I Read Your Sign – Mine is Libra

 

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Cape May, NJ
Cape May, NJ

If a quirky sign catches my attention, and many have, I’ll take a photo and add the image to my expanding collection. In these dreary days of winter weather and hashtag political nonsense, I have a distraction for my blogger friends. Wonderfully creative messages and opinions are often nailed with only a few words. Many of these signs gave me a smile and a perspective about people and their opinions.  I don’t have a picture of my favorite bumper sticker – Don’t Believe Everything You Think. I sold the ’94 Honda Accord, and the sticker went with the sale.

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Enjoy the slide show.    

 

Tax Credit for 2017

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The 2017 donation checks are in the mail. Ten nonprofits made my list, and of those, two are cat shelters that my sister, who is now in feline heaven, has supported. The runners-up, fine organizations all, know where I live. In 2018 they will send mailing labels, calendars, dream catchers, stickers, nickels, bookmarks, maps, note pads, and photos of  children and animals in need of food, medicine, shelter, and compassion.

Last November I started to save bulk mail, and by the end of December I had a stack of envelopes. My name and address are linked to a segment of the political and social stratosphere. I receive nothing from the NRA, the Republican party, or religious organizations – except St. Jude’s Hospital, which I don’t count as secular. In some abstract way what I value and support has been synthesized. I imagine computer programs sending millions of potential donor profiles to advocacy organizations. That puts me on lists for animal shelters, nature preservation, social justice, literacy, population awareness, women’s health, shelters, recovery/rehab, and Tucson’s kid camp.

Remember the saying, You Are What You Eat? From the send-us-money letters I receive, I am correctly targeted. I use Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/) as a source to filter organizations. Many have a strong advocacy and persistence, but high administrative costs. When a CEO makes mega-bucks, I should be asking fill in the name for money. My bottom line: No contribution when an executive’s annual salary is a high six-figure income.

Best wishes to all for 2018. Let’s work to improve the health of our planet, and the lives of its people and animals.

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Kiva Microloans – Give & Get

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L-R: Rosa, Judy, Susan, Debbie                                                            Absent: Kathi K.

In 2009 Rosa, Judy, Debbie, Kathi, and I began making microloans through Kiva. (http://www.kiva.org/) We agreed that in a small way we would help women who needed money. At the start we each contributed $25 and invested $125, one project at a time. Loan repayments were eventual, and we were patient. Of our nine loans, two fell into default. When that happened we took the hit, added money to our Rainbow Women account, and help fund another project.

Kiva does not permit contact with a borrower, which is fine and understandable. We lost track of Amelia in Liberia, and our loan went into default. In 2014 the Ebola virus devastated the country. As much as we wanted to know about Amelia’s well-being, we were never told. Our second default occurred recently. Rochelle in South Africa needed money to purchase equipment for her daycare center and had repaid 55 percent of our loan. We understand that default is always a possibility.

Kiva projects are supported by individuals and groups. To reach a funding goal, projects need to attract many lenders. For example, we helped Aminata in Senegal raise $1,075. Twenty-two other lenders pitched in. Our next loan of $200 will cause a ripple effect. Improve the life of one woman and those around her will also benefit.

Here are photos of the amazing people we chose to help with a Kiva microloan.

 

Carmen, Peru

Carmen, Peru

Amelia, Liberia

Amelia, Liberia

Miriam.Columbia (2)

Miriam, Barranquilla, Columbia

Aminata, Senegal

Aminata, Senegal

Florinda, Peru (2)

Florinda, Morropon-Piura, Peru

Rochelle,S.Africa

Rochelle, Lenasia, South Africa

SanFelipe'sEffort.Mexico (2)

Zenaida Gonzalez, Group President – Estado de Mexico

Vicky, S.Sudan

Vicky, Gudele, South Sudan

Marusya.Mongolia

Marusya,  Ovorhangai Province, Mongolia

Rainbow Women has made loans in education, agriculture, food, and retail. Kiva has 11 more categories to consider. Choosing a project is definitely a challenge. Everyone has a compelling reason for the loan. A woman in Vietnam needs a toilet. A woman in Ukraine wants to fix her roof and buy radiators. Fifty-nine women in the U.S. are looking for loans. A beekeeping project caught my eye – bees are universally vital. Others agreed, and the project has been fully funded. You might like to join the many individuals and groups who reach out and help through Kiva.

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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Silhouettes & Exhibits

The current exhibits at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art fill the mind, eye, and heart with wonder. When I needed a time-out, I sat on a bench near the 7th floor elevators. I photographed people who walked from the elevators to the galleries. In silhouette they created an unexpected exhibit with the right elements – light, dark, lines, and tension. I sat there fascinated by the people who wandered in front of my camera as I clicked away. An apartment building adjacent to the museum provided vertical lines and rectangles to create a background of convenient abstraction. The public area was filled by some who sat on a ledge and also wanted down-time. Others walked passed with intention to enjoy the “Soundtracks” exhibits available until January 1, 2018.

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Not to be missed: Celeste Boursier-Mougenot’s water with bowls and sound, clinamen v.3. The zen-like combination of sound, movement, and color quieted my mind. At best I wanted an hour to contemplate and slip into a quiet space. Several YouTube videos offer a chance to experience the beauty of clinamen v.3.    https://youtu.be/_wdltDfs-F4.

“The Visitor” by Icelandic musician/artist Ragnar Kjartensson created a music video that rings uniquely atmospheric and sensual. The setting is an Astor family mansion in upstate New York.  Hypnotic and mesmerizing describes what I felt. Lynea felt close to tears from the haunting sounds – cello, drums, piano, and more. Truly a knock-your-socks-off experience. I must say that Kjartensson does look better dressed. He’s the guy in the bathtub playing guitar. Videos on YouTube:  https://youtu.be//lcwGnWuXJuU.

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