Friday, December 11, 2009

One of my items was featured on Etsy's front page - HOW COOL!!! My friend Ngan selected one of my items for her "treasury" (a grouping of items that have something in common - a color, season, use, feature, etc). Getting your treasury picked for the front page is great because it lets people know you exist (they go to your shop to check you out since you have such great taste) and all the people you've featured in your treasury get exposure on the front page.

My item -- the black and white coffee cozy at the bottom, called "Day and Night", has almost 250 views (people who clicked on it to look at it in detail) while my other items average between 10 & 30 views each. And the number of people who have listed my shop as one of their favorites went up by 30% in one day! So being featured in a treasury is a great thing for any Etsy shop, and I'm so thankful it happened to me!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ryan Adams without the PMS

My friend Alicia came to town and introduced me to the Avett Brothers. I love them! I told someone they're like Ryan Adams without the PMS.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This weekend I made out with my sewing machine

This weekend I lived at the kitchen table with my sewing machine directly in front of me, a stereo for music and an ironing board on my right holding the iron and all my piecework. It was quite a scene. Family members flowed in & out of my little work station where I put in many, many hours of Holiday cozy creating.
I'm seeing a little cross-eyed today but it was worth it. Here are the first fruits of my labor:

These are listed at my Etsy shop, One In The Hand. More will be there soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It was my co-worker's birthday yesterday and her cubicle was decorated accordingly.


Is having this poster legal if you're over 18?

Photoshop cake for the birthday girl

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

to-do list

  • learn to make stickers
  • learn to make stencils
  • learn to make stamps

i have so many ideas for so many things!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Holy Schnikes! I finally started my ETSY shop!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Small World

How cool – Kathryn Edin-Nelson has been selected as North Park University’s alumnus of the year (2009). NPU is where I’m working on a Non-Profit Management degree.

I recently put a one of Edin-Nelson’s books on my reading list; at the time I had no idea of her connection to my school.

From the NPU website:

When national legislators craft urban policy, they want to hear from Kathryn Edin-Nelson, who is considered one of the nation’s preeminent voices on improving the lives of the urban poor. A native of the small, rural town of Staples, Minn., Edin-Nelson developed this voice when she moved to Chicago to attend North Park University.

“I didn’t even know what sociology was before I came here,” Edin-Nelson told the audience at Saturday’s Homecoming Banquet.

While at North Park, she completed an internship at LaSalle Street Church, which was her first point of contact with the poor families that became the subjects of her life's work. Although she initially balked at the idea of attending graduate school, Edin-Nelson pursued a master’s and Ph.D. at Northwestern University.

She told Saturday’s gathering that North Park gave her “three essential gifts” that prepared her for graduate studies and life’s work— “a passion for Jesus and for faith-infused learning . . . a passion for the city . . . and finally, a passion for diversity.”

During her time as a graduate student, Edin-Nelson also taught sociology at a North Park extension campus in the blighted Chicago neighborhood of North Lawndale. Four of the people in her class were minority women on welfare.

“Ironically the first course I was teaching was Minority Cultures, and I was the only non-minority person in the room,” Edin-Nelson said in an interview, laughing. “I was teaching it out of the book, and they were living it.”

The women in her class introduced her to others in similar positions, and their lives became the foundation for Edin-Nelson’s first book, There is a Lot of Month Left at the End of the Money. That led to her award winning book with Laura Lein, Making Ends Meet: How Low Income Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low Wage Employment.

While teaching at Rutgers University, Edin-Nelson collaborated with Urban Promise, an organization started by Tony Campolo, and lived for two and a half years in Camden, N.J. It was considered America’s poorest city at the time and was the nation’s murder capital.

Edin-Nelson’s experiences in Camden, where she investigated why poor women put motherhood ahead of marriage, are chronicled in her third book, Promises I Can Keep, which won the William T. Goode award for the most outstanding contribution for family scholarship. She published her fourth book, on couple dynamics and father involvement in low-income families, in 2007, entitled Unmarried Couples with Children. She is also working on an upcoming book with her husband, Tim Nelson, about the meaning of fatherhood among low-income men.

Edin-Nelson said she values working with “stigmatized populations” and helping to break stereotypes. “You eventually come to the realization that you would have made the same choices had you been in the same situation,” she explained. “These people are not different from me. They have the same desires and motivations and good qualities.”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We went to the library today and I got a ton of books.

The Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook from 2006.

Ancient China from The Nature Company Discoveries Library. The kids and I will look at this together.

Medieval Life from Eyewitness Books (I should say right now that I tried watching The Tudors via Netflix and I just didn’t seem to be in the right mood. Maybe I needed to give it more of a chance, but it got a little old . . . Jonathon Rhys Myers has sex with some chick . . . then he acts arrogant . . . then he has sex with another chick . . . then he makes a big decision, disregarding what his advisors tell him to do. Rinse, repeat. Eh.)

Beginner’s World Atlas from National Geographic

Baby’s very first colors book by Usborne (for Rian)

Counting Kittens and Puppies by ticktock Entertainment. Why do these baby books not have real authors? I mean, I get that it’s kind of easy to photoshop some cute dogs & cats and super-simple one liners . . . but shouldn’t that guy get author credit? Sheesh.

Animal Friends: A Global Celebration of Children and Animals BY MAYA AJMERA & JOHN D. IVANKO – Thank you! Finally a baby book with real people behind it. Those other guys were obviously robots.

The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levin, Ph.D. At my library they have parenting books right next to baby books (as well as in adult non-fiction) . . . slick, right? Oh man there were tons, but of course this one caught my eye.

And so did: It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting Is Hurting Our Kids – and What to Do About It. 2nd Sub-title: Question the Experts, Trust Your Instincts, and Dare to Parent – in a Culture That Tells You Not To by Betsy Hart

The One Minute Cleaner: Plain and Simple with 2nd Sub-title: 500 Tips for Cleaning Smarter, Not Harder by Donna Smallin

And the kids got their own books, including joke books, American Girl books (oh lawd), SLUMBER PARTY SING-ALONG VOLUME 2 (a cd of the kidz bop genre – all songs are listed like this: “Best of Both Worlds (Made Famous by Hannah Montana)” i.e. there are just random kids singing these songs. Which has led to a fun game we play. “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & the Waves comes on the radio and Kori says, “Oh, this lady did this song too?” and I nearly drive off the road, screaming “SHE DID IT FIRST OMG STOP LISTENING TO KIDZ BOP!!!!!!!!!”

Can you tell I’m ready to pack up a U-Haul and head to Montana to live on my ranch on the side of the mountain? I really had to stop myself from checking out books on canning and dehydrating food.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I have to select an area Non-Profit to do my final project on for my current class. I have to meet with their executive director (or someone in a similar position), interview them, tour their location, and then present my project to the class. Tomorrow we have to come to class with 3 possibilities. I chose:

~ Crossroads which is based in the South suburbs and does anti-racism training for organizations.

~ Wings which provides shelter, education, guidance & support to homeless/abused women & children (I knew of them because a thrift store near my house where I shop sometimes is a Wings thrift store – all money supports the org)

~ Roseland Community “Good News” Daycare which has an awesome story . . . it’s run by a lady who was a pregnant teen years ago . . . she began providing childcare for local teens who were likely to drop out of school. She provided free care, food & diapers if the mom couldn’t pay. The daycare has grown into a great organization. My friend Alicia told me about her a while ago.

In related news, last week I sent an email to Leonard Pitts from the Miami Herald (a columnist I’ve read for years), nominating the Roseland Daycare as an organization he should profile for his “What Works” column. What Works is a look at programs around the U.S. that are doing good things for children in need, specifically Black kids. Of course I didn’t bother to read the DATES of the articles that highlighted great organizations, so I didn’t realize that he ran this series of columns a couple years ago (doh!) & they’re just posted as archives.

Anyway – if you’re interested in reading about some great nation-wide organizations that are doing great things, google Leonard Pitts Miami Herald and start reading. You may eventually be asked to create an account to continue reading but it’s free and took me about 30 seconds to do it. You have to opt IN for any newsletters/emails so don’t worry about getting spammed by creating an account.

Here is the text from his final article on the series, dated July 7, 2008. (Also - the Harlem Children's Zone has connections in both curriculum & training to the people where I work who are running an elementary school here on Chicago's West Side, the Garfield Park Preparatory Academy).

We Know What Works – Now Let’s Do It by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

This will be the last What Works column.

I reserve the right to occasionally report on any program I run across that shows results in saving the lives and futures of African-American kids. But this is the last in the series I started 19 months ago to spotlight such programs.

Let me begin by thanking you for your overwhelming response to my request for nominations, and to thank everyone from every program who allowed me to peek behind the scenes. From the Harlem Children's Zone in New York to SEI (Self-Enhancement, Inc.) in Portland, Ore., I have been privileged and uplifted to see dedicated people doing amazing work.

I am often asked whether I've found common denominators in all these successful programs, anything we can use in helping kids at risk. The short answer is, yes. You want to know what works?

Longer school days and longer school years work. Giving principals the power to hire good teachers and fire bad ones works. High expectations work. Giving a teacher freedom to hug a child who needs hugging works. Parental involvement works. Counseling for troubled students and families works. Consistency of effort works. Incentives work. Field trips that expose kids to possibilities you can't see from their broken neighborhoods, work.

Indeed, the most important thing I've learned is that none of this is rocket science. We already know what works. What we lack is the will to do it. Instead, we have a hit-and-miss patchwork of programs achieving stellar results out on the fringes of the larger, failing, system. Why are they the exception and not the rule?

If we know what works, why don't we simply do it?

Nineteen months ago when I started, I asked Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children's Zone why anyone should pay to help him help poor kids in crumbling neighborhoods. He told me, "Someone's yelling at me because I'm spending $3,500 a year on 'Alfred.' Alfred is 8. OK, Alfred turns 18. No one thinks anything about locking him up for 10 years at $60,000 a year."

Amen. Forget the notion of a moral obligation to uplift failing children. Consider the math instead. If that investment of $3,500 per annum creates a functioning adult who pays taxes and otherwise contributes to the system, why would we pass that up in favor of creating, 10 years later, an adult who drains the system to the tune of $60,000 a year for his incarceration alone, to say nothing of the other costs he foists upon society?

How does that make sense? Nineteen months later, I have yet to find a good answer.

Instead, I find passivity. Save The Children, Marvin Gaye exhorted 27 years ago. But we are losing the children in obscene numbers. Losing them to jails, losing them to graves, losing them to illiteracy, teen parenthood, and other dead-ends and cul-de-sacs of life. But I have yet to hear America -- or even African America -- scream about it. Does no one else see a crisis here?

"I don't think that in America, especially in black America, we can arrest this problem unless we understand the urgency of it, " says Tony Hopson, Sr., founder of SEI. "When I say urgency, I'm talking 9/11 urgency, I'm talking Hurricane Katrina urgency, things that stop a nation. I don't think in black America this is urgent enough. Kids are dying every single day. I don't see where the NAACP, the Urban League, the Black Caucus, have decided that the fact that black boys are being locked up at alarming rates, [means] we need to stop the nation and have a discussion about how we're going to eradicate that as a problem. It has not become urgent enough. If black America don't see it as urgent enough, how dare us think white America is going to think it's urgent enough?"

In other words, stand up. Get angry. Stop accepting what is clearly unacceptable. I'll bet you that works, too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

i attend north park university which is a teensy christian college heavily focused on service . . . the campus looks straight out of a movie but it's plunked right down in the middle of chicago.
i'm in the non-profit managment bachelor's program (in a cohort of adults who work and are returning to finish their degrees).
i recently decided that when i'm done with my bachelor's degree, i'm likely going to try to get into their grad program for non-profit administration. so, there, i said it: i think i'm going to go to grad school.

4,000 words

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The ol' Partisan Poison Dart

I read the Obama school speech transcript. I think it was good. My kid's school didn't show it it: “There are many reasons, including MAP testing, instructional blocks, and the inability to show this with our current technology resources.” It’s not a huge deal to me – there isn’t anything in there that we haven’t already talked to our kids about. However, they like Obama so it will be good to sit with them & watch the speech, it will be exciting for them. I remember as a kid hating to watch stuff with adults talking about adult stuff . . . I’d try to watch presidential addresses but would quickly lose interest. I think it would have been really cool to see him talking right to me on my level.

As a parent, I’m not concerned that he would be trying to indoctrinate my kids. I wasn’t a Bush fan but if there had been a presidential address like this I would have thought nothing of it – I would assume, as I have with Obama, that the speech would be kid & education focused, and I wouldn’t expect there to be any sort of partisan poison dart that would shoot out of the TV and infect my kids and make them become a big, bad (insert political party). If one speech from the president would override everything I’m teaching in my home, then I’m not doing much teaching in my home!

As for the kids who don’t get the teaching at home, I don’t think there was anything but encouragement to work their hardest in the speech. And Obama being able to share stories of how he identified with not having a perfect life growing up will be meaningful to those kids – this is one more reason that I do like Obama even though I disagree with some of his policies – he is a different face, a face that some kids will be able to identify with for the first time. Him mentioning difficult times in his childhood is another way of telling the kids who don’t have much support – try anyway, you can do it. The truth is many of them won’t do it, even with him as an example, because all our problems as a society don’t go away just because we have a Black president. But it’s one barrier broken down – having never seen a Black face in that office. I truly, truly didn’t think I’d see a Black president in my lifetime . . . and the unabashed racism that has come to the surface since he became a candidate is why I didn’t think it would happen. Just because it’s under the surface doesn’t mean it’s not there! We have a loooong way to go, and I guess because of my Christian worldview, I don’t believe we WILL ever get there, not until Christ returns.

Which leads me to something I hadn’t intended to write about, but I struggle so much with balancing the beliefs of the human sinful nature vs. the work the Holy Spirit can do in our lives . . . balancing knowing things will probably only get worse before Christ returns vs. continuing to work TODAY to make improvements. I guess sometimes I just look around and think, “What’s the use?”

Trying to balance a *worldly* viewpoint, which to me is that we actually believe that one day we will get “there” where things are just great for everyone. But as a Christian I don’t believe that’s possible here on earth. But then I have to think from the worldly viewpoint of the worth & value of the lives that are here right now, that can be improved . . . and that lines up with Christ’s mandates to his church.

Sometimes I get so tired of trying to figure out the answers and then hitting a wall & remembering I can’t know all the answers, it’s not possible. I get tired of caring so much and not being able to fix the things that ail people and hurt them. Sometimes I wish I could just be a robot because it’s overwhelming to see so much pain in the world and to have so little power to take away the pain. There are times when I’m physically overcome with the knowledge of the ways people suffer. I can either become a basketcase or I can turn off the TV in my head and do the little I can do. It just never seems to be enough.

So, was that depressing enough for you??

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yes, it does!

this is what i love about obama being in office. most people i've said that to think i'm very wrong to feel this way.from anti-racist parent:

This photo from the White House Flickr account shows a young boy rubbing President Barack Obama’s head. Reportedly, “The youngster wanted to see if the President’s haircut felt like his own.”

Having a self-identified black man in the White House matters. Yes, it does.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Last night Vincent & I watched a new PBS Independent Lens documentary: Crips and Bloods: Made In America.

It was about how/why gangs got started in LA, how they’ve evolved and the conditions that keep the South Central LA community stuck in the cycle of gangs, drugs & violence. It also highlights the work that is being done to try to make changes . . . and the work that has to be done from outsiders in order to make change possible.

On the website, there is a map where you can hover over the different things like liquor stores, crime, home ownership & homelessness, gang violence, schools, prison statistics, employment, grocery stores, health clinics, hospitals – the information about the disparities of what is in South Central compared to more affluent areas of LA is disgusting.

The map also highlights some historical events that happened in South Central.

Definitely worth checking out if you get the chance!! You can check out a preview, look on the movie link above & on the top right of the screen. AND you can also find out when it will play next on your local PBS station – my station is going to show it again this Sunday, so it’s likely that yours will be showing it sometime soon as well.

From the director:
I made CRIPS AND BLOODS: Made in America because I was interested as a filmmaker and as a resident of Los Angeles in investigating why gang violence has been going on uninterrupted in Los Angeles for over four decades. I could not understand why this is going on in America and why no viable solution has ever been put into place. And it did not make sense to me, our country defeated Nazi Germany and Japan simultaneously and in less than a decade but we can’t stop gang violence. It made me wonder if as a society we would find a solution to this problem if instead of poor African American teenagers it were affluent white teenagers who were killing each other.

Kumasi, one of the principle characters in the film says this, “Part of the mechanics of oppressing people is to pervert them to the extent that they become their own oppressors.” I believe these young men involved in gang violence are carrying out their own extinction and the very sad truth is that our society is allowing this to happen. I hope people who view the film see these gang members as human beings caught up in a tragic nightmare and not as the animals and demons the media has made them out to be.

I believe people should see this film because this is a human rights issue that is happening inside of America and it’s happening every day in many of our largest cities—but it happens in silence. These young men are dying in silence and they are being incarcerated in silence. More people have been killed due to gang violence in Los Angeles than the long running sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, yet very few know this fact. Young children in South Los Angeles are experiencing greater levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than children living in Bagdad, Iraq. This is happening inside of our country.
—Stacy Peralta

Meet four of the men featured in CRIPS & BLOODS: Made in America.

“I grew up in a home where my mother worked two jobs, but had three boys. …We were unsupervised, so I found my supervision outside of the home.”
Skipp was born Clifford Townsend in Los Angeles. Forty-four years old at the time of filming, he became a member of the Rollin’ 20s Bloods at the age of 13. Although he became inactive in 1998, he feels as though he has never really left his gang. He has spent almost seven years of his life in the U.S. prison system and is currently working towards his bachelor's degree in child development. Skipp recently created his own organization specializing in community intervention, re-entry, mentoring and gang intervention. He also assists with training Los Angeles Police Department officers on community relations and works within the city’s school system to make an impact on at-risk youths.

“…But the point is this: I'm a walkin' time bomb. I'm gonna go off. Some day, somewhere, on somebody. The question is: 'Upon whom?'"
Kumasi was born in Bronx, New York and moved to South Los Angeles at age three. Sixty-one years old at the time of filming, he joined the Slausons at age 10. He still considers himself a Slauson, although the gang became inactive around 1967. Kumasi has served a total of five terms, or about 18 years, in the U.S. prison system during his life. He currently works as a consultant and activist within his community and as a consultant in the entertainment industry.

“So, a lotta times, man, I know morally I'm a good individual, but sometimes I gotta put that moral state of mind behind me and become an animal.”

Born in Los Angeles as Rodney Moralez, Shaka joined Mad Swan Bloods (currently known as Family Swan Bloods) at the age of 13. Twenty-eight years old at the time of filming, he still considers himself a Swan, although he became less involved with the gang after becoming a father, and has become inactive in recent years. Shaka has spent three terms, totaling six years, in the U.S. prison system. He is currently working as a hip hop and reggae artist in the music industry and is starting up a church and basketball program for at-risk youth.

“I grew up in a house where my grandma and my uncle, everybody was sellin' drugs. You, know what I'm sayin'? I grew up to where when the police raid, they handed me drugs to hide…”

Born Raymond Ford in Los Angeles, Scrap was thirty-two years old at the time of filming. Growing up in Jordan Downs Housing Project in Watts, he feels that he was born into a gang. Scrap became an active member of the Grape Street Watts Crips at 11 years old and became inactive in 2003, after his best friend was murdered. As a juvenile, he spent one year in a youth authority camp. He currently works full time as a football coach, and part time doing gardening work for the city.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Do you think if I took some dark chocolate, melted it and mixed in coffee grounds (unused), let it dry in a flat pan and then broke it into pieces, it would be like chocolate/espresso bean candy bars?

I’ve had the kind with whole and crunched up beans, but Starbucks makes a bar that seems to have ground the beans to a much finer consistency, which I love.

I want to do this 50% because I can make my own bars for less money, and 50% because when I’m at home and craving this yummy treat, I can make it with the chocolate chips and coffee I have on hand, and don’t have to actually leave my house.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everything is amazing . . . Nobody is happy

we can all use a good dose of perspective, i think.

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