Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pictures From My Weird Life

Pictures and highlights from my weird life, below:

A Return to the Madhouse
Last weekend away refreshed me, but soon after my last post the weekly grind hit me, and hard.

But you know what? I love all of my jobs (though there are too many of them) and sometimes volunteers bring me flowers at the register:

La Copa Mundial
The World Cup 2014 is on!

I'm not going to lie--I used to live spitting distance from Greenpoint Stadium, but I only ever went inside for a concert. I made it back to the States without a South Africa jersey--not so much as one vuvuzela.

And yet, when I read the parts of this story about SAfrica rising above low expectations for the 2010 World Cup, I choked up a little (a lot).

I feel a lot of things about South Africa, but hope and pride are among them. So I can never be truly indifferent to the World Cup.

And La Copa Mundial matters to the kids I work with. This week I caved and got one of those FIFA books for stickers of all the players. The kids "help" me fill in my álbum de FIFA.

A Note: I completely understand criticisms of FIFA and demands for equitable distribution of profits generated by this huge event. Brasil, the world is watching!

But part of my philosophy of doing community development work is: if my stakeholders care about something, it should at least be on my radar. And let's get real--Mexico is New Brunswick's team. Celebrating a match (which was a VICTORY) as an office or neighborhood or city is still building something. So when I had the opportunity to watch Mexico's first game at a community center yesterday, I took it!

I'm not suggesting that watching the World Cup is a tiresome duty for work--the matches are FUN.

And it's not just New Brunswick, NJ, celebrating. Here's a house in my hometown:

I love seeing all the flags for Spain, Portugal and Brasil around here--it's part of what makes this home.


I half expected the Rainbow Loom thing to die out by now, but let me assure you, it still isn't old news to the kids I work with. I still laugh when they ask me, "Are you looming today?" Crazy kids and their lingo.

I love getting swept up in the hobbies of the kiddos. I'm not trying to get blindsided by some fad, or impress a bunch of 7-year-olds by buying up all the cheap stuff that fascinates them.

I do care deeply about after-school enrichment, and I want time spent with me to be meaningful to the youth I work with. I also want my kids to just have fun sometimes.

Every time it happens, I am shocked by the quiet that falls over the room when the Rainbow Loom is on the table. It helps kids focus, and teaches them to make something with their hands. As an adult, crafting is one of my favorite ways to soothe myself if I'm feeling frazzled, and the pride of completing a project is no small thing.

I like to think I'm helping children learn to launch self-directed projects and manage their time. Buuuuut I'm probably just teaching them: If you bug Miss Laura long enough, eventually she'll bring in more camouflage-print loom bands.

Incidentally, this is Albert, the last sock-piggie I am making with kids for a long time because man oh man, my fingers got stuck with a lot of needles this month:

Don't Let Me Buy Any More Purses
My huge blue bag bit the dust this week (because I hold onto things until they are frayed, discolored, and stretched out beyond repair), so I sent it to the Great Purse Bin In the Sky. (You're supposed to flush old purses down the toilet, right?)

I've been searching my favorite thrift stores for a replacement, but it's a difficult task. I walk, a lot, and I need something that is comfortable... and also fits all my stuff. I need a bag big enough for my thermos and a book (or five).

I keep telling myself I can hack it with a cute vintage-y leather purse:

I cannot. I stretch them out with my weekly planner and nutrition program supplies and all of the dried fruit from the co-op and meeting agendas and hardcover graphic novels... you get the idea.

But my search did lead me to a really great natural high: When the cashier at Goodwill (who has surely seen everything) says, "Good find!"

Six-dollar messenger bag, don't mind if I do. And I knew it was the right match when I opened a pocket and found this:

"I'm Batman."
A week or so ago I went on a huge comic binge at the public library and didn't have time to read any of them. I need to remedy this--due dates are coming up! Biggest goal for the weekend ahead: Read allllll the comics.

I love you, 1980s Carrie Kelley. Never change:

I just love Shakira, and so do you.

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