Two Hours of My Life I’ll Never See Again

Susan B. Anthony Got This Dress on Sale

‘Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes’ said Thoreau. Warily, I venture out to buy a shirt. I’m embarking on an enterprise and want to make a good impression. All my clothes are garish, vintage or beat up, and I’m not real happy about my waistline. A new shirt will look crisp and corporate, I hope.

I must truly be getting old, when the distance between Nordstrom’s and Macy’s looks like a hike. This is part of my waistline problem, but that’s for another day. A grey shirt, I think, would be nice. I hate Providence Place Mall, but surely among the ten thousand shirts hanging there I will find one I can love.

Two hours later I have seen them all and I don’t like them.

I must really be a curmudgeon. No new clothes after all, so I’ll just have to put on an attitude.

While it Lasts

It’s 10:10am, I’m cooking what was in the fridge. Everything still works, just a couple of tiny flickers in the lights. I’ve still got hot water and the basement was pretty dry last time I looked.

There’s a big branch down in my back yard but nothing was there to hit. In my neighbor’s parking lot the cars are huddled as far from the big tree as they can get. They look so pitiful and scared. My cat is oblivious to it all. ‘Brain the size of a walnut’, as my husband says. He was not kept late at work today, but will be braving the storm tonight because hospitals do not close, ever.

Home care is a different deal, we’re staying off the roads as much as possible.


It’s an ill wind blows nobody good.

Men–CNN Will Scare Your Pants Off

Today’s health headline– Five Questions to Ask Before Having Penis Surgery.

An unfortunate man in Kentucky not only lost a part of himself, but also a lawsuit against the surgeon who did the cut. It sounds like the doctor had evidence that the man did really have cancer and that he followed the standard of care.

The CNN article kind of drivels about how women have all kinds of pink ribbon support, and men are on their own. Not too long ago, it was routine for a woman with a breast lump to go under anesthesia not knowing whether she would wake up with her breast amputated, or just an incision. Better treatment is the good news, high incidence of breast cancer is the bad news. I guess, all things being equal, it’s better not to have a rare disease, but the downside is that breast cancer is common and there are few women of any age who never worry about it.

It may be time for a men’s advocacy organization for better treatment of male problems. I’ve done nursing care for guys whose ‘routine’ surgery became a debilitating, miserable, long-term ordeal. CNN’s article contains a lot of good advice and is a good place to start if you want to know more about men’s health.

Trial by Media

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is free, his accuser facing an uncertain future. What started out looking like a turning point– a poor working woman seeking justice for a crime committed by one of the world’s privileged, quickly degenerated into a media circus that left no one looking good.

I care very much about the presumption of innocence. Too many people have been wrongly convicted, from the Salem hysteria, to the Scottsboro Boys, to the many prisoners exonerated after years by DNA evidence. The press can’t be expected to ignore a story that is so intensely interesting on so many levels, but the trial by media harmed both parties. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has wealth and social protection on a level that Naffisitou Diallo can never aspire to. He will never know what it’s like to face poverty or to labor in a foreign country. Ms. Diallo, even if she wins a civil suit, has suffered the greater loss. She had a hard job, but a secure one, with decent wages and benefits. She had privacy. She might have fallen prey to bad judgment and bad companions, but just as likely would have stayed under the radar. Any money left from a settlement after lawyers take their cut is unlikely to set her up in a life that is financially and socially safe. Her reputation as a quiet, hard-working woman has been destroyed. Her life, no less than Strauss-Kahn’s, has value. If her testimony is true, her attacker vandalized a woman’s life just on impulse.

I believe she was telling the truth about what happened in that hotel suite. I think that Strauss-Kahn is not a ‘womanizer’ who uses charm, but a man who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer and has become a man who has a compulsion to hurt women. But that is trial by media– not something that serves justice or the rights of the accused or the rights of victims.

William Saletan at Slate has a post called ‘Frame the Victim’ that brings up some of the troubling aspects of the DA’s office handling of the case. I think they did a lot right, took a lot of heat for it, and then caved too soon. I’m flat out and not able to take it point by point, but will post especially relevant posts like Saletan’s.

This I Believe — Public Education Needs to be Public

We are facing a bit of a “do or die” situation here in Cranston. On September 1, The Board of Regents will vote on a plan submitted by our Mayor to start a new district of schools that will be run by an out-of-state corporation called Achievement First.

Why am I concerned? Why have I partnered with other parents in Cranston to start a rally on Wednesday to oppose this plan? Well, lots of reasons. But the most important is because I believe that public education needs to be public, and this process of siphoning off funds to start large numbers of charter schools is going to hurt our public schools.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not wholesale opposed to charter schools. I considered sending our older daughter to one when we began the process of her public schooling, but chose to put my faith in the Cranston public school system instead. I am grateful for my soundness of mind when I made that decision with my husband seven years ago. Our older daughter has prospered and grown exceptionally well. The Cranston public schools had a lot to do with that.

But the situation with Achievement First is different. This is a proposal to start a whole new district of charter schools, and to eventually draw about 1800 children off of the Cranston and Providence schools. Here is what I see in the future for our local elementary school, which is a Title One school. These are the schools that the charters are likely to draw more children off of — the schools with high percentages of students living in low income households. So the first year, maybe 6 or 7 children go to the charter school from my local school. That means my principal is down about $100,000 when she goes to do her budget. The next year the total number drawn off our of elementary school is about 15. Now she is down over $200,000. As the grades increase in the charter school, more children go there. In year four, she is down about half a million. The school has had to lay off desperately needed staff and reduce programs even further. This is after we have already lost our gifted program, our music programs, and some of our athletic programs in the higher grades.

Some may call my predictions simplistic, but I call them realistic. This is what will most likely happen. Eventually, I fear that a school like the ours will be closed for lack of funding. Now we have a need for another new school because we have lost another neighborhood school. Now the charter district has a reason to expand.

This I believe is wrong. If people have issues with our schools’ unions and how much money our teachers make, let’s work on those issues. I would say we already are, as the teachers have signed a new contract in which they will get no raises. We can work on it more. If there are things that Achievement First and other charters are good at, we can integrate these things into our own schools. We do not need to waste money and time and energy setting up entirely new schools.

So if you have the time and the energy, I ask that you join me and lots of other concerned parents this coming Wednesday, August 24th, at Cranston East High School at 6 pm. We started a Facebook page to gather people together around this issue and to develop our own positive identity as a school district, and the group grew to about 175 members in 48 hours, and is continuing to grow. Please visit our Facebook page here. You can also RSVP to the event on Wednesday by visiting the event page here.

Suburbs 101

Hello friends. I’m not posting so regularly. New job and my father is needing much care and family time.

Tom Sgouros has written common sense analysis of the economics of growth that even this nurse can understand.

This article in GoLocalProvidence
explains the basics of growth, housing, immigration and population, and how it relates to both the ‘burbs and Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle.

So I’ll leave this link. Have a nice day.