Thursday, March 31, 2016

suggested subjects

Equality and fairness are spoken of here often along with a number of charities and several people who happen to be heroes of mine. I've also written a lot about community activism, animal cruelty, hate crimes, donations and volunteerism, and all kinds of ways to make a difference in this world. Are there subjects I am missing? Can you think of some areas I should say more about?  I KNOW everything hasn't been covered.

I love to tell the story of those wonderful people who inspire me. Hopefully they inspire you as well. Some of these folks I have written about a number of times (and will likely write about them again). Since this blog is NOT about me, it really shouldn't be just my subject picks either. That's where you can really help out.

Do you know some superstars that I should bring to everyone's attention? Are there some charities or causes that really need to be talked about? Making this world a better place is a pretty big subject, but perhaps you can all help me break it down a bit more. Live some comments below, and we can head in a number of different directions. I'd love to see suggested subjects from many of you!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Using the restroom in peace

Usually in the space I try to write positive things about how we can all work together and make this a better world, and today, there will certainly be an element of that here, but I'm going to begin with a rant, because quite frankly, I am angry. Every human being should be able to use the restroom in peace, but our transgender sisters and brothers are being told they can't use the restrooms at all!

This is not something new. Some people have had a problem with the gender identity of others for a long time. Even in progressive cities like San Francisco, I have heard transwomen mention the difficulty they have when they are out and about, and suddenly nature calls. If you have never witnessed this for yourself, or if you are one of the ones trying to force discrimination, picture for a moment being on a public street. You just came from a coffee shop where you drank way too much coffee. The walk back to your workplace is rather long, and you want to take a brief detour to a public lavatory. WAIT! Some folks think you look to "manly" to use the ladies room, so that's out, and because you are wearing a dress, you need to cross the men's room off as well. What do you do? Let me just say that nobody should ever have this difficulty! Nobody!

Many restrooms are designed for single-occupancy with locking doors, so why should anyone be concerned about who is going inside? Larger restrooms almost always have stalls which afford a large amount of privacy, so again what difference does it make who is using them? There are some folks arguing that they don't want to allow grown men into women’s restrooms. I have no problem with that. Here's the thing that some keep missing though: transwomen are NOT men, they are women. Transmen are men. That should be obvious, but apparently that isn't the case.

Now this new law in North Carolina, does more than just restrict the use of public restroom by the transgender community, but I will limit myself to ranting about just one thing here. Yes, I am opposed to sexual misconduct and yes I don't want someone touching me or doing anything inappropriate to me in a public restroom, but that is a separate issue folks. The average person does not go into a public facility to be a pervert. They go to pee. Everyone should have the same opportunity to do so.

I have always opposed any discrimination based on gender identity and I find this latest law to be outrageous. I urge everyone to speak up and tell North Carolina to put an end to hate.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

relaxing the line

What can you do to brighten someone's day? How can you reduce the tension in your life and the lives of others? How about those long lines at the theatre or in the supermarket - is there a secret to relaxing the line? I have a few thoughts on this, but I want to share the thoughts of Father Paul Allick, the rector of Advent of Christ the King, an Episcopal Church in San Francisco. I was there on Easter Day and heard him preach. His marvelous sermon touched on several things, but because of what we write here in this blog, I took particular notice of one thing.

Shopping in large supermarkets can be a huge chore for many of us, because it seems that whenever we choose to go, everyone else is there at the same time. Who really enjoys lines? Come on, tell the truth. Father Paul had something to say about this though. When he is shopping, he said he can feel the tension. He told the congregation his response: "People are getting impatient. The clerk is feeling rushed. In the line I greet people; I make little jokes. I smile. I let people with less stuff than me go ahead in line. When I get to the clerk I greet them and say something nice. When they apologize for the wait I tell them that I am not in a hurry. The line relaxes. The clerk smiles and giggles. My hope, my mission is that everyone there has experienced a sense of reconciliation: a sense that it isn’t that bad and that today is going to be a good one."

What a wonderful way to go about life! WE can take control. WE can decide whether or not to be stressed. Slow down. Take a deep breath, and smile. Don't let the long line get to you. You can actually lighten the load for the clerk and for many in line. Yes, there will still be some filled with tension, but don't let that stop you from trying!

My sincere thanks to Father Paul for giving us yet another way to make a difference in this world. By the way, his entire sermon is worth exploring, so just click HERE to read the whole thing.  As for me, I've been away from home, so I'm going out for some groceries.  I wonder if there'll be a line. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Joy

These beautiful flowers, are in a church garden where I have spent a lot of time this past week. My personal tradition is to observe Holy Week (this past week, leading up to Saturday) and Easter, by participating in various observances at my church. Yesterday was a very busy day for me, as the past several days have been, but it was also a day of joy.

I'm not sure if you have noticed, but more and more people are celebrating Easter in some way of other. Yesterday was probably one of the biggest brunch days of the year. Families got together to do things. Oh yes, and there is all that candy! Is there an increase in church attendance? Actually, yes. It's traditionally this largest church attendance day of the year. Whether or not you are a Christian though, and whether or not you go to church, yesterday might have been a joyful day for you. As I have said many times, it really is up to you. Smile. Smell the flowers. Do something special for yourself, and for others. Let the joy be there for you all week long!

Do you have any unusual Easter observances? How about some special ways of spreading joy? Use the comments section below to share some ideas with us. Have a joyful week!

Friday, March 25, 2016

abundance

I was going to write about abundance today, but I'm not sure how many people really grab the concept. Think of a lot, or oodles, or a barrel, or maybe a basketful (especially if that basket is a cornucopia), or maybe a boatload, or a bucket. Get the picture? An abundance is a bunch, scads, a bundle, a carload, a whole mess, gobs, heaps, loads, a slew, or maybe even a truckload.

So many ways of saying it! Abundance comes in many forms. We all have an abundance of good in our lives, regardless of what we call it. Be ‪grateful‬ for all the fruits of your life, by whatever name you refer to them!  With spring in the air and Easter celebrations this weekend, I'm sure there are oodles of ways to spell out abundance.
 
(Can you think of more ways of saying abundance?  I'd love to hear some of the ones I left out.  Do add to our live down in the comments section below).

Thursday, March 24, 2016

So you want to change the world, huh?

A long time ago I said that I wanted to change the world for the better. Some of my friends thought I was crazy. A few seemed supportive, but really questioned what one person could do.  I did little things like volunteering or donating money or writing letters, but a little over six years ago I decided I needed some help in the effort and I began writing this blog.
 
There is a counter on this that tells me how many people visited the page.  It even tells if they typed in the URL or if they were referred here from another site, like a search engine.  There is no way of course to know how many actually read what is here once they arrive and no way either to know if these words ever motivate anyone to become more involved.  I can always hope of course! 

Right now I am on a brief visit to San Francisco, the city where I lived most of my life and where I was living when I began blogging.  I met so many folks here over the years who indeed are changing the world.  Perhaps it's because this is a big city and so actions are more visible, but I really think that people can do great things and make a difference, wherever they live.  Some of my ideas are certainly related to any town.
 
My ideas are not the only ones and I am always happy to write about folks how are already stepping up and doing wonderful things for others.  Please let me know about any hometown heroes that you know of, so that we can tell others.  Give us your suggestions on how to change the world too.  We're not looking for a list of things that are bad and why our community or our country or the whole world is falling apart.  Tell us instead how you think things can be better.  What do you think would make this a better world?  Do feel free to write in the comments section below and together perhaps we really will change the world!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

flying in to SFO

I am at San Francisco International Airport and heading into the BART station to make my way into town, and it being a bit late, I won't write much today, but never fear - there will still be posts during my short trip! (Of course this blog is NOT about me, so don't be looking for details of my San Francisco visit).

How many fun things can you do today? I'm sure I will be doing a lot, and certainly in the days ahead! Being at the airport reminds me of how much I used to enjoy watching planes land and take off. What kinds of things do you enjoy? How about making other people happy? Does that bring you joy?

Eating good food is always at the top of my list, and I have already decided on a lunch spot that, because I no longer live here, I am seldom able to enjoy. This is going to be a great day! Make it a good one for everybody you come in contact with!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

defeating evil

By now most of you have heard the sad news of another terrorist attack early this morning in Belgium. I have spent the last few hours reflecting on this latest senseless act of evil, and at first I had a sort of helplessness. With so much violence and hate in the world, sometimes it feels hopeless, like evil will always prevail. Yesterday I wrote about in in the movies we watch, and today here it is in real life once again.

Sitting here at my desk, a lot have been running through my mind already today.  (I think I'm on my fourth cup of coffee)!  I'm thinking of the attacks this morning, but also the numerous instances of violence we see each day.  Why is there so much evil? Will the bad guys win? No! In my heart I know that the answer is certainly no. It may seem hopeless at times, but I believe that every single one of us is capable of incredible goodness, even those folks who do bad. It's a choice we make. We decide how our world will be and we decide if there is going to be evil or not.

It may seem simple, but all of us have to stand up and choose love everyday. We can't say good is sometimes the way to go. We must choice the side of good ALWAYS. We must always walk the path of loving ourselves and others and only then can we defeat evil.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring has sprung

For folks in the Northern Hemisphere, yesterday was the first day of spring. I remember as a kid growing up in Cooperstown, New York when the crocuses would be pushing through the snow, you could tell that spring was here. (I actually like the hyacinths even better, which is appropriate since they are so often associated with spring and rebirth). If you are not a fan of snow and cold, this day usually signals that the weather is improving and things will be nicer.

My mom used to say "Spring is sprung, The grass is riz, I wonder where the flowers is. The boid is on the wing - Absoid! Of course the wing is on the boid.” Oh and I have no idea who wrote that, and yes there are various versions of it floating around, but as spring begins, I always think of Mom and those silly words.

Yesterday also happened to be the day that Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, and it was on Palm Sunday four years ago that my favorite aunt died. The following year her sister, my mom, lay in a hospital near death on Palm Sunday. I remember the priest bringing by a palm and my sister and I putting it on the wall over Mom's bed. She held on through the night, but died the next day. Some of my memories at this time of year are not happy ones. I know that his blog isn't about me, but I fear that all of us have times when there are sad memories. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be happy.

If you celebrate Easter, that's just a week away. How can anyone not be happy with the joy that Easter represents? I said that hyacinths represent rebirth, and that certainly is good too. No matter how bad something is or how sad a moment we experience, there is always reason to go forward and see all the good that is springing to life around us. We can make goodness shine by our words and our actions. We can propel the rebirth of our joys into our futures. Let's make it so!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

What the world needs now

Too many bad things in the news lately. There is way to much finger pointing too, and too much arguing. Now I won't pretend to have all of the answers, but sometimes it seems like nobody is working on any of the problems. It may seem all to simple, be the words to Hal David's popular song really deserve another look. He said, What the world needs now is love.

Of course there are some who want to put rules down for love. Don't love anyone of a different race, some seem to be saying. Oh and love of same sex is also forbidden by some, despite what the US Supreme Court said last summer. I say love everyone!

When can love ever be a bad thing? When we drive away all the hate that seems to be growing in just about every dark little corner, there is so much more room for the good stuff - the love. Now I'm not saying we should all let everyone walk all over us. Nope. Stand up. Be of good courage. Hold on to the good in the world though and let the love shine.

I said I don't have all of the answers, and that's true, but I am certain that there just isn't enough love in our live - in the world. Let your love grow!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Missing a piece of the puzzle

Somehow I never really got into the jigsaw puzzle thing. Mom loved them and I remember her having them laid out on a card table when I was little. It might take her a while because she stopped to do other things, but when she found those last pieces, it was an accomplishment - especially that last missing piece of the puzzle.
 
Sometimes our lives are like that. It doesn't mean we are unhappy necessarily, but we are looking for something that just is not there. When it comes: WOW! It seems somewhat like finding those missing puzzle pieces. (Now of course if you are putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you actually look for those pieces. In life we might not even realize that something is even missing).
 
So what do we do? Well, keeping our minds and our hearts open to new possibilities is always a good thing. Listening to others and realizing that "our" way might not be the "only" way is a start in the right direction. If we think there is a missing piece that we'd like to find, there is nothing wrong with asking for help too. Perhaps our puzzle pieces are a bit more fluid than those of the jigsaw puzzle. Perhaps in some cases, there is nothing really missing at all.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pot of Gold

Have you been going through life looking for your pot of gold? Are you disappointed that huge riches have not come your way, or have you become quite happy with another kind of wealth? It may seem odd, but I never really cared about having a lot of money or fancy material things. Yes, I know this is supposed to be NOT about me, and no, I'm not about to tell you a story of growing up middle class where we just barely made ends meet. There are plenty of other folks with similar stories. Mine is really not unique.

One cool thing I have always liked about Saint Patrick's Day, is on this one day of the year, we are all Irish. Of course we aren't really, but we all celebrate in a positive manner. Let's all wear green and let's all think about luck. Let's all embrace each other whether rich or poor. Wouldn't it be nice if we could do that every day of the year?

Actually we can all be one. We also can all experience our own pot of gold. Perhaps not gold coins are in our future, but happiness comes in many forms. Making people smile - that is gold right there! Do something nice for someone else, and you will feel like the richest person on earth. Don't go looking for a pot of gold because you already have it inside you. The key is to enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Let's Make A Difference

It's time to play everyone's favorite game (which can easily become everyone's favorite way of life) .   .   . Let's Make A Difference!
 
So do we choose what is behind door number one?  Perhaps we would rather go to door number two?  What do you think?  Is number three the best choice?  Life isn't really a game, but we are faced with many decisions along the way.  Which ones should we choose?  Which ones are best for us, and best for others as well?
 
There are many ways to make a difference in this world, and it isn't just about trading that boiled egg in your purse for a new car (huh?  how many of you got that one?).  Think about it.  What can you do to bring positive change to this world?  What can you do that will be good both now and for generations to come?  What can you do that will really make a difference?
 
The clock is ticking.  It would be nice if we could all make it to the bonus round!  Let's do it!  Let's Make A Difference!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

naptime

Did you have trouble getting out of bed this morning? Do you think back fondly to those kindergarten days with naptime? Do you find that after lunch you just don't seem to have the energy you would like? Perhaps you should rest a bit. Seriously. Naps are not only for kids!

Napping has been found to be both psychologically and physiologically beneficial, and I mention it this morning because today just happens to be National Napping Day. Forget the afternoon cup of coffee, and instead rest for awhile. A nap usually isn't a long sleep. It most often is just twenty or thirty minutes, but it can be oh so refreshing and it can make you feel like a brand new person!

In some parts of the world, the largest meal of the day is eaten at midday and is followed by a rest period. Here in the US, that doesn't happen as much, but I think it should. Talk about changing the world! Rested people are happy people, so don't be afraid of those naps!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Question Day

Have I got some questions for you! Yes, I know I often ask questions, but much of the time they are rhetorical. Todays questions are not for effect. I actually hope you will answer them in the comments section below.

First, have you read this blog before? Do you come back often or just every now and then? Has anything I have ever written here rung a bell for you? Did you ever want to share my words? If YOU were the writer of this blog, how would it be different? (I am actually looking for some good suggestions, so please be honest).

One more: I write here about making a difference in the world. Give a suggestion of something that most of us can do that would indeed make a difference. Is this something that you have actually done yourself or seen someone do?  Thanks!

Friday, March 11, 2016

thanks Philip Wang

Since Philip Wang of Wong Fu Productions isn't the usual kind of hometown hero, you might not expect for me to write about him here, but twice before I have, and this morning I want to talk about him again. I just watched his in a video by someone else, and it made me smile. It also reminded me that Phil isn't some conceited, unapproachable youtube celebrity, he is so down to earth, that you feel like he could be your next door neighbor.

Yes, he directed a feature film, Everything Before Us (with his Wong Fu partner Wesley Chan) and yes he has been part of years and years of shorts from Wong Fu, but he is also one of the first to help out a fellow youtuber by giving technical assistance or making an appearance in their video. Giving is something he really knows about. He took part in a basketball tournament earlier this year with other internet stars, and all of the proceeds from the sold-out event went to benefit Nepal disaster relief and the charity Autistic Self Advocacy Network. He is also always thinking of ways to reward fans. How refreshing in an age when so many celebrities seem to have forgotten their fans and think only of what's in it for them.

Oh and Phil can take a joke too! You can click HERE to watch a funny video when he was pranked.  Not everyone has a good sense of humor.
 
Thanks Philip Wang for keeping us entertained.  Thanks for your caring and your kindness to others.  Thanks for continuing to make a difference in this world of ours!  We are so much the better because of you.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

News from Zambia

Most of what I write here is about making a difference somewhere in your hometown, but of course we can all do great things anywhere we go. When I moved from a big city to a small town, I saw numerous differences, but being nice to others and helping to make changes for the better, is something universal. I'm sure my friend Michael Nguyen would agree. He is in the first part of a two year stint with the Peace Corps in Zambia.

I know Mike. We both used to live in the same town. I wrote about him last year (you can read it again HERE) before he began his assignment.  We haven't talked since, but I am keeping up with him via facebook and twitter and also his wonderful blog.  You can look in on his adventure too at https://2yearsinzambia.wordpress.com/ and you can find out more about the Peace Corps at http://www.peacecorps.gov/
 
I'm not going to retell his stories here, if it interests you, you can read his blog for yourself.  I will say that he was an inspiration with the many giving things he did back in San Francisco, and he continues to be an inspiration today.  The world can use more folks like Mike Nguyen!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I'll be walking in the park one day

Even though this blog is NOT about me, I have to tell you that once again this year, I'll be walking in the park one day. (It's not in the merry, merry month of May, but rather in July, but sing along anyway). I just signed up to participate in the 30th AIDS Walk San Francisco, an event which has truly made a difference over the years in many ways. It brings people together. It raises funds. It raises awareness. It has help reduce and eliminate stigma.

As I have written here before, San Francisco is not the only places where there is an annual AIDS Walk. New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, Houston, and many other cities host such walks. You can find a list of all the events across the US and Canada at http://www.aidswalk.org/

People can get involved in this on so many levels. Of course you can signup to walk, but if you don't think you have the energy, you can signup as a virtual walker and raise funds online. You can also volunteer. People are needed in various support positions, and not just on the day of the event. You can also sponsor walkers or teams. To sponsor me, for any amount, just click HERE to go to my official fundraising page.

I look forward to the day when AIDS is no more, but that day isn't here yet, and until then, I walk. I'd be honored to have your support!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

what's your favorite day?

Tomorrow is the time of week we often refer to as Hump Day. For those working Monday through Friday jobs or those going to school each day, Wednesday falls right in the middle, so once we pass it, we are over the hump. Of course that would only be true if you hate your job. If you love it, you probably can't get enough.

Back in the 80s, the Canadian rock band Loverboy sang Everybody's working for the weekend. We would seem to be saying the same thing. Weekdays just aren't very nice!

Monday gets the most complaints. It is the day after the weekend of course. It's the day on which people go back to school or to work. People say they dread those Mondays.

So, what's your favorite day? I suppose many would choose Wednesday because of that hump thing (which has nothing to do with camels, except that they too have humps. How often can I post a picture of a camel here though)? Many are going to like Friday best because they are completing their week. Saturday or Sunday of course get high marks because that is what everyone is working toward. I submit though that if you are really hating those weekdays that much, something needs to change. Is your job or schoolwork really that unfulfilling? Do something about it!

Yesterday I had a great day, and it was a Monday! How about you? Was yesterday really all that bad? Think about it. Every single day of the week can be good. Let's work on making it that way. Perhaps a good start would be if we all tried to brighten the day of other people!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Mother's Bill

A story for you today that is not mine.  I'm not sure who wrote this.  It's been floating around for years, but it just might touch you and perhaps even make you think -

A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his Mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:

For cutting the grass: $5.00 For cleaning up my room this week: $1.00 For going to the store for you: $.50 Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping: $.25 Taking out the garbage: $1.00 For getting a good report card: $5.00 For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00 Total owed: $14.75

Well, his mother looked at him standing there, and the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper he'd written on, and this is what she wrote:

For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me: No Charge

For all the nights that I've sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge

For all the trying times, and all the tears that you've caused through the years: No Charge

For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead: No Charge

For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose: No Charge Son, when you add it up, the cost of my love is: No Charge.

When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight at his mother and said, "Mom, I sure do love you."

And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: "PAID IN FULL".

Don't be a taker - be a giver (like this mother). It is so much more rewarding!

Obituary: Common Sense

This is something that was floating around on the internet a while back. I have no idea who wrote these words, but they spoke to me, and I hope they have meaning for you. Even though this is an obituary, I happen to think it is not too late - we CAN save common sense - we just have to try!


"Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

"No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

"He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

"Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

"His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

"Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

"Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

"It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

"Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

"Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

"Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

"Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

"He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers: I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, I'm A Victim

"Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

"If you don't remember him, join the majority and do nothing."

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Rounding Up

You may have noticed lately that a number of retailers have been asking if you would like to round up your purchase to the nearest dollar, with that change going to their designated non-profit. I was in a restaurant recently and they did that, and today it happened in a store where I was picking up a few things. What a great idea! Stores have long asked for donations to one charity or another, especially at certain times of the year, but this way, they are actually doing you a service too. So many folks paying with a debit card actually prefer for the numbers to be round and when you pay with cash, do you really want that seventeen cents? (What can you do with a dime, nickel, and two pennies anyway, except save it for the next transaction)?
 
Of course the customer can go even farther. Instead of rounding up to the nearest dollar, the customer might feel particularly generous and offer to round to the nearest five or ten, so a bill that is $13.79 could be rounded up to $15. We aren't talking about huge amounts here, but when this adds up, think of all the good it can do!
 
Now, I now that money doesn't grow on trees and there are some who really cannot afford even that extra nickel. That's okay. It doesn't make you a cheapskate. You really should make sure that you have taken care of yourself and your family above all else! I'm just saying this is a good idea and I'm glad so many places are making use of it. I think we might even be seeing an increase in generosity.

Friday, March 4, 2016

march forth

My mom always referred to March 4th as a command (march forth)! I'm sure someone else has said that too, but I remember Mom saying it year after year. It will be three years later this month, since she passed away, and I was thinking of her this morning.

It's amazing to me how simple little things can remind us of others or of events in our lives. Do you ever think back to a memory of long ago when a similar occurrence happens? Is it ever a bad memory?

Life is not always perfect, and we are bound to see bad things from time to time, but I really like looking at the positive as much as possible. I like being able to have those warm wonderful memories like the ones I have of my mom. As you march forth on this March fourth, may you build your supply of happy memories!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

From a great newspaperman named Herb Caen

When I first moved to San Francisco many years ago, I quickly discovered a wonderful journalist by the name of Herb Caen and his daily newspaper column filled with gossip, quips, groaner puns, social happenings, and just about everything San Francisco, was the first thing I read every day.  Herb died in 1997, a year after receiving a Pulitzer Prize and the honor of Herb Caen Day in the city he loved so much.  A few years ago, I came across a column of his from April of 1991. I have shared it here before, but it continues to be as timely as when originally written, and so I offer it to you once more:

Scene: The Heavenly Real Estate Office. The Landlord is cheerily rounding up a covey of blazing comets that have skittered under Queen Casseopera's Chair. His business agent, Gabriel, enters, his Golden Trumpet in one hand and more reports from the tiny planet Earth in the other.

Landlord: (to the Comets) Come out from under there, you little scamps, before you set the whole galaxy on fire.

Gabriel: Excuse me sir. Another batch of prayergrams from your most devout Christians.

Landlord: (waving a hand) Whatever they want, Gabriel. Now where did those freaky devils get to?

Gabriel: Yes sir, they want you to evict ten percent of your tenants down there. (Raising his Golden Trumpet) I've never attempted a partial eviction. Shall I try?

Landlord: (looking up) What ten percent, Gabriel?

Gabriel: The gays, sir. Your devout Christians say they've done their utmost to keep them out of their schools, their offices, their churches, and their lives, but with little success. So their prayergrams ask you to remove them from the face of your Earth.

Landlord: To me Gabriel, that doesn't sound very Christian. I thought they were supposed to love their neighbors.

Gabriel: Oh they do sir, if their neighbors are of the same color, economic bracket, and sexual orientation.

Landlord: But what harm do these gay people do?

Gabriel: I'm afraid you're not seeing the big picture, sir. Gays simply don't fit into your grand design. You know, two by two, male and female? Generation after generation? The fact of the matter is that gays simply don't procreate.

Landlord: I thought there was enough procreation down there already.
Gabriel: And they commit unspeakable acts.

Landlord: Murder? Torture? Paving over my mountain meadows?

Gabriel: Unspeakable sexual acts, sir.

Landlord: Ah, you mean they express their love for each other in different ways.

Gabriel: (annoyed) Really sir! If these people were automobiles, they'd be recalled in a nonce. They're clearly defective.

Landlord: (frowning) Defective, Gabriel?

Gabriel: Exactly sir. Some essential part if missing; some vital drive is malfunctioning. Bungled wiring – a loose screw...who knows?
Landlord: But clearly they're examples of shoddy workmanship?

Gabriel: Oh definitely sir. And they certainly don't deserve to clutter up your little blue-green jewel of a planet a minute longer. (Raising his Golden Trumpet again) Shall I evict them now?

Landlord: (slowly) And who made these imperfect products, Gabriel?

Gabriel: Why you did of course, but. . .(he lowers his trumpet in sudden consternation) Good You sir. I didn't mean to blaspheme. You will forgive them then?

Landlord: (smiling) A wise philosopher said long ago Gabriel that if I made sinners, it is not I who should forgive them, but they who should forgive me.

Gabriel: Well, I'm sure the gays will be glad to hear of your tolerance and generosity, sir.

Landlord: The gays? I was talking about my most devout Christians.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Just because

"Why are you doing this?" I heard him ask. "Just because," was her simple reply. "Just because."

You can say you are giving back because you want to change the world or because you want to make a difference. You can say you want to see a smile on the face of others or that you enjoy doing things for people. You can say that random acts of kindness help make things better for all of us and you are simply passing them on. Of course you don't have to give any reason at all! Just pay it forward .   .   . just because.

Oh those wonderful kind deeds we do for other people. They sure do brighten up the day!

How many of those just because things can you think of? How about taking an acquaintance to dinner, sponsoring someone in a fundraising walk-a-thon, donating time at a senior center, saying something nice to everyone you meet during your day, or donating blood? What other random acts of kindness can you think of? Add your suggestions in the comments section below.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Month of March

March is here and for many that means the excitement of basketball's so called March Madness or baseball's spring training. Spring also comes in March and this year, so does Easter. But wait! There's more! This third month of the year, in the Julian and Gregorian calendar, which originally the first month of the year in the Roman calendar, also brings us National Pi Day, the Ides of March (beware!), and Saint Patrick's Day. Oh and today is National Pig Day. (Please don't ask if you should think of cute little pigs, or eat only pork products today).

If you keep track of such things, today also happens to be Peanut Butter Lovers' Day and tomorrow is Old Stuff Day. The third of March is I Want You to be Happy Day, Peach Blossom Day, If Pets Had Thumbs Day, and National Anthem Day. The oral practitioners get recognized on Dentist's Day (the 6th) and on the 8th we should all watch out because it's Be Nasty Day! The 30th is Take a Walk in the Park Day, which I think should be every day.

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, National Kidney Month, and Colon Cancer Awareness Month. It is also Women's History Month.

Some of these you will hear more about of course, and this is only a partial list. I know that some of these might seem silly, but for most of these, the important thing is awareness. Take a moment and find out more - become more aware. Women's history is indeed important, after all, they make up half of the world! Being more aware of causes and diseases and different ideas also makes all of us better people and better able to participate.

Have a great March! Pick up a few books on any of these subjects because it is also National Reading Awareness Month!