Friday, February 27, 2009


Argh -- I was happy to be home until I came in to my house this evening, and heard the barking/yapping dog who apparently is now occupying an adjoining condo. I *so* hope that a) it's visiting, and b) its people leave soon. It sounds upset -- but mostly, it sounds annoying.

The trip to Florida was really good. More on that later.

First, though, this is something that should scare the bejesus out of you -- whether you're a professional, a manager or a blue-collar worker: the Employee Free Choice Act

Be aware: this sounds like a good thing. It sounds like easier access to unionization, and an opportunity for workers to be more in control of their relationships with employers. It sounds like a real break for the middle class, and a chance to level the playing field between corporations and citizens. But there are a few key areas of the bill that make it anything but free or choice for employees.

- Employees will lose the right to secret ballot voting to certify participation in a union. Under the current laws, if a union gains 30% of the workforce's signatures on a petition/cards, they can call for a secret ballot vote to certify the union. Then, both the union and employer have the opportunity to state their position, and the employees have a secret ballot vote. The union is certified when it receives a majority of the workers' votes.

- Under the proposed legislation, union organizers can get a new union automatically certified with 50% plus one of the employees signing a certification card, which can be presented anywhere -- work, home, the gym, a bar, etc. There's no public discussion, and the employer and 50% minus one of the employees can be entirely unaware that the process is going on.

- The cards become public record -- that is, employer and union can see who signed/didn't sign. This card check scam is scary -- it leaves employees subject to harassment from employer and/or the union: depending on which way the employee 'voted.' (Incidentally, the card check system is something that American organized labor helped to stop in Mexico.)

- After 90 days of negotiation, if the employer and union cannot agree on a contract, the matter is referred to compulsory Federal mediation. If another 30 days pass, and the two sides can't agree, the case goes to binding arbitration, and both sides lose the right to make any changes to the contract -- and the subsequent contract is in place for at least two years, with no provision for changes.

- Employees who did not sign on with the union and/or employees who were not aware/informed of the process must still pay union dues. They may elect not to "join" the union, but have no recourse to independently lobby with the employer, or ability to refuse to pay the dues.

It's funny -- until reading this bill, which has been around for years but never gotten off the ground, I would have said I was pro-union. In fact, I think I'm still probably on the side of organized labor, when it's fair, protects workers from discrimination and unsafe and/or poor working conditions. Unions serve a valuable societal role, but not when their methods are corrupt -- then they become no better than the corporations that they so decry. Eliminating the secret ballot and employees' opportunities to be fully informed is a recipe for the denigration of the respect that every worker deserves; there's nothing free choice about that.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


It always mystifies me when people say that they love to travel. I get the interest in seeing new, different places, and experiencing new things. I like seeing new places, experiencing different activities and trying new food. 

But I HATE to travel. 

I'm getting ready (or should I say, putting off getting ready -- hence the post) to head to Florida tomorrow morning for work, and the very last thing that I want to be doing is getting ready to go to Florida tomorrow. I mean, the all-day meetings are a turn-off on their own, but not nearly as much as having to pack, leave the house, travel to the airport, deal with all the airport stuff, fly and then deal with the getting to campus, etc. I'm not afraid of flying (though the older I get, the more motion sickness troubles me), but I just don't like the whole process.

So, in the spirit of *not* getting ready to go, I've been reading, writing and doing everything *but* putting things into my suitcase.

- Check out this NYT editorial on gay marriage
- Maureen Dowd on Obama, Clinton & the complicated landscape of our current times.
- Reasons that the heat should *not* be kept below 65 ...

And lastly, check out the WOW profiles from the Class of 2000. Get ready, ladies, reunion is on its way!

Alright, alright -- I'll pack!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Still stressed out about mom, and will be so for the foreseeable future. But -- in the vein of "I can't help others if I'm a big hot mess and taking care of myself is important" -- I took the night off of worrying (well, at least a couple hours anyway), and went to meet my new 3-Day walking team.

I'm so excited -- and the whole thing seems even more real having met these great girls. I think we're going to have a great time. Yay.

Check us out at our awesome Hooters fundraiser sometime in the near future -- don't worry, I'll post the date & time. We figure, "if you like looking at them, you should help save them" will be our motto for the event. Yay boobs.

There's still time to sign up to walk -- check out for more information.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Home again, home again ...

I'm home in Delaware, and the last four days were exhausting but I'm glad I went. Mom went home tonight, and Grandma is there with her. The diagnosis was a recurrence of disseminated histoplasmosis -- and I swear I'm not making that up. You can check it out for yourself, but the short-and-sweet version is that it's a fungal infection caused by exposure to spores in bird or bat droppings. Ew, right? It's super-common in the Ohio River valley (which Bloomington is in), and so common in buildings over a certain age that they don't even test anymore.

So -- the building that she used to work in was sick, and it made her sick(er). Problem is, if she hadn't been immuno-compromised in the first place, it never would've bothered her. Not everyone who lives in that area gets sick -- the people usually affected by histo are farmers, mineworkers and poultry-keepers -- and Mom does not exactly have frequent contact with bats or flocks of chickens. Yes, this is just another reason that lupus really, really sucks.

As if that wasn't bad enough, she got some bad news about work last night, which is pretty frustrating, considering the blood, sweat and tears that she's put into that place, and everything she's given up for that organization.

In happier news, though, I am now (though probably not for too much longer) in possession of Snell cookies. They absolutely rock -- and this particular batch is one of the best ever. If you have the misfortune of never having had a Snell cookie, I am very sorry for you. They're kind of like chocolate chip, but they're so much better. So much better. I'm usually pretty good at recreating recipes, but I can't get these. They're a little more cakey than regular Toll House cookies, and I do know that Snell uses special vanilla (because I also have some -- because again, she rocks), but there's something else ... 

Don't know. And thank goodness for that, 'cause my walking shoes would not be feeling so hot if I could make Snell cookies whenever I wanted ...

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I'm currently in Indiana -- an unexpected trip after finding out my mom was admitted to the hospital on Friday afternoon, with a fever and some kind of infection. She had a spinal tap and that was clear -- which is good news: no meningitis -- but we're waiting on the results of the histoplasmosis culture, which will likely be positive. Hopefully, we'll get that information early tomorrow, and they'll be able to start meds and get her on her way home, before I need to leave on Tuesday. If not, my grandma is planning to come here on Tuesday to take over my visitor role -- maybe even on Monday night, which might mean a visit with her, too.

On a positive note, being out here means getting to spend time with mom, as well as to see some friends, which is a silver lining to this whole thing. Yay for dinner & breakfast with Nicole (yay also for the Village Deli!), and a visit with Elizabeth & Erin this afternoon. 

My friend Nicole's mom had a mastectomy for stage 2 breast cancer on Friday and is facing chemo and radiation since the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, so she's in my thoughts. I think Nicole may join me for the 3-Day in October, which would be terrific. And either way, her mom will join the list of folks that we're walking for. Nicole is actually one of the people who inspired my 3-Day participation; she lost her partner to breast cancer about 10 years ago. Julie was right around 30 years old. She is one of the women who have needlessly lost their lives to this disease, and one of the many reasons that we must cure this.

Friday, February 13, 2009


This was an interesting article from the NY Times Health section this morning re: possible treatment for breast cancer. 

Also, check out Laura's jewelry -- I love these earrings, and if I win them, they will be Cynthia's birthday present. 

I should be at work, as it's 10:20 on Friday a.m., but I'm waiting to go to a doctor's appointment (I've had the same headache for almost two weeks -- nothing helps, and despite my joking about the brain tumor, I think it's probably stress ... but now the stress is induced by the headache not going away), and then I'll go and deal with my 7th-grade-behaving coworkers. Blerg.

Training walk at King of Prussia mall on Sunday (fun!), meeting my new teammates on Wednesday (yay!) and bumping up to 12 miles next week (no problem!).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome to 7th grade

So, apparently I work with teenagers. I mean, I work with *teenagers* as in, with kids with behavior disorders, some of whom have developmental disabilities. But also, the people that work with me are apparently in seventh grade.

One of my staff came into my office yesterday, and in the midst of venting about something else, she tells me that a particular group of co-workers are talking about how they don't like me. (Yeah, okay, now I'm blogging about it, so I'm not super-mature, either ...) Fine if you don't like me. Lots of people don't. I'm not always pleasant to work with. I'm intense. I'm demanding. I don't tolerate a lot of crap. So I understand when I'm not on people's list of favorites. But don't complain about how you don't like me to my staff. That's just unacceptable, and totally unprofessional. 

I felt like I was in Mean Girls. It was ridiculous. 

But -- in heart-warming, cheerful news, I got a message from one of the 3-Day coaches today, telling me how great it is that I'm registered to walk, and offering help and support. 

And the CEO of the company told me how proud she was, and that was really nice. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009


It was almost 70 degrees today (by the way, it's February -- as in, the month after January -- as in, it's still winter ... ) and I went to the BEACH!

As a Midwestern girl, it's still shocking to me how much I love the beach. Like, where have you been all my life? I love the smell of the ocean, I love atmosphere at the beach, and more than anything, I love the sound of the ocean. 

It was incredible how many people were at the beach -- I drove down with a friend from work and her very entertaining eight year-old son; we had a terrific organic lunch at The Greenman Juice Bar & Bistro.  The restaurant was terrific -- try the juices & smoothies; heck, try everything: the sandwiches were great, too.  

And, in spite of my wonderful adventure, I got my walking in, too -- some at the beach, but most of it on the treadmill. 

This week's schedule is the same as last week's, so about 10 miles of walking on the docket. No big thing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Apropos of nothing

So, I'm definitely going to sign up for one of these jobs. Seriously, please cap my salary at $500k. I could manage ... somehow.

My dad sent me this article about single, college-educated mothers. It was super-interesting, and also annotated with "I'm not suggesting (necessarily), just sharing." The suggestion wasn't necessary, as I've gotten there on my own -- let's see how the next five years work out -- but I appreciated the sharing. 

And this is sad. Anytime a bookstore closes -- especially an independent one -- it feels like one more step toward the dumbing down of America. 

Interesting: discussion of hormone replacement therapy and its role in breast cancer.

Walking is going well -- it kind of surprises me how much I like it, even in the cold. Hadley and I walked the neighborhood at 6:30 a.m.; we woke up to two inches of beautiful, light powder this morning that was gone by noon -- and that wasn't slippery at all -- that's the kind of snow I can get on board with. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Too long

So, it's been a little while (okay a lotta while), but I've been busy -- unfortunately not with getting ready for the walk. Blerg.

I did, however, attend a Getting Started meeting on Saturday in West Chester (I used to think that I would be the kind of woman that lived in West Chester. I am decidedly not.), and that was inspiring and wonderful, and definitely reaffirmed my belief that I can do this.

However -- some things have gotten in my way in the past two weeks. And I'm getting back on the horse, I promise.

But I had dinner with my favorite college roommate (and one of my favorite people ever) last week, after not having seen her for SEVEN years (!), and then spent Saturday going to the Getting Started meeting in West Chester, and then having dinner with my other favorite person from college (Hi C!) and my favorite person who lives in Philadelphia. That was a good time. Seriously.

(Side note: many, many things and people are my favorites. I tend not to keep things in my life that are not my favorite of something. Truly. Almost every single thing in my house is my favorite something-or-other. And the people who stay in my life are my favorites, too. And also, they're good at keeping in touch. 'Cause I'm so not.)

So -- last week's training schedule, which I forgot to post, was the same as the week before. That would matter more if I had actually gotten to work out more than once last week. I did, however, get four miles in on Saturday (plus some city walking -- which maybe counted for a half a mile). Back on track this week.

M -- rest (thank goodness -- Secret Life of the American Teenager is almost on!)
T -- 2 easy miles
W -- cross train, 30 minutes
R -- 3 moderate miles
F -- cross train, 30 minutes
Sa -- 2 easy miles
Su -- 3 easy miles

Oh -- and if you've got restaurant suggestions for Center City, Philadelphia, send 'em my way!