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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

small deeds

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

The other day I was walking to the grocery store when a woman ran up to me, tapped my shoulder and said, “you dropped this.”  She handed me my ATM card.  I got out a whispered wide-mouthed, “thank you,” but my desire to express my profuse gratitude didn’t make it before she vanished.  My mind started to swirl!

I felt an instant need to return the favor.

She just saved me God knows how much aggravation.

The world has way more good people than nefarious ones.

I really must return the favor, but what can I do?

I’m trying to think up a big idea, but in the meantime, I want to do 12 small spontaneous deeds for strangers throughout the holiday season. The 12 days of Christmas, for me, will mean little gestures that might, in some minute way, brighten a moment in someone’s ordinary day.

Maybe this is already part of your routine.  Maybe you want to join me.  Either way, tell me (via the comment section) about your daily bright spots.

Day 12 – Guess what?!  I know Santa Claus!  The real-deal, North-Pole-living, sleigh-riding jolly old man himself!!  And for my final small deed I asked him for help!  I took the money hubby and I usually spend on holiday cards for family and friends and we gave it away to strangers.  We had seven holiday cards, each with some cash inside and a message to have a happy holiday.  Hubby armed himself with the camera, I had a bag of candy canes and Santa, the master at deliveries, had the envelopes.  We hit South Bay Center one morning and surprised a parking lot of people.  It was amazing to watch how young and old came running to see Mr. Claus.  Cars, full of adults, drove around the parking lot, children dragged parents out of stores, and everyone beamed at having their pictures taken with Santa!  Ok, there were some children who hollered for Santa but when he stopped by, they started crying.  But that was kind of cute too!  They like Santa from a distance!  This young couple told us it was their daughter’s first Christmas and they waited 45 minutes the other day for a picture with Santa at a mall only to have him go on break.  They never got a picture, that is until Parking Lot Santa showed up!  We hope the cash was a nice surprise for some strangers, but it was all worth it to see the pure joy on so many faces at the mere sight of Old Saint Nick!

Day 11 – I went to get a cup of coffee and the woman behind the counter was super sweet.  I left her a big tip.  I hope it brightened her day just a bit!

*(Mike told me about his small deed in the comment section.  He gave his monthly Charlie Card to the woman about to put money on her card! I love that idea!  Yeah, Mike!!)

Day 10 – On my way to the store, I saw some litter so I put it in the trash.  I arrived to the store and before me, a few more pieces of paper were blowing in the wind.  It was so easy to put them in the garbage.  A man saw me doing my small deed and said, “thank you.”  I was grateful for his appreciation.

Day 9 – I took Cricket for a walk this morning and picked up some arrant piles of poop (a suggestion from my friend Jen!).  I hope Cricket and I saved your shoes from a stinky day!

*(Erinn shared in the comment section that she likes to brush snow off of neighboring cars!  I hope we all get a chance to park next to an Erinn!)

Day 8 – While at Dunkin Donuts to get a cup of coffee, I saw a stand full of gift cards.  I added several to my order.  When I went running, I took a different route and gave Dunkin Donuts gift cards to some folks who looked like they could use a hot cup of coffee.  It was great!

*(Marsha from NC left a note in the comment section.  She bought a meal for a stranger.  She was paying it forward!  How awesome is that?!  Thanks Marsha!!!)

Day 7 – I have a couple pairs of gently worn mittens.  I put them in my work bag and on my way to and from work, I placed them in areas where I’ve seen homeless women.  I hope the gloves will help just a bit this winter.

Day 6 – I ran into Walgreens to pick up some stuff and saw a Toys for Tots bin.  So in my basket with some water and face cream, I added a couple of toys.  I put them in the box with the rest of the collection and smiled as I exited the store.

*(Very excited!!!  My friend Anita sent me this awesome tweet:

Anita Moller@aamoller: @susantran It’s contagious! I was inspired to do a good deed today.
@aamoller: @susantran Yep. While on my run, I stopped to carry the newspaper to a cute little man so he didn’t have to walk down the icy drive to get it.)

Day 5 – On my run today, I had a pocket full of scratch-off lottery tickets, and as I jogged around town, I handed them to strangers.  It was much more fun and far more comical than I’d imagined it would be!  Every one appeared taken aback, confused, or shocked.  I smiled, said, “Happy Holidays,” and ran off (I should have worn my elf hat!).  As my strides moved me forward, I could hear them yell, “Thank You!”  Those two words powered me for the rest of my trek home.

Day 4 – I went to get a soda and a snack at some vending machines and I left the change.

photo by: tomlin

*(I applied to Caring Canines but got an email response saying its program is at full capacity.  Sad for me but awesome for the program!)

Day 3 – I noticed some union brothers in the cold this morning.  I stopped by a Dunkin Donuts and bought them some hot coffee.  It was their appreciation that warmed me.

*(It’s only day 3 and I’m finding it somewhat difficult to do a small good deed, which is kind of upsetting.  Please consider giving me some suggestions.  I’m looking for small gestures.  Thanks in advance!)

Day 2 – I walked to lunch with a pocket full of quarters.  I fed several expired meters.  I hope I kept you from a ticket.

Day 1 – I’m running along the Christian Science Center and I notice a family of four.  Mom is trying to get her two sons and husband in the perfect picture.  I stop and ask if I can help take a family photo for them.  They hand me their Canon, smile, and I capture their broad grins in front of The Original Mother Church.  I make sure they’re satisfied with my work and run off.  They put a smile on my face and my stride home had a new elasticity.

i am freezing

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

I stood outside waiting for my 11:00pm live shot and I had one prevailing thought – fear!  It is October.  I can see my breath!  I was standing out there, waiting the 10 minutes before I’d go live and I realized, I was freezing.  How was I going to survive this winter?  The other day, I wore a coat to work and hubby removed our air conditioner from the window.  Not only was summer over but winter was already nipping at my frigid fingers.

I am actually scared of winter.  The last time I was in Boston, I worked mainly during the day.  It meant various court stories, where I would be bundle up, yes, taking off many layers as I sat in court, but at least I was warm for a portion of the day.  This go around, I am on the night shift.  There are no court stories in the evening.  Nearly all of my stories take place outside.  And, of course, it’s colder at night.  I can honestly say I’m frightened!!

It’s been 4 years since I’ve reported in the bitter cold of a New England winter.  In Charlotte, October is the most glorious month after September.  In the Carolinas, summer extends well into September.  October and November are late summer months.  Autumn comes in December.  January and February are the winter months.  Spring is in March while April, May and June are the summer months.  It’s July and August that are dreaded because they are oppressively hot and humid.  In the South, July and August is über-summer.

I started to think about New England weather.  I returned in late March.  I still needed a coat and gloves.  Spring starts in April here and summer arrives in June.  Friends told me August actually marks the end of summer.  Fall arrives quickly in September and as I’m now realizing, winter starts dipping the mercury in October.  At this rate, winter will extend into December and frozen tundra time will occur in January and February.  Awesome.

I came home from my live shot in a full panic.  Where are my winter boots?  Did I donate them to the Salvation Army 4 years ago?  How many pairs of long johns do I have?  Oh poop, only one.  I donated several pairs when we moved south!  I thought of the hand and feet warmers I’d have to buy.  I purchased them in bulk before and when I left for Charlotte, I bequeathed them to my photographers, but now I’d have to invest again in mass quantities of these little packets of warmth.  I need to locate the hats, gloves, and scarves.  I don’t even know where to start looking for my space pen.  (While working in Boston, every year I’d ask for a space pen for Christmas.  It allowed me to write in freezing temperatures.  Don’t laugh – it was a necessity!)  Maybe this year I’ll just use a pencil.

The hyperventilation panic has subsided.  Thanks for the longer nights, I’ve gotten a good night sleep and have awaken with a brighter perspective!  I figure I have enough gear for fall and winter here, which gives me a couple more weeks to prepare for the frostbite months.  I’ll take any suggestions you have on stay warm (best thermals, must have jackets, warmest boots) but I think the only positive side is – there are only four more months until spring.


Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

It’s official.  My bio is up on WHDH‘s website, so I’m officially part of the team.  I can’t tell you how super excited I am about being back here in Boston.

To be honest I didn’t think I’d be back.  After the first winter in Charlotte, which was sunny and gorgeous, hubby and I kind of thought we’d never leave the South.  We imagined my next career move could take us to Atlanta or we’d just stay in Charlotte forever; we didn’t contemplate a move back to the Northeast.  I even donated almost all of my winter coats and most of my snow gear.  We were done with snow.

Then came the call to come up for three months.  The station needed some freelance reporters to fill in as two reporters were out on maternity.  I hesitated.  I didn’t want to move back, live with friends and work at a station that was once competition (I’d worked at the Fox affiliate from 2003-2006).  We had dear friends here in Charlotte and while on sabbatical, I had finished my first novel, volunteered a ton, and took improv classes.  I was happy.  But I missed working.  So I took the assignment with this in mind, I’ll hate it and know I’m done with news or I’ll have some new, updated stories for my resume reel.  But it didn’t take long for me to remember why I loved reporting in a big market; stories of national and international significance were constantly happening.  I was covering the police raid of the accused Time Square bomber’s Connecticut home.  I was standing outside the Garden as the Celtics attempted another championship.  I interviewed a concert violinist who left her instrument on a transit trolley, only to have it returned.  Even with all that, I still hesitated when the station offered me a full time position.

I thought I wanted to pursue my news anchoring dreams more.  I thought I wanted to focus on my fiction writing.  I thought I might try something outside of TV news.  But in the end, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else but telling peoples’ stories; using their words,  my words, my photographer’s video.

While at WHDH during those three temporary months, I gained new perspective, saw a new opportunity, and regained my love of TV news.  Ultimately, what I found was a new place to call home.

Farewell Winter

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Imagine the snowman as winter and that’s how I felt about him this year.  Freezing cold days and 5 inches of snow (says my friend John Ahrens at WSOC).  Is it just me or did this winter seem relentless?  I was starting to fear a serious Vitamin D deficiency.

Hubby and I moved here more than 3 years ago and thought we’d struck atmospheric gold, when every day appeared to be the perfect shade of blue. 

The good news, there are only 8 more days until spring and 101 days until summer.  But the first sign of spring is Sunday when we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time.  Winter, it’s been fun, but I’m going to greet spring with a warm embrace!