Monthly Archives: June 2014

Once down on the floor, can I get up again?

10003545_10153875171865387_1908993771_nSophak, my country coordinator for my Cambodian experience tells me not to worry about sitting on the floor while meditating with the monks, that they will probably give me a cushion. But, even with a cushion, I’ll have to sit on the floor. Can I do that? Can I get up gracefully after sitting on the floor? Hmmm, my only concern. I’m not afraid to fly. I’m not afraid to learn the ways of a foreign country. I’m not afraid of anything, but being able to sit on the floor for a long time.

This is me trying to get up from the floor.


Moved my ‘stuff’

I am so proud of my sons and grandchildren.

All three sons and a grandson helped me move my ‘stuff’ to the storage unit. I say they helped me but that’s an exaggeration. They did the work while I just told them what to take.

They thought all of it was put into the truck and the next stop would only be to take it out of the truck and put it in the storage unit. They were surprised when I opened the door to the unit and lo and behold, it was already nearly full.

But just like putting a puzzle together, they got all of the ‘stuff’ into the unit with no problem.

They did it with humor, too. That’s my boys!

We all went for early dinner at Daddy’s Diner, where the food was great, as usual.

That part of my adventure is finished. I’m sitting in a motel where I’ll be tomorrow as well. I never watch TV, but here I am watching CNN.

Life is good. I’m so proud of those young men called sons and grandsons.

It’s over

Pure joy!

That’s the sentiment I feel on my last day of work at the Arts Council for Monterey County. The joy I feel came from the volunteers I recruited for the many events held during my ten month stint. As the AmeriCorps volunteer coordinator it was my job to line up folks to help out where they were needed and to where their talents would take them.

The volunteers, be they young in age or young in heart, never disappointed me. I leave the job with respect for all the folks who showed up to work without compensation, with only a desire to be of service to others.

My job ended today with the final evaluation of my work, and I must say it was very favorable. So my time wasn’t wasted. A lot got accomplished for the Arts Council.

Big day tomorrow…..

work expands to meet the time available

Whoever made that statement up there on the headline sure knew what he/she was talking about. Witness me at work trying to stay busy with not much left to do.

I went over everything that I’m leaving for the next AmeriCorps worker as my legacy, and even re-typed some items.  There are no more events coming up immediately, and I haven’t received any new requests from anyone who would like to be a volunteer, so it’s seems this is  a good time to take my leave.

Tomorrow will be my last day. I just need to sign my final evaluation and then I’m gone.

Moving tomorrow, in a motel for two days to wait for my final paycheck on Monday, and one more vaccination. And I turn in my keys to the apartment and that’s it folks.




The end is near

The last meeting of AmeriCorps was held today, and everyone had an opportunity to say goodbye.

I’m feeling very good about the end, and not one bit sad.

AmeriCorps keeps reminding us that we’re volunteers with a monthly stipend and a bigger one at the end. We’re told how we must use the final stipend, and we’re constantly reminded that we are not employees.

I wonder why we must pay taxes on our volunteer stipend if we’re not employees?

I’m leaving AmeriCorps with more debt than when I went into it.

However,to be honest,  there were many good moments and those good moments will stay with me far longer than anything negative.

I will remember the cute kids where I worked at the booths. I’ll remember the many volunteers and how diligent every one of them carried out their assignments. I will always be impressed with every single volunteer, no matter how young, old, strong or not strong. They all did more that what was expected.

I will remember the wonderful music of the Next Generation Jazz Band, and the memories that evoked, when my son played in that very young band, organized by the Monterey Jazz Festival. The same instructor is still teaching middle, high school and college level jazz musicians, and he does it with humor and great style.

I’ll remember the staff at the Arts Council and the quiet room where we worked. I’ll remember the gallery openings and the reward of meeting so many talented artists and photographers.

Only two more working days, and then the move.


Luncheon honors me

“Let’s go honor me. “ That was my funny line today when it was time for three of us in the office to head down to Pacific Grove for a lunch.

It was a lunch at Vecchios that the office folks had for my going away tribute.

Vecchios is an Italian restaurant with a daily menu of one item. Today it was spaghetti and meat balls. Every day there is a huge green salad with a great dressing.

Everyone gets the same food.

What an easy way to run a restaurant. But it doesn’t look easy as the place is always packed. It’s a rustic interior with non-matching chairs that look as though they have been sitting outside in someone’s garden in the rain. But the atmosphere is fun and the food outstanding.

It was fun to be relaxed and a lovely way to end my term at the Arts Council. My only wish is that I could have spent the entire 10 months only at the Arts Council. AmeriCorps will not place anyone at First Night next year.

It hasn’t been a lazy ten months….that’s for sure!

I submitted the numbers of volunteers and the hours they worked from the beginning of my time until today.

The way I broke it down was to take each time a volunteer signed up for an event and then I tallied up their hours for the record. This reflects the volunteers recruited for First Night Monterey and the Arts Council, as well.

The total number of hours of volunteers for both agencies are a whopping 5,040. The total number of volunteers recruited for both agencies are 856. Thats an average of six hours for each volunteer.

Many volunteers served during multiple events, but were counted each time.

This record does not take into account all of the volunteers recruited by the staff of both agencies. However, some of the numbers here do reflect the recruitment by volunteer office personnel and staff members from both agencies.

It is Monday night, and there are 5 more working days then I’m finished with the ten month experience. I will miss the awesome volunteers, for they are the folks who gave me the most joy.

Tomorrow will be a lunch in my honor, then on Wednesday, the AmeriCorps group and our partners will meet the last time.

My family will help me move on Saturday, and I’ll be in a motel for two nights. I have one last work day on Monday. I also have one more vaccination and need to pick up my last paycheck and then…….

Little artists


Today was a day to celebrate peace with families in the Cesar Chavez park in Salinas. It was in East Salinas, ground zero, so to speak.

It was the first peace day and the committee has promised an annual event.

Little kids came to the booth for art projects and they were all very cute and highly concentrated on their work of art. One of the young artists created this portrait of me.

There were two other  boys, around 10, who captured my heart. They knew it.

They said they would be back and they did come back to say hello. One of the cute little fellows had a fedora and sunglasses. He reminded me of a movie star of the 40s in miniature. HIs friend dressed normally for a ten year old and it was obvious that he found his friend with the fedora, a prankster and funny.

Fedora kept dropping things and the wind blew his hat off once. His  friend, a handsome guy,  just laughed at the fedora boy and helped him chase after his hat. He pointed out where other things dropped by Fedora, had landed.

I had the feeling this mini Lewis and Martin team has had many adventures similar to this one today. They made the day for me.



Honoring awesome volunteers was fun

It was an afternoon and evening of fun with a potluck dinner for the Arts  Council for Monterey County’s awesome volunteers.

Right when the volunteers began showing up, the newest, and youngest volunteer  got her feet wet right away. She was put in charge of having guests fill out a name tag, and also give everyone a name of an artist. The artist’s name was taped to the back of the volunteer, and that person had to asks questions that can only be answered with a yes or a no.

A great ice breaker and a lot of fun. People gave me hugs and wished me well on my next adventure.

The young volunteer made certain that everyone left with a bookmark as a gift for their service.

Nine more days.

Amazing photographer

IMG_1119The Arts Council for Monterey County held a gallery opening for Douglas Steakley’s amazing photos. The photos are of the many animals he came upon in Africa. The one photo you see here is just a sample of his beautiful work.

The gallery opening was full of folks vying to meet the photographer and see his work. There were four awesome volunteers who helped create a great atmosphere.

An African inspired drum group played during the social hour.

A great evening to be a part of. I was blessed. Tomorrow will be the volunteer party.