Its a funny thing to get fired from an organization that nicknames itself “SOL.”
Well, that’s what happened to me after getting the ax at Songs of Love, a charity organization that makes music for kids that are sick or have special needs.
Feelings aside, I wanted to write up a little something about one of the profiles I came across while working at Songs of Love:
Sophie! Cute little thang…
Like many kids today, Sophie is just 2 years old and has cancer. She is being treated for a type of cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma.
Her family has set up a fundraiser to help cover the cost of medical bills, which can be found here: Go-Fund-Me Fundraiser. I think this is a good cause, so I’m spreading the word. The fundraiser is called Road to Recovery #cancer stinks, which can be reached by following this link:
If you have a dollar to spare, consider donating to Sophie’s family and/or spread the word. Every little bit helps, even positive thoughts and prayers.
If you’re curious about the songs produced by Songs of Love, you can check out the Songs of Love, Medicine of Music Spotify playlists.
Tchau tchau for now!
Be the great ape you are.
Rooftop Meadow in Greenpoint, Brooklyn brings native species back to the city, but not where you might think…
Continuing the quest to find out what “sustainable living” looks like in a big city, I found myself this past Friday at Kingsland Wildflowers, a rooftop meadow in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, right next-door to New York City’s wastewater treatment plant. See this surprisingly beautiful facility below:
I was very happy to learn about this project through this giant list of things to do in Brooklyn, which a friend shared with me on Facebook.
Friday was the first “Field Day” of the 2018 Season, an opportunity for community members to explore the roof and learn about the project.
I was particularly fascinated by the history of this site, which I learned from a knowledgeable bird-loving photographer who works for the NYC Audobon Society (go figure) and was at this event to dispense information and take pictures.
According to this man, the Dutch were the first people to settle this area in the 1850s and described it back then as a marshy, shrubby landscape much like the photo above. Today, that marshy environment no longer exists, having been replaced by concrete and buildings over the course of the last 150+ years. Now it looks like this:
I was pleased to learn there is still a prominent waterway that runs through Brookyln and Queens called Newton Creek, which unfortunately was majorly polluted by an oil spill during the 1950s. Due to the buildings and the spill, the creek habitat has suffered and the native species that once inhabited the ecosystem have diminished.
Before it was polluted by the spill, the creek had been an important habitat for native plants and insects and was a stopping point for migratory birds and bats. After the oil spill however…not so much. Guess who was responsible for the spill by the way…. remember the Exon company? Exon Valdez ring any bells? Same company. But we didn’t hear too much about the Newton Creek Spill, did we? Curious.
Today, the Creek is a superfund site, which means the US Government recognized the extreme environmental damage that had occured due to the spill and set up a fund to fix it. That is how the Kingsland Wildflower project is receiving its funding. Exon was sued for damages, and the proceeds of the lawsuit are being used to restore the nature that was damaged by the oil spill. Since space is limited, and people are smart, this project was developed to provide a home for native plants, insects, and animals that once thrived in the Newton Creek environment.
Kingsland Wildflowers is a wonderful project that exists soley to give back to the Earth. The project began a few years ago and is already proving successful. Data is being collected to show the increase of native species both at the creek and on the rooftop. Today, this is one rooftop with about 1/2 acre of space where plants and grasses have been planted. The concept is that the rooftop is replicating what would have existed on the ground if the building were not there. Imagine the good that could be done for the planet if more rooftops were like this in the city. The benefits would be great, species would have a home, maybe bees would start coming back, plus, what a pleasant escape for people it would be, and is. My short visit to Kingsland Wildflowers reminded me of the nature I have been missing while living in a primarily human and concrete environment. I was reminded that there are birds other than pidgeons passing through in their seasonal migration, that there are insects other than bed bugs and flies, and that this whole city used to look so different, that its waterways had so much influence on the ecosystem, that it is an ecosystem today!
Anyway, I could go on and on but I wont. For now I just wanted to share a great project and hope for the future with everyone.
Lots of Love,
Just wanted to send a little Hello to all my peeps and anyone else who has stumbled upon this post. Greetings!
Thankfully the weather is getting a little warmer over here and the sun is shining today, which is helping me emerge from what I’ll just call “winter hibernation”…baby’s first winter…that was ROUGH! Actually I dont think the cold is over yet, but I’m taking this nice sunny day as an excuse to hit the beach and visit papa Poseidon! Last time I came here (Rockaway Beach) it was a few months ago and it was MUCH colder. I put my toes in and immediately regretted it. Today, we will see. I am still learning that even though the sun is shining, it does NOT mean that it is warm outside. Sunshine is not an indicator of warmth. Oh how I have been spoiled by sunny Santa Cruz!
Anyway, updates from me are as follows:
I spent the last week waking up early to tap dance in the subway with my ballerina-roommate friend before work. It has been quite successful! But I am not quitting my day job (yet), promise! Living with a rag-tag group of girls from Korea, India, Senegal, Italy (and me), I have never been so thankful for my American Citizenship, not matter how (insert own word or phrase) our government is.
While I am collecting “Chump Change for Chimps,” she is collecting money so she can buy a ticket back to Italy and get the heck out of NY before her visa expires…it is very hard to live and work legally in the US if you aren’t a citizen, I am finding throught the grape vine, and I am feeling lucky that I can live and work where I want to with relative ease.
Here is a photo of us doing our thing. Its a work in progress, but even in our early stages we have gotten warm responses from people. Its nice to see smirks and smiles replacing blank and sullen stares in the dingy subway platforms. The classical music helps too, I think. Anyway, it is a nice way to start the day and improves my attitude while sit there and make eyes with the computer screen at work for the rest of the day.
Awlright, thats it for now. Time to check out the sand and sea. I hope you all have a very nice Sunday and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air if you get the chance.
Sparkles, glitter, and a big thumbs up, Brazilian style,
Ever felt bad denying a homeless person help when you know you actually can help and you know they desperately need it? It sucks to look a person who is directly asking for help in the eyes and say “no, sorry I can’t help you” when you know you can probably help in some way. It also sucks to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. But most people do. I am guilty of it myself.
As I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in society lately, I’ve been particularly troubled by interactions with homeless people asking for help. I want to help, but I don’t yet know how and I feel that giving money is not the answer.
On a good day, I find myself either looking them in the eyes and saying “no, sorry I can’t help you” or giving them whatever little snack I have, thinking its the kindest thing I can do…or, on other days, ignoring them, avoiding eye-contact, thinking judgemental thoughts like: why doesn’t that dude with the nasty infected arm go to the hospital for help instead of roaming the dirty subways, getting mostly snubbed by people as he walks by asking for help, doesn’t he know there’s a better way? I find myself wondering, where is my own humanity in these interactions? I know I can help and I’d like to, but how can I actually help in this type of situation.
I don’t really like to give money, especially because I’m trying to survive myself, and I have my own cause that I’m saving for these days, chimp conservation. BUT, it is very important to me that I make a positive impact in my own community, maybe even more so than saving the chimps….so, my thinking cap is on.
Tonight I did a little research and found some good insights for kind ways to interact with the homeless people who are asking for help. This was the gem I found. Acknowledging them and saying:
I found this passage in the following article, which I recommend reading if you’ve ever struggled with this issue and need some tools for your social toolkit:
Well, that’s it for now. Thank you for reading.
Just a lil’ update from me over here in Ridgewood, where nothing is really going on (thank gad).
First off, people in the subway have become an interesting photographic subject for me over the years and throughout the cities. Yesterday, a girl got on the tube and sat across from me, eyes glued to her phone pretty much the whole time, giving me free rein to stare and examine her being. I noticed she had a little cat shaped patch on her jacket that said “Cash poor, Pu$$y rich.” Must be a cat person, I thought.
Here’s a photo:
And really, this photo reminded me of another one I took back on the S-Bahn (train) in Berlin last Fall, check out the posture on this girl. Can’t be good! Makes me wonder how the physiology of my generation will change as we age…
In other news, tap dancing has been going well. I have been taking classes with Derick Grant, my favorite teacher for style points and his overall joie de vivre, Tamii Sakurai, one of Grants former students, completely awesome in her own right, and Claudia Rahardjanoto, a member of the touring tap dance troupe, Dorrence Dance. I take classes at Steps on Broadway, which is pretty intimidating because I have to cross a sea of ballerinas sprawled out stretching on the floor to get to my class (see below) and the American Tap Dance Foundation, which is a little more low-key and strictly a tap dance school, phew.
Here is a video of a short tap combo taught by Tamii Sakurai that will surely please your ears: https://vimeo.com/241762393. Enjoy!
What else, what else? Tomorrow, my dear friend Stephanie from way back in high school is moving across the country to be my roommate. This should be fun. It will be nice to have a piece of home over here.
Still trying to strike up a good work-life balance. Things at the flower shop have been ok, just not quite what I’m looking for in terms of labor, vibes (they’re always rushing me…which I hate), pay, and commute…aka I’m looking for something else. Next week I will train one day at the Songs of Love Foundation, a non-profit in Forest Hills, the neighboring town where there are actually trees and houses. I can easily bike there, which makes me happy. This organization provides free, personalized songs for children with special needs and illnesses, as a therapeutic pick me up. The founder and secretary are Brazilian…this could be so very good!
Well, that’s about it for now. I have been procrastinating all day on steam cleaning the little couch in my room. I’m trying to make it nice for my friend’s arrival. Luckily, my house-mate has a upholstery and carpet cleaning business called PristineGreen, which I mentioned before. I will be writing an article for that site asap about “green” cleaning products. Stay tuned, you might learn something.
All the best to you. Hope you enjoyed the full moon this month.
Until next time,