Thursday, October 9, 2008

He has no home.

When I work late, I run into our office cleaning lady. I look forward to these encounters. Despite initial communication problems, we've learned that we speak the common language of BC Lions and Vancouver Canucks, and we've done just fine since then. This woman is hilarious. If you took my mother's dedication to the CFL, Lucky's loyalty to the Canucks, and threw that in the blender with a strange red dye job and an unidentifiable but kind of south asian accent, you'd get her. Or maybe she's actually spanish. I don't know.

At least once a week, I can count on a conversation through the stall door in the bathroom while she wipes down the counters, and I take care of my own business, if you will. I don't understand everything she says, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't get all of my responses, but we share "Geroy," and "Buck Pierce," and we lots of headshaking mutters about Mats Sundin. She never fails to crack up when I tell her that we just need to get the coaches on the phone and tell them how it should be.

Tonight, on my way out, I ran into her in the hall where she just might have been waiting for me. She was almost too excited to speak, but through a series of gestures at the radio that is always strapped to her cart, and eyes wide with anticipation, she let me know that she was very excited about tonight's season opener for the Canucks. She asked if I was going to watch the game, and I said "Of course!" not telling her that I would miss part of it for yoga. I want to stay on good terms with her. She's small, but fierce. In fact, her fierceness came out when I told her with mock indignation that Lucky had a ticket to tonight's game but hadn't given it to me. Either the "mock" part was lost in translation, or she didn't care. Eyes wide, head shaking: "Ohhhhh... no. You can't let him come home. He has no home."

Friday, October 3, 2008

You choose.

So, Hey! Hi! Right! I haven't updated in ages! Whoops. It's that thing I've said about self-inflicted pressure: when I've let it go this long, it really feels like I should be coming back with something momentous. Instead, I'm coming back to tell you about a cool way to part with your money.

This writer, Sarah Bunting, has a blog called Tomato Nation. She's a good writer. She's got an amusing advice column, a brilliant definition of feminism, and an account of September 11th that brings me to tears when I read it each year. Besides all that, she has motivated her readers to donate over $150,000 to low-income schools in the states over 4 years, all through a program called Donors Choose. As an amusing aside, she rewards the readers with things like this crazy tomato dance posted to youtube, but the real thrill of the drive comes from being part of something so big and hopeful.

This year, she's set a goal of $100,000 from October 1st to the 31st. Considering that we were past $29,000 on the third day, I think we're going to make it. I'm telling you about this not to guilt you into donating, but because I feel so good right now. I gave $20.00 to help a school teacher in Georgia buy blocks to teach her third graders about fractions. My Mom taught me the same way: with popsicle sticks and coloured cubes. As a kid for whom math just did not come naturally, those kinds of tools were key in helping me grow up without a fear of learning, and I'm so happy to pay that forward. These are American schools, and while I would have loved to donate to some Canadians, I got over the border divide when I read about classrooms that literally do not have crayons. No crayons. Seriously. I was also sorely tempted by a project that focused on teaching high school kids about world geography and current events, because goddamn, we need a generations of Americans that know their Iran from the Afghanistan.

I feel like I'm part of something big right now - something exciting, productive, and fast-moving. I know I won't feel nearly this charged when I cast my vote next Tuesday, but I will feel better, knowing that there are projects like this to choose to support. And knowing that those kid in Georgia got their blocks.