Friday, October 26, 2007



"Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression." Dr. Haim Ginott (1922-1973) teacher, child psychologist and psychotherapist, who worked with children and parents.

Serving Children in Crisis: Save the Children Helps Children Impacted by California Wildfires and Seeks Public Support for Response
Save the Children staffer Nino Acuna plays with 5-year-old Angelina at a shelter in Santee, Calif. Save the Children provided games and other safe play materials to the shelter where Angelina and her family are sheltered. This is the second evacuation for them during this fire. Their house was destroyed in the fires of 2003. And they do not know the status of their current home.

Save the Children is calling on the public to support the agency's efforts to assist children and families affected by the devastating wildfires in Southern California. Today, Toys"R"Us, Inc. announced that the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund is supporting the response effort by donating $250,000 to Save the Children's California relief work.
Read more
Ten Tips to Help Children Cope with the California Wildfires
Following 9/11 and again after Hurricane Katrina, Save the Children prepared the following 10 tips to help adults support children through times of crisis.
Read more

Live from the Scene
Save the Children's staff on the ground in San Diego share their impressions of responding to the southern California wildfires.
Read more
Vice President, U.S. Programs Mark Shriver on Fox & Friends
Vice President, U.S. Programs
Mark Shriver on Fox & Friends
Assembling Safe Space Kits
Donate to support Save the Children's emergency management work in the United States, including our efforts in California and throughout the U.S.


If you or the group of which you are a member wish to make a contribution to the general fund to help the victims of the San Diego Wildfires, please read the following. We can't just shake our heads and feel sorry for these people; we need to step up and lend a helping hand.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires raging through Southern California, and I know many of you want to help those in need with your time and money. So we would like to share some links with you from the Los Angeles Times about ways that you can get involved.

American Red Cross: Cash donations can be made through donate/donate.html">
or through a local Red Cross chapter. Volunteers also are needed. Information on shelter locations can be found on Red Cross websites for Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties and the Inland Empire. Donations of clothing can be made at Goodwill locations. Information: (800) REDCROSS or (800) 257-7575 for Spanish speakers.

Salvation Army: Cash contributions can be made through its website or by calling (800) SALARMY.

Governor's Office of Emergency Services: Businesses wishing to donate large quantities of goods for distribution to fire victims can call (800) 750-2858 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Pacific time. Individuals wanting to donate items or volunteer to help with local disaster response efforts should contact the Red Cross or go to the governor's CaliforniaVolunteers website at

United Health Group: Southern Californians coping with the emotional consequences of the fires can call a counseling hotline at (866) 342-6892. The free service provided by the insurance company will be available around the clock for as long as needed.


The Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Cash donations are needed to support efforts to provide emergency shelter for animals displaced by the fires. Contributions can be made through or by calling (888) SPCALA1. Food supplies also are needed.

New Leash on Life: The animal rescue group needs help caring for evacuated pets at its Newhall facility. The group can be contacted at (661) 255-0097.

Regardless of which group of people tugs on your heart strings and plays your song; there are any number of titles you can listen to: children, people who have lost their home, the pets affected.
Please step out of your comfort zone and help the children, people, and animals in the most need right now.


"The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession."
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Here is a follow-up of the post I made last night. Pictures speak so much louder than words. Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone who has lost their homes.

Now the evacuations total over 350,000---that is homes, not people. Now the estimated number of homes destroyed total over 1,000 and the numbers will surely increase with the Santa Anna winds continuing to rage through the area.

Monday, October 22, 2007


When we retired and moved from Nebraska to California; everyone told that we were moving to the state and area where there were earthquakes and the state was going to fall into the ocean. We laughed to ourselves and sometimes to the people who said that to us. We always tried to point out the number of earthquakes in California in a year compared to the number of tornadoes in Nebraska in a year. I actually drove through one driving home from Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln to my home in Omaha; being really homesick.

We have felt two earthquakes since we moved to California in 2001. Both times we had to ask each other, "Wow, was that an earthquake?". What we had not been warned about or prepared for were wildfires. Sure, since we moved here; we have seen wildfires burning on our TV from areas mostly far from us.

In 2003, there was a wildfire (now referred to the Cedars Fire) that was close to the area where we lived but not threatening to us. Today, in our community, we have lived in a state of emergency. We woke this morning at 4:30 because of the Santa Anna winds shaking the house. When we turned on the TV; we learned that the wildfire that had started in the area had been fueled by the Santa Anna winds into smaller wildfires around the San Diego area; including one in our new hometown.

Watching the local TV, we saw up close and personal the fires move from away from our "space" to encroaching upon it.

View Larger Map

We took the precautions and loaded up the trunk of our car with "things" that we had to take. How do you go through your home and think -- "What do I take that is invaluable to me?". I grabbed the many boxes of family and friend's pictures -- knowing that they couldn't be replaced. Grabbed important papers and packed clothes and toiletry/ medical needs. (I admit, I was ready to grab my pillow.) Took pictures on my digital camera of the rest of the belongings in our house in case we needed to file an insurance claim. What a trip that exercise will put you through.

We waited for the "reverse 911 call" that would tell us that we needed to evacuate our house. Once afternoon came and we could watch the sky from our driveway go from the ugly, gray, orange haze from the smoke to patches of blue sky with whiter clouds; we knocked on wood--hugged each other and thanked Mother Nature for sparing our immediate area.

Unfortunately, tonight we are still watching with apprehension as the winds and low humidity and dry conditions are posing new dangers for the night. Our trunk is still packed and we are staying vigilant. But our hearts go out to the people who did not escape the vicious fires. Over 250,000 people have been evacuated from their homes because of the danger; close to 500 homes have been damaged or destroyed with more on the way; 16 firefighters have been sent to the hospital, some in critical condition. I can't imagine the devastation we will see when this is over.

BUT, as a former Directore of a Volunteer Services Program in Nebraska, I am so impressed and moved by the outpouring of support from both businesses and individuals for the displaced homeowners and everyone affected by the wildfires. So heartwarming.

I am sure that most of you have seen the national news talking about these wildfires. If there is a way that you could support these people with a contribution; you can do so through the Red Cross.

"Since national is coming to help, we're asking people to donate to the national disaster relief fund and designate to the San Diego County Wildfires," said Jeff Wiemann, chief financial officer for the San Diego/Imperial Counties Red Cross.

Donors who want their contributions to the national fund to be earmarked for San Diego should use the account code No. 616.

However, San Diego Red Cross CEO Veronica "Ronne" Froman said last night, "If people want to send their donations to our chapter, that's their call."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Where Do You Want to Go on Your Travels?

Travel is such an important part of our retirement adventure and finding information and links for "budget" travel is of great importance to us. This site is great.
What TheTravelzine Is All About
TheTravelzine is a strictly non-commercial
source of information for those who love
to travel. That's the dry definition. We
think TheTravelzine is for independent
travelers who know that anticipation is
half the fun, and that the joy of travel
is that much greater for the people you
meet, and the experiences you share.
Who Don
and Linda Are

Freedman, a retired marketing executive,
and his wife Linda have lived and raised
a family in multi-cultural Toronto,
Canada. Now that the kids are grown, they
can pursue their interest in other
cultures, their people, and their food by
traveling frequently. Like many
experienced travelers, they have
discovered the key to traveling on a
budget is also the key to a memorable
trip - picking up on the local way of
life as much as possible.
blog it

Thursday, October 18, 2007

BLOGGER, OLIVE RILEY, IS 108 on October 20,2007

Every once in awhile I will read or see something that makes me stop and really think. Why did that story or that video have that effect on me. Often it is because the message is one that brings up happiness or sadness, warm fuzzy feelings or cold, scratchy ones and sometimes it brings up one of those things that creates something to ponder. The story of Olive Riley, the 108 year old blogger is one such story. Her story rather brings up it all: happiness over seeing someone still so active and alive and sadness knowing how many people still fear and are disgusted with aging--their own and others. Warm fuzzy feelings when I see young people and elders interacting with each other and cold, scratchy ones when I read the ageist posts on some of the social networking sites. Ah, but the pondering!

Having just turned 68, I must confess that I have days when I bemoan what aging has done to my skin, my joints and my health. But most days when I look into the mirror and see that woman in there, I tell her--"You've come a long way, baby and I like you. Perhaps if you do a better job with your nutrition, your fitness and your brain; you can live to be as old as Olive".
Wow, that gives me 40 more years! If I haven't done by then the rest of the things that I want to do before I die; then I didn't try. So-- I will eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more red wine, stay with the yoga class, do my crossword puzzles in ink and wish Olive Riley the most wonderful birthday greeting ever.

Olive's 108th birthday is coming up on 20 October. Imagine! Telephones weren't even common when Olive was a kid and now she has a blog. What a great story. Visit her blog,
www.The Life of

and see the video of the kids who came to sing to Olive in honor of her birthday. The interesting part of that video is that there is 100 years difference between the ages of Olive and the age of the children. I love seeing Olive singing the words along with the kids who sang some of her favorite songs.

Ronni Bennett from www.As Time Goes has this request of other bloggers: "Let's give Olive a big blogosphere birthday bash from all over the world. Bloggers don't turn 108 every day, you know. Here's how it goes:

1. Create a birthday greeting for Olive. It can be as simple as "Happy Birthday, Olive" in great big letters or as complex as you want to make it - photographs, drawings, cartoons, pictures of balloons or a cake, audio, video, whatever.
2. Post it on your blog. In this case, we should do it the day before her birthday, on 19 October, because although it taxes my brain to keep it straight, Australian time is almost a day ahead of the U.S. and Europe time, and Mike tells me they will be getting together on the 20th for a celebration. Olive will be able to see the posts then or the next day.
3. After you've posted the greeting, go to Olive's blog www.The Life of and leave a comment on her latest post with a link to your greeting.

It's that easy. Let's make this the biggest elderblogger birthday bash there has ever been for one of our own. If you would like to tell your own blog readers about this project, feel free to copy any part of this post."


Sunday, October 14, 2007


Today is Blog Action Day, 2007

I believe that we all have an obligation to be more mindful of what we might be doing that is harmful to our environment; if not for ourselves--then for our children, our grandchildren and all children of the future. It is the hope that people who have blogs will use this day, October 15, 2007 to talk about environmental issues. Since I am always wondering what I, as just one person, can do to protect the environment; I decided that I would find a list of things that "just one person" can do not just today--but everyday. I have found a list of 50 things that I have printed out and will put up on our little bulletin board and see how many of them we can do. If I question why I am doing this; I just smile and think about the four reasons: Caitlin, Keagan, Ethan and Samantha; my grandchildren.

Top 50 Things To Do To Stop Global Warming

Global warming is a dramatically urgent and serious problem. We don't need to wait for governments to solve this problem: each one of us can bring an important help adopting a more responsible lifestyle: starting from little, everyday things. It's the only reasonable way to save our planet, before it is too late.

Here is a list of 50 simple things that everyone can do in order to fight against and reduce the Global Warming phenomenon: some of them are at no cost, some other require a little investment but can help you save a lot of money, in the middle-long term!

  1. Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl)
    CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

  2. Install a programmable thermostat
    Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. They can save you $100 a year on your energy bill.

  3. Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer
    Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has more tips for saving energy on heating and cooling.

  4. Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner
    Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

  5. Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases
    Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most efficient models available.

  6. Do not leave appliances on standby
    Use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. A TV set that's switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.

  7. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
    You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action. You can save another 550 pounds per year by setting the thermostat no higher than 50°C.

  8. Move your fridge and freezer
    Placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on their own. For example, if you put them in a hot cellar room where the room temperature is 30-35ºC, energy use is almost double and causes an extra 160kg of CO2 emissions for fridges per year and 320kg for freezers.

  9. Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly
    Even better is to replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to two times more energy-efficient than their predecessors.

  10. Don't let heat escape from your house over a long period
    When airing your house, open the windows for only a few minutes. If you leave a small opening all day long, the energy needed to keep it warm inside during six cold months (10ºC or less outside temperature) would result in almost 1 ton of CO2 emissions.

  11. Replace your old single-glazed windows with double-glazing
    This requires a bit of upfront investment, but will halve the energy lost through windows and pay off in the long term. If you go for the best the market has to offer (wooden-framed double-glazed units with low-emission glass and filled with argon gas), you can even save more than 70% of the energy lost.

  12. Get a home energy audit
    Many utilities offer free home energy audits to find where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. You can save up to 30% off your energy bill and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Energy Star can help you find an energy specialist.

  13. Cover your pots while cooking
    Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!

  14. Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full
    If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load or economy setting. There is also no need to set the temperatures high. Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your clothes and dishes clean at low temperatures.

  15. Take a shower instead of a bath
    A shower takes up to four times less energy than a bath. To maximise the energy saving, avoid power showers and use low-flow showerheads, which are cheap and provide the same comfort.

  16. Use less hot water
    It takes a lot of energy to heat water. You can use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year) instead of hot.

  17. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible
    You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.

  18. Insulate and weatherize your home
    Properly insulating your walls and ceilings can save 25% of your home heating bill and 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Caulking and weather-stripping can save another 1,700 pounds per year. Energy Efficient has more information on how to better insulate your home.

  19. Be sure you’re recycling at home
    You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of the waste your household generates. Earth 911 can help you find recycling resources in your area.

  20. Recycle your organic waste
    Around 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions through the methane is released by decomposing bio-degradable waste. By recycling organic waste or composting it if you have a garden, you can help eliminate this problem! Just make sure that you compost it properly, so it decomposes with sufficient oxygen, otherwise your compost will cause methane emissions and smell foul.

  21. Buy intelligently
    One bottle of 1.5l requires less energy and produces less waste than three bottles of 0.5l. As well, buy recycled paper products: it takes less 70 to 90% less energy to make recycled paper and it prevents the loss of forests worldwide.

  22. Choose products that come with little packaging and buy refills when you can
    You will also cut down on waste production and energy use!

  23. Reuse your shopping bag
    When shopping, it saves energy and waste to use a reusable bag instead of accepting a disposable one in each shop. Waste not only discharges CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, it can also pollute the air, groundwater and soil.

  24. Reduce waste
    Most products we buy cause greenhouse gas emissions in one or another way, e.g. during production and distribution. By taking your lunch in a reusable lunch box instead of a disposable one, you save the energy needed to produce new lunch boxes.

  25. Plant a tree
    A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%. The Arbor Day Foundation has information on planting and provides trees you can plant with membership.

  26. Switch to green power
    In many areas, you can switch to energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar. The Green Power Network is a good place to start to figure out what’s available in your area.

  27. Buy locally grown and produced foods
    The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to your plate. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community.

  28. Buy fresh foods instead of frozen
    Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.

  29. Seek out and support local farmers markets
    They reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you by one fifth. You can find a farmer’s market in your area at the USDA website.

  30. Buy organic foods as much as possible
    Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. If we grew all of our corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!

  31. Eat less meat
    Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath.

  32. Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible
    Avoiding just 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year! Look for transit options in your area.

  33. Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates
    Sharing a ride with someone just 2 days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds a year. runs a free national service connecting commuters and travelers.

  34. Don't leave an empty roof rack on your car
    This can increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10% due to wind resistance and the extra weight - removing it is a better idea.

  35. Keep your car tuned up
    Regular maintenance helps improve fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. When just 1% of car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide are kept out of the atmosphere.

  36. Drive carefully and do not waste fuel
    You can reduce CO2 emissions by readjusting your driving style. Choose proper gears, do not abuse the gas pedal, use the engine brake instead of the pedal brake when possible and turn off your engine when your vehicle is motionless for more than one minute. By readjusting your driving style you can save money on both fuel and car mantainance.

  37. Check your tires weekly to make sure they’re properly inflated
    Proper inflation can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Since every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, every increase in fuel efficiency makes a difference!

  38. When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient vehicle
    You can save 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year if your new car gets only 3 miles per gallon more than your current one. You can get up to 60 miles per gallon with a hybrid! You can find information on fuel efficiency on FuelEconomy and on GreenCars websites.

  39. Try car sharing
    Need a car but don’t want to buy one? Community car sharing organizations provide access to a car and your membership fee covers gas, maintenance and insurance. Many companies – such as Flexcar - offer low emission or hybrid cars too! Also, see ZipCar.

  40. Try telecommuting from home
    Telecommuting can help you drastically reduce the number of miles you drive every week. For more information, check out the Telework Coalition.

  41. Fly less
    Air travel produces large amounts of emissions so reducing how much you fly by even one or two trips a year can reduce your emissions significantly. You can also offset your air travel by investing in renewable energy projects.

  42. Encourage your school or business to reduce emissions
    You can extend your positive influence on global warming well beyond your home by actively encouraging other to take action.

  43. Join the virtual march
    The Stop Global Warming Virtual March is a non-political effort to bring people concerned about global warming together in one place. Add your voice to the hundreds of thousands of other people urging action on this issue.

  44. Encourage the switch to renewable energy
    Successfully combating global warming requires a national transition to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. These technologies are ready to be deployed more widely but there are regulatory barriers impeding them. Take action to break down those barriers with Vote Solar.

  45. Protect and conserve forest worldwide
    Forests play a critial role in global warming: they store carbon. When forests are burned or cut down, their stored carbon is release into the atmosphere - deforestation now accounts for about 20% of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Conservation International has more information on forests and global warming.

  46. Consider the impact of your investments
    If you invest your money, you should consider the impact that your investments and savings will have on global warming. Check out SocialInvest and Ceres to can learn more about how to ensure your money is being invested in companies, products and projects that address issues related to climate change.

  47. Make your city cool
    Cities and states around the country have taken action to stop global warming by passing innovative transportation and energy saving legislation. 194 cities nationwide representing over 40 million people have made this pledge as part of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Find out how to make your city a cool city.

  48. Tell Congress to act
    The McCain Lieberman Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act would set a firm limit on carbon dioxide emissions and then use free market incentives to lower costs, promote efficiency and spur innovation. Tell your representative to support it.

  49. Make sure your voice is heard!
    Americans must have a stronger commitment from their government in order to stop global warming and implement solutions and such a commitment won’t come without a dramatic increase in citizen lobbying for new laws with teeth. Get the facts about U.S. politicians and candidates at Project Vote Smart and The League of Conservation Voters. Make sure your voice is heard by voting!

  50. Share this list!
    Send this page via e-mail to your buddies, digg it, add it to your favourite bookmark site (like; and if you're a blogger, blog it: the more people you will manage to enlighten, the greater YOUR help to save the planet will be (but please take action on first person too)!