Friday, May 2, 2008

MAY 2, 2008

Today we spent a lot of time talking about Relay For Life this weekend at Cal State Bakersfield. There's a lot going on this weekend, but I hope you'll take an hour or two, at least, to stop by the AYSO soccer fields at CSUB and see what Relay is all about.

Of course, it's a fundraiser... teams raise money, and keep at least one person of their group walking during each of the 24 hours on the track. It's also a celebration-- hundreds of cancer survivors will walk the first lap, learn more about the American Cancer Society's services and be honored for their courage in their fight with cancer. Sadly, it's also a memorial... a realization that there are some who have lost that fight, and we remember their lives while trying to make a difference for future generations.

Bakersfield's Relay For Life is the second biggest in the world. Only Atlanta (which is the home city of the American Cancer Society) is bigger. By the way, it takes them six counties to edge us out, while Bakersfield's Relay does not include the result of Kern County's outlying areas. The goal this year is to raise $1.7 million. We raised $1.5 million last year, and every last penny goes to providing education, services, and programs for the American Cancer Society, and of course, research to find a cure.

We have an extremely generous community. There are lots of ways to still be a part of Relay if you are just finding out about it. You can come and make a stand-alone donation. You can come and stop by all the campsites and purchase souvenirs or enter prize drawings (any money you spend at any campsite goes to the Relay fund). You can purchase a Luminaria in honor or in memory of someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. And even if you are unable to donate, you can still be involved-- become a volunteer for a few hours, or just show up. Spending an hour at Relay For Life is an educational experience alone-- and that's a very big part of what the event is all about.

Chances are, you know someone who has faced or is currently facing cancer. If not, there's a good chance you will during your lifetime. Breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer... the list goes on. That's why we Relay. I was extremely honored to have served on the Steering Committee this year, helping to put together this magnificent event, and will stay on the committee for years to come.

10,000 people will be at CSUB this weekend. I will be one of them. I hope you will be too.

People LOVE their dogs... I get it. But THIS is pretty ridiculous.

Apparently, there's a company called La Petite Maison which makes dog houses... but they don't just make REGULAR dog houses. No, they make LUXURY dog houses.

So what's a luxury dog house?

According to La Petite Maison's website, the dog houses are, quote, "custom made to compliment the main house and the grounds." Basically, that means they'll make an exact (at least from the outside) replica of YOUR house... for your dog.

The replica dog houses cost between $6,000 and $25,000... and they can even come equipped with electricity and air-conditioning... among other amenities.

When saying these three things -- an actual, real letter is better than an e-mail...

1. "I love you." Don't e-mail if it's the first time you're saying it. "It won't seem genuine," says Samara O'Shea, author of For the Love of Letters. Tip: It's okay to keep it short. A one sentence "I love you" is more powerful.

2. "Thanks, boss!" Switching jobs? A note is a classy way to maintain contacts. "Colleagues may have no idea they've impacted you," says O'Shea. Tip: Include your new info.

3. "I'm mad." Never fight over e-mail," cautions O'Shea. It's too tempting to say something rash." Tip: Set a time to discuss the problem in person.