Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cast Your Vote

Gentle readers, October 8th marked the final day to register for November 2nd's mid-term election in New York State.  Your MatchGirl sincerely hopes that you have registered and that you plan on being at  the polls on November 2nd.

It may not seem like a big deal, a mid-term election.  But, it is.  If you are still unemployed.  If you are under-employed.  If you are living paycheck to paycheck.  If you are worried about what will become of you if things don't start to improve, then it is most certainly a big deal to vote in this election.  Whomever is elected next month will be instrumental in forming your future.

You can find a comprehensive list of all the candidates, for New York State or your own, on the Smart Voter website.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ah, gentle readers, as you may be aware, your MatchGirl is fast approaching one of those pivotal birthdays - one of those milestone years that makes you re-examine your life, your decisions; where you've been and where you want to go; what you want versus what you need.

I think that I have been pretty lucky, in general.  I have a great and loving support system in friends and family.  I have people that care what's going on in my life and whether I am OK or not - whether I am working or unemployed.  I have you, dear ones, reading and sending encouragement to me and, more importantly, to each other, via this little web page and the Facebook page.  I have a roof over my head and money to buy groceries and dinners and cocktails.  I am slowly (very slowly) getting my shit together to save some pennies after a very long year and a half of unemployment.  I've been at my current job for about six months and, by all accounts, it's going pretty well.

When I was 25 and thought ahead to being 35, it seemed very far away.  And it was.  Looking back to 25 feel like a lifetime has passed in that decade.  So many things have happened.  So many people have come in and out of my life.  But, in 2000, it seemed like I had a lot of life ahead of me, like 35 was a long time away.  And, I knew, that by the time I was 35, I would be an adult.  I would be established in my career.  I would be married (I thought to the man I was with when I was 25).  I would have a very "grown-up" home.  I would have children.  None of these things have come true.  And 45 does not seem so far from 35 as 35 did from 25.

So, I am considering need versus want.

I lack for very little.

Yet, I still want.  Don't we all?

I mean, I need to save money.  I need to pull together savings for retirement, even though I've just barely started a new career.  I need to save for the eventuality of a home and children and all the hundreds and thousands of dollars that go with those commitments.  I need to continue to do well in my job - to grow and move ahead within it.  I need to keep a roof over my head a my belly full of good food and to do yoga and get enough sleep and drink enough water.  I need to know that I am loved.  And I need to give my own love.  These are my needs.  They are simple.  They are basic.  They are, I think, pretty universal.

But I want.

I want this little gold octopus necklace I keep spying in the vitrine at Catbird.
I want these cute DKNY sheets.
I want pretty much the entire Hayden Harnett Fall 2010 collection.
I want a new tattoo by the very talented Myles Karr.

But that's the thing.  They're just wants.  My life, dear readers, will go on, even without the Cromwell jacket.  And, those of you who know me know I already have a couple of necklaces with octopus motifs, so...  you know...  I don't really need the necklace either.  And my shoulder can live ink free for a while longer - it's gone this far...

When I was younger and my birthday or a holiday approached, I could easily whip up a Wish List for my parents/family members/boyfriends of things I absolutely "had to have".  It was so simple.  I wanted so much.  I don't feel want in the same way any longer.  It's definitely not a want that feels like a need.

Simply a wistful, wishing kind of want.

There are so many more important things in my life these days.

Things that I actually need:

Perfect kisses.
A strong hand to hold.
A place to put my thoughts.
A circle of friends - to share laughs and tears and crazy nights and quiet Sunday afternoons.
Sunshine through my windows.
Mornings of yoga and black coffee.
A crazy job to go to and a quiet home to come back to.

Pretty basic, really.

But, don't get me wrong.  If any of you feel like buying me any of the things that I want ...  well, that's cool, too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Millenials - Generation Y-Not?

A couple of weeks ago, gentle readers, the New York Times published - in the Sunday Magazine – an article about the new generation of twenty-somethings.  About how they are now adults (as adults are perceived).  About how they are not on a career track.  About how, maybe due to the economy, maybe not, are moving back home with Mom and Dad.

And while the impression given, despite the fact that all the photos were by twenty-something Yale MFA grads, was one that the current generation of twenty-somethings is a bunch of freeloading, lazy and uninspired kids, your MatchGirl sees that proven wrong every day. And, while, dear ones, your MatchGirl may be well out of her twenties – firmly planted in GenX – the Millenials and those at the tail end of GenY who she knows are certainly no slackers.

Through this little web space alone, your MatchGirl has been introduced to a ton of twenty-something “kids” who disprove the Times’ thesis every day.  From my Work It Brooklyn co-founders Joann Kim  and Aja Marsh to my kid sister who works full time as a rape crisis counselor while going to graduate school to my friend Emily, working crazy hours in the fashion world while constantly striving for culinary perfection.  Not one of these women is a slacker.  Not one of hit hard times and just turned tail and moved back in with her parents.  Certainly not one of them decided to just mooch off of someone else while they figured their shit out.

Every couple of years, an article comes out touting the next generation as lazy or ditzy or less than the generation that came before them.  Your MatchGirl must warn against painting a whole generation with such a wide brush.

I mean, my grandparents – the “greatest generation” – definitely looked at the next generation, my parents’ generation, as a bunch of loser, slacker, hippie, do-nothings, too.

Just a thought.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jane Austen?

A month or two ago, sitting with a girlfriend in my kitchen, drinking beer and sewing curtains, we gossiped, as people do, about relationships - past, present and future. As stories unfolded, she looked at me, gentle readers, and told me that I should write them all down, so that when she was finished reading the works of Jane Austen, she could read the tales of your MatchGirl's loves and losses.

Now, your MatchGirl has not read a lot of Jane Austen, though perhaps that would be a good summer reading endeavor, but my life's loves are certainly full of complex stories. There are none so simple as "girl meets boy". Of course, is that ever really the case in this modern society? We spend so much time online - making friends and acquaintances over social networking sites. We keep in touch with those we love over text messages and e-mails. I don't know about you, dear readers, but I barely just talk on the phone any longer.  It's a rare treat when I have the time.

I have one dear friend who met a girl in real life, and then, while living in separate countries, and chatting online and via Skype on a regular basis, decided that they should be in a relationship - before they had ever been alone together.  They've, of course, since spent time together.  And, to my eyes, and your MatchGirl has known this gentleman for a very long time, he is very happy.

Your MatchGirl, in case you could not tell, loves the written word.  And I love getting to know someone using the written word, but I wonder if all these things (of which I heartily partake) that are supposed to make it easier to communicate really make it harder.  I wonder if we were better off in those days where you met someone, in real life first, and got to know them slowly over a matter of time - over drinks and coffees and dinners and walks from the movie theater.  I remember those times.  I'm not sure my life was any better for it, but I wonder about them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Benefits Getting The Boot?

Listening to On the Point last night on NPR, gentle ones, your MatchGirl was stunned that so many still think that those collecting unemployment benefits are lazy.  Happy just sitting on their asses while "collecting free money" and making fools of those who are working, paying for their cushy, unemployed lifestyle.

As someone who was unemployed for a year and a half, who worked my ass off looking for jobs, working on my resume and trying to find new and different things to do and new directions for myself, I am offended by people who say these things.  While there are lazy people amongst the unemployed, they are, in my experience, not the norm.  Just like any government program, there is always the assumption that the majority of the people benefiting from it are taking advantage - milking the system - and not those actually in need.

And, this, dear readers, is bullshit.

Below is a an overview of On The Point and links to some of the guests.  No surprise that the most offensive of them is Stephen Moore, of the Wall Street Journal.

Give it a listen and see if you agree...

Census Bureau Says One in Seven Americans Lives in Poverty 

The National Bureau of Economic Research said today the Great Recession that started in December 2007 officially ended in June of last year.  But don't tell that to the 43.6 million people who are trying to live below the poverty line.  That's 14.3% overall, or one in seven Americans and includes 20% of all children, 25% of blacks and Hispanics.  It's the highest poverty rate since 1994, and the Census Bureau says it would have been worse except for government safety nets. Food banks, shelters and job-opportunity centers around the country tell us they're serving a new and different class of people, the recently unemployed. What's the reaction in Washington, six weeks before the November election? Will the private sector start hiring or should government create new jobs?