Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Queens Birthday!

Happy Queen's Birthday! Sympathy to the dead/injured on this year's anniversary. The act of a deranged person. The Queen spoke to her country well and reassuringly.

My photo of S'Hergertenbosh, April 1988 with the Koningen crown displayed over the street. A big holiday particularly in the small towns/cities.

For centuries, the day men could dress in women's clothes and party in Amsterdam! Such a non-American mentalite. Also read a news feed on new park signs in NL warning of a cruising area ahead. Cruising in m2m ... sex in the bushes. It has been done for centuries, so.... Of course, if this was the USA, we would be discussing end times, faith values.. I love NL although I am a bit big for most girl clothes (hairy as well), I am not too interested in sex standing in the mud and bugs... whoa....
the link:

I also read about survey results showing many NL youth had their first marijuana smoke in the USA.. not in the legal NL brown cafes filled with the US, British and German tourists).

Issues to share with my family ethics class! Amazing what the parallel process I go through each term! I love it! The students are doing take home exams this week! I also responded to blogs and news feeds involving ethics, family. Wrote a reply to a blog today on problems in m2m land! I have read these problems since the 1970s.. promiscuity, drugs, partying. Not to say there are not problems but hardly to m2m only. Plus this notion of any lgbt community.. people are individuals not a collective. Once again, the family ethics course touched on heterosexual decline of the family, divorce rates, different baby mamas/dads, and I could add annual events such as Spring Break (that has brought swine flu back from Mexico this year), and the usual weekly events such as Ladies Nights.

Maybe I just need a life.. but fascinating reads. I trust the academic sources of course.. CLAGS work, USC, San Francisco State on lgbt issues. Journalism sells papers but knowledge is in the journals and primary data reports.

big hugs, peace, compassion, and a Happy Happy Queens Birthday!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Granddads, family ethics, HiltonPerez

salut to my granddad buddies. saw my long time friend Larry on the street yesterday. He is now a grandfather! I love it! the generations!

salut also to Hilton Perez in questioning the beauty pageant contestant. I tire of people giving condescending ideas on the matter. A person could simply say her opinions are personal. I have students endlessly ask my opinion on everything. I tell them that my opinion is not important. In fact, my opinion could confuse the situation at times. The importance is to be respectful of other people. The challenge is for people to understand the basis for their opinion. Teaching family ethics, we discuss same sex marriage, marriage, adultery, decision to have children.... I love witnessing the students explore the issues.. many times writing about issues in the first disciplined manner. I grade not on the particular view necessarily, but that they use ideas referenced in the texts as well as in our class discussions. That the students at least show some the ability to write about an issue that someone can understand (no hierogyphics thank you)!

The students critiqued my youtube video on my Mom... "remembering our Mom" at my profMike spot on YouTube. Fascinating comments but also interesting to see how people often just assume. My Mom had a life and a complexity. She may be blessed now that she is in "heaven" but she was actively engaged in the issues of her time.. up thru 2006! She loved Obama!

I dont get into the personal issues of my Mom as it is my own subjectivity. She is not around to answer any "charges". Personal issues are that, and the lenses change in context/time. Friends have a range of ideas on issues including gay marriage. Gay friends who cannot fathom why they should get married to hetero friends who are upset as they have never been invited to any gay marriages. I gave $5 today to a young Dad for his daughter's first birthday party! he is not married to the baby's Mother but such a pleasure to see them together with the baby! And that baby... such a joy! A Pentecostal friend just sent a prayer to be prayed and then sent to 12 others.. a Pentecostal friend who is gay and living with his civil union partner. (i love the requests and it is a good prayer, but i dont send these chain letters anymore). People have complexity in their lives.. there are endless ways to think about life!

The religious perspective is one lens, there are civic and moral lenses as well. Theology does not necessarily equal morality. In parts of the world a man can be polygamous yet a married woman is still be stoned to death for being around an unrelated adult male (not even sleeping with him).

Over time I find it interesting how ideas have changed. For instance, abortion was so often adamantly supported in the 1970s in a time when people remembered when abortions were illegal. Women died from illegal abortions. Nowadays I also have to remind some students that all gays are not lovely people wanting to get married. There are civil union dissolutions and I know many a nasty person gay/lesbian/whatever.

The contestant was condescending as her views are irrelevant. I think PerezHilton's question was good as it asked her level of sophistication on the issue. Of course, all these issues are selective. The former Vice President has a daughter who is in a samel sex civil union and is co-parent with her same sex partner. The Bush twins went to a host of same sex weddings. Gay male couples slept together in the George W Bush WhiteHouse. The political posturing has a whole hypocrisy to it.

I believe much of what goes on is also becoming familiar with changes in the politic. People have many more choices in life. One of the security officers at my building is transgender. I rarely see the person but know the officer was upset about using wrong pronouns when being addressed. I dont know what pronoun this person expects, I just use "officer"...

and my buddy Larry the new grandfather is involved in m2m relationships. i never asked about the mother of his daughter, whether his daughter knows.... his daughter loves him is all I know. it was just a delight to hear Larry talk about the joy in his granddaughter!

peace, hugs, compassion

Saturday, April 18, 2009

family and Susan Boyle

photo of Croatian cousins... Chicago 2007! Thanks to cousin Dee!

Wowed by the miracle of Susan Boyle... she may change our world! Like Michael Phelps, we have a person with learning disabilities show the world how to do something! There is the need to be sensitive to the nuances of somewhat vulnerable people and the glare of the snake media... gunning for a scoop, creating drama for better sales figures. Need I say it is a vicious world out there. Already I see some guy insists he dated Susan Boyle.

There is little critical thinking in the everyday world. I remind my students that there are 47 sides to any story; anyone can and does say anything. Life is not a democracy. As Hofstadter so eloquently wrote there is the paranoid style in every politic. Conspiracies and gossip sell media stories.

Susan Boyle is a singer with the voice of an angel. She lives in a small village in northern Scotland, has no computer, knows not the internet. She was the youngest of 9 children and her Mom took special care of her due to her needs. I hope that she has good support from family or others although it is always a risk. She is active in the Catholic church but the church has its own agenda. Was reading a Catholic blog today about Susan Boyle and looking at the anti-Obama ads parked on the site....

When my Mom died she wisely left a will giving equal payments to all of her children. Of course there wound up not being equal distribution as some of her 9 children owed her thousands of dollars, some took more belongings than others.... Some siblings allege comments as their favored status over others, "according to Mom". It is all to be expected. My Mom volunteered with those having psychiatric disabilities.. it was also an outlet for her in handling her children...

Since Mom's death, there has been some reapproachment, sensitivity and caring among my Mom's children. We all miss her but we also have each other. A brother took care of handling the distribution of my Mom's estate well. He handle family issues well! He sings in his church choir.. maybe he is next! My sister in Boston just sent me more great green tea and a box of food goodies! My doorperson said "What a great sister!" Another sister phoned me every night when I was in the hospital despite her having a job, a 6year old, a home, a husband, her own needs! Thanks much!

I hope that Susan Boyle finds support and guidance for her in the face of multimillion dollar earnings and fame. I hope she has a great publicist. Just thinking of how NYC/NJ activists could ask her her opinion on gay marriage. There is a certain sophistication living in NYC/NJ that may not exist in her world of Scotland. Of course, the UK does have civil registries and great support for equality in marriges.

I read about Susan's Mom bringing her on pilgrimages to Knock, her Mom was a devout Marian. I know many a devout Marian. My Mom was consecrated to the Virgin Mary at birth and dressed only in blue by her Aunt, a former Carmelite nun (sent home for being too religious). My father whom my Mom divorced after 49 years of marriage leads the rosary in his daily Mass attendance. Religious conviction does not equal concern for others, especially those one disagrees with.

Mother's generally have that unconditional love. Winnicuit's "good enough mothering"! I will always remember seeing my baby picture smiling at the world on my Mom's makeup table.. she looked at me everyday for 52 years! Whoa!!! no one else has nor will (unless I met them today and live to 104, albeit scary to think who wants to gaze at my baby picture everyday besides me.. and my blessed Mother!).

The bottom line is that as a vulnerable person in particular, I pray that Susan gets the support, love and interest in and for her to help change our world! In all simplicity, I love Susan Boyle for the view in which she is changing the lens on what a person can do! Thanks much!

hugs, peace, compassion

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Susan Boyle inspired

thank you Susan Boyle for reminding me and the world of our humanity!

wowed like millions by Susan Boyle's performance, her story is so inspiring. Living in a little Scottish village, in public housing, 47 years, long term unemployed "but still looking", took care of her mother, who died in 2007. Susan felt she had to sing to fulfill the wish of her deceased Mom! A real life story of anyperson to fulfill their dream! The type of person one usually ignores and thinks not much of, too old, nor buffed, sharkish enough. She reminds me of endless people I have known in that song.. "I dreamed a dream". She wanted to sing to a larger group. She took the big leap to her dream and like millions, i am just blown away by the performance!

getting ready for another college reunion this weekend. thinking how the hundreds of us at Columbia with Barack Obama passed him by all the time and who knew that today, such an inspiring President!

so wowed by the inspiring stories! and that voice of an angel, truly!

many many big wishes for her success and happiness! thanks much for the happiness in your voice and story to share in our world! I know her Mom must be smiling at her from somewhere! We are all smiling at Susan! Love her simple waves of kisses to those she enthralled..... wow! I hope she gets to the end and performs for the Queen. I hope she is invited to meet President and Mrs. Obama! I know she will be offered many a big kiss!

hugs, peace, compassion

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

dating age, "not fat enough",,,

love happens between men of varying ages everyday. love happens at any age! thoughts of a couple of guys in their 50s now celebrating a year together! another couple, met in their 40s, now having their 15th year! Mazel tov!!!!

As a college professor (research, psychiatric content), Columbia U alum/teaching, 54 years old, and as a NYC/NJ denizen, I run into younger men everyday. it is interesting to realize the crushes younger men have on me as I am easy to confide in. My issue with younger men is that it is all too easy to manipulate the seductiveness. There is a power differential that I don't exploit, so I do not get involved with men much younger than 30 years (of course there could be one in 10 million...). Anyhow, 20 somethings always zone out... poor things having to deal with creating an adult identity! There is also the generational zeitgeist... I was definitely part of mine!

Photo of one of my grandfather buddies! Salut to grandfathers!!!

My whole issue now is how to respond to men in their 70s who routinely send me shouts online! Younger men are a breeze to deal with but as we live longer ... dating men in their 70s? I look to see life views (no republicans of course), some geographic nogos.. I have no interest in Florida, Georgia, Texas...too republican and HUMID! I look for a joy of life! Some of the sexiest men I have chatted with online are studs in their late 60s!

all of these age issues are in constant flux of course. All of a sudden, I am over 50 which is in itself a whole other lens changer. Being over 50 years, I feel I have achieved longevity and not too concerned with so many of the usual stuff younger men are caught up in. I wear what I want, express my thoughts with a historical and intellectual certainty just from the experiential awareness of how society has changed. I may use a cane at times, but i was a go-go boy, never had to wait in line to get into a club, had radio shows, had my black chaps/white 501 attire that made me fierce! I have had an adult identity for 30 years! There is a whole gap that I feel ultimately with guys 20 or 30 years younger than me. I dont have that for men older than me. I generally find most of the men I like older than me are in long term relationships and I am ultimately not interested in just a casual sex thing.

I have been in love but i am also a survivor of the AIDS plague. Everyone of my buddies from the 1970s and most of my contemporaries from the 1980s died before the advent of the new meds in the 1990s. So I am just amazed that I am HIV negative and living with the memories of over 3000 buddies. My favorite men all died. I have never been entirely single, having a partner or then a regular date(s) my entire adult life.

I am a NYC flaneur so I dont stay home with a pet, my tv is broken, and I like being out of the house to socialize. I have always been involved in what's up at the time. In the 1970s, I was in NY, SF, Provincetown, a gogo boy (background dancer in jeans on a cable show) and part of the whole gay revolution. Into the 1980s, I was a Saint/Garage/Palladium club goer; then spent most of my free time in Berlin, Amsterdam, Zurich and Paris as I had the friends to visit and money to travel often. in the 1990s, I was so involved in NYC life... working with the homeless, people with AIDS; and in my personal life, somedays up to 15 men would phone me in a day to hang. There are so many men but I have been content (sometimes to my detriment) to be fairly serial monogamous. It is in the last few years time to mostly teach/read/think. the realization that there is always another man (in the elevator, around the corner...) when I hear "too old" "or too young" or "not Black" or "not enough money for me", or "not fat enough". And that is what I generally tell men of every age, color, size who complain about rejection.

I am alive, engaged, and enjoying life's adventures! My favorite friends who changed our universe are all dead, young. Young men have a seductiveness but I have seen thousands burn out, go Republican, get wierd. These days I am beyond thrilled that we have a President Obama who has already given gays a lot! If I was 10 years younger I would be applying for a White House job (I did apply to the Clinton White House). So, if someone doesnt want to know about me.. who cares! I have a life is my mantra! Loving the challenges as I do get older and my perspectives change about dating, age, life!

hugs, peace, compassion

Monday, April 13, 2009

college life

Easter Monday.. back to work in the USA! If anything life in the USA is "where are you working?" in teaching college part time it is confronting the reality of the all encompassing work!

Thoughts from reading a range of blogs about college life. For many college students it is about juggling college and work. In my undergrad experience, I first had dorm life, then a job that paid for my tuition, then I finished college by having a roommate and being poor all the time! Here I am poor at the time, skipping class.. it had to be social psychology as I still dream that I missed class, an exam, and I have a paper due. (photo at Riis Beach, May 1977). The bus to the beach was at the end of the subway line at Brooklyn College. What a joy to go to the beach that hot May 1977!

Thoughts from the blogs...
students have problems focusing.... in meditating one tries to get rid of all the samsara of life. it is just hard to be focused, one trains oneself to do that. For 20 somethings there are hormonal and developmental issues still going on. I forever look at 24 year olds and see the zoning out. It is normative. Students often need to be kinder to themselves. Work work is generally immediate satisfaction and concrete.

On the other hand, one needs to prioritize. once again I have students who are away this week on vacation since their kids are out from school; or students cannot concentrate on reading but went to a concert on the weekend and had the best partying!

complaints about the adjuncts... colleges are businesses and full time professors are managing research grants or consulting contracts that bring dollars to the university! University professors will have graduate students, dissertation candidates, etc. It is the academic environment. I can understand some complaints but then again there is student grandiosity that involves thinking that one is so intellectually gifted one should be with the best.... allegedly, full time professors. Some of the best teachers are adjuncts or junior faculty. LOL, I know a whole number of the older generation of professors who slept with their professors to get their jobs. It was not about intellectual work. Once again, college is a work place. There is still who one knows! The "best" students will generally get some research or seminar projects. But, most students are not intellectually gifted. I visited one of my undergrad sociology professors in the 1990s. She was impressed with my graduate work and amazed that I never had any special projects in college. I have my intellectual gifts but I was an art major in college and spent all my time making art. As I said... I had that nightmare of the social psychology exam/paper for years!

I also loved Columbia because I loved the whole environment! The differing schools, the International House, the library! whoa what a library! The continuing abundance of lectures, workshops, the dynamics of a university in the city! So a perfect graduate school! Interesting to read another blog about out of town students fussing about the greatness of NYC. Wrote back that there is great diversity in NYC as it is a Babylon. Students often visit from their college which reflects the class/race/ethnic stratification in much of the US. Why should colleges be any different? People come to NYC for the opportunity as well as to get away from intellectual & social conformity; as to Chicago, Los Angeles....

Maybe 30 to 34% of students graduate from accredidated colleges (not Bible, mail order, online). Any business can say it is a college.. but is it accredidated? Will the credits transfer? The majority of Americans now go to college but also do not graduate. High school drop outs/age outs go to community colleges to finish their GEDs. I applaud my graduating seniors that it is an accomplishment that they are graduating! The last semester may be tough but it is all in their heads.. they are just almost there! Of course, one graduates and then everyone wants to know what "big" job will one get? College is not linked in with the overall labor market policy in this country. But one gets a diploma which will not be taken away. Jobs come/go and one's work performance is but one variable in a workplace. A college degree is a lifetime achievement!

I love teaching part time. I also like a regular job for the day to day interactions and normative reality of it. Teaching can be too isolating for me. I have no big interest in full time academic life because I like the bustle of worklife. I am like many social workers who teach part time in lieu of having a private practice. The students always add a dynamism to my intellectual life. Of course among social workers I also hear how research was their worse experience! I have always loved reserach. But I find my own projects to be too bohemian for normal science. My photos, altars, blogs, memoirs are more literary than social science. I have also always seen myself more as an organizer than a clinician although I have great clinical skills. I like being Professor... and never think of being Doctor.... I liked doctors until I started working with them.. but that is another blog....

hugs, peace, compassion

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oster, April 1990 Vierwaldstatter See, CH

happy Easter! Photos from 1990... boat ride on the Vierwaldstatter See from Luzern to Burgenstock and back. What a good trip with my Zurich amigos!

impossible to answer but tried to give a list of my favorite books on a site..... so many favorite books. as a college professor I have spent 30plus years reading, recommending, creating curriculum. A recent favorite is Istanbul, by Pamuk! Wow such history, perspective, a good story of growing up! Prior to that was Pankuj Mishra's An End to Suffering. (I am such a NYReview of Books junkie).

My all time favorite gay book is Becoming a Man, by Paul Monette! Whoa what a story... the best yet! Another Country by James Baldwin has to be the best NYC novel ever!

my long time favorite social perspectives are by the iconics such as: Richard Hofstadter, C Wright Mills, Peter Gay, bell hooks, Sindiwe Magona, Ann Burack-Weiss all being other Columbia University faculty/grads. Havent read President's Obama's memoir, but as an alum, I instinctively understand his perspectives. (My first college years & degree in art from Brooklyn College and then time at the NY Art Students League, so love Lee Bontecou, Sylvia Stone, Pearlstein...). In the last year or so, I have mostly religiously read endless issues of Art Forum so I am also a bit out of the literary au courant news!

I know a bunch of authors/publishers/editors so biased towards their works. love the Harry Potter series... (no one predicted Arthur would be the publisher! whoa) I wrote a letter to the Diane von Furstenberg crew , they replied with her book! What a fast good read!

love the classics such as Dante, Freud, DW Winnicuit, deTocqueville, Marx, Habermas, James Joyce, Agnes Smedley, Pema Chodron, Georges Simenon!

I am busy working so I am gathering my next reading list... Bolano, Nathalie Serraute.... Every 5 years or so, Ihad a year to just read all who I have to read. in 2002, I read Dante, Saint Augustine, the Tibetan book of living & dying, then James Joyce! I will die before reading it all but maybe I have some clues to the next life..( ?)

hugs, peace, compassion

Friday, April 10, 2009

Koln Gut Freitag 10 Avril 2009

Koln is a metaphor for my Good Friday. 3 visits to Koln on Good Friday. 1987, 1988, 1990. Love coming into the hauptbahnhof and seeing the Koln Dom! Certainly one of our world's memorable vistas!

The b/w are in April, 1987, my first visit to Koln. Travelled with a friend and we went to the Dom, then walk along the river, back to the hauptbahnhof. We took the sleeper train to Munich that night! The color photo in January, 1989.

Was in Koln on Good Friday, 1988, but late and decided to leave the area. There was a soccer match and i witnessed the biggest display of public drunkenness that I have witnessed anywhere before or since. The NYC Saint Patrick's Day is relatively sober in relation to that Koln nacht! Not speaking much German nor any dialect, travelling alone, I decided to continue my train journey on German railpass!

Over time religious theology has had less interest for me from any literal sense of course but also as a metaphor. My theology is that there is a spirituality in the world but it has different content and practice. I look at religious practice in an ethnographic lens. Watching, listening, appreciating. Oft times, I like the music or smells or rituals. Religious practice embodies histories.... Dordrecht, Worms, Zwingli, Saint Augustine, Akbar, Sufis, indigenous dieties. Over time, I completely doubt the reason for a cruxification. Why would a God create such a dilemma? I dont think of a Satan although I have certainly seen evil in the world. Sin oftimes is mental illness or sociopathic behavior. I appreciate social activism practiced by religous peoples but I cannot understand all the literal, sin, damnation. I appreciate the Buddhist sense of helping to ease suffering. I believe in the worth of all, social conscience, helping to ease suffering. I have no issues with those who go to "church" although I have problems with the ideological focus to force others to conform to a particular viewpoint. I particularly abhore the orthodoxy of Christians, Muslims, Jews as there is no one answer. My usual retort to Christian zealots about being saved to go to heaven is that "since I dont want to be with them on Earth, I couldnt imagine being with them in eternity". As usual the orthodox are more about what one may only know or the problems in one's head. Once again, thanks to the Obama administration for their actions to adjust the insanity of the orthodox in the hypocritical Bush years.

Happy Oster weekend!

Saw the am news shows heute for the first time in ages. Interesting to watch the spins. Big coverage on the pirate situation off Somalia. Tragic but going on for months. Relief agencies have had their cargos looted, cruise ships have been boarded over time. I last followed news that the French navy was intercepting a few months ago. I dont know how defense protocols have evolved, not following the situation recently. But, the jingoistic news coverage is fascinating! Interesting to hear the posturing about what the US should do. Once again, kudos for President Obama's statement that these are international waters and not much we can concretely do instantaneously at the moment. It is a pleasure not to hear a knee jerk reaction immediately! I will read the UN and affiliate feeds to learn more about the problem solving.

Typical Good Friday... lots of closings, people having the day off. Quiet, or quieter outside. Many parties for the weekend what with a 3day holiday.

peace, hugs, compassion

Monday, April 6, 2009

heute 6 April

continuing thoughts on what is my day like...
when teaching...
wake up, check caller ID to see if any important messages. boil water for my green tea, brew tea and put it on the side. take some meds with 2%milk. Then, put on sweats, walk thru building, wind up in minimart in basement of building. have a koffie, gossip with neighbors or with the employees, checking out het weer from the window there. No neighbors today but the postperson, so early post today! back up elevator to my apartment...
with the green tea... to the computer. boot up. check my 3 emails. check my rss feeds reader and read maybe 35 items on my to-read list (out of usually 1000+ feed reads in each day's reader). No emails today but from a student who has yet to be in class (this is our second week).
answer critical emails.. usually notes to friends...
started this blog and inserted photo, 7 april 1962 of my first communion invite to my parents! whoa! photo in blog!
back to the building lobby to get mail. Nothing at all! LOL, my Monday Chronicle of Higher Ed is missing. And, a check that was allegedly mailed Thursday. back upstairs...
phoned the check writer.... explained on voicemail that I thought the check would be here! Now stressed as I dunno what is up and I wanted to pay my rent today. Otherwise, have to go to the bank, take out money at my deposit bank (not to pay atm fees) and then get a money order for the rent. I am also annoyed as I am debating writing a letter about my front door lock being broken, broken intercom... On the other hand, not interested in going to court with the building. Oh well.. to be continued.. My brother is doing me a big favor writing a check from my Mom's account, just I asked him so late...
go through course outlines and check what is to be taught today. make sure my attendance list is up to date. gather handouts and make sure to scan for further use. today, I updated a take-home journal assignment for students, and a guide to their final project. checked and changed dates if needed for when student teams meet. emailed the attachments to my college email. I am not printing out at home anymore and using my personal ink and paper.
had a phone conversation with a social work colleague about protocols, diversity, cultural competency issues in NJ.
and then time to shower, dress, make sure my texts are in my bag. do the commute shuffle!
big hugs, compassion, peace

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Alliance of Civilizations

Second convening of the UN Alliance of Civilizations today in Istanbul. Great choice for President Obama to be in Istanbul although the US is not a member of the UN subgroup. The UN alliance has a multiplicity of members but I feel it builds from the mediterrenean heritage. Much focus on the middleEast. Have been very pleased Obama would visit Turkey as it really is a central point in our world. European/Asian, heir to the Ottoman empire, a country on the verge of being part of the advanced industrial nations. Makes great diplomatic and economic sense!

pastel drawing, 1985 Turkish Children's Day parade in NYC.

peace, hugs, compassion

Friday, April 3, 2009

la vie, Avril 2009

2 folks asked "what do you do allday?"

Getting ready to thankfully just swim at the local pool in less than 90 days!

i teach 2 or 3 courses each semester. They are intense but I love them! It is a blessing to have these classes whatwith the discourse, the essays, their projects to review! Scanned the 1972 Third Year of Women's Liberation" in relation to my family ethics course.

But, I have other skills so I have been looking for a day job but I get stuck as I have only recently progressed since I was poisoned by a bed bug invasion in my apartment (2007). I was last in the hospital for a week in December. I still walk with my cane. It is not as difficult to walk now!

As a social worker, I finally burned out in 2005 from 10 years of working with homeless mentally ill women, then with lesbian/gay high school students, then with HIV patients inhospital ... the NJ years were mostly an affront as I really had had little experience with the corruption, discriminations and indifference so rampant in systems of great stress. There were many really great times but mostly lots of stress, endless work, and then all of the deaths with the AIDS patients. Unlike NYC, I had no supervision, I had more training and expertise than my supervisors. Endless work, do my life, back to work... As someone who teachs research, I am well aware of the indifference of many "professionals" to the knowledge base in our discipline. Emotionally beyond exhaustion, but intellectually fascinating. I have so much depth and breadth from my experiences to share with the students. They drive my idea to write as they love my storytelling.... plus I get to read so many essays and project reports each semester!

400 pages to these memoirs but unhappy with my voice. I write for my own memory.... (a long ago buddy Arthur Levine.. publisher of the Harry Potter series... told me to stop bothering him with my stories! Oh well). I wondered if a colleague who works for George Soros had ideas.. (she just left for her yearly meetings in Sao Paolo, then Nairobi, then Istanbul!) Whoa.. I should be there.. I could swim..... Anyhow, I asked for a job in Mongolia... I dont think she understood the irony as Soros does fund programs in Mongolia. She seemed confused when I then said I was only joking! I actually do like Mongolia as well as Wyoming. I talk about a job in Wyoming with a high school buddy back in Colorado, Randy. The tall urban towers exchanged for the vast expanse! Anyhow, I have also had time to do art projects, photographs. My first degree was in art.. I had a photo account at Citibank. I also followed up with long ago Citibank buddies. I was able to network! Soon, different social work projects started coming in to me.... and then...

In late 2006, my Mom suddenly died. I helped with the State memorial for her. She was thanked for helping those with psychiatric issues. Then dividing up her house... I inherited some money. Reestablishing relationships with siblings I rarely saw before her death. I was feeling physically good and planned to travel, visit friends in Zurich, Berlin, London, Rotterdam and the cote d'azure again. (I use to go to Europe every Easter time). I was poisoned by the renovations in my apartment after bed bug invasions! i walk with my cane as my lungs collapse although I am getting better. I was last in the hospital in December.

So, I am looking for a new day job.. although have to organize my job hunt.. Lots of social work jobs as with the Veterans Admin but I dunno if I can sit all day with the amputees and the psychiatric issues. I cannot do everything anymore! I was up for a job at the VA when my Mom died in 2006. I am also always up for different UN consulting jobs but I keep forgetting to send my CV in time.. they usually post with a 1 or 2 day cutoff. (my doctoral study was at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs).

As usual, I know a lot of people so I get advocacy alerts. Generally press and letter writing. From 1982 to 1992, I did community organizing, then corporate social affairs. In 1983, I was doing 3 radio shows, gave over 250 press interviews, a legislative hearing, advocacy events! From 1986 to 1992, lots of community events, but also the ability to fund local community groups, participate in nonprofit startups, buy tickets to fundraisers. I always have passion about ideas!

Yesterday, I called the White House. Today, phoned various legislators, then trade associations. Advocated on mental health issues, for gay marriage (although I dont know anyone who has even been to one), discussed the new Haitian economic opportunity policy implementations (to create a garment industry). I started fishing to see if others want to have a festschrift for a friend who has done so much community work in NYC/NJ. I always help fundraise for her charity dinners. Lastly, I was advocating for Michelle Obama to come to the NY Council of Fashion Designers' dinner in June! That would be a coup.. Also thought about.... Michelle Obama in DvF at the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Park with the UN backdrop! Wow! I love Michelle Obama! I also love Eleanor Roosevelt!!!

anyhow.. always much to do in life! My Mom had 9 children, 5 grandchildren, a house, a (ex)husband, a job, and then listened to people with mental illness everday! the folks most of us run away from! Most of all, I am lucky to have had time to seriously teach, work on projects, see the world in different ways!

hugs, peace, compassion