Life on Florida’s West Coast

Old Cars, Animated Donkeys and Skaters

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There all sorts of ways to fun a non-profit organization. Most people shoot for cash donations. It’s probably the easiest way to collect funds. Well, that and grants. I’m sure you’ve seen over the years, though, organizations asking you to donate a car, boat, motorcycle, RV or camper. That would be CarAngel (and BoatAngel), the endeavor that funds a number of projects, including the children’s animated series “The Adventures of Donkey Ollie” and the documentary D.O.P.E

The Donkey Ollie series is a five-episode adventure in Jesus’ time. Ollie meets a host of characters in his journeys, learns moral life lessons, and enjoys catchy songs. The series is geared to preschool and early school age kids, and the DVDs are free of charge. All of the funding is provided via CarAngels. And, that’s quite an accomplishment, considering the same studios are used to make these animations that have completed projects for Disney, Sony, and Mattel. If your kids love Veggie Tales, they will adore the Ollie Free Children’s DVDs.

Donkey Ollie can also be seen a number of satellite, cable, and local television stations.

Car donations also funded the making of the anti-drug documentary D.O.P.E. It is currently making the film festival rounds and features actor Danny Trejo as narrator, as well as music from Switchfoot, P.O.D., and Arrested Development. It focuses on the “rise, fall and redemption” of some of skate boarding’s biggest personalities, including Christian Hosoi and oldschooler Dennis Martinez. A free screener is available on DVD and can be ordered for viewing for your organization. You can also watch the entire D.O.P.E documentary on CarAngel’s website. I’m watching it now and I can attest that this isn’t some low budget hack job. It cuts right to the chase, it’s gritty, and it’s real.

CarAngel is part of Angel Ministries. Check them out to see what donating your old car can actually accomplish in the long run. We’re not talking about a lot of bloated overhead costs (Carangel averages less than 5% of revenues for overhead). We’re talking about results you can see and actually benefit from yourself.

Thoughts on Disney’s “Enchanted”

So, here is my follow-up to tell you all how we liked “Enchanted”.

My daughter and I both loved the film, but Gigi (at four-and-a-half) found some of the relationship-swapping difficult to follow. She was looking for much more simplified interactions and happy endings, I suppose. She also has some questions about why things were so very different in one world from the other. Gigi was also quite concerned as to why a street bum stole Gisele’s tiara. She is still asking me for a better explanation of why is happened and what the bum will do with it now.

As an adult, I found the relationships much more enjoyable to watch than your typical Disney Princess movie. I saw women thinking for themselves and people going to great lengths to be the absolute right person. The songs, catchy as they were, will severely date the movie and perhaps keep it from being a classic in the same vein as Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. Poor New York City certainly isn’t set up to be the winner in “Enchanted”. It serves as the foil to picturesque Andalasia. Where Andalasia is happy and bright and easy on the eyes, New York is portrayed as complicated, drab, and dirty.

All in all, the film is worth seeing. I am now looking into the dolls related to the movie to see if I can get my hands on a full set for Christmas. The Robert doll absolutely looks like Patrick Dempsey.

Popcorn and the Movies

I have an old Kennth Cole bag we call Mom’s Movie Purse. It is vinyl, so setting it on the floor won’t hurt it. It is tall, so bottles of soda and juice fit inside. It is roomy, so we can stuff little bags of SmartFood popcorn inside. It has a little zipper section on the front, so I can slip my credit card and discount cards inside for easy access. In a nutshell, it is everything we need for a outing to the movies.

We prefer to bring our own food, which has a little bit to do with the prices at the concession stand, but mostly with the non-healthy options on the menu. Today Gigi had milk and I had unsweet tea. We both had SmartFood popcorn.

Every now and then, though, the temptation of the popcorn machines is fierce. We both love the smell of the hot “buttered” popcorn as it sits there in those massive glass containers. Today my movie club card spit out coupons for free popcorn along with my tickets. I was tempted — free is free, you know. After it was all said and done, we both avoided the temptation and stuck to out healthier snacks.

Why We Love the Library

There are hundreds of reasons that Gigi and I love our time together at the library. I get genuinely thrilled to watch how giddy and excited she becomes when I tell her it is library day. To have a child who adores time at the library means I’ve done everything right in raising the kid! We try and go at least once a week. Here are some of the things we love.

  1. Gigi has free choice of three DVDs each time we go. As long as she remains in the children’s section, I let her check out absolutely anything she wants, no matter how many times we have watched it before.
  2. Gigi particularly loves the bathroom in the kid’s section. The toilets, sink, mirror, and soap dispenser are all tiny and on her level. The staff keeps it immaculately clean. My kid feel absolutely in her element when she stands at that sink washing her hands and can look right into the mirror an see her own smile, all without standing on tip toe.
  3. I like the uninterrupted computer time. Sometimes I go ahead and sign onto one of the computers, as long as there is one available with a good line of sight to the kid’s section. It’s some of the only time nobody bothers me as I check my mail, or write a blog post, or browse eBay.
  4. I love reserving books. I’m in a time of my life where not much is done for me. I do most everything for myself, on my own, alone. It’s a small luxury to walk in and know that someone else has hunted down the book I wanted and tagged it for me.
  5. We love the free programs the library sponsors, from children’s tea parties with a professional ballerina, to quilting demonstrations, author talks and even a meet and greet with Davy Jones from the Monkees. We take advantage of as many programs as possible.
  6. Books! One should not forget the books. When I was married, I allowed myself to take on my ex’s habit of buying new books every time I wanted to read something. I am a voracious reader and before long, I had thousands of books. The money spent was one thing, but the space it took was disgusting. I ended up donating many to the library and now 99% of the time, I just check out what I want to read.

I could go on and on, but that should give you a small taste of why we love out local library.

A Life on Hold

Sadly, I am still unpacking boxes from my August move. While I had all of my daughter’s things unpacked nearly immediately, I have clothes and toiletries that are still in the garage or tucked away in storage, because they got taken away by the movers by mistake. I’ve spent days sorting through plastic bins looking for my nutritional supplements and prescription migraine meds.

When I was scrambling around in my storage unit this past weekend, scooting boxes, moving chairs, and trying to squeezer past mattresses, I realized how much I don’t like having so much of my life put off to the side. On the other had, I still cannot rally afford to strike out on my own and a $200 storage bill sure beats a mortgage.

Princesses and Obsession

My daughter was about two-and-a-half when the commercials for Cinderella on DVD came out this last time it was released. Based on the commercials alone, she began her obsession with all things princess. To this day, nearly every part to her life relates back to one princess or another; or pretending to be a princess; or thing like look princess-esque.

So, I have to get along to bed and get some rest so we can be at the theater tomorrow morning for the first showing of Disney’s “Enchanted”. The new Disney Princess is Giselle, and in a unique twist, she is not only a new animated character, she is also a live-action character played by Amy Adams. The movie looks cute and genuinely engaging.

I’ll let you know how we liked when we get back in tomorrow.