Thursday, October 23, 2008

Do I look GOOOOOD or what?!?!

IMG_0959, originally uploaded by woodstocklsnoopy.

Me, post chimney-destroying in Cedar Rapids the second time... I'm all covered in soot... and, as I just learned, wearing Dan's shirt. What is it with this family that I end up with everyone's clothes? I have a favorite sweatshirt, stolen from Andy, that I wear often. I went home to his house once, and his dad greeted me by saying, "I see you're wearing my sweatshirt."
I also have Sam's Captain Underpants shirt that I stole from Andy... thought it was his...
And tonight I learned that shirt I'm wearing in that pic, which I thought belonged to Andy, belonged to Dan. I say belonged because I look so damn good in that shirt, there's no way I was giving it back. Nice that he said I could keep it anyway...
Unless I am mistaken (like with the last 3 shirts), I, of course, also have some of Andy's shirts...
So now all I have to do it collect something from Dawn and I can wear the whole damn family.... hahaha... frickin' ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day Post-- Poverty and Sensationalism

In August of this year, the BBC reported that the World Bank had revised the poverty level. Poverty level is defined as the amount of money a person can live on. The number is now $1.25 per day. Since 1981, the number of people living in poverty has jumped from 1.5 billion to 1.9 billion. However, with population increases, the percentage of people living in poverty has still decreased. In 25 years, the number has dropped from 50% to 25%. Obviously, that is approximately 1% each year.
The problem with defining poverty in number like this is that poverty is relative. The poverty level is $1.25. But according to TV commercials, children in impoverished countries can live on $0.80 per day. That's because poverty is relative. In America, we are considered 'poor' if we don't have health coverage. However, in Africa, you are lucky if there is a doctor in your area. We consider ourselves poor if we don't have shoes. In other countries, you are hugely rich if you have shoes. America is one of the richest countries in the world. So how can we be so unconcerned about people's needs? When did the world become so materialistic we forgot about the human element?
In the past few months there has been overwhelming media coverage about the Olympics and China's amazing displays in the ceremonies. When people were oohing and awe-ing over the majesty of the opening ceremonies, did anyone stop to think about the realities of the event? China spent over $43 billion on the Olympics. If you were to figure out how much money that was, it's $117,808,219 per day for a year. Going by the World bank's numbers, that would care for 94,246,575 people for a year. That's 20% of world poverty. If China had decided to better the world instead of having the world's grandest display, they could have eliminated 20% of world poverty for a year.
I know that asking for nothing in respect to the Olympics would be ridiculous. But China spent $3.5 billion on designing an airport. That's about $9,589,041.10 per day for a year. That would feed 7,671,232 people for a year. For an airport. Is that really what matters? I spent 8 hours in an airport last month and I really couldn't tell you that much about it. Are tired, traveling people really going to notice all the improvement? Is it really worth it?
I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe we don't need designer jeans and the newest phones and all the things we desperately neeeeeeeed. Maybe we should just set a bit aside for helping out our neighbors when they are having a bad year. Maybe we should all try living at $1.25 per day for a while.
That's my challenge to you. Look at your budget. What is your cost of living per day? Whatever you think it is, cut out everything you can live without to get down to $1.25. What kind of things do you have to cut out? Maybe try living like that for a week.... How does it change your life?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ok, so Cedar Rapids... The picture below was the house we worked on most of the week. That house is almost 4 blocks from the river and the water was still over 6 feet high. Inside the house, at least 15 feet high, there was a bar of soap stuck to the first floor ceiling. (15 feet because there was a porch that was at least 3 feet higher than ground level which was at the same height as the first floor). The water was that high. The woman who lived there, Linda, had just put in brand new flooring and other improvements. She had just started remodelling her bathroom. She was 2 years from retirement. And we threw out almost all of her possessions. The trash pile in front? Take that times 15 and it might be close to how much of her house we removed. When we left, there were studs, outside walls and bare minimun floors. No insulation, no siding, no wiring, no plumbing.

We arrived over 40 days after the flood. The house had not been touched. Everything she owned was molding or rotted or dissolved into a liquid... There was very little that could be saved. We tore out drywall and insulation to find mold growing all the way to the ceiling. we tore out the first 2 layers of ceiling. We pulled out her new floorboards and subflooring. We ripped out her stove, her washer, her water heater, everything. We mucked out feet of standing water. We hauled out her clothes, her papers, her canned food, her furniture. Almost everything she owned, gone.

I didn't write about it sooner because it's a tender subject. Some people talked about how they wanted to go remodel their homes now. But as we destroyed walls and tore up floors and ripped out fixtures, I thought about what it would feel like if this was my house. What if I had to rip out the drywall in my bedroom? Would I be able to pull down my lilac walls and rip out the insulation and rip up the carpets and take out everything I ever owned the throw it away? There is no way I could do that. I feel so sorry for her and bad that we couldn't do more for her, but I'm glad we could do that much. At least she didn't have to do it herself.

I'm going back next week. As faculty/staff, I no longer get a fall break, but by taking a service trip, I get a day out of the office. We're leaving friday and coming back Monday. So I will be working all weekend, but I'm glad I can give this tiny bit to help another person. When we arrived, Linda was tryig to figure out what to do. She was living in a trailer, thinking she would have to try to sell her house, after, of course, paying to have it fixed up to livable standards and her possessions removed. After a week of free labor, when we left, she had a little more hope. She was thinking of coming back. Her kids were figting over who got to buy her trailer. If that isn't worth giving up a weekend, what is?

Cedar Rapids.

DSCF0724, originally uploaded by woodstocklsnoopy.

Welcome to Cedar Rapids. That's me on the porch of the house we (the Morningside VIM) cleaned out in July. Why blog this now after so much time has passed, you may ask? Well, I'm going back next week. More to come... I want to save this before Flickr freaks out on me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why I Rock Your Cat Box.

Kelley at Magneto Bold Too has challenged all her readers to list reasons why we rock. Sooo, without further ado, Reasons Why I Rock Your Cat Box. (ok, I lied, a little ado... does anyone else remember the Rock the Casbah commercial where the guys think the song says "rock the cat box"?)

  • I am the proud owner of a new pair of Rocket Dogs shoes. They are purple, gray and beautiful.
  • I bought a cheesecake book and am going to try ALL of them, even if they don't sound like something I would like. Because I am adventurous...sorta.
  • I also bought ice cube trays made for cocktails. You are supposed to freeze lemon and lime slices right in the tray with your ice. How cool is that?
  • Instead of the Peace Corps, I joined AmeriCorps*. For the next year, I am a VISTA (Volunteer In Service to America). In exchange for my amazing services, they are paying $4,700 of my student loans. And I get to goof off at work a lot.
  • I have a cat named Punk and he is on Crack. but neither of us has killed the other yet.
  • I can cook damn near anything. Except scrambled eggs.
  • I have HUUUUUUUUGE boobs.
  • I am most likely getting married in Yellowstone National Park in July 2009.
  • I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and have a minor in Photography.
  • I read Kelley's blog.
    Shameless plugging? yeah, so?
  • Ok, there are not enough bullet points to express how much I rock your catbox. Now I must go clean Punk's.

Cool Ice Cube Trays

Cool Ice Cube Trays, originally uploaded by woodstocklsnoopy.

And the last spoils of the day (yesterday), funky ice cube trays! This is the first time I've lived alone, and in my last 2 apartments, Lisa had ice cube trays. So last week I scoured walmart looking for ice cube trays and nada. I mean I walked the store like 5 times and bubkus. So yesterday A and I went to Linens and Things to look. The normal ice cube trays were waaaaaay up on the pillar thing, so A was gonna lift me a bit to reach them... as he leaned down to brace himself, he noticed these... they are designed to freeze fruit slices right into your ice cubes. Cool huh? Punk thinks so too.

New Rocket Dogs!

New Rocket Dogs!, originally uploaded by woodstocklsnoopy.

New shoes! Got new workout shoes, only problem is now I have to workout. Ok, that;s not actually that much of a stretch... I bought them to replace the gym shoes I destroyed in Cedar Rapids, so now I can workout... BECAUSE.... if I lose *an undisclosed amount of* weight, I'll buy myself an iPod Nano. Probably in Lime. If I lose a little extra before the holidays (leeway, you know) then I will buy myself the Nike+ Nano workout sync thingie... can't remember the name obviously, but I have been intrigued for over a year... anyway, new shoes! and they are ADORABLE!

...just gotta remember to get thin socks (I hate sock wrinkles when I run) when I do grocery shopping tomorrow...

New book, mmmmmm

New book, mmmmmm, originally uploaded by woodstocklsnoopy.

So I noticed this at Barnes and Noble like a month ago... and yesterday I finally got it... I'm gonna learn to make all kinds of cheesecakes! Now I just gotta get Sharon's fruit sauce recipes... mmmmm...
Hope the neighbors like cheesecakes, cuz they are probably gonna get stuck with some of the leftovers.....

Punk and Me

Punk and Me, originally uploaded by woodstocklsnoopy.

Don't we look like fun?

Punk and Misty

Punk and Misty, originally uploaded by woodstocklsnoopy.

Look how cute we are! Now if only Punk was that nice all the time....