Monthly Archives: September 2012

What Will You Do To Spread Some Magic Today?

I saw this story awhile ago.

It warmed my heart then.

It warms my heart now.

Freddie Wieczorek works part-time at Walt Disney World, checking the bags of the guests who flock to Magic Kingdom. Encouraged to spread the magic, as all Disney employees are encouraged to do, he bought an autograph book and began asking the children who came through the gates dressed in costume for their autograph.

In his 4+ years at Disney he’s collected over 1,400 signatures (sometimes scribbles, depending on the age.) To see their faces light up when they’ve been “mistaken for the real thing” brings him such joy. And he is spreading joy to the child, the parents and those who witness the scene.

It’s no secret I love Walt Disney and the empire he began. I love the magic. I love the joy. I love the many, many employees like Mr. Wieczorek who embrace the Disney philosophy and take it that extra step.

Seeing this photo again reminded me that I don’t have to wait to go to Disney World to experience the magic. I can make my own right here, right now.

What will you do to spread some magic today?


Filed under How We Roll, Lessons Learned

Monday Blog Haiku

Blogs call narcissists

to write what they know and love

Comments encourage

Who is the blogger?

Writer, lover, comic, cook

All crave to be heard

Comments feed the blog

Readers who comment treasured

Friends not seen but loved


Filed under Blogging

A Retro Style That Needs To Make A Comeback

Who remembers Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock?

I know this style is very ’80s.

I love it anyway.

And I wish this was one retro style that would make a comeback.

(Will somebody please drag me into this century?)


Filed under Hey! That Reminds Me!

It’s Nice To Know Who My Real Friends Are

Raised in a fairly dysfunctional environment, I have a difficult time discerning true friendships. I call my husband and another close friend of mine my “social barometers.” When I’m unsure of a behavior, I consult them and they help me to see the truth. (All hail Husband and Kay!)

Even with their wisdom, that doesn’t stop me from obsessing. Kay says that I over analyze things. (She’s right.) I’m always hyper-vigilant when it comes to my own actions. I’m overly concerned with offending someone. I know. Hard to believe, right? When you’re as opinionated as I am, you can see my predicament.

In these hard economic times, another friend of mine, wanting to work from home, started working for one of those pyramid based make-up companies. She turned to all of her friends for contacts, referrals and business. My inbox now receives weekly ads about their products. She’s asked me a number of times to host parties or help her with the sales challenges the company puts forth.

I finally had to, as gently as I could, say “No.”

First of all, I don’t like make-up. I find it to be a necessary evil. In fact, at a time in my life when I probably need it more than ever, I haven’t been wearing any. I’m finally at an age when I am getting comfortable in my own skin. I don’t mind the wrinkles and laugh lines. I call them my “badges of honor.” I’ve earned every one. Sure, I still don’t like my dark circles or the mole on my forehead, but I can live with them. I still pluck my brows and the errant hairs that pop up on my chin or upper lip. I’m not sure I’ll ever consider waxing or threading. Making the time for that seems silly to me.

Mostly, I hate parties where I’m expected to buy something. So, I’m certainly not going to host one. Admit it. When you receive an invitation to a make-up/jewelry/cooking tool/home decor party your gut instinct is to find an excuse not to go. Right?

My friend has, thankfully, backed off.

But then this popped up on her Facebook status:

“It’s nice to know who my real friends are”

Was she speaking to me? To all her other friends who had to gently say “no?” Or did she just have a bad day and a good friend came through in a pinch?

We’ll never know. Because all she provided was a cryptic Facebook message and I’m certainly not going to risk another “party assault” and ask her to clarify.

I realized I needed a cheat sheet. A checklist, to help me sort out the real friends from the less than true:

  • A real friend doesn’t hound you to host parties to extract money from your friends. Free gifts are not enough incentive to tick off what few friends you have.
  • A real friend calls you up when they have something to say, not when it’s their turn to call.
  • A real friend can talk to you in the next hour, the next week, the next few months. It doesn’t matter how much time lapses between communication. You pick up where you are in life.
  • A real friend is never tit-for-tat with anything. Birthday cards, Christmas cards, blog comments, play dates or phone calls. No. Thing.
  • A real friend doesn’t keep score. (Sorry. I had to say it again. It’s that important to me.) 
  • A real friend loves you even when you make a mistake and say something really stupid. And I do mean, really stooopid. 
  • A real friend encourages you, builds you up and picks you up when you fall down.
  • A real friend is honest. To a fault. And that’s okay. Because sometimes we need to hear something a bit uncomfortable. It shakes us up and helps us to be better people.
  • A real friend respects our boundaries.
  • A real friend is loyal and is not afraid to buck the mean girls in the neighborhood when you’re feeling left out of the latest party.
  • A real friend doesn’t disappear or fade away without explanation. (Sadly, I have a few of those. I’m still wondering what I did wrong.)
  • A real friend is like the Fairy Godmother and Baloo (from Jungle Book) and Jiminy Cricket and Dory (from Nemo) all rolled into one. I’m happy to say I have quite a few of those.

True friends, real friends are precious and beautiful and surprisingly, oh-so-rare. Today, I am sending hugs and love and deep-from-the-bottom-of-my-heart thanks to all of you.

If I’ve forgotten anything, feel free to add your own real friend requirements.


Filed under Coffee Talk, friends

A Simple Thank You. It’s All I Ask.

How many times a week do you take advantage of a drive-thru? More specifically, for a coffee or a quick bite?

How often do you tip at a drive-thru?

I’ve always felt odd tipping at a drive-thru. McDonald’s doesn’t expect a tip from me. Neither does Wendy’s. Nor Burger King. But Starbucks has their tip jar in prominent display. And the Sonic Drive-Ins in our area recently posted reminders to tip your drive-thru attendant, just as you would the carhop.

I proudly call myself thrifty. I blame my Scottish heritage. But I waited tables in college and think of myself as a generous tipper. I know, firsthand, how hard the job is.

But the drive-thru? You stand there. Take the order. Possibly walk 3 steps to reach the order that has been prepared for you/me and then hand it to me through a window.

And by the way, that’s your job.

There wasn’t any extra service involved. You didn’t refill my drinks, take away dirty dishes, check to make sure my burger was cooked to order. You simply took my order and handed me my order. Oh. And took my money.

My husband always tips you. He has shamed me into tipping you, too. And so, I do. Reluctantly. But never more reluctantly until now.

Recently, in the past three months or so, I’ve noticed an air of expectance when you are handing me my change. And so, I tip. And then you say, “Have a great day!”

How about “Thank you?”

Thank you is the proper response when someone gives you a gift. And that’s what a tip is. A gift. I don’t have to give it to you. Especially at a drive-thru. But I do. So, I, the generous customer, give you a little extra money for the amazing 38 seconds that I spend with you. You, in turn, should reply, at the very least, “Thank you.”

I’ve been keeping track of how many “thank yous” I receive when I give a tip at a drive-thru for the past two months. Of the eleven visits for coffee or milkshakes for the kids at Sonic or lunch at our local country cafe with a drive-thru, I’ve received one thank you.



Thank you.

It’s not hard. It takes less than one second to say.

Instead of a thank you, I’ve received “Have a great day!,” “Come again!” and a tip of the head and a smile. But nary a thank you.


Common courtesy and graciousness is dying a slow death.

Even in the South.


Filed under Observations, Soapbox

Convicted Felon Receives $104 Million Reward. Wuuuhhhh?

A former Swiss banker ratted out his buddies and  received $104 million from the IRS for providing them with valuable information regarding widespread tax evasion.  Getting $104 million from the IRS was enough to get my attention. But then I read that this whistle blower had just served 2 1/2 years in prison for his own participation in the case.

“The IRS today sent 104 million messages to whistleblowers around the world,” claimed the man’s lawyers.


They didn’t send 104 million messages. They sent 104 million dollar bills into a convicted felon’s pocket.

It would be one thing if an innocent man came forward and reported a crime and the IRS wanted to reward his bravery.

A man who, on his own volition, decided to do the right thing.

But this was a reward, more money than many see in a lifetime, to a man who actually participated in the crime.

This news flash is now item #83 on my list, “Things That Baffle Me.”


Filed under I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled)

My Family Was Safe. But So Many Others Were Not.


Every year, I tell myself that I’m not going to write about it. And every year, I can’t help myself. Such a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. Such a personal moment for me.

I was on my way to work. Running late. Listening to my favorite rock station. The rock jocks were known to be a bit crude, a bit inappropriate. I switched them on just as they were describing the first plane going into the towers. I thought, “This is a cruel joke. The station is definitely getting a letter!’ Then, when one of the disc jockey’s voices cracked and I could almost hear her tears, I knew it was real.

I sat at work. Trying to keep our students calm. Wanting to take my daughter out of class just a few buildings away and bring her home. But having to carry on. The administration wanted us to plug away, as usual. Distract the students. But how could we? We were a laptop school. Students were sneaking windows open to catch a glimpse on CNN.

Soon, students were being taken out of school. Parents confirming my initial instinct. We had a congressman’s son in class. Another boy’s aunt worked at the Pentagon. Countless parents traveled by air for business.

And then it hit. My brother-in-law worked in Detroit. He was an agent in Federal Law Enforcement. Because of his interrogation skills and expertise with the Middle East. My other sister, who flies twice weekly for business. Where is she? I sneak a call to my family. Yes, Henry has been called into work downtown. But so far, everything is okay. Yes, my other sister had been on her way to D.C. but her plane had been grounded.

My family was safe.

But so many others were not.

Never, never, never forget.


(Feel free to share your “Where Were You On 9/11” moment in the comment section below.)


Filed under In the News

Another One Of Those “Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” Ideas

You all know about my Pinterest obsession. I love the sharing, the great ideas. The things I pin make me feel all Martha Stewart-y, without the legal drama and notoriety, of course. And most of my pins, okay almost all of my pins, just sit there. Pinned. Looking pretty. Never to be tackled or tried. Just filling up my boards. Making me look all productive. And crafty. And smart.

Just want you all to know.

The intention is there.

The pins that baffle me are the ones using chalkboard paint as a decorative highlight in your home.

Remember these?

Forget the math. (I have.) If you were a teacher way back when, your hands and clothes would be covered in chalk dust at the end of the day.

If you were a student and had to go up to the board  to show off your math skills or bang a couple of these:

…you were also covered in chalk dust.

So why do the pins keep popping up using chalkboard paint in your home? Does anyone actually think this…

or this…

…is truly a great idea? That your home and bed sheets will always look this pristine after using chalk inside your home?  Near your head where you sleep? Or inside your pantry for your shopping list, dusting your cereal and crackers and canned goods in a fine mist? Or an entire wall in your child’s bedroom? Can you imagine what the baseboard is going to look like after a month?

I can.

And it isn’t pretty.

Maybe I’m a little too OCD for my own good, but chalkboard paint, inside a home, is a bad idea.

It’s the kind of idea that sounds good. At the time.

But trust me.

It is much better suited as a pretty, little picture on your Pinterest board.


Filed under I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), Lessons Learned

Best Halloween Costume. Ever.

Okay, all you crafty dog owners out there. Get crackin’.


Filed under funny, Holiday