party on Friday, Thanksgiving leftovers still to be nibbled. Tomorrow it's back to the grind. In preparation I have done dishes, packed lunch, laid out clothes, and napped. There was a lot of napping. I got home from the park around 10am, must have fallen asleep about 11, and didn't get up again until almost 2. I just don't have the gumption and I do have the dread of the Christmas season since Thanksgiving is over so Christmas can no longer be ignored. Tomorrow I trust I will be back in the game. For now, though, I have to eat this last piece of pie because there's no room for it in the fridge.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Before The Month Is Over

You know how when you're a kid and your mom prompts you to thank someone and it sucks all the meaning out of the gesture? My mom will still occasionally do that to me if she doesn't think I'm thanking fast enough and it's all I can do not to refuse just so I can wait until enough time has passed that the thanks is actually coming from me even if it is late.

For the last 26 days the internet has been full of thanks for this and thanks for that and thanks be to all and every one. It's a great thing and I don't disagree with it at all, let's be clear on that. However, I haven't been able to write about being thankful at all because everyone is doing it and what am I? A lemming? No I am not.

Ask me if I'm petty and childish, you might get a different answer.

Seems as though today, two days after Thanksgiving, I can probably eke out a few thanks be to whoevers. Actually, I don't see how I can avoid it.

I've been thinking a lot today about how lucky I've been with friends. Pretty much all my life I've had friends who will do anything for me. Clean the bathroom? Sure! Invent a way to keep my kitchen sinkn from leaking at 10pm on Thanksgiving after cooking all day? Try and stop her. Diagnose the sink and the dishwasher during a party and schedule a time to fix it properly? Why wouldn't he? Grab shoes, paper towels, dustpan, garbage bag, and clean the entire living room floor the second that cocktail glass hit the ground? Everybody raise their hands!

They're little things and they're only a smattering of what I've been treated to but I think they're indicative of my general great good fortune. I try to be a good friend but, let's face it, my talents are limited and not always what's required. Also, often I'm unable to use my inside voice. Whereas, 9 times out of 10 when I find I'm in need of help there's someone in my life who not only can fix it but they are more than willing to do so. It's easy to forget not only how rare that is but how wonderful.

Thanks everyone. Thank you today and every other day. If there's something I can do for you please let me know.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vodka, Cherries, Happy Feet

To say that I don't throw parties often would be a gigantic understatement. When I do, though, I've gotten in the habit of picking a date and throwing them annually. Today was one of those and man, this was a rip snorter of a year! I think we had 17 people in the house at one time and if you've seen my apartment you know that's a lot of excitement. I hope I got to talk to everyone enough but I can't say for certain. I'll do better next time.

What I can say for certain is that I had a whole apartment full of fun. I wandered into a ton of fantastic conversations, I got to cook for people, I finally opened up that copy of Happy Feet for an appreciative audience.

Now I'm afraid I must sleep because Cat brought her patented vodka steeped cherries and I might have had juuuuuuust a few too many.

And I'm not sorry, not even a little bit.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Which Of These?

Question: Which of these two men did Queen Bee & I see live and in person this morning?

Answer: Both!

Supplemental information: Only on of them was riding a float.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Huge Apology!

Holy Moly you guys, I just realized I forgot to post the results of the PICK ONE photo challenge! Once the pipe burst I kind of lost my train of thought. So sorry. SO sorry.

Also, I hear dripping again, I have to fix that before I go to bed.

I will post the challenge ASAP but not tonight.

My deepest apologies.

Holiday Prep Turned Sideways

You want to know what's cool? Having someone clean while you cook, that's what. Sign of a good friend, y'all.

We would be so far ahead of the game if the pipe under the kitchen sink hadn't started leaking badly all over everything. It's not going to stop us but it might just slow us down. Have to rewash everything that was stored under there but have to watch the drip bucket while we do it!

Could be much, much worse.

How's your holiday prep going? Are you in traffic? Covered in flour? Already sipping your cocktail? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Challenging Conversations

I don't think I mentioned here that I put up a conversation post at Kizz & Tell on Sunday. It's about body image but good body image and apparently it's a tough question for some to answer. One brave soul has chimed in and I'd love for her to have company. If you're so inclined please tell us what you think.

10 Things For Today

What's that line from Rent? No day but today! Yupper.

1. The woman in this picture? She's on the bus on her way toward me.

2. It's fucking pouring rain right now. Her bus probably won't be delayed but the timing is delicate. There aren't a lot of places to hang around inside near the drop off. I fear one of us will get very wet. But we're just headed home after and we're not soluble.

3. I am neck deep in updating addresses. Taking a short break for this list and to stop my eyes from crossing. These are not my addresses. They're someone else's for someone else's holiday cards.

4. My holiday cards are designed (thank you JRH!), ordered, and winging their way toward me.

5. My address list is woefully out of date. I have much work to do.

6. My house is pretty clean for being 3 days before a party. I think someone has to come visit me on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving every year. Hell, you don't have to actually come you just have to say you're coming and make me believe it until about noon on that Tuesday.

7. As I mentioned to Chili this morning my motto for the year's present-giving is "Heifer & Homemade". It was a saying of Mrs. X's and we grew to love it. Heifer can stand specifically for Heifer International or it can be a pleasingly alliterative stand-in for any charitable donation. I suspect this year it will be both.

8. I mention #7 only to say that I had the help of a couple of web sites in turning some things of my own into gifts and a bunch of that stuff arrived yesterday. A big bunch. When you put it all in one place, well, wow I made a lot of stuff! (Not clutter, though, useful stuff.)

9. Even if my eyes weren't crossing I don't think I'm going to get all these addresses fixed today. I'm going to try, though.

10. Tomorrow? We bake!

Monday, November 21, 2011

As Good As It's Gonna Get

As predicted I received a response from Ms. James's office less than four hours after I sent my email. I appreciate the truthful, sympathetic response even though the destruction still makes me seethe.
Hello Ms. [Real Last Name],

Thank you so much for reaching out to Council Member Letitia James. Many of the events that took place during and after the evacuation proceedings are indeed regrettable. Unfortunately, many of the items confiscated were in fact destroyed. I do suggest that your friend and her acquaintances contact 1 Police Plaza or the Downtown Police Precinct to see if they are still holding on to their belongings.

On behalf of Council Member James, please extend her heartfelt apologies for the loss of their instruments and any other personal items. I do hope she can retrieve them.



-- --
Simone Hawkins
Budget Director
Education Policy Analyst
NYC Council Member Letitia James
It took me a couple of hours to find a way to respond. I wanted them to know that, while I appreciated that it wasn't their choice, I am still appalled and want the whole world to know it. This is what I finally came up with: 
Dear Ms. Hawkins,

Thank you so much for a response that was both prompt and sympathetic.

As I said before I'm deeply disturbed by the unnecessary destruction of property during the eviction. I cannot stop considering what good those instruments could have done even if they'd been sold at police auction or used in our school system. While I trust your office to pass on my feelings if there is a better way for me to communicate my displeasure to the people who organized the eviction and allowed this shameful waste to occur please let me know what that way is.

[My Real Name]

No Music Here

I have been in conversation with a friend over the weekend. It prompted me to write this note to my City Council Member this morning. I hope to hear from her soon, she's extremely responsive in my experience, and I'll let you know what I find out. 
Dear Ms. James,

I live in your district and am coming to you because you've always been so responsive to our community. I don't know where else I might find an answer to my question.

I have a friend who is a minister in Vermont. A few of his parishioners have been here in New York protesting with Occupy Wall Street and were there during the evacuation proceedings. One young lady went over to retrieve her confiscated belongings and was told that her banjo had been destroyed along with all the other confiscated musical instruments.

As a musician and a teacher I find this deeply disturbing on a number of levels. Part of me hopes that whoever the young lady spoke to was having a bad day, didn't want to go through the hassle of helping this woman, and told her something to ensure that she wouldn't return. Another part of me knows that this very well could have been a decision by the authorities or the boots on the ground at the evacuation. I'm just hoping and guessing, though, and I need to know the truth. Ideally this young woman and her companions would be reunited with their instruments or assisted in the replacement of them. Whether or not either of those things is possible knowing the reasoning behind the destruction would help me decide how to proceed on their behalf.

Thank you for all you do and for any help you can give me in getting to the bottom of this.

[My Full Given Name]

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Creeping Forward

A while ago (a long while) blogger made it possible for us to have up to 20 other pages on our blog. I made my first one tonight! I've been wanting to have a stand alone place to keep my Life List and I finally have it. You should see two tabs below the header now, one says Home and one says In My Life. If you don't, refresh the screen and they should show up. They did for me. Stay tuned in the coming months (years?) for an About Me page and who knows what else!

If you've got time to check out the newly updated list I'd be grateful!

P.S. Hurray for NaBloPoMo for inspiring me to keep developing my blog!


My Great Grandmother was a fantastic gardener. Good thing, too, since she traveled across the US in a covered wagon and lived in a sod hut and practically gave birth in a buggy on Christmas Eve. She had wonderful garden on a couple of levels behind the home I knew as hers. Parts of it were covered in succulents she called Hens & Chickens.

I am a terrible gardener. I can kill anything. Well, me and my cactus-consuming cat. I have scaled my growing dreams down from flowering pretties. All I want at this point is to grow some Hens & Chickens. So far I've killed 5. The last one I burned to death by watering it in the shower. Apparently I take showers so hot they broil plants.

So I saw a pair of these decorative chairs today and I fell in love but I know they don't deserve to be punished like that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Or Should I Say IF

I'm so bad when my schedule gets thrown off. Today's schedule was pushed back because the dog had to be bathed. Why? I'm sure you ask, since I'm not exactly a fastidious dog washer. Well, my dog likes to hump pugs and this morning he went to town on Winston, one of his favorites. Unfortunately Winston's ass was smeared in poo. So my dog's entire undercarriage needed a swabbing.


While I was gathering the necessary items to torture/bathe my dog/tormenter my mom called and told me, among other things, this story:

She, one of the developmentally disabled adults she helps, and her best friend, SoDivine, have been enjoying going to church suppers together. It's only $8-10 for a full dinner and, at the right churches, all the pie you can eat. Well, apparently they went to one a little while ago and the pies weren't homemade they were store bought. (Scandal!) There's one on the schedule for this week but SoDivine said she wasn't going to go if there weren't going to be homemade pies. Store bought ones just weren't worth it. So my mom called up the minister and asked if the pies would be bought or hand made.

I laughed and laughed and laughed. You might think I'm laughing at my mom or at SoDivine but I assure you I'm not. I'm laughing at myself. No, really, because when I grow up I'm going to be that woman. If there's a church supper we're thinking of going to and you say you won't go because last time there were store bought pies and that's not worth it, I'm totally going to call the minister and find out. I don't care where the pies come from, I prefer the homemade but, frankly, if someone else is making dinner and cleaning up my give a shit about the origins of the meal goes way, way down. I'll call the minister and find out what kind of pies there are going to be, though, just so you'll be quiet and keep me company.

In case you're wondering the minister promised high quality pie so they're going.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quick Question

Am I the only one who reflexively says, "Excuse me" when I burp, even when there's no one around to say it to?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Watch And Learn

Today has been sort of a clusterfuck protest-wise. No, that's not true, it's been a clusterfuck in terms of quelling protest which, to me, is pretty cool. What's not cool is that it's been tense and a little violent and chaotic.

It's no surprise to me that the act of restricting access to the home base of the camp has inspired larger protests at more locations. It's also no surprise that there's more anger among the participants. Having had personal and community property destroyed, confiscated, and mistreated the game now has a new set of disrespectful rules for both sides. I would love to know if this is all a big well-how-did-that-happen to city officials or if they just don't care. What anyone knew or suspected or prepared for doesn't matter now, though. The snowball has started down the hill and it's going to be bigger before it reaches the bottom. How much bigger we'll just have to wait to see. I thought today would be a good day to speak up about why I think this movement is valuable.

It's long been known in peaceful protest that one of the most valuable tools is observation. Sometimes a protestor can't physically or legally intervene when they see something objectionable happening. The act of standing and watching it proceed, though, can be quite powerful because it makes it difficult for the perpetrators to deny or put a spin on their actions. When I think of this type of protest I always think of a picture I saw of a Aryeh Neier in, I think, Washington Square Park watching protestors being beaten by police. He's wearing a tweed jacket and and dress shoes and standing just outside the barricade but leaning toward the confrontation and watching it intently. You can tell just by looking that he's going to remember every detail and pass the message on.

I don't know that anybody who decided to carry a sign or march downtown or pitch a tent in a park thought that their signs, feet, or tents were going to make political and financial titans quaver and submit. If they did I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be the types to have the fortitude to continue to camp and speak and drum and march for two straight months. They have, though. They have occupied one really tiny corner of New York City and continued to catch the eyes and hearts of people across the world. They sit under the construction of the new world trade center and barely a block away from the Ground Zero visitor's center. They can't throw a stone and hit the stock exchange but they could run a zip line from the top of it right down to their drum circle without too much trouble.

As you know, I've been down to Zuccotti Park and I've walked through the Boston camp. They don't smell, they aren't dirty, and when I've been there they haven't been especially loud. Louder than your average afternoon in a largely business-oriented neighborhood but not loud enough that I could hear them for blocks before I arrived. Or even a block. I think some of the local business owners probably do have legitimate beefs with disrespectful factions of protestors. Their shops are in an area where they don't get a lot of non-suit business. Some tourist business maybe but not a lot of middle to lower-middle class folks and hardly any people who are trying to pinch a penny. With a group as diverse as the OWS campers you can't escape having some assholes and part of the burden of those assholes has been shouldered by local merchants. Residents who complain about crowding and sanitation and noise I have less belief in. The park doesn't smell any different than the rest of New York and it isn't any dirtier than the rest of the city. There is as much crowding or more from the Ground Zero "attractions" as there is for OWS. The traffic patterns created by the NYPD to contain the camp and regulate campers are much more disruptive than just having the camp there. Once regulations were made to restrict drum circle hours what exactly are the legitimate complaints? What inspired city officials and the land owners to suddenly employ shady tactics to clear out the park and implement new rules?

I think they, and others like them, were uncomfortable being watched. I think the clearing of Zuccotti Park and the other encampments across the country happened because the protests are working on a somewhat subtle level. People in the banking and finance industries see these protestors every day either in person or in the media. They don't agree with them, I'm sure, but they can't get away from the watchful eyes. So frankly I'm OK with the fact that the movement doesn't have one targeted message or leader. I'm going to consider it a small contribution to the movement to navigate the city-wide disruptions that are bound to occur now that the camp has been dispersed because I think we're seeing that the mere act of observing is making some of the 1% pay attention to their own actions. I don't know how far that will take us but I think it's an important step.

Missing Point

The other day I was telling some folks about the photos I'd taken of the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Boston camps. I said, "If money were no object I'd hop into a car and go around the country taking pictures at all the camps."

The table was quiet for a moment but in a contemplative way.

Finally someone got brave. "Kizz, isn't that kind of the point?"

Whoops. Yeah, the point is that money is an object and it's being mishandled so people are taking the time to protest. Guess I couldn't see the forest for the trees.

There are a lot of marches and protests planned in the city today, the 2 monthiversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Stay tuned to all your new outlets for more information.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I finished my 2011 NYC Marathon set on Flickr if you want to see some cool to speak.

Hold On To Your Hats!

Are you sitting down? I posted over at Kizz & Tell. I know. I'm as surprised as you are. Man, I miss being over there. Have to make it a priority.

As always, if you're squicked by thinking about me and sex in close proximity you should pretend your browser blocks the site.

Who Cares What Day It Is?

I have had the weirdest dreams the last two mornings. Let me treat you to a sampling of the events (10 things, even though it's not Tuesday, 'cause I'm a rebel) contained within my funhouse brain.

1. I was the photographer at a wedding in a ramshackle house in the middle of nowhere. I don't think I knew the bride and groom.

2. I was trying to seduce the first boy I ever fell in love with (5th grade). Didn't sleep long enough to find out if I was successful.

3. I had only brought one lens to the wedding and kept calling someone (my father?) to bring me the other lens from my hotel room but for some reason my phone calls were never completed.

4. Something about a dress that kept tangling around my ankles so I kept walking in circles on the gravel driveway. It was white with flowers and a ruffle around the bottom so perhaps 7-year-old me was the one taking the pictures.

5. It's possible I wasn't hired to be the photographer but there I was. Sort of like an actor's nightmare situation where someone didn't show up and I was there so I said, sure.

6. I couldn't find my dog. I can never find my dog in dreams. This is not a mysterious sign. It's also not about Eddie.

7. I can't remember the situation for Monday night's dream where the first love showed up. I remember it was important, like TV murder mystery kind of important, but I can't get the details. It's really frustrating.

8. Yesterday I did my normal thing and woke up about 45 minutes before the alarm because I had to pee. This morning I slept right through to the alarm which almost never happens. Pretty sure even my DNA is afraid of oversleeping.

9. I couldn't get any of the members of the wedding party to gather and let me take the shots I wanted to take. Every time I got them set up I had to change a setting on my camera and before I could they'd have moved. I imagine this is not unlike reality. I hope one day to find out for sure, though.

10. I still remember a dream I had when we were camping when I was three or four. It involved three gorillas that were taller than the evergreen trees at the place where were were camped. It still scares me to think about but it also proves that I've always been afraid of big things.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

But In What Sense Of The Word?

Turns out sometimes funny comes over and taps you on the shoulder.

I was on my way home from the train furiously retweeting Occupy Wall Street information and imagining all the haters reading and recanting because I am a fully formed adult with a clear picture of her place and power in the world. As I crossed a street I saw an older (older than what I do not know) Eastern Asian woman standing on the opposite corner talking on her phone. As I mounted the curb she reached out and touched my arm while handing me her phone.

I didn't want her phone. It was old and a flip phone and I already have a phone that lets me pretend I am conquering the world's evils. I don't need her phone. As she held it out, though, she said, "I don't speak English."


So I tried to scoot out of the way on the sidewalk as I took the phone. "Hello?"

The woman on the other end of the line spoke in perfectly fluent, somewhat accented English over a truly terrible connection. She was the direct sort. "I don't know where my mother is." OK, her sentence construction could be more nuanced but fortunately she got me and not some smartass.

I explained where her mother was.

Then I explained in a different way.

Then I explained in both of those ways but with some added details and emphasis.

Pretty sure the young woman still didn't know where her mother was but I'm also pretty sure that I gave her the tools to get to her. After a lot of repeating ourselves we decided that I would hand the phone back to her mother, she would explain where her mother needed to go, and I would point in the right direction.

I did it kind of out of order. I didn't want to be pointing while the woman was listening because that wasn't going to work. The poor lady was clearly already confused and frightened (and not a little brave, I have to say, we don't even use her alphabet for fuck's sake). So I handed the phone over but before she could engage I pointed strongly and repeatedly in one direction. And, yeah, I was kind of loud when I said, "That way! That. Way!" Because if you're loud enough the words sound the same in English and Chinese (I think).

At this point, not wanting to confuse the mother by hovering I left. Sadly I was many blocks away before I thought it through and realized there were a few things I might have done instead.

1. Waited patiently anyway and made sure the mother headed in the right direction.
2. Walked the mother the whopping 2 blocks to the corner where she was going to have to wait for rescue.
3. Not backed up into a pregnant lady when I started home again.

Well, next time I guess I'll know enough to do better.

Yeah, next time.


I know. I promised levity. I'll get to it.

I hope.

In the mean time please enjoy this photo of a grateful man running the New York City Marathon and consider checking me out on Twitter today where I am retweeting pretty much every little scrap of information I can find about the eviction at the Occupy Wall Street Camp last night.

In the event you find yourself in a conversation with someone who believes what they're hearing from the government about the camp please feel free to say that you know someone who has been there (me) and she says that the camp was no more or less sanitary than any other park or plaza in New York City.

Also, if anyone can find reliable information on what happened to the camp's library I'd really like to know.

I'll try to be funny later. You have my word.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bear With Me A Moment

I know this seems relentless but I've found some other things that are must-read re: Penn State. I promise that tomorrow we'll talk about something different, something light and airy. Perhaps Angel Food Cake*.

I tell you what, here's a couple of pictures of cute puppies before I hit you with the heavy stuff again. This guy I feel as though I should adopt because then I'd have a set, a black and tan if you will.  His name is Paul, for cripes sake, how awesome would it be to have Eddie & Paul. It'd be like a dog radio show. These guys are just...I don't know...the opposite of Eddie and so much what I thought I'd be adopting before I met him. Also I always want to take in the ones who shouldn't be separated because I hate to think that they'll be separated and mourning after already being abandoned.

Better? OK, now on to the harder stuff.

KDiddy is a resident of PA, a football fan, and an all around smart woman so her short post addressing Penn State is worth reading.

Sars, digs deep with the question, "Are We Penn State?" She explores how we might all have made a mistake when confronted with the view of an authority figure committing an intimate crime. Don't think she's defending anyone who failed to report these crimes, though. She gets into the meat of the matter. It's a point that Aunt Snow also brought up in comments yesterday so I wanted to make sure to highlight it here.

Via Twitter I was sent to this piece about how a group prayer won't begin to solve the problems in Happy Valley, nor should it.

Lizz Winstead posted a link to an interview with Sandusky in 1987. Full disclosure, I haven't watched it. I don't think I can and Winstead was pretty clear about how awful it is.

@SPORTSbyBROOKS tweeted this, "Sandusky Grand Jury presentment: 20 people mentioned. 19 men. 1 woman. Guess who called the police?" with this link. I haven't had time to read the article yet.

LOD wrote about how his sons' involvement in scouting has helped open the door to talking about Penn State and keeping themselves safe. I don't entirely agree. He doesn't address the more complicated socioeconomic factors about whether Sandusky's victims would have had access to scouting but I appreciate him highlighting the fact that the scouts are taking steps to keep kids safe.

I can't say that this is the last you'll hear from me on Penn State and Sandusky et. al. but I do think it'll be smart for us to take a short break. Thanks for sticking with me.

*It won't be Angel Food Cake because I hate Angel Food Cake because it's all tough and almost stringy in your mouth but I'll think of something.

What If Other People Wrote About Penn State

I collected a bunch of links to other people writing about the Penn State rape scandal last week. I thought I would include them with yesterday's post but in the end it didn't seem right so I saved them for today.

Blogher featured a post by berekkah on the grieving that's been going on at the college.

Also from Blogher, a post on the scandal by MinnesotaJoY who is a childhood sex abuse survivor.

A quick account from Gothamist of the way Ashton Kutcher made a Twittering mistake during the breaking of the news. I agree with folks who say that his turning over his tweeting to his management company is a mistake.

Prompted by a clip from ESPN, Aaryn Belfer covers some tough territory about how we work to keep our kids safe these days.

Feministing's coverage of the campus riots.

A quick blurb from Gothamist on the riots. I might not even have included it but it's what I kept going back to as I prepped and wrote yesterday's piece.

Scalzi put in his extremely valuable two cents and even tied it in to some classic sci fi writing.

Again from Blogher, a Penn State alumna speaks on the rape scandal. This one I found both heartening and sad.

Feministing broke news of Joe Paterno's resignation early. We know now that he was fired before Saturday's final game of the season and that firing led to the aforementioned riots. To the best of my knowledge Mr. McQueary is still employed. I have heard a rumor that his job is protected under whistle blower regulations but I have no confirmation of that.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What If, Just What...If

What I would really like is to have an audience with the supporters of  Coach Paterno who rioted last week. And this is what I'd say:
"Hi, everyone. I know this has been a wildly emotional week across the country but nowhere more than here in Happy Valley. I appreciate you giving me a little of your time. I'm going to ask you to do a couple of short visualization exercises with me. I know that sounds fruity, bizarre, and irrelevant so I'm going to thank you in advance for humoring me. One, or maybe both, of these exercises could be difficult and triggering for you. I have faith, though, having seen the depth of your passion this week, that you can work with your emotions.

Enough preamble, let's jump right in. First just close your eyes. I want you to picture a child, about 10 years old, but you don't need to be exact. Now imagine that you are that child. You are in a room in a big, important building with a teacher or coach who you've been told is a trusted adult. It is quiet and dim because it is after hours. That coach is hurting you. You know he shouldn't but you're very small in stature and in power and he is very large in both. The one thing you feel you can do is hope and wish as hard as you can for someone to save you. It should be an adult so they have enough power to make this stop.

After some time you hear footsteps. When you open your eyes you see another adult, perhaps it's Mike McQueary, perhaps it isn't. Your wish was granted! He sees you. He sees your coach. He looks shocked. You're sure the next thing he'll do is move or speak and make this hurting stop.

He walks away.

Anything he does after that is unknown to you. As far as you know he does nothing to stop the immediate pain or any future instances of it. Nothing happens to tell you that you're worthy of being saved and that this kind of thing isn't supposed to happen and isn't your fault. Nothing ever does happen to change those feelings.

OK, open your eyes when you're ready. Take a moment to feel your feelings and breathe through them. Thanks for doing that. One more quick one. It's not similar at all, I promise. I don't know how familiar you might be with fan fiction, when writers create their own stories for characters from beloved TV shows or movies? There's a device called Alternate Universe that some of these writers use where they change a few facts of the world the characters live in to suit your story. We're going to use it now.

Go ahead and close your eyes again. Let's pretend we're all right here as we are now but it's years ago when Mr. McQueary first saw the incident we used in the first exercise. So technically it wouldn't be you here it would be your counterparts from that time but let's make it easier on ourselves and say it's us. It's not me up here talking to you, it's Coach Paterno and he has the following to say to you, "Thank you all for coming today. As I'm sure you've heard there was an incident on campus a couple of days ago that is deeply disturbing to all of us. Charges are being made against Coach Sandusky regarding the harm of a young man. I'm not here to spread rumors so I'm not going to get into details. I'm sure those will come out in the days to come. I do have a couple of rumors I can lay to rest, though. I have heard people say that this incident will tarnish the reputation of our team, our school, and our community. Let me assure you that is not the case. Ideally this would never have happened here in Happy Valley but we're all adults and we know that no place is perfect. We are judged by how we handle adversity and so far I think we're handling it pretty well. The minute Coach Sandusky's behavior was discovered we investigated. We took steps to make sure he was removed from campus and urged him to get help. We provided counseling and assistance to the young man and, as we go forward we plan to assist and encourage all the students who have been involved in any similar incidents that may be discovered. I have always strived to run not just a winning football program but an ethical one. I don't just teach a playbook, I teach life, a good life, where we take responsibility for our neighbors and work hard to make sure we don't just look good we do good. I am proud of all of you for staying the course, for supporting our community through this difficult time, and I have no doubt you will continue. It is those actions that will assure that we will come out of this not just fine but better and stronger than ever. Thank you and God bless."

Don't open your eyes. Picture yourselves giving him a standing ovation. Picture yourselves standing and cheering and whooping for your coach as long, as loud, and as passionately as you did this week when you heard that he'd been fired. Now picture what happens next. Does someone else come to the podium? Can anyone follow that? Would anyone dare to penalize the team, the school, or the man in the face of such decisive action and such a devoted following?

OK, open your eyes. I know what my answers to those questions are but I trust you as adults to come to your own conclusions. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me pose them.


Let's Try This By Phone

Scintillating blogging, I know, but important research. Thanks for bearing with me.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Maybe It's A Photo Thing

Doing some scientific investigation to try and discover why my mobile blogging suddenly cut off.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ed & Buce

Waiting by the bread stand in the greenmarket in case you need some carbs when you finish.

And that concludes our fun with this particular event. Hope Lisa had a brilliant race and HUGE thanks to everyone who humored my whim.

(Another) Stella

Would like to cheer but that lady has treats. (For the record, this particular lady belongs to Stella.)

Bob Awaits Your Arrival

Sheba Says, Run For The Ball!


Doesn't stop chewing his ball, even to cheer.

2 for 1

Carli & Chula


Lelu wishes you would run so she can get her treat.

Run, says Stella

River Says Run!

Encouraged From Afar

Lshykula is running a turkey trot this morning in CO. Last week we joked about cheering her on from afar. Not a joke. Stay tuned for more.

Get Ready, Get Set, Post!

Last week when I was cheering on the marathon lshykula and I joked about me cheering for her from NYC while she runs a turkey trot in CO. I have spent the last two hours blogging some cheering for her via email from my phone.

None of those posts posted.

I can't find an answer to my problem on the blogger help forums nor will Google let me post to the forums using my account. I've now emailed them to myself from the phone and will be copying, pasting and posting.

Get ready for some hilarity (sadly at BB phone quality).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Today But Not Today

The Veteran's Day I always remember isn't Veteran's Day.

I was a band kid. I was a band kid from the day I was born, actually. Band kids don't get all the same holidays as other kids. We play parades and ceremonies and special events. Memorial Day was the best and the worst of it. We marched in a parade to each cemetery in town, stopping for graveside ceremonies at every one.

A couple of years ago there was an article, maybe in the NY Times, about how there weren't enough buglers to play Taps at all the military funerals any more. Retired buglers were driving hours to properly honor their comrades and the service had started using fake bugles with a digital player inside them so that a non-musician could stand with a bugle to give the illusion of playing when a musician wasn't available. I appreciate their dedication to the pomp and circumstance but it makes my heart sink a little. In light of all this, though, you may not know that, traditionally, Taps is played by two people. One bugler stands near the grave and begins the song and the second player stands off in the distance acting as an echo.

Taps is, I think, just about perfect as a piece of music. It's simple but strong. It holds your attention but in a meditative way. Which, to my mind, is exactly as it should be at graveside.

Back in the day, when I was that band kid, we were able to do things traditionally. So when I remember Veteran's Day (or Memorial Day or funerals or the military or even marching band) I remember my friends, Darren and Paul, playing Taps, one standing close to our group and one a few hundred yards off, under the trees, being the echo.

We were good kids but we were kids. Meditative and respectful were not necessarily at the top of our priorities but on that one day a year I know we did our best.

Thank you to all our country's service people past, present, and future.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Make It A Happy One

Today our beloved Misti celebrates her birthday. In her honor I want to just share with you a few of the things that she loves in life. Like, strong female role models.

Also, George Clooney.

Good food.


Movies, plays, and books.

And of course, George Clooney.

Happy Birthday, my friend. I love you more than my luggage. Even though I have some pretty kickass luggage right now.