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12 Days of Giving

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

‘Tis the Season of Giving.

family christmasI love Christmas. Everyone is merry and thinking of others. And I couldn’t think of a better way to usher in the holiday than with 12 Days of Good Deeds.

Who’s with me?!?!

Day 1 – Giving to one of my favorite non-profits: www.donorschoose.org. It coincided with #GivingTuesday so it was a perfect way to start off #12DaysOfGiving!donorschoose
Day 2 – Feeding expired meters to help my fellow travelers avoid a ticket.feed the meters

toy collecting crew  Day 3 – Collecting toys for Home For Little Wanderers with a very generous group of friends.

Urban Grape  Day 4 – Dropping off slightly used coat, scarves and gloves at Urban Grape, who’s collecting them for those in need. #BostonWarm

Toy Room  Day 5 – Volunteering with Johnathan in the Toy Room at Home for Little Wanderers.

giving tree   Day 6 - Adding a scarf and hat to the “Giving Trees” at the Boston Common. #GoTerriers

NBGivesBack  Day 7 – Donating my slightly used running shoes to South End’s Heartbreak Hill Running Company. They’ll give them to someone else who needs them more.  Best part, having my good deed matched by New Balance, who’s giving $5 to Good Sports Inc for every “shoe donating” selfie. .

Emmons Christmas  Day 8 – Taking pictures for friends’ Holiday card in exchange for a donation to Shultz’s Guest House.

mcdonald's  Day 9 – Paying the tab for the person behind us at the McDonald’s drive-thru (bonus points, it turned out to be a police officer!!).

bpd d-4  Day 10 – Bringing our neighborhood police station (Boston Police District 4) some holiday treats!

dropping off gifts  Day 11 – Dropping off gifts to Medford family who lost Christmas presents to a fire that swept through their apartment building.  It was a harrowing scene as quick thinking police officers had to rescue the twin 5-month-olds from smokey building. *(Margaret the Dog was a helper, not a gift!)

Happy Holidays  Day 12 – Sending holiday greetings to family and friends in the form of a donation to the Martin Richard Foundation.

charlotte

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

photo by: eric guzik

When we first moved to Charlotte, we thought it was a place we’d live for three years and be out, like a layover, a situation to be endured.  We had no idea we’d fall in love with Charlotte.

We should have known.  We arrived in mid-September, one of the best times of the year for the Queen City.  Carolina blue sky welcomed us the day we drove in and remained a constant sight for weeks thereafter.  The weather was perfect, it felt like the perfect 75-degree day, everyday and that awesome weather lasted well into December.

photo by: eric guzik

I remember having lunch at the Fox and Hound on Tryon Street, Uptown.  We had picked up several free magazines on the walk over: Uptown Magazine, Creative Loafing, and Skirt.  The waitress immediately engaged us in conversation upon arriving at our table.  I thought she was just a friendly server but the same hospitality was extended at the grocery store and Starbucks next day.  No one behind me in line batted an eye when the barista asked how I was, and actually waited for a response.  I felt like I had been transported into a foreign land.

A co-worker introduced me to NASCAR.  Another taught me Southern terms like, “over yonder,” “might could,” “having your picture made,” “mashing a button,” and “right quick.”  I learned that “bless your heart” was not a compliment.  I embraced the word, “y’all.”  I found the best fried chicken place ever (Price’s Chicken Coop) and drank sweet tea like it was spring water.

Football season arrived and we met friends of friends.  They were serious tailgaters who opened up their home to friends for every home game.  They continued the tradition even when they had their daughter.

There were a core group of 10 of us.  We ate, drank, and played together.  You could often find one of us at Connolly’s on 5th.  One other friend called us a herd.  We thought of ourselves as a commune.  If we were without a car, someone else let us borrow theirs.  If a washer or dryer was out, we’d go to another’s home.  We looked out for each other’s pets, houses, and spouses.  Eventually, our commune grew into a community of friends.  We had holiday dinners, celebrated birthdays, and toast accomplishments.  We took joint vacations.  We collected toys for children during the holidays, tried to help build a home for Habitat for Humanities, spearheaded Mustaches for Kids, to raise money for supplies needed in local classrooms and collected clothes for homeless men.

Hubby and I settled into Charlotte.  It felt like home.

So it goes without saying, it was extremely difficult to leave.  The freelance job I took in Boston became permanent.

I have no doubt we’ll be back in Charlotte, it may be just for a visit, in three years when my current contract is up, or when we retire.  But we’ll be back because we love Charlotte.

In the meantime, I’m bringing y’all to Boston.  (The phrase and not the literal y’all, though if you’re in town… let me know!)

Friends

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

I flew back to Charlotte for two events.  One I affectionately call “Katie is Great,” because my friend Katie was named one of the Charlotte Business Journal’s “40 Under 40.”  The other is a benefit breakfast for KIPP Charlotte, where I’m a board member and volunteer.

Both events required attendance and support.  And fortunately for both Katie and me, we’re surrounded by an amazing group of friends.

There’s a core group of 10 of us, we jokingly call “The Commune.”  Hubby and I inherited this group of friends (it’s a long, convoluted story so just go with me on this one) three and a half years ago.  Since then, we’ve done dinners, NASCAR, holidays, Panther tailgates, Checkers, and Bobcats games.  We’ve organized charitable events, projects, and gatherings.  We’ve borrowed each others’ cars, laundry facilities, clothes, pools, and spouses (for events our spouse couldn’t attend!).  We’ve baby sat, dog sat, cat sat, and house sat.  We’ve celebrated birthdays and promotions and supported job losses and changes.  We‘ve traveled in a pack and have a standing agreement that when family or friends come to town it’s all ‘hands on deck.’  There are several friends who choose not to be part of the “Commune,” but still we count them as part of the group (I think they fear our insane email list!!!)

It’s amazing when we’re all together because we have so much fun, admiration, and love for each other.  If you’re ever fortunate enough to gather such a great group, who share common interests and affection, hold on tight, it’s a gift.

Fabulous Birthday

Friday, March 26th, 2010

There’s nothing like a Facebook birthday.  This is my second one I’ve had and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome (what’s not to like, you get dozens of birthday wishes)!

Hubby calls March, the birthday season.  Anything he does, buys or presents to me is part of the celebrations!  I love it!

This year my birthday started with my favorite mint chip ice cream cake made especially for me by my best friend, Carrie.

I’m a bit more sentimental this year because I’m away from my Charlotte home, family and friends.

Lucky for me, my friends here in Boston, especially Helen and Alfonso, made sure I didn’t spend the day alone!

Thanks for the love!

Joy

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Hubby and I don’t want kids but I will freely admit I find them to be endlessly fascinating.  They’re these little people with unformed opinions who are opinionated.  They demand things they don’t want and depending on the age, they can’t say what they need.  They’re jesters who are timid, bold, quiet and kind.  And if you watch them play, you witness joy that is simple, pure and magical.

I recently spent a week with my best friend’s children.  They were a riot.  Most of the time, I had to withhold laughter, because while they were defiant, oblivious or aware, they were endlessly entertaining.  If you could bottle up that euphoric energy you’d rule the world.

But today, I just want to bask in their joy.  These are just some of the little people in my life I find endlessly fascinating:  Jake, Lauren, Gianna, Ashton, Maddie, Katie, Reed, Chase, Camden, Reagan, Nicole, Sam, Jocelyn, Jarrett, Elyssa, Sarah, Lawrence, Grace, Saddie, Eli, Megan, Cooper, Collin, Marion, Sam, Will, Mia, Soren, Maggie, Jasper, Tucker, Drew, Caroline and Mary.  You guys make me laugh!  Thanks for letting me play with you!

Animal Husbandry

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Some days – it’s just about a good laugh.  And I think I found something for y’all!  I was going through my computer trying to organize all my videos and I came across a gem.

A few years ago, hubby and I joined my childhood best friends, Carrie and Becky and their spouses for a trip to wine country.  We were in the parking lot and for some unknown reason the talk turned to animal impersonations.  Becky’s husband apparently could produce the perfect pachyderm.  That meant hubby was game to do his version of goofy gorilla.   (Up until this point, I had never seen said primate impersonation, so I was psyched!) 

It’s fair to say that these men in our lives crack us up.  All three husbands have serious jobs and people who depend on them but to us they’re the guys who make us laugh.  And that’s the treasure I see when I look at the video, over and over again.

 

Valentine’s Day 2010

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I like Valentine’s Day.  I always have.  It’s mainly because I really like a day dedicated to romance and I love being the recipient of flowers.  Not roses!  I love gerbera daisies and tulips.

In high school, all the clubs would sell $1 carnations with notes attached and they’d deliver them in 1st period.  I loved hearing my named called.  Most were from my girlfriends.  We liked to send flowers to each other.  But sometimes it was from a boy I was dating and sometimes it was from an anonymous boy, which was all the more fun as it provided my girlfriends and me endless chatter during lunch.

In college, I loved seeing bouquets of flowers at the guard shack awaiting delivery.  Because I’ve always been a pretty outspoken, blunt person I made it clear to boys I was dating that I liked flowers on Valentine’s Day.  So I often had flowers awaiting me.

The best thing nowadays is to have flowers delivered to the office.  My husband thinks it’s silly (though he sends me gorgeous arrangements every year) and some women think it’s frivolous.  But I love the smell of fresh cut flowers sitting on my drab desk.  It takes the stale air of a newsroom and transforms it into fragrant, decedent office.

But this year, Valentine’s Day was a Sunday and hubby had a BIG plan!  A bit of pretext first.  One, we have a core group of 5 couple friends.  We all love Panther game tailgates, charitable endeavors, eating, and drinking.  Two, my hubby loves to cook.  Three, we do not like going out to eat on Valentine’s Day.  So for the third year in a row we had a dinner for ten at our house.  And right after we finished our delicious meal of grilled flank steak with a red wine reduction, cauliflower steaks drizzled with caper vinaigrette, and Israeli couscous – a barbershop quartet walked into our home, with roses in hand, and started to sing.  It sent five grown women into a tizzy of squeals.


It’s fair to say, I love fresh cut flowers, but live music trumps fresh flowers.  Happy Valentine’s Day!