Monday, December 22, 2008

two beatings one culprit

two stories of physical beatings arrived at my work doorstep today. three days before christmas.

one was about one of our clients--one who i know, who seems to be an honest, kind, gentle spirit--who was going home around 7pm on Friday night and, 3 blocks from his house, 3 men beat him up (he had several stitches above his left eyebrow & said he had a concussion), stole his voicebox (he had throat cancer and uses one of those machine thingys to talk, and now can't), stole $6, stole his bike, stole, from what i can tell, at least some of his dignity. he was totally out of it, and wants to leave his apartment, is what he wrote down for me.

the second was from a random woman from south dakota--i'm not sure how she got my contact info.--who moved down here 3 weeks ago & has been living w/ her boyfriend's family. sat. night (perhaps also at 7pm, perhaps not), she was also beaten up...by her boyfriend. she has a 12-year old daughter and a 10-year old son and broke down crying during one of her conversations because she just doesn't know what the hell to do. i think we found a place that can donate presents--one of her biggest concerns--and we're working on a place to stay (she only has money for one more night after tonight); she is nervous b/c being from south dakota, she and her children aren't used to being around drug addicts and other scary situations that she is rightfully afraid of encountering at the shelters where she'll likely end up.

i consistently notice that lots of the violence i've witnessed/heard about is rooted in desperation...for money, for love, for respect. i guess that's just one more argument for the whole "abundance for all" thing...abundance not of quantity, but of quality. if we treat other people better so that they get their fill, so to speak, maybe we all won't be so desperate. it just hurts my heart what people have to go through.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Loooong overdue pictures!!!!

Fun in Atlanta with munchkins...Ella is SUCH a good big cousin, Jackson is now a big boy, officially, Maia is just a big kid & definitely plays baby dolls with Ella (and by herself...freaking adorable!), and well, Connor gives 'em all a run for their money...now 13+ pounds! My sisters, well, are still ridiculous. And two of my favorite people in the world! It's so awesome to "pick up where we left off"...especially when we haven't had skizzy time w/ just us since a LONG time ago!


























































I was definitely determined to get a REAL good picture...can you tell by my consistent smile, and # of pictures??? I guess it makes up for all of the times I have (and continue to) be pretty damn ridiculous in pictures.
















Not too bad, for 1a.m., eh? :)


Next, a new visitor for Pep-tup!


video



That's right...Lucy is definitely visiting for an indefinite while...she was kinda over living in Atlanta, wanted to have some quality time with her aunt & cousin, & thought she had a lot to offer the city of NOLA. We agree.


The girls sunbathing...a common occurrence when it's not negative 12!



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

i rediscovered this quotation yesterday and am so inspired by it.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes.
-Charles R. Swindoll

Friday, December 5, 2008

reason #4,387 i love kids

somehow ella ended up at lunch w/ miss usa the other day (yes, this is 10 months after she had dinner with cinderella in disney world for her 4th birthday, and 1 month after having her 2nd trip to disney world); in response to the lovely lady's offer of her autograph, my awesome godchild says,
"i don't want you to write on my picture."
definitely one of my favorite stories ever.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

humbled

So the past half-hour or so has been pretty busy, partly because there has been a client waiting to speak with me while i juggle a phone call & the computer guy who's here to fix my computer. the client, whom we'll call Mr. Smith sits patiently in our "lobby" area (which is really just a couple chairs by our printer & mini-fridge)...and I'm getting stressed thinking, "oh no, what's wrong with his house? why isn't his case manager visiting him regularly? uh oh uh oh uh oh."

Once I finished my phone call & spoke with computer man, I went & sat down with Mr. Smith. Our conversation went something like this:

me: hi, mr. smith. how can i help you today?
smith: well, i was just stopping by to say hello.
m: well good...it's nice to see you. how are you?
s (said over a 10/15 minute period, but summed up here for convenience): good..it's difficult adjusting to being in one place.
m: yeah, that's different than how you had been living for a while, huh?
s: yeah. i'm about to head to the social security office to apply for disability b/c i have NO income (which i knew), then i'm gonna head to wal-mart (def. a good 40 min. walk at least..he can't buy bus tokens b/c of no income) to see about a job. i've been making pralines (pulls out sandwich bags of indiv. pralines) & selling them outside of the grocery store for $1.50 each.
m: oh wow, that's great!
s: i am not supposed to be in this situation...before katrina, from june-august, i had a good job, got promoted & everything.
me (tearing up a little): oh, where were you working?
s: for crystal catering company...i got promoted from a regular worker making $8 an hour to assistant manager making $12 an hour (face lights up). i worked 82 hours during the junior olympics at the convention center, and i made more in overtime than in a regular 2-weeks' pay. i bought all my furniture just from working overtime. then when katrina came, i still had my coffee table & head-board in boxes.
m: oh wow.
s: yeah, i feel like satan just jumped on my head & was riding me around, but my case manager came & took him off. (pulls out a notebook & hands it to me) this is what i've been working on, (and i read his paper which says "Long-Term Goals," and he emphasizes that he has a 5-year plan; his goals include "establishing a better place in society" (i.e. job security) & surrounding himself with better "associates," being more social, visiting his 6 daughters more (he joked that that's why he's gray :)), etc.).
m: wow, this is great...did your case manager help you with this?
s: (totally clear-headed, with it, not "off his rocker" like some clients) no, i did it myself. she came & documented all of it on monday, but i came up with this plan myself.
m: oh wow, that's wonderful!
s: (digs in his bag & hands me a praline-filled sandwich bag)
m: oh gosh, i wish i could buy one, but i don't have any cash (honestly)
s: that's okay, you don't have to pay me
m: no, i'm not going to take this from you...let me see what i have (which turns out to be $.35, which i give him)
s: well, you really don't have to pay me, but if you insist. i was gonna give it to you anyway.

Wow, wow, wow. My job is really administrative & I don't have much client contact, so I really just cherish moments like these...they make what i do so much more human, more real. I am so thankful for Mr. Smith's stopping by, and for all i'm blessed with in my life, a good solid job, wonderful friendships & an awesome family, a good car, an amazingly cute (& snuggly!) dog, a roof over my head, a heater, my education, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Wow, wow, wow. Definite bottle moment.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Let's play ice cubes!

I'm just sorry more people don't get to see this on a daily basis.

video

Or this.

video

Monday, October 13, 2008

Smart and Not Too Old

According to my 4-year old tenant, Elsian, that's what I am. Happy week.

Discovery, or Where You're Not

Blueberry muffins don't taste as good without the person who makes them so.

Friday, October 3, 2008

So, the way it works is that if the President dies, then the VP takes his/her place, right?

Yes? Okay, good, just wanted to be sure. Because if that were the SOLE factor in considering who to elect in 1 month and 1 day--NOTHING ELSE in mind (forget foreign policy, healthcare, education, gay marriage, etc.--literally pretend the only consideration is that this person may possibly, even just by a slight chance, one day be our president), then I hope to God that the votes are 100% Obama/Biden.

Sarah Palin cannot be our president. Ever.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

priorities

I just discovered this great website yesterday, http://www.nationalpriorities.org/, on which you can compare the cost of war to other issues that this wasted money could be used on (i.e. education, health care, etc.).

With that in mind, I noticed my cable box voucher on my dresser this morning (as I always do...it just stood out more this morning), wondering how in the world the government seems to find it necessary to give $40 to every American who wants it to ensure that everyone has cable...what's wrong with this picture (pun partially intended)?

I realize that national health care, education, etc. would all cost a lot more than $40/person, but this definitely does speak to our country's priorities. Hey, at least we'll still be able to get our Desperate Housewives...even if it means that people stay desperate.

*Speaking of desperate, check out http://www.troublethewaterfilm.com/; I saw this movie last night...it's a documentary by 2 people from the ninth ward who stayed for Katrina (and a couple of Michael Moore's folks they got hooked up with). Very powerful.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

my background looks like texas.

yeah, not so sure how i feel about the lonestar in the upper left hand corner. i am, however, sure that i had a freaking amazing experience today.

about 3 months ago or so, i read an article about this methodist church that had melded 2 churches together--1 white and 1 african-american--after katrina. hook. the article spoke about how the choir had recently sung "seasons of love" from rent, the broadway musical (though it's soon to be off broadway! :( *). line. and did i mention that it brought 2 different races together, intentionally to increase their diversity? sinker, sinker, sinker.

now, i ain't no methodist, but i like to think, more importantly, that i ain't closed-minded either. i've been thinking about this church (first grace united methodist--one used to be first umc, the other grace umc...i don't know how the hell they got the new name) a lot lately, and today was my first day going. two words to describe my reaction: oh my.

let's just say that it was perfect pretty much from the beginning (about 100 people, including young adults, families, some older folks, etc., probably about half & half white & black, w/ a minority of Latina). but anything that i thought made it not-quite-perfect suddenly appeared. for instance...of course there was a white preacher, an african-american preacher, and a latino preacher, all sharing equal parts of the service....pretty awesome. my thought: why don't they have a woman up there? well, toward the end of the service, i lean over to my new friend doris to ask whose name is on the front of the bulletin, & she says, "oh, that's LeTisha (I think...), she's the co-preacher...the one who used to head the Af. Amer. church." Right. So the music is great, the sermon (spoken mostly in english, w/ a little in Spanish...i guess a little preview to the full-out bilingual service at 2pm) referenced points in acts and genesis and revelations, where it's clear that god's plan for us is to include EVERYONE (mostly in the context of race here). Awesome, "but why do they only refer to God as "He?" Enter the Lord's Prayer, where Rev. So & So (we're not there yet) starts, "Our Mother and Our Father..." Check. And let's not forget that they have a compost pile for their garden (really?) and an "ecological committee" who's responsible for the recycling baskets in the back for the bulletins. Come on.

as if that's not enough...did they really sing an awesome rock-ish song (i totally thought i'd remember it!) at the end? And just wait....really....they really had to announce that their bible study this month is focusing on spirituality and mental health? come on, people...you've got to be kidding me (but please don't be). "The first one will focus on depression, the second on raising children in an age of ritalin, and one with a focus on divorce, as that has touched many of us." dafidnfdie??????!!!!!!!! WHAT???!

Oh man, I was spent by the end of it, to say the least. I think I may have found my niche...though the lay-person-led catholic worker-esque "masses" every other sunday (which i just found out about from my supervisor) aren't soundin' so bad either. so i'll try to remain open to a new church, though i know one thing...it won't be in texas.

*the first off-broadway performance of rent in new orleans at le petit theater???! Really...what is my life?