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Today in My History

2001:  Blowing in the Wind
2002:  It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
2003:  Clams,,,and SUGAR?
2004:  Sweatin' with the Mayor
2005Yes, but you DON'T Go

2006:  The Reservoir
2007I Broke My Mother's Chair
2008:  Going Into Hiding

Circle the Herd


Books Read in 2010
Updated: 2/5
"City of Thieves"

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 9/4/09)


Carolling from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

And on You Tube

Look at these Videos
Stupid, Callous, Homophobic, Hateful Legislation
This is Amazing--Tragic, but Amazing
Today's the Day
Web Side Story

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Herbert is 100

Mirror Site for RSS Feed
Airy Persiflage

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8 February 2010

I recently added two girls to my Compassion Family, Esther from Indonesia

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and Pross from Uganda.

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Pross is healthy, though she lives in an area which is affected by AIDS.  Compassion has a special "AIDS initiative" for such areas, which includes education, treatment, home-based care and "income-generating activities for the affected person and his or her caregiver."  Sponsoring a child in an AIDS-affected area is a little more expensive, with $7 of your sponsorship going to support the whole commuinity.

But I'm not sponsoring either of the girls; their sponsors don't write to them, so I have volunteered to be their correspondence sponsor, like I am the correspondence sponsor for Fred in the Philippines.  Obviously writing to someone is a good job for me.

Up to now, I've been keeping all the information on the kids in a drawer of my desk, but with the addition of two more...and with the prolific art work from Fred, I was running out of space, so I decided to set each child up with a file folder in my file cabinet.  This meant cleaning out a drawer that hasn't really been touched in years.  Many, many years!

I had a great time when I found folders for copies of newsletters I've written over the years.  Perhaps my life career has really been "newsletter editor." 

I don't remember the very first newsletter I ever edited.  I don't think we had anything like that in grammar school, but I was on the staff of the school newspaper and also yearbook editor for 3 years in high school.  When I got th UC Berkeley, I worked on (I don't know if I edited or not) the newsletter for the Newman Center.

But it was after we got married and started having kids that I really went crazy with newsletters.  I remember for a time there was a family newsletter, because it seemed that, with 7 people in the house, I was always telling somebody something twice and forgetting to tell someone else (it was during this time that the "Don't tell Paul Sykes things he already knows" came to be a family watchword).   I would post the newsletter on the fridge and everyone was responsible for remembering what was in it.

It was called either The Sykes Family Newsletter or The Saturday Evening Post (because I posted it on the fridge on Saturday night, of course) but the masthead changed often and I loved this one.

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That issue also contained the news, "Yesterday our mother, Bev Sykes, went out and bought a new $30 computer program.  This program is used to make newspapers.  Actually, this new program was used for this very newspaper."

When we moved to Davis, Char & Mike moved to Palo Alto, Pat & Rich moved to Sacramento and the others in the Pinata Group stayed in the BayArea, I decided we needed a newsletter to keep us as close as we were when we all lived in the same area, so I started The Pinata Papers, which I published monthly.  My favorite newsletter.

I edited the newsletter for both the elementary and middle schools that the kids attended.

I was the editor for the California / Nevada / Hawaii newsletter for La Leche League, which ultimately caused a lot of hurt feelings when they used the income from the newsletter to let the PREVIOUS editor go to a big meeting and forbade from going.   But who's bitter?

When several people I knew either face to face or through letters (this was 1991--the era before the Internet), were all bemoaning their lack of success in staying on a diet, I started "The Fat Fax, The Newsletter for Closet Thin People."   It appears to have lasted about two years.  In May of 1991 (Vol. 1, No. 11), I did a breakdown of our demographics:  "Our group ranges in age from mid-30s to mid-50s, with more of us to the 50s side than the 30s side.  We have 25 children, ranging in age from 1 to mid-30s.  Three have one child, three have three, two have four and I supposed I should be embarrassed to have the most at five.  Seven of us are married.  All of us work outside the home (though two of us are seriously considering retirement)."  This was an international group, since one of the women was Siobhan, Walt's relative in Dublin.

When I began volunteering at The Lamplighters, Gilbert & I started Cock and Bull, the Lamplighters newsletter, which is still being written today (but not by me).  In the family newsletter folder, I also found a one sheet called The Unexpurgated Lamplighter, written in June 1985.  Did I do a Lamplighter staff newsletter?  I don't remember, but it contained only Lamplighter news.

When I was working for Women's Health, I wrote a weekly office newsletter called Hot Flashes (an appropriate title for an ob/gyn office!).   I had such fun doing that newsletter.  When we became part of Sutter West Medical Group, that morphed into The Well, a newsletter that went to each of the (five? eight?)  offices in the group.

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I was asked if I would edit the PFLAG newsletter the day I joined Yolo County PFLAG, which I did for a few months until it became obvious that the older woman who had written it for years didn't really want to let someone else do it.

I wrote the volunteer newsletter for the Davis Community Meals Shelter, where I volunteered for awhile.  The newsletter was called Many Hands and one of the other contributors to the newsletter was Ruth Chambers, whom I interviewed recently for an upcoming article about the book she's just written.

The last newsletter I was involved with was the SPCA's, but somehow that never gelled.  They had a really good working team and I felt superfluous.   I'm sure we're all happier that I'm no longer working on the staff, though once in a great while I might write an article.

I don't really do newsletters any more (now).  But I guess my articles the newspaper (I've written several columns there, including a mental health column--what a farce that was!) and my journal have taken its place.  I guess no matter what I do, I just can't stop writing.

After about four months, Cousins Day is tomorrow.


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