Monthly Archives: March 2014

Jazzy memories

Every day beginning on Friday, I was greeting and moving volunteers about from 7:45 a.m. up until the final horn blew at 10:30 p.m.

It was the Next Generation Jazz Festival where young people from middle school, high school and college aged music geniuses stepped up on the stage to play and honor America’s traditional music: JAZZ.

This event brought up memories of the early 80s when my son, Ronnie Crocker, the Aptos High School Jazz drummer,  led the band to finish with high honors. This band, under the direction of Don Keller, got to travel to the top Jazz Festivals in Europe, not to mention the right to play at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival, where Clint Eastwood serves on the board.

I had a part back then  in raising the money for the Aptos High School Jazz trip.

Never mind what shape I was in at the time, it was an honor to help these young folks get the dream of their lives. Many of the students from that era went on to become professionals; some well known, and others playing on professional stages.

I won’t go into the detail of Ronnie’s life beyond this, but only to say he is an awesome rhythm keeper, and is  immersed in music and the arts. He is a volunteer at the Kuumbwa Jazz place in Santa Cruz and during the weekend festival, a worker from Kuumbwa told me how much they appreciate Ron’s help during evening performances. I can only feel blessed that people see his good heart.

This weekend, teenagers, being teenagers, some gangly, some teasing others in their group, and some starry-eyed, stepped up to the stage and performed magic. These young people are indeed gifted.

Everyone of the volunteers I had arranged for this event were diligent workers, and flexible beyond expectations. They were willing to be moved about from one station to another, and sometimes asked to just go in and listen to the music.

I didn’t want anyone to leave without experiencing the best of the best.



Strange things going on

I wanted to check out what a site called Mackeeper and because I checked it out, I couldn’t get out of it. I circumvented the system until it finally went away, but it took over an hour to figure it out.

It’s funny how you keep plugging away and when something works you don’t know how it worked so you could use the trick again.

Such is technology…I love it….when it works.

Today was another trial and error with the volunteer grid and I had to admit it was all way over my head. My supervisor had to leave her work to help me out.

She was very patient, which made me feel less humiliated, but I ate lots of humble pie.



Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez day in California is this Monday, March 31st. We watched a short documentary about his life today at the AmeriCorps Wednesday meeting.

What a remarkable man. He did so much to help the farm workers using peaceful protesting.

I remember covering the day the City of Soledad dedicated a park in his memory. His grandson and granddaughter were there for the ceremony. I found them to be intelligent and thoughtful young people. and proud of their grandfather.

It was a big controversy naming the park after Cesar Chavez. There were a group of people who thought the park should be named after someone from the town; someone who made a contribution to the City.

But it does seem appropriate to many folks that, because of the farming community and how many farm laborers labored in the nearby fields, the park should remember him by dedicating the park in his memory.

Expectations rise for jazz

It’s getting closer and the expectations are getting tense. I think the Next Generation Jazz Festival folks didn’t realize when they hired First Night to handle the recruitment, they would be getting a woman with extreme attention to detail.

I called one of the workers at the Next Generation to ask a question and his reply was simple, followed with, “it’s not rocket science.”

He wasn’t referring to me. I am a generalist, who makes mistakes and then feels awful later.

The woman supervisor I’m working for doesn’t allow mistakes. So you can imagine what it is like as it gets closer to the event. She is an event planner with many years of practice and there is a lot in her head from the past. She is a task master and demands much from workers and volunteers, but the results always great, never adequate, but great.

What did you do today?

It was a beautiful warm day in Marina, and I’m wondering how people spend their time when it’s like this.

I went to the Farmer’s Market in Marina and purchased some asparagus and a small peach pie from my favorite baker, and some home made bread. The bread baker and I got into a conversation about how awful American store purchased bread is…it’s soft, too soft. You can make sculptures out of it and then it will stick to the wall.

I’ve been spoiled with European bread and rolls. Crunchy on the outside and light on the inside. The bread lady sold me some that was close to what I like. I can see that I’ll be a regular there every Sunday.

Today I also downloaded about 20 photos from the event yesterday. I got to play a bit of a photojournalist, yesterday, without a notebook.

The rest of the day was spent watching the big black birds circulating the neighborhood, cleaning up the apartment a little bit, watching a movie on Netflix and now I’m pretty much rested up to take on the last week of recruiting for the Next Generation Jazz Festival tomorrow. It’s going to be a seven day work-week.



Here’s the warning: It anyone ever asks me to be a volunteer coordinator, and just before I open my mouth to accept….shoot me!

What a day!

Today I got there early to book volunteers into the Next Generation Jazz Festival as planned. What I didn’t plan were for all the changes the volunteers wanted – demanded is a better word.

“I have to work when my husband works.”
“ Cannot work all three days.”

“Why do you have me in here for only one day?”

“I want to change my day from Sunday to Saturday.”

“You said the uniform would be khaki pants and white tops, but that lady in there said black pants and white tops.”

“You have me in hospitality but I want to be an usher.”

“You have me ushering and I cannot do that, put me somewhere else.” “No not there,”  And it went that way for a bit over an hour. I’ll go in early Monday and try to straighten it all out.

Meanwhile, I headed down to Carmel Valley where the Arts Council sponsored a program and where I was asked to line up two volunteers in the morning and two in the afternoon. But someone who organized the event told me she didn’t need volunteers and that I should leave. This was embarrassing because there were folks there that I recruited.

So one woman left, and there was one woman there, so I just made an afternoon of it. Turns out it was her birthday so I took her to lunch in honor of her birthday. I got some photos of the event and left early.

What a day!


Quail and Olive tomorrow

It’s the Paint the Village tomorrow in the Carmel Valley Village. Artists will sign up and then get out to the village and paint what they see.

Then they come back in the afternoon and the art is judged and awards are handed out. Also there is an olive tasting part of the day and a lecture on olive oil by an expert. I got the volunteers all lined up to be there, and while they get set up, I’ll be at the Next Generation Jazz Festival volunteer orientation meeting in the morning.

After that, I’ll join up with the others in Carmel Valley. The Next Generation festival is next weekend, then the hard part of my work is nearly finished.

However, one more big event that I’ll be asked to begin recruitment for is the Concours Auto Show at Pebble Beach. That ’s held in August, but I’ll be free from this job on June 30th, with nine days  left to vacate my apartment, put ‘stuff’ in storage and head off to the next adventure… Cambodia.

My blog will be full of the experiences I’m sure I’ll have for that month.

Scheduling egos

It’s getting down to the wire, and I’m learning a lot about people with big egos. Those are the folks who have volunteered year after year, and have the same desire to work with the ‘stars’ of the show. They won’t work anywhere else but for the star.

But, I didn’t know that until toward the last minute when I tell people where their volunteer post will be, and then the flak begins. “I always work with so and so.” So this guy goes to so and so to get his strokes so he can come back to me with the words that the ‘star’ wants him to work for him.

So, fifteen people have to be moved around so the one ego maniac can get his favorite post that makes him rub elbows with the star Maybe some of the stars’ gold dust will rub off on him and make him famous, too.

Human nature is funny and a bit strange sometimes.


Birthday boy and his family

IMG_0937It doesn’t seem possible that 20 years ago tomorrow, my youngest grandson , Brandon, turns 20. I re-read this today, and see that the opening sentence doesn’t make sense. My youngest grandson turned 20 yesterday, because he was born 20 years ago. There!

I spoke to him via email yesterday and he reminded me that he’s moving out of his teen age years.  And now he is the last of the grandkids who I can call children.

We’re all growing up and moving on. Michael, Brandon’s older brother is graduating from college in Iowa this summer. He’s an educated young man with lots of ideas on how he’ll put his education to good use. He probably will stay back in Iowa, where he established himself in a non-profit organization.

Brandon has two more years of college ahead of him, and he’s getting close to declaring his major.

Bobby, Brandon’s cousin is in the Oakland A’s and playing in Phoenix right now in the minors. He’ll soon know what is in store for him in a few weeks.

Treva, Brandon’s cousin and Bobby’s sister is beefing up her muscles. She is an extreme physical fitness gal, and motivates others to follow the routine to get in shape.

Meanwhile, their fathers and mothers are at work, making certain finances can keep up with college expenses, cars and whatever claims their time and money. It isn’t always easy, but they persevere.

Son Ronnie, lonely as he often is, tries new things all the time. He has pastels and water color paper to explore, and a chance to learn the trumpet – also new to him. He’s always in my heart in prayer. He’s an amazing, inspiring person.