Thursday, March 13, 2008


R * A * N * T * S

b a b y

On Obama ...

The man isn't close to being in office, but he remains a catalyst for race arguments of one type or another, in a way that surpasses whether or not he is qualified.

If everyone is getting this worked up NOW, I wonder what will happen down the road.

I'm scared, you guys.

On McCain ...

I don't think McCain even looks HUMAN. You know that movie "The Men in Black" and how all the aliens are parading around society unnoticed, but if you look real close you'll see things that simply aren't right? Well, that's the feeling I get when I look at McCain, and trust me, folks, I'm not really that much into aliens. The way he holds his head, his jawline, the spandex wife ... it's like he's an alien crammed into a Republican suit. He look odd to me. Wicked odd.

On Our Daughter ...

My greatest desire for my 11 year old is that she won't grow up to be a sheep. I would like to see her be an individual. What's happening with the schools in the physical sense is terrible, but what is happening in terms of discipline, conduct, and expectation in my opinion is much worse. I've written about this before ... where I live, public school treats children like inmates. There are no efforts to see chidlren reach their true potential. In fact, all creative activities have been suspended, cut back, like the unnecessary branches of a tree. A child going through this sytem will grow up to be an automaton, an unthinking robot, unwilling to go outside the lines, and more than likely, unable to go outside the lines when they're grown. Their energy is repressed, their individuality squashed completely, so when they do go outside the lines it will be doing something illegal that will land back in the penitentiary.

Powerpuff Girl Birthday 1999

What Leslie and I try to instill in our daughter is the ability to deal effectively with peer pressure and society's pressure while maintaining her sense of self. We would like her to be able to see it, and call it by name, without wanting to confirm to it.

Consequently, we have a LOT of talks about why things are the way they are, why people act the way they do. I mean, she NEEDS to talk about these things in order to make sense of them.

On Home Schooling ...

Every day I wonder if home schooling is the way to go. I think it takes a very special person to be able to home school, and honestly, I don't know if I have it in me either. I don't know if my daughter's other Mom has it in her, and she's got a background in specal ed. It demands an incredible personal commitment. I'm in the research phase right now.

On Private School ...

I'll tell you ... my daughter is attending a private school. She has been for the last two years. But over the last two years, we've discovered issues with the private school situation, too, that no longer make it the big cure all we thought it would be.

On one hand, the level of education she's receiving is great. There's a lot of stress on the kids, but with a parent doing the right support, it's not back breaking. I noticed that kids going from public to private are in for a rough haul, though. There is a big difference in what they have to transition from. On the other hand, though, the whole social scene absolutely SUCKS (that's as in, STINKS with a capital SUCK, as the domestic goddess once said). My daughter is learning and she is surrounded by a bunch of bitchy, snarly, ugly, little pony tailed monsters, who make play out of ridiculing people. Many of these children come from money. Lots of dough, and little character, I'm afraid. What's ironic here is that they are NOT focused on the two mom thing. Frankly, they couldn't care less. What they focus on is that my daughter refuses to participate in mean games and overt gossip. Anything that is hurtful, she refuses to support. And she tells me that they talk about her behind her back because she won't. As you can imagine, we have long discussions about this.

I mean, she's doing okay. She has a bosom friend there, and they are thick as thieves, so she has her own circle. She's an Aries and is therefore self-posessed ...

But, good grief ...

A Walk on the Beach

On Home Ownership ...

Welcome to the "Homeowner's Club of America" aka "Our Lady of Perpetual Debt" ... congratulations!

On Emergency Preparedness...

When I was growing up, my grandmother had loads of food stocked in her house in case, you know, the russians came or something. Her two car garage was lined with shelving, and the shelving was packed. She was a child of the depression and therefore canned everything and anything she could cram into a bell jar.

When we lived in San Francisco, we had all the components of emergency preparedness, including packets of food that required only water to make and enough drinking water for a week. But that was about earthquake preparedness.

Now? Hm, I haven't given it much thought.

On Intuition ...

My inner voice has always been there, being very strong when I was a little kid. Then, for the longest time it was silenced by other inner racket, like thoughts, needs, wants, and silliness. The crud that life put on me and the things I had lessons to learn about. But it was there, and it was heard when something stressful was happening or if there was danger. Then, I thought it was strong intuition.

When I began to focus on my spirituality, it got louder, but still it wasn't more than a squeak. It got louder when I listened to it, when I empowered it, and when the other mental clutter became secondary.


On Economics ...

I've watched ... families whose primary breadwinner has to get another job, and it can take many months as finances go straight down the crapper. I wondered why they would let that happen until I found myself looking for work after relocating to CT from the West Coast. There aren't a plethura of middle management positions out there, trust me. As economics quickly wittled away at my self-defined career direction, I found myself doing temp work as a secretary until I found what I'm doing now, which is a middle management position. Thanks to my granny, Thelma, for making me go to business school, because I fall back on those skills every day. They really helped keep the boat afloat.

When my brothers and I were living with my grandparents (draining their resources obliviously) back in, like, the late 80's, my grandfather's privately owned music studio had to close when he got sick. In the end, he was flipping biscuits at McDonald's to pay the bills. This is a man whose family had money during the depression. This was something I never thought I'd see that arrogant man do (although you should've seen the look on my grandmother's face when all the McD's employees showed up at his funeral to pay their respects -- it was hard for the old girl, whose pride was bigger than her butt at the time).

We find out what we're made of when economic times get hard.

P.S. For the record, I'd like to point out that like death and taxes, which are ever present, there will always be a need for a halfway decent secretary no matter where you live. There may not be any other jobs on CareerBuilder or Monster or whatever web based system you use. But there are always secretarial jobs out there. Now that revelation was enlightening!

Our New House!

On Real Estate ...

I've come to the conclusion that most real estate professionals are bottom feeders. I found out in the real estate class that I took ... the first unofficial rule for striking a deal is "if they don't ask, don't tell". There's so much going on out there, people running headlong into a bad deal, and the agents and loan brokers just don't say anything ... I was surprised to discover how many laws and rules there are for doing that work, and how many agents are perfectly oblivious to them and/or simply disregarding them to make a buck.


On Dying ...

I don't THINK I'm afraid of dying ... but then again I haven't exactly looked the spectre in the face either. What I know for sure is that I want to be here for my daughter and my partner when they need me, for as long as they need me, so basically dying right NOW would be out ... And I don't think being intrigued by death is strange or anything. I think it's a worthy topic to ponder unless you're, like, Catholic or something (no disrespect to Catholics ... but as they said in Shrek 3 ... Ew-eth!).

I've been doing loads of reading. Barbara Hand Clow is a favorite author right now. She's a medium, and what she's written confirms and reinforces what I'd started to believe and read about in the past. I think that maybe when we die our emotional state follows us, like, we really do make our existence. So, if we're at peace emotionally, we move on at peace to the next thing. If we're attached to the world, we stay stuck or return to do the same lessons again very quickly. Hand Clow wrote a book called "The Mind Chronicles" and she's very descriptive in this area.

Full Moon Rising

On the Housing Market Crises ...

Before I got the job I have now, I took the state of Connecticut's real estate class thinking I wanted my license. I was reassessing my career at the time, and maybe sellling houses would work. Suffice it to say, I came to my senses right around the time the market took a serious dump. I got a lot out of the class, tho, which was in a way a distilled version of economics.

The housing market is one of the most basic cogs of the U.S. economy, and for it to be crashing the way it is tends to be more frightening than most people may realize. Just like death and taxes, people will always need a home, and so this need is one of the most basic components in the larger economic machine, right? I don't think we can just blame the banks, though, for what is happening (and fundamentally I agree that if you borrow it, you owe it). I also think we should blame the real estate industry, the brokers, and everybody else, who helped get unqualified people into homes they can't afford.

Here's a story ... when we left California to move here and be close to my grandmother, we put our house in a suburb of San Francisco on the market. This was just before the market began to decline. We had offers on our home before it was even advertised. We didn't find this out until later but the people who bought it, got 100% percent financing for an absurd amount of money, which is the going rate for a home in the area I lived in. This place was by no means a mansion. I mean, their monthly mortgage has got to be more than seven grand.

I asked my agent who they were and what they do wondering how solid the deal was, and while she couldn't tell me anything without violating confidentiality laws and all that crap, she told me they were "entrepreneurial". Okay, I can get behind that.

After the fact, and thanks to our ever diligent neighbors from across that street, we discovered that the people who bought the house were a latino family. An older man and a woman moved in, and it was their son who struck the deal. The woman ran an unlicensed day care in the house, while the father and their son, the entrepreneurs, were WHAT? Bus boys, working in a restaurant called "Gunther's" down on the main drag in town and less than five minutes away.

So, basically, a lender gave a bus boy a fully financed loan for $XXX,000 and the real estate agent and all others involved helped make it happen.

I'd like to point out here that THEIR agent was also a latina, who knowingly put that family in a house she had to realize they couldn't afford. No offense to anyone here, by the way. They may have shared the same language, but I wonder if that family thought their agent would be looking out for them ... We went back to have dinner with our neighbors about a year later, and the house was weeks away from complete foreclosure ... and after all that work we put into before we left.

The point to all this is that while I believe we all have a responsibility to what we owe financially, I also know that people get screwed righteously every single day. You can't tell me that we don't at some point have to assume a responsibility for one another, too. I believe the only reason why the government is involved is because they know full well that if the housing market completely collapses, the American economy may well reach a brand new low ... one that could possibly make the Great Depression look like a waltz in the park.

My grandmother would shit a brick.

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