Friday, August 21, 2009

"to be" or not "to be"....

I confess...this may make no sense outside my head. Not sure if I can put my thoughts "on paper" but they are rattling loudly in my head so I'd like to try.

I was watching people on the T platform and got caught in a bit of a linguistic game in my head. Let's consider these statements:
  • Sally is beautiful.
  • Sally is fat.
  • Sally is smart.
  • Sally has brown hair.
  • Sally has cancer.
  • Sally has killer abs.

Okay. Where do we draw the line between traits that where we use a "to be" word versus a possessive-like "to have"? It seems to me that linguistically the "to be" traits are being elevated to a different level. They define us. They ARE us. We can play with structure and turn some of the sentences into their "partners" ("Sally has a weight issue", "Sally is a cancer patient"), but it seems like one or the other is often more "natural" for us to use.

What do these distinctions say about our values? Are these distinctions consistent in other languages? In other cultures that share our language?

If you read this blog, you know I have a multitude of body issues and that's where this rattling thought started. Why is weight such a defining characteristic for us? If you were trying to describe me to someone looking for me in a crowd, my hair (long, dark, thick, frizzy mop that it is) would be the best way to tell them which woman I am...not the size on my jeans. So why not "Cheryl is long dark frizzy hair" (yes, you can say "Cheryl is a long-haired gal" but it isn't the normal construction).

On another note, I once wrote a blurb on myself and said "I am a lawyer." A woman wrote back that being a lawyer was my job, not WHO I was overall. But, in those days, it FELT pretty defining. Then again, one of my examples above is "Sally has cancer"...I bet that feels pretty darn defining too.

I don't have anywhere major I'm trying to go with this. But it is my concept to ponder for the moment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

that darn bandwagon (and falling off it)

I confess....routine is my savior and my downfall.

I live by routine. I like routine. But I struggle a lot when I start to break my routines.

I've talked a bit about eating issues here. I keep things in check by being "good" Sunday through Thursday. But I've started to allow more breaks in there and it has become more of a norm to have an off-day in that span. This involves dinner out or a take-out meal....and dessert etc. (I'm way too embarrassed to detail). The only saving grace is these aren't planned...because if I knew it was an off-day, I'd be "off" during the daytime too and as it stands I at least keep my normal habits until dinner (or until a pre-dinner drink).

Likewise, for over two and a half years I've done morning workouts. These really do work well for me, despite the ungodly hour and the fact that it means I need to go to bed with the toddler-set. I always knew that I only kept doing it because it was a routine and that falling off would be trouble. And I've fallen off. I have made up most missed workouts, but it just isn't as good for me to do it in the PM (and is ROUGH on my hair since I get way too sweaty not to at least rinse and condition and then usually want to dry it before I lie down for bed).

I'm telling myself it is a summer hiatus. And there's some truth there. It is harder for me to just go home when it is so bright and sunny out in the evening. And I can get away with evening workouts and not miss Jeopardy while it is on hiatus (yes, I have odd priorities). I also know it is ALL related to stress and work issues....they make it harder to get out of bed (even if I'm up) and start a day and they make it harder to keep the binge-monster at bay.

No solution here. Or even resolutions. Just some rambling because confession can help the soul.

Friday, August 14, 2009

job search tips

I confess....I keep a list

JOB SEARCH RULES (from an attorney recruiter, a work in progress)
  • Use a work-friendly email address. “Beerdrinker###” is not work-friendly
  • Do not list your FAILING bar exam score on your resume.
  • Be a Big Boy. Having your wife call about a job is not a good move.
  • You are not who you know. You are not qualified for a job in the medical field because you have a large family of doctors
  • It is not impressive to label yourself an “Experiendced” attorney
  • Bar passage is required to practice law. Do not try to convince me that you are “better than a barred attorney” for a job because of your life experiences. Experience is lovely, but you still can’t practice law!
  • I’m fine with a bit of reaching, but be reasonable. Don’t apply for a job requiring 7-10 years of experience when you only have one (that isn’t remotely on-point)>
  • Sell yourself, but be reasonable. Don’t overword: “Experienced administrative professional seeking a full-time position within an office environment wherein application of excellent communication, attention to detail, and organizational skills can be utilized.”
  • If a recruiter takes the time to call and explain why you aren't a match for a specific need, do not apply to the same job TWICE the very next day. It shows a lack of attention to detail.
  • Think about your target audience. If you are applying to a job in a sports-crazed town, it is best not to indicate you are a fan of a rival team with your email address…Boston hiring folks WILL hold an address that includes “yankeefan” against you
  • If you are applying for an attorney job, you MIGHT want to include your JD on your resume. I may not bother to look at your cover note if I don’t think you have the minimum requirements…
  • It’s 2009. Don’t address a blind letter “Dear Sir.”
  • Use terminology correctly. “I have a JD in Law” is redundant and does not look informed.
  • Don’t make controversial, political jokes…levity is fine, but not anything that might offend someone.
  • I do understand we are a nation of immigrants. But do not use a phone number where no one speaks English during the day….or at least have them let the machine get calls.
  • A little common courtesy, please. I run early, but do not show up a full hour early for an interview without calling. And, if you do, offer to wait…do not act annoyed if you are 60 minutes early when you are asked to have a seat for five minutes while someone gets ready to meet with you
  • If you don't know all the major terms in the job description, you are probably not qualified. Do not call and ask what they mean.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


If you see this and are not someone I "know", how did you find me? Not at all asked out of anger but just curiosity since I don't think I know a few people who've commented in the past....

health care

I confess...I don't know nearly enough about the healthcare debate to make an informed post. But I'm rambling anyway.

I get a bit quiet when the debate comes up because I know I'm a bit uninformed. And because my mind just isn't financially focused and there are financial realities that are really important to the debate. I don't have any answer....I don't know which plan is best...but I do know some of my own values.

  • I believe health care is generally a right.
  • I believe there is a better way to deliver health care than having people rely on ERs.
  • I believe we need a stronger focus on preventative care. This will require some sort of incentives. I see why companies wouldn't focus on it b/c there is no guarantee that they will see the benefit...the 30 year old you invest in may not be a member when he's 70 and the results "pay off". I think that may mean there needs to be some sort of mandate...not that I can really formulate what I mean by that.
  • I believe we need a better way to address pre-existing conditions. The tricky area seems to me to be that we can't allow people to game the system (i.e. get a cheap plan and then switch to a better one the day after a diagnosis).

And then I have a few other beliefs that I'm more nervous to share...

  • I think we spend too much on end-of-life care. I certainly want to make people comfortable but I think eventually there is a value analysis that needs to be done and I think that it makes more sense to spend the money on someone who may recover than on extending a terminal case for a month or two. I think I may get struck by lightning now. In all fairness, I do apply this to myself is part of the reason I signed a living will before surgery....
  • I don't know that I really place a ton of value on the right to keep your favorite doctor. I don't mind charging people more to pick a certain MD...assuming, of course, other qualified folks exist. You should have the right to a specialist where appropriate and to a second opinion, but I would sacrifice choice for savings.
  • I don't know how to work it, but I think that there should be price benefits for people who make healthy choices. Don't punish people for what they can't control (cancer in the family, etc). But healthy choices deserve a reward. That said, I think it needs to be done fairly. A program that gave a benefit for losing 20lbs would anger me since I'd be less healthy if I lost weight and would be punished for starting in a healthy range.

I'm sure there's more...but I'll stop. Now, someone important read this and make all the money stuff work :)

Friday, August 7, 2009


I confess...I've probably said some of this before....

  • I feel bad complaining about it but am frustrated in my search for a dress to wear to my brother-in-law's wedding. Aside from the most expensive ones, there are almost none in my size in most stores I try. I am small but I am not THAT small. Plenty of women are my size and need clothes too.
  • A file drawer, big and full, fell on my knee this morning. I am hoping the pain goes away. I'd hate THAT to be the cause of an injury requiring a gym break.
  • One mentally slow man that I sometimes see on the train tries to talk to people. I do get that he can scare people and he can be impossible to understand. But it broke my heart the other day when a woman moved away from him and he said "That's okay. I understand."
  • I am looking forward to my chicken shwarma (sp?) plate tonight. I have switched from the kabob plate, though they really end up quite similar....the shwarma has more crispy outside pieces :)
  • Happy almost birthday, boy.
  • A friend commented on FB that people talk about angry, man-hating feminists btu we don't hear about them going on shooting rampages. Just made me think.
  • I am reading a book about an OCD criminal. Not sure that I like it, but I think Monk should have an episode with the character. I like Monk.
  • Random issue that keeps popping in my head....I would like to add sexual orientation to the list of groups protected from employment discrimination. But should there be an exception for some religious group-related positions? I believe the state should sanction gay marriage (and judicial officers should not be able to refuse to perform them) but that churches shouldn't be forced to perform them if they disagree. Does that carry to discrimination in something like hiring a teacher at a Catholic school?
  • I am worried that Obama will be a one-termer. I think the reality is that it is really tough to evaluate someone in realtime when financial issues are the most pressing.
  • The train has sucked lately, in part b/c it has been more crowded on the way home. It had been much better this year...I suppose as a result of layoffs etc. I would expect it to be even lighter right now since I think it is peak vacation time. But my rides home have been sardine-like.
  • Work has been stressful already. Now it is just plain crazy since one colleague has left and it has added a lot to my plate. I don't see much upside (in either $$ or development) to the additional work.
  • It is Friday.