Boston, Chicago, Cats and a Dance

Before I start this blog, I want to thank the lovely ladies Caroline and Daniela again.  Caroline has been just wonderful (click here for her blog).  She is supportive and kind and sweet and I love her blog!  Daniela is another wonder woman I’ve met on this site (click here for her blog) and she just wrote such an amazingly sweet blog about Mexico City and how she was thinking of me any my boyfriend and our struggles.  I just felt so honored.  I honestly don’t even have enough words in my vocabulary to describe these beautiful, amazing women and I’m so glad I decided to start blogging otherwise I would have never met them!

Now I have TONS of things to get into and I don’t want to make this blog a novel.  First, as many of you have heard, 2 bombs went off at the end of the Boston Marathon killing 3 people and severely injuring hundreds.  My heart goes out to everyone and I feel so awful about everything.  This was a terrible event.  I just want to point out a few things.  The first is as many have already pointed out, this was a horrible tragedy and those words don’t even begin to cover it, however there are some amazing people.  The runners who continued to run to the nearest hospital to donate blood and those who open their homes to strangers that were displaced after this happen and so many more who acted as first responders that were audience members or runners.  You are my hero and the world would be an awful place without people like you because YOU ARE AMAZING AND WE ALL LOVE YOU! ♥

Second there is one thing that is annoying me and actually making me furious.  The News.  First, when this happened, they couldn’t put their cameras down to help?  One new broadcast I heard, the narrator said something to the effect of “at least we were there to catch it all on camera”.  Really?  You couldn’t help people, but you filmed it.  I understand we need news, but honestly that is cold and heartless.  You would rather watch this happen and do nothing but film instead of help people whose limb have just been blown of or have sustained other injuries.  Get over yourself.

Also, get it right!  You told everyone they caught the bomber when in reality that never happened.  Then each station is putting out news about what the bomber looks like.  So far this is basically the description we are given.  He is a white, black, brown man with a white hat worn backwards or a green hat or bald who ran from the scene or walk away.  Really?  Then the FBI had to release a statement saying basically telling the news to shut up, stop jumping to conclusions and get the information right.  So honestly news networks, as of right now, you are useless, bias, awful television programming who, just like politicians, would rather do something for your own benefit rather than do something useful.  Obviously this is a generalization, not every single news caster is like that, but the ones who are, you should be ashamed of yourself and your inability to do anything useful.

Next is about my home, my Chicago.  My neighborhood along with many others around me have been declared “in a state of emergency”.  The city and neighboring suburbs are flooded and I mean flooded!  Ramps to get onto the highway are completely submerged.  What is normally a 15 minute drive to work took an hour and I literally drove through a lake where the road used to be.  I even saw an ambulance drive by towing an inflatable motor boat.  It’s bad, but one positive thing about this morning is that there was minimal road rage!  Everyone was letting people merge without fingers or horns sounding, they just let people in and waved thanks, which is so uncommon to see.  It was very nice and refreshing!

However, the lovely nonprofit Feral Fixers (feralfixers.org) is not having such a great time. For more info you can go to their website.  Tammy, the founder, houses cats in her basement (they are all in their own kennels which are cleaned and taken care of by a multitude of volunteers and Tammy herself, so don’t worry about them living in awful conditions or anything).  This morning she had 6 inches of water, so they moved all 14 cats out of the basement and started looking for temporary homes, which they found.  However those 6 inches have turned into over 6 feet of water.  Here are some photos of Tammy’s basement

529373_608095762551237_37241952_n 149048_639128019436985_1401422503_n

They have lost a lot of supplies and are in dire need of everything from cat food & litter to paper plates and bowls and blankets (click here for the full list of items) so if anyone lives in the Chicagoland area, Feral Fixers is located in Lombard and they need our help!  There is also an option to order items online and have them shipped to Feral Fixers.  If you would like to donate money you can always donate here on their Website or you can vote for a photo I took and all of the money raised from this photo goes to Feral Fixers.  Click here for all of the detail about that.  Finally we have an event Sunday in St. Charles and Recycled2New will be there.  Click here for all of the info on that.  Thank you for any and all help!!

Last but not least, WAR Chest Boutique, which is part of Women at Risk International is dancing on the street of Naperville this Saturday at 1pm in front of Anderson’s Bookshop to raise awareness of WAR and other women’s risk issues, everything from trafficking to abuse and more (Click here for my blog about it and here for event details). Please come visit us and join us in this so we can fight together!  If you come, try to wear something red!  Those are our colors and I look forward to seeing people!!

Thank you for everything!  All of the support and any help you can give Feral Fixers or for those who come out to support WAR and thank you for taking the time out of you day to read my blog or read this super long blog!  I feel so lucky an blessed, especially in light of recent occurrences.  Thank you! ♥

Real Heros

Today, Recycled2New attended the Frosty Claws event for Feral Fixers.  For those of you who don’t know or have just started following my blog, Recycled2New is my Aunt’s business and everything she makes is completely recycled.  She is a mailwoman and has many corporations on her route that just throw away: paper, color samples, thread, just about anything you can think of.  She makes notebooks and earrings and envelopes and scrapers and cat scratchers and more, out of all that!!  You can visit our Facebook at facebook.com/recycled2new.

Next Feral Fixers!  Feral Fixers is a nonprofit that my aunt and I work closely with. They trap, neuter and release (TNR) feral cats.  The friendly cats and kittens are kept and prepare for adoption.  This is a reasonable alternative for the massive feral cat problem.  Cats can have multiple litters in a year so their populations grow so rapidly that for a while  the county’s solution was to put them all down, which is awful.  You can visit Feral Fixers at www.feralfixers.org to learn more and see how you can get involved if you like.

Now that’s out-of-the-way, the turnout was AMAZING!  Feral Fixers had over 100 pre-ordered tickets, which was a massive increase from last year and Recycled2New made three times the amount of money for Feral Fixers than we did last year! There were so many people I met/  I just love meeting people who are really active on the Facebook page, to be able to put a face to the person.  We also met so many new people who were just amazing.

One woman, my aunt knew because she was on her mail route.  This woman was 72 years old and had more pep in her than most people my age (22)!  She was tiny and looked so frail but was the COMPLETE opposite.  She was helping us move things and sell!  She was so friendly and when it came time to tear down everything, she helped us with EVERYTHING!  My aunt told her that I was collecting clothing for WAR (Women at Risk) International and this lovely woman said she might have some things to donate.  After the tear down was complete, she came up to me and we just talked. She said this past year, in the few months before Christmas, she lost her husband, son and her sister.  It sounded like her sister was sick for a long time and this amazing women said she didn’t know what to do with all of her sisters clothes and that this would be something nice to do with them.

I told her she was such an amazing person, going through so much and being so strong. I gave her a hug and she just laughed. Do you know what she said to me then?  She said “Well, some people are so much less fortunate than us and it’s nice to give to them”.  A women who had just lost her husband, son and sister in just a few months and right before Christmas told me that.  She is an amazing woman!  When my aunt came back up to us, she looked at my aunt and said “Your niece want to adopt me!”, grinning madly.

She also took the balloons left over from the event and was going to write notes to the family she lost and send them into the sky.  Then use the rest to decorate their urns in her house.  She told us this with a massive smile, saying that she was so excited she didn’t have to blow up her own balloons and how happy she was.

She never stopped smiling, you could see that she was sad and she missed her family so much.  You could see in her eyes she was hurting and sad, there was no way to miss that, but she was just so strong and positive.  It honestly shocked me when she said that some people we less fortunate than us, just what an amazing woman, I don’t have any other word to use!  She is an honest to God hero, an unspoken inspiration, motivator and a wonderfully positive person.

She is someone who people can learn from, a woman who has gone through so much hardship and sadness and she is still so positive and always thinking of others.  Every time you think you have gone through someone difficult, just remember, there is someone out there who is going through someone just as bad or worse and keeping their chin up, being as positive as they possibly can.  Just be positive and view every obstacle and hardship in your life as a stepping stone that really does make you stronger and with the right attitude and friends  and family, you can accomplish anything in the world.  She proved to me that it was true, she is my real hero.

Recycling with Family

So today was the Cantigny Green Fest for Recycled2New (you can check out our Facebook here and our Twitter here and our Pinterest here).  If you haven’t read any of my past blogs, Recycled2New is my Aunt’s baby,   She loves to reuse and recycle.  She’s a bit of a hoarder, just like me.  We find things and just can’t get rid of them!  For example, magazines, you can do so many things with magazines: envelopes, beads, switch plate covers, notebook covers.  Why throw them out when you can use them and make something beautiful!?

She started selling all of her creations, necklaces, notebooks, scrapers, cat scratchers, earrings, just about anything you can think o.  Everything is made completely from reused or recycled items!  Friends give her things or she finds places that are going out of business or thrift stores and works away.

We had our largest show today!  It was so much fun, but absolutely frigid.  It was probably about 40 degrees for most of the morning and started warming up at 1 in the afternoon, only getting to the upper 50s in the shade, but that’s Chicago weather for you!  At least we missed the rain.  I was just dreading the moment when I would be standing there freezing in my layers and then get wet.

For this particular show, all of our profits went to Feral Fixers, an organization that serves DuPage County.  They trap, neuter/spay, and release feral cats to stop the populations from growing.  Those cats that are gentle will be put up for adoption, but the cats that are too aggressive to be adopted will be released where they were captured since they probably grew up in that area and know all of the dangers of the area.  You can visit their website here and their Facebook here.

Of course I love running all of the social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, Website) and meeting so many wonderful new people, but most of all I love working with my Aunt so much!  She is so easy to work with and I love spending time with my family.  Family is the most important thing in my life and I don’t think I could ever find a job that was so much fun!

Garbage is my Canvas

My name is Meggie and I’m a hoarder.

Well, being completely honest, I only have a slight hoarding habit, nothing detrimental to my health or having a house so full of stuff that there is no room to walk and live with a family of cats I didn’t know I had. I just like to keep things because they are so nice I just can’t throw them out.  Magazines, shoe laces, Altoids containers (cleaned of course).  You name it I probably have it neatly stored in boxes stacked in labeled piles.  That’s why I can’t be a hoarder, I’m an organizer and I can’t have things out of order or a mess.

My aunt, in recent years, has taken an interest in keeping items too.  I think I got my mild hoarding bug from her.  What makes her different is the fact that she makes so many incredible things out of what she keeps.  Anything, from old paper to tires to aluminium cans to magazines, all of those are just tools to make something beautiful out of, not throw away.

She’s a mailwomen and has many businesses on her route.  If you are not aware, businesses throw away a lot of things, a LOT of things all the time.  For example, she has carpet sample binders she turned into organizers.  The carpet samples make bulletin boards and they last forever since they are so heavy-duty.  All of these just get thrown away.  She’ll get things like the color sheets that are you used for the file folder tabs and make them into window clings, things you can spend so much money she can make for less money and most of the time better quality.

She turned her hobby into a business, Recycled2New and I help.  One of the best part of working on R2N is seeing reactions.  People look and they see earrings, necklaces, notebooks, binders, zipper pulls and just tons of other things, they just look at them thinking they are just nomal items.  When they start reading though, that’s when you hear “Ohhhhhhh” and “Wow! That’s so cool!”  because they know that they mostly likely threw away whatever was used to make something beautiful and more durable than most things you can find in a store.

Lately it’s like garbage it my canvas and I love it!  Things that are everyday items, things people just throw away without even taking a second glance at them, I can look at them and save them from their awful fate of a garbage can death.  It’s such a challenge sometimes, taking ‘junk’ and making something beautiful out of it.  There is so much beauty in the entire world that is so easily overlooked, from outside to your recycling bin.  Painters take ugly canvas, plain, boring canvas and turn it into something beautiful that people will admire forever.  For me, garbage is my canvas and I can take that and make something beautiful and touch people.

One moment that truly touched me was when I was doing a show with my aunt.  She loves just giving things away, especially these envelopes she makes out of magazine and calendar pictures.  This woman walked by and my aunt step out and says “I made this for you”, holding her hand out with a beautiful brightly colored lily envelope and the woman just stares at her, shocked.  Since you all don’t know my aunt, she is a loud, vivacious person who love everything and everyone.  Her joy takes some people by surprise.  This woman finally gains the courage to reach her arm out and enter my aunt’s little bubble of joy.  She examines the envelope as my aunt explains to her what it is and how she made it.

Then the woman looks at her and says “Thank you so much, I just love flowers” so naturally, my aunt then gets this big smile on her face and turns around rummaging through piles and pulls out every single flower envelope packet and just hands them all to her, no charge.  She looks at my aunt almost in tears and just gives her a big hug.  She tells us that her birthday was just a few days ago and a lot of her friends have passed away (she was an older woman) and no one else really does anything for her anymore.  This, she said, made her birthday feel like something special.

Not only is garbage my canvas, but it is my moment, giving me a chance to see a peron’s joy and like I’ve said before in past blogs, seeing pure joy on someones face is the biggest reward I could ever get.