Alternative Gifts

November 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm (Charitable Organizations, Inspiration) (, , )

Gift of Winter

I admit it. I hate the whole obligatory gift-giving of a bunch of crap that people don’t need and may not even want. And if it’s something for the kids in your family – they probably have plenty of toys, video games etc. Is this how our love is measured? I certainly hope not. So I offer up some alternatives for this holiday season :

For the adults or the mature young adult, check out the Alternative gift fair in your area. You can donate in your loved-ones names to a variety of Local, National, and International organizations, and it is tax-deductible. From your local soup kitchen, to providing winter coats for Native American kids living in North Dakota, to providing vaccines for children in Africa, this is a great “good karma” way to give.

Support your local crafts people and merchants – especially those featuring the work of local artists and fare-trade products. Stay away from department stores.

Give a basket of fresh locally-grown produce from your neighborhood farmers market or co-op.

Give an EXPERIENCE instead of a material object. Local theater, musical events, classes, and workshops make for wonderful memories.

Give a gift certificate for a spa treatment, massage, pedicure etc.

You get the idea. Let’s reclaim the holidays with meaningful gift-giving. I feel that warm and fuzzy feeling returning …oh wait.. that was just the dog lying on my feet !

All links below are for venues, services, and events in the DC area,


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Dogliness is next to Godliness

February 17, 2009 at 5:38 pm (Charitable Organizations) (, , , , , )


Dogliness is Next to Godliness

After almost 20 years of touring, teaching, and sound tech work, my husband and I decided to “settle down” and get a DOG!

We had both had dogs while growing up, and enjoyed dog sitting for friends and family.

We liked the unconditional love that dogs can bring, the companionship, the exercise, and we both felt strongly about adopting a dog from a shelter.

After work one day, I drove over to the PG County Animal Shelter, and was instantly drawn to a dog that resembled an underweight albino Muppet. His fur was patchy – revealing bright pink skin underneath, but he had intelligent eyes, a joyful spirit, and a sweet nature.

Adopting Beauregard was one of the best things we have ever done.

On August 17th,2007, he woke me up from a nap by jumping on me and barking. He saved both of our lives that day from a fire that was rapidly consuming the back of the house.

Those stories that you hear about dogs saving lives are true.

If you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, I urge you to visit your local animal shelter and to support The Humane Society and the SPCA.

The life you save could end up being your own.

P.S. Beauregard is now a healthy 72-pound mutt. We think he is a Spinone/Pit mix.

He still looks like a Muppet.

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Why I Want To Marry the Red Cross

February 10, 2009 at 11:59 pm (Charitable Organizations) (, , , , , )

Why I Want To Marry the Red Cross

I used to think that The Red Cross only showed up if there was a disaster of biblical proportion to be dealt with and throngs of people in crisis to soothe, shelter, and feed.
Well, they also show up when your house burns down.
They not only show up, but they VOLUNTEER to show up.
If I could marry an organization, (and polygamy was legal in my state), I would marry The Red Cross.

As the firefighters fought fiercely to subdue the blaze consuming our house and now also the neighbors’ roof, my husband and I lay on the carpeted floor of a neighbors’ house across the street.
We were trying to stay calm as various police, fire inspectors, EMTs, and friends came in and out.
In the midst of all the chaos, a soft-spoken diminutive old man entered the room. He said he was from The Red Cross and showed us his credentials. He sat with us for over an hour through almost constant interruptions. Somehow, he managed to get all of the vital information he needed. We were in such shock, that it was almost a comfort to answer his questions.
After he had ascertained that we’d be staying with friends as opposed to going to a hotel, he announced that he was done.
He handed us a debit card from the Red Cross worth $500.
Before I could thank him properly or even get his name, he had vanished.
Talk about your everyday heroes! Who was that unmasked man?

That debit card was a life saver. When you have lost 98% of all your material possessions, it is a remarkable thing to be able to buy food for your pets, a pen, a notebook , shoes, (I had left the house barefoot), and much more.
When you have lost all of your stuff, it is a great gift of dignity to be able to buy your own underwear.
I urge you to make a donation to The Red Cross. You never know when you will be on the receiving end of their amazing services.

P.S. Here is a way to directly help a fellow-blogger who recently lost her home to fire.

* Thanks Liz for sending this my way !

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