Showing posts from 2014

Historical Relativism Regarding 9-11

Perhaps it is just that this year has been especially stressful; or that the news has been rampant with killings and mass murders and beheadings and speculation. But I have been more preoccupied during the last couple weeks than I have in a very long time, and it came to a climax today, September 11, 2014.

Last night I was watching a movie on cable and my husband and dog were on the floor of our family room sleeping soundly and blissfully resting. I was staring at both and beginning to feel the personal ritual that plays in my head every year feeling more and more intense.

In 2001, I awoke in my Midtown apartment near the United Nations on Manhattan's East Side to a phone call from a lovely woman named Michelle who worked with my husband at the time. “Hello?” I said. “Turn on your TV!” she replied. I found the remote and did just that and found MSNBC just in time to see the second plane hit the World Trade Center (WTC). “Hello?” I said again; however the line had gone dead. At that…

It Is Impossible For Your Platoon to Be Effective if They Don’t All Absolutely Believe Their Sergeant Would Never Shoot Them in the Back

I have spent the last ten years living two professional lives simultaneously. The first is working for a federal agency and being branded a pariah. The agency leaders and contemporaries outside of my immediate department valued and appreciated my work and who I was. My immediate department’s fundamental nature was hostile. No matter how much effort I made or how much I created or produced, middle management made deliberate choices to devalue the work I did and consciously undermine me professionally to peers, clients and management. Fortunately, the second life I lived concurrently was through voluntarily supporting an agency that has continuously mentored me and trained me and trusted me to develop into the leader, spokesperson and advocate I now am.

That may sound like an unlikely combination, but it is primarily caused by the anomaly that effective management implies controlling your team rather than cultivating your team. When a few months ago, I finally got my courage up to begin…

An All-American RC Response

Today was going to be a slightly weird day no matter what, but as I headed out with my Aunt and my husband to go visit my cousin in hospice, I was completely disengaged somehow. I’m not sure if it’s due to my visiting so many people in the last year in assisted living communities that I have somehow psychologically checked out, but I guess it’s a basic defense mechanism.

People at the end of their lives due to cancer all look remarkably similar to one another. The two most recent experiences were the most different men before their ailments got the best of them.  One of them, an egocentric, academic philosopher musician who approached the world as a way to assist in the growth of knowledge and critical thinking; the other, a loving philosophic socially self-sustaining man who was battling to reach a goal imposed by others and ultimately who later stopped trying to meet standards that were impossible and did not keep himself from realizing who he was and that he deserved basic human dig…

Enlivening Easter Experience

Although I’ve volunteered for Red Cross for over a decade, I never know what to expect during a disaster response—but I always expect to learn something. When the Regional Disaster Coordination Center’s call came on Easter morning 2014, I woke, rubbed my eyes, threw clothes on and headed out. The fire was in Glenarden, Maryland in a nice apartment complex with roughly 100 units. Today, I had a special assignment to document a Red Cross response to an incident and to enable our photographer to get a telling image that could visually explain what we do at a Red Cross response.

As I drove up, I met Linda, the professional photographer Red Cross brought in for the project, and Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) members Alex, Dorinda and Lennox were out front with a Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) representative while multiple families were lingering outside with bags of belongings mingling and waiting with their neighbors. We all were determining the next steps and how to asse…