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Testing Testing

Jul. 1st, 2007 | 04:39 pm

; If there is still a problem, there is a program from Microsoft called Fiddler. http://www.fiddlertool.com/fiddler/version.aspIf you let this run before sending your capture to LiveJournal, this will capture all of the HTTP requests and responses we are making to the server. To get the text from the responses, click on session inspector tab, then click on the raw tabs to see the actual data being passed between SnagIt and LiveJournal. If you could forward me those responses I could possibly find out what is going wrong.

A Mild Breeze Today

Jun. 13th, 2005 | 09:16 pm
mood: contemplative contemplative
music: coldplay

June is upon us already.

I threw myself into the new position with so much fervor that I didn’t even realize summer had begun. Where have I been for the last five months?

Under the fluorescent bulbs says my pale skin.

I suppose it was good that I never had a chance to wallow in the winter blues. Productivity doesn’t come from wallowing in anything. It was warm before sunrise so I came to work much earlier than usual. Either that or lay on top of my sheets pretending to sleep – so you see, it wasn’t that tough of a choice. I even wore color today to celebrate. It’s too bad I couldn’t leave the office until it was dark again.

So This Is the New Year

Jan. 31st, 2005 | 06:03 pm
mood: cheerful cheerful
music: smashing pumpkins

     The red light on the dryer was still flashing when I yanked open the door. The dryer slowed to a steady pulse, its wheels clicked heavily against the vents. As I bent down to keep the towels and socks from tumbling out, a single sock that flew past me. It landed with a little splash in a puddle by the washer.
     “Damn, now I’ll have to wash it again.” I said frowning while flinging the soggy sock on top of the washer. For the next ten minutes, I searched inside the dryer for its mate but came out only red-faced and empty-handed. Frustrated, I headed upstairs and checked every piece of clothing in the hamper. But still nothing.
     I searched under the bed and even pulled the mattress out and peered into the dark space against the wall. It seemed quite possible that the sock might have been flung into the crevice after a drunken night of peeling off my clothes. But alas - I found only dust, shoeboxes, and a pair of lacey undies that had disappeared sometime last year.
     “Ew. So that’s where those went...” I picked it up with a pen and threw it near the trashcan. “The missing sock must be with the singles,” I said jumping quickly off the bed.
     I tugged at the bottom drawer of my dresser. It stuck tight at first, but then burst open as several wool bundles flew up in the air. I dug down into the pile of sport socks, trouser socks and leggings, and finally in the bottom left corner I found my stack of 'singles'. They were in two neat columns, all different socks yet somehow one in the same because of their fates. Sadly though, none were the mate to the soggy sock.
     Defeated at last, I plopped down and stared at the pile of unmatched socks. There were ten of them. A few had been favorites, most were from years ago. I was always hopeful that the missing socks would miraculously turn up under the bed or on the laundry room’s ‘Lost & Found’ table. But the mates remained missing and my pile kept on growing. Some may view that as optimism, others would call it stagnation. Today I chose the latter.
     Scooping up the pile with both hands, I dumped it into the trashcan in one toss. I laughed at the ease of my movements. Funny, how things happen in that way.

Well, Bah Humbug to You Too

Dec. 16th, 2004 | 10:39 am
mood: mellow mellow
music: the cure

    The parking lot of ToysR’Us was filled with an obscene number of station wagons, mini-vans and baby strollers. Big green banners across the windows displayed, ‘From 12/10 until 12/23, OPEN 10am Until MIDNIGHT’.
    “Insane. Why would anyone be shopping here at 11:00pm?” I thought. It was complete chaos and I wanted nothing more than to drive straight through the parking lot and exit on the other side. “But there’s only one more present to buy, so no turning back.” I murmured before pulling into the first available stall in the back row.
    Once I walked through the sliding doors, I understood why shopping later could definitely be better. It was as if Santa’s sleigh had exploded over the entire store and every family within a 25mile radius had come to ransack the place. There were boxes and toys strewn haphazardly in every aisle. The main display wall of stuffed animals had tumbled down and was now just a huge pile of tigers, hippos, bears and colorful birds.
    There were kids everywhere - screaming babies from the far corners of the store, toddlers hitting me in the knees with plastic swords and superhero action figures, preadolescents chasing each other in the aisles and teenagers, in pj bottoms (which apparently is some sort of trend now), pushing me aside as they raced to get to the video game section. I felt sorry for the haggard looking parents searching for their children and the disgruntled employees running with boxes in hand, trying their best to not trip over the little ones.
    “Ugh. All this for one toy,” I sighed while stepping around several pink hula-hoops scattered on the ground.

    The charity had requested a ‘Blue’s Clue’ toy for a four year old boy, which initially seemed simple enough. I found the spotted, blue dog next to a wall of ‘Tickle Me’ Elmos and CareBears, but the brand said ‘Blue’s Room’ not ‘Blue’s Clue’. It looked to be the same dog, but what if “Blue’s Room” was something entirely different and I ended up ruining some kid’s Christmas? Fuck.
    After hunting around in the other sections, I discovered that “Blues Clues” seemed to only produce videos and DVDs. Either that or the entire store had sold out of the toys. So I was left with only two ‘Blue’s Room’ stuffed animals to choose from. The smaller version said a bunch of phrases when you squeezed its palm and the bigger one sang and danced instead. I almost bought the bigger version when I saw it could do the twist and what looked to me like the ‘running man’. Quite entertaining. However I decided the little one being softer, was probably better for cuddling.
    By now I had spent a good 45 minutes in the store and I needed to get away from the screaming kids. You’d think I’d be able to pay quickly and be done with everything. But that wasn't the case either because the line to purchase wrapped around both the electronic toys and video/DVD sections, AND was separate of the line for the registers.
    Yes, a line for a line. The joy it seemed, was endless here. When I finally reached the front, I asked the frazzled employee on line monitoring duties (in case we all made a run for the registers of course), “Do you happen to know if ‘Blues Room’ is the same as ‘Blues Clues’?”
    She stared at me with an exasperated look and replied, “Well they look the same don’t they? Isn’t that good enough? Hurry up, register 10 is open.”

These Are the Things They Didn’t Teach You in School

Dec. 12th, 2004 | 02:10 pm
mood: sore sore
music: enya

    Shopping bags laden with return items and non-fat lattes in hand, we were two women on a mission yesterday. Actually there were several missions; 1) to cross out a fat Christmas list (mostly Ann), 2) to bitch and gossip about office drama and 3) to catch up on personal adventures over a quick lunch of chicken tenders and fries. There were only four hours left in our afternoon to do it all. It was power shopping and girlfriend bonding rolled into one.

    Down by the waterfront, there was a bite in the air despite the sunny skies above. Standing on the MUNI platform in front of Pier 7, we zipped up our jackets to keep the chill out. As the N-Judah rounded the bend, I handed Ann my latte so I could adjust the articles of clothing inside my shopping bag.
    Suddenly she blurted out, “I’ve been totally freaked out about it.” Her hands waved over my head causing a splatter of coffee to land by my feet.
    I looked up to see her nodding vigorously, her eye’s wide with a frantic look. “What? The shopping? We’ll get through it.” I laughed.
    “No, no. Not shopping. The wedding.” She said moving her hands around in a circle.
    I stood up and quickly grabbed my latte from her before the rest of it was poured onto my sneakers. “I told you I could help with planning. I swear... once you get the dress, a place booked and the guest-list down, it’ll be less stressful.” I smiled reassuringly.
    “Yes, but that’s not even the half of it. I can deal with the planning.” Ann paused to blow on her latte, still too hot to drink with a dense cloud of steam curling up and around the rim of the cup. “I love him. You know I totally do. But lately though, I’ve had major anxiety about the entire thing.”
    I nodded, “Is it cold feet? Everyone gets that you know.” This was true of all my friends, who in these last few years have been tying the knot in an ever increasingly rapid rate.
    “It’s not even cold feet. It’s the concept of ‘forever’.” She said the latter slowly, lowering her voice on the ‘ever’ portion of the word. “Kids seem like a breeze to me. I’m ready to raise children. It’s something that I have no fear about. But this...this is IT. And these little things that we fight about will be with us for the rest of our lives. I mean... I don't want to end up in a divorce. How can I be sure when ‘forever’ is just plain scary?”
    My own eyes widened a bit while I listened to her words. I rubbed the outside of the coffee cup, trying to warm up my hands that had suddenly gone cold. “I think it’s natural to feel that way. For as much as you know about each other, you cannot make predictions or promises against the future. No one can know with certainty what lies ahead. It’s the unknown that scares us, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.”
    “Yes that's what I tell myself. But you can't help the feelings. Damn...and I thought becoming a bridezilla would be the worst of it.” Ann said, relaxing her face and finally throwing a smile my way. “When I told Heather about my anxiety, she said she had gone through the same thing. During the first month after moving in with D, she kept having dreams about all the things that could go wrong with their marriage. In her dreams he cheated and lied to her, they had big fights and little fights, and every morning their marriage ended in a divorce or separation.”

    I couldn’t help but pose the same question to Cindy last night while waiting for our drinks at the bar. “Has the notion of 'forever' with T frightened you?”
    “Oh my god, YES.” She shouted over the loud music, motioning for me to take a seat next to her. “I mean, this is ‘until death do us part’ with the same guy and I’ve only been alive for less than a third portion of my life. How do I know that this is the right choice? Will I know more in ten years? Will I have regrets then? It’s so scary, Kimmie. Just four years ago, I was out partying and living the single life. Marriage was definitely the furthest thing on my mind.” She turned to tip the bartender as I stared into our shots of vodka. Obviously the answers were not going to found there, despite the fact that the bartender gave us double shots after overhearing our conversation.
    Cindy turned back to me, swaying offbeat to the music as the effects of the alcohol took its course. “This will be the last person I’ll ever have sex with. Can you imagine? And you know what totally sucks? Sex with the same person after awhile kind of loses its spark. It's inevitable. For us, sometimes we get so busy with our lives – job, friends, family – that we don’t even have time for sex!”
“Sex is such an important part of a relationship. You need to spice things up to keep it fresh.” I said.
    She nodded, “I know it’s important. We just don’t have the time and our schedules are completely off. When I want it, he doesn’t. When he wants it, I’m too tired. Being in a committed relationship isn’t always fabulous. Sometimes, I wish I were one of those single people...you know...out and about, having great sex whenever they want it.”
    I rolled my eyes and started laughing. “Uh yea. Um... Who are these people Cindy? AND Why haven’t you introduced me to them so I can get some too? You know, I don't believe you can make 'forever' last if there's no passion left in the relationship. So don't ever let that die out for you two."

    Forever. Are we afraid of such stability because we live in a world of constant change? In a space where consumerism drives daily lives, filling the void with waste and want, how can such a concept thrive? We are a fickle mass of people, where last season’s styles are rotated out before the weather changes and old friendships are easily tossed aside over small matters of miscommunication. Yet in the face of marriage, so many of us are ready and willing to pick up the challenge, even though the completion of such a task seems to exist in contrast with everything else in our lives.
    Sitting across from Ann on the N-Judah, bags in laps and lattes still steaming in our hands, I was relieved to see that she was much calmer now. “So, what are you certain of?” I asked, gripping the rail as the streetcar lurched forward.
“Certainty, huh?” She looked out behind me at the passing buildings in the window, and replied with a soft smile. “I know he’s the one for me. I really do.”

We’ll Align Them First and Then Close Up the Gaps

Dec. 1st, 2004 | 04:10 pm
mood: amused amused
music: crystal method

    “There should be hand size regulations for dental technicians,” I thought as Evelyn pulled out a pair of starchy rubber gloves. She yanked one over her left hand, letting it snap loudly against her chubby wrist. I winced at the sharp sound and turned quickly to look out the window.
    She grinned at my expression, “Don’t worry, it won’t be too bad. I’ll be replacing your wires and bands and there may be a bit of tightness.”
    A bit of tightness. Sure. That doesn’t sound bad at all, if I had a mouth wide enough for those hands. Easy access. But I can barely fit my mouth around sushi rolls, much less fingers of that size.
    Thankfully, I've been rather lucky because the braces haven't been very difficult to endure. The initial banding caused soreness around my front teeth, but it was more uncomfortable than painful. Most stories I've heard have not been so pleasant. One girlfriend resorted to vicadin for dealing with the pain (yes, I suppose that does sound a bit extreme). Everyone said to wait for the first adjustment before crying victory though. Supposedly I wouldn’t be sitting so pretty after that.

    Looking at Evelyn’s hands now only increased my already built-up anxiety. I glanced around for Andrea, who last worked on my teeth but she was nowhere to be found. I remembered Andrea having small delicate hands.
    “Wonder if I can request specific technicians? Would I offend the other not-so-delicate gals?” I thought, studying Evelyn's large and manly hands; her fingers were pudgy little sausages that wrinkled heavily around the knuckles. I squirmed in the seat as she pulled the second glove on.
    “No pain, no gain.” I chanted in my head as Evelyn began pushing down on the wires around my front teeth. "If ten year olds can take the pain, I am not going to wimp out on this. Grrr…"
    Much to my surprise, Evelyn worked quickly and efficiently. Even though her fingers had a difficult time with my tiny bottom teeth, the ordeal was over in less than 25 minutes.

    For being such the trooper, I treated myself to a latte and slice of zucchini loaf from a nearby Starbuck's. En route back to the car, I discovered what all my friends had been complaining about. My poor teeth were now too sore to even chew on sliced bread.

Indeed, there’s nothing quite like sucking on a slice of bread for breakfast. Mmmm, tasty.

The Rituals That We Embrace

Nov. 30th, 2004 | 01:06 am
mood: content content
music: nada surf

    My parents don’t do the holidays anymore. Actually they never really did the holidays to begin with. As a child, the closest I came to celebrating Thanksgiving was to hang up drawings of autumn leaves, and have mom convince me that chicken really did taste just like turkey. To give her some credit, she did try cooking a turkey once when I was in the first grade. But alas, the poor bird turned out dry and chewy and my mom vowed never to cook another one after that.
     “American traditions… You don’t need it! We are from Vietnam and we have our own traditions. We do NOT eat dry meat.” She said while carving furiously into the overcooked lump of meat.
     “Can I at least keep the mashed potatoes?” I asked. I may have only been six years old, but I understood the importance of the food. Even though the mashed potatoes were lumpy and always from a dried goods box, its presence signaled the significance of that day. These were the moments that allowed me to define my sense of being and the boundaries of my world. And my world, well it usually had lots of gravy on top.

    Christmas was pleasant but sparse. We never had anything better than a four ft. plastic tree and colored lights haphazardly thrown over the side of the balcony. By the time I was in middle school, the four-footer had been replaced by a new model, one that was only about twenty inches high. After my second year in college, mom was ready to put the tree into storage next to my old leaf drawings, 5th grade Halloween mask and baby dresses. Indeed, the holidays in our household were shrinking in inverse proportion to my age. So I did what every other sentimental schmuck would do, I packed up the tree and brought it to my apartment.
    Each year, usually a day or two after Thanksgiving, I put up the tree. It’s not quite as pretty as it used to be, even with the new decorations I bought two years ago. The tree bends slightly to the left, some needles have snapped off and a few of the inner branches don’t look so green anymore. Despite all this, I can’t part with it.

    Maybe it has to do with the fact that every time I look at it… I’m reminded of home, my parents and those damn, lumpy mashed potatoes.

Not a Through Street

Nov. 25th, 2004 | 06:46 pm
mood: rushed rushed
music: underworld

    Mrs. Camille Barnes was standing in the doorway carrying a little dog with blue bows around it's ears. She had a full face of makeup on, the color of her lipstick matching the red stripes on her polo shirt.
    “This is Rebel,” she said, pushing the dog up to my nose as I was placed the food down on the counter. I let Rebel lick my hand and gave him a couple of strokes on his nose. The dog seemed pleased with that and squirmed around in her arms for more.

    Camille was the first stop on my "Meals on Wheels" route. In hindsight, I should have started the route in reverse order. The rest of my stops contrasted sharply against Camille's warm apartment and bright smile. Most vividly I remember the sickly men from the "hotels". The hotels were named in much of the same way that other hotels are named: The Henry Hotel, Seneca Hotel, Hotel Isabel and Park Hotel. But these were unlike any hotels that I had ever stepped foot in before. They were low-income housing projects that had been placed in old, converted hotels. A tenant is allowed to stay for indefinite periods of time, as long as rent is paid by the 5th of every month in check or money order - no cash accepted. Most of these hotels are located around Sixth and Market streets, an area that was considered to be the mecca of San Francisco nightlife back in the late 50s. The few remaining remnants from that period are the theater houses and music halls on Market Street, many of which still draw crowds into the neighborhood.
    The same cloak of malaise wrapped around each of the hotels, largely attributed by the tattered landscape of the buildings. Instead of swinging glass doors in front, there were rusted iron gates that allowed entrance only after the receptionist has taken a look at the visitor. The hotel floors were adorned in circa 1970 carpeting, except for one hotel that only had stripped wooden planks. With each step, the floors creaked loudly and gave way beneath the weight of my feet.
    “If I fell through, I probably wouldn’t even stop on the next floor.” I thought with utmost certainty that this would probably happen to some unfortunate soul after me.
    The hallways were narrow and filled with tall, badly painted doors that led to tiny rooms and communal bathrooms. The doors hovered over my petite frame, they were eerily reminiscent of ones that could be found in the passages of a Steven King novel. I moved quickly through the floors to avoid feeling suffocated by their presence. Every door was equipped with a peephole and rusty deadbolt. The peepholes never showed any evidence of movement inside, only my distorted reflection would stare back from those glossy bubbles. It seems everything turned ugly inside these buildings.

    My second stop was at the Henry Hotel. Apart from the man working the reception desk, the rest of the hotel was lifeless. Not a sound could be heard except for the occasional creaking from the floor and the humming of the radiators. As I hurried up the stairs, sour odors and dense air surrounded me making the stillness seem so much more evident. A little bug flew past me at the top of the third flight of stairs. As I focused on it, the walls blurred and to my disgust, the entire hallway filled up with particles of dust, specked here and there with cobwebs and frayed pieces of thread. For an instance I wanted to hold my breath and head back downstairs, but I let the moment pass and continued down the hall towards room #318.
    It took several knocks but eventually Mr. Eddie Myers opened the door. The windowless room behind him was dark and messy, lit only by the light from his TV. He stood there with shaking hands, wearing only a pair of sweatpants. His face was blank and tired. His body looked to be wasting away. I gently handed him a “softened meal” package and diverted my eyes away from the sight of his ribs pushing out against scaly skin; so much so that the shadows between each rib were darker than the shadows within the room. I wished him a happy Thanksgiving, smiling to hide my thoughts from his eyes. The others were much in the same after that. Each person had a different set of ailments, but they were all wearing the face of Eddie Myers.

    I returned to the volunteer center just three hours after I had begun, it felt as if days had gone by though.
    "Was it ok? Keep the map for yourself, it may come in handy.” said Susan, the head coordinator, as she crossed my name out from a long list.
    I wanted to tell her that it wasn't really ok. The experience had left me feeling a bit lost, a sentiment that was odd and particularly unsettling for today. Today being the day in which I should feel most validated of my place in this world. I wanted to tell her that there were doubts. I had doubts about the meaning of our existence and the values that we embrace in this life. More importantly, I had doubts that a cure for my dismal thoughts and feelings could be found anywhere within that map.
    But instead, I picked up the crinkled map and replied, “Yes, it was OK. Have a happy Thanksgiving, Susan.”

Recommended: Turn Over Every 18 Months For Optimal Use

Nov. 17th, 2004 | 12:14 pm
mood: satisfied satisfied
music: new order

I saw it first on Wednesday morning while hopping out of bed. Being late for work, there was no time to contemplate its meaning so I brushed it out of my mind. Yesterday I saw it again. From the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of it, while standing in front of the dresser deciding between a camel v-neck sweater and an ivory button-down cardigan.

Last night, I came home after a long day in the office and headed straight to bed. In my room, I turned on the lights and pulled the covers back in one quick motion.

Yes. There it was again. My side.

Despite my attempts at a so-called independent, self-sufficient lifestyle it seems I still subconsciously wanted to exist as one part of a whole. Possibly?

Divided down the middle were two opposing sides. The left was smooth, glossy and wrinkle free. The right a rumpled mess, with several long brown hairs strewn across the pillow and indentations in the mattress where my shoulders and hips had been only 13 hours before.

Three years since my last serious relationship, four months since I’ve dated anyone regularly and yet, I can still be found sleeping on “my side” of the bed.

Go figure.

And I Have Lotsa Shoes Too

Nov. 16th, 2004 | 08:12 pm
mood: groggy groggy
music: jackie mclean...still on repeat

    When asked by relatives, family friends and my mom’s mailman, "You must have been a sweet kid, weren't you?" I admit I vaguely recall memories of a little girl singing to strangers once or twice, and on several occasions even picking flowers for her mother from neighboring yards and public city gardens.
    Beyond that, the only other childhood acts of kindness I can remember were bestowed upon a furry toy called Monchichi, which I carried alongside me for years. When his freckles and nose began to fade from wear, I took a marker and filled them back in with perfect little circles. When his fur became filthy from being dragged through the playground sandbox, I asked mom to dump Monchi into the wash with the darks. I even made him Hawaiian shirts out of the excess fabric that my mom stored in her sewing box. (Yes, I sewed little shirts with snap buttons for my monkey. I should probably stop here, but we will continue on. Move along folks, move along.)
    No other toys received such attention and adoration from me. My red-haired cabbage patch kid was left out for days in front of the house, her face turned a burnt brown color and the neighbor’s kids stole her blue gingham dress and turned it into a flag. One year I gave Barbie a haircut, originally just a short bob that somehow turned into a mohawk. I decided she looked horrid and tossed her into the back of the closet until the following year. And the worst tragedy of all was when Mr. Bunny was left out in the rain for an entire week during the winter of '81. No amount of laundry detergent and scrubbing could remove the horrible mildew stench that remained on his pink and thereafter slightly spotted fur.
    The cruelty didn't just end there though. I had no affections for bugs and insects. Roly-pollies became little saucers, worms were buried with mounds of rocks and I fondly remember trying to suffocate ants under plastic wrap. (Again don't dwell on that, just continue on folks.) However, I did leave the spiders and cockroaches alone because mom liked to rescue them from sudden annihilation by her sweet, angel-faced baby.

    "Tsk, tsk Kimmie. In buddihsm, you cannot harm other beings. When you pass on from this life, you will reincarnate into another living thing. Only Buddha decides what will become of you. You could be reincarnated into a person, a tree, a flower or EVEN AN INSECT," mom would lecture as she picked up the little critters from my hands and tossed them into the backyard.
    "An insect especially if you were a bad, bad person. Killing other living things is BAD, honey. You should set insects free because they could have once been little girls, JUST like you. And if you ever became an insect in your next life, wouldn't you want other people to set you free??"
    I'd stand there pretending to be sad, tracing lines in the carpet with my toes. "But they're gross. GROOOOSSSS! You save them then, mommy. I love you." I'd blow her kisses and then run off to play with Monchichi, leaving my mom to shake her head at my childish attempts at charm.

    And what about my playmates? Yes, I did have a few. The other children not lumped into that group, I chased around the playground threatening them with hands full of mud. Rarely, did I invite friends along to tea parties and I never shared my cereal with anyone without a fight. I also liked stealing candy from the boys, even kicked a few of them in the knees for trying to take it back from me.

    Mom swears though I wasn’t such the terror that I’ve made myself out to be. She recalls a much sweeter side of her daughter, especially at social gatherings, when relatives visit or my favorite - when I bring friends or boyfriends home. There is one story that she is quite fond of and will tell it to anyone who hasn't already heard it half a dozen times yet.
"It was in Vietnam and Kimmie was just a little over two years old. So little, can you imagine? I was cooking in the kitchen when she ran in and buried her face into my legs, mumbling something about papayas and treats.
    She had been playing in the front yard with the neighbor’s son and looked liked such a mess. I looked down to berate her about tracking dirt into the house and discovered that Kimmie only had diapers on!
    "Honey??! Where ARE your pants? It's so dirty outside, DID you take them off?! WHhhhhhy did you do that?!" I yelled, bending down to examine her face for signs of distress but instead I found only rosy cheeks and happy eyes.
    She looked up at me, all wide-eyed and serious for a second or two and exclaimed, "No Mommy!!! I gave them to Tien. He had ripped pants. I have lotsa pants. So, he can have my BLUE pants!" And with that she ran off down the hallway clapping with glee, leaving faint footprints of mud and grass in a little trail behind her.
    I could only shake my head at the sight. There was my little girl already saving the world."
    Ah yes, it’s so sickening isn’t it? Personally I think she candy-coated many of these memories. I say this only because I’ve heard all the other stories (which of course you will never hear unless you get dragged home with me), and there is no way any child could ever be THAT sweet.

    In the spirit of giving and because the holiday season is upon us, I wanted to share with you some of the volunteer organizations that I like here in the Bay Area. Donate, volunteer, do a little something out of the goodness of your heart and not just because you don't want to reincarnate into an insect. ;)

Family Giving Tree - fulfilling holiday gift wishes of children who would otherwise go without.

San Francisco Fire Department Toys for Tots - holiday toys for disadvantaged children.

Toys for Tots in SouthBay - - holiday toys for disadvantaged children in Santa Clara County.

San Francisco Food Bank

Alameda County Community Food Bank

Meals On Wheels - provides home-delivered meals each day to more than 1,100 homebound seniors in San Francisco.

Habitat for Humanity - building decent, affordable homes for low-income partner families through volunteer labor and donations.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters - make a positive difference in the lives of children with the guidance and support of long-term, one-to-one mentorships.

Special Olympics of Northern California - provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people eight years of age and older with developmental disabilities.

Oakland SPCA - providing shelter, health care, and adoption services for unwanted animals.

Princess Project in SF - volunteer organization providing free prom dresses and accessories for San Francisco Bay Area underprivileged girls.

VolunteerInfo.org - information on how to get started with volunteering in the Bay Area, also includes listing of all current openings and application forms.

Bay Area Volunteer Center - complete Bay Area volunteer organization listings.