Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bag Of Oranges: Easy Health and Charity

Who doesn't love those little oranges hitting the stores in mesh bags?

I found out by accident that are also very helpful for everyday charity and personal health. I put bought a bag the other day and left it in the car. As I drove about this week doing my chores, I encountered many beggers on the streetcorner. I prefer to give my money to organized charities, to ensure it is used wisely and effectively, but it's hard to look away from people in need.

Now with the oranges, instead of looking away, I handed each an orange. So far, each seemed surprised but happy. I can't read their mind; maybe they'd have preferred cash but not one looked disappointed and each took the orange, so I'm going to keep this up.

In addition, now that I have the bag of oranges in the car, I snack on them instead of some god-aweful stuff from Micky D's. That's a nice contribution to my health!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Veterans Child Support Project: Helping Homeless and At-Risk Veterans with Child Support Problems - Pro Bono Opportunity

The Northwest Justice Project is seeking volunteer attorneys and law students to provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income veterans with child support problems. A free "Child Support 101" CLE will be held for volunteers at Seattle University School of Law on Friday, August 13, 2010. Registration information and other CLE and project details will be provided to those who volunteer.

Child support obligations are a barrier to housing, employment, and self-sufficiency for many homeless and at-risk veterans. Many veterans incurred these child support obligations while they were homeless, in a phase of active addiction, or otherwise untreated for a serious mental illness. For incarcerated veterans, the growing arrears from unpaid child support can be a significant barrier to reentry into the community. Many veterans may be able to reduce their child support obligations to a more manageable level and help eliminate these barriers.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the American Bar Association (ABA) are piloting a project in Seattle and eight other cities to assist homeless and at-risk veterans with child support problems. The local partners for this project include Northwest Justice Project, Open Door Legal Services, VA, DSHS Division of Child Support, and the HHS Seattle Regional Office of Child Support Enforcement.

The local partners are recruiting private attorneys to provide pro bono legal services to veterans who need assistance with their child support obligations. Services will include assessments to determine whether the veteran meets criteria for renegotiation of child support payments and assistance with modifying child support obligations and negotiating payment arrangements and adjustments for child support arrears. Experienced mentors will be available to assist volunteers in providing these services.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please contact Bridgette Murphy, Northwest Justice Project, 206.464.1519 ext. 615, bridgettem@nwjustice.org .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Harvest: Front Yard Salad!


Our First Harvest this year was greens from our front and side yard microgardens. We got about a bowl of salad (red lettuce, ragged oakleaf lettuce, and another kind with tiny leaves whose name I can never remember) plus a little bit of chard.

It's not fantastic wealth but it's so satisfying to enjoy what we raised ourselves ... and there's a lot more to come! The labor time is essentially free since I tend the stuff as a work break; the act of planting, watering and tending is very physical and meditative, almost the opposite of writing. Perhaps, just as we have to exercise and stretch the extendor muscles to balance the work we do on the flexors, we have to exercise the part of the mind that deals with little physical things to balance the part that deals with huge abstract things.

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