The Kindness Of Little Things

We read, all the time, about the kindness of strangers, about gratitude and blessings and I am for all of them and more. I did random acts of kindness even before people knew that expression. I started when my little boy was four years old, He is now 22, and has just been accepted into medical school, he still never wants to miss anything.

 

I took my little “farmer”

 

 

who always woke up at five am to a diner where we ate blueberry pancakes and drank tinny flavored orange juice. We noticed a very cranky, “mean looking” old woman sitting at the next table. He said she looked “mean.”  I explained to him “maybe she was just having a very bad day or was unhappy.” I asked him what we thought we should do, to cheer her up? We decided to pay her check and not tell her. We gave an extra twenty-dollar bill to the waitress

 

 

 

to pay for her bill and the next customer’s.

 

No way did we start this trend but I’m sure my son and I were way ahead of the crowd. Now, I decided to take another approach to kindness and gratitude.

I am appreciating those things I have or own that I take for granted. Like my pillow, not the saggy old one that is basically flat, but the newer one that has some bounce to it like the hop of a bunny on a lazy green lawn.

 

 

More importantly, I am thankful for my white comforter because it keeps me warm at night perched on top of three, sometimes four, other blankets. I get cold easily either from Fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or a combination of maladies.

 

 

 

No, “she” is not a down-filled comforter, I tried that. I ordered a queen sized comforter from a very well-known and expensive store, put it into a duvet cover and within three days there were feathers flying everywhere both in and out of the duvet. About 2,000 flying feathers.

 

 

I started sneezing and I couldn’t stop. I have had down comforters before with no problem but THIS company/store was quite arrogant about the problem and turned me off so much I decided not to get a replacement for it. It was horrible, it looked like the down comforter had exploded. Not a good experience with THAT company! Be nicer to your clients please. I would have stayed with you if your service people had been kinder.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, it could be a piece (or two) of milk chocolate or rainbow sprinkles on vanilla ice cream, it could be a new book or a gift card to Amazon. Most of all it could be an appreciative grin or the blink of an eye or my husband’s loud laughter when he thinks something I’ve said is silly and funny.

Appreciate all the small stuff, because you know what? It’s all small stuff and in the end, if you start noticing more and more of the good stuff? It will make your day-to-day life a lot happier.

Focus on the good and not on the bad. Hold the door for someone, smile at a stranger, always say “Thank you” and “You are welcome”, if someone was kind to you, thank them.  It really IS the little things that count. Life is scary, it’s unpredictable and it is short. Families can be stressful and hard and filled with tension BUT, they are still family. Appreciate the good people in your life. Get rid of the negative people who influence you.

We ALL need reminders once in a while, that’s okay. Just come back to it.

WISHING ALL OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

 

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My End of Day Routine

Flashdance

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I haven’t worked full-time in a long, long time but the first thing I would do, without variation, is to change my clothes. Off came the Laura Ashley  flowery dress with the shiny, black pumps or the sky-colored blue suit; on came jeans, a loose shirt, and clogs. Never being the real corporate type, the clothes I had to wear to work were my corporate persona. My real persona danced around my studio apartment to music, like “Flashdance” when I got home. I may not have looked like Jennifer Beals but I felt like I was her in my comfortable clothing, singing out loud to music, arms swinging, heels hopping. The inexplicable feeling of freedom as your entire body sighs in relief and the automatic happiness that a young, independent woman feels in her own space. Enchanting.

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*”Bye, Bye Borders, Borders, Bye Bye”

Borders store closing

Image by scazon via Flickr

Closing all Borders stores is an out-and-out major disappointment. It stinks, big time. What now? Adios Barnes and Noble too? I’m not saying that I don’t love Amazon.com because I do, I like it for its convenience and low prices. Sigh, but really, you can’t sit at Amazon and drink a cup of coffee. You can’t leisurely and lovingly stroll down the aisles to see what the new hardcover books look like or how the new in paperback books are all lined up in a perfect row begging for hands to fondle them. It’s just not right and it’s sad.

Now, there is no where to go and stroll through the aisles, looking at book jackets, stopping to read the titles, gently touching my fingertips to the outline of the illustration. Borders was a great place to meet, it was in the perfect place for so many people from nearby medical offices, stores, office buildings and deli’s to meet.  Closing Borders is closing a network of people who like to linger, socialize and have a damn cup of coffee even it tasted like dirty dishwater. It was a place to sit and not ever feel rushed. You could linger among magazines and mochachinos. You could also meet like-minded people, give unsolicited advice about books, make friends, start a book club, read books to their springy, enthusiastic children.

So now, what do we do? Read our lifeless Kindles (I don’t use the one I ordered years ago) by ourselves, never touching a piece of fine, heavy, cream-colored paper? Part of  closing this particular business is not like saying good-bye to a furniture store or a nail salon, it’s saying good-bye to a way of life. A nice, peaceful way of life where people could talk, they could exchange ideas and suggest books for each other or lend coupons. It was a social place as well as a store. My children may never sit in a bookstore and linger over a heavenly array of different books, with different colorful covers and  eat snacks. They won’t meet other people or share a cup of coffee or talk to other people their age. They will be hunched over their iPhones and all they need, it seems, is a credit card and a computer. It’s a sad statement for our society.

*Sung to the tune of  “Bye, Bye, Baby, Baby Goodbye…” By the Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons

Recent Adventures in Splurging

Logo of Kohl's Department Stores for use as il...

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Sale: Today, Tomorrow, And Every Day Thereafter

I’m not a big shopper, never was. I’ve always hated trying on clothes even when I was a child. Nothing has changed. It was pure and true love that made me take my daughter to any mall when she was younger because she is a fabulous shopper and adores being in malls. Luckily, she can drive now. The last time I shopped, other than groceries (which I actually love shopping for) I was at Kohl’s. I bought a cheap pair of sneakers, two cards and a dark blue tank top for my daughter. I went because they were having a sale (wait a day, they will have another one) and I had two coupons, ten dollars off each. Was it fun? Not really? Did I have to stand in line? Groan, yes. Did I make it out of there in less than an hour? Sure thing. Will I do it again soon? Probably not. I’m sorry, I’ve never liked shopping (except for books and food) I don’t think I am ever going to start loving it anytime soon.

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What I Can’t Leave Home Without

Lipstick in application

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Pretty Lips, Clean Hands And Me

I could be boring and say the usual expected things: keys, ID, driver’s license, credit card but those are things I assume I am bringing (at least I thoroughly hope so, especially if I’m driving.) The definitive answer to this question “what can’t I leave home without?” would be lipstick. “Lipstick? You say?” Yes! Having lipstick on or in my handbag makes me feel more secure (how do you spell OCD?!) I USED to have to put lipstick on before I drove, but now I am (a little) more flexible. I have driven without lipstick but I don’t like the feeling. I could go through many years of psychoanalysis to find out the reason, but it’s so much easier to keep a lipstick, or two, in my bag. You know, just in case……My back up answer would be Purell, the hand sanitizer, because IF I can get rid of some germs, I do. Having an auto-immune disease makes me conscious of those things and even if washing my hands is 100 times more effective, I don’t care. I feel reassured with my little bottle of Purell at my side or rather in my bag. I actually LOVE PURELL so much I could be their spokesperson.
Call me crazy, but it is a frightening world out there and if lipstick and Purell are going to make me feel just a tiny bit better and a little more in control? So be it!

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9 and A Half Minutes, Episode 2 (Interviews)

Virtual Resume & Letter

Image by Olivier Charavel via Flickr

I apologize. I’m supposed to talk about things that annoy me but I can’t today. That’s just way too mild for a topic that’s making me feel totally infuriated and incensed. I’m steaming. Literally. I feel smoke coming out of my hair follicles and anything near me could burst into uncontrollable flames.  I want to talk about a practice that I absolutely hate with a passion. Today I am talking about the job market and I’m NOT talking about President Obama or the economy. I’m talking about people. Specific people. You should know who you are but since you are so out of touch with reality, I’ll tell you.

I want to blast the inconsiderate Human Resource people or “People Person” as some call themselves now AND Hiring Managers that don’t take the time to give a candidate an answer, a final decision. I’m not talking about someone who has just sent in their resume, I’m talking about a candidate who has been in for an interview, not to mention four separate times for interviews. I’m talking about interviews leading up to talking to the CEO of the company and then…. hears nothing. NOTHING, bupkes, zip, nada. This is not only extremely rude and hurtful. It’s inhumane.

What happened to simple common courtesy? I was a Human Resources person way back when and not only did we acknowledge every resume that came in with a letter but we called each candidate that interviewed and gave them an answer. Did we enjoy turning people down? No. Was it a hard call to make? Yes. But, at least we gave the candidate the courtesy, they so rightly deserve, of a phone call to tell them the decision. If we couldn’t reach the person, we sent a letter, an authentic letter with the company’s letterhead and our signature; because people have the right to know, one way or the other.

Today? They don’t acknowledge you or reject you, they do absolutely nothing. Do these interviewers and hiring managers think that because the economy is so bad and that they have so many applicants it makes it okay to just let things slide. It is not okay, it is never okay; it is wrong. Gee, I guess after several months and no return phone calls you assume you didn’t get the job.  Don’t they know that it’s the waiting that is torturous?  In this scenario, “silence is not golden” silence stinks, it’s a cop-out, it’s cowardly. Tell me, just try to tell me that these hiring managers or employment representatives don’t have thirty seconds to either pick up the phone (what am I thinking?) or at the very least send an e-mail. An e-mail would give the candidates closure but no, job seekers don’t even get that. Why not? To me, it’s totally unacceptable and nobody can convince me that you can’t write an e-mail that says “thanks but no thanks, we selected someone with more appropriate experience and blah blah blah”. PEOPLE NEED CLOSURE so they can dust themselves off and try again. Apparently this is too much to ask for.

In my opinion, there are no excuses, it’s just plain rude and demeaning. What kind of world are we living in now? What have we become? Don’t give me the excuse about the volume of resumes either. I worked in HR for 25 years and we had resumes coming in by the hundreds. Sure, we were busy every minute but we made the time to call and let people know the hiring manager’s decision. People are stronger than you think, they just want to know, one way or the other.  So, turn on your computer, or ask your assistant to do it for you, write a courteous note, click send and give people their dignity back.  There are no excuses. Just do it. People are going through enough of a hard time trying to find a job. You are just being rude and inconsiderate. If I could, I would start a movement against this. That’s how mad I am. Very truly yours, “Norma Rae.”