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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

an e-mail

My aunt Jean sent me this. Enjoy!

This is really good advice.....I hope I can remember it the next time I need to.> > > > >> >The Law of the Garbage Truck> >~ author unknown ~> >> >How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood? Do you let a > >bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your > >day? Unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back > >on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly they > >can re-focus on what's important.> >> >Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New > >York City taxi. Here's what happened. I hopped in a taxi, and we took off > >for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when all of a > >sudden a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My > &g t;taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back > >end by just inches!> >> >Here's what happened next. The driver of the OTHER car, the guy who almost > >caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling > >obcenities at US. Now, here's what blew me away. My taxi driver just smiled > >and waved at the guy. And I mean he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you > >just do that??? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the > >hospital!" And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The > >Law of the Garbage Truck."> >> >Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full > >of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage > >piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump > >it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. > >Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did. I > >guarantee it. So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck."> >> >I started thinking: How often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? > >And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at > >work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do > >it anymore." I began to see garbage trucks. Like in the movie "The Sixth > >Sense," the little boy said, "I see Dead People." Well, now I see Garbage > >Trucks. I see the load they're carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. > >And, like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, > >wave, wish them well, and I move on.> >> >One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this > >every day o n the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the > >ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to > >make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for > >their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their > >children home from school with hugs and kisses. Leaders and parents know > >that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they > >care about.> >> >The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take > >over their day. What about you? What would happen in your life, starting > >today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?> >> >Here's my bet. You'll be happier. In fact, guarantee it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

shake it

I know I say I work for the most wonderful organization all the time but that's because it's true and not just because of what I get to do but of the amazing people I sometimes get to work with. Here is an insight from the weekly report of one of our VISTAs in the national office about service learning:

So, I was at the National Forum for America’s Promise on Monday and Tuesday. They flew in representatives of the 100 best communities for young people to this forum, so there was a definite diversity of backgrounds, etc. Most of the conversation was great, but I was continually alarmed in conversations about “service-learning.” People simply did not understand what that term really means. School leaders, mayors, community organizers, etc continually employed the word “service-learning” when what they really meant was simple community service. It seems like someone told them community service is too closely related to court-ordered service, so they started adopting “service-learning” into their lexicon, without understanding the distinction. Even those that did understand that service-learning must be linked up to some sort of learning insisted that the ultimate goal of service-learning is to benefit the student – at whatever costs to the community. This makes me VERY NERVOUS. If service-learning programs are not thinking about the sustainability and best interests of their community and its pre-existing agencies, then history will remember service-learning as a fad at the turn of the century to—yet again—benefit the server. Service-learning is too powerful of a tool to start having communities misusing it.

So Trang, one of our new volunteers was in the office today. It was a little hectic, I had just gotten into a good groove with getting work done. We did some client service training and then did some outreach with our volunteer Sandi. It was a nice bonding experience where we talked about nonprofit transparency as well as good places to shop in Philly (none!).

As we were coming back to the building I ran into one of the administrators of an organization in the building called Youth Empowerment Services. They are a program for 18-21 year olds who have dropped out of high school. It gives them an opportunity to rengage through learning through media programs. Also another one of the Yes administrators founded YouthBuild! It was a really great conversation. I told him about how we could help out by helping his students with basic life skills like resumes and coverletters. He ended the conversation by saying "you made my day!" Trang and Sandi were really excited about this and now want to hold a social for all of the organizations in the building. This.is.exciting!

We've had tons of volunteer interest so now I'm focusing of effective management of the volunteers which is like a juggling act. I'm so excited about seeing Priya this weekend! Even though its rainy and cold booo...Okay, outtie!

Oh yeah by the way, does anyone have any ideas to change the world but just need funding, submit them here http://www.project10tothe100.com/faq.html.

Oh yeah and this is interesting, or at least I think it is. I'm very interested in information and how it can be used to improve our communites. Also how we can improve access to information for those who could use it to reach thier goals and how we can train the next generation of leaders to better access information to make decisions in an age of infromation overload. aka I want to be an academic librarian. But anyway I saw this interesting video and I thought I'd share it...http://www.kaisernetwork.org/health_cast/player_cgi2008.cfm?id=4596.

Quote: Society comprises two classes: those who have more food than appetite, and those who have more appetite than food. S├ębastien-Roch Nicholas de Chamfort, Maximes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

emerging from the abyss

Hello friends!

I've been so out of the loop. I have a sorta restless energy and have been trying to get things done in the office, so I have been out of the loop. Yet so many exciting things have happened in our office. Like:

1. Temple News (the local student run paper) ran an article on us and you can read it here http://temple-news.com/2008/09/23/student-volunteers-help-community/.

2. We have a couple new volunteers in. Although it isn't at the numbers I had hoped for by now I'm very excited about the ones we have. I just learned today that one of our students is an international student from Vietnam. We are also able to take work study students which is great because it allows us to diversify our base and introduce students to volunteering who may not have the opportunity to do so otherwise.

3. PRIYA IS COMING SATURDAY TO VISIT!!!! YEAH!! (not related to the office but still very exciting)

4. We hired another Florida Gator as the Site Coordinator for West Philly office. I am so excited about this. Words. cannot. express.

5. Our CEO is coming next week and I can't wait to see her.

I've been reading a lot which is really stimulating. I just finished up , Now Discover Your Strengths and found out all of my strengths which are connectedness, strategic, includer, arranger and positivity. You can find out more about what that means here...http://www.careertrainer.com/Request.jsp?lView=ViewArticle&Article=OID%3A113426.

I'm also reading Blink: The Power of thinking without thinking which is proving to be a really fascinating read. It talks about our unconcious mind and how it affects our daily decisions and interactions. It's basically decision theory, and very fun to read.

I wish deeper things were going on but alas, not really. Or maybe there are deep things that I just consider not deep anymore. Okay, I'm outtie. Just wanted to check in and update you on the wonderfulness of life here in Philly.

Quote: With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity. Keshavan Nair

Friday, September 19, 2008

work it!

I am fresh off of our planning session and full of energy so I thought this would be a great time to post.
It has been a wonderful two days and has really rejuvenated me. Plus while reading through the weekly reports of some of our other site coordinators I was able to get some great new ideas.
So the purpose of the planning session is to lay out our quantitative goals for the year in terms of client service, volunteers, community partners and office infrastructure. Today was really great because we had a session with our LAB member (who I love!) and also allocated our $6000 budget (whom I do not love).
We had to do a lot of assessment and strategic planning and forecasting. It was like stretching my brain in a million different places. But in the end we were able to paint a picture of where we want our office to be at the end of this program year.
I really love our organization and our office has a lot of potential in the upcoming year.
I've also learned that I love working in nonprofit management although I have many qualms with the nonprofit sector as a whole. Albeit legitimate ones as anyone in the nonprofit sector is aware of.
I enjoyed my birthday. It was great getting so many wonderful messages and notes from everyone, even our CEO! And UPS keeps missing me on a package from the hills of Alabama, so whoever sent it, I'm sure I will be receiving it soon so no worries.
Yesterday night at Lush (yes I worked on my birthday) I met these two older women who are in town to run the Philly half marathon. I was really inspired and now I'm going to be more proactive about my trainings. I can do it!

Yeah ok, that's pretty much it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

your love

So yesterday morning I woke up with a very dry throat and nasal passages. Throughout the day it go worse and I when I was leaving Lush last night I started sneezing rapidly. Since my nasal passages and throat were dry it hurt and then I became pretty mucusy and then I got a fever and I ended the night gasping for air as I went to bed.
I woke up this morning, to a 55 degree morning, quite stuffed up and pretty miserable. If the Philadelphia air was a friend of mine, its name would be Judas. I guess I'll need to get a humidifier or something.
I slept around but I needed to get to work today to get some stuff done for our planning session, and prepare some volunteer stuff and clean my desk which is (was) a swamp of papers and empty water bottles.
Last night at Lush was such a great night. It really is a fun place to work and I usually get the same shifts with the same girls and they're so much fun. We had some great customers and I generally love making people feel happy. There was this one woman who kinda peeked in and I gestured for her to come in. She works in the states and Latin America and does some sort of programming that develops partnerships with Universities. She was visiting Penn to talk to professors and had just gotten back from Syracuse. She was wonderful, apparently she had a rough day so we treated her to a hand treatment and showed her all of our awesome products. I gave her a bunch of samples of stuff just to cheer her up and she bought some of our awesome shampoo bars and she left the store in such a better mood. I was sad to see her go but happy that we made her night. She thanked us and we generally enjoyed her.
Then another woman came in who had just broken up with her boyfriend of seven years. She was in Philly with her parents recovering from her breakup. I wanted to giver her a hug and just sit and talk with her, she looked so sad. But we did have a good talk. I get so emotionally attached to our customers, its ridiculous.
We played Disney songs and sang and danced to them all night. The night just flew by. I had had a stressful day as well and some heavy client meetings so it was a nice ending. I went home with some orange juice and spent the night talking to a good friend from college and my lil cuz whose birthday is today,yeah!
My boss and one of our staff members is in town for our planning. We're all going to dinner tonight which I'm pretty excited about.
I cannot wait for our planning session, we'll be setting all of our program goals for the year and it will feel good to finally get some direction in the day to day things. I've lost momentum, especially this week because I'm not sure where to go next really. There are so many things to do and so many places to start. Oh yeah, and my birthday is tomorrow, I'll be a ripe old 22 ha!
So back to work, I have this amazing Hall and Oates station on Pandora which is pretty much the best thing ever. G'day all!!

Song: Private Eyes by Hall and Oates

Quote: While you have a thing it can be taken from you... but when you give it, you have given it. No robber can take it from you. It is yours then for ever when you have given it. It will be yours always. That is to give. James Joyce

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

when the dust settles

I still have not fully emerged from weekend mode into work mode. I like to move with the rythym of my energy though so I'm not to pressured. I had a meeting with Ainsley this morning. I thought it was at 11:45. It was at 11:15. I felt really horrible. But here's what I learned because everything in life should be treated like a learning experience. I should call in the morning to confirm appointments, when I'm unsure. I should write appointments down, in fact I should start writing everything down. I usually don't but I'm learning my memory is overloaded with the 5 million things that can and usually do occur in any given day.
It was a good meeting and he gave me some useful information.
I need to to learn how to ask people I know that know stuff what they know and how to connect. I'm always unsure of, and feel weird about, wether to connect through people I know but I guess that's how the world works.

So I've been working my way through this book called 'the working poor.' Here is an excerpt from the cover.."Most of the people I write about in this book do not have the luxury of rage. They are caught in exhausting struggles. Their wages do not lift them far enough from poverty to improve their lives, and their lives, in turn, hold them back. The term by which they are usually described, 'working poor,' should be an oxymoron. Nobody who works hard should be poor in America."
It is giving me a deeper insight into issues of poverty and the emotional layers that can build on a person who lives in poverty. I cry every night after I read it. It would be a different thing if I could look at is a just a book , but I see these people in our office everyday. And in some ways it is like looking into a mirror. I know I'm not poor poor but some of the things that the people in these book say to themselves, I know I've said to myself. And I realize how slippery a slope it can be to poverty, how one little mistake can invite you into a cycle that you may never get out of. It really made be sit down and assess my spending more carefully, because with this new job, I've really loosened up on my budget. I felt like I was looking into a mirror and I was concerned and disturbed with what I saw.
It is troubling when I see people who come in, who don't have jobs, who are so close to nothing and who have cable and $200 phones. It can only make sense to someone who has so little in life, both physically and emotionally, that what you can buy/what you can give yourself goes beyond just getting stuff, it's like fulfilling something that is missing. I understand it and at the same time I see how it enables they cylical nature of poverty in someone's life.

I really just feel like a run, I get that feeling a lot. Just to start running. Where I'm running to or from has yet to reveal itself to me. Have you ever got that feeling after a long day at the beach, when you're just sitting somewhere and you can still feel the movement of the ocean. It's still with you when you still still long enough. I feel like that sometimes.
Anyway, g'day.

Song: That's what hurts by Hall and Oates ( I think)

Quote: It's not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted by poverty. Juvenal

Monday, September 15, 2008

that's whats up

So at the Service Nation Summit our organization created a case study which you can read here: http://www.nspnet.org/news/publications/service_nation_draft_of_case_study.pdf just wanted to share.

stay in love

I had a really great weekend.
Self-care is muy important. If I learned anything this weekend is that I need to spend time to myself, taking care of my needs and listening to my heart and having fun. I think I learned that last week as well but anything worth learning is worth learning twice.

I worked Saturday morning into the afternoon. It wasn't that busy, I started working on the register which adds a whole new layer of hecticness to my job. I went home with the intention of taking a nap and then getting up to read. Well I ended up sleeping for six hours and pretty much just dosed the rest of the day.

I don't work on Sundays so I'm always excited about an entire day to myself. I woke up, cooked breakfast, read enjoyed my sunday morning ritual of listening to my I am Sam soundtrack and dancing in the living room to soft rock songs. Then I decided that this would be the day that I start marathon training. There's a running/biking trail that goes up the schuylkill (pronounced- scoo-kull) that goes up past the art museum all the way up to Manayunk (a section of Philly). I slapped on my running gear and walked to the river. It's really nice. They also have kayaking tours which I'm signing up for. I love the smell of salt water and the area is lined with gorgeous trees and landscape. So I started running and I ran and I ran. And then I stopped. The whole thing probably took about 45 seconds. It was excruciating. It also may have not been a good idea to start training on the one day in the past weeks with temperatures over 90 degrees. I decided to walk it. Fast, to stimulate walking. This training will be difficult but I'm determined to do it and cross the finish line.

I walked up the museum of art. On Sundays, it's pay as you wish so I was able to enjoy the museum within my budget. It's magnificent and the artwork was equisite. I really enjoy prints and photographs but unfortunately that exhibit was closed. I love wandering around art museums and really thinking deeply about what questions the art is asking and what message the artist is revealing. I feel so liberated in the presence of art. I spent a lot of time looking at religious art, especially images of Christ. It was my time to reflect on my faith and what it means for me as a person that believes that Jesus was who he said he was.
I stopped by the art museum and found this wonderful $4.00 Marsden Hartley poster which was very exciting. I've been looking for something with a lot of color to put up over my fireplace. There was a Hartley exhibit at the Harn my last semester there and I was really moved by his work.
I stopped by the bookstore and read a couple of magazines I don't have the money to buy including the recent Time that highlighted the candidates view on national service and included 21 ways to serve America, which you can read here http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1840466_1840320_1840299,00.html
It's interesting , there's a college , and I can't remember which one that actually started a partnership with City Year and allows students who give a year on to community service, educational scholarships. Knowledge serving the community, what a novel idea.
NSP was recently noted in a newsletter from Tuft about our involvement with students and civic engagement which makes me really proud of this great organization I work for http://www.civicyouth.org/PopUps/Newsletter/v5.i3.pdf.

I spent the rest of the night reading. I just finished up the leadership challenge and I'm saddened I never read it before because there are so many good lessons in it. Hopefully I can become a better leader of our organization because of it.
I've taken a new perspective on challenges at work. Never allow yourself to be the victim of anyting. I've learned that instead of framing situations as "woe is me, I can't believe I'm being treated this way" it's better to think "what can I learn from this and how can I use this experience to make myself a better leader, person and friend." It's given me a whole new experience and one that makes me excited about coming to work because I look at it as a challenge to stick to my values and strive for a higher state of leadership in my life.

Okay so, send your prayers or karma or best wishes on my marathon training. I'm trying again this afternoon. By the way, this is what I'm training for http://www.richmondmarathon.com/. Join me if you'd like.

Quote: It's not what you've got, it's what you use that makes a difference. Zig Ziglar.

Friday, September 12, 2008

with a phony red sheet

It's rainy and cold.
Although I guess there could be some debate over the 'coldness' of the day.
Last night was a rollercoaster of emotions. I feel very lost and unsure of myself. I let myself think too much and that's never good. I felt like I was walking through a mental fog with no clear way to see anything ahead of me. There were a bunch of really uplifting songs on the radio, one after another each tuning into what I was thinking and challenging it. My uncle called which was wonderful and very much appreciated.

It's almost like I'm scared of me. I don't know. The moment sunk in when I was at Lush the other night. My manager pulled me over to tell me how much she loved having me work there. It was after I had gotten a good sale I guess. It made me feel really weird, almost ashamed. I felt like I shouldn't be that good and I didn't want anyone else that I work with to feel bad that I was doing good. A part of me knows that's the wrong thing to think. I shouldn't try to do bad at work or not do as well. Maybe there's a way you can be good at things and do things well while still instilling in others the condfidence that their actions are just as significant and that they also have a way to contribute. I read a really timely and inspiring article in O magazine and this line really inspired me, moving me towards a space of awarness I hadn't inhabited before:
You and I might not have met, but because of my own superpower, I can tell you this:
Your life is not little, and your playing small doesn't serve the world. Your living large, on the other hand—your being your true self despite fear, fatigue, doubt, and opposition—will serve the world more than you can imagine. In fact, it may help save it. And saving the world, after all, is what all heroes (including you) are here to do.
I'm not sure what's planned for my life, but I feel its something that both scares me and excites me. I feel like if I start shrinking back now I won't ever get there and I guess that's not a good thing. The only thing I've ever wanted to be is just like everyone else. I beleive if you realize that everyone has something wonderful to contribute you can believe in what you have to contribute. I need to believe in myself a lot more.

I'm fortunate that I have such a wonderful CEO, she has sent me these really inspiring and wonderful e-mails each week. It's wonderful to have someone see in you what you can't see in yourself. Although I'm learning that I need to find ways to believe in me, even if no one else does. Especially if no one does.

I'm looking forward to relaxing at home, I hope I get sent home early tonight from work because I don't believe that anyone will really be shopping in the rain today. I'm reading this really funny book by Cynthia Kaplan called Why I'm Like This and I love coming home to it at night, in fact I don't think I will go out at all this weekend, but rather relax and read some of the wonderful books I've collected from the library and such.

Okay, now to end up the day.

Song:It's not easy to be me by David Gray

Thursday, September 11, 2008

that's whats up

The past two days have been a whirlwind.
Today I was out of the office from 10 to 2 for a volunteer fair. I met so many wonderful students and I realized I really love working with our students. Even more so than anything else I do. It was a long day but I also got to meet other community organizations. In addition, I met some other AmeriCorp members who are serving in Philly. It got me to thinking about how it would be awesome to get AmeriCorp members together who are serving with organizations in the city, so we can network and hang out and be poor together. One more thing to do on my ever growing to-do list.
I also did an awkward photo shoot ( cause really what else could those be) for the Temple News. I got them to do an article for us and it will be appearing in the newspaper. Can I get a woot woot!

Yesterday I had a perspective shifting moment. I should come up with a name for those, like wow moments or something. I don't know if words can adequately wrap themselves around the meaning in this moment. So a client came in yesterday who has a Masters degree but can't find a job. I am so used to working with people who barely have their high school diplomas so this caught me off guard. However, she did not have her bachelors because she received her Masters from a program that allows students to enter based on their experience. She was absolutely wonderful to work with and I really began to empathize with her. She came in with her daughter and the way she interacted with her warmed my heart. I really wanted to get her a job and one where she could do the things she enjoyed. She had such a gift and it would be a shame to see it go to waste. It just got me to thinking about a lot of things. Namely how even if you do believe in yourself and get your education it doesn't really guarentee anything. You really can't be anything you want to be. I just look at the world a little bit differently and realize how unbelievably hard and overwhelming it can be, even when you seem to have things in your favor. I realized I've taken so many things for granted, especially my education and I realize how much of a responsibility I have if I do suceed and go the places I want to go. I see something now I didn't see before.

I should go home. I'm excited to go home, rather than have to treck of to Lush. I do love my job there, though, I just love my apartment and rest as well.

Also I found more info on my Myers Brigg type and my partner that helps me understand myself and him so much better. It also gives me stronger clues into our communication weaknesses and opportunities for my own personal growth. I need to focus on FOLLOW THROUGH!
You can read them here, if you'd like: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator/ENFP and my partner http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator/ISTJ.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

and I felt I was flying

Last night I felt very sick.
That/ this stubborn headache got really bad, I had a ferocious fever and my body was slapped with all sorts of random aches and pains. I had to go to the bank to activate my new card and the walk did me some good. While I was at the bank I met this woman who stopped my initially to tell me that I looked to young to have a bank account. That led to a really interesting discussion. After I told her I was an AmeriCorp member in North Philadelphia we started discussing the area and service in general. And then she said: 'you know I read this in the Bible this morning' and she quoted John 12:8 where Jesus says "For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always." She then proceeded to tell me that what I was doing was much like Jesus's work here on Earth and then she whispered to herself 'that's exactly what I needed.' It wasn an interesting moment and I have actually been having some inner spiritual tug of wars. That passage was actually not what I think I need because it just confuses me more. But alas...
So I went home and tried to rest but really just rolled around a lot and sweated.
I woke up this morning at 9:00am on the dot. Late for work.
I just kept calm and got ready. It's actually a pretty morning. The sky is darkened to a light charcoal with these huge swirling storm clouds. It just finished raining and the large tree outside our window is now a glistening display of bright green leafy speckles. I love it.
I'm not in a working mood. I've been reading e-mails all morning and random articles. I even took an impromptu Myers Briggs online which probably isn't very accurate or legit but I didn't get an ENFJ. Rather I came up as an ENFP although it noted that I was a slight percieving and slight extraversion and moderate intuition and feeling.
But I really like the descriptions which you can read here http://keirsey.com/handler.aspx?s=keirsey&f=fourtemps&tab=3&c=champion and here http://typelogic.com/enfp.html.

I guess I should do something productive, like help someone find a job or finish our designing our three upcoming volunteer trainings.

Monday, September 8, 2008

make a break for it

So I'm taking a lot more mental breaks during the day as a form of self-care. And here I am. I'm never online on the weekends anymore because my power cord stopped working for my laptop and they are muy expensive. I'd rather save up to get new furniture for my apartment. Unfortunately I have had the worst headache for the past three days. I rarely ever get headaches and this one started at around six a clock on Saturday and has persiste. We have this huge bright window and gross flourescent lights which don't make it anybetter.

I had a great, tiring, fun, exausting, revealing weekend.
On Friday night I had dinner with Matt and Ling-Shin a couple from my church. They are only a couple of years older than me and they are awesome to spend time with. They live in this great apartment which gave me tons of decorating ideas. We chowed down on some apple sausage that they get from Lancaster and it was de-licious. We were having a great conversation that only got better when we all realized our minor obsession/fascination with Myers-Briggs types and personality assessments. The rest of the night consisted in them showing my their reports on some new version that provides even more indepth assessments. They are both INTP's and were so surpised I was an E let alone an ENFJ. I was surprised they were I's. It was good times.

Saturday was the "hurricane" aka. just lots of rain. I had to go to work but went home early because no one came into the store. I went home and that's when the headache started, like a roaring lion on the horizon. I tried to sleep it off but to no avail. Then I felt an itching to go out so I headed down to watch the Gator game. Awesome game, awesome times. I wasn't very social because I'm just kinda peopled out by Saturday's and I left early because it was pretty late. Grandma.

Sunday was the most relaxing day I've had in a while. I woke up to late to go to church so I just snoozed around. I cleaned my apartment and found my wood floors again. I then rearranged my furniture aka moved my couch from under the window to the adjacent wall. And I finally let the air out my air mattress and set up my sofa couch. This moment set off a string of emotions which I can only refer to as committment fear. It's like when someone in a relationship realizes that things are getting serious and they freak out because they might need to make a committment and the novelty is wearing off and now something has to happen. It's like I'm getting serious with Philly, it's starting to feel like home. I have routines. I'm still living out of my suitcase but my apartment is getting some order. Domesticity is setting in and the stability of it all really unsettled me. I had this urge to start running. Just to go for a run and run somewhere. Really hard and fast. And really far. I had to go to Lush because we had a training and meeting. It was the most fun I've had in a while full of icebreakers and laughing and cupcakes. I work at such a fun place. I had to do a presentation on our new shower cream. I did the weird thing where I start off talking to fast and my throat gets clogged and I have to stop and breath. It. was. awkward. But it was a fun night. I'm just neurotic.

I then went home and baked a cheese and spinach quiche and relaxed in my newly cleaned awesome apartment. I got paid on Saturday which was exciting because for the first time since I've moved to Philly my refrigerator is fully stocked and I have meals and food options and I don't have to ration. It's a wonderful feeling.

I'm at work and I can't believe the day flew by so fast. I got in an hour late though because of a dreaded trip to the post office. Post office tape is the worst tape in the world and it was simply the most frustrating experience ever. We're very busy this week which is good and we're starting to get more volunteer requests. Next week is our planning session finally. It'll be a three day strategic planning extravangaza. One day for the West, one day for us and one day on teambuilding, strategy and our board. They kept pushing it off because we're getting a new Program Manager for our region, aka a new boss. But they haven't found the right fit. In their own words they only hire superstars and don't settle which is exciting because then whoever we do get is going to be rock awesome. I can't wait.
My head hurts, the two do list hasn't budged. I'm outty like a belly button folks.

Song: Pocket full of sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield

Quote: I must accept life unconditionally. Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don't set any condition. Margaret Lee Runbeck

Quote 2: I slept and dreamt that life was Joy./ I woke and saw that life was Duty./ I acted, and behold, Duty was Joy. Rabindranath Tagore

Love List

I had an exciting and eventful weekend that I will tell you about later, but I was reading this on my friends blog and I wanted to make a quick lunchtime blog of things I love.
This week Meg Fowler (my Love List inspiration) did a fill-in-the-blank Love List, so here's my response:

Song you love: Into the Mystic by Van Morrison
Word you love: Introspection
Academic subject you love: Information literacy/science
Hobby you love: Scrapbooking
Type of baked good you love: Key Lime Pie
Type of sky you love: Orange and Pink like a grapefruit sky
Beverage you love: Sweet Tea
Vacation you love: Themeparks
Restaurant you love: Anywhere with good burgers
Way of getting around that you love: walking
Person you love: Momma
Room in your home (or ideal home) you love: sitting on my floor underneath my 10 foot tall window in my studio
Movie you love: I am Sam (It is the most beautiful movie I have ever seen and if you haven't seen it what are you waiting for)
Book you love: All the Kings Men (still the best book I've ever read)
City you love: Gainesville
Future plan you love: Becoming a academic librarian/information specialist
Form of communication you love: person to person
Junk food you love: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Friday, September 5, 2008

have fun, shake a tailfeather

I'm realizing I could be more productive in the week. I only usually realize that at the end of the week when the notches on my to-do list are not as significant as I want them be.
I'm hinging on brainfartness though.
Having dinner with some friends from church at their home and I'm pretty excited. I'm more in the mood to go home and just veg. but maybe I'll feel more energetic when I leave.
We did our interview with the Temple reporter and I'm really hoping good things from this. Volunteers, we want volunteers.

I had such a great convo with Psquared last night. Able to get frustrations out and talking about growing edges and share our new grown up lives.

I can't believe in two weeks Ill be 22 years old. it seems like such a big number and so scary. I really like where I am in my life though, although parts of me just want to be a kid with far less responsibilities and worries.

So at my job the SC's and some national office staff are in a fantasy football league. I have no idea what's going on and based my draft picks on teams I liked and my insticts while completely ignoring the ESPN suggestions. Let's hope for a win.

You'd think that living in Philadelphia I would be exempt from hurricanes but you would be wrong. Were expected to get some serious Hurrican Hannah runoff this weekend but nevertheless I plan to go to work and then head to the bar to watch the Florida/Miami game. Here's hoping I'm not too tired. I don't normally go out on weekends, I rarely went out in college. I just like being by myself. Lush can also be overstimulating to me and I don't know if it's best to go into another rowdy environment. I'm more excited about staying in and reading but I'll see how it feels.

Nothing deep or stimulating here. I'm tired and it has been a long week. Good Luck and Good Night!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

when you dream..........

So now that the day is finally winding down my emotions are starting to settle.
It's almost 5 and at six I'm going to a community meeting on voting rights for homeless and exoffenders.
Some exciting news for the office, I e-mailed a reporter from the student newspaper and got an e-mail back with them wanting to do an article. It makes me very excited and hopefully it will turn into some volunteers working with the office.
So in relation to a question I brought up in a previous post as well as the quote I put in my last post. The difference between astronomers and astronuats. I didn't mean to string you on, I just simply forgot.
So astronomers basically study space and then use that information to form decisions. But they never go to space.
Then there are the astronauts who use the information and research that astronomers gather to go into space and discover and interact with the environment.
In the world of 'change making' for lack of a better term there are those two types of people, the ones who study issues and muse on them and the ones who interact witht the issues and hope to make change with what knowledge they have.

Because I plan to have a future career in information science I'm fascinated by the need for and access to information. In most cases there is a significant informational gap between those who are studying 'up there' and those who are practicing 'on the front lines.'
Without getting into a lot of hodge podge from my head that will just make this blog unbearably long I'll just sum it up with, change happens in relationships.
Astronomers with the astronauts and astronauts with the....space rocks?
Change happens because we believe in each other.

Relationships are hard, especially working ones, because you can't break up and things need to get done. Some tensions and problems can't be solved only managed ;). Sometimes no matter how much you understand someones communication style, it doesn't make communicating with them any better. It doesn't really do anything besides make you realize why you don't communicate. Sometimes information just gives you a framework for getting through, and that's the best you can do.

All I hope to do at the end of the day is the best I can.

I hope to be planning a vacation soon or some time off. I like spending time by myself. It makes me a better person and I think the time for reflection helps me to have more functional, effective and working relationships. I find myself being really tense more than I want to be.
I'm off friends. Much love family and friends.

when it rains it pours

Yesterday was one of those emo days.
I've gotten to the point of emotional exhaustion. It was slow and steady, but it was coming. My stomach starting tensing up a week ago and I haven't slept through a night in a while.
Yesterday I headed to Lush after work, but Lauren (my manager) had overscheduled and she asked me if I just wanted to take the night off. I was pretty happy about that but I didn't really know what to do. Lush is in Center City which is the downtown area of Phila. Specifically I work in the Rittenhouse Square district which is very very fancy. I walked down to Rittenhouse Square which is this beautiful (I can't emphasize that enough) park in the middle of it all. Then I just sat down and did absolutely nothing. On Wednesday nights they have free concerts so they were setting up for that. Their was quite a subtle buzz around the park but I just sat there and stared up into the trees. I realized I don't think I had sat down and thought clearly about nothing in weeks. I felt so calm and it was really nice.
This man came over to shine my shoes. I resisted because I didn't have any cash to pay him but he insisted. We had a really good conversation and he was telling me about how much he loves his job and about all the people he gets to meet. It was really refreshing.
The band that played was The Hustle, they were really good. I realize I really love live music. Also I need to find something creative to do with my time and my self. Human beings were made to create art and express themselves. It's not done enough.
They are a Philly band and one of their songs was about Philly and it was really good. It made me realize how much I've grown to love this city and loathe it at the same time.

I ended up getting pretty emotional. The night was very carefree and I haven't exprienced that carefreeness in so long. I feel like I'm losing something that I can't describe in words but that is disappearing day by day. I feel so weighed down and overwhelmed at times and I just miss being carefree. I just miss living almost. I spend so much time thinking about living. Thinking about my bank account, thinking about my grocery list, thinking about my clients, thinking about my job, thinking about the things in this world. I've lost all concepts of peace. When you think so much about living, then you're not really living.
I started crying and I wasn't sure why. I was sad and exhausted and yet still very thankful. Everyday is so hard and when I say hard I mean it feels like I'm running up against a wall but not breaking through at all.

I went home and read a book that has never failed at picking me up out of my 'woe is me' moments. It's by Dr. Seuss and it's called 'Did I ever tell you how lucky you are?' It's a wonderful book. Here is the last few lines:
Thank goodness for all of the things you are not!
Thank goodness you're not something someone forgot,
and left all alone in some punkerish place
like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.
That's way I say, "Duckie!
Don't grumble! Don't stew!
Some critters are much-much,
oh, ever so much-much,
so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!"
I don't read the book to make myself feel happy because I'm not poor or homeless. I don't think it's fair to poor or homeless people that their lack of things is a factor that makes the rest of us so much better off. But I do read it to remind me that there are people out there in dire situations just like mine. However, I know that in a year or two, I'll go back to school or get a better paying job and things will get better and than I will be able to make a difference with the privelege I've been given and the knowledge I have.
Some people are in the situation I'm in, or work in the emotionally demanding field of social work and never have the power or voice to bring themself out of it or make sustainable and systemic change. I've been given a voice and knowledge and I can make a difference, and that gives me a responsibility and makes me lucky.
The man who has it doesn't want it
The man who wants it doesn't need it
The man who needs it doesn't know it
At the same time, I should realize the issues in our world without taking things to seriously or worrying myself to death. I can't make a change by myself and no one expects me to. I think I should spend more time enjoying myself while working to ensure that others have the ability to share in that enjoyment in their own lives. As Lila Watson an Australian Aborigine speaking to mission workers stated "If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."

I can enjoy my life, I need to, I have the opportunity to while so many others don't and it would be a shame to waste it. I need to have fun, do stupid things, dance and laugh and sing loudly, spend time with friends and just be. I can't forget how important it is to live the live I've been given and ensure that those around me can live theirs as well. Yet while still wearing the responsibility that comes from understanding that if one of us isn't free, than none of us is free. Use what you love to do to change the world. Enjoy your life and ensure that those that work with you enjoy the same privelege. Did I ever tell you how lucky you are.

Quote: We run into serious problems when people confuse random acts of kidness with a social strategy. Robert Egger (but don't stop doing nice things when you can!)

Song: The Hustle http://www.myspace.com/thehustleband

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

running, running

I'm going to do a half-marathon.
Some of the VISTA's from our national office are participating in a half-marathon in Richmond in November and extended an offer. I've wanted to run a full marathon for a while so this will be a great adventure. I'm ready ready ready to run.
I think I'm getting a bigger grasp on juggling my responsibilities in a day, although I haven't reallyg gotten anything done but had some great client meetings. Maybe there is no perfect juggle.
I think I am very much in need of a vacation or some time away. I would just like the opportunity to relax and go somewhere nice. But I would def. need to save up because even though I've know got my job at LUSH, I'm still getting paycheck to paycheck. It's no way to live.
I see how it beats people down every day in the eyes of our clients. You don't get fortunate to have a dream job or do something you love, it's just whatever, whatever pays and is available.
I just started reading this book "The Working Poor" by david shipler. It's pretty interesting and very realistic. Although, it doesn't put me in the best mood before I get to bed at night.

Speaking of that, last night two bikes were stolen from the porch of my apartment (I live in a Victorian rowhouse converted into apartments; think Full House opening scene) this morning. They belonged to people in our building. I'm no longer phased by senseless acts of crime but it just seems so silly. It has me thinking twice about wether I want a bike or not. I now make enough money where the Subway isn't a bad idea and somedays when I feel like just getting out, I walk home and see the sites and take in the fresh air. Plus I don't want to get hit by a car, or have to worry about my bike being stolen.

Okay so I have a conference call on fundraising that I'm supposed to be preparing for. Ciao!

Song: Running by Gwen Stefani http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-MNtN84NYk

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

rub rub rub

The day is finally winding down.
I have work at Lush tonight so I'm trying to finish up some things and write out to-do lists for tomorrow. So I posted that previous 'be present' article because while I think I'm actively doing that in some areas of my life, I could use some serious improvements in other areas. I love my clients but sometimes I get so busy with the administrative work that I have to do, that I think I make them feel like a nuisance rather than the focus of my job when they stop into talk to me. It's a difficult balance to overtake and it's made even more complicated by the fact that some clients situations are so intense to them that they feel it should be as intense to me as well. I definetely care and work hard to get results but I can't balance all of those emotions and be effective and healthy at the same time.
It's hard to switch back and forth in mindset. When I'm spending an entire day focused just on client service it's better and I'm more effective and attentive but when I start out the day with meetings and to-do lists for our office my head seems like its racing and it just gets hard to focus.
I need to be able to forgive myself and try harder the next time as well as understand what is balanced for me. That't the value of focus this week, forgiving myself and others. Either you know how to forgive or you don't and it's as important to forgive yourself as it is to forgive others.

Quote: A (client) is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so

Quote 2: Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course, we wouldn't fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. After all, seasons change. So do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it's comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you're very lucky, a plane ride away. Carrie from 'Sex and the City.'

BTW: I read these articles in the NY times today http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/01/education/01school.html?ex=1378008000&en=80c00ea3f19b61fc&ei=5124&partner=facebook&exprod=facebook



In reference to the first article I'd ask everyone to look into your own communities. Considering the economy there are probaly familes ,and schools as well ,who are in desperate need of support as they prepare for the school year. Every child should go into the school year confident in their ability and support. If you can, and have the resources, find ways to donate school supplies to needy schools and families so that every child can start the school year off to a new start. While shelving out a few dollars to buy a notebook or crayons may not mean much to you, it can mean so much to a child and provide support to needy families. Dream big, start small.

I had to share this...

The way we walk into a room says a lot about the way we live our lives. When we walk into a room curious about what's happening, willing to engage, and perceiving ourselves as an active participant with something to offer, then we have really shown up to the party. When we walk into a room with our eyes down, or nervously smiling, we are holding ourselves back for one reason or another. We may be hurting inside and in need of healing, or we may lack the confidence required to really be present in the room. Still, just noticing that we're not really showing up, and having a vision of what it will look and feel like when we do, can give us the inspiration we need to recover ourselves.
Even if we are suffering, we can show up to that experience ready to fully engage in it and learn what it has to offer. When we show up for our life, we are actively participating in being a happy person, achieving our goals, and generally living the life our soul really wants. If we need healing, we begin the process of seeking out those who can help us heal. If we need experience, we find the places and opportunities that can give us the experience we need in order to do the work we want to do in the world. Whatever we need, we look for it, and when we find it, we engage in the process of letting ourselves have it. When we do this kind of work, we become lively, confident, and passionate individuals.
There is almost nothing better in the world than the feeling of showing up for our own lives. When we can do this, we become people that are more alive and who have the ability to make things happen in our lives and the lives of the people around us. We walk through the world with the knowledge that we have a lot to offer and the desire to share it.
Nipun Mehta

uber excited

I am really energized, but what else is new.
I just came from such a great meeting with the Assistant Director of Community Relations at Temple. It was awesome! We shared so many great ideas for getting Temple Students engaged in the community. So, Monica oversees everything community service at Temple including their volunteer student organizationl, the community service living learning community, their spring break immersion trips, the habitiat for humanity club and other projects for students to get involved in the community.
We shared so many exciting ideas for colloboration this year and I really am looking forward to it. We even talked about doing a spring break immersion trip for student volunteers focused on learning about issues in North Philadelphia. I'm so excited. She also gave me great tips on how to engage students in service who may not be initially interested. We also signed up for the volunteer fair next week. Yeeaaahhh.!
So I was pumped and decided to stop at Dunkin Donuts to pick up an iced coffee. When I'm really excited sometimes my energy overstimulates me and coffee helps me regain focus. I can't explain it, it just does. So guess who I ran into...Ainsley. Friend of the family and current Dean of Students at Temple. He was also there with their Associate Dean Amy. It was really fun running into both of them and he talked about meeting as well so they could learn more about the program. I was too excited to remember anything coherent that I said but I'm sure it made sense.
I really love my job. The night before I return back to the work week is always the most energized because I get all these ideas and I can't wait to come into the office and implement them.
So off to work!