My iPhone tracks my every move. So what?


Did you see all the headlines this week about how iPhones record and store location data? Oh my, how it sent Congress – politicians – into an uproar about personal security violations! The media blasted out calls for Steve Jobs to explain himself, damn it. It hit a fever pitch, this supposed personal security rights violation, and Apple released an iOS update pronto. (I assume that 633 megabite download and install fixed the problem.)

At the same time, tucked in with all the uh-oh’s about smartphones tracking our every move was the news that enough people are going cell-phone-only nowadays and giving up landlines to make the news. Turns out, the people opting for only cell phones are those that are living in poverty. It seems that the pay-as-you-go or government cell phones with a scant 250 minutes are the popular choices among folks making only enough to register on the 2009 poverty scale: $11,000 for a single person, $22,000 for a family of four.

Put the two stories together and what do you get? A good dose of reality, if you’re so inclined.


Child sexual abuse: A lifetime of broken trust


It all started spinning when I watched a Frontline video about “The Silence,” a story about the rampant child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests. The adults in the clip were abused as children around the same time that I was growing up and spending a lot of time with a priest my mother thought would bring me under control. No, I wasn’t abused by a priest, but I remember feeling that there was no way a man, no matter how many robes he tried to bury himself under, could be celibate. The video confirmed my suspicions, and I wish it didn’t. The pain runs so deeply that it’s palpable.

The pain runs deep. It unleashes an ocean of thoughts that take no time at all to spiral down and down, dredging up memories better left buried and out of sight of daily consciousness. Stop, I scream inside. Stop thinking about it.


Spilling the beans about dust and fire


Who would’ve thought that setting the feather duster next to a candle given to me atop a stereo speaker could end up so meaningful? Dust off the ol’ skills good before lighting the fire and broadcasting it loudly. It is a Bose speaker after all. Notice the seal still on and the wick uncharred? So far, it’s almost-but-not-quite happening.

Back in January, I took a leap and interviewed for, was offered and accepted a position as a child abuse investigator. Since I had previous experience in casework, I knew what I was getting into and started to wrap my mind around returning to a highly stressful, very demanding job. Just like any other state job, the hiring process was long and drawn out.


Not old enough, not young enough to work


Her youthful face looked freshly scrubbed, shiny and innocent. Just 19, she was already a mother and intelligent enough to know that her road may be more difficult, but not impossible. She was a go-getter, never still for long and loaded with youthful energy, all the while responsible and balanced. Her youth seemed to be what kept her mind clear and quick. She was a mountain of potential.

For three weeks, she worked as the receptionist at a mobile home sales lot, doing everything asked, and learning everything she could. She kept the website updated and completed purchase agreements. Everything was fine when she left work Friday, the owner’s last words of “See you on Monday” sent her away just like the two Fridays before. But Monday, when she came into work, there sat an older woman at her desk. The owner had decided she wanted someone older and with accounting experience.


Reframing fear to get unstuck


My heart sunk when I looked at my screen and saw his birth year: 1985. A scant 25 years old he was, and hauling around 500 or so pounds. He came in with his mother, but he was the one that sat in my office chair, not really able to support his own weight for very long.

To the standard question, “Do you have any disabilities that limit your ability to perform normal job duties?” the most likely response, if affirmative, is back problems. When I clarified his answer to this question, his response was more an outline of his perception of self; his overall health was good, despite his massive weight.


When budget cuts hit close to home–and kill


I am so exhausted. I am exhausted from the frustration. This frustration comes from the constant, flagrant, blatant hypocrisy that exists under the name of the Conservative Christian right. Less government, less public services, less taxes, less deficit….less life. I want to scream, it is so frustrating.

I have to ask: If you are “Christian,” does that not mean that you model your life, your behavior, your actions, your goals to that of Jesus? Jesus’ teachings, it is my understanding, centered on love, on compassion, on peace and spent his time on Earth helping his fellow man.

Jesus was not a greedy, rich bastard hell bent on having it all! He chose to shun worldly niceties to live free of the mundane traps of possession. So I ask, isn’t it an oxymoron to be a Conservative Christian?


Odin’s gift to me


Breathtaking. Seismic. Awesome. Thrilling.

Watching Odin run around takes my breath away. He put on a show for me today, and it was a sight to see. I wish I had my camera in my hand; it was in the car, and my iPhone stayed in my pocket. (This photo was taken last year, one of my favorites.)

It was an exciting day for Odin. It was hot, very windy, and when I got there, I led him out of the pasture and over to give him a bath. I don’t usually bath him. I would rather brush him well and let the rain be his cleaner. But, he’s shedding and I’m not there to brush him every day, so I gave him a bath in hopes that it eases his itchiness in my absence.


We are the World


This is an incredible video to watch, especially nowadays. It is a tribute to great talent that has passed on, that is with us now, that will come to be – if we let it.