Showing posts from June, 2008

House Inspections / SOS

I cleaned my side of the room tonight and helped clean up the house a bit-- we have house inspections at 7 am! Wahoo!

I'm exhausted and I'm looking forward to getting some sleep next week before the Summer of Service (SOS) participants arrive at our site to kick off the program. We have preparation to take care of through next Sunday and I think I'm going to spend my 4th of July doing some independent service project (ISP) work. AmeriCorps requires that 80 of my 1700 hours be completed in projects outside our regular work schedule. That is, projects we set up as corps members. There are guidelines we must follow in seeking out service opportunities and each project must be approved. These are great opportunities to get out and try work we may not have access to otherwise AND in order to deployed on any disaster response we need to be up to par. And I'm not.

In order to be deployed on wildland fire response, trained AmeriCorps members must be up to speed-- or above-- the …

New Orleans, soon!

I'm getting very excited to leave Maryland and head back down to the gulf-- the culture there is so friendly and casual. I'm excited to be working with teens from the city, in their own city. We will be together 24 hours a day....

Stealing from my friend Christiane's blog, these are the organizations some of us will be working with:

Just the Right Attitude & Catholic Charities: food banks

Audubon Institute & NORD: park/zoo maintenance, painting, and city clean up

Northside Disaster Recovery: rebuilding homes

Hope Has A Face: community beautification/post-construction clean-up

Animal Rescue New Orleans: cleaning, playing with pets, giving baths, etc.

Ozanam Inn: preparing/serving meals and maintenance at homeless shelter

ARC: working with adults with disabilities on creative projects hanging drywall, door/window installation

care-a-lot: lawn maintenance for homeowners who have not returned to new orleans (helps them avoid city fines and beautify community)


Cactus Eaters

I wrapped up the book The Cactus Eaters. Spending my summer backpacking is a most appealing alternative to training at the Point in Maryland and while reading I felt restless. This book definitely inspired me in some senses— Sure, I’ve spent a fair amount of time hiking in lush mountainous scenery but have mostly ignored the red rocks only a few hours’ drive from home in Utah. I should make an effort to spend substantial time out and about when I return.

Sadly, the theme of the book was the influence of love on life. Dan spent thousands of miles on the trail, enduring hardship after hardship. Some were spent alone, most spent with his lover and friend. And after it all he realized that life without love is meaningless. Damn.

Reflection: Round 2

Our project in Morgantown, West Virginia was hard to adjust to. I came into the project with expectations and when different assignments disintegrated, so did my morale. I believe my sanity suffered a direct blow. I began talking with a lisp, in a different voice, with a different name. In fact, I took in multiple personalities to make our days go by faster. Imagining I was some other person made everything better. No kidding.

Water was my saving grace. If Christians need to be baptized to be whole again, the same was true for me. Escaping to Utah restored some of my lost ambition and upon my return, I became amphibious. I absorbed water every time the opportunity was presented: Cheat River, Decker’s Creek and its tributaries, runoff water at Coopers Rock, torrential rains, floating mists among the hills, and a smelly swamp. Sarah, our sponsor from Friends of Decker’s Creek, exacted my feelings with her observation: “Amanda, I can tell you really are in your element out here.”

On any gi…

Natural light

Back at the Point and Maryland, I have been filling my body with the scent of water off the Chesapeake Bay, the eerie romance of a glorious, yellow, full moon casting its glow and reflection on the choppy water and train bridges, and the spark of fireflies flashing around me. Being so captivated by sights and sounds that draw me down walking paths and to the water’s edge, I almost feel like a witch.

A future.

I will be a fool to give up that for which my heart yearns. Logic takes me places. Passion inspires me to arrive-- and enjoy.
My teammates all laugh at me and joke that my biological clock is ticking with all the signs I'm displaying. My nightly dreams are often about children-- giving birth, breast feeding, and adoption-- but always end in my inability to keep the children in my life. They are out of my grasp or taken away or lost. When carrying heavy rocks I automatically sling them to my hip and think "it's like a 3 year old!" Interaction with children is the most natural job I've ever had. My body's peculiarities have been present for over 8 months now.

This all feels so ironic.

I remember being asked in preschool as I skated around the kiddie college what I'd like to be when I grow up. "A nurse!" I responded. Again, as I entered middle school I looked at the same profession, but perhaps as a neonatal nurse or birth attendant of some sort. The…

Home, sweet home.

Saturday, May 24 marked the culmination of our recycling efforts in the Blue & Goldmine Sale and fundraiser for United Way. Following three weeks of sorting, stacking, sorting, and sorting some more, we opened the sale to the public and madness ensued. Our project sponsor said this was the most successful year so far-- both in funds raised and donations collected & kept out of the landfill (~35 tons!). I flew home the following morning.

Circling over Salt Lake City, my heart beat faster and I gnawed at my fingernails. The anticipation of a homecoming is nerve wracking and the moment I saw snow-capped mountains I was filled with joy. Home!

My week home began with a special someone picking me up from the airport and taking me home to enjoy Sunday dinner with my family. Overwhelming is the only way to describe Sunday. I was unsure how interaction would be with the romantic interest I left behind (it was fine), my mom invited her entire side of the family (surprise!) over for dinner…