Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Putting College Within the Reach of Homeless Youth

This article tells us how Jessica and other homeless students overcome the hurdle to attend college: Putting College Within the Reach of Homeless Youth . It's hard, because they don't have the support of parents. The fortunate ones get help from organizations who help them navigate through, applying for financial aid, etc. But even if they get there, they face more hurdles, such as housing during breaks, because often the dormitories are shut down during breaks and no special provisions taken for these students who have nowhere else to go, to stay on campus during breaks.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Monday, September 03, 2012

National Buy a Book Day is coming up this Friday

Logo by Clifton Hill

Let's go out and buy a book, any book from anywhere to support the authors, publishers, and booksellers we all appreciate. And yes, buying online counts.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Grass is Greener in California

I'm back in California. And the grass is really greener here. It was obvious to me when I arrived. I was standing in front of the house and marveling at how neon green the grass was. Now I have gotten used to it and it isn't that bright anymore. I haven't written an update on my readings in a while. But I just finished Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, a novel by Anne Rice. It covers the time in Jesus' life just before he began his public ministry. It is a great description of what might have been going on for him at that time.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Pothole Gardening

I've heard of guerrilla gardening before, but pothole gardening is something new for me. Lovely miniature gardens! I wonder how long these usually stay until they get accidentally rolled or trampled over or whatever.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Reading and listening

I had totally different experiences with the two books I just finished, listening to the first one and reading the second one in print. In fact, my experience was the opposite of what one might expect.

I listened to the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells as an abridged audiobook. For some reason I don't remember I've been wanting to read this book for a long time.
I didn't like it as much as I had hoped, though. I guess, parents who hit their children always piss me off. At the end, Vivi, Sidda's mother, still kind of has an attitude, instead of being sorry for how she had treated her daughter, not being sensitive to her needs. I didn't connect to the "divine" secrets, either. The group did stupid pranks and made up weird stories, and even though they stayed together even when they were adults, they weren't really able to help each other out where it seemed important.

I also finished reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks yesterday. Now that is a fascinating collection of true stories describing various stories of what happens if various parts of the brain do not function. It's not depressing though, but shows hope. It also shows how a caring attitude can make a big difference in bringing out the special abilities of these people and assisting them to live a good life in their sometimes very unusual worlds instead of reducing them to troublesome people with deficiencies.

Friday, January 13, 2012

101 things to do in 1001 days, starting January 15, 2012

Here is my new list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, starting January 15, 2012, and ending October 13, 2014. I also posted the list on the Day Zero Project site, but this list right here has a few more details:

  1. - Finish reading the Bible again (The Message translation)
  2. - Learn some Spanish (probably with the CD course I bought)
  3. - update travel logs of ToyVoyagers with pictures and stories from D.C. area
  4. - put my best pictures of D.C. area on Flickr
  5. - Donate at least once a month while I have my own income
  6. - go through the old notes I did when a student and re-evaluate what to keep
  7. - go through the old conference proceedings and similar items and re-evaluate what to keep
  8. - consolidate mailing supplies to one small closet or less
  9. - keep winter clothes/items in a box out of the way because they’re not needed in Southern California (keeping only important items which should be easier to figure out after the two winters in Virginia)
  10. - give away books that I can easily get from the library or online and are not my most important ones to read or keep
  11. - make scrapbook for my nephew
  12. - organize my art and craft supplies
  13. - get a shoe rack
  14. - Get furniture for the bedroom (bed, dressers)
  15. - volunteer regularly (e.g. at Ten Thousand Villages or the thrift store) at least until I get a job again
  16. - make my desk a real workspace
  17. - lose weight (preferably 50-60 lb)
  18. - exercise more regularly
  19. - reach 1000 sent and 1000 received cards in postcrossing
  20. - finish my state quarters collection and the one for my dad
  21. - update my braces blog with after photos and facts
  22. - sort LAC notes (I can probably throw out most of the remaining ones and just keep a few)
  23. - Set up the second bedroom for crafts etc.
  24. - Store/display my notebooks in a way that makes is easy to pick up and enjoy them
  25. - Put fresh items in earthquake kit
  26. - Get all my postcards in order
  27. - Get rid of many T-shirts, only keeping those we love most
  28. - Use a few discarded T-shirts for T-shirt yarn or other projects
  29. - Organize the job search advice that I have at hand so that I can easily reference it (sort job search related notes and throw out things that are not important anymore at the same time)
  30. - finish the Israel scrapbook
  31. - Scan all my received Postcrossing cards
  32. - Scan all my Moomin postcards
  33. - Make a Washington D.C. scrapbook
  34. - sort my old memorabilia from vacations etc. to keep only what I may really need for scrapbooks
  35. - Make scrapbooks from old memorabilia (after sorting I’ll know how much there is to do/ how many there are) (Australia, old vacations, other)
  36. - Add my other visits to the German scrapbook I already started
  37. - Make a Los Angeles and Pasadena scrapbook
  38. - Visit the Postcrossing Meeting in Bielefeld
  39. - Visit my family again
  40. - Play my cello
  41. - Play my trumpet
  42. - Learn the basics of playing the harmonica
  43. - Try out other little instruments
  44. - Visit the Grand Canyon
  45. - Ride a bike
  46. - Send 12 postcards to my nephew
  47. - Learn to soak stamps to separate them from the paper
  48. - Learn to use the GIMP
  49. - Install Linux on my laptop
  50. - Keep a journal of food/health tips and info
  51. - Be a volunteer for World Book Night USA in 2013
  52. - Go Geocaching
  53. - Do something useful with all the notes I took in D.C.
  54. - Get a job that I like near Pasadena
  55. - Join a small group in Pasadena
  56. - Make nice backups of all online photos (include a simple index)
  57. - Make a mini earthquake kit to take around anywhere
  58. - Release at least one book on Bookcrossing every month (controlled releases count)
  59. - Figure out a fast that works for me and do it
  60. - Learn how to crochet (reading patterns!)
  61. - Learn how to knit (reading patterns!)
  62. - Run a 5k
  63. - Try all the different kinds of pens, pencils, and markers I have
  64. - Write down old memories
  65. - Select 6 special small images for my desktop frame
  66. - Grow something edible (e.g. indoor herb garden)
  67. - Learn to prepare and paint metal and paint at least one metal tin
  68. - Find a process that works for recycling
  69. - Organize my favorites/bookmarks online (including blog subscriptions etc.)
  70. - Figure out the old sewing machine
  71. - Bring choir CDs and music in order
  72. - Find if there's a nice guided tour for Pasadena and do it (if there isn't one, find out about self-guided tours)
  73. - Walk Arroyo Seco trail (especially the restored section...)
  74. - Visit Pasadena City Hall
  75. - Learn to knot (hemp/floss) bracelets e.g. How to make a Friendship Bracelet
  76. - Make some jewelery
  77. - Sell something on Etsy
  78. - Bring my collection of stamps in order
  79. - Put my small souvenir sheet collection in a nice album
  80. - Knit or crochet for a project that helps children (hat?)
  81. - Find what a good black artist marker/pen is that is not water-soluble and get one
  82. - Collect info for Los Angeles Citybook
  83. - Get all my small items that don’t seem to belong anywhere in order
  84. - Try keeping a mini moss terrarium
  85. - Write Christmas cards to family and friends each year
  86. - Read at least three of my books that are written in German
  87. - Read at least three of my Christian books
  88. - Release on Bookcrossing (maybe as ray or bookring or in a book box) at least three of my Christian books
  89. - Visit Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (April 2013?)
  90. - Make a list of what other scrapbooks I should do
  91. - Make at least one of these scrapbooks
  92. - Re-evaluate my blogs
  93. - Blog regularly (once a month or more) on my Joyful Song blog
  94. - Freecycle some more items in Pasadena
  95. - Get more educated about fair trade and then buy accordingly
  96. - Go swimming in the pool
  97. - Listen to 10 audio books
  98. - Reorganize the kitchen cabinets, throwing out dingy and unused items
  99. - Do a deep cleaning of every room in the apartment
  100. - Fold 50 envelopes (5/50)
  101. - Read 50 of the books I already own

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Last update for my old list of 101 things to do in 1001 days

Overall, it looks like I achieved about 30 of my 101 goals (a few only partially). There were a lot that I couldn't work on anymore after moving from California to Virginia. They were tied to the place in some way (near L.A., I still have the supplies in California, etc.).

Here's a last update:

I started this one right after the 1001 days were over:
- Read the Bible again (The Message translation)

The following I didn't keep really good track of, but I released a lot of books, so I think I accomplished them, at least I'm satisfied with how well I did with them:
- release one book on bookcrossing on average every month (controlled releases count; overlaps with the next two items)
- read and release some (at least 3) of my general bookcrossing books
- read and release (maybe as ray or bookring) some (at least 3) of my Christian books

I joined a women's group shortly after moving to Virginia and also was part of another small group for a while, so this was accomplished:
- join a small group

I made a few and have a nice template I can use in the future:
- make envelopes by hand

I went to see the July 4 fireworks at the National Mall in 2011:
- enjoy some nearby fireworks

We started the process shortly after my 1001 days were over:
- figure out whether to become US citizens or not and start the process

Well, we moved, so of course we added some pages about sightseeing and such at the new place:
- add more useful pages to the wiki

I visited the National Book Festival in D.C. instead, but I'm still planning to do this one when I get back to L.A.:
- visit Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (April)

I definitely had some new experiences after moving away from California for a while. I had to trust that I would find a good church here and I did. I've learned a lot at my job at the German Gourmet. I've learned a lot by being part of the women's group...
- For what has God made me? (main purpose(s) at this time in my life)

I reminded myself a lot of this important item:
- in everything, remember that God is in control of everything

Friday, December 23, 2011

Windmills and Christmas

Another book club choice was The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Again, I didn't make it to the meeting to discuss, it was late and cold... I hope the morning meeting in January will take place. Anyway, with or without the discussion this is a great book and I'm glad I've read it. When I mentioned it to my coworker, she said she saw William on TV. And just yesterday I found out that a documentary film is in the making. I would like to see it when it comes out.

And now I'm going through all my Christmas themed books.

Richard Paul Evans: The Christmas Box
. I didn't read this book this time. I read it earlier and remember liking the story. Instead I sent it in a Secret Santa package.

Debbie Macomber: Call Me Mrs. Miracle. This book involves some people who haven't celebrated Christmas for many years because of a tragic event in their family that happened at Christmas time and others who do their best to make it the best Christmas despite difficult circumstances... I enjoyed the story and then sent the book to someone who wished for books by this author.

Max Lucado: The Christmas Child: A Story of Coming Home
. A nice little story. I decided to wild release this book. It was found a day or two later by a student. Nice catch.

Joel Osteen: The Christmas Spirit. Christmas memories from his family and his friends. I was reminded that it's important to share stories and memories from the past with the children. After reading the book, I gave it to a coworker whose daughter is a fan of the author.

And now I'm reading The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

More books - great and not so great

I really liked "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I read it for a local book club, but didn't make it to the meeting. I'm still glad I read it.

"The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young was awesome. The author spoke at our church today. He was fascinating.

And I just finished “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger. Although there were some elements I liked about it, it wasn't really that good. I'm not sure why it's considered a "classic".