THE DAILY PROMPT: PROUD When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you? Well, this actually very easy. Just the other day at work my co-worker told me she was in fact very proud of me. About a year ago we began the daunting task of converting to the world of Electronic Health Records. To make a very looooong story very short…things don’t always go according to plan. At the end of Summer someone in our office was under the impression that perhaps the upcoming election may let’s just say have a different outcome, therefore we put this whole electronic record transformation on hold. Lesson…do not count your chickens before they’re hatched. So, now that the Inauguration has taken place and it appears the Prez is staying for the next four years, we are back to perusing this monumental change. We all know that no one likes the C-Word, but there are moments when it’s just necessary in order to get the ball rolling. I hope you all realize I’m talking about Change…just checking. This brings us to Monday when we once again started to dabble back into this new system to see just how much information was actually retained after all these months. After a few technical difficulties that nearly pushed us all over the imaginary cliff…we started. Ok, let’s get back to the prompt at hand. On Tuesday I started to scan some records into the computer. For the record, it’s not as easy as it sounds. By the grace a God, a miracle, a fluke or some other out of this world phenomenon I was able to wiz right through the process without an ounce of hesitation. This is when I heard those magic words…. Co-worker: Wow, how did you do that? Me: I have no idea. Co-worker: I’m really proud of you for remembering how to do that. Me: Laughter. Considering I couldn’t guarantee this would happen a second time. I must say it’s nice to get a little pat on the back every once in a while…even when you might not feel it’s necessary. We live in a world where criticism comes easier that compliments. A place where people seem to have a difficult time stepping out of their own boastful bubble to recognize the very things that deserve gratitude. So it’s best to just humbly accept that someone recognizes something good in you and watch it blossom. Hey, even my dog likes to hear that he is a “Good Boy” just for pooping! Make your supporters proud, your haters jealous and Enjoy the Ride!
Today’s daily prompt certainly has the ability to stir up a lot of debate on what is right or moral in the name of survival. The question posed is this:
Read the story of Richard Parker and Tom Dudley. Is what Dudley did defensible? What would you have done?
The Cliff Note version of the story is that 4 men were stranded at sea. One of the men, Richard Parker a 17-year-old cabin boy succumbed to illness and fell into a coma after drinking sea water. Dudley, the Captain, started making decisions about killing Parker in order for the other 3 to survive. His sales pitch included “Killing Parker before his natural death would better preserve his blood to drink.” I’m not stranded out at sea, but even if I was, I can’t imagine that being appealing to me.
My first question would be “Excuse me Dudley, but isn’t it the Captain that goes down with the ship?” We could argue that it was actually his duty as Captain to ensure the safety of the others or you could argue that’s exactly what he was doing when he presented the idea of a potential sacrifice. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Personally, for me it would have to come down to intention. “Dudley again raised the matter with Stephens pointing out that Parker was probably dying and that he and Stephens had wives and families.” This sales pitch would leave me to believe that some how their lives had more value because they had families. Was there any discussion on the fact that Parker was just a boy who hadn’t even had the opportunity to experience the riches of being a family man? Did anyone bring up the idea that maybe if one of them took their own lives, Parker could be nursed back to health with the remains. If not, selfishness seems to have entered the lifeboat.
What would you have done? I have no idea. I don’t think that question can truly be answered until after the fact and then it would be What did you do? When we are in a situation of survival, I believe it can either bring out the best in someone or the worst in a person. Either way the true colors always shine through.
Enjoy the Ride! Just make sure you’re traveling with the Rainbows of the world.
Explore the room you’re in as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Pretend you know nothing. What do you see? Who is the person who lives there?
I’m sitting in a living area of some sort. It appears to be a quiet area strictly reserved for adult dwelling. However, there is evidence of a sloppy teenage boy considering the (2) pairs of sneakers that have been left scattered on the floor, along with a basketball that looks out of place next to a stack of books.
The flowered youthful looking wallet left on the end table would indicate a young woman lives here as well. Ugh, looks like she has a dentist appointment scheduled for June according to this appointment card. The polka dotted luggage sitting by the door might say she is prepared to head back to college today.
Ooo, it looks like someone enjoys reading due to the overflowing book rack that seems to have spilled over into a second pile. There are (2) candy dishes present, so I’ll assume more than one person who lives here has a sweet tooth. I see keys, glasses, gloves & a tape measure on the landing as you enter the front door. This appears to be an area where everyone unloads their pockets before entering this room, leaving them the ability to restock before they leave.
I see a large Beagle snoring in the middle of the room. Whoever lives here loves him very much due to his content nature , special basket of toys and that big bone he is guarding in between snores.
There is a very small TV, almost the size of a postage stamp, placed on a end table. It doesn’t appear to belong in the room, but perhaps the adults needed something to watch since the teenagers took over an original family area with their friends. On the other table is a wireless Bose stereo system playing 70’s classic rock tunes at the moment.
This room is warm and welcoming. The colors are inviting and the woodworking provides wonderful character. Someone who lives here is extremely talented in woodworking. There is a half-moon cherry wood mantle that is the center of attraction. The wall has been arched to make this beautiful piece the focal point of the room. It’s beauty is enhanced by antique sconces, with just the dimmest of light shining through the frosted glass. There is also crown molding accenting the windows that pull this room together and create a look that you would expect from a time long gone.
All in all I think the people who live here are a typical middle class family who just happen to enjoy the finer things when it comes to their dwelling. They are chocolate eating readers who prefer music over TV. These people love their children enough to walk over their big sneakers. I would say that they are generous, creative and warm people who enjoy quiet time in this room, but certainly don’t mind sharing it with a couple of teenagers, a basketball and a beagle. The room I am in is filled with signs of love.
Enjoy the Ride!
The constant chatter about the impeding doom of falling off of the “oh so precious” Fiscal Cliff, had me crazy to the point of wanting to give it a big fat shove to help it along. Talk about beating a dead horse, or carcass in this case. Since early November we have been held prisoner to term “Fiscal Cliff.” What the hell does it mean?
Well, according to Fiscal Cliff for Dummies this is what it boils down to:
The United States fiscal cliff refers to a large predicted reduction in the budget deficit and a corresponding projected slowdown of the economy if specific laws are allowed to automatically expire or go into effect at the beginning of 2013.
What are we a bunch of wussies? I for one am much more afraid of things like Silence of the Lambs then falling off a fiscal cliff. Maybe we’ll have to struggle or god forbid sacrifice, but we’ll make it..simmer down. Remember the Great Depression? So does my mother, who was born smack into it and is still here to talk about it….you’ll all live. The imaginary money on our portfolios might take a hit, but we’ll all survive. I think some folks in that 1% category might have a much harder time than me…I’ve done struggle.
While all of our elected officials were sweating over the demise of their tax brackets, a big ole polka dotted elephant made her way to the center of the House floor. Rumor has it she was stunning. I heard first hand that she was wearing a red tutu with flashing lights, but it still wasn’t enough to get her recognized. What does a girl have to do to get noticed on the House floor? Please don’t answer that.
Her name was VAWA, she would have been 19 this year. Maybe you recognize her by her birth name, Violence Against Women Act. Sadly she is no longer with us since the GOP in the U.S. House of Representatives killed her this week. Yep, once again they will get away with murder. Why you ask? Other than the obvious, because they were too distracted by their own potential financial demise to give a shit, it’s because it would have expanded coverage of the law to more women including immigrants and Native Americans. More coverage, more money needed. It always comes down to the
Root of ALL Evil money.
Honestly, if we as a nation cannot recognize the importance of providing vital assistance, to vulnerable women and their children when they need it most, I think we all better take a glance in the mirror and ask ourselves…WHY?
Clearly there is a much bigger problem in this country and it has absolutely nothing to do with the almighty dollar. It’s the shortage of HUMANITY. We as a nation have fallen over the Humanity Cliff long ago. Where is all the hype about this freaking disaster?
Oh, sure humanity teases us now and then when it climbs back up that mountain, all tattered and torn from its many, many journeys over the cliff. Poor thing is hanging on by a thread. We all see it peaking over the top in the aftermath of some horrific tragedy, but then as life returns to “normal” or what is then defined as the “new normal” we shove it right back down. We can’t survive on these tidbits, we deserve more.
It’s obvious that the handful of good stories that surface in the wake of a tragedy restores our faith in humanity but it just isn’t enough anymore. These restorations need to be consistent in order to build a foundation that will prevent the fall.
Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world -Desmond Tutu
Our family units are broken.
Our children are becoming disconnected at the speed of light.
Our sense of community is scarce. We are distracted, divided and headed for disaster if we don’t collectively recognize this huge void in our daily lives. A unanimous Ah Ha moment is desperately needed for the common good.
It really is the everyday, unnoticed actions of kindness and caring that restore our faith in humanity. Practicing simple acts every day such as using caring words, providing a reassuring hug, lend a helping hand and confirm the acknowledgement of our existence by smiling at a stranger is a wonderful way to get started. Practice make perfect folks…we can do this together.
Remember, in the end that’s all we have is each other. So, take a moment to recognize that our obligation is not just with ourselves, but those who live with and within our decisions.
Keep it simple, make it significant and Enjoy the Ride!
First things first, I had to cash the check. I decided on one dollar bills for easier distribution. Just for the record, if I won the $500,000,000 there is a very good chance that I would at least ask to see it in ones…maybe roll around in it…naked….because that’s what the rich & famous do. Ok, back to reality.
Next task at hand was reading through all of the brilliant suggestions that poured in from my faithful followers. I must say these readers had some great suggestions. That’s a clear sign there are some good eggs in this world!
Kate over at coffeekatblog shared that if she won the big lottery she would put a wing on her favorite pet shelter. Well Kate, I only won 50 bucks but I hope you’ll be happy with my decision. I was at the pet store to purchase food for the king of the house when I noticed a table set up at the front of the store. I inquired and was informed they were selling little bundles that consisted of a can of food with a toy that would be donated to local pet shelters. BINGO! Thanks to Kate’s inspiration one dog & one cat at the shelter will have a Merry Christmas this year! $4.00 down $46.00 to go.
Next I took 5 one dollar bills, placed them into envelopes with a message and some smiles. DAF over at dearanonymousfriend and Benz over at benzeknees both suggested treating someone to a cup of coffee. This gave me the great idea to strategically place these envelopes at the Java Joe’s coffee cart in our building. Employees, patients and visitors stop by the cart during the day, many times for a much-needed break.
The other day when I stopped for a chai, the young girl at the cart told me about the “secret envelopes.” She took a picture of them with her phone and was clearly excited about the whole experience. She did share that one woman came down from visiting her mom in the hospital. Her mom was craving a “good” cup of coffee, but the daughter didn’t have any cash on her and the cart doesn’t take plastic. The woman used one of the “secret envelopes” and the young girl picked up the balance. Smiles all around on that note! $9.00 down $41.00 to go.
The idea of leaving a cheery note along with the cash came from Lynne over at Free Penny Press. So, in the spirit of surprises I took 6 more one dollar bills, placed them in envelopes with some smiles and taped them on the vending machines in the lobby. Sweets & Drinks on me. $15.00 down $35.00 to go. I also made 5 more random envelopes with happy messages and left them on the windshields of some battered looking cars in the parking lot. $20.00 down $30.00 to go.
My next idea came after noticing a frazzled young mother on my street. I remember those days all too well. This time of year the little ones are on a Christmas high that usually leave parents begging for 5 minutes of quiet time.
I took $10.00 to the Dollar Store and picked up Christmas coloring books & crayons and left them on the doorstep of homes with small children on my block. I included a note from Jingle, one of Santa’s elves, instructing them to color a picture and leave it for Santa. Hopefully that gave those parents at least 30 minutes of peace. $30.00 down $20.00 to go. My daughter was happy to play the part of Jingle for the delivery.
My husband and I stopped for lunch at a Panera. While we were there I noticed a young girl cleaning tables and organizing dishes. She was working hard to ensure that her area was spotless. Kathy over at fridaynight family suggested over tipping a server. Although this young girl was not a server, she was very friendly and hardworking. I left her an envelope on the table with $2.00 thanking her for efforts. $32.00 down $18.00 to go.
Next up was Dave over at Blog of Funny Names who suggested tipping someone who makes minimum wage. As I was loading my groceries into my car, a young man came over to get my cart. He and his co-workers were gathered in the parking lot heading to retrieve ALL the carts that were left far away from the store. Honestly, it takes 5 seconds to walk the cart back people. I gave them each $2.00 for their hard work out in the cold. $38.00 down $12.00 to go.
Another fine idea came from Julia over at Julia B Whitmore’s Blog Schrodinger’s Cat is Alive. Julia suggested spreading some kindness to those holiday opportunities that we see on the street every day. I see a young woman on my way to work holding a battered sign stating “Newly homeless and hungry.” I don’t know if she’s legit or not, but I’m not her judge. I gave her $5.00 and she gave me a heartfelt thank you. $43.00 down $7.00 to go. Julia also suggested a donation to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers. Oddly enough I hadn’t come across one until Friday. $2.00 in the bucket! $45.00 down $5.00 to go.
The last $5.00 was put into envelopes with a simple message “Random Act of Kindness Pass It On.” I was trying to put these in just the right places. Hence the delay in finishing the mission. Then I thought there really isn’t a right or wrong place, so I went with my gut. One was left in a ‘Thank you” card at the Hallmark store. One was left on the counter at the post office. That decision was made after standing in line for over 45 minutes with a crew of Bah Humbugers. Next up an envelope strategically left in a magazine at the check-out, one inside a news paper and the last one amongst the toys at the Dollar Store.
Mission over accomplished with 32 Random acts completed! Heart refilled with joy and ready to Enjoy the Ride!
Well friends, I’m here to report that I’m not a bizillionaire. I know sad but true. It really is tragic considering all of the kick ass plans I had for that dough. All those good intentions down the drain….again.
All those college loans lingering within my family, they’re staying. Keep paying your mortgages folks they won’t be paid off. No million dollar checks in the stockings this year kids, just new toothbrushes. Well, you can’t miss what you never had…right? Yea, you can…just a little.
So, while getting ready for work, because that’s what us common folk do, I decided to start focusing on the good fortune I did receive. The silver lining if you will. Prior to loosing the largest lottery on record, I was extremely excited about my other winnings, so let’s focus of the good here shall we.
Although I didn’t win the 500,000,000 (that’s a lot of zeros) prize, I did win $50 (that is one zero) on a chance I purchased from
my son. WOO HOO! Clearly even God is capable of typos. He was probably using his new iPad from Steve and still struggling with the whole touch screen thing. It’s much different from those other tablets he was using, so he is forgiven..this time. Now, what the heck am I going to do with my jackpot?
Since my original plan consisted of spreading my new-found wealth all around the world, I will now be forced to think on a smaller scale. On to Plan B. This 50 bucks is screaming to be released from my purse, so I better move quick. Taking that huge unexplained typo into consideration, it appears I will need to be very savvy with my spreading skills. It’s time to channel my inner Suze Orman for this challenge.
I’ve decided to collaborate my good fortune with this season of giving by performing 25 acts of kindness over the next few weeks. I have pledged to use my unexpected windfall to brighten the day of some unexpected recipients and share them here at Life With The Top Down. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comment section…we’re all friends here.
Practice kindness, Pass it on to others and Enjoy the Ride!
It was a cold, gloomy, rain ridden morning. Traffic was heavy, patience were light. The perfect recipe for delays of all sorts out there on the roadways. So what’s a good Christian woman to do? Oh please, not me, the one that came late to her appointment last Tuesday.
Christian: For the full effect, please imagine Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to JFK, that was the voice. I’m so sorry I’m late. I left my house at 8:45. I can’t believe how long it took me to get here with the traffic.
“K”: That’s ok we understand. Mistake number one, justifying.
Christian: I was in my car being Christian what the hell does that even mean? when I got out and saw a foreigner standing next to his broken down truck in the middle of the road like this she kindly demonstrated both hands in the air flipping the bird in the center of the waiting room.
All of us: Silent, but fully engaged. Mistake number two, showing interest in the train wreck.
Christian: Really, if your going to come to this country learn the language, not just this again with the middle finger action. Ugh, I got back in my car and said a novena for everyone on my list, like a good Christian.
“K” at the desk: Politely nodding throughout this entire encounter. She is so good.
“S”: Walks away in disbelief.
Me: Turned around sarcastically mumbling “Jesus would be so proud.”
Hey, even the nicest of people have their limits. We’re all learning here…right?
“S”: Who comes in and says that to us? Does she hear herself? Um, nope.
Me: I’m so glad I’m not on that prayer list!
“S”: Ugh, I can’t stand people like her.
Me: A novena? That was dramatic. You pray, but I super size pray.
“S”: What is that voice?
Me: It’s the gooba gooba ga ga voice that I can’t stand.
FYI: Unless you actually are Marilyn Monroe or you have documentation stating that you are in fact a Sex Kitten, that voice is unacceptable in the regular world, especially when you’re spewing bigoted remarks.
This encounter stuck with “S ” and I for the rest of the week. We wondered if she saw herself making that statement, would she realize how horrible it sounded? We concluded she would not.
Honestly, I’m not sure if it was the approaching New Moon, the change in weather or a beacon outside our office door luring insanity to the imaginary welcome mat, but whatever it was, it needed to stop! A girl can only bite her tongue so many times a day.
We were inundated with bizarre behavior all week. Miss Christian above was only one of the many encounters that left our eyes popping or heads shaking. When your begging for someone to storm through the door shouting “You’ve Been Punked” it’s bad.
This behavior is nothing new to us. Our office is a magnet for people to vent their frustrations, reveal all their unrelated business or ask for unauthorized advice. Unlike Lucy we are not out soliciting, however we have considered charging…more than 5 cents of course.
The new week is already upon us, along with the New Moon. Should be interesting. I’m going in grateful that I work alongside people who don’t mind caring, listening and helping others with a side of laughter. It’s all in the attitude folks.
Are you ready for the work week? Let’s get this party started! We can do this!
Now get out there and don’t just embrace the insanity, french kiss it, feel it up, buy it a drink, have your way with it and hope to god it leaves before you have to make small talk.
Happy Monday Everyone …. Enjoy the Ride!
I’ve been pondering about writing on this subject, but I decided it was necessary.
My feeling was the ticket availability was due to the lack of enthusiasm for venturing into NYC on 9/11, but I don’t think that was the case. It seemed to be business as usual 11 years later.
As we headed out in the wee hours of the morning, I couldn’t help but notice how this day seemed to mirror 11 years ago, as far as the weather was concerned anyway. It was absolutely perfect with clear blue skies, cool air and bright sunshine. No one expected the darkness we all experienced later that morning and I certainly didn’t anticipate what I experienced 11 years later, which was absolutely nothing. No extra kindness, smiles, eye intact or a word spoken the entire 2-hour ride for that matter.
My Facebook, however, was exploding with images reflecting the towers draped in flags, flickering candles with prayers and, of course, the famous shot of the fireman planting the flag on the rubble. It was borderline annoying considering what I was experiencing in the real world.
All of these powerful images were met with the words “Never Forget.” News Flash….we’ve forgotten something very important. Not the event, that will be embedded in us forever, but the lessons seem to be MIA. What happened to our vulnerability?
I couldn’t help but think “If this bus blew up could I depend on this crew of statues to lend a helping hand?” Hey, I don’t walk around in fear of the sky falling, however, I don’t dismiss the possibility to the point of disconnect with the people around me.
Have we forgotten that the target that dreadful day 11 years ago was not the physical structures of these massive buildings, it was the strength they represented?
The real targets were our freedom, tolerance and decency. What happened to a sense of humanity?
As I sat outside of a cafe waiting for my nephew to eat his 100th meal of the day, I watched a homeless man being passed by an endless sea of people. Did I mention he was an Army veteran, oh and that it was 9/11?
I understand people get tired of giving up their dough to strangers that might be complete frauds…I get that whole thing. What bothered me was no one even made eye contact, he was invisible.
Well, call me what you will I had to give him something before I left. He stood up, shook our hands, thanked us, complimented my nephew’s bow tie and explained his recent homelessness. He was legit, alive and very visible and long as you’re willing to open your eyes!
I was the last to enter the bus to return to Philly, only to find there were no seats..or so I thought. Apparently there was a seat being occupied by Louis Vuitton. Simmer down folks, not the man the travel tote! Seems like the designer travel tote, who was not a paying customer, suddenly had more value than me. After numerous requests, the
bitch woman reluctantly moved Louis to the side without an ounce of acknowledgement to my existence…I was invisible.
It could have been worse, it could have been a cheap knock-off! I had to justify it somehow people!
All of this, along with the negative climate that seems to be clouding over us daily, really has me questioning my own Truth to Power. Why is it so hard for us to exercise these simple tasks?
We speak to power in three senses:
- To those who hold high places in our national life and bear the terrible responsibility of making decisions for war or peace.
- To the American people who are the final reservoir of power in this country and whose values and expectations set the limits for those who exercise authority.
- To the idea of Power itself, and its impact on Twentieth Century life.
Our truth is ancient:
- that love endures and overcomes.
- that hatred destroys.
- that what is obtained by love is retained, but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden.
You can check out more on this powerful statement right here….sttp.html
Honestly, if we want things to be different, we as individuals need to take serious action to recommit to communicating rather than acting rashly, focus more on building rather than destroying and observe wisely rather than acting without thought.
These small changes can make a huge difference, not just in our daily lives, but as a nation and a world.
We can do this folks….Truth to Power…one day at a time. Enjoy The Ride!
The other day I had the pleasure of reading a beautiful post titled mister by Lynne over at FreePennyPress. It is an enlightening introduction into humanity, something that most of us try to ignore too often, especially when it’s up close and personal and not so pleasant.
Lynne or “Pretty Lady” as she was dubbed by “Mister” had a unique relationship with a homeless man. She noticed the presence of a broken man and he held the door for her. Nothing too complex to their relationship, just two human beings appreciating the fact that they both exist in this world. Isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway?
Living in a big city and working in the center of it for many years, I’ve had my share of encounters with people who have become broken for one reason or another. No one plans to take a path that brings them lower, sometimes life makes those decisions for us.
As adults we have a much more jaded view of the broken. It’s usually surrounded by judgement, followed by all the answers on how these broken souls can “get a job”, but most of the time we just ignore their existence. It’s just easier to pretend it’s not happening.
Norman is a character to say the least. Everyone knows Norman or as he is often referred …”that guy in the Viking Hat”. Look at that face…Norman is the bomb!
My son was immediately intrigued by Norman and his badass helmet, not to mention the fact that he would also sport a wall clock around his neck like Flavor Flav. Seriously, what little boy wouldn’t be in complete awe of that get-up? That joy soon turned to sadness, when I broke the news that Norman was homeless. This was his first experience with homelessness…up close and personal.
On Christmas Eve he wanted to give Norman money that he collected going door to door singing carols, so off we went. Sadly, Norman was nowhere to be found. We found out later he “goes away” during the cold months. Brilliant idea if you ask me. So, we went to other parts of the City to distribute the money until it was gone. Brokenness through a child’s eyes is so clear.
Later in the Spring as I was sitting out front of the music school, waiting for my daughter to finish her lesson. Up rolls Norman on a bicycle covered in red, white & blue everything. Flags covered the bike and he was wearing a flag pattered bandanna under his Viking helmet. He stopped to talk to me and offered me a swig from his bottle. Lord knows he already had one too many swigs. I kindly declined with an “um, no thanks I don’t drink” and Norman gave me a quick “that’s cool, if your a mother you shouldn’t be drinking” … good advice. Then he proceeded to tell me about a young woman he knew who drank too much and lost her children. His heart just broke for this woman, but he had faith that she would turn herself around. Helpless and helping others…does it get any better?
We chit chatted for a bit before my daughter came out and saw me talking to Norman. The look on her face was priceless! Norman wobbled off into the sunset shouting back “have a happy Mothers Day whenever it is” … will do Norman, will do. My daughter was rolling her eyes as she expressed “Mom! OMG, do you have to talk to everyone? .. yerp I do. Seriously, as if she didn’t already know.
I haven’t seen Norman in a while, but was so happy to find this photo over at http://thirstyfish.com/index.php?p=481 that was taken in January of this year. Looks like Norman is doing well these days sporting his shiny new Viking Helmet. Everyone knows Norman!
The backstory is that Norman was a very successful business man at one time. He was in the entertainment business, which didn’t surprise me in the least. Apparently he went through a very bitter divorce that left him broken, bitter or maybe both. But, I’ll be the first to tell you this man’s spirit was not included in that break. He is a very kind soul with a big heart and an even bigger smile!
Everyone…including the broken, should have the opportunity to…Enjoy the Ride!