Read the joyful history of Christmas in San Diego!

Bill "Santa" Swank has written a really great book about the history of Christmas in San Diego!
Bill “Santa” Swank has written a really great book about the history of Christmas in San Diego!

I was privileged today to meet Bill Swank. Perhaps you’ve met him, too. Since 2002, Bill has been the volunteer Santa Claus at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion during Balboa Park’s popular December Nights. He’s a friendly good guy who effortlessly spreads cheerfulness and joy.

Bill Swank is probably best known for being a leading expert on baseball and the San Diego Padres. He’s written numerous books about baseball history. His knowledge is so deep, the San Diego Historical Society has called him our city’s top baseball historian.

His most recent book, published earlier this year, is titled Christmas in San Diego. If you love both Christmas and San Diego, I know you’ll treasure this book. It’s loaded with history, local traditions and hundreds of fun, very unique photos. (Five photos from Cool San Diego Sights are in the book! How cool is that?)

Bill “Santa” Swank believes the true meaning of Christmas is found in the Golden Rule. His excellent book also proves another important truth: that human hearts are warmed when we are generous and kind. In the book you’ll see community-spirited Santas through the decades bringing joy to many generations, lifting the spirits of all.

From Christmas Eve way back in 1775, to the present day, Christmas in San Diego covers over two hundred years of local history. You’ll find out how both famous and ordinary San Diegans have celebrated the holiday season, and learn a good deal about many historical places and events. Personally, I love the parts concerning unselfish Santa Claus volunteers who’ve participated in a surprising range of charitable activities. Touching young and old alike, with a twinkle-eyed smile and merry Ho, Ho, Ho!

I was privileged to shake the hand of Santa Claus today. Read Christmas in San Diego, and you will be able to peer into Santa’s heart.

Please join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously!

Bloggers Lifting Others Generously - 500 x 500

I’d like to propose a new informal organization. Anyone can join. It exists in our spirit. It’s called B.L.O.G., which stands for Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

We bloggers have amazing power. Our presence on the internet is enormous. We have significant and increasing influence in the world. Together we can make a huge positive difference.

So why not flex our muscles and use that growing influence to do good?

My proposal:

To be a self-appointed member of B.L.O.G., one must make a conscious effort to help nonprofits, charities and unselfish individuals who tirelessly work to improve our world.

Bloggers Lifting Others Generously will help these deserving folks by providing them with publicity.

From time to time–when opportunities arise–members of B.L.O.G. will publish posts about charitable efforts.  One might write a post to help publicize an organization’s food drive, or a community’s environmental cleanup, or neighborhood students trying to raise money, or a walk to find a cure…

Every member of B.L.O.G. will use the power of their passionate words to support those who work to improve our world.

Here are some examples.

Will you join me? I even made a big blue B.L.O.G. graphic as you can see at the top of this post! Make your own or use mine if you’d like! It’s all about a spirit of giving and doing things that are meaningful. Isn’t generosity what’s ultimately important in life, anyway?

Let’s make this world (and the internet) a better place!

Cool people in San Diego donate to help kids!

Smiling Chargers football players helping to raise money for kids included Sean Lissemore, nose tackle, and Tyreek Burwell, tackle. Everyone was having a great time!
Chargers football players helping to raise money for kids today included Sean Lissemore, nose tackle, and Tyreek Burwell, tackle. Everyone was having a great time!

Today was Union-Tribune Kids’ News Day in San Diego! I can’t believe this is the third year I’ve blogged about the special day. Time flies!

Every October, smiling Chargers football players and cheerleaders, kids and volunteers station themselves at busy intersections around San Diego. Waving at folks in cars, they hold up special edition newspapers, printed just for this day, which motorists eagerly purchase. The proceeds go to help our local Rady Children’s Hospital.

In the morning I happen to walk through one of the key intersections while heading to work, so I had to take a few photos. This year I’d like to say thank you to the San Diego Chargers, Union Tribune and all the volunteers who make this possible. Over many years, millions of dollars have been raised by Kids’ News Day for Rady Children’s Hospital, helping to save thousands of young lives.

Do you want to donate? There’s no better cause. I urge you to click here!

A generous motorist at a Mission Valley intersection donates money for a special edition newspaper containing articles about kids, written by kids!
A generous motorist at a Mission Valley intersection donates money for a special edition newspaper containing articles about kids, written by kids!
Two cool volunteers raise money for Rady Children's Hospital by selling special newspapers during Union-Tribune Kids' News Day in San Diego.
Two cool volunteers raise money for Rady Children’s Hospital by selling special newspapers during Union-Tribune Kids’ News Day in San Diego.

Follow this blog for more cool stuff! Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Foster homes needed for loving San Diego cats!

Nemo is our special needs cat. He has had left and right knee surgeries, and pins removed. He is in rehab. All Donations Appreciated! Thank you!
Nemo is our special needs cat. He has had left and right knee surgeries, and pins removed. He is in rehab. All Donations Appreciated! Thank you!

Do you love animals? Would you like to adopt a rescue cat in San Diego?

I met three nice ladies during my walk through Balboa Park, and they have a cool organization called Guardian Angels Animal Rescue. They work to save homeless cats and kittens in San Diego. The more fosters they have participating in their program, the more lives they can save. Please check out their website and perhaps you can lend a hand!

These super nice ladies are the Guardian Angels Animal Rescue, helping loving cats find new homes.
These super nice ladies are the Guardian Angels Animal Rescue, helping loving cats find new homes.
Nemo and his furry pal are enjoying another beautiful day in Balboa Park. There are many cool cats like this who'd appreciate a nice home!
Nemo and his furry pal are enjoying another beautiful day in San Diego. There are many friendly cats like this who’d appreciate your love!

Follow this blog for more random fun stuff, and various ways to help others (even those with fur) in need! Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photos of Coastal Cleanup Day in Ocean Beach!

Volunteers remove litter from beautiful Ocean Beach during Coastal Cleanup Day.
Volunteers remove litter from beautiful Ocean Beach during Coastal Cleanup Day.

Today is Coastal Cleanup Day! This huge environmental undertaking, involving thousands of energetic volunteers, is I Love A Clean San Diego’s biggest event of the year!

Over 7,600 people participated in San Diego County last year. Over a hundred tons of nasty garbage was removed from our beaches, bays and inland waterways!

This year, in Ocean Beach, a small army of volunteers fanned out along the shore looking for litter and other debris. The items they collected were carefully recorded. I saw many families, organizations and community-minded businesses participating. Everyone was having a great time.

San Diegans, who feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful corner of the world, are very keen on maintaining a clean environment. What’s good for Mother Earth is good for us, as well!

Many local organizations helped during I Love a Clean San Diego's Coastal Cleanup Day, including the Surfrider Foundation.
Many local organizations helped during I Love a Clean San Diego’s Coastal Cleanup Day, including the Surfrider Foundation.
Speaker of the California State Assembly Toni Atkins had a team helping to clean up the beach!
Speaker of the California State Assembly Toni Atkins had a team helping to clean up the beach!
Many Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers assembled for a photograph, with the Pacific Ocean and long Ocean Beach Municipal Pier in the background.
Many Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers assembled for a photograph, with the Pacific Ocean and long Ocean Beach Municipal Pier in the background.
This guy came in after surfing some fine waves this morning, just as the cleanup was getting started.
This guy came in after surfing some fine waves this morning, just as the cleanup was getting started.
Someone found a piece of trash under lifeguard tower number one!
Someone found a piece of trash under lifeguard tower number one!
The friendly lifeguards were cruising along the sand making sure everyone enjoying the warm water was safe.
The friendly lifeguards were cruising along the sand making sure everyone enjoying the warm water was safe.
A lone guitarist performs a duet with the mighty ocean.
A lone guitarist performs a duet with the mighty ocean.
This cool kid showed me a bit of plastic he picked up with his nifty grappler.
This cool kid showed me a bit of plastic he picked up with his nifty grappler.
People were combing the beach for trash of every kind, including styrofoam, plastic wrappers and cigarette butts.
People were combing the beach for trash of every kind, including styrofoam, plastic wrappers and cigarette butts.
Someone was nice enough to let me photograph their trash! This is what they'd found so far.
Someone was nice enough to let me photograph their trash! This is what they’d found so far.
Lots of smiles were seen all over Ocean Beach during the trash removal event.
Lots of smiles were seen all over Ocean Beach during the trash removal event.
Someone found a piece of garbage by some kelp near the foot of Ocean Beach's popular pier. I love a clean San Diego!
Someone found a piece of garbage by some kelp near the foot of Ocean Beach’s popular pier. I definitely love a clean San Diego!

Follow this blog for more photos of cool stuff! Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Setting a new world record helps the environment!

San Diego County Credit Union and Shred-it team up to attempt a new world record for paper collection and shredding!
San Diego County Credit Union and Shred-it team up to attempt a new world record for paper collection and shredding!

The huge SDCCU Super Shred Event is underway right now as I type!  The event is an attempt to break the world record for paper collection in a single location during a 24 hour period!

San Diego County Credit Union already holds the official Guinness World Record. Today they’re trying to break it. So why was I there taking photos? I collect my old records in a box at home, and whenever SDCCU offers free shredding, I head on down to take advantage of the service which is available to anyone. This morning the annual event, taking place in Mission Valley’s gigantic Qualcomm Stadium parking lot, is bigger than ever. So I brought my camera!

Not only does shredding paper documents protect against identity theft, but recycling paper is good for our environment. So this event is pretty cool for a whole variety of reasons!

The SDCCU Super Shred Event held in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. Unlimited free shredding helps fight identity theft!
The SDCCU Super Shred Event held in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. Unlimited free shredding helps fight identity theft!
As cars queue, volunteers collect donations for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.
As cars queue, volunteers collect donations for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.
SDCCU already holds the world record for most paper collected in a single location in a 24 hour period.
SDCCU already holds the world record for most paper collected in a single location in a 24 hour period.
Shred-it, a document destruction and recycling company, had a whole fleet of trucks ready for the big event!
Shred-it, a document destruction and recycling company, had a whole fleet of trucks ready for the big event!
A super nice volunteer smiles for my unexpected camera. Thank you!
A super nice volunteer smiles for my unexpected camera. Thank you!

See photos of some random cool stuff! Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Glean Queens of San Diego need your help!

Got extra fruit. Got time. Help fight hunger and have a load of fun, too!
Got extra fruit? Got time? Help fight hunger and have a load of fun, too!

Do you love to be out in the San Diego sunshine, among friendly people and fragrant fruit trees? Do you hate to see delicious, nutritious fruit just lying there on the ground, beginning to rot? Do you, perhaps, own fruit trees in your backyard and struggle to give the abundant harvest away? Would you like to help some hungry people?

If you’re looking for a fun opportunity to volunteer and make a positive change in the lives of San Diegans, read on! Some fantastic ladies whom I met at EarthFair need your help! They’re the Glean Queens!

These three ladies are making the world a better place. Join them!
These three ladies are making the world a better place. Join them!

The Glean Queens have undertaken a very important project. It’s called CropSwap. The perfectly named CropSwap (part of their organization ProduceGood) solves a huge problem. The problem of tragically wasted food–locally grown fruit, to be exact.

Sunny Southern California is thick with citrus and other fruit trees. Many residents have them on their property. Many of the established trees provide more fruit than a family can possibly use. Why should the excess become useless garbage?

Help save nutritious oranges, lemons, limes, avocados, tangerines...you name it!
Help save valuable, nutritious oranges, lemons, limes, avocados, tangerines…you name it!

According to the USDA, a whopping 40% of crops go to waste. And here’s another shocking statistic: 20% of San Diegans have difficulty getting enough food to eat.

CropSwap coordinates fruit tree owners and volunteer pickers, and arranges the collection of excess fruit that would otherwise be wasted. The fruit is then delivered to San Diego food banks. An excellent (and common sense) idea!

So all you fruit tree owners and future volunteer pickers in and around San Diego! Click here to visit the ProduceGood website and learn how you can personally help, in a very tangible and rewarding way, to fight hunger!

You can easily make a positive difference in San Diego!
You can easily make a positive difference in San Diego!

Spread the word!

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