Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nice to know I am not the only down on the SEC

4. This is by far the most important part: The SEC is supposed to be watching for exactly these kinds of scams. Yet the SEC missed them, and they even brought in Madoff family members to monitor markets! That is how much they missed what was going on.

It gets a lot worse. A man named Harry Markopoulis repeatedly warned the SEC that this was a scam, that results such as what Madoff claimed were simply not possible. He sent detailed accusations about Madoff to the SEC. They were completely ignored.

Now, when do the people who ignored these vital communications go on trial? Madoff at least has the excuse that he wanted to be rich -- and, in a way, while it's a pitiful excuse, it's at least understandable.

What excuse do the regulators have? Why are they not being tried for criminal dereliction of duty? When they go on trial, we really will have a new day in securities law.

Read the full story here - with Ben Stein. The SEC was derelict. They need to be called to account also.

The advisors who shoveled the money Madoffs way - they need to be shaken down also.

His, Mine, Ours

I have been struggling with the concept that Ruth Madoff is forfeiting her single name accounts. I think if she knew, if she participated, if those funds had been stashed in her name, then she is rightly being asked or forced to give them up, those funds are in effect stolen property.

But if she brought those funds to the marriage, earned them thru legitimate business ventures, then they are hers.

It is not like I am torn up one way or the other, but what I am bristling against is the idea that as independent, successful married women, our single name assets can get mired in our partners business issues or criminal enterprise.

I know people all believe she knew and maybe she did, but there is knowing and then there is knowing and there is the fact some people lie and conceal things more successfully. Did the Governor of South Carolina's wife know about his Argentinian mistress? Did Elizabeth Edwards know?

I am not quibbling with who knew what. The fact is - until recently as married women, we could not own property and I think this is a slippery slope, I think this is a neat way for the Federal Courts, stacked with Bush appointees, to hack away at our rights. At my right as a woman to own my own, single name property. I think once it becomes part of the code, once there is precident, then sneaky lawyers, with an alternative agenda, can make hay.

Sometimes the punish may well fit the crime or presumed crime, until they bend the precident and twist it, to suit their own neferious purposes.

So that is the question that lingers for me... what is next, which little seemingly uninportmant right will they pick at next?

Monday, June 29, 2009

May he rot in torment...

I am heartened to see that finally - FINALLY - someone on Wall Street is getting what they so richly deserve. Bernie Madoff will spend the rest of his life in jail. He will die penniless and while I think it is sad that tax dollars will be spent to feed and cloth him, his loss of liberty is a lesson.

I am still deciding how I feel about the punishment meted out to his wife Ruth. I am struggling with the assets seized, which were in her name and her name alone. I hope that they truly were marital property, disguised, being placed in her name. I am sure her lawyers failed to offer proof, that they were solely hers.

Her biggest lose, is not the money however, her biggest lost will be living with the fact that her husband lied to thousands of people and to HER, for years and years.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The call of the wild is truly the call of the divine

I decided rather than rush tomorrow, I would go print my poem tonight. The lab is just up the road. I told my suite mate where I was heading and I headed out.

On the path, across the road near a huge oak tree, was a doe. She looked at me and I looked at here, eyes full of wonder and longing. She watched me, I watched her and this stretched between us for uncounted seconds. Then I looked away and she followed me, as I began to walk away, getting further and further away and then she bowed her head and again ate the sweet grass.

When I returned, a few minutes later, she was gone.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sauce Phobia

Yes I have sauce phobia, if the sauce is brown it likely has soy sauce in it and that means wheat. If the sauce is brownish or thickish, then that means a rue, which is flour and butter - both bad or it is creamy and well, creamy is not catastrophic, but bad all the same.

Last night there was rice with the stir fry in a brown sauce. I ate the rice with the cooked turkey sausage I brought from home and some lovely roast plum tomatoes I also brought from home. Yum. (Whole Foods.)

Tonight I had brought the other half of the sausage and plum tomatoes, hoping for more rice. Nope, bread, bread, bread. I so did not want to walk back to my cottage, after my 40 minute hilly bike ride, to get said rice. My legs and ass felt like jelly. Enough already.

So I inquired if perhaps, they did not have left over rice. Nope no rice. So I said, well I am gluten free and the dinner tonight is not?

Gluten Free you say, hold on and let me get Chef Brian.

Chef Brian?

So Chef Brian appears,complete in traditional chef gear, offers me some rice pasta and says, pointing at my tupperware of sausage and tomatoes, want me to warm that up and toss it with the pasta.

Yeah buddy and could you kiss me while you are at it.

So he proceeds to take out a pan, one labeled - Gluten Free Only.

"Is vegetable oil, I mean canola oil ok?"

Yes I say.

He heats the oil tossed in the pasta, added my meat mixture, tosses it.

"How about some dry white wine?"

I nod. Thinking I should just jump the glass, open flame be damned and kiss him.

He hits it with the wine, deftly slides it on a plate. Smiles at me and says, "Wow, that is not bad."

I nod, he tells me he will bring me my container after he has it washed in the dishwasher.

Wow. That pasta was amazing and way better than the weird stuff my class mates had to choose from.

Kenyon is developing a plan to be able to offer a gluten and lactose free entree at every meal this fall. With dedicated cookware and appetizing and non stigmatizing menus. He was hired to do that and was somewhat excited to have four woman, this week, to work with. He wants to learn. He asked me many questions about what I liked, what worked. He has taken classes in cooking for those with allergies and this is his first chance to be an agent of change, to make it happen.

It felt so nice, to have someone take care of me that way. Certainly I had brought the components, but Brian had deftly and sweetly combined them and cooked them and asked me thoughtful questions.

No sneers or sighs. Just simple cooking and a great meal.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kenyon Review Writers Workshop

This week I am at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, studying poetry with Carl Phillips. Google him, he is way cool.

The campus is lovely and the time to think and write is so valuable. I have not been feeling as focused the first half of this year and I am hopeful that this experience will renew my creative well and help me that Zen writers place.

I am not short on ideas mind you, just time and focus.

I have never been to anything like this before and many of the participants are back again, which says something I think.

It also reinforces the notion that I write because I am a writer. Being published or actively seeking publication is a different animal. While it is is a goal, to be sure, it does not define me as a writer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Can I bring my flowers...

The day before the grand camping adventure was our little Diva's big dance recital. She was in two scenes. As we walked into the auditorium L asks, "Will I get flowers like last time?" She remembered we had all given her flowers afterward. Yes I replied.

She paused a bit and asked, "Can I take them with me?"

I thought about it. Did we have room for a vase full of flowers?

"Sure." I replied, "Why not."

So we toured Michigan with a vase of flowers. First in the middle compartment of my car and then in the sink of the RV, while on the road and then on the shelf in the front of the RV, when we were stopped.

It was very homey having the flowers. Amazingly they looked none the worse for the wear. A testment to the true strength and beauty of roses but also my baby girl.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Campfire Chronicles

I have been absent from the blog for awhile. School was winding down for L and I and we went on a family vacation. It has been a life long dream of H's to go camping in an RV, so he planned a family wonder bus tour of Northern Michigan. I will post pictures shortly, but I wanted to write a bit about the trip.

Unlike flying, where you have to take a little as humanly possible, when one camps, you have to pack up nearly your entire house! Linens, cooking gear, clothes, food, the entire nut. So we loaded up the family car and drove to the far west side of Cleveland to pick up our cute little RV and headed to Ann Arbor, for our first overnight. Prior to hitting the campground at Silver Lake, we hit Trader's Joe and Whole Foods in Ann Arbor. Given my food issues, those are must stops, if they are available. Both locations were wonderful. We had planned a trip to the Campus area in Ann Arbor, but had to bail and just headed to our campsite. We had a dinner of sandwiches and fruit and then crashed. The kitchen table converted to a bed and H slept there with E on the floor of of the RV in his sleeping bag. "Cool I get to be a sausage!" he kept singing.

L and I had the "bed" and snuggled together behind the curtain. It was snugly and I will not say that this bed is winning any awards for comfort, but it was pleasant to snuggle with my babygirl, who is growing up faster than fast.

We stuck with this sleeping arrangement for the duration of the trip.

The next morning we took a bike ride around the park and played outside for a bit and then packed up and drove to Mackinaw City. With a brief stop in Frankenmueth, for a not so German lunch at a not so German Pub and a brief walk around at a very strange year round Christmas Shop.

We pulled into the campground at Mackinaw City, around 5 pm and we were hungry and the weather was gray and dreary and I was hormonal... naturally my period starts early while we try camping for the first time.

I will admit to having a momentary freak out, as H tried to grill in the rain and I have nightmares of a broken RV toilet and trips to the outhouse... we later found the REAL bathroom and all was well...

Now this begs the question - if the campground has an outhouse and a REAL bathroom - clean bathroom... WHY the HELL would you go to the OUTHOUSE?

In the sunlight the campground was beautiful, in the gray not as much, but Wednesday was fair and we settled in, biked 2.2 miles to town and took the ferry across to the Island.

The Island is great. E loved the ferry. We lunched, played in the park with kids from Ann Arbor, the dad was also a pilot - so he and H had a grand chat and then we biked to the rock arch, hiked up to it and then headed home. Biked 2.2 miles and tried to cook out over the fire. Um, well we had some issues. Which the 60s somethings from Atlanta helped us with and we did managed hotdogs and hamburgers for dinner. (L rode her own bike! Go L! This from the girl last summer who wailed she could never ride a 2 wheel bike! She biked in total over 14 miles in 2 days!)

Which brings me to camping observation #2. The people are so friendly and helpful. They knew we had never done this and they were willing to help. The guy who lent us the gass grill the night before to the guys who coached on campfire prep. They are good people, who generally are nice and friendly and willing to lend a hand.

The next day we hung out at the campgrounds - had a picnic lunch of tacos and then heading into town to letterbox for L and see the sights. Mackinaw City is really cute. That said it was also deserted. Which is troublesome. I think in part it was the weather, a tad bit chilly, but also I think it is a sign of the times and it was admitedly early in the season.

We rode home and then had a proper dinner, over a proper campfire! We are quick studies. The kids made friends and loved the even spent making smores and playing outside.

Next morning we broke camp and drove to Sleeping Bear Dunes outside Traver City. In a word BEAUTIFUL. Mackinaw had been lovely, but the Dunes and the view of lake Michigan, BEAUTIFUL!

We climbed the Dunes and then went to make camp. It was much easier now and we had ourselves set up in no time. Another good fire and meal, and L and E loved to play and get dirty. E collected the catapillers in his bug house.

The next day we biked (L rode with E, given the steep hills and the fact that there was no trail!) to the little town of Empire and shopped the farmers market and discovered a beautiful beach and playground. I collected stones and glass and enjoyed the beautiful day.

Then Sunday we treaked home. A long ten hours on the road, 8 in the "BUS" as E dubed it and 2 more by car.

I have to say I was dubious about the RV and camping, but I actually had a good time. It is alot of work and it is not exactly what I think of as vacation, but the kids had a ball, we saw some beautiful places and I could be away from home and safely gluten free, which is more and more important of late.

H and I worked well as a team and we did all have a good time. Sure there was my freak out and H's fire issues, but all in all it went really smoothly and we were open to learning and expering and frankly with us life has always been an adventure - that was his promise to me, an adventure and this certainly was.

L and E already want to go back and they really are children of nature and that is a good thing. I want to have active and helathy kiddos.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gone Monkey

I have to say, I think the government buying into the GM in such a far reaching way, is absolutely insane. More insane than dumping money in the banks. It is pure unadulterated lunacy. (Translation: It is a stupid waste of my tax dollars.)

I get that over 100,000 plus retirees would have suffered and I get that the economy of the midwest depends heavily on the auto powerhouse, but this buy in, this government ownership is only going to ease the situation a little bit. The reality is the new company is going to be smaller, require less workers and make less revenue year over year.

AND frankly that is a big IF! I am not sure they have what it takes to get it together and make cars that people will want to buy. I am not sure the brain trust that is the board of GM has what it takes to MANAGE this transition effectively. They have however managed to run the company into the ground.

The reality is clear... we have social problems in this country that get a few peanuts in terms of assistance from our government and then we have BIG BUSINESS who seems to view Washington as their personal ATM. The ask for and gets more money than is conceivable.

I ask you then, who OWNS the government. Clearly it is not for the people, by the people, it is for the BUSINESS, by the BUSINESSES.

I guess at the end of the day the Greedy Rat Bastards do win, or at least get lots of my tax dollars...