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?