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NOBODY WALKS IN LA – WE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL!

Before iTunes song previews, when one considered buying an album, we bought 45rpm singles featuring a few songs to help us decide. Side A boasted the desired song, flip Side B carried hidden gems!

Would you even know what to do with this?

Would you even know what to do with this?

Before Competitor sports eventertainment, when one considered running a street race, we relied on friends to lure us to the start. Once leaving the starting crowds, we roamed lost in the cement jungle until we miraculously stumbled across a finish line (or is that just me?). Though finishing was an accomplishment, on the flip side, it was boring with no hidden gems.

Where is the snack bar, I mean aid station?!

Where is the snack bar, I mean aid station?!

In 1997, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons (RNR) took solitary sports and made them funtastic times with friends followed by a rockin’ after party! Runners or walkers enjoy different music every mile, enthusiastic cheer squads, and join an audience of thousands of music lovers!

What a rush to be a rock star in a crowd!

What a rush to be a rock star in a crowd of fans!
Image from Competitor. 

I understand, considering a half or full marathon may make you sweat. If one never considered the full distance, could a few miles help persuade you?!

Plus these days, you never know who'll be rocking next to you!   Paul McDonald and Nikki Reed ran Vegas!

Plus, you never know who’ll be rocking next to you!
Paul McDonald and Nikki Reed ran Vegas!

Although many of my friends had front row seats to rock the LA ½ marathon, I hadn’t trained and planned to skip it. Though I dig the vibe of the RNR events, it wasn’t enough to make me want to do the smaller version. I’d seen races treating 5Ks like the warm-up band knowing all the cool kids were at the main show.  Then, not wanting to be left out, I jumped in last minute for the mini-marathon (“only” 3.5 miles).

Getting ready to rock! WTF: Wings to fly!

Getting ready to rock! WTF: Wings to fly!

Turns out, for Rock ‘n’ Roll events, showing up earns you rock star treatment! The start, course and rocking bands – all the same gig (until halfers go farther). The shirts swag and medal bling were equally cool!   For this Halloween run, costumes amused us as bands quickened our pace!

Aahs! store now features a whole section of  "running" costumes! Love it!

Aahs! store now features a whole section of
“running” costumes! Love it!

Skeptics argue “Why pay to see live artists when you hear them well enough at home?” I say, “Run alone anytime! RNR events celebrate your efforts racking up miles. Come bond with like-minded fun-seeking people on their best morning run ever!”

Awesome bands along the way and waiting for you at the finish line!

Awesome bands along the way and
waiting for you at the finish line!

This race snippet made me eager for the next street date – San Diego! One day I’ll tour with the band!

The coolest part is that it benefitted the ASPCA!

The coolest part is that it benefitted the ASPCA!
This starts my new medal group – my encore running career!

Come with me – let’s hit the road!

Maybe you haven't really raced if you haven't raced as Elvis!

Maybe you haven’t really raced if you
haven’t raced as Elvis!

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91 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS – 6 Days to get Custom Santa Letters from the North Pole!

When I told Santa Claus I was fundraising for a cure, he said, “Tell me how I can help!”
Back by popular demand, Santa is writing:

Personalized Santa Letters
Mailed from the North Pole!

Imagine the smile and surprise on your child’s face
(or the big kid in your life or at school, work or next door)
when they receive a personalized letter from Santa!

Santa's writing each letter!

Santa’s writing each letter! WTF: With True Fondness!

Santa will write a personalized letter with their personal details including:
name, hometown, age, accomplishment, present and best friend’s name.

With a $15 donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
($10/each if you get more than 1)

your child will get their very own letter to cherish.
All donations benefit LLS! (please note “Letter – who referred you” in notes section)

I’ll send you an email to fill out to update Santa’s records in order to help Santa write his letter.
LIMITED TIME ONLY: I’m only taking letter orders through the month of September
because after that, the elves must switch gears to double up on toy production.

Your child will be thrilled to get their letter in the mail the first week of December.

Believer Testimonials:

“How’d he know all that about me?”
–BL, Age 10

“I’m putting out extra cookies for Santa this year!”
–LH, Age 9

“Oh Wow!!!”
–AH, Age 8

Please help spread the holiday goodwill by sharing this with your friends and families!
I am fundraising for LLS in honor of my buddy, Tom Scruggs.  

He is currently battling Myeloma.
His wife (my college roommate) is due in about 7 weeks with their 2nd child.

If you aren’t interested in a letter or can’t donate,
ensure your place on the “NICE” list by sharing my post with others.
Or, consider making a donation of any size.  Every $1 counts.

THANK YOU and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

KICKING MY FRIEND’S CANCER’S ASS

I have to believe it was meant to be. The odds were against these two meeting in a club on trendy Hollywood Blvd. one night in 1990. My college roommate Cindy and I preferred dance clubs outside the “scene!” and out-of-towner, Tom, was on brief leave from his military assignment. They crossed paths in the heart of LA – they beat the odds!

After college, CA girl Cindy moved across country because Tom was the right guy at the right time! I don’t just like Tom since he is “her husband!” I love him because he’s an outstanding guy! Since then, we’ve shared many times together at our weddings, trips to Disneyworld, and a growing pile of children! This month, Tom and Cindy celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary about the same time Cindy celebrated her 20th week of pregnancy – their second baby!

Ohana means family. No one gets left behind - or forgotten!

Ohana means family. No one gets left behind – or forgotten!

This anniversary found Tom and Cindy in the hospital. He went in thinking he had a stomach virus but, due to subsequent tests, he wound up recuperating from back surgery. It’s not the venue that makes the celebration, but the people there to celebrate and the love they share! Turns out, Tom has Multiple Myeloma – blood cancer.

He started treatments immediately and LLS has already provided support for his family. The odds are improved, from generations past, because LLS has made amazing progress with treatments and such. Treatments are more aggressively pinpointing cancer cells, leaving non-cancerous cells strong to fight!

OK, can you tell these families believe in Disney magic?

OK, can you tell these families believe in Disney magic?

I’m a big believer in the power of positive thought and prayers, and in progress being made. I’ve worked beside inspirational people who fought and overcame blood cancers, and whose stories varied so much because treatments now are significantly less invasive! We are so close to a cure, but until then, we continue to battle!

Being on the opposite end of the country from such close friends as they face these odds really sucks, so I’m rallying the best way I know help. Please help me send the power of love and hope to my friends in Florida and to their family – that will be growing larger mid-November!

Branching out to a new kind of magic!

Branching out to a new kind of magic!

Let’s push them past the odds!  I am already halfway to my fundraising goal!  Please help me reach the goal – every $1 counts.

If you know anyone who’s battled cancer, please consider making a small donation of any amount and leave their name in the comments! GO TEAM!! 

Please consider that for the price of what you’d pay for 1 Venti Fru-Fru drink at Starbucks, you could make the money go farther by donating $5, it will make a difference!

In the very least, please consider reblogging, or simply tweeting my fundraising webpage or anything! The more people that hear, the more likely it is I’ll burst through my goal of $3,000! WTF: Way to fundraise!

Wanna do more? Register to be a bone marrow donor at www.bethematch.org

THANK YOU!

TEAM IN TRAINING HAIKU

10,000 foot prints

An Army Fighting Cancer

Help Us Find A Cure!

LIFE LESSON: CARPE DIEM!

Today’s life lesson comes from a friend that I worked with at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  She was an honored patient and fellow campaign manager who’d been through treatment and has been healthy for over a decade since!  Her name came up in conversation today while I was trying to contribute to others’ lives by donating blood. I sat down at the Be the Match table and they of course were eager to get me to sign up.  I told them I was already in the bone marrow registry from my time at LLS.  Turns out the gal I was chatting with also knew Kristine.

We chatted a bit about how Kristine was also one of the great success stories  in that the treatments for her blood cancer have gotten so much milder in comparison to her treatments endured just over a decade ago. She’s proof that, with dedicated individuals, progress can be made!

So from Kristine, I have borrowed this life lesson:  Life is precious. Life is short. Carpe Diem!

No time like the present – Share a hug!
Photo by HarlanH

This also was meaningful today because we lost our sweet neighbor whom we knew as “Grandma Willow.” Plus I was already planning attending a celebration of life on Saturday for someone my son’s age.  So, life is precious. LIfe is short. Life gets busy, but don’t let it get in the way of those that matter so make sure you make the time to sit with people and listen a while.  Carpe Diem! Share a hug!

WALK A MILE IN HIS SHOES

Whenever I walk through my front door, the first thing I do is kick off my shoes.  How many of us can’t wait to get our shoes off because they feel constricting or uncomfortable? What if the next time you left your front door you had no shoes on?  What if not having shoes restricted your ability to attend school or exposed you to uncomfortable, unhygienic conditions? 

“No matter how convenient it is for us to reach out to people remotely, sometimes the most important task is to show up in person.”  –Blake Mycoskie

Have I ever told you how much of a huge fan I am of this guy?  Do you know who he is? Recognize his name? Maybe you know him if I say the name TOMS – as in shoes.

Comfy and cute with a huge heart! What are you waiting for? Perfect summer shoes! Pix from online shop!

You may have seen many people wearing these comfortable, colorful – even strappy – shoes.  I, myself, am not one of those people who owns hundreds of pairs of shoes, but if I could afford to, I would purchase one pair of shoes TOMS shoes in every shape and color.  Not because I would ever have enough occasions to wear them all, but because TOMS shoes operates with a One for OneTM operating system.  To quote TOMS, “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.”

Even his book is One for OneTM – buy the book, he’ll donate books to local underserved neighborhoods!
Pix from his book website. Click here for info…

This is where my entrepreneurial crush flourishes because:
a) Blake witnessed a problem and founded a company to change the world for the better
b) His generous business model shows that it’s not necessarily the company who makes the most money that wins
c) People are paying attention and companies are revamping their philanthropic sides or even blatantly ripping him off. (Seriously Skechers, if you were sincerely concerned, you could have done a TOMS distribution deal or special edition rather than mimic the shoes, the name and logo and trying to pull it off as your unique discovery! Boo Bobs, I really don’t like copycats!)

They don’t just do shoes either!  If you buy their shades this summer, you’ll help underserved communities get the prescription glasses or eye surgeries they need.

Guess what? You can WIN A TRIP to give with TOMS! They hold a weekly drawing to pick people to feel the heart behind the company. Details at check out! Pix from TOMS website.

Oh, NOW he looks familiar, wasn’t he on Amazing Race?!

Season 2 contenders siblings
Blake and Paige!
Pix from CBS website.

PULLED MOM RANK TO SEE DISNEY NATURE CHIMPANZEE

Somewhere along the way, my kids became jaded before their time. When I wanted to see Disney Nature Chimpanzee and my kids refused, while regularly quoting Zombieland or pointing out when real artifacts resembling those in games, something had gone awry.

(C) Disney

From the moment I bawled during the trailer, I knew I’d make my family see this film. I get it, for kids the film smacked of “educational.” When I told the kids and their guest which tickets I bought, protests arose – some more polite than others. Walking through the movie theatre lobby, another friend that asked what he was seeing approached my son. My son’s meek response and the child’s apologetic look confirmed, “Mom was officially uncool!” I pressed on.

The film was visually stunning. Seeing breathtakingly untouched parts of this world committed me to ensure their future. Witnessing the detail of the alive and threatening jungle contrasted with the slow-motion chain reaction igniting raindrops inspired me with views I could not have dreamed up, much less captured. I knew the gist of the story from the trailer, and knew where conflict might occur but the film was shot very tastefully showing real danger and emotion but without the raw, last quiver of nature films.

(C) Disney

I highly recommend this movie! Watching the amazing family structure, behavior, and interaction of the chimpanzees, especially the baby named Oscar, was enlightening! The shots were so close you felt like family. It revealed awesome things about nature, nurturing, family structure, animal hierarchies, and movie making. During the credits they shared the experience of the film-makers. It amazed me how close they were to the family and that when the chimpanzees charged by the camera, both camera operators turned their faces away and backed up slowly – to avoid eye contact that might provoke the chimpanzees. Learn more Chimpanzee survival tips here.

In the last 50 years 80% of the chimpanzee population vanished. A percentage of ticket sales from this opening weekend go to the Jane Goodall Institute! Go, today, and share your impression of this movie.

Oh, the kids reviews ranged from “I admit, it was pretty good” to “I want to see it again!” See, listen to your mother!

(C) Disney

…AND NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM…

People finally won the $640 million lottery! Now we can leave La-La-Lotteryland and get back to “real life.”  I don’t feel disappointed that I didn’t win as the odds foretold this result.  I’m excited to see who did win, and hear great stories of changed lives and paying it forward.

To ground my kids as quickly as possible, I’m redirecting our focus to FUNdraising as a reminder that just because the cash bubble broke and we splurged buying tickets, let’s refocus on efforts where our money brings a better return – FUNdraising!

By putting the FUN in FUNdraising the effort stands strong despite the economy. When people get something good while doing good, it brings joy twofold.  We held a Melt Down boasting hot food trucks and bands for great Friday fun!

Side Effects burned up the stage for our Melt Down!

Karaoke events feed a musical frenzy as guests pay to request songs or singers whom, if they don’t want to sing, must out-donate the first person.

Capitalizing on things people must do, like recycling, brings joy to people’s chores and raises awareness.  Clean the garage, host charity garage sale – no haggling! Put a bin out for neighbors to leave recyclables. For greater success, pick up from their homes!  Host a car wash! I held milk/cookie stands in my yard (donated from grocery stores) and cars drove by dumping change from their cup-holder because they saw me there.

For $5 people could eat all the cookes and milk they wanted and hang out, read books, play games or just chit chat!

To fundraise without no events – INCENTIVIZE!  CupcakesbyJoyce.com sweetened the deal for my MS Walk (big button –>). For each $5 donated people get entered to win a dozen delicious cupcakes. Because cupcakes don’t mail well, if you live outside 100 miles of LA/OC/SD then cupcakes will feed Team Hope – the large group I’m walking with.  When local companies donate prizes, they get tax-deductable publicity while you raise money. HOT items – gas or coffee cards!

If you had successful or unique fundraisers, please share your ideas in comments!  Want fundraising feedback? Post ideas, I’ll share my thoughts. I live in that brain often, it comes naturally.  Your biggest goal – start the conversation. Once people know what you’re doing, they appreciate your efforts and give. One never knows until one asks and the worst people say is “No.”

37. IF YOU JUST WON A MILLION DOLLARS, WOULD YOU QUIT YOUR DAY JOB?

The cashier swore these tickets would win!

Winning a million dollars isn’t truly a million dollars. First, calculate cash up front brings it down to $500,000, then paying 50% taxes reduces it to $250,000 – no, I wouldn’t quit my job.

What I would do – all or some of these until I’ve spent $250,000:

1)    Invest half

2)    Put a down payment on a house

3)    Rescue a dog or two

4)    Buy Disneyland annual passes

5)    Ride the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to the northern-most part

6)    Disney cruise to Bahamas

With investing half, and not touching it, the money could grow quickly into college funds for my kids.  It would afford me more flexibility in where I’d work since I currently follow a 7-year plan to work at one of two private universities in my area to earn my children free tuition.  It’d afford me to take regular summer vacations, big or small, to build family memories.  What does your “Win a million list” have on it?

Money doesn't make the world go around... experiences do.

For a character comparison, let’s ponder winning the lottery that I actually bought a ticket for.  I limit myself from becoming a problem gambler by only playing the large lottery drawings for $100 million and above – as if winning 7 million ISN’T worth its weight in gold.  I know my odds fall from “Not even” to “Never in a million years!” with this strategy.  If I won the $241 million Mega Lottery – cash up front brings it down to $120.5, then 50% for taxes reduces it again to $60.25 million. Yes, I would give sufficient notice to quit my job.

Then I would:

1)    Invest half

2)    Donate to charities

3)    Pay cash for a house

4)    Rescue a dog or two but not until we returned from…

5)    2 Semesters at Sea – before my kids go to college. Anyone may book the 100-day around-the-world cruises. Two hemispheres means two semesters. Add in the cost of flying their dad to come spend weekends with them at ports around the world.

6)    I’d love to randomly reward kindness and goodness that I witness in strangers

7)    Set up more scholarships locally for kids to play sports

What would you do with $241 million dollars?

MS AWARENESS WEEK – EVERY ONE OF US KNOWS SOMEONE

IN ONE WEEK: My kids and I will be walking with Team Hope to create a world free of MS.  
                                    Team Hope was started by my friend, Tricia Chandler, an amazing woman living with MS!  

                                    Please consider donating $1 for each time this blog made you smile!

Odds are, with 2.1 million people currently living with Multiple Sclerosis and a new diagnosis every hour, we all know someone impacted by this disease – whether we know it or not. With this being National MS Awareness Week, this topic deserves to be lingered over a spell.

My first introductions to MS came via Annette Funicello – everyone’s favorite Mouseketeer – and Richard Pryor when they announced that they lived with MS. I immediately filed it under “Things to worry about when I get ‘OLD.’” 

Flash-forward to my 20th high school reunion in 2008, an evening full of rusty recollections and reconnections, I spent significant time with a friend who truly lights up any party. If not her smile, her energy draws you in and you want to go along for whatever adventure she’s on.  Turns out, her adventure is MS. 

Initially, her comedic candid yet casual remarks for what she lived with daily shocked me. But, her grace and honesty stood out and immediately inspired and educated me to want to do more.

The first 5 min. video was made by the National MS Society about 7 years ago briefly profiling Tricia’s moving fight as a young, single mom living with MS. I linked you to her page – perhaps too many steps in blogging etiquette – but I wanted you to get her perspective before watching it – and to browse her blog if you want to learn more.

The second 4 min. video briefly states the current statistics.  The number of people diagnosed leaped from 200 a week to 1 an hour in the past 7 years and today, there is no cure.

On the bright side, during the past 20 years, advancements with managing and living with the disease have occurred. Progress towards a cure, or with making lives easier for those with MS, comes with research. I’m not a scientist, but I can walk. 

Just by wandering with me today, you helped raise awareness and I am truly grateful for your company. 

If you want to do more…

Find an MS Walk near you!  or Consider a Donation in any amount to Team Hope – Tricia’s team – that I’ll proudly walk with on April 28th

If you live in San Diego consider joining us as a walker. If you don't, please consider donating even $1!

TRADITIONALLY SPEAKING

How many favorite family traditions can you think of from the last third of the year? Then, turn the corner into the new year and the barren first months leave us in withdrawals. This year I’m eager to define a fun tradition for my family to implement this spring, in addition to our shamrock shake indulgence or any religious holidays.

Carlsbad rununculus = spring!

Living in Southern California finds us smack-dab in the middle of a huge, often impersonal, population where hardly anybody – not even most neighbors – interact. Rather than go away on vacation, I want to stay local and find something that this region finds significant. Something to bring this diverse town together through an event that people do, not just observe. Visiting a museum, or taking a historic tour of downtown might be options. Knowing the scurrying pace of people in a big city, I don’t want the tradition to take up more than a day.

California Gold!

Spring creates a mental picture of beautiful and plentiful flowers, sunshine, beautification and rebirth. Perhaps replanting things for an elderly neighbor, or cleaning up the parks or beaches. Perhaps repainting senior centers or scout houses. I hope this tradition could provide a celebration to kick off the active, healthy outdoor season.

I feel the sunshine from these daffodils!

I want something that draws in my children to teach them the importance of traditions, plus the lessons in the activity themselves all while having boatloads of fun and creating fond memories. I want the journey to carry more significance than where we end up and for the flavor to last longer than the mint shake lingers on our tongues.

Tulips - all the colors of spring!

Because of this, I tend towards philanthropic endeavors to remind us of the humanity in people and the good in ourselves from giving back and supporting others. Charities come in many forms and don’t underestimate baby steps – small gestures impact the world as much as large ones.

I could lay under the tree and dream all day!

I think the springtime is a great time to give back to your community or get a local group to support far away causes. In the spring, focus on bonding with friends and neighbors that you will see more of throughout the upcoming summer months.

Once a year traditional indulgence! Yum!

What about you? Have any favorite Spring traditions?

TO FIND OUT WHAT TRADITION I START:  “LIKE” Makes Me Wander’s Facebook page!    The answer and pictures of the kids and I will be posted in the next week or so. To submit pictures to be put on the Facebook page of you and family/friends carrying out your own traditions, please email them to makesmewander@gmail.com!

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