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Welcome to Raising Califorina where you will be taken behind the scenes to peek at the lives of a Southern California family. You will have access to never before seen footage and exclusive interviews that will give you insight on what it is like to be a kid in California!


Tsunami Advisory for Southern California

The National Weather Service has issued a Tsunami Advisory for Southern California and the entire West coast of the United States.  What is a Tsunami Advisory?  Per the National Weather Service, a Tsunami Advisory is defined as this:



Read about it here ---> Tsunami Advisory for Southern California
See Tsunami forecasting maps here ---> Tsunami Forecast Maps

California Inkorporated (with a K not a C)

I have finally chosen the artwork for my next tattoo.  (See the image below)
Click here to see a picture of the tattoo on my lower back and my first idea for my next tattoo. 

This is an image of Tara, who is the Buddhist goddess of Compassion and Mercy.  She is said to hear the cries of beings experiencing misery.  Being a regular meditation and yoga practitioner, I resonate greatly with the teachings and philosophy of Buddhism, but do not consider myself a Buddhist.  The reason why I chose this image is because it adorns the cover of a book that we have titled : 1,001 Pearls of Buddhist Wisdom.  The artwork and images in this book were the only thing that calmed California during his first two hospitalizations.  He literally begged to see the pictures in this book the entire he was in the hospital.  This tattoo will be in honor of California and his brave battles with severe Asthma, beginning at the age of 18 months old. 

If you would like to learn more about California's hospitalizations due to Asthma click on the following links:

First Hospitalization
March 2007 (his second hospitalization ocurred two months after the first in May 2007)

Third Hospitalization 
January 2008

Fourth Hospitalization
August 2009

If you would like to learn more about Buddhism, click here --- >  Basic Buddhism Guide

In closing, L.A. Mama denounces the remarks made by Brit Hume on "The O'Reilly Factor" (Fox News) regarding Buddhism. The last thing we need in the world is more religious intolerance based on ignorance.

Click here to see video of Brit Hume's uneducated opinion and discrimination against Buddhism.

He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye.

Gifts that Pay it Forward

Do you like this art?  Go to Papayaart dot com to see more designs like this one.  They sell gorgeous cards for every occasion, totebags, journals, calendars, art prints, water bottles and much more featuring creative designs similar to what is shown above.

Every year during the holiday season, we are bombarded by the newest tech gadgets, the latest, greatest big screen TVs (many of which have been banned in California by the way), more obnoxious lead ridden plastic toys and everything else to distract us from what the holiday season should be about.  What is that, you say?  LOVE, KINDNESS and COMPASSION.  So, I went on a search for gifts that pay it forward.  I have compiled some of my favorite choices for conscientious gift giving below (not listed in order of importance):

1) Give the Gift of Nature
    Adopt an Acre
     Plant a Tree
    Adopt a Coral Reef
    Give Carbon Offsets
    OR  Choose from a large selection of gifts that benefit nature at The Nature Conservancy

2) Adopt an Endangered Animal
    Choose from an assortment of 100 different animals   For just $50 you will receive:
  • Soft plush version of your adopted animal wrapped in a cloth WWF gift bag
  • 5" x 7" formal adoption certificate
  • 5" x 7" full-color photo of your species
  • Species spotlight card, full of fascinating information about the animal
  • FREE priority shipping
  • Personalized acknowledgment letter to your gift recipient. See sample letter.
If you provide an email address for the gift recipient, they will also receive the following Bonus Online Premiums:
  • Printable, personalized adoption certificate for the species adopted
  • Computer desktop images of the adopted animal
  • Instant messenger icons of the adopted animal
    Become a member of the Adoption of the Month Club  You or the lucky recipient will receive a different plush every month for the next 12 months, while your gift helps protect animals and preserve habitats around the world. 

3) Adopt a Cat or Dog
Save an animal from being killed at your local animal shelter. Adopt a cat or dog and give them the gift of LIFE while giving other members of your family a friend for life! To locate an animal shelter near you click here ---- > Locate an Animal Shelter

4) Buy gifts that benefit Breast Cancer Research, Child Health, Rainforest Preservation and much more at The Hunger, Breast Cancer, Child Health, Literacy, Rainforest & Animal Rescue Site

5) Volunteer anywhere... Click here to find a volunteer opportunity that is just right for you!

6) Give the Gift of Charity
Looking for that perfect holiday gift?  Go with a Good Card!  The Good Card is a gift card with stored value that can be redeemed as a donation to any of more than 1.8 million charities. Click here to give the Good Card --- >The GOOD Gift Card

7)   Feed the Hungry
Click here to locate a food bank near you to drop off groceries.
Donate to Feeding America  Every dollar buys 9 pounds of food, every five dollars buys 10 bags of holiday groceries!

8)   Give of Yourself

     Give Blood! Why is your blood needed? The blood supply needs to be continually replenished. Only 38% of Americans are  eligible to donate blood and out of those only 8% actually do. That amounts to only about 3 out of every 10 people.  Your donations make a difference!  Click here to find a blood drive near you.

Give Hair!   Go to Locks of Love dot com to find out how you can donate your own hair to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children.

Give Organs!
Each organ and tissue donor saves or improves the lives of as many as 50 people. Giving the "Gift of Life" may lighten the grief of the donor's own family. Many donor families say that knowing other lives have been saved helps them cope with their tragic loss.

9) Donate Toys to Underprivileged and/or Sick Children

Click this link to find a Children's hospital near you.

Click this link to find a Toys for Tots donation drive near you.

10)  Smile at someone.  Say kind words.  Do nice things for people.  Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Walk a mile in another person's shoes.  Be patient with others.  Love.

Santa has Cooties

As I sit here with my searing sore throat, persistent dry cough and achy, mucus filled head, my thoughts wander ahead to the upcoming holiday season.  I have been asked by many if California is going to sit on Santa's lap.  The answer is "NO, NO, NO".  Oh, I have heard it all, "but that is a part of the magic of Christmas" and "he is going to miss out on a big part of his childhood"...sorry, but I care more about California's health than a photo op.  Does Santa Claus get a seasonal flu shot and an H1N1 shot each year?  I decided to do a little bit of research into this matter and the answer is "NO".  The United States does not have many policies at all regarding Santa Claus and there are no health related policies for Santa Claus.  Canada, however, has issued a strong advisory to all Santas to get the swine flu shot, wash hands often, change his gloves every two hours and bring hand sanitizer with him to the mall.  Children with flu like symptoms will also be asked to see Santa some other time. 

So, the Santas here in the United States will see hundreds of children who, will sneeze, cough and wipe their runny nose all over Santa's sleeves, gloves and beard.  Santa will return to the mall day after day wearing the same suit, beard and gloves...unlaundered.  For some people that is fine.  It isn't fine with me and it shouldn't be fine with any parent who has a child with asthma or any other chronic medical condition.  For parents with healthy children, I would advise you to bring your own hand sanitizer with you on your trip to Santa's lap and to make sure your child does not have any flu like symptoms to protect the other children who will visit Santa after him/her.  It's no fun to be sick during the holidays for any child and for asthmatic children, being sick often means hospitalization.  We know from experience; California has been hospitalized four times and he is only four years old.  So be smart and ensure that EVERYONE has a happy holiday!

P.S. My favorite hand sanitizers are Burt's Bees Aloe & Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer Spray 2 fl oz (59 ml) and EO Products Hand Sanitizer Spray Organic Lavender, Organic Lavender 2 Oz  I like these because they smell great, are non-toxic and you can spray surfaces as well as hands with them.  They come in handy while shopping and going to restaurants.

Adopt a Turkey for Thanksgiving

We had the privilege of meeting a turkey a few years ago at the Gentle Barn (which was located in Tarzana, CA at the time).  He was such a sweet, gentle bird.  He followed us around and loved to be petted.  Our experience with Tommy (the turkey) mirrors that of Erik Marcus, the author of Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating.  He noted that, “Turkeys remember your face and they will sit closer to you with each day you revisit. Come back day after day and, before long, a few birds will pick you out as their favorite and they will come running up to you whenever you arrive."  To read more interesting facts about turkeys click here --->The Hidden Lives of Turkeys

Tennessee really loved going to the Gentle Barn to hang out with Tommy, who is pictured above.  Unfortunately, Tommy is no longer with us (read his life story here), but the Gentle Barn has rescued four more turkeys who can be adopted this Thanksgiving.  We are vegetarians, so we never eat turkey, but we thought we would go a step further this year and adopt a turkey for Thanksgiving.  If you would like to adopt a turkey this Thanksgiving, there are several organizations who have turkey adoptions this year. The following links will take you straight to the adoption of the turkey of your choice.

Gentle Barn $30

Farm Sanctuary $25

World Animal Foundation $35

Animal Acres $15

If you would like to learn more about turkey farms click here ---> Turkey Farms

Click here to read about our last family Vegetarian Thanksgiving.

2012: What to Tell Your Kids

On November 13, 2009, the movie 2012 will premiere in theaters across the country.  We have seen the ads for this movie in every nook and around every corner in L.A. and in cities nationwide.  The billboard slogans have ranged from 2012:  Google It to 2012:  Will You Survive? to simply 2012.  We have seen ads on the sides of Metro buses and on bus stop benches. 

If you allow your kids to see the movie 2012 (or if they sneak in without your permission), the five minute excerpt below is just a taste of what they will be absorbing into their impressionable minds while munching on popcorn and twizzlers. The clip below shows the total destruction of Los Angeles. Click on it to watch, but make sure the kids are out of the room because it is ridiculously scary.

In addition to the movie 2012 causing a stir, The History Channel should be renamed "The Hysteria Channel" for airing various programs regarding 2012 being the "end times" and "doomesday" while blatantly misleading their viewers to believe that several cultures and sources have predicted the world will end in 2012.  Because the culture of fear has seemed to drown out the voice of reason, I decided to post information for parents on how to talk about all this scary stuff with their kids.

Let's start out with a little background info:
First of all, let me assure you that I know what I am talking about.  I have been researching the Mayan calendar for the past 10 years.  Am I an expert who has written a book?  No, but I have been blessed with impeccable intuition and good, solid common sense.  The Mayan calendar is circular as shown in the image above.  There is no beginning and no end (did ya get that??? -  NO END).  The Mayans believed in a series of cycles, therefore they apparently believed (based upon astronomical observations and complex mathematics) that the end of the final cycle will occur on December 21, 2012.  This is Winter Solstice; it happens every year.  Winter Solstice represents the exact day and time when the days will become longer and the promise of rebirth in the Spring.

What happens when a cycle ends?  It starts all over again from the beginning.  That is what we can expect from December 21, 2012.  A new beginning to a new cycle.  A transformation.  Some say this will be a cosmic and/or spiritual transformation.  The important thing to know is that the Mayans did not leave us any warnings of any kind because they did not see this as the end of the world.  As a matter of fact, the Mayans still exist today and they refute the notion that the world will end on December 21, 2012.  Read this link to learn more about what the Mayans have to say about 2012---> Mayans Say the World will NOT End in 2012

Here's what to tell your kids:

Age birth to 4
Just tell them that 2012 is a big number. 

Age 5 - 8
Tell them that a lot of people think something is going to happen then, but they are wrong.  Make sure that your kids know that you are confident about this and assure them that everything will be fine.  Tell them that kids will be talking about it more and more as the year approaches, but it is just because it is on TV all the time.  Open the door to communication about this subject because they will hear about it from their friends at school eventually. 

Age 9 - 13
Tell them that the Mayan calendar is circular and has no end and that 2012 is just the end of a cycle.  Make sure that they understand that people are making a big deal about this because of books, movies, TV and stuff they read on the internet.  If they ask about catastrophes, tell them that there have always been earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis etc and there might be more because of Global Warming, but even the best Global Warming scientists have not predicted the end of the world.  Once again, keep that door to communication open about this subject.  Kids have lots of questions and incredible insight that needs to be expressed openly and freely.

Age 14+
Communicate with them as young adults.  Don't patronize them or condescend.  Show them that you are confident in your beliefs by planning for the future.  Ask them to help you plan a New Year's Eve party for the year 2012 or some other event past December 21, 2012.  Tell them everything in this  post and incorporate the following talking points.  Show them the links if they are interested.

1.  The Mayans did NOT predict the end of the world in 2012.
As a matter of fact, their hieroglyphs show that the Earth and humanity was still alive and well in the year 3772 as noted in the article mentioned above.  Link --->The Mayans Say the World Won't End in 2012

2.  Nostradamus did NOT predict the end of the world in 2012.
As a matter of fact, Nostradamus continued to make prophecies about humanity well into the year 4000. 
Link --->Nostradamus Made Predictions from the Mid 1500's to the year 4000

3.  The Bible did NOT predict the end of the world in 2012.
As a matter of fact, the Bible states that no one knows the precise date and time the world will end, not even Jesus.  Mathew 24:35-36 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."

4.  The Hopi did NOT predict the end of the world in 2012.  Period. Their prediction is vague and ambiguous and gives no dates or years.  Link --->The Hopi Prophecy

5.  Scientists did NOT predict the end of the world in 2012.  They have predicted strong solar flare activity that actually began this year which is not unusual since solar flares go through an 11 year cycle of being "quiet" then becoming "active".  Enhanced activity means satellites and even power grids on Earth are at risk of electrical malfunction.  While blackouts are a possible scenario, they are hardly the apocalyptic end of the world. Link--->Solar Flares

6.  The I Ching did NOT predict the end of the world in 2012.  This widely accepted notion was "invented" by two brothers on an acid trip in the 70's.  Link --->The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching

By the way, California is not going to fall into the ocean, so Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool (I am a HUGE fan by the way and I have seen them three times in concert) will not get his wish in 2012.  We won't have to "learn to swim" just yet as suggested in the song Aenima.  Links --->Aenima Lyrics (Warning: Explicit)  Listen to Aenima (Warning: Explicit)

Keep on keeping on.

Maclaren Strollers Amputate Fingers

People mistakenly believe that if something costs more, it is better and safer.  WRONG!  Maclaren has proven to us that is a fallacy and has recalled one million strollers sold at Babies R Us and Target since 1999.  The problem?  Their strollers have a tendency to amputate the fingers of babies and toddlers.  It is nice to know that they waited 10 YEARS to announce a recall.  The recall affects the following models: Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, TechnoXLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno, and Easy Traveller.

The stroller pictured above is a Maclaren Quest Mod that sells for $245 at Target.  Maclaren has put out the statement that consumers can contact Maclaren at 877-688-2326 or visit www.maclaren.us/recall to receive a free repair kit.  If I spent $245 on a stroller, I would expect the manufacturer to refund my money or replace my stroller NOT to give me a toll free number to ask for a repair kit so my kids fingers don't get cut off.  What is wrong with them???