Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lame and Flying in Circles

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I were taking a walk on the Brewster Flats and came upon a seagull with a really broken wing. The gull didn't seem to be in pain but it was dramatic and painful for me to look at. I wondered how long it had been since it was injured and how it would survive, since it clearly couldn't fly or dive into the water to fish. Still, it looked healthy and was moving along the beach pretty much o.k. in spite of the broken part.

Around the same time, Jeff decided to take a job that has him living away from home during his work week. We're not used to being apart and things don't feel quite right for either of us. It's made me feel a little like a part of me is broken, too. I feel wounded and am in a bit of pain. I feel like I can't quite fly straight and have to figure out different ways to make my way through.

I've been telling myself that it's good to be more independent - that I should learn how to drive the lawnmower and it's ridiculous that I can't manage myself when there's a mouse in the house. I should not just walk aimlessly around the house with no sense of direction or purpose. So I'm trying to learn all that ~ to take care of things and act normal. It's not easy.

Here's the upside: all this unsettledness has shown me how completely confident I am in our life. That no matter where we live, together or apart, Jeff and I are in this together. It's good that it feels bad. After a week apart, I was as excited as a 16 year old getting off the ferry where he was waiting to pick me up. My heart sank a little when I left him on the dock and said goodbye the next morning. The hello kisses are wonderful and the goodbye hugs heartbreaking. It's magnificent. A blessing most people don't get.

I am hopeful for the seagull. That it will survive and have a mostly normal life. That it's unbroken parts will be stronger and it will have talent and confidence that the other, intact seagulls don't have.

I am hopeful for me, too.

Though not planning lawn mower lessons anytime soon. I can only be so independent.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sprint To The Finish

OMG - Graduation is two weeks away. Need to finish 3 papers, revise my final research paper and turn it into a powerpoint presentation worth sitting through, pick up cap & gown, go on seventeen or eighteen more job interviews and say farewell to my brilliant classmates.

Won't be coming up for air until then, but if anyone wants to send good energy and brainpower (not to mention snacks) this way, I'd be grateful. I promise to pay attention to my family, friendships (and housework) as soon as I can. I will also have lots to blog about, I'm sure.

Talk to you again soon.

Love, Lis

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's All In The Framing

So - yes, much too busy to talk to you people in the last weeks/months (how long has it been?)

Just actually got a homework assignment done before class, which doesn't always happen, and it made me think of this blog.

The assignment had to do with reading the entire, yes entire National Broadband Plan and do an analysis of the framing - like how does it explain why this stuff is important. Through my lens it was all about equality and inclusion and civic engagement. To my very geeky friend, it was about spectrum and platforms and applications.

I also heard an interview today with Captain Richard Phillips, who was the captain of the boat that was hijacked last year by the Somali pirates and who bravely gave himself over to the pirates to protect his crew. At the end of the interview he made a point of saying that he believes that all people are much more capable than they believe themselves to be and it's just a few who get put into extraordinary situations to prove it. He said people should believe more in themselves and trust that they can overcome personal or professional challenges.

Also got to school and found a copy of my graduation eligibility form that was signed off by the director of my program making it truly certified that I will be graduating next month. I hadn't quite recognized that for real.

The framing point is about how I'm choosing to label all the ups and downs of my life these days. Busy means accomplishing, stress means opportunity, overwhelmed means striving.

So today is proving to be an inspiring day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Almost cut my hair

Well, actually, I did cut my hair. Not radically or anything, but it had really been since last summer and since I've been all academic and unemployed these past months, I've had no inclination to be pretty or anything, since I'm so smart and unemployed. So the hair was kinda unruly.

I had told myself that I should keep growing it, then donate it to Locks of Love or Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I thought about it a lot, really. I could do so much good by just growing hair. Just ten or so inches, which I have to give, would mean something wonderful to a sick child or woman battling cancer.

The truth is that in the end, I'm much too vain. Can I possibly be all about the hair?

I have no trouble making fun of the challenges that supermodels have in life, and I didn't join in the sport of making fun of Hillary's pantsuits. I'm all about substance - that style thing is superficial. Still, I just can't quite bring myself to give up this one physical attribute I have. I don't trust that I can rely on my brain and wit to get me through. If I have homely hair, I can't possibly be successful. Even if it meant that a small sacrifice can do good for others.

Really, it's only hair. Right?

Don't get me started on Jeff's hair.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Job Skills

Just took an online typing test and found, after three tries, I can type 75 words a minute. I'm actually old enough to remember when that was an important number to know.

I was compelled to find out my number because I applied for a federal job online and it said I couldn't finish the online application if I couldn't type more than 40 words per minute. I was thinking that if it was an online application, it could be equipped to measure that while it's being completed. I also found an error in their online questionnaire and tried to write to someone to let them know, explaining in detail how it might impact their ability to identify high-quality candidates for the position. I actually wrote to three different people, appropriately following their directions to use the proper link in case I had questions or comments about the online application process.

They were more concerned with my typing skills than they were my "critical thinking" and "attention to detail" skills...

I also had an exchange with the nice woman from the unemployment office (no - "career center") who e-mailed me to mention that I hadn't stopped in to use their service and could they help? So I sent a smartass reply that explained that I worked for the last 18 years as a hiring manager and was about to get a Master's degree, have excellent research abilities and can't imagine that this office knows something I don't about job searches. Then I called the next day to apologize for being a smartass, chatted with her for a while and she invited me to consider attending the Professional Networking sessions they have on Tuesday afternoons. I immediately asked her how pathetic they were, since I imagined men in white oxford shirts with pocket protectors and briefcases with nothing but a pen and post-its in them whining about how potential employers (and girls) don't recognize how valuable they are. Like a 12-step program for those who are overeducated and underemployed.

Then I related this to my final work for grad school - which is an exploration of why the Supreme Court thinks that people who take care of people aren't worthy of basic employment protection like, oh I dunno, a minimum wage. The people who keep disabled children safe and make sure elderly grandmothers have eaten once or twice today. That bathe and talk to and give medicine and, you know, care about people who can't care for themselves. So if I can type 75 words a minute, what does that make me worth? How do we create a measurement of care?

But 75 WPM is good, isnt' it?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mean Girls

We've been trying to make sense of this story from South Hadley of a 15 year old Irish girl hanging herself after being tormented by the gaggle of mean girls in her school.

She decided that death was better than living through that.

Really, I don't know what she decided and wouldn't presume to.

Still, watching the country change - seeing the republican party in all of their smarminess - "it's all about me" culture emerge. Greed, power, selfishness.

What would Howard Zinn be trying to teach us?

I know that when things get rough, we all start protecting our turf. But the "real housewives of orange county" are just the South Hadley mean girls in middle age. All Botoxed. And we watch (actually, I don't watch - it's the commercials during the West Wing reruns on Bravo). And we watch. And affirm. And approve. And support. And compensate - greatly.

Grad school has taught me brainy stuff, like economic theory, that talks about "externalities' which are those things that are not captured in the price of something. So if we consider that creating a show, like "stupid women with botox and no brains who like chaos" it means that Bravo paid stupid women to participate, expecting that the network would generate revenue from people watching, but the externality is what other consequences are that won't be reflected in the financial transaction. What about the impression given to 11-year-olds who think this is the way to act? Or the 11-year-olds who are the victims of their meanness?

I'm not into censorship - don't get the wrong impression - I just get disappointed in what we value. Mothers might consider sitting with their daughters and using these crappy shows as examples of how not to act. And embrace opportunities to step in when people are being mean to other people. We've all been the kid who is different - because we wore the wrong jeans or were the wrong size or whose parents drove the wrong car. Or dated the geeky guy because we liked his poetry or because he was too nice for the Mean Girls. The geeky guys sometimes turn out to be wonderful husbands and fathers.

There's no making sense of the Mean Girls. We just have to insist that they're not cool.

They're not cool.
They're mean. And need to understand the consequences.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union

O.k.- since we last spoke:

I remain unemployed.
Jeff is unemployed - no - employed - no, part-time - no, definitely unemployed - no, safe after all.
Raytheon sucks - see above.
Massachusetts filled Ted Kennedy's seat with a republican.
Massachusetts Democratic party sucks - see above.
I picked a topic for the most important project I will ever do in my graduate school life.
I changed my topic.
I had a great meeting with a professor to focus the topic.
I had a meeting just after that meeting with a professor I respect who beat up my topic.
Beloved former boss called with a job offer.
Job offer likely to be rescinded on a technicality.
Howard Zinn died.
I want to change my topic in honor of Howard Zinn.

The President thinks I should remain hopeful...