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Back to Blogger

Ok, not that I blog much any more, but I'm going back to Blogger.  I don't really use LJ's functionality any more, and I'm annoyed that it can't do the stuff I want (batch-export entries, display scripts, etc.)  So, I can now be found again at http://speedyima.blogspot.com or on Facebook.  Ciao!

Homeless families

Tonight I went to a local hotel to help some families who are living there fill out paperwork for a voucher lottery.  Jesse was out there a couple of weeks ago with work, and asked if I could go this time to translate for the Spanish-speaking families.  Since folks in need are no longer a big demographic in my day to day work, I'm just gonna take a moment to process...

First, I'm reminded once again that Jesse is really strong, and that he has a heck of a lot of hope.  For all the cynical code-names he gives his clients, he is able to keep genuinely caring about them and fighting for them without shutting down or burning out.  The last time that I worked full-time with an "at-risk" population, I kept going by becoming a little hardened, pretending that people getting locked up or cut was all in a day's work.  I was glad to find tonight that my heart has regained its capacity to be broken again and again by individual stories.

Second, it's totally different doing this work as a parent.  Most of these folks are eligible for shelter in the first place because they have kids.  And those kids are just like Yoni.  They were bouncing all over the place in a pre-bed hype, little ones chatting with me, older ones helping me translate the paperwork for their parents.  The little ones mostly still know they are loved, tresured, still feel secure even though their moms don't know where they'll be living next week.  I gave a 2 year-old a pen and clipboard to draw on, and his 3 year-old sister immediately tried to take it from him.  I gave her one, too.  She smiled, thanked me, and gave her first drawing to her brother.  I wished there were a supply of homes for them as limitless as my bounty of office supplies.  As it was, a lot of parents' jaws dropped at the prospect of 8,000 vouchers being released in 2 years.

Jesse did an alternative "martyrology" at the Havurah on Rosh Hashannah, focusing on contemporary homeless martyrs rather than ancient sages killed by Romans.  It is generating some momentum, and I'm hopeful that we can do something more focused as a community to address homelessness.

Puttin' up Food

I got into pickles while I was pregnant.  (Who doesn't?)  Normally, I don't like salty anything, but in the summer, pickles really hit the spot, and they help if you actually need some sodium.  So, swadfather has made the Daddy of All Pickles from the farmshare picklin' cukes.  "So good, so good, so good..."  Full disclosure, he used the pickling spice blend from Penzeys.  Cold from the fridge...ooh, chile'.

Me, I'm just going to boil up some corn and freeze it.  And repeat weekly for the next 6 weeks or so.  Oh, and if anyone has a good recipe for putting up red cabbage, let me know.

On another topic, I'm so proud of both of my friends who are taking up running!  One who has been run-walking for about 4 weeks has gone from 30 seconds of running at a time to 2:30 last week and 3:00 this week!  It's a lot of fun getting to go out with both of them.

I'm a Failure! (and proud of it)


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

swadfatherasks how such a superior 1930s husband and I can stay married.


It's May.

Ok, haven't posted a personal post in 2 months.  But I've gotten through March & April without threats of divorce or my child forgetting who I am, so I'd say the start of the 2008 landscaping season has been a success.  Further evidence: today our family went to the aquarium.  I haven't done a lick of billable work since Friday afternoon!  We're all feeling pretty good.  (Speedy's finally asleep with his "Aunt Nellie Blanket," a belly full of cannolli, and 2 rounds of snuggling and songs, so he's feeling the best.)

I'm working on "accepting my own inadequacy," a useful phrase for which I can take no credit, since I still really don't get it.  But I think slowing down by ditching my awesome pick-em-up truck is going to help.  Forces me to stop my work based on the fixed nature of the commuter rail schedule or my own walking speed.  I've given up on growing even a useful portion of my own food this year, in favor of "facade greening" with some scarlet runner beans and a few pots of nasturtiums and mesclun greens for grazing.  In a few weeks, the farmer's market will have tomato seedlings out, and I can catch up after having let my own die of exposure while at the Green Roofs conference

I'm also trying to organize a few families with whom we're friends to share shopping/baking/childcare types of tasks, while increasing the quality & quantity of time we spend together.  I feel like I've taken a 3-year hiatus from intentionality, and it's time to get back on the boat with my values.  Feel free to check in with me from now to August and see how I'm doing with this current wave of optimism.

Nervous about Big Organics

I got paid $50 for taking part in a (lengthy) phone survey today.  Yay!  But the upshot of it made me somewhat nervous: after the many questions about my organic motivations, policies and purchasing patterns, they asked about my hypothetical interest in forming an exclusive relationship with a particular big box store, whereby they would be my one-stop, exclusive supplier of their new brand of organic materials, and in exchange, they would forward me residential maintenance accounts.  (Oh, I should note that one of the pre-qualification questions was whether I ever buy "organic" products that aren't certified organic.  They can still get away with that for non-food products, folks!)

I responded that basically, regardless of my level of trust of the big box store or their new brand, I didn't think our customer base would take organic service recommendations from a big box. The next question asked whether I would be interested in purchasing an organic landcare franchise branded and supplied by an organic grocery that shall remain nameless.  (This store would also sell the new organic product line.)  I was briefly tempted by the hybrid pickup truck that would come with the deal!

So, the whole thing left me with a yucky feeling of compromise.  I want everyone to use organic landcare practices.  I want homeowners to quit dumping 4-step, quick-release nitrogen and pesticides on their huge lawns.  But heck, I don't trust our own former lawn application subcontractor, who runs a split organic/conventional business, to do our apps now that we're 100% organic.  He doesn't really believe in it, he doesn't soil test, and he's just in it for the money.  I'm sure not going to line up to endorse the greatest pesticide pushers, just because they're mainstream enough to get the word out about organics. 

I often have this dilemma about things going mainstream.  For instance, I'm not crazy about the fact that organic food is high-end, or that most folks who have access to organic food have it through a large middleman who controls supply and waters down health and labor standards.  I want organic food to be affordable, but what's being sold at national discount stores as "organic" seems hardly worth the cost differential they can charge over conventional.  

Birthday Run

For my birthday, I'm inviting all of my friends to do 3.2 for my 32nd.  If you're in the area, here's a suggested 3.2 mile course.  It's a modification of the St. Patrick's Day Ras, starting and ending at the Havurah.  I'll be organizing a group run the Sunday after my b-day, and we'll go at the pace of the slowest participant (I'll have Speedy in a stroller as handicap).  Who knows -- if you love the course, maybe you'll come out again on the 16th, run the Ras, and have some free green beer with us!

If you don't run or aren't local, I encourage you to do your 3.2 how ever you want.  Hop on the treadmill, elliptical trainer or bike.  Hit the trails for a hike.  Head to the mall and do 3.2 laps, or do 32 minutes of tae kwon do.  I know one person who could probably swim that distance.  Post your results below, and it will be credited as your b-day gift to me!


Pajama Day!

Speedy is napping, still in his pajamas.  I have finally admitted defeat and put on clothes, because when swadfather gets home, I'm going to a demo of some landscape design software.  However, I made it until 2:45 pm in sweats, which is pretty darned nice!

We've enjoyed this hedonism because (1) it's Tu B'Shevat, so last night we were out late (for us) at a Seder; and (2) Ima ran 19 miles yesterday and needs the rest.  Which brings us to part 2 of our post:

19 Miles: A Long Run in 3 Acts

If I can just nail down childcare, I think I'm ready for the MV20.  BTW, while at Mayyim Hayyim on Sunday, I learned about a great tool that I'm trying out for J's surgery, Lotsa Helping Hands.  If you ever have to coordinate help for someone around a major medical event, take a look.

On Social Networking

melted_snowball brought up in recent posts both the balance of LJ and real-world, and the weirdness of facebook.  Then yesterday I got an invitation from a woman I've met twice (friend of friend and potential customer) to join Konnects, a business networking site that as far as I can see is a lot of small-business and self-employed folks trawling for business (to other people who are also trawling).  On the flip side, I've been able to track down a number of old friends on similar sites targeted ore to the tech/academic sectors.

I don't want to spend anymore time on-line than I already do -- it's a huge mind/energy suck.  I mainly want to keep in touch with my RL friends in distant places.  I may not make time for a daily chat with them, but I am a heck of a lot more in touch than I was in my previous "never call, never write" mode.  I also want a little both personal & professional presence on the web where folks can check me out and ping me occasionally. 

I'm sure others of you have figured out your own way to deal with this -- is there a particular platform that is better than others?  Facebook seems 10 years too young for me, but has the brief style of communication I'm looking for.  LJ is where most of my RL friends have accounts.  Blogger is where most gardenbloggers seem to hang out.  MySpace seems to be where my late-20 - early-30-something high school classmates are.  And then there are the professional networking sites, whose needfulness is unclear to me in my current life space.



I'm Wonder Woman!

Your results:
You are Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
Iron Man
The Flash
Green Lantern
You are a beautiful princess
with great strength of character.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Thanks, swadfather.  Now, when do I get my Underoos?  :-)

Ok, back to that siteplan.  :-(