When They are So Exited to Receive Volunteer Requests…

…that their reply comes back in all caps:

“YES YES YES, WE NEED HELP!!!
LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU WOULD LIKE TO COME TO THE NEW BOXING GYM AND I WILL GIVE YOU A 15 MINUTE TALK ABOUT WHT YOU WOULD BE DOING.
AWESOME!!!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR EMAIL!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!”

My first thought is to reply and let the boxing coach know that I will wait until between the Christmas and New Year’s holiday’s have passed, but honestly? I think I might try to get over tho the Rock Steady Boxing classes right smack in the middle of all this hubbub.

I have a feeling that finding ways to help out somewhere is a lot more interesting than standing in line at the mall.

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”
Audrey Hepburn

 

On Jealousy, Campus Exploration, and Good Entertainment

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…
Shakespeare, As You Like It

I’m pretty jealous of my friend. Her daughters attend the relatively local and highly desirable San Diego State University. They have joined a performance club that meets once a week, and tonight we were treated to their Showtunes Showcase. From torch songs to comedy, these fabulously talented students dished out some great entertainment.

The Husband and I ditched the two high school boys and went off looking for the Experimental Theater on campus… getting lost… twice. We’ve never visited anywhere on the campus except the basketball stadium (Go Aztecs!). When we finally arrived at the right building we had missed the first of a dozen songs, but immensely enjoyed about a dozen more show tunes. Wow! What an amazing group of students! Seriously, if you have a university or community theater near you, get out and get viewing! I can’t believe we haven’t done something like this sooner.

Seeing these girls, friends of my girl, reminded me how close she came to attending SDSU and it makes me sad… I miss The Girl. But, as The Husband reminded me, I’ll probably be sick of her malarkey after only three days this Christmas break.

I’m looking forward to her malarkey.

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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The Inland Empire-Shaken, not Scared

As a graduate of Redlands High School in Redlands, California and as a graduate of the California State University of San Bernardino, let’s just say that I know these people, the inhabitants of this region. Many may be shaken, but they are not afraid. Give them a few moments to gather their thoughts, and they will move on to hold their heads high and proud. The overwhelming majority of the population are hard working, generous, open minded people who want to see folks from all walks of life succeed.

We will not be intimidated.

Please refer to this CNN article where a cousin of my husband, a schoolmate of mine, is interviewed. She will continue to see the good in her community, as well as be as kind and generous as she always has been.

My blog this year is a focus on doing something new every day, and I have darn near done that, each and every day in 2015. Though this event hit close to home, quite literally, there is nothing new to speak of- cowards have always existed in human society.

Inland Empire, be a united people and raise your head proudly despite this horrible affront to your community. And know that even though your former residents may have moved away, near and far, we are all praying for you to not only heal, but to thrive, like the free people that we are.

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(image swiped from orangehillrealty.com)

Favorite WordPress Blogs

 

I found a blogger who is new to me, but has been around here on WordPress for a while- Brad Young Art…A few of his posts that I liked in particular: 8/23/15 Space Needle, 7/26/15 Blondes and Tennessee, 4/19/15 Chicago Skyline, and 4/5/15 I Thirst.

I particularly enjoyed the different cities featured in his designs- many are only blocks from where I lived (our apartment up the street from Seattle’s Space Needle), or at least the same general yet beloved area (the Midwest rocked my world). Go check out his great art and sweet commentary!

It’s worth mentioning that the only way I came across Brad Young Art (and many other great blogs) is because he simply clicked that “LIKE” button on one of my posts, so I went and looked at his work… go discover some new blogs and encourage the love of great subjects today, everyone. And don’t forget to give that positive feedback.

While I’m at it- I’d really like to give a shout out to a few other fabulous writers I have come across over the course of this year while playing around on WordPress:

Cool San Diego Sights!– great pics and fun insights into what’s happening in the San Diego area

Cycling in the South Bay– about as introspective and funny as a cyclist can get, with life choices, hobbies, and family offered up on the Altar of the Blogosphere

Story Shucker– short, well crafted stories from a talented writer. I’m always looking for his works to show up in my favorites feed.

Finding Jeffrey– a family friend who can produce more thoughtful and humorous writings in two minutes with only an elbow on the space bar than an infinite number of me on an infinite number of keyboards could ever hope to pound out. Get cranking on that book, Jeff, we’re waiting.

Cooking with a Wallflower– I had to narrow down from a couple dozen food bloggers I’m following on WordPress, and Andrea’s blog has a fabulous compilation of really good recipes, wonderful photography, and culinary world finds that she came across on the Big Ol’ Web.