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July was interesting. I’ve learned a great deal in this particular month. A lot of change has occurred in my life recently. Well, really everything changed. In a good way, but also a little surreal and sad, as loss always is. Well unless you lose cancer or any other deadly aliment, or a stalker, or a wart, etc, so I guess not all loss is sad, just sometimes. This loss though was.

Here’s some back story. I moved to New York City in May of 1999, which by the way doesn’t seem that long ago. I think that may be because I rarely remember the bad times. Meaning time seems much shorter than reality. No harm there. :] I also like to go on tangents as you see. Okay, I left Chicago in ’99 as it was time for me to leave (quite a fascinating story for another time), and I have now lived in NYC for eleven years and some change. For about ten of those years I was in a total of two long term relationships, with really no time in between. This, if you knew me before in Chicago, is a crazy concept. This phenomenon occurred after my first year here which consisted of a string of women, friends up for anything and a lot of sleepless nights. NYC and I had a torrid affair that first year and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Now suddenly and ironically on the anniversary of my 11th year in this crazy town I call home I am on my own again. It been almost three months now (in three days on the third…threes follow me everywhere), and I am still in this hazy fog that’s just beginning to thin out. Things are changing faster than usual. I don’t mind that. I would hate to stay the same or become someone I once was. I am just curious to how this is going to play out in the next few months…year…years…, not scared, but excited. I like to be interested in things, especially when it is my life.

I was thinking of ideas to help me clear out of the rest of this haze. I need a focus of some sort so I don’t get lost in the chaos. Something new to do. Here is what I came up with, starting August 1st, 2010 I will publish a picture I take that day everyday for a year (well to be exact I will do this everyday until July 31st, 2011). It won’t be my only posts of course, just a continuous one. I like/need things like this. I’m also interested to what the culmination of all these pictures will say after that year.

That’s all.

-Cara

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It’s a rough call. I want the world to be a place where people don’t have to bully each other to get what they want.

What do I want?

Enlightenment.

When do I want it?

Now!

:]

-Cara

filterblondepf9

I received an e-mail yesterday from Becky Verhey on behalf of FilterForGood stating, “Since you wrote about the recyclability of Brita filters, I wanted to give you a heads up that Brita will announce today that it is  offering a recycling solution for its pitcher water filters. ”  She goes on to talk positively about Brita water pitchers, “…it would take 300 standard 16.9-ounce bottles of water to replace just one Brita pitcher filter“.  I wonder if they use any PVC in the making of their filters. I will send them an e-mail and ask.

Here is the information you need, beginning in January 2009, Brita pitcher filters can be dropped off at participating Whole Foods Markets or mailed to Preserve (another company I wrote about), who will recycle 100 percent of each Brita plastic pitcher filter casing collected for use in its line of recyclable household goods.

I have the Ultramax Dispenser and like it. I can also be riddled with less guilt now that I can recycle the filters. I was saving them already to send to FiltersforGood, who were collecting them from people to make a point. Now, hopefully I can just bring them down to the Whole Foods on 14th and have them recycled. I wonder what Whole Foods is going to do with them. I don’t trust that corporation. I worked for them for over five years when I was a kid in Chicago…long story

I am glad Brita figured something good and I think FilterForGood is fresh for fighting the good fight.

Nice work.

-Cara

Disclaimer: I just need to say I feel weird about Brita and FilterForGood partnering up. I can’t believe the people at Brita are caring for caring’s sake. I guess in the end if there is change for the better… I am not sure…


In 1871, when she was twelve years old, Florence’s father, United States congressman, William Darrah “Pig Iron” Kelley, (a self-made man who renounced his business activities to become an abolitionist, a founder of the Republican party and a judge, and worked for numerous political and social reforms, including the NAACP), took her to a Pennsylvania glass factory on a tour. When she went inside she observed dirty, exhausted children laboring with pots full of acid and crouching over fires in sweltering heat. She discovered that there were over 1 million children working in these hot, crowded and unsafe conditions. Every year tens od thousands of children died or were seriously injured in work related accidents. Kelley knew something had to be done.

Kelley moved to New York City where she married a fellow member of the Socialist Labor Party, the Polish-Russian physician, Lazare Wischnewetzky in 1844. The marriage ended in divorce in December 1891, after many years of estrangement (it was said he was physically and verbally abusive). She changes her name back to ‘Kelley’, and assumes custody of the three children, who also adopt her maiden name. She left Lazare and moved to Chicago (where it was easier to attain a divorce) with her children. Soon after arriving in the city she joined Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr, Alzina Stevens, Mary McDowell, Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott, Julia Lathrop, Alice Hamilton, Sophonisba Breckinridge and other social reformers at Hull House, an amazing group of women, whose faith, strength and intelligence made a huge difference in how women, African Americans, and children were regarded and treated.

In 1899 Kelley helped establish the radical (for its time), watchdog group, the National Consumer’s League (NCL). The main objective of the organization was to achieve a fair minimum wage and a limitation on the working hours of women and children. Kelley, the first head of the NCL, traveled the country giving lectures on abhorrible working conditions in the United States; this helping to educate consumers, so they in turn put pressure on companies, who were prospering off their paychecks.

An example of this type of “pressure” was the NCL White Label, thought up by Kelley. The program offered the NCL’s White Label for display in advertising and businesses to employers whose labor practices met with the NCL’s approval for fairness and safety. The NCL then urged consumers to boycott all companies that failed to meet the NCL’s standards.

[Two girls wearing banners with slogan “ABOLISH CH[ILD] SLAVERY!!” in English and Yiddish, one carrying American flag; spectators stand nearby. Probably taken during May 1, 1909 labor parade in New York City.
George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).
]

In September 1905, Kelley joined with Upton Sinclair and Jack London to form the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. Over the next few years she was a frequent speaker on American campuses. This led to meeting Frances Perkins, a students she recruited to the cause, who was eventually to become the country’s first woman cabinet minister and responsible for bringing an end to child labor in America.

[Mine Kids]

Some other groups Kelley was involved with dealt with women’s suffrage and African American civil rights issues. Kelley helped to establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. A committed pacifist, Kelley opposed USA involvement in the First World War and was a member of the Woman’s Peace Party (WPP) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Kelley wrote several books including, Some Ethical Gains Through Legislation (1905), Modern Industry in Relation to the Family (1914), The Supreme Court and Minimum Wage Legislation (1925) and Autobiography (1927).

Florence Kelley, 74,  died in Germantown (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) on 17th February, 1932.

Florence Kelley is someone who inspires me.

-Cara

Cara Logo

OK, so you know I could not resist writing about an organization with such a fantastical name as, The Cara Program. Not only is their name awesome, but so is their mission, “to assist the homeless and at-risk populations in their efforts to achieve real and lasting success by providing comprehensive training, permanent job placement and critical support services.”

The Cara Program was founded in Chicago, by Tom Owens in 1991. They provide services and tools to motivated people committed to getting out of a rut and achieving success. The program and runs for twelve weeks and includes life skills classes, job training and specialized skills training. They focus on topics such as self-esteem building, ethics, conflict management, diversity training and daily motivations.

For at least one year, client support staff works closely with participants on issues such as job retention, career advancement and goal setting. Additionally, they provide financial literacy training, a matched savings program, housing referrals and rental assistance, homeowner education and support and dental assistance to its employed participants.

All in all, they teach people how to grow and attain the necessary skills to go out there and kick some ass. Just like another Cara I know! That’s right, I said it!!!

:)

-Cara

I am just going to cruise over this topic in this entry and supply you with links to learn more if you so choose. Freegans [According to Wikipedia, “Freeganism is an anti-consumerism lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on “limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources…“] the new Vegans [According to Wikipedia, “Veganism is a philosophy and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.“] are coming up again in conversation. I remember 10 years ago watching Geraldo or one of those shows about kids dumpster diving for meals, instead of giving into consumerism. They were all white and dressed as fashionable disasters. I am curious what happen to the original Freegans. Where are they now?

I remember in Chicago, again 10 or 11 years ago, some of my friends who moved from Chicago to Cali were all into it. I myself think it’s crazy to associate freegans with vegans because as a vegan I wanted to eat healthy and not mess with animals…I certainly did not want to eat bacteria infested garbage, seeping with dog crap, heroin needles and a plethora of other nastiness that dwells in the bowels of the dumpsters of New York City.

dump

Besides not liking the association with vegans I am glad freegans exist. I don’t have the courage I guess…well not the courage, because if I had to dumpster dive for someone else, for some important reason or because I had no money, I would not be afraid to. I just REALLY prefer not too. I AM glad some people are willing to pick up the slack and kick ass for me and others who are not willing to go that extra mile. I think it’s awesome actually.

One thing if I may I suggest to freegans is, you may not need to dumpster dive. When I was a kid my friends and I developed relationships with pizza places and such where at the end of the night [behind the place…by a dumpster. :)] they would give us the food they were going to throw out, or Ann Sathers in Chicago after 9pm, gave away their soup of the day to anyone who wanted it for free. If not, they would have just thrown it out [It is like what City Harvest does here in NYC. They develop relationships with all types of businesses and send trucks to pick up the excess food that would have been thrown out and wasted. They then use that food to feed our homeless. I guess that is why freeganism hasn’t seemed to really have caught on here…so far. Also, I bet California garbage looks better than some New York City fruit stand’s goods. ]. We did a whole bunch of stuff like that to get by back in the day, but I like fresh food and siting down at a table these days. I guess I’m getting old. :)

I’m out.

-Cara

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Early in 2007, Consumer Reports tested 525 supermarket chickens from all across the U.S. and found only 17 percent free of both salmonella and campylobacter. Premium brands labeled “organic” or “raised free of antibiotics” actually harbored more salmonella than conventional ones. Most of the bacteria were resistant to at least one type of antibiotic, making food poisoning from eating poultry that much harder to treat. Some samples showed resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics.

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