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March 18, 2011

it’s been awhile.  It’s been so long wordpress has revampted it’s site.  Oh well.  I have an enormous amount of school work, an exhausting — emotionally and physically — job, a boyfriend, a talkative roommate (who I love), pets, and a rather high level of exhaustion at any one time.  Plus I write daily in a journal.  Not nearly as much as I would like, and no where near as deeply or existential as I would like — but daily.  Two make sure I am writing in two places daily is quite difficult.  But, these are merely excuses.  Oh…one more…I feel the need to write something of substance whenever I write (unless I am just documenting my day — which is also a part of my daily writing ritual) and I am usually either way too exhausted to go there or I am just too dried up from all this academic who-ha my brain is being soaked up with.

So, I am still very much hating school.  More and more I find myself amazed at how incredibly ‘un social work-y’ my professors are.  Their lessons often contradict their practices and it is truly incredible.  More and more I find my beliefs about the structure being the greater perpetuator of poverty than the individual.  Well, that depends on how we are using individual here.  I mean it as the actual person in poverty (who is deemed solely responsible by our welfare system as the system does not address or really acknowledge the structure that creates poverty).  If we are talking about the individual meaning the apathetic masses who are brainwashed by made up sayings such as ‘welfare queen’ or over used, over exaggerated terms such as welfare fraud — than, yes, they play a very large role in not only perpetuating poverty, but in allowing an ever increasing wealth gap.

I have spent much of this semester self-educating on the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) law.  What I feel most passionate about is still issues of living wage — mainly because I feel it is a compromisable, winnable issue.  But, through working at Pathways and through my education, I am becoming increasingly aware of the umbrella-ness effect of wages.  Why did I never take an economics course in college?! (and why did I tell my interviewer at DC Fiscal Policy Institute — one of the organizations I am currently obsessed with — that?!)  Issues regarding housing and welfare are so tied to issues of living wage, as under Clinton’s 1996 welfare make-over Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) work requirements are heavily thrown into the mix…the focus of work being so heavily thrown in, that education goes by the weigh said.  Basically a job making minimal wage — which will fulfill work participation requirements needed for states to earn certain credits — is better than investing in education that will have an individual enter the workforce with the opportunity for wage mobility instead of wage stagnation at about $9 an hour (if that).

Research — to go beyond personal bias and opinion to actual hard facts — is another area I am falling more and more in desire of.  Research, not research class.  Teaching research out of a book without actually doing research — especially when said class is from 6 – 8 PM on Thursday nights after 8 – 4 work day — is not the best way to get anyone interested in research.  Fortunately my stirring to do research (which desperately needs social worker interest) started before the class.

So that’s that.  Switching gears….music.  I am a person of words.  I love words.  I am fascinated by the ordering people choose for their words.  The words they choose out of all the words that can say almost the same exact thing.  The almost is, of course, huge.  Therefore the poetry of music, accompanied by the melody, blows my mind.  It strikes at emotions in a way that is so powerful.  All forms of the word expose the human condition that connects us all, but there is something about a song that can overflood our souls with emotion.  Some of my favorite singer-song writer are John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), who ever writes the Cat Empire songs, Eddie Vedder, Harii Bandhu, Courtney Love, Paul Simon, and…my beloved Van the Man.  This is not an all inclusive list, nor does this mean there aren’t other singer-songwriters I just LOVE (Janis)…I just don’t interpret their songs as masterful pieces of poetry as those I’ve mentioned.  Janis speaks to me in other ways, but I don’t poor over the written lyrics on my album covers of her music the way I do with, say, Joni Mitchell’s.

I’ve always wished I could be some brilliant singer-songwriter, but alas, I am the most musically uninclined person I’ve ever come across.  Oh well, TANF stat sheets it is for this one….

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