Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 26 (or: Pizza. I want it. Badly.)

Day 26. Wow. I’ve been doing good things for almost 4 weeks. And 11 people are “following” me. And I was approached on the street by a friend/reader, who found the blog amusing. And my first complete stranger commented “I love this blog!”. And my best friend’s parents think I’ve found my calling (they may be right). And the first boy joined as a “follower.” And I’ve quit swearing, quit eating dairy/sugar/meat (more on this in a minute), adopted a healthier state of mind, baked cookies, bought coffee for a stranger, planted things, done nice things for family, observed eco-Sabbath’s, and 17 other nice things.

But not today. Today I did nothing. Nothing but write about doing nothing. And watching Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter. Those of you who know me, know that these are my stress busting fallback movies. I watch them compulsively and repeatedly in order to soothe an achy brain. Why’s my brain achy? Because I’ve got a lingering horrible cough from my three weeks of illness and in the last couple of days, I

(1) had an enormous fight with my bad-website-searching son (use your imagination), and

(2) had words with my mother, and

(3) had to hold my ground with the sneaky and pathetic Bad Relationship who I really care for.  The butt.  Yes. I told him to get lost. Again. This time it didn’t take me as long – only about 6 hours – you would have been proud, and

(4) suffered the brutal slings and arrows from a Besty (which was all for the best, she prompted me to stand my ground with Mr. Bad, but was really a painful thing). Boy was I up to my eyeballs in swear words. Good time to quit swearing, huh?

And (5) I may have also had a maple bar. Or two.

Can day 26 be about allowing myself to fall down a bit? Yes. I make up the rules. I’m glad you agree. And what’s more, I’m going to further someone else’s cheese habit. Day 26 of One Thousand Days I order pizza for the neighbor. Really good pizza. And I’ll watch the pizza delivery van drive up the street, and I’ll think about all that cheesy goodness, and I’ll remember that there are other people on this planet, and they might have difficulty in their lives and they might deserve cheese, too.

26 down, 974 to go.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 25 (or: F*** that!)

I have to start out by reporting that we’ve stumbled on the first thing that Holly doesn’t approve of. Or, at least the first thing that she’s told me she doesn’t approve of. Partially. I have the feeling that there’s going to be an overall lack of approval of today’s thing because, let’s face it, the hard “K” sound is so very satisfying.

You all are smart enough to figure this one out (the title gives it away, right?), but you’re probably interested in the nexus of the decision (whether or not you’re interested, I’m going to tell you, so sit down and shut the h*** up). That’s right, Day 25 of One Thousand Days I’m going to stop swearing. Right after I unleash an oh-so-satisfying litany of expletives directed at several to-remain-nameless (you know who you are) situations and people.

Basically, I’ve been scolded for swearing like a sailor. By my 12 year old. And frankly, swearing just makes me more angry, when I already feel like ripping someone’s head off (again, you know who you are). Honestly, I’m afraid that if I continue to swear, things may escalate to the point where I may just have to commit BadRelationship-icide.

Thank God there are helpful articles such as this one to help me with my process. Apparently there are 213,114 other people interested in kicking the swearing habit, too (misery loves company). My favorite suggestion in this article is a warning: “If someone annoys you and you tell them to "truck off", then people will probably laugh at you. Try to ignore them.” Heh-heh. I feel better already. I’d better invest in rubber bands so I can smack my wrist every time I accidentally (I swear – no pun intended – it was an accident!) let out an occasional "d***", or a minor little "s***".

I spent a fairly entertaining morning finding a random insult generator, and a Shakespearian insult dictionary  (who knew that “The insults used today are used by the ignorant - base and coarse in comparison to the Great Bard!”)

I would just LOVE to tell someone they have “Blasting And Scandalous Breath.” Or call them a “Brazen- Faced Varlet” or a “Bacon-Fed Knave.”  Or say to someone:  "Bless me, what a fry of fornication is at the door!"

But, to follow up on Holly’s lack of approval, here’s the deal: Holly suggests (with a great deal of sentiment) that quitting swearing on the whole is in not a good deed. However, quitting swearing at certain people (you know who you are) may be. And another friend chimes in by saying that it’s the emotions behind the words that are the problem, not the words themselves.

So, if I call you a bat-fouling sniglet…that’s just as bad as calling you an as*h*l*? Geez what a conundrum. I mean it. Great googledy-moogledy, what am I supposed to do? Not feel like ripping someone’s head off? Oh. Yeah. How could I forget about Day 19?

Ah well, no more vocal pollution.

25 down, 975 to go.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 24 (or: What color is your…box?)

I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m fairly alternative minded. I think outside the box, and I pride myself on my ability to think outside the box. I also excel because I think outside the box. And I have fabulous friends because I think outside the box, and I make pretty remarkable decisions in my life (interesting ones, to say the least) because…yes…because I think outside the box.

Why am I so skilled with the box identification and departure, you ask? Because, I reply, of the incredible alternative education I had access to as a kid. Kindergarten through 5th grade, there were no desks for me, no prescribed curriculum, no “everyone else is doing it, so you will too”, no "See Spot Run" kind of an approach to education. It was delightful. I studied Michaelangelo and Leonardo when I was in 3rd grade (because I wanted to), learned science in the field, where it should be learned, was taught by visiting poets, artists, writers, scientists and mathematicians. And since I’m on my soap box, I’ll convey to you that the kids who were enrolled with me went on to Yale and Julliard, and have excelled as leaders and innovators. I’ve traveled my own interesting path, but I’d like to think that I’m a sort of an interesting and successful person because I had an opportunity to grow in a non-traditional way.

By the way, In case you're wondering, and as an aside, I was a spunky but horrible failure and ne’er do well in regular grade school once I got there.  Except in music and art. Because I was a rebel. And hated to be told what to do (I once took a teacher to the principal because he accused me of cheating. Spunky, alternative minded me!). But that’s another blog. Oh, and I can’t spell for beans. It might have been helpful if someone had insisted that I learn to spell. 

Why am I ranting? Ok, I’ll stop. In a minute. But first…Day 24 of One Thousand Days: Call your senators, call your representatives, call every mover and shaker you know and tell them to call their leaders in the House and the Senate. Washington State, in its budgetary woes and infinite group think bureaucratic wisdom (is my opinion showing?), is considering cutting alternative education programs for k-6. Maybe if they’d had access to alternative education, our lawmakers would be able to find a better solution. Maybe they’d be able to think outside of their red, white and blue box. Honestly.

I called. And emailed. And because I like to be just a little bit different, I’m considering an interpretive dance titled “Out of the Box.”

24 down, 976 to go.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 23 (or: of Swastikas and Lollipops)

Just because I love contradictions. Nothing as wonderful as the opposites that exist in our world. Earthly opposites, political opposites, legendary opposites, philosophical opposites, emotional opposites, intellectual opposites. I am fairly skilled, I must say, in holding on to two opposing ideas. You can frequently find me play devil’s advocate (much to the annoyance of those who spend any appreciable amount of time with me), and pointing out the dualities that exist in the world around us.

Today, as a major departure from swastika dealings, I went to a Unitarian planning meeting to begin planning a middle school retreat weekend. A weekend which will be complete with snacks, and outings, and field trips and dances and scavenger hunts and capture the flag, and girls sleeping in one room and boys sleeping in the other. So wholesome. So innocent. The planning meeting was attended in equal numbers by youth and by adults. The youth, rather than swearing and being petulant, couldn’t stop with the effusiveness (seriously! And adults just indulged them in their effusiveness, no doubt thinking that it was a wonderful thing). I was actually stunned into silence by the complete oppositeness of the kind of planning and dealings that I have at “church” and the kind of planning and dealings that I have every day at work. Silence. Me.

At one point, one of the young-uns was dismayed by the “offensive graphiti” in one of the places the kids were hoping to visit. “We’ll have to cover it up before we can enjoy ourselves.” She said with youthful innocence. Cover it up! Cover what up (I query with a bit of rascally devil's advocacy, knowing precisely what things we'll be covering up)? Swear words? Graphic depictions of body parts? SWASTIKAS? The things that appear every day in the coffee-house I work at? Those things? So in essence, one group of kids I work with is expressing their angst by making raw depictions of the world they inhabit, and the other group of kids I work with is busy covering up all that angst and living brightly in the world of possibilities they see.

Now, don’t get any ideas here. I’m not expressing preference for one group of kids or the other. I’ve already said that I love teenagers, and I mean it. I love all flavors of teenager-ness. I’m just noting the complete and total contradiction. And loving it.

Day 23 of One Thousand Days I embraced the differences in this crazy world and switched gears from swastikas and swear words to lollipops and loveliness. Helping a different group of kids build their capacities and find their way in the world. And what a wild world it is that we live in.

23 down, 977 to go.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 22 (or: Swastikas? Really?)

Intriguing title, no? Here’s the story: I work for a non-profit youth resource center and coffee house. Very alternative. Very non-traditional. Very unconventional. Very cool. Very troubled and messy and loving and brilliant. LOVE these kids. So incredibly There and Out There with it all. I tend to adore teenagers for just such reasons. They’re completely messy intensity makes me happy. But, unfortunately, they like swastikas (I’m taking some artistic license here. Really, probably only one or two of them like swastikas, and "like" is probably a bit strong, given the penchant for feigned ennui so unfortunately abundandtly inherent in all things young adult). They like to tag swastikas. And they like to paint soap swastikas on the floor in the bathroom. And they like to use a pencil and oh-so-softly carve swastikas into the soft wood of the counter tops in our lovely coffee shop. And apparently, they like to do swastika-esque things in other places around town as well.

Are they Nazis? No. Are they hate-mongerers? No. Do they indulge in white supremacist thought processes? Gee, I sure hope not. And I’m pretty sure, no. Are they expressing themselves? Yes. Is it a fairly harmful way of expressing themselves? Oh yeah.

As with anything Kid or Human, when one person expresses onesself, it can, in some cases cause a complete hurricane of backlash. And in this case, the semi-drawn out appearance of swastikas in our beautiful coffee shop caused some angst among staff. And staff (kid volunteers, for the most part) figured they might be able to address things fairly well, and they were right. Someone suggested that we invite the community who may be the most affected by a swastika to be a part of the Solution For Swastikas, and that’s when things got really big. This very small town has a loving and involved Jewish community, who lovingly (and at times fearfully) helped get some really incredible stuff going on at our coffee shop and in our community in response to the appearance of swastikas.

That was a really long and drawn out (I’m sorry, Holly) explanation of what led to what I’m doing on Day 22. Day 22 of One Thousand Days, I made spaghetti for 3 adults and about a million kids as a non-intense way of having a conversation about symbols and hate and where these things come from and what we do about them. The first “thing” in a series of “things” (including a showing of a movie at our local theater, a “primal scream” event, a series of rap sessions, an art installation and a open theatrical dialog) that will address hate, symbols, free speech and several other complicated things about the world we live in.  Day 22 should probably count as several Days, given the amount of involvement it's taken to get to this point. 

Did I mention that I have seven followers now? Hi Shelley! And a friend stopped me on the street to say she'd read the blog and found it amusing.  And I got my first comment from someone I don't even know.  Apparently I've found my calling.  Boy, what a responsibility, all this Living Up to My Potential business.

22 down, 978 to go.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 21 (or: Soup for You(p))

Well, I really wish I could solidly report that my good thing for day 21 of One Thousand Days was a complete success, but I can’t. I can, however, surmise (based on the empty soup pot, the house full of biscuit crumbs and the six empty bottles of wine I found in the morning) that it was indeed a smashing (no pun intended) success. I'm kind of sorry that the details are blury.

I’ll tell you what I do know:

(1) Before the wine hit the proverbial fan, I made my first ever batch of biscuits. I’ve had some minor success with a couple of batches of scones, and I recently baked a batch of cookies for the first time in two years, so I figured I could probably pull off biscuits. After all, they’re just lard, salt and flour, right? How can one go wrong with lard? Apparently one can’t. All 24 biscuits were consumed by five ladies and three children.

(2) I made a mean summer minestrone. I even made it before I left for work, so I wasn’t frantically throwing soup ingredients together at 5:00. I was frantically vacuuming instead.

(3) You could basically watch any episode of Sex In The City and know exactly what the conversation at the dinner table was like. Yes, I know there were children in the room, but I did already mention the six empty wine bottles, right?

(4) In the morning, in addition to way more empty wine bottles than 5 ladies should have been able to polish off, I found that there were enough biscuit crumbs all over my house (in my bed? Really?) to piece together at least two biscuits. Maybe three.

(5) There was a very tiny, cute wheelchair in my house. And a very tiny, cute, pleased (when she wasn’t in the wheelchair she got to ride around on her mama’s back and generally treat her mama like a cross between a slave and a donkey) but whiny broken footed 6-year old. If I did NOTHING else good today, I scooped that child off that mama’s back when they limped in the door, handed mama a huge glass of wine and told the child not to bug her mama for the next several hours. Thank god I have a 12-year old who could do a pretty decent stand in as a slave donkey.

At any rate, Day 21 of One Thousand Days may or may not have been a wine-induced smashing success, but I did do my good deed, and I fed my dear friends, and intend to do so every week from now on. And apparently all those dear friends have been following my blog, so they actually deserve to be fed.  And to drink six bottles of wine.

21 down, 979 to go.

**For a fun party game, try to spot the three paragraphs in this post that didn't reference wine.  Two of those paragraphs are so tiny they don't count.  Geez what a lush. 

Day 20 (or: Coming clean)

Did I tell you how horrifying it was to take cookies to the firemen? Well, it was. I don’t know why I’m so chagrined about do-gooding, but it was a little embarrassing to be so public about it all. I know I’m blogging, but I really don’t want to be hanging my stuff out there for all to see. Even though that’s precisely what I’m doing. Having to explain exactly why I was bringing cookies to firemen was, it turns out, a difficult thing to do.

“Well…you see…I was in this bad relationship…”


I said they were left over from a Boy Scout activity. Chicken.

Okay, now for the part I was avoiding by telling you all about cookies for firemen. I’ve had feedback saying that the Bad Relationship talk is lame. But I’ve also been told in no uncertain terms that I need to come clean about the Bad Relationship. Because this blog is a response to the Bad Relationship, and apparently one of my six followers feels that I need to be responsible to my readers.  And apparently I wasn't clear enough in my post last week when I described my inability to think of anything "good" due to exhaustion from too much smooching. Okay. Here goes.

I contacted him. Yes. I did. And I invited him over. Uh-huh. Yep. And we kissed. And other things. And now it’s over. Again. I’m sorry! I know I seemed determined. And I was. Am.

There! Happy, Kiera?

Blech. And that’s the last time you’ll hear about the Bad Relationship. I swear.

The whole thing makes me feel like this:

Speaking of funny cat pictures. If I’d had my camera (I’ve ordered a new one!), I would have had some fabulous actual photos of the Leckenby cats having a frolic in the bathtub. And by frolic I mean a cat’s nightmare visit into the depths of watery hell.

Yep. Day 20 of 1000 days I did something nice (I SWEAR it was nice!) for the cats. I bathed them. Because they were flea ridden. And the flea meds I put on them were making them itchy and I was afraid they were having bad reactions and were on the verge of death. So I had to wash it off. And the fleas. And instead of being on the verge of death from flea pesticide, they were on the edge of death from the indignity of being dipped to their flanks in water. Holly will approve because I have adopted her former cat, and he was in dire need of flea attention. Poor itchy things.

20 down, 980 to go.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 19 (or: I’d rather be happy than right)

Man, am I ever self-involved. I’ve spent a whole week being utterly wrapped up in my own horse-pucky, and it’s beginning to wear on me. And if it’s wearing on me, it must really be wearing on all six of my followers (Hi, Jessamyn!). I didn’t even pull off an eco-Sabbath today. Laundry. And it was frosty this morning, so the heaters went on. And I baked some scones. Blahblahblahmememelamelamelame.

But the day started with a bang at 6:30 when I should have been organizing to get the boy and me out the door for the boy's soccer game in Poulsbo at 8:30 am. Not. Couldn’t find the uniform, didn’t have the right shoes, no chance of getting any gas, let alone feeding ourselves. In other words: I’m The Worlds Worst Mom. No. Don’t argue with me. I am.

Or at least I was until 3:00 this afternoon.

Remember yesterday when I said that I’d address the “taking it out on everybody” tendency? Well I’m gonna. And it all started with a lovely conversation with a besty this afternoon, where I described my life philosophy of two years ago when I spent 8 blissful months of loving kindness which was facilitated by the phrase: “I’d rather be happy than right.” Pretty simple sounding, right? That’s because it is. Do you find yourself saying things like: “I should fold the laundry right now.” Or: “I really should have folded the laundry yesterday, what a slacker. I’d better fold it now” Or: “I’m the worst mom in the world. I didn't fold the stinking laundry and the cat's now pee-ed in it and NOW I have to wash the whole load over again. Twice (to get the pee out). Could I BE any more lame?” Well…now imagine yourself responding in a soothing voice: “I’d rather be happy right now.” Or: “I’d rather have loving relationships than fold this laundry.”

Now, when I asked the above questions, I expected you to be there with me, experiencing those thoughts. Did you? Where you?  Could you feel the laundry?  Did you smell the pee (EEeeew).   And when you told yourself you’d rather be happy, did your breath come a little easier? Did your fists unclench? Mine did. And does.  And do.

I’ve been a pretty unbearable poop this week. Yesterday I actually told my lovely little boy to “go to hell” (he deserved it, really, but I probably could have said something more politic). He responded by telling me that it was very rude and he’d prefer that I not say that to him. And then he went on to say: “How would you like it if I said *#$k you, you piece of s*#%! I hate you! You’re an a#@h***!…” The dot dot dot there actually turned into a 10-minute skit, which was quite hilarious and included a rendition of what his ghost might say to me if he died and more bad language than I’d care to discuss. My boy. Turning adversity into levity. I couldn’t be more proud! A proud poop.

Yeah, I’ve been sucking as a human being, and I’m going to stop now. Day 19 of One Thousand Days I declare that “I Would Rather Be Happy Than Right (Insert any “should” or logical linear process that gets you mucked up, or just any bad feeling, into that “Right” slot).” There are probably a lot of euphemisms and platitudes that could work here, but the idea is that I will let go of the “shoulds” and the right thinking and will just simply be. And be happy.

Ironically, the most difficult things that I’ve undertaken so far in One Thousand Days have definitely been the personal ones: Giving up meat, dairy and sugar; giving up cigarettes; letting go of the “shoulds.” These things are a constant battle. Baking cookies only takes about an hour. Hmmmm. If nothing else keeps me from being self-involved, maybe this will.  Self involvement is labor intensive and time consuming.

Coming tomorrow: I promised Kiera I’d come clean about the Bad Relationship. And I pledge to actually do something good for someone else. Something tangibly good. I don’t know about you, but I’m really getting tired of all my self-involved horse pucky.  Now you'll have to excuse me.  I need to fold the laundry.

19 down, 981 to go.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 18 (or: I only smoke when I’m on fire)

Yeah, I know it’s gross, but I’m an occasional smoker. So occasional, that I really should give it up. Seriously. I mean it. For real (I’m trying to convince myself here…give me a break, will you?) I buy a pack when I’m totally stressed out, and I “borrow” cigarettes from other people. Which is just plain annoying. It’s amazing I have any friends left with all the cigarette mooching I do. And my son hates it. And it’s a disgusting, costly habit. And it increases ill health. And bad breath. And chances of developing horrifying diseases. And decreases life span (duh). And makes little wrinkles appear around your mouth. And turns your skin a delightful shade of gray (isn’t gray the new black?). And makes your hair smell bad. And your clothes smell bad. Yadayadayada. I know all of this, and yet I’m still a filthy, disgusting, lamentable, weak willed, occasional smoker (cough, cough...HACK).  Lovely.

Well, not anymore! Thank god for One Thousand Days. It's the new and improved "remarkable" me, and I’m doing it. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the trees are budding, the cat (yes, the one who thinks the laundry is a wonderful place to relieve himself) has decided the great outdoors might not be such a bad place after all, and Day 18 of One Thousand Days seems like a lovely day to give up cigarettes.

In case you're wondering about my progress on the quitting of meat, sugar and dairy, I’m pleased to report that I haven’t had a lick of chocolate, a whisp of cheese or a dollop of meat all week long. Until today when I had a burrito with cheese and sour cream and an iced lavender mocha and a cookie because I quit smoking

But honestly. I quit all these things. I do (don’t give me that raised eyebrow, Holly. And yes, Susie, I know I promised I wouldn’t buy “party cigarettes” any more. And ALL RIGHT, love-of-my-life-darling-baby-boy, I did make that new years resolution. Three times.). I quit. These bad habits all make me feel like hammered you-know-what. And then I take it out on everyone around me. Which is something I’ll address on day 19, but not today (cripes, I’m not Super Woman, after all).

Day 18 down, 982 to go.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 17 (or: Back to the beginning)

Is there anything better than a girlfriend? When you’re feeling like the world is no place for such a nice person as yourself, isn’t calling the best lady you know the first thing you want to do (after wallowing at the bottom of a PBR and a vat of Ben and Jerry’s for half the day)? Who else but a great girl-buddy will lie to you about the hideous new haircut that makes you look like a poodle, or unfailingly insist that your Bad Relationship is a creep and he doesn’t deserve you at all (even though you’ve been a real a-hole to everyone within reach for about a week, and probably provoked him. And even though she’s said the same thing at least a million times already), or tell you when your blog post is lame?

I pride myself on being a first class girlfriend. I’m not the kind of girly girlfriend who’s going to bake cookies with you or for you (I only bake cookies once every two years. And then only when I’m forced to), and I don’t “do lunch” (unless it’s really greasy fish and chips or take-out noodles) and I don’t hang out at the gym or in day spas. But dangit, I’ll hold your hair while you’re puking. Or I’ll drive for 4 ½ hours just to spend 20 minutes at your baby shower. Or I’ll help you pack up your house and move it when you’re overwhelmed and under-manned. Or I’ll dish out some seriously astute advice (most of the time without being asked). I’ll even finish off a half dead baby bunny for any one of my girls. Any one of them.

For Day 17 of One Thousand Days, I gladly made a trip back to my One Thousand Days roots and diverted my afternoon to sit on the sunny side of the house and listen to one of my favorite lady’s slightly weepy exclamations of terrible day and even worse week-ness. Because she called in tears (“oh god! I didn’t even start crying until I called you!), and I love her.

Holly would approve. In fact, she did approve. Just after she wiped the snot off her nose (post weepy exclamation of terrible day and even worse week-ness) and took another big gulp of PBR.

Day 17 down, 983 to go.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 16 (or: Just call me the Fairy Godmother)

I feel like something that crawled out from under a rock today. Without going into details, I’ll just say that I’ve been re-visited by whatever horrible germ infected me a week or so ago, and my temples are crashing out the opening timpani part from Bugler’s Dream (Warning:  click on this link ONLY if you don’t have a screaming headache). Not pleasant. Timely, given the onslaught of everything Winter Olympics. But not pleasant.

And I’ve spent the week feeling generally overwhelmed and sneezy and under-pleased. For the most part. Which stinks about as much as the 3-day headache.

In this mildly growly state, I can't help but think back to when I was a little girl, when I imagined that being a grown up woman was all fairy tale princes and taffeta. I obsessively drew (of course I drew obsessively. I was obsessive as a child, too) princesses in flowery taffeta and lace dresses with ornate crowns perched on blonde heads standing in fields of tulips. Until some freaky childcare lady gave me a good shake and told me I had to draw houses on hills. And then I obsessively drew houses on hills with water and boats.

But I digress. My point is that I spent a good deal of time imagining that I would someday be the princess. And somehow I’m just not. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about adult-hood (not seriously, anyway). There’s a great deal to be grateful for and a whole lot about being a “Dult” that I wouldn’t trade in for anything (I do so love “adult” drinks. And I enjoy the unearned clout of simply being 38. And I’m not sorry to be shot of acne).  However there simply hasn’t been a good deal of taffeta in my life since my senior prom in the charmed May month of 1990.  Did I mention that I had two dates to the prom?  Charmed indeed.  And I still remember (with shocking detail) dancing with the love of my early life (who was not my prom date) to Prince's "Purple Rain" for an entire 7 1/2 blissful, dreamy minutes.

I miss taffeta. And I miss dreaming about taffeta and fairy tale dances and romance and sappy love songs. So today, Day 16 of One Thousand Days, I dig to the back of my closet, and pull out the size-8-green-silk-sleeveless-tea-length-rouched-jobby-that-I’ll-never-wear-again-because-I’m-no-longer-a-size-8-and-apparently-I’ve-already-kissed-all-the-frogs-in-the-pond dress and I’m sending it to Cameo Cleaners of Gramercy Park, 284 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Why? Because they will then give it to Operation Fairy Dust who will then give it to a young, stars and hearts in the eyes girl who still dreams of fairy tales and proms. Supporting the silliness of the next generation. It’s a pretty decent day after all!

16 down, 984 to go.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 15 (or: Sisters! Sisters! There were never such devoted Sisters!)

Do you wonder if you say "I love you" enough to the people who you love?  Is it even possible to say "I love you" enough?  I wonder all the time.  I'm truly blessed to have so many amazing, loving, supportive people in my life, and every once in a while I remember some person of fabulous stature who I haven't spoken to or seen in a while and I have a little sudden lurch of panic about whether they know I love them.

Todays good thing is inspired by a friendship love note that one of my buddies received last week.  What a lovely thing to do.  Send a love note to a friend.  I've adapted things a bit, and directed a love note at one of my sisters.  She's amazing (all of my sisters are), and I literally feel like dancing when I think about her.

Day 15 of One Thousand Days.  Love note to sister:

Darling Shelly-belly,

Just a quick note to say that I love you dearly. You know this, of course, but I don’t get to see you often enough to say it in any consistent sort of a way, and it’s important that you know what an incredibly important part of my life you are.

You introduced me to pesto, after all. And you were the face shining up at me from the photo of lovely ladies (with funny looking 70’s hair) holding me as an infant. I’d stumble across those photos in my only-child-of-a-single-mother youth and I’d wonder at the mystery of my family. You’ve lovingly solved that mystery, and I’ve so loved the unfolding of each part of our lives together. You tempted me all the way to Salt Lake City and shared beehives and Tabernacles. You share my love of musicals (sing it with me: Sisters! Sisters! There were never SUCH devoted sisters!). You amaze me with your grace. Your humor sets a fire in my heart and makes me burst with laughter and makes me love that the same blood flows in my veins. Your love of family makes me a better mother. Your Christmas visits make me warm and make me a part of the dream family that I always wanted – complete with singing around the piano (sigh). Your understanding and patience is a loving example of sisterly everythingness. Your knowledge of our family ties and history and your story keeping are valuable beyond measure and help me and mine to be a part of a family hiSTORY with you as an exclamation point on the narrative. You bring us together - and who else would be brave enough to call a reunion the dysFUNfamily reunion? You genius, you.

Did I mention that you’re really pretty?

I just love you. Thank you for being born to be my sister.



Day 15 down, 985 to go.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 14 (or: Do I have to resort to cookie baking already?)

Okay. I admit it. I’m stumped. And all right, fine! I admit it. I spent too much time smooching the Bad Relationship last night to be able to be anything approaching organized and thoughtful today. Don’t look at me like that!

Note to self: Schedule a frontal lobotomy. Clearly I can’t stay away from him. Blocking the email didn’t keep me out of trouble. Deleting his “friendship” on Facebook didn’t keep me out of trouble. Being responsible to the blog didn’t keep me out of trouble. Blissful trouble. If only I had figured out how to block myself from contacting him. None of this blissful trouble would have happened. Where’s the duct tape when you need it? At least I didn’t break down and bury myself in chocolate and brie.

And the real crux of the matter, as it relates to do-gooding, and therefore my responsibility to all 5 of my followers (thanks Mercedes and Kiera for joining us!), is that I’ve got a million good ideas floating around, and haven’t been able to commit to one for today. Next Tuesday, Day 21 of One Thousand Days, I’ve got a new “Cara’s Soup Kitchen” lined up. Actually, a soup meal next Tuesday for all my lovely friends, and for any subsequent Tuesday and for any subsequent lovely friends. You should have heard Holly howling with laughter when I told her that idea…she suggested that it’d been done, and that I should start a toy drive for needy kids for Christmas. And that I should call it “Toys for Toddlers.” She’s a sharp one, that Holly. She then admitted that she was teasing, and she just wanted to wind up in my blog again. Cripes.

One of those million great ideas that I’d like to focus on is responsible purchasing (re-purposing, re-using, recycling, finding things for free, finding things at thrift stores and consignment stores, supporting local businesses), but not today. That’ll take some research. And I’ve already said I can’t even land on an idea for today, let alone execute.

Another idea: I’ve got a beautiful artist friend who put out calendars this year, who I may be able to rope into an artistic good deed. And there’s still the music factor. Singing as a good deed! And I’ve got sisters who have been neglected and could use some direct love from their little/big sister. And I could be helping out at the animal shelter, or the human shelter…and…and…and…

Bah. It’s five o’clock, and I find myself seriously considering baking cookies. Yep. That’s what I’m doing. Day 14 of One Thousand Days I’m going to bake cookies and take them to the fire department. Those people run into burning buildings for us.  And I figure giving the cookies to the fire department is an acknowledgement that I didn’t burn down the house in my bi-annual cookie baking effort. Funnily enough, as I write this, the sirens and horns from the fire trucks are screaming up the street in my neighborhood. Oh Holly. I know I’m a disappointment. Promise you’ll love me again when I start up “Toys for Toddlers?”

14 down, 986 to go.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 13 (or: Kan I have some Koffee?)

13. Not a lucky number. And on top of that, it’s Monday. And frankly the day started with a rather ugly little nudge. I suppose that’s the danger of being involved in a fairly public organization, and also in being involved in a social networking site. I did say I needed to give up Facebook (because of the time demands of this blog), and now that a negative intention and comment toppled me this morning, and made me feel inappropriate and ineffective, I say: “follow your own advice, knob-brain”.

I don’t know why other peoples business causes me angst. Frankly, I think part of the problem is that I’m half starved due to cheese, meat and sugar deprivation. Yeah. That’s it. And I’m cranky from withdrawals. Yeah. That’s it too.

Well, there’s nothing like doing something for someone else to spur an attitude adjustment, and if anyone needs an attitude adjustment, it’s me. On Day 13 of One Thousand Days, on my way to work, and a long day that will stretch into the late evening hours, I drive through the Kinetic Koffee Kompany espresso shop (purposefully chosen, for its Konnection to the Kinetic Sculpture Race, which makes me laugh), not for myself, but for the next person who is thirsty, and who needs a pick-me-up, and who is maybe grumbling about Monday. I paid for coffee for that person. And a tip for the barista. You’re welcome, whoever you are. Enjoy your Monday!

And because today, I needed a little extra help in doing my deeds, I share this limited list of lovely thoughts on generosity and giving, taken and edited from the Alpena College Volunteer Center. People all over the world make these kinds of efforts on a daily basis. Thankfully.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Service to others is the payment you make for your space here on earth.
Mohammed Ali

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke, British statesman and orator

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
Japanese Proverb

One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.
Henry David Thoreau, poet, writer, philosopher

I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Mahatma Gandhi

Everyone can be great because anyone can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't even have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love...
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and help them become what they are capable of being.

Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.
Winston Churchill

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Living is the art of loving. Loving is the art of caring. Caring is the art of sharing. Sharing is the art of living.
If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.
Booker T. Washington

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.
George Washington Carver

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for someone else.
Benjamin Franklin

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
Eleanor Roosevelt

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
Edmund Everett Hale

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have.
Leonard Nimoy

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
Mother Teresa

13 down, 987 to go.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 12 (or: Mmmmmm, bacon)

Love fades from my arms, but not from my heart. Today, the day of Hallmark romance and tokens of affection, I love very deeply and truly. Love my friends, love my family, love the Bad Relationship. That might be the champagne talking, but I do.

Snippets of Love day:
Sleep in until 9:45 (joy!)
Eco-Sabbath day. Candlelight and silence.
Text from The Bad Relationship: “Happy sugar heart day”
My response: “Back at you”
Lissy's advice for response:  "Happy kiss-my-ass day"
My thought: Must block cell phone number. Maybe.
Champagne cocktails and brunch with the best of the best.
Tiny crepes and omelets made by an incredible 8 year old.
The most remarkable red-velvet cupcakes made by my lovely bakestress friend.
A house full of babies and children and delight.
Conversations about Love on my arm.
And about eco-sabath observation.
Red primroses and hand-made cards for my family.
Son at the end of a weekend long playdate with the greatest non-grandparents ever.

And synchronicity. It’s Eco-Sabbath day again, and in a happy little bit of synchronicity in a conversation about my whacky eco-day, my friend told me (after protesting observing anything eco.  After all, she lived off the grid in Alaska, and that makes up for a lifetime of eco-gluttony) about a wonderful way to save ourselves a little energy: Blackle. Ironically, I had to Google it before I could sign up for it. Interested? You should be. It’s an energy saving search engine. By displaying a black screen with white lettering, it saves energy! Blackle claimes that 1,706,161.543 Watt hours have been saved. One step at a time, right? Well, I’m all for it, and today (of all days) seems like a good day to switch my search engine to Blackle. Which I did.

But that’s not the end of my good streak. I’m ready to take a big step. BIG. I’ve done it before, but it bears repeating. In fact, it was one of the wonderful things that I did during the terrible 1,000 days. And if it was that phenomenal (which it was), I think it deserves to be done during the good One Thousand Days. And possibly (hopefully) for the rest of my life. Today, Day 12 of One Thousand Days, I commit to consuming no sugar, no meat, and no dairy (basically Vegan, with the addition of controlled sugars). I do this for my own well being (allergies, hormone imbalances and other unpleasantness), and I also do this for the earth. Animals raised for consumption (mainstream consumption, anyway) tend to be treated badly (understatement of the year).   And the environmental impacts of raising, slaughtering and distributing meat to water and other resources are more severe than raising and distributing vegetables. And damn it, it makes me feel good. So there. Now that I’ve downed my poached eggs, and my red-velvet cupcakes, I’m not going to eat brie (oh, lovely brie) or bacon (mmmm, bacon) or copious amounts of pie (WHAT? Even the pie?) anymore. Again.

Day 12 down, 988 to go.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 11 (or: To Write Love on Her Arms)

Day 11 musings:

Note to kids who filled my house with food and laughter and music last night: You are incredible, and I admire the heck out of you. Make noise, make joy, make your voices heard, make your mark on the world and make us proud!

Note to self: You know it’s a good party when there are Twinkies and Doritos left over to snack on the next day.

Note to cat: Don’t think I don’t see you hiding behind the curtain in the bedroom, waiting for me to leave the room so you can have the freshly made bed all to yourself.

Note to weatherman: Stop predicting rain. I’ve got yard things to do.

Note to cat again: You’d better vacate. I’m about to run the vacuum. It might eat your tail.

Note to bad relationship: I’m too much work? Really? I let you ignore me for a week. Not a week and a half, that pissed me off, but a week was pretty okay. And that’s too much work? You so don’t deserve me. At all.

Note to self again: Figure out how to block numbers on the cell phone.

I’m finding it easier to be happy instead of grumpy and sad. Today. Wednesday I thought seriously about jabbing my eyes out with a plastic fork, but today I see some joy in life. Even if it’s soggy, wet, rainy joy. There are things to remember when we’re feeling like the world is at an end (she says, stepping up on soapbox and giving an “ahem” in her best preachy voice). Things like girlfriends who would never say you’re a waste of time, and Elevated Ice Cream’s Swiss Orange Chocolate Chip ice cream, and furry cat bodies, and little boys who love you, and a world that is full of “yes” in so many ways – even in the face of seemingly doom-filled “no.”

There are new babies (thank you, dear ladies, for enduring 9 months of indecent bodily functions, several hours of agonizing pain, milk stains, diaper fillings and horrendous bed-time battles) and there are people in the world who write blogs like this: (because Yes is more fun than No!). And there are people in the world who start foundations like this To Write Love On Her Arms (if you do nothing else today, read this story and vision and be moved). And there are people in the world who care enough to pay attention to the Science of Happiness and how we can all become scientists (from my favorite folks again, Yes! Magazine). It can’t be all bad if these things are in the world, can it? Even if they occupy the same space as earthquakes and floods and wars and poverty and corruption.

I love my friends dearly. I love my friends who hurt even more dearly. I love my friends who hurt themselves more than I can possibly say, and today, Day 11 of One Thousand Days, I write love on my arm for you. And hold you in my heart all day and every day.

11 down, 989 to go.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 10 (or: We're into the double digits, lets eat!)

Today marks the first milestone for One Thousand Days. I’m into the double digits! Which means that I’ve got 990 days left, or that I’ve accomplished %1 of my commitment. Cool. I’ve been a bit more than worried (as you might have been able to tell from previous posts) that I’d poop out and this would be a terrible flop and Holly would be beating me up for being lame. But in those 10 days, I’ve done good for my family, for the earth, for my town, for my soul, for the kiddos I work with and for my friends. I’ve been able to hone in on what I’ll be doing in these One Thousand Days (make small commitments, long term commitments, commitments to others as well as to myself), and most importantly, I’ve been able to stay away from the bad relationship. For the most part. He’s managed to sneak back in through the cracks (cell phone – couldn’t block him), but I’m kept from behaving badly by remembering the positive things that I’m doing, and being responsible to them. Constantly.

On my 10th day, I can’t help thinking about what it will look like on my 990th day. Will life be significantly different? Will the good that I’m doing have any impact on anything other than my own life? Will it even have impact in my own life? Where will I be in 990 days? My son will be a teenager in 9th grade. My yard will be established, the trees might be taller than the house and the gardens will be producing food and flowers. I will have passed my 40th birthday, and my 20-year high school reunion. My mother will be 77. Will I be a college graduate? Will I still be overweight? How many more wrinkles will I grow? And will someone who deserves me love me?

On Day 10 of One Thousand Days, I acknowledge my milestone and look forward to what comes. And I throw a potluck for volunteer staff and board of directors of the Boiler Room, the youth coffee-house and resource center where I’m working right now. This potluck wasn’t my idea, it was our volunteer coordinator’s idea, and a GOOD one! These volunteers give their blood (doing WAY more than One Thousand Days of good), sweat and tears to a place that is home to them and to many others. They deserve so very much more than just a potluck. But then again, there will be MY spaghetti! And I make a mean mean spaghetti. Yum.

10 down, 990 to go.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 9 (or: Stop putting off the things that make you happy!)

There are a couple of elements of One Thousand Days that I’ve been contemplating for a few moments. And I realize that I’ll likely be tweaking things as I roll along with all this merry do-gooding.

Keeping track of commitments
I started thinking about this when observing the Eco Sabbath: I can do One Thousand things, and they can be all distinct things, and they can be one time things, but really, some things that are good deserve a little more attention. For instance, I could observe one Eco Sabbath, but wouldn’t it be better if I observed the Eco Sabbath every Sunday? So day 4 should have included a larger commitment? Also, I could choose to not eat meat for a day, but in order for that kind of thing to make any kind of difference, it’s a choice that would be better made for the long term.

I realize now that an element of these One Thousand Days will be to note whether a Day is a stand alone event, or whether it’s a long term commitment. And if it’s a long term commitment, I should make some notes on progress, shouldn’t I? I can do that, right? Wow, this is starting to become complicated, but I like it!

Who benefits from One Thousand Days?
Another issue: is One Thousand Days only about doing good for “others”? Yesterday, in dealing with crisis at work, my colleague and I acknowledged that it was important to put our own emergency air tanks on first, so that we could then help others with theirs. Metaphorically speaking. So an issue such as meat eating, may also benefit me. Which could be construed as selfishly good. But I think that’s ok. And I’m going to do it.

But today? Day 9 of One Thousand Days is about others. Two others, to be precise. One is my lovely Aunt Claudia, who I love and admire, and haven’t talked to in about a year and a half. I know that she’s been hoping to hear from me, and I have not been a very good niece. Today I called and invited her to tea. And the other, a friend who I love just about as much as I love any of my friends, and who I haven’t spent any appreciable time with in about 10 years, since our 10 year high school reunion. Joyfully, she’s moved back to town, and I get to re-connect with her! Today is about re-connecting, and it feels good. I hope it feels as good to those who I’m re-connecting with!

Day 9 down, 991 to go.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 8 (or: Planting the seeds of tomorrow's good today)

Yesterday sucked. And I mean it. I can just hear Holly shaking her head and saying “Cara…Cara. Didn’t I tell you that you couldn’t be lame?” Well I was. And I didn’t even wait until Day 63 to do it. Nope. Straight out of the gate. Not even into the double digits yet. But you know what? If yesterday sucked, then today was Armageddon. But the good news is that while everything fell apart around me, I wasn’t as lame in my attempts at good today as I was yesterday.

So here’s my thought. I’m on the hook now for allowing Day Lame of One Thousand Days to happen. If I had a wasted day of “good” yesterday, I’d better make up for it today. Right? Glad you agree. And, if I do say so myself, I think I came up with a fairly decent one.

There are all sorts of good reasons for gardening. Exercise, satisfaction in caring for and growing a living thing, calming the nerves, communing with nature, absorbing the vitamin D. Myself? I just love digging into the dirt and making things emerge from the earth. Incredibly satisfying to us obsessive compulsives. So satisfying that I’ve become a bit obsessed (duh), and I watch for new plants in the same way that a contemporary might watch for new fashion. But today I’m not thinking about my own gardens, I’m thinking of plants on the community scale.

I’d like to share two of my favorite public gardens. The first is the garden at my son’s new school. Funded at the start through the work of a former co-worker, whose mind for all things good is fairly un-equaled (remind me to tell you some day of the scholarship program he started in Jefferson County. For peace.). The garden is a part of a new program for Jefferson County schools and has grown (groan…pardon the pun, I couldn’t resist) into an innovative recycling program and wonderful, educational, and nutritious endeavor.

But my all time favorite public garden is purely one of the most beautiful and incredible and simple triumphs of human accomplishments. An abandoned, blighted, and dejected highline rail in New York City, which has been re-claimed by nature with the help of us clever (but vile, somehow, for creating the waste and devastation in the first place) humans.

Now, it's no Highline, but I live next door to a City owned property, which has collected rusted bits and bobs and plastic toys and overgrown tweedy stubs left in the haste of partially clearing the area. The City put a public trail through the area, but the trail is forlorn and the buzzing of the nearby power sub-station overwhelms what could be a lovely public space. So today, day 8 of One Thousand Days, I did two things. First, I went to the Jefferson County Conservation District and ordered a dozen cedar trees, a dozen western hemlocks, a dozen madronas, a dozen mock oranges and several other native shrubs and trees to be planted in march when the plant sale is completed. And because I had a deep need to do something physically lasting, something that I could count as an accomplishment for good, TODAY, I bought sweet pea seeds and planted them in the sunny areas of the lot. Joy.

Terrible day 8 down, managed to make up for day 7, and 992 to go.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 7 (or: I may have to do 1001 days)

Sometimes the days may not be conducive to doing good?  I wonder.  Because certainly today didn't seem to be.  Today was full of drama, intensity, overwhelming good and overwhelming bad.  It was wonderful and heartbreaking.  And also mundane (when I was cleaning the kitchen, making the beds and doing the laundry).  I should have done my wonderful thing before leaving for work today.  What was I thinking?  I wasn't.  The day ended in a dramatic moment with a young person, and I couldn't help.  Not at all.  Not even a little bit.  In fact I seemed to have hurt the situation.  No good.

So this is Day 7 of One Thousand Days, and today, because my day was terrible-on-toast, the something good comes from my sons friend, Carinna.  Tomorrow my boy's starting a new school.  A school where he'll be in a small classroom and one of his new classmates is a long-time family friend who he went to kindergarten with.  When her mother told her to "be nice, and show him around, and just remember back to your days in Kindergarten and behave accordingly", Carinna responded: "Oh!  You mean I should punch him in the stomach and tell him I can fly!"  Thank you Carinna for doing todays good thing.  Engaging levity. 

7 down, 993 to go.  Or 994.  Today may be a do-over.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 6 (or: Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone, this is easier than it looks!)

Day 5 update. Note to self: When Observing an Eco Sabbath, make sure that you haven’t been sick in bed for four days while the house is falling apart around you. Cleaning is an interesting project when you have no electricity. Especially when cleaning laundry on which cats have taken over (what is it about the laundry pile that makes it seem like an ideal toilet?). For the most part, we were appliance/lights/heaters/car/phone free yesterday. Except for the washing machine. And there were some very lovely side effects, too. If I hadn’t had to spend 5 hours sweeping, dusting, mopping, cleaning, it would have been a very restful day. It began with a candle-lit bath, which was utterly relaxing and indulgent. Yes, I know – the hot water heater. But I think I can make an exception for the water. It might be another experiment for one of my Days to completely deprive the family. What would it be like to have NO resources in our lives? Boggles the brain.  And probably worth at least a days worth of devotion from me and mine.  At least.

And since I spent all day yesterday cleaning, why not just continue the trend and share it with others (do you detect the overwhelming joy, er, sarcasm?) Day 6 of One Thousand Days, thank goodness I work for a non-profit youth resource center and coffee house (the best, least expensive cup of coffee in town), The Boiler Room. It makes doing good things so easy. And when I say easy, I mean to say readily available. Nothing about my work is easy, but I digress. Today, along with several kids, and the board member who dreamed it up, I cleaned up the block where the business “lives” in our little downtown. Found: crazy colorful broken glass behind the art gallery, a portion of a dollar bill (why would someone rip up a dollar bill?), several “Broken Spoke” stickers (the new bike store in town – nobody told them stickers were a bad idea) tagging the transit stop, a Frisbee, and 10 pounds of cigarette butts (oddly enough, the bulk of which were NOT located around or near the teen hangout. Hmmm.)

Tonight I’m crawling home at 7:45 p.m., and I’m overwhelmed, and I’m tired and a little dizzy still, and I’m really glad that I wrote most of this in the morning before I went to work. Why does Day 6 feel like Day 554? I have to take this minute to acknowledge that I really want to call the bad relationship up and just be cuddled for a while. Because in truth, none of these good things have cuddled me yet. I can’t imagine why not. I’m really a neat person. Oh, there’s a bit of a warm and fuzzy going on, but nothing I would call truly comforting. Which is such a selfish and terrible thing to say. I probably should have saved that for Day 328. But it is Monday, after all, and I am human. On Mondays. Between 7:42 and 7:58 p.m.

6 down, 994 to go.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 5 (or: Ouch, that’s my foot!)

Day 5 is a no brainer. It’s Sunday. Sabbath, if you will. The day of rest and prayer (for those of you who actually observe – not me, of course, I’m a heathen). Strict observence of the Jewish Sabath is the inspiration for day 5, and also for suggestion number 3 of Colin Bevin’s article in Yes! magazine: 10 Ways to Change Your Life (not just your lightbulbs).

So, for Day 5 (the entire day) of One Thousand Days, I will: “OBSERVE AN ECO-SABBATH. For one day or afternoon or even one hour a week, don’t buy anything, don’t use any machines, don’t switch on anything electric, don’t cook, don’t answer your phone, and, in general, don’t use any resources. In other words, for this regular period, give yourself and the planet a break. Every hour per week that you live no impact cuts your carbon emissions by 0.6 percent annually. Commit to four hours per week, that’s 2.4 percent; do it for a whole day each week to cut your impact by 14.4 percent a year.”

It may be dark in the house, so we’ll be bumping into each other a lot, and this may cause more mayhem than it’s worth, but we’ll give it our level best. And when my son steps on my foot (remind me to tell you how my feet are magnets for all things heavy and painful), I’ll try my hardest to be nice. Really. And, GULP, no computer!

5 down, 995 to go

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 4 (or: I Have to Give Up What?)

So. This is a lovely little journey. I’m on day four of One Thousand Days, and I already have three followers (thanks, C.J., Laurie and Denise!) and not only that, I’m on day four of being in bed. Not bad, eh? Not the illness (that’s been gooey and gross) – I mean the fact that I’ve been able to do something other than be sick (I’m SUCH a baby when I’m sick). I’ve been able to overcome achy, selfish, whiney, flu-ish stuff and actually be generous!

Ok. That’s fine and dandy, but what I’m coming to realize, is that it’s probably a really good thing that I’ve been in bed. I mean to say, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time the last several days feverishly searching the interwebs, building blog, coming up with ideas, editing, etc. So what happens when I’m not in bed any more? I’ll tell you what happens: I have to give something up, maybe even several somethings, in order to find the time to (1) think up lovely things (2) execute said lovely things and (3) write, edit, and post about those self-same lovely things. Probably at least an hour and half out of every precious day. What a commitment.  In other words, I think I have to give up Facebook.

Aaaggggghhhh!! NO! Nononononononono! (She whines, pounding fists as if having a crazed flashback to the terrible twos) Yes! Yeseyseyseyseyyesyseyes yes, I do. (She says with head hung, resolute and determined). I will do this, and that will mean sacrifice. NO MORE FACEBOOK.  Well, no more Facebooking for hours.  I mean, just checking in every once in a while isn't going to hurt, right?

And luckily, inspiration didn’t take long to hit me today (hopefully they're all as easy as today.  I can hear Holly groaning as I write this). Reading Smithsonian Magazine, with only a slightly fevered and fuzzy brain, I realized how very much we missed when we were in Washington D.C. this summer (there are 19, count them 19! Smithsonian Museums - we visited 5). And it hit me. I want to take the lovely boy back. And in order to do that, we need money. So today, Day 4 of One Thousand Days, I took the spare change jar, which is almost full, and put a nice label on it: Saving for Washington D.C.! Put your money in! Whatever we raise by the end of June, we’ll use for a trip to D.C. at the end of the summer. JOY! Ok. So it’s a sort of for the darling child, and it’s also sort of for me, but it’s something! And I figure the great thing about this, is that at the end of the summer I’ll have my extraordinary things all lined up, and won’t have to worry about it, because after all, Washington D.C. is simply one big endless extraordinary!

4 down, 996 to go.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 3 (or: Crap. How am I going to do One Thousand distinct remarkable things?)

Yes. I know I sound like a whiner, which is exactly what Holly told me I did NOT have permission to do. I’ve made this commitment, and I should be just brimming, gushing even, with happiness about it. But here’s the thing that struck me after my initial “what have I done” reaction: How on earth am I supposed to come up with O-N-E-T-H-O-U-S-A-N-D remarkable things? Which, it turns out, is a wonderful thought, and I’m not such a big whiner baby after all (nya-nya, Holly).

See, here’s the thing: I’ve got some resources. Some world-wide resources. You might even call them a web of resources. What happens when you Google “Simple Acts of Kindness”, you ask? Glad you asked. And I reply (in a still cold-induced stuffily muffily accent): This: 
  • Did you know there’s an entire foundation dedicated to random acts of kindness? They tell us that the unofficial “Random Acts of Kindness Week” is coming up! February 15-21, 2010
  • And if you’re wondering how to be kind, eHow has a seven step answer:
  • And YouTube has this to say about it (if you watch this, you HAVE to wait for number 16.  I'm seriously considering making that be day number 22): 

  • And you can subscribe to a free weekly newsletter about helping others at  And OH heavens, they even have a list of kindness ideas, to help those of us who can't seem to come up with them on our own! 
  • And as if it's a shock, lo and behold, someone else is blogging about doing good. I’m sure there are more than two of us. In other words, I’m not in the least bit original. Holly will tell me she told me so.
  • Google generosity? And you have to actually Google “generosity” and not “generoUsity”, as I did. Well, that’s even better! Wikipedia joins in with:
  • And apparently there’s a whole game devoted to generosity.
  • And a list of quotes about generosity.  Barbara Bush is at the top of the list. She says: “Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.” And then, for something a little more credible, Buddha says: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” 
What’s my point? Wait - what is my point. I seem to have become fuddled. Oh yes! My point is, that coming up with lovely things to do may not be as difficult as I had at first lamented. In fact, the ideas may even land in my lap. I opened up my email this morning, and found a fabulous article from one of my favorite magazines, Yes!, enumerating personal steps to take that will change your and the world. Oh Yes!

But in the end, when my friend C.J. posted this on her Facebook page:  “2 years ago today I lost my mom to congestive heart failure so today PLEASE do something thats good for your heart you mom," I decided to take advantage of the fortuitous, sweet and helpful suggestion, and for
Day 3 of One Thousand Days, I sent my mother a bouquet of flowers. This would have been a more heartfelt and personal something, but I am, afterall, sick as a dog. Holly will probably approve in theory, but not in practice. She’ll probably tell me to try harder, and I’ll say “I will when I don’t feel like fainting every time I get up”.  And anyway, mom just called to say thank you for the lovely surprise, so apparently someone appreciates the theory!

As a closing thought, last night as I limped (rather than lovingly snuck, but if one could lovingly limp, I did!) into my sons room and cleaned it as well as I could in the midst of sneezes, wheezes and dizziness, and yesterday when I made him a custom cootie catcher with Homer Simpson quotes inside, I realized that this process is going to be about more than doing good for others. It’s going to be good for me, too.  All we need is love (DO do do do doooo)!
3 down, 997 to go.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 2 (or: What Was I Thinking?)

Sick in bed today. Brain a bit fuzzy. It was a bit fuzzy yesterday, too. Otherwise I might have been able to reason my way out of making a 3-year commitment to do-gooding.

Did I mention that during and after the Crisis of July ’09 I also considered running away to Greece? And becoming a Nun? And starting a studio space for an interior design business? And becoming a fitness instructor/dancer? And joining a traveling Circus?

You get the idea, right? I found myself at the end of bad decisions, and having been laid off, and with a certain amount of new freedom, and the ideas simply never stopped for 3 months straight until I’d drilled a hole through a wire in my home (in a death defying and over-zealous home improvement project), pleaded with my friends to send me their husbands, dug and moved about 20 yards of soil, ripped about 100 plants from a friends yard (thank you, Mercedes), re-arranged the living room, stained the decks, paved a walk in the back of the house, moved what felt like 20 tons of rock. Oh, how I did go on. And on.

So today…ok, I admit it, yesterday, precisely one second after having posted my first blog post, I wondered exactly what on earth I was thinking when I pushed that “post” button. I’d just committed myself to 3-ish years of daily thought, research, writing, editing, do-gooding... Yeah. I’m still going on and on. I’m sorry, Holly.

And what, I ask with a funny stuffed-up-head accent, can I possibly do in a grand way when I’m at home in bed with a head cold, anyway? Promise not to post whiney Facebook updates about illness? Not pester my friends to bring me Thom Kha Guy soup? With 3 stars (hint, hint, Molly)? Use my cloth tissues (oh god, I’m so sick I can’t even think of what they’re called) instead of using up a non-renewable roll of toilet paper?

And more importantly, what would Holly approve of me doing? She insists that I can’t just wait until the end of a day and do something lame like making cookies. Except that I’m not really a cookie baker. I’ve only baked cookies once in the last 2 years. Maybe cookie baking is an extraordinary thing for me, ok Holly?

I am, however, resolute. I will acknowledge daily (for the next 998 days, at least) that there’s something bigger than me, and that I should focus on whatever that is.

Day 2 of One Thousand Days:  Tonight, in the quiet hours of the evening, I will sneak lovingly into my sons’ room, and clean it up for him. Today, in bed, I will make him a card, with drippy kisses and love and a sentimental (or maybe silly) expression of my admiration and pride, and leave it for him to wake up to in the morning. That’s what I can do today. I can love my boy. I’m pretty sure Holly will approve.  And if she doesn't, I'm pretty sure she'll let me know.

2 down, 998 to go.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One Thousand Days (or: I Killed a Baby Bunny)

One Thousand Days began, well, about a thousand days ago. It began with an inkling of misbehavior and quickly became more than a dash of misbehavior. The dash turned promptly into dashed hopes and has been murkily churning away in and out of dash-iness for, well, approximately One Thousand Days.

Confused? Exactly.

Confession:  I engaged in a Bad Relationship.  And when I say engaged in, I mean indulged in and fought against and wished for and cried over.  I (and he) wasn't honest, wasn't good, wasn't connected, really, and definitely wasn't behaving well.  In general.  Now...don't make me repeat all that again.  I'd rather not think about it, thank you very much.

The Thing That Pushed Me Over The Edge.
There were many missteps in those One Thousand Days (tawdry little details), but the climax (or anti-climax) of the situation began in July of ’09 (the end of the Naughty…oh you know) with a cataclysmic change occurring in my career with the downturn of our stinking economy.

Oh yes, there were other intermittent crises during the One Thousand Days. And there were attempts to rectify, ignore, beat my fists against, figure out, change and alter many things. For instance, during those terrible One Thousand Days, I became an almost Vegan and ate no sugar for a year. And I lost 70 pounds and regained 40…ok, 50. And I spent six months truly believing that “I would rather be happy than right.” Which was wonderful, and is another blog entirely. All attempts to make something else happen.  Something other than a Bad Relationship, other than behaving badly, other than disconnection.

But it hadn't been One Thousand Days yet.

The Thing That Put Me Back on Track. 
 And then, somewhere in July, just as I had been laid off, just when I was fed up to my eyeballs with behaving badly in a bad relationship, something amazing happened.  I killed a baby bunny. Yes. You heard me. My darling friend had a crisis, with nobody to support her but me. Her cat DIDN’T kill, but seriously maimed, the cutest little brown baby bunny you’ve ever seen, and I finished it off with a shovel. Twice. While my friend muttered through tears and held her fingers in her ears. That’s what you do for your friends.

I surprised myself, actually.  I would never normally kill a baby bunny (who would?).  Normally, I'd be a blithering snotty mess, just thinking about doing something so horrible.  I'd do a lot of bad things (I hope we've established that I feel remorse), but not that...but...I did it...for her. That’s not behaving badly. That’s being selfless in a way that I hardly ever am.  Selfless in a way that I should be more often.  Selfless in a way that drove me to engage my higher self.  Selfless in way that made me reconsider Things...

And then it occurred to me. I began toying with the idea that if I had behaved badly for almost One Thousand Days, shouldn’t I behave well for One Thousand Days in order to make up for the badness? And if I were going to do this, wouldn’t blogging make sense?

“Yes,” said Julia.

“A great way to work through your anger,” she softly urged in her councilor voice.

“Yeah, but nobody wants to hear your whining, so you’d better make it about doing something REALLY important for a thousand days.” Holly carped in her crispest Besty-Knows-Best voice.

“And you can’t decide that it’s important without running it by me first,” she decided.

Mercedes thought it was a great idea.

So did Heather.

Emily said that she’d been thinking about blogging too.

So here goes.

Day one of One Thousand Days: I finally blocked the email, I deleted the contact on Facebook, I blocked the phone number, have admitted that The Bad Relationship has been a folly and now…Now for my first simple act of importance. I forgive myself. That’s right Holly, I didn’t check with you, but I’m doing it anyway. I forgive myself for behaving badly and vow to do something quietly or grandly remarkable for each of the following One Thousand Days.

That is all, for Day One. 999 to go.
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