26 October 2007

Help Kelvyn Park win BIG!

Hi! One Chicago Park District Park has the chance to win $25,000 for park improvements. There are 14 parks competing for this prize. To vote, please go to http://www.staplesdreampark.com/.

I have worked with several of the parks competing for this awesome opportunity and I would ask that, unless you already have a strong preference for a particular park, you consider voting for KELVYN PARK. The staff at Kelvyn is very responsible and dedicated and makes sure children and their parents are actively engaged in programs. They have been a joy to work with and would no doubt do great things for their community if awarded this prize .

23 October 2007

More Payton Raine

Science Boy and I went to meet Payton Raine last night. She is super tiny and *way* cute!

22 October 2007

In loving Memory: Susan K. Roberts

In 2003, I applied for a job as the Director of Youth Services at the Grande Prairie Public library. In many ways, it was a dream job. This was my library as a little girl! I remember when they were building it, how excited we were. I remember working on a giant latch hook rug in the children's room and looking for books with my friend, Sonal.

On October 6, 2003 Susan K. Roberts, the Library Director, called to offer me the job. I was thrilled and accepted immediately.

For the next two years, I was very happy there. (I left after Science Boy and I moved to the City and I found work closer to our new home.) The staff of that library was amazing. (And one of those staff members became my beloved Science Boy!) The camaraderie and love shared there was extended to patrons. The circulation department at the library remains the best I have encountered anywhere in the world. All of that was nutured under Susan's leadership.

Susan was a wonderful Director, especially in the way she was always looking forward to what possibilities might be explored. She always supported any new ideas I (or anyone else) wanted to try out, whether that meant remaining open for 24-hours on the first anniversary of 9-11, staying open to register voters until midnight on the last day to regster before the 2004 Presidential elections, or writing a huge, mulit-library grant for a Library-Palooza! celebration. (We didn't get that grant, but Susan still went ahead a few years later and put on her own Library-Palooza program.)

Susan was also a whiz at writing grants and seeking out new opportunities for library support and funding. She truly loved the communities we served and did her best to provide the very best for them.

Personally, Susan could be a lot of fun. She loved her staff, her family, her pets. She had a grea capacity for empathy and listened when you spoke. She had an opinion on everything. She told great stories and argued passionaltely against Bush and the war. (She may be the only person I knew who hated him more than I do and we spent a lot of time agreeing on why he sucks.)

Susan died this morning after a short battle with lung cancer. She was only 60 years old. She had only recently decided to leave Grande Prairie after many, many years as the Director after being offered a poition in a library that would offer new challenges.

Susan touched the lives of all who knew her. We shall all be a bit poorer for her passing.

Edited to add: The Library will be closed on Sunday in memory of Susan.

It's a girl!

It's a girl!

My brother, Will, and his wife, Darcie, welcomed Miss Payton Raine Kalweit to the family last night at 6:05 p.m. I told my brother, Jim, that the Bears would win and that Payton would be born during a spectacular, last-second, game-winning touchdown...

Did I call that or what?

Payton weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces and is 19.75" long. Her big brother, Anthony, is enchanted by her. I am looking forward to heading to Munster Community Hospital tonight to meet the child and to assure her that I will *not* let her Uncle Jim call her Moose (after Muhsin Muhammad, who caught the TD). Yay!

Our beloved Grandpa Kalweit died 19 years ago yesterday. Having Payton join us on the same date gives us something to celebrate on October 21st! Huzzah!

(And, Bonus: Jim is probably coming to town next week. It's nice to have good stuff goin' on!)

This is Payton less than an hour after she arrived:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

12 October 2007

I need to vent

Tonight, on my way home from the train, I was mugged.

A guy ran up behind me, grabbed my collar, and stuck something in my neck and told me to give him my money. I told him to hold on and opened my tote bag to get my wallet. He told me to get it quick or "I'll blow your fucking head off, Bitch." I told him hold on and he told me just give him the purse, so I did.

He ran across the street and started to look through the purse. (It looked like he didn't have a gun at all and was using his fingers; not that it was worth taking a chance over.) THEN, like, 3 seconds later, another guy came and told me to give him my money. I said, "I just gave your friend all my money, dumbass!" (In retrospect, probably not the smartest thing to say.) He stuck his hand in my jeans pocket (ick!) and said "What do you got in here?" I grabbed my lighter out and said, "I Have a lighter. Do you want that?" Guess not.

He reached for the other pocket. I said, "Those are just my car keys and my boyfriend has the car at work, so it won't do you any good." He took off, joined his friend, and ran down the street. They turned down my street. Those punks probably live on my block! Luckily, my phone was in my back pocket, so I called 911.

A man and woman came from across another block and waited with me until the police came. I am just so angry! This is my neighborhood, too, and I don't want to be scared walking home!

They got my license, credit card (already cancelled), debit card, checkbook, a check my Ma gave me for my birthday, makeup bag, hand lotion, $16, some receipts, and a John Legend iTunes card from Starbucks. Our new address is on the checks, but we have ADT security, so I think we'll be fine. Science Boy works nights and isn't home until close to midnight most nights.I am still shaking. (This happened at 7:52pm CST.)

And, while a part of me is scared, the overwhelming emotion is anger. Our neighborhood is considered kind of "bad," but that is mostly because it is fairly poor and predominently Black. (Racism is alive and well in Chicago.) People have been friendly and kind. My experiences have been overwhelmingly good. (For example, the man and woman who came and waited with me until the police came were kind.)

I don't want to revise that opinion because of two teenage punks. And I am angry at them for perpetuating the stereotype of young Black men being thugs. I have met many, many young Black men in much poorer neighborhoods than this who have been decent. My hope is that they are caught (I was able to give the police a decent description of height and what they were wearing) and get in huge trouble and that it is worth the damned $16 to them. And, now... I don't get home until dark most nights. There is no other way to get home. I will have to continue to walk in the dark. I walk down a main, well-lit street, but clearly that didn't do me any good tonight. What do I do? How do I make myself safer?

DAMN IT! What is wrong with people?!? How do you rob your neighbors?