Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Housing Works: donating books

As a frequent user of NYC libraries, (I read 2-5 books a week so I'm there a lot) they were the first place I thought of when deciding to donate 10 books I had. The books had only been read once so were in excellent condition. However, when I went to the library books in hand I was turned away. Supposedly it is often cheaper for the library to buy new books then to process them....
"Donated books and other materials incur costs and additional time to process. Before they can be shelved with the larger collection, their condition must be evaluated, followed by cataloging, processing and transporting. These materials ultimately have a shorter shelf life. It is more cost-efficient to purchase new books and media, which are delivered "shelf-ready."
Luckily Brooklyn's library website has some recommended places that take book donations. And even luckier one of Housing Works' locations is a block away from the library I visit weekly. The thrift store is really cool, lots of stuff I could see myself buying... like a rocking chair I keep day dreaming of. Plus it's all for a good cause....."Housing Works is committed to ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness. We believe that all people have the right to a rich and empowering life. Since 1990, we have provided the highest quality services for homeless men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS in New York City and beyond."

Happy donating!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Washington, DC running tour

I had a 3-day meeting in Washington, DC this week. So during one of my morning runs I decided to take my cellphone with me to take a few pictures.....I called it my personal running tour. It turned out to be a brilliant idea. Most monuments in DC are around the national mall. So a 6-mile run allowed me to see the main sites.

I found myself stopping to reflect and give God thanks at many of the sites. I was surprised by my intense emotional reaction standing and looking out where Martin Luther King, Jr gave his speech. Or the sense of accomplishment after running up the stairs to the Lincoln memorial and looking at the view.

Monday, August 22, 2011

ING New York City Marathon Long Training Run #2

I'm not running the NYC marathon but the timing for the Steamtown Marathon, which I am doing, corresponds nicely for NY Road Runner's training program.

The ING New York City Marathon Long Training Run #2 is a unscored/noncompetitive run. All racers select which group they want to run with based on pace time dividing into groups by half-minute intervals from 7:00 through 11:00+ minutes per mile. The run is broken down into 4 loops: 6 miles, 5 miles, 5 miles then 4 miles. You can decide how much you wish to run.

I joined the 9 minute mile group and ran 18 miles. It was a good experience. Sort of like pretending I was part of a running club for a day. The power of running in a pack was a great motivator as we ran up all of Central Park's hills. Plus it forced me to even out my pacing, I have the tendency to go anywhere from 7:30 min pace to 9:45 min depending on hills/mood/song on my ipod. Towards mile 16 I started feeling intense pain in my feet/arches. Plus going through the misting stations had left my socks wet, causing blisters. So I gave in at 18 miles :(

48 days left!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Skunks and dogs don't mix

My husband and I took our dog to the suburbs to enjoy some Westchester fresh air and nature. The rain this week put a slight damper on our trip but Tuesday night's surprise was worse... Just as my husband was about to leash Busu for a night time walk she ran down the stairs and crossed paths with a skunk.

The first thing my husband thought of was tomato juice. So he poured canned tomatoes on her. Then I looked up some solutions on Google and found this recipe for de-skunking:
  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp. liquid soap
It worked for the night....enabling us to bring her into the house and sleep somewhat well. However she still has a lingering smell 3+ days and numerous washes later. It's only noticeable if she has been running, is wet or sitting next to/on you....but it's annoying. Unfortunately the skunk got her in the face and most de-skunking remedies are not eye friendly.

We've going to try Skunk-off Shampoo...fingers crossed it works.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dekalb Market (a perk of living in Brooklyn)

I first heard about Dekalb Market from Wada-Africa, my favorite NY based African print dress supplier's website....then when I ran by it on this morning's 16-mile run I considered it fate. So my husband, dog and I decided to visit the market this afternoon.

They had two DJs spinning music that spoke to my heart....Fela Kuti, jazz, rap, R&B and reggae :) Lots of the vendors are stationed in salvaged shipping containers. The outdoor food court has free WiFi and is dog friendly. I ate two delicious vegan Caribbean patties from Nile Valley. The ackee patty was my favorite, but the callaloo patty was a close second.

And Wada-Africa, my favorite NY based African print dress supplier was there, so a purchased another dress.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Save the World?

No, seriously….how do you save the world? When I was a Peace Corps volunteer living in Tanzania people back home in America would say “She’s off saving the world”. When I decided not to join the corporate world and do non-profit work they’d remark “Good for you, saving the world.” However, every week I read The Economist, watch The Daily Show and read Foreign Policy’s daily morning brief…’s quite clear the world is not doing much better.

There are so many ills going on in the world. The US continues to disappoint me as the rich become richer and the poor poorer. The government denies 9/11 first responders covered cancer treatment. So many countries are experiencing wars/fighting. The current famine going on in Somali continues to stay on my mind. I read things like “29,000 Somali children under 5 dead in famine” and I want to do something to help.

How do people who want to help make sure they are actually helping? I almost wish I could go back to my pre-Road to Hell ignorance. The time where I thought just donating some money every month would help fix things.

I stay firm that education is the way out. If everyone gets quality education they can help themselves and their country. Corrupt governments will have a harder time bulldozing their citizens. Although I cried through most of the book Half the Sky, the common theme for happy endings involved education.

How do you help?