Autism · Cricut · life

Why Kindness *Still* Matters

Let’s face it, it’s been a pretty rough year for a lot of people. The news alone can cause even the most optimistic person reason to lose hope. And, unfortunately, all the online back biting and label throwing has truly interfered with daily life. It’s made me pretty grumpy a few more times than I’d care to admit, which has forced me to think about the true nature of people.

However, recently I’ve had a few experiences that have reassured me that kindness–once very commonplace in workaday life–still exists and, more importantly, still matters to us all.

Yesterday I went to see my old friend and amazing chiropractor, Dr. Scott Kline, from Back on Track Chiropractic. My neck and lower back have been zapping me of energy for a while now and regular visits to his clinic really have been helping me get around much easier.

Dr. Kline’s office is fairly open and you often interact with other patients during your visit. When my son MO and I arrived, we couldn’t help but notice the extra large flatbed truck in the parking lot and said “hello” to the truck owner when we got inside. A few minutes later, Dr. K asked me–sort of out of the blue–if I had ever taught at one of the local schools and I replied that I had been a “para” at the high school a while back, but for a short time.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the truck driving young man was a former student of mine–with a very good memory–and came over to chat with me. I was SO happy to hear my help with Algebra actually helped him in his daily life and that he had remembered me for the kindness I showed him in the special ed classroom. I was even happier to know that a once somewhat troubled kid had built a wonderful life, complete with a talented and darling fiancé, in spite of some educational setbacks.

It was a true “A HA!” moment for me, helping me to understand that even the smallest actions can have a big impact on someone else.

After the young couple left, Dr. Kline–being the terrific guy he is–took some time to interact with MO, telling him a few jokes and asking him questions. This is his usually modus operandi (M.O.!) so I just listened to the conversation. But then I was nearly floored when Dr. K surprised MO with a wonderful gift of an inversion table!

Now…Dr. K said the gift was because I had been so helpful to Debbie with her new Cricut Maker, but I knew better. Dr. Kline is just a REALLY nice guy! He has a heart of gold and he knows MO struggles a bit without having good male role models around. This unexpected gift was an investment in my son. A “kindness seed” if you will.

Needless to say, MO and I were both tickled PINK at his gift! But beyond that, I truly felt the love of another person reaching out to a young boy–who has had his share of troubles–for no other reason but to sow a seed of kindness that will hopefully grow and bear fruit in the future.

As MO and I sat in the car–inversion table carefully stowed between us–we marveled at the extraordinary gift we had just received. MO exclaimed with great enthusiasm “I am SO HAPPY!”

And the beautiful thing was, I know he was. I really know he was!

And so I see–from a chance encounter with a former student and an unexpected gift from a good doctor–how kindness can and does matter. In spite of all the chaos in the world…in spite of the anger and vitriol coming across from everywhere…kindness can make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of others.

I’ve got a renewed interest in spreading love and care to my little corner of the world, and I hope–after reading this–you might feel the same. Won’t you join me in this important and life changing crusade? Won’t you reaffirm your pledge that “Kindness Matters” in your life and the lives of others?

And, one last note, if you are local to me (North Shore area of Boston) and need a little help with some back, hip, neck or knee pain, please consider making an appointment with my friend, Dr. Scott Kline at Back on Track Chiropractic in Peabody.

While I can’t promise gifts, I can tell you you will receive the most caring treatment around!

life

Learning to LOVE Valentine’s Day

 It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  The beginning of the year seems to encourage me to cocoon more than usual.  

It’s not that I’m hibernating, because I tend to do a lot of inward thinking.  And then, before I know it, I’m popping up like Puxatawny Phil on Groundhog Day!  Only usually I don’t appear until after Valentine’s Day.  

My post-Valentine’s-Day appearance has usually been because, for a long time, I loved to hate the LOVE Day.  

Now…wait a minute.  Before you jump to any conclusions let me say I am not some spurned sweetheart.  

It’s a little more complicated than that.  

It’s just that Valentine’s Day can be such an enormous letdown for so many people.  

In my younger days, I saw the faces of a sea of broken hearted ladies every time a coworker received roses at the office.  I remember the twinge of sadness in people when lovers would recall their romantic dinners or weekend getaways.  And, even if I had a partner, it broke my heart.

As I got older, my perspective on V Day changed, of course, to recognizing the amazing waste of money the holiday came to represent.  Flowers, jewelry, chocolates and ginormous, sappy cards sold to make up for something we should be doing every day: expressing our love toward one another.  

Why had we allowed ourselves to fall into this routine of mindless day-to-day life, devoid of love and devotion, only to break the bank one day a year to “show your love”?  To me, this process is akin to an absent parent showering their children with things instead of spending time with them.  

It wasn’t until I lost someone I deeply loved that I realized EVERY day is an opportunity to express your love.  And that realization has forever changed my viewpoint on the dreaded Valentine’s Day.  

Days spent without expressing ourselves are lost moments that can never be retrieved.  

I suppose some would call my perspective childish or flighty.  It’s okay if they do.  I’ll love them anyway.  I’ll love those deserving my love and those who aren’t.  I’ll love a stranger and my best friend.  I’ll send only love out in the Universe, regardless of the fact I might not always get the same back.  I can express my love by offering a smile, a helping hand, a kind word, a listening ear or a forgiving heart. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture all the time.  And, sometimes, loving means saying “no” or setting a limit, too.  

Consider my suggestion yourself and tell me, please, if it changes the way you view LOVE Day.  

I know it changed my heart.  

Much love to you all and Happy Valentine’s Day!

recipe

Ode to NyQuil 

Oh! NyQuil!

Why has it been so long since I felt your love?

I’d been suffering for days until I remembered how wonderful you are. How hard working. How steadfast your relief. 

Oh! NyQuil! How I do love thee!

I am probably breaking all kinds of copyright laws or trademark infringements by evoking your name, but I don’t care. I love you!  Let them lock me up for singing your praises!

You’ve made it so easy to love you! I don’t even have to drink you and feel that horrible shiver run through my body..for you come in gel tabs now!

Relief in such a small package! And so quickly!

Only a few moments before I cannot force my eyes to stay open. I no longer struggle to breathe. I sleep in a blissful slumber. Nothing wakes me! 

And–while I doze–you work your glorious magic! I awaken refreshed.  My nose, clear! My fever, gone. I draw a deep breath into my lungs and do not worry about a cough! Ah! I can breathe deeply!  

I’m not fully recovered, no, but I can function without wanting to punch the trainee working the counter at the post office two days before Christmas!  I can stand irritating little things once again, my friend! 

And I thank you, NyQuil. I feel so close to you right now. 

So close I would probably marry you. 

That is..if my country didn’t have a problem with that sort of thing, which it does. 

Oh…and then there’s coffee, to which I have already committed my waking hours. 

But, NyQuil…you’ve made life two days before Christmas livable again!  

NyQuil! You will always and forever be my bedtime pleasure.  I love you. 

recipe

My Little Fat Corgi

I’m a big fan of corgis.

You know?  Those short dogs. The ones that look like midget dogs?  The ones that the Queen has?

Right!! Those dogs!

Yes, that’s as tall as they are going to get.  Yes, it’s completely normal.

Yes, sometimes they have tails and sometimes they don’t.  The ones with the tails are called Cardigans and the ones without are called Pembroke.  Most of the tail-less ones are born that way, but sometimes they have nubs.  And it doesn’t make any difference to me if they have a tail or not!

I love corgis of all kinds, colors, tail or no tail. I adore anything corgi related.  I tweet “corgi alerts”. I search Target for corgi ornaments.  I own corgi socks, and pillows, and shirts and even an umbrella.  I even have make corgi bumper stickers.

Corgis are a “thing” on the internet these days.

Of course, they should be.

If you haven’t ever known one, I know you are probably saying I’m just being a breed snob or something, but I am really not.

To coin a phrase: “Once you go corgi, you never go back!”  Well.  It’s the truth.  I’m just pointing it out.

It’s so important to me that you know, too, that I was into corgis before they were an “internet sensation”.  I’ve been living with corgis since before the millennium.

So, ya, a long time.

But for those of you that are sort of new to the breed, please don’t call my corgi “fat”!

It’s like openly calling a person’s child fat, which I’m sure you don’t do. Right?

I know some people can’t help themselves.  I know some mean it in a loving way, like my neighbor did.  Some people even prefer their corgis fat.

But it really hurts my feelings when I’m walking my weight-challenged corgi, Odie, and someone points out how HUGE he is.  Or maybe they compare him to my corgi puppy, Ted E. Bear, who is gorgeous and sleek and perfectly shaped. Or they see how he really does waddle like a penguin.

It hurts my feelings, because some people don’t know Odie’s story.

They don’t know how Odie couldn’t even walk up stairs when he first arrived.  Or how hard it has been trying to get him to take a walk with me.

Most don’t know Odie was dropped off here severely overweight for “just a few months”.  But then the few months became 9 months.  Then a year.  Then maybe not until 2016.  So…basically abandoned.

Until I couldn’t watch him struggle anymore and asked my friends from Corgi Nation for help. Together with Faith Bark, Corgi Nation came through for me as they do for hundreds of other corgis.  Through Faith Bark’s “Bandit’s Band-aid” program, many friends of Corgi Nation contributed so I could have Odie get medical attention.

Yes, those are really groups.  Corgi Nation–or CN, for short–is as big and weird and fun and sometimes even a little coarse as the beloved Red Sox Nation.  Dare I say it?  Maybe even stronger?

We corgi lovers are a varied but vast team of people that live across the nation and around the world.

We send hundreds of Christmas cards to each other each year…with our corgis pictures on them, of course!

Yes, Corgi Nation is probably responsible for keeping the USPS afloat these past five years or so.

And, yes, I am being completely serious!

Except for my friends in Corgi Nation and a few select other “real life people” (hate that…having to separate my friends into online or “real life” status) most people don’t know a few other key details.

They don’t know that, only a few months after Odie came to visit, I lost my sweetest friend, Ollie, a corgi (of course).  A rescued corgi, too, with medical issues.  Oliver…my “dandy” with the glamour coat.  The corgi that gave Master Owen his official “Master” status.

Then–only four months later in March of this year–I lost my girl, Beatrice.  Yes, of course, she was a corgi, too.

Bea was also a rescue.  She was so sassy we had to give her the title of “The Queen Bea”, which she embodied until the day she died. Complications from an infection, which she got because she had diabetes.  Diabetes that took her sight and made me give her insulin for several years.

Yes, The Queen Bea was mostly blind in the end and, yes, fat.  But she was so sassy and royal, it hardly bothered me when people would say so.  She wore her fatness like the crown she was born to wear.

Anyway…I digress.

I’m not sure why it hurts so much when folks call Odie “fat”.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had too many losses the past couple of years. Maybe I feel bad for him. Maybe I wonder how anyone would ever abandon a corgi…ever.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been working so hard with him.

You know, he is making progress.  Today he lifted his leg to pee on a hydrant.  Today he walked a little further.

Maybe folks don’t see it.  Maybe they just see a waddling, short dog and think it’s funny.

I don’t.

I see a dog that had the rug pulled out from under him and is still trying to work on his problems anyway.

I see a dog who gets up every day–even if he is sore and super hungry and tired of eating green beans with his quarter cup of kibble–and tries to be better.  Tries not to eat the puppy’s leftovers.  Looks at me with adoring eyes, because he knows I understand.

Maybe, just maybe, I see myself in my little, fat corgi…

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