Right in Front of Me

It was never my intention for the blog to be about politics or to try to convince you to believe what I believe. It’s about living a better life, but my life has been pretty great already. There are a thousand things I take for granted everyday. One of my lifelong favorite activities is to read. Books made up a huge portion of my childhood.  I used to get in trouble for READING. Not drugs, vandalism or violence. Reading. That’s how much I love it. I was recently chatting with a coworker about our shared love of reading and she threw a little tidbit at me that shocked me.

There are more than 150 schools in Chicago that do not have libraries.

I honestly did not believe her so I called up my bfff who happens to be a teacher in Chicago. Her reply? “Yeah I work in one.”  I was floored. Ok ok, I grew up in a northern suburb and I went to a private school that had a library and a librarian and a computer lab that had functioning computers. I guess I just assumed that the kids that lived an hour south of me had the same stuff. My school was not rich. The families in my community were not Rockefellers, but we had what we needed. My brothers went to a public high school with a 99% graduation rate.  So I was stunned.

I told my coworker about my teacher friend and she bought her books for the classroom! She did such a thoughtful, wonderful act with such attention to detail.  My friend teaches a class of 6th grade students in an extended day program.  Her class consists of one student who reads at a sophomore level, 6 in special ed, 3 who understand but don’t speak English and the rest read at a 2, 3 or 4 grade level.  So my coworker bought an enormous range of books for the enormous difference in reading levels in the class. She is truly a sweet woman.

I rounded up some books from my siblings that they’ve grown out of and a few from other families, but nothing compares to what my coworker did for a teacher and students she doesn’t even know. CPS accepts donations of a range of items, but we decided to give the books to my friend to keep in her class and use as she pleases during her classes. It’s nice to know where a donation is going and to know that it’ll be used. Some schools in Chicago have libraries but no librarians.  This means that library time and the support a librarian can offer to both teachers and students is missing.

In Chicago, though, it’s no surprise that these schools are lacking in staff and funding.  I could also go on and on about how education is the solution to almost all our problems (mental health awareness, infant mortality rate, violence, corrupt government), but I know I would bore you. I could also be reminding you of the disparate conditions of the city I grew up loving.  It overwhelms me and makes me feel like there is nothing little old me can do.  These are not my point. I guess what I want you to walk away from this post with is that there is one woman who saw a need and out of the goodness in her heart, filled it.  Her donated set of Roald Dahl books might make a difference in an eleven year old’s life (like they changed mine). That’s something to be joyous about.

Apologies

Guys, I’m really sorry about my photography skills.  To begin with, I am not a super photographer and I don’t have a fancy camera.  The only camera I have is attached to my phone.  Although it’s a good phone camera, it is not a great camera camera. I do have Photoshop CS5 though so there is hope for us. Shall we look back on all my terrible attempts at photography with the hope that I can improve? Let’s.

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What a delicious angle!
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Who needs to be able to read the words anyway? It’s not like they are the entire point of this post.
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Love the washed out background. Avant garde!
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Just disgusting.
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The inside joke is that I didn’t want you to be able to actually see the lamp.

Thanks for bearing with me.  Maybe this will get better soon. I’m trying!

Taking Stock.

While I was pulling out my Christmas decorations this year, I realized that we have two new additions to our little family. Last year around this time, there were only four of us living en mi casa.  Me, my man, and our two roomies.  Three days before Christmas, we adopted Loki and over the summer we adopted (or took in) my sister. I pulled out our Christmas stockings and knew that it was time to craft a few new ones. Before I get into it, “craft” is a word I’m using liberally. You’ll see.

I went to Target and picked up two more of these $1 stockings they have. 

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I whipped out my Gold Glitter Puffy Paint from last year. (I’m shocked I found it too)

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I gave it a little test run to make sure it wasn’t gummed up with any sparkly debris.

post it

Then I carefully penned their names on the cuff just like the others.

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The original four are scribed with our nicknames mostly because I thought it would be more fun that way. And it is. Hence the Becca Boo. Mine says Kuh-tee. This project was just something festive that we could do without breaking the bank.  Obviously, you could do a lot more or differently depending on your taste and skill level.  Maybe next year I’ll break out a new design? At $1 per stocking, that’s not a big deal.

What holiday DIY projects have you tackled/want to tackle?

I Love Lamp

I….I love lamp. I love lamp.

I love this lamp, specifically. 

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I mentioned in this previous post that I had purchased a lamp on a trip to Goodwill.  Can we please all fall in love with this lamp because it’s a lamp of miracles?  It was purchased by its original owner over at Target for the (way out of my) price (range) of $69.99.  Lucky for you, it’s on sale now if you want it. It actually costs more with a different brand name. At Goodwill, I got it for the low LOW price of $24.99.  As soon as I saw it sitting forlornly on the floor, I knew I could save it.

Boxen in the woodsen

When my friend and I returned from our Goodwill trip to her apartment we decided to put it together and check it out….and then we found that in its journey from Target to me it lost its switch. Poor baby lamp. So I made many frustrating calls to Target customer service to get the manufacturer’s number. Mastercraft Lamps were much more helpful. They sent me a new switch pro bono. I popped that sucker on and bam! There was light!

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If you notice in the photo that I have snazzy curtains, you would be correct. When we first moved in we had these aluminum (in color and in material) blinds that hurt my soul to look at. We also had some custom by my boyfriend’s mom lace curtains. They were very well made and weren’t displeasing.  The only problem is that I can’t stand having anything in my house that was there with the previous tenant. He was lackadaisical about cleanliness to put it lightly. So I took down the blinds and the men of the house were unhappy with the glare from the window on the tv. So they hung SHEETS up. Check it.

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I was perturbed.  I went with my man to Target and together we chose some neutralish, textury long curtains. I decided to do 4 because most store-bought curtains aren’t wide enough to meet halfway across those windows and I think with the curtains placed where they are makes the windows look like a wall of windows. Keepin it classy, Chicago. What used to be a sad nook we didn’t know what to do with is now an officey book area with more luxe details. At least in my mind it is.

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