9/30/11 Birthday Month Recap


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9/1/11 Day 1: Little Brothers Birthday Visit tonight. The residents at Booth Home were really gracious.

9/2/11 Day 2: The kindest thing I did today was spray lots of air freshener in the ladies room. TMI.

9/17/11 It struck me that to list things as I did them would seem to be about showcasing my gestures. That wasn’t my intent for this experiment. I did leave the photo of Flower from Bambi, however, at the top…. I LOVED Flower as a child and at times in my adult years I appear to emulate her.  Enough said.  But…. my dad called me “Stinker” as a child (I don’t remember why, but I think it was friendly fire on his part!!) Flower is a lovely memory. 🙂

Today, I thought I’d write about some of the experiences that have stood out to me. I’ve done a few birthday visits. September 10th was to a sweetheart of a lady named Vera. I’ll post her picture down below. Vera is one of those people who come across a little gruff. When you take the time to talk to her, you quickly notice what a generous, kind, loving soul she is. Her first words about the cake were who she wanted to share it with. That same recipient was also going to receive some of the presents in her bag. She would NOT however, share the Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty I brought her!! Such a simple thing delighted her to no end 🙂

Vera on her birthday 🙂 YOUR smile should be so beautiful

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Last week, I gave a short talk at my church’s Ladies Brunch. The subject was, “What Doesn’t Give You Confidence”. My speaking wasn’t the deliberate act of kindness. Really, you even thought I would think that??  No, it was after my talk –  most people probably felt relieved that they weren’t me!! THAT was the deliberate act of kindness. 🙂

What doesn't give you confidence: Facebook, Victoria's Secret, Depends Purple Britches (though they CAN come in handy during really radical sneezes!!)

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This week my son went away to Fall Leadership Camp at Morgan’s in Brookville, Indiana ( www.morganscanoe.com ) with his school class. I drove out two evenings to help. The first night, I met a lovely student who was hyperventilating over an incident that had just occurred. Wow, could I remember being that age and the way that a seemingly small thing to an adult can seem so HUGE to a teen. I asked her if I could sit with her, and proceeded to bring up all sorts of topics that had nothing to do with what caused her to hyperventilate. It worked. As I told my fantastic, completely true larger than life tales, she forgot all about what made her so upset. I suppose hearing the tales of me barfing on Mrs. Griese’s shoes in first grade, the night that a thug threatened to shoot me and kill my son if I didn’t give him my $9. purse from Wal-Mart, and other such tales made that pesky mutant boy who bothered her seem downright petty!! She was a little reluctant to return to the group, fearing that she might just die from how she was feeling. I leveled with her. I told her, “Sister, let’s face it – the longer you wait, the bigger the embarrassment gets and the harder going back will be. Here’s a deal. I promise you, if you go over to the group, the first few seconds are just going to SUCK. But then, you and they will pretty much forget what happened. And if I’m wrong, and if the embarrassment DOES kill you, I’ll give you your money back!”. She thought about it for a nano second, made a funny face at me, and then skipped over to the group. She was fine the rest of the evening. 🙂

I’ve been thinking of ways to show myself deliberate kindness. That’s not something I’m naturally good at. I’ve been trying to exercise a little more, letting a friend encourage me to try something new (more details on that as it plays itself out), and trying to make sleep more of a priority (Miss Sue is definitely a Supremely Hardheaded Lunkhead when it comes to giving herself enough sleep).

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September 24, 2011

A few more events have transpired. Some fun, some ….. not worth writing about.

There were times I tried to do some of the deliberate acts of kindness recommended. At Kroger’s one evening, I decided to let the next person behind me go ahead , in line. Would you believe I couldn’t get a person behind me to save my life?? Every time someone appeared to be headed to my lane, that pesky floor manager with the red vest would whisk them away to a different lane. I found this quite vexing. I was ready to BE KIND… and fate WAS NOT COOPERATING. 😦   I eventually gave up and threw my stuff on the counter. I think I said extra nice things to the cashier and bagger to make up for my thwarted effort to be kind. Oh, here’s a funny, but it wasn’t intended to be funny (I try to be truthful even when it shows what a hillbilly I am). The bagger was a very polite young man. I believe he was what some call “special needs”. He was having fun talking out loud to himself the entire time and laughing at the conversation he was having with himself. Well, I started laughing to myself, because I talk away to myself out loud all the time and laugh at the conversation…. suddenly I knew how I looked to the rest of the world…. no wonder strangers are so kind to me. 🙂

Hillbilly Hare

Image via Wikipedia : "Hillbilly Hare" Courtesy of Bugs Bunny!

Oh wow! I looked up images of hillbillies to see if I saw a photo of me. This is one I found…. wasn’t this a great Bugs Bunny cartoon?! One of my favorites. If my brother Jon is reading this, do you remember this one?!

Here’s a birthday visit to Marvin on September 21st. I have to tell you, this was one of the funnier and more lively visits I’ve done! Marvin loved to tell stories of his stunt work with Hollywood movies, meeting Roy Rogers when he was 6 and getting to ride on Roy’s horse with him as Roy rode around Crosley Field, being friends with Diana Rigg (the “Avengers”actress) many years ago, naming his favorite dog Emma Peel, liking marriage so much he tried it five times (!).  Apparently he’s still a hit with the ladies today, as he regularly goes outside for his smokes with his buddies: Shirley, the other Shirley, and Cora. I told him with his connections in Hollywood, we should pitch a script for a new “Charlie’s Angels” – “Marvin’s Angel’s – the Westwood Version”. They were all up for it! If you look at the photo on the left, Marvin enjoys the camera – look at that smile. 🙂 This was his first birthday visit from Little Brothers: I told him that gave me a lot of pressure to make it a great one. 🙂 It WAS a great one, but it wasn’t me. The ladies obviously care about Marvin a great deal, the staff member seen in the left photo had the most beautiful accent and was fun to talk to, they all fussed over Marvin and his cake, his flowers and bag of presents. He loved the stuffed animal and showed it off frequently. I just told jokes and had them all laughing.

Marvin and his Angels: Shirley on the left, Cora on the right and the other Shirley just visible on the far right.
Birthday Guy holding court with his cigarette buddies. I heard some funny stories. 🙂

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Oktoberfest September 18th

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati has been an annual celebration in Cincinnati since 1976. I’ve never missed a year. I wish I could tell you I did all kind of deliberate acts of kindness down there. I DID spend lots of money, that was kind, I suppose! But Oktoberfest turns me into a bloodhound! I am in search of one thing: a Schmidt’s Jumbo Cream Puff. It is the gastric highlight of my year. 🙂  And, here’s a page that might be taken from, You Know You’re A Redneck When. Most people splash out money on their yearly family portrait from wherever families go for those things. Not my family! You can’t get me to dress up & our version is a little closer to reality. 🙂  We take our yearly photos at Oktoberfest! I have a photo of Kevin each year, except he’s not usually standing, so you can’t tell how tall he’s gotten. He’s hunched over his own cream puff, scarfing away!

My birthday is now five days away. I can’t say the experiment I proposed to do has made it feel more significant. I still miss my mom and dad and those electric purple roses on chocolate cakes with white icing from Bonomini Bakery. I still get a little melancholy about people who are gone from my life. That’s the way I’m wired, I’m afraid. Doing nice things does take my mind off of myself and the sad feelings. It makes me feel like less of a slug as a human when I’m helping someone else out.

9/30/11

Time to round it all up and see what I think.

I performed an act of kindness on Monday September 26th. That was the day of the wicked nasty storm in the early morning. Having pity on my son, I drove him to school. Must tell you, Columbia Parkway during a storm like that is NOT for sissies! The intersection at Delta and Linwood by the UDF was positively nerve rattling; we were at the stop light in standing water and the gusher coming at us…. glad I’m not in need of those previously mentioned Depends just yet!!

The skies were sunny and smiling on my actual birthday, September 29th. Treated myself to a lovely wee cake from Busken’s. Talk about “perfectly fitting” waiting for me. The little beauty was sitting in the case: chocolate cake, white icing and deep purple trim. CUTE! And quite tasty. 🙂

Greetings from as far away as England and as close as the home made card my son made with sentiments that included The Musty Pines Old Folks Home (!) (when did this kid get to be so much like me??) made my day festive. In 2011 good wishes come from the U.S. Postal Service, text, email, Facebook, homemade, telephone, in person. What a variety of ways people have to “reach out and touch” these days!

Part of my day was spent on Fountain Square with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, handing out carnations and telling people about the great stuff LBFE does for the older population in Cincinnati. It was to celebrate International Day of Older Persons, which is October 1st. Sometimes, the most unexpected things can happen. The person who might look blase about hearing our objectives would actually be quite interested. I gave carnations to young, old, homeless, persons in business suits, lonely looking people, folks with a world of hurt etched on their faces. Some wanted to tell me their story, many wanted hugs, lots gave me good wishes for my birthday and beautiful smiles. This sometimes causes me to shake my head. I am a squirrely woman who appears to be trying out for Bag Lady of the Year awards. My fellow volunteers are attractive vibrant well dressed women. I always fear that people will run from the crazy squirrely bag lady chick with Completely Nuts on her t-shirt. But they seem to like my Squishiness. Maybe my Squishiness makes me feel safe to them, I don’t know. I had a 19 year old guy approach and ask me all sorts of questions. He kept appearing over the next half hour or so. I can only surmise he was drawn to my motherly side, I have no idea!

The most endearing moment occurred when one of our elderly Friends – Nellie – found out it was my birthday and commenced to sing Happy Birthday to me. 🙂 Having no shyness about letting her voice ring out in song and her pure, simple act caused me to choke up. She then put her arms out for a hug and for just a whiff of a moment, I felt my mom’s spirit and it was pretty sweet.

 Oh, Fox 19 and Frank Marzullo were there filming relay races between mascots from UC, Xavier, Skyline Chili Dog and Gapper from the Reds. It was hilarious! Gapper is great. 🙂 I took a few pictures. It also gave me a nano second glance of myself in the crowd up on the Jumbo Tron. Oh dear! Which segues right into my blog focus for the month of October, but you’ll have to read the post next time for that!

I’m putting a slideshow of photos below to show the highlights of the month. I tried to insert some of the photos and it just isn’t happening. Technology – pfftttt!

To sum up the birthday month, I’m glad I wrote this blog throughout. It’s a nice way to remember the time and in my distractible mind, little helpers are welcome. 🙂 

Thank you so much for any part you’ve played – be it reading this, sending a greeting, treating me to a wonderful evening and meal at Ron’s Roost (Thanks Jon and Marcia!!) or in any way touching my life. Each little happening enriches my life and spirit beyond measure. Cheers! 🙂

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9/28/11 Pre Birthday Memories :-)


Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Feb. 3, 1978

Image via Wikipedia Greg Lake

Okay, I admit. Today’s post is purely for fun, because my 17 year old self has taken over and I’m slightly more out of control than usual. I’m parked here with the headphones on, Napster engaged (LOVE Napster!!) and I have Emerson, Lake and Palmer cranked up as high as my tweedy headphones will go. It’s set to “All Songs”, so I never know what’s coming next. But, it’s quite a sight. I’m singing out loud, no one else can hear the music except me. My singing makes dogs howl!! But when you’re going to be 52 in a day, you don’t care, you’re having too much fun. 🙂

Memory Lane….. “From The Beginning”, “Lucky Man“, “Karn Evil 9, First Impression Part 2″, “Still You Turn Me On”…. Did anyone watch the last season of “Heroes” when the carnival for Heroes used “Karn Evil 9” in one of the scenes? Miss Sue was beside herself!! Okay, I’m ALWAYS beside myself, but you get the point 🙂

To my brother Jon: do you remember the time I went up to CTC with you, (I think it was called CTC then. Cincinnati State maybe?) you were going to college, we were in the cafeteria and I remember “From The Beginning” playing on their jukebox? I don’t remember a whole lot of things, but for some reason I remember that.

Ahh, Fanfare For the Common Man, the brilliant piece by Aaron Copland written for the everyday man serving in the war. Absolutely gorgeous music!

Okay, here are a few memories that will have you wondering how Miss Sue ever made it out of her teens alive!

The first time we went to see ELP back in May, 1977; I was quite a Squirrely thing, full of curiosity and courage. The day of the show, I went down to Riverfront Coliseum with my camera, a radio and tape recorder, and decided I was going to try and meet the band. From what I’ve read since then, thank God I didn’t. They had the self restraint of dogs on Viagra, apparently. But back then, such dangers didn’t even occur to me. So, there I am at Riverfront Coliseum by the back doors. There’s all of their equipment, the big dock doors are open and I slipped right in. This was in the days of the original “Charlie’s Angels“. Using the tricks I’d seen the Angels put into practice during their investigations, I decided Carl Palmer‘s drum kit would be the best place to hide without being discovered. It worked for quite some time! But alas, eventually they got to the kit, and I was getting pretty cramped. There I am, roadies asking me, “What are you doing?” and I decided the truth might be the best course. I told them I wanted to meet the band and would like to record the moment with camera and tape. They laughed and invited me to stay. COOOOOL! Can you say, “BESIDE MYSELF”?? I hung out with the roadies wives/girlfriends/whoevers, and was having the best time talking away. The band was just about to come out for the sound rehearsal, when “DARN”, security came along in one of those motorized carts and asked to see my pass. Uhhhhh….. pass? I was unceremoniously shown the door. 😦  

That evening we were standing outside of the Terrace Hilton when Keith Emerson came out. Three girls can make a mighty unearthly shriek upon such an exciting event. He smiled. Hey, we were pretty cute in the day!!

That was the concert with the full orchestra led by Conductor Godfrey Salmon. It was a magnificent spectacle, a total treat for the ears.

At their next concert I attended in 1978, we had second row seats. Oh dear! My favorite memory of that show was when we were all standing on our seats dancing and waving along to the music. Greg Lake winked at me! You have no idea how completely crazy I was about that man. 🙂  I was so beside myself; I wildly elbowed my friend Sandy and down we three (Marian was the third Musketeer) went like dominoes onto the floor. I’m guessing Greg Lake was probably used to that sight!

Fun times!

So, I got my box of DVDs this morning and made sure to get out the two I mentioned the other day: Keen Eddie and ELP’s Beyond the Beginning. My viewing material for sometime over the next 48 hours is ready.

Tomorrow will find me alternating between DVD heaven and going down to Fountain Square between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to help Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly pass out carnations tagged with information celebrating Internation Day of Older Persons which is October 1st. Maybe I’ll go to Graeter’s and see if they’ll give an old lady a free scoop of ice cream on her birthday! I have no shame on my birthday. 🙂

I hope today and tomorrow find you enjoying a beautiful day and all of God’s blessings for you. Birthday Girl is feeling richly blessed. 🙂

Cheers!

Back to making a few dogs howlllll…… “C’est La Vie”……  🙂

9/24/11 Thoughts on a Beautiful Fall Saturday :-)


The main cast of Keen Eddie

Image via Wikipedia The cast of "Keen Eddie": Best One Season American Show Filmed In London EVER!!

Isn’t it the most gorgeous morning? This will give me a chance to upload some photos I took last Fall (Autumn in some parts of the world!) while I was walking on my lunch break around Priceless Hill. Oh, I see some other ones from last Fall worth mentioning as well. There’s Kevin at two different sessions of the Price Hill Library Art Club: one showing a wreath he made, (for the record, he’s shown in front of my workplace, which is next door to the library. This was not a mug shot or an audition for future arrestees!!) and one showing him winning the prize for Best Turkey. Now, I will leave it to you, dear readers, as to the meaning of that!

This is a nice chance for a shout out of Price Hill. If you’re from Cincinnati and your only knowledge of Price Hill comes from the news, you could be forgiven for assuming all we know how to do here are conduct gun fights, break ins and all sorts of tomfoolery…. but I’d like to let you know there’s a brilliant monthly art club for budding young artists at the Price Hill Library. One MUST mention Price Hill Chili. My favorite restaurant in Cincinnati and lucky for me it’s at the top of my street! Life can be sweet sometimes. 🙂 There are also so many beautiful homes around Price Hill. I fleetingly thought of doing a photo project last year titled something along the lines of “Price Hill Jewels and Treasures”. I didn’t go anywhere with it, but I have a few houses firmly in mind for photographing. This would be such a satisfying future blog for me. I’m getting ready to purchase a new digital camera and that would be a great first project. Here’s the daffy truth about me: you know how football fans get over that time of the year and NASCAR fans get all giddy at the smell of engine fluid or whatever it is they smell at those races…. that’s how I get when I look at the various camera ads and pick out just the one I want. So, look for a future post showing my new photo efforts. 🙂 For now, here’s a fond gaze at 2010 in Lovely Price Hill.

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I just got an update of the person I blogged about in my last post. They’re finally off of the respirator and breathing on their own. I’ll be going over to visit this weekend. It’s taken them quite awhile to reach this point. I’m not sure what I’ll say or do, but God has a way of taking care of those small details for me, when I let Him.

Celtic Fest is this weekend. They’ve moved it to Fountain Square this year. I’m not sure what I think of that. Originally, it was held in Ault Park, which felt like a divine location to me. Celtic music and nothing but nature surrounding me. I hope to give Fountain Square a try today or tomorrow and will let you know what I think.

Hasn’t the change in weather been kind of crazy? Cincinnati goes from blazing hot to CHILLY in one fell swoop. Probably not really, and it probably seems that way in all towns, But really, Cincinnati does seem to jump from one to the other without much in between weather. I do love Fall though!

My wedding anniversary is tomorrow. 29 years. Crikey, that makes me kind of old!!!

My birthday is coming up shortly. I’ve been updating a post periodically about the birthday month experiment of deliberate acts of kindness. That one will appear on September 30th. For now, I’m planning my day out for the 29th. Lunch somewhere. I have some videos I bought for myself a few birthdays ago that I’ve not opened yet. The “Keen Eddie” series. An Emerson, Lake and Palmer video collection …. “Beyond The Beginning”. I may buy a 12 pack of Tab and party on at home that afternoon with the ELP video and an episode of Keen Eddie. 🙂   Little Brothers will be down on Fountain Square that day at lunchtime handing out carnations and manning/womanning a booth to promote “International Day of Older Persons” which is October 1st. That would be a lovely deliberate act of kindness to help out with. 🙂 Chinese take out for my birthday is another of those…. come on Hank Williams Jr. fans…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHjaW9sXl7s       It’s a….. “Family Tradition” 🙂

OH, I must reveal my redneck side just a little. I thought of it while writing about ELP.

ELP were my FAVORITE band in my youth. I was such a geek for them. 🙂  WELL, they highlighted the High Voltage Festival in London last year, 2010. My husband had on the Palladium Channel a few weeks ago. You can not even imagine the hyperventilating, quivering, teary eyed MESS I turned into when none other than THAT festival popped up on the screen and my beloved ELP appeared…..

Okay, for most humans, this would have been nothing. But for me, think: delirium at warp speed. As they broke into “Fanfare For the Common Man” I turned the volume all the way up on that 52 inch buggy, uh, t.v. and got to be 17 for a few minutes!!!! My animals ran from the room, my child belllowed TURN IT DOWN.   Uh…… NOOOOOO! I had the presence of mind to hit “Record” when it started. I NEVER have presence of mind….. I should have played the lottery that day!!!

It was truly a wonderful few minutes and my ears stopped ringing by the next day. 🙂

Alright, back to 2011 and my 51 year old self. Oi, that was a short venture to younger, happier times. 🙂

Real life calls.

Cheers! 🙂

9/16/11 Sometimes The Serenity Prayer Is All I’ve Got


Sometimes an acquaintance I call “Pain” comes knocking and The Serenity Prayer is all I’ve got to answer it with. Pain can visit for a moment or it can stay for years. This is one of those times. There is a person I love very much who’s chosen a life of drugs. If you’re fortunate enough to not know anyone who’s destroyed their life in this way, then this blog may not speak to you.

If you do know the living hell for the friends and family of a person who has chosen this path, then please bare with me while I do an open share.

I do not know what to do with this pain today. It’s nearly unmanageable. It seems like an oxymoron to say I’m feeling completely numb, but that’s how it is.

I’m not sure why I’m writing. Maybe because Pain is silently screaming out of my pores, making my eyes leak tears, it’s so hard to breathe and my heart feels twice as heavy as it physically is.

I can not choose another person’s actions. I can offer love, drive them to meetings and church; believe them over and over when they tell me they’re sober.  Never mind that the words sound like the practiced speech of a parrot; their hollow face and stranger’s eyes tell me I don’t have a clue that I no longer know this person.

I naively thought in the past that because I had issues with eating and excess weight, I could somehow understand their plight. No, I do not. Food never cost me my family, multiple jobs, a place to live, trips to jail and the ER. Food didn’t turn me into a liar. Well, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick on that one. The last words weren’t a judgement on someone. They’re a: “I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO.”

This person is in intensive care as I write this. The memories of the person I used to hang out with and swore I loved unconditionally collide with the zombie who’s taken over my loved one.

I don’t know what to do. I reach for my serenity coin and repeat:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

9/9/11 Letter Writing – One of The Lost Arts?


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I discovered, at the age of 9 or 10, a passion that would stay with me through the years. It’s recently resurfaced with a nostalgic longing.

Writing a letter by hand.

Those of you who may have enjoyed this lovely hobby in the past, when’s the last time you indulged? Let me guess: You don’t have time, email is faster, stamps are SO expensive, you have nothing to write about, your handwriting resembles the Tazmanian Devil after too much caffeine…

I’ve used all of these reasons at one time or another. Funny how I’ve got time for the most inane things, but don’t have time to connect with friends.

I’ll ponder that as I get my antidepressant medication dosage increased (again) and check the internet (how many times today?), or sit on the couch trying to remember if it’s the third, or the fourth, time I’ve watched this episode of “Modern Family”?

I really don’t have the money for that 44 cent stamp (I’ll mumble) as I dive into the $5. carton of junk food (to forget how bored and lonely I am).

Recently, I was cleaning out my Sanity Room. I came across my bag of Flairs and gel pens in a rainbow of colors. After a bit of rooting, the white writing pad, stickers, stampers and inks, etc. all surfaced.

My evening was spent at the dining room table, listening to classical music and letting the thoughts flow through my Flair pen. There is so much going on! Life itself is a smorgasbord of topics waiting to be sampled and written about.

I must confess, my letters and envelopes get pretty pimped out with stickers, stamps and colors by the time I’m done. I fear Paul the mailman suspects I’m having hallucinogenic flashbacks on paper. He hasn’t commented yet!

I don’t know if the recipients will all appreciate my Andy Warhol-like letters, but I’m having the best fun creating them. 🙂

I’ll leave you with a few questions:

 
Do you enjoy receiving letters in the mail? Does it make a difference to you if they’re computer generated or handwritten?  Do you yourself write letters?

Until next time, be on the lookout at your mailbox for a missive from me. 🙂

Cheers!

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9/1/11 September: 30 Days of Deliberate Kindness. :-)


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My birthday is on September 29th.

I’ll be 52. I’ve never worked on my birthday. I feel it’s a day to reflect on the previous year and think about what I want to accomplish in the coming 365 days. Also a day to have lunch at my favorite place, take in a movie, the zoo or take a long drive. Those are my preferred destinations.

The last few years of my Mom’s life, I sent her a thank you card on my big day and usually wrote a silly poem. My reasoning was if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be having a birthday! When I lived at home, every year, I KNEW I had a chocolate cake with white icing and electric purple roses from Bonomini Bakery to look forward to. 🙂 My mom definitely knew the way to my heart!

She passed on in 2004. There’s been a missing gap in my birthday joy since then. It was in making her smile that made my birthday complete.

The past few weeks I’ve been pondering how to make it a special occasion again.

Committing deliberate acts of kindness whenever and wherever I get an opportunity during these thirty days of September is what I’ve decided upon.

I find the following interesting and maybe a sad sign of our times. When I did a search on the internet of acts of kindness, people suggested smiling, paying attention to folks, holding doors open, saying thank you. Have we sunk so low with civility that these acts aren’t a part of our everyday lives?

There were good suggestions listed as well. I took note of the ones worth considering. I’ll keep you posted on how the experiment goes and whether I conclude it led to a more joyous birthday.

Cheers!