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Judy Atchinson's A Stubborn Woman
by Judy Atchinson

A Stubborn Woman

A Daily Gazette community blog
QUEST leader's wanderings and musings

A tale of tails

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
-- Helen Keller

Last week I shared food on two different days with two different amazing women.

One at lunch on a weekday who was once a powerful worker for United Way and another at dinner at a local Spanish restaurant who is a dedicated advocate and a political worker for the city of Schenectady.

To help me stay on track, here I will only speak of one common denominator for all three of us. (Besides good food, that is.) Animals that were part of one’s immediate family.

One woman spoke at great length of her sister's rescue dog, which lay at death's doorstep for days after an operation for spaying. The dog was so emaciated that she had no inner resources or reserves to call on. “Her legs were like match sticks,” my friend said. So here was this strong, amazing woman sitting by the semiconscious animal feeding her fluids from an eyedropper and infinitesimal bits of tuna bit by bit from her fingers. “I practice Reiki, you know”, she added, “so one night I gave this delicate dear dog three Reiki treatments and the next morning she ate the whole can of tuna.”

Everything went forward after that and the dog is still living at the same address, and I may add thriving. One additional comment, my dear friend added, that, “this dog is truly the ugliest dog I have ever seen.” So all you women out there viewing your face and body with concern, every single day remember this ugly dog story and think about the power of love and that beauty, well, beauty is just another word, but grit, determination and love, that’s what it is really all about!

On to the next dog story, or should I say multiple dog story. Over dinner at Flores my red-haired tablemate told me a tale about tails. Four of them. Including a rescue dog with separation anxiety which had totally destroyed her home up to and including the antique doors. How one room had been made over into a giant playpen for the poor, benighted creature, to no avail. How the dog finally learned to trust and play when a small Westie was brought in. A dog that was so filthy when found by the side of the road that it was black instead of white and literally crawling with fleas. They jumped from the dog to the lap of the woman who was holding her and traveled all over the car. This was the dog who the dog with separation anxiety decided to trust and play with. No lies here; this is better than a Lassie movie.

Now my friend tells me over rice and beans that they had to build a bigger bed, because all their dogs insist on sleeping with her and her hubby. Not a three-dog night but a four-dog night. And, of course, the end of the tale (no pun intended) is that the mightily spoiled pups took over the bigger bed and ousted the owners who were left to retreat to the smaller bed. But then again, everyone got enough space even though one room was almost wall-to-wall bed. And this coifed and lovely lady turned into a real life heroine right in front of my eyes. This tough cookie was really a cream-cheese cupcake when it came to her dogs. Who would have believed it? But, I sure like her a hell of a lot better because of it.

Seeking community ideas

We had our first political meeting at QUEST last week and it was a slow, slow beginning. A lot of back stepping and word swallowing, especially on my part. I am so loathe to go back to meetings that just circle the corral and go nowhere. I’ll give it a chance, two months at most, but I am very very skeptical. Next house meeting is the first Wednesday in April from 6 to 7 p.m.

Please drop by, no special invitation needed. We want community input desperately. And this is the place for all the tough questions. Let’s take on the establishment and try to get to the root of malfunctioning agencies and departments. No simpering fools allowed. We need you to stand up and speak. Represent. You have nothing to gain but a stronger town and a better life.

“The moment of change is the only poem.”
-- Adrienne Rich

The following is taken from a letter to the editor by Alice Green, executive director for the Center for Law and Justice printed in The Daily Gazette on Tuesday, March 6, in answer to a document sent to government agencies, the community and academic institutions. And I quote,

“The district attorney’s and police department’s comments are not conducive to initiating a community dialogue to address this problem (The Disproportionate Impact of the Criminal Justice System on People of Color in the Capital Region). This report is intended to be the catalyst for community discussions.”

Lt. Mark McCracken’s statement (“The Schenectady Police department combats crime through intelligence-based policing, focusing on current crime trends and locations for enforcement action in order to make Schenectady a safer place to live, work and visit”) reflects few of the tenets of the community policing philosophy embraced by the Albany and Troy police departments, both of who attempt to engage the community in a partnership to implement effective problem solving techniques.

To learn more about the cities' approaches to policing we had sent an email to three chiefs explaining the purpose of the report and asking them about their communities' policing efforts. Email, phone, and fax messages to the Schenectady police chief on 5 separate occasions in December and January went unanswered.

Although the report contains information regarding Albany’s and Troy’s community policing efforts we could say little about Schenectady’s. The report can be found HERE.

I was on a committee, which I believe still meets, that met monthly for 2 hours at the Community Justice Center from 10-12 a.m. solely to address community involvement by the Schenectady Police Dept. We were a strong and varied group of people who pursued this goal with both our hearts and head but to no avail. I finally withdrew out of sheer frustration.

If you remember, I had been trying for four months to involve one female police officer to come to QUEST for one hour once just to talk to young girls and elaborate on the topic of the need for women of color to join the force. It is now March 10, 2012 and I have never even received a response positive or otherwise. This is just plain rudeness. Civility is a part of what our civil servants are supposed to represent.

“The truth is that everything is one, and this of course is not a numerical one.”
-- Philip Kapleaa-Roshi

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