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Saturday, December 4, 2010

#reverb10- Dec. 3 Moment

I've decided to participate in #reverb10 to jump start my blogging. I learned about it from another Revgal and it seemed like a good idea. I don't guarantee I will do it every day or that I will finish, but I will try.
So day one for me is:
December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
We arrived in Turkey. The first day and the second day are mixed up in my mind but the first evening that we had on our own, I think was actually the second night or at least we had a full nights sleep. Beloved and I walked out into an area with no vehicle traffic, just foot traffic. It was busy. People in western dress and in eastern dress, women covered and uncovered, that is in burkahs and in western dress. My godchild who lived in Turkey for 5 years told us that it had become much more conservative, but to my uneducated eye not so draconian.
The street had many vendors including men, all the vendors were men squeezing pomegranates for juice and selling the juice which was ruby red and the seeds were like jewels. There were men selling all kinds of things, jewelery, pashima scarves. It was noisy, but not worse than NY on a noisy day, but my eyes were full of colors and new sights, exotic, exciting but European at the same time. The smell of food, smoke, body odor was everywhere.
We came to an area with small alleyways and lots of restaurants and looked into a number of them, and chose one at random. It was a hole in the wall with tables outside for smoking-we though as there was a man out there smoking- and inside tables with no customers. I guess we were early.
We ordered using what English the owner/waiter knew and the food was delicious. I had BBQ chicken cooked over a wood fire. It tasted like the best chicken I ever had, juicy, yet a little charred on the outside. The man outside was eating cheese and pickles and drinking Rake poured over a spoon into water where it made the water cloudy. We asked about the cheese. The waiter said "you don't want that!" We persisted! He continued. Finally, Beloved said we would order some. The waiter brought us a small sample. It looked like a solid white cheese as if you could slice Ricotta, but the taste was slightly funky and not really pleasant. I have eaten many cheeses, so was glad to have had a taste, but then the waiter told us it was made from the intestine-of what I am not sure. Then I was glad to have had just a taste.
After dinner we went to a dessert cafe where they had so many wonderful desserts including one made from chicken breast shredded and made with a sweet custard. The man next to us said it was good but hard to eat because of the stringy texture. I loved Turkey.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kathrynzj posted this excellent FF: "Whether a RevGal or a Pal most of us in this cyber community have enhanced responsibilities during this time of year. We also have traditions - religious and secular - that mark the season for us in a more personal way.

For this Friday Five please let us know five of the things that mark the season for you.

And the bonus? Tell us one thing that does absolutely nothing for you."

1. Tonight I will be wrapping gifts we give to homeless children with my SFX Lesbian Group-still not Catholic but still hanging out with them...

2. The Office Christmas Party. Yes I like it and it's fun because my counselor, Brian makes this game called 'ghetto grab bag' that is so funny, yet so mean and takes so long that every one is engaged and happy by the end and we go to really good restaurant in Brooklyn!

3. Lighting the Menorah with Beloved, because it's so intimate and lovely and watching the little candles grow every night and she says the prayer in Hebrew.

4. Seeing all the strange and makeshift lights on my street, because of course, we have not front yards so people make do and it's all kind of strange and fun.

Bonus 5. I hate that it all started before Thanksgiving and some of it even before Haloween, can you believe it!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Management Lessons

1.) Lesson One Never publicly chastize an employee. If you feel the need to correct an employee, take them aside or wait till later and call them to your office and speak with them.

I'm a counselor and also first level management, that is I'm a senior counselor and I manage a unit of 10, 7 counselors and 3 support staff. I attend many meetings including 2 management team meetings per month. I may have mentioned previously that about 2 years ago, my very good friend became our office manager. This has created boundary issues for me and for her in particular-I think.

Our office is very diverse with staff from Nigeria, Russia, Jamaica and lots of other islands, Puerto Rico, China, and etc. The new manager, a white Jewish woman (and I mention this because this is the default manager for our agency) rather than taking it slow when she came in, and getting the lay of the land, starting making change, some of it draconian, immediately. This caused instability in the office who had heard of this individual-as we are a small agency relatively-and were tentative about her coming to our office, or outright afraid.

This ultimately resulted in a letter from the staff to Human Resources and a meeting with the Assistant Commissioner and the District Office Manager and the staff, but not the offending manager. And some follow up corrective actions and some paranoia.
That's the setup:

In my unit I have several people with disabilities including myself, but one uses Access A Ride, the local option for individuals with disabilities who can't use bus/subways. This is a good but creaky option which requires reservations and wait time.

The day before a holiday we ofter close early, but we never know until the whim of the manager of that moment. Even the supervisors, first line managers don't know, so I made the mistake of asking at the management team meeting. I was publicly humiliated by my boss/friend who said, "You should know better. You work for the government. We never close early. If that happens if happens quietly and it's a gift. You don't ask if you're getting a gift?" All at shouting level. I explained that I was just trying to make arrangements for my counselor-who is also recovering from double c-spine surgery. "We can't make arrangements for every counselor." All this from a professional who works for people with disabilities.