Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hot Roasted Peanut Stand

When we applied for our mortgage, the bank was concerned about the fact that I’m self-employed. The loan agent required me to take out a listing in a local directory of consultants (in the grant writers section). The listing has not brought me any viable work. I occasionally get a call from someone who saw the listing and is looking for a grant writer. It is almost always someone kind of weird with a bizarre project in mind. Last summer I got a phone call sparked by the listing from a guy named Jerry who was looking for a grant writer to write a grant to help him start a hot roasted peanut stand business. He planned to hire blind and deaf people to sell peanuts on street corners. When I told Ron about this, he said I should have shouted at Jerry, “ARE YOU NUTS?!”
Jerry seems to think he’s going to be doing these blind and deaf people a favor by setting them up with a job. As if by being blind or deaf they are incapable of doing anything better with their lives than selling peanuts on street corners. A person can’t possibly make an adult income selling peanuts. (What? You want me to work for peanuts?)
Ironically, his call interrupted me while I was writing a huge federal grant for funding for a project to train and place mentally ill disabled individuals in mainstream jobs and I was busy researching the Supported Employment Model, a tremendous research-proven framework built on the belief that, given adequate extra support, severely disabled people (including the mentally ill) can make a significant contribution in the workplace, earn a competitive wage, and develop a career path. Bad timing, Jerry. I suggested he call the Workforce Investment Board and went to make myself a peanut butter sandwich.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Matt's Dance

Have you seen Matt dance yet? A few years ago Matt traveled around the world and filmed himself dancing in different locations. He posted his dances on the internet. A corporate sponsor saw his dance and offered to send him around the world again to dance with more people. The result is the 2008 internet video of Matt dancing with people all over the world. I love this video and often watch it when I’m feeling down. It always cheers me. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the link. Watch Dancing 2008 to see Matt dance with the people of the world.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What That College Degree Is Worth

Now that my daughter has finally graduated from college, she is looking for a job in journalism, writing, communications, or related field. I’m about to blow an artery out I’m so mad at the Republicans for trashing our economy right when my darling daughter is entering the job market with her hard-earned degree. And her brother will be close behind when he graduates next year, probably December 2009. She says she’s going to try to get a publisher to give her an advance to write a book about how her college education is worthless because she can’t get work. She’s still bartending, while sending out literally hundreds of resumes weekly via email through several major job boards, like Monster and Yahoo Jobs. Speaking of Yahoo, did you see that Yahoo is laying off 1,200 workers? Businesses laying off workers. Experienced workers unable to retire or re-entering the job market because their retirement savings went down the drain. What’s a gal like my lovely daughter, with no experience and a hard-earned college degree, to do? I keep telling her that YES, a college degree is worth all the work, it shows strength of character and intelligence and perseverance and all that other good stuff. That it WILL get her a better-paying job, a job she loves, in the long run. I tell her to hang in there, keep applying, something will come along. What else can a Jewish Mom do? If I had the bucks I’d hire her myself to run my shoe-string publishing company. But the truth is, I’m barely working also in this lousy economy. I expect my grant writing to pick up in the next couple of months, it always does once the Feds start announcing all the Education Grants. Meanwhile, I’m Amy-the-Grantwriter, and I want McCain and Obama to speak to me like they did to Joe-the-Plumber. I am the middle class and I need help.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Showing the Obama Love

We mustn’t assume that a person will vote for Obama just because the person is Black. I think that’s a racist assumption. One of my business colleagues is a talented artist and a perfectly intelligent Black man who plans to vote for McCain because he (my colleague) is a die-hard conservative, is strongly opposed to abortion for any reason, has always voted Republican, and always will vote Republican come hell or high water. I will not comment on that logic. I have to say that I was disappointed to learn of his leanings, but this did remind me not to make assumptions. That said, I know that for the vast majority of Black folks in the country, Obama is the change for which they have waited for at least 300 years. Although Obama is biracial, meaning half Black and half Caucasian, he looks Black, and our culture views him as Black because he has more than a drop of Black blood. For most Black folks, that half Black is plenty, it’s a dream come true. (One comedian recently said he is voting for the white half of Obama.) I read a story this morning about an 84-year-old Black woman living in the South who suffered a massive heart attack. She was rushed to the hospital and they managed to save her life. The first words she uttered to her family when conscious and once again coherent were, “Get me an absentee ballot NOW!” I must share with you this photo, which says it all about what Obama means to most of the Black community.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Life Calculator

I noticed in the weekend magazine insert that they listed a website where you can go to fill out a brief questionnaire about your health and habits and have your life expectancy calculated. I did it and this one is really pretty good. The questionnaire is short, doesn’t take more than 10 mins. to do, and the questions are clearly key questions to ask. After you complete the questionnaire, the computer will calculate your life expectancy age for you, AND you have the opportunity to check out tips on what you can do to extend your life. The tips are excellent. It’s a great way to assess your health and your habits and consider making some changes. Having just completed the Jewish High Holidays, when Jews contemplate what they want to change about themselves in the coming year, this exercise was very apropos. Here is the link if you want to try it. Well worth the effort!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Divided Household

I'm still working on getting past my neighbor's McCain/Palin yard sign. But here is a family with a more serious yard sign issue than mine (photo taken by Bill Wooten in St. Louis--see comment below from Elaine about source of photo).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Carol's Words

My friend Carol, who is in her 70s, had this to say about the current economic crisis:
I let go of the idea of certainty about money, I let go of leaving money to my children and grandchildren. It was then that I laughed at our government needing to prop up the capitalistic structure with our tax dollars. I chuckled at the so-called experts running in confused circles and badmouthing each other. Then I looked into my self, because that’s got to be where my sense of security must begin. I asked, how can I nurture my sense of security? It turned out that for me meditation/prayer and simply the joy in the daily routine and the change of the seasons center me. They keep me grounded. I also thought about all the past Rosh HaShanahs and Yom Kippurs of the Jewish people, all those other times of trial and disaster. I thought about the advice we have received since the beginning of time. Trust in the Lord your God, be just and righteous in your dealings with the world. Take care of your family, be engaged in life-long study and learning. Remember the world can take your possessions, not your knowledge or the love we have for each other. Not bad advice in difficult times.
I can’t quite say I trust in a god the way Carol does, but I certainly identify with the rest of her words. Carol survived breast cancer earlier this year, but she was a pretty wise lady even before her brush with death.