Monthly Archives: September 2013

Kindness Update. A Little Late.

Kindness Update #2: I have to admit. Week two was much harder. Much harder. I don’t know if it was my schedule, my state of mind (it was a rough week) or a lack of creativity but I struggled to push above and beyond. I’ve determined that I’m a pretty kind person already. It’s this “going out of my way” part that’s hard.

But it IS called the 21-Day Kindness Challenge.

Day 8 – I’m in a letter writing mood. Wrote my grandmother’s dear friend a newsy letter. My grandmother died 13 years ago. She always remembered birthdays with at least a card. I didn’t want my grandmother’s friend to have one less card on her birthday after Grandma died, so I started sending her cards. But I always kick myself that I only contact her once (or twice with a Christmas card) a year. Finally sent her a note just because.

Day 9 – My husband has been amazing with all I’ve been  going through. And he has a weakness for cookies, his only “sweet weakness.” (Well, that and chocolate.) I baked him his favorites and set aside a batch just for him. I admit. I didn’t really go much out of my way to do this. But it’s going to have to count for today.

Day 10 – Gave another insanely generous tip to our waitress. We tried to get out before she saw, but it didn’t work. She was SO appreciative. Smiled a huge smile and mouthed “Thank you!” across the restaurant. With all these insanely generous tips I’ve been doing with this project, I’m realizing we eat out way too much.

Day 11 – Gave double at the church collection basket. I’m tellin’ ya’. Getting creative with this is getting harder and harder.

Day 12 –  Paid for the coffee for the car behind me in the Starbucks drive-thru. Boring? Yes. But it’s an easy kindness act that I’ve done a hundred times before and it still felt good to do.

Day 13 – I like to take my groceries to the car myself, thank you very much. I want to avoid the inane small talk and the chance that my bread will get squished by the Cascade bottle. I know part of why they always offer is so they can bring the carts back in without them piling up in the parking lot. As I was pushing my cart (alone) to my car it started to sprinkle. So, I brought my cart back to the store. All the way inside the store. And then, since I was wet already, I brought ALL the carts back inside the store. Eighteen carts and five trips later, I got a few weird stares. But it felt good to break out of the non-creative kindness challenge rut.

Day 14 – Helping out at my children’s school (which I do once a week – so that in itself doesn’t count) I made it a point to thank each and every non-teacher I came across. The lady who checks parents in. The many lunchroom ladies of various capacities. The janitor. The people that help the kids in and out of cars in the car-rider line. Not just a quick “Thanks!” but a few sentences about how much I appreciate what they do. Glad I got there early. Took a bit more time than I’d planned.

So, there you have it. Week two. A struggle but worth it. Hope this inspires you in your own Kindness Challenge. Feel free to comment or link below. I’m struggling and need to steal a few ideas!

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So Then I Go And Blow All My Kindness Karma In One Fell Swoop

namaste

One of the doctor’s requirements to keep this horrible panic/anxiety manageable is yoga. Not a tough regimen for me to follow since I happen to love yoga. I have lots of yoga tapes (Rodney Yee and Steve Ross are my personal favorites). I have the discipline to practice yoga on my own or with others.  I have the mat, strap, block and cute yoga clothes that I actually wear to do yoga.

What is difficult is finding a great yoga instructor.

But I’ve found one. She is amazing. Let’s call her Belle. At the gym, when I was checking out the class to see if I was actually going to join, I tried Belle’s class first. I was in heaven. She is knowledgeable. She has the perfect pace for any degree of difficulty. She is personable, interesting and fun. I was sold and signed up on the spot.

And I love going to yoga class.

Unless Belle isn’t there. Or, should I say, unless Ursula is teaching.

Now Ursula (not her real name, of course) is not a horrible person. She just hates yoga and you can tell. Her true love is the strength training class she teaches just before yoga. If I had taken her yoga class first I never would have joined the gym. While she may know what a pose is called and how to demonstrate it, she has no clue how to get from one pose to the next. She doesn’t practice a true yoga flow. She doesn’t warm the class up. It’s as if she looked at a yoga cookbook minutes before class and said, “I’ll do this pose and this pose and this pose and that should do it.” Slam the book shut. Go to class. Bark the commands.

“Breatheinbreatheout,” she says, jammed all together, not telling us that as we push up into cobra we should be breathing in and pushing back into downward dog we should exhale. She just says, “Breatheinbreatheout” every few minutes. A reminder to keep breathing, I suppose.

I have suffered through her class a few times. The last time, while I was doing poses I had no business doing because I wasn’t properly warmed and ready, I swore, “Never again.” If she’s there, I’ll just walk out.

For passive, non-confrontational me? That’s a tall order to fill.

Today, walking into the building, I see the 8 o’clock class letting out at 8:57. A little early. For Belle, anyway. She’s chatty. Her classes always run late. That was my first clue. I see a fellow yogi. “Are you going to class?” I ask. She smiles a feeble smile and shrugs. My second clue.

With backpack and yoga mat slung over my shoulder, I skip the locker room to peek into the yoga studio to see who is teaching. Gingerly, I push the door open just enough to poke my head through.

Oops.

Who should be standing smack dab in front of me? Ursula. That’s who.

“Hi,” she says brightly.

“Hello,” I respond.

Just Ursula. No one else in the room. I panic, imagining myself alone. With her. Doing cookbook yoga.

Face crestfallen, I begin to back out, remembering my promise to myself.

“Oh,” she says, her face falling, too. “You’re not staying?”

“Nope.” I turn on my heel and hightail it out of there.

No explanation. No excuse. Just “Nope.”

I feel horrible but I’m determined not to suffer through another one of her classes.

And my response to Ursula’s question. That was mean enough, right?

Nope.

I don’t stop there.

Another yoga classmate, a newbie, is walking in as I am walking out. She recognizes me.

“You’re leaving already?” she asks.

I proceed to tell her exactly why I’m leaving and convince her not to go to class either.

It’s official. I’m an idiot. I’m a terrible, horrible person.

I think I just failed this Kindness project in one fell swoop.

Namaste.

 

 

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A Challenge and An Update. Jane’s Twofer Post.

As promised, I present you with my first full week of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge. The difficulty has been in thinking of unique ways to express kindness. As you’ll soon read, I think I’ve failed that part of the challenge. Luckily, I’m the only one who feels my acts need to be unique. That takes some of the pressure off.

Day 1 – Tried to compliment as many people as I could. Cute outfit. Love your haircut. Love your toenail polish. People I knew and saw fairly regularly. And perfect strangers. I reserved the “love your haircuts” and “you look great, have you lost weight?” for people I knew, obviously. I lost track of how many people I made smile. But it was a lot.

Day 2 – The door for swim practice is heavy. Especially for the little ones. So, I stood outside for the first 15 minutes of practice and the last 15, just opening the door for people. Lost track of how many people wanted to hold the door for me so that I could finally go inside. Awkward.

Day 3 – Gave an insanely generous tip for a drive through place that actually accepts tips in the drive through.Was reminded of my pet peeve as she said, “Okay” instead of “Thank You!” when I told her to keep the change. Had to remind myself that this exercise was for others and not just me. Maybe she is mathematically challenged.

Day 4 – Made a conscious effort to learn the names and cheer for the other kids on my boys’ baseball team. I know. I sound horrible. But I rarely know the names of other kids so this was a challenge for me. And, I’m not very vocal. I’m more the strong, silent type of parent when it comes to cheering and by that I mean introverted and shy. My kids know I’m proud of them because I tell them so. Quietly. After the game. But this Saturday was different. And my kids noticed. They can no longer look me in the eye.

Day 5 – Completely forgot the challenge. But, and this is a big “but,” the All-Day-Compliment-Day that I did on the first day has already spilled over and I find myself complimenting people much more often than I did in the past. Must have told 5 strangers today I loved their smile, handbag and Ooooo, your baby is just precious. Does this count?

Day 6 – Wrote the Pool Committee, the most thankless volunteer position ever, an open letter thanking them for a job well done this season. Hopefully, my undying gratitude will keep me off that committee for another year.

Day 7 – Finally wrote to my 4th grade teacher and thanked her for inspiring me to be a teacher one day. According to Google/Superpages she’s alive and well and still living in my hometown. Fingers crossed she gets it.

How about you? Are you in? Share a comment below or link us to your post. We’re not picky. As long as everyone is being kind to one another. That’s the main thing! Click the button over to the right for more info and more ideas on this amazing challenge!

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It IS Selfish. But I Promise. It’ll Do Your Heart Good.

You all know I’m a huge proponent of Random Acts of Kindness. I’ve written about it here, here and here. And I practice Random Acts of Kindness. In my real life. Not just in the one I lead here, in Blog World.

But I have to admit. I practice it rather randomly.

I wish I was more mindful of the practice. While it is not unnatural for me to be kind, I don’t go out of my way. My random acts tend to be spontaneous and convenient and easy. Easy because the situation screamed, “Be Kind!!!”

Waitress having a bad day = leave an amazing tip

Person seems sad in the car behind you = buy their coffee

Neighbor just lost their cat = leave a potted flower on their porch

So, when I came across the 21-Day Kindness Challenge, I knew it was something I had to push myself to do.

And I’m encouraging all of you to at least try. Join me in the amazingly simple yet challenging task.

Admit it. When you give someone a gift, big or small, and it makes them smile, you feel pretty good about yourself. Am I right? In a way, this seems a bit selfish. Doing nice things for people in order to make you feel good. And it is selfish. But in a good way.

They say it takes three weeks to adopt a new habit. For three weeks, each day, we will find something that brings a smile to someone else’s face. Buy someone’s coffee. Let someone cut you in line. Crack someone up with your kid’s latest knock-knock joke. (Ok. Maybe they won’t crack up. At least make them smile. Big.)

After 21 days, the habit will be in place and hopefully, all of us will be better for it. You make other people smile, then your heart will smile. It’s a win-win!

On Wednesdays, I’ll check back here and report my progress. In the comment section or your own blog, you can report your progress. Or not. No pressure. And if you start late, do 2 or 3 or 7 kind acts each day until you catch up. No biggie.

21 Days of Kindness.

C’mon.

Make the world smile.

It’ll be fun!

challengelogo

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Describe My Sex Life With A Movie Title? Why Stop There?

My Life In Movie Titles

alinw

My childhood – Alice in Wonderland

Adolescence – Clueless

My teaching days – Dances With Wolves

My single days – Pitch Perfect (but I didn’t realize it then)

My sex life – Beauty and the Beast

The past two years – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest or Psycho (take your pick)

Yesterday – The Lost Weekend

Today – Any Which Way You Can

Tomorrow – Hope Springs (because it has to)

My kids – The Incredibles

My husband – Braveheart

My readers, especially the faithful “commenters” – A League Of Their Own (you are all so very, very amazing!)

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It’s Official. Jane Is A Twit.

Hell must have frozen over.

I’ve joined the Twitter bandwagon.

And too late, according to my daughter. Because now, all the rage is Instragram and Snapchat and Pingram.me.

Nonetheless, I’m officially a Twit. (Give me a few minutes to catch my breath.)

Watching the Colbert Report the other night, I am reminded that even the Pope is on Twitter. The Pope!  Oh sure, I knew about Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy announcing their separation via Twitter or the Chris Brown/Jenny Johnson Twitter battle. Some of my Facebook friends have Twitter accounts. And of course, the younger set is all about the tweet.

But the Pope?

I had to see what’s it all about. (Cue Beastie Boys – Ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out!)

So, here I sit, 2 hours later. An account has been created. I scrolled though the suggestions and followed a few people. I muddled through the WordPress instructions to add a scroll to my sidebar. I’d love to just have a tweet button but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. I’m not sure ALL of you should be subjected to my errant tweets. But it is what it is. A work in progress. Kinda like me.

What You Will Learn About Me Should You Choose To Follow

1. My name is not really Jane. It’s Maureen. And my grandmother called me Reenie. So, my handle (does that make me sound like a trucker?) is @reeniejane. Because the combinations of Maureen and Jane were all taken.

2. I’m not very prolific. With witty comments, anyway.  That I’ll remember. And think to Tweet. Oh, a gem may escape my lips a couple times a day but heck if I’ll be able to remember it long enough to unlock my phone, click on Twitter and type it all in with my fat, chubby phalanges. But fingers (you say phalanges, I say fingers) crossed. We all need goals in life.

3. I’m a follower. I hear or read something that someone else has said and I’ll crack up or nod vigorously and then say, “Wish I had thought of that first.” It’s a curse.

4. I’m about two steps above a luddite. I didn’t used to be. During my teaching days I led a statewide seminar on how to use laptops in the classroom. But that was over 10 years ago. My, the times they are a-changin’. I’m so far behind I fear I’ll never catch up.

So, I’m a late-Tweeter. I own my title of Twit proudly. It’s the only title that fits after waiting this long.

Gonna try this thing out and see where it takes me.

<snort>

Like I need something else on my plate now.

What was I thinking?

And why does anyone else care what I think?

Sigh.

Who knew the responsibilities of being a Twit would be such a burden.

And this Twit is only 3 hours old.

(All advice, tips, tricks and suggestions are welcome.) 

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