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.

 

Advertisements

Baby Boomers: What Are We Now, Chopped Liver?

English: The New York Times building in New Yo...

English: The New York Times building in New York, NY across from the Port Authority. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)LickIt must, because apparently The New York Times no longer wants the Boomer section anymore. Yep, they are kicking us boomers straight to the curb. that’s the reason that The New York Times has kicked Baby Boomers to the curb. Why? They won’t say and believe me their fans have asked.

Like a swift unexpected kick in the ass, readers of The New York Times (loyal readers I might add) found out that they were removing the Booming column that delighted us all. Really? Yes, true fact. No explanation other than “blah blah blah.” It would be in here or there maybe on Tuesdays but without Michael Winerip who we have all grown to like and respect. I liked this dude, he was real and approachable.

What the hell are you thinking? I guess we are not important anymore, make way for Generation Whatever.  I was born in 1956 to the best of my knowledge I’m a Baby Boomer. Please remember this, we haven’t dropped dead just yet. You needed us back then (hint: Woodstock) and now you have cut out a large part of your readership. We are still consumers and you have let us down.

Eliminating or phasing out the Booming section is disappointing, I could relate to Michael Winerip’s essays and now we’re getting shoved aside, as if we don’t feel old enough. The New York Times, with whom we’ve been faithful to, is giving us the heave-ho. It feels like yet another slap in the face to those of us in The Sandwich Generation.

Everyone wonders what the reason was that they decided to take that section out. But, of course we don’t expect them to tell us the reason. That is way too old-fashioned. Manners? Nah, that was in the fifties. Back where if you didn’t get a job the boss called you on the telephone and told you why, when things were simpler, more honest, and we didn’t have a hundred choices of everything from paint chips to lipstick to television channels to drugs.

Let’s face it, it’s not the best of times for many of us. The economy stinks (I’m trying to be professional here) unemployment is really high, we’re caught between taking care of our aging parents, ourselves and our grown up children.We are still known as The Sandwich Generation, remember that? It’s been the Winter from hell and it isn’t over yet and while the Booming Section didn’t change our world it added a little fun.

Don’t flatter yourself New York Times. You’ve become replaceable as apparently we have too. We stayed with you through all your changes, now it’s our turn to say good-bye.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Boomers: 1946~1953 to 1964

This would make baby boomers, in the year 2010, somewhere in the ballpark of 46-64 years old.

Gen X: 1965 to 1976~1982

– See more at: http://theechoboom.com/2010/09/dateage-range-of-baby-boomers-generation-x-and-generation-y/#sthash.MrX7nqmo.dpuf

Boomers: 1946~1953 to 1964

This would make baby boomers, in the year 2010, somewhere in the ballpark of 46-64 years old.

Gen X: 1965 to 1976~1982

– See more at: http://theechoboom.com/2010/09/dateage-range-of-baby-boomers-generation-x-and-generation-y/#sthash.MrX7nqmo.dpuf

Haiku Heights: Chivalry

English: Afternoon tea.

English: Afternoon tea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slight touch, soft elbow

guide me to high tea, my dear

No, please, after you.

*************************************************************

Sweet dove, soft petal,

May I kiss your pink silk cheek

With a quiet pause.

Carry on Tuesday: Vive la difference

English: A photograph of a 2 month old human i...

English: A photograph of a 2 month old human infant, his mother, his maternal grandmother, and his maternal great-grandmother. Each person in this photograph gave birth to the next younger person thus showing four generations in one family photograph. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am 83 now and in my day, when I was growing up in Europe as a child, are parents and grandparents taught us to have impeccable manners. Yes, we were “old school” as my grandchildren tell me. It didn’t matter that we were poor, and couldn’t buy things, it mattered how we acted. We acted like the sons and daughters of kings and queens. We had no money and were poor but our family was very strict and we were taught to be courteous to everyone. As girls, we had no freedom at all, we did what our parents and grandparents said, there was nothing to think about, we did what they told us to do, never could we question their choices. We did not KNOW that questioning was an option because back in those days it did not exist.

I married a man, who was of course, the son of a European father and mother. He was not wealthy either but our styles were the same. Manners were natural to us, culturally we were very alike which I think is very important. When after several years we moved to the United States of America we were shocked when we found out that not everyone was raised the same way. It took years for my husband and I to learn to adjust to people who didn’t know to say  “Thank you” or “Please.” If an elderly person had no seat on the tram we automatically got up and offered our seat to them. I thought this was what everybody did. I learned the hard way, that most people did not do these courteous things. But, then again, I had lived in a much different world. I made sure however, that my children and grandchildren learned these manners and I am proud of them.

Today young people can do so much more, they are free to make decisions, they have so many options, oh, how I envy them and delight in their world. They can have careers, go to college, be parents and work, it is so exciting! We were never allowed to work, our only job was to be mothers we had no choices back then. Imagine now, if young women had no choices, there would be an uproar, good for YOU! You have come such a long way and I am glowing with pride, look at what you accomplished that my generation could not, vive la différence! Celebrate young women, you have achieved so much in a life time, a different world, where you are equal, where you can do whatever it is YOU want and not be told what to do. Congratulations!

Losing Touch with Old Friends

Friends

Image by carlosluz via Flickr

To Me, A Friend Is A Friend.

I am the type of person that WANTS TO KEEP in touch with old friends but I have been hurt by others who think geography and proximity are the only reasons to maintain a friendship. I had a “friend” named “Becky” when our children were two years old and best friends. Our family decided to move to be closer to my aging parents and our good friendship withered away, no, actually it slammed shut. When I asked her what happened, because we had been so close, she told me face to face that the reason she didn’t keep in touch with me was “You know, out of sight, out of mind.” I was crushed at the time, but this was fifteen years ago.

I also remember my three year old daughter wanting to talk to your daughter and when I called for her you told me that “Little Ruthie” as we called her, was watching television and did not want to come to the phone. Wow. If that had been my daughter I would have taught her not to be rude and to come to the phone and say hello and then go back to television watching. It’s called manners. Like mother, like daughter??!! You can hurt me all you want, I can take it even though I don’t like it….but hurt my child? Unforgivable.

I have realized since then that many people are like that and I have even prepared myself for it. I wish I was one of those people who could drop a friend at the mere mention of a move, it hurts less to be like that. But, no, I am still the one trying to keep up a friendship, even if you don’t speak often, for the friendship that was; I think there is merit in that. As I get older though, my expectations have been greatly lowered and while it is not my style, I do understand that many people act this way. I’m just trying not to be one of them.

Powered by Plinky

Is Chivalry Dead?

A boy helping a girl over a creek.

Image via Wikipedia

I still like having the door held open for me and not shut in my face……..

 

Is chivalry dead? I sure hope not! My husband and I both were brought up by European parents, both of us have one German parent and one Austrian. Manners were mandated and I fully agree, we have taught out children (somewhat successfully) that having good (European) manners is expected. By no means are we strict parents either (ok, maybe we are….)  There are certain things I think that should be done and I don’t think of it as chivalry but as the right thing to do: Give up your seat on a bus or a train for someone who is elderly, incapacitated or pregnant. I know pregnancy is not a disability, I too have been pregnant twice riding the train in Boston and clutching the hand rail. It is nice to offer, some people may say “no thanks” but there will be a smile on their face when before there was none.

Powered by Plinky

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.”

Right Or Rude?

I was able to go to the grocery store this morning, the first time in about 18 months, and I was THRILLED. Having been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, this was the first day that I thought I could not only handle going but enjoy it. I felt good, not too achy and with just enough energy. YEAH for me, road trip!   I know I have simple pleasures; it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. The sun was shining, it was over forty degrees and, list in hand, I drove to the store singing loudly along with the radio.

Once there, I was thrilled to walk albeit slowly down the aisles, looking at everything. I don’t just follow a grocery store list, I go through each aisle and look at every product. I know this sounds like pure drudgery for most people but I have always liked supermarkets( and if I am in another country I have to go visit their supermarkets) and I always want to buy the new products.

While on-line for the deli section I saw an old friend or actually someone I was friendly with, I will call her S. I was tickled to see S. and gave her a hug; I’ve learned in my 53 years (finally) that there are many different types of friendships. I asked her how she was and she started telling me “how difficult things have been in her life and how much pressure she has been under.”  I nodded my head sympathetically. She then elaborates and tells me that the PROBLEM is that she is remodeling her house (mini-mansion) and her brand new, ( sparkling -my word, not hers) stove did not get delivered on time!! She continues to talk about the remodeling and then switched topics to college and how she and her husband tried to get financial aid for one of their daughters but they have way too much money to qualify for aid. She and her husband are both professional people (okay, doctors) in the medical field and they do NOT have to worry about money. Apparently.

I stood there for a while and she continued to tell me her “troubles.” Finally, in a very nice, even tone of voice, I said the following: “You know, I’m sorry but I just can’t feel that sorry for you. My husband has been out of work for six months and I have been sick for the last two years with an auto-immune disease.” She then asked what auto immune disease I had and how long my husband had been out of work.” I answered her questions and she proceeded to tell me some local gossip.

I then saw another person that we both knew (let’s call her A) and we wished each other a Happy New Year. I said good-bye to them both and moved on to stand in line and pay. Before that, though, I heard  A. ask how S. was doing. At that point, everything changed.   S. said  “I don’t want to complain anymore after what Laurie just told me, I’m fine.”  I smiled at her and she smiled back. “It’s all a matter of perspective” I said gently and then I left the store.

I kept thinking about our conversation as I unloaded the groceries into the car. I was thinking of this family’s reality and mine. I was thinking of people in Haiti and the true problems they have.  I didn’t mention Haiti to my friend but I sure did think about it.

Was I right to have said what I said or was I rude? Or both?

What Do Words Really Mean?

As parents we teach our children, from a very young age, to see please, and thank-you. We teach our children to respect their elders, to give up there seats on trains or buses for the elderly or the handicapped or women who are pregnant. We drill, over and over that “there is a word missing……”  We hope that they will eventually do this on their own. It’s what we expect from them but recently I’ve realized it doesn’t always work out the way we think it should. Maybe our expectations are too high? Maybe we are totally wrong. It could go either way.

We even prompt them sometimes and my children are not children anymore, they are 15 and 17. Something you would like to say we ask lightly? Did you forget anything? It’s really nothing more than a step up from “what’s the missing word little Susie?”

My husband and I took our teenagers to Aruba over Christmas holiday. We barely saw our son much less heard from him. He was safely ensconced in his “bachelor pad” pool house of his best friend’s grandmother’s mansion. Our daughter, being stuck with us in our room and without the amusement of fighting with her brother non-stop, tended to be sullen, and critical. When my daughter was 2, it was all about her. She is now 15 and everything still has to revolve around her. She has a lot of compassion for animals, I hope she will learn compassion for people, other than her friends, too.

We try and lead by example, my husband and I are both very polite individuals; both of us having grown up with European parents. We tended to be stricter than any of our friends who have children. Even my niece and my nephew never had curfews and their parents hardly ever knew where they were. This is not acceptable in our house. There are a lot of things we DON’T know and many things we have already have conceded, but we still feel children still need some structure.  Is that too old fashioned or being sensible?

My husband and I are betting if the children will thank us for this vacation. He thinks they will not. I think my son might and then my daughter will murmur her agreement.  So far, we haven’t heard any “Thank you’s” for meals, expenses, the trip…..Do the words replace actions?   I don’t think so. It’s something, but it certainly is not enough, not nearly enough. I know I have to give them slack, a lot of slack because they are teenagers and their worlds do revolve around themselves….

Am I being too harsh?  Is it wrong to expect teenagers to have manners? Am I fooling myself?  Honestly? I really don’t know.  Our son spent the entire time with his friend in Aruba without so much as an e-mail much less a phone-call  to us.  He only came to visit here when he and his friend wanted to use the gym OR when his friend’s father made them visit for a little while on Christmas Day.

This is our first encounter with teenagers at this age and we’re lost. Both my husband and I were not typical teens (whatever that really is). We were highly respectful and gracious and always had good manners. Call us boring but that’s what we were.  In the soon to be near future, my husband and I plan to go away on vacation sans teenagers and enjoy each other all the more.