punished for being fat?

Check out this article.

If the company that you worked for announced a similar policy, what would you do?

August 7, 2007. work. 4 comments.

privacy matters

The transition stuff at my job is shaking out, and I’ve blogged about it in the previous post. If you’re a regular reader, and want to read about it, email me or leave a comment here and I’ll send you the password.

June 30, 2007. work. 9 comments.

Protected: moving on (slowly)

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June 30, 2007. work. Enter your password to view comments..

tired of events

Since the last week of April, I’ve been involved in the organizing of about 9 events, which is about an event a week. It hasn’t actually been an event a week–one week featured three (ugh!), but it’s felt long and draining, nonetheless.

I’m a little tired of sitting through meetings. Don’t get me wrong, my usual job involves lots of meetings, but the meetings that involve event planning are harder. They’re more likely to involve people from other organizations, for one, which means that you have to get through a bunch of organizational culture issues. Tiresome.

I  thought I was nearing the end of the line–the last of my planned events was scheduled for next week–but my boss just put me in the planning loop for another one, that happens the last week of June.

And of course, it’s the end of the school year, with all its attendant hoopla.

I can’t wait for July to start. I’m hoping no one’s going to schedule something around July Fourth.

June 11, 2007. work. 1 comment.

a blog-reader’s ethical dilemma

There are a couple of reasons that I blog anonymously. The first (and foremost) one is that I want to protect my kids’ privacy. In an ever-more-googleable world, I don’t want something that I write on this blog to affect their future employability, love lives or general sense of security. The second reason, frankly, is to protect my own privacy. I’m just not that interested in having my co-workers, my boss, or anyone else in my work world to know things about me that my own family doesn’t always know. I know that some people are okay with that, but I’m not.

That being said, I’ve found myself in a somewhat awkward situation recently. For my job, I read a bunch of local political blogs. Some of those are group blogs, where people just stick to posting about legislative or electoral politics. but some of them are blogs that mix the political and the personal. Most, but not all, of the blogs that fall into the latter category are written by people that I don’t know in real life. It’s the ‘not all’ that’s got me in a bind.

Last week, one of the bloggers who I know in real life wrote a post about going to some event where there was a kid that he found obnoxious. Okay, that’s fine. But then he went on to complain about all children in general, and to outline all the reasons that he would never have kids, and how he couldn’t understand why anyone else would have kids in this day and age. Then he went on a huge rant against children, and how awful they are.

I was a little taken aback, and not really sure how to deal with it. On the one hand, it is obviously his right to have that opinion, and to share it on his blog. On the other hand, I’m finding it a little hard not to think of his post every time I see him, and it’s making me like him much less than I used to. I can’t really figure out what to do about it. Do I tell him that I read his post, and found his comments offensive? Do I pretend not to have read it? Do I simply chalk it up to the delights of life in the 21st century?

June 6, 2007. meta, work. 16 comments.

be fair to those who care

A friend emailed me this article from the NY Times today (read it quick before it goes behind the TimesSelect wall). I was very interested to read about the efforts of domestic workers in New York to make themselves eligible for the minimum wage, partly because I’ve been doing some research on this issue for work, and have been struck by just how unfair the national exemptions are on this issue. When Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (the law that created the right to join a union) in 1935, they made two major groups of blue-collar workers exempt from the bill–farmworkers and domestic workers.

Since that time, there have been some interesting campaigns to rectify that situation, notably the UFW’s grape boycott and march from Delano to Sacramento in 1966, which led ultimately to the passage of California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act. The CLRA gave farmworkers in California the right to join a union, and since then a few other states have legislated similar rights for farmworkers, but I don’t think there is any state where domestic workers–other than home health caregivers–have the right to join a union or collectively bargain.

On a related note, today’s Health Care Blog is written by Mary Kay Henry from the Service Employees’ International Union, talking about her union’s efforts to help solve the nation’s care crisis by improving the situations of home care workers. It seems unconscionable to me that we could be in a place, still, as a nation where caregivers are seen as second-class citizens, who don’t deserve the same legal protections as other workers do.

Edited to include: Blog for Domestic Workers’ Rights on June 5th, which I saved to del.icio.us and then forgot about. Drat! Thanks, saltyfemme.

June 1, 2007. politically motivated, work. 5 comments.

here there be dragons

When I was five, my family spent the whole summer driving across the country, from New Jersey to California, up to Oregon and back again. During that trip, we had a huge Rand McNally atlas of the United States in our van, the kind that had a different state on every page. When we got back, that atlas somehow became the property of the kids, and I remember spending hours looking at all of the maps, and dreaming about where we might go, remembering where we had already been.

I was reminded of that old map book this past week, as I’ve been on a road trip. Back in the day, I would have planned my road trip with a map, or barring that, with a TripTik from AAA. In college, I once planned a great road trip to Salem, MA with TripTik, just me and ten of my closest actor friends who were doing a production of The Crucible (“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie, and sign myself to lies!”). This time, I went with GoogleMaps, and I have to say, it made me realize that not everything in life is better with the internet.

In the days before I relied on internet-based directions, I got lost more. But I found more interesting things, too. I wandered. I roamed. I sought out bizarre gas stations and weird roadside attractions, and interesting pie. On this trip, because I didn’t have a map of the cities I was visiting, I found myself much more hesitant to explore, knowing that I might not be able to easily find my way back to the hotel.

Maps have been important in my worklife for many years. As a canvasser, and later a field campaigner, the ability to draw maps that were clear and easy to read was critical. In my current job, I spend most of every election year poring over district maps and precinct maps, trying to find the most efficient ways to communicate with voters. But I no longer have a car full of maps (although I do have a big book map of my home region.)

I did end up having to buy a map of one of the cities I was in, because the co-worker who joined me for one leg of my trip accidentally took home my printed-out directions for that place, and it made me much more confident to have that map. It’s the one place that I actually got out and drove around, knowing that I would be able to find my way home if need be. I guess if I had a GPS in my car, it would serve the same purpose, though perhaps not quite as effective at spurring the imagination.

I think I might have to go out this weekend, and find the updated version of the Rand McNally atlas of my childhood. (Hey, LD, there’s a Mother’s Day idea for you!) I’m planning on taking a road trip this summer with the kids, and I want to be prepared.

What kinds of maps have been important to you? Are you a good map-reader, or someone who’s lost trying to understand your north from your south? Do you like to wander, or are you a strictly Point-A-to-Point-B type?

May 10, 2007. memory, work. 6 comments.

on the verge, or, the geography of yearning

I’m on the road this week, and living out of hotels. It’s a drag to be spending so much time in windowless conference rooms, but there’s something really freeing about having time all to myself in the evening. I had to work Monday night, but last night and tonight, I’m pretty much on my own.

I’ve almost forgotten how to be, when I don’t need to live on someone else’s timeline. I can eat dinner when I want, and can eat junk without having to be a responsible role model. I can watch tv in the morning. I can turn off my phone, and sit enjoying the quiet.

I’m going home tomorrow night, and I can’t wait to see the kids and landisdad again. But tonight, I’m going to enjoy my peace.

May 9, 2007. work. 6 comments.

home again

I’m sooooo glad to be home. It’s hard to be away for almost five days. When I got home yesterday, the Bee was taking a nap, and the Potato was having quiet time. I immediately disrupted the quiet time, but left the Bee asleep, though that was very hard. I just wanted to hug both of my kids for like an hour.

We had a kind of quiet day today, just a trip to the park, and some errands. And a lot of tickling.

I thought I’d give a report-back on my post of last weekend. Seems like it partially worked, and partially didn’t work, during the week that I was away. Today, the fighting had definitely decreased, but I’m not sure if it’s just because the kids are relieved that I was finally home or what. We did end up reading two extra stories (one per kid) and having extra tv. Last night though, the Potato had to go to bed early due to his disruptive behavior.

While I was gone, I called home to talk to them every night except the first one. Landisdad reported that the Potato stood at our back door for two straight nights, whimpering, “Mommeeeee.” That’s hard to hear. I really don’t like being away for that long, but this is the one event of the year that I just can’t miss. The thing that makes it hardest is that there are some people (who have to be there for less time) that ended up bringing their kids. But single parenting while working for five days (and long days, at that) just wasn’t going to work for me this year.

September 17, 2006. work. 9 comments.

Where’s my mob cap?

There’s been a lot of fighting around here recently. A lot of fighting. Sibling fighting. Kids fighting parents. Parents fighting, well, large glasses of scotch.

Today, landisdad and I took extreme measures.

We called our first family meeting. Unfortunately, we’re not very creative, so we had to crib the agenda from a Berenstain Bears story. We made a similar chart. What can I say?

  • Calling names: dust the family room
  • Using bad language: wash the kitchen table
  • Throwing things: clean the bathroom sinks
  • Hitting/pushing/etc.: weed the garden for 20 minutes
  • Refusing a time out: dust the living room
  • Threatening to hurt someone: pick up toys in the basement
  • Sharing: get a sticker on the family fun chart
  • Getting along for a whole day: extra half-hour of tv
  • Using words, calmly, to tell someone you’re angry: extra story at bedtime

I also made the kids sign a piece of paper that says, “Our family will try as hard as we can to treat each other with love and respect.” Sort of a mission statement, if you will.

So far, we’ve got a cleaner family room, spick-and-span sinks, and and a slightly less-weedy front yard (happily, it’s the end of summer, so not much is left living except the mums and the asters). The Potato, guilty on all counts. Both of the kids did manage to earn an extra story for tonight, though, and the Bee helped the Potato accomplish most of his chores.

What we didn’t have was any major outbursts from the Bee, which was sort of my main goal.

We’ll have to see what happens over the long haul. One of the most important things I’ve learned from parenting is that any discipline strategy can work in the short term, on sheer novelty value if nothing else. I’m tired of dishing out punishments that are both a) too punitive and b) too ineffective. It’s made me think about work, and how kids used to have to do so much more of it. Not in an “in my day” kind of way, but way, way, back in the day. The Bee’s a little young, but only a little, to have been sent into the mines, or the sweatshop, or to milk Old Bessie. I bet those kids came home too tired to fight with each other.

September 10, 2006. thoughtful parenting, work. 15 comments.

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