Archives for January 2024

Sergei, January 26 Pet of the Week

awwwww! Too adorable!

Brave Sergei had his leg mangled by a raccoon, and shelter veterinarians had to amputate the leg and quarantine him for six months until he was cleared for rabies. Through Sergei’s isolation, volunteers visited him and sent their love through the kennel bars because they couldn’t physically interact with him. He’s now all through with iso and is a solemn, affectionate, chill, tripod fellow who gets around his kennel just fine. He needs a loving home where he can get all the love and hugs he’s missed during all those months and stretch his three legs! To adopt or foster Sergei, email to speed the process, or call (562) 570-7387. Better yet, meet her in person at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors). Ask for ID#A703457.

20 Addiction and Substance Abuse Facts That Might Shock You

Substance abuse is rampant. You might avoid it, though, if you hear the facts that go with it. Let’s examine some.

Fentanyl and Heroin

Fentanyl can be up to an alarming 50 times stronger than heroin. Fentanyl side effects can be awful, even if you ingest it accidentally and it doesn’t kill you.

Fentanyl and Morphine

Fentanyl can also be up to an astonishing 100 times stronger than morphine. Morphine is already very powerful, so this information is staggering.

Opioid Deaths

In the US, about 150 people die daily from synthetic opioids. These include fentanyl deaths.

Young Americans

Americans from age 18-25 are the most likely to use illegal drugs. Consider this if you have a teenager.

Americans Before Age 13

More than 70% of those who tried drugs or alcohol before age thirteen develop an addiction.

Mental Illness and Drug Use

Approximately 9.5 million Americans with a substance use disorder also have a mental illness. Often, they’re trying to self-medicate.

The Federal Budget

In 2020, $35 billion was the federal budget for drug control. That number just keeps going up.

Opioid User Percentages

About 24% of people with a drug problem have an opioid addiction or dependency.

Those Who Use Illicit Drugs

Of those who use illicit drugs, approximately 25% become addicted.

Millions of Americans with Addiction Issues

Nearly 21 million US residents are estimated to have at least one addiction.

How Many Get Treatment?

Of those 21 million, only about 10% end up actively seeking treatment.

Alcohol Deaths

Of those who use alcohol in the long term, many end up eventually dying from it. Overall, approximately 47,500 American deaths each year can be linked to long-term alcohol use.

Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths

Alcohol plays a part in many car wrecks. Drivers with a BAC of 0.15 or over cause nearly 70% of alcohol-related driving deaths.

Yearly US Driving Death Stats

In America, about 10,500 people die each year in alcohol-related car wrecks.

Adults with Alcohol Use Disorder in America

In the US, about 20% of adults have alcohol use disorder, sometimes called alcoholism. That’s one out of every five people you meet.

How Many Seek Treatment?

Of the adults grappling with alcoholism, only about 7% ever seek treatment for it. Of this number, some also relapse.

How Many Die in the US Each Year from Alcohol?

In America, alcohol kills about 95,000 people each year. This number includes long-term use deaths and deaths from acute alcohol poisoning.

Worldwide Alcohol Deaths

Alcohol is responsible for killing about 2.3 million people worldwide yearly. Alcohol problems are prevalent in many countries.

Young Americans and Alcohol Use

In the US, 1 out of every ten individuals over age 12 has alcohol use disorder. Some drinkers start that young if they see those around them doing it.

Yearly Opioid Overdoses

In the US, opioid overdoses kill about 50,000 people every year.

Think about these stats the next time you’re considering a drinking binge or popping a pill.

National Fish Taco Day

Fish Tacos!

Rubio’s Offers 99¢ Tacos on National Fish Taco Day!

On Thursday, January 25, celebrate National Fish Taco Day at Rubio’s with Baja-inspired, Original Fish Tacos® for just 99¢ with purchase (limit four per order, one offer per person, must order an additional menu item, side, or drink.) Order online at, or through the app, enter coupon code ­­­­­­FISHTACO at checkout, or scan the QR code on the coupon in restaurants.

January 25 also marks the 41st Anniversary of Rubio’s founder, Ralph Rubio, opening the very first Rubio’s in Mission Bay, San Diego. The tiny, walk-up stand started the fish taco phenomenon that has spread from coast to coast. Today, Rubio’s menu includes a variety of grilled seafood including responsibly sourced shrimp and salmon, wild-caught Alaska pollack and wild-caught mahi mahi. Perfect for guests eating healthy in the New Year, the menu also features flavorful options under 600 calories, including the California Bowl with Cauliflower Rice and Grilled Chicken (32 grams protein), the Wild-Caught Mahi Mahi Two Taco Plate with Cauliflower Rice and Black Beans (35 grams protein, 4 grams sugar), the Avocado Corn Taco Salad with Grilled Shrimp (20 grams protein) and the Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken (28 grams protein).

Guests are encouraged to order ahead through the Rubio’s app or For more information about Rubio’s Coastal Grill and to view the menu, visit Rubio’s, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

Credit: Rubio’s Coastal Grill.

Books of the Week Round-Up!

TODAY onsale 1/30/24

 TODAY written by Gabi Snyder and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin is a welcoming and joyful picture book that reminds us every moment can hold many surprises and to look for the wonder in every day (on sale 1/30/24).

Today may seem long before leaving for a summer vacation or short during the time away. The moments that make up the day are filled with surprises, joy, fun, and memories. This book guides young readers to keep their eyes and ears open so the day doesn’t slip by. With informative backmatter about mindfulness and exercises to focus on the moment, TODAY is the perfect book for parents and educators to encourage quiet time and mindfulness.


Gabi Snyder is the author of several picture books, including Two Dogs on a TrikeListenToday,and Look. She studied psychology at the University of Washington and creative writing at The University of Texas and is a member of SCBWI. When she’s not writing, she loves taking nature walks, visiting Little Free Libraries, and baking sweet treats. She lives in Oregon with her family. Learn more at


Stephanie Graegin is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly DiPucchio; Water in the Park by Emily Jenkins; Happy Birthday, Bunny! by Liz Garton Scanlon; Peace Is an Offering by Annette LeBox; and Listen by Gabi Snyder. She earned her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA in printmaking from Pratt Institute, and she currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can visit her at

SHE KEPT DANCING by Syndey Mesher & Catherine Laudone; illustrated by Natelle Quek (on-sale October 31, 2023, Feiwel & Friends, Ages 4-8): This warm and inviting picture book, cowritten with Catherine Laudone and brightly illustrated by Natelle Quek, takes young readers along on Sydney’s journey—through the joyous ups as well as the crushing downs—and tells the story of how through it all, she kept dancing.

TO DOGS, WITH LOVE by Maria Gianferrari; illustrated by Ishaa Lobo (on-sale December 5, 2023, Roaring Brook Press, Ages 3-6): Give thanks to every human’s best friend, in this sweet and inclusive ode to dogs of all kinds – with an emphasis on service dogs – written by animal expert Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Ishaa Lobo.

Six New Tie-in Editions for Nickelodeon’s Transformers: Earthspark TV Series.

Simon & Schuster released SIX new tie-in editions for Nickelodeon’s brand-new series TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK. This exciting new TV series is for kids 6-11 and premiered in Fall 2022. The tie-in titles, were released in July and August, feature an official guidebooks, an 8×8 picture book, two Level 2 Ready-to-Read books, and two chapter books.

This show will captivate die-hard Transformers fans and kids just coming to the franchise. It features iconic legacy Transformers, such as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron as well as introducing all-new characters—the human family, the Maltos, and a new species Transformers—the first ever to be born on Earth!

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to feature in this book round-up. Cover images were also provided.

Musical Theatre West Celebrates the Love of Broadway in SoCal with Production of the Award-Winning 42nd Street

The chorus line shines in MTW’s 2012 Production of 42nd Street. Photo Courtesy of Music Theatre West.

Calling all musical theater fans! This February, Musical Theatre West (MTW), Southern California’s premier theatre company, is kicking off its 2024 season by bringing Broadway to Long Beach! Filled with sparkling costumes and dazzling songs, MTW’s production of 42nd Street will run for a limited time, February 9 – February 25, with an official opening night celebration on Saturday, February 10th. Tickets start at $20 USD each and are available by phone at 562-856-1999 or online at

“For our first production of 2024, we wanted to bring the quintessential Broadway experience to Long Beach and 42nd Street is the perfect choice,” shared Paul Garman, Executive Director and Producer for Musical Theatre West. “Our mission is to enrich and excite the community with high-quality theatrical productions. Our hope is to welcome even more families and individuals from across Southern California to experience the magic of Broadway right in their own backyard.”

Based on the 1933 movie of the same name, 42nd Street follows Peggy Sawyer (Emma Nossal), a small-town dancer who uses her naïve charm to win her way into the hearts of the audience and onto the chorus line of the biggest show on Broadway. Beloved by generations, 42nd Street celebrates the “hip hooray and ballyhoo” of musical theatre and the courage to chase one’s dreams. Audiences can expect to be amazed by an incredible cast, ensemble talent that includes working professionals alongside 10 students from the Orange County School of the Arts, a stunning score, and thrilling choreography.

Helming the show will be director Cynthia Ferrer, known for her work on MTW’s 2022 production of Damn Yankees and 2023’s season opener 9 to 5, The Musical, as well as performing in the national tours of Singin’ in the Rain, Elf, and Happy Days. Fan favorite songs including “Go Into Your Dance,” “We’re in the Money,” and “42nd Street” will be brought to life by accomplished Music Director Wilkie Ferguson, who returns to the MTW orchestra pit after musically directing 2022’s Spamilton and 2023’s 9 to 5, The Musical, in addition to several onstage Broadway credits, including The Gerswhins’ Porgy & Bess and Motown the Musical. Bringing over 40 years of experience in theater, film, and television to the show is choreographer Cheryl Baxter. Known for her work on Death Becomes Her, 500 Days of Summer, and “Glee,” as well as her roles in the first national companies of Cats and 42nd Street, the acclaimed choreographer will have audiences enthralled by the larger-than-life dance numbers.

Musical Theatre West’s production of 42nd Street will premiere at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center on select dates, February 9 – February 25, 2024, with a special ASL-interpreted performance on Friday, February 16. Tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase by phone at 562-856-1999 or online at Fees may apply. Student rush tickets for $15 are available at the Box Office one hour prior to showtime, with a valid student ID. More information, a full line-up of performances, and additional details can be found at

42nd Street by Musical Theatre West

February 9 – 25, 2024, select dates

Carpenter Performing Arts Center

Tickets start at $20, Purchase here

Student Rush tickets are $15 at the Box Office


Evelyn M Bauer Foundation, Ken & Dottie Reiner, Temple Family Charitable Foundation


Honorary Producers: Kathy Baker Campbell, Harold R Brown Foundation

Credit: Musical Theatre West.

Books of the Week!

Pairing rhymes with vivid illustrations, a new picture book A FOOT IS NOT A FISH! (Distributed by Simon & Schuster; February 13) helps parents show their children that it is not hard to see what is true and what is not. Cornelia Maude Spelman, MSW, is the acclaimed children’s book author of The Way I Feel series (over three million copies sold). 

This is a great way to teach children ages 5-8 how to tell the difference between what is true and what is not. I found it to be an interesting book and a great way to teach about fiction and fact.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cornelia Maude Spelman, MSW, was a therapist with children and families before turning full-time to writing and art. She’s written eleven books for children that help them manage emotion and difficult life situations. Her The Way I Feel series of books for young children, described by reviewers as “sensitive” and “compassionate,” have sold over two million copies and been translated into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Greek, Japanese, German, Arabic, Turkish, Danish, Russian, and Portuguese. She is also the author of the best-selling Your Body Belongs to You.

This is a tenderhearted middle grade novel about a young Pakistani American artist determined to manage her anxiety and forge her own creative path.

Deena’s never given a name to the familiar knot in her stomach that appears when her parents argue about money, when it’s time to go to school, or when she struggles to find the right words. She manages to make it through each day with the help of her friends and the art she loves to make.

While her parents’ money troubles cause more and more stress, Deena wonders if she can use her artistic talents to ease their burden. She creates a logo and social media account to promote her mom’s home-based business selling clothes from Pakistan to the local community. With her cousin and friends modeling the outfits and lending their social media know-how, business picks up.

But the success and attention make Deena’s cousin and best friend, Parisa, start to act funny. Suddenly Deena’s latest creative outlet becomes another thing that makes her feel nauseated and unsure of herself. After Deena reaches a breaking point, both she and her mother learn the importance of asking for help and that, with the right support, Deena can create something truly beautiful.

This truly is a beautiful book! I loved the characters and the overall message of the story!

Hena Khan (she/her/hers) is a Pakistani American writer and winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature. She is the author of the middle grade novels Amina’s VoiceAmina’s Song, More to the StoryDrawing Deena, and the Zara’s Rules series and picture books Golden Domes and Silver LanternsUnder My Hijab, and It’s Ramadan, Curious George, among others. Hena lives in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, with her family. You can learn more about Hena and her books by visiting her website at or connecting with her @HenaKhanBooks.

The book’s official purchase link:

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. Cover images were also provided.

Baby Shark Visits Cayton Children’s Museum at Santa Monica Place, Jan. 27-28

Cayton Children’s Museum at Santa Monica Place is hosting a special Baby Shark event on Jan. 27 and 28, featuring an ocean-themed scavenger hunt, Bubble Dance Party and Baby Shark meet and greet. Children can also craft their own Colorful Coral Creations and explore the sea’s wonders in the Under the Sea Sensory Exploration. 

Tickets are available for purchase at Baby Shark meet and greet times are 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm. Bubble Dance Party times are 11:30 am and 3:30 pm.

Credit: Cayton Children’s Museum.

Zukes, January 19 Pet of the Week

Zukes needs a forever home!

Zukes, a good boy with wacky eyes, came to our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services in May as an emaciated stray. Thanks to the work of his longtime foster, he’s learned to enjoy walks and road trips, be they brief or extended. He’s very smart—he’s crate trained and potty trained, and he’s acquired obedience skills. He loves to play! Best of all, he’s packed on the pounds and now weighs about 70 of them! His foster has given him all the prep-school education he’s needed to be a good house dog, and now, he’s ready to go home for real! Since Zukes is in foster and not in the shelter, visit, you can meet him by entering Zukes’ name in the required space, and follow directions. You can also email or, or call (562) 570-4925. and ask for ID#A698045 to meet Zukes. We’re over capacity, and everyone needs homes!