Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me.
The Carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore is an edge-of-your-seat read. After seeing a man in mint green at his wife’s hospital bedside – a man he shouldn’t be able to see – Charlie Asher’s life goes from ho-hum normal to utter insanity. Recruited to be Death, Charlie must juggle raising his daughter, hearing voices coming from the sewers, people dropping dead and raven-like creatures attacking him. The characters are brilliant, the humor is epic and the adventure is one of a kind! Continue reading “Death Comes Knocking”
Well, life’s like a road that you travel on
There’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
I was a daddy’s girl growing up and there were two places I could find my dad in the house: the basement or the garage. The basement was usually for watching football games and the garage was for working on bikes, cars, and whatever else he could fix of our’s, or our neighbor’s. Whenever I would ask my dad what he was doing in the garage his response would always be, “You know your dad. He’s working, working all the time.” Continue reading “Life Is A Highway”
Traveling north, traveling north to find you
Train wheels beating, the wind in my eyes
Don’t even know what I’ll find when I get to you
I’m in love with trains. They still have a little romance and mystery about them and a laid-back atmosphere that you don’t often get when traveling by plane or car. Continue reading “Library Choo-choo!”
“We had been so close to missing each other, he and I. He had turned out to be the greatest gift of all.”
-The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
There are people we interact with in life that help us become the people we are supposed to be. While some are with us for a lifetime others pass through, but no matter how long or how short the visit the effect they have on our lives is never-ending.
Eleven year old Calpurnia Tate wants nothing more than to be anything, but a girl living in 1899. In The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, Calpurnia is already being raised to have the life of every other girl: cook, knit, and play the piano. But Calpurnia wants to know why there are more yellow grasshoppers than green ones and with the help of her grandfather she will learn much of these scientific curiosities and have a window to a world opened that most girls her age never get to see.
In The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni we meet Sebastian Prendergast, orphaned and living with his grandmother in a geodesic dome in Iowa. Under his grandmother’s watchful eye Peter is being groomed to fulfill Buckminster Fuller’s vision to change the world. His sheltered life begins to crack however when at sixteen his grandmother suffers a stroke. Forced to make his own way he meets fellow sixteen year old Jared Whitcomb, a heart transplant recipient and lover of punk rock, who shows Sebastian a completely different way of living.
Like most kids out of college these days moving back home is a must while tackling the career world, but sometimes being at home can get a little too…not comfortable per se, but put you in a rut…a very, very deep one. For twenty-two year old Potter Mays, in The Slide by Kyle Beachy, that is the case. While having breakfast prepared every morning by your mother and having your best friend as your life coach might sound fine and dandy; it’s all a mirage. The underlying issues of home, relationships, and real life are overwhelming there ready to explode and at the end of it all Potter will have to grow up.
(Find Part 1 of this post here)
“To be engaged in some small way in the revival of one of the great cities of the world is to live a meaningful existence by default.”-Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic
The third most important is Hurricane Katrina and the toll it left on the city. Even though New Orleans was infamous before the hurricane, due to Mardi Gras and its cultural significance in our country, it’s almost like we finally saw it once the hurricane hit. However, it has an integral place in our country and we need to acknowledge what we would have lost without it.
When the Levees Broke by Director Spike Lee isn’t easy to watch, but uncovers what went wrong with Hurricane Katrina. He tells it like it is and for that I am very thankful. Through this documentary we see how this city was almost lost to us by human hand rather than nature itself. Neighborhoods wiped out, people left for dead days after the Hurricane, and violence against those that needed the most help. It exposes our shame and asks us what we are going to do about it.
The fourth most important is the recovery, which is still happening. The Lower Ninth Ward was historically an area where immigrant laborers and freed slaves could afford housing due to the proximity and flood risk of the Mississippi. Once drainage was installed in the neighborhood, business and activism thrived in its community. Those that lived here very rarely stepped outside its neighborhood’s borders. Driving through the Lower Ninth Ward after Katrina was like going through a prairie.
In Plenty Enough Suck To Go Around by Cheryl Wagner we see that age old cliché “New Orleans gets into people’s blood” runs true. I feel like I’ll always have a burning desire to return to New Orleans. Through Cheryl we see the physical and emotional struggles that come with rebuilding, how devastating it can be to see your neighborhood change, and the desperation to recreate that sense of home and family that was so suddenly taken away. For Cheryl and other New Orleans residents they knew the struggles were worth it.
Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO) started in 1988 when the Preservation Resource Center instituted a one-day neighborhood revitalization program in the Lower Garden District. I went in 2010 and 2011 with a friend who is a Gonzaga University Alum. Through the Alumni office we teamed up with RTNO and their AmeriCorps volunteers to work on a house for a week. You never know what you might be working on, which was really exciting to me. One day I would be painting and then the next installing trim and baseboards. I’ve learned so much about home improvement and each year have gained new skills, as well as learned about an amazing city, culture, and people.
Rebuilding Together is an amazing organization. Most cities have local chapters so if volunteer tourism isn’t ideal for you take a day or two to volunteer in your city or neighborhood.