Category Archives: Good Deeds

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.

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:

Helping the homeless on

Giving people who are down on their luck a helping hand, well, that’s really what it’s all about. That’s what C.A.T.C.H.—Charitable Assistance to Community’s Homeless—is all about.

I first wrote about this wildly successful city-private-public partnership in 2009, when it won a national award. But more importantly, C.A.T.C.H. has now helped more than 110 homeless families and more than 200 homeless children find their way back home. Incredibly, once they cross that threshold, most have been able to stay there—the program boasts a success rate of 86 percent, says Greg Morris, director of the program.

Now, C.A.T.C.H. is catching on in Canyon County and you’ve got a chance to lend your own helping hand at the first annual Harvest for Homes. The dinner banquet will be catered by Bon Appetit, there’ll be dueling pianos, live and silent auctions and you can rub elbows with Mayor Garret Nancolas. Fun, feasting and fundraising for a fabulous cause.

6-9 p.m. Oct. 26 at the College of Idaho Simplot Dining Hall
Tickets: $60 each or sponsor a table for $420
All proceeds will benefit homeless families with children.
For tickets or info call: 208.455.0444

C.A.T.C.H. of Canyon County is sponsored by the City of Caldwell, the Department of Health and Welfare, the United Way of Treasure Valley, local congregations of faith and local businesses. The program helps families by first finding them housing and then helping them deal with issues that may have contributed to their homeless condition.