Friday, March 30, 2012

The Lottery

Who is going to win all that money? I need to buy a ticket so I can join the thousands who will be disappointed tomorrow or the next day or whenever a winner emerges. Funny thing: I've never bought a ticket. Another funny thing: I want to win that money. Just think what I could do with all that cash. My biggest decision, after making sure all my family was cared for, would be to decide where to give it, where it would be most useful, make a significant difference in the world?  OK...that might not be the second decision - the second decision might be focused on immediate gratification.  What can I do right now just for the fun of doing it? 

I guess I've hopped on to that daydreaming frenzy that has captured so many others. As the buzz got going about this large sum of money, I found it interesting that it is all taking place at the same time The Hunger Games film is being launched. And that brought me to Shirley Jackson's story The Lottery that overwhelmed us all somewhere in between fifth grade and high school.
Back to Reality. I still haven't spent my dollar. Probably won't.

Speaking of money, what about the penny? Disappearing in Canada because it's too expensive. Will we be the last ones standing by the penny?  I find pennies to be profoundly irritating, whether they are on my car floor, the bottom of my pocketbook, clanking around in the dryer or just defiantly part of the $2.99, $3.99, 10.99 . .  ad finitum lurking penny exchange. Don't want a penny return and sure don't want a penny for anyone's thoughts.
Take that back:  I'd sure give a penny to know the thoughts of the Justices as they come to their decision on the Health Care bill today. I know they won't be telling us for quite a while, but hope my lat penny for your thoughts ends up with a heads up.
Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Voice of the Village

Vaudeville - the voice of the village.
Was going to post a bit about vaudeville this afternoon, but then learned that one of my favorite feminists and poets died today. Adrienne Rich, in many ways, mentored us all. She mentored us to be better women, thinkers, writers, and teachers. Let's pay a tribute to her - as she too was the Voice of the Village for many of us.  Peace, Adrienne.

Words from Adrienne Rich   Taking Women Students Seriously

“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.”

It means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. “

It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. . . .

Responsibility to yourself means that you don't fall for shallow and easy solutions--predigested books and ideas...

 It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short...and this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us.

 It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be "different"...

The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.”
Adrienne Rich   excerpts from Transcendental Etudes

from Natural Resources 
My heart is moved by all that I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed.
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

And here is to all of us who do our best to reconstitute the world.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And What Do You Do?

Good news. My team, UConn, won, so the women will be heading to Denver this week for the Final Four.
Not-so-good News: I missed the second half of the game because we were at a social event and my phone wouldn't bring up the score or any info. The event took place in one of the most exquisite homes I've ever been in - more contemporary art pieces than most contemporary art museums own. I couldn't bring myself to ask the 'help' where the television was.
Frustrated with my utter inability to exert any control in this lovely atmosphere, filled with lovely people, and very lovely food, I began to take a deep breath when a woman I know asked "Now that you are retired, what do you do every day?"

The woman asking the question is in her late seventies, owns and operates several major construction companies, and spends a great deal of time (and money) supporting the various arts in the city. She's a remarkable - and very nice - woman.

I stumbled, mumbled something about my blog, writing workshops, committee work for non-profits and an educational organization, yoga, walking, reading, travel.  "Oh, I do teach most quarters or semesters (but that would be one-day workshops, I neglected to add).  I could feel her thinking:  "Well, that's maybe an average of three hours a day, so what's going on the rest of the time. Reality shows, shopping, gossiping?"

"Oh no, I have become J. Alfred Prufrock, measuring out my life in coffee spoons" I thought. What do I do and why do I feel so busy doing it? All week, I've had my eye on the prize of this coming Friday afternoon, when I have nothing planned.  I need a better answer. If this had been an essay exam, I would have gotten a C.  More thoughts fluttered in. Add mentoring, coaching and consulting to that description of what I do. People like those three words. Then there is also being mentored, coached, and consulted. Surely, anyone with family engages in those things all the time. It's what used to be called "Well, if you asked me," or "What I think I hear you saying is,"  aka giving advice and butting in.

To my relief,and gratitude for the reprieve, the host called us together to talk for a few minutes. In the end, it was a gentle, delicate ask for support for a theatrical event that would cost $1000 a seat. I couldn't help but laugh to myself. I know how I got my name on this invite list, and figured no one thought for a minute that I'd really be buying one of the seats.  I never in my life did anything that put me in the category of  'She'll definitely buy a $1000 ticket to anything."  In that short swirl of time, I measured my life out and the UConn women won a basketball game.
And what do you do all day?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Women's Basketball

Hybrid sharks are surfacing, the Pope is in Cuba, the Court is contemplating Health Care a.k.a. known as Obamacare, fires burn, North Korea still likes its launch plan, Syrians continue to flee and the US men's soccer team won't be in the Olympics for only the second time since 1976.
But prime-time women's basketball is being played and played here and now on my tv screen. I'm a fan, as many of you know. Even going to spend two and a half days at the Burnsley Hotel next week with other female basketball fans. We'll go to the games and spend hours chatting and hanging out in the hotel.
The group of us who have been traveling to the Final Four has been doing it for quite a while. I'm wearing my 1998 Final Four sweatshirt from Kansas City tonight. We've been to San Jose, St. Louis, San Antonio, all sorts of places. Nothing like road trips with multiple Thelmas and Louises. This road trip is downtown Denver, but, in truth, we'll all be thousands of miles away from things other than basketball. Friends from CA, Missouri and New Jersey will be joining the Denver gang.

Baylor and Stanford are in. Tonight the other semi-finalists will surface. I'm expecting Connecticut and Notre Dame to make it tonight.  Especially Connecticut. My team, my school. But Brittany Griner from Baylor is a woman to watch.
I know, it's a lame way to say 'no blog tonight', but it's the truth. Kentucky and CT are playing right now, and I'm going to abandon multi-tasking and multi-thinking for a couple of hours. Just settling in for a night of women's hoops.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Somehow my decision to have two 'picture is worth a thousand words' days of posting wasn't entirely successful.I heard from several folks that they couldn't get the pictures, and then heard from several more people that the posts no longer show up so one can scroll down easily and read the other recent posts. Somehow those posts disappeared from the page (for me also). I know, it's possible to click on a previous post and it will come up, be we want this to be easy.  I'll see if I can fix that glitch, but I'm not a wizard with this sort of thing.

On to more interesting things. I've been reading previews and excerpts about Jonathan Haidt's new book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. There is also a great interview between Haidt and Bill Moyers that can be found on-line. Pretty fascination to think about the moral foundations of politics, even when it's back by some solid research.  I like Jon Haidt and used his earlier book, The Happiness Hypothesis, in several courses. He's been on my mind.

 Then, before 8:00 a.m. this morning, I came to a stop for the red light behind a car with a Ron Paul sticker. Inside the car, the driver leans over and gives her poodle a kiss on the nose. Not kidding.
Immediately I wonder what, if any, correlation exists between Ron Paul fans and poodle-kissers. Is there a moral foundation upon which each of these acts stand? I'm not sure what I expected to see in a car with a Ron Paul bumper sticker, but this wasn't it. Long ago, back in the day when I actually did some social science research and published some of it, I promised myself I would not necessarily believe what I wrote. It's not that I was lying, being manipulative or disingenuous, I just understood that a correlation is not cause, that one's view is distorted by what one sees, just as what one sees is distorted by being seen. Heady morning.

Speaking of heady mornings, one has to feel some empathy and/or compassion for the Supremes and the presenting attorneys in Court this morning.  Which could be worse - delivering hours of a carefully crafted case on healthcare (either view) OR listening and assimilating the dense discourse?  Which judges' minds will wander, who will nod off, who has her or his mind sort-of made up already, who will not get it (whatever the 'it' may be)?
Lots of speculation today about pet-owners and politics, healthcare and politics and the moral foundations of all the above.
If you have the time and patience, here's a link:      Marbury vs Medicine... Clever

Friday, March 23, 2012

Picture = How Many Words?

Pictures instead of Words, Day 2. Lots to think about.
 I Am Trayvon Martin.  
Photo by Keith Carr
Thanks to Cheryl Curtis.


                       I Am Trayvon Martin