Monday, November 30, 2015

#GivingTuesday 2015: Give Some Thought to Giving!

(A version of the following was originally published here in 2014. Images used with permission.)

I work with words online, but in my offline life, my job involves working with numbers. I'm one of those "bean counters" in the Accounting Office getting in the way of your creative ideas because there's not enough money to do them. I have attempted to compensate for the dry soullessness of my profession by using my powers for good--that is, I've spent most of my career working for organizations that do good. I count beans in the nonprofit sector, where there are rarely enough beans to go around.


Tomorrow--December 1, 2015--is the fourth annual #GivingTuesday, designated as the Tuesday immediately following the super-shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd Street Y, partnering with the United Nations Foundation, with a simple mission:

"#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness."
#GivingTuesday is timed to fall in line with the year-end/holiday-season giving appeals launched by many nonprofits. It's the most charitable time of the year!

#GivingTuesday's website has links to locally organized giving "movements" across the USA  and around the world, but if there's not one near you, don't let that stop you! All you need to do is find a cause you believe in and an organization that works to support it, and give some support to them.

Many nonprofits are now equipped to receive donations via credit card or Paypal on their websites, but they'll happily take checks in the mail as well. And it doesn't have to be big money, or even any money--all contributions are welcome and gratefully accepted. For example:
  • Volunteer a few hours to a special event, or to help out every week
  • Donate gently used clothing or household items for use or sale
  • Contribute a new toy or book to a holiday gift drive
  • When the POS terminal at the store asks if you want to add a dollar amount to your purchase to support its charity, say "yes"

For more than twelve years, I've been counting the beans at Aviva Family & Children's Services, a Los Angeles nonprofit. Our long history of providing social and therapeutic services to children, teens, and families has been generously supported by individuals, foundations, businesses, and Los Angeles County government. But there's always more we could be doing if we just had more beans to go around.

Aviva is an an official #GivingTuesday partner, and I invite you to consider us in your Giving tomorrow. But if it's not to us, give somewhere, and know you're meeting a real need. I speak as someone who has long worked within the nonprofit sector. I'm intimately familiar with what we give to our communities, and intimately aware of the costs of that giving.

Your community has many of these givers. They're healing, caring, educating, and advocating for those who turn to them for help. On #GivingTuesday, I hope you'll give something back to them and help them keep giving.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Show-and-Tell Sunday: NaBloPoMo, 2 Days to Go

Taking a noncommittal, one-week-at-a-time approach to NaBloPoMo--I honestly can't remember if I officially signed up to participate--got me through four weeks of  daily blogging, so I'm not all that worried about seeing it through the last two days of November. I think what made it work was seeing it as an opportunity to mix up my content, try a few new things, and give some old things a new lease on life.

  • Nonfiction November provided the prompt for one post each week (and a book review I haven't finished writing yet).
  • I didn't write as much as I'd have liked, but I did more photoblogging, and was pleasantly surprised to find that making lists could be a fun and creative endeavor.
  • I revived my long-dormant link roundup, and I think I may even keep it around past the end of November.
  • I did not get much reading or reviewing done this month. This was partly the effect of Part 2 of The Great Book Blogger Paradox

but a busy month of projects at work and new shows on TV were also factors. And in a year of family health crises, we had another this month, and there will be long-term, ongoing changes in response to this one. A meeting today to sort out my dad's home-health aftercare following last week's hospital stay may not leave a lot of time for reading or writing on this last day of Thanksgiving weekend...but we're thankful he's home and that there's a plan (and hopeful he won't spend a third consecutive Sunday in an ER!).


And that's almost a wrap on November 2015! I hope it's given you much to be thankful for.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday's Sign: Support Your Local Bookstore

This, sadly, is not my local bookstore, but I wish it were, and I'm envious if it's yours!



Today is Small Business Saturday and Indies First Day. If you can, go forth and shop local!

This is not a sponsored post.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thankfully Fabulous Friday, And What Comes Next

I'm not officially participating in Jenn's Thankfully Reading Weekend--although I will be very thankful for any reading time I get this weekend!--but today's post comes via her and Michelle.

Michelle asks what makes today a Fabulous Friday. Well, the fact I slept way past 5 AM and am writing this post while still in bad certainly helps, but it's mostly because of this thing that happened yesterday: 


The walker is something new that came home with him. There are a few other new things and changes coming his way after two falls within a week and four days in the hospital, and we're having a family meeting today to figure some of them out. With that in mind, my answer to Jenn's Thankfully Reading Weekend prompt today,

would have to be Atul Gawande's Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End:

"Bookended by personal reflections on the very different end-of-life experiences of his grandfather and his father, Being Mortal  explores various ways in which modern, developed societies deal with their aging populations. The combined effects of two significant shifts—from extended families living close together to smaller, more geographically-dispersed households, and the simple fact of longer lifespans—have created difficulties we’re struggling to address. We’re still learning what 'normal' aging looks like as average life expectancy approaches 80 years. We’re learning that in the absence of specific illnesses, medicine may not offer the most appropriate responses to its challenges; Gawande observes that doctors are trained to cure, and aging simply isn’t curable. However, even in mostly healthy people, aging does produce real physical and mental changes that alter how one functions in the world, and individuals and families need to learn to recognize and make provisions for them. There are many things to consider, and that may need to be revisited often:
  • What can they still manage independently?
  • Do they need In-home help? How much?
  • Would an assisted-living home meet their needs better?
  • Do they need regular, ongoing assistance with medicines or medical equipment?
"People with terminal illnesses, regardless of age, may need to confront some of the same questions as the elderly, and Being Mortal also talks about palliative care and hospice—options when treatment fails and cures don’t take. Personal stories illustrate the value of a structured communication tool in making a painfully difficult process somewhat easier to navigate, and maybe even a little less frightening."

What's fabulous about your Friday? What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 26, 2015


For the beauty in this world


For health and family and those we hold near and dear



For what matters most of all


Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Musical Memory, City by City

This was previously published on The List App, and inspired by a song that came up in my husband's iTunes playlist while we were in the car one evening. If you recognize where it comes from, you might remember the Reagan Years.

New York, New York 
LA--Hollywood and the Sunset Strip
San Antonio
Philadelphia, a.k.a "The Liberty Town"
Baton Rouge
Oklahoma City
San Francisco

memphis music marker
And one more place not in the original list, but I'm pretty sure it's still here too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Variations on a Theme: Costumes I Have Worn

This was originally posted on The List App. Apparently, my cosplaying inspiration is stuck at a fixed point in time and space.

Galliftey One, 2013
Wondercon, 2013
Galliftey One, 2014
Wondercon, 2014
TARDIS, RenFaire Variation
Renaissance Pleasure Faire, 2014
Comikaze Expo, 2015