Thanks, Sweetheart

black and white image of female secretary with typewriterTwo posts in one day? Yes!

By now much hay has been made about Mitt Romney’s response about pay equity for women in this Tuesday’s debate. I’m going to make some more!

Throughout this discussion, I’ll be drawing directly from the official transcripts posted on the Commission on Presidential Debates’ website.

The question, posed first to Obama was “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” The President answered, and then Crowley followed up with: “Governor Romney, pay equity for women?”

What followed was nothing short of fascinating. It included lies, evasions, condescension and anachronisms. Let’s dig in.

Romney began his response with an anecdote having nothing to do with pay equity and which by most accounts was at best an exaggeration and at worst an outright lie.

An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?”

And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.

I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.

Yes, this was the now infamous “binders full of women” line that exploded all over the Internet. But that isn’t the most important part. He wasn’t being honest! By his account, Romney was a hero, specifically seeking out qualified female candidates for his cabinet. The truth is, the process of placing females in his administration was begun even before the election, by a group known called Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP). MassGAP was formed to address the shortage of women in high-ranking government positions in the state, and they reached out to both candidates prior to the election. The binders full of women were real, though.

“There were actual binders involved,” Levin [chairperson of MassGAP at the time] said. “Big binders. They were big. It was before stuff was done, like it is now, electronically.”

Romney appointed his incoming (female) lieutenant governor Kerry Healey to work with the group, and he did make an effort to hire more women. In the beginning he increased the number of women in high-ranking positions. But by the end of his term, that number fell below what it was before he took office.

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Saying Goodbye

clutterAfter my last post, you might be expecting something maudlin about dealing with the passing of a loved one. But that’s not what this is about; it’s not something I wish to dwell on. So on to other things!

How do you declutter your life? I am not a hoarder as you may have seen on TV, but I think I’d qualify as a pack rat. I–without a doubt–have too much stuff. That needs to change, and soon! Unfortunately it’s hard for me to get rid of things. I tend to associate objects with memories, as many people do. But the problem is I keep lots of  things that aren’t associated with significant memories. Like a mundane memento from an insignificant trip. I also tend to keep freebies, which I almost never need. Like a Frisbee from some bar that was used a plate at a food event. I can’t remember the last time I played Frisbee! Most of them aren’t even on display or anything. They’re just sitting on a pile or in a box.

So how do you make yourself get rid of these things that are just taking up space in your life? For many people it’s probably easy, but I find myself getting oddly attached to these silly and pointless doodads. Or I think “I might need that some day!” Never mind that I haven’t had a need for it in years and could probably acquire a new one in the unlikely event that the need some day arose.

I’ve been working hard on decluttering the last couple weeks and I’ve made some good progress (the freebie Frisbee is gone). But I am not there yet. I know I’m still holding on to too much stuff.

So how about it? Any other recovering pack rats have advice on how to say goodbye?


purple violetI am now down to one remaining biological grandparent. My paternal grandmother, Violet, passed away over the weekend shortly after her 89th birthday. She is survived by her 91 year old husband, my grandpa, Burt. For how long, I don’t know. My mom’s parents passed about a year apart, a few years ago. And I still miss them.

In my mom’s family, when my grandparents passed the family started to unravel. I wouldn’t say it’s fallen apart, but it’s not what it used to be. We used to all get together every Christmas at my grandparents place to eat, exchange gifts and play games. There hasn’t been a full family Christmas since they passed. There are occasional family reunions, but they aren’t as well attended, and just really aren’t the same. This makes me sad.

I’m afraid the same is going to happen with my dad’s family, and based on conversations I had this past Christmas, I’m not the only one. Because my relationship with my dad (biological father) was strained after my parent’s divorce, I never spent as much time with his family as with my mom’s or step dad’s. Often I’d only see them at Christmas. There are first cousins on that side that I couldn’t name (in my defense, there are 25 of them in total!) and that’s not even getting into my cousin’s kids. I haven’t spent enough time with these people as it is, and I’d hate to see it reduced even more.

But there will be time enough to worry about that. For now it’s time to mourn, commiserate and remember. Grandma Vi lived a long and happy life and had a big, loving family. She will be missed, but her memory lives on in all of us. RIP, Grandma!