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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Final Stop – Sitka, AK

Our week-long cruise on Wilderness Discoverer ended in Sitka, a city I had missed on previous trips to Alaska. Yes, we had rain. Then the sun came out until the rain began again. Alaska had an exceptionally wet spring and summer. That’s what a friend who paints houses in Juneau said.

 

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I’ll remember Sitka for gorgeous flowers blooming everywhere a flower might grow. I thank the drivers for not taking aim at tourists. They were easy-going, patient people who slowed down to let wayward pedestrians cross the street. Next best – the dogs. In Sitka people walk the nicest, friendliest dogs, and I missed my Abby. Most of all, I will be grateful for Ana Dittmar, the heritage museum curator at St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Ana agreed to accept my mother’s prayer book.  (See WP post  Sept. 2, 2017.)

 

 

Even though I had a map, the entrance to the Russian Orthodox cemetery was hard to find. Eventually, I met a tourist who had visited the cemetery, and she gave a simple direction – walk straight up Observatory Hill. Pass the houses and go to the end of the road. At the end, a dirt path snakes into a forest with topsy-turvy graves, triple-bar Orthodox crosses, headstones, and flowers. Visitors like me stepped into a eerie place of  lush plants, moss, and slipper slopes that were magical and spooky.

 

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