1. What’s on your playlist? That’s what these skeletons want to know. I bet the guy in the lawn chair is still on hold with Pandora to request “Monster Mash.”
I’m not sure how this scene relates to Halloween, but as many of you know, my neighborhood goes all out with the decorating, much more than Christmas. I’ll be bringing you the best and the worst of it in the coming weeks.
So…what’s on your playlist these days?
2. Hemingway’s Gatsby. Years ago, I used to teach English and literature courses at a local college in Harlem. It was an eye opening experience in many ways. In the microcosm of my classroom, I had the opportunity to learn why school is important and why it isn’t. Many of my formerly hard and fast rules were tested about what it means to be educated. It sounds cliche to say this, but I often think I gained more than my students did.
I wrote an essay about my time there, and I’m happy to say that it was published in Prick of the Spindle, a New Orleans-based literary journal. I’m so flattered that they decided to include my work in this issue. It’s on the longish side, but if you have a few minutes, you can check it out here. As you’ll see, by the end, I certainly had to face down some of my preconceived notions. A bit controversial perhaps. I’d love to know your thoughts. What would you have done in Helen’s situation? Or mine?
3. Before I die I want to. Candy Chang, a TED fellow and New Orleans resident put this question to her neighbors on the side of an abandoned building as a way to build a sense of community. The number of responses run the gamut from funny to though-provoking to poignant and becomes a mirror for the neighborhood. Wait til you see it!
Before I die I want to appreciate every moment I’ve been given.
Now it’s your turn. Fill in the blank: Before I die I want to __________________________.
4. Chocolat Noir. Every now and then a book I’m reading will somehow pop into my daily life in unexpected ways. I’ve just finished a lovely memoir, Paris in Love, about the author’s year in Paris. She writes about an afternoon when she stumbled upon “La Grande Epicerie on rue de Severes and bought three different kinds of chocolate.” One of which was “Michel Cluizel’s noir aux ecorces d’orange.” She had a tasting test and the winner was “Cluizel’s chocolat noir. It’s astounding: deep and rich, with a silky melt.”
Then last week shopping in my local market, this package of chocolate caught my attention. (Chocolate usually does catch my attention anyway, but I recognized the name from Paris in Love, even if I can’t pronounce it.) I splurged, despite the high likelihood that I would eat the entire bar in one sitting. This one is not the orange flavor the author had, but it’s just as rich and silky as she described. I savored it while reading the book and felt transported for just a few minutes to a chocolate shop in Paris.
5. A big thank YOU! After last week’s Friday Five in which I mentioned my recent Kiva loan to Ana in Mozambique, blog reader Karen used the link to donate funds to Ana also! Now Ana’s loan is fully funded and I received a $25 bonus in my Kiva account to make another loan. Talk about paying it forward.
I was very excited to put that bonus to good use in a hurry. I found Melba from Columbia. She needs USD$1,675 to buy a new sewing machine. When Melba was doing seasonal work some years ago, she began to sew. She bought a tabletop sewing machine with her savings and started working as a seamstress; then she bought a serger and offered third party service. She was able to grow her business until she had her own workshop.
Melba’s husband died recently, and she is now a single mother of four children. To support her family she must increase her production and she wants to buy another sewing machine and serger. Her dream is to create her own clothing line and give her children a higher standard of living with better economic opportunities.
Thanks again to Karen whose donation contributed to both of these loans! Go here to learn more about Kiva.
Have a great weekend, everyone!