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Suffusion of Yellow
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Paula's LiveJournal:

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Friday, October 22nd, 2010
9:43 pm
Still exist! most boring life ever, but still exist!
Monday, June 21st, 2010
11:04 am
Where is my motivation? I know I used to have it.

Perhaps it's drifted down into my left foot, and if I stand on my head long enough it will be carried back into my brain where it belongs.
Friday, May 21st, 2010
1:07 pm
Less than a week left. We were sent on disaster relief three times in the past two months, first to build shelter kits for earthquake victims in Haiti, then to help clear up debris after the tornado in Mississippi and lastly to help victims of the flood in Nashville.

It's been crazy.

Home soon.
Saturday, May 1st, 2010
6:52 pm
So, this past week has been raw.

There is just so much destruction in that city. People we had to tell that we just couldn't help. Way to many people who just didn't know what to do. And no, I don't know when FEMA will start to help, or what they can and can't do.

A woman who cried on my shoulder, unemployed, panicking at the rain predicted the next day. Haven't these people seen enough storm?

An older couple, unable to accept that their son's house--uninsured--just couldn't be saved.

I got poison ivy (third time this year) clearing the debris of fallen trees, and endless, exhausting task.

Standing on a roof, nailing down tarps, seeing the back door about three feet from the back steps, because the entire house had been shifted off its foundation.

We're being replaced by another team come Monday, though, because NCCC promised a project in Kentucky three teams, so off we go. As hard as this week has been, Mississippi needs us a lot more--needs as much help as it can get--so it's very frustrating that we're being shipped of.

I have less than a month left in AmeriCorps. It's going to end on a tense note, I think.
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
9:12 pm
Wow, I haven't written in a while.

My team got pulled from our regularly scheduled project to go to Georgia, where Habitat for Humanity International was having a huge blitz putting together relief packages for Haiti: tarps, ropes, tools, etc--everything needed to create emergency shelter because the rainy season is upon them. It was a really good project, and we really sank our teeth into it. I spent a lot of time with tarps, which were my own little domain. I counted them. I sorted them. I obsessed over them. (I really did. I wrote tarp-poetry. No matter what the future brings // tarps are there, to cover things.)

Anyway, after that, we came back to our regular painting project for a little while. But last Friday, a tornado hit Yazoo City, Mississippi, and we got pulled again.

Today was our first day on first-response disaster-relief. (And while disaster-relief is a big part of NCCC, first-response is not. Nobody knows what the hell is going on. Things are getting real, people.)

The tornado was 1.75 miles long, spent at least 149 on the ground, and about 200 homes were destroyed. We spent the day clearing debris, just to make things accessible to repair efforts. Nothing's very coordinated yet, and everything's very chaotic. I have no idea what we'll be doing tomorrow. It's pretty unbelievable to see the damage first-hand. And it's only been one day.

Things have been interesting lately.
Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
9:45 am

Our purple paint? The hideous purple paint?

Is peeling. So several days of work putting it on the walls is going to be immediately followed by several days of work taking it off the walls.


We have a saying, on this team.
"Dig a hole.

Fill it in.

Dig it again."

A lot of AmeriCorps NCCC can be summed up by that.
Sunday, March 28th, 2010
11:03 am
Fourth round! Final project! We are back on campus, to stay on campus for the rest of the program, working on a local assignment, which is, at the moment, to paint an elementary school.

To paint an elementary school bright purple (bright purple) and yellow, a combination that has us all cringing daily, and wondering what overzealous Lakers fan got to pick out the paint.

And also, elementary schools are full of elementary school students during the day. Solution: working 2pm to 10om, which is very weird. Towards the end of the night, I tend to get a little manic, and I don't think staring at the hellish color scheme all day is helping.

Colors aside, it is turning out to be something of an exercise in futility. Latex paint, while convenient, also has certain drawbacks, the biggest of which is that if a surface is not completely compatible with the paint, it...sort of...peels right off when it's dry, something we discovered only after an entire hallway had been purple-and-yellowed.

So, work is at a standstill, and I'm going crazy. When you work 2-10, it takes a lot of willpower not to sleep until noon, and willpower has always been something I'm sorely lacking.

Anyhow...it's Sunday morning, and I've just eaten breakfast, and I'm about to say "fuck it" and go back to sleep.

Willpower...yeah. Willpower has no place on weekends.
Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
3:41 pm
I am now three-fourths done with AmeriCorps. Wow.

At the end of May, I go back to Maryland.

At the end of August, I am going to Burning Man.

Other than those two dates, the rest of my life is a blank slate.

I'm oddly OK with that.
Sunday, February 21st, 2010
1:15 pm
So, last Tuesday...and the day before that...and the day before that....
I'm not sure words can describe what it's like to be in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, immediately after the Saints have won the Super Bowl for the first time.

It's like the air is full of party. There wasn't even a question, for me, of going to as many parades as possible. Standing for hours in the cold? Totally worth it, if it meant being right up front as the floats passed by. For those few hours, there is nothing in the world more important than getting that guy to throw you something. And I have a drawer full to the brim of beads and cups and various pieces of made-in-China junk to prove it.

Just about everyone else on the team was getting drunk off their ass on Bourbon Street. All I wanted to do was jump up and down and shout for beads like a five-year-old. And I did, night after night, for about five days. I screamed my head off for Drew Brees, who was king of Bacchus, and I have never cared an ounce about football in my life.

That's how contagious Mardi Gras is.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
4:56 pm
So, a little while ago, I advised my friends not to get poison ivy on their face.

Today's recommendation: avoid getting a cellulitis infection in your kneecap.

Because oh-my-god-painful.

(I thought it was a spider bit, but when the whole knee was swollen and the whole leg was achy and tender, I thought it might be a good idea to go to the doctor.)

PS: I am in New Orleans! Which is crazy. I saw the Saints parade last night. WHO DAT! But standing around for, oh, three or four hours did not do a lot for my knee hurting like a bitch. On the other hand, I saw Drew Brees, which was pretty cool even if I don't really care much (at all) about football, and I got some beads.
Friday, January 29th, 2010
3:02 pm
Don't get poison ivy on your face, guys. It isn't fun.
Saturday, January 9th, 2010
10:57 am
I'm finally resurfacing into the world. I'm back on campus in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

I miss West Virginia, a lot more than I thought I would. I think working hard--really, really hard--did more for my mental issues than anything else really ever has. And now, two weeks of inactivity have left me a little unsettled. It doesn't help that I'm not particularly social when I'm around large groups of people I'm only moderately acquainted with--back on campus, while everybody is getting drunk and hugging long-lost friends and having sex with long-lost hookups, I'm hiding in my room. (Watching Gargoyles, though, which is pretty fantastic, even fifteen years later.)

Anyways, in less than a week, we get shipped off to our next destination. Which, for a few weeks, is Greenville, Mississippi, working on vegetation clearing and erosion control on ancient Indian mounds. Which I think is really, really cool. They're some thousand-something years old, nobody knows for sure who built them or why. I'm really excited.

Then the second half of our project is in...New Orleans, Louisiana!


And, yes, it's going to be several weeks of pretty much nothing buy repairing drywall, but still. There's going to be a ton to do, family to see, alcohol to drink...and we're going to be there for Mardi Gras.

So that's pretty damn exciting.

Oh, and also? I had a dream that I had Luck Be a Lady stuck in my head. And when I woke up? I had Luck Be a Lady stuck in my head.

I apparently know all the words to that song. And it was the Frank Sinatra version, even though I much prefer the Marlon Brando version from Guys and Dolls. Weird.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
7:45 pm
Two weeks since my last livejournal post!

Anyways, I am back in Vicksburg, after my sojourn into the mountains of West Virginia.

I loved the mountains, I loved the new team. Things are going to be rather tense while I'm in transition, just because there's been so much venom between me and the old team, and so much gossip. But entirely worth it.

I have muscles, and a new sense that I sort of want to live the simple life somewhere beautiful. Also I'm going to Burning Man this summer. Going.
Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
8:35 pm
1) Shovel gravel into wheelbarrow.
2) Take wheelbarrow down path.
3) Dump out gravel, rake gravel smooth.
4) Return to enormous pile of gravel.
5) Repeat.

Result: quite a nice path, I think.

Also, my back hurts.

Still, something about spine-destroying trail work, or brush clearing that is about 80% thorn bushes and leaves me looking like I spent some quality time with a very unhappy cat and necessitates about five minutes of tweezer-time every day after work...I spend quite a lot of time at this job grinning like an idiot.

And today, we found an injured bird under a bush by the path. And by injured bird, I mean injured juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk. I, fortunately, had the number to a bird sanctuary, because I'm planning on volunteering there, so we got Henry the Hawk into good hands, and on Saturday I can go check up on him.
Friday, November 20th, 2009
7:44 pm
Having completed some 200-odd feet of boardwalk over a West Virginia wetland, my team is moving from one obscure backwoods place in West Virginia to another obscure backwoods place in West Virginia, to do a different physically demanding project in a state park. Very exciting!
Thursday, November 12th, 2009
2:52 pm
Does anybody else feel a little as though as the baby swings on playgrounds look a little bit like big, solid plastic diapers?

I find them slightly disturbing.
Saturday, November 7th, 2009
5:26 pm
West Virginia is wonderful. Or wild. Or possibly even both.

The new team is really great. Our team leader is all kinds of amazing. There are only two other girls, which is fantastic. I am doing good, you guys.

We've been building a boardwalk in a state park. See, West Virginia is all mountains. (Makes driving at night really exciting.) So it ain't got a lot of wetlands. But this park has a wetland, on account of some beavers doing what beavers do best, and they really want to make it accessible to students. So we're building a boardwalk over it.

Building boardwalks over wetlands involves: hip waders, sledgehammers, lots of lumber, lots of splinters, and lots of doing things, getting them wrong, undoing them and doing them again with slight variations.

It also involves being outside all day in a really beautiful place, learning about birds and plants and beavers. They have loaned us a bunch of binoculars. Our site supervisor is a retired college professor, who describes himself as an "educator-naturalist," and not a day goes by without twenty minutes of really interesting information.

We live in a "holler," which means a valley in the mountains. We're forty minutes from anything and get no cell phone reception. Today, we went hiking in the woods around the house. I fell down a lot and collected a great many burrs in my clothes.

Last night we went to Charleston and I drank a lot of beer with a few of my new teammates.

This has been a durn good week, y'all.
Thursday, October 29th, 2009
10:19 pm
So, after a week or so of events that can be best summed up as starting with a "C" and ends with a "lusterfuck," I have been transferred to a new team. It has only been a day, but I am fairly optimistic, which is not a usual state of mind for me. It helps that they cannot possibly be worse than Team Nightmare, especially towards the end there, when most of the team (and the team leader) straight-up hated me.

Team Probably-Not-A-Nightmare (real name pending) and I are on our way to West Virginia, to do crazy rough trail work and sleep on cots! (I actually don't have that many details yet...) We have been driving for about nine hours today. We've stopped at a hotel for the night in Knoxville, Tennessee, and will go about another six hours tomorrow. I am excited. I came really close (really close) to leaving AmeriCorps, and right now I'm glad I didn't.

We have already discussed: Justice League Unlimited, Firefly, Fleet Foxes and Regina Spektor. How's that for a good first day?

I left behind a campus gossiping about me like crazy, which was a new and unpleasant experience. Not...flattering gossip, either. So that's nice to get away from. Doubtless New Team has heard all about my adventures in Team-Nightmare-Escaping, but they seem very welcoming and friendly nonetheless.

Wish me luck!
Monday, October 19th, 2009
7:25 pm
I spent today stripping copper wire. (Copper wire is more valuable to recycling places if you take all the plastic off first, and crappy AmeriCorps teams are very useful for tedious tasks no one else would want.) Result: blisters on my left hand like crazy, from all the wire-coating-tugging; slightly less on the right hand because I am a genius-snake at wielding the X-acto knife.

Also, I was doing it in the sun without really paying attention to that fact. Also, it was a little nippy out this morning, so I was wearing long sleeves, rolled up. Combined, this had made a pretty nice sunburn from my elbows down, with a distinct break for my watch. Like a really modest farmer. It's pretty sexy.

Still planning on my divorce, as soon as I get back to campus. No clue yet as to who the Team/Spouse will be, so keep fingers crossed for me.

Yeah, so read the following only if you want to hear about my crazy experience with the meds that are supposed to make me not-crazy.Collapse )

That is that, ducks.
Sunday, October 18th, 2009
12:06 pm
I was back home. My mom was stressed and freaking out, and announced that she and I were going to the Caribbean, that afternoon. Just us two, running away to a tropical land of turquoise seas and white sand.

That is a lovely idea, I said, but how are we going to get to the Caribbean today?

It doesn't matter, the mother says. We're going! Whatever! We'll drive there!

The more she spoke, the more I, too, was longing for the peaceful blue waters and a crazy, impromptu vacation, but I knew perfectly well that one cannot drive to the Caribbean. Mom, I tried to explain, this is not a thing that is possible, but I was utterly unable to convince her.

That's all I remember. This dream was most certainly coming from my own deep, illogical desires to run away, somewhere, anywhere, and right now.

Thanks, subconscious, but I knew that already. You didn't have to rub my face in it.
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