Wednesday, August 31, 2005

When there are no words...

There have been, are, and will be many rivers of blog entries on the devastation of New Orleans and the other Gulf Coast areas.

I, however, can only weep and wonder why G-d stepped out for his smoke break at precisely the wrong time.

I watch the pictures and every child is my child, every parent is me, and as I watch the hungry and haunted move throughout the flood-swollen streets I think how thin our veneer of civilization. In a moment, the richest amongst us and the poorest are reduced to the same squalor and devastation. To my thinking, this is a picture of how the world could end if we're not a whole lot smarter.

I am profoundly sad but since I have the means, I've given my share to the Red Cross to aid in the clean-up and recovery. I urge you to do the same, whether it's the Red Cross or another organization.

If you have a roof over your head tonite, clean water to drink and enough food to eat, trot on over to and send 'em what you can. If nothing else, we can restore a little of the gloss to the veneer.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Adopt a staff member?

This will be a short one ... kids just started school today and I have writer's cramp from filling out tens of forms. But one little item caught my eye.

On one of numerous sheets, there was notice of an Adopt A Staff Member at the kids' elementary school. The idea is to adopt a staff member and send them little gifts, cards, etc for their morale. (Hey, I'd like some more of that kinda thing, too. Who wouldn't.)

But the use of adopt in this case, of course, didn't set well with me. So I filled out the form with an arrow for the reader to see my remarks on the back. I explained that as an adoptive mom the use of adopt/adoption in this case was offensive. I'll be happy to sponsor, support, hug and kiss a staff member if they so choose, but please don't use adoption in this context.

I signed it with my email and phone #. I'm sure when it's read I'll go straight to the PIA Parent List with a gold star by my name.

Ask me if I care. Really, ask me. Puh-leeeeeeze.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Slowly pulling my life back together

Well, with excrutiating slowness, life is beginning to resemble some form of normalcy ... I'm getting my Washington Post in the morning, have cable again (with the nifty digital on-demand thing), and after wanting to hit my head repeatedly on the wall waiting for Verizon to install my DSL only to be told they don't know when they can because the central office is full, I got a cable modem.

Of course, the first one was defective. Got a new one and wow, I'm back in business. (You can't do business in a dial-up environment anymore. Don't even try.)

My house, however, is still a mess.

Kids are registered for school (after providing sheets and sheets of proof and documentation that yes, we live here. Really.) which starts on Monday. Thursday am orientation for my middle schooler. Friday afternoon orientation for my youngest 2.

Tonite we go to Staples for supplies and eat pizza.

Lots of adoption/racial things floating around my head as of late. I'll be back in a few days to discuss.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Longest week of my life

Finally, finally, finally ... after 3 trucks and 2x a day (sometimes 3x a day) trips between the old place and the new -- we're home in our new place. Phones are screwed up and my DSL won't be installed until Thursday evening.

This dial-up thing bites.

Met one neighbor. Quiet, loves his garden, and has a daughter the same age as my eldest so she has someone to walk to the bus stop with (in the very least, we'll know where the bus stop is.)

After 25 years of knowing where everything was in my previous community, exploring again is exciting and nerve wracking.

Be back in a few days.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Moving Day!

Well, tomorrow is the day ... the big move with the big burly guys and the 2 big trucks. Said good-bye to the ladies at the post office, said goodbye to our Rabbi, and said goodbye to the owners of our favorite Chinese restaurant.

I'll be back in a few days (if Verizon gets our promised phone service up and running. Was supposed to be today, but ... ) and let you know how it goes. (We haven't met any of our neighbors yet, but we hear there are several kids close to our kids' ages.

Here's hoping so.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Did you know that Steve Jobs was adopted? Me either...

Here's an excerpt from his commencement address at Stanford University. Note the information about his birth mother and the circumstances of his adoption.

(excerpted from Steve Jobs' commencement speech, June
2005 at Stanford University):

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months,
but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months
or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a
young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to
put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I
should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was
all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his
wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the
last minute that they really wanted a girl.

So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in
the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected
baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course."

My biological mother later found out that my mother had
never graduated from college and that my father had never
graduated from high school.

She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only
relented a few months later when my parents promised that
I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively
chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford,
and all of my working-class parents' savings were being
spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't
see the value in it.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no
idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And
here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved
their entire life.

So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work
out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back
it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute
I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes
that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the
ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic.

I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in
friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢
deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles
across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a
week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of
what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and
intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me
give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best
calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the
campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was
beautifully hand-ornamented with calligraphy.

Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the
normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to
learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif
typefaces, about varying the amount of space between
different letter combinations, about what makes great
typography great.

It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a
way that science can't capture, and I found it

None of this had even a hope of any practical application
in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing
the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And
we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first
computer with beautiful typography.

If I had never dropped in on that single course in
college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces
or proportionally spaced fonts.

And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no
personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped
out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy
class, and personal computers might not have the
wonderful typography that they do.

Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking
forward when I was in college. But it was very, very
clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you
can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to
trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life,
karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and
it has made all the difference in my life.