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50 for 50 Day 50: Thanks! and a quiz

July 6, 2011

The place to relax at Casa Marbella. We ate breakfast here, played cards, wrote, drank wine with Roberto.
Where I want to sit and work on my novel. Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Ok, so here we are. Day 50 of this crazy journey, and my 50th birthday. Who knew I’d get to be a half-century old and still feel like myself? Weird, it is.

Who knew I’d be able to write 50 posts in a row on a schedule? Not me! I mean, it isn’t exactly climbing Everest, but it just isn’t something I have attempted or wanted to attempt before.

People kept asking me about what I was going to do for my 50th post. Ok, maybe 3 people asked. It may come as a surprise to you (especially if you don’t know me well) that I didn’t really have a Plan For That. Foresight is not my strongest point (but on the other hand, I’m generally excellent at living in the moment!)

The other day, my friend Laurie from Laurie Writes asked me which charity I would choose for her “friend” to donate to. Being as dense as a 1970s vegetarian nutloaf, I asked what issues her friend was into, at which point she admitted she was planning a donation for my birthday. D’oh!

I had to go back and look at the list of 49 charities. It was daunting. The list looked longer than I had imagined it would. So many needs – how to pick just one? What is most important?

I finally took a deep breath and picked WriteGirl, a writing mentorship program for young women.

It doesn’t address the most pressing needs (I’d argue water and food come first) or the people in the world who are worst off. It doesn’t solve a tangible problem.

But I have been in the room with the mentors and girls as we all worked on our writing together, and I can say this: it brings magic into the world. It provides the writers involved – both the girls AND the mentors – with a bright clear path to better, braver writing, more joy and a world where possibilities sparkle and shine.

Hyperbole? No, I don’t think so. Something amazing happens when 140 women and girls get together and work hard on writing and cheer for one another. It is a banquet for the soul, and I wish every writer could have the experience. (I wrote a post about it a while back, when I could go to workshops, before I moved too far away).

The girls who go through WriteGirl are all bright, but they aren’t necessarily the girls who are headed to college before they become mentees. They attend some of the largest, toughest, most overcrowded urban Los Angeles high schools. So far, every girl who has gone through the program has gone to college.

WriteGirl introduces them to the idea that their words can influence people, make them a living, and bring them joy. And in return, the girls remind the mentors of what it was like to be young women writers whose talent hadn’t been smooshed down by editors and deadlines and paychecks – writers for whom the page is a playground of possibility. This is a priceless exchange.

Oh, and another thing? Every year, the program produces a book with writing in it by all of the girls and most of the mentors, so each girl leaves the program a published writer. Cool!

So…if you want to help the world, donate to any of the charities on my list, or any other charity you know is doing good work. But if you want me to pick one for you to honor my 50th birthday, I vote for WriteGirl.

A big thanks for playing along for the past weeks. I’m amazed that anyone would keep reading, and I appreciate those who did. My blog readers are the cherry on the sundae of my life. I’m grateful for each of you.

OK – now for a quiz. The winner gets to designate which of the 49 charities they’d like $50 donated to. AND $30 in iTunes gift cards. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random. And since these are random questions, extra points are given for creativity. Hey, it’s my contest.

Random Crap About Suebob: 10 Questions. I don’t think you can look these up anywhere, so wild guesses will suffice.
1. What floral scent do I hate? (not Patchouli. I don’t think Patchouli is even a flower. I think it is the smell of Satan’s toejam).
2. What vegetable would be served at Suebob’s last meal?
3. If I could have tickets to any event, what would it be?
4. My favorite color?
5. How much does it say I weigh on my driver’s license?
6. What breed of dog do I call Goldie most often? (her nickname)
7. Favorite san serif font that will out me as hopelessly stuck in the 1980s?
8. Favorite cellist?
9. Where am I going on my next train trip?
10. How old is Goldie?

  1. Shannon permalink
    July 6, 2011 03:25

    Happy Birthday & what an awesome pick for Day 50. I know it’s not a tangible need but support/mentoring is desperately needed

  2. Bruce S.Swasey permalink
    July 6, 2011 04:38

    50 For 50: A prodigious (marvelous; wonderful; amazing, of great size, power,and extent; enormous; huge) transcriptional effort. It’s possibly an adaption of a musical portion of your brain’s thoughts and the outflow of others, and setting them down for everyone to play, read,and enjoy for as long as you decide to keep it available.

    Your writing is enthralling, ‘down-to-earth’, leaving little – no, not little – no doubt about your feelings which are very well exoressed. There, that’s all the stroking for now – just a bit short of my becoming maudlin. In a nutshell, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUE, Thank you for the music. I hope you can get back to working on your novel, whether in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, or Ventura, California. I’d love to read it! Your writing reminds me of Carolyn See’s which you may look up online. I’ll do the test once i figure out how to send responses to you.

  3. July 6, 2011 05:09


    1. What floral scent do I hate? CARRION FLOWER!
    2. What vegetable would be served at Suebob’s last meal? SUCCOTASH!
    3. If I could have tickets to any event, what would it be? BRITNEY SPEARS 2011 FEMME FATALE TOUR!
    4. My favorite color? RED LIKE YOUR STAPLER!
    5. How much does it say I weigh on my driver’s license? 78 FLARRGS!
    6. What breed of dog do I call Goldie most often? BULLY!
    7. Favorite san serif font that will out me as hopelessly stuck in the 1980s? ROBOFAN!
    8. Favorite cellist? ALISA HORN!
    9. Where am I going on my next train trip? SEATTLE!
    10. How old is Goldie? OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER!

    1. At least I hope you do.
    2. Technically, not a vegetable, but it’s got a lot of veggies in it, so it’s my best shot.
    3. Because, honestly, who doesn’t want to see Britney live in concert?
    4. My favorite color is blue. Together we make purple!
    5. If you don’t know how many pounds are in a flarrg that’s your problem.
    6. Which is funny because she looks nothing like a pit bull. You so silly!
    7. At least I assume it is. TRANSFORMERS, MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE!
    8. Actually, I Googled and got her name because I didn’t know any cellists.
    9. It had better be Seattle for the awesome PACNW blogger meet on the 23rd!
    10. Which is what people always tell me as they shake their heads in disappointment.

  4. July 6, 2011 05:56

    Happiest of birthdays to you, Suebob! I’m off to make a contribution to WriteGirl in your honor. (And thank you for introducing me to this organization, btw!)

    Have a lovely day and cheers to you!!



  5. July 6, 2011 06:22

    I have no idea on the answers, though I’d guess Comic Sans for the font question.

    Have a wonderful birthday, Suebob and here’s to 50 more!

  6. July 6, 2011 07:19

    I don’t have the answers, but Dave’s are pretty funny! Happy Birthday Sue, hope you are enjoying your day so far! xoxo

  7. July 6, 2011 07:41

    Happiest of Birthdays! I donated to Planned Parenthood in your auspicious honor 🙂 and wrote about it here:

    Because I can’t pass up a quiz….

    (1. What floral scent do I hate?) Lilies.
    (2. What vegetable would be served at Suebob’s last meal?) Asparagus.
    (3. If I could have tickets to any event, what would it be?) Sunday School with Jimmy Carter.
    (4. My favorite color?) Red.
    (5. How much does it say I weigh on my driver’s license?) I’d like to use one of my shoutouts for this one.
    (6. What breed of dog do I call Goldie most often? her nickname) Hmm. Don’t know. Greyhound and lab, right?
    (7. Favorite san serif font that will out me as hopelessly stuck in the 1980s?) Futura. No, Gill Sans. No, Univers. Yes, Gill Sans. Final answer.
    (8. Favorite cellist?) Sol Gabetta.
    (9. Where am I going on my next train trip?) SF.
    (10. How old is Goldie) 15

  8. July 6, 2011 08:48

    A very Happy Birthday to you!

  9. Omaflinger permalink
    July 6, 2011 08:59

    You are correct. Who would have guessed that 50 would feel so good. Enjoy this decade; it rocks. Oh Yes: Happy Birthday.

  10. July 6, 2011 09:01

    Happy Birthday to one of the most thoughtful and generous people I’ve met in the blogosphere. You totally need to follow up your 50/50 project with a Red Stapler world tour. I demand a stop in Vegas.

    Much love and joy to you on this awesome day!

    • July 7, 2011 08:58

      Seconded, Nancy. Sue, you can even make your first stop not too far from home at my place. Or you can make it your welcome home bash. Hope you had a fantastic day!

      • July 14, 2011 07:39

        Thanks, Kendra. I’d love to stop by sometime!

  11. July 6, 2011 09:16

    happy day love xoxoxo YOU ARE AWESOME

  12. July 6, 2011 09:59

    Happy birthday! You’ve done fifty wonderful things for your fiftieth.

  13. July 6, 2011 10:27

    Happy birthday, Suebob! Your comments and tweets always brighten my day and bring out a laugh. You make fifty look freakin’ good, woman, in fact, you are totally making 50 the new 30!

    Hope you have a great day and I will make a donation to WriteGirl just as soon as we have a bank account in the States. I’ve currently got $40 bucks in my wallet and an AmEx card that I’ve been instructed not to use… 😉

  14. July 6, 2011 11:56

    Happy Birthday! I loved the 50 for 50. I thought it was brilliant and I loved learning about organizations I hadn’t heard of. Especially Write Girl.

    1. What floral scent do I hate? Lilies because I am the only person on earth who does not passionately hate the smell of lilies.
    2. What vegetable would be served at Suebob’s last meal? Um…artichokes? No, too fussy. Brussels sprouts? Eggplant! That’s my final answer, eggplant!
    3. If I could have tickets to any event, what would it be? That Nikon party you didn’t get invited to that one time that Karina wrote about today.
    4. My favorite color? Aubergine (I’m stuck on eggplants apparently).
    5. How much does it say I weigh on my driver’s license? 139.2
    6. What breed of dog do I call Goldie most often? This I should know. I’m embarrassed. Southern Californian Gopher Shepherd.
    7. Favorite san serif font that will out me as hopelessly stuck in the 1980s? Helvetica (is that sans serif? do not know my fonts and the font I love [Papyrus] is apparently a crime against humanity according to every graphic artist and design blogger around).
    8. Favorite cellist? My mom. (Hasn’t played the cello in years but I think you’d get a real kick out of her.)
    9. Where am I going on my next train trip? The Orient, you’re going express.
    10. How old is Goldie? I think she’s 11 now because I think she was 9 when I first asked you. She might be a little older now. She was younger than Emily but now Em won’t get any older so I’m having trouble using her as a yard stick.

    Did I mention happy birthday? Happy Birthday!

  15. July 6, 2011 12:08

    WriteGirl sounds amazing. I like the idea that a girl can use paper and ink when your voice fails and she is unable to speak the words out of fear or embarrassment (or just plain shyness). I’ll check out the organization, thanks!

  16. July 6, 2011 12:56

    Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

  17. July 6, 2011 13:16

    A very Happy Birthday to you! Welcome to the club. And a hearty AMEN to all you’ve rightly said about WriteGirl.

    • July 7, 2011 05:57

      Any club you’re in, I want to be in.

  18. July 6, 2011 17:27

    I have no idea what the answers are. (Asparagus?! Fish tacos?!) I just have to tell you what an inspiration you are. The happiest of birthdays to you, Suebob. You make 50 look awesome. Thanks for being you.

    • July 7, 2011 05:56

      Thanks, Angela. I spent part of my birthday wondering why one would want to take one’s shirt off and suck on one’s toe to spin yarn, thanks to you.

  19. July 6, 2011 19:55

    Well I finally made it here. I had to drive 5 hours to get home to my laptop first. Happy birthday to the woman that chipped away enough my my wall in 2007 to lighten the load on my shoulders and allow me to breathe. I will never ever forget how you made me feel over eggs. I truly love you. I hope your day has been fun and full of love and laughs, what with all the posts your friends wrote about you! 🙂

    • July 7, 2011 05:55

      Thanks, Karen. Those eggs were special therapeutic “Hot Eggs” like they have “Hot Yoga.” THAT is what did it – eating eggs when it is 97 degrees inside. Thank you for making my bday special. I love you, too.


  1. Parentopia » Blog Archive » Happy Birthday, dear Suebob

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