Monday, April 07, 2014

Yes, distracted driving is dangerous

The driver just ahead of me and one lane over, as I drove to work this morning, was having trouble holding her lane. I couldn't see exactly what she was doing, but something (a smart phone is likely, but I can't say for sure) was distracting her. So she wandered from her lane.

When she realized she had, she over-corrected and briefly started to skid. She then over-corrected the other way and wound up smacking into the concrete divider. A number of us cut our wheels and braked hard to avoid her out-of-control car. Fortunately, it remained a one-car accident.

She smacked up the front left section of her car pretty well, but she appeared unhurt. By the time we all started moving again, she was getting out of her car. Still, that was yet another example of what constitutes dangerous driving--anything other than watching the road and keeping your hands on the wheel!

Stay safe, everyone!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

From the neighbor kids' point of view

Today, I took Dodger for a walk. We don't go far. He's not a kid, and the block is long (at least, at his age). But he loves getting out, sniffing things and seeing people.

At the start of our walk, and again at the end, we spent time talking to the kids who live next door. They're 6 and 10 years old. They always want to tell me about things they know, and that's a joy. They also like to ask about Dodger. The 10-year-old girl has known Dodger since her family moved in when she was 2. Her brother has known Dodger his (the brother's) entire life.

They also knew Bernice and Mandy. After the girls died, we skirted the truth when they asked, "where are the other dogs?" From their mom's reaction when it came up in her presence, it seemed that they didn't know about death yet. So we'd say something like, "they're not here now" and then quickly move on to a new subject.

Today, she asked again where they were. When I said they're not here, she asked what happened to them. I said, "they got old."

"Oh, they died?"

"Yes, they died."

And her brother said, "oh, they're dead."

Then--and this is where things got much better and even funny--they asked what happened to the big red dog. She added, "the one my brother used to call 'the wolf.'" (That always made us chuckle--"the wolf" is Dodger.) And she indicated how big the wolf was--quite large. Twice her size!

I said, "he's standing in front of you, but you used to be this big," holding my hand at a level about half her height.

It's all about perspective, isn't it?  :-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A thought on being poor

Since starting this job, I have been spending many of my days in a building that is largely subsidized housing (our offices are in the lower level of the building). Because of where I work, something occurred to me about the many concerns and difficulties that poor people face. As I was coming into work today, I noticed a woman walking her dog out of the building.

It's then that it occurred to me that what would probably upset me most about not having a decent income would be the inability to fully care for the ones I love. I don't mean care for them in an emotional sense, as I don't think that type of caring knows any economic or social bounds. What I mean is "care for" in the sense of providing physical care for their well-being. Dodger recently needed surgery. Fortunately, we were able to afford surgery to make him better. But what if we couldn't? What if the only good solution for him was something that we simply didn't have the money to do?

I can't imagine anything that would hurt more than that. Not being able to care for him, or care for Marc, would be horrible. I don't know what the solution is, of course. After all, poverty has resisted a cure for a lot longer than I've been around. Still, that really struck me this morning. All the more reason to continue efforts to help those less fortunate, of course.

I guess it's just how that really smacked me in the face that prompted this post. I work for an organization dedicated to helping those in need, and Marc & I do what we can ourselves. Still, I hate to think what so many people face.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Almost five months in...

I started my new job at the beginning of August. Overall, it has been great. Something I noticed after I'd been in the new job for a while was that my Sunday night depression went away. For a long time, I'd noticed how I got down in the dumps practically every Sunday evening--but that was when I was in the old job.

I did good work in the old job, but I was dealing with one person in particular who... well, let's just say I could count on no support from one important quarter. I realized, in hindsight, that I was feeling down because I had to head back to a job I didn't like anymore. Happily, the new job is good, and I am happy to be working there.

So since the new job, I feel fine on Sunday. As I sit here and type this, I'm content. Granted, a day of work isn't as much fun as a day of leisure, but it's good work with good people.

The change was good! I'm glad it happened!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A weekend without things we have to do? Wow, that's a treat!

I sit here on the eve of a free weekend, and it's almost too much to believe. I always feel like I'm not one of the cool kids (and I'm not). Not the kind of person with a busy social life, or at least I've always thought. Still, it has been a long time since we last had a weekend with nothing planned. No commitments to go anywhere or do anything.

I do have to go to the dry cleaner, and we have plenty of chores to do here in the house. But there are no parties to attend, no shows to see, no work events to go to. I might even get to sleep late tomorrow!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Truly honored

Almost ten years ago, I learned that a friend played rugby for a gay rugby team called the Gotham Knights. The "gay" rugby team really is an inclusive team, open to all, but the main idea was to have a place for gay athletes to be accepted.

I started out taking photos of matches, and over the years we've made many new friends through the team, any number of whom are friends of ours to this day. We've even traveled with Gotham to tournaments as far away as England and Ireland. Still, neither of us ever played. If I'd ever considered playing, it would have been at a younger age than when we first joined Gotham. Even so, the team came to consider us part of the family, and they said quite clearly that I'm a full member of the team a long time ago.

Fast forward to this fall. I was talking to a friend from the team, and I suggested that he run for team president. He said he'd been talking to another dedicated member of the team and was going to support him for president. Then he proposed something I hadn't even considered: "If I were to nominate you for the Board, would you accept?"

I know these volunteer positions can be a lot of work, so I asked him to give me a couple of days to think about it. In the end, my love for the team won out over the possibly-thankless work. Still, there was an election, and more people were running than there were seats available. I felt like there was an excellent chance that I, as a non-player, would get blown out of the water. After all, these things can be popularity contests. Well, I should have given my teammates more credit!

The election results came in. Guess who won? And then we had the first Board meeting. We're all elected as at-large Board members, and then the Board works out who will fill what particular role.

My role? Chairman of the Board. Me? Chairman of the Board of the Gotham Knights Rugby Football Club? I'm so honored and, frankly, blown away that my rugby mates have put such trust in me. I won't let them down!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

The was amazing!

Amazing stuff today. When Dodger found me on the street in Brooklyn, 12 years & 1 week ago, I was standing there with my boss, Raquel. Raquel and I haven't worked together in years, but I've seen her now and then. Dodger, on the other paw, hasn't seen her at all since that day.

That day, September 28, 2001, was a momentous day in Dodger's life. He went from struggling to survive on the street to having a safe place to stay, food in his bowl (even having a bowl!), and people who care about him. Still, he met Raquel for maybe 5 minutes and hasn't seen her since, a lifetime ago.

Today, Raquel came over to the house. And Dodger remembered her. It was clear. He reacted to her like he reacts to no new guests. It was amazing! I guess it's one of those amazing dog things--maybe her scent reminded him of that day. Whatever the case... it's like an 80-year-old remembering a one-time, brief encounter from when he was 5. Wild!