Everyone Counts

During the week I set a pretty strict bedtime of 11pm. This is extremely frustrating to Matt, who likes to spend some time “winding down” after work and doesn’t like being held to a strict schedule. So, what in the world could keep me awake on a Monday night until 4:30am when Matt was fast asleep?

HOPE, that’s what. And I’m not talking about the Hope that Obama served up during the 2008 election – I am talking about the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate.

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HOPE is an annual survey used to assess the number of individuals living in New York City’s public spaces. In a way, it is a census for folks who don’t have mailboxes or permanent addresses. It is accounting for the thousands of folks who sleep on the street each and every night in New York City.

Last night thousands of volunteers, including 20 Robin Hood Staff and 20 Robin Hood supporters, teamed up and set out to survey New York’s streets, subways and parks. Conducted by the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), HOPE is a point-in-time estimate of unsheltered individuals that helps the City evaluate its outreach programs and providers and measure its progress.

To increase public accountability and continually evaluate and improve the programming designed to help street homeless New Yorkers, DHS began surveying parts of the City in 2003, and has conducted the count citywide every year since 2005.

HOPE is an integral part of New York City’s approach to ending homelessness. The annual survey aims to achieve the following:

  • Provide a consistent year-to-year measure of the city’s programs to help those living on the streets move off the streets and into permanent housing.
  • Provide the city with a way to measure its outreach providers. In September 2007, New York City created Street to Home outreach services, which established a single accountable provider of services in each borough. HOPE highlights areas where outreach providers are successfully moving people off the streets, and where there is room for improvement.
  • Provide thousands of New Yorkers with an opportunity to help New York’s homeless residents, and contribute to New York City’s fight against homelessness.

Does walking around in the freezing cold on random NYC streets at 2am sound crazy? Trust me, it’s worth it! It’s an forgettable, eye-opening experience. Please read below to see just how moving this experience can be:

“A Recounting of the Street Count”
as told by a Robin Hood Staff Member

 As Team 21 was going around our counting route, we went into the 23rd street subway station (A/C line) and saw two people underneath a blanket on a few cardboard pieces in the area outside the turnstiles.  There were a few backpacks and scattered personal items, but it seemed at first like the two people were asleep.  Then one of our team members heard some Spanish and he used his skills to start a conversation.  At first hesitant, the man under the blanket started speaking English.  We learned that the couple had been together for a very long time and that the woman, Veronica, was pregnant.  After being told about the possibility of staying in a shelter last night, he was nervous that they would be separated.  We made some calls and figured out that they could and would be taken to a family shelter across town at 33rd and 1st at which they would stay together since they were a family and Veronica was expecting.  We called the van service and began waiting.

After hearing that we were 99% sure that they would stay together, the man asked about that 1% chance and began getting a little guarded.  His expression soured as we explained the possible consequences of being separated.  After talking about some of the benefits to staying in a shelter and reminding them of all the potential positive impacts, we gave them some private time to talk it over, and when we returned, he had started to pack up their things.  It was around this time that the woman started speaking to us as well, first joking to her partner in Spanish – luckily he explained the jokes to us – and then beginning to open up and speak English. While 2 team members went back above ground to wait for the van to come pick up this couple, another team member and myself sat down and talked with Veronica and her partner.  We showed them on a subway map where they would be going, and they showed up where they had been staying for the past week.  The man said that the subway was a far better option that sleeping by the River in East Harlem as they had been doing for some time.  The van arrived 20 minutes after we first called, and the driver confirmed that Veronica, her partner, and her baby to be would all be staying together and going to the family shelter.  We shook hands, hugged, wished them well, and kept on counting.

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My Post Wedding Mission

Nearly every bride agonizes over the same thing after her wedding… how can I figure out a way to wear this dress again?

Sentimental brides will preserve their dress in the hopes that a daughter will one day walk down the aisle in it.

Ambitious brides will alter the dress into a short version but let’s be honest, unless you had a really simple dress, that doesn’t really make the dress appropriate and the chances of you actually wearing it are still very low.

Creative brides might take the dress and turn it into something completely different: curtains, pillowcases, silk linings, etc. These brides are either very brave or don’t like their wedding dress as much as I do.

I decided that I would wear my dress while cleaning my house. Not only would I be happy to wear the dress again, but maybe it would make household chores more enjoyable! Sadly, my dress is currently living at my parents house so I haven’t been able to start this fun tradition.

But last night while watching the SAG awards, I came up with another idea – I should become an actress, get invited to a red carpet premiere and wear my dress. I think it would go over well. I might have to dye it, but that could be a fun adventure.

Red Carpet Ready?

I can almost see myself strutting down the red carpet in this dress, pausing to answer questions from the E! reporter and waving to my adoring fans.

Here are a few previously worn red carpet dressed that seem similar my wedding dress style.

Naya Rivera (2012 SAGs)

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Eva Longoria (2011 SAGs)
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Lea Michele (2011 SAGs)

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 Time to start auditioning!

Super Bowl Party for Two

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So the Super Bowl is next weekend. I am thrilled because my beloved Patriots are playing. However, everyone else in this stupid city seems to be rooting for the Giants. Going to a bar or restaurant to watch the game is totally out of the question for three reasons:

1. They are going to be WAY too crowded
2. If the Patriots lose I will have to deal with the obnoxious Giants fans pouring salt in my wounds
3. If the Patriots win I will probably be shot on the way home

So, I decided that we should host a Super Bowl party at our house. We have a pretty big tv and amazing new speakers that my parents go us for Christmas. And clearly, after last year’s event, we all know I would make an incredible spread that rivals anything a bar could product. the only problem is, we have a lot of friends who are Giants fans (I know… I can’t believe it either…). I decided that Iw ould be the bigger person and include them in our festivities – and I didn’t even make fun of the Giants too badly in my email invitation:

Matt and I are trying to get a sense if people would be interested in coming to our apartment for a super bowl party. Clearly, our home is a Patriots cheer zone; but I guess we would welcome Giants fans too. Just don’t wear a Manning shirt; he sucks.

Let us know if you already have plans, would prefer a bar, or are psyched about the idea of coming over, eating buffalo chicken dip and have a massive Tom Brady love fest. And you can guarantee that there will be a sweet “Focus on the Little Things” blog post about the party that you may be featured in (I know, it is every one’s dream to make the blog).

Will follow up with details if people want to do it. And we won’t be offended if you would rather watch it elsewhere, so just let us know!

GO PATS!

The Englehauers

Here is a sampling of the responses I got back:

1. i can only imagine how delicious all the treats would be at your apartment but unfortunately i am a die-hard giants fan
and since i love the two of you very much, i don’t want to end our friendship with me punching someone in the face. i think i have to decline

2. Thanks for the invite, but we’re going to a friend’s party, viewing site of the last dramatic victory by the glorious New York Giants over the insufferable, cheating Patriots.

3. I don’t think I would ever be allowed back into the my parent’s house if I went to a Patriots Super Bowl Party.

4a. The Pats are wicked terrible. Not sure I can step foot in an apt that supports a man that dances like this…real tough guy.

4b. He also is the spokesman for Stetson and Uggs. Go giants

Leave it to Giants fans to put their loyalty to a sub-par team over their friends. Serves me right for expecting a little decency from NY sports fans. So it looks like it will be just Matt and me at our house next Sunday, alone with a giant vat of buffalo chicken dip!

Keep it classy Pats fans.

**WARNING, this video contains vulgar language (that a Pat’s fan would never use)

Friday Afternoon Round Up

I have been reading a lot of other blogs lately to see how I can make improvement on my own blog. A lot of folks in the blogging universe have been writing about the Alt summit that was held in Salt Lake City, Utah last week.  After reviewing the list of folks invited to speak on the various panels, I have added a lot of new bloggers to my daily reading list – I am trying to see which ones will “stick” before adding them to official list of blogs I follow. And while I am a little insulted that I wasn’t invited to this incredible party/blog love fest, I have to admit, I have learned a great deal just from reading the recaps that some of the invitees have given. And boy, do I have a long way to go before I can become the next “Oh Happy Day” or “Making it Lovely“.

Many bloggers use Friday as a way to highlight some of their favorite links from the previous week. I like this idea and I am going to institute a weekly Friday Afternoon Round Up. Welcome to its first edition (yes, copies of this will be very valuable. If you want a signed version, just let me know). Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions or happy thoughts!

Thank you Snippet & Ink for this Where the WIld Things Are masterpiece. Stephen Colbert, I love you. Parts one and two.

This will make up for the fact that I was never a girl scout.

Best news story of the week (thanks Matt for sending me this!)

Wish I listened to my photographer and got a photobooth for our wedding. Don’t make the same mistake.

I miss my sister. And her adorable dog.

Last weekend I took on this craft project. Maybe this weekend I can make this?

Will you come to my “cocktails and crafts party” ? Here’s some inspiration.

I bought this for a friend. I might need to get myself one too.

Where it all started.

HAPPY WEEKEND!

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Hood

At Robin Hood, you never really know who is going to show up at our offices (since I started the following folks have walked through the doors at the hood: Christy Turlington, Admiral Mullen, the Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all his secret service offices, Mayor Bloomberg and countless billionaire hedge fund managers), how much money we will bring in during one day (in 2011, we raised over 160 million dollars, which is over 400,000 dollars each day), or what artist has signed on to perform a concert to benefit Robin Hood (just last year we had Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas and Sting – just to name a few!) But those are the big things, and this blog is about the little things.

Well yesterday there were a couple little things to celebrate.

I received an email mid-morning letting me know that I had a delivery upstairs. I wasn’t expecting anything and my mom had just sent some cookies, so I couldn’t imagine what it could be. Well, needless to say I was SUPER excited to open the packaging to reveal this:

"The Organizing Issue"

I spent the rest of the morning looking at all of the wonderful organization solutions that Martha and her team came up with for all the various areas of your home. I LOVE having a friend “on the inside.”

Then, as the afternoon “slump” set in, we received a floor wide email alerting us of delicious baked goods someone brought in from Chelsea Market. Instantly, a herd of people (including myself) ran over to the designated table. We sampled brownies, rugelach, and sugar cookies. YUMMY. After devouring nearly every treat, we decided to use our creative artistic abilities to capture this afternoon fun. You’re welcome for that.

Clearly it was a slow day in the hood. But sometimes, that is just what you need.

Love, Dad

My sister and I often share funny emails, notes and/or voicemails from my father with each other. I can’t really explain what it is about his messages, but they always bring a smile to our faces. I think it is his witty sense of humor that isn’t over done (which clearly, I didn’t inherit). Or maybe it is the formality of his electronic communication, something he hasn’t fully embraced – you will never see him “lol-ing” or using any sort of emoticon. Sometimes, he gets caught up in work and doesn’t have a lot of time to wonder the aisles of a hallmark looking for the perfect birthday card. I think my sister I have each received at least a few birthday cards that he picked up from the hospital gift shop, wishing us a speedy recovery or sympathizing with us over our loss of a loved one.

Good old Dad.

So, I just had to share with you all the most recent communication I received from him. I missed his call over the weekend and thankfully he decided to leave a voicemail. I’ve transcribed his message below:

“Molly. It’s your father. I am watching the Crossfit Games on ESPN2. I don’t want you doing this anymore. You end up looking like a really scary cyborg. I don’t know if you are checking this out, but, um, think about what you are doing?”

Click.

Ahh, another priceless piece of advice from my dad. But to be honest, I don’t know what he is talking about. Muscles are beautiful, right?

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Look out ladies, as soon as I learn how to do 1 pull up, you are all in trouble.

My Thoughts on The State of the Union

I really wanted to write a blog today recapping my thoughts on the State of the Union address last night. Sadly I got caught up in work today and seem to find myself unable to commit the solid amount of time that a post like this requires. Thankfully, a fellow blogger over at pink brief case wrote one that is right up my alley!

Click to read her State of the Union Recap

You are seriously funny. Let’s be friends?

I was able to get a few of my own thoughts down that weren’t addressed in her post:

1. Really Hillary, you think it is appropriate for a woman of your age (and not to mention stature) to wear a headband? Hopefully you aren’t accessorizing like that when you go and meet with President’s of foreign countries. I can’t see Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking you too seriously wearing a blinged out head-piece – unless it was a tiara. And let’s be serious Hill, you know I love you, but you are no Kate Middleton.

2. Michelle –  you look awesome (as per usual)! I don’t care what type of job your husband is doing, you are transforming fashion in the white house and I support it. Rock on.


3. Debbie Bosanek, (AKA Warren Buffet’s secretary) I am so sorry that your boss continues to make an example out of you. Not only does he and others continue to call you a secretary (I am sure you official title is something much more dignified like “executive assistant”) but has he even asked you if you are comfortable being forced into the lime light as a tax victim? And who knows, maybe you are an investing genius and you are actually making more than old Mr. Buffet and that is why you pay more in taxes. Geez, give this poor woman a break already! At least they seated her next to Laurene Powell Jobs, that’s pretty baller.

4. Vice President Biden, are you checking you text messages? I know you are number two in line, but number one is talking. Show some respect.

Finally, on a related but different note, how much does Mitt Romney look like Guy Smiley from Sesame Street? I can’t decide if that makes me like Mitt more or less…