Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Philadelphia making a smart choice

Philadelphia is giving $10,000 a year in municipal tax credits to companies that hire former prisoners and provide them tuition support or vocational training. Read the article here. This is the right step to slow the rate of recidivism, which is now at about 80%*. People coming out of prison need education and vocational training. We can do something about this. These people are human, just as we are. Yes, they've made bad decisions in life but God has forgiven them, hasn't he?

In April, President Bush signed the Second Chance Act which authorizes more than $330 million over two years to help government agencies and nonprofit groups lower recidivism.

Dr. Mimi Silbert, who started the Delancey Street Foundation, is one of my personal heroes. The foundation is a wonderful organization who trains and educates ex-convicts to prepare them for life on the outside. The foundation has never accepted any grants or money from the government, running purely on money generated by their moving companies, restaurant, furniture making business and Christmas tree lots to name a few. There are no paid employees of the foundation as each member "learns" the trades from members who have lived there longer than them. The residents earn at least a GED and learn three marketable skills to use when they graduate the program (the minimum stay is 2 years but the average stay is 4 years). It is amazing to think that everyone from the accounting staff to the janitorial staff is an ex-convict, learning their trade from another. If you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Greensboro, North Carolina, New York or New Mexico, please consider using Delancey Street as your movers if you are moving or buy your Christmas tree from their lot. They also have an amazing restaurant on the Embarcadero in San Francisco as well as a bookstore. I have used Delancey Street Movers many times and they have been some of the most professional men I've ever been around. They are truly grateful for your business and I cannot begin to explain to you the feeling of knowing you've helped one of these people. If you'd like to know more about the foundation, please ask me. I'd love to tell you more about it.

Now the graduates of Delancey will have an easier time finding a job.

*This number is from a book I read that is a few years old. The number could be a little different now.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Joshua Tree National Park

Chris and I went to Joshua Tree National Park yesterday. It didn't take as long as we thought to get to the North Entrance--only 2 hours. There was very little traffic on the 10 which is unheard of in this town!

First we walked to the "Oasis of Mara" behind the Oasis Visitors Center. Not too impressive, so we didn't take any pictures. Next we drove to Skull Rock and did some exploring in the huge rock formations.

We then drove up to Keys View where you overlook the Coachella Valley and can see all the way to Mexico on a clear day (it wasn't clear enough yesterday). Supposedly you can see the San Andreas Fault Line, but I couldn't really find it.

Joshua Tree National Park actually contains two different deserts, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. The famous Joshua Trees are located only in the Mojave, which is at a higher elevation than the Colorado.

Next, we went to Arch Rock. There wasn't a really great vantage point from which to get a good picture. I was especially interested in Arch Rock because we are planning a trip to Arches National Park later this year.

We drove to the Cholla Cactus Garden which is a "jumping cactus"--if you get too close the needles "jump" onto your clothing or skin and are painful and difficult to get out--needless to say I didn't test my luck.

Here we are in front of an Ocotillo

And Finally, a trip to the desert is not complete without a trip to Babes, home of the best St. Louis style ribs I've EVER HAD!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our wedding photos are going to be published!

I got an email from our wedding photographer, Michael Norwood a few days ago telling us that Southern Wedding Style Magazine, which focuses on southern weddings, had found some of our wedding photos on a blog and wanted to publish our pictures in an upcoming issue! Michael is an amazing photographer and he deserves all the credit. He created wonderful pictures to last a lifetime. I participated in a message board on The Knot during our wedding planning to get ideas and referrals from other brides from the Nashville area that really helped me since I was planning from LA. The original blog found my pictures from my bio on this website that shows some of our wedding pictures to help other girls get ideas, just like I did when I was planning. The original blog is here (scroll down to the post on May 14) and the magazine's blog is here, where we're featured as "Southern Wedding of the Week" (post on May 15).

I'm especially honored that they mentioned my veil in the first blog and also in the comments. My veil was so special to me as I designed it with the help of my mother in law, and then she made it! It was truly special and unique.

Those of you who know me know I'm completely obsessed with letterpress and I worked so hard on our wedding invitations. The fact that they talked about our invitations that I letterpressed on in the second blog makes me smile!

I'll let you know when the issue is on newsstands!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Riley's Injury:(

I took Riley to the vet last Thursday night because he'd had red splotches on his belly for a few days an I figured it was an allergic reaction of some sort. We got home and started playing with the ball and he suddenly started limping but he still wanted to play. Chris went over to look at his paw and there was a nail sticking out of it! He stepped on a rusty nail that went in the bottom of his paw and out the top. Poor thing never really knew anything was wrong (thank goodness) but we had to rush him to the emergency vet so they could take it out. He had to go into surgery and now has to wear a cone on head which he is NOT happy about. He runs into the wall and chairs like he has no idea he has a big satellite is around his neck. I would post pictures but my camera is sent off to hopefully get fixed. Riles is a tough guy, even for two vet visits in one day!