Friday, April 26, 2013

Things you can do

We've been on this big random act of kindness kick around here.  Practicing random acts of kindness - expecting nothing in return.  Just hoping to provide smiles or even a kind thought to random strangers.

A friend of mine asked some of the things we do. How can you do, and not also spend a bunch of money.  So, I'm going to share - not to receive recognition, but to share so YOU may also participate. 

Here we go:

  • When you are driving down the highway, let someone over - even if you just let the last two people "in line" over
  • We have a local little Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood whom mails out coupons.  Take the extra coupons and give to another table.
  • Compliment someone on their outfit/hair/shoes, etc.  Everyday.
  • Send a note to someone to just say hi
  • Plant flowers - in someone else's garden
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line
  • If you are the type whom sends in money for rebates, send the rebate to a charity or a child or someone - you will never know if they have received it - and they don't know whom to think.
  • On a cold day - hand out cups of coffee to the city workers.  On hot days - water.
  • Volunteer
Simple things to pay it forward.  The greatest moment you will ever receive is to give, expecting  nothing in return.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Summer Camp vs Hawaii

Would a compromise be: I should Summer Camp in Kona?

I asked Nolan this question two years ago when we returned from Hawaii for the first time.  The year before he had gone to summer camp for two weeks.  Two weeks with his friends from school - 40 miles from our house.  Horse back riding.  Camping.  Swimming.  Cute girls from other schools.  All your friends.  No parents. If you had to to choose, which one would you pick?  Summer camp or Hawaii.  You can't do both.

At the time, he said, that would be a very hard decision.  He says, "I think I would pick Hawaii, but I'm not sure". 

Fast forward.  About a month ago (we are now entering our third summer in Hawaii), I asked again.  Hawaii or Summer Camp.  He replies, "It's funny you ask.  Just last week the guys at school were trying to talk me into coming back to camp."  "I told them, it's okay, I have my own summer thing going on.".  Smile. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Why I run

To be honest, I don't like to run.  I don't get that "runners high".  Don't get me wrong, I do feel good AFTER I run.  And, it's not too bad.

More of a swimmer.  Or a bike rider.  That is why I LOVE triathlons.  Just when you are tired of swimming, it's time to bike, then just as I begin to get bored on my bike, it's time to run.  By that point, I'm over a 2/3 of the way done with the race.  The running isn't so bad, there is an end in sight.

There is a line in the Back To the Future III movie - they have gone back into the Old West.  One of the actors says to the Michael J Fox character "People run for fun?".  That's how I feel.

Now my sons, they are gifted runners.  I run.

Looking back at all the races I've done now, you would think I was a runner.  I do run.  Also looking back, I like how I look when I'm in shape to run. Toned.  Able to breathe and run at the same time.  It's does make me feel good - AFTER it's over.  Plus, I run to music.  Clear my head and sing along.  Nothing but me and the road.

I run in races to complete goals.  To have an achievement.

I run because I can.  Because others can't.  I run because it's just me.  To see what I'm capable of. What my body can take.  What my mind can handle.

Then it becomes a community.  I am one with others.  Hundreds and thousands of others.  Yet, less than 1% of the world population has completed a marathon.  Running in Greece - from Marathon to Athens, I was one with the world.  Part of history.  History of fighting.  History of champions.  History of Olympic athletes.

Less than 1%, but with 99% of the population whom continues to be astounded when someone wants to hurt others. 

No, I haven't run the Boston Marathon.  You have to QUALIFY to run the Boston Marathon.  You must first run another marathon.  Complete that other marathon within a certain time for your age group. THEN, you are put into a lottery and must run within 3 years of being chosen for your lottery spot.  If you run GET to run the Boston Marathon, you are truly one of the chosen.  That's more marathons that I would have to run than I ever want to run.  I might change my mind one day.

For now, I will run for help.  To help.  So, I run again......

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Granny goes to Hawaii

Granny and I have a week together in Hawaii this year.  A week to ourselves.  The boys won't be there yet.  Lily won't be there yet either.  It's me and Granny.

The advantage of having young parents.  Well, I've been lucky, I've had young grand-parents.

I don't remember how old I was when I told my Granny this "For your 75th birthday, my 35th birthday - I will take you any place you want to go.  Let's go on a trip".  I think I was around 30.  Not really sure.  I can tell you where we were sitting and what we were doing - just don't have the time perspective.

She calls me at some point later (not sure if it was months or years).  "I KNOW what we need to do".  Okay.  Do tell "There is a Riverboat Cruise up the Mississippi River from New Orleans".  My reply "Granny, I will take you ANY PLACE you want to go.  In the ENTIRE world.  This is what you want to do? "   She replies, "Yes".  "Several of my friends have done this, and LOVED it". "We would leave from New Orleans and go for three nights".

Long story short, we went.  I flew to New Orleans.  So did she.  We met at the airport and took a cab to our boat.  We had a MARVELOUS trip.  Of course, I was the youngest person on the boat (staff excluded) by at LEAST twenty years. We gambled.  We toured a plantation.  We sat on the deck in rockers and drank mint juleps.  I flew back to Denver.  She flew back to Dallas.

This was the year before Katrina.  I'm so glad we went.

40/80 trip as we like to call it?  Vegas baby.  She had never been.  It's quite fun to take your 80 year old grandmother to Vegas.

We already have our trip planned for next year.  Nashville.  Neither one of us has been.  We can't wait.  Nolan said years ago he wanted to go - make it the 15/45/85 trip.  I'm still betting he's not going to want to go.

This year?  We normally don't have trips "in-between".  This year is different.  Granny is booked.  Watch out Hawaii, here we come.

She arrives the day after me.  We have a week to ourselves.  We then fly over to see Pearl Harbor and put her on a plane directly to Dallas.  The longest flight of her life.  I will then hop back to my island.

Granny is ready, but might need a few travel items:

Neck pillow
Light blanket
Wide brimmed hat
Comfortable clothes
A bathing suit?  I wonder when was the last time Granny wore a bathing suit?
Her paints and sketch pad
Her camera

The thing I'm worried about most?  She keeps saying she needs some "thongs".  I keep telling her, they are now called sandals.

Hope the islands are ready for us.....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It don't matter

The boys and I met a new addition to the "family" today.  He's one week old.  He lives 1.25 miles from us.  Round trip it's only 2.5 miles.  An "easy" run.  Unless you are training for something, well then, it's a "warm up".

Mr. BBK.  I refrain from using his name - see, they are our family.  We share our lives.  Only, yet, we don't.  I'm not sure how they would feel about me putting his name out to the world - that's their job.  Even though now we are all one. Only not "related".

See, we aren't really "family" - in the sense, we weren't born into each others life.  We didn't marry.  Nor adopt - in the legal sense.  We all just became part of each others lives.  Which, to me, is adoption in a way.

When I was in college, I answered an ad in the newspaper for a baby-sitting job.  I got the job - the only job I ever got when I applied.  (Whom really applies and GETS that job??? - I've always wondered that??).  Anyway, a divorced dad with two kids.  A new wife.  And soon after, a new baby.  Long story short.  One of those "teenage girls" I was never supposed to raise in my life - "MY" teenage girl grew up.  So did I.   I showed up at her wedding (Yes, I was invited.  No, she didn't know I was coming) with my two sons.  Time had passed.  Life had gone on.  We had gone out of each others lives.  She and I.  Not her family.

At the wedding - her dad introduces me as "my baby sister".  Then he explains "she's adopted".  I remember distinctly an elderly woman saying "who adopted her?".  Tim replies, "I did".  He's only 13 years older than me.

I walked into the church - TWO HOURS early with a boy on each hand.  This moment is clear as crystal in my mind. I had on a red dress.  Nolan was not quite one.  Duncan 2 and 1/2.  I walked into the church - TWO HOURS early with a boy on each hand.  She was in her dress.  She never really got along with her step-mom.  Her mom wasn't there.  I hadn't seen her in at least 10 years.  This once little girl didn't recognize me at first.  For a moment.  She says "May I help you?"  Looking more beautiful than I could have even imagined.  All grown up.  All beautiful.

Then she took a breathe.  Her eyes watered.  Her lip started to quiver.

"Ah".  "Is it you?  You are here?"  "Are these your sons?"

"Yes.  It's me"

Family can be blood.  Or people you once knew - friends of friends.  Friends of family.  Or some random people you meet from a newspaper ad.  "It don't matter".

You see - when Tim finished telling the story to this woman at the wedding?  She replies: "That's not family, that's people you know".  Tim replies, "Ma'am, I mean no disrespect, but (and in the best southern drawl ever replies, "it don't matter what you think.  She's my baby-sister.")  Maybe they needed me as much as I needed them.....

And the little boy we met today, well, he is the grandson to our HouseSwap familly from Hawaii.  If you can't call him family, I'm not sure whom you can.....

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Papering.  TPing.  Putting toilet paper in trees in someones front yard. 

Not sure how this idea originated.  I'm sure it was in the South.  I'm sure it was bored teenagers......

One of the moms down the street gets so mad when her house gets "tp'ed".  I did ask her once "why?".  "It messes my house up.  It looks horrible" was her reply.

When I see the paper flowing in the wind in someones yard?  I smile.  It makes me happy.  There are kids out there being kids.  Doing the things they are supposed to be doing.  They aren't destroying property.  They aren't out there drinking, doing drugs or being destructive.  They are out there putting toilet paper in trees and bushes.  It makes me smile.

Last year, my 8th grader was finishing up at the school he had been at since first grade.  Our house was "tp-ed" 4 times in one week.  Every single time, when I woke up, I smiled.  The neighbors thought it was funny too.

I'm the mom whom buys the extra cheap toilet paper when there are sleep overs.  There is a dad in the hood, whom will actually drive the boys around.  I go to sleep.  "I don't know what they are doing". "Last I checked they were downstairs."  Yes, the next morning, there is a little less toilet paper in the house.  Hmmmmm.

Society doesn't want kids playing video games all the time, yet they don't want them out playing either.  Moderation is the best thing.

Now Duncan has outgrown the "papering" stage.  So this year on Halloween, they re-arranged all the election signs in people yards.  My first thought "could you imagine the look on my Papo's face if he had woken up and seen an Obama sign in his yard!!"  Yet, I still would have smiled.

Yes, it is a waste of paper.  Yes, technically, it's littering.  For me though, papering provides smiles.

And at my house, the girls know, they get Popsicles if I "catch" them....