Archive for November 30, 2012

World AIDS Day

Tomorrow, Dec. 1, is World AIDS Day.  It’s a time for us all to reflect on this pandemic and the strides made fighting its destructive influence: in terms of medical advances, increasing longevity of victims, and attitudinal changes as it has become clear that all people are in danger of being affected, not just those who choose to participate in risky behavior.  This disease that was once considered “God’s vengeance on evil people” is being increasingly looked at as itself an evil to be eradicated and those with HIV/AIDS as our brothers and sisters in need of help and compassion.  May this be one of the last years a World Aids Day is necessary.

Thoughtful Thursday: A Dogged Truth

My teacher’s name is Riley.


Startling Statistic

There are currently more than 6 million Californians living in poverty.  


Earth-Friendly Tip: Sports Equipment

When outfitting the kids for sports, buy safe, recycled equipment from friends, a thrift shop, a store specializing in used sports equipment, or on-line (Craigslist, Freecycle).  If you must buy new, do so from a member of the Fair Trade Federation  ( so your money supports a greater good.

[For more easy, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]


Generational Example

The Santiagos know the value of example.  In 1983, after the bad flooding in Alviso, this Sunnyvale couple began their yearly visit there as Mr. and Mrs. Santa, cheering the children who had lost most of what little they had.  Over the years Joe and Judy added their own kids to the holiday trek and started giving out gifts.  29 years later, the 4 generations of Santiagos–now with a grandson as Santa–continue the tradition of giving.  They give gifts, bring joy, and offer thousands of dollars in scholarships a year through their Santa Visits Alviso Foundation.

It’s a family thing.  That’s my point.  Years ago Joe and Judy set an example of giving of themselves to others, and four generations later that example continues to be passed on.  This is a reminder to all of us parents: what we teach our children has the potential to affect countless others into the future long after we have left this world.

“Lincoln”: A Must-See

Go see “Lincoln.”  There are few movies I like well enough to recommend highly .  This is at the top of my list.  The actors do a superb job (Sally Field has come a long way from “The Flying Nun” to Mary Lincoln).  Lincoln’s sense of humor, intelligence, and determination are clearly presented.  The history is gripping.  The 2½ hours of the film fly by.  Yes, this is well worth seeing.

In fact, I think all Republicans should see “Lincoln” and be reminded of the roots and founding principles of their party.  The Democrats—I prefer where they are now.

An interesting side note: the two parties were just as much at each other’s uncompromising throats back then as they are today.  Now I KNOW it’s PAST time for them to stop acting like spoiled siblings.


Eat on $4.30 a Day

Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, serving only about a quarter of the families in poverty, and paying less than $400 per month for a family of three for housing and other necessities. Ninety percent of the available benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, or working households.

Food stamp recipients get $4.30 a day.

(Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams, 11/19/12)


Lunch & Inspiration

Saturday I had a delightful lunch with KEA’s President/CEO, Mahmoud Jillo, and Board Secretary/Treasurer, Suzanne Jillo.  Although I’m on the KEA Advisory Board, I’d never met them face-to-face before.  I must say that I was impressed by their warmth, intelligence, compassion, and drive to foster a better world for East Africans as well as for the environment there and world-wide.  They have a clear, important vision and the will to make it reality.

If you aren’t yet familiar with KEA (Kaskazi Environmental Alliance), their motto gives an idea of what they’re about: “Creating Environmental Stewardship in East Africa Through Marine Science Education.”  They combine two of my great loves–education and the environment–and focus on my favorite group of people–kids.  Take a minute to go to and learn more (you’ll love the beautiful pictures, too).

As far as last Saturday, I had a relaxing, tasty lunch with interesting new friends, and I became even more excited about this project.

Earth-Friendly Tip: Gobble Up these Facts

It’s time to talk turkey about the impact of that delicious holiday bird on our environment.  Go to Terrapass to see some startling numbers.  Look at the effect of Thanksgiving travel, too.  Then don’t sit around stuffed with guilt; try some of their suggestions for reducing your carbon footprint.



Thoughtful Thursday: Jewish Wisdom

Soar high today with this thought: