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My mother sent this card to me a while back with that title. This is what it said:

Turn off your TV. 
Leave your house. Know your neighbors. Greet people.
Look up when you are walking. Sit on your stoop. 
Plant flowers. Use your library. 
Play together. 
Buy from local merchants. Share what you have. 
Help a lost dog. Take children to the park.
Garden together. 
Support neighborhood schools. 
Fix it even if you didn't break it. 
Have pot lucks. 
Honor elders. Pick up litter. 
Read storeis aloud. 
Dance in the street. 
Talk to the mail carrier. 
Listen to the birds. Put up a swing. 
Help carry something heavy. 
Barter for your goods. 
Start a tradition. Ask a question. 
Hire young people for odd jobs. 
Organize a block party. 
Bake extra and share. Ask for help when you need it. 
Open your shades. Sing together. Share your skills. Take back the night.
 Turn up the music. Turn down the music. 
Listen before you react to anger. 
Mediate a conflict. 
Seek to understand. 
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles. 
Know that no one is silent athough many are not heard. 
Work to change this. 
mccain.jpegLast night I had a dream about John McCain. I don't usually dream about politicians, least of all, politicians that I don't particularly like. But after watching an interview with him on CNN and reading an unflattering interview in Time, I guess I set myself up for this.

Anyway, here's how it went.

I was a reporter for a small, insignificant newspaper. (No big surprise there) and I won an opportunity to sit in on a major interview with McCain. Afterwards, I would be allowed to ask a few questions myself. I arrived at McCain's house in the suburbs where every house was new and looked identical except for landscaping. I seriously doubt McCain has a house like this, but in my dream he and his wife had moved there to make themselves look more "normal" to the American voters. 

The man let me in himself and as we were walking to the dining room he stopped in the family room to show me a "couch" that he and his wife were planning to get rid of. His daughter, he said, had told him the couch had to go. It was made of very soft red leather and dark wood trim, queen anne style - Not my taste at all. In fact, as I looked at the couch I thought of drag queens and the movie Marie Antoinette. He asked if I liked it. "It's really interesting", I smiled, trying to be nice but honest. "Would you like it? I mean, if you want it, I could have it delivered to you." We had just met and he was offering me a gift, an expensive gift at that. I got the feeling this gift came with his hope that I would write about him in a flattering way, regardless of how the interview went. I didn't know what to say except, "Well, if it helps, I read your interview with Time last night and I feel some sympathy for you."  "It's a start", he says.

The next scene of my dream, McCain is finished with his interview with the big-time reporter and he turns to me and says, "You have 10 minutes." He doesn't look happy at all, so I quickly spout off "Why should I vote for you? Why do you want to be MY president?"  Suddenly his face turns really sad and he says, " I don't want to be President." Only he says this in such a way that it's as if I, of all people, should know this and he disappointed that I don't.


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Everyone is talking about Hillary's speech last night at the DNC and I have to say, I appreciate her call for unity within the party. However, I just watched Michelle Obama's speech from the night before and I found it to be yet another example of the reasons why I trust this man to be the president we need right now.

Gandhi said "Be the change you wish to see in the world." And that is why I will never have free time again.

This town that we live in is a mess. It is a cluster-@#&% of bad planning, high taxes, irresponsible financial decisions and apathetic citizens. Not to mention a council paralyzed by fear, self-interest and laziness.
Clearly, I will never be running for office. But what I am doing is spending my "free" time researching ways to revive the people, aid in redeveloping the main street and mainly, bring the value of my home to a number I can live with when we finally move away to a town that doesn't require so much damn work.

I'm not going to lie. I have no love for this place, other than the few friends I've made here. Right now, living in Matawan is a burden, not a joy. Like many others, we moved here believing that the town was on it's way up; that Main street was going to be all flags, flowers and busy business. I had visions of buying my groceries, stopping by the post office and grabbing an ice-cream cone with my kids all, within a 1 mile strip of walkability. I thought I would become a "regular" at a quaint little cafe on Sundays. 

Little did we know that Matawan has been operating with a budget deficit that grows each year. Without serious change, our little small town dream will be bankrupt - literally. Which means that the 60% property tax increase that was just thrown at us will make no difference at all. My cute little house... I better get used to living in it's cramped quarters because we are stuck here. STUCK. STUCK. STUCK. 

I have never felt to trapped in all my life.

Baby has been backed into a corner. And you know what that means. I now have to fight my way out.

Thus begins a new non-profit citizens organization founded by myself, Mike, our friends Rebecca & Mark and Deana. We considered calling ourselves "Matawan Families With A Lot To Lose", but it's a bit wordy. I also like the "Get Shit Done Group" but it's not specific enough, I suppose. The name is not so important as the fact that we are a group of residents who have decided to take on all the problems with our sickly little community and systematically beat them down one by one. 

On the bright side, we have already met with the mayor once and it turns out he's a god guy who feels similarly and is putting forth good effort to help us. "Help ME, Help YOU" was our mutual message (with all the intensity of Cuba Gooding Jr.) 

That being said, during our meeting, as the mayor spoke about the 125k hole in the 2008 budget, I saw my life flash before my eyes. In this new version, the entire borough council hates my guts, along with select members of the police department and the borough employees. Who was it that said, "If they hate you, you must be doing something right." ?

We Can

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We are one people.


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