Monthly Archives: January 2014

Paper work

There is so much paper work in AmeriCorps that it gets crazy. It reminds me of high school when we’d have a substitute teacher and they handed out sheets of stuff to fill out, just to keep us busy and out of trouble. BORING!

Some of the paper work is repetitive and redundant. But I’m here and I have to do it if I want to stay in the program and get out on time.

About the time I wonder if anyone reads the stuff, I get an email with a notation that I left something out, or needed one more, two more items to complete the paper work.  Then I’m back trying again to figure out what they want and then send it back.

But, the good news is that I’m getting up to speed with Excel, that program I knew nothing about a few months ago. I have taken a class and got a bit of education, and then I studied a bit online, and just awhile ago, I signed up for a 19 hour class. This should just about do it.

And next week we will receive some training on how to write a grant proposal. Well, I did one a very long time ago, but I need to learn from a professional, so this is good.



Power point

I gave a power point presentation of my yearlong adventure to a group of senior citizens at the Half Moon Bay Methodist Church. First it was a potluck… yum, I’ve always liked a pot luck dinner. That takes me back to my childhood.

The person who invited me couldn’t find a projector so I spoke first and had a table full of photos that I had developed at Walgreen’s. They were 8X10’s and really looked good, and folks had a good time looking at them.  A few people were interested in the camera I used, and I remembered to take that along with me incase someone asked.

I did use the power point with people sitting as close as they could get to the computer. It wasn’t perfect but it worked.

Several folks had ventured into some of the places I had gone to and it was fun hearing their stories. They were all so attentive, asked good questions, and two people purchased my book.

One lady, knowing about my photo/painting process gifted me with a three-layered wooden box of pastel pencils. Most of them haven’t been used. I cannot wait to find a place where I can blow up the photos on water color paper so I can create some more painterly projects.

After I got on the road from Half Moon Bay and about an hour from Santa Cruz, I stopped and watched the waves a bit and called my son, Ronnie. We agreed to meet for lunch.

His ideas are always good ones, so I took him up on purchasing sandwiches at Safeway and something to drink. Then we sat in the car watching the surf, and six racing sailboats. It’s good to share that time with him.

Getting ready for a talk about my journey

Yves-garden-225x300-150x150This is the garden of the late designer, Yves St. Laurent. This is now a museum. I love this blue color. It was raining this day. This is one of the photos I’m going to show at the presentation in Half Moon Bay on Monday.


The surf competition; the best in the world perhaps, took place today up at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay today. There was a chance that the waves were too treacherous and the officials would call it off, but turns out the surfers got out there as planned.

The photos of the waves are beautiful but it looks scary to me.

I remember when my older sons began surfing. Larry is/was the most active surfer. I gave them their first surfboards  one year for Christmas. Several years later, Larry still goes out to surf.

One day when Larry was about 14, he hadn’t come back from surfing and it was getting late. Soon it was dark and no Larry. I contacted some friends of his who lived across the road from the beach. They went out to see if they could find him and/or his surfboard. No Larry. I was worried beyond belief.

Then he came home carrying his surfboard and his wet suit down to his waist.

I immediately started asking him where he had been, why didn’t he come home, how could he be surfing at night…you know, like a ranting mother.

What he told me sounded so beautiful. The surf was full of plankton and that makes the ocean waves turn iridescent, and the sand sparkles when you walk on it.

Larry said  when he caught a wave, and  stood up, his body glowed along with the wave. That’s not all; it was a full moon.

It was an experience I would have felt worse if he had missed it.


Out of the fire


I felt like I was thrown into the fire from the beginning of my stint in AmeriCorps, and now the fire has simmered down a bit.  From not knowing anything about how to recruit volunteers, I have become an instant expert.

Well not really an expert, but definitely someone who has learned a lot about how to get people to enjoy working for nothing.

There will be many smaller events to come and I think another two big ones, but it won’t be as hectic as it has been in the first five months of my time in this organization.

I’m half way through my time and out of the fire! I have survived!

Becoming a detective

Today I was back at First Night Monterey where I spent a bit of time organizing the notebook for the First Night event. It will be put on the shelf for the next years volunteer coordinator.  Good Luck!!!!

But it wasn’t all finished because a radio is missing. It’s one of those hand carried walkie talkies that cost $800 a piece. I went to the sign up notes, and the notes for the radios, and noticed that not everyone signed out. I called many people and that is hard work not to sound like you’re accusing them, but just looking for information.

Lots of folks said they handed their radio over to the next person and that person handed it over to someone else. There must be a better way to handle the radio situation.

I feel bad but know that it isn’t my fault. I just hope the darn thing shows up.


Walking for Martin Luther King, Jr.

With a wrapped up knee, I headed by car to the spot where I, and my fellow AmeriCorps workers would join hundreds of others for a march through the town of Seaside to honor the man behind the dream.

I told the group leaders that I would walk a bit and then go back and get my car. Then I’d meet them at the auditorium to take in the program.

About half way there, I decided to continue, so I swallowed a pain pill and kept walking.

I’m so proud of myself for continuing and so happy I saw the program. It was heartwarming and emotional.

Speakers were political leaders, including Congressman Sam Farr, who I have interviewed many times. I wanted to see him afterwards but that didn’t happen.


The main speaker, Dr. Thomas Todd, pioneering civil rights attorney, a dynamic man with a sit-up-straight-and-listen speech mesmerized the audience with ad-libs and profound words.  One of those gems, about MLK was, “Don’t celebrate his death. Celebrate his life.”

He spoke about the influence of social media over children and said children need to learn, not only reading, writing and arithmetic, (the three R’s), but the fourth ‘R’ and fifth are, respect and responsibility.

The Monterey Peninsula Gospel Community Choir got the folks out of their seats with lively music.

Last of all, and what brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat, was the dancer, who danced to an emotional song. Dressed in black and white, she used mostly pantomime to give the message.

So after the thoughtful one and one half hours, it was time for me to trudge back to get my car. My legs hurt and I knew I could probably hitch a ride with someone, but I thought about it and decided to walk.


Well, I figured the pain was just a penny’s worth compared to the pain and suffering of the people who have been treated miserably for hundreds of years, both physically and emotionally. And the walk was the least I could do honor the man who taught that only peace and love would bring about change.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Jr.

Good event

It’s over. The Champions were rewarded. The auction netted money for the arts in MOnterey County, People had fun. The food was good, they said.

AND…the volunteers were awesome!

There were some minor glitches and some I will learn from, but the bottom line is  it was a successful event.

And I’m glad it’s over.  Tomorrow I join other AmeriCorps workers to march in the Martin Luther King march. I’m hoping to be able to keep up with the 20 year olds.

Got my wheels

I got the car yesterday at night because I had a late meeting. The meeting was in Carmel, and my car in Salinas. So I arranged for the car repair folks to leave my car outside with the keys under the mat.

The car rental folks did the same. I just dropped them in a key box . My roommate Regina drove my car back home after I had picked her up at the apartment.

It’s good to have my old wheels back even though I’m now in debt…but who isn’t?

So tomorrow is the big bash and I’m looking forward to it. I did everything that was expected of me, signing up volunteers and giving them the information they need. I have worked with some awesome people, who with experience with this big event, helped me along the way.

It’s so nice to work for a great executive director who always has a smile on her face and she’s so calm. What a great mentor even though she could be my daughter.

So there are some awesome volunteers who seem eager to get involved and have posed no real problems….just some minor changes, that when I was tired, it nearly overwhelmed me. Today was a great day, and tomorrow will be wonderful.

By the way, the event, Champions of the Arts honor artists who bring their talents into the community in awesome ways.

Stay put

Why can’t people just volunteer for a post and stay the heck there? Last minute changes make me crazy.

The more I do this, the more I realize this kind of work isn’t for me. I like to be around people, talk to them, make them laugh, have them make me laugh and try to get them to see the benefit of an organization, either as a volunteer or to get involved in some way.

But staying indoors on a computer makes my eyes water, my skin crawl and I feel like I’m going to stick to the chair and never be able to get out of it.

I need to be with people; real live people, you know those with voices and smiles and skin and noses and eyes and chins, and ears and a head on top of a neck.