Monday, March 24, 2008

Thank you Easter Bunny - Bok! Bok!

Mom - silly as ever!I spent yesterday with my parents first - we went to church and then the BUFFET for breakfast (thanks for the coupons, Grandma and Grandpa!). Then we went to my sister's and spent the rest of the day with the boys. My sister is such a good mom and is resurrecting all of the FUN things my parents used to do with us when we were kids.

My mom used to make us colored pancakes for every holiday - pink hearts, green shamrocks, colored eggs. So great! Hand poured, not with any cookie cutter assistance, which meant they were usually lopsided and definitely homemade, which made them perfect! I remember one St. Patrick's Day, though, my mom died the milk green and I just couldn't bring myself to drink it!
Uh huh huh - french accent - I find zee eggs!
Harry who?
We did Easter egg hunts LONG after Heidi and I were too old to have them. The rules would change a little, but I remember having to wear the bunny ears the whole time - and you had to HOP to go find the eggs and HOP to put them back in the basket!
Cool kids can still have fun at Easter!
So this year, we made bunny ears out of foam and then did face painting. The two older boys had to do the whole egg hunt tied together with their dad's belt! No one was injured or fell in the pool . . . amazing!
Giving the little ones an advantage!
Hope you had some fun too! :-) I'm so thankful to be able to spend time with my crazy family.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Out and About in AZ . . . .

Spring, spring, spring! It's a sin to stay inside right now; it's impossible to not want to be ACTIVE; and it's simply DUMB to leave the house without a pocket full of allergy meds.

Ah yes, spring: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Right, right??

This weekend I took advantage of the FABulous weather and took in a hike. I also let the world take a gander at my lovely paper-white legs. If you pretend to not notice the brown haze, it's an amazing view peeking out of the mountain ranges at our city skyline.

Speaking of brown haze and the fight against it. . . Me and Bella Blue . . . biking to work has been GREAT. It's still brisk in the mornings, so I arrive all rosy and refreshed. It's not a far ride, I think maybe 3 miles. I do a couple hills and haven't biked in FOREVER, so my legs are moaning a little. But all is well.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cancer Sucks. People Don't.

Look at that RED hair. My mother can't see this or she'll yearn for me to pro-create!
This weekend events all over the US took place for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. I was lucky enough to play a small part in the very first PHOENIX St. Baldrick's Day!

I know Cara through my friend AM. Her son had a rare blood disease when he was born and had to go through chemotherapy as an infant. He’s an amazing, beautiful child who is now 5 years old and is doing really GREAT. His oncologist asked Cara if she would help organize the St. Baldrick's event in Phoenix.

What is St. Baldrick's, you ask? It is an event that raises important funds for childhood cancer research. Participants commit to shave their head and collect donations. Then on one day, they all gather at an event and the shaving begins! In eight years, events have taken place in 18 countries and 46 US states, raising over $34 million, and shaving more than 46,000 heads. Pretty amazing, huh? Learn more about it on their website.

We had over 60 participants (ie people who went home BALD) and in one day raised over $40,000!!!! It was an amazing thing to be a part of - the girls at 8020 Marketing should be PROUD of what they did!

What I witnessed: paramedics (8 men and a chick!) raised a ton of money and got shaved together. A whole family - mom, sister, aunts, uncles, brothers, neighbors, grandpa - all for one amazing little girl! People with family members who are suffering or have survived. Survivors. People who just care. Young and old, boys and girls. It was an extremely emotional experience for all.

My spirit is renewed in the goodness of people!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Make A Difference Day!! Where's my TEAM?

I have been involved with a wonderful organization in Phoenix called Make A Difference for over 11 years.

I used to be VERY active with them and lead a reading project at a shelter, was on event committees, produced graphic design for all event materials and even designed and built their very first website! I met some of my closest friends through Make A Difference - we will be together forever!

Over the past 6 or so years, I've focused on my OWN project: the fabulous Charity Chicks.

But I never miss the annual Make A Difference Serve-A-Thon. The Serve-A-Thon (or Make A Difference Day as it's known to us old-timers) is a pretty cool event. We've had up to 4000 volunteers working on 100+ projects over a four-hour period of time. Homes and shelters were landscaped, festivals attended by kids, neighborhoods cleaned up, murals painted, homes repaired and so much more! It is AMAZING what a group of driven volunteers can accomplish in just one morning. We can literally move mountains and I'm always so inspired by the experience.

For the past 5 years we've had a Team Charity Chicks project. This year is no different. We will be working at a shelter in west Phoenix. We'll be cleaning out the daycare area and hosting a literacy fair for the kids.

SAVE THE DATE: April 12, 2008. It's a Saturday and I will need you for just the morning. It's a great way to spend a beautiful spring day, I swear! Following the project, we are all invited to a picnic and celebration for ALL the volunteers. It's a great chance to mingle with the other 3000 volunteers and learn about their projects and experiences.

In addition to a Serve-A-Thon, the event is also a fundraiser. Not only are we committing thousands of hands in service for one day, we're also raising money to fund the YEAR-LONG activities of Make A Difference. If you want to donate, you can do so on our site:

More information about our project to come . . .

Sunday, March 9, 2008

40 is the new 30 . . . (blah, blah, blah)

We LAUGH at age!
What is that crap all about? Sheesh.

I do have to say as someone who wrote an essay in high school titled: Is There Life After 25?, getting old hasn't been as bad as I imagined. I mean, I look at my friends - here we are in the stage of life where I thought we would be ANCIENT - and well, we're a pretty good looking group of peeps!

We're still vibrant. And attractive. And interesting. And not ancient at all. In fact, in some ways we're SO much more interesting than we were 10 years ago. (Although I always hated those people who thought they knew so more than me just because they had a few more years of experience . . . I swear, I'm not one of THEM).

Also note that I said "in SOME ways we're more interesting" . . . not in all ways. I don't have half as many stories as I used to after a weekend - but that also means I only half embarrassed myself! Remember when you could party like a rock star and get up and do it again? Now I need a fist full of vitamins and a week to recover.

My immediate crowd: we're turning 40 now. (Not me YET but I AM on the other side of the hump.) I remember our 30th birthday parties like they were yesterday. They really feel like yesterday to me. And we gave each other diapers and canes and "over the hill" cards THEN. HA! (Seriously, what did we know?)

And society has spoken:

Consumers in many countries across the globe agreed that aging is different from it was a few decades ago. A whopping 60% agreed that being in your 40s was the new 30s. The new middle age is in your 60s according to 56% of those polled, while 54% said ‘your 30s was the new 20s’. In most countries except for China and Hong Kong, women outnumbered men in agreeing with the statements according [to the 2006]AC Nielsen Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey. The survey carried out by AC Nielsen Customised Research Global also found that one out of every five persons questioned would consider cosmetic surgery to turn back the hands of time.

Ann-Marie and her sister AmyI don't know what all of that means. But Happy Birthday, Ann-Marie - you're wonderful, as always!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Shoes 4 Africa - on their way

Did you know . . .

  • An estimated 24.5 million adults and children were living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2005. During that year, an estimated 2 million died from AIDS.

  • To date, the AIDS pandemic has left behind more than 14 million orphans . . . approximately 92% of them live in Africa. If, as expected, the number of adults dying from AIDS rises over the next decade, Afirca will largely be a nation of orphans.

  • Although Africa represents 10% of the world's population they account for 83% of AIDS related deaths. The average life expectancy of a Kenyan is 48-years old. Swaziland's life expectancy is under 40 years old.

  • Putting shoes on a person increases hygeine, builds self esteem and greatly reduces the chance of Intestinal Worms. Close to 92% of Kenyan children tested had Hookworm, which enter the body through exposed bare feet.

What an amazing organization. WWW.SHOES4AFRICA.ORG

I think how tough it is for me to run WITH the right equipment and shoes to make it all easy - and I still have issues. Running is the NUMBER 1 sport in Africa - and most of them are barefoot!

This organization has done some amazing things. MORE than just sending some used shoes to athletes in Africa, they focus on AIDS EDUCATION; they organize races; they give women and children new opportunities; they create SCHOLARSHIPS; they have helped Olympic atheletes become recognized. Amazing. You inspire me.

I just sent 6 pairs of shoes off ($52 - USPS help us!!!???). And hope they give TWICE as much strength and JOY as they gave to these feet in the U.S.A.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Free Arts for ME (Thanks, Brian)

I love the viral internet. It's amazing to watch a good idea grow. And yes, it also can be SCARY what people will do with the internet as well, but let's pretend those freaks don't exist for now . . .

I hungrily watched for every One Red Paperclip trade to see if one guy could start a blog and trade a paperclip up for a HOUSE (yup, he did and now he's selling a BOOK based on his experience!) And look what happened to one shopaholic and an idea: Save Karyn! (Yes, of course she has a book as well)

And now, with the help of my friend Brian - the KING of the Internet - I'm now part of the growth of an artist.

Artist Ali Spagnola is an art school grad seeking to find her way in the world O art. Her online gallery of paintings that she has created and given away already shows more than 400 images. And she says she has 400+ MORE people waiting for paintings from her.

Her concept - she wants to continue to paint and build her portfolio, but she doesn't want to have to STORE all of them. So she's giving away her paintings for FREE.

She DOES accept donations to "support the arts" - I gave her $14 for Valentine's Day (I wonder who else did?) She also does commissioned paintings as well.

The potential: "The more people that request paintings, the better I get at painting and the more famous I get, the more my paintings are worth. Everybody wins!"

Keep your eye out for this one. A smart girl with a cute concept, fun style and some cans of paint.

Here's MY painting that is on its way to me - go Charity Chicks!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Meet Bella Blue. . . . my new ride!!

It's spring - I'm gonna do it. I live close enough to my office it's a shame to NOT do it. That's right, I'm going to RIDE MY BIKE TO WORK. That is until it gets too hot for me to not need a full shower upon arrival in the mornings . . .

I feel so GREEN.

And look at my ride - I named her Bella Blue. She's cute and has a large two-sided basket on the back so I can bring my laptop back and forth from work to home and carry a change of clothes. And she's my favorite color: blue. All I need now is a bell (ting a ling!) and some sparkly tassels for the handlebars!

She's like the bikes we rode as kids - one speed, with foot brakes. Which is a challenge for me. My ride to the office isn't that long - I did a test run this weekend and can make it in under a half hour - but I have several uphill points - and with no change of gears . . . OY, I'm outta shape! And remembering to use my feet and NOT to squeeze the handlebars when I want to stop is new. I kept forgetting that this weekend. On my road bike, when I coast, I sometimes back-peddle. If you do that on THIS bike - screeeech! Sort of like reaching for the clutch when you switch from a stick to an automatic car. (Anyone placing bets on my first new bike injury??)

The good news is that I live right off a greenbelt and my work is on the other side of that greenbelt. So I'm only on a road with other cars for about 1/10th of my journey - the rest is all park travel. Not so bad, eh?


  • I could shed a pound or two from the extra movement (please, please, please!!)
  • I HAVE to leave work before it gets dark
  • I should be more awake upon arrival
  • Can't hit a fast food drive-thru on a bike!