Karen Loucks Rinedollar  Creator of Project Linus, The Linus Effect and Author of Working for Peanuts: The Project Linus Story

Like the presidential candidates, Karen will also be presenting this week at D.U. – with slightly less fanfare and without road closures.  As the presidential candidates focus on breaking each other down, Karen will be working on building up her audience and making America, and our world, a better place- without raising taxes!

Obama and Romney have consistently used their presidential platforms to pledge promises of how they will bring the United States back to its glory days of productivity and respect in the world. However  these promises are falling on increasingly deaf ears,  especially of the undecided voters, as the candidates are not devulging clear plans on how they will accomplish such deeds.

Karen, on the other hand, will be presenting The Linus Effect- Five Steps to Making a Difference. This talk contains concise strategies that anyone can implement without infringing on the pocketbooks and wallets of citizens. Attendees will leave her presentation feeling positively impowered versus the dazed and confused aftermath of the presidential debates.

Hear Karen’s motivational message at the Daniels School of Business, Friday October 5th, at 1pm in room 310. Daniels is located on the corner of University & Evans Ave. From I-25, take the University exit (#205) and head south on University. It is located on the right side of the street after crossing Evans Ave (3rd stop light). Parking can be a challenge so it’s recommended you arrive early and try sidestreets Josephine or Columbine (just east of University).

Admission tickets and security clearances are not required. If you have further questions, please contact info@thelinuseffect.com or 303-478-6652.

For those unable to attend Friday’s D.U. talk, Karen will be leading a National Make a Difference Day project on Saturday, October 27 from 9-12 noon. It will be held at the Parker Chamber of Commerce. This will include blanket making activities as well as a one mile leisure fun/fundraising walk benefiting the seriously ill and traumatized children served through Project Linus. More info may be found at www.workingforpeanuts.org/project-linus-denver

Where were the Children this Halloween?

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Last night was a gorgeous evening as Colorado Halloween’s go. The children didn’t even have to hide their precious costumes under layers of parkas. They were free to be their cute selves. Yet through the evening, we had a mere half dozen knocks on the door. For the record, we are not living on a remote ranch in the country. We are on a cul-de-sac in a very kid friendly suburban subdivision. Where were the children?

My husband, Gary, and I get very excited about the prospect of trick-or-treaters. It used to be such a magical time when we were growing up. He annually insists on accompanying me to stock up on the cool candy- popular chocolates and sours to delight the most discriminating pediatric palate. Gary had mixed the selection of the seven various bags of sweets with the same kind of tender loving care that might be used by Willie Wonka’s Umpa Lumpas.  Although our expenditure fell far less than the average American stat of $40 per household, we seemed to have enough candy to feed an army!

Halloween is also our cat’s day. Zuma, is a black domestic short hair and tends to get extra spookish on the 31st. She takes up position each year in front of a sidelight windows by our front door watching the neighborhood goings on. Kids giggle with glee as they spot her silhouette from the flicker of pumpkin light. It’s as if she was trained to be a professional Halloween decoration.

We dressed in costumes. Although my husband would rather attend a funeral for a friend than a costume party, he voluntarily went up to our closet and climbed into his annual getup- German man in lederhosen. Although I’d been out and about during the day in a Malice in Wonderland outfit, I decided to don my complementing German dirndl.

Last prep item to attend to before the kiddos arrival was to carve the pumpkins. Each year, one of my garden’s pride and joys is a pumpkin patch that would make Linus proud. This year we had a bumper crop of small to medium sized curbises.  Newspapers were spread across our kitchen island. Within an hour, with the help of surgeon sharp knives and quirky imaginations – pumpkin juice was flying almost as prevalently as creative juices. Stems were turned into tousled hairdos, some were laughing, others looked horrified, one winking and of course the obligatory “Barfing Pumpkin” . Seven pumpkins were strategically placed to guide the children up to our front door.

Each time the door bell rang, we sprang from our places- most of the time I had hands covered in pumpkin goo as I was trying to extricate seeds to be baked. They are high in protein, vitamins and minerals and above all- taste great! I’d have to race over to the sink for a quick rinse then join Gary at the front door to welcome the kids. Unanimously the Barfing Pumpkin was voted as their favorite with my tousled haired Smiley Face as a far behind second.

Costumes this year were also a bit bland. I keep a camera by the front door for the especially clever ones but everything seemed to be store bought and classic- cowboys, Harry Potter, dog, a candy corn- nothing racy like the bride/divorcee Kim Kardashian, Sister Wives, Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Osama swimming with the fishes, an unmanned drone or one of the presidential candidates. Perhaps those are all a little too mature for the trick-or-treat audience. I’d loved to have seen a Charles Schulz character with his Project Linus blanket.

To say the kids were in a candy seeking frenzy would be a great overestimation. They were polite, subdued and usually reached for one piece. We’d always throw some extras their way and as the night progressed, encouraged the children to take handfuls- helping them with our larger mitts. Usually we turn out the lights at 9pm to signal the candy giving had ended yet it was as if someone had put a sign out early. Not a single knock or ring after 8:30. Even our neighbors CJ and Allison had time to stop by to share a Halloween hi.

Besides many pounds of leftover candy, the only tragedy of the evening was a two inch burn that occurred when CJ stepped too close to the seed laden cookie sheets as they were being removed from the toasty oven. Being the good hostess, I took one for the team and politely singed my skin instead of his. Fortunately is hasn’t been painful and will be a reminder of a fun evening.

Perhaps celebrating Halloween trick-or-treating has become one of those memories from the past like candy cigarettes and cars without seat belts. Halloween fell on a Monday this year so maybe most of the celebrating had been done over the weekend. Play dates and trunk-or-treats may be the new norm. From my vantage point, we adults seem to be having more fun with this holiday than the children!