Uses for Holiday Cards

January 25, 2013

American card, circa 1940

American card, circa 1940 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holiday cards always make me smile and reminisce about the person who sent it. I really hate to dispose of them, so mine are still sitting in a basket – for one more look. This year I plan on recycling some of the cards by sending them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. Please read below for further information on how to do this.  

I also heard a clever idea for the family photo holiday cards. Take a picture of the card with your smart phone and then store it as the picture in your contact information. Then every time that special person calls you will see the wonderful family photo.

Donating Tips for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children

  • All types of greeting cards, including Christmas are accepted.
  • Only the card front can be used (please check to be sure the backside of the front of the card is clear of any writing, etc.)
  • They do not accept Hallmark, Disney or American Greeting cards.
  • 5 x 7 size or smaller is preferred
  • To mail large quantities in the least expensive way, use the United States Post Office in a Flat Rate Box (available at the Post Office), which holds up to 70 pounds.
  • Mail donations to :
    St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
    Recycled Card Program
    100 St. Jude’s Street
    Boulder City, NV 89005
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Free Repair Cafe in Palo Alto Opens

October 12, 2012

I am totally amazed at this new FREE REPAIR CENTER in Palo Alto. Peter Skinner started this Palo Alto Non-Profit where you can bring the toaster, electronic devices all the way to tea pots. This is their endeavor to going green. Teaching people if you can fix something you no longer need to throw it away.

Absolutely fabulous!

This Repair Cafe is at the Museum of American Heritgage. This idea started in the Netherlands and is going strong.

Everything here that is fixed is FREE! Did I say FREE!

Sue Dremann from the Palo Alto Weekly Staff writes the following:

Silicon Valley entrepreneur starts ‘Repair Cafe’
From headsets to vacuums, volunteers will fix household items to reduce landfill waste
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A new Palo Alto nonprofit organization that aims to help non-tinkerers solve the minor mysteries of repairing broken small appliances and household items will open its doors on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Dubbed the Repair Cafe, volunteers armed with hand tools will help people learn to repair frayed electrical cords, non-popping toasters and even luggage at the Palo Alto Museum of American Heritage.

Peter Skinner, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and longtime chief financial officer, founded the first such organization in the U.S. after reading about repair cafes in the Netherlands, he said. The small European nation has 30 community-based fix-it cafes.

Instead of tossing the broken devices into the Dumpster, people will save money and do something good for the environment while learning a few handyperson skills, he said.

Among the items volunteers can help fix are small household appliances, furniture, luggage, some electronics, including personal computers, toys, bicycles and clothing. Palo Alto ACE Hardware will have staff on hand, and Green Citizen recycling company and the city’s Zero Waste program will have booths. There will be information about where to recycle things that can’t be repaired, he said.

“The idea appealed to me because of my own dissatisfaction with the prevalence of our hyper-consumer culture where we buy and we toss,” he said. Every time he does that personally, he finds it discomforting, he said.

After reading a New York Times article in May, Skinner contacted the Netherlands group to see about using their name and model. They were excited about the idea, he said.

With his background as a chief financial officer for Silicon Valley companies, including formerly at Accept Software Corporation, Skinner knew he could fill the role of group organizer. He set about putting together the volunteers and their skills and finding a location for the inaugural event with the help and advice of two friends, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Bob Wenzlau and John Eaton.

Skinner admits he is not a fix-it expert.

“I have moderate fix-it skills, not refined fix-it skills. I’m the perfect candidate” for the Repair Cafe, he said. He plans to bring an electric kettle with a lid that won’t close and a corroded multimeter electronic-testing device that stopped functioning.

Skinner said he hopes to assuage people’s fear of those things that seem imposing — and build in people a sense of the value of repairing.

“We are all so acclimated to throwing things away,” he said.

That trend has nearly doubled in almost 50 years, he said. In 1960, each person in the U.S. generated 2.68 pounds of waste per day. By 2008, the average was 4.5 pounds per day. About 54 percent ended up in the landfill, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Out of 2.25 million pounds of electronics that were retired in 2007, 82 percent were discarded in landfills nationwide, according to the EPA.

The deleterious effects are more than mountains of trash. Landfills are usually located near bodies of water, and plastics can leach chemicals and gases even before they disintegrate, the EPA states. A Zero Waste America study found that 83 percent of landfills surveyed in 2008 had leaks in their protective linings.

Incinerators that process landfill materials are also a major source of 210 different dioxin compounds, heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium, nitrous oxide, hydrogen chloride, sulfuric acid, fluorides and particulate matter small enough to lodge in lungs, according to the EPA. Waste incinerators create more carbon dioxide than coal, oil or natural-gas power plants, the EPA notes.

Skinner said he is interested in grassroots, community-based solutions to problems.

“We have so little appetite for sweeping policy changes,” he said.

Eaton, a mechanical engineer by training, said he will volunteer at the event.

“I’ve always been a tinkerer and repairer since forever — ever since I was a kid and started pulling lawnmower engines apart,” he said.

That first introduction to things mechanical probably led to his career choice, he added. It has also made him popular with his friends and neighbors.

“My friends will call and say, ‘John, come over for a glass of wine — and by the way, the dishwasher isn’t draining right,'” he said.

Eaton said headphones and earbuds are some of the most challenging items to fix. Tiny coaxial wires, which have a braid of fine wires within them, have to be connected with a soldering iron while looking through a microscope.

His stereoscope — a microscope with two eyepieces — is one of his most-used tools.

“It’s not something people have a lot. But it’s good when things are broken and you can’t determine why they are broken,” he said.

In his arsenal are items one wouldn’t have found in Dad’s toolbox. New tools are used for new technologies: miniature wire strippers, good tweezers and pry tools made out of plastic so they won’t gouge consoles, he said.

Skinner said Repair Cafe will start out quarterly, and hopefully it will expand as community interest grows. So far, he’s spreading the news through his neighborhood email list and has posted notices at ACE Hardware and the Museum of American Heritage.

“The response I got has been amazing,” he said.

People have supplied a list of items needing repair, from DustBusters to luggage. One woman wanted to bring a moped.

That brought up a point he wanted to emphasize. The Repair Cafe is for small appliances and items only — things that won’t take too much time to fix.

“No cars, no washing machines, no dishwashers. If it takes a truck to move it, it’s probably not a good thing to bring,” he said.

Repair Cafe will take place Sunday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Palo Alto Museum of American Heritage, 351 Homer Ave., Palo Alto.

Also, check out this video with free repairs.


San Carlos City Wide Garage Sale

September 23, 2012

The 2012 City Wide Garage Sale will be on Sept. 29, from 9am to 4pm. It is really neat, the city makes a map of all the garage sales and mentions items listed. A great way to support San Carlos and surrounding cities.

A list of registered sellers will be available online on Wed, Sept 26. Paper copies will also be available at the library.

Called to action in 2005 as part of the “Enhancing the City of Good Living Initiative” San Carlos Together (SCT) is dedicated to strengthening our San Carlos Community. SCT is a non-profit organization. We encourage community building through cultural, educational, recreational, and neighborhood improvement programs & activities. 100% of your tax deductible contribution goes back into the community through our operations and affiliated programs.

Our mission is to support local community enriching groups, volunteers & committees.

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4th Annual San Carlos Lions Club “Parade Your Pride” Car Show

August 4, 2012

Join San Carlons for the 4th Annual San Carlos Lions Club “Parade Your Pride” Car Show on September 9th at Sparky’s Hot Rod Garage. Located at 975 Industrial Road, Suite B.



San Carlos Seniors Having Fun

July 27, 2012

Music from the Tenor Band was provided on Friday for our monthly luncheon with homemade food. The Tenor Band entertained us while we had coffee, dessert and wine. Great band! Our event is always the second Friday afternoon of the month. If you would like more information, just give me a call. See you there! Pictures compliments of Doug Anderson!

Burton Park Fun in the Sun Hometown Days

May 19, 2012

Enjoy some fun at Burton Park this weekend. Saturday evening with the band, “High ‘n’ Tight, while enjoying dinner from 5-9…

IMG_0197  I would love to try this sometime, only if I wouldn’t get sea-sick! LOL

IMG_0194  A back breaking experience. Oh, what it must be to be young….

IMG_0201 Music is always enjoyable for young and old a-like.


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Burton Park Hometown Days

May 19, 2012


Check out this video at Burton Park’s Hometown Days. Kids having fun bungie jumping. Today the bands were playing and I must say that ALL of them were great! Come back on Sunday for more entertainment and food.

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Hot Harvest Nights in San Carlos

May 2, 2012

I am glad to say that we are at the time of year again when our “Hot Harvest Nights” starts.

Every Thursday night, May 3rd through September 13th, 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Downtown San Carlos.

The market features 50 to 60 booths set up in the middle of the street which will be closed to trafficThis will be a chance to stroll, meet your friends and have a leisurely night enjoying the finest San Carlos has to offer. Shops and restaurants on Laurel Street will stay open late for this all-community activity. Don’t miss out!

I have enclosed some information that might be useful for you.


( Schedule of City Departments & Council Members – 2012 Hot Harvest Nights (Acrobat File, 71.5 kb) )

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Earth Day Free Compost San Carlos

April 21, 2012

The San Carlos and Recology San Mateo County invite San Carlos residents to the San Carlos Compost Giveaway on Earth Day.  Each resident is welcome to take up to 5 gallons of nutrient rich compost to enrich their gardens. This will be just in time for all of our vegetable gardens out there.

The event is for San Carlos residents only – no commercial gardeners, please. Bring proof of residence.  And remember, it’s BYOB – bring your own bags and buckets.

See you there!

Sunday, April 22, 2012 – from 9am to Noon
Highlands Park, Tennis Courts Parking Lot
2600 Melendy Drive

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Memory and Ageing by Stanford Center for Memory Disorders

April 11, 2012

The San Carlos Adult Community Center is sponsoring a free “Memory and Ageing” presentation presented by Geoffrey Kerchner MD from the Stanford Center for Memory Disorders

A very usful presentation for everyone that has concerns over this topic. I feel it is always good to get as much information as possible. Dementia is an epidemic. Alzheimer‘s disease is the most common cause of dementia in individuals over 60 years of age and roughly half of all people aged 85 and up suffer from it.

You can learn: How to avoid dementia, warning signs, latest research and treatment.

This is on Tuesday, April 17  at 10:00 AM. For more information and to register call: 650-802-4384.

PET scan of a normal human brain

PET scan of a normal human brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease

PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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