Wednesday, April 28, 2010

109 - Don't Ever Back Down

Well readers, we did it!

As I disembarked the 105 bus tonight the driver informed me the route had been spared from the chopping block!

As he put it, "I'm not sure who called, but somebody did. And so it's saved."

While I am sure that my letters and enlistment of other riders to voice their concern to Marta via fax and email had almost no impact on the decision, I am so happy that "somebody" did stand up to help us out.

Maybe it was my Sandy Springs City Councilwoman; or my Georgia State Reps I reached out to; maybe it was the folks from UPS and Newell Rubbermaid who got Marta's ear. Maybe it was someone else entirely.

As the song says, everybody needs somebody sometime.

In this instance, "everybody" equals the riders of the 105 route....and while we may never really know who our "somebody" was, I offer my heartfelt thanks to them just the same.

As a side bar, I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone that the chance to affect change lies within each of us.

My battle cry for years has been, "I'm going to have to write a strongly worded letter about this"...with the "this" changing all the time.

Sometimes it has been poor service...or very good service; sometimes it's an injustice I perceive; sometimes it's about poor planning or intolerable actions or poor judgement by elected officials. And sometimes it's about a stupid ad for a stupid show in the corner of the TV screen during LOST.

But whether trivial or serious, I take the time to document my issue if I feel it's warranted. If nothing else, I get to vent and then I feel better.

Sure, many of these missives probably never get to the top dog but you'd be surprised at some of the responses I've gotten. At best, I've gotten three months of free cable (one email did what 4 phone calls could not do); at worst, I got someone fired. (call me if you want that story..)

My life as an advocate.

It's not always been easy.

I have been made fun (lightheartedly, I think) and told from time to time that I am wasting my time; one person even went so far as to call me "stupid for thinking what you think matters".. (needless to say, things didn't work out with that one..he's no longer on my roster).

But today, in the face of all the naysayers who say we should just sit back and accept things they way they are, I remind them that when you accept less than you deserve you often get less than you settled for.

And if you are willing to accept that, more power to you.

But I am not willing to accept less.

So, I'll continue to speak my mind...even if my voice shakes when I do so.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

110 - I am too Upset to Write Today

I discovered on the way home that my beloved (and well traveled) WVU pin fell off my bag somewhere between the office and the overpass bridge at 400.

You know the song You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile?

Well, I am never fully dressed without that pin.

I am bereft. That pin is (or rather was) with me everywhere I go (or went).

I've worn it to every conference I've been to in the last eight years. People look for the West Virginia pin at these events.

It's my calling card. And I'd dare say it's integral to my identity.

And now it's gone. Vanished in the urban jungle. -sigh-

I am too upset to type tonight.

So, I give you the words of Robert Frost and an image of some of the terrain I traverse daily during my commute.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Monday, April 26, 2010

111 - Witnessing You Jerkin the Gherkin is Not How I Wanted to Start my Day

Sir, I commend you for your effort to discreetly play with “your junk” this morning on the bus.

Sadly, you failed miserably in trying to do so on the down low.

While sitting one row in front of you and across the aisle (thank God) I couldn't help but notice the rather herky jerky movements of your hand, which was tucked into your windbreaker pocket. Unsure as to what all the commotion was about I turned and HALLO – I got verification that what I thought was happening was - in fact - happening.

Sometimes I hate it when I am right.

While I am no prude and fully support your right to self satisfy, I have to say a Marta bus might not be ideal place to tackle this endeavor. Call me old fashioned, but I think that sort of behavior should be reserved for the privacy of one’s own home…or one’s own vehicle, at the very least.

Should you decide to spank the monkey in the future you might want to:
  1. Sit further back on the bus…so you have less chance of being noticed during your drill;
  2. Sit on the inside seat rather than on the aisle. Again, this might save another passenger the shock of noticing you in the midst of cleaning of the pipes ; and
  3. Practice your hand movements to improve the fluidity of doodling your noodle
In the meantime, I’ll try to keep my gaze firmly on my book because frankly, I am rather fearful of what else I might see should my eyes once again stray.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

114 - Leaving 35 minutes Early Saved me all of 10 Minutes...


AM
Got up early to get into the office early...at least that was my plan.

I caught the 7:35ish version of the bus thinking that I'd get in about 30 minutes earlier than normal.

Marta thawrted that effort. Thanks to not only catching every red light and a driver who couldn't seem to get the bus to the actual speed limit, I didn't make the 8 am train.

Needless to say, I was not the happiest camper when I arrived at the Dunwoody station.

To add insult to injury, I was not only miffed...I was also a disgusting, sweaty mess.

It was 56 degrees Friday morning...so naturally the bus driver had the heat on 80. Even my knees were sweating by the time we arrived at the train station. So glad I bothered to shower...that was 10 extra minutes of sleep that went literally down the drain.

Long story short - I left 35 minutes earlier only to arrive 10 minutes ahead of when I normally arrive.

This is the problem with Marta. It's not consistent and to the casual user it's too much hassel for minimal time savings. And until they fix this issue, the system will continue to struggle.
-----
PM

I ran into my fellow Marta rider and friend Vanessa. She's the featured photo on today's post.

Though I've been riding the train for 8 months this is the first time I've bumped into her.

Funny how much faster the train ride goes when you can catch up with a friend.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

115 - Mother Earth and Father Time


How very special are we
For just a moment to be

Part of life’s eternal rhyme


How very special are we

To have on our family tree
Mother Earth and Father Time

He turns the seasons around

And so she changes her gown
But they always look in their prime


They go on dancing their dance

Of everlasting romance

Mother Earth and Father Time


The summer larks return to sing
Oh, what a gift they give
Then autumn days grow short and cold
Oh, what a joy to live

How very special are we

For just a moment to be

Part of life’s eternal rhyme

How very special are we

To have on our family tree
Mother Earth and Father Time

~from Charlotte’s Web

It's Earth Day. So I decided to figure out just how much "impact" I have on the World.

The good news is that I am well below the average for production of CO2. The bad news is that with such a low number it's bound to go up at some point.

Heck, if kicked the bucket today my cremation service would up my numbers. And not in a good way!

If you want to calculate your carbon footprint, cut and paste this into your browser.
http://www.bp.com/calculator.do

And the above poem was sung by Charlotte in the original version of Charlotte's Web. If you'd like to hear it cut and paste this into your browser.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq5jahYjrcc

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

116 - The Things a Driver Will do to Stay on Schedule

"We did suspend the guy," said the spokesman Lyle Harris. "Obviously, that's not something you're allowed to do."

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/marta-driver-suspended-after-477801.html?imw=Y

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

117a - Guess Who Fell Off the Mount Vernon overpass?

That would be me. I took a knee in the road like Elvis..and to the right is the result of impact.

Fortunately, there was no one coming westbound to hit me. Otherwise I would have missed LOST tonight and you know that really would have pissed me off.

117 - X Marks the Spot



This morning on the bus I was greeted with these lovely images....

I wasn't sure if it was paintball gone wrong....or if there had been an axe murder at the bus storage facility.

Apparently, it was neither.

This "splash of color" is supposed to indicate routes and trains that will vanish if the proposed cuts go through.

Monday, April 19, 2010

118 - There is Little Doubt this Vehicle was Inspired by Dr. Suess

And all I have to say is that if I stumble upon a moss-covered, three-handled family gredunza, I am outta here.

121 - In the last 24 hours I've


ridden a bus...

taken a train...

hopped a monorail...

rode on a jet...

took another train...

and walked a considerable distance.

I also was stuck at the Rockville Metro Station as I didn't have any cash to add to my fare card. And their machine didn't take debit cards.

I finally exited the station...only to discover my ride was one stop further up the line.

So, back into Rockville station, to get another fare card..and then to Shady Grove.

This is what the train looked like when I disembarked at Rockville ....when I got on 20 minutes later it was super packed...so much so that I couldn't even take a photo.

Calgon, take me away.

122 - As seen on Metro in DC


Have coffee pot, will travel...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

123 - When does Temporary become Permanent?


Is there a threshold for when one becomes the other?

I’m just wondering.


Because this is what we’ve been seeing since the first week of February.


And it seems that if it was a temporary issue, it would have been fixed by now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

124 - Don't Judge This Book by its Cover

This week I am reading Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt.

It's the true story of how one family deals with the loss of their Amy. Who was a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend and a doctor. And apparently, a force to be reckoned with too.

At only 166 pages you might think this would be an easy read.

You would be wrong.

Roger (ironically the name of my own father) packs a lot of punch into these pages. Yours truly had tears running down her face this evening on the way home. And for the record, no, I wasn't embarrassed.

I am only 52 pages in and I am divided into three very distinct feelings regarding this Amy:
  • one third is jealous of her and her happy life with her doctor husband and three cute kids;
  • another third is feeling like I've been a total slacker...she was married with three kids by the age of 38...and here I am at almost 37 with not so much as a pet or a date in sight;
  • and the final third is angry that I never had the chance to know this complex, wonderful woman.
Her father writes of Amy's funeral and states that the gathering of mourners came from near and far. Old friends, coworkers, even the Terminix guy came to the funeral, where the minister stated, "What better remembrance of Amy's indistinguishable light than how we now illuminate each other's lives."

What a wonderful statement.

What a powerful way to be remembered.

And while statements and memories and stories and tales might not ever really comfort those left behind, what a gift those in Amy's life were given. They were given her and all the joy she brought in her 38 years on Earth.

And that joy will carry over to those she touched in ways none of us can see or measure. And it will continue to touch and shape and alter those who are forced to forge ahead with out her.

What an incredible life she had.

Maybe what I am feeling is not jealousy or anger.

Maybe it's awe for someone who really lived a life worth living.

And for someone who brought out the very best of everyone else in her orbit.
----------
If you are interested in the book, you can find more detailed information on it here: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Making-Toast/Roger-Rosenblatt/e/9780061825934/?itm=1&USRI=Making+Toast

(For those in Fulton County, the public library does have copies too.)

125 - Just My Luck!

For the past two weeks I’ve not arrived at the Dunwoody station in time to catch the nightly bus home. I always seem to get there in between bus runs. Which means it’s faster to go one more stop and then walk about 10 minutes (or one mile) home. So, that’s what I’ve been doing.

Of course last night, a night where rather than head home I opted to walk to Perimeter Mall to shop for a bit and then meet up with my friend Katie, I get to Dunwoody right on time. And wouldn’t you know it; the bus was just sitting there waiting for me. On the one night I’ve no need to utilize its services.

Edward Gibbon once said, “The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.”

A deep thought from someone who clearly never tried to get anywhere using Marta.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

128 - Step It Up

Today's title come from Stereo Mc's. If you are in the mood to cold kick it live, you can hear the tune here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R4FsV1qLCE.

Last night I watched the DVD on how to walk correctly in the new Skechers. After my viewing I felt rather confident that I could embark on my inaugural voyage without falling flat on my face.

Friday morning arrived and I took off in the new shoes. Happy to report I didn't fall down.

But, do you know the song Bring the Pain by Method Man? Yeah, that could have been my theme song on the way into the office.

By the time I got to the office every muscle and tendon in my feet were killing me. It was like they were being twisted into double helices. I am unsure if the shoes were toning the other areas (butt, thighs, calf, abs) because the only thing I was aware of was the fire-like feeling in my feet.

Hopefully this pain is just the result of the shoes not being broken in yet. Cuz if that isn't the reason, these kick will be out of commission post haste.

So I'll continue to the left, to the right, step it up, step it up it's alright until the feet don't ache. While I love me some Method Man, Bring the Pain just can't be my theme song.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

129 - But I would Walk 500 Miles....


...and I would walk 500 more just to BE the (wo) man who walked a 1000 miles to fall down at your door.

Yes, some days it does feel like I've walked a 1000 miles. And I've got the swollen ankles to prove it.

That said, I decided on the way home tonight to grab a pair of Skechers Shape-Up shoes. I figure if I am going to be hauling myself around town the least I could do is get some shaping action on the side.

The catalyst for this purchase was my compadre Jennifer. She got a pair earlier this week and it was her raging endorsement that got me to pull the trigger and get some new kicks. FYI - She writes way better than I do and she's got a blog too..check out http://chapternext.typepad.com/open_book

And now, back to the shoes.

In the event you are unaware, Skechers Shape-Ups are supposed to:
  • promote weight loss
  • tone muscles
  • vacuum the living room
  • improve posture
  • improve blood circulation (which is a big deal for me...see above reference to my swollen ankles)
  • strengthen the back
  • file your taxes
  • reduce cellulite (praise the lord) and tone thighs
  • tighten the ab muscles
  • do the laundry
  • and finally, firm the calf muscles
These shoes are so advanced they came with a DVD! That's right, I have to watch instructions about walking to make sure I use these shoes correctly. And no, I am not making this up.

So on that note, I am off to watch what I am sure will be a Scorsese-esq film about how to walk correctly. Who knew there was more to it than just putting one foot in front of the other. No wonder I fall down so often.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

130 - This Week's Read...

is The Checklist Manifesto....I just started it this AM.

Not sure about it..I thought it was about how to get things done. Apparently, it's actually about how to get things right. And often, those are two very different things. So, we'll see how it goes.

The good news is that it's a short read so I should be able to get through it rather quickly.

Which will allow me to move on to this memoir that I've been clamoring to read:

Yeah, please pass the tissues.

(And PS - if you are looking for good story check out The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton....awesome.)

131 - Two Weeks Ago Yesterday

I walked out of the house and into snow flurries.

Today, it was 90.

When I got home from work my thermostat read 80 degrees. So I caved and turned on my air.

So much for Spring...looks like we moved right to the Summer portion of the program.

Monday, April 5, 2010

132 - The Kingston Trio Once Asked.....


....Where have all the flowers gone?

Apparently, they are all on Marta these days....

137 (3-31-10) - In a City of Roughly 5 Million People

and on a train with roughly 20 cars....and with about 50 people per car, it stands to reason that - of course - yours truly sits next to......a man from a town of roughly 2400 people...and it just so happens that town is the very same one in which my father lived in until he left for the Air Force in the early 50s. The same town that, until this generation, has been home to my family since our relatives got off the boat in NYC in the 1870s and made their way to the farmland of Wisconsin.

Oh - And btw, this happens less than 12 hours before I am scheduled to fly to the above referenced town for a visit.

I am no math major but I've gotta say the chances of this happening have to be to slim to none.

And yet, for some reason it did happen. To me. And I wonder what it means?