The Good Thing Harvey Washed Away

My Best Laid Plans

There’s not much in the world I can truly say I hate. But I hate Harvey.

We have been sitting here for more hours than I can begin to count being brutally lashed by his seemingly never ending fury. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t scary…terrifying…at times, but we are among the lucky ones. We are safe and dry.


Harvey has taken so much from so many. Homes, lives, hopes, jobs–all washed into the Gulf of Mexico by his relentless anger. As the horrifying images and desperate needs flash across my screen in endless and quick succession, I sit here with tears in my eyes. Where do you begin? I have never felt so helpless. My neighbors are in dire straits and I can’t do anything but pray. It’s a terrible feeling.


Pregnant women and their toddlers stuck on roofs waiting hours upon hours for…

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San Bernardino Gives -or- Here Comes Santa Claus… Incorporated!

 

What does a community do after it has been quite literally and most painfully duped by evil in their midst? They hold the massive, charitable event, as they have for more than 60 years, and see that children and entire families are cared for at Christmas time and throughout the entire year. Here comes Santa ClausIncorporated.  San Bernardino will continue to give because that is what this community does- it cares.

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And we started with PRAYER

A whole lotta people showed up for not just a fundraising luncheon (delicious salad, stuffed chicken, vegetables, and dessert, by the way).

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some of the talented dancers

We were there to bid on a silent auction, a live auction, watch a dance/fashion show featuring styles from Macy’s collections and some very talented dancers… and the most fun event of the day… see who wins the Christmas Trees Raffles- who will win not only the trees, but all the decorations and gifts on and underneath these professionally decorated beauties!

Oh no! What does Santa Claus Inc. do when some of their usual volunteers cannot show up (law enforcement in the area was extra busy this week)? The Veterans of Foreign Wars Motorcycle Club stepped in to offer their help.

I learned a few new things about this gigantic event- not only are children and their families matched with gifts and warm clothing from Santa Claus Inc., but these kids are often helped out with needs that come up throughout the year. They are not forgotten. The care and giving is year-round.

Look them up- if you are interested in donating to an organization with an army of volunteers who help clothe and bring joy to thousands (as in, over 750,000 people over the decades- that’s almost a million!), Santa Claus Inc. may be a great fit for your generosity.

And please remember: like most charities, Santa Claus Inc. does not ask whether a child or their family is Christian, agnostic, Jewish, atheist, a non-believer, or Muslim. This is a group that cares about the well-being of a child. That is all.

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Many other gifts are available for purchase- designer purses, gourmet baked goods, jewelry, photography services… all giving a portion of the profits to Santa Claus Incorporated.

IMG_9468AND WILL YOU LOOK AT THIS: what happens at our table? A friend of the family wins this beautiful tree! Congratulations, Tanya!

IMG_9452Those of us that didn’t win were able to partake of the adult beverages… I can personally vouch for the Bloody Marys.

I have tried very hard to be accurate about the details surrounding this wonderful event- any mistakes are mine alone, and I will get them corrected as soon as they are pointed out to me. I can attest to these facts- I didn’t win a tree again this year, boo! They make a mean Bloody Mary at the Santa Claus Inc. bar. We admit that once again,  we did take the leftover half of our table’s coffee cake home to my mom like we have for several years in a row (no sense in wasting good sweets!). Biker dudes and women are cool, and San Bernardino is beautiful.

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Sea Glass… The Bad Kind -or- You’re Welcome, Barefoot Runners and Surfers

We’ve made it through Black Friday (don’t know about you, but I didn’t leave the house), Cyber Monday yesterday (did I even go online? I don’t remember), and now today has the honor of being named “Giving Tuesday.” Okie-dokie, fine by me. The Intertubes are full of clever stories of people sharing ways they have given back to the world at large. I like doing nice things, too, so I’m in. Maybe… a trash hunt on one of my favorite beaches for running- La Jolla Shores.

 

No glass on the beach, please!

 

The beaches have seen some higher than usual tides lately, and along with the seaweed, a lot of junk washed up with the waves. Junk including freshly broken glass- ouch! And there were at least fifty barefoot surfers out enjoying the spectacular weather today… I don’t want to think of the potential harm that one big piece pictured above could inflict. Again, ouch!

I had a short run of only couple of miles this morning, but still wound up with a fistful of glass to pitch into the trash. I’ve always told my kids to pick up trash on our walks and hikes, and it felt good to help take care of one of my favorite places to run and play.

Photo Bombing… Yarn Bombing… Now Here’s COUPON BOMBING

Yarn Bombing in Boston (photo credit... me! Ha!)
Yarn Bombing in Boston (photo credit… me! Ha!)
The Very Viral Photo Bombing Squirrel
Remember him? The photo bombing Squirrel- AKA the Crasher Squirrel

A grocery chain in our area has been bought out by and replaced with another, and the prices have definitely increased. I asked the manager of one store if there was any reason why, and all he could figure was the lack of a direct supplier like the other chain used to have. There’s the economics lesson today: insert middleman, increase prices.

I rarely use coupons lately, but instead of relegating this week’s stack straight to my recycle bin… why don’t I just sneak on over to the pricy new store with a roll of tape and see what kind of mischief I can make?

COUPON BOMBING!

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Holy cow, have you seen the prices on formula and razors lately?!?

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I matched up the coupons from the newspaper’s Sunday ads and taped them to the products. In all, I taped about $13 in coupons on about eight or so products. I sure hope someone who was coming along to buy one of these products got a laugh along with their savings.

No one who worked there seemed to notice… maybe the people watching on the security cameras got a chuckle out of seeing some crackpot lady walking around with a tape dispenser and pile of coupons in her shopping cart stealthily trying to stick coupons around the store… ha.

Clip a few coupons and scatter the savings. It makes for quite an enjoyable afternoon.

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Here’s to sharing the savings with total strangers!

Paying Forward- Sharing Guitars and the Love of Music

ellie guitar (1)My brother once gave The Girl a guitar for Christmas. He told me that it was a beginner’s model, and that if she really like playing, that she could have one of his nicer ones. With her busy schedule, we never managed to fit in formal lessons. She used You Tube tutorials to begin, and had at least half a dozen friends giving her tips a-plenty.

Capos, tuners, more picks were all requested, but she never asked for the lessons. I’m pretty sure that she understood the impossibility of cramming in one more thing during her waking hours. In two years, I am amazed by what she can do, and she has inspired me to try to learn how to play our piano that sits lonely in our front room.

My brother held true to his promise, but took a slightly different route. It turns out that my kids have another guitar-playing uncle, The Brother-In-Law, and he brought a steel-stringed acoustic Fender for The Girl as a parting gift before she leaves for college this fall! And as for my brother? Last year, he gifted The Boy his own beginner’s guitar for Christmas, too. We managed to cram in lessons for him, and soon The Girl insisted that he needed a better guitar. The Boy received my brother’s latest gift- a lovely, Spanish, steel stringed acoustic guitar.

So what do we do with two beginner model, classical guitars? We do my brother the honor of sharing them with kids at the music store who would appreciate them! That’s what we did. We are grateful for our generous uncles… it was time to share with others.

IMG_7724Meet three-year-old Louis, and his big sister Lilian. He marched into the music shop a couple of weeks ago with his mom in tow. Upon seeing the ukuleles, he exclaimed, “Look, mommy! Little guitars!” He then picked up one, held it properly, and looked like he owned the instrument. After I asked, mom Jessie said that he would be delighted to take my son’s 3/4 sized newbie guitar. One down.

IMG_7723We also met Aaron, a student at our local high school. Although he already had an electric model, Aaron was nearby while I asked my son’s teacher if he knew who might be able to use our 7/8th sized nylon stringed classical guitar. I just asked him outright if he would like it. Aaron is not a 7/8ths sized guy, but, I’m sure he will make do (the guitar is bigger than it looks in this pic). He promised to share the guitar with his school’s music department when he is ready to move on to a different guitar. Two for two!

If I decided to learn to play, I will have to fight with The Husband for playing time on the Epiphone he won at Vidcon this summer… I’m up for that!