Sunday, February 22, 2009

Do You Have Hair to Spare?

I have been growing my hair out ever since Miles was born three years ago and now it is time to cut it and donate it to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program. I have donated my hair to another organization in the past, but this time I wanted my hair to be used for a wig for cancer patients. A friend of mine has recently been going through tests and consultations to determine if a cluster of cells is, indeed, cancer. She is being incredibly strong, but beginning what could be a long struggle is, understandably, worrisome for her. My ponytail is dedicated to the hope that she won't need a wig, that she won't be positively diagnosed, that this questionable mammogram will prove to be nothing more than a short scary time as opposed to a long, gruelling journey for a cure. Other women I have known have gone down this road and arrived victorious. They lost their hair, but not their lives.

These women I know, and women I don't know, who battle for their lives are my heroes. The least I can do is grow out my hair and send it off to help a woman feel more confident and comfortable as she faces a struggle I can't begin to imagine.

If you check out our last post, this process encompasses five of our six credos. Here's how I'm going to have credo #6 (the bonus credo: create fun and adventure) be a part of this process. And I need your help. My twin-sister-from-another-mother, Linda, and I are competing against each other to see who can get the most people to cut their hair and donate it to this program. Our collective goal is to collect six hundred ponytails. This is a lofty goal, but as we say in the Calandro Family, "go big or go home"! It takes six ponytails to make one wig. These six hundred ponytails would make one hundred heads of hair. One hundred wigs.

The contest ends on our birthdays: May 7th, 2009. The winner will get to do a victory dance that will be posted on YouTube for all to see. Of course, my dance (if I win - which I plan to!) will include much neener neenering and jubilation and would be fun to watch. Who doesn't love winning a contest? We are open to suggestions of ways the winner gets to celebrate and ways the loser has to endure the title of "loser". I'm guessing there will be t-shirts involved. We Calandros are big on creating t-shirts for big occasions, just check out previous blog posts.

So there you have it. I know cutting off at least 8 inches of hair (what Pantene requires) can be a huge change for most people. It may even be a Samson and Delilah moment, but trust me, I've done it before and you will gain more strength and identity from your donation than from any length of hair cascading down your back. Spring is coming, the weather will get warmer, your hair will grow back.

All I'm asking from you today is to think about it. Spread the word. Linda and I only have two ponytails to donate. This crazy idea won't be any fun unless you JOIN IN TO HELP ME WIN. In my next post, you will see an "after" picture of me, links to the Pantene website, and more information about how you can let me know you've cut your hair. Stay tuned.

Are you with me? Please consider cutting your hair, helping a cause, and, of course, helping me win! I can't do my victory dance without you!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Calandro 5 Credo

Being a Living in HD family has brought us countless wonderful experiences. However, a by-product of this has caught us by surprise. Living in HD has helped us bring our family's values into clear focus. One of the questions on the former LiHD website asked: "What is your family motto?" This got us thinking about what ours would be. We have created our credo. It consists of five rules, plus one bonus rule, that the Calandro 5 try our best to live by. (We thought it was cute to have five rules and five members of the family, but the bonus one couldn't be ignored.) Here they are:
#1 Be nice to everyone.
San Luis is a small town and if you've been here long enough, which we have, everyone is connected by only two degrees of separation, as opposed to the usual six. Everyone is connected to everyone, so let's keep it clean, folks. The more people we know, the smaller the world gets. A little bit of kindness goes a long way, it is usually an unexpected surprise for the recipient, and it's free. Free is good. (Not a credo, but we say that a lot.)

#2 Do the right thing.
This credo can get tricky. Sometimes the right thing isn't what we want to do AT ALL, but it is the right thing to do, so we do it. Period. Sometimes the right thing to do is right for the Calandro 5, but not for others, and people get disappointed. Weighing out who gets to be right is the tricky part. Rest assured, if we're doing something, we feel it is right for the most important people involved in the situation, and we know we are not always the most important people.

#3 Respect.
This simple word encompasses a multitude of things. Respect people, family, children, the earth, nature, where people are coming from, honorable professions, time, energy, resources, talents. The list goes on. We will begin a relationship with respect, but this must be maintained. We are nice, but we are not doormats. Respect is given by us, but it is also earned and maintained over time.

#4 Help.
"What can we do to help?" We try to have this be the first thing we say when there is a celebration, a terrible situation, or anything in-between. In return, our family and friends are some of the most generous people on the planet. We give to them, they give to us.

#5 Contribute.
This sounds similar to #4, but it is different in a way. We contribute by the professions we have chosen and we believe our jobs should provide more than just a paycheck. They should use our talents to help make the world a better place. We feel we have been so fortunate and blessed in our lives and we try to give back in any way we can. We work to "pay it forward". If we can't contribute money to a cause, we contribute time, which is priceless. We contribute to our community because we love San Luis Obispo. We contribute to our schools because knowledge is power. We contribute as much time and energy as we can to our children and family because at the end of the day, we are all we have.

#6 (The bonus rule) Create fun and adventure.
And be ready for it. Adventure can come knocking any day, at any time. Being a member of the Calandro 5 is a wild ride, mostly by our own invention, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

So there's the Calandro 5 Credo. Of course, it is subject to change as we do, but it has gotten us this far and seems to work really well. Do we expect everyone to live by these rules? No way. We know how crazy we are. This list is all ours. Living with these rules at the front of all our decisions (along with "The Coin of Destiny" - but that's a topic for another blog post) has served us pretty well so far.

Do you have a credo? Is it working for you? How do you feel when it is challenged? We'd love to hear from you.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Connected to Panasonic

It has now been almost a month since the Crazy Calandros went to CES and were wowed by Panasonic, their incredible products, and personable family of employees. The experience will go down in our Calandro Family History as the stories are told and retold. However, this little anecdote takes the entire journey to a new level of service and dedication. This is a story of when a little bit goes a long way:

A few weeks ago we received a very discrete letter from Panasonic. The return address was pre-printed on the envelope with the words "Panasonic Ideas for Life". It looked like it could have contained anything, but what was inside was anything but ordinary. It was a thank you letter from Yoshi Yamada, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic of North America. He thanked us for appearing on the CES 2009 Main Stage as a Spotlight on Ideas speaker. He told us we contributed "a new level of extremely relevant information" with our appearances. At the end he simply said, "I know this kind of commitment of your valuable time was a challenge, and I truly appreciate your making it happen."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? Panasonic flew us there, gave us money for food, put us up in a hotel room for five nights, and celebrated my son's birthday as if he were a member of their own family and HE is thanking US! Sure, organizing the five of us to appear onstage every day and getting to and from Vegas was no small task, but we never dreamed of getting this kind of acknowledgement for our efforts.
Plain and simple: Panasonic gets it.

Mr. Yamada, in front of everyone who is reading and listening: we thank you. From the bottom of our Crazy Calandro hearts, thank you. Being with your company and your employees at CES gave us the opportunity to connect with a brand in a way we never thought possible. Everyone we met and talked with cared about us and what we had to say. Panasonic was interested in our opinions; we mattered. As humans, we instinctively want to feel like we are important, like we belong. Everyone at Panasonic listened to us when we talked about their products or even when we were just talking about our lives back in San Luis Obispo. For that, we thank you. We thank you for working tirelessly to link your philosophy to your consumer and the Panasonic products. Your company's vision was presented to us every day: you care about the people using your products and you want Panasonic to improve people's lives. Your personally signed letter following our trip demonstrated the importance of us to you.

That's the part you got completely correct, Mr. Yamada: you and Panasonic have improved our lives more than you can ever know. Tonight John is relaxing in front of our awesome TV and I am blogging via our laptop while sitting at my kitchen table. Tomorrow I will be taking our youngest son, Miles, to his first day of preschool. At night we will all gather in front of the TV, insert a little SD card in the slot on our television and our whole family will share in this momentous event in HD. Four months ago these occurrences would have been drastically different in our home and far less enjoyable. Thank you Mr. Yamada and Panasonic. Your "Ideas for Life" have made ours absolutely wonderful.