Sunday, Ordinary Sunday…

Sunday is my least favourite day. It just seems worse than Mondays, because Mondays, at least, are a fresh start. A do-over. Poor Sunday. It just seems to epitomize that droning-meeting-white-noise bored feeling.

But the real issue is that I’m sick. Allergy sick. I got allergy tested (Thank you, Medicaid), and discovered that not only am I allergic to the grasses that make up those dumb turf lawns that are so popular back in my home state, but also a fair bit of trees, certain  kinds of mold, hay, dust, and feathers, of all things. Guess I won’t be going out and hugging any more trees anytime soon. *laugh*

So, when I was cleaning out the art supply closet at work, I got sick. Like almost instantly sick. Within in a few hours, I started to get a sore throat. It wasn’t until a few days later that I found out there was mold growing on some stuff in the closet. By then I was really sick. Lost my voice and everything, but at least it supported the results of the allergy test. But, do you know how BLOODY hard it is to supervise a whole passel of overly excited little munchkins when you can’t even talk? Luckily, the kids are some of the most amazingly sweet kids I’ve ever met, so I was spared a Lord of the Flies reenactment. *laugh*

This morning, I even dreamed I was cleaning out and organizing an artist’s studio. Which would have been really annoying in that I was dreaming about something I’d been doing all week. Except that the studio was an open air one, surrounded by a low stone wall, and real green grass growing everywhere. And it was warm,  but not too hot, the sky was a soft blue with clouds, and there was that wonderful kind of breeze that comes off the ocean–playful and mysterious and reminding you that nature is a conscious, vibrant entity.

And then I got a sense of my muse being present. Not really in person, just a feeling they were watching me (from afar) enjoy the wind blowing all my bad feelings away and tangling my hair. It was too poignant, and too simple to even exploit for a poem, but I just wanted to acknowledge them in some way, in case they are out there reading this blog from an alternate dimension. Even though I know perfectly well they are just my creative mind speaking to me, I haven’t been able to make that connection to the part of my brain/soul that’s epitomized by said muse. But, still, I’ve been missing you, my Muse/figment of my imagination.

And now I have to go clean my own house on this prosaic, ordinary Sunday. While dreaming of an ideal day that was shared over at a blog called “Scotland with the Wee White Dug”. Rain, a quirky museum, and scotch? Honestly, what could be more fabulous?

https://theweewhitedug.com/2017/02/18/hooray-for-rainy-days-in-edinburgh/

Save the Planet! (It’s not as hard as you think!)

I decided to include a few links for sites that will help you get involved, as well as some tips for volunteers and the organizations seeking volunteers.

Tips:

  1. Leave your egos behind.This goes for incoming volunteers as well as for organizations in general. I’ve seen more non-profits fall apart due to power struggles. It’s amazingly difficult for humans to get along, I know. I struggle with that every damn day, with my marginal social skills! *laugh* Just remember, you are there for a cause–whether it’s for trees, bees, critters, the ocean–and that comes first. Don’t let your passion be swallowed up by petty power struggles, infighting, and backstabbing.
  2. Just because it’s volunteer work, doesn’t mean that you should be less-than-professional and responsible. Treat it just like a job and avoid gossiping and other socially based pitfalls. Honor your obligations, and if you don’t have the time or energy, be honest and communicate. Most organizations are so grateful to have help, they are willing to work with you to help you find your niche within the group. Volunteer organizations should be flexible enough to work around your schedule and personal skills. If they start treating you like an (unpaid) employee, and taking advantage of your willingness to help out, communicate with the powers that be.
  3. Having said that for #2, keep in mind that not all volunteer work is glamorous and exciting–protesting on the front lines, etc. Stuffing envelopes and cleaning out kennels is just as valuable as being a weekend warrior activist/protester. And, by your willingness to work hard and do anything and everything for the organization–well, that can have benefits you might not realize. It can lead to you discovering new career options, or even a job offer–one that pays REALLY WELL!
  4. Explore what you love and always wanted to try your hand at. Volunteering is a great way to scratch things off your bucket list! It’s okay that the volunteer experience be rewarding for you, as well. Helping you build a new skill set, explore different cultures, etc. If you start feeling like an unappreciated grunt, say so. Or, explore other volunteer groups till you find the place that really ignites your passion. Then you won’t mind washing out bird and animal poop all day long. There are so many organizations that need help: Arts & Music organizations, Theatres, Film Festivals, Kids’ organizations–the possibilities are endless.
  5. Watch for signs of burnout. Set limits and parameters. Volunteer work can be rewarding, but most humans are not candidates for sainthood–you can burn out on it, because much of it is very mentally and emotionally draining. I am still on sabbatical from animal rescue work because it got so overwhelming and intense. And, truthfully, there were probably some behind-the-scenes infighting/backstabbing stuff going on that I didn’t realize in my naivety, at the time.
  6. Want to volunteer, but need to earn money? Are you an ideas person? Consider contacting the organization to discuss a grant proposal that will include money for you, but also cover a project idea(s) that will help keep the organization dynamic or help them find a new way to engage the community, or maintain a presence within the local, or national, community.
  7. Don’t rule out internships! They can be a fun way to travel to new places! And you might be able to get a stipend/room and board.

Here’s some website links to help you find your perfect volunteer experience. Feel free to post up any more links in the comments below. Remember, collect experiences, not things!

http://www.idealist.org/

http://www.preservationnation.org/career-center

http://www.seashepherd.org/who-we-are/employment.html

The Chaos Fairy is a Fourth of July Party Pooper!

“The Borg: Party poopers of the galaxy.” The Doctor, Star Trek: Voyager.

I gotta admit, I have never really been a fan of the Fourth of July. Even in my younger, social party days, my circle of cohorts and I would always stay home from the goth/punk clubs and watch movies and order pizza or get Chinese take-out. Something about the frenetic, drunken, crazed energy out there made us all want to hide out. So, in keeping with tradition, I’ll be huddled in front of the telly with my neurotic cat welded to my side, watching movies and such.

I used to find fireworks amazing, but I have become more and more aware of the effect they have on songbirds and other wildlife, not to mention the impact they have on the environment. Here in our neighbourhood, I’ve even witnessed people shooting unbelievably loud, large fireworks directly up into the trees (As an aside, a couple of residents of The Oaks in Osprey–not as part of Fourth of July celebrations–deliberately fired fireworks into this rookery near their homes. http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/local/neighbors-accused-of-shooting-fireworks-at-bird-rookery/article_ea0ca11a-a09b-11e2-9e70-001a4bcf6878.html).

So, I’ve put together a list of links for this “Sustainable Saturday” post of ways to still have your Fourth of July firework fun while being mindful of local wildlife and birds. And some tips for your scaredy cat animals! And for the real Fourth of July terrors–kids! *laugh* Thanks for reading!

http://birding.about.com/od/birdconservation/a/fireworkssafety.htm

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_fireworks.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

http://www.insidebainbridge.com/tag/effects-of-fireworks-on-wildlife-and-domestic-animals/

http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/fireworks.html

http://www.voiceforthevoiceless.org.za/pets.htm

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/fireworks/fireworks-safety-tips

Have fun, and have an emergency-room-free holiday, U.S. peeps!