Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lunchables Million Page Mission

I recently attended the launch event for Lunchables Million Page Mission and I would like to encourage everyone to join the mission! Lori Loughlin of the new "90210" on the CW has teamed up with Lunchables and First Book for the release of a free children's book entitled "Adventures in the Stars". (This book can be downloaded for free at the link at the end of my post!) I brought Chip and Lulu to the launch event and had the opportunity to speak with Lori about this amazing cause. First Book is a non-profit literacy organization committed to providing children in needy communities with the opportunity to read and own their own books. For every parent who pledges to read 100 pages together with their kids during the back-to-school season, the Lunchables team will donate $1 to First Book.

The event included Lori reading "Adventures in the Stars" to a group of school children from a local public school here in Los Angeles. Lori wrote the forward for the book and told me how much reading means to her and her two daughters. I also learned that when school kids in underprivileged areas are asked to bring in a book from home, they often bring in the phone book, because it is the only book in their house. This was a big wake up call to me. The future of our country depends on our ability to communicate. Reading is a huge part of communication. When you read, you become a better writer. When you write, you express yourself to the world. Our society depends on the exchange of information. Without it, you fall into the cracks and there really is no way out. So, please, everyone, now through October 31, join the Million Page Mission! and let's get books into the hands of these children!

At the event, I was also pleased to learn that Lunchables has come out with Lunchables Sensible Solution line which has 14 products that contain fewer calories, lower fat, lower saturated fat and lower sodium than the regular Lunchables.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Townie Perks

This is #2 in a series of posts with a practical tip buried inside.

I frequently joke about being from Boston and somehow ending up married to a surfer and living at the beach in Los Angeles. Today it really hit home that Surfer Guy is a TOWNIE and it is saving us money. Basically the simple premise of "who you know not what." One of Surfer Guy's buddies since kindergarten has a painting business. He is painting our living room (and doing a spectacular job, btw) for oh, UM, 1/3 of what our contractor's guy bid. We need some electrical stuff done beyond what we had expected. So I asked Surfer Guy last night if he had any buddies who are electricians. Well, sure enough, he does. Why did I have to ASK Surfer Guy about this as I bemoaned the cost for several minutes in front of him and saying stuff like, "what should we do?"

Well, I guess his critical thinking skills got waterlogged yesterday. "The waves are going OFF!" he shouted as he ran in, threw his briefcase and tossed his commuter mug in the sink. I followed him down the hall picking up a tie, dress pants, socks, a loafer, etc. When he returned to me crying over the electrician's bid and saw the amount...Why didn't he say, "Hey, my surf buddy Derek, who I just saw down at the beach, is an electrician!"???? Why did it take me asking? So sure enough, Derek was all over it, came by and offered us a discount that WAY undercuts the contractor's electrician. Yay! On the way out Derek says, "Surfer Guy is a buddy, I'm glad to do this at cost."

The whole six degrees of separation concept. Who you know and who they know. The basic fundamental of any networking situation. Coming home to roost in these tough economic times. Saving us cash.

It's funny, I think everyone has a little bit of townie in them. I mean, as long as you lived someplace, for a few years, I gotta believe you are a townie. When I go back to the suburb of Boston I grew up in, I run into people from my past. I am a townie. I was at my high school reunion last November and was debating who was least recognizable from high school with a buddy of mine I've known since 3rd grade. He's now a cop in town. He tells me, if you ever get pulled over, tell them you know me. And I was like, "Uh, yeah, Tom, thanks, but like 8 guys from high school are on the force." In fact, I was pulled over a few years ago (I guess I was going a little fast) and the cop was a friend of my brother's....Let me go with a "You grew up around here, be careful."

Some people may feel that with today's mobile society, we are rootless, unconnected, can't use a townie connection. Well, you are wrong, you are wrong right there! Get on the social networking scene, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Classmates, Friendster, jeez, the list goes on and on. Reconnect. You can be a townie long distance. Yes, yes, you can! In fact, here is a concrete example for you naysayers: I had a neighbor in a mortgage bind. I called a friend thousands of miles away who I grew up with. He is a mortgage broker. He was able to connect my neighbor with his friend and saved the deal. That helped solidify me as a townie in my new town with this neighbor I helped....And the townie beat goes on.

So here is my practical tip: "Townie Karma": In these tough economic times, embrace whatever townie connections you have to save a few bucks. In return, be a good townie yourself and help your fellow townies out in whatever way you can. We need to stick together.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008

Seven years since we were attacked. We haven't been attacked since. Why aren't more people lauding George W. Bush for that fact? You can bet the democrats would be pounding that one until it was dead if we had been attacked, again, since then. They wish they could be blaming him. Really irks me.

So now I have a couple of kids. World is a different place--but not really. There have been Islamic Terrorists since colonial times. Thomas Jefferson built up our Navy to deal with the 18th Century Islamic Terrorists. Anyone, ever hear of the Barbary Pirates? Look it up folks.

It's not about holding hands, playing nice, singing Cumbaya Oh Lord, and letting the world like us. It is immature to want to be liked. Doing the right thing despite knowing that you won't be liked, is very difficult, and something a mature person does.

Let's not forget we were attacked and are still very much at risk for being attacked again. Complacency is the drug of the unprepared.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tall Order

So I got an e-mail from BabyCenter today entitled "How tall will your child be?" Interesting, that it wasn't "How short will your child be?" or "What will your child's height be?" Because, I guess, taller is better? Right?

As far as I'm concerned, the taller you are, the more you can eat. I have friends who are around 5' 10" and mention they can gain 10 lbs and no one notices. Damn them! I also recall reading some study that said taller people make more money. Eat more and be rich--the best scenarios I can think of! So, anyway, the e-mail contained a link to a handy calculator to predict your child's adult height. It said it was only useful for age 2 onwards, so that knocked Lulu out. I plugged Chip's data in and then they asked for the parent info, I duly entered Surfer Guy's and mine. Answer: 6' 6". What the HELL? I'm 5' 7" and Surfer Guy is 6' 1". How random is the 6' 6" prediction for Chip? And what use is the predictor? Why predict height? What is the upside (no pun intended) of predicting height? So I can place futures orders on his clothing? Let the NBA scouts know so they can start tracking him? Something I can lord over other parents at the park? "Hey, I used the BabyCenter calculater last night and it says Chip will be 6' 6". So of course he will be able to eat more and be rich." That must be it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Someone once told me that "remodel" was a four letter word. The reason for my prolonged absence has partially to do with our remodel. Here is what we have been through this past week:

1. A fireplace mantel was designed and installed that is so oddly short, that I think my contractor had been overcome by paint fumes when he decided it, "looked ok." (It's being changed this week)
2. Me stepping out of the shower to be greeted by a workman coming in to use the head. He said, "he knocked." That's what I get for being too cheap to rent a Porta-John.
3. Nails in my driveway.
4. Construction crap in my GREEN Recycle bin. (It was removed upon my mentioning it to them)
5. Random half drunk beverages all over my garage, walk way, garden, etc. Why can't workmen finish a drink and/or find a trash can?
6. My 5 gallon jugs of water I get delivered for my cooler, all covered with stucco. Uh, hello? Tarp?
7. News that everything is going to take longer and cost more than they thought.
8. A sagging ceiling when they removed a beam they "didn't know was for support"?
9. Dust
10. More dust

One funny thing, my contractor's two workers have the same name: Jorge Fuentes and they aren't related. Jorge is from Mexico and Jorge is from Honduras.

I'm sure it's going to look fabulous, I just wish they'd be done already....

Thanks for bearing with me.