Hey blogging buddies, many thanks to everyone who weighed in on my previous post. Here are some other challenge options now that WordPress closed our playground: Continue reading 8 Other Places to Play In The Blogs
It’s probably the last summery day we’ll feel for a while here in New York, so I did another first-ever: I took the bus to Rockaway Beach.
The ride itself was weird: I got a seat a few stops after I boarded. Its previous occupant’s phone dropped out of his pocket. I hollered to him as he disembarked, waving his phone at him. He was thankful. I chatted with a nice couple and admired the family seated across the aisle. When the family got up to leave, I saw that they left their lunch carrier under their seat. I held it up and some people banged on the windows to get the family’s attention. As we handed off the lunch someone noticed their phone on that seat as well. I laughed and, inexplicably, called after them in Spanish, their language, “y el teléfono también.” I don’t normally speak in tongues, and I am sadly monolingual. Or maybe not any longer?
Love stands tall amid the bustling, ever-moving Midtown Manhattan
The low, rumbling voice behind me in the subway stairs tonight was barely audible, and I was astounded by its icky suggestion once I understood. Fight or flight? When I reached the sidewalk, I stepped aside to see what cretin was saying this. He turned off the bright boulevard onto the same residential street I needed to take. After a few yards opened up between us I resumed my walk, passed him and again he said what he must have thought was suggestive talk. Now, I was tired and hungry and had a broken a nail, so I exploded, flinging every vulgarity at him, pointing, threatening to call the cops. When I get really angry my voice goes all urban, but it worked. He scurried away like the cockroach that he is. A dignified-looking man was nearby and I felt compelled to apologize if I was offensive, explaining that the creep “needed to be told off.” The nice man agreed and I safely continued home, feeling a little bigger and prouder with every step.
It was Saturday. It was sunny. And the photo challenge theme was Spring. All I wanted to do was take my first breath of ocean air for 2014. This beach is actually a massive state park, and a beautiful Spring day is perfect for repairs and preparations for the busy Summer season to come
Was everything else sold? Or is this all they had? I leave it up to you to decide.
I have a fantasy party based on this CNN article listing the ten happiest countries in the world. I would invite one ordinary person from each country: a teacher, cop, accountant, construction worker, firefighter, machinist, doctor, you get my drift. We have so much to learn from them, why not over beer, wine and appetizers? I feel that a full-on dinner would be too stressful and detract from my global happiness search. But appetizers and wine from each guest’s country can really get a conversation going.
Revelation! As much as I like my job, and as much as I believe the job likes me, I really need some backup skills. Parenting and blogging don’t pay, there’s no inheritance in my future and the lottery is too much of a long shot. At this stage, there’s no return on a grad school investment and besides, I have no idea what lucrative field I’d want to study.
But who doesn’t love the plumber? When your pipes misbehave and you’re desperate to wash the dishes, who do you call in desperation? Plumbers in the county just east of me are paid the highest in the nation, according to this U.S. News & World Report story! Yes, it’s dirty work and doesn’t get the respect it deserves but it pays the bills with cash to spare. It’s honest work when performed honestly. No government has ever had to bail out the plumbing industry. And plumbing can’t be outsourced.
This trade must go back thousands of years, to the building and maintenance of the Roman aqueducts. People have been controlling the movement of water for millennia.
WordPress.com challenged us bloggers: If you could learn a trade, what would that trade be? Simple: The one most consistently in demand!
Love this one: If I Had A Semi
And another potential plumber: http://ohhowrandom.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/dont-call-a-plumber-i-can-handle-it/
Looks like the “T” in Boston and the subway in New York share some station names!
Happy Earth Day 2014! CNN ran this opinion piece suggesting that cities ban cars, essentially forcing everybody to use mass transit or walk to their destinations. It outlines reasons why: less noise and traffic, cars ownership is expensive, pollution, wasted time. This would be the great democratizer, if politicians and the wealthy allowed it to happen.
I would demand that all elected officials be required to commute to work. They could stand in the same smelly, crowded buses and trains that we (who elected them) endure every day. They can wait for trains that may or may not appear and have buses whiz right past them. They can experience the parade of panhandlers who can no longer hold jobs, and watch small children try to wrap their tiny hands around the poles to keep from falling. They can do this every day of their working lives, just like the taxpayers who fund their salaries. And they would do it without security.
This also applies to all employees of all urban transit companies.
Those who come in from out of town would have to drive themselves to the City line. No drivers or police escorts. They wouldn’t escape the traffic and potholes that define urban highways. They can skid on icy roads.
Who gives these jerks the right to travel in better style, safety and comfort than the people who gave them their jobs? Are they more important than the grandmother or injured person or kid struggling to get around town?
In August, 2012, I finally had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge. I’ve always wanted to physically be there, to experience the wonder of these ancient stones. The sky cooperated, getting cloudier and moodier. Sadly, it was part of a bus tour so my time there was limited. I promise to return, with a picnic lunch and time to spare. I’ve experienced several things on my wishlist: parenthood, living in the area where I now live, seeing a few places other than my native New York City. It’s such a big world, though, and I have always wanted to experience more of it. There is so much to see and learn and eat. Our national history and my family’s history are interconnected with that of so many other places. A bucket list seems like a great idea until you start throwing more and more ideas into the bucket. The bucket is never satisfied. It is always hungry. (This post was inspired by this Daily Prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dust-wind/ Why not visit there and see how other bloggers were inspired?)
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!
Last night my daughter and I had a blast at Billy Joel’s concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The huge venue was packed, thousands of mostly middle-aged fans (and their kids, who grew up with this music) singing and swaying along with the gifted storyteller. He opened with Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway), which I find funny, this being 2014 and the song is from 1981. We may have been the only two, at least in our section, who cheered the line, “They said that Queens could stay.”
Pressure was next, with its raw truth. The lights and graphics added to the nervous energy of the song. (Off topic word of advice: if you listen to Pressure and James back-to-back you will need a drink or baked goods afterwards. But he didn’t play James so we were okay.) It was a weird going from that to the sedate This Is The Time.
It was a record-breaking four degrees Fahrenheit when I left for work on Tuesday. How do you dress appropriately and dodge hypothermia at the same time?
Sometimes, you don’t. I wore enough layers for my quarter-mile walk to the subway, and covered everything with a brown down-filled coat. The office was chilly; I suppose it’s impossible to keep a building toasty in that weather. Thank goodness for my cute old, chunky long white sweater!
So what is style? It’s partially dressing appropriately for the occasion, in this case, really cold weather. It’s having enough self-respect to wear the clothes that work best for you and fit you well. It’s the confidence to wear what you find attractive and comfortable. Like a cozy cardigan!
Are these writing challenges or thinking challenges?
The premise is that I hypothetically won a billion dollars. That’s a thousand million, or this much: $1,000,000,000.00 U.S., which would finance pretty much all my dreams.
I always wondered what it would be like to come from a wealthy family. So first, I would give each of my siblings a million dollars, the only caveat being that they not ask for more money. Ever. I have big ideas to pay for. I would pay my father’s rent for wherever he wants to live. This way, the landlord is responsible for repairs or maintenance. He is so used to doing these things himself that even as a wealthy man, I can imagine him replacing floor tiles or installing appliances.
I’d put a couple million into my child’s college fund to finance not only her Master’s Degree, but education for her someday children and grandchildren. We would become a dynasty! We would travel and meet and learn from interesting, peaceful and fun people from all over the world. Then I’d buy her a house.
I’d create a center for women in my area who are returning to the workforce, providing counseling, skills training, interview techniques and appropriate work clothing to get them started. Maybe one week’s worth. Everybody there is required to learn personal financial management. In return, each woman has to share her unique skill or talent with the other women. Let’s say “A” is a great cook, so she teaches cooking to B,C and D. “B” teaches tennis to A, C, D and E. “C” teaches basic home repair, “D” teaches sewing, “E”car maintenance. Ultimately you have a community of smart, knowledgeable, competent and employed women.
I am from a blue-collar family and it breaks my heart that so many of the manufacturing jobs that paid the rent and put food on our table are simply gone. I would build a clean, safe clothing factory right here in Queens, New York. I would pay fair wages and moderate benefits. The first things out of my plant would be clothing for the ladies at my women’s center, followed by my version of the stuff already in my closet. Hey, maybe you’d like these clothes as much as I do!
Of course I’d move to bigger digs. I want my new home to be wind and solar-powered and be so energy-efficient that I’m selling power to the power company. Gardens would surround the wind turbines, growing flowers, fruits and vegetables. My existing furnishings are welcome in my dream home; they’re modest but I love them. I have no idea where I would build this; my little utopia needs a lot of acreage. Maybe I’d build a few of these houses on this massive plot of land to form a family compound and name it after myself: Billionairessville.
None of this would happen unless I assemble a good financial team. I’d get my accountant on board first: he is smart, personable and ethical. I’d also have to study for an MBA so I can better understand the implications of this vast amount of money.
I’d better get me some good lawyers too. A billionaire can afford to speak her mind and be able to defend her freedom of speech in court. The vultures would circle the cash. It would be fun.
For some two decades December 23 was a frenzy of busyness. The day started with working whatever job I had at the time and after my commute home, continued with my Mommy job: loving and caring for my child, preparing salad or cooking for Christmas Eve, wrapping those last gifts and trying to figure out how everything was going to fit in my Geo Prizm. (Little people get big toys!) Add why, oh why, did I volunteer to bring folding chairs?