Archive for the ‘Stranger [is not always] danger’ Category

Several years ago (after college, but before my “real” job), I was driving along listening to a story on NPR (yay for public radio!) about a girl who was 26 and homeless. At one point, she had a job and an apartment but, due to a series of unfortunate events, was living out of her car.  Her unfortunate events weren’t even all that uncommon — a job loss, an accident that resulted in an extended (and uninsured) hospital stay,  credit card debt. Everything combined to form the perfect storm which, eventually, led to her eviction and nowhere to turn.

I often joke about being the only person in America who can’t afford to move home.  However, I know that if serious calamity ever struck, my childhood bedroom would be available to me in a heartbeat.  That day, as I was listening, I compared the girl’s situation to mine. Any of the events that happened to her could easily happen to me. Then I had the most peace-inducing thought, “Well, thanks to Mom & Dad, at least I’ll never be homeless.”

I see homeless people all the time and it’s very easy to lump them into a stereotype. However, the truth is, we really have no idea what their story may be.  Today’s act of kindness involves a care package. Do you remember how awesome it was to receive one of those when you were in college? It would instantly turn a horrible day into an amazing one.  The care package I put together for today consists of  Kashi granola bars (DE-lish!), Ritz whole grain cheese crackers, Canyon mix (the yogurt raisins are the best!), a banana, a Cookies N Cream Hershey bar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a men’s travel toiletry kit, AND the cutest card ever that reads “Sending a little sunshine your way!” I filled the inside of the card with my favorite inspirational quotes (that Maya Angelou really knows what she’s talking about). I packed all the swag into a conveniently portable lunch bag and plan to give it to the first homeless person I see on my commute home today.


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Today was my first day back in the office after a week of working from home. Our office is officially moved into our new building and, I must admit, it’s actually really nice! Like surprisingly nice.  Part of me feels like all of this good deed doing may finally be coming full circle. I feel like I’m putting so much positive energy out into the world, some of it is coming back (in the form of an office not the size of a shoebox and with a lovely park side view!).  On the other hand, perhaps my expectations were just very, very low. Either way, today was a good day.

In honor of the new office building, I decided to bring a little good karma to our new digs. As I was searching for the stairs this morning (oh, yes. My new fitness regimen will be walking up & down four flights of stairs every day. I made two roundtrips today. Do you know how many stairs that is? 240. In hell, oops typo!, heels.), I passed by a small room with some vending machines. First things first, I immediately made sure the vending machines stocked Diet Coke (they do!). Then, I cased out the rest of the goods. M & M cookies? Promising. Twix bars? Good to know. TGI Friday’s Cheddar Skin Chips? Hurry up, Fatass Friday!  

I refrained from any purchase today.  After all, I should probably be a bit kinder to my body if I’m going to be hoofing it up the stairs from now on.  I did, however, leave $.75 in the change slot of one of the vending machines for one fellow junk food lover to discover.  It’s a small thing, I know. I just hope someone like my dad finds the loose change. To him, a person who delights (and tallies) all of the pennies he finds on the street, finding a quarter is like winning the lottery. I can only imagine what would happen if he found three all together. 

Probably retire. 🙂

The new office building. Isn't it nice?!?

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I was lucky enough to have had the day off today due to the President’s Day holiday (thank YOU, Mr. Presidents!). After a leisurely morning of sleeping in and watching House Hunters, I decided I should probably get off the couch before I wasted my entire free day.  Since I had some time, I decided to take a drive out to Charlotte’s Animal Control facility to drop off a bag of dog food and treats for all the pups in the clank.  

It’s hard to believe that the last time I was at Animal Control was almost seven years ago.  While initially attracted to an adorable goat roaming the pen in the front of the facility, it was the cutest little black ball of fur that completely stole my heart. Well, that isn’t exactly true. Bellousa had matted fur and was extremely skinny. However, when our eyes met and she smiled her crooked smile, I knew that she was my Lilly.  She was, hands down, the best $80 I’ve ever spent. Ever.

I could have just dropped off the food and treats, but much like when I’m making a return at a clothing or shoe store, I told myself, “Well, it won’t hurt to just look around.” About 30 seconds later, I found myself in the middle of a Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial.

Callie: the sweetest golden retriever ever.

While it was painfully sad to see all dogs in the pound, my heart went out to two in particular. Callie, the golden retriever pictured above, is probably THE most beautiful golden I’ve ever seen. Her coat is so soft and silky and she has the most sweet and docile demeanor.  I instantly wanted to adopt her. However, I know that Callie deserves a forever home that has a fenced in backyard and/or an owner who can jog her everyday. Sadly, at this time, I can’t provide either. 

Smiles is my favorite.

Smiles, on the other hand, is a bit more manageable size. He is spunky and loved to give dog kisses (just like his potential big sister, Lilly!).  This precious mutt had me seriously considering the expansion of my family.  After much debate (and lots of through-the-fence ear rubs), I had to say goodbye to Smiles….at least for the time being. 

When I arrived  home, poor Miss Lilly got hugged so much her grunts began to sound like “Ugh…mom….stop!” We then went on a long walk around the neighborhood.   

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For years, my favorite go-to place for stationary, cards, and gifts has been Paper Skyscraper.  Their selection is great and I could seriously spend an entire afternoon reading all of the Mik Wright cards, magnets, and coasters.  When I popped in a few weeks ago, I noticed a new display of cards. The brand is Do Something Positive and not only did the cards have the most beautiful cover artwork, they also featured wonderfully thoughtful quotes. 

I picked up a couple of cards today with the intent of spreading their positive messages. The first card I picked out was a lovely teal color with two cute seahorses on the cover. The quote read, “There are people whom one loves and appreciates immediately and forever. Even to know they are alive in the world is enough.” On the inside, it reads “You make the world better.” The second card was a pretty yellow green and simply read “The good is the beautiful” with the inside reading “And you are good.”

As I arrived at this evening’s dinner locale, I placed the two cards on two random cars in the parking lot. And that is my idea of doing something positive.  

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Mostly Chocolate's Festive Chest is full of sweet deliciousness.

In what feels like an eternity ago, a good friend and former sorority sister of mine asked if I would help out with the planning of our chapter’s 80th anniversary celebration.  Specifically, she asked that I chair the silent auction portion of the event. Though I had been to several silent auctions, I had zero experience in actually producing one. However, with Carrie’s confirmation that I could, indeed, pull some of the collegiates to form a committee (in order to, truthfully, do much of the legwork), I agreed.

During our first committee meeting, I had created a spreadsheet of local businesses to target for the solicitation of donations. Businesses on the list were places like spas, salons, restaurants, personal training facilities, etc. Basically, places where former sorority girls like to frequent. I passed the spreadsheet to all the girls and asked that they sign up for businesses they would like to personally contact. 

After we had gone through the list, I asked if they could think of any other businesses they would like to add. Immediately, a hand shot up and one of the collegiates enthusiastically replied, “We should add SouthBeach Tanning! All the girls in the house go there and they LOVE us!”  Now, I will be the first to admit that I am a former tanorexic and spent much of my time in college (with my big, fake nails and unseasonably brown legs) looking like I was straight from the Jersey Shore.  However, as evident by my translucent skintone today, it has been years since I have faked and baked (thanks to my lovely dermatologist who has terrified me to no end about the dangers of tanning. It’s true, ya’ll…it’s SOOO bad for you!). I refrained from hopping on my soapbox about proper skincare and sunblock, and added the cancer  tanning salon to our list.

The second suggestion came from a doe-eyed sweetheart who looked like she was just starting high school, must less, college. She timidly raised her hand and suggested that we contact a famous ADPi alum and have them donate some sort of autographed memorabilia.  The other collegiates loved the idea and immediately began googling “famous ADPi alums”. A couple of senators and Miss Americas were named before one girl read, “Michelle Pfeiffer. Actress. Who is Michelle Pfeiffer?” When no one piped up to call out this girl for OBVIOUSLY living under a rock, I looked up from my laptop incredulously. There were blank stares all around. It was then I realized that while I think of myself as very cool and hip (I feel like it was just yesterday that I was hanging out at the Diana fountain waiting on my next class), in their eyes, I’m an old, out of touch advisor.  In their eyes, 28 may as well be 98.  I almost threw in the towel then and there.

I’m so glad I didn’t.  Today’s event went off without a hitch! We had 21 items/packages donated and thanks to our WONDERFUL bidders we raised almost $1700 for the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte! My act of kindness was donating a photo shoot session from Stephanie Flury Photography to be auctioned off. Yes, my kindness ideas are beginning to run low so I have resulted to selling myself in the name of kindness (the title of this post was almost Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy).  Other dear friends of mine whom deserve shout outs for selling themselves in the name of charity are the lovely Melissa Lamkin of Melissa Lamkin Creative and Kelly Osleger of T. Reid & Co.  Thanks, lovely ladies, for allowing your time and talents to be auctioned off today!

Thanks to 4 Paws Holistic and Canine Cafe for donating items for our furry friends!

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You know on Glee when Mr. Shuester takes two okay songs and mashes them together to form one awesome song? That’s kind of like my acts of kindness today. To be honest, I’m a busy little bee this afternoon and don’t have a ton of time to think of some super awesome act of kindness (I’ve always been a bit more on the Sue Sylvester side). A lot of my busy-ness has to deal with the silent auction I’m chairing (see tomorrow’s post Silence of the Auction), but most of it deals with the amazingly, super fun weekend that I have in store!

Just when I thought yesterday couldn’t be any more beautiful…BAM! It’s today and the forecast is a sunny 74 degrees. What do I crave on sunny 74 degree days??? Well, yes, a cold beer on a patio somewhere would be correct. BUT…coming in at a very close second (and because it isn’t 5:00 yet) is a milkshake! Now, normally, my go-to place for a milkshake is Chik-fil-A.  The Oreo milkshake? Delish! However, as I was scrounging for a kindness idea today, I remembered the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte’s volunteer newsletter I received this week which mentioned that all area McDonalds are donating a portion of their milkshake sales to RMHC. This promotion lasts through March 31st, so feel free to embrace Fatass Friday and go get you one, too!

I am mashing my Milkshake For Charity act of kindness with my Appreciation For My Assistant act of kindness. You see, this week I’ve been working from home because my office is in the process of moving locations. I’ve had a new assistant all week.  On Monday, I wasn’t sure if things were going to work out. Honestly, she was a little needy and whined an awful lot. By Wednesday, she was even sleeping on the job! I was certain yesterday was going to be her last day, but she managed to turn things around (I think it was her crooked smile) and, today, I promoted her to an office with a view. 

Movin’ on up like George and Weezy

Yes, Miss Lilly is flying up that dining room chair corporate ladder. Today is a special day for her. Today, her Auntie Meagan is coming for a long, overdue visit AND we’re going to go on a nice, long walk (so I can negate those milkshake calories). She may even get a couple of extra treats to pacify herself while Auntie Meagan and I go treat ourselves to some mani/pedis.  Which brings me to the icing on the cake for today’s mash up — a pedicure for myself. This is an act of kindness to the boyfriend, because he can now stop pretending to not notice my fugly toes. 😉

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A few weeks ago, I read the most heart wrenching story in the Charlotte Observer about a 6-year-old girl named Jordan who is currently being treated at Presbyterian Hospital (the same hospital where I volunteer!) for leukemia. Despite undergoing rounds of chemotherapy, she needs a bone marrow transplant in order to live. Not only is the Charlotte community rallying behind this brave little girl, but the NASCAR community is stepping up, too. 

I had never considered becoming a bone marrow donor before reading about Jordan Jemsek. After reading her story, I found myself on BeTheMatch.org learning about the process of bone marrow donation and what steps I needed to take to get listed on the national registry. I then discovered that a Be The Match Donor Registry Drive would be taking place today at the Charlotte School of Law.  So, during my lunch break (and with the windows rolled down because it is a BEAUTIFUL spring-like day here in the Carolinas), I took a short drive to the westside. The donor registry process was so simple. I filled out a form listing my contact information, confirmed that I did not participate in risky behaviors (high-five for Just Saying No!), and then had my cheeks swabbed with 5 cotton, uh, swabs.  In fact, I didn’t even have to attend the donor registry drive if I didn’t want to. I could have simply ordered a swab kit online via the Be The Match website. However, since I’m working from home this week, it was a welcome chance to have face-to-face conversation with someone other than my dog. 

While not too terribly invasive, marrow donation is a surgical outpatient procedure that requires anesthesia. However, it’s not like I signed up to donate a kidney. I discussed my intent to join the National Marrow Donor Program with several people before I actually registered today. Everyone had essentially the same initial response, “OMG…what if you’re a match?”

My response, “OMG…what if I am!”

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