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Government Craziness [Jan. 20th, 2012|06:59 pm]
So I was at this housing meeting on Wednesday. We get together once a month and the central mass housing alliance explains the rules to us, so we can better help the people we serve. they are doing a good thing.

but one program, they need to explain it every month, because it changes every month. And here is the rule right now:

Families who have children who might become homeless can get help. If they apply for help, and are qualified for help (lots of initials about criteria i don't understand), they will be given a choice: either the money they need to stay in their present housing (up to $4K in back rent, hospital bills, etc.), or they can go to a shelter. (for families "shelter" is code for a remote hotel).

If they choose shelter, they leave their housing before they get an eviction on their record. If they choose to stay THEY CANNOT HAVE SHELTER FOR ONE MORE YEAR. That is, if they have another medical bill, or another problem, or heaven forbid lose their job, that is too bad, they can't use the state shelter system.

It is hard to decide, so there is a full staff of housing counselors to help each family decide which is the right option. To help them predict the future.

So I must say, I assume this is where the right gets some of the arguments that government programs are dumb. Worcester has four full time people whose job it is to help people figure out which government program they are qualified for, and then to help them decide whether or not to take part. And then a meeting once a month to teach us enough about it so that we can convince people to go to that counseling.

I mutter to the guy next to me that I have a masters degree and I can't understand which programs are available to whom, and he mutters back, that is why we need to get rid of the government.

Ok. Glad HEs helping folk out there. But really, we spend so much money making sure that people aren't cheating the system that we don't have any money left to help the people who are in need.

Wait, that isn't what I wanted to say. What I wanted to say, or to ask, is how do we have a debate on how to fix this system?

It feels like the choices presented are to have complicated programs that cost a lot to deliver, or to have no programs and let people die.

How do we talk about the middle ground?
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Birthday Greetings [Dec. 11th, 2010|06:44 pm]
Liz and Ken are turning 110 this January and YOU (and your family) are invited. Come on out Saturday, January 15, 2011 and join the fun! Choose any and all parts of the party to meet your partying needs.

3:00-4:50 Conversation, games, and jamming: 110 minutes! Bring instruments if you like. Bring your best ping pong paddle or a favorite game.

110 slices of pizza, salad, and cake with 110 candles; bring soft drinks to share.

5:00-6:50 Concert of Friends: 110 minutes!

7:30 Beth DeSombre puts in 110%
This is a full house concert hosted by Mosaic Commons Cohousing. The public is also invited. Beth is a singer-songwriter, friend, professor of environmental studies and political science at Wellesley College and deep thinker. http://www.bethdesombre.com

Children are welcome, and the Mosaic Commons Commonhouse is well suited for their needs. However, we are not making any child specific plans for the day.

We'd love to show off Mosaic Commons and our new home. We'll be doing tours an hour beforehand from 2-3 pm, or ask another Mosaic Member to show you around after the party has started. http://mosaic-common.org

We have plenty of years and plenty of stuff! Please no gifts. No, really, no plants, no food, nothing but your presence. [For cash gifts greater than $110,000 an exception will be considered.] (Okay, fine, bring some soft drinks, but please, not 110 of them.)

RSVP and mention any food requirements or preferences to liz@mosaic-commons.org

Mosaic Commons Cohousing - Commonhouse
22 Village Lane, Berlin, MA 01503
(entrance at 46 Sawyerhill Road)
call Ken if you need help with directions 617-803-6612
Directions: http://www.mosaic-commons.org/berlin
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Community as an individual activity [May. 21st, 2010|06:53 pm]
I worked on our community labyrinth today.

I fully intended to walk the labyrinth, not work it. I had issues to resolve, a God to talk to, anxiety to curb, and muddled thoughts to straighten out. But what I noticed when I got to my favorite spot in the woods was the pile of rocks at the entrance to our labyrinth.

When C created the labyrinth it was branches and sticks lining the path. The wide entrance quickly narrowed, and a triangular rock pointed left to hint that at the better, longer route to the center. In among trees, and covered with pine needles, the path was reasonably clear, although typically I find a pine cone, a large rock, or a crooked branch to move out of my way.

The first adaptation was P, who placed a pile of rocks at the entrance, and suggested we each carry two as we walk, placing them on the borders, so that eventually the entire labyrinth will have more permanent lines marking the way. I thought it was a good idea, but never had the mental space to do that when I was walking. Sometimes I'd place a couple rocks when I was done.

I don't know who added the small stool in the inner circle, a place to rest and reflect. And someone added a tupperware box with a notebook and colored pencils. I've never written in the book, but I imagine it when I sit, thinking about the others who have walked, prayed, written, or thought in that space. 

Someone has painted an arrow on that first triangular rock, making it more clear that the longest path is to the left. If you go to the right you get to the center quickly, in just a few turns. I've tried that sometimes, especially when I'm angry, as if getting to the problem sooner will make it better, or will come to quicker resolution. It doesn't work, of course, but then I walk out on the longer path. Or sit longer. Or occasionally, stamp my way out to the road, yelling at myself and the labyrinth and the world, hoping THAT will solve my problems.

But today my problems wouldn't be walked, they had to be worked. So I added rocks. Lots of them. If you cradle your arm just right you can hold six or seven at time, and then walk until you find a place where the boundary is not clear, and put down some rocks to mark the path. I walked back to the start, got another armful, and continued again from the entrance, until the boundary looked vague once again. After the first batch I crossed the lines of the labyrinth, but quickly realized that that is missing the point. So I followed the path over and over again, cradling rocks, checking the path, repairing an edge, walking back, and then repeating picking up more rocks to begin again. By the fifth trip I was around the second curve, and by the tenth I'd circled back to a place I already had placed rocks on the boundary.

Boundaries are part of community, of course, and I wasn't that surprised to find that some of them were broken. I was a little more confused by the way that I could build a border that seemed just right, and then come back to it and see that it needed more work. And I was delighted when I came to a section that someone else had spent time on, placing rocks neatly and in order, the boundary clearly marked on both sides of the trail. 

I went to walk, but instead I worked, drawing some lines in the dirt today, putting down some rocks on the path. I marked clearly what is left and what is right. I came to the muddled labyrinth with issues, God, and anxiety; I left the labyrinth a little more clear, less anxious, full go God and ideas.

I did this work alone, in the woods, but the results are part of creating community, out in the open.
It feels like good work.
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Flying Adventures [Feb. 9th, 2010|06:12 pm]
So to update ya'll who aren't on facebook, I've had an adventure getting out of Des Moines. You may be aware that it is snowing out here?

I was scheduled to leave at 2:30pm today, flying through Chicago. Yesterday while I was in a meeting, Chicago cancelled all fights leaving after noon today. So I obediently called my travel agent (travelocity) as the directions suggested, and waited a quite reasonable 20 minutes to talk to an operator who could not help me, and then was transfered and on hold another 10 minutes before the phone disconnected. So I called United and was on hold an hour, but got a flight through Denver (which, you may notice, is west of Des Moines, but also west of the storm). This required skipping all the Tuesday parts of the meeting, and then sitting in Denver for four hours before proceeding home. But hey, I'm headed home!

The flight was delayed, but hey, I have a long layover! Then they had trouble with the de-icing, but hey! I have a long layover. Finally 45 minutes late, we are in the air.

All is fine until just before time to land. We had circled the airport once, which seemed odd, since it was clear and beautiful, but hey, I have a long layover. Then the pilot came on and told us that we have a problem with the flaps*, and thus would need to make an emergency landing at a very fast speed. Luckily, he said, Denver has the longest runway in the United States.

Then the flight attendants came on and told us that we must remain in our seats, and asked us to get the emergency information card and the reviewed how to find the exits and how to get out them. Have you ever been on a flight where every single person looked at the card?They then instructed us in how to brace for an emergency landing and had us practice while they walked through the aisles to ensure we each had it correctly.

We then could "relax" while they instructed us to take remove and store all jewelry and glasses and to remove anything pointy or sharp from the seat back pockets. Women with high heels should remove them if they can do that without unfastening their seat belt. At "please remove your nylons" we erupted in nervous laughter. (My traveling companion had on nylon knee-highs and followed the advice.)

We had been warned that when they told us to "brace" they would be yelling the instruction just in case the sound system stopped working, so it was surreal, rather than unexpected when they gave the instruction, sounding somewhat like an echo, since we could hear both the sound system and their voice. "Brace, brace, head down, head down! Brace, brace, head down, head down!" This continued for about 14 hours** as the plane hit down hard and eventually slowed to a stop. The fight attendants stopped yelling and we looked up cautiously and the applauded.

So now I'm Denver, waiting for the next flight.

*I have no idea what they said was wrong with the plane. You know its really hard remember stuff like that.
**I'm reasonably certain it was actually less time than that.
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blogs [Jan. 18th, 2010|12:42 pm]
so, right now I have a LJ free account. I use it to see some of my nearby friends posts.

I have other blogs I'd like to see, and most of them don't have a way that I understand to make it so I can see them on LJ.

I'm thinking it is time to use another blog thingy so that I can see blogs from many different sources.

Which one? WOuld this be solved by having a LJ paid account? What criteria should I be looking for?
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Alcoholism [Nov. 11th, 2009|11:29 am]
I diverted a discussion over on MsRowen's livejournal because of my concern over alcoholism. I implied a biological component to alcoholism (or more accurately disagreed that alcoholics "desire" alcohol) and she replied with this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Park.

This experiment shows that rats do not become addicted to morphine as a result of taking large doses of morphine.

What was interesting to me is that I never thought that WAS the biological model of addiction. I thought the biological model of addiction is that some people inherit a genetic trait that makes it more difficult to stop using a addictive substance. I thought the model was that there are some people who can choose to stop, and others whose bodies make it more difficult to stop.

I've heard people talk, especially around youth addiction, about people "becoming alcoholics". But I always thought that was just an misunderstanding of the biological model.

Am I confused? Are there three models out there? (Or four, I suppose, if you separate pyschological from moral.)
What do you think addiction to substances is about?

Besides your opinions, do you know of supporting research?
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(no subject) [Oct. 29th, 2009|11:37 am]
I started reading this blog because it was the only sewing one I could find in lifejournal.

It isn't much about sewing. But I love this commentary on wearing skirts, and what you can do while wearing skirts.


I had a job for 15 years that did not allow women to wear pants. Besides the fact that the RULE was wildly offensive, wearing dresses and skirts was not a problem. But someone always was shocked if I stood on my desk and changed my own lightbulbs. Or climbed under a desk to check the connections to a computer.
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Clothing [Apr. 28th, 2009|10:25 am]
-boxes of my clothes are definitely lost (in the house, I'm sure, but lost all the same)
+ken washed the dirty clothes, so I have underwear and socks for a few days.
-dresses and skirts, but no iron. It's in Waltham.
+hot days are good for dresses.
-new socks is definitely a waste, I had too many already.
+new underwear was probably a good idea anyway.

Did I mention that I live in cohousing? I love it. Its worth it.
Oh, and my house. Did I mention its perfect?
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Swine Flu and My Job [Apr. 27th, 2009|11:12 pm]
I need your advice.

I have been sick since Friday. Essentially, the flu: achiness, congestion, sneezing and a pretty seriously bad cough.
Because I have asthma, I'm pretty familiar with the routine: I get a cold, live with those symptons, and as they go away, the congestion settles in my chest, and I feel perfectly fine as long as I sit around and do nothing. If I do something like walk to the next room, I'm exhausted.
Because I'm sick often (~6 times a year) I generally allow myself 1 day off from work, and then drag myself into work. Occasionally I have to do some half days, but I try not to miss too much time.
I have medication for the asthma, I only go the doctor if the infections symptoms (as opposed to the breathing problems) return.

I stayed home today. I'm still sneezing and the cough is still bad, but I went for 6 hours without a nap. I'd planned to go to work tomorrow.

But in my work email is a note from the dean of the school warning us about the swine flu. Included in the list of precautions is to stay away from sick people, and to stay home from work if you are sick. Swine flu is contagious for SEVEN days.

What should I do tomorrow?????

Poll #1391077 Swine Flu

Liz Should

Call in sick tuesday
Call in sick until the cough/sneezing is minor
Call in sick until 7 days have passed
Work from home tomorrow
Work from home until cough/sneezing is minor
Work from home until 7 days have passed
Take enough drugs to hide cough/sneeze, and get to work!
Take drugs as usual and go to work as usual
Make a doctor's appt asap
Make a doctor's appt if don't get better soon
Ask advice of direct boss
Ask advice of dean sending warning email
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Moving. [Apr. 27th, 2009|06:07 pm]
Underwear. Socks. Shirts. Surely I own some? I have found exactly one box with my clothing. And it contains....

Long Johns. A whole box of long johns. And a flannel night shirt.

Luckily Kim brought my hanging clothes earlier. So I have shirts, skirts, dresses, and long johns. And the jeans I wore on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

My butt is either going to be very cold or very hot.

That said, my house is still perfect. And I got to help Colton and Drew with their homework.
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