Sunday, January 31, 2010

Helping Haiti

This weekend on the 4th floor:
Saturday we spent about 6 hours packing boxes full of clothes, soap, tooth brushes and tooth paste for children in Haiti who have lost their parents and family. We worked with 2 groups of very dedicated people: the fine folks of UPS & UNICEF in the UPS facility in Carteret New Jersey. (UNICEF staff wore UNICEF blue t-shirts, UPS wore UPS brown t-shirts=I gave mine to a UPS staff member at the end of the day-seemed the right thing to do.)UNICEF stickers were placed onto the boxes but secretly I wanted /wished I could have brought along a big red magic marker to sign each box with a heart. The reality is the boxes were built by UPS , handed to the assembly line of folks working in teams , filled and taped shut so fast that nothing personal could be done at any point in the process.
We came home slightly sore and feel like a truck has hit us today but we totally hope to repeat the process in the coming weeks if UPS/UNICEF calls for volunteers .
Sunday I have been digging through my tall kitchen cabinet , pulling out baking supplies and my tin of inherited cookie cutters (from my great Aunt Helen & Grandma Claire) and am just wrapping up research on what to bake. UNICEF is holding a bake sale Monday to raise funds for their programs in Haiti and it feels perfect to devote this weekend to helping Haiti, however we can. Wish me luck, I am not a baker by nature (one of the secrets to staying healthy:never become a master baker!) and do not have the usual stuff on hand nor does my oven (tiny apartment small and old and ailing)behave. It is one temp. in the back and another zone in the front so baking and cooking of any kind is always tricky. (Photo above depicts the collection of ingredients complied to make cookies. )

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

one last resolution

Forgot to add this one:
10 fruits & vegetables a day.
One of my jobs is teaching art / creative experience to cancer patients. I have done this work on and off for several years now and have learned a lot from the folks I work with. One definite lesson patients have taught me is: if there was any way to prevent cancer-they wish they would have done that.
That resonates with me as my grandfather always used to tell us grandkids : "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". And no where is this more true than with cancer. So when I began hearing this new mantra-to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day to maintain health & prevent disease-I listened. And I am trying. It is not easy-especially in winter time when there is little local stuff to be had and what there is the the stores does not always look or taste great. (I made some plantains last night that lacked taste of any kind until I poured lime juice onto the slices-oh how I miss the taste of fresh, ripe things!) But I am trying and am determined. Partly I want to be healthy. I want to avoid preventable disease. But also-I want those folks I have met over the years to know their lessons and trials and mistakes were not in vain. I was listening and learning from them.

Monday, January 4, 2010

What's NEW for 2010!

The new year is here and I am about to make THE classic mistake when it comes to new years resolutions: too many things on the list!
I could mull this over and whittle things down a bit but for some reason I do not want to. I think it might be a blessing in disguise to have more rather than less this year and so I am going to go for it! I am not sharing this list with anyone yet...and expect additions as they get clarified in my minds eye.
1. Learn to drive!
see attached photo of one wonderful car...
(I never have and never needed to as I live in a city with great mass transit . I also happen to deeply believe in the epic problem of global warming and do not want to contribute to this. But as I get older I think this is a skill I'll need in my pocket of tricks and I have a road trip in mind that I want to do via road though I am not opposed to trains at all!)
2. Visit ...another city & state far from here _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . I have a friend there and she had often offered her place to me when she goes on adventures and I would very much like THIS YEAR to be the year I take her up on this kind offer.
3. Invigorate my spiritual practices. This is pretty vague at the moment as I am still deciding what steps to take to put this into practice but here is one:
Make a visit to Omega Institute or Kripalu. I have wanted to visit both places for years and , like most folks I find it easier to maintain a practice when supported by "like minded people" so a visit to one or another sounds in order.
(Another idea is to volunteer and I have a place in mind that sounds right...)
I have begun to pray each night. (I hope this does not turn anyone off . "We" all seem to be fine with spirituality & meditation but not prayer and I would like to incorporate more prayer into my daily life. "They" say you should trust your intuition & that it what I am following on this point.)
Expect to see more about this in my blog "Peace In This New Year" & "Spread The Love".
4. Help to make the world a better place. How is the question. Blogging about causes I believe in is one route but I would like to take a more active stance on this-volunteering perhaps?
5. Find a new Motto. My unfortunate motto for 2009 was : "Make the best of a bad situation." That helped me to make it through 2009 but it is NOT the motto I want with me for another 365 days.
If I brainstorm about just what it is that I would like to have the next 365 days be about :
As more words come to mind I will jot them down. The next step will be finding a motto that somehow encompasses what I hope to be and where I hope to go in 2010.
I do know I have been saying to myself more and more that "I want to be happy." Since I am not one of those people who believes "things" will make you happy I KNOW it is all about other types of stuff. The real elements of life that are yours from the day you are born until the day you die and that can not be taken away from you but do need to be developed and cherished. It is time to start a new focus on these gifts...
6. DO the Etsy thing. NOW. I am putting this off for a whole year now and it is time to take the plunge. (Maybe that should be my new motto-take the plunge! Yikes! Hmmmmmmm...I need to mull that over...)
This one may also pop up in my silkscreen blog "ARTWORKS"...
7. Develop the friendships I have and co-create new ones. (I have learned this can be tough to do as "we" get older and I want to ignore all the usual road blocks and obstacles and grow this area of my life as I would a garden of colorful and life enriching flowers...)
8. Join a gym.I have been researching this one for some time now as I really want to have this be a wise use of $ as well as a beneficial experience.

And, for 2011:get a collapsible bike! I want something well built and easy to fold and Transportation Alternatives gave some great advice a while back on what is out there right now so my eyes are scanning the horizon for the best bike for me...