The Dinner Drill

July 14, 2010

I’ve never been a cook. I don’t have the gene that causes a person to derive pleasure from constructing a meal and watching people’s pleasure as they scarf it. I love to eat, and I can find ways to enjoy meal – making – but really – alien territory for me, mostly.

(Just ask the people who have had to eat my bizarre food combinations.)

Anyway, as a single working mother, I have to make dinner every single night – for two picky children, and sometimes for adults who require more sophisticated creations. Yikes.

One of my favorite ways to deal with this daily challenge is as pictured – my fresh fruit and veggies with hummus and cheese plate, easily turned into a ridiculous happy face, easily put together, and easily ramped up into something more spectacular. (I would assume.)

Make Me Dinner!
I will never forget the radio story I heard on NPR about the place in Spain where mamas whose children have left the nest but who want to cook big, traditional meals have formed an online service where young professionals who don’t have time to cook can order this home-cooked food – even form a steady relationship with a local mother.

Collective Solution
Wouldn’t that be fantastic? I would like to see more collective-type enterprises like this start up in Cville. I’m thrilled with the new local Retail Relay service – that’s the right idea – a grocery delivery service that shops at a variety of local stores and CSAs.  Sure, Cville has a bunch of stay-at-home moms and those who can afford help, but there’s a lot of working parents, too.

Toy shares, toy exchanges, CSAs… all heading in the right direction. I don’t think the barter thing took off… but I like the idea…

The only problem: I don’t know that I have either time or money to put in the pot. Unless you can somehow quantify my children – certainly their health and wellbeing is worth something to the larger society?

Thoughts, ideas?


Reaching Those Not Online?

September 3, 2009

I was chatting with friend and local business owner of Sugar Snap Consignment today, Vijay, about how g’s great to do all this online marketing and social media outreach, but there’s a whole demographic of people who don’t necessarily spend a lot of time online… and how do you reach them?

I know when we were first starting Cville Working Moms, I felt this sense that I was reaching out to folks on PNOC and other online groups, but that there’s plenty of working mothers in our community who may not have a computer or internet access at home, and maybe not a lot of opportunity to check email or sign up for a group, but who still need support.

But I didn’t know then and I’m not sure I know now how to break out of my cultural category – coffee houses, Facebook – so I welcome ideas… ?


No Insurance, No Job, Just One of the Masses

September 2, 2009

So yesterday I lost my health insurance. The COBRA from my last job ran out. And I don’t have a new job to replace it.

The ironic thing is, the prospects for health insurance don’t look much better than just coughing it up at Prompt Care. I know at least two people with job-provided health insurance that has such high deductibles, it’s almost not worth it.

And another friend of mine was researching purchasing health insurance on his own, only to find – he’s one of those people who combs through all the tiny print – that every single one he investigated has a clause saying they won’t pay if you get sick.

Which, I thought, was the whole freaking point.

So, no health insurance, what do you do? Some ideas:

  • Take vitamins.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Cross the street carefully.
  • Ignore lumps and pains.
  • Turn into a Christian Scientist.

When I was a kid, my parents were impoverished missionaries by choice, but we lived in California in the 70s, and there were free clinics everywhere.

One of my exes took a lot of Niacin and Goldenseal to deal with tooth infections when he didn’t have dental insurance.

In my head, the line from that song: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

I think I would like all politicians to experience this. And to know that not having health insurance – or a job – is not a function of choice or delinquency. It can happen to the most industrious and well-intentioned of persons… just like poverty, homelessness, cancer…

So, if you’re germy, stay away!

I’m off to do some tai chi, visualizing a robust immune system…


Workforce News: When it helps to be underpaid, underemployed

July 22, 2009

Apparently, men are losing their jobs more than women are during this “economic downturn.”

Not surprising, really – because most of the jobs lost have been in the construction and manufacturing sectors, which are mostly populated by men.

The USA Today article notes that

Women are more likely to work part time than men, perhaps making them less vulnerable. Approximately 25% of women work part time vs. 12% of men, Mission Residential chief economist Richard Moody says.”When employers are actively cutting hours for the workers they do keep, it could be that those already working part time have a bit more security … as they are not likely to be receiving benefits and in general, are likely to cost employers less than full-time workers,” he says.

It’s great to know there’s an upside to being the underdogs in the workforce, isn’t it?

Now, the NPR story did wonder if, as women become the primary breadwinners of US households, if employers will start offering more childcare/eldercare benefits – and if the equal pay cause will get a boost.

I doubt it. Not to be bitter, but it doesn’t look promising. If the reason women are more employed now is because they make up the majority of teachers, nurses, health aides, secretaries, housecleaners, daycare providers, etc., it’s not exactly like they’re in some power position to broker additional perks.

And those of us who are not in a two-parent household, while we may have that part-time job, well, while that’s better than not being employed at all (maybe?), not having benefits or the wages of a full-time job may push us or keep us hovering around the poverty line – and stressed out.

And, isn’t it funny?

– That women are still the primary caregivers for children and the elderly – when are men going to fully engage in this? Until they do, I don’t see employers adapting policies to help with either –

– We still have such gender-segmented workforce populations? Will that ever shift? Will the guys down in IT ever get more than one geeky girl? Will the construction crew ever feature a host of buff women? Our stereotypes are so intimately tied to the jobs we do – still…