Saturday, March 6, 2010

potting the holes

it's been about two years since i've had to drive a car on a daily basis. the beauty of public transportation took me away from the day-to-day interaction with the hiccups and blemishes that occupy our roadways--slow drivers, road construction, speeding tickets--but the biggest and most annoying driving obstruction...POTHOLES. i hate them with a passion. 

it just so happens that in one months time my poor little car lost a hubcap, got a flat tire, and shook up the balance. after a lovely $150 later she has recovered. unfortunately, the potholes continue to become a path of destruction on a daily basis and my weaving about and maneuvering skills will make you jealous. no joke.

as i was perusing the internet this evening i came across a loverly article about one artist's attempt at beautifying these holes. check it: i believe minneapolis could benefit greatly from something like this. damn, i'd grab my gardening gloves and potting soil and attack 3rd avenue right now. i'm pretty sure we are stuck with these craters of doom for quite some time so until that state funding kicks (i'm not holding my breath) we should roll up our sleeves and beautify those least we would have something pretty to look at while we maneuver around the war paths.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

PND - News - Poor Americans Are Country's Most Charitable Demographic

PND - News - Poor Americans Are Country's Most Charitable Demographic

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I want your money...

Asking for monetary contributions may be one of the most difficult tasks to undertake....especially when it's your job to do so. Fundraising, not only does the word resonate nobility and excitement (hell, the word "fun" makes up the first three letters) it can create profound change.

Everyday I come to work and take part in a fundraising team that raises millions of dollars to support children and families. Over the last few years my line of work has seen a major downturn in donations (individual, corporate and foundational) most likely due to the recession. As I was searching around for articles, I came across this one:

I think it's easy to get discouraged when you are used to raising large dollar donations and aren't coming by those so easily. It's important to remember that those small dollar amounts make a difference and by focusing on that notion can make all the difference. A $5 donation can someday turn into a $500 donation.

According to the Philanthropy News Digest, low-income Americans are the most charitable...even during economic down-turns, so doesn't it make sense to concentrate your efforts toward that demographic?

With that being said, maybe our most successful fundraising efforts will come from getting back to the grassroots level. If an organization can be created from the individual efforts of small and continuous donations shouldn't that be a building block on which the nonprofit stands over time? In the end it's all money...small or large all makes a difference.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

a little somethin'

Each year, around this time, I always get this overwhelming feeling to write down a memory of of my Nana. With each passing year it becomes more difficult to do so. So, in order to hold onto as much of her memory as I can, I share a simple story:

There was a tattered cardboard box of toys that took refuge behind her cadet blue love sofa. Filled with clip on pearl earrings, strings of plastic beads that became makeshift necklaces, plastic jelly bracelets and other odd ends. I can remember taking the box from behind the sofa and carrying it to the middle of her living room floor, dumping it out into a nice colorful mound and putting on every piece of fake jewelry. It didn't matter that I was already wearing two pairs of clip on earrings...another two pairs would make it that much classier. It also didn't matter that once I had completely adorned myself in this jeweled mess, I would quickly shake it all off from the massive amounts of sugar intake from the Lemonheads that I had popped into my mouth over the course of the day. Within an hour, the once beautifully colored mound of plastic junk jewelry would become a scattered mess upon the floor of my 90 year old Nana's living room. She never scolded or frowned but simply smiled and said: "time to pick up".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

owl moons and lupines...

Over the last few months there has been an overwhelming response to Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are". I remember when I saw the preview for this movie (and yes, it was at Harry Potter - I have zero shame) and I remember how the trailer brought me to tears. It was insane how moved I was.

It got me thinking about other books I loved as a child. During the time in which my mother and father were trying to mold my young literary brain, books like "Owl Moon" and "Miss Rumphius" were must-haves in my bookcase. I think I read "Owl Moon" at least a hundred times...and when i say 'read', I mean 'stare' at the pictures and get lost in the poetic verses like snow being "whiter than milk in a cereal bowl" and descriptors such as "ink-blue shadows". Between this book and "The Snowman", I became quite obsessed with snow and taking late night walks in the winter. It's amazing to me that I still hold onto these stories as I grow older and they somehow continue to shape my imagination.

"Miss Rumphius" was another example of literary influence that depicted the life of a girl from childhood into adulthood. Her journey was one that gave me an insight into the possibilities of another lifestyle. Her story showed many children that you can still have happiness and create beauty without living the stereotypical lifestyle of a woman. She lives a life without marrying or having children and instead gains other experiences of travel, culture, new environments, etc. and finally settles at the end of the story in a house on the beach scattering lupine seeds wherever she goes -making the places she walks and encounters more beautiful and full of life. That's a pretty rad idea and extremely influential for a young child to hear and carry with them throughout the course of their own life.

I can't help but plug the support of literacy and education programs - possibly because it's part of my job and the importance and influence stories and learning can have on a person of any age is something that can't be taken away.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"women hold up half the sky"

this may be one of the best articles i've read in quite some time.

check it:

“Our interviews and perusal of the data available suggest that the poorest families in the world spend approximately 10 times as much (20 percent of their incomes on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary drinks and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children (2 percent). If poor families spent only as much on educating their children as they do on beer and prostitutes, there would be a breakthrough in the prospects of poor countries. Girls, since they are the ones kept home from school now, would be the biggest beneficiaries. Moreover, one way to reallocate family expenditures in this way is to put more money in the hands of women. A series of studies has found that when women hold assets or gain incomes, family money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing, and consequently children are healthier.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

fewer bells and whistles.