Category Archives: Benefit

May I have this dance? Thrilled, I’m sure!

Thrill photoWho would have thought that one of my job titles — at the great and fabulous age of 59 — would be “Thrill the World Boise Event Producer?” Not me. And yet, I am loving this job!

I have learned the Thriller dance! I could do it in my sleep — and often recite the moves as I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night: “Roar-turn, roar-turn.” When I am dancing, everything else goes away. It takes all my concentration and, in my mind’s eye, there I am, in that game-changing video, a zombie alongside of MJ.

I absolutely love it.thrill

For those of you in the Boise area, this is a shameless plug: Come see me (and about 200 other zombies) as we attempt to break the world record for the simultaneous dance to Thriller at 4 pm Oct. 25 at the Boise Spectrum — get there early, we have an official countdown and will start at PRECISELY 4 pm according to the World Clock.

For those of you outside the area, see if there is a Thrill Day in your neighborhood. If you are so inclined, learn the dance (there are official tutorial videos on Youtube). You’ll be glad you did, it is really, really fun.

Years ago, my dear friend Holly taught me the power of dance. We all are hard-wired to do it and to love it. When you are dancing, you are celebrating and loving life.

And oh — this year, our fundraising recipient is the Treasure Valley Family YMCA, as a thanks for letting us practice our moves there.

Da-da! Da-da-da!



A Willy Wonka of Idaho

willy-wonka-and-the-chocolate-factory-gene-wilder-image-600x337When Jackson McKenzie was in the sixth grade, he felt like his life was pretty boring. So, at a school show-and-tell he decided to beef things up a bit. “I made up that I liked to beat world records,” he says. Fueled by a lifelong love of reading Guinness World Records – “I’ve read every one since 2000” – McKenzie had stuck his foot firmly in his mouth. But then, something magical happened. After contacting the Guinness people and finding out that the easiest record to beat was creating the world’s largest M&M mosaic, he actually made his show-and-tell proclamation come true.

“I did it,” he says. His mosaic was a picture of a tree, a monkey and a sun. He glued the M&Ms onto a plastic grid and created the whole thing in his room. “But, it wasn’t official.”

Now, McKenzie wants to do it again, only this time, he wants to make it really matter. He has contacted the Guinness folks, and knows what “evidence” is required. He has designed his creation – a 124-square-foot mosaic that includes the state of Idaho and a snippet of our state song, “Here We Have Idaho.” (The current record is: 74.92 square feet.) McKenzie estimates it will take close to 30,000 M&Ms.

Jackson McKenzie, 17, and his M&M mosaic plans. Photo by Jeanne Huff

Jackson McKenzie, 17, and his M&M mosaic plans. Photo by Jeanne Huff

With the help of his dad (Idaho State Sen. Curtis McKenzie), he reserved the rotunda at the Idaho State Capitol for two weeks to allow he and his team to assemble the mosaic. “We will be working from July 27 to August 9 and the record breaking mosaic will be in display the following week,” McKenzie says.

Originally, he posted his project at $6,000 on Kickstarter, but he says he overestimated the costs. His new goal is $3,500 and he has a website set up for fundraising at

Anything he receives over the amount needed for materials – M&Ms, Elmer’s Glue, a plastic grid, and paper and wood for support – McKenzie plans on giving to Go On Idaho,, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Idahoans continue education past high school.

So, if you want to help McKenzie actually make his sixth grade declaration a reality, send him some M&M money. In addition to his website, you can contact him by phone – 899-0753 – or email: He says all project finances, including every donation and expenditure, will be tracked and publicly accessible on his website.

Whadya say, a little help to help jazz up McKenzie’s summer – and to give summer tourists something extra to see at the capitol?

Let’s do it!

Go, Jackson McKenzie!

Go M&Ms!

Go, Idaho!

Or, in the words of Willy Wonka: “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…”

For real.

Get your hand basket out

friends-tv-showWow, I don’t know about you, but it really seems like that old saw “the world is going to hell in a hand basket” is really happening. Maybe not for me (I’m knocking on the proverbial wood right now) and hopefully not for you — but lately I’ve been inundated with super sad news about my friends — and their friends or family members.

I find some of the sad news on Facebook. In my newsfeed, where I like to dilly-dally and scroll through funny videos of cats terrorizing dogs, or babies and puppies sleeping together, I’ve been stabbed in the gut with updates that are definitely not warm and fuzzy. And again, I don’t know about you, but every time it happens — and like I said, it just seems like it’s happening more and more — a small part of me that I am definitely not proud of, makes my finger waver over the thumbs-up “like” button. Sometimes that small, almost tiny part of me (thank God it’s nearly infinitesimal) rolls on by to the next, hopefully, much more upbeat update. Maybe another funny cat video.

But I really do like my friends — even all of my Facebook friends, some with whom I am really not that well acquainted.

And I do really want to help if I can — with a kind word, a sympathetic sentence or two. It’s a kind of a new way to reach out, and I’m not sure we are all yet comfortable about it. God knows, we have a hard enough time reaching out in person. I think it’s harder yet to do so with the buffer of a computer screen or phone scroll. Nobody knows you’re really there, right?

But like I said, I do, I want to help — and, when I can muster it up, sometimes a “comment” is all I’m good for. And many times, so many times, I wish I was better at saying something special or meaningful or coming up with some magic words that will ease my friend’s pain or suffering. Or maybe help her find a smile. maybe make him laugh.

Because, me too, I hate cancer, house fires, car, motorcycle and bicycle accidents. I despise crippling diseases, autism and Alzheimer’s. If I was a billionaire, I would give all my money to all my friends, hoping that in some way, I could buy them what they need or at least make it so their pain might be lessened with 500 pounds of ice cream, or their burden eased by an exclusive, intimate Louis C.K. in-home concert.

But all I got is words. And here they are. Today, although I am heartsick about one of my friend’s sister’s recent cancer diagnosis, and another of my friends whose husband was in a tragic motorcycle accident, and another one who is dealing with the mind-numbing trauma of visiting her mother who doesn’t remember her name or her face — I am going to single out two of my friends who are dealing with hardship. I am going to tell you about them, I’m going to tell you their stories, and maybe you will tell your friends about them and maybe they will tell their friends — and maybe we can just all pitch in to make a difference.

And if we can do that, we can be as good as billionaires toting suitcases of cash. We could bring as much joy as ice cream and maybe even bring as much happiness as a night with Louis C.K.

My friend Christine: Christine (who many call Queen or Queen of the Universe) lost her home and all her worldly possessions — yes, even her iphone — in a fire just before Christmas. She ran out of the blazing inferno with only the clothes on her back — and those were hacked off in the emergency room. Oh yeah, and she miraculously came through this ordeal relatively unscathed, except for eyebrows, eyelashes, singed hair — and a really nasty third-degree burn on the back of her leg. She just completed her third skin graft at the burn center in Salt Lake City.  There is a fund set up for her that you can donate to:

And my friend Will is putting together an event fundraiser that will be held at the Visual Arts Collective Feb. 21. Music, art, silent auction and more with all proceeds after bar tab going to Christine.

Here’s my second friend’s plight and plea: Meet Alex’s sister, Monica

When my brother Dan passed away a few years ago, one family who came to his memorial was not one familiar to me — but one with whom Dan had become close to. They worked at Dan’s favorite restaurant, Baja Fresh. He went there at least a couple of times every week and they knew to start his order — he always ordered the same thing — when he pulled into his parking space.

Alex — her name is actually Alexandra — had dropped out of high school and Dan constantly chided her about it, telling her to get her G.E.D. — “I’ll pay for it,” he would say. Alex did get her G.E.D. just a month ago. And, sort of filling in for her Dad and his promise, Dan’s daughter Dana stepped in and paid for it. I was the lucky person who got to deliver the check: 1619589_10202452354262866_1224159130_n

Well, while I was there, Alex told me about Monica, her 25-year-old sister. Monica has kidney failure and needs a kidney transplant, and hey, she also just had a stroke and found out she has a bad heart. Her mother, who, yes, is still working at Baja Fresh on Broadway in Boise, is frantically trying to figure out ways to make money to help her daughter. They need to raise $5,000 for the surgery and so far are up to a little more than $1,500. You can donate here:

This is the only way I can think of to help my friends. (Not a billionaire, remember?) And I vow to help as many as I can. I vow not to skip over their Facebook posts for funny cat videos — I will still watch the cat videos of course, but only after I say a few heartfelt words to my friends.

I turn now to the Beatles :

Please let me know if you have friends who need a little help from their friends.

Peace and love

You don’t need that latte!

I’ve got something — actually someONE — who rates head and shoulders over your afternoon caffeine fix.

His name is KC (his friends call him “Kace). He’s 12 years old and his Gramma (my friend and workmate) says “He’s a total social butterfly – laughing and smiling all the time. He loves everyone, loves school and his family.”

And, oh, yeah — KC has Angelman Syndrome.

It limits his speech, motor skills and communication.

But — someone in little ole Boise, Idaho has come up with software that could help KC — and other kids like him.

OneVoice – it’s a software for the iPad, and it has pictures for differently-abled people to touch so they can communicate with their family members, teachers and anyone else they need to “speak” with. According to KC’s Gramma “It is an amazing program!”

She is trying to raise money to get KC the iPad and the software. She’s about halfway there and I will vouch for her, this is not one of those I’m-the-king-of-Moldavia-and-you-have-won-the-lottery gimmicks.

This is for real.

And so is KC.

And so is his chance to finally say what he wants to say.

I say, let’s give him that chance.

Here’s the link:
Chip in for KC

A real win-win

Doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says come Saturday—the Boise State University Broncos are already winners.

The players and Coach Pete are teaming up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to give one little guy his dream come true: the chance to coach the BSU Broncos! Stephen, 12, has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and is flying up to Boise all the way from San Antonio, Texas to join the Broncos Saturday, Nov. 6 on the blue turf at Bronco Stadium as they take on Hawaii.

EEEE!! Look out behind you! It’s the Halloween good news roundup

Photo by Brad Talbutt

Yep, that’s me.

A few years back, I convinced a group of my friends to help me check out some local spooky spots for Halloween. As you can see by my nonchalant mug, I was oblivious to any of the assorted scare tactics the zombie dudes were trying out, including those silly old chainsaws.

OMG, who am I kidding, those chainsaws are freakin’ SCARY, do you SEE the look of sheer, raw fear on my face? That face, ladies and gentleman, is a rictus of pure, unadulterated terror. I thought I was gonna die!

But seriously, it was a lot of fun and I am posting the photo for your Halloween pleasure and hopefully, to provide my tagalong friends a little blast from the past (Ted, Janice, Grant, Susanna, Amy, Kathleen, Brian, Brad: DON’T GO BACK! The scarecrow man is REAL!!).

But the real reason I posted that photo was to get your attention. I have a wonderful announcement to make and, unlike the daily newspaper that, appropriately enough, focuses on today’s and tomorrow’s news, I’m going to do a follow on a previous First, the good news story.

I just got off the phone with Greg Morris, director for Charitable Assistance to Community’s Homeless, or C.A.T.C.H. and he said the Harvest for Homes fundraiser for the Canyon County branch was a huge success: They were able to rake in about $15,000!! All to benefit homeless families with children. Catch C.A.T.C.H. of Canyon County on facebook.

I was doubly sad I hadn’t been there because not only was the place packed, the entertainment was spectacular. With dueling pianos as accompaniment, Tom Dale, mayor of Nampa, and Garret Nancolas, mayor of Caldwell, both grabbed microphones and crooned a few tunes to the delight of all.

“What a great night and it was wonderful to be able to explain our program to so many,” Morris said.

Finally, I would like to leave all you ghouls and goblins with a seasonal recipe. This is a special dish recently handed over to me by a former colleague (thanks Bridgett!). It may sound a little scary but don’t worry— so did those chainsaws and look how great that turned out!

1 med. pumpkin (make sure it will fit in the oven)
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green pepper (I used red; same dif)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups hot cooked rice, Uncle Ben’s (not instant)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheet and clean out pumpkin (this is the gross and tedious part but bright side— free pumpkin seeds!). Save the lid.

Saute onion, celery, green (or red) pepper in 1 tablespoon oil. Add beef; simmer until browned. Add remaining ingredients including rice. If you want, you can also add 1 can of water chestnuts (I didn’t add them because Bob has an aversion to them, I have no idea why).

Fill pumpkin with the mixture and replace the lid. Bake 1 hour until pumpkin is tender.

When serving, scoop pumpkin and eat with casserole.

For dessert, here’s another spooky little blast from the past. Boo!

Shop ’til you drop for a good cause

Hurry! Call your friends, grab your purse and head for the mall tomorrow, Sat. Oct. 23 for a day of guilt-free girlfriend quality time shopping at Dillard’s. How is it guilt free? A portion of the day’s proceeds from participating vendors will go to the Idaho Food Bank. Last December, the organization fed 130,000 hungry folks during the holidays and handed out 30,000 turkeys. This year, they hope to up the ante.

At “Holiday Heart and Home” you can get holiday decorating home tips from Joe Kubik, interior decorator Joe Kubik from Carols Design House and learn how to put some spice in your life from Wolfgang Puck master chef Cat Chancey.

Feeling a little Saturday-morning lazy? No worries, have brunch in and shop online. You can bid on prizes and auction items at Idaho Food Bank’s website.
Idaho Food Bank auction

Call 208-577-2710, ext. 2710 for information or to buy tickets. Tickets are $50, with $20 returned to the ticket buyer in a Dillard’s gift card.

Now, to get you in that shopping mood, here’s one of my favorite shopping scenes that might even make you feel like dancing: