Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rest In Pieces

Charlie Brown has nuttin on me today. My harbinger of bad news a broken wristwatch and perhaps my mismanaged calendar. I was in Menlo Park for a 1:00 an hour early. So much for the hurry scurry. I haven't had my watch in months, thinking that it's good to have my dual timezone watch ready and willing for any unplanned trips, I seek out a battery and a new band. I will return to the watch drama a bit later as my real angst lies with the Easter Bunny. So where else but The Stanford Shopping Center to commandeer the watchband, battery, score some saucy lingerie and stop in at Sephora for cosmetics. Oh- the photo op is set up with the rabbit-yeah!

Neat and tidy. Swat team swiftness.

Except that the Bunny frowns upon pictures with adults sans children. After much explaining about my doubting-the-bunny-existing 6&8 yr olds I was given the big frown (meaning: go away weirdo lady.) Fine. The bunny is sorta pervvy anyways so off to Victoria Secret where I have my own express line, except when I don't or they won't simply give me a catalog without charging me three bucks. When inquiring why it is I must over pay for thread with a bow ( amounting to underwear) AND the catalog ms. salesgurrl shares that the catalog is available free online.
Have you ever received just one issue of a VS catalog? Thought so. The amazon deforestation is part and parcel due to these tri-weekly catalogs of soft porn. I prefer the real thing, so I will take a pass on the Victoria Secret version.
My true saga of saturation: the watch band/battery drill. Macys right? Oh how wrong...... The woman at the jewelry counter informs me they have neither a battery or band for me so she sends me to Safeway. I can't even elaborate on this one. Enough said.

My last errand of the day, a tweak to my writing class. I stop off at Stanford before heading home except that this too is so pathetically not working. Hop back in the car, roll the windows down and shift gears under the heart pounding thump thump sound track of the Pussycat dolls. 280 is a welcome sight. Enter stage right the dart of a squirrel and a quick zigzag from the furry road warrior leads to a very pronounced double tire thud at 75 miles an hour. Rest in pieces my friend.

Did I happen to mention I had an off day?

Turn the evening around. Ice cream and a few brownies would take the edge off my curveball of a day. Brownies are frozen so a quick nuke session in the microwave e voila..caught on fire.

Good Nite. Is it humpday tomorrow?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blow Me

The things that truly make us happy can most likely be counted upon one hand, but I gotta say talking from a place of endorphins, sun, and sand it can be summed up in one small word.
compound word really- kite surfing. Invented by the french, this newish sport has the potential for a screaming good time. I know a bit about the French and the world of wind & water from when I took delivery of a french built boat we had commissioned in Canet Rousillon. The french call extreme wind, the Tramuntanas' ( our boat name) but to enjoy this wind, which is considered sportif means to throw caution to said wind and make the most of it. Sportif can have a double meaning depending upon the nationality of the person seeking to enjoy any sport wind related. Americans would most likely have a moment of reasoning only to decide that screaming across the wake of the ocean tantamount to suicide with sunscreen. The french on the other hand extinguish their cigarettes so both hands are available to hold on to the kite, then launch into gail force wind. Love those sportif french.

I liked living in France, even if it was very french. The meal/wine/linger/talk have another glass of wine then enjoy dessert followed by a glass of port/Sauternes just made sense to the gourmand in me. What does this have to do with wind driven sports you ask? Nothing really, other than all that holding on to a kite is really a lot of work, and work makes one hungry and well there we are, full circle in the scheme of things..

The other thing the french are know for is the ability to work a 30 hour week, but make it seem as though it's so much more intense. Again that's where that long lugubrious lunch helps. Eek out an existence, while enjoying that daily two hour lunch. Oh how I miss those daze.

So hail to the french, this new sport I have discovered (or yet to discover, when I strap on the surfboard and the kite) is so intoxicating, so fun, it is no surprise that it is attributed to the french. Now to mandate the obligatory lunchtime routine, I would be set.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hail To The Impulsive

When is a long runway too long? I suppose much of the decision is completely subjective. My runway is typically short. Really, quite impulsively short. My comfort zone is the unknown, so the concept of plotting and planning for the perfect thing leaves me feeling like a creative failure. This past Friday was a prime example. Spontaneous cocktails with a dozen neighbors showing up to enjoy the evening alfresco. Just as I have never planned for fun in the past, I shall continue on my quest for random fun and frivolity where and when it presents itself- but it helps to have willing participants... so thank you all who joined in on the sultry spontaneous cocktails. The dancing later on in the evening was certainly a highlight.

Sometimes planning is a necessary evil, maybe even required. Concerts come to mind. Leonard Cohen is touring for the first time in many years, because of the babysitter-school night logistics it is always this hoop to jump thru just to have an evening of well orchestrated fun. But ever notice how these well planned and plotted events fail to deliver the same jolt of satisfaction?

Listening to KFOG this morning I was stopped dead in my spontaneous tracks. A radio spot promoting the upcoming concert of Billy Joel and Elton John for a concert in November. So those of you who embrace plotting and planning- this is your event. With eight months to plan it should be completely welcome evening. Should you wish to turn a new leaf- there's always the last min ticket available on craigslist.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Fun in DysFUNction

Director Sam Mendes knocks the ball outta the park again. Remember the little film that won best picture in 1999...American Beauty? I loved the sheer comet brightness of both screen play and cast. Certainly one of my top five all time fave flicks. The idea of yet another dysfunctional suburban story, Revolutionary Road told so spot on without missing a beat from the original book version, so elegantly written by Richard Yates and directed by Mr. Mendes. The screen version of this epic suburban tale left such an indelible mark on my heart. Translating an epic piece of literature to movie can sometimes leave gaping holes in story development. My question was: how can the film experience stay true to the book nature of loss, love and loneliness? Can it really be summed up within a two hour movie. The answer this time: a resounding yes.
When I first read the haunting book Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, I was still a city dweller. The description of such a mundane existence, dashed hopes and the muddled dreams of a bright young couple who find suburban life intolerable was as foreign to me as Mars. In the movie version Mendes takes the cruxt of the story: a couple that seems adrift in a sea of sameness, crying out for change, to break from the ordinary for this once extraordinary couple. The movie chemistry and book both chronicle the motions of life as if stuck in an emotional idle. Fast forward ten years....Geez- those shoes seem custom made for the suburban subset of my so called life.

If wishes were fishes is the thesis of this cautionary tale. Trepidation and denial lend itself to real life. Yates elegant manor begs for an introspective look at the unhappiness that lies just beneath the surface of suburban life. Thank goodness for safety nets. Life lesson learned from my own dabble in the mysteriously myopic world of 95030? Did I forget to mention my house is on the market?

Friday, March 27, 2009

War Stories

The Webby Awards have morphed into something substantial. I remember one of the first we attended in The City, during the Willie Brown Mayoral fiefdom. The awards were hosted in the posh city hall duomo. Ahh- to remember the dotcom nuttiness and all that conspicuous consumption. Pass the baton to the next techie wave of glitterati and the webbys' now have a real heft of creative genius. Veiled meaning: sucks that when I attended these back in the neophyte days...it was marginally fun. Now it resembles real fun with a creative tour de force to match the cache. BooHoo. But wait, could there be an encore? I have a groovey start-up idea that has legs.. Helps too that my double E yummy hubby can help with the geek aspect.

Nostalgic waxing makes me sound like the war vet bevvyed at the bar talking about the days when blah blah blah...snore. Concept is the same but instead of war stories you get to be regaled with the infancy of the Internet and how fun it was way back when, blah blah blah, snore. Feel free to flee this blog...it's reminiscent of the song from Bruce Springsteen, glory days. I think you get the idea.

The tech bubble was a footnote in the timing netaphor/metaphor..... all about being at the right place at the right time. So as I script a new business plan for a start-up concept that involves text messaging it's like opening a time capsule of creativeness that might be monetized. Gotta like that concept. Just when you think you've gotten to the end of your Karmic rope, it's another emotional roller coaster of timing but how fun to put that seat belt on knowing that uncertainty means fun and fun is good.

Cat like agility helps, but mostly it's timing. I suppose i need to bust a move on my business plan vs. the stream of consciousness blogshere mental masturbation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nice Try

It's that time again...planning the summer vacation hoopla. This year thought it might be interesting to throw a wrench in just to monkey with the plan at hand. One of my finest epiphanies: take Amtrak to visit the in-laws in D.C. Think the antithesis of George Jetson...jetpacks give way to riding the rails..I suppose what I really miss is the train schedule board before electronic schedules erased the sound of all of those numbers physically flipping. God I LOVE that sound. Those flipping numbers represented the sound of places to be discovered. So yes, nostalgia still makes me want to travel by rail. So 1880's of me.

Washington DC is an amazingly fun place in the summer. The romantic notion of arriving in our capital, into the glorious Grand Central Station- well, what's not to like? Traveling early in the summer one can circumvent the crowd gridlock at places like the Smithsonian, Air and Space Museum. The hook could have been the visions of a relaxing book filled journey. Where these visions took a U-turn was when I assumed the cost would be on par with air travel. Wrong. The roughly three day trip is about what it costs to take a holiday break in Mexico, like a really nice ten day holiday. Did I mention I only researched a one-way journey? Round trip is what I would spend to stay in Barcelona-for a month. Serious dough.

After spending more than my fair share of time riding trains all over the planet, suffice to say I was saddened by the cost of a cross country Amtrak journey. I wasn't after all planning an excursion aboard the Orient Express (which by the way, mile for mile may be a better value.) Certainly better ambiance but I digress. Maybe another option could be my childhood notion of high adventure. Hobo travel ala sack tied stick and can of beans. Okay, no beans-pate, nice olives and maybe some brie. Sounds curiously like a skit from Yogi Bear and his little buddy booboo but with a gourmet picnic. I was so sure I could sell this concept of spending the first weeks of summer as stylized cartoon characters. Highly romanticized I agree, isn't that the point?

Remember a few years ago, a big bail out of Amtrak kept the nations railway alive? Subsidization is certainly acceptable in my book as long as the investment might be amortized to soften the blow of ridership. Interesting figures about federal funding for different modes of transportation in the USA: while the government funded highways to the tune of $35 billion last year, and air travel received $14.5 billion, Amtrak receives a measly $1.3 billion - the same as it got in 1980.

Slate has an interesting article from 2002. Our own VP Joe Biden is a big supporter of Amtrak so you think more stimulus money/grenntech porkbarrel/good juju would be in store for this essentially government owned service. Nope.

Bottom line is I couldn't sell it. The looks from everyone at the breakfast table was as if I had fallen and hit my head. The eight year old suggested Jetblue, no red-eye. Yeah...I'll get right on that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Brick & Mortar Wins

Do you think a name really matters when it comes to choosing an educational path? I was surprised at the sheer number of online universities as I have started down the exploratory road of returning to grad school. Could the online experience be equal to the brick & mortar university experience? The market for online courses and degrees has continued to grow in recent years in spite of an overall slowdown in the growth of Internet-related industries. It's tough to dodge the pop up window barrage of online ads touting the accredited programs that run the gamut of MBA to Public Policy to a masters of Fine Art ala basket weaving. A recent pop up for Slippery Rock University might have a different connotation on a CV for someone seeking a career in outdoor adventure. Why am I so hung up on a name? After all it's just that...Or is it. When you take into account the time, effort, and networking opportunities it sorta makes sense to question if the experience might be entirely different online vs old school. The Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation by Abilene Christian University - is a faith-based, 36-hour online program that prepares you to analyze, address and manage conflict effectively and professionally. My question is: does divine intervention add to the overall experience or help gain in-depth preparation for this field. Besides a larger question looms, just how in depth can this "study" be with just 36 hours of instruction. Do you get a recommendation from some higher power that makes the short time frame more enriching? Don't think so.
Could name equate to cache? I understand the attraction of an online degree program, but wonder about the core curriculum and student body make up. The big selling point behind grad school is also a new networking group with the added ability to springboard your skill set to a new plateau.Typically graduate school is almost entirely an endeavor with a power base of business contacts waiting in the wings, at least biz school. How does peer group translate online when the student base is global? Will widely-endorsed models of "blended" online learning, which require some face-to-face interaction, become the norm, or will most courses substitute chat rooms and bulletin boards for face-to-face interaction? One could look at the business networking from an online education as a facebook extension of a CV.

Ultimately it was a tough decision for me of brick & mortar vs. On-line. So as much as I enjoy
a glass of Full-Sail micro brew on a warm summer evening, attending the same named university was a non-starter. I settled upon the brick & mortar standby Stanford. Hey- what can I say, cache goes a long way.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Legacy Loans The New Laxative?

Did I miss something? Slap a shiny new name on all those loans nobody wants ( I would call it sh*t) but the marketing folks have something even better- Legacy loan.) You and I know that renaming doesn't really change the true nature of what something really is. But the new moniker of Legacy loan sounds soo...lasting? Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s plan to remove banks’ distressed assets cleared its first hurdle yesterday as markets rallied. Geithner thinks that private investors will partner with the government to unclog the balance sheets of banks. Think of it as a kind of Metamucil for the banking system..Although taking into account how the markets reacted yesterday, enema might be a better description.
All key stock indices gained around 7%, with the Dow Jones index jumping nearly 500 points to close at 7,775 - its highest level in more than a month.

Listening to my fave-bearded financial economics wonk aka crushworthy Paul Krugman.. (winning that Nobel-prize makes him even sexier) Krugman used the following analogy of Zombies. Stating that Zombies(bad ideas) have won. Keep killing them but don't look behind the door- their back! The Economist blog carried this Krugman quote:

The benefits from nationalization come from (a) giving taxpayers a share of the upside rather than just a share of the downside, which is where we are now (b) ending the gaming of the system, even looting, that is encouraged by the current system of implicit guarantees (Simon Johnson has been very good on that) (c) making it politically and fiscally feasible to put in enough capital to revitalize the system. These advantages are there whatever you decide to do with junior bank debt.

That said, some decision must be reached on bank liabilities. Sweden guaranteed all of them. If forced to say, I would go the Swedish route; but of course we can’t do that unless we’re prepared to put all troubled banks in receivership. And I’m ready to be persuaded that some debts should not be honored — this is a deeply technical question.

Where's that magic wand when the FDIC needs it? It must feel like a daunting task (think Citi group.) The government is just a little too close to Wall Street for my taste. Free $ from the taxpayer, no quid pro quo.Bank stocks were the biggest winners yesterday with Bank of America up 26%, JP Morgan Chase jumping 25% and Citigroup ending the day with a 19.5% gain. Biggest' of big winner was Nasdaq-listed Frontier Financial Corporation, a regional bank serving the Northwest of the United States, which posted a gain of 52% - Always attractive to Wallstreet to obtain a non recourse loan, investors walk away. Cash for trash- really.

Can't Geithner take note? AIG should have undermined the Geithner task at hand. House financial services will hear Geithner Thursday....should be interesting. Will they flush Geithner? Could he be in over his head? Is President Obama squandering his credibility, backing this plan and praising his Treasury Secretary..

It's gonna be a very dangerous year. ouch.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Grit Is Good

Mixed metaphors were the theme of the weekend. Sometimes the city is just the balm for my brain, except when it's not... my camera was not the usual extension of self, photo ops were missed while so many images left an indelible mark on my brain. The most haunting image is the angel that serves as the guardian of the double doorway arch on Larkin at Market St. Blackened bronze wings of this city sentry looming above the soiled blanket at the foot of her perch. Her careful watch over the person who slumbered at her feet the night before seemed auspicious in nature. The visual almost too much to comprehend as a symbolic sweetness of city grit and ethereal oversight.

Understand that a big part of my experience anytime, anywhere is chronicling experience on CF card (seems like the wrong film metaphor, but there it is.) Lots of empty store fronts, including Virgin Music. I remember attending the celebration when the flagship store opened in hopes of seeing my then crush Sir Richard Branson. The Haight Ashbury was less urchin filled than I rembered. Must be the state of the economy, tough even for panhandlers. Interesting to shop the vintage funkiness with my short guys in tow. They are little fashonistas in the making with a taste toward skate rat-and a dash of kitchy (navy peajackets from rough trade.)

Third time is a charm with a visit to the Academy of Sciences. My first two attempts to see the museum thwarted by throngs of people qued toe to toe the length of the front steps, except today the que had moved entirely inside. The crush of people took my breath away. The stroller- pushing- overly caffeinated parents to blame for the plugged walkways. Apparently walking is not so fashionable for the under five set, with SUV sized strollers parked in every free inch of space walking was an impediment for everyone. The new academy seems magnificent, I can't be sure as I only swam upstream until I couldn't cope. Note to self: Tuesdays. The day that's a bit less congested as members have an extra hour to enjoy..

All good things must come to an end. It's just a painful reminder of the temporary nature of life as of late. Fleeting fabulousness.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Land-Mines Of Organic Origin

Is it me or do people pick a canine based upon family resemblance? There is a great looking wolf hound who walks my neighborhood with his wolf cousin human handler look alike. Grey wire hair on both man and beast show an almost DNA connection. The simpatico relationship of man and beast that benefits both with the self satisfaction of company, and maybe shared grooming habits.
Uncanny happenstance? I think not. Nicholas Christenfeld and Michael Roy, psychologists at the University of California San Diego conducted a study of Pure-bred dog-owner resemblance. The study found pictures could be matched to their owners by strangers most of the time. When judges were shown digital photos of dog owners and given a choice of one of two dogs - they matched the correct pair 64 per cent of the time when the dog was a pure breed.

The recent pull of puppy mania has gobbled up a handful of friends and neighbors. Statically speaking two families have dodged the bullet (thus far) with the piddle puddle, chew the Manolos, bolt out the door excitement of poetic puppy ownership. One family scored with the most adorable and well behaved puppy and the other family lucked into a guide-dog that had a small flaw. That flaw explains the beloved pet of friends who have hit the lotto of luv for their son. A sweet disposition pet for a super sweet boy, beautiful disposition a mirror match, kismet.

Sour grapes on my part? perhaps.. When the topic of my own failed attempt at the canine addition to our family, I remembered a vivid story of our ill-fated attempt to educate, crate train, and socialize said beast. To say this animal had a richer social experience than I was simply an understatement. Our puppy would bolt down the street to visit her many friends at the post office. All fine and good, but typically best to have adult supervision. This drama always seemed to present itself at the most inopportune times (kids in the tub, food on the bbq grill) the dreaded phone call the dog was there and could I retrieve her.. A friend had the most brilliant come back. Her reply: explain that you sent the pooch to pick up the mail....oh and stamps too..

So with the shopping process of temperament, exercise, and socialization needs it's amazing that anyone walks this potential path. The path to pain is strewn with puppy puddles and tootsie roll sized gifts left for the foot-traffic tracks of the unsuspecting. Boy do I NOT miss that. The good news, it's an evolutionary step in a family. The Obamas are poised for puppy piddle, but it is different when the dog-crate lives in the Oval office. My mother-in-law had funny stories about Buddy and Bill Clinton..karmic puppy personality traits shared with the overly happy to see you people person of the then commander-in chief. The plethora of problems were not lost on the first family as chew toys typically had a historic lineage so tougher to explain away.

Is there a cosmic force that attracts us to both people and pet? Seems like it must be, otherwise it would be more random, less storybook. The John Steinbeck novel Travels with Charlie comes to mind.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

And now for something completely different.......

For those of you still following this blog, not entirely bummed out/ pissed off/ disgruntled with the negative dark murkiness as of late, thank you for hanging around. Sorry to be so Sybil this past week but the lousy weather last week really did a number on me. Nothing a little sunshine doesn't fix..Hooray for Spring!

The air is thick with the smell of magnolia trees, the birds are completely swat team like in the build a nest- find a mate - have some fun mode. The soccer/baseball/bike-trike season officially starts today. Flowers flowers everywhere, even the cross street medians and street corners look fabulous. A big community yard sale is taking place at Bachman Park today. Hooray again for those of you organizer types who spearhead and execute these lovely neighborhood gatherings.. The world is a better place because of all that you contribute to the community. Thank-you one and all.
Hey- wait a minute...it's also time to break out the Rose'. The quintessential life as I see it with rose colored glasses but in a glass. The spanish rose wine from the Penedes region is preferable to local but The Novitiate Rose from Tesstarosa rocks but with a bigger price tag. It would be my remiss to forget that little pinot grape growing piece of Terroir Paso Robles, near pristine surfing at Pismo...decisions decisions...Enjoy the Spring Equinox.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Beauty of Eavesdropping

Cafe culture is part and parcel the people watching experience with a dash of eavesdropping. Is it to live vicariously? Secretly compare notes on normalcy? Bee a bizzybody?
Lately, it's none of the above. In fact, my wish list this week: headphones. Block out the mundane chatter at the next table.

My little get away to the cozy corner of ___ (you name it cafe..) Seems to always be filled with the same sweatpants clad women, discuss the following three items : 1.) nanny/housekeeper/gardener complaints. 2.) frustration with a class/routine/lunch scene at Courtside. 3.)Contempt for husband/boyfriend/partner.

The inane drone of these ladies who coffee/lunch while sporting the self loathing bag lady look complete with a baseball cap sans make-up seemingly lacking any wisp of care for presentation of self to the world. It simply boggles the mind that eavesdropping has become so pedestrian.
Could it be that conversation seems to be going the same direct route as the lost art of letter writing, dressing presentably- straight to the Smithsonian. Why? Maybe the "could care less" about looking and sounding so completely vapid? My guess: the water supply here in Los Gatos contains a stepford like additive rendering those who imbibe devoid of a singularly compromised sense of acceptable fill-in -the-blank_________ (sense of self worth, why bother, who cares about personal grooming.)

I know what you're thinking...Why perseverate on the mundane with all of the problems/diversions/real world concerns. Well the angst would most definitely fade if I had an outlet to channel this, i.e. intelligent prater to eavesdrop upon. This dilemma is unfortunately completely grey scale as I see it. Black & White has an edge- a mood, an opinion. An edge so welcome, but so foreign, so sadly missed.

My rant about this connect-the-dots exercise of cafe experience is a big mental vacuum. It's nice to people watch, but that's not enough.....

Glad that I brought this weeks' Economist with me, all is not lost.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spectacular Sadness

Sketchy reports of the death of a 15-year-old freshman girl rocked the community this week.

The only thing I can wrap my brain around as the details unfold around the latest loss of a young and promising life- how can we as a community prevent this sort of thing? Can we just say we can be a safety net for anyone, anytime, anywhere? How do we mobilize a movement to let our kids know that we value them, and that gasp...we as adults have our share of shameful-hurtful-open ended dreaded moments to last a life time. Speaking for myself, I could open the hall of shame.

The special assembly on Tuesday for the 1,800 students of Los Gatos High School was a somber moment. "Don't be far away," assistant principal Markus Autrey told students. "The point is to be together." Teenage years are tough enough without the compounded complexity of grief.

Only a week after students learned that senior Dennis Cyncor-McMillan had apparently drowned in the ocean south of Davenport. In December, Wildcat football player Michael "Mikey" Halpin collapsed at school and died. His death was attributed to a heart defect. The coroner has not released a cause of death in the latest case. I respect the privacy of the family at this time, it's unimaginable to even think what grief of this magnitude must be.

The tragedy has resonated through the wider community, At a time when the Los Gatos High marquee promotes Friday's annual Sadie Hawkins Dance and upcoming home games, Los Gatos High Principal Doug Ramezane discussed the campus' sense of loss. This latest tragedy is the third student death in less than four months, each one compounding the sense of grief, prompted the gathering where students were urged to "be strong together." It's important to keep the lines of communication open and express your concern, support, and love.

We all have the need for a confidant. If your teen confides in you, show that you take those concerns seriously. A fight with a friend might not seem like a big deal to you in the larger scheme of things, but for a teen it can feel immense and consuming. It's important not to minimize or discount what your teen is going through, as this can increase his or her sense of hopelessness. I like the idea of offering the available ear of other adults if discussing issues seems too scary to layout for family.

More than ever, places like The Venue need our support. We can indirectly affect change by providing a safety net, it's the least we can do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Big Squeeze

Coming soon: High density development. Can this be a good thing for the community of Los Gatos? It certainly seems like a great idea to locate a high density residential development near public transit.
The Los Gatos Planning Commission has recommended that the historic Thrash House, better known as Emmanuel Convalescent Hospital be renovated by the Santa Clara Development Company who also want to build a 19-home subdivision on the surrounding property.

Three homes built prior to 1941, would be torn down along with the more recently constructed hospital building that sits at the corner of Los Gatos Boulevard and Caldwell Avenue. Eyesore comes to mind as you drive by, but the current state of this neighborhood is due in part to the lack of accessibility or parking. No doubt any attention to this blighted area (by local standards) could improve the condition of the neighborhood and would improve property values.

Depending upon what the last three years of due diligence looks like, a really interesting development could be beneficial, but the traffic and parking nightmares of 19 new homes in this neighborhood seems best described:shoe-horned. The data contained within the 2006 study shows the subdivision would generate less traffic than the convalescent home and hospital. What the study doesn't show is a true representation of traffic density represented by an additional19 homes each with multiple vehicles, making multiple trips on the boulevard during normal transit times. Without a specific snapshot of traffic, it will be impossible to assess the impact.

The bigger the development the bigger the impact to infrastructure. Typically communities that seek to assess the true snapshot of a planned community require an EIR (Environmental Impact Review.) As the name implies, it is a thorough review using independent data that gives the town an unbiased look at what to potentially expect. At the moment this in depth analysis doesn't exist at this time. It should.

How do we get the town planners and council to require this type of scrutinty and detail? Ask for it. Due diligence should be a pre requiste for any project, not just an idea.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Be it spring or whatever reason a big mental box of nostalgic life experiences comes out each and every seasonal change. To say that this seasonal Pandora's' box is a complex cocktail of good, bad, and forgettable is an under statement. Timing. Spring really arrives this weekend. Maybe this is why we have this cleaning mentality? Ever try to tidy up your mental closet? As March 21st approaches, many people get in gear for “spring cleaning.” While physically cleaning your house or office is always a good idea, the concept occurred to me to make time this season for cleaning up actions and behaviors. Charm school was a lost cause for me, but it's never to late to start developing new good habits on etiquette today and by summer perhaps a few things will have changed. My own wish list includes how I get things done (or not..) and how to be more amenable to do things that are better left to tomorrow.
The following sniglet really resonates:

"Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they be come habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your DESTINY."

Sometimes it's risky to question the cosmic intervention of certain experiences that just happen to blow into your world like a piece of pollen? I suppose this would be an unwelcome metaphor to use for those of you suffering from allergies at the moment. I happen to be a student of things happen for a reason. Maybe because I don't have a crystal ball or intuitive second nature to serve as my mental tight rope to walk upon. It's all about being at the right place at the right time.

Just when you think you've gotten to the end of your karmic rope a cat like agility kicks in.
Mostly it's timing, but sometimes it's other forces at play. For those of you still with me, thanks for hanging in there today. Swimming in my stream of
consciousness is more fun with company.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My life=?

Sniveling. You know the type of whining that comes from the over indulged..Welcome to my world. The pasta has too many fresh herbs, the cheese isn't asiago, and b.t.w. mommy- you purchased the wrong Tech Decks..

So I am taking a page from the Walter Reuther book of hardball- call a strike. Wash your own clothing snooty brats. While you're at it be content to eat cereal for breakfast instead of the Semifredddis Cinnamon bread transformed each morning into amazing french toast. Ingrates.

So the stories of Darfurian youth, the trick or treating for Unicef, hours spent working on behalf of a handful of non-profits to instill a sense of global responsibility.... looks like that's really working wonders for us. Uncle. What gives? Lead through example?? At a loss.......

In the spirit of it takes a village, I reach out for any wise (or wise crack) advise from the sages' of the childhood experience. Yes, it's true that I am having a sense of humor failure, but then again it's nothing a little holiday away won't fix. Solo. Sometimes it's just the fantasy of escape that's enough of a band-aid..

Stay tuned for something a bit more bitey a bit later today, and thanks for the opportunity to vent as this really is my therapeutic escape hatch.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wound Too Tightly

Watching the setting sun on San Francisco Bay while enjoying an evening mojito we noticed pet owners with dogs sporting sweaters and PFD's (personal floatation devices) for you non sailors...the discussion turned to the quirky nature of pet owners. Wing nuts.

My husband was quick to point out a wing nut moment of my own. More than a few years ago we had a parrot (dulce) that I found while we were sailing in Guatemala. Found being the operative word. The venue was a farmers market, and the bird was perched a top a hill of green beans. After paying twelve quetzals (about four bucks) I hopped back in the dingy and brought my market purchases back to the boat we were living aboard... open box-squak! The rest was history..The next ten years of our world focused upon this feathered friend.

Talk about being wound too tight. Rembering back to a business class flight to Paris that involved my loquacious peanut eating friend. This weirdness was met with a stream of loud off color remarks coming from the piece of carry on luggage containing my opinionated bilingual friend. All of this smoothed over with cocktails (for me) and peanuts for my feathered friend.

Glass houses. Lived in em most of my adult life, so it makes perfect sense to me to throw stones. What changed? Children.

If one has more important things to attend to, like the future wage earners to replenish the nations' social security kitty then a necessary shift of priority takes place. Nature vs nurture.

My feathered friend found a new home while we sailed the West Indies since she simply found my toddler sons' fingers irresistible. The end of the quirky pet phase but not a moment too soon. The energy and attention necessary is lost on me today as I fight to regain any sense of self I once had.
So Is it fair to throw stones? Sure, but only because those dogs sporting the PFD's were over dressed. The weather did not warrant sweaters and floatation.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Softer Side

Lately I have been moved by the sheer force of manliness. Completely broad brush statement but the Obama moment is still brightly guiding, giving me reason to tumble out of bed in the morning knowing that change is afoot. With the world feeling the squeeze of a global belt tightening a heightened sense of awareness seems pervasively welcome. Witnessing simple sweet gestures makes me wonder if the downturn hasn't given people a moment of pause, a moment to reflect and with that moment a bit more compassion, a tad more softness. The contemplative side of ones self shining through for a brief but beautiful moment. This past evening hosting dinner and local syrah the political discussion was impassioned and heated. God how i have missed this sort of exchange. Catnip.

Why isn't this something I experience everyday? dunno, I have a theory. Less absorbed by ones own world and overwhelmed by the crushing force of the economy gives people (men case in point) a more metaphoric experience to the mundane.

It's Horton Hears A Who on a global scale. Not so much fun living in Whoville.

I'll savor the changes that we experience everyday but also drive more thoughtfully, smile at others at the post office, chat at the gas pump.

Engage. We're all in this together. I suppose that means more dinner parties?? Lucky me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bye Bye Bernie

It was a mixed gut reaction when I read the out come of the Bernie "Ponzi" Madoff mess. It seemed like a complete failure of the legal system. I can smell a book deal.
Plead guilty then throw a round a few mea culpas....only to be led off in cuffs to a state penitentiary to practice your Italian and rest your tennis elbow.
That's f*@ked!!
No jury trial. The world will never really know exactly what he had done with the money. Bye bye Bernie. You will soon be dialing for friends to come visit, but may need to find a few friends at your new home. Just remember when you play house in the big house it's better to be the dad, then again we would love to see you bent over for this one. Better get used to it.

From the testimony it seems as though the only thing he feels is regret that he got caught. The story about working the system alone also made big headlines, it's just impossible to believe that $65B gets "lost" at the hands of just one man by defrauding individuals, charities, trusts, pensions and hedge funds (that last one, bothering me not so much.)

I wonder what those in the inner circle of Wall Street think of this former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market? Mr. Madoff has been a Wall Street figure for more than 40 years. Curious who received all the jewelry, watches, and spare cash mailed from the penthouse the last few months.. maybe to a p.o box at the big house??

Madoff's 11 charges include four counts of fraud. In addition, he pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering, making false statements, perjury, making a false filing to the US financial watchdog, and theft from an employee benefit plan.

On a happy note bonds rallied yesterday and U.S. stocks posted the biggest three-day gain since November as General Electric Co. said losing the top credit rating at Standard & Poor’s won’t hurt business and Bank of America Corp. said it’s profitable. Oil jumped 11 percent, and Treasury 30-year bonds rallied.

Onward upward.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Welcome To The Happy Zipcode

Love a title. Stick a "something" on a poll and you've got yourself a_____. Today the buzz is all about (EHI.) Never heard of it.. me neither, but it's nice to know I have one/could get one/might want one I guess..

Emotional Health Index (EHI) — a measure that weighs negatives such as depression, worry and stress against the positive feelings a person experienced the day before the survey. Done nearly every day in 2008 and still ongoing, the survey of 355,334 people is believed to be the largest, longest and most thorough poll showing how emotional well-being shifts with economic changes.

Thank goodness for the poll otherwise I might not have noticed:

*Americans' moods were ultra-sensitive to economic news. Well-being plunged on days when the Dow lost big and with reports of high jobless claims.

*A state's EHI correlated with high rates of death from ailments such as heart disease, says Gallup analyst Raksha Arora. States with a lot of open space or sunshine — Hawaii, Alaska, Wyoming — had some of the best emotional health even as the economy sank. Many poorer and Rust Belt states — West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky — were worst off.

The survey attempts to measure people's well-being. It examines their eating and exercise habits, work environment and access to basic necessities, just to name some of the criteria. It's not just about physical health, It's about their ability to contribute at work and be more productive, and it's about feeling engaged in a community and wanting to improve that community. What's not to love about this proactive approach? But what if it's still missing the point?

The massive survey involved more than 350,000 interviews. Examples of the questions include: Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday? Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your job or the work you do? Did you eat healthy all day yesterday? Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live? Check boxes yes, and satisfied moving forward.

The survey, which takes about 15 minutes, involved 42 core questions. Those taking the survey could get a score of up to 100. The actual difference between states wasn't great: The average score for the highest-ranking state, Utah, was 69.2 points, while the average for the lowest-ranking state, West Virginia, was 61.2 points. Geographic divides could be overstated and even the states with the highest scores had significant work to do to improve certain aspects of their residents' health and happiness.

Researchers hope the findings will help employers better understand what they can do to create more productive workers. Eventually, the data could even be used to compare health and happiness by ZIP code. The survey is going to be generated for 25 years, according to current plans. What I have yet to figure out is how can empirically derived data be the one stop shopping spot for all things bright and smiley? After I took the survey, scored well but still scratched my head as the survey says I am happy, who am I to question.

Time to toss my Prozac? Nah...I think the happiness survey misses the point. Can't put my finger on it but when I figure what that might be you'll be the first to know.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clorinating The Gene Pool

A Chronicle of Enterprising Demises Honoring those who improve the species...by accidentally removing themselves from it!

The new edition of the darwin awards is a funnier than usual read. New York Times best selling Author Wendy Northcutt has a series of books, and website that makes for a fun read. The website is as a tool for readers to submit stories for future awards. Stories submitted need an eye witness to substantiate, other wise they go to the urban legend section (still a fun read.) At the end of each story is a meter for readers to gauge it's entertainment value. A Darwinian approach to culling through the data she receives. Brilliant.

Now that spring has sprung, with it's longer days so too has a huge surge of testosterone. This past Sunday my 6 and 8 year old sons' were busy removing the trucks and wheels from a couple of old skateboards. Next came a roll of duct tape loops fashioned as bindings.

My inquiry was met with a series of grunts which I shrugged off as M.O.B. so I went back to reading the Sunday New York Times. My Week In Review moment was stopped dead in it's tracks by a vision of my six year old being counseled by the older brother on how best to approach a large set of hillside stairs while duct tapped to a wheel-less skateboard. Apparently they coined a new sport called "dirt boarding" and after spending an hour perfecting technique were ready for the X game equivalent- traversing the steep hillside stairs. Needless to say that my yelling squelched all the fun and the 911 call sure to follow. It was a darwin award in the making, staved off for another time.

Not to throw stones at the Y chromosome, but almost all of the darwin award stories are primarily men, doing manly things meeting their demise.

Yes, I know all about the shared genetic soup children inherit, it's just such a curious thing that typically men act upon whatever impulse it is to pick up a nail gun and improvise a game of nail gun tag.

Enjoy the beautiful weather, just don't do anything stupid unless of course you have someone substantiate the tale - then by all means, have at it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

If You Care....

If you take away nothing more than the importance of attending this evenings' school board meeting, take note that the states' eduction woes are coming to our own community. Last month the school district created a forum for discussing the budget in detail. Except it wasn't, I mean discussed anyways... Not advertised, not mentioned. The "if you build it they will come" mentality seemed to have trumped good communication skills.
Not sure why I had high hopes for this sort of community safety net. It's nice to be on the same page, except when you're not..In fact the book has changed- so to over use this metaphor we seek to find out exactly how the school board will deal with these choices. Not an enviable position to be in.....let's see how this pans out this evening when the board meets at 6:30 (your second reminder...)
The aah ha moment for me came after the first "study" session where the school board and superintendent gave a very antiseptic power point presentation. The idea for this meeting was to look as though the communities concerns were incorporated when basically it felt like the board wanted to be make the hard decisions in a vacuum. Off base? Perhaps. I always wonder why we have big bulletin boards on the school campus, yet never see dates for important meetings like the meeting this eve.

Fast forward to today with the inevitable looming: staff cuts. Stories from school districts around the state now have a place to commiserate. Pink Friday. Eye candy colors and a beautifully designed website Pink Friday is a pink slip metaphor wrapped in lovely packaging. The content is a not so gentle reminder of what's in store for the states' already bruised public school system. The ingenuity is heart warming and in solidarity the color choice for Friday is you guessed it. Wear pink , March 13 to show your support for public schools, students and educators. Organize or attend an event at a school near you. Call or e-mail your Legislator.
Tell them that investing in public education is an investment in California's future.

Monday, March 9, 2009

AARP Welcomes It's Newest Member

Happy Birthday Barbie! Our blond bombshell turns 50 today. Fifty has never looked so fabulous and the fact that the only shoe she sports is the high heel makes her a super star fashionista in my book.

I can't think of another toy that has evoked more negative juju from parents than our fave blond.
Why? Was it the objectification of the female form? Could it be the marketing or is it her choice of footwear?

Growing up I loved my Barbies. In my creative play they lived interesting lives as they traveled the world in their fabulous footwear always well coiffed. Fast forward into the 21st century, where Barbie's play on their own laptops, have their own cell phones and sport pierced ears.

The mystic of our birthday girl has been clouded by the popular and politically correct American Girl Doll that is a perky part of girls lives due in part to the marketing merchandising which includes a matching clothing line and accessories for little girls. How does that foster individualism? Barbie provided young girls who are now Baby Boomer adults an alternative to baby dolls and their domestic overtones.

Part of Barbie's appeal is that she has always had her highly arched foot in two worlds.

While praised for representing an independent, adventurous female, she has long been targeted by feminists who say she portrays women as sex objects. Barbie's unrealistic body, damaging to young girls who might struggle with body image and self-esteem issues? I don't perennially embrace that, but then again I am still a size six....(good genetics) but assemble a group of women together and inevitably the discussion of Barbie turns into a heated argument as parental hysteria knows no bounds.

Created by Ruth Handler 14 years after she and her husband Elliot started the toy company Mattel Creations, sales of Barbie reached 300,000 the first year. Introduced at a toy fair in New York City on March 9, 1959 as a teenage fashion model, Barbie, whose full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts, cost $3. Barbie was at once an instant rage and outrage.

Not to be outdone by American Girl, Mattel has opened a six-story flagship store in my fave of all fave cities: Shanghai. House of Barbie features a restaurant, spa and runway where girls can pretend to be fashion models. Horrified? Try to relax.... know that your attitude toward Barbie is what your children will emulate. Those Bratz dolls are aptly named and okay to play with?

With the present day pop tarts Britney Spears and Paris Hilton as well as celebrity magazines and TV shows full of train wrecks as role models Barbie seems rather tame. I wonder if a marketing study might show the necessity for Burka Barbie or lap dance Barbie -would this help with political correctness? Maybe not. Nice collectible.

The funny thing about emulation is how pervasive it is, especially in our own tony enclave where peroxide pony tails rein.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lifestyles Of The Well-Heeled

Some CEO's have a pretty narrow scope of what to do with all that cash. Larry Ellison likes to keep his America's Cup yacht in the reflecting pool at Oracle where it resembles an over sized remote control toy. Juxtapose Reed Hastings CEO of Netflix- our own local rockstar hitech titan who awarded a grant of $1.25 million to help Rocketship Education start seven additional elementary schools to serve children from low-income families in San Jose. Rocketship's goals strive to help all students achieve above grade level by fifth grade. Lofty goals by any school standard.

This makes Reed Hastings a bit of a philanthropic underdog in my book. He also supplied seed funding when the charter school was starting out in 2006. Education is front and center for him as the former president of the state Board of Education. What's so great about this? A lot.
It enables
more charter schools coming to Silicon Valley with the help of more than $5 million in grants. The charter school is opening its second school in San Jose this August, with a third planned for the next year.

The beauty of charter school litmus test holds San Jose-based Rocketship Education as the shining example of "if there's a will there's a way" mentality receiving $3.8 million from the Charter School Growth Fund. Other visionaries for funding for the Charter School Growth Fund comes from a number of foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. The question looms? Why have no other hitech titans kicked in cash for these local endeavors?

You can't open a
gull winged Ferrari around here without hitting deep pocketed geeks yet only one local name comes to the rescue. Lucky us to have such a generous soul locally and lucky us as a society to have these low-income children to receive an amazing education. Maybe Mr. Ellison could offer underprivileged children sailing lessons?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

That Spring Thang'

Is it the weather, sunshine blasting, highly caffeinated spring thang? Partly. It's the idea that those long days return starting tomorrow. Daylight Saving Time arrives mercifully tonight.

This is the third year we'll turn clocks ahead a month earlier than in the past, thanks to The Energy Policy Act of 2005. (Hawaii and most of Arizona are the only states that don't observe DST.) What's not to enjoy with the sun setting later and later. I can hide the knives! You know the feeling fellow winter doldrum haters...dark by 5pm the veil that creeps over your brain like fog because the sun doesn't shine long enough to burn it off?? Lucky you respite is on the way hooray! Throughout the centuries poets have described a sense of sadness, loss and lethargy which can accompany the shortening days of fall and winter. Many cultures and religions have winter festivals associated with candles or fire.

Benjamin Franklin first suggested Daylight Saving Time in 1784, but it was not until World War I, in 1916, when it was adopted by several counties in Europe after they initially rejected the idea. Historically, it’s all about decreasing the time from sunset to when people retire for the evening, therefore reducing household energy consumption. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, energy savings projected through 2020 adds up to $4.4 billion with 10.8 million less metric tons of carbon driven into the air.

But what about our body’s energy? In our sleep-deprived society where every second counts, sleeping one hour less may be more problematic than we realize. From an insomniac standpoint it simply means I read more.

This evening we break out the Rose' (wishflul drinking) aperitif toasting to new freckles and spring!........ Not a moment too soon.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cross Over To The Darkside

Sometimes the ole adage if you can't beat em join em rings true. Famous people have embraced all the dark side has to offer. Some wear it well, others not so much. Those making the grade in the dark arts: Darth Vader, Karl Rove, Dick Morris (toe fetish, Clinton Strategist) Ruppert Murdoch, Scott McClellan (Bush Tell all author), my husband (switched to a blackberry aka crackberry from the ever elegant iphone.)

Ever been tempted to cross over to the dark side? Me neither..except this past week when I read about an initiative underway seeking Town Council Term limits. My gut is that this is one initiative long overdue, and apt to be welcomed with open arms. The only caveat? The people who brought it to the helm.

On Febuary 11th our town clerk received a check and paperwork from former town councilperson Steve Glickman to start the initiative process. Just in case you fell off the potato truck last week, and are not privy to my own private Idaho like series of events with the a fore mentioned council person here's the recap. It all started with a very public verbal bitch slap in the form of a three minute angst filled shaming of councilperson Glickman due to his crankiness about censure and inappropriate use of power (dark arts thing shining through) then of course sprinkle in a few other public comments about the skatepark platform and self serving nature of it's placement during a re election year. We all know how that panned out.

But the dark side has ...gasp...a point.

Don't look for a big french kiss from me anytime soon Mr. Glickman..but it is a worthy cause to tackle-this time. Term limits would be a good move to unseat bumps (or lumps) like the decidedly un- dynamic duo of Joe Prizinski and McNutt. These two mind melds have the mental weight of a grilled cheese sandwich. The flip side: we loose a star council person of all supernovas' Ms Barbara Spector, and that would be a huge loss. Maybe too huge. Time to turn a new leaf in local politics? Stop teasing!

The last election was an eye opener for me. Smear tactics abound, money thrown around by the crown prince who now sits at the Dias...you remember. Do you think term limits could or would possibly change all of that? Quite possibly YES... Let's not forget the cost involved, in the ballpark of $60k of taxpayer cash to execute this initiative process.

When the weather clears, and you see me at the farmers market with pen in hand and clipboard perched on my hip, don't be surprised. You heard it here first.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Flat Tire

The thing about ruts is that they're so rut like.

Tough to mentally motor out of them. My rut? Not to start a pissing match of my rut's deeper than yours because it's certainly not deeper than the rut GM finds itself in this morning. Looking for some reading to nod off too this evening? Look no further than the annual report prepared by Deloitte & Touche which raised “substantial doubt about the ability of General Motors to continue as a going concern.” Duh. Tell us something we didn't already know before that big cash influx.

It would have been more fun to have taken that taxpayer cash bailout over the ambassador bridge and blown it on strip club fun in Windsor Canada where the dollar still goes a bit far. Tiny bit farther. Shoulda coulda woulda. Dumb white guys.

GM warned last month that its auditors may raise doubts, and industry analysts said auditors’ statements may trigger clauses in some of GM’s loans, placing them in default but the company said in its filing that it has received waivers of the clauses for its $4.5-billion secured revolving credit facility, a $1.5-billion term loan and a $125-million secured credit facility. GM spokeswoman Julie Gibson said there is no clause in the terms of the government loans that places them in default if the auditors raise doubts about GM’s ability to keep operating. “That was not a condition of the loan. It’s not in the agreement,” she said. Nice. Lucky lucky us. Thanks again Bush administration.

Do you remember when Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson said at the time of the bailout that the government would be the only place the company could get financing for a Chapter 11 reorganization, because the credit markets were frozen. The worst-case bankruptcy scenario would cost the government $100 billion, Henderson said, because revenue would severely drop due to a lack of sales. GM deserves to be stuck in the mud. I can't imagine any more tax payer cash being thrown under the wheels to create traction. As for me, the sun shining today makes my mental rut that much smaller. Could be worse...we could live in Detroit.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Dog Ate My Train Ticket

So there's cutting corners at times when you really feel like you wanna tempt fate. Those corners include parking at a meter knowing full well you will never make it back to feed the meter, there's those times you hop in the Fasttrack lane, knowing that the bridge transponder lives somewhere in the cavity of your car, will it chime to debit my account or flag me as a deadbeat?
Ive always envisioned a karmic circle circling back around representing bits and pieces of the goodness we pay into mankind. Social pleasantries. Take pictures of tourists, throwing the extra buck to the Muni bus driver covering the guy behind you..but I need to think that through on a more transcendental level.

Could be a tall order without a magic brownie moment, but I digress.... karma....

Hopping on the VTA train today with my weekly pass (Cinequest) realizing It's not on my person...no worries as I have a handful of those wacky Sacajawea gold dollar coins (only available here, thanks VTA and the post office) apparently the VTA machines that spit those stupid coins out as change don't want to except them back for payment. Same machine, reverse the sequence... So after mentally arm wrestling with the ticket machine and seeing no ticket forth coming and the bell ringing on the train, alerting emanate departure I hop back on.
Likity split right after me the VTA "fare police" steps on board. How do I know it's the fare police? Black trench coats, FARE POLICE imprinted boldly (think DIA style) Always had a thing for policemen but this is a little too goth.

Of all of the trains I have ridden all over the globe, legitly purchasing fare religiously one would think a karmic bank had been built up fort knox sized magnitude putting the IMF to shame.

Today my karma ran out. Mr. Fare Police didn't care about my story, about where my ticket was only to say it was not on my person. No ticket=receive a ticket, ala gift of the magi. So sweet.
Not so much.

The worse part was the scolding- that and knowing I really did have a ticket, I wasn't a deadbeat fare dodger. Just an unorganized under caffeinated loser. Nicely dressed. Didn't matter.

The good news ? The system works. I am double dog sure the next time I step aboard any train, bus, plane, ferry I will double check to see my ticket. Does lightning strike twice? The odds are it will never happen again but be sure if it does I will also purchase a lottery ticket as a hedge to the odds pool.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Can't Contain The Excitement or Is That Contempt?

The wait looks to be over for the General Plan Committee (GPAC). Sitting on their hands for the last nine months has given birth to ta da....a draft of the "new" general plan...but wait that sounds like immaculate conception. I know the question on the tip of your tongue - wasn't the idea of a community committee with diverse view points appointed for this data review. Gather, sift thru and prepare the rough draft that leads to ahem...a final rough draft. Cut straight to the final draft! Magically, as if a magic wand was waved and Poof- no muss no fuss. This draft is available for review and public comment until March 19th when public comments will end.
Huh? My thinly veiled contempt for the process is still an angst to be worked out, so here again I subscribe to the RX dose of what's good for you. Information.
Except information isn't easily disseminated in this supposedly transparent process of collecting data, community member weighing in (where GPAC comes in, in theory of course.) Not to be secret squirrel but another bright, articulate community member shared her angst with me recently about the wasted opportunity and abilities of the community demographic that I like to call kids, furniture, and big mortgage (KFBM)

Wonders of all wonders- GPAC meets, not really, no teasing. They will review this "draft" of which they had very little if any contribution on Friday the 5th..Two days away!

For the community to move ahead, it can't remain the high school musical that best describes the social variety I have come to loath here. The breadth of knowledge that GPAC represents equates to a loss of opportunity. To really embrace change, and give a critical eye to things that need objective. Window dressing aside, GPAC should be allowed to take the reins on this uber important task of General Plan Update...The "draft" prepared by staff that will be discussed needs more that two weeks of public review.

Baa aah bah bah. Are we sheep? Seems like our town government sure thinks so. Let's not let them try to pull the wool over our eyes. Contempt should be a community value in this instance.

Please chime in on this important process.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where's The Push Back?

For forty six years a hospital had served Los Gatos then in the blink of an eye it was gone. Surprisingly not much news or interest followed. Tenet Healthcare pulled the plug on our community last year without an exit strategy and laid off over 500. Locked the doors and left as a way of protecting it's own bottom line. So much for those "community" values Tenet talked up.
Close that chapter, and begin a new when El Camino Hospital of Mountain View administrators announced in December that they were in escrow with property owner Long Beach-based HCP Inc. a health-care real estate investment firm to buy the Los Gatos Hospital.
Now this potential safety net is in jeopardy.
A petition signed by 121 residents within the public hospital district, which includes Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, most of Sunnyvale, and a small portion of Cupertino is currently being circulated to stop the purchase. (Residents of the district elect the hospital board which approved the acquisition plan.)
During the Feb. 11 th Board of Directors of El Camino Hospital meeting petitioners were given three minutes to comment. Items discussed: concerns of bad timing to buy the $45 million hospital during an economic downturn, and that the facility will cost another $10 million to $20 million to bring it up to seismic standards, and more for start-up costs. Judy Twitchell, El Camino spokesperson is not sure of the cost of the earthquake upgrades, but said the upgrades could be spread out over several years. The hospital, she added, would not comment on initial start-up costs. The purchase would help El Camino meet its strategic plan by expanding services to residents outside its district. El Camino administrators said the hospital currently has $300 million in unrestricted funds generated from profit, and that taxpayer funds would not go toward the new acquisition. The hospital spends about $8 million collected in district taxes each year on community outreach and capital costs.
"El Camino Hospital has been very conservative and well managed over the last several years, and we really are in a good position to do this," Twitchell said. "In a tough economy, it is good to have a strong financial position."El Camino Hospital has the capacity and interest to help meet the health care needs of our neighboring community as administrators began negotiating last summer, but said they could release only limited information due to a strict disclosure agreement.
The closing of the Community Hospital affects property values, but more importantly services and outreach that benefit the entire community. This issue is worthy of your attention. Please consider attending the Wednesday, March 11, 2009 meeting at 5:30 p.m El Camino Hospital, 2500 Grant Road, Mountain View, California 94040

State your opinion for the record. Let's let the Board of Directors of El Camino Hospital know how important and welcome this transition will be. A little push back from our community is needed. Plus it would be nice to see if we have a pulse.