Tuesday, December 25, 2012

26 Acts of Kindness

    I’ve been inspired this week by a nation-wide project that was fueled by NBC journalist, Ann Curry. In response to the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14, she asked her Twitter followers a “what if” question. What if each person vowed to do twenty acts of kindness, one for each child killed that day?

    Her question spawned a movement to do twenty-six acts of kindness in honor of the teachers and children. Some people are doing twenty-seven acts, including the shooter’s mother in the victim list. [Some don’t include her because she was shot at home and not at the school.] A Facebook page has been set up where participants can list their good deeds, not for acknowledgement, but to inspire others with good ideas for “random acts of kindness.”

    There’s a tendency to feel helpless and vulnerable when evil acts are perpetrated on the innocent, especially when the victims are children. For a few days, I was discouraged. The thought of a small child watching his classmates get gunned down, knowing his turn was coming, was more than I could bear. As a former teacher, I imagined what those teachers felt, knowing that they were acting as human shields for their students. Did they know their selflessness might buy those children only a second or two? Did they hope that maybe those two seconds might save the life of at least one child?

    It depressed me. I felt like evil had won and was laughing at all of us in triumph. But a slow burning determination took hold. I would not let this event discourage me.  The twenty six/seven acts of kindness seemed a way to show that no matter how much evil was present in the world, it had no power to take the light out of my life unless I allowed it.

    Below is the list of the twenty-seven victims. Will you join me in doing acts of kindness in their names? If you do an act of kindness on behalf of one of these people, will you leave what you did and in whose name in the comment section? I will then copy and paste it next to their names. [If you prefer to be anonymous, please email me at foreignquang@gmail.com and I will withhold your name from public view. Blogger generally sees it as spam if you mark your comment as anonymous.]  I will post your act of kindness next to the name of the person you chose. You may choose more than one, and if people pick the same name that’s okay too.

    Many people are leaving notes with their act of kindness, letting the recipient know in whose name the kindness was bestowed. If you need ideas check out the Facebook page.

Emilie Parker, 05/12/06, female (age 6) I will start off with Emilie Parker, who recently moved to Connecticut from Utah. We bought a jumbo Hershey bar and left it in the mail box for our mail carrier, along with a note.
Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female (age 6) I have a friend who is housebound for the New Year's holiday so I took her some chips and pop so she can celebrate at home with her children.
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male (age 7)
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female (age 6)
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female (age 7) Auntie M. had in her possession a yellow kitchen bowl that belonged to her mother. She sent this 50+ year old bowl to her niece, who had never met this grandmother, and who will treasure it beyond belief. She sent this heirloom to her niece in honor of Josephine Gay and Dylan Hockley.
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female (age 6) Anonymous 3 knew of a family who had a very low food budget, so she delivered some essentials and goodies to the family in honor of Ana.
Dylan Hockley, 03/08/06, male (age 6)Auntie M. had in her possession a yellow kitchen bowl that belonged to her mother. She sent this 50+ year old bowl to her niece, who had never met this grandmother, and who will treasure it beyond belief. She sent this heirloom to her niece in honor of Josephine Gay and Dylan Hockley.
Madeleine F. Hsu, 07/10/06, female (age 6)
Catherine V. Hubbard, 06/08/06, female (age 6)
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male (age 7) Weston had plans to shoot off some New Year's fireworks. He decided to invite along a boy from outside his normal circle of friends, one who doesn't get invited to many activities, then had him over for hot cocoa and cookies. He did this in honor of Chase Kowalski because he has a friend with that same first name.
Jesse Lewis, 06/30/06, male (age 6)
James Mattioli, 03/22/06, male (age 6)
Grace McDonnell, 11/04/05, female (age 7)
Jack Pinto, 05/06/06, male (age 6)
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male (age 6)
Caroline Previdi, 09/07/06, female (age 6)
Jessica Rekos, 05/10/06, female (age 6)
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female (age 6)
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male (age 6) Pat gave $20 to a mother struggling to raise her children alone in honor of Benjamin Wheeler.
Allison N. Wyatt, 07/03/06, female (age 6) Pat gave $20 to a struggling family to help with household bills in honor of Allison.

Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female (age 29) I took some Pillsbury frozen cookie dough over to my neighbor with a note that said, "Everyone could use a little dough for the holidays." I wanted to honor a teacher and chose to do it in Rachel Davino's name.
Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female (age 47)
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female (age 52)
Lauren Russeau, 1982, female (age 29)
Mary Sherlach, 02/11/56, female (age 56) In honor of Mary Sherlach, Anonymous 2 took a plate of cookies over to her ex-husband's house because he was spending New Year's Eve alone.
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female (age 27)
Nancy Lanza  Anonymous paid the past-due mortgage for a couple who was soon to lose their home in honor of Nancy Lanza, because she is omitted from some Acts of Kindness lists.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

“But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword.”
~Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Fell For It

I was not totally paying attention. There may have been several reasons.

*It was 1:00 A.M. and I was a little sleepy.

*The beautiful clouds over our lovely valley have been replaced by the unnatural grid pattern of chem trails.

*I'm old and not as sharp as I used to be.

Take your pick.

Whatever the reason, I caused son Weston no small amount of glee while saying goodnight.

Weston: Oh yuck! My room smells like updog.

Me: What's "updog"?

Weston: Oh, not much. What's up with you, dawg?

Did I not trick my own parents in such a manner when I was young?  "Look under there!"
"Under where?"
"Ha ha ha! You said 'underwear'!"

I need to start taking fish oil again.

The happy jokester with Avatar and Pinque

P.S. Weston doesn't have school today or he would not have been full of hijinks at 1:00 A.M.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fall Harvest

Yes, it's about time I put up my fall harvest post since it is...oh...DECEMBER! To be fair, because I am a stickler for such things, it is still autumn. Had I behaved as I normally do, I wouldn't have published this until December 21, thereby incriminating myself as a procrastinator. But I am on top of things this year or so I would like you to believe so below is proof that I am attempting to become more self-sufficient and to become less reliant on Stouffers for my family's nutritional needs.

In the past, I would readily plunk down $2+ for a box of peppermint tea. The new Randi scores live peppermint from her daughter's garden and makes her own tea! (Gardeners everywhere will tell you that peppermint is a wild child that will erupt spontaneously and take over your garden if you don't contain it. This is not true. In the five years that I have been planting peppermint, spearmint, and pineapple mint, I have yet to be able to keep a plant alive, hence the necessity to raid Em's garden where peppermint runs rampant.)

Canned potato soup? Pshaw! My friend and neighbor graciously unloaded a box of potatoes from her garden so I did what all domestic goddesses will do--I turned it into homemade potato soup! Technically, I guess you could still call it Campbell's potato soup since I spent 27 years of my life as a Campbell. (Did I mention that the reason my lovely neighbor shared her potatoes was because out of my 14 potato plants, my garden yielded roughly twenty golf ball sized potatoes? Yeah.)

So what do you do when you have twenty red Anaheim peppers that you are sure will spoil before you have the chance to eat them all? You dehydrate them, throw them in a blender, put them through a strainer, and call it cayenne! (The seeded residue after straining looks just like the contents of the hot pepper shaker at the pizza joint, so that's what we use it for.)

Progression of a frugalista:
1. Go out to eat for pizza. Realize eventually that it's too spendy so...
2. Start buying frozen pizza. Realize that it too is too spendy so...
3. Start making homemade pizza using pizza sauce from the grocery store. That becomes too spendy so...
4. Make homemade pizza using homemade pizza sauce with tomatoes from your own garden! (and from the gardens of all those people who call you and ask, "Could you use some tomatoes?" I've never yet turned down a tomato offer.) We have not yet attempted growing our own pepperoni so there are some things we still buy at the store.

One thing I have not managed to kill in my garden is our plum tree. I made these muffins recently from frozen plum puree from my 2011 harvest. Our plums trees didn't produce this year. (Oh wait...maybe I did kill them...) Anyway, the muffins were scrumptious.

In the olden days, my friends and I used to get together and spends lots of money at Applebee's. Now we get together and spend lots of time canning apples! It's so much more fun! *cough*

My wiseacre husband just walked by and said, "Wait a minute...are you...posting?"  
Yeah, well it just might happen more often now that harvesting and NaNoWriMo'ing are over. More on that NaNoWriMo business later...

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