Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

I was born in Brooklyn and my parents moved to Long Island when I was three.  I lived there until I was 35 and relocated here to the DC area.  When I go 'home' I go to New York.  It's where my mom and dad are.  It's where the other half of 20 year friendships live.  It's a significant and fabulous part of my story.


On Tuesday September 11, 2001 I lived on Long Island, NY in a nice little town near the south shore called Wantagh. It's about 30 miles east of Manhattan.  I was married to my first husband, we had two dogs and I worked at an employment firm where I routinely arrived for work around 10:30am.  At 8:00am I climbed on the treadmill and watched the second half of Pretty Woman (for the millionth time) to keep my mind occupied.  It was just before 9:00am when Julia Robert's rescued Richard Gere "right back."  I still had another 20 minutes of treadmill time ahead of me so I shut off the VCR (yep, was still using one of those then) and turned on the news.   The first thing I saw was a shot of the north tower on fire.  As I was trying to process exactly what was going on I noticed a plane approaching the towers.  I said to myself "This must be a water tanker coming to douse the flames."  Aviation expert I am not.  As soon as I saw it hit the south tower the words 'terrorist attack' flashed in my head like a neon sign. 

I have this uncanny ability to emotionally detach from situations by controlling my thoughts.  And if I have to lie to myself as well, so be it.  So as I watched the two buildings burn I kept thinking "Everything will be ok."  "Everyone will get out."  "They will put out these fires and everything will be ok."   

For the next hour I continued walking on the treadmill while my eyes were glued to the television. I prayed for everyone's safety and I was still convincing myself that everything would be ok.  With all the resources we have at our disposal in this great country - everything just had to be ok.  I don't remember much about this hour.  Nine years later it seems like I was suspended, floating in time.  The south tower collapsed at 9:59am.  I held on to hope for the survivors and our remaining tower.  "The north tower will hold, the people will get out, the south tower will be rebuilt and everything will be ok." 


With the collapse of the north tower at 10:28 reality came rushing in and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  I will never forget the feeling...of my heart being ripped out of my chest and thrown on the floor, shattered.  I screamed.  I collapsed.  I sobbed uncontrollably.  It was a feeling of grief that I mercifully had never felt before and have not felt since.  During this time my friend Dawn called and all I can remember screaming into the phone was "They took our towers, they took our towers."


Everyone copes with stress differently and my coping mechanism was to go to work.  I got myself together, showered, dressed quickly and headed off to work.  I was in a complete daze as the radio reports droned on and on about the etrocities.  The newsmen spoke of the crash in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon and there were even reports of acts of terror at Camp David and in Washington DC (which later turned out to be false).  Mass evacuations were taking place in NY and DC.  It felt like Armageddon.  I was only a block away from my office when I felt an overwhelming need to go home and be with my husband.  I called him and he said he was leaving his job and would meet me at home.  I called my company and spoke with my co-worker Tom.  I told him I was only a block away but I wouldn't be coming in, I had to go home.  He was confused and asked me why and I said "Do you have any idea what is happening right now?"   As I sat at a traffic light and looked around at the other drivers I had a surreal moment.  "Doesn't everyone know the enormity of what is happening?"  I felt like I was the only person in that scene who understood the true scale and impact of the disasters that were unfolding.  I knew in that moment that September 11th was going to change many lives and our country forever.  This was the Pearl Harbor of our time. 

I got home and embraced my husband and we both cried.  We turned on the television and started calling around to our various friends who either worked in New York City or whose spouses did.  Has anyone heard from Rob? Russell? Ed? Pete? Phil?...and the list went on.  Friends on Long Island started to feel the need to be together as we waited for word on everyone.  We gathered at Rob & Stacy's where we watched television, talked, ate and drank wine to calm our nerves.  Slowly people started to call in.  All transporation in Manhattan was at a standstill and everyone was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.  It would be a long time before anyone would get home. 

Ten hours after the first plane hit Rob, Russell and Ed walked through the door.  It had been a grueling day.  They were tired and hungry.  As we fed them they sat down to watch the television newscasts of the day for the very first time.  It was mind boggling and overwhelming. 

As the days went by we started to hear more of the days accounts from friends and friends of friends.  If you lived on Long Island you personally knew someone who was in NYC that day if you weren't there yourself.  God shined his light on our friend Phil that day.  His baby daughter had kept him awake most of the night so he was late for work.  He came out of the subway in between the first and second planes hitting - and he made a quick decision to grab a cab and take it straight home.  Everyone that was in his office that day perished.  Pete wasn't so lucky.  Pete worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and he was in the office when the plane hit.  We prayed and hoped for days but we'd never see his smiling face again.  Pete Siracuse left behind a young wife and baby son. 

I felt it was important for me to write this account of 9/11 today, 9 years later.  Although I seem to remember it like yesterday I am unsure of minor details and can't remember exact conversations like I used to - and I never, ever want to forget. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

...and oh so much gratitude.

"To thine own self be true"

"What lies behind us and what lies before us - are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

These are the two most popular quotes at La Muse over the last six months

Please tell me why?

Monday, July 19, 2010

The power of a well written letter

Early last November I lost my latest Canon PowerShot camera while I was on vacation.  Shame on me!  My kind and wonderful husband purchased a new one for me as a Thanksgiving gift.  Although I know I drive him nuts sometimes with all the pictures I take - the fact remains that we both share a love of preserving memories through pictures and video.  Sometimes I'll catch him on the computer sitting with a glass of wine, and a content smile, sifting through the thousands of pictures we've taken over the years.

In mid June I was at a birthday party in New York and I dropped my gift.  The LCD screen went black and that was that.  Ugh, shame on me again.  But honestly, I've dropped many a Canon camera over the years and never has one malfunctioned so easily.  I mean if they can't take a little banging around what good are they?  (and if Apple only knew how many times I've dropped my iPhone!  Thanks for making a tough product Apple!)  There was no visible damage to the outside of the camera and the glass protecting the LCD was fine.

The camera was still under warranty and I sent it in for repair.  Several days later I received a form email stating that the repair would cost me $130.00 because the camera has suffered 'impact' damage.  The email also stated that I could call customer service and receive credit toward a Canon upgrade.  I did call customer service and the woman offered me a 20% discount on the repair.  Since the camera now sells for $160 online I couldn't see the sense in spending over $100 for my old one to be fixed.  I asked about the upgrade.  After much searching the rep said that she couldn't offer me an upgrade because my model wasn't 'in the matrix.'  Really?

Now here is where most people would really start to get their dander up.  Blood pressure elevating, stress level rising, adrenaline kicking in ... they might ask "Can I speak with a manager?"   Here's the best piece of advice I can ever give to someone trying to solve a customer service issue - give the phone ONE chance.  Only one.  Don't drive yourself crazy with customer service people reading from scripts and managers who don't have any real authority.  If you can't get it resolved in one call politely thank the person for their time and hang up.  Then look up the name of the CEO and the HQ address.  Write a clear and concise letter describing the issue at hand and exactly what they can do to resolve the situation to your satisfaction.

Throughout the years that I've subscribed to this method of handling customer service there has only been one time where my issue was not resolved swiftly and to my satisfaction.  At times I've been surprised and delighted with a company's desire to not only resolve my situation but to go above and beyond and create a raving fan in the process.  **Honable mention here to Kevin Cassidy, Patron Services, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts who recently made me a raving fan!

I am happy to say that when I arrived at work today there was a phone message along with two email messages stating that my camera would be fixed free of charge and they hope to have it back in my hands by the end of the week.

A hearty 'Thank You' to the staff in Mr. Joe Adachi's office!  I appreciate your response and willingness to stand behind your product!

  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An excellent day ... or a few months

It's been a while since I've written anything - but we can chalk that up to life or writers block.

Today I feel compelled to write.  Well, I've actually felt compelled for a little while but time hasn't agreed with me.

I've learned several things over the last few months:

"Decisions made in frustration or anger end in catastrophe."  (Laurence Fishburne - from the movie "Bobby")

"Happiness is when what you say, what you do and what you think are in perfect harmony." (Gandhi)

And my own personal mantras still hold strong:  Do what you say you will do, Be the best person you can be - & - Live with Gratitude.

Over the last several months I've realized how important it is to keep your key quotes front and center.

My husband asked me an interesting question last evening,  He asked "What drives you to be the person you are?"

After a little internal debate I realized that it is my solid belief that what we do today propels us forward.  In this life and in the next.

When we love each other and care for each other - when we relieve stress and despair from our brothers and sisters.  In our support and kindness for every person that we encounter ... it is there.  It is in a smiling face or an opened door or a kind ear. 

I would like to share with you a quote that my friend John DeAmicis has put into art:

"Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife... The first question was Did you bring joy? The second was Did you find joy?"


Do you bring joy?  Do you find joy?

I truly hope that you did.    -debra

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Creating Good Karma - AKA 'Why I love my job'

Kathy found La Muse on eBay as she was looking for Island Cowgirl merchandise. She contacted me in the middle of March to ask if I would ship eBay orders to Canada and if I had any other pieces that weren't on eBay. I introduced her to my website and we corresponded about what Island Cowgirl merchandise I could special order for her. After a couple of weeks I received the items she ordered, I packed them with lots of love and off they went to Edmonton. I could tell by our email correspondence that she was very excited to receive her treasures.


I always imagine that every package I send puts a smile on the recipient's face - most of the time I don't know for sure - but every so often I get a glimpse...


With work 'to-do' lists swirling around in my head I got up at some ungodly hour on Thursday morning. As I waited for the coffee to finish brewing I started going through my emails and came across this one from Kathy:


"Hello Debra,
Today was a great day!! My beautiful jewelry arrived from you. Thank you sooooooo much. I love each piece. I am a big fan of Island Cowgirl. The "Happy Heart" is perfect. I wear a lot of silver heart jewelry. The initial / heart charms pendant is very, very cute!!! I put it on with the pieces I was already wearing and it looked awesome, the layered look. It's still too cold here to wear an anklet, but I can hardly wait to wear it this summer or sooner!! :)

I love your personal touches and superb customer service. You have been wonderful to work with!! I must tell you that the inspirational "rock"...Life is Good...couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time. My life is hectic and complicated right now, due to my younger brother's passing last July. Sometimes when a family member passes on there is chaos and division amongst people and that happens to be going on in my life. So thank you for the reminder that Life is Good. I shall carry it with me as a reminder!

Until next time....take care.
Kathy

P.S. Love all the inspiring words written on the outside of the package! Keep smiling and making people happy!!!!!"

Yes, Kathy - today IS a great day. Thank you for creating even more gratitude in my life. Namaste

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New at La Muse - Lolablue

About six weeks ago a woman came into my store, her name is Deidre.  She is a certified Washington DC tour operator who, until recently, lived in Florida.  Most of her business came from Florida and she would travel from there to here with each tour of students that she was leading.  She decided to move to the area since it would open up a lot more avenues of business for her.  Just last week she started as a tour director of our infamous Ghost Tours here in Old Town. 

As we chatted she mentioned a friend of hers named Jamie.  Born out of a realization of the amount of toxins used in commercial candles she set out on a journey to create an organic formula of high-quality soy and botanical candles.  Lolablue started out as a candle company and now offers natural sugar scrubs and hand-crafted soaps as well.

Deidre told me that Jaime was interested in expanding her reach beyond the Florida market and asked me if I'd be interested in sampling Jaime's products.  Since I have so many customers that have asked me to carry candles I readily agreed.

A few weeks later Deidre came in with some of Jaime's samples.  OMG!  Is all I can say.  From the yummy vanilla in the Angel Kiss candle to the earthy scent of her Amber Sandlewood soap - I was in heaven.  The final straw was when Deidre gave me a sample of Lolablue's Lavender/Vanilla SkyClad sugar scrub to take home.  Not only did the body scrub feel fantastic but the combination of the two scents is amazing - and it lingered all day long.

La Muse received its first shipment of Lolablue last week and we know it will fast become a favorite of our customers.  Lolablue is now available online at ShopLaMuse.com.  Take an additional 10% through May 31st with coupon code 'may10.'  If you are not completely satisfied feel free to return it for a full refund - I am confident you will love it just as much as I do!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's a brand new day!



Spring is here.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping (I know this because they woke me up at 2:30 this morning with their enthusiasm) and this blog is once again taking a new direction.  I started this blog on January 1 with the sole purpose of documenting random acts of kindness for 365 consecutive days.

I was doing pretty well until the beginning of March when my store really started to feel the effects of an unusually mean winter.  The DC area had it's snowiest and coldest winter on record and business at La Muse was suffering badly.  No time for the luxuries of writing, I needed to sell some inventory - and fast.  Hmmm, what to do, what to do?  Enter eBay. For the last month I have worked on learning a new profession - selling on eBay.  Equipped with The Idiot's Guide to Selling on eBay and all the knowledge of the world wide web at my disposal I got to work.  Who knew there was so much to learn?  I am still an eBay infant but I have managed to streamline some inventory thanks to the tremendous exposure the website offers.  Most things I've sold to this point have been at a loss but I'd much rather cash in old inventory and use the money toward spring merchandise than have it sit around for months to come.  I am optimistic eBay can become a revenue producing venue for La Muse so I'll continue to learn and keep forging ahead!

In this month hiatus from blogging I've learned a few things.  A)  Try as I might, I am never going to blog every day.  B)  Although practicing or documenting a different 'random act of kindness' each day is an admirable goal the stress I put on myself trying to achieve this daily is not well spent.  Sharing kindness should be natural, never stressful.  C)  There's other things I'd like to write about...and so I will.  In the not too distant future (maybe after I reach the eBay toddler stage, become YouTube proficient and learn something about the Twittersphere) I will end up purchasing Blogging for Dummies and see what I can do about upping the ante and wowing my wonderful La Muse customers.  Until then, if I can write something that makes you smile...they are words (or pictures) well spent. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 1-3




March 3 - Give a neighbor a ride


March 2 - Either pick up your dog's poop ... or train them to do it 




March 1 - Share your lunch - Who knew a 6" Subway sandwich and a diet coke could bring such a smile!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February 26 - February 28

 February 28 - Share 29 Ways to Carry Out Random Acts of Kindness Every Day and a super fun blog Secret Agent L in Pittsburgh. - Many thanks to Arvind Devalia for sharing his thoughts on ways to practice random acts of kindness...in fact, have I used one today:

Purchase a lottery ticket for a stranger - Darryel and I were in 7-11 this morning and I walked over to the ATM.  The machine is right next to the table where you can fill out lottery tickets and a gentleman moved to the side and said "Don't mind me, I'm just trying to win some money."  Ding, the alarm in my head went off,  I remembered #3 of Arvind's 29 Acts.  As my husband paid for my water I said to the cashier "Can you please add three lottery scratch-off tickets to that?" (notice how I did that by the way ... 'as my husband was paying' hehe)  I proceeded to give one of them to the gentleman that was just ahead of us and the other two to the gentleman near the ATM machine.

I got in the car and Darryel followed after he had finished paying.  He said the gentleman in front of him looked at him quizzically to which Darryel responded "She's always doing stuff like that."  "That's why God's always looking out for her" the man said.  Indeed he does sir, indeed he does.  :)

February 27 - Ok, just one more note - So, I said I went note happy this weekend.  I found heart-shaped Post It notes, how cool is that?  So I wrote on a bunch of them and left them on restroom mirrors around town and at Grace's Mandarin at National Harbor and the Cheesecake Factory at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.  I am definitely going to make a habit of leaving these in all sorts of places.  Getting lots of Good Karma mileage out of the Post Its!


February 26 - Leave a love note - I admit that I got the note idea from Operation Beautiful.  My entire weekend was one note leaving extravaganza.  My husband has been having a rough time at work lately and I thought this note would be a nice little picker upper in his day so I put it at the bottom of his lunch bag.  I was right!  I received a phone call in the late afternoon telling how fabulous the lunch was that I made and that he especially loved my note - he said it was 'right on time!'

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 18-25

February 25 - Make a difference, one post-it note at a time - From the editor, Caitlin:
 "I began Operation Beautiful by leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms — at work, at the gym, at the grocery store.  I scribble down whatever comes to mind — "You are beautiful!" or "You are amazing just the way you are!"  My personal goal is to leave as many Operation Beautiful notes as I can. Maybe some people read them and just smile, but I bet some people are truly touched by the effort of a random stranger."


 February 24 - Be an organ donor - I'm not sure if there is an organ donor awareness day, but there certainly should be.  A few years ago my husband's niece died in a car accident.  It was a very sad tragedy to have a 24 year old girl killed during what should be the prime of her life - sadder still that she wasn't an organ donor.  Since her family didn't know her wishes and they didn't have any prior views on what it means to be an organ donor they opted not to donate.  As I watched the medical staff unplug all of the machines that were keeping her alive I wept not only for her but for the life giving organs that she possessed that were dying at that moment as well.  If you have not checked off the 'organ donor' box on your drivers license or made family members aware of your wishes, please do so today.

For more information on organ donation here are some websites:  LifeSharers.org
OrganDonor.gov   Alliance for Paired Donation (living kidney donations)




February 23 - Share Dr. Wayne Dyer -  I was 16 years old when I broke up with my first boyfriend.  The world was coming to an end (isn't it always when you're in high school?).  I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep and I didn't want to engage in life.  I wonder if my parents thought they were going to have to put me into therapy for depression.  Not to worry, help was on the way!  As luck would have it I was enrolled in a psychology class with a wonderful and dynamic teacher, Mr. O'Neal.  He had us read Dr. Dyer's book called 'Your Erroneous Zones' and it changed my life for the better.  I learned how to not let my thoughts and emotions run away from me and how to create positive mind shifts and thought patterns.  Dr. Dyer's writing has matured over the years, as have I, and I continue to use his writing and teachings as a source of inspiration in my life.  He is truly one in a million.

February 21 - Let someone jump the queue - Whenever I see an opportunity I am more than happy to give up my place in line and let someone go ahead of me.  What a nice surprise it was today when I found myself with a handful of frames at Micheal's Arts & Crafts store and the lady in front of me invited me to go ahead of her in line.  I, and my strained arm muscles, thank her. 


February 20 - Fill out that survey - We all get tons of surveys in the mail, on the phone, via internet or email.  If I only had a dime for every person that has tried to extract information from me!  But, if we take the time to think about it, company's are using these surveys to help serve us better.  I haven't yet done a formal survey for La Muse but when I do it will be to help fine tune the products and services I offer so that I can do a better job of making my customers happy.  Admittedly we can't take the time to fill out every survey that comes across our desk but if we view providing our opinion as an act of kindness we might take the time out to share information with the companies we support and trust.  I received a survey from Intuit today.  I happen to love Intuit products and services.  What has sold me most about them is their customer service, it's hands-down the best I've ever experienced.  So when a 'very brief' survey from them arrived in my email today I happily took the time to fill it out and ad my comments.


February 19 - Pick up street trash -  Lord knows there is no shortage of trash on the streets, we could spend every waking hour on this good karma activity.  Instead of driving yourself crazy perhaps you'd like to try this strategy instead.  Pick a trash can you walk by each day and make it a point to throw something in it.  I walk to get coffee at Misha's most every day.  As I walk over I pick up one or two pieces of trash that is lying on the street and dump it in the trash can I pass.  No my neighborhood is not a dump, it's actually very nice, but I can always find a scrap of paper or a cigarette butt that can be put in it's proper place.



February 18 - Brighten up your neighborhood - This was a great one and I wish I had my camera with me to take a picture of it.  On Valentine's Day morning my husband and I were walking around town.  We came up to King St., which is the main shopping street, and as we turned the corner we began to notice printed hearts on 8.5" x 11" pieces of paper taped to the store windows.  At first I thought it was a promotion by one of the stores but as we walked block after block and kept seeing the hearts I realized that it was a random act of kindness.  Someone, or a few someones, printed out all of these hearts and got up bright and early Valentine's Day morning and taped them to all the business windows on King St.  What fun!  It made me smile and was a perfect way to start the morning.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 13 - February 17





February 17 - Support our Team USA Olympic Athletes -  Today was an amazing day in USA Olympic history.  6 medals in one day, 3 of them were gold.  In the days leading up to the events I joined the Facebook pages of a few of the athletes and wrote them words of encouragement and support - followed by lots of kudos this evening.  Aside from the athlete, it takes scores of people to help them bring home the gold.  Their friends, family, coaches and fans push them along each step of the way - don't underestimate what a few kind words from the heart can do.  If you're in a position to donate to Team USA please do so, there is a link on the website.  We have an amazing team in Vancouver and our Country should be swelling with pride.  Go Team USA - you are an inspiration!

February 16 - Participate in Random Acts of Kindness Week - Which just so happens to be this week:
     
February 15 - Bring someone a NY Pizza - Oh man, do I love NY pizza. I've lived in the DC area for 5 years now and I still can't force myself to like the pizza here (ditto on the diners). I have found 2 places that have decent pizza but they are both at least 30 minutes away (it seems you actually can make a good NY pizza elsewhere if you ship your provisions in from Brooklyn).  Oh boy, what I happy camper I was when my Uncle Kenny from Staten Island came to visit my cousin and stopped by the store Friday to bring me a no imitation, straight from NY, real live pizza!!  Woo Hoo!  That was one great Karma creating act.  Thanks Uncle Ken!



February 14 - Send a Valentine's Day Card - We often think of Valentine's Day celebrations being amongst those that are romantically involved but what about friends and family?  I have more than a few girlfriends who profess to 'hate' Valentine's Day (hate is a rather strong word, don't ya think?).  It doesn't strike me as odd that these are my single girlfriends.  Personally, I don't buy into the Valentine's day hoopla simply on principle.  I have decided that I won't let Hallmark dictate the day when I need to celebrate my marriage by buying chocolate, flowers and dinner all at exorbitant prices.  I'm just stubborn that way.  So, instead I've decided to send a few of those girlfriends a nice, heart adorned, 'You Are Fabulous' card in hopes that they take the focus away from hating Valentine's Day and remember that love comes in oh so many forms.

February 13 - Give away hugs, lots of them! - Jeff Ondash, nicknamed Teddy McHuggin, hugs a tourist on the The Strip on his way to setting the Guinness World Record for hugs in a 24 hour period on in Las Vegas on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2009. Ondash succeeded in giving 7,777 hugs - and just as many smiles!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February 9 - February 12

February 12 - Send a note of gratitude to a complete stranger - The other day I received a website order for 10 Curly Girl greeting cards.  I took a look at my inventory and had 7 of them on hand, the rest were due to be delivered by today but given Mother Nature's recent snow storms I figured it might take another week to get them in.  I emailed the customer, Mary Pat, back and asked if she'd like me to get the 7 out now or the 10 when I have them all on hand.

"Thanks Debra- I am ordering these to send as cheer up notes to my daughter who left two weeks ago to work with a woman's organization in Nicaragua and is feeling overwhelmed. Whenever you can overcome Mother Nature is fine... I just wanted to cheer her up as soon as possible. Thanks, Mary Pat"


It seems that her daughter, Mariah, is working with Collectiva des Mujeres, a women's rights organization.  Kudos to Mariah for undertaking such important work and kudos to Mary Pat for raising such an outstanding human being.

I asked for Mariah's address and sent this note of gratitude.  I'm sure she would appreciate happy notes from anyone - if you have a moment to send one please do:  


Mariah Underhill
C/O Rodriguez Chavarrilla
Siete Esquinas
1/2 Cuadra al Sur, Masaya
Nicaragua
 


 



February 11 - Share an inspiring quote - I love to share inspiring quotes.  If you've ever been to La Muse you'll see that inspiring quotes adorn our chalkboard outside and every wall inside.  Every customer package leaves the store with hand written quotes, affirmations and good wishes.  In fact about 85% of our business relies on positive, amusing or intriguing messages of one sort or another.  I often find that certain quotes prevail from year to year.  Given the state of our recent economy it doesn't surprise me that this was the most sought after quote of 2009.



February 10 - Share your skills - I devote about 20 minutes each month to manage the funds of a person with a disability.  I deposit his social security check, pay his bills and balance his checkbook.  It's an easy job to do and one that is vital to this person.  Many communities have opportunities for residents to volunteer using basic skills like reading, cooking, language, etc.  If you'd like to volunteer some time in this capacity but don't know where to start check your local city or town website and look under general, community, human or mental health services.


February 9 - Share Pictures - My next door neighbor came into the store, "Deb, what's your email address?  I took some pictures during the snowstorm and wanted to share them with you."  Here's one of the picture's he sent me.    I thought it was really nice of John to not only take this picture but then take the time to email it to me.

People who know me have experienced first hand my passion for pictures.  I have a camera at most every outing and now that I have an iPhone the sky is the limit!  My most treasured possession isn't a house or car, it's my collection of pictures.  What I have noticed is that since the dawn of digital pictures, although we all take tons more of them, we don't print as many out.  I try to make it a point to print out pictures for friends and family.  Sometimes I give them in a nice frame as a gift and sometimes I just put them in an envelope and send them through the mail.  When it comes down to it, is there a nice gift than a memory?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 6 - February 8

February 8 - Adopt an animal - According to the latest ASPCA figures 4 million animals are euthanized every year at animal shelters because there is no room for them or resources to care for them.  Add on top of that a down-turned economy or natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the numbers spike considerably.  Personally I've adopted four adult dogs over the years and wouldn't trade them for anything.  I understand that some people have an affinity for particular breeds but every breed has their own rescue group and with a little patience you should be able to find the perfect rescue dog that meshes with your family - and you'll save a life to boot!  Click Here for a website to get you started if you are looking for a particular breed to rescue. 

Here's an example of one the cuddly little creatures you could be rescuing right now - meet Max.  I adopted him 18 months ago.


February 7 - If you knit or crochet make someone a treat - I am very happy to be the recipient of two scarves and one hat over this last year.  My friend Joanne made me a wonderful scarf and my mother-in-law Ruth made me a hat and scarf set.  These have come in very handy lately!  I was at a business meeting recently and one of the ladies at the meeting owns a knit and crochet store here in town, Fibre Space.  She mentioned how they frequently have charity nights.  It's an opportunity for people to socialize while knitting and making baby blankets, hats, etc. for various charities.  What a great idea!  

February 6 - Creating Good Karma during a snow storm - Check on your neighbors * Be a good neighbor and shovel your walkways and sidewalk (especially if you live in a city) * Shovel walkways for an elderly or disabled person * Call around to family and friends to make sure they are ok * If you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle call your local hospital and offer to be a driver * Clear fire hydrants * Clear street drains * Bring food/goodies to your local fire department *

Friday, February 5, 2010

January 28 to February 5

 
Feb 5 -  Make someone laugh - "The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."  ~e.e. cummings  It's early Friday morning and every DC news station is sensationalizing the impending snow.  Better stock up on supplies because we might be snowed in for months!  As my husband was getting ready for work this morning we were watching TV and he started poking fun at all the newscasts and dramatization of the impending weather.  He's a pretty funny guy and had me laughing until there were tears coming out of my eyes.  As I looked at him I had a silent moment of gratitude - I am so blessed that I have a husband that makes me laugh, what a gift.  

My mom has been battling cancer for over ten years now and people will ask me how I feel about that.  Aside from the fact that it sucks?  How I feel is that it's my job to make her laugh.  Whenever I get on the phone with her I, who am not very funny, somehow manage to turn myself into Chelsea Handler and have her laughing from the beginning of the conversation to the end.  It's music to my soul.

Feb 4 - Recommend a good book - This good karma moment is brought to you by my friend Debby Ross.  In the fall Debby loaned me a bunch of books and among them was a book that easily makes my all time favorites list, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  I don't know where I was when this book was on the NY Times bestseller list for 100 weeks in 2007 but I'm very happy that Debby took the time to bring it to my attention.  The book is not only a compelling story but it gave me yet another chance to contemplate gratitude in reference to my own childhood and parents.  The book also had a magnificent ripple effect as it was the catalyst to put all of those grateful thoughts on paper and give my mom and dad a Thanksgiving Day gift - a letter entitled Thanks Mom & Dad that I used to begin my November 2009 La Muse newsletter.


Feb 3 - Buy from a local artist - I'm not really one for buying souvenirs on vacation but if I do buy something it's usually something small and useful.  Something that I'll see often and will remind me of where I've been.  I haven't had a real salt & pepper shaker set for quite a while, we've been using those $.99 cardboard ones you get in the grocery store, so I thought this might be just the kind of item to bring home from our Key West holiday.  We were down at the sunset celebration at Mallory Square a few days ago when I saw this cute salt & pepper set with hand painted scenes of Key West by a local artist.  I was going to purchase them but Darryel reminded me that I wouldn't want to carry them around all night.  Yesterday he saw another set in a souvenir store and asked me if I wanted to get them.  "Should I purchase these mass produced, made in China items or go back to Mallory Square?"  Needless to say we went back to Mallory Square and now I am the proud owner of my very own hand painted Key West salt and pepper shakers.     

Feb 2 - Tip the hotel housekeeping staff - In general I'd say I am a good tipper.  I consistently tip at least 20% at restaurants and am always sure to tip the bellman, taxi driver, gas station attendant (when I'm in NJ where they pump it for you), black jack dealer, postman, yada yada.  But for some reason I am pretty lax on tipping housekeepers in hotel's unless I am asking for extra services.  So today, as we were checking out of our hotel my 'good karma' conscience got the best of me and I said to myself "Self, why don't you leave the housekeeper a couple of bucks."  And so I did.  :)

NOTE:  In case you are looking for guidance on this subject this is what ehow.com has to say:  "While tipping a chambermaid is not obligatory, it's a nice gesture.  Tip a maid $3 per night in an upscale hotel, $1 per night in other hotels. If you stay for a week, a bit more (perhaps $5 to $7 a night) is appropriate."

Feb 1 - Return someone's personal property -Amazing karma for the day! This story starts out ..."So I lost my phone this morning."  It's almost comical because anyone who knows me knows what a stretch this is NOT.  Darryel and I were visiting the Southernmost Point in Key West and  I took a picture with my phone, put it down to grab my coffee...and proceeded to get up and walk away.  It wasn't until 20 minutes later that I realized I hadn't put it back in my pocket.  Lucky for me I lost my camera a few months ago (ok, this isn't the lucky part) and it taught me a great lesson - label everything with identification!  The lucky part is that I have a big label on my phone with my husband's phone number on it (he's the responsible one).  A very kind gentleman called and returned my phone.  Thank you Bolina & Thank God for good people!








 Thanks Bolina!!


Jan 31 - Tip a street performer - In Key West today at the Sunset Celebration.  I knew it was fate when his tip bucket read "Tips Good Karma."




Jan 30 - Don't put your seat back on an airplane with tight quarters - Today was my first experience with Noname Airlines (if you can't say something nice...:).  I travel quite a bit and have had my fair share of sitting in coach, at times over 12 hours worth of it!  This is where being 'vertically challenged' comes in handy.  At 5'4" I can pretty easily move around and make myself comfortable in most tight quarters, today was the exception.  As I tried to slide into my window seat I found I had to shimmy over with my knees facing the seat in front of me as the back of my leg slid along my seat bottom.  "Uh oh."  I immediately realized that this aircraft had the smallest seat pitch of any that I'd ever been on.  My poor husband is 6 feet tall and was practically in the fetal position.  To make matters worse, the people that were sitting in front of us immediately put their seats back as soon as they sat down and the flight attendants never made them bring them upright, not even during take off or landing.  Now I have to admit, this good karma moment was made possible by my husband, Darryel.  As soon as we were airborne I said to him "Put your seat back to give yourself a little more room."  He said "No, I can't do that to the people sitting behind us."  I said "Seriously?  I can!"  And then I got 'the look' from him.  You see, the people sitting behind us were in the very last row - the one that doesn't go back.  "Ugh, ok, ok."  As I sat there NOT putting my seat back and practically eating my knees I said to myself "this definitely deserves a good karma mention." 

Jan 29 - Remember our soldiers serving overseas - Last Saturday I closed the store a little early to have dinner with friends.  I was turning off the last of the lights and my friends were waiting for me in the store when a gentleman walked in with a few bags loaded to the brim with various toiletries, munchies and hand written notes.  It was a funny scene as my friends looked at the gentleman like he had three heads, "What is this guy doing with all of these bags?"  It immediately registered with me and I looked at him and said "For the soldiers?"  Yep.  I started sending items to our soldiers overseas back in 2004 when a friend was serving in Iraq.  It's something I've continued to do, even after he returned, using the www.AnySoldier.com program.  La Muse has been a drop off point for those wishing to contribute since the day I opened the store.  I remembered this particular gentleman and said "Didn't you come to drop off items around this time last year?"  He said yes, he had, it's something he does on his birthday every year.  As I wished him a happy birthday I thought about what a neat present it is to give the gift of service to yourself. 

Jan 28 - Bring some home cooking to a friend - During the winter time I make lots of things in my slow cooker.  Soup, stews, Italian sauce, chili, even whole chickens.  Since I'm only cooking for two I generally end up with lots of left overs - which I either have to freeze or end up eating for a week.  Why not share?  Yesterday I made a killer split pea soup.  Don't you love split pea?  It's such a wonderful winter time comfort food.  Nothing like split pea and some crusty French bread!  As I was packing up the last of it to put into the freezer I remembered one of my neighbors and thought she'd enjoy some home made soup too.  I was right!  

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 25 to January 27

Jan 27 - Share "The Responsibility Project"

Jan 26 - Be there in a pinch - My cousin Ken moved from NY several years ago and, as luck would have it, he and his family now only live 12 blocks away from me.  His wife, Colleen, is pregnant with baby number two and Darryel and I have been on baby watch for the last couple of weeks.  We were the ones to be called, day or night.  When they needed to head to the hospital we were on babysitting detail.  We got the call tonight and dropped everything to head to their house.  I have to admit, Colleen couldn't have started contractions at a more convenient time - just after dinner on a Tuesday evening and their daughter was already sleeping, does it get any better?  We fully expected to receive a phone call sometime in the middle of the night.  As they headed out the door they kept thanking us for coming to help them out.  Truth be told, it is a pleasure and an honor to be the person to help those you love when they need a hand. 

Jan 25 - Get your employer involved in charitable giving - Ok, for me this is an easy one.  After all, I'm the boss.  In 2009 La Muse donated 26 gift certificates to charity.  I'm sure we'll surpass that in 2010 as I've already donated 10 this month alone, including the three I've sent today. It was no different for me when I was in corporate.  I was always taking up one cause or another - if I was still in an office I'm sure I would be right smack in the middle of a donation drive for Haiti right now. Get behind a cause that you are passionate about and think about how your employer's resources might be able to help.  The best ideas are those that are a win/win for the employer and the charity such as those that include PR exposure or bringing your employer face to face with potential customers.

January 8 to January 24

Jan 24 - Give a company a second chance - In October 2009 I was supposed to walk in the Philadelphia 3 Day with 7 other women.  It was freezing cold that weekend and there were torrential downpours so the Susan G Komen organization abbreviated the event from 3 days to 1 and from 60 miles to 14.  The real shame of it was that not only did they make this call at the eleventh hour after we had all arrived in Philly (and the weather forecast was the same since the previous Monday) but they couldn't formulate a plan for the out of towners before we were due to check out of our hotel on Friday.  The situation was handled poorly and the 3 Day hasn't been willing to make it up to us by allowing us to move our fees and fund raising efforts so that we may participate in a 2010 event.  Up until now I had decided to disassociate myself from the Susan G Komen organization.  I have held my tongue but have felt overall discontent for the organization.  This month is the big recruitment month for the 3 Day and their commercials have bombarded the airwaves.  In watching these commercials I remembered what a fabulous time we all had in 2008.  I also thought about the founder, Nancy Brinker, who spoke to us at camp in 2008.  Her passion seemed genuine and her heart in the right place - and I'm sure our plight has not been brought to her attention. Over the last two weeks I've gathered information from my fellow walkers and have developed a letter that we will be sending to Mrs. Brinker. The letter has taken a lot of time for me and my teammates to write and I look forward to her response.

Note:  Because of the speech Nancy Brinker gave to us at camp in 2008 I realize how emotionally attached she is to this cause and how extremely passionate she is about her organization.  I can liken it in many ways to my feelings about my own store, La Muse.  If someone were to have a bad experience in my store I hope they would talk to me about it so that I might have an opportunity to make things right.  This is the consideration I am offering Mrs. Brinker.

Jan 23 - Plan a group outing - How wonderful does it feel to spend an evening with friends?  Wine, conversation, a nice meal, a little entertainment - doesn't it always make you happy?  A few weeks ago I received a solicitation email from Medieval Times.  It's a hokey dinner theater featuring paper crowns, knights, jousting and half broiled chickens with no utensils.  Although I had never been before I did hear it was a bit corny, but who could resist half priced tickets?  So I sent out an email and to my surprise we ended up with a party of nine.  What fun to act like big kids with our paper crowns.  We've now decided to make this a monthly dinner club and February will feature belly dancers!

Jan 22 - Share the wealth - This afternoon I received an email from a woman in New Jersey who owns a wellness center and is interested in selling some of the jewelry I sell.  I have found that sometimes when I ask other business owners, out of my own selling territory of course, for information on products they sell I do not receive a response.  I'm not really sure why they want to hold on to this information.  I guess I can understand if they sell items online and are concerned about competition.  In any case my outlook on sharing information such as this, as long as the retailer is not in my zip code, is that it's the right thing to do.  As far as selling things online I am confident that I offer excellent products at a very fair price and my customer service cannot be touched by any retailer - bring on the competition! 

Jan 21 - Volunteer at a food bank - Every third Thursday of the month my husband and I volunteer at the Arlington Food Assistance Center.  It's an effort we've been committed to for the last three years and thoroughly enjoy the people we work with and serving our clients.  It's a win/win for everyone!

Jan 20 - Offer a prayer for a stranger - A gentleman walked into my store today.  He said that he was looking for a gift for a friend who had recently received a bad health diagnosis.  What he really wanted was to buy her music but he was having a hard time finding a music store in town.  Unfortunately our last independent music store went out of business about 18 months ago.  (hint, hint ... shop local independent stores please!)  I directed him to the Potomac Yard shopping center which is only 2 miles away and has a Best Buy and a Target.  After he left the store I took a moment to offer a prayer of healing for his friend.

Jan 19 - Write a heartfelt note to a friend.

Jan 18 - Share 'The Dash' - 

How Do You Live Your Dash
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning... to the end. 


He noted that first came her date of birth and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.



For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth...
and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.



For it matters not, how much we won; the cars...the house...the cash,
what matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. 


So think about this long and hard.. are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left, that can still be rearranged. 


If we could just slow down enough to consider what's true and real,
and always try to understand the way other people feel. 


And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives like we've never done before. 


If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile.
Remembering that this special dash might only last a while. 


So, when your eulogy's being read with your life's actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they said about how you spent your dash?

 

Jan 17 -  Go shopping with a friend - So you might be wondering why this would be labeled under an act of kindness, especially from a woman.  I'll tell you why I feel it's justified.  A) I might be the only female in the world that doesn't enjoy clothes shopping and B) I went with a friend that spent 90 minutes trying on thirty different pairs of sneakers in one store.  I sat there with a smile on my face and with encouragement in my words and was non to happy to head out of that store and get home to watch football!

Jan 16 - Be a hostess - Today was our annual 'Christmas' party.  I don't need to elaborate as to why it was held in January, do I?  In any case our home was filled with lots of love, joy, food and about 40 people.  Our friends came from NY, OH, MD, DC and near our home.  I cooked for five days to prepare and loved every minute of it.  Kudos and thank you's from everyone notwithstanding, there is nothing more gratifying to me than opening up my home and having friends come to visit.  

Noted act of kindness - We do a 'white elephant' gift exchange at our annual parties.  Some items are totally useless, some are funny and some are sought after.  One particular item that was sought after this year was a coffee thermos.  It was hijacked more than once by various participants and finally ended up in the hands of our friend Velvet.  As she was walking out the door Debby, who was holding the thermos previously, approached Velvet to ask her if there was a manufacturer listed on the bottom as she wanted to purchase one for herself.  At that point Velvet handed her the thermos and said "Merry Christmas."  Debby's night was made!

Jan 15 - Run an errand for a friend - I've been watching my friend, Debby's, dog for the last two and a half weeks while she was in Thailand.  Her plane was landing in the morning today and sometime this afternoon she was going to come over to my house to get her dog.  Knowing what it feels like to travel from overseas I packed up the dog and all of her goodies and brought her over to Debby apartment so that she'd already be there when Debby came home.  Note - Debby dog sits for us as well and always stays at our house alleviating the need for us to shuttle our dogs back and forth.  This is such a great help and much appreciated!

Jan 14 - Send an unexpected thank you card - Over the Christmas holiday my cousin Jay took my husband and I out to lunch.  Jay is one heck of a great guy, he also happens to be quite frugal by nature.  So when he insisted on picking up the tab for lunch I recognized that it was kind of a big deal.  As we left I gave him a big hug and told him I appreciated our time together and him treating us to lunch. Today an email from him came across my desk and something told me to go the extra mile and send out a thank you card, that he would appreciate it.  Fast forward to Jan. 25 - Boy was I right, today I received a thank you card from Jay thanking me for my thank you card.  Haha - I guess one can never have too much gratitude, but I knew that already.

Jan 13 - Donate in support of the victims of the Haiti earthquake - A massive earthquake hit Haiti yesterday.  Today I donated to the American Red Cross toward their efforts to help the victims there - and I offered my prayers.

Jan 12 -  Support another person's goals - For the last 3 years the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati has been on my to-do list, and each year something has prevented me from being able to get there.  2010 is the year.  I called our friends in Dayton to make sure they'd be around and I added it to our calendar.  I received an email a few days ago from our friend Gina that she is going to participate in her very first half marathon on Long Island on (you guessed it) the very same day as the Flying Pig - "Are you going to come?" She asked.  Ugh - I told her I would love to but I am finally going to get to Cincinnati this year.  Later that night I was in bed telling my husband, Darryel, about my guilt for sticking to my guns.  "Well," he said "the easiest way to remedy that is to change your plans and we'll go to LI to support Gina's first half marathon, she's only going to have one 'first."  "Cincinnati will be there next year and you know you're going to feel like crap for not being there for Gina."  Yep, he knows me well.  Here we come Cincinnati, in 2011.

Jan 11 - Introduce someone to a volunteer opportunity - For the last four years I've been a 'representative payee' for a disabled person in the community.  I am responsible for collecting his social security check, paying his bills and reconciling the bank account.  It's only about a 20 minute commitment each month but the initial setup requires a trip to social security, a trip to the bank and some additional legwork - I'd say it takes about 10 hours.  I was called on today by a social worker and asked if I would take on a second client.  I've been feeling a little overwhelmed lately and need to keep my focus on the store - it was time to stop myself before I volunteered yet again for something.  Rather than saying no I thought about whom I could pass this opportunity on to and thought of the perfect candidate, my friend John.  Yippee, he's ready and willing to help - and accounting is his specialty!  I proceeded to put him in touch with the social worker.

I think it's worth pointing out the kindness that is passed on by avoiding the word 'no' whenever possible.  If you can't do something try to find someone who will - if you can't provide something attempt to think of someone who can.  It feels so much better than just saying 'no.' 


Jan 10 - Help a friend build a basement (or send your husband to do it ;) - This evening I drove to Baltimore airport to pick up Darryel after he spent the weekend on Long Island. Our friends, Mike and Gina, bought a big old house there last year.  It's a beautiful house but as is the case with many older homes it needs a good amount of updating.  Darryel happens to be extremely handy (he once built a fence and a deck at our home in one weekend, by himself!) and I suggested that he might want to head up to NY to help Mike.  He would get to spend a weekend with a good friend, work with his hands and do a good deed.  He liked the idea too and I was able to book him an inexpensive flight on Southwest.  On the ride home from the airport Darryel was in such a fantastic mood.  He had thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.  He talked about all they had gotten accomplished and how he taught Mike how to cut and hang sheet rock.  It was very fulfilling to him to be able to pass on some of his skills.  I said to Darryel "So you taught him how to fish?"  He looked at me for a moment and then the light bulb went off in his head - "Yes, I guess I did." 

Jan 9 - Meet a friend for coffee - Nurturing relationships is so incredibly important.  I'm not one for New Year's resolutions but this is one I'm investing in for 2010.  To do my best to go that extra step in reaching out to friends and family.  Whether it's a phone call, greeting card, email or face to face time.  On this particular day I met a friend for coffee and we spent a delightful two hours chatting away.  I think she put it best when she said "Warmth, good conversation and coffee - what could be better?"

Jan 8 - Pass on a great deal - A friend of mine is heading to NY in a few weeks to spend a weekend there with her daughter.  Since I had just spent time there over Christmas I told her about two great websites where super deals could be had; www.TKTS.com for shows and www.Groupon.com for all sorts of half priced goodies.  I received an email from her later today after she checked out the websites.  She was so excited because she had found out from the TKTS website that since she is a teacher that lives more than 150 miles from NYC she is able to buy a membership for only $12 that enables her to purchase all sorts of show tickets at fantastic savings.  She went on to say that I should start a 'deals' section on my website.  Add it to the list!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 1-7

Jan 7 - Offer thoughtful conversation - Everyone who knows me knows that I am not one to talk on the phone.  I am sure it was all those years of being in corporate sales and having the phone to my ear 8 hours a day.  I hate to admit it but most of the time my friends call me and I am really bad about reciprocating - but I hope they know I'll be there when it counts.  Today one of my dearest friends left me a message and I could tell she needed to talk.  So I waited until a time later in the evening when I knew I could relax and wouldn't be interrupted and I called her back.  I thoughtfully listened and contemplated the advice I was going to give her.  By the time we were finished we'd been on the phone close to two hours and it was just about midnight.  The next day she called me in the afternoon to tell me that she had taken my advice and things were moving in the right direction.  What a nice feeling it was to know that I had taken the time to really listen to my friend and was able to offer some tidbits of advice that were helpful to her.  In a world where it seems everything is moving at the speed of light it's easy to miss those opportunities to give to others in the form of time and conversation - but sometimes that exactly what we need to do for each other.

Jan 6 - Make a birthday phone call - I called my dad for his birthday today, and Darryel called his mom as it's her birthday today too.  I think it's worth mentioning that above all the different forms of communication ... text, Facebook, emails, etc., for me there is just nothing more personal than hearing someone's voice singing a little happy birthday jingle in my ear.  There's lots of days when text messages will do - my birthday just isn't one of them.  Next time you feel the urge to send a Facebook birthday greeting consider moving away from the keyboard and grab your phone!

Jan 5 -  Encourage someone to follow their dreams - One of my artists, Armine, was in the store today and we were chatting about Paris.  It's a place she's dreamed of since she was a little girl but caring for her family has always come before pursuing her own dreams.  This summer her daughter will be traveling abroad for school and she has asked her mom to meet her in Paris.  Armine is hesitant as she believes it is selfish to leave her other two children to meet her daughter in Paris.  We spoke for a while about dreams and travel and giving yourself permission to pursue your own happiness.  At the end of the conversation she thanked me for my encouragement and promised to work on fulfilling her dream of going to Paris.  I sure hope she does! 

Jan 4 - Deliver Meals on Wheels - Meals on Wheels is a project I've been involved with for close to 5 years now.  No matter how my day has begun, at the end of each route I feel happy and fulfilled.  

Jan 3 - Group Inspiration -17 degrees, 22mph winds & 4 ladies walking 8 miles together!  Yep, we're crazy!  I had scheduled this walk with some women I met through the Susan G Komen 3-Day.  I must admit I was quite intimidated the day before as I felt the biting cold and knew it was only going to get worse.  I corresponded with the 8 ladies who had rsvp'd and offered to postpone.  A few of the ladies backed out but 3 of them were bound and determined to walk.  7 layers of clothes and 8 miles later we were all very proud to have encouraged each other to complete a task that few would even attempt.  Pats on the back everyone!  
Good Karma idea from Darryel - Do some heavy lifting for someone who can't do it themselves - The lady that lives above La Muse has had knee problems for the last year and has difficulty walking.  Hence she's not able to lift heavy items.  Darryel did a very nice thing by removing her window air conditioner for her and putting it into storage as well as hauling a living room chair and bringing it to the trash.

Jan 2 - Send a birthday card - Happy Birthday Dad!

Jan 1 - Give away a compliment.  My husband and I went to a local restaurant for dinner this evening and had a wonderful server named Pam.  She was attentive, efficient and pleasant.  She went above and beyond to make sure my husband and I were happy with our meal.  Hands down the best waitress I've had in a very long time.  Being a student of the fine art of customer service myself, at the end of the meal I felt compelled to tell her how much I appreciated her service - and did so!

Friday, January 8, 2010

So you want to write a book?

I've been thinking about writing a book for a long time. I've tossed around ideas on gratitude, providing exceptional customer service and practicing random acts of kindness. For the last year I've been toying with the idea of a book that would follow my journey of documenting at least one random act of kindness per day for one year ... and how ultimately doing that would add to the abundance and good karma in my life. I've tried at various time to do this but always end up getting sidetracked and not writing things down. Then I'd miss a few days and just give up. Enter iPhone - my husband got me this neat little gadget as a gift for Thanksgiving and now I am never without means to be able to capture my thoughts. Plus I can add pictures too. Yippee! So here I go. I started writing notes since January 1st and I will add them over the next few days...let the journey begin!