Monday, July 19, 2010

Good Deeds by the Dozen. (aka How to fight the blues.)

Clearly my guardian angel has plans for me. Do they include making a billion dollars? Do they include, perhaps, being able to pay my power bill and mortgage payment in the SAME MONTH? I’m not sure.

Isn’t it enough that I supposedly spent my previous several lives in a monastary? (Which, frankly, I’m beginning to question. And, hello, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to perhaps throw in a Prada, or Coach bag or two. )

Just when I thought that working with five-year olds daily was my "do-good for life" payment, she went and threw me another great opportunity.

Some special people have reached out to me to participate in a “Do Good Day” project. It's called "77 Kids 'Do Good' Day". To put it simply, I received a package in the mail that contained various items that would help in our efforts to perform some random acts of kindness in my community. And 77 of lots of things.

I fell in love with the idea.

Random acts of kindness - they make the world go round, people. I love them even MORE when they are anonymous. I perform them as often as I can, in little ways, and I don’t like to shout about it - as I know many of you do, to. (Except perhaps the two previous posts- but that was different. J)

I asked Golden Boy and several of the neighborhood boys that have been eating me out of house and HOME if they wanted to help me out with this. I suggested going to one of our local retirement communities, and filling the meters downtown with quarters. You know what they ALL said?


I explained AGAIN what we were doing, in English, very slowly, and they STILL said yes. (Now, whoever replaced this kids with other people, speak now or forever hold your peace.)

So today, armed with bushels of flowers, notes of well wishes, rolls and rolls of quarters, and the hope that I’ve planted a seed in some young boys’ hearts, we head out on our mission of goodwill. We will visit a local retirement community - where Sassy works serving in the dining hall; and then head downtown to fill meters and hand flowers and warm wishes to students and neighbors.

Not only will the spirits of some members of this community be lifted, but so will ours.

So will ours, indeed.

Now get out there and do ONE nice thing today.

(I'll post pics ..this afternoon. Oh, the winner of the camera?? Unmitigated Me. However, had I KNOWN how much math was involved in adding comments for telling me funny stories, etc., I would have taken an advanced Algebra course before posting the *@&#^ contest. Despicable Me Contest is STILL ON!!)

The Dirty Dozen's (minus 8) Good Deeds.

I hustled the four boys into the car, along with five bouquets of flowers, the cards the boys had written, three rolls of quarters and a prayer that they had all showered and were wearing clean clothes for our Do Good Day mission. We were on the verge of running late as I had just finished with summer camp, and I wanted to tell them what I expected of them that afternoon.

"Okay, guys, when we get to the ChipNDale Retirement Community, and you are handing out the flowers, you could say..."

"Mom. MOM! I think we know how to talk."

"Well, I wasn't sure if you wanted me to give you some ideas, or.."

"We got it. We're not little kids. I think we know how to talk to people."

"Yeah. We can talk to people- even the elders!" I heard from the back seat.

And so it was on.

We arrived at the Village and were greeted by a lovely woman who welcomed us with gratitude. She walked us up the stairs towards the kitchen, where she suggested we begin rewarding the kitchen staff who work so hard every day.

The boys began handing out flowers to residents and visitors as we made our way down the hallway.

At first I gently gestured with my head towards people and they took the cues. Soon, they were approaching people and handing out the flowers - along with huge smiles, laughs and stickers. I noticed more than once that residents would reach out to hug whoever had handed them the flower, and each one returned every hug willingly and happily.

As we left the building, the boys were laughing and talking about what people said, how much fun it was and how easy it had been. As I watched them talking and laughing, I felt so proud. I was wiping my eyes as I thought about how this simple gesture meant so much to so many.

We made our way downtown and found a spot in the middle of a busy parking lot. The boys, pockets laden with quarters, made their way up and down rows of meters, whooping it up when they came upon one blinking that time had expired.

"We have saved SO MANY PEOPLE!" one of the shouted.

"Yeah, but they probably won't even know it!" another replied.

And at that moment I turned to see a police officer put his ticket-giver-outer into his holster and look in my direction. We started towards each other, and I had an inkling he wasn't happy. (Cue the shoot-out music.)

"You know, you really aren't supposed to feed all the meters." He said in a very stern tone.

Being the teacher, I replied, "Now, now. These boys are doing a service project, and learning a valuable lesson today. What would you have them do instead?"

"Well, to be honest, I work at the fire station as well. Here's the number. Next time they want to do a service project, have them come over and wash the engines for us." He smiled at me, glanced one more time at the lot, shook his head and turned to walk the other direction.

On the drive home the boys were talking a mile a minute, and those of you with a gaggle of boys around your house know what I mean. At one point someone said, "That was so so cool. Even getting busted by the COPS was cool!"

There were many amazing lessons learned today. The last one? Being good is almost as much fun as being bad.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

When Despicable is Good.

It was last November and I was searching on-line for a recipe. You should know that I don't often search online for recipes. Frankly, I'm lucky to get the pasta in the water and the Ragu out of the jar in time for anyone who MIGHT be here to actually eat; and if I entered every on-line contest I came upon when searching the web, I would get even LESS done than I do now.

However, I had eaten delicious Italian Wedding Soup at a party, and decided that it was something I wanted to make. Hence, the search for the recipe.

I landed on the Cooking Light website and a box for a contest immediately popped up. I glanced at it quickly, and instinctively clicked on the close box. I proceeded to search the site, but I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind about that contest box. It was like an annoying itch that got worse and worse until I decided to get out of the website and go back again to see if I could enter the contest.

When I logged in this time, there was no box. I repeated several times - all with the same result. I closed up my computer and went about the business of dinner.

That nagging feeling, however, would not go away. It bothered me for several days, and I couldn't figure out why. I decided to go back to the website and as soon as I opened it - there was the box. I read it more carefully: "Win a $100 gift card - five given out monthly!" I laughed, thinking the odds were certainly horrible - but I filled it out just so that nagging feeling would go away. It was almost Christmas, I needed every penny I could get, so I finished it and forgot about it.

Two weeks later, guess what? I received the email from Cooking Light. I had won the $100 gift card! I replied several times to the person who emailed ME, asking if this was a joke, and had I REALLY won the card? Really? She assured me that yes, I had indeed won.

It was just another reminder to me that my guardian angel might, in fact, still like me.

I've had another nagging feeling of late, and it wasn't until today that I've figured out what to do about it.

I had an amazing offer from the people involved with Despicable Me. I am able to give away to TWO winners a prize pack that includes tee shirts, a hat, balloons, pencil with Minion top and a Moo-Can. Now who doesn't need a Moo-Can???

The issue to me became, how can I do this giveaway? What do I want? I couldn't think of anything. (Besides a book deal, a billion dollars, everyone to add money to the Paypal button, get me a thousand more followers, oh hell, I could go on and on.) However, I was really, in my heart, wondering if there was perhaps someone else that might need something.

As I began wondering who I could help, I was contacted by Kevin from Always Home and Uncool about an amazing opportunity to help the JM Foundation. They are in the running to receive an amazing amount of money for their cause. All that is needed is a vote. One little vote. Every single day, of course, but it's very painless and very worth your time.

So, in order to win this package from Despicable Me, you have to do one tiny thing.

Vote for Cure JM here.

Tweet about voting for Cure JM.

Oh, and if you BLOG about this contest, you get like a gazillion more entries.

If you vote daily, you can enter this contest daily. Easy as pie. I will close the contest on July something or other (July 31). Come back, let me know that you voted and tweeted - and you are entered again. I will do the RANDOMIZER - and I do not mean that I will throw your name off the deck and see which one lands in the dog poop. Last time I did that it was disgusting. And I had more than one winner. (What are the odds?)

So, do your good deed for the day and vote. It won't hurt a bit.