April 26, 2009

Walking the Streets in Arizona, but it's not what you might think!

It's true I've been walking the streets in the town where I live in Arizona and as a result it's been a while since I've posted to my blog or even read another. It was for a good cause. I've been a US Census enumerator.

In the year 2000 I worked for the 2000 Census in Northern Colorado. It was fun because it was a followup for all the folks who didn't mail in their form for one reason or another. My husband and I had some fun trips as we drove up into the isolated areas where houses were in obscure places in the hills and valleys of vast ranch lands.

This time, though, I used a hand held computer to map each and every home in my assignment areas. I really understood why people were leary when they saw me approach their door. Was I a religious fanatic, or the government wanting to get information so more money could be taken from them, or even worse was I looking for illegal immigrants? If given the chance I quickly tried to set their minds at ease. "Not to worry! We were just gathering a GPS spot to make the maps for the 2010 Census that would be conducted next year." That information often brought an immediate facial change of relief and often a hint of a smile. Only once was a dog let loose to chase me away!

The experience, first of all was supposed to bring in the income we needed. The $15 hourly salary + mileage offered great promise. The job was supposed to be 10-12 weeks, but... we were too quick, completing it in 4. We're sure the addition of the hand held computers was the key, but they tell us that the hiring pool was immense so they could be more selective this time.

I felt blessed to get the job for the income and the exercise until I experienced my first week of severe foot pain with new blisters every time I switched to a different pair of shoes or insoles. I thought walking 8-10 miles a day would yield a significant weight loss. It didn't!

Otherwise, I have to admit the typical, beautiful March/April days here with the citrus fragrance on every breeze made it an enjoyable daily walk.

In April of 2010 the Census questionnaires will be mailed to every home in America. So, to avoid those scary Census enumerators coming to your door, just fill out completely and return them. I'm going to send mine in and opt for an office job!

The Noticer by Andy Andrews—A Book Review

It must be true. I wanted this story to be true. Aren’t all allegories based on truth?! Yes, it is actually based on the remarkable true story of the author, Andy Andrews. The Noticer is one of those books you would like to give all your friends and those who aren’t because it gives hope. The hope that you can change things in your life now, today, given a new perspective and the immediate motivation to begin your life over!

I could not put this book down. It’s a good thing it is only 167 pages because I was driven to finish it in one sitting; to see the next bit of wisdom Jones had to share. Jones, not Mr. Jones, just Jones was a mysterious old man who always appeared at just the right moment to offer wisdom to folks who were on the edge of making bad decisions. Each character was someone we all know facing a challenge we all either need help with to help ourselves or someone else.

This thought provoking story is set in Orange Beach, Alabama, a town filled with people who have marriages on the brink of divorce, homelessness, bankruptcy, and many of the other challenges that we struggle with everyday.

Jones always seems to show up to give folks “a little perspective” that he gets from his gift of noticing things that others miss. The wisdom he shares is profound, but so simple that I wondered why I hadn’t thought about it that way or why I hadn’t been a “noticer” of that perspecitive.

After you read this story you will be compelled to share it, as well, to give hope to someone else.