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Monday, October 28, 2013

52 Weeks of Kindness - Week 43

In my old neighborhood there was this house (okay, there were a lot of houses, that's kinda what made it a neighborhood), but this one house around the corner and down the street was special.  It was a large Victorian that had seen better days, but I loved it.  If I could have purchased it, I would have, but while we might have had the financial wherewithal to make the purchase, there's no way we could've afforded to make the necessary repairs.

Over the years, I watched sadly as it changed hands hoping someone would fix it up, but no one ever did.  One couple went so far as to paint the outside a sunny yellow – which was great – but it took them so long (more than a year) to finish painting that the sun had faded the first side to another shade of yellow altogether.

Eventually, we moved out of the neighborhood so I didn't get to drive by my beloved house every day like I had been accustomed to.  Recently, I had the opportunity to drive through the area again and I was delighted to see someone had been very busy renovating the place.  They'd rebuilt the porch railing, put in new entry doors, and resided (or repainted) the entire building.  It was looking GORGEOUS and I couldn't be happier if it were my own home.

(Okay, if it were my house, I probably would be a teensy tiny bit more happy.)

So, for this week's act of kindness, I went to Earl May Nursery and got a gift certificate and plopped it in the mail to the new owners.  I hope they plant some beautiful flowers to make the yard look as lovely as the house.

Friday, October 25, 2013

I Wanna Smell Like A Hairy Beast

I have a strange affliction.  Even though my personal hygiene schedule is robust with regular showers, hair washing, nail clippings, laundry, and the like, I freak out whenever I smell something off. It doesn't matter if it's B.O., dog poo, or something rank and rotting; my very first thought every time is:

Oh My God.  Is That ME?

To my knowledge, it's never been me, but I keep worrying all the same.

At one of my jobs, there was a bank of restrooms.  Creature of habit that I am, I tended to use the very last stall.  It was a little larger and I presumed no one else would bother to walk all the way to the end.

Then one day I noticed what looked like dirt on the seat, and (you guessed it)

Oh My God.  Is That From Me?

So I started using another stall and checked back periodically -- and discovered that the spot came back even though I did NOT use that stall.  Whew.  It wasn't me.  Kinda gross that someone's hygiene wasn't up to snuff and they were leaving actual smudges of dirt on the seat but as long as it wasn't ME, I'm okay.

I'm jealous of my husband.  He takes a shower and I can smell his freshness upstairs before he even opens the door.  I use (currently) a vanilla verbena body wash from Bath & Body Works that smells HEAVENLY, but as soon as I'm out of the shower, it fades away.  My husband is a hairy beast, though, so I think the shower gel has more places to cling whereas I am NOT a hairy beast - I spend a good deal of time waxing, shaving, and plucking to ensure optimal smoothness - and so the scent just washes down the drain. 


Despite my paranoia about stinking, I hardly ever wear perfume.  Partly because when I was pregnant, the smell of perfume nauseated me so badly, I still have an aversion to it.  The other part is that it takes on a different fragrance on my skin than it has in the bottle, and after about 20 minutes, I've had enough.

My solution?  Febreze.  Yes, the fabric/room deodorizer is now my go-to scent.  I spritz a bit on my sweater or pants and am guaranteed to smell fresh for hours. Maybe some day I won't feel the need to wax/shave/pluck myself into hairless oblivion so my lovely shower gels will get a chance to work as advertised.  In a meantime, though...


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

52 Weeks of Kindness - Week 42

Funny thing - as I sorted through my old draft posts, I've found pictures of cash I've been stashing around town.  A lot of them I never claimed as my official act for the week, probably because I assumed I would get into blogger and see the draft post and remember. Ha.

But that's not why I'm here.

I had something else planned for this week.  I have all the 'ingredients' for it, I just never got around to distributing, so that one will have to wait.

It just so happens that my local public radio station started their fall pledge drive on my birthday.  I've been meaning to sign up for years now, but because I listen primarily in the car, actually remembering to make the pledge once I get out of the car has proved a bit of a challenge.  The one day I did remember - I went to my desk and tried to log on to their website only to discover it's one of thousands my workplace blocks.  I always sort of feel guilty when that happens. As if IT is monitoring all the sites that I try to access - like Iowa Public Radio is on the same level as porn.  Ha!

Anyway, one morning I had to stop at the convenience store for something, so I just made the call and it's done now. Whew.  And, thanks to a company match and a matching challenge someone else made, my measly little gift is tripled.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mock Me Monday - The Artsy Edition

Not too long ago, Cody approached me and asked (ahem, more like demanded) I draw the Statue of Liberty for him.  He's got a little town set up in his room and he likes to add a little big-city flavor.  I often have to recreate billboards and business signs for him.

But I'm not much of an artist.  I chalk it up to my lack of hand-eye coordination.  Or brain-hand.  I can see the picture I want in my head, I just can't translate it to paper.  I remember being a kid and picking the colors I loved out of the crayon box (magenta which I used to pronounce mag-nett-a well beyond the period it would have been considered cute).  Anyhow, I'd color my picture but it never looked as good as what I had in my head and certainly never as pulled together as some of the other students whose color choices were more cohesive and they'd doodle designs on clothes and color in the background just right...

Yeah, I've been jealous of you artsy fartsy folks for decades.  But back to the job at hand.  I was to draw this:

But what poured out the tip of my pencil was this:

Not quite as regal or majestic, is it?Not sure what I'm doing with her hair or the robes...Cody proudly displayed it in his little town of Coville, though.  And he came back and asked me to draw One, Wall Street and the Algonquin Hotel.  I didn't fare any better with those (the hotel wasn't too bad), but for some reason I can't find my pictures and the whole city of Coville suffered from a terrible tornado or some other natural disaster that resembles my son, so now my abominations are gone for good.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Holy Hypocrites, Batman

Every so often I hear a story in the news about some high school senior who gets him/herself into hot water for daring to mention God during their valedictorian speech or some other public event. Opponents squawk that there should be no mention of God in our schools because of one of our basic tenets - the separation of church and state.

Now, I personally find this a little ridiculous.  I don't know where our tolerance and common sense has gone.  It seems every day I hear of another stupid thing - kids not allowed to hug a friend on school property, kids not allowed to play tag at recess, etc.  It seems everyone has a nitpick these days and the media is quick to pick up the bull horn on their behalf.

How is it, then, that I didn't know until today that the United States Congress -- the heart of our government -- has a chaplain on staff that offers up a daily prayer before each session?  Now don't get me wrong, I think our fearless leaders can use all the help they can get, but how is it our best and brightest students can't offer thanks to God without someone lodging a complaint but our government can receive daily prayers without anyone saying anything?  Where's the separation of church and state there?++

Things that make you say hmmmmmmmmm.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

52 Weeks of Kindness - Weeks 40 & 41

One of my favorite things to do is to leave a couple dollars in a store or other public space.  Part of the allure is it's quick and easy.  And everyone loves the thrill of finding cash, right?  The other day I was in our local convenience store and on a whim decided to leave a couple bucks inside a coffee cup.  I slipped the bills with my calling card inside, but when I put it back on the stack of cups, it fell off.  Instead, I tucked it under the edge of the coffee maker and then ushered my daughter away so that no one would associate us with their windfall.

Not ten seconds after we paid for our stuff, a woman found my gift and did a little happy dance saying, "I should shop here more often!"  I was able to make a clean get away, but I wonder if the staff suspects.  

My birthday fell during this week, so I made a huge tray of white chocolate macadamia nut and traditional chocolate chip cookies and took them to work.  They were gone in record time.  I tried to stay anonymous with this one, but I'm SUCH a bad liar, that it didn't work. 

I can't believe we've only got 11 weeks left in the year.  Better start prioritizing the remaining items on my idea list!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hey Washington....

What the hell is going on with our country?


I don't want to get into any hairy political debates.  Honestly, I barely follow any of it but these days the news gets to me even while I try to hide under this nice, quiet rock over here.

I know Congress has a tough job.  They get bitched at all day from constituents that want the impossible – or think they're an expert after reading an article online. Their job sucks most of the time – but they WANTED these headaches, remember?  They went OUT OF THEIR WAY to earn the right to solve them…so why aren't they doing anything?

The "Us versus Them" mentality that has taken hold of our government has got to go.  All they seem interested in doing is telling a news camera why it's the other guy's fault. 

STOP IT.  Please.

Anyone else think they're acting like 8 year olds? 
But Moooooom, he started it…

What happened to Compromise?  You know, that process where neither of us get everything we want, but we each get something? 
Where mom makes you share the last cookie with your brother…

Uh, no.  Instead of talking it out and working towards a compromise, our representatives are playing a big game of Chicken – first one to flinch loses.  Except it's people like you and me paying the real price.  My heart goes out to all those furloughed government workers.  I know our household budget would be SCREWED if I went two days without pay.
Ever notice it's always the 'regular' folk who get hit hardest with this crap?   We are the ones fighting the battles they get us into, and we are the ones making the sacrifices for the policies they enact. It's a pity we can't fill Congress with us 'regular' folk…people who know the real meaning of sacrifice and compromise and WORK.

So, Washington - stop the bickering.  Stop the finger pointing, posturing, and news conferences and

Thank you.