Thanksgiving season a time to remember and be thankful

I don’t know what I want to tell you this issue. Sometimes I am brimming with ideas. I have these fantastic stories I love to share with you. Some are personal and others are more of my perspectives on life.
For this issue, I thought I would just tell you the many events that have triggered deep emotions in my heart recently. As a mother, the tragic loss of the teenage students in car accidents here in Rancho Santa Fe has left me bereft, along with the rest of the community.
One of my closest friends — Jill Sorge — has two teenagers that attend Santa Fe Christian High School. Within seven days of covering the Homecoming football game, tragedy struck when they lost a classmate. Jill’s daughter Lauren is a cheerleader at Santa Fe Christian.
The week the accident happened, I listened to my friend recount the ways of how she could help the squad by making all of the buttons for the cheerleaders to wear for the following football game. The buttons had William Wardrip’s picture on it, in which he is wearing his Santa Fe Christian Jersey. That day my friend Jill drove to a few of the crafty stores like Michael’s in Encinitas and then on to a Wal-Mart near Mission Valley.
Her goal was to find the best quality button, in honor of the student Santa Fe Christian had lost. I remember thinking about Jill that afternoon. I thought about all of her driving back and forth for this one important element of remembrance that was more than just a button on a cheerleader’s uniform. This detail became larger than any regular duty for her daughter. It carried the weight of loss of another family’s tragedy that touched her children’s lives, too.
As her friend, I felt so moved by her efforts. My deepest sympathy also goes out to the families involved that lost a loved one recently. This very same week, I learned that one of my friends has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My friend is under the age of 40.
As I drive to work and witness the sun shining across the ocean, my mind is perplexed and saddened by all of the recent news. And, that one question we all ask comes to mind — why? How can one ever understand such things?  My heart searches for meanings and a purpose. Yet, when we lose those we love, sometimes there can just be a time to grieve without understanding.  We can grieve and there are no answers to why circumstances like these happen.
This life is so precious. As I am thinking of each story from the last month, I hesitate to celebrate my life. Yet, therein lies the answer. Celebrate life. Yes, we must cherish the moments and the goodness of all those we love. This is the key to overcoming such tragedies when there are no other answers to find.
We must lift up the memory of our loved ones, like my friend Jill did with her goal of finding the perfect button for all of the cheerleaders at Santa Fe Christian in remembrance of their beloved classmate. Jill understood the importance of honoring those we love. Sometimes finding meaning in the minor details can help mend broken hearts.
Be thankful for each moment, each friend, and each loved one that has touched your spirit. Let us remember this Thanksgiving the families that have lost a loved one recently in our thoughts and prayers. Let us remember those that have touched our hearts.
Around town
On Oct. 28, I stopped by Dr. Sherman’s office in Del Mar. Have you heard of Dr. Sherman? He has been in the San Diego area since 1981 and is the creator of the “natural look.” With recent trends to look younger and younger, it’s good to know the dos and don’ts when considering cosmetic changes to your body. If you are looking for a nonsurgical facelift that won’t break your wallet or keep you hidden during the holidays, please read this exciting information the Del Mar Medical Center shared with me: 
“Maurice P. Sherman, M.D., F.A.C.S., is now offering Sculptra®Aesthetic (injectable poly-L-lactic acid), a cosmetic facial injectable that works gradually, resulting in a more youthful looking appearance that can last up to two years. SculptraAesthetic is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment indicated for the correction of shallow to deep nasolabial fold (smile lines) contour deficiencies and other facial wrinkles which are treated with the appropriate injection technique in healthy people.  “I am very excited to offer SculptraAesthetic to patients who want to achieve natural-looking results from a cosmetic injectable that is long-lasting,” Dr. Sherman said. “SculptraAesthetic works gradually to achieve results over time, so no one will notice you had work done.” Wrinkles and folds associated with aging become apparent, primarily through the breakdown of collagen. SculptraAesthetic helps the body replace lost collagen to provide a more youthful looking appearance.
For more information, visit where you can view before and after pictures from Sculptra patients.
Thank you Dr. Sherman and to your team for sharing this personal photo at your office. Pictured are Vanessa Vargas with Dr. Sherman, Ronnie Berger, and Carol Parr-Garcia. To make an appointment for a free consultation please call (858) 350-8400 and ask to speak with Ronnie Berger.
On Oct. 29, I headed downtown for an event that I just loved: “Cultures & Cocktails” held every other month at SDMA.  Imagine walking into this fabulous museum with a rockin’ party taking place on all levels, with “Chains of Love” by the band Erasure from the 8’0s echoing through the art galleries. I ran into some of the local crowd from Rancho Santa Fe. Who knew that we were so cultured in San Diego? I spotted Rosemary Rae with a good friend and Bill Fox out on the scene. Rosemary is head of design and marketing for the Community Center and Bill Fox is famous for the parties he throws every year in La Jolla. What fun to run into a few familiar faces off my normal circuit scene. If you love art and are looking for an evening that hopes to feel slightly like New York, this is the ticket. Check out
On Nov. 7, I was able to sneak in the front doors of the fabulous Crystal Ball Gala held at the Fairbanks Country Club. At minimum $300 a ticket, there were no signs of a recession at this lavish Rancho Santa Fe gala. Lou and Judy Ferrero were saluted by all of their friends and loved ones for their gallant efforts they have contributed toward Casa de Amparo. The Ferroros were “delighted to be recognized as this year’s honorary chairs,” and said they “hope each and every Casa Kid will have the chance to create the bright future they deserve.” Judy Keys and Karen Kogut were co-chairs. ProFlowers was the title partner. Casa de Amparo was founded in 1978 with the mission to help prevent child abuse. I ran into the editor of Fine Magazine, Laurie Nelson, with her husband John. They were sweet enough to pose for a portrait of excellence that captured the evening. Cheers to everyone involved that made this night a success for this wonderful charity. For more information please check out
On Nov. 10, I was delighted to be invited to the Santa Fe Christian’s Veteran’s Day Remembrance Day celebration. Commander Jon Paul Labuzzo was the guest speaker that led this touching ceremony. He urged the audience to “be courageous and to challenge everyone to be involved in selfless service to the community.” He quoted our first President George Washington, “The fate of unborn millions will depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army.” Commander Labuzzo also used President Washington as an example of a man that served selflessly for the greater cause for humanity. “Unlike Caesar or Napoleon he appeared before congress as a citizen and not as a dictator.” His speech inspired the audience and touched the hearts of those in the auditorium that day. Later, the veterans that attended were honored by the choir and audience. A slideshow captured each time period of Veteran’s service in the military. What touched my spirit the most was the sight of Yvonne Paczulla — pictured with Richard Farwell — and how she stood up holding her wheelchair with the perfect salute during each song. I was lucky enough to chat with her after the celebration was over. Ms. Paczulla told me how made she managed to escape death when other of her friends were not so fortunate. I was so touched by her story. Thanks to women like Yvonne, we live in a free country. I also ran into Dick Van Allen with his granddaughter Tabitha Bell. Mr. Allen flew in from Utah to be with his family and attend this patriotic ceremony that left me missing my own father. Afterward, I called my dad to say thank you for serving our country in the military. My gratitude overflows for the brave men and women that serve and have served to protect our freedom.
Later that evening, I attended Linda Sansone’s special fundraising event at Plume in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe. This event had the first true signs that the holidays are definitely upon us. Ten percent of the proceeds were donated to California Bipolar Foundation. Guests that attended enjoyed early holiday shopping. Chic designers dresses hung on racks under the stars next to fabulous hand bags and jewelry, while guests mingled with friends and co-workers. Owner Daniel B of the Pantry personally catered the event. The teriyaki beef skewers were my personal favorite. Owner Courtney MacDonald posed for a candid shot with host and Realtor Linda Sansone. That night my husband said, “I’ve never seen so many women in one place.” Like I’ve said before, if you go downtown in the Ranch great things are bound to happen. A shot that captures the essence of that statement. Pictured are Lisa Odenweller, Sally LaRocca, Heather Hunter, Courtney MacDonald and Kelly Conley. Thank you so much for the invite. The evening felt like my first holiday party. For more information on bipolar disorder, please check out
Stay tuned for my next column to find out which restaurant will receive a personal profile and what holiday parties will make it into the next “Machel’s Ranch.” If you have an event you would like Machel Penn to cover, please contact her at


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