Monday, November 28, 2011

My Life, Your Life - It’s All Equal - Or It Should Be

I love this video from the Australian group “GetUp!”. In less than two minutes they take us on a journey we all can recognize and relate to.

Thanks to for linking to this video which they described as “the best ad for marriage equality we’ve ever seen”. I can’t disagree.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

53 - 18 = 35

You may remember I posted about the incredible moment of serendipity when I met an elementary school classmate from Rhode Island, while visiting in Seattle back in June. That led to a mini-reunion in Rhode Island in late July. On a hot and humid Friday afternoon, ten of us gathered at our Catholic elementary school for a private tour. No teachers, no administrators, just a group of adults touring the school grade by grade, letting all the memories tumble out. We laughed; we hugged; many of us cried; all of us agreed it was a powerful, transformative event. After that cathartic tour we moved on to a friend’s home, where the reminiscing continued, but laughter was the rule.

That chance meeting on the other side of the country and the upcoming mini-reunion on this coast caused me to do something I swore I would never do: join FaceBook. I was convinced that FaceBook consisted of all of the worst parts of high school writ large and splashed across the public square. But almost everyone going to the mini-reunion was on FaceBook and they were all smart and funny and kind. So I did it. I figured I could just join quietly. I would “friend” just that little group, upload a few pics from grade school and later some photos from the reunion itself.

Turns out, it’s not easy to join FaceBook “quietly”! My best friend from elementary school went to college with a couple of gals I went to high school with. Within a few hours of my chit-chatting and friending within our little circle, I began to get friend requests from high school pals. Unbeknownst to me I went to high school with the 21st century FaceBook equivalent of Paul Revere! I was suddenly in the thick of catching up with high school kids I hadn’t had contact with in decades. And it was a whole lot of fun! The biggest surprise was that none of the kids who had been miserable to me in high school was on FaceBook. WTH? and Thank Heavens!

Last night was my 35th high school reunion. The folks on FaceBook I had reconnected with all just assumed I would be there. Eventually I took a deep breath and bought our tickets. Chuck and I drove down to Rhode Island and spent about five hours hugging, talking and laughing - with one dance thrown in for good measure. It was terrific. I felt right at home. Most of the folks there I had not seen in 35 years. Others I had stayed in touch with through college and for several years beyond that. But some deep pain in my life caused me to abruptly absent myself for 23 years. My disappearance was so complete that when I did materialize on FaceBook a friend asked: "Well, well, well, just get out of the witness protection program?"! Pretty darn close!

As you might expect I got a bit nervous before the event. So I did what any 53 year old woman with a Twitter account would do, I told a few Tweeps what I was doing and asked: “Am I Crazy?” Some seemed to think I was, in fact, crazy, but they all wished me luck and helped to buck me up. One of them, CookieCrumb, gave me some great advice which became my mantra as we drove to the event and walked through the front door: “You have nothing to prove and nothing to lose”! She was absolutely right.

Oh, and one of the kids who had bedeviled me in the high school halls was there. Mid-way through the evening I had occasion to walk by him. We made eye contact and I said “Hi ____” and kept on walking. He didn’t say a word. Yup. nothing to prove and nothing to lose is a sweet place to be!

Layout by LMR/Pink Granite. Inspiration: CookieCrumb. Font: Helvetica. Software: Apple iPhoto ’09 and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful Times Five

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, the traditional day for gratitude and I can assure you, there was gratitude in abundance. Today is the fifth anniversary of Pink Granite which leaves me thankful for you, the reader. This past year and a half or so found Chuck and I immersed in both worries and joy - and seemingly always on the go. Unfortunately, that has meant my posting on PG has been less predictable and less frequent. Which only serves to heighten my gratitude to you for stopping by, for reading, for commenting and for returning month after month for the last five years!
This heart’s for you...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy Democracy

In just over two minutes Robert Reich clearly sums up our current political environment. Had I been charged with this task there would have been many expletives and references to Alice down the rabbit hole. Good that we have Professor Reich!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two Months Along

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) began on September 17, 2011. What impresses and truly humbles me is the tenacity of the OWS folks. They have been working at this for over two months. The movement started rather modestly but it grew and spread across the nation and then on to other parts of the globe. This has happened without an individual leader. The OWS folks embody the 99% which is us. Some have suggested that they need a leader or a spokesperson. If they had an individual leader they would risk the cult of personality and the media focusing only on the one and not the many. They are wedded to their General Assemblies and to consensus which is brilliant when achieved but a freakin' bear to process. Unlike many WTO meetings in the past, they have managed to keep most of the anarchist and disruptive types out of the movement.

In the beginning, many people were puzzled by OWS. Then they misunderstood it. Now more and more people seem to get it; seem to understand its importance. No single post or article responded to that initial misunderstanding better than Max Udargo's letter. I think the longer OWS folks hang in there, the longer the media keeps covering the movement, the longer we keep talking about it, the better the chances are that OWS will lead to positive change for us all. Yes, I still have hope.

And if I had felt my hope waning in the face of the deep pocketed purchasing power of corporations to buy elections, the intractability of right wing ideologues and all of the stupidity, callousness and calumny which presently passes for political discourse in this country - well, my hope would have been buoyed by this little video out of Littleton, New Hampshire.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jeff Was Right

Jeff was often right. He was also insightful, smart, cynical yet open minded and generous with his thoughts, his blog posts, his knowledge and his links.

Two facts caused me to think about Jeff Barnard tonight. The first is that Jeff’s yahrzeit is coming up on November 28th. The second is that Chuck and I ate at Carmella’s Italian Kitchen in Brookfield this evening. It was wonderful. Chuck and I and many, many Worcesterites loved Famous Italian Kitchen on Shrewsbury Street. It hurt when they closed. But back in March of 2009, Jeff posted about his celebratory family dinner at Carmella’s. In many ways Carmella’s is the reincarnation of Famous Italian or more accurately its ongoing legacy. I won’t go into details here. Jeff’s post deserves to be reread. Suffice it to say that the atmosphere was homey and whatever the Italian equivalent of hamishe is, service was perfect and cheerful and the food, well, we’re still talking about it and can’t wait to go back. Oh, and you can get a side of peppers that are even better than Famous Italian. Really.

Thank you Jeff. Thank you for everything.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A History of the Sky

I came across this video over on My Jewish Learning. As I watched it, I first found it interesting, then fascinating and ultimately quite calming. It has a lovely meditative quality about it.

It really is best viewed as large as possible and with the highest resolution.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Senate Bill 1853

There has been a great deal of misinformation out there about the United States Postal Service (USPS) and about other USPS related legislation. This bill, S. 1853, is the first one which addresses the biggest problem and respects the role of the post office in the everyday lives of rural and low income Americans. 

Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Ron Wyden of Oregon are co-sponsoring this sensible legislation which will lift the onerous requirement of pre-funding future retiree benefits 75 years in advance and on a steeply accelerated schedule. It will also put the United States Postal Service back on a path to financial viability. 

Please take a moment to call your senators now and urge their support of S. 1853!

Need a phone number?
Click here.

Want more information on the bill?
Click here.

My post from back in August about the role of the Post Office in our lives.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Give A Book

Isn’t it wonderful to lose yourself in a book for a little while?

Back in 2009 I posted links to some veterans and armed forces charities. I recently learned of another one called “Books For Soldiers” which is just as simple as the name implies: you send books to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

For more information go to Books For Soldiers.

Friday, November 11, 2011


On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...

“On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Presidential Proclamation

Honoring all who served

Honoring all who were wounded 

Honoring all who gave their lives

You stood in our stead
You stood for our country, for our constitution

You stood for our freedom, for our liberty

You have our gratitude, our respect, our memory

We pledge our service, our advocacy, our work for peace...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A New Case Of You

Joni Mitchell’s album “Blue” came out in 1971. I damn near played the grooves off it. When CDs came out in the 1980s, “Blue” was one of the first CDs I purchased. When we got our first iPod six years ago, yes, “Blue” was one of the first albums we loaded.

I was chatting recently with a friend and we agreed that many covers of great songs fall flat. Tonight, I heard a brilliant interpretation of one of the songs off “Blue”: “A Case Of You”. It was performed by James Blake on BBC Radio 1. It did not fall flat. It was haunting and beautiful.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Drive Baby Drive

Starting October 1st, I spent nine days driving.

It began at Logan Airport and Greater Boston here in Massachusetts. Then there was a trip back and forth to Rhode Island for a funeral. Then Brookline, Massachusetts to New Jersey, driving back and forth to New York City, wrapping up at JFK airport.

I’m a mediocre passenger and a middlin’ navigator for another driver - even with a GPS unit to assist. So for nearly 1,000 miles I was at the wheel, Chuck served as navigator and his sister Carol was the passenger. With Carol being from the land of very polite drivers, along with the very well signed and very well marked roads of Greater Seattle, she was sometimes “unsettled” by the driving in Greater Boston. (Yeah, we’ll go with “unsettled”!) But with this being Carol’s first visit east in seventeen years there was much to see and do, along with family to visit and catch up with.

In advance of the trip, I had been concerned about finding parking when needed in any of our city destinations and especially about driving in New York City. But it was all perfectly fine. Well, there was a certain amount of swearing, mostly by me (with occasional echoes from my companions) at a a few drivers who had apparently escaped from a NASCAR track or were perhaps fleeing the police. And there was one close call on the Lenny Zakim Bridge in Boston, in a torrential downpour, when a Subaru Forrester spluttered to a crawl right in front of us while in the passing lane. The parking in New York City, specifically in The Bronx, was easy peasy - except for that pesky $115.00 parking ticket we found on the windshield upon our return from visiting a family friend. (I thought “No Standing” meant no loitering. Lesson learned, sigh...)

But I was never worried about the driving. Maybe it was my two season foray into Autocross racing in a previous lifetime, which, while not wheel-to-wheel racing, does sharpens one’s skills on and off the track. Or perhaps it was just that driving was what needed to be done. The nice thing was that while I was enjoying my stint behind the wheel, my traveling cohorts were happy as well. Carol paid me great compliments, repeatedly using the word “guts” - and she assured me that she needed neither dramamine nor tranquilizers.

So at the end of nine days and nearly 1,000 miles I managed to get us and the car home safe and sound. But I have to tell you that the best driving moment of the trip came on day nine. I overshot the turn for the Midtown Tunnel which I needed to take in order to get Carol to her flight out of JFK. I evaluated the relatively quiet Sunday morning traffic conditions, paying no heed to the line of police vehicles parked curbside to my right, and pulled a U-turn on E 34th Street in New York City. It was just a couple of blocks down from the Empire State Building. It wasn’t like a scene out of “Sleepless In Seattle” nor “An Affair To Remember”. It was just ridiculously empowering and a whole lot of fun!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quixotic Me - Yet Again

Fall behind.
Yes, I do recognize the futility of my quest to put an end to the artificial and arbitrary manipulation of our time. But a girl can dream can’t she, however impossible that dream might be? ;o)

Here’s my post from March 2007:

The U.S. has begun Daylight Saving Time (DST) weeks earlier this year. The stated rationale is an attempt to save more energy. I don’t buy it. I also don’t like it. Considering how long humans have been keeping time, DST having been implemented for less than a century, is still a relatively new practice.

Unfortunately, once it caught on in Europe it spread pretty quickly. I realize I’m tilting at windmills, but I wish they would just let nature take its course. Over the last couple of months, since the winter solstice, we have been appreciating the gradual, gentle, generosity of the lengthening of the days. We all notice it. We all appreciate it. Come June, and the summer solstice, we will watch the days wind down equally gently, causing us to cherish twilight, fireflies and that startling first chill in a summer night’s air.

I’m no anarchist. I believe in good government, fair taxes and sensible laws. But I really wish the U.S. government would put more attention and resources into alternative, renewable energy sources and leave my clocks, my days alone.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

As A Doornail

The washing machine died. 364 days after we purchased it, the washer refused to work. Nay, it refused to even turn on! To be precise, it’s actually only been in our house for eleven months and hooked up and operating for about ten and a half.

Our previous machine lasted twenty years.

First available appointment for repair? Friday - this Friday, but Friday natheless.

I am not happy.
Chuck is not happy.
That is not a good combination.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday Flashback

There are a few things in this world that you can only find at the Vermont Country Store. We’ve visited there once and have ordered a variety of items over the years. Today I received an e-mail from them which gave me a holiday flashback.

My maternal grandparents, Gagee and Gramps, had some holiday decorations that I loved. One standout was the cardboard “brick” fireplace with the little lightbulb mimicking the flickering flames of the logs. Another was the tiny Caroler Candles. Yes, they are odd and cheesy and, in 2011, decidedly kitsch. That’s what memories are made of! Gagee had the Thanksgiving Pilgrims with Turkey candles as well. So cute, so silly and so much of another era.

What I wouldn’t give for one more holiday with Gagee and Gramps, back at their home on Taft Street...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


We have power back!
This evening our little corner of the universe was reconnected to the grid. To ice the cake, we even got cable back. We’re happy that we were able to take care of ourselves and be self sufficient. But normal feels very good.

A Related Post: Please bury your power lines.