JAN. 2006

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Took a little vacation time....just my Hyundai and me:)

An old deserted hotel out in the middle of the desert.

Our very own Desert View Tower.

I'm a sucker for date shakes!!  Doesn't matter where I find them, I'm stopping...although this place also makes a mean cactus shake.

 

Okay, enough of this time off stuff, time to start volunteering!!

 

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Following my break, I volunteered to build a corner seat in a kitchen for a gal, Betty.

Here's Betty and her dog Rover, (whom I've nicknamed "Rambo") standing on the new corner seat I built for her (him).  I ended up also replacing some light fixtures, building a wall, replacing some outlets and doing some cabinet work.

Betty didn't want to face the camera....said she was afraid one of her ex-husbands might find out where she's hiding (ha ha).

 

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                               He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.  

                                                                                                     ~Sunshine Magazine

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I went online to get some information concerning going down to Louisiana to volunteer my time.  Found a number of sites and was just about to notify one of them, when I was informed that one of the tenants renting my house was planning on moving out in March!!  Not sure how that will effect my timeline for heading South.  Guess we'll have to see what happens.  Was planning on doing a few things for people here, so I'll start with them for the time being.

 

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Had a gratifying experience today.  On my way in to Costco, I came across someone's lost Visa card in the parking lot.  Upon entering the store I asked the gal at the door if they had any way to page patrons in the store.  She stated that wasn't possible, so I explained why I was interested.  She then offered to put it in the stores lost and found.  I told her I was concerned it would just sit there collecting dust, because the person may not know where they had lost it.  I told her I'd return it to the issuing bank and they could notify the owner.  The gal seemed a little hesitant to let me have it back, possibly figuring I might use it.  Luckily a supervisor walked up and after I told her my concern with just leaving it, she offered to see if the person on the card was a Costco member and would call her.  I went with her to the front desk while she looked up the information and made a call to owners house.  The cardholder was not home, but she left a message that the card was at the store.  I then felt good that all that could be done, had been done, so I left my card and went to do my shopping.

About fifteen minutes later, a gal came up to me in the store and asked, "Is this your card?" and showed me my "Random act of kindness" card.  She was the owner of the credit card and had tracked me down to thank me. 

She promised to "Pay it forward."

 

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This has been animal week.  My former neighbor went to New York, so I offered to help watch his little dog "Birry" while he was out of town.  I spent the evenings sleeping at his house.  I never realized how much work it is to take care of a dog.  It was an eye opening experience.  I also spent some time at one of my favorite charities "Friends of Cats."  I made a donation and took an hour petting some of the little critters.  It is always a very calming experience.

 

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As I was walking "Birry" I met a couple of my former neighbors, Carol and Joy.  I mentioned to them that I was spending time helping others and then offered to help them with any project around the house that they might have.  They mentioned they needed to call a plumber in order to install a new faucet.  I ended up installing the faucet and will be returning next week to work on their two toilets.  Guess I should have become a plumber or an electrician.....looks like I may have missed my calling:)

Here's Joy standing next to her new faucet....alas, it actually works!!

 

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My former father-in-law owns some property up in the mountains.  Because he doesn't really drive much anymore, he rarely gets a chance to go up and check out his land.  My son, his girlfriend and I decided to drive "Pop" up into the foothills so he could spend some time wandering around enjoying the scenery.

 

(below)

My son getting into the act.

(above)

My former father-in-law and me.

(above)

"Pop" supervising my digging.

 

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Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.
                                                                                                                                                -- John Wooden

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I went back to Carol and Joys in order to fix their two toilets.  Neither one seemed overly interested in posing in front of their toilet, so I took a picture of the two of them in the front yard.

That's Joy on the left and Carol on the right.....their toilets are hiding in the house.

 

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Went to Washington state to look at some property.  Everyone talks about how terrible it is with all of the rain.  Maybe it's me, but I don't mind it and I enjoy all of the greenery.  Checked out Oregon earlier in the year.  Also beautiful up there!!

 

FEB. 2006

 

Spent time with my daughter looking for her first apartment!  She's been living with her mom, so this is her first experience out on her own.  Much of the month was spent helping her get set up. Tried to rent her the empty room at my condo "cheap," but she wanted her own place with her own signature on it.

 

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I received an email back from Brendan at Hilltoprescue.org.  Hopefully I'll get my place rented out quickly so I can head to Louisiana and help out down there.

 

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Decided to go up North and visit my cousin, who needed some help moving from her mobile home into a room in her sister's house.  It's been awhile since I've seen everyone, so I was looking forward to the trip!

 

Here's my cousin Patty.  She's the one with the "big" hoop earrings.
My cousins Tom, Mary and Patty.  Tom and I called each other beforehand to coordinate our outfits....guess he forgot his hat. Patty wanted some shelves for her room.  Mary wanted a picture of my "butt."  Guess they both got what they wanted.

 

MARCH 2006

 

Spent the first few days cleaning up the room I'm renting out.  While there, I ran into Joy and Carol.  They had a broken drawer and weren't quite sure how to fix it.  Fixed the guide and was on my way.

 

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I invited Elsa, my former secretary, to dinner when I left my short term position as an assistant principal.  She's one of the greatest gals you'd ever want to meet.  Elsa was aware of this site and said she wanted to "Pay it forward," and that I should take someone more deserving out to eat.....that's just like Elsa.  Well, today was the day.  I was late to church, so I decided to take care of my obligation for Elsa.  I headed downtown to find a homeless person, and get them something to eat.

After wandering around for awhile, I stood on the corner, in front of "Wendy's."  A homeless person with a shopping cart came up and was digging through the trash on the street.  I asked if I could buy him something to eat in Wendy's, he graciously declined my offer?  I figured, maybe I should just wait until someone came up to me to ask for a handout.

Two hours later, after walking around town, (maybe I don't look like a soft touch anymore) someone asked if I could spare some change.  I told him I didn't carry any change, but I'd be more than happy to buy him some lunch.  We headed over to McDonalds and I told him to order whatever he wanted.  He just ordered a burger and small fries....I had to coax him into even ordering a drink.  I ended up buying him a couple of gift certificates to use later.

I always try and remember how thankful I am that I'm not living in the type of conditions he is.

Here's Daniel.  He's from the Los Angeles area.  been homeless for a couple of years.  He plays the guitar and drums and would like to be a musician.  Has no instruments at the moment.  About his only possession is a blanket.  Had a backpack, but somebody stole it.

 

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Here's a picture of Elsa.  She looks "angelic" as always.  I've never heard anyone say anything bad about her.  She's a gem!!
This is Anna, the school social worker, with Elsa.  She started whining about having her picture on the site also....not so "angelic." ha ha (she's a gem too!)

 

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I have a picture of my good buddy "Chris" below, because we were both involved in a good deed the other evening.  We decided to meet at the Souplantation for dinner when he got off work Friday.  We both arrived at the same time and witnessed a man chasing after a woman.  The man grabbed the woman and was attempting to take her to another part of the parking lot.  We decided to walk over and make sure everything was okay.  The man mentioned that the woman was his wife and she was upset and wanted to walk home in the rain.  Everything seemed okay and the woman did not request any help so Chris and I stepped back and just kept an eye out on the situation.  Some passersby, stated they were going to call the police so I figured I should let the guy know.  Chris and I walked back, and the man said that it would be probably best if they did arrive since his wife didn't seem to want to listen to reason.  

An officer arrived and we informed him that there had been no violence.  The officer took over and two other squad cars arrived shortly thereafter.

Here's Chris.  We had our picture taken outside of the restaurant that night, but it came out too dark to see.  This picture was taken earlier in the school year when the two of us went bowling.  

Chris happens to be a social worker....and a great guy!!  Got some "free" counseling following dinner. He always comes up with great phrases like "emotional quicksand," not sure where that came from, but it sounds good....Now that I think about it, I paid for dinner....guess the session wasn't "free!"

 

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In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
                                                                                                                                                       -- Albert Schweitzer

 

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I stopped by the district office the other day and was passing out some of my cards.  One of the gals, Dawn, was in her office.  We began talking and I offered to fix a doorknob which wasn't working at her house.  I went to her house over the weekend and fixed her doorknob (interesting story, you'll have to ask her about it.)  I asked if there was anything else that needed to be done and she mentioned she had purchased a new faucet for the bathroom.....hmmmm, never done one of those :)

 

When I stopped by the plumbing store a guy from the Laundromat next door came in looking for a tool.  I had my toolbox in the car so I offered to let him borrow mine.  He and his friend were having trouble removing a screw....it kept turning.  I suggested that maybe it was a bolt with a nut on the other side rather than a screw.  They made a call to the guy who had installed it and sure enough that was the problem...sometimes three heads are better than two.
Here's a picture of Brian, Dawn's son.  He looks more excited about having his picture taken, rather than getting a new faucet.  That's me down below in my usual position when I go to visit people anymore:)

 

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It's funny, (or maybe it's not) but I find it hard anymore to stay in one place for any length of time.  I need to keep moving. As my buddy, Chris says, "What are you running from?"  Good question.

For those of you planning on retiring soon, beware....it's not a simple project, take it slow....or you may end up wandering around aimlessly, helping strangers and posting your adventures on a web site:)

 

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I've got my daughter, Susannah's picture here, because I took her to Kaiser to give blood.  She does it every few months, all on her own!  What a great kid, just like her brother.

Me, I'm too squeamish, but it doesn't seem to bother her.  I'd like to think my doing good deeds has rubbed off on her.  I know my "always have a pair of sunglasses around" seems to have had an affect on her.

 

 

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APRIL 2006

 

The clocks changed this weekend, and I got up later than usual.  Since I missed church, I decided to visit a convalescent home after my morning run.  Figured it may help cheer up someone's day.  It's hard to imagine what it must be like for some older folks just sitting around in a room all day 24/7.

 

Here's a picture of the place I visited ,Mission Hills Convalescent Center.  I began by going into the recreation room where a group of patients were watching television.  Sat next to a gal, Joanna, from the Philippines.  She offered me some Pringles:)  Helped a few people out as they tried to maneuver their wheelchairs around.  Wandered through the corridors briefly touching base with a few people.  Saw Joanna later sitting in her wheelchair in the doorway of her room.  Stopped and chatted with her awhile.  Found out she has a sister in town and that she loves to go to Wal-Mart and play mahjong....neither of which she gets to do much any more.  When I asked her how long she's been in the center, she said a long time.  She wishes she were at home.

 

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Something Iíve been thinking about recently is how important it is for each of us to recognize the accomplishments of others and to encourage them. We need to ďliftĒ or ďraiseĒ people up, whenever we can.

I am constantly writing letters to employers when I receive great service by someone. Too often, people around us go unnoticed for their efforts. Itís amazing what a kind word can do for someone.

This is especially important for those close to us, and even more so for our kids. We as adults, have a great impact on our children, and a responsibility to nurture them.

The really amazing part is how easy it is to do, and the gratification you feel when you do it!

A little praise goes a long way.

 

May 2006

 

Iíve been giving some thought this month to something that really bothers meÖ..ĒGREED.Ē

Yep, Iím not a very opinionated personÖ.donít like to discuss politics and could actually care less. But when it comes to dealing with greed, I have a definite opinion.

I canít get over what I see going on around us, with people not content with what they have and their need to have more than is necessary. Donít get me wrong, I have no problem with having nice things, itís just the excess that some people feel they need to have in order to feel good or be envied by others. Thereís more to true happiness than money and personal possessions.

Thereís a game show thatís on television now that panders to peoples greed. Itís difficult to watch sometimes because the contestants get so greedy they seem to lose all rationality. They are offered $50,000 and all of the sudden in their minds, this is ďchump changeĒ and not enough? More often than not, they try and play for a higher amount and come out on the short end of the stick. I donít feel sorry for them, in fact Iím thinking it serves them right. Sort of like some people who fall for these scams because of their greed.

I would love to win the lottery! After paying off my house, Iíd give the rest away. I know a number of people who are much more deserving of the money than myself. Of course, I guess I need to start buying the tickets if thatís ever going to happen.

 

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I signed up at http://www.volunteersandiego.org recently, and encourage anyone interested to check out the website. It gives you the opportunity to pick and choose things to help with, as time permits with your schedule. Iím going to the orientation this week so Iíll share more later on, once Iíve actually worked with them.

Iíve done a few things recently such as installing this fan.

I installed this for Nancy, a single parent.  This is in her daughter's room. 

This is what makes it all worthwhile....an email from Nancy's daughter Natalie....

"Thanks Ron for putting in my fan.  I really needed one.  It was real nice of you.  Now I am your fan with a fan!" 

thanks again,

Natalie

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I attended the orientation for Volunteer San Diego.  I'm impressed with how many opportunities there are to help each month....over 90!  This is great news.  I've hit a few brick walls recently in my efforts to volunteer. My contact in Louisiana has not returned emails,  I received no response from a query I made to a church in Texas to help following a fire, and I wasn't picked from a list of volunteers to help out for the parks system in Northern California.  Volunteer San Diego has opened up a number of options for me when I'm in town.

 

JUNE 2006

 

BEING THANKFUL.  How often do we all forget how much we have to be thankful for?  Do you have a toothache right now?  Probably not....one of "many" things you are should be thankful for but are not aware of.

Too often we don't stop to reflect on how lucky we really are, unless it's brought to our attention.

Although my life, like everyone else's may not be perfect, I try to take some time each day and appreciate life for what it is.

 

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Well, one of my good deeds this month has been to drive my parents to Kingman, Arizona for an 80th birthday party for one of my dad's former Navy buddies.

 

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This is Stephen.....A ranger at Walnut Canyon National Monument.  My mom had a little difficulty, which required medical attention, along one of the trails.  Stephen came to her rescue and was a great guy!!

A little sightseeing along the way.

The happy travelers.

 

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We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.

 

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I spent part of June working in the Arizona desert on a ranch, volunteering my painting and construction skills.  The ranch is out in the middle of BLM land, with no civilization for miles.  The name of the dirt road that's listed as it's address is "Bloody Basin Road" which should give you some indication of the area and the 100 plus degree weather I encountered.

My wife, Karen, lives in Arizona (we separated a few years ago) and I offered to drive out and help her paint her clients ranch house.  She does excellent work, but this was a big project.

 

Here are a couple of shots of the place....notice that it's all alone, in the middle of the desert.

Here's the impressive part of this adventure.  This is Kathy.  She was at the ranch house volunteering also.  She recently signed up for the "Peace Corps."  It takes a year to be accepted into the program with all of the paperwork, clearances and orientations.  Next year she's heading to a South Pacific island for 27 months of volunteering.  Now that's impressive!  Makes my little stints look like nothing.

Having met Kathy gave me an new idea for my web site.  I'm going to start focusing on the people I meet who are "volunteering" and giving time back to the community.  I'm just a grain of sand on a huge beach.  There are countless others who should be in the limelight for their efforts.  Expect to see more of them and less of me....I'll be out there, but you already know enough about me.

 

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