Wednesday, October 31, 2007

i'm floating on air not smog

Glancing back, I notice that many of my recent posts have been quite lighthearted. I attribute this to being in a good place in my mind. I know moving is stressful....this is move eight in six years...but I just feel wonderfully calm. There are a lot of things contributing to this. It could be because this move should settle us in one place for the next few years. Relocating closer to family and friends, as well as career opportunities opening up to me adds to this. Being in a healthy relationship helps. I am sure being in touch with my creative side is being a stabilizing force as well. Embracing change is joyous to me. Whatever else contributes to the lightheartedness, you, dear readers, will just have to deal!

Enjoy the ride.
The Pilot

oh shitski!

Oh my goodness, this is just too brilliant not to share! I love people and humanity and all of the quirks that they possess. Someone in cyberworld found my blog by doing the following Google search:

Referring URL:
Search Engine:
Search Words: shitski polish definition
Which lead them to my post: vicarious living and polish reminiscing

That is fuckingski fantastic! I love people!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

prayer to st. apartmentos

We need some positive energy for us to get approved for a new apartment and for a smooth and easy move. We have boxes all over, job interviews set up and a vague timeline. Now we just need to start tying up the loose ends, including securing a new residence. So we ask you, St. Apertmentos, give us a blessing.

yum, squirrel

Just thought I'd share in case you were missing your Jersey Squirrel Jerky:
Squirrels safe to eat again in New Jersey
Tuesday, October 30th 2007, 4:00 AM

TRENTON - You may now resume eating the squirrels.

In January, the Garden State warned hunters and residents near a toxic waste dump in Ringwood in North Jersey to limit their consumption of squirrel after the feds thought they found lead in a dead squirrel. Officials now say it was a false alarm.

The Environmental Protection Agency said a blender used to process the squirrel's tissue samples was defective - and that the lead believed to be in the squirrel actually came from a part of the blender.

That's good news for members of the Ramapough Mountain Indian Tribe and others who like squirrel meat. It's bad news, however, for the squirrels.

News Wire Services

Sunday, October 28, 2007

groovy tomato

groovy tomato
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
Greg is working a long shift at work today. As I spend my day boxing up some of our things, I have lots of time to think. Packing up books and mementos belonging to Greg, I look at the wide assortment of books, from punk to Buddhism to beer to DIY. A good reminder that he is intelligent and curious and can hold his own in conversation and debate. Placing some back issues of UTV in a box, I take a short break and skim through a number of his columns. I think back to having met him so many years ago and to the coincidence of him moving to Denver while I am living there, of reuniting our friendship and realizing that I found love, of our week-long move cross country, and of setting up our first apartment. I remember our first kiss near my car on the street next to his apartment on Sherman Street. I think of introducing him to yoga and of days spent biking on trails together. I recall the mini-vacations we took to the White Mountains and the Berkshires to go hiking.

This has been a great day, not just for the productivity in the packing process, but in the moments thinking about my love. The longer I am with him, the more wonderful I realize he is. I do not know what our future holds, I just want to spend today enjoying the fact that I am with him - this amazing man who supports me in being my best.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

everyday sunshine

It is amazing how therapeutic music can be. Today, I was feeling unable to do...well, anything. But, at this late hour, I listened to some music and feel totally uplifted. Tomorrow, I will start with music first thing and have a better day.

Fishbone - one of my all time favorite bands!

Friday, October 26, 2007

my model citizen

Today, I would like to share one of the things I love about Greg: his no BS, quirky, ranting writing-style. I have always loved reading his stuff. He is honest, raw, sometimes gruff and hysterical in his cynical realism. We first met back in the late 1980s when I snail-mailed his early zine, Watching Sister Vomit, so I could learn and network for my own zine Remote Exile. He had a column "Model Citizen" in the publication Under the Volcano for about 16 years (they recently stopped producing the print version). Well, he decided to start an online blog, Greg Groovy Model Citizen. This morning I read his profile again and it was a perfect reminder of the above-mentioned reasons as to why I love his writing:


"About Me:
Turning PUNK into a bad cliche since 1985...or at least responsible for turning the last of the literate finger tips into black (probably toxic) ink covered digits. After the demise of WATCHING SISTER VOMIT, the MODEL CITIZEN began his days as a disgruntled columnist (ahem.. BASTARD AT LARGE) for the bi monthly toilet reader Under The Volcano, besides regularly helping irregular readers pass some harsh movements.. very little other positives can be attributed to the MC output. Attempting to keep up with the Jones' and other high brow levels of douche baggery.. the Model Citizen has joined the rank and file epidemic of global virtual schmuckdom and started blogging-though the riotous punk phrase would be something like.. typing - I mean 'fighting for change'."


I am hoping he gets inspired to get back into writing full-force. Perhaps I can encourage him to re-post some of his earlier pieces as an archive so those of you who did not get the pleasure of reading his column in UTV can get a chance to see them.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

felix the clinician

Felix the Cat II
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
My job has a pumpkin contest between programs and I was nominated to decorate the one for the Network. This year's theme is cartoon characters. I did this freehand using marker, acrylic paint, wire, paper and tape....oh yeah, and pumpkin. There is no irony that I found it therapeutic....making a pumpkin...for my job....where we provide therapy. Who knows, maybe we'll win! Then I can leave this job on a silly, yet positive note. Of course, my last day is probably before the prize is provided anyway. There are a few more pictures on flickr if you care to see some details. Okay, bedtime, folks!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

martha's got chocolate on her sweatshirt

You know what is the only thing that makes me tolerate Martha Stuart and her perfectionist image? Picturing her at home, with dust on her shelves, dirty dishes in the sink and her donning sweat pants with a hole in the knee and mismatched socks and eating Ben and Jerry's from the container. It makes it easier for me to be kind to myself with the fact that I am far from the "perfect homemaker" as you can imagine. I attempt to be organized and cleaver with things, but it just does not happen.

I began packing this week for the move. Not in any kind of methodical way, not in any way that makes sense, I just dove in. Books with shoes, big piles of semi-organized stuff to go through, a vague plan of what order to do thing......and I like it that way. I do not want to stress about things. It will all get done. It always does. I have become a master mover over the past five years. I look forward to settling down in one place for a few years and saving up to buy our first house (our "Ikea House" if you will). And even then, I will be an Ikea Homemaker. Making it look good on the surface, while knowing that, underneath, things could be done to a higher quality. And I will be okay with that, knowing that things are good and somewhat together and neat in it's own way. And in my world, shoes and books co-mingling in the same cardboard home is perfection.

Monday, October 22, 2007


on a wind and a prayer
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
"There is no fear of the cycle of birth, life and death. For when you stand in the present moment, you are timeless."

-Rodney Yee

Friday, October 19, 2007

people i love no particular order and absolutely not all inclusive. Unfortunately, a lot of my photos are on Greg's computer that has decided to take a long vacation from working.

Me and Grandma being silly

Me and Grandma
Me and Grandpa (aka Dr. Schnookleheimer)
My high school buddy now living on the left coast John (who better start blessing us with a new blog soon)

My friend Terry from SCCC and beyond (he emailed me his boo boo work injury)
Jen and Me (This photo is from one of the many New Year's Eve Extravaganzas)
Me, Bernadette and Jen at Bern's bridal shower

Jen's Aidan
Dahlia and Deborah (coworker and her daughter)
Craig (he's worse than me at returning phone calls, but he still rocks)
Of course, my lovely Greg
Me and my Dad
My goddaughter Lily
My niece Annalise
Me, my mom, brother Paul, and dad at my Naropa Graduation
Rich, me, Greg, mom, Paul and Joanne at my department graduation
Ah, not only does this make me realize that many of my pictures are un-gettable at the moment, but that there are many more I need to take and memories I need to make. So many people have touched my life and continue to play important roles in it. I think I will make it my mission to get more (and current) pictures of all my loved ones, past and present. Perhaps a photo album, a tangible one that I can thumb through and remind myself of what is important when I lose my way. This also gives me a reason to actively plan get-togethers. Yay!

what did i do last night?

Last night I cried.
I laid down next to Greg.
And I talked and cried and got things out.
I let myself be vulnerable and I did not censor myself.
And my eyes were swollen and red.
And my nose was all runny.
And I talked about my flaws and my weaknesses and some fears.
And he held my hand and hugged me and talked too.
Now I feel less pressure and less tension.
And I feel better and I know I am loved.

Originally uploaded by misslissa13

Thursday, October 18, 2007

would you like dressing with that?

I think I am suffering some form of Alan Shore's word salad, except that it is not my spoken word that is messed up, I think my brain just does not have the ability to comprehend words or function properly....and I am not James Spader. I know I have mentioned some of this in my previous posts but I think there are multiple reasons for this. I have been having some difficulty with sleep: waking up too early, being tired but oddly awake when I get into bed and I even conked out on the couch after work yesterday. So I am oh-so-tired. I am sure all the noise and stuff in the air at work is whacking my mind out too. Listen to a jackhammer cracking cement for hours on end is even enough to irritate the Buddha, if you ask me. Plus, the burning eyes cause additional distraction. I have been a little bit on the sick side, so my body is "off" that way too. (One would think that the doctor's office would, I don't know, actual call back and tell you the course of treatment but why would I think they would do their job??? No need for alarm, this is nothing major by any means. Just annoying and making me feel blah.) Top all this with the typical stress of job hunting and planning the move makes for a discombobulated Melissa-brain.

One example of how bad this is getting: I was over at the girls' shelter, which is one of the locations I do therapy. The staff was in a whirlwind of busy, so when the phone rang I answered for them. It was another staff member who is extremely articulate. She spoke clearly yet none of the words were computing in my brain. I asked her to repeat them, but I just could not get it. I handed the phone off in the midst of my confusion. Thank god the staff members that were there have a good sense of humor. I also do not seem to have the drive or the mind power to focus on all the paperwork I need to complete before I leave. Senior moments in my 30s? I doubt it. I just think my body and mind are simply taxed right now. Of course, taking a day off would do me a world of good, but can I really do that when I only have 2.5 weeks left? Two more days until the weekend. I think I can hack it...I know I can hack it...just maybe not to the best of my ability. Perhaps I will take a walk after work, come home and relax and get to bed early so my mind will get back to some semblance of sharpness. Here's to hoping!

So, have you ever felt this way or is it just me?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which i desire

Originally uploaded by misslissa13
I have things on my mind that I just want to be able to cuddle up with Greg and talk to him about but he's at work and will likely be tired when he gets home at midnight. My eyes are on fire because that are mutilating the cement on the first floor of the office building and it's kicking some serious stuff into the air. Egads! I love, love, love sleep and dreaming but I keep waking up before my alarm. All this, and yet I feel content, happy and at ease.

Life is beautiful.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the cardinal post

hun·dred - (huhn-drid) noun, plural -dreds, (as after a numeral) -dred, adjective
1. a cardinal number, ten times ten.
2. a symbol for this number, as 100 or C.
3. a set of this many persons or things: a hundred of the men.
4. hundreds, a number between 100 and 999, as in referring to an amount of money: Property loss was only in the hundreds of dollars.
5. Informal.
a. a hundred-dollar bill.
b. the sum of one hundred dollars.
6. (formerly) an administrative division of an English county.
7. a similar division in colonial Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia, and in present-day Delaware.
8. Also called
hundred's place. Mathematics.
a. (in a mixed number) the position of the third digit to the left of the decimal point.
b. (in a whole number) the position of the third digit from the right. –adjective
9. amounting to one hundred in number.

So here it is, the 100th post. This from someone who, a year ago, did not understand why people blogged! I never thought I would do it, but I discovered the pure enjoyment. The connections to people who I would have otherwise never met, the forum for a little self expression and the therapeutic value of writing are just some of the benefits. This has definitely helped me overcome the "my writing really blows" mentality that I allowed myself to take on. It has aided me in realizing that I am worthy of expressing myself, I am worthy of showing my humanness (flaws and all) and I am worthy of.....well, being who I am and not feeling ashamed. It has helped me face my flaws as well as get back in touch with my fiery side. And for that it is worth it!

I raise my cup of joe to the next 100 posts and what I may discover about myself! And I raise it to you, my dear readers who come along for the ride, some of you who comment and the many more that lurk. I raise it to myself, who I have been, who I am and who I will be.


wor·thy - (wûr'thē) adj. wor·thi·er, wor·thi·est
Having worth, merit, or value; useful or valuable.
Honorable; admirable: a worthy fellow.
Having sufficient worth; deserving: worthy to be revered; worthy of acclaim.

Monday, October 15, 2007

are you a rabbit, melissa?

I found a basic explanation of the whys and whats of raw foodism on Detox Your World. I have not read through the whole thing yet (got to get to work) but I wanted to share it with any of you that are interested or curious about why I keep mentioning that I am trying to go towards a raw food diet.


Purveyor of Random Knowledge

productivity, in a productive way

Despite spending hours on Saturday merely spectating the soapbox derby, this weekend was a highly productive one. We got a lot of cleaning done so the apartment can be presentable for potential tenants. This organization will also make packing much more efficient. Two weeks ago, I got my desk at work completely organized. Of course, the biggest boon of all of this is a calmer state of mind. It is amazing how much more clarity my mind possesses when my space is in some sort of order (organized chaos). I gain a greater sense of control over myself and my life. I feel motivated! That unto itself makes organization worth it. As previously posted, I have motivation that wanes and waxes. It is currently waxing and I plan on taking advantage of that.

Of utmost importance is utilizing this motivation to get more focus on my health and well-being. I feel energetic and strong. Healthy eating is back on track. Last night, I made a killer spaghetti squash with a tomato-sauteed portabella mushroom-chopped kale sauce. Dang yummy! I skipped my morning all-fruit smoothie today in lieu of two pieces of fresh whole fruit. I packed up an avocado, clementine, banana and red pepper to snack on at work. I have been taking my vitamins/herbs consistently (wow! How did that happen???). Saturday included a bike ride and walk, and now I feel like added jogs back into my days. I feel good and I want to feel great.

On another positive note, my mood has stabilized tremendously these past couple of months. Perhaps the healthier eating (added much more raw foods then before) and regular acupuncture sessions are taking effect.

Whatever is prompting all of the positive action, I am not going to waste it. There is much to do with improving my health, the pending move, continued job searching and getting all the loose ends tied up in Rhode Island before we move. I suppose the timing is right. I am going to attempt to keep my awareness on when the motivation starts to wane, then try to head that off at the pass. It is all about G.S.D. (Getting Shit Done)!

Productivity, onward ho!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

soapboxes and energy drinks

Originally uploaded by misslissa13
I do not particularly like corporately sponsored events, nor do I drink red bull, but their soapbox derby in Providence yesterday...too much fun! I posted oodles of pictures on flickr if you want to share in the fun.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

they caught her red-chalk handed

I just had to laugh in uncomfortable disgust after reading an article in NY Daily News about a mother who received a form letter from the city regarding the graffiti her kid posted on their front stoop. DARN YOU DELINQUENT SIX-YEAR-OLDS AND YOUR EVIL CHALK GRAFFITI!!! Yes, that's right, delinquent kindergartners running rampant, tagging their own front stoops with chalk art that gets washed away by the next rain has got to stop! Children creatively expressing themselves through pink, chalky flowers and houses with yellow sunshines smiling upon them...Sheesh! Kids today!! Yeah, take responsibility of your evil corrupt child and do a rain dance, mom!

Okay, it is not the fact that the city sent the "remove graffiti or face fines" letter. That is their response when anyone calls in graffiti to the city's 311 complaint line. It is just standard procedure, an automatic, knee-jerk response. What amazes me is that a neighbor actually called in to 311 to complain about a little kid innocently making sidewalk art with chalk. Ridiculous! It is bad enough that kids grow up too fast and creative arts programs are the first to go with budget cuts, but now a kid cannot be a kid in their own neighborhood. Every time I see some kid art on the sidewalk, it makes me smile. I even enjoy jumping through a hopscotch board every now and then. What kind of a bitty curmudgeon would call in an actual complaint about such an innocent childhood activity? Perhaps they would lighten up if they got a bucket of sidewalk chalk and went nuts with their bad selves on the sidewalk.

Friday, October 12, 2007

bundles of joy

The last post was a bit heavy, but I am feeling lighter today so here's to JOY! The office I currently work in houses multiple non-profits that work in conjunction, providing various services to children in DCYF (Dept of Children, Youth and Families) care. One of the organizations has a therapeutic foster care program. The other day, they had the newest foster child in the office: a two week old beautiful little girl. She was sleepy and tiny and just amazing. I stood in awe looking at this little creature sleeping in the arms of program workers. I was flustered by the fact that something so wonderful is not enough to make a parent straighten their life up so they can quickly get custody back. But seeing that little baby made me think of the babies that are in my life (well some of them are big kids now but that is what happens, they grow) and how blessed I am. Though I have mentioned this before, it is worth repeating. I never knew the capacity of love until I saw my best friend's first daughter (my "niece" Annalise) for the first time. Holding her for the first time, I thought my heart was going to burst with joy. I cannot even fathom the level of love a mother feels for her own children. Someday, I hope to. But until then, I will just enjoy the little smiles I get on my face when I get to see other peoples' children and hear their laughter. Here's to joy!
Mini list of joy:
-Having wonderful people in my life
-Moving much closer to family and friends
-Sharing in my brother's wedding day
-Getting to see a bunch of people who understand what "It happened on Alpine Place" means
-Actually mailing out my parents' anniversary card the week of their anniversary (still late, but within the week. That's progress!)
-Morning all fruit smoothies (this morning's had mixed berries, banana, clementines, and cranberries. Yum!)
-Guardian angels (people in our lives that have died but still give you signs that their energy is around you)
-Reconnecting with old friends
-Crisp autumn days
-Apple desserts with real vanilla ice cream that has vanilla bean speckles visible
-The helpful, caring responses to my last post
-Finding little moments for "me" time
Where is your joy?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

warning - vulnerable melissa ahead

I have struggled to write about this. Actually, I have sat down multiple times and began wondering if I ever really would. Never before have I found a topic so difficult to pen, but this one is. It is not that I am worried about being vulnerable or seeming "less then tough", I think this has just been a subject that I did not want to express to myself. Consider this a mini-therapy, "go someplace that makes you scared" post.

I struggle with weddings. Just typing that statement feels so trivial. It is not weddings themselves, or people that I know and love getting married. I celebrate other peoples' unions wholeheartedly. This is more about roles in life, disappointments and past scars. (Ack!!! the "baggage"!!!)

To start out, let me explain how I was raised. I come from a family where marriage generally happens once, and it endures through times, good, bad and the spectrum in between. My grandparents stayed married, aunts, uncles, cousins and my parents...all married, mates for life. I was also raised with the belief that I should never live my life relying on a man, because every woman needs to be able to stand on her own. I agree with this. I think everyone, man or woman, should be secure enough, especially financially, for survivalism.

Now for more personal info. Marriage was not something I ever pushed for or tried to force, I just happen to have a history of engagements and long term relationships where marriage was discussed. I, however, have never wed.

With my first engagement, we were young but we agreed to being engaged for a long time before we even set a date. Some people in my life disregarded this engagement as "being real" and that hurt. That relationship ended abruptly a few years later. He is a good person, but our lives were very different. I was blessed with a wonderful family and had no major traumas (well, except eggplant...make note to write a blog explaining that), his life was hard and he struggled with drugs and major traumas. He broke up with me, said he made a mistake, got back together a week later, broke up again, he wanted to get back.... I encouraged him to get counseling. It was over. No hard feelings.

The next serious relationship lasted six years. There was talk about marriage, but it never went beyond that. He gave me his word that it was what he wanted, but when his mother offered us her engagement ring and he blew the idea off, I knew that it would not be forever. I did not leave, we dated for quite some time more. Then I got sides-wiped at the end. For the final month, I had been in rehearsal for a show I was doing in the city and did not get to see him much. He kept giving me his word that things would be fine once my performances were over. Needless to say, the day after the last curtain call, the curtain went down on the relationship as well. Insult to injury, actually. I had fallen down a flight of stair and got rushed to the hospital after the last performance. The next day, I heard from a mutual friend that he and I had broken up. This news was confirmed by him in a parking lot.

The last engagement/relationship/fiasco lasted quite a few years, on and off. I went into this relationship not expecting to ever get engaged or married. When he first mentioned getting me a ring, he was really sick so I wrote it off to delirium from his fever. When he was back down to 98.5, he brought up the topic again. Hmmm, maybe he was serious. We got engaged, even had a party with friends and family. But that relationship crashed and burned...several times. After the fact, friends and family openly expressed all the negative things about him and how they figured the relationship would not last anyway.

I realize that I am the common thread through all these relationships. I began seriously questioning what was wrong with me; why was I bring mates into my life that have talked out of both sides of their mouths? Was I just ignoring the red flags? Was I so much of a hopeless romantic that I believed that the storybook ending was possible or was I just hopeless? So what do I do? I put on my happy face, crack some jokes and pretend that I am tough enough to handle anything. And I am relatively good at that. Stuffing down pain, never letting them see you sweat, all that mumbo-jumbo. When a relative attending my brother's wedding insensitively brought up my former engagement party (when I am clearly with a very different, much more wonderful guy) the knife was turned. I cracked a joke, changed the subject and looked for the quickest exit away from said relative. But all this past stuff, the baggage, the wounds, the scars, can work wonders on the psyche.

I sit here now, living with a wonderful man. A man I have known since I was a punk chick teenager and we both were cool enough to produce our own zines. (I should share the story of how we became a "we". It's a strange and wonderful tale.) And I struggle. I struggle with fully healing past hurts so as to not infect this current relationship. I struggle with keeping the anxiety at bay when people inquire, "so when are you two getting married?" I struggle with staying in the here and now, staying out of my head and keeping grounded in what is. I struggle with insecurities and self-imposed expectations. I struggle with keeping up the illusion of a tough woman who can handle it all. I struggle with letting go of outcomes. And I mostly struggle with admitting that, yes, I have been "always the fiance, never the bride" and even admitting that, yes, I want to one day get married.

So here it is, a post that I found hard to write. It took me three sittings to get through it. I debated writing it and deleting it, since it shows the blog-world one of my vulnerabilities. It demonstrates that despite my want to be an independent, strong woman, I still do want to be a wife. I do not know where I started believing "wife" is not synonymous with "strong woman", especially since my mom is an incredibly strong woman and a wife.

I am working on it, all of it, and trying to make myself a better person, mate and strong woman.

t. monk

It's the birthday of the jazz pianist Thelonious (Sphere) Monk, born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina (1917), who helped invent bebop in the late 1930s with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Parker and Gillespie achieved fame right way, but Monk spent the next 20 years struggling to make a living. He played any nightclub that would take him, sometimes working for just $20 a week. It wasn't until he began to play with John Coltrane in 1957 that people realized how revolutionary his style was, and some of his compositions became jazz standards, including "'Round About Midnight" and "Straight No Chaser." Thelonious Monk said, "There are no wrong notes."
from The Writer's Almanac 10/10/2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

here we grow

tree at night
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
And now, more about the changes I have been alluding to. As mentioned earlier, we let the landlord know we will not be renewing our lease. The reason for this is that we are moving back to New York. As much as I am tired of moving (number 8, baby!), this move is incredibly exciting. Since we both grew up there, we have many more connections to jobs. (Unfortunately, the job growth in Rhode Island has been slim and the predictable future outlook is bleak. Heck, I applied for many a second job to no avail since moving here.) Plus, Greg is going to be studying for his Master's in acupuncture and we will be in driving distance of many of the important people in our lives.

In the process, we just finished penning our resignation letters for our current jobs and will submit them tomorrow. We have found an apartment that rocks and are in the process of getting approved to move in there. (If we get this apartment, I will need to expand on the strangeness surrounding it.) I have begun the application and interview process to find a new job.

We are very busy, but I love change! And having Groovy by my side keeps a smile on my face through it all.


wedded bliss

wedded bliss
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
I just wanted to take a minute and share a picture of my brother Paul and his beautiful bride, Joanne.

No, really....I did not cry...well at least it was not caught on film (that I know of).

Friday, October 5, 2007

going to the chapel

wedding bells
Originally uploaded by misslissa13

I do not know why I find this so freaky, but I cannot believe that my brother is going to be getting married in a little over twelve hours. I guess part of this is colored by the fact that I have a lot of personal weirdness in my own life surrounding marriage (a topic for a later blog?), but this is more about the fact that I never thought my brother would ever get married.

Now, don't get me wrong. He is not some awkward social misfit or anything, and he has been in his current relationship for a decade. It is just that I thought he would never take a plunge in the romantic waters of the marital bliss. I guess people you have known your whole life can still surprise you if you just give them the chance. On a side note, I have a feeling I am going to drop my tough-gal-righteous-babe-ness and shed some tears in a mushy-sentimental-sort of way. Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

leave a comment, get a cookie

What is more effective, incentives or punitive consequences? In my own life and work experience, I have seen that incentives work much more sufficiently than punitive systems. Working towards goals, even linguistically indicates progress. Losing privileges moves a person backwards. Most of (I qualify this with "most") the adolescents I work with respond negatively to losing things and tend to act out more and, most vitally, this system reinforces the incredible amount of loss many of them have experienced most of their lives.

Increasingly, I am seeing how punitive systems exist throughout life. Have you ever had an employer that provided almost no incentive to go above and beyond your job? No chance for merit raises, no retirement plan or benefits, absolutely no overtime pay even if a position requires weekly overtime hours to get all the work done......I think you get the idea. Many times employees have to seek their own incentives within a position. For myself, I love working with clients. Being able to even be a small support in their lives, even if I do not get to see what happens to them in their future lives, is a huge incentive. Having amazing coworkers adds to it too.

Of course, the legal system is inherently punitive by nature. This can be effective, however, if you look at the rate of recidivism in strictly punishing systems, you might question the strength of them. Getting a speeding ticket for Average Joe can be a good wake up call. Eighty-dollars can be half the grocery money and enough of a hit to make them more cognizant of the speed limit (at least on that particular stretch of highway). There are also cases when this system breeds more effective criminals: the small time drug dealer who makes additional connections in jail, the schooling in building a better criminal, etc. Some of the recidivism and negative reinforcement can be reduced with additional counseling, education and programs within the jails and prisons, but those require funding (sigh, doesn't everything?).

For myself, incentives are key. In working towards my own personal goals, "gifts to myself" are effective. Establishing planned incentives and recognizing the inherent happy feelings attached to reaching milestones along the way to the ultimate warm fuzzy are imperative for me. Frequently, I need to review and remind myself of what these gifts are in order to not lose view of the pinnacle. On the flip-side, I have not tried a punitive plan for myself, so perhaps it would be effect ("personal self-reflective experiment plan" seed planted), or maybe even utilizing both would be dually encouraging. This definitely requires additional thought.

*cookie terms and conditions: There are no cookies, but comment will get you one step closer to the Supreme Warm Fuzzy.
[insert your thoughts in]

Monday, October 1, 2007

part 1

Change is coming round real soon: We gave notice to our landlord that we will not be renewing our lease on December 1st.

i like dirt

I feel the need to briefly promote the "big blue bags" that Ikea stores are promoting. Starting back in March, Ikea stores began charging 5 cents per plastic bag and 59 cents to purchase reusable big blue bags. It is an effort to encourage people to "go green" and stop using plastic bags. We purchased four of them and that was the the best $2.36 I think I have ever spent. These bags rock! Not only did we cart home our Ikea buys, but we have used these for groceries and Sam's Club shopping ever since.They are so sturdy and easy to carry (were they designed by a Swedish MIT graduate?) that we can usually get all of our shopping up to our second floor apartment in one trip. Convenient and eco-friendly, how can you go wrong with that????Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.....for the love of all things Holy!!! :)

P.S. the picture is a photo of one of the pieces submitted for the Providence Street Painting. I don't know who the artist is but you can check out the event details at