Friday, March 30, 2007


Last night, I did a group presentation in class about the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury, MA. It is an area that has a history of arson, illegal dumping, and gangs, but that, thanks to a neighborhood community initiative and some determined citizens, has turned itself around entirely. I chose this neighborhood because my internship is located in Roxbury, and I wanted to learn more about the neighborhood.

The night before that, a man was shot in the head in Dorchester - the neighborhood right next to Roxbury. Many people at my internship knew this man, and had seen him just before he left my internship site last night. He died less than 30 minutes after they saw him.

This morning we had a staff de-brief at my internship, reminding teachers to be sure to take good care of themselves this weekend, so they will be able to best serve the children when they return to school on Monday. We gave them tips on how to talk with kids and parents, and we gave the teachers a chance to share their thoughts, fears, and feelings. I left the de-brief completely overwhelmed at how tragic this death was, and frustrated that the violence in this community is getting progressively worse.

Later, I spoke with a co-worker who lives in that community. She told me a story of how her husband once went to the corner store with his friend, and a man walked up to his friend and got angry with him for something he had done. When my co-worker's husband tried to intervene, the man told him to go away and that he didn't have a problem with him. As her husband began to walk away, the man shot his friend. Yes there were many witnesses and security cameras, and no the man did not care.

And then this woman told a story about going to her local police station, and the countless photos there on the bulletin boards of people to be on the lookout for - child molesters, murderers, etc. - and then visiting a police station in a more suburban town, where there was just one notice on the bulletin board - for a stolen bike. And she laughed, because what else is there to do but laugh when one can't afford to move (her words), and I was so very aware of the amazing privileges I've had in my life, and of the incredible unfairness of the world.

A few weeks ago, a woman with a promising future came up to Boston from NYC and got shot and killed at an after-party in Dorchester. The papers ran long articles on her - all of her accomplishments and the future she would not be able to realize because her life had been taken so prematurely. And yet this man's death got very little news coverage. No mention of the family left behind. No mention of the promise that his life might have had if he had lived longer than 24 short years.

How and when did it become ok for the media to determine whose lives are important and whose aren't? When did it become acceptable to mourn only the loss of white lives, and not black lives? Why do some people's lives get celebrated and their deaths highly publicized and investigated, while others have only their manner of death written about, with no mention of their accomplishments and few leads on their deaths? Why does it take the loss of a white life to increase media coverage of an epidemic that has been plaguing this community for ages?

I have so many questions, and no answers.

And then this afternoon, three more shootings - one young man got shot in the head while on a bus, one guy was shot in the leg less than an hour later, and then a fatal shooting - all within 4 hours of each other.

I feel sick to my stomach. I feel helpless to stop this violence in a community I knew nothing about before September, but which I now hold in a special place in my heart. I fear for these teachers, students, and parents who do not have the luxury of escaping this violence when they go home because their homes are where the violence is.

And so I pray for them tonight, and I pray for peace.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not Funny

It is never funny to dump or abandon a baby. Let me say that first.

But I do think there's some humor to be found in these stickers being used around a Central California town to get that message across:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

100th Post!

I debated a lot about what to write about in my 100th post...

Did I want it to be serious - commenting on the racist and homophobic emails written by an army recruiter? What kind of insane country do we live in where we are in the middle of a war, are in desperate need of recruits, and are STILL telling people who want to serve that they can't because of their sexual orientation!? (And is this woman not the dumbest woman EVER!? Not only can she not spell, but she sent these emails from her own military email account.) Or perhaps I wanted to share the news of San Francisco being the first city to get rid of the "paper or plastic" question.

Did I want to be reflective - about life, about priorities, about school and stress, about how I am letting my subscription run out because it has been such a collosal disappointment, about a great conversation I had with an old friend over the weekend that addressed my fears and frustrations of remaining single forever?

And then my dad sent me this link, and the decision was an easy one. Lighthearted news from my hometown. Doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I'm such a sap...

Most Sundays, I'm in the library studying. Writing some paper that I have been working on all weekend, and knowing that the only way to stay awake and alert is if I'm in the computer lab instead of sitting on my bed with my computer on my lap.

But on the Sundays when I'm not in the library, and when I find myself home with nothing urgent to do, I watch Extreme Makeover - Home Edition.

That's not the embarassing part. The embarassing part is that I cry every time.

EVERY time.

I hold it together until they say "Move that bus!" and then they show the family's reaction to seeing the outside of their house for the first time, and they all cry. So my eyes well up.

And then they see the house, and they see things like the patio table made out of the grandmother's broken china plates that were destroyed in the tornado, or the picture of the son who died so he can look over the family, and at some point, I lose it.

And I sit on my messy bed, with tears streaming down my face, and laugh at how pathetic I am.

And then I watch America's Next Top Model.

It's a good thing I usually have too much homework to be home on Sundays.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Maybe One Day...

I’m supposed to be writing a paper right now, but I’ve got a lot on my mind, so I’m writing this first, in the hopes that putting it out into cyberspace allows me to get it out of my system and focus on my current life, rather than my past. Those of you looking for a silly Fibby post shouldn’t bother to read further.

So in my past life, I was an event coordinator, and I was really good at it. Don’t get me wrong – there was definitely a learning curve. I wasn’t good at it right away, but I was given a lot of support and encouragement and freedom to make mistakes, and in the end, I left knowing how to pull off a conference for 1,000 with my eyes closed. I don’t think much now about this past life, because I’m so busy focusing on my present life – the one where I’m becoming a social worker and preparing to change the world. But every now and then, when school and social work get hard and frustrating, I miss the good old days of conference planning.

And since this is the week of the conference this year, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. I am missing my old duties so much that I actually had a conference-anxiety dream last night. No kidding. I woke up and had to laugh. I’m pretty sure I never had a conference anxiety dream when I was actually RUNNING a conference, yet here I was feeling sympathy-anxiety for people on the other side of the country!

If I were still in my past life, in my past job, this would be conference week. I would have gotten up really, really early this morning to drive to the Oakland airport and fly to Southern California where I would spend the afternoon putting together nametags and decorations and registration packets. Tomorrow would be the first day of the conference, and by Saturday at 5pm, everything would be packed up and I would be heading back to San Francisco.

The feeling of getting through the conference in one piece is of course a wonderful thing, but what I am finding myself missing so much right now is all the little stuff. The anxiety on the flight down – not sure if I forgot something important and knowing there was nothing I could do about it if I did, the excitement of the committee in seeing their hard work finally paying off, the racing around to put out fires, always being on call with a phone or walkie-talkie, the smiles and waves and “great conference!” comments I’d get while wandering around the conference, and the people… Oh, the people.

Some of my favorite people of all time are going to be at the conference this week. In addition to the amazing staff I used to work with, there are also just some incredible individuals in the field who I am heartbroken to not have my annual catch-up time with this year. I’ve been in touch with the staff all week, telling them I’m thinking of them and wishing them well, but it is these other people I am missing so much right now.

And that brings me to the second half of the post, and the frustration that comes from knowing that someone who was once a dear friend of mine will be at that conference, and knowing that I cannot be in touch to wish him well or to send silly text messages to make him smile when things get stressful, the way I can with my other conference friends. There was once mutual respect and caring and now there isn’t. There was a fight… or there wasn’t… there was a disagreement… or a misunderstanding… or something… or nothing. To be honest, I don’t know exactly where things went wrong, how they went wrong so quickly, or when things became irreparable, but damage was done. Major damage. And despite my many, many efforts to make things right between us, we never managed to resolve things before I moved away.

And so I learned the life lesson that closure isn’t always an option. And I hate that life lesson. I hate it. Mostly, because I can’t stand the idea that there is someone out there who is angry with me, and that there's nothing I can do about it. I always held onto the hope that maybe someday he’d come around and we’d be able to be the friends that we always promised we’d be to each other, but we haven't spoken in almost a year, and so far, that hasn't happened.

I got this idea in my head that maybe things might be different now that I've moved away and time has passed, and maybe it’s all water under the bridge, and maybe if I were to send a silly text message or joke gift, he would laugh and remember why we were friends and would pick up the phone and call and tell me he missed me. And then I shared this idea with a mutual friend, who said simply, “I wouldn’t.” And then I was sad again, because I knew that friend was right.

So I’ve been thinking a lot over these past few days about it all, and in the end, I know I did everything I could to try to salvage our friendship. I also know he’s not the type to forgive or forget, so there will never be a reconciling or the kind of closure I so desire. And I hate that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to change things or make him come around.

And I know that it’s just because the conference is this week that I’m once again feeling frustrated by it all. It’s not something that eats away at me on a daily or even weekly basis, but it’s one of those things in my life that I wish had turned out differently, even though I'm not sure it could have. This is a good person whose friendship I valued a lot, and who I miss now, even after the way everything turned out.

But since I can’t say all this to him, I share it with cyber-space instead.

For those of you who haven’t checked out Patty Griffin’s new album, do so. And if you’re wondering why I put that at the end of this post, it's because in the movie version of my life, she features prominently on the soundtrack - especially in chapters relating to this friend.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Identity Crisis

I got tired of my old blog template, so I'm now playing around with new templates. Don't be alarmed because this looks nothing like the familiar Nostomania that you all have grown to love. I promise the content is still lovable, even if the color scheme is questionable.

Friday, March 09, 2007

True Confessions

Ok, so there are many of you who don't know the story about why this would be funny or even relevant to my life, so here's the story:

When I was little, I had a babysitter who I absolutely worshipped. She was awesome. She was funny. She was by far my favorite babysitter ever. This babysitter adored all things Phil Collins, and because I worshipped her, I also adored all things Phil Collins. I bought the Phil Collins and Genesis albums. I choreographed dance routines on the playground to Abacab. I wrote my 2nd grade book contest book on the life of Phil Collins (Good Lord, I can't believe I'm writing this on the internet for the world to see). And I would have philosophical discussions with the babysitter on why Peter Gabriel left the band, what I thought of their music through the years, which was better - Genesis or solo Phil, whether Mike & the Mechanics would ever find a place in pop culture beyond The Living Years, and any other Genesis/Phil-related topic. Eventually, not long after the popular "Another Day in Paradise" but definitely before the dorky "We Can't Dance" I grew out of my obsession, and learned to keep my past a secret from my NKOTB-loving friends.

I think it is important to note that my obsession was never a crush. I never looked at Phil Collins as a potential future husband, or as a sex symbol in any way (Good Lord, I was 8!). I did, however, know that he had a son who was not too much older than I was, and so every now and again, I imagined marrying into the Collins family by pairing up with Simon. (Thank God I dodged that bullet - his website makes him look like a bit of a whack job. But who else thinks it's funny and slightly weird that his album cover looks like a knock-off of one of Dad's from 20 years ago?)

So that's my deep, dark secret.

And the truth is that if I ever catch Phil's voice while flipping through the radio stations, I always stop and sometimes even sing along. What can I say? Old habits die hard.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Episode 5: Love Many, Trust Few, Do Wrong to No One

I hate the way this season is shaping up. I hate that the Moto tribe, that has about a gajillion members I'd like to see voted out, keeps winning, and keeps getting more and more cocky, and the Ravu tribe, that has heart, but no luck, keeps having to vote people out. I didn't love Rita, but she was more deserving to be there than Stacy or Lisi. And the editors rub in the class difference with the cabana music they play every time they show Moto. I want to strangle the idiot Motos when they stay stuff like, "We have so much luxury it doesn't matter!" and when they sit around grinning like idiots and enjoying FAR too much luxury to be able to be called Survivor contestants. Stacy is SO deserving of a vote-off, I can't stand it, and yet there she sits, rolling her eyes, and blatantly not helping Dreamz make coffee. Alex's tiny bit of compassion ("I don't know how to make coffee either, can you tell me?") was much appreciated, and definitely won him a few points in my book.

I'm glad they're mixing it up next week, but at the same time, it's disappointing, because I would have SO loved to see Ravu living it up in the pimped out Moto camp. To be honest, I'm not sure that ever would have happened (since Moto showed it would rather give up a tribe member than give up it's king-sized bed and teacups), but that the potential for it to happen was there, and made it more exciting. The potential for Ravu to win an immunity challenge and not be losers was also there, and now we're never going to see that. I'm psyched for the Ravu members who will get to go live in luxury, but sad for those who won't. Mostly, I'm just eager to see the reaction of the Moto members who have to go live at Ravu camp. I hope Stacy is one of them.

Finally, Rocky and Dreamz? Really? That's either going to be the worst combination ever, or they'll turn into a powerhouse. I'm predicting worst combination ever, but Survivor is full of surprises, and anything could happen.

Quote of the week: "I Wanna Smack 'Em With a Fried Pineapple"

Random Musings

Those of you who know of my deep dark secret, no doubt thought of me when you read this little tidbit of news.

Thank you Mr. Snappy for this incredibly weird link and also this important news about birth control.

Finally, a long-overdue WAHOO! for Jake Ivory's (placeholder link until their website is back up and running), the dueling piano bar I mentioned about 4,000 posts ago. I went with some friends from school, and it was a truly fun night. It's a crazy place, with loud, but enthusiastic piano players who play ANYTHING that is requested (doesn't even have to be piano music - they did a rousing rendition of "Baby Got Back" while we were there). It's a place full of completely drunk people - many there for batchelorette parties or other such nonsense (like the large group of 40-somethings who kept running into us with their alcohol-induced, enthusiastic dance moves, and then attempting to pick fights with us when we fought back by standing with our hands on our hips so that they'd run into our elbows), but mostly, it's just a big group sing-along, and loads of fun.

Episodes 3 & 4: Better Late Than Never

Ok, so I actually watched Episode 3 with a friend. It was great (both the episode, and the friend hang-out time). This was a friend I hadn't seen in years, and who totally didn't judge me one bit when we sat down to watch, and I said, "Wait - I need to get something" and he said, "Pen and paper to take notes for the blog?" Seriously, a good, non-judgemental friend indeed.

And yes, I took notes while watching, and then somewhere between 2 Thursdays ago and early this week, that piece of paper went missing, thus, the lack of blog post for episode 3. My favorite moment wasn't anything directly in the episode, though. It was when Sylvia went down in the oil/water challenge, and my friend commented, "She's going home tonight. She's going home tonight because she's still swimming." Maybe you had to be there, but I laughed really hard. It made me remember how much more fun it is to watch and do commentary in real-time instead of on a blog.

As for Episode 4:

- Rocky's "I don't usually deal with people like that - unless it's a broad. No offense to the ladies..." was a gem of a comment, as was Lisi's "Did I just have a baby and not realize it?" It's not that I disagree with her, but Papa Smurf was sick and was more than likely heading off the island at that point, so would it have killed her to keep her heartless comments inside her heartless body?

- I wonder what Ravu's note would have said if they had won immunity, or was Probst so certain that they'd lose that he just had one bottle?

- Dreamz was coming from a well-meaning place with his "let's all be honest with each other and not back-stab and figure out together who we'll vote out" speech, but coming out with "There are 2 people we can afford to lose. I'm not pointing fingers, but it's Lisi & Cassandra" was perhaps not the most tactful and diplomatic way to go about it.

- I wonder how long it takes before Stacy's "We're not going to be hurting - I swear to you!" promise when convincing the team to vote Liliana out comes back to bite her in the ass.

- Finally, let me just say to Liliana: C'MON! Has hitting on male team members to gain favor ever worked out for ANY past competitors? Really. That's gotta be in the top 10 list of
things that don't work to keep people from being voted out. I called it as soon as I saw her in all her massage-giving glory that she'd be out next.

Watching Survivor in real time tonight, so, ya know, maybe you'll get a post that is relatively timely.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happiness is...

... a tax return.

May sound nuts to some of you, but I have ended up owing the government money for the past few years (last year, I owed the state of California $1). Ok, so it hasn't necessarily been a lot that I've owed, but I definitely haven't gotten anything back in a loooooong time.

I did my taxes this morning, and as it turns out, the Feds are going to be giving me a pretty nice sum. This being a student thing is really paying off (until the loan repayment begins, of course...).

And though most of it will go towards rent and tuition and all those entirely un-sexy things, I'm pretty sure I can justify attending at least one Sox game as a reward for all these months of having a non-existant social life.

Anyone with me?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Speaking of Feeling Sick...

... Ann Coulter makes me want to vomit.

Friends are Cool, Sickness Notsomuch

So I've had a rough few days... After the endless sticks on Wednesday, I started feeling a little under the weather. I woke up Thursday with a sore throat and a general aching feeling (before anyone asks, yes, I did get my flu shot, so I was particularly pissed about this turn of events).

I called in sick to my internship, but had to rally at 1pm to go to an interview for an internship for next year. Not wanting to jinx it either way, I won't say much about the interview except that I would love to work there next year, and the women who interviewed me gave me absolutely no indication if they liked me or not. Everyone keep your fingers crossed.

Anyway, I made it home and felt even more sick than before. I ended up taking my temperature at about 9:30 last night, and it was at least 101 (I say "at least" because my electronic thermometer's battery died mid-temperature taking). I continued to pump myself full of fluids while watching the middle of season 7 of The West Wing, and finally went to sleep around 10:30.

This morning I woke up knowing that I had to go to my internship because I hadn't seen my kids in 2 weeks, and I couldn't make it three. Luckily my fever had broken overnight, and I was feeling much less achey. On my way there I realized that I had sent letters home last week to parents of 3 kids asking them to meet with me - two on Thursday (yes, that would be yesterday - the day I didn't make it into my internship) and one on Friday. I arrived and found the mother already waiting for me. Thank goodness she was kind and understanding.

Anyway, I made it through my day at my internship, sent letters home to apologize and reschedule the meetings I had missed yesterday, and came home and tried to take a nap before dinner. Unfortunately, my inability to breathe meant an inability to sleep. Boo!

Tonight, I had a dinner date with two dear friends from camp who I hadn't seen in ages. I could have cancelled, because I still felt like crap, but I didn't, because I knew that being in the presence of such amazing, fun, wonderful women would help me feel better. It worked. Though I'm back home and still unable to breathe, the smiles and laughs and general positive energy from tonight did wonders for my mood. I may not have a voice tomorrow from all the talking and laughing tonight, but I'm definitely in much better spirits now than I would have been if I had stayed home, that's for sure.

Quote of the night: "We moved all my furniture into our room and she helped. I must have been with her for 5 hours before I realized she was missing an arm!"