Category Archives: Community

Help

Thank you to all who agreed to send a care package/hygiene kit for homeless veterans. We will distribute them prior to Christmas. A couple of updates:

CAOK 2013

1. They can include whatever you would like. They can be for either sex. Items recommended include: socks, toothbrush, toothpaste and sunscreen.

2. If you are in a knitting guild, or crochet — yes! Folks would love anything warm. Again, I’ll make sure any hats, gloves, scarves are distributed.

3. Please include a return address so I can send you a thank you. Your kindness means the world!

and finally — your hygiene kit can be sent here: *

ADHS

c/o Kelli Donley

150 N. 18th Ave. Suite 200

Phoenix, AZ 85007

 

Thank you!

~K

*No good deed goes unpunished. Apologies to anyone who received a bad address prior via email. Very sorry!

One Community: November

One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art.

Each month, one of the hosts picks four words for us to interpret through photographs of what we see around us in our daily lives.

The Rules:  Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up.  Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them.

This month’s words, selected by Colleen, are: gratitude, fun, blue and home.

Gratitude: One Community: November

I am thankful to have a partner who was willing to pick up and move back across the country, just a few months after having gone through the same topsy turvy ordeal. It hasn’t been the best few months since arriving in the Grand Canyon State.  But here we are, in my state. My hometown. With my work blossoming. It takes a kind, patient soul to be willing to even try this. I’m lucky he is by my side.

And Arizona, you really are home. The culture — from fast, idiot drivers that make me feel like I’ve found my chosen people — to salsa, coming on the side with just about any meal, to our “chilly” 70 degree days: I love you.

Fun:

One Community: November

These didn’t seem like costumes, even though there was a rodeo taking place nearby. These women had dirt on their boots, and creases around their eyes from many days spent outside. They are western beauties. (And yes, that is a gun on her hip. Welcome to the wild west.)

Blue:

One Community: November

Handpainted Mexican tile wall. Frida would approve.

Home:

One Community: November

One Community: November

One Community: November

The last guy is “The Arizona Duuuude: Arizona’s #1 Fan.” He gave me a card, and is available for parties. You’re welcome.

 

{Forgive me for being technologically behind, but I can’t get the link up language to work on my site. If you care to play, please visit my tech savvy friend, Sarah, for details.!}

~K

Help

Pinetop weekend

This week I attended a conference about homelessness in Arizona. The statistics are arguable, depending on the source, but the reality is our state faces a huge, transient wave of folks in need this time of year. They come from colder areas because one can survive outside in Phoenix, even if it is an incredibly hard existence.

The majority of these folks are men. Many are veterans. Many have substance abuse or serious mental illness or both. Many have been arrested at some point for a crime of survivial — loitering, camping within city limits, food theft.

Pinetop weekend

There are groups state-wide working to help ease the physical and health needs of the homeless. Some provide a temporary shelter, while others do outreach deep into the woods of our state and national parks, looking for those who have removed themselves to the furthest edges of society.

There is a group in northern Arizona that does some pretty amazing work with homeless folks in Coconino and Yavapi counties. They drive and hike and trek with a “sixth sense” into the woods, looking for those who may need water. Or food. Or maybe even just a little company. With time, they are often able to coax these folks into behavioral health programs and care. Last year, they were able to find permanent housing options for more than 70, again — many of whom are veterans.

Pinetop weekend

Those who are in the Verde Valley area may swing by The Loft; a safe place for a shower, laundry, a warm meal, a change of clothes and even some time online, if they care to check in with friends and family. One area of great need for The Loft are hygiene kits. These are distributed to those who come in, and for those who remain living outside – in the forest or otherwise. The kit doesn’t have to include much, but can provide considerable relief and comfort to someone without a home.

This is where I need your help. Would you join me in making a kit or two? You could sew a fabric pouch, or place it in a Ziplock. You could add a note of encouragement, or make it anonymous. You could give these in lieu of holiday gifts, or in addition. You, and me, and anyone else willing to help out and pitch in about $10 could make a serious difference for those living on the edge.

We aren’t going to solve homelessness by putting together these bags, but we will provide a bit of joy and kindness. That’s enough.

A kit may have:

      • a pair of socks
      • chapstick
      • sunscreen
      • toothbrush
      • toothpaste

Anything else you’d like to include would be wonderful. We are making a commitment to this project as a family and will deliver the supplies to northern Arizona and to veteran homeless outreach in the metro area, during the holidays.

I know I’ve asked you before for this type of help, and you’ve responded so generously. Together, we can provide a bit of kindness and comfort to those in need. With the winter months approaching, those needs are greater than ever. Leave a comment if you are in, and we’ll chat. And thank you!

~K

Weekend in the Woods

We spent last weekend in the woods of eastern Arizona with some friends. The rustic cabin had better amentities than our home in Phoenix (cable! fireplace!) and we were right at home. It was a delightful get-away:

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Pinetop weekend

Crisp, chilly fall nights at altitude meant clear skies, the heavens twinkling with all their might. We grilled outside, huddled around a fire place, watching a ridiculous amount of the Discovery channel and watched Nelson run around like he’d been a desert prisoner for the last three months.

Pinetop weekend

It was all too fun, and made me wish we had more time!

~K

A Colorful Community

My friend Duda’s work continues in her community garden. Visiting, the ground seems magical. She and her volunteers are ever so methodically transforming a run-down, forgotten garden into a functional, productive space. It is so fun to watch! A few photos from this weekend’s work, including an array of the many colors visible on your average October day in Tempe:

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Eduarda's Community Garden

Someone else also likes to go to the garden. To dig. And run around. And chase lizards (almost as fun as squirrels.)

~K

 

One Community: October

One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art.

Each month, one of the hosts picks four words for us to interpret through photographs of what we see around us in our daily lives. Starting this month, we’re opening this project up to anyone who would like to participate!  We would love to have you join us! The link-up will begin on October 5th and stay open for one week.

The Rules:  Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up.  Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them.  This link-up is all about buildingcommunity!

Kara from Sunshine Cupcakes chose the words for October. They are: Plant(s), Bake, Orange and Activity

Plant:

Stary Aloe

I am in love with succulents right now, to the crazy point of joining several succulent-related Pinterest boards. This planter could work just about anywhere. (I’m thinking patio wall edges.) And how about this planter’s stand? Lovely!

Bake:

One Community: October

It is still too warm in Phoenix to be baking much, but baked casseroles for dinner count. Right? This is the standard Donley family green chile chicken enchiladas. Delicious, but way better day 2.

Orange:

One Community: October

It is the time for pumpkins. So glad these made the cross-country moves without being harmed!

Activity:

One Community: October

We went to a Coyotes game this week — the first of the season. We were treated not only to freezing cold temperatures, but also a hat trick. It was so fun!

~K



 

 

Garden

Garden apron for Duda

Garden apron for Duda

Garden apron for Duda

My friend Duda had a birthday this month. To celebrate, I sewed her a gardening apron. Among other gardening projects, she is leading group of high school students. Together they are transforming a bramble of forgotten earth into its former glory. You can follow her story here.

Garden apron for Duda

Duda is one of those friends who feels like we’ve known each other since childhood. It is easy, accepting and engaging. Plus, she’s African.

~K

Through the Blue Door of Wonder

One Community: September

I found this great door in our neighborhood. It is on the back of one of my favorite houses. I love that messy tangle of tiny white lights and how they are plugged in even during the twilight hour. I wonder what is on the other side of the blue gate? The front of the house looks like someone may garden pots by the front door, but doesn’t care about the swarm of Bermuda grass sadistically and methodically taking over an another wise lovely desert landscape.

Is there a garden? A bbq? A hammock? A picnic table carved with the initials of lovers? A small fruit tree, planted a the birth of their first child? A rose bush planted over the ashes of their beloved pet? (A parakeet named Thelma, of course.)

Forever wandering, my curiosities.

My mysterious imaginary backyard these days would have a gate and tiny white lights too, though the gate would be dutch and painted a darker, cobalt blue — my favorite shade against the rusty red of desert adobe. There would be a modest outdoor kitchen with a faucet and bbq and maybe even a pit for fires. There would be a small shed with gardening tools and folding chairs, its awning providing enough shade for the compost during the hot summer days. There would be a telescope. And of course, there would be vegetable beds, pots of flowers, and a few chickens we had miraculously taught Nelson were “friends not food.” And, while we are dreaming, let’s throw in a three tiered fountain decorated in colorful Mexican tiles, and a small swimming pool full of happy, tanned, rambunctious children.

I, of course, am sitting in the shade, sipping a margarita, pulling Jackie Onassis sunglasses off of my face while shooing the chickens and children and the dogs away from the tomatoes.

They are on the dinner menu in the form of salsa and gazpacho and slipped into salads next to the basil and arugula. And everyone knows tomatoes, like people, are their happiest when still warm from garden.

 

Oh, to dream!

~K

 

One Community: September

One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their homes and community with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art. This month’s words were chosen by Rebekah: work, gold, centerpiece and balance.

One Community: September

I’m living in my hometown again, although this is my first time living in Phoenix proper. I logged the first 30 years in the Easy Valley, once upon a time. Now, I conveniently live in a neighborhood not far from work, where the billboards are in Spanish, the laundromat and torta shops fight for customers with loud paint jobs and sign twirlers, and the corner title and loan shop’s flickering neon can be seen from my bedroom window.

My new community is a bit rough around the edges, and I love it.

After the sun goes down, folks come out of their homes. Baby strollers and dogs on leashes and couples holding hands. Giggling girls with Justin Beiber backpacks and bright pink high tops and buns of raven black hair tied on top of their shiny heads after a day at the nearby elementary. Teenagers with arms of tattoos and ripped jeans and voluptuous brown skin piling out of tiny tank tops, leaving nothing to the imagination. (Or helping those teenage boys cool off.) Together we all wander the sidewalks before the night falls, happy the temperatures have dipped beneath 100. We walk off dinner. We walk to pass the time. We walk to talk about our days, or have a moment of quiet, or just make sure the dog doesn’t poop inside. Again.

The neighborhood has pockets of beautiful desert landscape, intense views of Piestewa Peak , oh the sunsets. The sunsets! These showgirls use every hue in the box of 64, and perform nightly for free — something we can all appreciate.

One Community: September

One Community: September

Work: because survival in the desert is work this time of year, even if you only dart from from one air conditioned space to the next.

One Community: September

One Community: September

One Community: September

One Community: September

One Community

Gold: So many great examples in the flora and fauna on a quick walk around the block. The desert is a shy beauty, but when you are patient — you can find her gems.

One Community: September

One Community: September

Balance: Holding on for dear life, praying the next storm is gentle — or better yet, that there is sun in the forecast.

One Community: September

Centerpiece: Green and turquoise and knitting. Because it is still my house. What else would you expect?

-K

 

One Community participants include:

Sarah is a life-long Missourian who shares her home with her husband, two sons, and an old grumpy dachshund. Like every good Midwesterner, she can (and will) talk to you at length about the weather.  Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net 

Colleen lives with her handsome hubster and two feisty felines in Portland, Oregon. She loves rain and sun (in that order), words and pictures, and chatting up the neighbors. She blogs at: www.underaredroof.com

Rebekah lives in Kilkenny, Ireland with her husband. An American by birth, she’s discovering what it means to be an expat on the Emerald Isle. She blogs at Honeysuckle Life.

Kara is a cheerful nerd living in downtown Phoenix, AZ with her law-studying husband and an anxious pound puppy. She works full time in the mental health field but in her off time enjoys sunshine, great food and the occasional craft beer.  www.sunshine-cupcakes.com 

Wife and Mom to a houseful of boys in sunny San Diego; word geek and all-kinds-of writer; maker of things both creative and useful. Sue is now blogging again at nobaddays.wordpress.com 

Teresa lives in Massachusetts with her husband, college aged daughter and two crazy cats.  She is a creative spirit who tries to find the lesson, blessing and humor in everything and she blogs at http://laughteramongtears.blogspot.com

Stephanie is a lifelong Wyomingite with ranch girl roots.  She has her own marketing and graphic design business and in her free time, she enjoys knitting, fishing with her boyfriend, and team roping.  She blogs at: www.nowicanseethemoon.co  

Eduarda Schroder is a curious, visual creature who believes all pictures tell a story.  She hails from Mozambique, via Portugal and NJ, and now is desert rat living with her husband and two teenage daughters in Chandler, AZ.  http://of-blue.blogspot.com/