Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Beyond Cultural Liberalism

Back in the day, when we use to talk about gay marriage. Wait I brought that up. I remember an article, possible from CNN that wanted to talk about the other 97%. If 3% of Americans are gay, we can't forget that 97% are not. Public policy and the laws and regulations we create as a society also affect the 97% of people who are not gay.

And what about the 100% who are children or were children, didn't our kinship relationships or lack of affect us?

Over a year ago everyone was one the right side of history in the name of equality and rainbow customized Facebook profiles. Here we are with President-elect Trump and elected officials with (R) beside their names. I'm not sure what to think of him or how this Congress will do things, and I didn't vote for him or Hillary Clinton. (I voted for Jill Stein) I do know that Cultural Liberalism was a cancer, it ate up everything I once liked about the Democratic Party when I was younger. The DNC became the ultimate mean and nasty Queen Bee at the cafeteria lunch table.

Now over a decade I've been online using my real name Renee Aste online whether it be blogs, Facebook, or social media. I've been called a lot of bad and untruthful things. And I can admit it didn't feel good, it was hard to think what would people think if someone Google'd me.

Whatever call it or not call it or have no name for it.... public policy and the ability to keep children with their mother and father in a united and stable situation matters. As I tell my children, even gay kids have a mom and dad. For many still I will always be thought of hateful uneducated person, to mock and sneer at for personal fulfillment. I think I have done an OK job over the past day retaining and defending my views, despite just being who I am.

I can't wrap it up in a snarky meme to put anyone to shame. Because that's not the goal. Our families are fragile. Over the past decade people who actually care about the family, have been scapegoated as homophobic and shamed into silence. I keep trying not to be distracted and deal with the problem within my own community at a face to face level. I've volunteered at the Department of Children and Families. I've written detailed experiences to elected officials. I try my best within my own marriage, despite no guarantee it seems anyone will remain married in a healthy relationship. I've seen too many divorces hitting close and closer in my personal social circle.

I hope this can work itself out.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The editor of Vanity Fair wants a good number of us dead.

Abortion has nothing to do with a woman's choice or health, of her body it has everything to do with with the .001% control over the rest of us. We shouldn't exist, and it is a laughable manner to joke about 'retroactively killing us". 

Is anyone else irk'd by a conference that self labels itself as "the new establishment"?

If abortion isn't murder then why does the editor of Vanity Fair even speak of retroactive abortions?

The people in control don't care about us. Got it. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Evil as Political Propaganda in Lowell

This popped up in my Facebook feed from Massachusetts Citizens for Life

I am not judging the people who will get hired, they probably need some extra cash. 
But this is how evil works. 

Evil as in convincing us that a business that kills unborn children lobby heir interests at a street level this election cycle.  

I am a woman. I have no issue getting health care. You do not need Planned Parenthood for health care. We need stability of our relationships and flexibility of work to raise the children. We do not need abortion.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Just checking in...

I still work and also volunteer at the Department of Children and Families.

Here is a old post from 2012 on poverty and family structure in Boston. 

Nothing has changed in terms of my opinion of things.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tim Kaine is a spiritual train wreck.

Yeah, I read what he had to say to the cultural elite 1% to garner their support and love.

Not that Catholic Church should change, but wink wink will change.... um yeah. 

Mr Kaine ever heard of that guy Judas in the Bible who sold out on Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

You know that one.


It will be six years volunteering at Department of Children and Families on each case we talk about a child having a mother and father and the relationship (good or bad) with mother and father.

As a matter of public policy it is one a few places we can talk about the family, unfortunately we can't talk about the importance of mom and dad working together until we are at the point of government intervention.

Matrimony, in latin, means the act of becoming a mom. the defining purpose is within the name itself, the Sacrament is based on the conjugal act. Matrimony does not imply that someone is a bad person for being gay or simply not being married. Matrimony does imply there are obligations to our behaviors, married or not sex leads to babies and obligations for parents and needed support for them are necessary for the well being of children. Being married, as in a committed vowed relationship that is healthy, is about the product of sexual behavior.


You know we are all once children with a point of view on marriage.

Oh Tim, you're a spiritual train wreck.

Who do you think you're fooling?

Judas sat at the table with Jesus and ate.

 Do you think showing up on Sundays for Mass gives you Catholic street cred?

train wreck, people, train wreck

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"I already know your mother"

Two people I am acquainted with, that I know independent of each other have started to date. I learned that some time ago that their mothers were co-workers.

When it comes to relationships I am always a firm believer in getting to know the family in a reasonable time frame before considering whatever adults do now in their relationships.I don't know I had my teenager daughter explain to me what 'Netflix and Chill' meant, so I am clearly out of the loop there.

But there is something nice about already knowing the family dynamics of other person's family.

Less to figure out.

But also the trust factor, a subject that I posted about earlier this year. If your own mother can vouch for the integrity of the family and if everything independent of that is great, already knowing the person's family is an amazing bonus.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I don't know what say when...

When someone talks about children's rights and abortion access in the same breath.

I don't know.

Monday, August 15, 2016

You really don't have a say on who you get to call "mom and dad"

I guess I will directly comment on Simone Biles, the US Gymnast and the media narrative in telling her background story. I'm assuming you know it, and well my criticism comes from people that state we need to respect who she identifies as a mom and dad, and that's real her mom and dad. Being that this was a kinship adoption of an older child, already aware that her mother and father couldn't raise her she was in a unique position to have an opportunity to call her grandparents either by the grandparent name or by "mom and dad" WITH her grandparents permission.

The great majority of us do not have permission on who we get to call mom and dad.

When my first child was just a toddler, she wouldn't call her father (my husband) "dad". Instead she would call her father by his first name, because everyone else called him by that name. No one else called him dad or daddy. She didn't have any older siblings, we had to teach her to call her father "dad". We could have done nothing and allowed her to keep calling her father by his first name, but most people would think he wasn't her father, and probably a step dad.

Imagine four biological children who were being directly parented by their father their entire lives and have them call him by his first name?

Point is we are told from an early age on who to call mom and dad. I didn't have a say on who I called my parents. I'm sure as I approach the age of 40, that if I started to call my own parents by their first names they would be quite bother by it.

Unless it is an older adoption, or a kinship adoption where the relatives give the child that option than guess what?
No one really gets to identify who their parents are. They are identified for us.

Instead other people tells us from a young age what things are. You don't get to pick your own name, and in reality biological or not it is someone else telling you who to call mom and dad. I mean if Simone's grandparents really didn't want to be called mom and dad, I 'm sure they would of redirected and teach a young Simone not to and she would of complied.

So no you don't get a say, and if you do it is only with permission.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

We are a nation withOUT checks and balances. II

We are a nation withOUT checks and balances. II

My TV is off. We've always had corrupt politicians, but we have no media to trust.

And that is where I stand. Our security and defenses, whatever the protections we think we have are an illusion.

The DNC hacked emails confirm at least I'm not nuts.

We are clearly owned by the mechanisms of the 1% .

As I tell my kids without trying to incite too much fear.

All we can do is try to be good Catholics and get the laundry done.

I'm voting for a third party.

Donald Trump claimed he wants to make America great again.

I say let's make America again, because I don't recognize this country as being the United States of America. It will be a miracle for our country to recover from this.

Oh never mind me and go enjoy your celebrity endorsements.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

We are a nation withOUT checks and balances.

That's my thought on what occurred yesterday when the FBI chose not to charge Hilary Clinton for her gross negligence (intended or not, but well she is was the Secretary of State) in handling classified materials. One would think she had an understanding of handling materials that are classified.

Go about your day, it seems no one really cares.


Update on myself

Yep, I'm still working in my research position. I'm still volunteering at DCF. And my views on children and families connected to both sides of maternal and paternal biological kin has not changed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Everything is 'dead'.

I have talked in the past about the reuse of one of Lowell's churches. 

Lately I've been on YouTube watching videos and documentaries on recently abandoned places. It is just church that is dead, it's everything.

There's a significant contraction with our society, and yet we seem rather distracted from it.

Just limping along here....

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Can I ask if they're fake? A short commentary on being an woman.

Just lets speak on authenticity for a moment.

One of my girlfriends gets breast implants, her t!ts are fake. I say her t!ts are fake, she may get mad I called them fake t!ts, but she won't deny they're fake or sue me based on her civil rights as woman that her breasts are authenticly real. But if I treat a trans woman in the same manner and say politely, "nice breast augmentation how many cc's did the put in you implants......" well I'm acknowledging they're not real breasts and the trans-woman never had or will have fully developed mammary glands. I can tell a real woman that her t!ts are fake..... but I have to tell a man who identifies as a  woman that her breasts are real or else it's a hate speech.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Preying on those desperate for work part 4!

I wish I was employed, but I am not. Still looking and I had some interviews, which I am grateful for. Again my scope in employment is somewhat limited, since I do not want to commute and I would like to ease back into a career in a few steps (not a leap). I don't mind working long hours, I just refuse to sit in traffic for long hours.

Preying (part 1)
Preying (part 2)
Preying (part 3)

Friday, March 18, 2016

7QT Good news on our views on marriage


Survey: More Acceptance of Social Changes _ Except Divorce

"The government periodically asks thousands of teens and younger adults what they think about changes in U.S. family relationships. The results released Thursday indicate a shift over a decade on a range of topics. But most surprising was what they said about divorce.Asked if divorce is the best solution when a marriage is on the rocks, 38 percent of women agreed, down from 47 percent a decade earlier. For men, it was 39 percent, down from 44 percent.
Divorce in the U.S. has become more common through the generations, and there's an assumption that acceptance would be holding steady or perhaps increasing, some experts said."

This is good. The underlying purpose and function of marriage is still somehow there. Sure there is a lot of media and political lobbying to divert our attentions, but from a personal point of view marriage matters.

Everyone is quite nervous about speaking up. If I say a mother and father are equally important, and that matrimony is to be addressed at a public policy level as a man and a woman, well guess what you know what will happen to people like me. Somehow it will be twisted that I really dislike people who are gay, even if it isn't true. It stinks, but it is what it is.

People given the conditions in our current state of untrustworthiness towards marriage, they can rationally fear a divorce.

Interesting point in this study, more people on average approve of gay adoption then they do of homosexual behavior?
 Say same-sex relationships are fine; about 60 percent of women, 49 percent of men.

— Agree gay and lesbian adults should have the right to adopt children; 75 percent of women, 68 percent of men.
Even with my work at DCF I never had a conflict with gay adoption, usually by a family member who happens to be gay. Adoption in these situations are not about an intentional denial of birth parents, but rather birth parents are not in a situation that they can safely parent their children due to substance abuse or mental health. Children should not be removed simply due to a parent's young age or if the parents are poor.

Adoption (as needed, not as a want) is much different then third party procreation, a child produced by means of contract and parents are 'clients'. That's human trafficking.  When I speak of adoption, I do not speak of preying on an impoverished woman by an affluent couple who can give her child a better life. Why not give the mother and father and better life, if you really care about this baby?

7. Fun question. 

Yes, this is actually a family based question. I've noticed foster teens in group homes get denied this. Teens in foster homes, where the parent is willing to help get their licence. Not having anyone to teach you to drive from my point of view is child neglect. (No, you do not have to buy them a car.)

Friday, March 4, 2016

7QT Spammy Facebook Posts and Alternatives

More 7QT over at This Ain't The Lyceum

Can you name a city that doesn't have the letter O in it?
How may squares can you see? 
A photo of child with a tragic medical condition "Can I get an 'AMEN'?!?" or else be shamed with guilt as you scroll by

2. It's OK to admit you participated in these viral based posts, that seemingly get 200k in likes and 8000 comments. But social media is about connecting and sharing actual content. I've had conversations with others about how these posts work. Usually a radio station my utilize this concept as a viral addition, but does it create click and to where?

3. They don't add to the conversation with friends or family either. Do I really care if my cousin can get that math equation correct? Is he really a genius!

4. What can we do about it? It seems these internet memes are popular and aren't going away. So what types of questions should we want to ask out friends and family. Do you remember Catholic All Year's "Ask Me This" series? That's actually I good resource of questions, but just put them in Internet meme form to be shared on Facebook.

5. I created some of my own, I ask you to "save" the image and then share that image of your choice on Facebook, It would be great if you could comment and give me feedback.


7. Again take these images and share of your choosing. I'm trying to see if we can't bring some joy back to social media.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Good Day at DCF

Since it was a seminar, and not a review. I can talk about. Also an interesting conversation with the pitfalls of kinship placement.

More later.
But feeling good and useful.

Friday, February 26, 2016

I rarely snap, but when I do it's because I really think it was warranted.

Jesus didn't put up with crap and sometimes the Pope can be stern and upset with people's actions. So if you push me, I'll forgive you. If you push me twice, I'm apologize for being upset and stern, because I really don't desire to shovel the crap you attempted to give me. If you push me a third time, you're just asking for it. No one's perfect and I always take the side that there's miscommunication, but some people. 

Some people....

Well some people just relish being a cocky jerk. They think they're being smart or intelligent. They're just being a Trump wannabe. They are not there to weed out differences and find common ground. 


Tried to engage with a person about family public policy, it's a deal breaker for me when voting. It was a nice conversation about one's conscious and even voting a blank ballot if needed. I wasn't looking to get into a pissing contest. 

Of course someone wants to come in all in Social Justice Warrior mode with their 1% backed lobby talking points, that a discussion about family stability is someone damning people to hell imposing their religion. OK, pause think about that. That's really nuts. But well, most if people think that way now a days. Or maybe you're agree with me, but you don't need to be unfriends and harassed falsely as a ignorant person. Or maybe you disagree, but we can discuss real and practical talking points like people did before social media. 

But well you just scroll along. I get it. I understand.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Renee, any regrets with your blog?


I miss the days when there was a more open discussion and civil (even enjoyable challenging) disagreement, even teasing. If the teasing got out of hand, one could just politely inform that person without getting upset.

We live in a world where we assume the worst in someone.

Random thought on a question a family member asked.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

(Part 2) NSFW Commentary on the personal ads on Craig's List

Part 1 here

In my first part I didn't talk about women seeking women, because men posting crotch pictures is too much in one viewing. Again, not surprised just sad. I can only take so much pathetic sexual sadness each day, and lonely horny guys posting pictures of their exposed genitalia creates a lot of sadness in me I guess.

For the sincere posts for women seeking women, again it was more of the "why not" type of posting.

There was also a lot of fraudulent click-bait, usually with a picture of pornographic nature to lure men to.

There seems to be an exploitation of young femme lesbians, that they are some sort of sexual freaks for the pleasures of others,

 There were a lot of disclaimers asking for NO MEN and NO COUPLES (heterosexual), if a young lesbian woman describe herself in anyway as being femme she must be flooded with inquiries.Think about all the girl on girl pornography to entertain men that now exists.

There is also something quite upsetting about the couples, it's bad enough that a husband treats a wife poorly, but then wants a concubine of sorts to the mix. The couple advertisements are creepy, just as creepy as a men seeking men type ads. Some couples kept insisting how normal they really were. Another couple, written by the wife I assume spent most of the personal ad talking about what she looked like, and the concubine (that's what they are really looking for!) had to be specific measurements. Specifically she really couldn't be too pretty, but they wanted someone who was pretty and educated.

Essentially, your husband wants to cheat on you with a younger woman, but somehow this is will be OK if you are in the room and probably get some action out of it too again for your husband's pleasure. Sure she may not live with the couple, but she's expected to put out on "date nights"


Monday, February 15, 2016

"On this Day" How to Save Marriage in America.

Facebook from two years ago...

NSFW Commentary on the personal ads on Craig's List

So I've been looking for work, on Craig's List and other sites. And well, I got tempted with curiosity about the personal ads on Craig's List. Being on the other side, married at home with children, yes I wonder what it would be like as one of my peers.

There were very few "women looking for men", mostly women my age, maybe even traveling in the area. Most really didn't sound that desperate, rather more of the 'why not' type of attitude. It doesn't hurt to at least post something. I felt the expectations were not realistic, but you know what? It doesn't hurt to say what you want!

There was definition more men looking for women, and some were sincere and others were creepy in my eyes. Again more of the "why not" and it doesn't hurt to ask.



I peaked into the "men looking for men"

I wan't surprised, but disappointed. OK. Yes, all the sexual cliches and stereotypes about homosexual behavior. Looking for a hook up, usually desiring some sort domineering/submissive act. Of course,the person making the request he is unable to 'host' . Even willing to meet up in public, despite trying to be discreet.

I will make the presumption, that many of these men are not even gay. They aren't closeted gays, either. 

The postings were much more numerous then the heterosexual personal ads. Ads very open with the pictures of one's penis. (Yes, this why I'm putting the NSFW on this.)

Thinking at a level of public and emotional health, it was sad to ponder on these personal inquiries. Some were open about the fact they were married fathers, and more worrisome were younger men willing to submit to older men.

This isn't a judgement of homosexual orientation or even gay relationships, because there is a void of anything emotional in these postings. This is a judgment of behavior.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Building and Maintenance of Trust

For Cliff

Follow up to The Lost of Trust 

If I had to pinpoint the breakdown of the family or any institution for that matter, it would be the lost of trust.

There is a lost of trust, as we see in our primary election. The options of the outsiders though seems undesirable. Slim pickings.

So how do we rebuild and maintain such trust. Trust can so easily be lost, it's fragile.

Last night I was visiting a private high school, the principal spoke of their policy of "no locks on the lockers". Now this is a rather small high school and selective, and there is little access to the public to the school.

"no locks on the lockers"

The students have to trust one another.


I grew up with lockers, since the 4th grade. Quite young at the time, but do to the shift of school populations my grade was placed in a building designed to be a Jr High. It's now a middle school, serving grades 5th-8th. Living in the dormitories in college, trust no one. Trust no one. Rightfully so, especially in the UMass system 20 years ago.

Living in Lowell, we of course lock our doors, even with security alarms as a precaution.

Not every institution can have such an opportunity to trust one another, and this is a rare situation where it can be done.

Ideally this ability to form and maintain trust should exist in our homes. But does it happen? 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

7QT Regrets of a Stay at Home Mother

More Quick Takes at "This Ain't The Lyceum"

1. Don't try to make me feel good telling me that being a mother is the MOST important job in the word.  It isn't a job, it's a vocation.

2. Was it really a choice? Well, it was a choice of our to have more then two children. It made economical sense due to costs of daycare. Would I ever been a stay at home mom if I just had two children? No way. I worked with two children, and probably would of moved on with a legal career if I wasn't so open to have move children. My choice to have more children is the determining factor, not wanting to be a stay at home mother.

3. I couldn't have fore tell the fall out of the economy. I feel quite trapped, that I may never be able to reboot myself in the working world. Too over qualified, but no paid working experience.

4. Volunteering is different then working. Even on a resume. Even when you had obligations in your volunteering role. Volunteering is giving your time and skill with no expectation in return. I would be volunteering, even if I was working.

Working... You expect something.

5.  I've been on several interviews, but never the right fit. Sometimes the offer was just embarrassing (sorry, it was) or there was a better qualified candidate. I'm sure employers get dozens of resumes, glad to make the cut with an interview.

6. If I was still having children, I wouldn't be writing this. Right now all of my children are in school. There were a few hic-cups, because the youngest had development needs that made our schedule less routine. Ideally I should have been looking for work a few years ago, but time wise I couldn't manage it.

7. Now I can manage it. I would like to work. Even have a career.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Boston Globe reporting of the family

This Boston Globe article is the reason why I never changed my views on family and public policy. It isn't a religious issue, despite why the corporate/media/lobby propaganda machine feeds you.  

 The few times I was in probate for a divorce proceeding as an active attorney, I saw sadness. It was one of the sadness places I've ever been. Sadder then a funeral, because at least you can look upon memories of a deceased in a positive light. But hard to look upon memories of a broken marriage in the same view. 

Recently in conversations with an attorney, who does divorce, stated that people will fight over money. That's what we are here for, division of assets/time with children, and that's that. The law can not heal or make peace with the past relationship. It's just law. 

I have to be very clear that I'm not pinpointing on anyone's past marriage/relationship, it's a collective problem. I'm not suggesting that every marriage or mother and father MUST stay together, there will always be circumstances that people should separate. It's the rate, that this is occurring The rate! 

I'm at the tipping point where I know more couples separated and children with parents that are not together, then families that are. 

From the article
"The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court was once focused primarily on the administration of wills and other touchy but routine civil matters. But as divorces became more common, the courts began to hear thousands of them annually. The cases run the gamut, from ordinary splits to families torn apart by drugs to hotly contested disputes between parents who sometimes barely know one another. Between 50 and 75 percent of probate and family court litigants don’t have attorneys, and many come to court without documentation to back up the claims they make. Some skip drug tests. Some beg. Some lie."

The article is actually about DCF and the difficult situations the judge and DCF have in determining by the evidence if there is neglect/abuse.

The family, the poor family is in really bad shape. If you're lucky, as I was, I grew up with a perimeter that kept me away from a lot of divorce/conflict of others. Barriers are down, and I volunteer at DCF where all the social capital has been depleted for these children.  

A few weeks ago I talked about a job interview, that I declined in regards to parental visitation.

Why make the non-custodial parent pay upwards of 60 dollars an hour to see his/her own child for three hours in an environment that is not personal or that entertaining? Under this position, I wasn't even able to be a parental guide and assist in parenting. I just had to sit an observe. Can you imagine any parent, who hadn't seen his/her child in some time would probably be very anxious and would like some support on what to do? But no. I couldn't say a thing, I could only intervene if it was 'unsafe'. We couldn't go outside if the weather was nice or go to one of the child's extra curricular activities. Safety is an important thing, but hanging out in a well supplied room of toys (a foreign place to both parent & child) doesn't create needed bonds for both child and parent. 
Mom and dad, your past relationship might have been like oil and water, but find a neutral third party (extended family member) and save yourself and you child the less then wonderful experience of supervised visits.

It's broken. The courts wouldn't be so weighed down, if the families were not so broken and parents unable to work it out without the government playing referee

It's a total mess.

Friday, January 29, 2016

7QT Praying for vocations and the history of this chalice

More Quick Takes at This Ain't The Lyceum 

1.  This week our family is hosting the Elijah Chalice as we pray for vocations for the priesthood in our Archdiocese.

2. When we received the cup at Sunday Mass last week, I noticed that there was an inscription to Father Michael O'Brien Saint Patrick's Rochester NY December 1865. This chalice is over a 150 years old!

3. Who is Father O'Brien? How did this chalice end up at Saint Michael's here in Lowell, which on the bottom states it was presented to our parish in 1960. 

4. The wonders of Google found it for me. 

OK, He ended up in Lowell, after leaving Rochester, It seems like this chalice was a going away gift from his parishioners. 

5. Along with the grape/wheat design, there are three images of three women. Philomena with an anchor (an early Christian martyr), Saint Claire holding the Eucharist, and a third woman with three children. No idea who the third is. It also three images of what I again presume to be Jesus, Mary, & Joseph.

Philomena was a popular Saint at the time (mid-1800s), but there is also a back story to her as well. She is no longer listed as a Saint.  Very interesting.

6. These is quite a bit of documentation on Father Michael O'Brien in the History Of Middlesex County Massachusetts Volume 2. on page 274-303

7. Including his photo!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

7QT Empty buildings,looking for work,& good news on marriage!

More Quick Takes at This Ain't the Lyceum 

1. I've been talking about looking for work. It is well difficult to find that right match. The logistics of commute and time have really constrained to reach out and find something I really would love to do. And loving something doesn't mean legal, it really could be anything and then slowing transition back to being an active attorney.

2. The legal field is dead. Dead, I say. In my "Preying on those desperate for work (part 3)", the sadness of seeing unpaid internships for law students. Also some interesting jobs paid by the political establishment, like being a paid grassroots activist to proselytize on the sidewalks of Boston.

3. I also posted about empty buildings and baby boomer nostalgia that has irked me lately. Historic preservation for the sake of historic preservation feels more like a divorced wife holding on to the house, she can't afford and had any real use for. She's just clinging on to the past. I love history. But in this preservation, I've seen this strange false narrative to make to more then what it was (or is), as in my fake Cathedral post. 

4. Do you want to hear something good about Faith & Family? I know I do.

“One big reason so many families of color are thriving is that they tend to be more religious than the average American,” said Wilcox, who is also director of the National Marriage Project and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. An estimated 50,000 congregations serve blacks and Latinos in the United States, where 36 percent of African-Americans and 29 percent of Latinos attend church frequently (several times a month or more).
Look the data for young men of color is horrific, here is a slice in our communities (I live in an urban area) where there is light.

5. With who I associate and befriend as secular atheists, those who are doing well come from a stable family background that usually had religion in. Of course the sort of shrug off the idea, but faith is this keystone. Nothing really works without it. Sure we may try to replicate it through public policy(social programs), or destroy it by eroding our religious freedoms(contraception mandate), or smearing it in a public campaign as 'hate' (marriage).

6. Wilcox and Wolfinger recently published "Soul Mates", we all know it's bad so lets look at what is working. And what is working is in our churches (no matter the denomination), I could attest to this even at the Hindu temple where my one of kids plays chess.

7.  Not much else. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Preying on those desperate for work (Part 3)

It has been an interesting experience looking for work. Again in Part 1 I'm very specific in what I'm looking for, and willing to take the time to find that right match when ever it may come. It may seem it be awhile.

Saw this at TaxProf Blog

The Association of American Law Schools wants to employ several law students, who will “work on research and writing projects related to [the Association’s] mission of improving legal education.” In particular, students will have the opportunity to work on projects related to “the value of a U.S. legal education” and “financial aid for law students.” There’s just one catch: These are unpaid internships.

Law schools do not even value the work of their law students, apparently.

And to think I was missing something and being undervalued all this time as a stay at home mother to four children?

Part 2 here 

Some interesting ones was a bus driver for doggy daycare and being paid to be an activist in Boston.

Empty buildings everywhere

Every Sunday after 7am Mass I drive one of my kids out to Chelmsford on 110 to play chess at a Hindu temple. The temple is just rented space in a office/strip mall, but they are building farther out their own building. I can only imagine 125 years ago the immense joy and enthusiasm of Catholic Churches being built all over the Lowell area.

I have to start avoiding historic photos of Lowell on social media, it usually turns into some sort of pity party of aging baby boomers complaining that their Church where their parents were married is now empty. Well if you move out of the city to raise your children, and your grandchildren rather get married at Disney Word or a hog farm, well stop crying over the empty buildings.

We don't worship buildings. OK. Stop it. Stop blaming the archdiocese for them being closed. The Church is the community, not the building.

But for comparison here, the oldest Christian Monastery was in use for 1400 years until the Islamic State took over the city of Mosul. Here in Lowell there was not a takeover or Christian persecution, everyone simply voluntarily left until the church could no longer be feasibly open for nostalgic purposes. 

Back to empty buildings everywhere

Now with the outgrowth of suburbia and a change of demographics and jobs out along the belts of highways, mills and churches sit empty. But there are other empty spaces I grew up in Chelmsford and I am somewhat familiar with the 110 area that goes through Westford into Littleton. There were empty buildings everywhere along with dead strip malls.

The strip mall that previously held a Market Basket, until it rebuilt new across the street was being renovated for a Whole Foods, but half of the smaller stores we gone. And as I drove west into Littleton little abandoned buildings popped out along newer construction. No one could even be bother to bulldoze the once popular Chinese restaurant.

And Kimball's is probably still a ripoff. 

(Old post from another blog 2010, not online)

"Are you here for the corporate event?

"No I'm here for ice cream."

And that's the beginning of a very disappointing afternoon at Kimball's Farm.
Once upon a time I was no stranger to Kimball's Farm. My parents took me there and yes, there were long lines. Over the decade though it has grown. Country store... driving range... nine hole golf course.... balloon rides... mini golf... bumper boats... a seafood shack... exotic animals... and an arcade.
Am I missing something?
Honestly the ice cream wasn't great. It wasn't what I remembered as a child. I had better just earlier this week at another stand.Kimball's Farm isn't a farm. Still $7.50 per a person for a bumper boat ride? $11.50 per an adult for miniature golf? I have no idea what some of the other things costs, but I did go through 20 dollars quickly in the arcade.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Preying on those desperate for work (Part 2)

I have been warned I shouldn't talk about my job searching experience, but considering I'm pretty open about my opinions of faith and on public policy well why not talk about the job searching process? It is something that should be discussed and I have had very good experiences in interviews even when I didn't get the position. 

 It is a lot different then when I have previously looked for work, though 

In the past even when I was single without children and no mortgage/bills (not even a car payment), the options were limitless and there was growth everywhere. Even when I was in law school, people were 'dropping out' not because the legal field was so bad, but the job opportunities everywhere were so good! Even where I was working part-time nights in a professional setting for a global financial firms wanted to me either drop out or go to school par-time to work for them. There were benefits and overtime and raises and bonuses and.... and... and.... a world we could only dream about with nostalgic memories we tell our children. 

So I'm scrolling through Craig's List twice a day for something that fits into my criteria and yet again for the third time the Mueller Reports listing is up.  Lots of these delivery/transportation start ups with big promises, but according to Glassdoor the associate just wears down their car with little cash at the end of the day. 

Lot's of restaurant help requested, but I wonder who are these people going out to eat? 

Also a lot of listings for bilingual English/Spanish, but I notice there was little pay increase offered for someone who could speak both languages effectively.  I would like my children to be fluent in Spanish for employment opportunities (they start in 5th grade at the school they attend), but what is being asked doesn't increase pay. Are firms low-balling? I would definitely ask for more if I could speak and write in Spanish. 

Law firms are hurting badly, but the pay I've seen has been depressing for office staff. I've even seen unpaid internships. I can see an unpaid internship for a non-profit, which would essentially be volunteering but for firms that are not? No. Stay away. I have been actively volunteering in the community, but these are not fields I am interested for work and both situations are non-profit. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Preying on those desperate for work (The Mueller Report experience)

7QT More at This Ain't The Lyceum

My blog has been quiet, because I've been looking specifically for part time work within a ten mile radius. I've had several interviews over the past few months, but no 'match'. Otherwise happy just to get a call back and all of the potential employers are businesses I would personally recommend, even if I didn't get the job (except one, read below).

I realize I'm over qualified without experience, so I get a lot of 'why are you applying to this job, you should be in Boston at a law firm'. Primary reason my husband's salaried position requires more than 40 hours plus 45 minutes of commute each way which means both of us can not be out of the house 12 hours a day even with older children, because now they have activities.

2. I applied to this ad on Craig's List posted by Mueller Reports to be a home surveyor for insurance companies. One would go to policy owner's homes in your area, measure for square footage, and take photos of potential hazards, later at home (in the evening) upload the photos and file a report.

The advertisement

Home Surveyor - Lowell, MA *No Exp Needed / Paid Training* (Middlesex County)

Overview:Mueller Services, Inc. has been a national insurance services provider since 1980. The company is recognized by top insurance carriers for providing industry leading quality, customer service and technology. Mueller Services, Inc. takes pride in recruiting and training motivated individuals for either full or part time careers in the insurance data collection industry.
Due to increased ordering and new customers throughout the state of Massachusetts, Mueller is looking for a number of motivated individuals to fill new expansion positions. These positions pay $15 per hour plus bonus potential to make up to $18 per hour. We are currently hiring for part time positions with the opportunity to advance to a full time position with benefits. The training is mostly online with some field training, and is paid at $10 per hour.
We are looking for:Part-Time remote Field Representative (20-35 hours per week)Possbile Full-Time for the right candidateOpportunities in all Middlesex County

3. Sounds good? Right. So I applied Wednesday January 6th, and on Thursday morning there was an email to call a number for an initial interview. I called at 9am and passed that interview. I had to partake in a 30 minute web conference at 3pm. I was eager to work, so I told the children just be quiet and stay on your tablets until I was done. After the web conference/call in with 20 other individuals all over the country, we were informed to make a second interview. I did for Wednesday January 13th at 10.  This second interview was a call in, not face to face with a regional manager of field reps.

4. So I wait, which still looking for work. I looked up with company's website, but didn't check out website like 'Glassdoor'. In the meantime I was searching for work and I noticed the the job I was interviewing on Wednesday the 13th was reposted again on the Tuesday the 12th. ?????

I called in and had a lengthy 60 minute interview, and the guy at the other end said I had the job at 15 dollars an hour and the HR will email me the documents.

Two days later nothing. That's right. They offered me a job and then ghosted on me. I actually tried to call on on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30, but there call center at 23 people in line on hold. I was on the phone for an hour waiting then the phone center closed.

5. I dodged a bullet with these guys. It's a scam. Not your typical scam.

It's not really 15 dollars an hour, because you spend a lot of your time driving (while not being paid) for a 30 minute survey. You have to use all of your own equipment/phone/printer/paper/ink at your own expense. They really do not pay by the mile, instead it is a tax reimbursement. Mueller pays for no overhead. They have no logistic team to handle scheduling (because you have to make schedule) but not really, it is the home owners who make the schedule, and basically you have to cold call them with your personal cell phone number. Are they going to answer it? Would you? If I leave a voicemail, will they even listen to it and call back? If they call back, will it be at 7:30 at night. Will I be out grocery shopping? Will it be on a Sunday morning at Mass? I have to answer it, because if I don't make the appointment at their convenience I do not get paid. What if everyone wants Saturday mornings (which I could not do), instead of Tuesday and Thursday evenings. All this phone tag back and forth isn't considered a work. And the company wanted to have these done within 2-3 days from being assigned or ELSE!!!!

Mueller Reports claims that they do not utilize independent contractors, but hire their own employees. What does the above look to you? According to the reviews at Glassdoor, at the end of the day you made very little for being available to the beck and call of your part-time job every waking moment of your day.

There Is Already A Place In Hades Reserved The Noe Brothers ” (the owners of Mueller Reports)

7. There is also a  400 post thread from Inspection News on Mueller Reports, the first post in 2008. The discussion is most licensed home inspectors, and actually goes into 2015.

From 2009 (not muellers, but in the thead)

I had a call last week from a well known "Draw Inspection" company, that I have worked with for about 8 years. They needed 6-8 exterior photos, and complete a one page form of a strip shopping center. The town is about 30 miles away from me as the crow flies, with no easy way to get to the town. I told them it would be $150 and they said they could only pay $75 and she would need to get permission to pay that! The young lady said that they could not pay the $150 and that they would need to find someone else to do the inspection. 
I hope that the jobbers are learning that they need to charge their clients more than what they are doing. The sad thing is that they will always find some poor hungry schmuck to do the work.

That was 2009,

It's 2016. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

It's an empty building, not a Cathedral.


noun: cathedral; plural noun: cathedrals
  1. the principal church of a diocese, with which the bishop is officially associated.
    "St. Paul's Cathedral""

The former site of Saint Jean Baptiste Parish in Lowell Massachusetts is now an empty building. Due to demographic changes, there is not a Catholic population to utilize the building. So the Archdiocese of Boston closed the parish and removed the religious items and moved them to other parishes in and outside the diocese. 

There is now a marketing that this empty building is a Cathedral. I have nothing against the business venture utilizing the building as an entertainment venue. But the spin is that it is somehow a Cathedral, which it is not and never was. 

Just saying. 

They had an event there on New Year's Eve, which is a fake holiday. Fake cathedral for fake celebration. 

Makes sense.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Lost of Trust.

For Cliff

It's been a while since I've written anything. My views haven't changed and there is rarely anything I have regretted. Most of the things I wish I could write about are too personal or confidential either discussion or events with friends and families or at the Department of Children and Families where I still volunteer.

There is a lot I wish I could write about. But I can't. Not out of fear of disagreement or hostile social backlash, but rather due to trust and confidence I have in personal and professional relationships.

If I had to pinpoint the breakdown of the family or any institution for that matter, it would be the lost of trust.

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

"Trust is important, but it is also dangerous. It is important because it allows us to form relationships with people and to depend on them—for love, for advice, for help with our plumbing, or what have you—especially when we know that no outside force compels them to give us such things. But trust also involves the risk that people we trust will not pull through for us; for, if there were some guarantee that they would pull through, then we would have no need to trust them.[1] Thus, trust is also dangerous. What we risk while trusting is the loss of the things that we entrust to others, including our self-respect, perhaps, which can be shattered by the betrayal of our trust."
So there's what I got for Cliff and anyone else who may stop by.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Pinned Post: Parameters in Blogging/Social Media

When I first started to blog back in 04', it was a way to have an opinion without having to bother anyone who didn't want to read it. I always used my name, because it's no different if we were having a conversation face to face, ideally.  This was before Facebook/Twitter. In the beginning I would get nasty/snarky anonymous comments. I figured that would change, especially with Facebook.


I use Twitter to share blog links, and try to keep Facebook to personal friends and acquaintances. Sometimes we discuss politics/religion, but because I know these people our actual conversations for the great majority have been really good with exception. And with those exceptions, I learned maybe it's OK to not be friends, and still be good neighbors with mutual friends. I also learned keeping friends and acquaintances that are different then me is very important, let each other know someone who disagrees with them is a human being.  

Twitter is not for conversations/explanations. I do my best to avoid them. If you ask me why, it's probably you're too lazy to click on the link (which explains why) or think you're too entitled and demand an 140 character answer from me. And even if you clicked on the link, which would take at least 15 minutes to properly read to understand the policy behind the point.

I understand you may not have that time. That's OK. But we're human we are capable of expressing an idea beyond an Internet Meme, yes which I do share time to time. But if you ask why? I give you an answer. Please don't insult me and said you read something in under two minutes, and your a fast reader in between breaks of whatever you were doing. Sorry. I can't take that in good faith. Just say thanks, I'll may read it later when I have time. Even if it is a fib, and you don't is it that hard?

I'm trying to be charitable, but even when I attempt to explain that we need to slow down and take a moment to pause and maybe even reread later I would be accused of being uncharitable.Whatever I do or say you will find a way to be offended. I've been down that path before. I'm not going to waste my time.

When will I be fed to the lions?