Monthly Archives: August 2010

Renting in Neverland

“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!”

I moved to Orlando full-time in December of 1996. I rented a small 1 bedroom apartment for about $500 a month, which was good, because I was only making $6.10 an hour.

This was the first apartment I rented in Neverland.

“There is a saying in the Neverland that, every time you breathe, a grown-up dies.”

I moved to Florida after college, not knowing what I was going to do with my life, stuck between childhood and adulthood, surrounded by pirates and mermaids. I rented apartment after apartment, looking for good deals in convenient places.

Orlando is a neverland, as I’m sure many other places in the world are. People are constantly going, moving, flying, never settling, never landing.

I stumbled into a career – one could question how grown up of a career it is.

“I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.”

Eventually, I began to grow up, little by little, breaking out of the egg, and not stopping there. I got married. I had my own child. I got divorced.

But I continued renting in Neverland. My roots remained shallow. The cost of renting went up. The last apartment was a two bedroom for $912. And that was a good deal.

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if only you will sacrifice everything else for it.”

And now, feeling very grown-up, I am looking at houses. And like the house built for Wendy, they are houses made of roots. Family is here. Career is here. Friends are here.

It’s a crazy process. I still feel very much the child, though, grown up at the same time. Hopefully, I won’t have to sacrifice everything for this.

But it feels good to be buying in Neverland, and growing roots in Neverland.

I still will never grow up. Not me!

All quotes by JM Barrie (Peter Pan)

Meet Pencil Boy

Meet Pencil Boy.

He wants to teach you about pencils.

[pen-suhl] noun, verb, -ciled, -cil·ingor ( especially British  -cilled, -cil·ling.
1. a slender tube of wood, metal, plastic, etc., containing
a core or strip of graphite, a solid coloring material,or
the like, used for writing or drawing.

  • Did you know that even though the center of the pencil is called lead, pencils have never contained the element lead?
  • The graphite core of pencils is not poisonous, and is harmless if swallowed.
  • The first American wood pencils were made in 1812, but erasers weren’t attached until 1858. I guess we didn’t make as many mistakes back then.
  • The metal band that holds the eraser on is called a ferrule.

Famous Pencil Pushers

From Reader’s Digest:

  • Henry David Thoreau was the son of a pencil maker.
  • Thomas Edison The inventor had his pencils specially made by Eagle Pencil to be three inches long (6.6 centimetres), fatter than ordinary pencils and filled with very soft lead.
  • Vladimir Nabokov The Russian writer famously stated: “I have rewritten – often several times – every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasures.”
  • John Steinbeck The author wrote obsessively in pencil, sometimes going through 60 in one day. It is said that he used 300 pencils to complete his novel, East of Eden.
  • Vincent van Gogh The Dutch artist is reported to have preferred a Faber-Castell pencil for his large studies. He claimed, “they are of ideal thickness; very soft and in quality superior to carpenter’s pencils, a capital black and most agreeable …”

Herman Miller suggests the best pencils to use, including some that smell like root beer and watermelon: recognizes the pencil as number 4 in their list of most important tools.

More than 2 1/2 billion pencils are sold each year in the United States alone—about 11 pencils for each person in the country!

For a tool that has been so important to so many people for so many years, can you believe that not everyone has access to pencils?

In Florida, about 50% of kids qualify for the Free or Reduced School Lunch Program. You can look at statistics here:

In Orange County for the 2008-2009 school year, the percentage was 48.55%. In Osceola County, it was 65.11%!!

If these kids can’t afford lunch, how will they afford pencils and other school supplies?!

That’s where Pencil Boy comes in!

Pencil Boy is the mascot for A Gift For Teaching, an organization that distributes school supplies, including pencils, to teachers and students in need! They operate a Free Store for Teachers where the teachers can come in and shop without spending any money and get supplies for their students and classrooms. Through their excellent staff and kind donations and volunteers, they are able to take a $10 donation and stretch it into $100 worth of school supplies. That’s a LOT of pencils!

Please visit their website and find out more about them!

We’ve learned a lot about pencils today! But now I have some homework for you!

Please visit my fundraising site and consider donating even a small amount to A Gift for Teaching. Every little bit counts! Skip today’s Starbucks run, and give that $5 to them so kids can have pencils and erasers, glue, paper, scissors, etc.

It only takes about $7 to fill a backpack with supplies for kids. Could you give $7 to fill a backpack?

Thank you so much for donating! Pencil Boy thanks you, too!