Stroke Victim at 49

25 September 2010

Food Pantries and Link Cards-Part 2

I am lucky that I had enough of regular baking supplies and food stuffs to combine with the fruits and vegetables I received from the Lakeview Food Pantry. The bananas were VERY ripe as are most of the perishables. I was able to make a killer Banana Loaf using less than half a cup of brown sugar and will make a really nice stir fry with the veggies. The accounts are now down to $20 in the checking. I will get my unemployment on Wednesday which will be $85 less than the cost of my rent. I talk about insanity. My head is ready to explode.

I thought about donations. I really hate asking anyone for anything but I bit the bullet. I created a donation account. Who knows, maybe, just maybe I can make rent this month. I won't even think about the lovely letter from my student loans I got in the mail today. Having a roof over my families head is more important. The link to donate is on the right side of this blog. Wish me luck.

24 September 2010

Food Pantries and Link Cards

On a scale of 1 to 10 for days of humbling and defeat, today is a 100. This morning I had to get to the LINK office to have my interview for food stamps. After waiting in line for 2 hours I was told they would have to reschedule me. During my wait the woman standing next to me struck up a conversation. Come to find out she was also a displaced teacher. It was surreal to me to be standing in line for a hand out and discussing the impact of the film Schindler's List. Another woman stood beside us and began talking to us. She was an elderly lady who lived with her recently disabled son in Wrigleyville. She began explaining all of the different programs available out there. She mentioned a Food Pantry in Sheridan Park. I left the office in Wicker Park feeling horrible. I was ashamed and coming to full grips of what my situation truly is.

After stopping home I went to the Food Pantry. I waited there for two hours. While waiting I ran into the lady that suggested the pantry to me. It was like running into an acquaintance on the street while window shopping. As I sat there I became more and more despondent. How did my life end up this way? I am an educated woman who had a normal life doing a job she loved, teaching. Now I am the one collecting unemployment and food pantry items. At 41, this is not suppose to be my life. I weathered being a single mother of a new born going to school, working full time and never having a hand out. Now that I have the education, certification, and experience I should be at LEAST in the same place that I was when my son was born. I officially drained all that was once my savings to make my car payment today. I haven't paid my student loan for 2 months. I am sinking so fast I cannot take a breath. 

The kicker is, CPS announced today that they will be paying bonuses to teachers that have brought up their students test scores in as they call them "hard to staff" school. What is a hard to staff school? One that has 98% of the student body that is low income. That is exactly what I was doing for the past 4 years teaching. This past year I raised the percentile points of my class by 12, which is HUGE. 

Why oh why did I ever want to teach? I am in such horrible shape because of it. I had a job prior to teaching that I liked. I wanted to follow a dream which has become the biggest nightmare of my life.

It's funny, when you are on a downward spiral people scatter. I guess I understand. Who wants to be around a person who is in a constant state of depression and anxiousness? People have their own problems and lives to deal with. All I know is that I was once an educator who cared about her students and their lives. I was always the one who was there with packages of instant noodles for my high school kids when I knew they wouldn't have food at home. I can't tell how many times I have given my own lunch to my students when they were hungry. That's just what you do. Now it is me who is close to homelessness. I have never been as terrified as I am right now.

Too bad I can't have my own charity. That would be nice. I am always giving a dollar at the grocery store check out for some charity or another. It would sure be nice to have a charity of "Save the Displaced Teacher from Homelessness"  that Dominicks or Jewel collects for.

06 September 2010

Is it just me?: TPS Reports

Is it just me?: TPS Reports: "When I was offered my first teaching position I had to leave behind a company, job, and most importantly an awesome boss in a technology com..."

05 September 2010

Racial profiling?

My sister came to visit me yesterday. She was so excited to go down Devon Avenue and visit the Indian shops. She has been doing Mehndi's (the art of practice of painting elaborate patterns on the skin with henna.) for a few years now at street festivals and is actually quite good. She has been ordering Sari's online as it is often difficult to find a good selection (if any) in Richmond. In addition to that she wanted to find fresh henna for her craft.

Though shopping for me is like visiting the dentist I was happy to spend time with her. Diwali (A major Hindu religious festival, honoring Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Held over the New Year according to the Vikrama calendar, it is marked by feasting, gifts, and the lighting of lamps.) is coming up so the area was alive with activity. The first shop we went into set the tone for me for the rest of the shopping experience. What involves me shopping with others is a lot of standing around and waiting for the other person. I am not a window shopper. As I have no money to spend the appeal of "looking around" is not there. I am not a shopper. The moment we walked into the bustling Sari shop one of the ladies who worked there was on us like glue. She literally stood within five feet of us the entire time we were at the shop.

Though the store was filled with customers, we were the only non-Indian customers. The rest of the customers were left to shop, sans hovering. It was so irritating! The kept pushing her to try on the shirt she was holding in her hand while she wanted to look a little more first. It was hot, stuffy, and rude in the store. My sister didn't even notice as she was so happy to be experiencing such a plethora of new and accessible items for her business and personal use. 

I love the Indian culture and people. I have grown up in a very eclectic part of Chicago where I have had the pleasure of being within a few miles of the Indian stretch of Devon in West Ridge, the Korean market place in Albany Park, Vietnamese area of Uptown, the now former German area of Lincoln Square, the now former Greek area in Budlong Woods, the list goes on. Chicago is an amazing city where all cultures are represented and celebrated. One can be a world traveler without ever leaving the city. 

Prior to this experience, I have found the Indian people to be so warm and welcoming. After this experience, it has proven that there are jerks in every walk of life. When I return to the area for my black tooth powder (so much easier than making it yourself), incense, or incredibly fresh spices, I will make sure to avoid that shop. The funny thing is, I have been wanting to purchase a Sari for years. Not the fancy dress up Sari's, but the everyday Sari's. I find them to be so beautiful and flattering. They actually had some nice items at reasonable prices. My dollars will go where I am not followed around the store with someone literally breathing down my neck.  

04 September 2010

Is it just me?: Quote of the day: 9/04/2010

Is it just me?: Quote of the day: 9/04/2010: "'Everybody wants to be a cat. Because a cats the only Cat who knows where it's at.'-The Aristcats"

Is it just me?: Ya wanna sack fur it?

Is it just me?: Ya wanna sack fur it?: "'Ya wanna sack fur it?'-Being from Chicago I had no idea what this Bagger was talking about. A sack is: 'a large bag of strong, coarsely wov..."