Category Archives: Random Musings

7 Diversions for the Overworked

Grand Central Terminal, East 42 Street
*Here’s a gratuitous picture of beautiful Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on a snowy afternoon.*

Lots of work leaves little time for blogging, but here are seven things I’ve noticed lately:

Continue reading 7 Diversions for the Overworked

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Women in the Workplace: This Week’s Edition

So the Trump boys thinks that if a woman is sexually harassed in the workplace, she should quit.

And do what? Create a job opening for another potential sexual harassment victim? Live on no income while she looks for another job?

The harasser is in violation of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission law. The EEOC website says:

If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, you can file a Charge of Discrimination.

That’s an actual copy/paste from their website. And it’s a clickable link.

So this guy thinks it’s acceptable to break the law. The victim, though, pays twice: first when she is forced to perform some sex act so she can earn a living and again by losing her job if she complains. The victim is now forced into a lower financial situation where she is less able to defend her rights in court.

This is his view of America, where women are devalued, debased and tossed aside. And he wants to be president.

What do we tell our daughters?

 

Thoughts of Support for Paris

The Statue Of Liberty, Summer 2015

Official description from the National Park Service:

“The Statue of Liberty Enlightening The World” was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

Continue reading Thoughts of Support for Paris

Powerful films from 5 young people: What health inequality looks like in the US

Heartbreaking. These kids deserve better. All kids deserve better.

TED Blog

By Michael Painter. 

For some of us, it’s easy to choose to be healthy. We can’t control whether disease or accidents strike, but we can decide where we live and what we eat, as well as if, when and how much we’ll exercise. Some of us live in a culture of health — a time and place where, for the most part, we have the real hope and opportunity to live a healthy life.

But for many more of us, it isn’t — we don’t have that choice. We live in unsafe neighborhoods. We don’t have strong families to help us through life’s challenges. We can’t readily get nutritious food. We don’t have easy ways to exercise. It’s difficult — or even impossible — to keep our children safe.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was at TED2015 in Vancouver last week, where the theme was Truth & Dare. And we took…

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It’s Election Day in the USA. Be heard. Vote..

Stuff Kids Taught Me

Fall Foliage, New York State, 2008Being a parent has, believe it or not, taught me to be as good to myself as I would be to a child.

Think in full sentences. You wouldn’t just say “milk” and expect your kid to know if you mean “Drink your milk” or Put the milk away” or “Don’t pass milk through your nose.  So why just think “milk” when you mean, “I have to buy milk?”

Speak kindly and/or politely.  Berating children is wrong for so many reasons. Don’t do it to yourself.

Try new things.  One minute baby is holding onto a table, then one foot in front of the other propels the kid forward, upright, seeing the world in a brand new way.  Baby falls down, gets back up and happily wobbles to the next piece of furniture. Not all change is as good as this. Sometimes it sucks but we need to at least be open to the possibility that it’s good.

Fight the fear.    Some kids are afraid of Halloween, Santa Claus or sand. Imagine all the fun they’d miss if they never got over those fears! I’m still skittish when driving on bridges, which is irrational since I live and work on separate islands. (Only one of New York City’s five boroughs is on the mainland, and I don’t live there.)

Shhhh. Listen. You could learn something. But don’t be too quiet or people will think either that  you’re stupid or left the room, metaphorically speaking.

Dance and Sing even if you think you’re not very good at it. Small kids rarely are but they don’t care, and neither should you, especially if you’re home!

Write Things Down.  I picture rows of students at their desks, diligently taking notes or completing assignments. The grown-up counterpart is listmaking. Grocery lists, to-do lists, holiday card lists, all serve to organize and prioritize our busy lives. This gives us time to…

Live in Wonder. Why should toddlers have all the fun? A great sunset, fall foliage, roaring waves, a gorgeous pair of shoes: these never fail to grab my attention. Now I know that I can just slow down and take it all in.

Remembering Robin Williams

The world will be a little less funny without Robin Williams. Ted Talks graciously posted their experience with him.

TED Blog

Robin Williams hijacks the TED2008 stage before the BBC World Debate. Photo: Andrew Heavens Robin Williams hijacks the TED2008 stage before the BBC World Debate. Photo: Andrew Heavens

It’s 2008, moments before a BBC broadcast live from the stage at TED. But something’s gone wrong. The house lights are still up, the camera ops are looking at one another, official-looking folks are wandering at the stage apron muttering into headsets, and the panelists are sitting patiently onstage but looking, increasingly, baffled. Minutes go by.

And then a voice rises from the audience, wondering “why at a technology conference everything is running so shittily”! As Kim Zetter wrote: “at least that’s the word I think he used; it was hard to hear the last word through the audience’s laughter.” It was Robin Williams, who’d spent the day watching TED, and who now jumped out of the audience to grab the mic and reel off 10 or 15 minutes — reports vary — of improvised…

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Earn It Or Win It?

 

 

Would you rather earn or win your fortune?

The answer would seem obvious: throw me a pile of cash without making me work for it. But in a totally unrelated article, Money Magazine said, “Studies have shown that the pleasure centers in our brains are activated more when we do something to earn money rather than passively receive it.”

Continue reading Earn It Or Win It?

We Built This City

We Built This City

I have a love/hate relationship with my area. Love the walkability and variety of mass transit options. But the one thing that will eventually drive me out is double parkers. Love the abundance of stores and restaurants. Hate the temptation to spend everything I earn in them. And I just remembered: I don’t like picking people up at the airport. We have big confusing airports. But on the plus side, we have two airports!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/prompt-built-city/

The Death of Brick-And-Mortar?

Two storefronts in Queens under renovationThis week we had news reports of more store closings, with the announcement that Radio Shack, Office Depot and Staples are closing locations, JC Penney is  laying off thousands of employees and the final closing of (*sigh*) Loehmann’s.

CNN ran this story yesterday, attributing retail downsizing to the increase in online commerce. I get the convenience of shopping in your pajamas but that poses some issues. First, I like to feel the fabric and see the stitches in clothing. I need to try things on before I buy because odds are, they won’t fit right.

Then there’s the social aspect: browsing and buying with other people, sharing laughs and opinions. Silly shopping conversation morphs into more substantial talk in the store, in the car, while walking. Have you bonded lately over the Amazon screen?

We need to be out and together more, not less. You can do only so much thinking and doing by yourself. Even running errands in the neighborhood finds me greeting the usual locals. I would like to think that the soon-to-be-vacant retail locations will become social places, like craft studios or family style gyms like the YMCA. I see this as an opportunity for people to be together to create and recreate.

Today was a beautiful day for a drive so I went to Ikea. I get inspiration there and always find something cheerful to buy. Although I had glanced at the online catalog before going, I didn’t notice the buoy-shaped solar light that I now own. Don’t know if it works but I’m a big fan of the potential of solar and today I put my money where my mouth is. Being physically there made that possible.

While in a store I expect decent customer service.  I applauded a local Staples closing about a year ago because the staff was appalling; I had already switched to a different location with courteous, knowledgeable people. (They fixed my laptop without making me feel like an idiot!) It’s a business’s responsibility to treat their customers as valuable to the survival of the business. When you have to call a customer service number, you have no idea what kind of person will answer or whether that operator will know anything. (That one’s for you, Cable Company.)

Understand that if I had small children I would certainly take my chances with online when  necessary, and I’d be that lady at the grocery drive-through as well. You do what you have to do.

I sincerely hope traditional retail takes the same attitude and does its best to win back some of the customers lost to the web.

Two Loehmann's price tags
Oh yes I did hit the closeout sale!

The Polar Vortex Stole My January (And February’s Not Looking Too Good Either)

It’s been cold and windy and I couldn’t get Life In A Northern Town out of my head. I’m not even sure if it has anything to do with snow or weather but it has the ethereal quality of an aurora borealis. Here’s a You Tube of the video, with a true Eighties look.

I was up early Saturday – Saturday! – for a visit from the cable company, then tried to figure out how to move my car from its spot in the permafrost. I chose the safe route: leave it there for another few weeks and walk to the small local grocery instead of driving to the big supermarket. I declined an invitation to go out for drinks, even though it didn’t involve driving at all. Probably could have worked on my taxes or washed the walls but nah, more fun to watch the Olympics, light candles and pretend I have a fireplace.

Continue reading The Polar Vortex Stole My January (And February’s Not Looking Too Good Either)

Farewell, 5 Pointz

Copyright Linda P.
Copyright Linda P.

I’m surprised to be so sad that 5 Pointz is no more. 5 Pointz was a block of buildings in Long Island City, Queens that was so literally covered with the most amazing graffiti art that tourists from around the world would visit. I went there last Summer and although I’m no fan of graffiti, this was breathtaking in its size. NPR ran a poignant piece on their website, www.npr.org about how the landlord of these buildings plans to replace them with “residential towers.” Hey just what we need, more overpriced housing with great views of the Manhattan that artists can’t afford to get started out in. Now they’re even priced out of Queens.

5Pointz_skyline and angry tree5Pointz_Citi Tower

I Love Pinterest and So Does My Budget

Pinterest has saved me a lot of money since I got hooked on it last Winter. Now understand that I live within a mile of a lovely shopping area, and that mile is an easy, familiar walk for me. Browsing = shopping.

Now I peruse the Pinterest offerings and collect my favorites on inspiration boards. (Or simply boards of things that amuse me.) I learned that I don’t need to own every adorable  homething to appreciate artistry and humor; I can just look at it online. Pinterest has made me realize how much white interiors and mid-century design resonate with me. And my clothing boards taught me (1) that I have an actual go-to look and (2) I already own the Linda version of some of these clothes.

Then again, my Coffee Tables board has strengthened my resolve to actually buy a coffee table.