Thursday, March 29, 2012

If I Win The Lottery

I realized tonight that if  I win the lottery tomorrow night (which I am sure will happen) my federal government and my state government will make a lot of un-budgeted tax income.  The jackpot is based on how many people play the lottery so there's no way any government agency could budget for it.

That means that, basically, the tax income to the state and federal government is free money.  And, if I win, I would really love to have a say in where those taxes go. 

So here's what I want.  I want my tax money from my lottery windfall to pay for a fund that provides supplemental income to the working poor to bring their wages up to a living wage.  Right now, in Westchester County, the living wage is $11.45 per hour.  Anyone who makes less than that could apply for a weekly supplement.  I would have some requirements about the business (for example, you would have to work for a business that couldn't afford to pay a living wage) so that this would be both a benefit to the employee and to businesses.

I know that this isn't completely thought out but, off the top of my head, it seems like an interesting idea.

If you win the lottery, what do you want to have happen with the tax money that you pay?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Dear Blog Readers:

Five years ago tonight, I met a man who I fell in love with.  If you are a reader you know that he died.  I guess, if you are not a reader and just landed here tonight, now you know too.

When he died, there was no obituary.  There was no eulogy at his funeral.  Our relationship was tumultuous.  There was plenty of pain and drama but I stayed for a long time becuase I was in love. 

So tonight, I don't need to think about the shitty times.  I just want to cherish the good times.

And I think he deserves a eulogy.  It may or may not be a good one but it's the best I can do right now.

He was an animal whisperer.  He could soothe an animal just by talking to it.  I had a cat who went deaf and she was so scared by it that she hid in the linen closet for years.  He got her to come out and rejoin our household because he was kind to animals.

The man loved sports and he never ever made me feel stupid about it.   I think I've made it perfectly clear that I don't really understand sports and, frankly, I don't need to.  But he always welcomed me to watching games and he explained them to me in a way that made me feel included and, most importantly, not stupid.

He loved his family but just could never figure out how to show it.  He could talk about them for hours and hours and he was so delighted by them but he could never quite figure out how to tell them how much he cared.  And that broke;postID=890358876304572700his heart.

He loved to sing.

He loved to dance.

His favorite trip in his life was going to Ireland.

He really, really wanted to be happy but he could never figure out how.

He had his demons and they got the best of him. 

He broke my heart more times than I care to think about.

It was five years ago tonight that I met him and I just can't believe that he is gone.

Godspeed John.  I hope you're finally happy.

I've thought about this eulogy for a long time and I know that it is inadequate. 
There is so much that I can't articulate but I can say that I really, really hate the fact that there is one less person in the world who loves me. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hoodie

I was shocked today to read Geraldo Rivera saying that Trayvon Martin would be alive today if he weren't wearing a hoodie.

You see, I work with a guy who wears a hoodie.  And it is definitely a statement.  He is very slim.  He wears sunglasses that cover most of his face.  He has earphones in all the time and rather than walking, he grooves.  He is dark skinned.  And, I will fully admit that when I first met him, his look startled me.  Because he was definitely making a statement with it.  And I have learned that his statement--at least to me--was "I am who I am and if you're interested in finding out who I am, I'll be right here in my hoodie.  I'm easy to find." 

But I wasn't afraid of him. 

There are a lot of people in my life and the world that I live in who have distinctive looks--some more accessible than others.  I've actually met Johnny Rotten and, for real, the guy's whole persona is really aggressive.  In real life, he's lovely. I've never understood the whole idea of having really scary tattoos but, honestly, I have found that most of the people I've met with scary tattoos are pussycats.

So this whole "I was afraid of this guy because he was wearing a hoodie" thing just doesn't hold water with me.  It's as if the world is saying racism really doesn't have anything to do with race.  It's about fashion. 

So of course that got me thinking about the hoodie.  I went to Catholic school for 12 years so I spent a lot of time with people who covered their heads.  Wimple=Hoodie.  And I never shot a nun.

I grew up in a very Jewish neighborhood and I have a friend who is a very observant Jew (we'll be talking about the sweaters for her new twins soon).  She covers her head.  And I never shot her.

Baseball players cover their head with a cloth cap (yeah--I get it, it has a visor, but they usually have on sunglasses too so the visor is redundant.)   I've never shot them.

Covering your head is common.  Unless you're black.  And then, for some unfathomable reason, it is a huge threat.

Should I embrace the hoodie? No I probably won't.  Because it's not my look.  I can respect you without emulating you, thank you very much.   Should my friend from work who wears a hoodie suddenly start knitting just so that we can have something in common.  Of course not.  And by the way, I am much more intrigued by people who I have nothing in common with than those who mirror my life.

I don't get it.  I never will.  It blows my mind that in 2012 a young man can be shot for being black.  It also blows my mind that a woman's body is not her own.  It blows my mind that teachers are paid shit.  It blows my mind that there are so many things that blow my mind.

I don't fear young black men in hoodies.  What I really fear is what legacy we are leaving behind and what the history books will say about each and every one of us.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Fever

This is what I was greeted with when I walked into work this morning.

Isn't she gorgeous? (For some reason flowering trees are always female to me.  In the fall when their colors change, they become male.)

I have terrible Spring Fever today so I'm trying to harness it with a Spring Cleaning.  Considering the fact that this year I am hoping to finish up the home spring cleaning from 1998, I'm not sure if this is such a good idea.  But I have been plugging away at my desk all day long and have actually gotten some things accomplished.

The last few weeks have been kind of crazy.  You know the kind of days when you're ready.  You've got a plan.  You know what you've got to get accomplished and you know just how long it is going to take.  Your ready to rock and roll and then someone drops a bomb.  And really, I don't mind that at all.  I'm not particularly anal about these kinds of things and I really can roll with the punches quite nicely.  Most of the time. 

But when they start to add up.  And the pile is getting bigger.  And you can't find a damn thing.  And the pile gets knocked over and is still on the floor the next day. 

Well then, you have to suck it up a bit and do some spring cleaning. 

The windows are open and  I have Pandora on (Elvis Costello station, thank you for asking) and I am slowly but surely getting through some of the piles (yes, I've moved into plural). 

The problem with this plan is the windows are open and  I have Pandora on (Elvis Costello station, thank you for asking) and I have the attention span of a gnat because it is so gorgeous out. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baby Karma

Any time you get a group of knitters together for more than one glass of chardonnay, someone will bring up the age old topic "people who ask you to knit something for them but then are surprised at how much it will cost."   I am not a professional knitter and don't make my living doing this (would that I could) so I find the rules about knitting for others pretty simple.  If I love you, I will knit for you.  If I felt like hauling off and making you a present, it's a present.  If you asked for something specific that you really want, you pay for the yarn and then ply me with some nice chardonnay and we spend some quality time together to pay for my time.  Frankly, if I love you enough to knit for you, I love you enough to want to spend time with you so it works out pretty well.

And I love babies.  So I will knit anything for any baby anywhere any time.

Sometimes a friend will ask for a baby sweater. 

Like this one.

My lovely neighbor's friend is having a baby boy and you really can't go wrong with a creamy little raglan sleeved number with some nice tortoise shell-ish buttons for a little boy.  A bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay was involved which escaped being photographed by dumping itself into my glass.

There's another kind of baby knitting that I also do that is even more fun for me.  It's secret and anonymous and I call it my Baby Karma knitting.

Like this one.

Yeah, it's the same pattern.  I use it all the time because it makes the world's best baby sweater.  Something about the way the arms fit.  Anyway, this is a Baby Karma sweater.  It was knit in secret and then wrapped in tissue and a bow and left anonymously at the pregnant families door.  Because every baby should start their life out with some act of kindness.   This baby won't remember it, won't ever wonder who knit it and probably won't care.  But his or her (in this case his) little spirit will have started out life with an act of warmth and protection.  And that makes me feel good.

I often say that there's enough misery in the world to go around and I don't need to be actively trying to add to it.  The other side of that coin is that there's never enough happiness in the world (really--who doesn't want more happiness) and I really really do need to actively be trying to add to it.