Volunteerism – A Unique State of Mind

(Originally appeared in The Beach Reporter on 7/9/92.)

On my desk sits my Oscar. My Oscar differs slightly from the real Academy Award, but it is cherished nonetheless.

It is made of gold plastic and is about 8 ½ inches tall. It sits on top of my stack of unsold, unpublished writing. My Oscar has nothing to do with my writing, however. I received it for a volunteer position I took on at my children’s school.

During a recent Parents Club meeting, awards were handed out to various moms at the school for volunteer jobs they had done. My job was a small one. Some of the women performed truly Herculean tasks, like chairing the school carnival or being in charge of a dinner dance. They really deserved their Oscars. Continue reading

Learning Valuable Camp Skills at Camp Eucalyptus

(Originally published in the Beach Reporter, in Manhattan Beach, CA on 8/27/92.)

It was with great trepidation that we set out for Camp Eucalyptus on a hot summer Saturday morning. My two co-leaders for Brownie Troop No. 569, and I, were to devote an entire day to learning basic camping skills so that we might pass that knowledge along to our little urban-dwelling Brownies.

I didn’t bother doing my nails the night before, and I certainly didn’t wear any makeup. I was there to get down and dirty – and down and dirty we got.

Camp Eucalyptus is a patch of urban wilderness set down smack-dab in the middle of El Segundo. After years of living in the area, I never even knew it was there.

It’s an official Girl Scout campground and is available for both for training leaders, and for actual camp-outs for troops. We wondered about the barbed wire running along the fence top, though, and would we really want to camp right under the holding pattern for planes at LAX? Continue reading

Can Anyone Eat Just One Thin Mint?

(Originally appeared in The Beach Reporter on 3/11/93)

Stop me before I eat again. Just two days ago I received my order of eight boxes of Girl Scout cookies, and now I am staring at one lonely box of Trefoils. We always order one box of Trefoils (the plain shortbread ones) because we think of them as being good for you, as opposed to the ones with chocolate on them.

The Trefoils will get eaten tonight. But they won’t be as good as the Peanut Butter Patties, or Thin Mints, or Samoas that we ate in a two-day frenzy. I always say I’m just going to have one or two Thin Mints, but I can’t help myself. I always eat ten or twelve in one sitting.

I suppose I like Girl Scout cookies so much because you only get them once a year. If they were available year-round, I probably wouldn’t think twice about them. No cookie company has ever been able to exactly duplicate the crisp mintiness of a Thin Mint. So, since they are only available for a short time, I get this deprivation mentality, and I have to eat as many as I can. Continue reading

Girl Scout Cookies: A Sales Career?

(Originally published as one of my columns in The Beach Reporter 3/22/1990)

Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies? No, I’m not a Girl Scout myself, but I happen to have 200 or so boxes of Thin Mints, Shortbreads, Tagalongs, and Samoas in my kitchen pantry and freezer. Unlike Nancy Reagan, I just can’t say no. And I especially can’t say no to a pixie in a green uniform with a sash, who has the face of an angel.

I tried, I really did. A Girl Scout called me on the phone a few weeks ago and I placed an order with her. After all, she was my good friend’s daughter, and what are good friends for if not to buy Girl Scout cookies, raffle tickets, car wash coupons, and pancake breakfast tickets from each other’s kids.

Then at the gym, a man who works out there regularly came in with a sign-up sheet for his little girl. Of course, I had to help the guy out. I didn’t want him to accidentally drop a barbell on my foot. Another four boxes. I didn’t want to appear to be a cheapskate. And you can always freeze them. Continue reading