Volunteering at a Soup Kitchen

My mom signed us up. At first everyone whined, including my dad. But then we accepted facts as the time came for us to leave the house. I told my youngest brother, “Tonight’s Christmas Eve Eve, and so all of Santa’s little elves are spying on us just checking to make sure that we still deserve to be on the ‘Nice List’. Christmas Eve Eve is very important so you have to be really good at the Soup Kitchen. Okay?” He nodded at a violent speed.

We had close to no information about how the runnings of the soup kitchen worked, like who we would be feeding and how. All we knew was the address, and to bring pulled pork on buns and tell our friends that we had invited to bring salad and dessert. Approx mouths to feed: 55

We pulled into a sketchy, warehouse part of downtown and unload our haul. It was pouring and our crock-pot dripped while we stood outside, knocking on the glass doors of the building we thought was the Soup Kitchen.

I really didn’t know what a soup kitchen looked like. A large cafeteria perhaps with ladies in hair nets and men with beards holding out bowls?

” ‘Naught ‘a th’ sort. “

A woman opened the glass doors with a grin larger than the country called China.

“HELLO! Welcome, Welcome, Come on in! We weren’t expecting you tonight because HQ forgot to tell us you were coming, but here you are!” She ushered us into the kitchen, her big blue eyes were gleaming behind her petite landlady glasses. She began to clear away what looked like thawing frozen meals and then pointed to the tantalizing aroma coming off our crockpot, “And what you have there looks so much better than the frozen sandwiches we keep in stock!” We smiled at each other and at her, then we rolled up our sleeves and got to work; no hair nets required. (Score!)

Salad was tossed, brownies were cut, and well, pulled pork sat there looking amazing; all in a little room that close to nothing like what I had imagined.

There were two long tables, each as long as an olympic ping-pong table. They were surrounded by blue plastic chairs. A christmasy centerpiece was plopped at the end of each table, complete with smiling snowmen and mini plastic Douglass firs set on one end of each. Booster seats hung low on the walls, available for reach. Thank-you cards and hand-drawn pictures were taped in an arch around the entry-way. It was no Best Western, but it was build by love.

As we set up shop, we learned a few things about this Organization,

1) They are an application-based Women and Children’s home for the Homeless. The people we would serve had earned their place here, the goal is to help these families through food, education, safety, comfort, and self-reliance.

2) There’s a learning center for the kids who live here and are tutored there by high schooler kids who need community service hours!

3) Random Drug tests.

4) We would actually be feeding half the number of people we had prepped for because during the holidays, many of these families leave to be with family.

(And a few other neat things which I will remember and slip in later)

We were ready and the doors opened. That room was more full with appreciation and Merry Christmases than oxygen. People ate. I sort-of taught the two little girls who were also volunteering how to toss a salad. Lots of people who had never tried pulled pork before came back for seconds. Almost everyone in the room was smiling, except for the ones with their cheeks full. We made faces at the babies and talked with their mothers. We took shifts eating with the families or behind the counter dishing up. Nothing was scary anymore, and we were all really enjoying ourselves.

Then, those little girls I tossed salad with? One opened up her little violin and played in the corner all three songs she had memorized, including the Can Can. It was adorable. Especially when she messed up and paused, her bow in mid strum, with a stumped and concentrated look on her face. “Oh yeah!” Continue she would. The families who remained clapped to the rhythm, and a few poked their heads in to see where the curious sounds were coming from. One little girl in particular who had long dark hair and huge brown eyes, probably the same age as the girl playing, stood very close and watched intently. I left to do something in the kitchen, but when I came back, the violin was on the dark-haired girls shoulder, and my little salad girl was teaching her how to play. Dark-hair was ecstatic, closing her eyes and playing short little screeches to her heart’s content.

Christmas is about that rosy red thing called love. I pray for you and your family that you find some tomorrow and all the days to follow. And if you can’t find some, give some. Don’t worry, you have this love generator thing called a human heart. It’s very useful when serving soup in a kitchen, which I strongly suggest you try sometime. Musical instruments optional but highly looked upon.

Merry Christmas Guys :)



The “I Passed My Permit Test” Dance

uh huh! uh huh! it's my birthday! we're gonna party!

… this is how it’s done. (Thanks Miley)

The big day commenced as such: Madre picked me up in the getaway minivan two seconds after school got out Friday. We pulled into the DMV twenty minutes early to our appointment and waited in line with the following in hand:

• Birth Certificate

• SS Card

• Pink Slip from Driver’s Ed course that I took at school (many people take it online though)

• Drivers license application that we requested over-the-phone

• Madre’s ID

In preparation for the test, I downloaded the driversed.com app for my iPhone and did as many practice tests as possible in the car. This could be considered cheating because half of the answers would whiz by the window.

Nowadays, you take your first driver’s license picture when you take your first permit test. Some tips I found on this here web:

dmv driver's ed picture tips california


Took the test, made a friend while waiting for it to be scored, heard my name, and found out I missed eight. That’s the most you can miss to pass. But it’s passing. I wouldn’t have to come back again for six months (when I take the behind-the-wheel).


Now time to get behind the wheel lessons,

and then tell my insurance that we have a teen driver in the house…

scared terrified baby meme picture

Scary stuff man.



(I’ll show you dear reader the test itself when I find it…)

Until then… Merry Christmas!

The Season of Happy

This is what happens when I’m on a sugar high and my pondering juices are flowing, the result is unorganized and random; sometimes funny. Enjoy!

For the last two weeks it’s either been “Happy Christmas!” (In England) or “Happy New Years!”

So what’s with all the Happy?

Happy, meaning that these have been the two happiest weeks of the year! (Ignoring the fact that it’s 2012 now.)

‘Cmon it’s common sweet knowledge! Ever since Kindergarten the same anticipation awaits the third week of December. A little kid shudders with glee at the thought of Santa, presents, and candy galore. The 25th eventually arrives and they’ll toss and turn all night with glee, straining in the dark to hear that distant HO HO HO, (Or the Polar Express). Words can’t express the euphoria of christmas morning to a small child. So I’ll just skip that description and let you ponder you’re own memories.

happy, Happy, HAPPY!

The “Christmas Hangover” on the 27th, leaves small children to play with their happy new treasures and adults to check finances then happily hitting the treadmill.  We descend from the climax of Christmas, go on a hike and eat sugar cookies (Contradictory I know). Dry douglas firs are thrown to the curb and lights are wrapped in a “Griswold Ball” and stuffed in the attic with all the other Christmas frippery. We vacuum our houses and get Martinelli’s on sale at Lucky. We’re still happy. Muy feliz.

New Years comes… with hardly a climax as high as Jesus’ Birthday, but keeps the spirit happy all the same as long as we’re still on vacation. Why do we say “Happy New Years”? Simply, we’re too lazy to say “Have a Happy New Year”. Plus, it’s uncomfortably sincere to tell  a stranger, “I hope you have a Happy New Year!” .*Whatever happened to George Bailey’s days, when you could in fact, wish a sincere Happy New Year on a stranger? What’s the word… not chivalry… not courteousness… CIVILITY. Where’s that American Civility guys? Some people might say it’s back in the 50’s or 60’s. Now I’m not saying it’s jumped off the face of the earth, just that Civility isn’t in fashion anymore. But that’s the funny thing about fashion, and why I’m not a beauty/fashion blogger… many people don’t heed what the designers say and there are fashion Rebels. Proof? Mullets. Mullet-headed men are a rare and awesome species. Needless to say, Mullets won’t be around forever so if you have a mullet, I SALUTE YOU!

We’re all fashion rebels at heart because fashion doesn’t just cover clothes. (No pun intended) Fashion is in the way we speak and talk to people. Lingo over the years changes and so do human behaviors. Civility sadly, is one that was put on the chopping block a while ago. You fashion rebels out there who still celebrate and practice civility, I salute you especially.

WOW. Off topic much Syd? I went from childhood holiday memories to Civility on the chopping block of urban existence. Well this is why I’m writing a blog, and not a book. (Knock on wood!) May I start over?

We’ve taken “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” and dulled their distinction into something that one could shout to the world aimlessly. Last night when 11:59 flicked to 12:00 I could have easily ran outside, stood in the middle of the street and shouted to the world “Happy New Year” and nobody in the neighborhood would have thought that extremely weird. If you think about it… “Happy New Year” doesn’t really make sense to someone as weirdly philosophical as I. (If this doesn’t make sense, remember it’s the sugar high talking)

“Happy New Year”. “Happy Christmas”. What are you trying to say?! It’s gonna be a happy new year? I hope that you have a happy new year? This Christmas should be a happy one?!

happy, Happy, HAPPY! 

My conclusion? We’re just so happy during this season of happiness, it would take a monkey brain to put the word “happy” in front of everything!

(Which also makes sense because people who are not happy during this season, the “Bah-Humbuggers”, hardly wish anyone a Merry Christmas! See? Monkey Brain!)

So the spirit of Happiness and Mullets, me and my sugar high wish you a Happy New Year for you and yours. Not only that it’ll be a Happy one but one of civility and uncomfortable sincerity. You should try it sometime!



Holiday Fears + Final Exam tears = Moxi!

Geometry Finals tomorrow. Heaven help my terrified soul.

Some lingo I picked up today from Amelia Earhart (aka Amy Adams)… “Moxi”. Well my spellchecker’s mad at me so I’m guessing “Moxi” isn’t in the dictionary, but according to Amy… ahem AMELIA  Earhart, Moxi is a synnonym for courage or a good gut for scary things. I could use some Moxi right now for two things:

1) Geometry Finals that may eat me alive tomorrow.

2) Christmas, that I realized yesterday… Is in SIX DAYS! Time didn’t just fly by, it knocked me out like the Mafia and while I was blacked out, 2011 happened.

But why am I SCARED for Christmas? Because my Biology teacher scarred me for life when she put this up on the board:






What a spirited teacher!!!

If that doesn’t make little kids pee their pants and sleep under their beds on Christmas Eve I do not know what will.

So yes. I am going to pray for Moxi tonight. And that Santa doesn’t find my house this year.

Whoops forgot about Geometery finals tomorrow! Heaven help my terrified soul! Well, nothing like procrastinating studying than a little Evil Santa!

Naughty SydneyJoTo…

Guess Santa won’t be visiting ME this year, Oh well!