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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.   

 

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.  

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!

Day 18: A Kindness Mashup

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. 😉

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!”

As a single gal in the city, I find it never a bad idea to strive to be aware of my surroundings. Unfortunately, my wild imagination sometimes gets the best of me. When Swankypeach and I were roomies, we were continuously peering through curtains to keep tabs on the shady character who moved in across the street. Because of his insanely loud car, he was immediately dubbed Fast & the Furious (or, as we became more familiar stalkers, F & F). I’m convinced he was a drug dealer because of all of the visitors he would receive, yet none would stay for more than 10 minutes.  Don’t get me wrong, my neighborhood is really nice and one of the safest in Charlotte — it isn’t every day that a potential drug dealer moves in across the street! Regardless, I had my eye on F & F…just in case. 

In addition to F & F, I sometimes see the elderly man who lives in the townhouse complex behind mine in his kitchen as I am begrudgingly hauling my trash to its bin.  He is usually washing dishes, but sometimes he just stares out the window. Initially, I thought that was odd behaviour…then I realized he probably (and correctly) assumed I was the weirdo because I was staring back at him. From my now very infrequent window-peering, I have deduced that the elderly man lives alone and while slow, he is still mobile (he has a behemoth sized Cadillac parked in front of his house). I have never seen anyone other than the man, so I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have family close by.  

Today, I’m hopping across the privacy hedge and placing a bouquet of flowers at his doorstep. I’m certain he already thinks me weird enough, so I won’t be signing my name or personal description (ie the girl you sometimes see looking in your window) to the card. Instead, it simply reads “Someone you don’t know is sending you well wishes. Hope these brighten your day!”

I am, without a doubt, a creature of habit. Case in point would be how I spend most of my Sunday evenings. My ideal Sunday evening? Takeout from Ginbu 401, sweatpants, and Desperate Housewives (and sometimes Extreme Home Makeover…if I’m in the mood for a good cry).  Early last fall, I was really on a roll with my Sunday night ritual. My regularity at Ginbu was almost embarrassing, but not embarrassing enough to call in an order somewhere else. 

I’ll never forget the Sunday evening I pulled into Ginbu and on their teeny tiny patio was a disheveled couple who appeared to be in their early to mid 40s. Both were sitting in Rascal scooters and both had a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The three of us made eye contact as I pulled up to the restaurant so I made sure to say good evening to them as I got out of my car. They reciprocated and then the man pointed to the assisted living center across the street and said, “Don’t tell anyone, but we escaped. Hehehe!” As a person who completely understands the concept of Sometimes You Just Need A Beer,  I joined in with their giggles and continued inside to pick up my order. 

When I came back out, they both introduced themselves and we had a really nice 5-minute chat.  Those two were feisty and I, boy, do I love me some feist. I had driven by the assisted living facility for years and had even occasionally noticed people sitting out on the huge porch watching the cars go by. However, being from rural Tennessee, this kind of activity never struck me as odd or sad. In fact, I, myself, spent a good portion of my childhood in the doorway of my Dad’s grocery store watching the cars go by.  After meeting this couple, it really made the assisted living center and the people who lived there “real” to me.  They get cabin fever and cravings for, ahem, not so healthy items just like the rest of us!

Today I baked a batch of cookies and took it over to the assisted living center. I didn’t ask, but I really hope the couple I met are still there so they could partake in the wonderful deliciousness that is my aunt’s chocolate chip cookie recipe.  In hindsight, I should have made a pit stop at the Teeter for some Breyer’s vanilla bean ice cream because that is the ultimate way to ingest these no-fail mood enhancers.  The lady at the front desk, however, was simply grateful for the cookies. Maybe when the weather gets warmer I can do a cookie drop #2, complete with a la mode.  After all, it never hurts to get in good with the administration! 😉

Isn’t it lovely, Mom and Dad?!?!