Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dinner to the Shelter

I took dinner to the Landing again last night. A few thoughts:
  • crock pots are awesome for large meals.
  • it may not be possible to cook more than 1 lb of rice at once without burning some of it
  • using the "hostess food guide estimations" for how much people eat at a party does not translate well to estimating the food needed for the food insecure. 6 oz of meat and 2 ounces of starch is a good rule of thumb for a cocktail party, but not really for people who might only eat one real meal a day.

Last night, it took me long enough to lay out dinner (Belezean Stew Chicken, Rice and Beans, salad and cookies) that there were some people lining up to come in when I left. They said thanks for bringing dinner.

I remain surprised that the people who come to stay at the shelter don't look homeless to me. They don't look rich. They don't look like they have anywhere else to be. But they are wearing clean clothes, have brushed their hair, and look a little down. They hang together in small groups. They are young. They are polite, and quiet. I'm relieved that they don't look like the long-term homeless I walk by every day in Seattle. But this is part of their problem- they don't really look, outright, like people who need help.

It aches my heart to think about how different my own life would have needed to be, and how different my life is, than these kids. It's complicated for me, but I take it to heart that the staff says a warm meal makes a big difference for them. I want something better for the homeless youth, and if a warm meal helps, I can provide that.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What a Great Birthday!

I have the best friends and family ever. Seriously. I'm still so excited about all the good stuff yinz did for my big day.

First things first: we shattered the 30% mark! 31.5% is the official high water mark as of my birthday!

Is it crass to talk numbers? I don't really care. For my actual birthday, my awesome friends and family helped me to push up the thermometer nearly $900- nearly 3% of the way there! In one day!

So let's break it down. I had TWO friends go in for their very first blood donations, thanks Karen and Ruth! Both of them said it was not terrible, that people were very friendly and they got to eat cookies. You should try this.

My parents gave another donation to one of my favorite teachers on Donor's Choose who is moving to a new classroom and needs (choke) pencils for her third grade students who can't afford their own pencils and crayons. Ms. Kacsur's classroom has been supported by my folks in the past, someday soon I hope to scan in some of the thank you cards I got from her students. *misty eyes*

AND my parents gave me some hats to take to Friends of Youth (you may be wondering if generosity is hereditary: I believe it is a learned behavior). Combined with the lamps and tent from Karen, I'm ready to take quite a haul to the Friend's of Youth office up the hill from me, to distribute these items to foster, at risk and homeless youth.

My parents ALSO gave some money to Northwest Harvest, the regional food bank. It both infuriates and inspires me that there can be people in America who would go hungry, if it weren't for the work of food banks like Northwest Harvest. I'm glad to finally get them up on the board.

I'm so glad to support Northwest Harvest, in fact, that I asked my friends to participate in a game of "skill" at my birthday party. We opened a pool for ladder golf, and planned to split the pool between the winner and Northwest harvest.  This resulted in both some friendly rivalry AND $80 for Northwest Harvest. Aren't my friends awesome??

I had a great time, and I really can't think of a better way to spend the day. Thanks to my friends to hung out with me, supported the causes I care about, and generally made me feel awesome about turning 30.

Before the SummeRun 5K. It might take me longer than 10 minutes.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

We started off strong with a 5k supporting the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research. I got a PR, AND hit my fundraising goal! (But you can still donate to my efforts here.)

Thanks to my team for doing the run with me!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Here is How I Want to Celebrate

I'm turning 30 this year. For my birthday, I'd really like to live in a more wonderful world.
For my birthday, I would like:
  • all of my friends to go donate blood (I add an hour to the thermometer for each donation)
  • for money to go to Northwest Harvest to support the good work they do to battle hunger (Text ENDHUNGER to 80888 to make a $10 donation from your phone.* *See details here.)
  • for people to come and run a 5K with me to support efforts to end Ovarian Cancer. You can join my team when you register (30 for my 30th, of course), or donate to my efforts here. But it would be most fun if you came to run with me.
  • for people nearby to come to my house, eat cake, share merriment and bring me items from the Friends of Youth Supply Wish List, to support the needs of foster children in transition and homeless youth on the Eastside. More details on this to emerge, but Sunday afternoon, my house.

If you do any of these things, or any other really awesome thing in your community, let me know so I can throw it on the thermometer.You'll be glad you did, because then we can share this happy and good feeling.

And, if you know of any good charity food events (pancake breakfast, crab feed, etc) in the area, please let me know so I can add it to my schedule!

--Update 7/17/13--
I've hit my fundraising goal for the 5K! Thanks to the support of my friends and coworkers, how cool! Ovarian Cancer research and patient relief can still use your help, so it's not to late to pledge. Or consider supporting one of my teammates.

We are getting so close to 30%...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pre-Birthday Anxiety

When my friends started turning 30, there was this apprehension that maybe life is over now, that our chance to be cool was over and that life would necessarily be more boring. I can say that of my close friends who have passed this milestone birthday, none of them have gotten less cool, and most of them have started living even fuller lives, like having kids, launching new careers and finally being successful in the careers they've been investing in. Turning 30 isn't cool in a Seventeen Magazine kind of way, but I traded in my cool and popular card a long time ago. I'm looking forward to having the confidence of experience and moving on to the next stage of life.

But... did you know that Ben Haggerty just turned 30? Yes, the Same Love and Thrift Shop rapper, artist, activist and damn cool guy. He and I have had the same time on earth, and I have arguably done less to impact the world I live in then he has. I mean, this whole project (or initiative, as Ruth suggests I call it) is supposed to help me address that. But, with my birthday actually showing up, I'm starting to feel a little behind. I often feel a little behind. Because after my birthday, I'm going to have to clarify that it's not that I am raising money for my birthday, I'm raising money now that I am 30, which is somehow less compelling.

I am still hoping that I can use the general enthusiasm that people have for birthdays to make a little extra good in the world, y'know, for my birthday. I was thinking of hosting a trail work party, but since I know nothing about that and the Washington Trail Association needs about 2 months (and firm numbers) to put that together, we may have to go another route.  At the moment, I am thinking of doing a 5K for cancer research, and possibly hosting a party (because, cake) and asking people to bring things that the shelter is looking for. But I'm not totally sure I can pull off hosting a party at the moment. And there is a chance I can do a work party at the HiveBio Lab, which would be a big help for a nascent non profit (and scores hours with a multi-person multiplier for the thermometer), although arguably not the same heart strings impact as feeding the hungry and curing cancer. Ack! So many decisions!

I hope when I do turn 30 I am no longer paralyzed by indecision or overwhelmed by simple planning and management tasks. And that maybe I can still be a little cool.

I took dinner to the shelter again tonight. I'm pretty pleased with how quickly this has turned from a massive source of anxiety to just another set of tasks. Having my mom and grandmother to help with the cooking was clearly the missing piece to a low-stress dinner for 15 thing.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's July Already

Well, I hope it's obvious to everyone else that the pubcrawl things was a bit too ambitious. I'd really like to do something like this in the future, but a lot of other things piled up ahead of that, and I of course made it all much too complicated to get a lot of participation. Which is actually for the best, since on these beautiful summer days, it's hard to picture myself celebrating my birthday in a bar. With crowds of strangers. Ick.

But, I still want to do something to further this goal for my birthday. Which is later this month. (Eek!) I'm pleased to say that my anxiety about the pending day (July 21, I hope to hear from you on FB) is more related to meeting this ambitious goal than it is to feeling old or something. I don't have time for feeling old- I'm wracking up volunteer hours!

Hopefully after a weekend retreat with my inspiring mother-in-law, I'll have some insight into what might do-able in the little time that I have left to pull something off. At the very least, I'll be directing dollars to a charity and asking you to donate blood- so start beefing up your iron levels!

And maybe I'll have time to write about my new (volunteer) position as the Executive Director of Education with the community lab HiveBio.

Goal update- Shout out to my old nieghbor Ruth whose support of her friend's MS bike-a-thon pushed us over the 25% mark. Woot!