Sunday, October 20, 2013

Have a Snack for Humanity in Skid Row 19 October 2013

Yesterday Have a Snack for Humanity gathered up their volunteers in Lakewood, CA again to prepare sandwiches to take down to the Rescue Mission in Los Angeles and hand out to people on Skid Row.

This was my second time going and the first time for my kids. There had been kids the first time and having experienced the situation I knew it was a safe place for my kids to be. There are plenty of volunteers and we stay close to the vehicles while handing out the food.

The beauty of going down there is that while, yes, there are folk in the area that are NOT happy, not happy to see us, not happy with life, not grateful, not friendly, there are 20 times more people who ARE happy to see us, grateful and friendly. Those are the people I want my children to interact with. Not just SEE. These are not people on display. These are not people to observe for a lesson. I wanted my kids to understand a part of living life that is as real as our cozy little home, nice car and restaurant meals are. I want my kids to know that there are people on Skid Row who DO NOT fall into the stereotype category of "crazy drug addict" or "dangerous outcast" or just "crazy." There are people who, for whatever reasons, are JUST THERE and they are hungry.

No judgment.

No labels.

No lessons.

No partisanship.

Just human interaction.

I'm not there yet.

But I am learning.

I am amazed and humbled by the presence of men and women down there, both from Skid Row and from our group. I have been in a protective bubble for so long. Have been so angry myself, so entitled, so judgmental, so...silently inhuman to so many humans...that I am learning too.

My kids get to take this journey with me. A journey of gratitude, a journey of reality, a journey of opening your heart up....just opening it up, letting it be wide open to everyone with a presence of love that transcends anything ever felt before and just feeling that for everyone, no matter who they are, no matter where they are, no matter what they do or say.

Oh yes. I am learning. It is days like yesterday when I realize just how small and protected and walled away my poor heart has been. I pray it keeps opening.

I pray I can continue to reach out and help others and share with them the blessings I have been given. And to continue to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU every single day all day long and never forget how incredibly well taken care of I have been all my life.

I would be remiss if I failed to share this: We came upon a woman with a daughter about my oldest daughter's age and two younger boys. She said she had clothes for her kids, but mostly shirts, no pants. I had just discovered that the bag of men's clothes I thought I had brought had been a bag of women's and girl's clothes. As my girls and I rummaged through the bags in the truck, we pulled out sweats for the girl, a couple things for the mom, and there was a beautiful grey sweater that I had bought Sami a couple years ago. I don't know how it made it into the bag but it wasn't intended as a giveaway. 

I started to put it back and Sami said, "no Mom, it's ok, give it to her." It was a beautiful cardigan sweater with had been her Christmas sweater two years ago. It still fit her. But the beauty of my daughter giving away a beloved sweater because she saw how much the girl needed it...THAT beauty is what I hold in my heart today with the rest of the experience. Because right there...bam...right there is why I brought them. And they GOT IT. 

I love my girls so much. They enjoyed the experience, they were exhausted after...and I am pretty positive their hearts opened up a bit more yesterday just like mine.


The crew for the 19 October run. My beautiful friends PJ and Joann are in the back along with Geoff and Frank.
All day my little heart melted when the cool cat with the liberty spikes passed by (front row, far right).
See? Punk Rock is not only NOT DEAD, but punkers have HEART. 

Joann (Jojo), my ham Hayley, Sami and I in front and other wonderful and smiling volunteers getting sandwiches prepped!

Sami (what the heck are you looking at?) me, working the food, Terri behind Sami, and GORGEOUS JOJO!!

Jojo and Hayley teaming up.

Volunteers ready to serve. Sami, Hayley and COOL LIBERTY SPIKE DUDE! I have to get his name next time. Damn.

Jojo and I loved this lady's shirt...Her name is Barbara and man, she was so pleased to get a bunch of photos taken.
We laughed about her paparazzi problem :) 
Amen sister!

My beautiful friend PJ hands a sandwich and water to a passerby as our buddy Frank looks on. This lady was so gracious and kind and thankful. She was one of many that made my day. More than made up for the lady who took a sandwich from my hand and proceeded to yell at me and the others around me that we'd better never come back there, and don't bring our food, they don't need it and I'm a bitch. That's the downside to it. And yet you keep smiling and giving away and understand and say thank you silently over and over.

Geoff (far right) and Frank handing out...
My daughter Hayley... 
This little girl was smiling so much. Her parents were very sweet.
Hayley gave them extra water because it was so hot out there...
A crew of good folk wanting to help...

My daughter Sami giving water and sandwich to a little girl. That girl and her mom and siblings were there last time. 

Geoff's beautiful, smiling daughters

Geoff getting friendly with one of the regulars. Geoff has a heart of gold. 

Jojo getting down and praying with a lady.

Geoff's daughters handing daughter Sami doing something odd with her arm...that's my girl. :)

Right here is what it's all about.

These women and children were here last time. 

My daughter Sami, another beautiful young woman and our liberty spike friend...this lady had her boombox blaring. That's me in the back preparing for.....I have no idea. Can't help it. I'm a mom, that's my kid, this is Skid Row. There were a couple times when we gathered close because some fellas across the street started screaming and yelling and cussing and we weren't sure what was going to happen. But they settled down and we just kept on.
Frank, high-fiving folk...Frank is another one with a heart of gold. And a BEAUTIFUL motorcycle. :)

Sami giving a little bit away...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Scrubbing Bubbles Oh My!

Paid another visit to the Los Angeles County Fire Museum in Bellflower today. It was so neat (I can't use that word without thinking about Kevin Costner saying "neat" to Madonna in her documentary "Truth or Dare" and then she made fun of him for saying it.  Why does my brain do this to me? Pull idiotic trivia from the crevices and fling them forward???) to just be there. I can't really say why, but it's a place I immediately fell in love with when we visited a couple months ago.

So, my kids and I were snacking in the little room in which they have a kid's firetruck, some old helmets and turnout gear, an actual fire hydrant taken from the rubble of the Twin Towers and donated by FDNY, and a couple display cabinets full of Emergency! paraphernalia. All of which need some TLC cleaning. 

I still tear up looking at anything related to 9/11.
That will never go away.

I don't know if that's a "real" defib prop or a toy. Looks too real to be a toy...

Cool games. HEY! We've been to the REAL Station 51! Funny, they have a
model just like this there too. 

When the Vice President of the Museum came in and sat down to talk to us, I asked if they needed volunteers to help clean. He was very happy to say YES! as most of the time the people who volunteer are there to work on the amazing vehicles in the museum, not so much cleaning and dusting and scrubbing toilet bowls. So, I volunteered to do that.

What should be made very clear here is that in NO WAY am I a clean freak. I don't even like cleaning my OWN home, and have no idea WHY I would feel compelled to clean anywhere else, but as it so happens I do tend to neat-freak it up when I am out and about. I straighten pictures, wipe coffeeshop condiment counters, pick up others' trash....I guess I'm just a mom.

But it's more than that...there is something about that museum that I am drawn to and want very much to be a part of and, well, it seemed there was a need and I offered to fill it. :)

Volunteering at hospital, feeding homeless, scrubbing museum toilets....what the heck is going on with me?? 


Whatever it is it feels nice. 

I hope they take me up on it. Oh, and the girls are excited to do it too!! HAHA!! They feel the same as I do I guess. Pictures of Johnny and Roy and counters in which there are Station 51 and Emergency! toys should sparkle. No cobwebs please. 

And because our first trip was so overtaken by everything Emergency!, I didn't really post photos of the other vehicles at the museum in my first blog about LACFM. So, to make up for that, here are only a scant few other vehicles at the museum:

All three of us decided we definitely want this car :)

Apparently this vehicle had a part in Disneyland history as well! the helmets.
Oh...that's Sami's head at the bottom of the photo. She tried all afternoon to photobomb me.

On a totally random and weird side-note...I keep seeing repeating numbers all the time,
12:12, 12:21 and 7:23 (my birthday, oh my!).
So had to get a shot of Truck 23 :)

Ok. She finally got it...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

And Now For Something Completely....Useless

I haven't blogged since the heat died down. We have actually had mid-80s...EVEN mid- to high-70's temps here in California. I think I have been so euphoric about it that it bled the writing synapse thingies in my brain right dry.

So, here I am at almost 11 pm on a Thursday evening, wondering why I'm not meditating like I said I would, and knowing it's ok, I can bust out this useless post in a few and get to the woowoo stuff and no worries because today is actually my Friday. No need to go to sleep at a decent hour when you don't have to wake up at o'dark-WTF?!?!?-early.

Let the three day weekend begin!!

I have been so flippin' busy's crazy. And wonderful. Have spent a lovely amount of time catching up with my dear friend Nicole from Belgium, then tomorrow is drop the kids off, hit the gym, spiritual chitchat with friends, and hanging with the kidlets on a rare Friday with them since their dad is off doing something or other. And it just dawned on me that I STILL haven't been able to get to the hospital to get my volunteering started...I am beginning to wonder if me buying the uniform, getting the blood drawn and having a physical and attending not one but two orientations was all just a dream...Note to self: add stop by the hospital volunteer office and find out when I can work the ER lobby to tomorrow's to-do list. Geez.

Then, Saturday, for the first time since I started helping Have a Snack for Humanity feed people, I get to bring my girls in on the fun and let them help out while we feed hungry folk at a benefit. Was going to take them to the LA County Fire Museum again, but...well...we may still bust on over there after working the food table. I don't know. They said they want to go, but...we'll see.

Anyway. That's just a silly little update on a very busy life. It's good to be busy. Down time is also good, but being out there in the world and helping people is a lot better. :)