marathoner452: (Default)
How do you flip pictures 90* so they're not lying on their side?

On that note, my flight leaves at 7:25 tomorrow morning so I'm off to bed.  I'll be back New Orleans, I promise!
marathoner452: (Default)
You can start here.  Donate your time or resources.  Come and visit.  Recover Rebuild ReNew Orleans.

D., I broke the rules.  I heard more tragic stories tonight.  It's hard not to when you're workin' in the Lower 9. 

If you know where I can rent or buy a reasonably-priced videocamera, please let me know.  I go to Emergency Communities every Saturday to work and to listen to stories, but these stories need, nay, deserve, a wider audience.
marathoner452: (katrina relief)
When I got the last seat on the plane in Chicago, last stop before New Orleans, the woman I had had to climb over turned to me and said, "Where have you been?  We've been waiting for you."  Welcome back to New Orleans, how was your vacation, it's been way too long and we've been waiting for you.

I took a much-needed almost day off yesterday.  I pulled a muscle either having too much fun on Mardi Gras or lifting too many boxes of orange juice and cambros of chicken alfredo.  So instead of chopping squash and strawberries and potatoes and serving all of the above to hundreds of residents and volunteers, I spent most of the day in bed reading Soul Kitchen and most of the night taking a real shower and hanging out at Sugar Park until 1 in the morning.  You need a change in scenery every once in awhile.  It's not going to do anyone any good if I get burned out from hearing so many "I was there when the levees broke and I was in the Superdome for 6 days" stories.  I think the breaking point was the gut I went on a few days ago.  The downstairs of this man's house had already been gutted, but then the roof leaked into the upstairs bedroom where he and his wife went to escape the floodwaters when the levee broke.  Had to be a major trigger for him.  We threw debris, his books and clothes and magazines and carpet, out the window that he climbed out of to be rescued.  He showed us how high the floodwaters were, where neighbors of his lived who didn't make it.  When I needed a break pulling insulation out of the ceiling I just stood by that window and tried to imagine 125 mph winds and 14 feet of water instead of a beautiful sunny day.  Fortunately, here and now the sunny days win most of the time.

I want to hear the stories, need to hear the stories because the residents here need someone to listen and to care and because people back in Maryland need to get as angry about this as I am, as invested in the future of New Orleans.  But sometimes it's too many stories all at once and you need a break.  Now I'm ready to get back in the game.  Perfect timing because tomorrow night's red beans and rice.  Of course it is, it'll be Monday in New Orleans.

So life is for living and right now life is good.  It's not always easy, but I'm where I need to be.
marathoner452: (Default)
Last year for Christmas I'd been training for 2 marathons for 6 months and asked for almost all running gear-socks, shoes, clothes, gels, training diary, race entry fees, heart rate monitor.  It's amazing how much stuff there is to buy for a sport that is supposedly so simple, one foot in front of the other.

This year I asked for a Saints hat, fleur-de-lis earrings, a Poppy Z. Brite book, and Fats Domino and Dirty Dozen Brass Band CDs.  I got my first digital camera and my first thought was that next time I go back in February for Mardi Gras and gutting houses I'll be able to take more pictures than last time and maybe start to impress upon my family and friends what's still happening down there.  In March I let the New Orleans bug bite me, and now I'm infected and there's no not going back.

January 13th I take the PRAXIS I.  February 14th I fly back to New Orleans.  Next fall, I move down there for good and start with my teacher education coursework.

What a difference a year makes.


[profile] roadwarrior220, I can't get my mom to make up her mind about a good day for Bahama Breeze/hanging out, so let's tentatively say the 26th because that's usually a mellow day in our family Christmas.  Let me know if that doesn't work for you, and I'll let you know if I hear different.

[profile] ratkrycek, I got your text message from Dulles.  I want to hear all about your trip as soon as you're ready.
marathoner452: (Default)
Thanks to getting bumped on my flight home last summer, I can fly round-trip from Baltimore to New Orleans for $22.  Yay for travel vouchers.

So here's the itinerary:
Wednesday, February 14th, 2007-leave Baltimore 9:40 am, arrive Chicago 10:55 am then leave Chicago 2:05 pm, arrive New Orleans 4:25 pm
Sunday, March 4th, 2007-leave New Orleans 11:00 am, arrive Dallas 12:40 pm then leave Dallas 2:00 pm, arrive Baltimore 5:45 pm

Next up:  contact Hands On to find out where they're based at this point and to let them know I'm coming.

marathoner452: (Default)
This is as much for my future reference as for anyone else.

I'm planning on going back in February for Mardi Gras. My sister leaves for school up in New York on February 12th (Monday), and I'm thinking I'll fly down to New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday, whenever I can get the best rates. I'll stay for about two weeks, volunteering with Hands On to gut houses or whatever else they need at that point. I'm thinking fly home on or around March 1st-once again, date to be determined by when I can get the cheapest flight.

I'd love to stay for more than 2 weeks, but I need to be subbing to keep the money coming in. Also, I'm really hoping to get started on teacher education classes this winter/spring, so I won't be able to take unlimited time off from school. And once I become a certificated teacher, maybe I can move down there for good. Maybe.

I'll be there for Mardi Gras and the Mardi Gras Marathon. You're welcome to join me for any portion of that time. Not only can they still use your help, it's a lot of fun. This'll be my third trip in the past year, and it'd be more if I didn't have to work (silly work).

marathoner452: (Default)
Someday I'll get caught up on my journaleers homework.  Good thing I'm not being graded for timeliness.

I'm going to be brave and post this one publically.  If you haven't read my deployment stories read them now.  I truly believe in New Orleans and I want you to too.



Dec. 18th, 2005 07:42 pm
marathoner452: (Default) <---there's my reading list <---there's my vacation days, if Judy/Leah won't let me use Red Cross time for non-Red Cross disaster relief. I just wish I didn't need to use vacation days for Christmas, or I'd go for two weeks. Maybe I can talk them into letting me use my sick days for that. Hmmmm.

marathoner452: (Default)

Now that's my kind of Katrina relief-running a marathon through New Orleans and pumping money back into the economy. (Well, as much money as I can afford-I am still living on a VISTA stipend, after all.) It'd be about the toughest race you could run though-not physically so much as emotionally.

Anyone with me?

marathoner452: (Default)
So let's see, what's new around here since I last wrote?

Erin came up and spent the night last weekend. We went to a film festival for hurricane relief called "Sights and Sounds of the South." We saw A Streetcar Named Desire, then went out to dinner at Harry's in Westminster. I bought tacky feather boas and perused masks for my Mardi Gras Halloween costume, then we went back to the film festival and saw The Big Easy. Sunday morning we got up early so I could run in the Bachman Valley 1/2 Marathon (finished in 2:04). In the afternoon we headed down to Baltimore for a Little Italy Pasta tasting. My favorite was the pesto pasta, and I had my first canoli.

This past week at work has been pretty wild. I took Community Services on Thursday morning, and I'll take Family Services (client casework) tomorrow, all day. I found out yesterday that I will after all be giving disaster education presentations all day on Tuesday. :O Good thing I'd been working on those presentations in amongst all my pre-deployment screening. I went out on my first disaster action call today too, and it was pretty intense to be even partially responsible for interviewing someone who just lost everything in a fire two days ago. Intense, yes, but also very satisfying.

And in other news, the Baltimore Marathon is in 2 weeks. Surprisingly, I'm not nervous at all. Part of that is because I'm running it as a training run and not a race. Most of that, though, I think, is because I've trained like crazy this summer. The race will be easy compared to running 54 miles in a week in the heat of summer, without crab soup at the end to boot.

(Oh, and I just think that mood icon is cute. It has nothing to do with anything.)

marathoner452: (Default)
I went into work today. Geez, is working on a Sunday strange, on a holiday weekend to boot. But like someonoe in the office said today, disasters don't know holidays or weekends. I'm just glad I got the day off yesterday and went down to the beach. I needed a break. I needed a day just to lie on the beach and read Jimmy Buffett, to splash in the waves, to wander up and down the boardwalk and eat Thrasher's fries for lunch and frozen custard for dinner. And I didn't even get sunburned! (For me, that's a record, even for this late in the season.)

Update: I will indeed be deployed to disaster relief, but not in the short term. According to my boss Judy, first of all they need me now to coordinate the influx of volunteers, and they'll need relief workers more later after the commotion has died down. Everyone wants to help now when New Orleans is splashed all over the news, but the trick will be to get people to go down there in a few weeks or months when us relief workers have burned out and there are still people to take care of. That means I just might be able to run my fall marathons after all.

marathoner452: (Default)
I probably shouldn't be updating this from work, but I'll make an exception this time.

So my do-I-head-down-there-and-help question has passed the parents test and the sibling test. They all think I should go, but they have no idea how torn I am about all of this. See, there's two sides of me arguing. The one says, "look, you're already doing more than most people by working at the Red Cross. Besides, you've put in a serious summer of training and it's time to reap the benefits. Is it really all that wrong to stay put and keep doing the good you're doing right here? Look, you don't even know what you're doing. Stay here and get trained and be ready for the next one." The other side of me says, "look, no matter how much you rationalize your decision to stay home and safe, there are thousands and thousands of people who didn't have a choice to lose everything they owned. How many chances do you have in life to pack up and leave for 3 weeks, to give everything you have with no holding back? Anyone can pour water, serve food, and set up cots. They don't need just skilled people; they need people who are willing."

I'm torn right down the middle. Either way, I'll never look at the world the same way again.

marathoner452: (Default)

Re: Margaritaville really is amazing how quickly life changes.



marathoner452: (Default)

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