Posts Tagged 'Appreciation'

Time for a Gibbs-Slap

Stop, or I'll Shoot!

While I can’t call myself an NCIS-fanatic, I do indulge in the television series.  Yes, I know.  I’m three seasons behind.  Yes, I have seen episodes of LA and I don’t think they’re as good.  My favourite characters are Abby and McGee, but if it weren’t for Ducky, I don’t think I could stomach the show.  His sense of humour keeps autopsy from being nauseating for a girl who still occasionally checks and makes sure zombies aren’t under her bed.

I have to agree with Everyone Else, though.  Without Gibbs, NCIS just wouldn’t be the same (and isn’t, thanks for proving our point, LA).  Gibbs is a great leader, and he always goes with his gut.  To Tony, Xiva, McGee, and Abby, he’s a definite father figure.  And when one of his children has (or is about to) go astray, he knocks some sense into them.  Literally.  So, here I am.  I bow my head down to the great master, because I deserve a Gibbs-slap.

Lately, I have been selfish.  I complain about my weight (yesyesIknowI’mnotfat… I’m just fatter than I wish I was) and how many hours I’m working (honey, a couple months ago you’d’ve killed for 40-hours/week) and my family (…at least they love me?) and my boyfriend (I know he loves me) and my friends (okay, only a couple of them).  I told myself I was going to be better.  That I was going to look at the little things and be appreciative.  And I haven’t been.

A couple days ago, my friend Matt bought me one of those Oreo-Milkshake-Things that they have at Wendy’s.  He didn’t flounce up to me and say “HEY!  I bought you ice cream!”  I found it sitting on my desk, frosty and chocolaty.  I knew right away it was Matt, because he’s the only one who knows I like those, and he’s at Wendy’s all the time.  But when I noticed the shake (it took me a while… I had been running around) he was already working with a customer and by the time I was able to thank him, I drank half of it.

For my job, I have to smile.  Even if something isn’t funny, even if I freaking-hate-your-guts.  But when I saw the shake, I looked at him, and smiled for real.  It was just a random act of kindness, and it meant a lot to me.  When I was able to thank him, he simply smiled and said “I thought you would like it,” and kept going.  I’ve been thinking about it ever sense, because even though it may have been a little thing to him, it was a big thing to me.

I wanted to share that, because I read this post on Freshly Pressed and I wanted to emphasise how important random acts of kindness are.  The more I think about what Matt did, the more I realise how quickly I let myself fall back into the sinking sand, and how I need to stop being selfish (which honestly is one of my greatest pet peeves in people) and start being more selfless.

I think that the last selfless thing I did was buy Reeses just to give them away to two people I work with, just because.  And that wasn’t very selfless.  It was more… “You are having a bad day.  Would you like a Reese?  Okay, here.”  Pretty pathetic, but I am going to do better.  IamIamIam.

What was the last random act of kindness you performed?  When you find yourself slipping into selfishness, what is the Gibbs-slap that wakes you up to reality?

Oh, and by the way, y’all are welcome to give me a good virtual Gibbs-slap.

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 7/20/10

Looking over the Ashuelot River

For a little bit of a change of pace, this week I am going to write notes to the people whom I have qualm (or not qualms) with.  There are always those people who define your experiences, whether you like it or not, and they must be recognized.

Road Rage
Believe it or not, I see you there in your car.  Sometimes, I am the one doing something wrong, but Rage… sometimes, it’s you.  How does it help either of us for you to lay on your horn and flip me off.  I see your mouth moving profusely… you probably had a few choice words for me.  Is there any point in saying “I’m sorry”?  Nobody got hurt, and I’m not angry that you decided to pass me in an illegal zone and get mad at me over it.  I don’t really see how you flailing at me is accomplishing anything.  You’re still mad, right?  And I now feel lousy because of a harmless error, maybe not even mine.  Next time, can you please focus on driving well, instead of lowering my self-esteem?

And the Moral of the Story Is…
If you come up to me and say “this is broken, fix it now” I’m going to be inclined just to get done what you need and worry about the details later.  Don’t insult my intelligence by claiming “start” means “stop” and “confirm” means “cancel”.  If you start flailing angrily at me and demanding I do something for you, I’m inclined to do it to make you stop flailing.  If you want to learn “how” to do it, don’t tell me I need to do it for you fast and then scold me for doing it wrong.  Oh, and for the record, I pressed “confirm” because the details entered were correct.  If you had given me half-a-second to speak instead of calling me ignorant and stupid, I’d’ve told you that.  As it was, I was inclined just to get rid of you.  If you’d been a little nicer, we’d’ve gotten on much better.

So Easy
Thank you so much for bringing a smile, and patience, too.  In a situation where most people would prefer to shoot me in the head for taking more than five minutes, you volunteered days and then were thrilled with the end result.  I’m so happy you were happy.  Really.  Hearing patience and appreciation means a lot.

It’s Nice to Be Nice
I heard about your day, and boy-oh-boy it sounds like you are ready to kick your feet up and read a good book for a while.  And even though I saw how frustrated you were on the phone with the third party, I also heard how nicely you were speaking too her.  When you explained to me that while the situation wasn’t ideal, the third party was doing the best they can and there’s no point in acting childish asking for more beyond someone’s means… that really struck me.  I hope your situation ended up resolving itself well, because I think after your humanitarian wishes, you deserve it.

But, It’s Free
Yes.  I see how much money you’re spending.  I am also aware of the coupon in your hand that would have given you a free camcorder if you had ordered this all online.  I’m really glad for your opportunity, but I’m not just being a jerk when I tell you I can’t give you that camcorder.  Outside of policy – not following which could get me fired – I simply don’t have that item here.  Honest.  I’m not hiding it in a dusty corner, squirrelling it away for myself.  I just don’t have it.  You can spend this money online instead, and get that camcorder, but no matter how nicely you ask or how many different ways you phrase it, it’s just not going to magically appear in my possession to give to you because you want it.  I’m sorry… it just isn’t.

Mister Grumpy Gills
Thank you so much for the blueberries yesterday!  They made me smile.  I ate some on my lunch break along with my Life cereal, and it was delicious.  You know, I see it all the time, inside, you’re not Mister Grumpy Gills at all.  You’re a very nice person who is tired of being walked all over.  I get that.  Believe me.  And just so you know, I enjoy working with you and joking around with you.  It’s a lot of fun, and don’t worry… I won’t tell anyone how much you smile.

To all the people out there, big and small, who made this week extraordinary and interesting in one way or another… I thank you.  I would love to hear stories about all those people that really stood out since last Tuesday!  Please share your experiences.  Every person leaves an imprint on our lives, and they deserve to be recognised.

“I’m Dappled and Drowsy And Ready For Sleep”

Between work and homework and a late-wake-up-morning, and allergies (just shoot me) it’s been a long day.  But not in all a bad day; namely a tiring one.  But there is always, always a silver lining.

This morning, whilst looking for my “photo of the day,” I found myself at a loss and turned once again to knick-knacks, of which I have many.  I closed in on the image you see above.  It’s a tree, with the branches made of wire and the leaves made from stones.  There used to be more of it, but I cut off one of the branches and gave it to a friend when I was younger.  I won this knick-knack in a raffle in sixth grade, and I saved up tickets for it for months.  I wanted it so very badly.  I was bidding for it against a friend, whom I liked, but not enough to just surrender.  In this end, obviously, I got it, and I cut off one of the branches and gave it to her.  My sixth grade teacher said she brought it from Brazil (where she had lived, briefly) and I think that the idea of owning something from a different continent allured me more than anything else, though the tree is truly lovely.  As you can see in the image, it has amassed a lot of dust over the last nine years, but it’s still one of my favourite knick-knacks.  Thinking about it and it’s simplistic beauty and middle school this morning made me happy.

This evening, I looked out the window at work shortly before sunset, and the sky was marvellous.  There were huge cumulus clouds perched in the sky, and they were tinted not just one colour, but a rainbow of colours.  The upper tips of the clouds were gold, and that faded down to a soft pink.  In front of them, there were splashes of darker cirrus clouds.  It was really beautiful, and they looked that was for nearly an hour.  I wanted to kick myself for not having my camera with me.  I wonder if anyone else noticed them?

The last few minutes of a night often present themselves with the greatest challenges.  After dealing with a few people who I’d rather punch than smile at, I was able to leave and I stepped, flustered, into the sticky, humid night.  My summer coolant is the driver’s side window rolled down (something’s wonky about the passenger’s side), so I impressed upon that and tried to position myself so the headlights of the impatient driver behind me weren’t in my eyes.  Even though the humidity and the bright lights bothered me, I was comforted by the music.  Usually, I don’t have a lot of faith in my Zen’s shuffle feature (it likes to play the same few songs every two or three songs) but tonight, it was great.  It started with “Echo Park” by Ryan Cabrera, a song that reminds me of the image of standing on a ledge by the ocean and feeling the wind in my hair.  Second was “To Life” from Fiddler on the Roof.  That song has many memories attache to it, all good.  Third was “Kodachrome” by Simon and Garfunkel.  The first line of that song always makes me grin: “when I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”  I sometimes feel that way about life in general.  Fourth, also Simon and Garfunkel, was “Feelin’ Groovy”.  The title of this entry comes from that song, as well as the telling line “slow down, you move to fast”.  A good reminder.  And as I pulled into my driveway, “Curve of the Earth” by Matt Nathanson, one of my top five favourite songs, came on.  So, after a long, flustered day… Zen- thank you for the music.

I had a peculiar dream last night that has been haunting me all day.  See, I never have recurring dreams, but I have a few very vivid recurring places and faces.  Last night’s dream was a recurring place and face.  I guess I’ve taken too many psychology classes, or maybe Inception still has me thinking about dreams… but I can’t get the images out of my head.  I can only remember glimpses, in bright, beautiful colour, and feelings.  Very few words, and definitely no “plot”.  I really enjoy dreaming because it gives me a beautiful world to escape into and harp on all day.  And, thank goodness, I rarely have nightmares.

Tonight, I hope that same dream visits me again; which it’s sunshiney neighborhood and the big grey house, the tall man with brown hair, and the fields of blueberry bushes.  In my dreams, I feel like a queen, and there’s nothing to bring me down or hold me back.  I am completely free.

What is Reality?

These last few days I have had an appropriate amount of domestic rural adventures, from driving in a thunderstorm to preventing a kitten from ripping my toes to shreds.  These things are all the little things that we often overlook as we let our lives consume us.  I am that person sometimes, too, but I work hard not to be.  I’ve had a few things on my mind, and seeing the film Inception last night keeps pushing thoughts about the little things forward more and more.

First, I’d like to talk about the movie.  I’m not going to go into too much depth because I don’t want to spoil it, but it does bring you to appreciate life and reality.  The things that are always there and the things that you can depend on.  The details.  For example, the movie itself- I’m sure a lot of people will be walking out of it thinking about the deeper meanings of it and how it is a reflection on the world and our perception of it, and so on and so forth.  I walked out of that movie thinking a few things.  One: “Holy crap, where did that thunderstorm come from?  Crap.  I have to drive in it.  And I left my windows down.  Craaaaap.” Two: “I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about that film.  From the acting to the special effects to the plot… it was all really well done.” and Three: “What was the theme, anyway?  It’s supposed to be a deep thought movie like Momento, right?  So there must be a deeper theme….”

For those that are curious, I’ve decided that the theme was “what is reality?”  It’s kind of like The Matrix in that way.  Now, I’m sure there are others who derived a very different theme about it, and I would love to rationally discuss that theme (or those themes) as well.  But from my perception of the film, there were strong themes of “what is reality” and “what is dream” running through it.  And, in saying that, I don’t feel like I’m spoiling the film because dreams are a present theme in the commercials alone.

From the question “what is reality” we must ask ourselves… what is real?  What makes things believable?  For me, that is all the little things in the world.  The things that make our experiences our own.  We all may walk into a grocery store, but do you avoid walking through aisles packed with people (even if you desperately need something in that aisle) so you can stay out of peoples’ way?  Do you walk through the produce section and drool over all the berries and ultimately buy some, even though you know they’re out of season and they’ll be gone before you get home?  Do you hang out in the bakery for a few minutes just to smell the bread?  I do.  Things like that – little sights and smells and hopes and such – make the experience mine.

This week, I am going to try to stop and notice all the small things.  To stop and take a deep breath and appreciate the world as I run around.

Another thing that has inspired this thought process is a book I recently started reading.  It’s half for school, and half for research, since part of the reason I’m a History Major is to gather information about the world so I can use it in my writing.  The book is called Avengers of the New World by Laurent Dubois.  It tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the world that led to it.  It’s for my Africans in the Colonial World class, basically a follow-up class to Atlantic History, which I took sophomore year.  Anyway.  I’m only 9o-pages into the book and there was a section all about culture and religion and the ways the Africans kept their customs alive in Saint-Dominique.  What do you do, when you’re lashed often for little to no reason, are not allowed to meet with other slaves… and even the free-coloureds kept having their rights lessened.  Heck, the thing that really annoys me is the “Liberty Tax” that white plantation owners had to pay when they freed a slave.  When you are in a position that most of the slaves (or any good person, really) where in, having their hands tied by the powerful few-and-far-between…the only thing you can do, once you’ve run out of options is to stop, see what there is for you in the world, and move forward.  Find the next path and renew yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally by the little things that have been driving you all along.

Today, a friend told me that whenever he hears “On The Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, he thinks of me, because I’m the only other person he’s ever met whose heard of the band.  It was a little thing, but it made me smile and lifted my spirits after six, seven hours of consistent photocopying, binding, and wanting to hit machines with a crowbar.  Has there been any little things in the world today that gave you the strength to move forward?  What are the things that you rely on daily to keep you grounded in this mad world?

All’s Quiet on the Eastern Front

Sunset in Albany

The weekend is winding down to an end.  Out my window, I can see the golden clouds of Sunday’s sunset.  Still beautiful, touched by the magic in this world that all too often we forget exists.  It’s so easy to run about busy when we should stop every once and a while to look at the sky, trace leaves as they sit on the trees, and to pet the friendly dog that it pattering by.  These last few hours I have been breathing softly and still, living and relishing in this beautiful world and being grateful for the moments in my life that allow my to kick my shoes off and lean back and try to guess what shapes the clouds are taking.  What a wonderful weekend!

I rarely have the opportunity to relax.  Even when I have time off, I have projects.  Some projects are self-inflicted.  Others are assigned.  One way or the other, even in my “free time,” I am occupied (or at least I am supposed to be) and so I spend my free time procrastinating and begging my overheating computer for another excuse to put off the inevitable.  But not this weekend.  When you’re separated from your resources, you have no choice but to sit back, relax, and be grateful.  On Friday, I saw Despicable Me and it made me smile from it’s cuteness and creativity.  The characters were round (unusually so for a children’s film) and it was a movie equally enjoyable for adults and children.  It was cool to see the threate filled with all ages- you don’t get that a lot.  And I also spent the last couple days at Bryan’s house.  No internet, no phone calls… I didn’t even bring a book (pure accident, I assure you.  I was frantically digging through my purse this morning, seeking Scarlet.)

It was really nice to have the house to ourselves.  Nowhere to go, nowhere to be… nobody demanding our attention (except a kitten, who was mostly a pleasure to play with anyway).  We were able to curl up, talk about whatever we wanted, do whatever we wanted.  Bryan made a scrumptious steak that was marinated for a week (yes, I know, it sounds like overkill, but if you had tasted it, you wouldn’t think so) and we started watching this really awful movie called “Vegas in Space”.  We got about five minutes in to this ridiculous, B-rated, 1980s (at the latest) sci-fi murder mystery before it stopped being funny and started being painful.  It was still a lot of fun, though.  And it’s nice to be able to escape and burrow away with someone who loves you even when you look like Medusa when you wake up in the morning.

The clouds in the eastern sky are bright pink now, and the neighbors on the lake are starting to shoot off fireworks.  I think it’s time for me to bury my head into my writing and lose the rest of my weekend to comfort.

If only every weekend could be so simple and welcoming.

Human Connections

Sandbox at Chesterfield Central; April 12, 2010

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~ Buddha.

A couple of entries ago, I randomly got tagged by what I’m pretty sure was a blog-collector bot, or something like that.  Curious, I went and snooped and, naturally, discovered that there are a lot of grabbed blogs there.  I only clicked on one other one, but I’m glad I did, because this made me smile.

There are a lot of things that perfect strangers have in common.  In the letter that sendingpetals posted, she mentions that (even just simple little things like “I like food, I bet you do too!).  After reading that, I got curious and looked around the blog.  It’s marvelous, really.  They focus on sending letters to people who have been important to them.  I get the impression, though, that they’re having a little bit of trouble starting out, since everyone there is saying “Wow, this is a great idea!” but nobody is doing anything else.

Maybe I’ll write a letter.  But who to send it to?


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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